I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things,
and of Christ Jesus,
who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which he will display at the proper time—
he who is the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality,
who dwells in unapproachable light,
whom no one has ever seen or can see.
To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
I Timothy 1:13-17 ESV
Click here for link to all of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This is the website where all this Scripture was compiled along with this question I am covering today. (I put a more recent link here than I had before. verses are all written out in this one. References are KJV.)
Before we move on to the next phase of our study of GOD, I’d like to share a summary of GOD’s attributes that is brought out in the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It is brief and concise. Sometimes that is very helpful! This definition of GOD will be helpful for you to read and meditate on along with the included Scripture. I hope you will be encouraged as you read it today.
Then we’ll move on to the communicable attributes after Christmas. For some of you, this Catechism will be a helpful summary. I realize some of the language is older, but seeing something more concisely written along with the Scripture that goes with it can be not only useful, but edifying as well. For me, the older language sticks in my head better than modern, everyday English…I have no idea why. I certainly don’t talk this way!
Is there a more important time to be reminded of who GOD is than when we are suffering? I can’t think of one!
Sometimes, there is the sense that these people wrote it in a vacuum. Of course, they didn’t. They were immersed in Scripture in ways that few of us are in the United States today.
At the same time, they were being persecuted. The persecution and martyrdoms were equal opportunity persecuters. Both men AND women were murdered for their beliefs that were different from others who believed in similar ways. “All” the persecutors wanted was for these people to give lip service to the State Church. That is why the early founders of our nation did not want a state church. It had nothing to do with keeping GOD out of the public eye. It had to do with keeping the church out of control of politicians!
Now do you understand where the desire to separate Church and State came from? It had nothing to do with leaving GOD off public buildings and money! It had to do with keeping politicians out of control of the church!
Yes, reading about what has been done to these men and women over the years is often gory to read. Being a Christian for them was not an easy path.
For more on this period, read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It is not for the faint of heart, but starts with the martyrdom of many of the apostles and the updated version I have goes through modern times (into the 2000’s). It gives us an appreciation for the price paid in blood for our faith that seems very cheap to many of us. In Bible College we were required to read 100 pages. It was difficult, but helpful to see that throughout the generations, men and women have paid dearly so that we would be able to worship freely. It definitely does not reinforce the concept of the health and wealth gospel. In fact, it was just the opposite!
The Westminster Shorter Catechism was written in 1647 by a group of English and Scottish church leaders from the Church of England and the Church of Scotland who put basic doctrine in 107 questions for people to memorize in order to learn doctrine. It was part of the English Reformation! It was not sanctioned the the Church of England but Church of England leaders were involved in its writing. One of the purposes was to correct some incorrect teaching that was happening in the Church of England at the time. The Church of England is more Anglican/Episcopal. The Church of Scotland is more Presbyterian. The Heidelberg Confession was written nearly 100 years earlier in Germany. For the most part, the doctrine is similar. This group of leaders also wrote the Westminster Larger Catechism and the Westminster Confession.
What is GOD? A Summary based on the Bible.
Question #4: What is God?
Answer: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable,
in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
Infinite: 1 Kings 8:27, Psalm 139:7-10, Psalm 145:3, Psalm 147:5, Jeremiah 23:24,
Romans 11:33-36: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! …For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Eternal: Psalm 90:2, Psalm 102:12, 24-27, Revelation 1:4, 8.
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.
Unchangeable: Psalm 33:11, Hebrews 1:12. Hebrews 6:17-18, James 1:17
Malachi 3:6. For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
His Being: Exodus 3:14. Psalm 115:2-3, I Timothy 6:15-16.
1 Timothy 1:17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Wisdom: Psalm 104:24, Hebrews 4:13. John 3:20.
Romans 11:33-34. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Power: Genesis 17:1. Psalm 62:11, Matthew 19:26. Revelation 1:8.
Jeremiah 32:17. Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
Holiness: Hebrews 1:13, 1 John 3:3, 5. Revelation 15:4.
1 Peter 1:15-16. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Justice: Genesis 18:25, Deuteronomy 32:4. Psalm 96:13. Romans 3:5, 26.
Exodus 34:6-7. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Goodness: Psalm 103:5, Matthew 19:7. Romans 2:4.
Psalm 107:8. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Matthew 19:7. Romans 2:4.
Truth: Exodus 34:6. Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 117:2. Hebrews 6:18.
Psalm 86:15. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
**All passages are in KJV unless noted otherwise. (Not my preference, that is just what I had to choose from.) I was not able to link all the verses because it would have done a number on my website!)