NATURE OF GOD. There is one God (Deut. 6:4, Isa. 44:6), eternally existing (Ps. 90:2) in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). These share completely their essential attributes, yet operate distinctly in their unique personhoods. God is both personal (Exod. 34:6) and spiritual (John 4:24). He relates eternally within the Trinity and has chosen by His character of love to relate to His creation.
ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. God is unchanging in essence (Jas. 1:17): He is love (1 John 4:16), seeking the best of the other without regard to the cost to Himself. He is compassionate, caring unceasingly for His creation (Exod. 34:6, Lam. 3:22). He is gracious, helping those who are absolutely undeserving of His grace (Exod. 34:6, 2 Chr. 30:9, Neh. 9:17). He is faithful, unswerving in His accomplishment of that which He has promised to do (Deut. 7:9, 1 Cor. 1:9, Heb. 11:11). He does not change in His essence, character, knowledge, promise, or plan. He is holy (Ps. 99:9, 1 Pet. 1:15-16), omnipotent (Job 42:2, Matt. 19:26), omnipresent (Ps. 139:7-10), omniscient (Job 21:22, Rom. 11:33), just (2 Thess. 1:5ff), self-sufficient (John 5:26, Acts 17:25) … and a host of other characteristics too numerous to list!
While God is unchanging in character and essence, His attitudes and actions may change in response to the repentance or rejection of individuals (Exod. 32:14; Jer. 26:13, 19; Amos 7:3, 6; Jon. 4:2).
WORK OF GOD. God is the creator of the universe, and each Person of the Trinity was an active agent in creation (Gen. 1-2, John 1:1-3). God is absolutely distinct from and transcendent over creation (Isa. 40:28, Rom. 1:25), yet fully present and active everywhere in creation (Ps. 139:7).
God has an eternal purpose for His glory by which He has ordained, either efficaciously or permissively, all that happens (Job 36:5, Rom. 8:28, 2 Cor. 5:5, Phil. 2:13). He does not orchestrate evil (Ps. 5:4, Hab. 1:13), nor is He surprised by it. Apart from a limited number of precepts in which God expressed a particular will, He gave men and women great freedom to choose the manner in which they will live in order to accomplish His purposive will; i.e., to glorify Him (Eph. 2:10, 1 Pet. 2:12). In that freedom, people are also able to live and act in ways that are contrary to His will but that can never frustrate His eternal plan. He holds each person responsible for his or her actions, exercising both temporal and eternal judgment (Eccl. 3:17, Rom. 2:16, Heb. 9:27).
God works His salvific plan in different ways with different people. His desire is for all to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), yet He has appointed certain ones for eternal life (Acts 13:44-48). Some He draws irresistibly toward Himself (e.g., Saul/Paul, Acts 9), while others He allows to respond in their own free will (e.g., the centurion at the cross, Matt. 27:54; the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8:27-40; the Philippian jailer, Acts 16); in all cases, God knows how each person will respond. God’s foreordained purpose for all who would believe is that they would be blessed and blameless (Eph. 1:4), and that through their good works, men and women would glorify God (Matt. 5:16, 1 Pet. 2:12).
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