The Glory of God 1

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Why should the attributes of God be studied? There are many, many reasons that the attributes of God should be studied, perhaps far more than can be listed in a few pages. In one sense the whole of creation is the declaration of the glory of God and the whole of Scripture declares that glory as well. There is nothing that does not declare the glory of God in some way; even though sinful men fight this they will end up glorifying God in their very hatred of Him. Though God has made Himself clear in the hearts and minds of men, the depravity of man will turn and twist all things unless the Spirit who alone can illuminates men as to the true nature of God gives light.

In Acts 17:22-23 we see that there is a lot of worship of “god” that goes on and yet it is of an unknown God. If we do not study the attributes of God or study Scripture looking for truths about God, we will not know God and so our worship will always be of the unknown God. These were very religious people and yet they worshiped an unknown God. The Pharisees were very religious people and yet they worshiped an unknown God as well. If our worship (religious practice, church services, Bible studies, singing) consists of singing, praying, and preaching of the unknown god, then our very practice of religion is vile and wicked in the sight of the true God. While it may seem like an academic study to study the attributes of God, there is nothing that is more needed in the professing churches of the day. That should become clear in what follows below.

In John 17:3 we are told that eternal life is to know the one, true God and Jesus Christ. This is not to say that eternal life consists in knowing about God, but surely we can see that it must include some knowledge of God. No one can know another person apart from knowing things about them, so surely we can at least acknowledge the fact that a person must know the truth about God in order to know the true God. Now, if eternal life consists in knowing God and knowing God includes knowing the truth about God, then those who don’t know the truth about God should wake up to their great danger. It is one thing to be in ignorance of God and yet to be pursuing a knowledge of Him and about Him, but it is quite another not to know the true God and now want to know Him.

Surely it is evident that true religion consists of a true knowledge of the true God, yet it is also clear that all false religion consists of false ideas of God. There is no Christianity apart from knowing the truth of God, yet false religion can consists in many teachings about the god it serves and yet that knowledge be utterly false. One reason that there is no true Christianity apart from knowing the true God is that all true worship is in spirit and truth, so there is no true worship apart from truth. Another reason that there is no true Christianity apart from knowing the true God is that Jesus Christ Himself is the truth of God. Jesus Christ is the very shining forth of the truth of God and is the perfect representation and image of God. It is in Christ that we behold the wonders and beauties of the glory of God and it is in Christ that we behold the attributes or perfections of God.

It could even be said with a great deal of accuracy (from Romans 1:18ff) that God pours out His wrath upon those who suppress the truth of Himself in unrighteousness. The wrath of God is poured out upon those who don’t know Him and deny the truth about Him. This wrath is poured out regardless of how religious the people are, how outwardly moral they are, and of how many good works they do. This wrath is poured out upon them even if they are orthodox in doctrine in one sense and yet orthodox in a letter form without the knowledge of God. It is utterly vital for people in the churches to study God and to know Him in and through Christ, for apart from that they will be ignorant of God and worship and unknown God.

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