MORAL PERFECTIONS OF GOD
by Wayne S. Walker
In the previous couple of articles in this series, we noticed the natural attributes of God, those qualities which are true of God simply because He is deity, a divine being. In this article, we want to begin a look at some moral perfections of God, those characteristics which logically follow from His being deity or having a divine nature. The Psalmist wrote, "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:3). We may not be able to search out God’s greatness on our own or in its completeness, but we can understand it to some degree because of what is revealed.
We know that God is truth. He cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). This is not a contradiction of His omnipotence. It is not because He is physically unable to lie but because it is totally out of character with His nature. Because God is truth, we can rest assured that His word is truth (John 17:17). Whatever He says will always be the truth. Therefore, we have the responsibility to "…let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." (Romans 3:4).
We see that God is holiness. This means that He is set apart, separated, consecrated, sacred, or sanctified. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so ye be holy in all manner of conversation." (1 Peter 1:15). Indeed, His very name is holy. "He sent redemption unto His people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and reverend is his name." (Psalm 111:9). God’s name, which stands for what He is, is to be set apart as sacred. While God wants His people to emulate His holiness, only He is perfectly holy (Revelation 4:8; 15:2-4).
We realize His righteousness. This is the character or quality of being right or just. Abraham asked, "…Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). Thus we can be certain that all of His judgments, including those revealed in His word, are righteous or in accord with what is fair and just. "…The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether." (Psalm 19:9). And there can be no doubt that when we stand before His great throne in the last day that "…He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:31).
We notice that God is mercy. "…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…" (Exodus 34:6-7). Over and over again, those who wrote the Psalms extolled the mercy of God. "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy." (Psalm 103:8ff). Indeed, the very fact that salvation is offered to mankind through Jesus Christ is evidence that "…God is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us." (Ephesians 2:4ff). Thanks be to God for His great mercy toward us!
We recognize His faithfulness. God is faithful to help and support us in times of temptation. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13). He is also faithful to keep His promised. "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised." (Hebrews 11:11). And God is faithful, when we sin and meet His conditions of pardon, to forgive. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). Yes, God is faithful to us. Are we faithful to Him?
We understand that God is love. In fact, God is the spiritual embodiment of love. "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (1 John 4:8). God’s love is not a mere syrupy emotion, but an active goodwill demonstrated by sacrifice. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). Furthermore, God’s love is a never-ending, all-enduring type of love as indicated by Paul’s description of it in Romans 8:35-39. In turn, we must love God and others because He loved us.
There are other moral perfections of God — such as grace, light, goodness, etc. — which we could discuss but which are all related to the ones which we have already noticed in one way or another. However, as we consider these qualities or characteristics of the one true God, who has revealed Himself and His will in the scriptures, we can better comprehend the nature of Him whom we worship and serve. (taken from With All Boldness; July, 1994; Volume 4, Number 7; p. 26; and August, 1994; Volume 4, Number 8; p. 10).