The Glory of God 8

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.

Why should anyone or perhaps a Bible study group or a local church study the attributes of God? It is because there is nothing that is more helpful for people to study and there is no doctrine that the attributes of God do not give light to and the doctrine consists of. It is because God is the main character of the whole Bible and in reality of every text in some way. The whole of creation was created to display His glory, the Lord Jesus Christ who was the tabernacle of His glory came to manifest that glory, and the Church is the dwelling place of His glory now. It is because eternal life consists in knowing God. It is because we grow spiritually by knowing Him. It is because apart from knowing God all we do is aimed at an unknown God and we will worship in ignorance.

Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Daniel 11:32 “By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.

It is only those who know God who will trust in Him during hard times. We must know the true God so that the wiles of the devil regarding who God is and His actions and heart toward His people will not be twisted by the devil. How can we know the faithfulness of God if we don’t understand what it means for God to be faithful and what His actions toward us are? As John Owen wrote (in paraphrase), it is hard to see the loving face of God through the dark clouds of His providence. We must know this God and we must learn to look behind the circumstances and the hard things of life to see the hand of God behind them and still be able to hand on to the fact that He loves His people. The very reason for the hard things that come to us is His love as He will not allow us to go on in our sin (though hidden) that keep us from Himself and He is the very best for us.

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.

It is not that it is only those who know the true God can and will stand for the true God and His glory in this world, but understanding and knowing God is far more valuable than the wisdom of men, the strength of men, and the riches of men. Oh how men boast of their wisdom, yet for those who know God they understand that the wisdom of man is futile and our wisdom is Christ Himself. Oh how men boast in their physical strength or prowess, but those things are given by God, fade as one ages, and can do nothing in terms of the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation and that is what we are to boast about. Oh how men will boast of their riches, but Jonathan Edwards said that God gives many riches to those whom He hates. True riches are found in Christ and the only thing we can boast about (said Paul) is the cross of Christ. Boasting in the cross of Christ is not conceptually different than understanding and knowing God.

The study of God, both in studying about Him and then knowing Him, is the most vital study that there is. We cannot know Christ apart from knowing the Father, yet we cannot know the Father apart from how He has revealed Himself in and through Christ. We cannot know the fruit of the Spirit unless we understand that the Spirit is working the character of God in us. We cannot know the Gospel of God unless we see the glory of God in and through the Gospel. Unless we know something of the beauty and holiness of God, how will we see His beauty and holiness displayed in a biblical teaching, especially the Gospel? We tend to look at theology in our day from a philosophical perspective or a strict and academic study of the Bible. We need to look at it as the display of the Divine glory and those He gives eyes will see that and those He gives taste to will taste of it.

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