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Christian Beliefs

Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

KNOWING AND WORSHIPING GOD


(Unit 2)

Jeremiah 9:23-24: Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But
let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the
LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in
these things I delight, saith the LORD.
What we think about God shapes the way we experience him. How we experience
God transforms what and how we think about him.
Wrong thinking about God leads to serious error.
Contrary to the Occult and Eastern spirituality, God is not just a cosmic force. Occult
and Eastern spirituality, based on a monistic or pantheistic view of reality, make the
cosmic error of equating primal energy (cosmic consciousness) with God. It is not God.
It is part of Gods creation, but to call it God is idolatry (Swanson, 28).
The God revealed in the Bible is holy, existing outside his Creation. The universe is
not an emanation of Gods being, but was created by God ex nihilo, out of nothingout
of no pre-existing material (see the context of Gen 1:1; Exod. 20:11). The God revealed
in the Bible is not impersonal energy or consciousness without qualities; The Biblical
God is a Triune God, one God existing in three Persons who live in an eternal, holy, and
loving relationship: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Swanson, 28-29).
The goal of Christian worship is to enter into union with the triune God through
Jesus Christ. But, what is offered the Christian is not a unity of being with God; it is a
unity of relationship. We are not God; we are and will always be His creatures. We do
not become God. Yet through worship (and prayer) we enter into intimacy with God, we
enter into the life of God. He shares with us His love, His joy, His peace. Jesus sets us
free from our sinfulness and selfishness, our obsessions and compulsions, and
transforms us into the unique persons God created us to be. He enables us to become
people who are free to love others (Swanson, 29).
Right thinking about God is crucial.
Our attributes of emotion, intellect, and will did not just happen. God made us in
His image, after His likeness. He has revealed Himself in the Bible to be a Person. He is
called Father. He is pictured as a shepherd. He is called a brother, a friend, a counselor.
We know God is a Person because He thinks, hears, wills, acts, loves, feels, and
communicates. He is the living God (Josh. 3:10). Yet, He is not EXACTLY like anything or

Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

anybody. But He is exactly what He says He is, although a full understanding of what He
says may be beyond our fullest comprehension. Yet we learn about Him by using what
He reveals and what we already know as a bridge over which we pass to the unknown.

The Fact of God's Existence.


A. Hebrews 11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh
to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarded of them that diligently
seek him."
Among other things, this verse tells us two important facts about God:
1) God exists
2) it is possible to know something of His nature.
B. Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God ...."
The Bible offers no proof of God's existence. It simply opens with the positive
statement that God does exist.
C. Psalm 14:1: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."
This is God's opinion of a person who denies His existence. One may deny His
existence in two ways:
1) an open avowal of disbelief in His existence (atheism), or
2) by ignoring His claims upon your life and living as though He did not exist.
D. The belief in God ultimately rests upon the foundation of FAITH, which is based
upon the historical fact of the resurrection.
The belief in God, as well as a refusal to believe in God, rests upon faith. Science
cannot speak about beginnings because such beginnings are not reproducible and
therefore outside the realm of scientific fact. History cannot speak about
beginnings because there were no human eye-witnesses to the beginning of earths
history. When we choose to believe the Biblical account of creation, however, we
are not choosing to believe only on faith. We believe because the resurrected Lord
Jesus tells us to believe the writings of Moses (Luke 24:25, 27).
When we speak of "God," we are referring to the Supreme Being, the maker and
sustainer of all things, who existed before all things, and will continue to exist to all
eternity. He is not static essence. He is a transcendent Person who is eternally "Being."
Paul, with his acquaintance with Greek forms of though, speaks of the created world
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

as providing a witness for the existence of God. At Lystra Paul told the idolatrous
people that God has revealed Himself by His gifts of vegetation and its production
on the earth: "He left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us
rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons" (Acts 14:17).
It is notable that Paul calls the evidence for God's existence that may be derived
from observing the material world a "witness." Logical arguments for the existence
of God cannot prove God's existence. But they do witness to His existence. They
show why it is more reasonable to believe in the existence of God than to not
believe in His existence.
The following are five logical arguments that give witness to the existence of God.
1.

Cosmological evidence. This is based on the argument of cause and effect. For every
effect there must be a traceable cause. The cause of infinity must be infinite. The
cause of endless time must be eternal. The cause of power must be omnipotent. The
cause of knowledge must be omniscient. The cause of personality must be personal.

2.

Teleological evidence. (teleos = "end" or "perfect result"). Something completed or


perfected shows evidence of a maker. Design implies a designer. God is the supreme
designer.

3.

Moral evidence. The very fact that we know there is right and wrong suggests the
necessity of an absolute standard. If anything is right and anything is wrong,
somewhere there is Someone who determines which is which.

4.

Volitional evidence. Because man faces a myriad of choices and has the ability to
make willful decisions, there must be somewhere an infinite will, and the world must
be the expression of that will.

5. Ontological evidence. This argument offers evidence for the existence of God based
upon man's ability to conceive of a God. If men possess the idea of a being greater
than any other, it must of necessity exist. God is that which nothing greater can be
conceived.
Focus Questions:
1. What passage teaches that man is to glory in the fact that he understand and knows
God, rather than glorying in his wisdom, might, or riches?
2. To refer to God as the cosmic force in creation or the primal energy or cosmic
consciousness without personal qualities is to make the error of what erroneous
belief system?
3. When we talk about entering into union with God through Christ, are we talking
about a unity of being or a unity of relationship?

Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

What reference teaches that belief in the existence of God is foundational to saving
faith and without faith one cannot please God?
What reference teaches that anyone who denies the existence of God is a fool?
What is the ultimate basis for believing in a God?
Can logical, theological, or philosophical arguments prove God's existence? If not,
what use are they?
In what passage does Paul speak of the rain and vegetation as a witness for the
existence of God?
List and define five logical arguments that give witness to the existence of God.

How We Learn About God.


There are two methods of revelation by which we can learn about God:
1) natural revelation and 2) supernatural revelation.
A. Natural Revelation (through creation and conscience)
1. Psalm 19:1: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth
His handiwork."
2. Acts 14:17: "Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did
good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with
food and gladness.
3. Romans 1:20: "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal
power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."
4. Romans 2:14-15: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature
the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or
else excusing one another, In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by
Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
5. Acts 10:34-35: "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that
God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and
worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
From these verses we conclude:
1). Atheism and agnosticism are not natural responses; they are learned,
2). All people can know at least five things about God:
a) there is a God (Rom. 1:20)
b) He is powerful (Rom. 1:20)
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

c) He is glorious (Psa. 19:1)


d) He provides material blessings (Acts 14:17)
e) He is eternal (Rom. 1:20)
This information is "light" (Eph. 5:13). When men fail to walk in the light, they are
"without excuse" before God (Romans 1:20). Some suggest that the phrase, "or else
excusing one another" in Romans 2:15, teaches that if the witness of conscience is
followed it may lead to acquittal at the final judgment.
Is natural revelation sufficient to save a person? Those who say "No" usually cite
Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under
heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." John 14:6 is also cited: "Jesus
saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me." They argue that if a person walks in all the light he has, God will see to it
that he receives the truth necessary to be saved. An example of this is the Ethiopian
Eunuch in Acts 8:26-39.
Those who say "Yes," argue that it is the Name, the personal reality of God known in
personal relationship, that saves, not knowledge about the historical Jesus. They cite
Abraham as an example of one who rejoiced to see the day of Christ and was glad (John
8:56). How did Abraham see the day of Jesus Christ? Jesus tells us that "before
Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). They argue, "Could not the pre-existent one who
made Himself known to Abraham, also make Himself known to people before Abraham
and to those today who never heard of Abraham, much less Jesus? And cannot the
post-existent Jesus make himself known also to those who do not know about the
historical Jesus?" They further point out that, according to John, those who perish are
those who are confronted by the Light of the world shining through Jesus and who
reject this light, not those who have only the starlight of general revelation. John 3:19
says, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved
darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Again, John 9:41 says, "Jesus
said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see;
therefore your sin remaineth." They argue that guilt before God is gauged by the light
people have, and those who follow the light they have will surely be accepted by God
(Moody, The Word of Truth, pp. 60-62).
John Fletcher (a friend of John Wesley and his designated successor), arguing from
Peter's statement in Acts 10:35, "in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh
righteousness, is accepted with him," teaches that those who have not heard of Christ,
but fears God and works righteousness, according to the light he has, is accepted by
God. (The Works of John Fletcher, I, 39).
To the objections that "a heathen may be saved without a Savior" and "fearing God
and working righteousness will not substitute for the blood and righteousness of Christ,"
Fletcher responds, in defense of Wesley's position, that when a heathen is accepted, "it
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

is merely through the merits of Christ; although it is in consequence of his fearing God
and working righteousness."
Fletcher rejects the doctrine that "consigns all the heathen by millions to hell
torments because they cannot explicitly believe in a Savior whose name they never
heard." He argues, "Is it not possible that heathens should, by grace, reap some
blessings through the second Adam, though they know nothing of his name and
obedience unto death; when they, by nature, reap so many curses through Adam the
first; to whose name and disobedience they are equally strangers?" (p. 40). It is not
through their sincerity that they are accepted; it is through their obedience to whatever
light God has given them that they are accepted. And that light is from Jesus who is
"the Light of the world."
For example, Fletcher argues that Cornelius was already accepted by God due to the
light of his dispensation. He explains the phrase that Peter was to "tell him words
whereby he should be saved," as meaning, "saved from the weakness, darkness,
bondage, and tormenting fears attending his present state, into that blessed state of
light, comfort, liberty, power, and glorious joy" (p. 41). Then Fletcher quotes Matthew
Henry, a five-point Calvinist, "God never did, nor ever will reject an honest Gentile who
fears God, and worships him, and works righteousness; that is, He is just and charitable
toward all men, who lives up to the light he has, in a sincere devotion and regular
conversation. Wherever God finds an upright man, he will be found an upright God
(Psalm 18:25). And those that have not the knowledge of Christ, and therefore cannot
have an explicit regard to him, may yet receive grace for his sake, 'to fear God and work
righteousness;' and wherever God gives grace to do so, as he did to Cornelius, he will,
through Christ, accept the work of his own hands" (p. 42).
To answer the charge that this is "salvation by works," Fletcher and Wesley maintain
that it is salvation, not by the merits of works, but works as a condition." (p. 43).
Taking all the Scriptural data into consideration, what do you think?
B. Supernatural Revelation (Holy Scripture)
Scripture is God's self-disclosure. He wants man to know what He is like. We learn
about Him through His mighty acts in history, His relationships with mankind, and
through His promises and commands.
God's self-disclosure is climaxed in the words and works of His Son, Jesus Christ.
1. Hebrews 1:2-3: God "hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son .... who is
the brightness of His glory, and the express image of his person."
The implications of this passage is that we now have Gods full and final revelation in
and through His Son. This is no further or fuller revelation than this. After this comes
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

God's judgment.
2. Matthew 11:27: "neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to
whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
3. Colossians 1:15: Christ "is the image of the invisible God."
4. John 1:18: "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is
in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared (exegeted) him."
5. John 14:9: "He that hath seen me [Jesus] hath seen the Father."
Jesus is the full and final revelation of God in His matchless person and speaks the
full and final revelation of God in His mighty proclamations. Jesus is the apex of the
revelation of God. Everything before Jesus is preparatory; everything after Jesus is
explanatory. Jesus is the only person who perfectly mirrored in His life what He spoke.
Our knowledge of all things preparatory to Jesus, our knowledge of the life and
teachings of Jesus, and our knowledge of the explanatory teachings given by the Holy
Spirit after the ascension of Jesus is confined to the revelation given by Holy Scripture.
And as we analyze the teaching of Holy Scripture, we can say that Holy Scripture is
designed to do at least four things: 1) lead us to a knowledge of God, 2) give us a guide
to live by, 3) protect us and 4) provide for us.
Focus Questions:
1. What are the two basic means of revelation through which we can learn about God?
2. What reference teaches that the heavens reveal the glory of god and demonstrate
His handiwork?
3. What reference teaches that the material creation, including the rain from heaven
and fruitful seasons, is a witness of the existence of God?
4. What reference teaches that nature clearly reveals Gods eternal power and
Godhead?
5. What reference teaches that all people have some knowledge of Gods law through
their conscience?
6. What reference teaches that people in any nation who fear God and work
righteousness is accepted with Him?
7. What two references are frequently used to teach that without the knowledge of
Jesus Christ a person cannot be saved?
8. Through what means of revelation have we received the climax of Gods selfdisclosure?
9. Give the reference wherein Jesus says that no one can really know the Father in the
fullest sense of the term unless the Son reveals him.
10. What passage teaches that Jesus is the express image of Gods Person?
11. What passage teaches that Jesus is the image of the invisible God?
12. What passage teaches that Jesus is the exegesis (explanation) of the Father?
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

13. In what passage did Jesus say that if you have seen the Son, you have also seen the
Father?
14. List the four things that Gods commands in Scripture are designed to do.

The Person of God


A. God is a Spirit Being
1. John 4:24: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit
and in truth."

God is the ultimate reality. Therefore, the ultimate reality is in the realm of
the spirit, not the material.

God does not want us to think about him in material concepts. This is why
He forbids man from making material representations of Him (cf. Exodus
20:4 - Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of
any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in
the water under the earth).

2. Luke 24:39: (Jesus said), "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have).
B. God (the Father) is Invisible
3. I John 4:12: "No man hath seen God at any time" (The visible appearances of
God in the Old Testament are pre-incarnate appearances of Christsee Exodus
24:9-11, 33:20).
4. I Timothy 6:16: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man
can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor
and power everlasting. Amen.
To say that God is Spirit is to consider the form of existence (or essence) which God
has. We may say that in His essence, God is spiritual. He is not material and possesses
no parts such as material things have. He lacks such material qualities as shape, size,
weight, divisibility, or ability of increase. These are all qualities that apply to things. God
is not a thing. Yet on the other hand, do not equate spirit with the vagueness of a great
gaseous substance. Perhaps the best way to describe spirit is to think of a human being.
A human being has a body within which lives His spirit. It is the spirit of man that is the
true self. The spirit uses the body as a tool. Death is the separation of the body and
spirit. If you think of yourself as primarily spirit rather than body, and then increase
your spirit being to infinite proportions with spiritual faculties and powers far surpassing

Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

any human spirit, you begin to get some idea of what "spirituality" means as far as God
is concerned (Wilcox, III, 53-54).
We live in a day when materialism seems to be the measure of all things. We tend
to live for the present. We are impressed by "things" even though we don't want to be.
As a result, if we are not careful, we end up sacrificing the permanent (the eternal,
spiritual) on the altar of the immediate (material, now). Perhaps one reason dying is so
hard for Christians is not because they are uncertain that Jesus is on the other side, but
because they have made so much of life's investments here and have so little on the
other side.
C. God is to be Worshipped.
1. Matthew 4:10: Jesus said, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him
only."
This verse teaches that worship is not optional. Everyone is required to worship
God.
2. John 4:23: "But the hour cometh, and now is when the true worshipers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship
him"
God is actively seeking for worshippers.
3. Luke 11:2: "And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in
heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in
heaven, so in earth." (Matthew 6:9-10 is parallel)
Prayer is to begin with worship. Jesus provides a model for prayer. He teaches us
that the first thing that should occupy our attention when we pray is our relationship
with God ("Our Father which art in heaven").
a. The person to whom we are to pray is God the Father.
b. The privileges we have when God is our Father are those of position, power,
intimacy, community, and family.
God is not everyone's Father. The unsaved have the devil as their father. Jesus said
in John 8:44: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want
to do."
c. The perfection of God as well as (to a limited degree) the place of God's
abode are signified in the phrase, "which art in heaven."
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

Heaven is said to contain the throne of God. Yet we are not to circumscribe or limit
God's presence to heaven. He is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12) and yet He is said to be
"more" present some places than at others. The fact that God is "in heaven" signifies
that He is not limited to earthly resources. He has heavenly resources. Further,
"heaven" speaks of perfection and reminds us that God is the perfection of Fatherhood
and is always available to His children.
Concern for Gods reputation is the second thing that should occupy our attention
when we pray ("hallowed be Thy name"). God's "name" refers to His character and his
reputation. To pray, "hallowed be thy name" is to express concern that in all our
thinking, asking, and doing we have as our main concern that which will bring honor and
glory to God. We hallow God's name by living holy lives. As God shines out through us,
God's reputation is enhanced before the world. The reverse is also true. Romans 2:24
teaches that the name of God was blasphemed by the Gentiles because Jewish
professors of faith did not live lives that properly showed God's holiness. Remember, by
our words, our lives, by being reflectors or detractors from the greatness and the glory
of God and of His glorious attributes, we either "hallow" or profane God's name.
The rule and reign of God is the third thing that should occupy our attention in
prayer ("thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"). Before we
plead for our needs, we must learn to share in God's concerns for His kingdom: its
expansion on earth through the saving of souls, the return of His Son, and the enabling
and enforcing of His will on earth as it is in heaven. We have no right to ask for anything
that will either dishonor His name, delay His kingdom, or disturb His will on earth.

Focus Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.

What is the classic reference that teaches us that God is a Spirit?


What reference teaches us that a spirit does not have flesh and bones?
Has anyone ever seen the Father? Give Scriptural proof.
What passage teaches that worship is not optional and that we must worship only
God?
5. What passage teaches that the Father seeks worshipers?
6. Is the "Lord's Prayer" given for us to repeat or given as a model for us to follow as
we pray?
7. Jesus taught that prayer should be addressed to which Person of the Godhead?
8. According to Jesus, what should be the first thing to occupy our attention when we
pray?
9. Is God everyone's Father? Prove your answer with scripture.
10. According to Jesus, what should be the second thing to occupy our attention when
we pray?
11. What is the most effective way to "hallow" God's name?
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

12. According to Jesus, what should be the third thing to occupy our attention when we
pray?

God's Natural Attributes


When one discusses God's "natural" attributes he speaks of those qualities which
are distinctly God's and are not communicated to man (incommunicable attributes). We
must always remember that an attribute describes how God is. He does not possess
them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures (Tozer, 24).
A. God is One (a compound unity).
1. Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!"
The is the famous "shema" that is recited by Jewish people everywhere. It is the classic
Scripture used to defend the unity of God. Please note that the word "one" (echad) is not a
numerical singular. It is the same word used to indicate the unity of a husband and wife when
they become "one" flesh (Gen. 2:24). It is a composite unity.
There is one God eternally existing and manifesting Himself to us in three persons:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2. Deuteronomy 4:35: "Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that
the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him."
3. Isaiah 44:6: "Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD
of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."
4. 1 Timothy 2:5: " For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus."
Gods substance is indivisible. He has no parts but is single in His unitary being. No
contradiction between His attributes can exist. He does not suspend one attribute to
exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does.
He does not divide Himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being
(Tozer, 23). He is holy in all He does.
B. God is Infinite.
1. Psalm 145:3: "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is
unsearchable."

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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

2. Psalm 147:5: "Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is
infinite."
3. 1 Kings 8:27: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and
heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have
builded?"
God is limitlessness and therefore impossible for a limited mind to grasp fully.
Whatever God is and all that God is, He is without limit, unbounded. He is without
growth or addition or development. Nothing in God is less or more, or large or small.
Because God's nature is infinite, everything that flows out of it is infinite also (Tozer, 5053). His resources never run out. His resources are not diminished by His generous
giving nor is He enriched by withholding. He has unlimited resources of grace, love,
mercy and more for His children.
If we take the concept of infinity and apply it to creation, we may derive others
aspects of God's being. He is infinite as regards time (eternal), infinite as regards power
(omnipotent), infinite as regards knowledge (omniscient), infinite as regards space or
presence (omnipresent).
C. God is Eternal (self-existent).
1. Deuteronomy 33:27: "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the
everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall
say, Destroy them."
2. Exodus 3:14: "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM."
3. Psalm 90:2: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst
formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art
God."
4. Psalm 93:2: "Thy throne is established from of old; Thou art from everlasting."
5. 1 Timothy 1:17: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise
God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
God exists in Himself and of Himself. God had no beginning and will have no
ending. He always was, always is and always will be. He is unaffected by time or
motion. He is everywhere while He is nowhere, for "where" has to do with matter and
space, and God is independent of both (Tozer, 34). In eternity there is no succession of
events. Therefore God exists in the eternal present. He is beyond time. The God who
leads me through today knows my tomorrows. And because He has gone through my
tomorrows already, He also knows what I need today. Because of His eternity, He can
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

give all of Himself all of the time to everybody.


Do not think of God's eternity as simply a state of existence. God is not static. God
is eternally "Be-ing". He is the living God and as such has life in Himself (John 5:26).
Various names, such as LORD (Yahweh) communicate that He is "the self-existent one"
and He is the One who "causes to be." He is the eternal "I Am." His life did not come
from another source nor is He the generator of His own life. He is not "in process" in
the sense of growing or increasing in any manner. Tozer suggests that due to the fact
that God has life in himself, nothing is necessary to God; therefore no one is necessary.
God seeks us but does not NEED us. We seek God because we need Him, for in Him we
live, and move, and have our being. (Tozer, 39). God contains all, gives all that is given,
but who Himself can receive nothing that He has not first given. He has a VOLUNTARY
relation to everything He has made, but has no NECESSARY relation to anything outside
of Himself. His interest in His creatures arises from His sovereign good pleasure, not
from any need those creatures can supply nor from any completeness they can bring to
Him who is complete in Himself. And since His is the Being supreme over all, it follows
that God cannot be elevated (Tozer, 39-40).
Focus Questions:
1. Give the reference to the classic Scripture that defends the unity of God?
2. What is the meaning of the Hebrew word "one" in the above reference?
3. What reference teaches that God is the first and the last and there is no other God
other than Him?
4. What passage teaches that God's greatness is unsearchable?
5. What passage teaches that God's understanding is infinite?
6. What passage teaches that neither heaven nor even heaven of heavens can contain
God?
7. What passage teaches that the eternal God is our refuge and supports us with His
everlasting arms?
8. What reference teaches that God is the eternal "I Am"?
9. What passage teaches that God's existence is "from everlasting to everlasting?
10. What passage calls God "the King eternal"?
11. What reference teaches that God has life in himself?
D. God is All-Powerful (Omnipotent, Sovereign).
1. Genesis 17:1: "The LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the
Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."
2. Revelation 19:6: "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as
the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying,
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

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3. Jeremiah 32:27: "Behold I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing
too hard for Me?"
4. Psalm 115:3: "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath
pleased."
5. Ephesians 1:11: "Who works all things after the counsel of His will."
6. Matthew 19:26: "But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is
impossible; but with God all things are possible."
7. Acts 4:28: "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before
to be done."
God can do anything that is consistent with His character. For example, because
He is Truth, He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Because He is God and not man, he cannot repent
(1 Samuel 15:29). God's ability to do what is consistent with His character can be called
either "omnipotence" or "sovereignty."
Sovereignty and omnipotence go together. One cannot exist without the other.
God can do anything as easily as any thing else. All His acts are done without effort. He
expends no energy that must be replenished. His self-sufficiency makes it unnecessary
for Him to look outside of Himself for a renewal of strength. All the power required to
do all that He wills to do lies in undiminished fullness in His own infinite being. He has
delegated power to His creatures, but being self- sufficient, He cannot relinquish
anything of His perfections and, power being one of them, He has never surrendered
the least iota of His power. He gives but does not give away. All that He gives remains
His own and returns to Him again. Forever He must remain what He has forever been,
the Lord God omnipotent. (Tozer, 71-73)
The exercise of God's sovereignty and omnipotence is guided by His own wise and
holy and loving will. God can do anything that is consistent with His character and
reveals to us that He chooses to do only what infinite wisdom, holiness and love dictate.
He therefore sovereignly chooses to operate on three levels: 1) His decretive will; 2)
His desired will; and 3) His permissive will. God sovereignly chooses to give mankind
the ability to resist His "desired" will. He "permits" mankind to reject His offer of
salvation. No one or nothing, however, thwarts His decretive will. Psalm 75:6-7
reminds us: "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from
the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another." Isaiah
46:9-10 says, "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else;
I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from
ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will
do all my pleasure." (see also Isaiah 45:5-7).

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The Scriptures not only reveal God to be sovereign, they also tell us how He
exercises His sovereignty. Psalms 89:14 says, "Righteousness and justice are the
foundation of Thy throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before Thee" (NASV). In His
absolute sovereignty, God has chosen to have rule according to righteousness, justice,
lovingkindness, and truth. As a result, He has sovereignly decided to have mercy upon
all the lost (Romans 11:32). In addition, God has sovereignly enabled mankind to accept
or reject His offer of salvation and thereby determine the eternal destiny of his own life.
To define God's sovereignty to mean that God personally decides every minute
detail or circumstance that ever has or ever will take place is to contradict Scripture and
to arbitrarily place restrictions upon His sovereignty. God is no less sovereign in
choosing to establish laws or operations which shall bring certain results and then
enabling mankind the ability to choose which results he desires for himself. For
example, God has established the means whereby a person can be saved. He says,
"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).
Through the exercise of His sovereign grace He also has enabled mankind to accept or
reject those means. Those who choose to accept the means of salvation God has
provided are saved. The choice to accept God's offer of salvation is not a meritorious
work (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is simply the result of meeting the conditions already chosen
by the sovereign God. This is no less the exercise of sovereignty than the idea that God
must control every choice a person makes.
Focus Questions:
1. True/False: God can do anything. Explain your answer.
2. What passage refers to God as "the Almighty God"?
3. What passage uses the word "omnipotent" in reference to God's reign?
4. What reference teaches that there is nothing too hard for God?
5. What reference teaches that God, who is in the heavens, does whatsoever He
pleases?
6. What passage teaches that God "works all things after the counsel of His will"?
7. What reference teaches that with God "all things are possible"?
8. What passage says that God does whatsoever His hand and His counsel determined
before to be done?
9. According to class lectures, when we talk about the "will" of God, God sovereignly
chooses to operate on three levels. List and explain the three aspects of God's will.
10. What passage teaches that God is the judge and He puts down one and setteth up
another?
11. What passage teaches that God's counsel stands and He will do all His pleasure?
12. What passage reveals that God's sovereign reign is guided by His righteousness,
justice, lovingkindness, and truth?

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E. God is Omnipresent (everywhere).


1. Psalm 139:7-9: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from
thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in
hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the
uttermost parts of the sea."
2. Jeremiah 23:24: "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?
saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD."
3. Hebrews 4:13: "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:
but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to
do."
God is everywhere here, close to everything, next to everyone. Therefore God sees
you at all times. But do not picture God as a great vapor or fog that extends across all
creation. He is able to manifest His presence at the same moment anywhere and
everywhere.
He is the creator and sustainer of all things but is not to be identified with any of His
material creation. He is in His creation (immanent) and above and beyond His creation
(transcendent). At all times and in every circumstance God remains a Person.
God is even in places we associate with evil. He is in the heart of a sinner by
inspection and conviction. He is in hell by His acts of judgment, for it is He who is able
to destroy both soul and body in hell. That does not mean He is defiled by the impurity
around Him. His essence is everywhere, but it never mingles with any impurity
(MacArthur, 62). Also, God is in some places in a way that He is not in other places.
There is a fullness and manifestation of His presence in some place that there is not in
others. Further, the perception of God's presence differs according to varying
circumstances.
Leslie Wilcox suggests the following list of what he calls "different official
relationships of God in His divine presence."
1. Divine Omnipresence. Present everywhere, upholding all things by His power,
making life possible. "Upholding all things by the word of His Power" (Hebrews
1:3).
2. Divine Royal (Kingly) Presence. A distinctive presence in Heaven as the center
of all things and the object of angelic praise and human worship. "Am sat down
with my Father in His throne" (Revelation 3:21).

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3. The presence of God in a meeting. A special manifestation of His presence in


response to united faith and concentration of spiritual powers of His people.
"The power of the Lord was present to heal" (Luke 5:17).
4. The presence of God as He comes to a soul in convicting or enlightening
power. The presence of the Lord to flash light across a darkened human
understanding and make one conscious of a need of salvation.
5. The presence of God in a soul. This is the relation of God to a Christian and
consists in two stages, which we refer to as works of grace. The first stage is that
of salvation, in which God makes life exist in the soul that was dead. The
presence of the Holy Spirit sustains and preserves this new life. The second
stage is entire sanctification and the life that follows. The believer is filled with
the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), even "filled with all the fullness of God"
(Ephesians 3:19).
None of these types of expression of God's presence are meant to contradict or
deny the omnipresence of God, nor do they indicate that God has to leave one place to
be in another place. They merely stress the differing modes of God's operation which
are part of and included in His omnipresence. (Wilcox, III, 60-61).
F. God is Omniscient (knows everything).
To say God is omniscient implies at least two concepts: 1) Gods knowledge is
total; and 2) God knows the difference between the actual future and the potential
future.
Gods knowledge is Total.
1. Psalm 147:5: "Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is
infinite."
2. Isaiah 40:13-14 asks, "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his
counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed
him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and
showed to him the way of understanding?"
3. Isaiah 46:9-10: "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none
like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the
things that are not yet done."
4. Psalm 139:4 tells us that "Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O
Lord, Thou dost know it all."

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5. Job 37:16: "Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works
of him which is perfect in knowledge?"
God has perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. In fact, He has
never learned and cannot learn (Isaiah 40:13-14). God knows instantly and effortlessly
all that can be known. He knows with a fullness of perfection that includes every
possible item of knowledge. He knows and never discovers anything; He is never
surprised, never amazed. He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things
equally well (Tozer, 61-63). Our prayer requests are not meant to give God information
He needs. He knows our needs before we pray. We pray to unburden our hearts and to
show we care, and because He chooses to work through our prayers.
God knows the difference between the actual future and the potential future.
In relation to any given point in time, God has complete knowledge of all that
will happen after that point in time (the actual future), as well as complete knowledge of
all that could happen after that point in time (the potential future). God also knows the
difference between the potential future and the actual future.
There is a perfect example of Gods knowledge of the possible future in the life of
David. When Saul was seeking David to kill him, David asked God, Will the men of
Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O
LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come
down. Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of
Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up (1 Sam. 23:11, 12). God knew that if
David stayed at Keilah, the inhabitants would deliver him up to Saul (the potential
future). This is foreknowledge. But, since God told David what He foreknew, David left
Keilah and they were not able to deliver him up to Saul. Thus, Gods foreknowledge did
not predestinate Davids capture.
Another example of Gods knowledge of all possibilities without determining the
future is given in Luke 10:13. Jesus said, Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee,
Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been
done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Jesus
said they could have repented and would have repented if they had seen the mighty
works He performed. Therefore, foreknowledge and predestination are two different
things and must not be combined.
God differentiates between knowledge of the actual future and knowledge of
experiential time-space events.
Gods foreknowledge of all future events differs from His experiential time-space
knowledge. For example, 1 Peter 1:20 speaks of Jesus as the Lamb of God who was
foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times
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for our sake. There is a difference between what God foreknows about the future and
the actual experiential occurrence of the foreknown event in time-space history. For
example, God foreknew that Abraham would offer Isaac in obedience to His command.
However, when Abraham actually offered Isaac in time-space history, God could say
without denying His foreknowledge, Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou
hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me (Gen. 22:12). God was not declaring
that He just learned something He had not previously known would happen. Rather,
He was saying that Abrahams obedience demonstrated experientially in a time-space
context what He already knew would happen from His eternal foreknowledge. In like
manner, Jesus was the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).
God foreknew that Jesus would be slain. When Jesus was actually slain on Mt. Calvary,
Gods foreknowledge became experiential time-space knowledge.
A Word of Caution:
One must not, however, confuse omniscience, which includes the concept of
"foreknowledge," with "predestination" or "election."
I. Does foreknowledge predetermine the future?
Although we have already touched on this subject, we need to examine the key
passages that address the use of foreknowledge in the New Testament. It occurs
seven times, two times as a noun (prognosis), and five times as a verb (proginosko).
A. The two noun uses of foreknowledge.
The two noun uses are Acts 2:23 and 1 Peter 1:2. In Acts 2:23 we read, Him [Jesus],
being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken,
and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. This verse indicates that God made His
plans (boule) in light of what He knew (prognosis) would happen. Gods knowledge that
wicked men would crucify His Son does not, however, imply or necessitate causation. In
other words, just because God knew what would happen, there is nothing in the verse
that says He caused wicked men to crucify His Son. Nor is there any evidence that the
specific people who chose to crucify Jesus had to do so. The set of verses that teach
human responsibility for choices must not be set aside because of logical paradoxes.
Those who participated in Gods plan for crucifixation did so willingly and of their own
grace-enabled free choice. There is no textual evidence that they were victims of a
predestinated future which was set in motion by Gods foreknowledge. Through the
grace of God, each person who participated in the crucifixation could have chosen not
to participate. There were others who would have chosen to take their place.
In 1 Peter 1:2 we read, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus
Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. This verse says God foreknew all who
would accept Jesus saving provision and thereby become elect. His foreknowledge,
however, did not cause them to respond to His saving work in Christ any more than
foreknowledge in other areas results in people as puppets on strings.
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B. The five verbal uses of foreknowledge.


The five occurrences of foreknowledge as a verb are listed below:
1) Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most
straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee (Acts 26:5);
2) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the
image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29);1
3) God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew (Rom. 11:2);2
4) For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in
these last times for the sake of you (1 Pet. 1:20);3 and
5) You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are
not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own
steadfastness (2 Pet. 3:17).
Conclusion about Gods foreknowledge:
God knows all future events perfectly, including the grace-enable free, moral choices
of human beings. What He foreknows will happen is certain to happen. While some of
these certainties are necessary, others are truly contingent (capable of taking place in
more than one way). It is not contrary to Scripture to say that, whereas the free acts of
morally responsible persons are contingent, the freedom to choose does not contradict
certainty. The same event can be both certain and contingent at the same time. Gods
foreknowledge of an event does not demand causation of that event. It is also true that
some events (such as prophecy) are necessary and as such are produced by
providentially guided causes that allow no other possibility. That God knows which
choice I will make (so long as we consider knowing as mere knowledge) in no way
necessitates the choice. Then the future is both certain and open; it will not be closed
until it occurs. The action is, therefore, truly contingent and really can go either way,
even though the way it will go (to write tautology again) is the way it will go.4
One may ask: How does God know both the potential and the actual future?
Calvinists and Arminians answer the question differently. Calvinists understand the
1

Forster & Marston, Gods Strategy in Human History, 205: The foreknowledge [Paul] has in view implies a complete
understanding of them, of their characters, their weaknesses, and their reactions. He is saying that God completely
understood those to whom he gave the destiny of being conformed to the image of Christ.
2

Forster & Marston offer two possible interpretations of this verse: (1) God knew that Israel would reject Christ yet
he made promises to them and will not go back on them now (i.e., he foreknew their thinking and actions); or (2)
that God entered into a personal relationship with Israel before their later unbelief to which Paul refers. The
concept of choice would be present in (2) but only as a necessary component of entering a personal relationship. (p.
194).
3

Forster & Marston, 193: God foreknew the redemptive function of the Messiah before history began, but its actual
manifestation did not come until the New Covenant. Focuses on the foreknowbut manifested in these times
contrast.
4

Robert E. Picirilli, Foreknowledge, Freedom, And The Future, JETS, Vol. 43, p. 263.

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Bible to teach that God hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever
comes to pass in time (Westminster Catechsim). Gods foreknowledge is therefore the
logical consequence of his foreordination of all things. In other words, the reason God
know what will happen as opposed to what might happen is because God has planned
everything, and he knows his own plan. Bottom line, the ultimate reason a person did
what he did was because God foreordained the person to do it.
Many Arminians, myself included, understand the Bible to teach that Gods
foreknowledge is his innate, comprehensive, cognitive awareness of all future events,
both potential and actual. Innate means that Gods knowledge of everything,
including the future, is a natural part of who he is. In other words, Gods omniscience
necessarily includes the future and is not the result of his foreordination. Cognitive
distinguishes mental awareness from experiential awareness. There are things that God
knows about, but he has not and never will experience. For example, God has no
experiential knowledge of what it is like to sin or to have guilt, for none of the Triune
Persons has ever sinned or incurred guilt for his own wrongdoing. On this view, the
ultimate reason a person does what he does is because he chooses to do it. Gods
foreknowledge of his choice did not cause it. (See William Lane Craigs essay in Divine
Foreknowledge: Four Views, for a Molinist-Arminian understanding of Gods
foreknowledge.)
The question often posed to Arminians is how can God know certainly what he has
not determined? Consider this illustration: If I were to go back in time to April 14, 1865
and stand outside Ford Theater around 9 p.m., I would know for certain that President
Abraham Lincoln would be fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth in a few moments. My
knowledge of the assassination would in no way cause the event to happen. In the same
way, Gods knowledge of a persons choices did not cause the choices nor rob the
person of his freedom to choose otherwise. In philosophical terms, we supply the
grounds for the accurateness and certainty of divine foreknowledge by our choices, but
our choices do not cause God to know them. The cause of His knowledge of them is His
nature. He, by virtue of being divine, is omniscient.
Focus Questions:
1. What passage teaches that you cannot escape from God's presence even if you
ascended up into heaven, descended into hell, or tried to hide in the uttermost parts
of the sea?
2. What passage teaches that there are no "secret places" one can hide from God since
He fills both "heaven and earth"?
3. What passage teaches that all things are naked and open unto the eyes of God?
4. What passage teaches that no one can teach God anything or in any way give Him
counsel because He already knows everything?
5. What passage teaches that God knows the end from the beginning and is able to
declare "the things that are not yet done"?
6. What passage says that God knows our thoughts before we even speak them.
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12. What passage teaches that God is perfect in knowledge?

G. God is Immutability (Unchangeable).


1. Malachi 3:6: "For I am the Lord, I change not."
2. James 1:17: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh
down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow
of turning."
God never differs from Himself. He cannot improve or deteriorate. All that God is
He has always been, and all that He has been and is He will ever be. Nothing that God
has ever said about Himself will be modified; nothing the inspired prophets and apostles
have said about Him will be rescinded. His immutability guarantees this. God will not
compromise and cannot be persuaded to alter His Word. The fact that God does not
change in His character or will does not mean He cannot choose to react differently to
man's varying responses. (cf. Jeremiah 18:1-10)
As men respond to God in repentance, the unchangeable God (as to His character)
changes in His dealings with men. He blesses what He can bless. He pours out His
wrath on all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men. The term "repent" as applied to
God refers to either the grief and pain man's sin brings God (Genesis 6:6) or it refers to
the change of God in His dealings with mankind due to their changed response to His
grace (Jonah 3:10)
Focus Questions:
1. What passage teaches that the Lord does not change?
2. What passage teaches that God has no variableness, neither shadow of turning as to
His character?
3. What passage teaches that just as the potter deals differently with different types of
clay, so God responds to men according to their response to Him?
4. What two meanings can we properly give to the word "repent" as it applies to God?

God's Moral Attributes


In a discussion of God's "moral" attributes, one is speaking of those qualities which
qualify Him as a moral Being and are reflected in man because he is in God's image.
Sometimes these qualities are called communicable attributes. No attempt is made
here to be exhaustive. The list below is only selective.

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A. God is Holy
1. Exodus 15:11: "Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee,
glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?"
God is glorious or majestic in holiness. As a Spirit Being, Holiness is God's essential
nature. It is not just one attribute among many other attributes. In all that He is within
Himself and in His relations, He is pervasively and perfectly holy (Taylor, 14). Holiness is
"the sum of the attributes," the essence of Deity, the "goodness of God." (Purkiser, 27).
This passage is the first explicit statement of the holiness of God in the Bible.
2. Isaiah 57:15: "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a
contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the
heart of the contrite ones."
This verse outlines three basic aspects of God's holiness. 1). It describes God's
intrinsic holiness ("whose name is Holy"). God's "name" refers to His "nature" or basic
personal essence. God is the origin of holiness and the pattern for holiness. 2). It
describes God's transcendent holiness ("the high and lofty One"). No one, not even an
angel in heaven, can comprehend the full measure of God's holiness. It describes God's
immanent holiness ("with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit"). He draws
near to the penitent and humble.
3. Isaiah 6:1-3: "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a
throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the
seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain
he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and
said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."
4. Revelation 4:8: "And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and
they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy,
holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."
The holiness of God is the perfection of moral excellence. Holiness is the
standard of goodness and the expression of Divine abhorrence of evil. Holiness is the
eternal opposite and the eternal condemnation of sin. God's holiness is revealed
towards men only through an economy of grace which renders it possible that
repentant sinners, trembling before the Holy God, may become partakers of His
Holiness (Pope, I, 332-34)

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B. God's Wrath and Anger.


1. Romans 1:18: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold [suppress] the truth in
unrighteousness."
2. John 3:36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that
believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
3. Hosea 9:15: "All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the
wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them
no more: all their princes are revolters."
4. Psalm 5:3-6: "For Thou art not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil
dwells with Thee. The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost
hate all who do iniquity. Thou dost destroy those who speak falsehood; The
LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit."
5. Psalm 11:5: "The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who
loves violence His soul hates." (NASV)
6. Deuteronomy 4:24: "For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous
God." (cf. also Hebrews 12:29).
Because God is holy, sin brings forth His wrath. And in the same context that speaks
of the great love of God for disobedient mankind (John 3:16), we have the revelation
that the wrath of God rests upon the disobedient. God hates all those who commit
iniquity. The idea that God hates the sin but loves the sinner is only part of the truth.
God not only hates the sin, but He also hates the sinner (Psa. 5:3-6; 11:5). This is His
abiding attitude toward the sinner. But, at the same time, the God who hates the sinner
also loves the sinner (John 3:16). This confuses some people because it is contrary to
anything they have experienced as human being. We must also remember that
although we are made in Gods image, we are not really like Him in many respects.
See Psalm 50:21 where God plainly tells us plainly that He is not just like us!
We must remember that God's being is unitary; it is not composed of a number of
parts working harmoniously, but simply one. There is nothing in His wrath that forbids
his love or mercy. No attribute of God is in conflict with another. Wrath flows out of His
Holiness and justice. (Tozer, 95)

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Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

C. God is Righteous and Just.


1. Isaiah 5:16: "But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is
holy shall be sanctified [shows Himself holy] in righteousness."
2. Psalm 116:5: "Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful."
3. Jeremiah 12:1: "Righteous art Thou, O LORD, that I would plead my case with
Thee; Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with Thee: Why has the way of
the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?"
4. Deuteronomy 32:4: "He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are
judgment [just]: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."
5. Isaiah 45:21: "There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is
none beside me."
God's righteousness is sometimes described as social activity by which injustice is
rectified. Amos 5:24 says, "But let judgment [justice] run down as waters, and
righteousness as a mighty stream." In this context, justice is the right decision rendered
according to the righteous standard which God restores in times of injustice.
Righteousness, as applied to mankind, is that which measures up to God's revealed
standard of conduct.
At other times righteousness is used as a synonym for salvation. Isaiah 51:5, "My
righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people;
the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust." It is this saving activity
of God, repeated by Habakkuk 2:4, "the righteous will live by his faith" (NASV), that
becomes the theme of Romans. In the context of Romans 1:17, righteousness is the
judicial declaration of God whereby He confers the status of righteous upon all who
repent of their sin and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. God's
righteousness springs out of His holiness.
As applied to God, the terms "righteousness" and "justice" are close synonyms in
Scripture. A distinction is sometimes made between the absolute and the relative
righteousness or justice of God. Absolute righteousness or justice is "that rectitude of
the divine nature, in virtue of which God is infinitely righteous in Himself." Relative
righteousness or justice is "that perfection of God by which He maintains Himself over
against every violation of His holiness, and shows in every respect that He is the Holy
One." (Berkhof, 74-75).
Focus Questions:
1. Which passage in Scripture is the first explicit statement of the holiness of God in the
Bible?
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

2. Which passage teaches that God is "glorious in holiness"?


3. True or False: Holiness is one of God's most important attributes.
4. Which passage outlines three basic aspects of God's holiness, namely, His intrinsic
holiness, His transcendent holiness, and His immanent holiness?
5. What is the classic passage that describes Isaiah's vision of God's holiness?
6. What passage teaches that the wrath of God rests upon all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of mankind?
7. What passage teaches that the wrath of God rests upon each person who does not
savingly believe on the Son of God?
8. What passage reveals God's wrath on sin in terms of "I hated them" and "I will love
them no more"?
9. What passage teaches that God hates "all who do iniquity"?
10. True or False: God cannot hate the sinner and love the sinner at the same time.
11. What passage teaches that God's holiness shows itself in righteousness?
D. God is Merciful.
1. Psalm 103:8: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous
in mercy."
2. Romans 9:18: "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and
whom he will he hardeneth."
3. Romans 11:32: "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might
have mercy upon all."
4. Micah 7:18: "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth
by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger
for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
E. God is Love
1. I John 4:8-10: "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was
manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten
Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we
loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our
sins."
2. I John 3:16: "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life
for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
Love is an essential attribute of God. It is always self-giving and others-oriented. It
always seeks the other persons highest good. Love is something true of God but it is
not God. God's love had no beginning and has no ending. Because He is infinite, it has
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

no limit; because He is holy, it is the quintessence of all spotless purity. God does not
suspend His love in order to be righteous and just. Love is not contrary to anger and
wrath. God is able to be angry with the sinner, hate the sinner and love the sinner at
the same time. This means that God's "love" for people can be understood only in
relative terms. He loves the lost, but has a special relationship of love toward the saved
that He does not have toward the lost. Call it a "family" love or a "relational" love or
whatever you will. When God says in Hosea 9:14 that He will love them no more, He is
speaking about covenantal love that brought special protect and blessing to the nation.
Israel had repeatedly broken all covenant promises and the covenant was at an end. His
love for them in terms of covenantal protection and blessing was over. His love for them
as lost persons would never end.

F. God is Faithful.
1. 1 Corinthians 1:9: "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship
of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord."
2. 2 Timothy 2:13: "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny
himself."
G. God is Good.
1. Psalm 25:8: "Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in
the way."
2. Psalm 119:68: "Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
H. God is Gracious.
1. Exodus 34:6: "And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD,
The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness
and truth."
2. Psalm 116:5: "Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful."
I. God is Jealous.
1. Exodus 20:5: "I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate
me."
2. Nahum 1:2: "A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and
wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath
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Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

for His enemies."


J. God is Great.
1. Psalm 86:10: "For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God
alone."
2. Psalm 48:1: "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God,
in the mountain of his holiness."

K. God is Light.
1. I John 1:5: "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare
unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."
L. God is Perfect.
1. Matthew 5:48: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in
heaven is perfect."
M. God is Wise
2. 1 Timothy 1:17: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only
wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Focus Questions:
1. What passage teaches that God is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in
mercy?
2. What passage teaches that God does not have to have mercy on anyone but in His
sovereignty has mercy on whom He chooses to have mercy?
3. What passage teaches that God has sovereignly chosen to have mercy upon all?
4. What passage teaches that God "delights" in mercy?
5. What passage teaches us that "God is love"?
6. True or False: Love is contrary to anger and wrath.
7. What is the meaning of Hosea 9:14 which says "I will love them no more"?
8. What passage teaches that God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers
upon the children unto the third and fourth generations?
9. What passage teaches that God takes vengeance on His adversaries and reserves
wrath for His enemies?
10. What passage teaches that God is light and in him is no darkness at all?

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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

The Fear Of God


There is much confusion about the "fear" of God. When the Bible uses the term in
reference to God it is not speaking of a terror-stricken or cowardly spirit. This would be
a servile fear (servile Latin servus = slave). Servile fear is the kind of fear which
a slave would feel towards a harsh and unyielding master (Mat. 25:24-25).
2 Timothy 1:7 says that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and
of love, and of a sound mind." Again in Romans 8:15 we read "For ye have not received
the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby
we cry, Abba, Father." The Christian is not to live in servile fear of God, people, things,
or circumstances.
The Christian is to have a filial fear (filial Latin filius meaning son.). It is the
loving fear of a child toward his father. A proper filial fear of the Lord is to be afraid to
disobey God Almighty who is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29), plus the attitude of
veneration, honor, and awe.
Memorize this definition for quizzes and tests: The fear of the Lord is derived
from three important concepts:
1. a correct view of who God is (focusing primarily on His Holiness, majesty and
justice),
2. a continual sense that He is watching everything you do and listening to
everything you think and say, and
3. a constraining awareness of our on-going daily obligation to love him
supremely, to obey him implicitly, and to trust him completely.
Filial fear, as contrasted with servile fear, is not a self-centered fear. A self-centered
fear of God focuses us on ourselves and is afraid of exposure. It includes a feeling of
shame, a sense of rejection by God, and personal humiliation. This is not what the Bible
means by the fear of God. This kind of fear draws us away from God and focuses on
ourselves.
At times, when people are caught in the grip of a self-centered fear, they will turn to
God. But it will not be as a free response to him; rather they turn to God in an attempt
to deal with guilt, to gain security and somehow deflect that which they fear will
happen. At the heart of self-centered fear is the threat of the destruction of something:
my values, my commitments, my property, or something else that I dont want to loose.
The Scriptural filial fear of God is developed by learning from the Bible who God is,
understanding that He is omniscient and omnipresent (knows all you think and say, and
sees all you do), and then choosing to love him supremely, choosing to obey Him in
everything, and choosing to trust him completely.
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

Hebrews 12:28-29 says, "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved,


let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire."
The fear of the Lord is produced from a knowledge of Who God is and how much
God hates sin. He is a consuming fire! Knowing that the wrath of God abides upon the
sinner, the Believer who properly fears God is actually afraid to disobey. Fearing God
does not mean that the believer stands paralyzed in terror before a quick-tempered
judge who, at any moment, might bring wrath upon him for some offense. Rather, he
HONORS and RESPECTS God because of who He is and what He can do, and is therefore
AFRAID to disobey Him.
The problem with many people today is that they have over emphasized the love
and mercy of God and redefined the fear of God until very few are actually afraid to
disobey God. We have lost a Biblical balance of truth. A lack of the "fear of the Lord" is
what enables us to excuse sin in our life, or label what God calls sin as weakness or
human infirmities. Ask God to help you learn how to develop a biblical fear of God. One
way to begin is to ask God to help you hate what he hates. The Bible reveals that He
hates sin. Learn how to hate sin, especially the forms of sin that are the most appealing
to you.
There are tremendous blessings and benefits to those who fear God.
A major indication that a person has learned to fear the Lord biblically is his/her
hatred of all forms of evil, including pride, arrogance, the evil way, and perverse speech
(Prov. 8:13). By the fear of the Lord a person is motivated and enabled to depart from
all evil (Pro. 16:6). We are to live our entire lives in the fear of the Lord: be thou in the
fear of the Lord all the day long (Pro. 23:17).
A. The Fear of God is Commanded.
1. Deuteronomy 13:4: "Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear Him, and
keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave
unto Him."
2. Deuteronomy 6:24: "And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to
fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as
it is at this day.
3. Proverbs 23:17: "Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the
LORD all the day long."

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Christian Beliefs
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Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

4. I Peter 2:17: "Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the
king."
B. Descriptions of the Fear of the Lord.
1. It is hatred of evil.

Proverbs 8:13, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil."

2. It is wisdom. Psalm 111:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
3. It is of great value. Isaiah 33:6, "The fear of the Lord is his (a believer's)
treasure." Proverbs 15:16, "Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great
treasure and trouble therewith.
4. It is a fountain of life. Proverbs 14:27, "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life
to depart from the snares of death."
5. It is purifies. Psalm 19:9, "The fear of the Lord is clean" (this means its purifies
or sanctifies the life).
6. It endures forever. Psalm 19:9, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever."
7. It is godly. Hebrews 12:28, "Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear." This verse explains there is a
difference between reverence and the fear of God.
8. It brings deliverance and protection. Psalm 34:7, "The angel of the LORD
encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
9. God confides in those who fear Him. Psalm 25:14, "The secret of the LORD is
with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant."
C. Motivation for Fearing God.
1. The holiness of God should cause us to fear Him. Rev. 15:4, "Who shall not fear
Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy Name? for Thou only art holy."
2. The possibility of going to hell should cause us to fear Him. Matthew 10:28,
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but
rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
3. The mighty power of God should cause us to fear Him. Deut. 10:12-17, "And
now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy
God .... for the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of Lords, a great God, a

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Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward."
4. The forgiveness of God should cause us to fear Him. Psalm 130:4, "But there is
forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared."
5. The reality of coming judgments should cause us to fear God. Rev. 14:7,
"Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His
judgment is come."
6. The fear of the Lord should be taught. Psalm 86:11, "Teach me thy way, O Lord;
I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name."
D. Why the Fear of the Lord is Necessary.
1. It is necessary to worship. Psalm 5:7, "In Thy fear will I worship."
2. It is necessary in service. Psalm 2:11, "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with
trembling."
3. It is a deterrent from sin. Exodus 20:20, "Fear not: for God is come to prove
you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not."
4. It is necessary to good government. II Samuel 23:3, "He that ruleth over men
must be just, ruling in the fear of God."
5. It is necessary for the perfecting of holiness in our lives. 2 Corinthians 7:1,
"Having therefore these promises dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from
all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
E. Results of Fearing the Lord.
1. It brings the protection of God. Psalm 33:18-19, "Behold the eye of the Lord is
upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul
from death, and to keep them alive in famine."
2. It brings guidance from God. Psalm 25:12, 14, "The secret of the Lord is with
them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant."
3. It brings provision from God. Psalm 111:5, "He hath given meat unto them that
fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant."
Psalm 34: 9: There is no want [lack] to them that fear him"

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Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

4. It brings pleasure to the Lord. Psalm 147:11, "The Lord taketh pleasure in them
that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy."
5. It causes God's pity to increase upon the believer. Psalm 103:13, "Like as a
father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him."
6. It brings the mercy of God. Psalm 103:17, "But the mercy of the Lord is from
everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him."
7. It brings blessings. Psalm 112:1, "Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord."
Psalm 128:1, " Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his
ways."
8. It brings confidence. Proverbs 14:26, "In the fear of the Lord is strong
confidence."
9. It brings separation from evil. Proverbs 16:6, "By the fear of the Lord men
depart from evil."
10. It brings Christian fellowship. Malachi 3:16, "Then they that feared the Lord
spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it."
11. It should supersede the fear of man. Isaiah 8:12-13, "...neither fear ye their
fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear."
12. It brings answered prayer. Psalm 145:19, "He will fulfill the desire of them that
fear Him: He also will hear their cry and will save them."
13. It brings long life. Proverbs 10:27, "The fear of the Lord prolongeth days."
F. The Fear of the Lord is something you CHOOSE to do.
1. Proverbs 1:29 speaks of those who "did not choose the fear of the LORD."
2. Psalms 86:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart
to fear thy name.
The fear of the Lord is something that must be taught (Ps. 34:11) and something we
must desire to do (Ps 86:11). God commands us to fear Him and obey Him, not for His
sake, but for our good (Deut. 6:24). Pray that God will enable you to properly love and
fear Him.
Focus Questions:
1. What is the difference between a servile fear and a filial fear of God?
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Christian Beliefs
Dr. Allan P. Brown

Knowing and Worshiping God


Unit 2

2. The fear of the Lord is based upon three crucial concepts. Write the definition I gave
you of the fear of the Lord that expresses these three concepts.
3. What passage teaches that God's command to fear Him is for our good?
4. What reference teaches that we are not to envy sinners but to fear the Lord all day
long?
5. What reference teaches that if one fears the Lord he will hate evil?
6. What reference teaches that you cannot develop biblical wisdom without proper
fear of God?
7. What reference teaches that the fear of the Lord is the believer's treasure?
8. What passage teaches that there is a difference between reverence and fear?
9. What passage teaches God provides angelic protection for those who fear Him?
10. What passage teaches that God's holiness is a motivation for the fear of God?
11. What reference teaches us to pray that God will unite our heart to fear His name?
12. What passage teaches that we cannot properly worship if we do not fear God?
13. What passage teaches that the fear of the Lord is a deterrent from sin?
14. What reference teaches that we cannot mature in holiness as we should without
the fear of the Lord?
15. What passage teaches that God takes pleasure in them that fear Him?
16. What passage teaches that there will be no lack to those who fear Him?
17. What reference teaches that if one is not able to "depart from evil," it is an
indication that he does not properly fear the Lord?
18. What passage teaches that the fear of the Lord prolongeth days?

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