What is the Nature of God?

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The quick theological answer about the nature of God takes us through a quick tour of the “omnis”:

  •       Omnipotent: God is all powerful
  •       Omnipresent: God is in all places
  •       Omniscient: God knows all things
  •       Eternal: God is timeless

Biblically, I have questions about all of these statements.  But the fact is, biblically, to say that the nature of God is his being or essence is to miss the point.  That is a metaphysical answer to the question, not a biblical one.

There is one statement about the nature of God that is repeated many times in Scripture, and yet it is rarely quoted, or certainly  not quoted as often as the omnis.  The best answer to “what is the nature of God?” is:

Yahweh, Yahweh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in merciful faithfulness and truth, who keeps merciful faithfulness for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, yet he will not leave the guilty unpunished.”  Exodus 34:6-7

This statement, in whole or part, is repeated at least 12 times in the OT alone*.  It is the basic creed of who God is, and is the basis for the statement “God is love” and is the basis for the NT statements which say that we, as God’s children, should imitate God (Luke 6:35-36; Eph 5:1).

Thus, we should focus on God being:

  •      Compassionate: One who understands and desires to help the weak.
  •      Gracious: One who gives of Himself to those in need
  •      Slow to anger: Doesn’t instantly respond to offenses, but takes time to consider a proper response
  •      Abounding in merciful faithfulness:  When he keeps his promises, he does it for the benefit of those he is blessing
  •      Abounding in truth: Doesn’t lie, doesn’t break his promises
  •      Forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin: Is ready to cleanse the heart, mind and any debt incurred from any sin, real, ritual or imagined.
  •      Will not leave the guilty unpunished:  Forgiveness is for the repentant, not for those who continue to purposely hurt others.
This is the true nature of God, and the basis of all biblical truth.

*Passages that are a reference to Exodus 34:

  II Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 9:17, 31; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 111:4; Psalm 112:4; Psalm 116:5; Psalm 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Nahum 1:3


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