Lesson 3: The Greatness of God and the Christian Life | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 3: The Greatness of God and the Christian Life

Lesson Two described three of the attributes, or character qualities, of God’s greatness. God is great because He is infinite , or without external limitations. Mankind, however, is completely limited and, thus, finite . Theologians call this fundamental difference between God and man the Creator / creature distinction.

[God’s only limitations are his own character and will. He won’t do anything inconsistent with Himself.]

God’s character determines the relationship between Himself and man. This lesson describes that relationship from the perspective of the three attributes of God’s greatness discussed in Lesson Two (omnipotence, omniscience, and sovereignty). [Review these terms.]

[So this lesson looks at how these facts matter to us practically speaking. ]

I. God’s Omnipotence and the Christian Life

A. The significance of God’s omnipotence to mankind in general

The omnipotence of God renders mankind totally dependent on Him.

God is the ultimate source of everything needed by both believer and unbeliever. He has structured the specific details of our lives so that we must rely on Him for all things. This is true whether one admits it or not.

1. Mankind is dependent on God’s power for the preservation of the physical universe .

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.   Hebrews 1:3

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17

[The universe exists and is kept working by God’s power. If God withdrew His power, all things would immediately fly apart. C.f. Col 1.17.]

2. Mankind is dependent on God’s power for the preservation of his life .

If it were his intention and he withdrew his Spirit and breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.   Job 34:14 15

3. Mankind is dependent on God’s power for provision of daily needs.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.   Matthew 5:45

Give us today our daily bread. – Matthew 6:11

B. The significance of God’s omnipotence to the Christian in particular

  1. The Christian is dependent on God’s power for the preservation of his

salvation .

The security of the believer depends upon God’s power, not his own. This is why it is impossible for one to lose his salvation.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade  kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.   1 Peter 1:3 5

[God is the one who keeps the Christian saved. C.f. John 10:28-29. Good works do not keep you saved.]

2. The Christian is dependent on God’s power for the strength to face the circumstances of life.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:29 31

[“Those who hope in the LORD” are believers. C.f. also 1 Cor 10:13]

3. The Christian is dependent on God’s power for the ability to do right .

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.   Philippians 2:12 13

[Both salvation and sanctification are by grace. Both are gifts from God.]

II. God’s Omniscience and the Christian Life

A. The significance of God’s omniscience to mankind in general

The omniscience of God renders mankind totally accountable to Him.

Accountability means giving an answer for one’s actions. The Bible teaches that all men will one day give an account to God.

1. Believers will give an account of their actions at the Judgment Seat of Christ .

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.   2 Corinthians 5:10

2. Unbelievers will give an account of their actions at the Great White Throne Judgment .

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened . . . . The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.   Revelation 20:12

The fact of our accountability to God assumes He has complete knowledge of all of our actions.

But they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me.   Hosea 7:2

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.   Psalm 139:1 4

[C.f. also Heb 4:13 — all things are “naked and open” to God.]

B. The significance of God’s omniscience to the Christian in particular

The Christian’s understanding of his accountability to the omniscient God serves as a motivation to forsake sinful living and to pursue righteous living .

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.   Psalm 139:23 24

III. God’s Sovereignty and the Christian Life

A. The significance of God’s sovereignty to mankind in general

The sovereignty of God renders mankind totally responsible to Him.

Lesson Two established the fact that God has absolute authority over all things. God’s exercise of this authority is called His sovereignty. Many resist this doctrine because it makes mankind’s responsibility to God unquestionable.

Mankind’s responsibility to God means that he is obligated to think and act in a certain way. This obligation cannot be separated from his accountability discussed above. It is precisely because a person is required to live a certain way that he will be called upon to account for his actions.

[So man is accountable because he is responsible. God has told us to do certain things in a certain way. Therefore, we are accountable to do so. E.g., you are given the responsibility to take out the trash and are held accountable for if you do it, how well you do it, etc.]

1. Mankind is responsible to God because God has established

standards of behavior .

When God gave the Ten Commandments, He began by identifying Himself as “the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:2). He did this to emphasize the fact that He is the source of all standards of right and wrong.

[Today, most people accept the philosophy called relativism: there are no absolutes, no true right or wrong. Right and wrong depends on the individual and the circumstance, not on a standard or a law. What consequence does this have? Changing standards of right and wrong, total independence of “ethical” behavior. Further, if there is no God, there can be no true standard/law of right or wrong.]

2. Mankind is responsible to God because God has sovereignly planned all of man’s free choices .

The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”   Exodus 4:21

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.   Exodus 8:15

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”   Romans 9:17

[Note that in the first verse, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. In the next verse, Pharaoh hardens his own heart, and the last verse shows that God is in control of Pharaoh’s actions. Pharaoh did what he wanted to do, and what he wanted was God’s plan. To Pharaoh, it seemed as if he was acting freely, but in reality, he was doing what God planned for him to do. It’s similar for us. From our perspective, our choices are free, but in reality, God has planned our activities and is in control of what we do.]

Although God never forces us to choose contrary to our will, He has planned the circumstances in which we exercise our will. Therefore, God has determined that individuals will exercise their wills at a particular place and at a particular time for a particular purpose. See also Genesis 50:20.

[God renders it certain that we will always “freely” choose that which he has previously ordained. This is part of the mystery/paradox between divine sovereignty and human freedom.]

B. The significance of God’s sovereignty to the Christian in particular

1. The Christian’s understanding that he is responsible to the sovereign God gives him a God centered purpose in life.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.   1 Corinthians 10:31

This means that in every situation in life, whether large or small, the believer will ask, “What would God want me to do?”

2. The Christian’s understanding that God is sovereign gives him peace and confidence .

a. The believer can serve God without worry , knowing that everything is under God’s control.

b. The believer can be confident, knowing that God has planned every situation he faces for his good .

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

  1. Because God is omnipotent, we are dependent on Him for everything.

  1. Because God is omniscient, we are accountable to Him for our actions.

  1. Because God is sovereign, we are responsible to Him for our actions.

Learning to Live It

Read the following excerpt from a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon:

“There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation  the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands  the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings . . . [than] the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His [money house] to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that . . . men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love.”

Why do you think the doctrine of God’s sovereignty is so comforting to believers?

because they know that nothing ever has or ever will happen which is outside of God’s control. It means that there is a meaning/purpose to life, and that God is in control.

Why should believers uphold this doctrine?

because God would cease to be God without it; because the Bible teaches it

Why do you think people so hate this doctrine?

because it puts God on the throne, not man. Even some believers hate the logical conclusion of God’s Sovereignty. Some people (Arminians) think that man has a totally (or at least mostly) free will, and can either choose God or not. We would disagree with them. People also hate it because it seems to limit or take away man’s freedom or choice. Further, at times it doesn’t seem to be true experientially. That is, it often seems that occurrences (like storms and disasters) are random and pointless, that our choices are indeed free, etc. It’s also hard to understand how God can be sovereign and still hold man accountable.

Lesson 2: The Greatness of God | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 2: The Greatness of God

Learning Together

God’s character qualities are commonly called His attributes . [An attribute is a basic quality or description. ] They are the properties that make God who He is. Some theologians logically divide the attributes of God into two categories: the attributes of His greatness and the attributes of His goodness .

This lesson deals with God’s attributes of greatness. These are character qualities that belong to God alone; they cannot be shared with mankind.

God’s primary attribute of greatness is His infinity . This word is hard for us to grasp because we are human and, thus, limited. When we say that God is infinite, we mean that He has no external limitations. In other words, there is nothing outside of Himself that determines who He is and what He does . Only created objects and beings have external limitations. God’s attributes of greatness are simply expressions of His infinity. Three of these attributes that are absolutely necessary to further studies in BFL are discussed below. In this lesson, we will learn:

1. God is infinite in power .

2. God is infinite in knowledge .

3. God is infinite in authority .

I. God is Infinite in Power.

The fact that God is unlimited in power is the attribute called omnipotence (from omni, meaning “ all ,” and potent,

meaning “ powerful “). God’s omnipotence is displayed in several ways:

A. Creation most clearly displays God’s omnipotence.

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.   Psalm 33:6 9

[C.f. also Jer 32:17]

Note: God created the universe out of nothing ( ex nihilo ), not from preexisting materials.

[How is this different from when we create something? We use existing materials. God didn’t. Einstein proved the interchangablility of energy and matter (E=MC2). If the whole universe was created by God, what does this say about God’s power/energy? It’s immense. See also Col 1:16-17: God’s power keeps things together. ]

B. God’s control of history displays His omnipotence.

[History is going somewhere. That is, what happens is not random, chance occurrence. God rules in world events. Things happen because God has decreed that they will happen.]

One way God controls history is by governing the decisions of world leaders.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases. – Proverbs 21:1

For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.   Revelation 17:17

[Note that these verses show that God can and does control the thoughts of people. ]

C. The outworking of God’s plan for individuals displays His omnipotence.

Job questioned the justice of God because of the difficulties he had endured. In response, God revealed His greatness to Job (Job 38 41). Notice Job’s response:

I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. – Job 42:2

It is often said, “God can do anything.” This is not technically correct. For example, God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Rather, omnipotence means that God can do anything consistent with His character .

[One’s activities are generally dictated by one’s nature. E.g., you don’t expect a dog to act like a cat. E.g., there are some things that girls like (such as pretty dresses) that do not interest boys. You would not expect a boy to be interested in or drawn toward certain things, and same with girls. In a similar way, God is “limited” by the kind of person He is. His nature determines what He will do.]

II. God is Infinite in Knowledge.

The fact that God is without limits in knowledge is referred to as His omniscience (from omni, meaning “ all ,” and science, meaning “ knowledge “).

For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.   1 John 3:20

[C.f. also John 21:17]

What does this imply?

A. God possesses complete knowledge of the universe .

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.   Psalm 147:4

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.   Hebrews 4:13

[There is nothing that happens in the universe that is outside the knowledge and control of God.]

B. God possesses knowledge of the smallest details of life.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.   Matthew 10:30

[C.f. also Psm 139:1-4]

C. God possesses knowledge of possible events . He knows everything that might have been.

Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.   Matthew 11:21

[C.f. also 1 Sam 23:10-13]

These three points show that God has always known all things, past , present, and future , at the same time. God has never learned anything.

[Just think: God knew and planned from eternity past that we would all be here doing this right now. God is never surprised. He never wonders why things happen. Contra the “openness of God” idea which asserts that God really doesn’t know what’s going to happen because men have a totally free will. ]

D. God’s knowledge is active , not passive . This means that God’s knowledge of an event is not gained through observation , but through involvement. He knows an event because He planned it and participates in it.

The biblical word for this active aspect of God’s knowledge is “ foreknowledge.”

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.   Matthew 10:29

Notice this prayer of Peter and John:

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.   Acts 4:27 28

[“Foreknowledge” is not simply “knowledge ahead of time.” Notice the above verse. What happened happened because God chose that it should be that way. God does not look into the future, see what will happen, and then react based on what He sees. God’s foreknowledge is His active choice of a particular course of action. See Rom 11:2. “Foreknew” means “chose.”]

III. God is Infinite in Authority.

The fact that God’s authority over all creation is without limits is referred to as His sovereignty .

[“Sovereignty” basically means “control.” “Sove” = all, “reign” = to rule. A king is called a sovereign, so when you think of sovereignty, think of a king being in charge or in control.]

What does the sovereignty of God imply?

A. God is in control of all things .

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28

[C.f. also 1 Chron 29:11-12; Ps 22:28, 103:19]

B. God is never dependent on man.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.   Romans 11:33 36

God’s sovereignty means that He is totally independent in all His decisions. He is never influenced or manipulated by His creation. He never depends on the actions of men to determine His actions.

[What implications does this have for prayer? It means that we don’t change God’s mind when we pray. God does what He planned on doing. He often accomplishes that plan in conjunction with our prayers. So what’s wrong with the statement “Prayer moves the hand that moves the universe”? It conveys the idea that God’s actions are determined by people. God may fulfill His purposes in conjunction with our prayers, but He does not depend on them to act.]

C. God does whatever pleases Him.

I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.   Isaiah 46:9 10

[C.f. also Ps 115:3; Dan 4:35]

D. Whatever God does is always right .

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, `Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?   Romans 9:20 21

God’s sovereignty means that all that He does is right . His actions are not right because they conform to a standard of right and wrong . He is the standard of right and wrong.

[If the above is true, and if God is in charge of all that is done in the universe, why does it seem that so much evil abounds? 2 reasons (there are others):

  1. The world is a fallen, sin-cursed place (cf. Gen 3). Sin/the curse ruins things and brings about much of the wrong in the world.

2. Men often suffer the consequences of their own evil or stupid decisions/actions. E.g., robing a bank leads to jail time. Gal 6:7-8.

The Bible teaches the seemingly contradictory truth that God is sovereign, yet man is responsible. It would seem that if God is in control of all events, man could not be held responsible for his actions, for he is only doing what God makes him do. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that man is responsible for his actions and that God is not the author of sin.

C.H. Spurgeon writes: “Shall we never be able to drive into men’s minds

the truth that predestination and free agency are both facts? Men sin as

freely as birds fly in the air, and they are altogether responsible for

their sin; and yet everything is ordained and foreseen of God. The

fore-ordination of God in no degree interferes with the responsibility of

man. I have often been asked by persons to reconcile the two truths. My

only reply is – They need no reconciliation, for they never fell out.

why should I try to reconcile two friends?” (C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan

Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol.33, Banner of Truth Trust, 1969 reprint, pp


Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. God is omnipotent, or all-powerful. His power is unlimited.

2. God is omniscient, or all-knowing. His knowledge is unlimited.

3. God is sovereign. His authority is unlimited.

Learning to Live It

1. In Lesson One, we learned that God is a person; therefore, we can and should pray. Suppose you have an unsaved friend who asks you to go fishing next Thursday. It is just the opportunity you have been looking for  a full day alone to discuss his relationship with God. So, you pray that the Lord will grant good weather next Thursday so you can have this opportunity. What does God have to do to answer your prayer?

arrange the world’s weather, arrange the friend’s schedule, allow you to make it safely to the lake, make an opportunity to naturally present the gospel, etc.

Therefore, prayer presupposes which attribute of God discussed in this lesson?

His omnipotence (and sovereignty)

Suppose Thursday comes and it rains all day. What might you conclude about your prayer?

that it was not in accordance with God’s sovereign will. You could conclude that God did not answer, or that He doesn’t care, etc. You should conclude that God is still in control of the situation. Your plan did not fit the divine plan.

2. Suppose some tragedy strikes your family. Is God in control of the situation? yes

Is it possible you may not understand why God allowed this to occur?

Yes, in fact it is very likely you won’t totally understand why many things happen.

What should be your response if you don’t understand why?

Trust Him. Remember, He is too loving to be unkind and too wise to make mistakes. Also, remember that God is able to do anything, and that He is in control of the situation. Trust that God is good, wise, and loving, and that there is a reason/purpose for the situation.

Lesson 1: The Person We Call God | Biblical Foundations for Living

Who am I? I am a finite creature who is responsible to the infinite Creator.

Introduction to the Doctrine of God

The word “theology” means “the study of God.” It is used in both a general sense and a specific sense. The word is applied generally to any study of biblical truth. A study specifically concerned with the person of God is known as Theology Proper. This is the subject of the five lessons in this section.

It might seem unusual to begin the answer to the question, “Who am I?,” with a study of the person of God. Some, no doubt, would begin to answer the question with a challenge to look inside and know oneself. Others would begin with a discourse on self-esteem. But, just as the logical starting place in any book is the beginning, so our study must start “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1). Your life is a small part of a greater history. You are part of the human race. To know yourself, you must see the “big picture.” Specifically, you must understand how and why humanity came into being. This requires an understanding of the One who created you.

Without a clear and accurate knowledge of the character of the true God, the Christian faith is unintelligible and principles of Christian living are meaningless. Therefore, this study of the doctrine of God will provide the foundation for every other lesson in Biblical Foundations for Living.

If you are a believer, you know God. Think about it! You know Him and can come to understand Him better (Jeremiah 9:24). [But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.] Getting to know God better is a goal the Christian will spend his entire life pursuing. It is a pursuit that is never boring or impractical. To know God is the most relevant activity one can undertake. It is life-changing.

Lesson 1: The Person We Call God

This lesson is designed to introduce you to three basic truths about God. It is simply an introduction because there will always be more to learn about Him. These three truths will form the foundation for your life-long task of developing your understanding of God. These three truths are:

1. God exists .

2. God is a person .

3. God is a triunity .

I. God Exists.

This truth might sound obvious, but it is the place where a discussion of God must begin, seeing His existence is doubted or denied by many.

[The word for “God” in Greek is theos. A theist says God (or a god) does exist. An atheist is one who says God does not exist. An agnostic says one cannot know if God exists or not. ]

Note the following facts about His existence:

A. The existence of God is stated as fact in Scripture.

From the opening words of the Bible, the reader is brought face to face with his Creator. No attempt is made to prove His existence.

Genesis 1:1 begins with a clear statement of fact: “In the beginning God . . . .”

God is under no obligation to prove to man that He exists. Any such obligation would make God answerable to man rather than vice versa. Nevertheless, God has chosen to reveal Himself through His Word. Anyone who genuinely desires to know God can gain an understanding of Him from the Bible.

B. The existence of God is a matter of faith .

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.   Hebrews 11:6

Throughout history, Christians have tried to convince non Christians that God exists by using weighty, logical arguments. The best these arguments can accomplish is to demonstrate the probability , but never the certainty , of God’s existence. All men know that there is a god of some sort. The true God, however, can only be known through faith in the Scriptures.

[The fact that all people know something about God is true because of general revelation (c.f., Rom 1:18-20). Special revelation (the Bible) is necessary for us to know more about God. ]

Is it possible to prove God’s existence? No. Is it necessary? No. Rom 10:17–faith comes thru hearing the word of God, not by being convinced that God exists, etc. Further, one exercises faith because God gives him the gift of faith (Eph 2:8), not because he is convinced intellectually of the Bible’s truth.]

II. God is a Person.

Most people are somewhat religious. The existence of a supreme power makes sense to them, but they refuse to admit that this power is the God of the Bible. Many (such as those under the influence of Far Eastern mystical religions) have come to think of God as a force or controlling energy . The Bible is very clear, however, that He is a person.

A. The components of God’s personality

[By “personality” I don’t mean happy or outgoing or shy. I mean personhood. God is a person. He has the components of personality. ]

The Bible presents a complex view of personality, whether human or divine. Theologians sometimes differ as to what constitutes personality but usually agree that it involves three things, all three of which God does.

1. God thinks .

This is the function of the mind . As a thinking being, God possesses wisdom , understanding , and knowledge .

By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.   Proverbs 3:19 20

2. God acts .

This is the function of the will . God does not act on impulse or in submission to the laws of nature. His actions are free and in keeping with His purposes .

From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.   Isaiah 46:11

[When we say that God is free, we mean that He is the only one who is truly unlimited in action. All other beings have limitations; God doesn’t. Although He is free to do anything He wills, He will only do those things that are in keeping with His purposes and character. There are things he can’t do: immoral things and impossible things (e.g., make a square circle).]

3. God feels .

This is the function of the emotions . The Bible is clear that our God feels a full range of emotions  from joy (Isaiah 62:5) to sorrow (Gen. 6:6) and from compassion (Psalm 145:8) to hate (Psalm 5:5).

B. The significance of God’s personality

The statement, “God is a person,” has critical implications for the Christian life. Consider the following:

1. The personality of God gives meaning to prayer .

The Christian actually communicates with God when he prays. Prayer is not a mechanical activity designed simply to obtain God’s favor, nor is it a mystical experience designed to make one feel good. Genuine prayer is heard and answered by a personal God.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.   Matthew 6:7 8

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.   1 Peter 5:7

2. The personality of God gives meaning to worship .

Whereas idols are inanimate and unresponsive, the God we worship is a person who is pleased with our praise and interacts with us.

To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared? Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it. They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles.   Isaiah 46:5 7

3. The personality of God gives meaning to service .

Duty imposed apart from personal involvement is empty and unfulfilling and soon becomes drudgery. The God we serve places duties upon us, yet is personally involved in our labors.

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.   Colossians 1:29

III. God is a Triunity.

Christianity has traditionally taught the doctrine of the Trinity . The word “Triunity,” however, is a better expression. Triunity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three persons : the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This suggests:

A. The unity of the Godhead

Unlike the ancient pagans, who believed in many gods ( polytheism ), the Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God ( monotheism ).

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.   Deuteronomy 6:4

B. The diversity of the Godhead

Without ceasing to be a unity, God exists as three persons. Each of these persons is fully and equally God.

[“Diversity” means difference or distinction. That is, there is a distinction between the members of the trinity. God the Father is not the same person as God the Son. The members of the Trinity are distinct, co-equal individuals, co-equal in essence but differing in function.]

The doctrine of the Triunity illustrates the incomprehensibility of God: He exists and may be truly known, but He can never be fully known.

[“Incomprehensible” means “not able to be fully understood.” Agnostics say that one can’t know anything about God. We don’t know everything about God, but we do know many things, and what we know is true.]

Learning to Live It

1. As you talk about your relationship with God to a family member, he smiles and says, “Though we might call it by different names  like ‘God,’ we are all part of the universal cosmic energy.” How would you show him that God is not just an energy?

by directing him to passages which show God to be a person

God has all the characteristics of a person. An energy or force cannot do the things God does.

2. You walk into a room in which there is an individual and some furniture. Are you more inclined to speak to the individual or to the furniture? Why?

the individual; because he or she is a person like you.

What implications does this have for prayer?

Since God is a person, we can and ought to talk to Him. We should talk to God because, as a person, He can respond. Prayer would be meaningless/impossible if God were just a power.

3. A co worker brings you a pamphlet one day and asks you to discuss its contents. It offers the following explanation of the doctrine of the Triunity:

The Bible calls God by the names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That does not mean that He is three persons. Actually, these are the titles of three roles that He has filled. This can be understood in the same way that a man can say, “I am a father, son, and husband.” A man can truly be all three, but he is still a single person. So it is with God.

What would you say to your co worker?

Show him a passage (such as Matthew 3:16-17) in which all three persons of the Godhead are mentioned independently of one another. The above idea is called modalism–one God functions as different modes at different times. Refutation: All three members of the Godhead show up simultaneously, which would be impossible if the trinity was not true. We may not ever fully understand the doctrine of the Trinity. Yet the Bible clearly teaches the that the Trinity is a fact. We have to submit our own logic to the teaching of Scripture.

Biblical Foundations for Living: Teen Edition

Systematic Theology for Teens

Biblical Foundations for Living: Teen Edition

Now, freely available here is the Teen Edition of Biblical Foundations for Living.

bfl-teachers-edition-download bfl-students-edition-download


Table of Contents

Part One: Who Am I?

Section One: The Doctrine of God–Who am I? I am a finite creature who is responsible to the infinite Creator.

Section Two: The Doctrine of the Bible–Who am I? I am a recipient of the Bible, God’s communication to man.

Section Three: The Doctrine of Man–Who am I? I am a sinner who has offended the God who created me to reflect His image.

Section Four: The Doctrine of Christ–Who am I? I am an undeserving recipient of God’s love.

Section Five: The Doctrine of Salvation–Who am I? I am an obedient, growing servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Part Two: Why Am I Here?

(The Doctrine of the Church)

Section One: The Purpose of the Church–Why am I here? I am here to bring glory to God through the ministry of His Word.

Section Two: The Objectives of the Church–Why am I here? I am here to worship God, serve His children, and reach the lost.

Objective One: Edification

Objective Two: Evangelism

Objective Three: Expansion

Section Three: The Destiny of the Church–Why am I here? I am here to participate in the reign of Jesus Christ.