Lesson 5: The Goodness of God and the Christian Life | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 5: The Goodness of God and the Christian Life

Lessons Two and Three focused on the attributes of God’s greatness . We learned that He is infinite, while mankind is finite. This difference is known as the Creator/creature distinction. In Lesson Four, we looked at the attributes of God’s goodness . God’s goodness is all of His character qualities that can be described as holy . Although mankind can never be infinite, he can share God’s holiness. This lesson will show how the attributes of God’s goodness apply to mankind in general and to the Christian in particular.

Every moral change that God produces in the life of the Christian is an expression of holiness. It is an act of “ setting apart ” the believer. He is set apart from sin to God. The character qualities of God’s goodness, such as love, righteousness, and grace, become the marks of holiness in the life of the believer.

I. God’s Love and the Christian Life

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

1. Mankind is the object of God’s love.

Future lessons will show that mankind bears the image of God. It is this image that distinguishes man from the rest of creation. God’s love is limited to that which reflects His own image, namely, mankind.

[God does not love animals or plants in the same way he loves people. People are the only creatures who bear the image of God.]

2. The supreme expression of God’s love for man is the gift of His Son .

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.   John 3:16

[C.f. also 1 John 4:9-10.]

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

1. Believers share the character quality of God’s holy love.

Parents pass on many of their human characteristics to their children. In a similar way, our heavenly Father passes on His attributes of goodness to His children. Love is one such attribute.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.   1 John 4:7

[Remember that true, godly love is a choice to do what is best for the one loved, not a romantic or erotic feeling/emotion. We can and should share this type of love. Lack of love shows a lack of salvation. C.f. 1 John 3:14.]

2. The presence of genuine love in one’s life is evidence of a relationship with God.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.   1 John 4:8

3. The believer demonstrates genuine love for God through obedience .

If you love me, you will obey what I command.   John 14:15

4. God’s love for the believer results in discipline for disobedience .

True love will not tolerate disobedience. It is in our best interest for God to require our obedience. Therefore, punishment of disobedience is really an expression of true love.

My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.   Hebrews 12:5 6

[Apathy (an “I don’t care” attitude) is an evidence of lack of love. So what does that say about discipline received from parents, teachers, etc? If they didn’t care about you, they’d let you do exactly as you choose. Discipline and limits show they care. Lack of it shows they don’t. So be thankful that your parents, teachers, etc discipline you.]

II. God’s Righteousness and the Christian Life

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

1. Every person is required to live according to the perfect standard demanded by God.

The ultimate test of anyone’s actions or motives is not, “Am I better than someone else?” The ultimate test is, “Am I like God?”

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:48

[Contra relativism, which says there is no real, objective standard of right and wrong. Our standard comes from God, not from how I feel or the situation.]

2. Because God is righteous, all wrongs will eventually be righted .

The Bible teaches that all people ought to do right; however, wickedness is rampant and getting worse. Sometimes it seems as though the wicked get away with sin, i.e., that crime pays. The Bible does not guarantee that we will always see justice done in this life . There will come a time, however, when every thought , word , action , and motive will be judged by a righteous God.

For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.   Acts 17:31

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

1. Believers share the character quality of God’s holy righteousness.

Believers are in a process of change. Every day they are increasingly being conformed to the image of Christ. This means that those who once could never do anything godly are now

enabled by God to meet His standard of right and wrong.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. – 1 John 3:7

[This texts is speaking of righteousness as a pattern of life, not absolutely sinless behavior. ]

2. The presence of righteousness in one’s life is evidence of a relationship with God.

If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.   1 John 2:29

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.   1 John 3:10


3. God’s righteousness guarantees restoration when the sinning believer confesses his or her sin.

Christians are able to be righteous in their thoughts, words, actions, and motives. However, this does not mean that they will be perfect. 1 John 1:8 indicates that Christians sin. Sin in the life of a believer affects his fellowship with God. But God is always willing to forgive and restore the repentant believer.

[Sin negatively impacts our relationship with God, but it does not sever it. One of the reasons daily devotions are so important is to keep “short accounts” with God, that is, confess and repent of our sin and ask for help.]

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.   1 John 1:8 9

4. God’s justice guarantees that any good deeds that believers do for Him will not be forgotten .

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.   Hebrews 6:10

III. God’s Grace and the Christian Life

Theologians classify the grace of God into two categories: common grace and special grace. Common grace is a description of His kindness given to all mankind, whether saved or unsaved. Special grace is the kindness which God gives only to believers.

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

1. Because of common grace, all people understand that God exists . There is no such thing as a true atheist.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities  his eternal power and divine nature  have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.   Romans 1:20

[There are no true philosophical atheists. People deny the existence of God and suppress their knowledge of him, but they are deceiving themselves. Why do people want there to be no God? Then they’ll not be responsible for their actions. There will be no final judgment, no punishment for sins.]

2. Because of common grace, evil is restrained in the world.

The fact that all people are not as bad as they could be is due to the work of common grace. The Holy Spirit limits the wickedness of societies and individuals.

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.   2 Thessalonians 2:3, 6 7

[During the Trib., the H. Sp. will not suppress or limit sin as he is doing now.]

3. Because of common grace, God is patient with mankind.

God could condemn the entire human race at any time. The condemnation of the race would be pure justice . It is the grace of God which prevents this from happening.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.   2 Peter 3:9

4. Because of common grace, unsaved men are able to do cultural or civic good.

Christ acknowledged that the Pharisees, though unsaved, were capable of doing “good” (Matthew 23:23). However, such “good works” are viewed as sinful by God due to the motives behind them (Isaiah 64:6).

[Such “good works” by the unsaved are non-meritorious. That is, they have no eternal value. There is nothing an unsaved person can do to please God.]

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

1. The special grace of God results in the salvation of those who believe.

Christians are saved only because of the undeserved, unearned, and unwanted favor of God.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.   Ephesians 1:7

2. The special grace of God results in the spiritual growth of those who are saved.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.   Titus 2:11 12

3. Believers share the character quality of God’s holy graciousness.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.   Ephesians 4:32

[Part of that graciousness is patience with the shortcomings and failures of others. God has been and is very patient with us as sinners, and we should display the same kind of grace toward others.]

4. The presence of grace in one’s life is evidence of a

relationship with God.

[Since] you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, [since] any comfort from his love, [since] any fellowship with the Spirit, [since] any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.   Philippians 2:1 4

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. Because God is love, the believer is able to love God and his fellow man.

2. Because God is righteous, the believer is able to do right.

3. Because God is gracious, the believer is able to be gracious to others.

Learning to Live It

1. An organization is being established in your neighborhood called The United Church League (UCL). A representative of the UCL contacts your pastor and asks him to encourage your church to join. The representative says, “Doctrine is not an issue in the UCL. We have Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and Catholics. We believe that the UCL is the answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21 that we might all be one. Won’t you demonstrate your love for God and join this worthy organization?” Your pastor asks for your advice. Based on your understanding of biblical love, how would you respond?

Love does not overlook error or sin. Love and truth are inseparable. I demonstrate my love for God by not joining up with such organizations. In order for such groups to participate, participants would have to sacrifice or compromise their doctrinal positions. Remember that love is not just acceptance. Love is conditioned/governed by holiness. God will not accept in his love what his holiness condemns.

2. Bill, a classmate at school, has just lost his girlfriend in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. The charges against the drunk driver are dismissed because of a technicality. Bill meets you for lunch one day and says, “It’s just not fair! How could God let this happen?” What would you tell Bill about the righteousness of God?

Because God is just, justice will one day be served, though it may not be in this life. God will eventually make all things right. All will be justly rewarded and/or punished. It may not seem like that is the case now, but we don’t always have all the facts. God does not just “let” things happen. Things happen because God planned them to. Further, in such situations, it’s best to trust God to repay and exact vengeance.

3. The city of Detroit has a terrible tradition called “Devil’s Night.” The night before Halloween, teens burn buildings and destroy property all over the

city. However, in your community the Halloween pranks amount only to some egged cars and smashed pumpkins. How could you explain the difference between the activities in these two communities?

It could be a combination of many factors, such as population density, police enforcement, morale, community morals, etc. A factor not to be overlooked is God’s common grace. God restrains sin to some degree. The only reason every night is not “Devil’s Night” is that God restrains sin.

4. Some people grow up in Christian homes, while others have never heard of the Bible. How is God fair to those who have never heard?

Very tough question. A few thoughts: 1. Remember that salvation is God’s business. He’s in charge of who has access to His word. 2. Our conception of fair and unfair may not reflect all the issues involved. God would be totally just to condemn all people. That he saves some is pure grace. 3. God has said that all men have some access to knowledge about God, thru creation and conscience. No one can legitimately say that he knew nothing of God

  1. Does this mean that all Christians are perfect? No, but there should be some evidence of a desire to do right, and some progress in turning from sinful behavior.

    2. If a person claims to be saved, righteous deeds of some sort should follow. If they do not, there is no evidence and no assurance of salvation.

Lesson 4: The Goodness of God | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 4: The Goodness of God

In Lesson Two, we learned that God’s attributes can be logically divided into two categories: His attributes of greatness and His attributes of goodness . The key to remembering the difference between the two is the word “ share .” God’s qualities of greatness  His omnipotence, sovereignty, etc.  cannot be shared with created beings; they are exclusively His. God’s attributes of goodness, on the other hand, can be shared with created beings. While these characteristics will always shine brightest as qualities of God, mankind can reflect them to a certain degree.

[So we’re talking about qualities that God shares with mankind.]

Just as God’s greatness is governed by the fact that He is infinite, so His goodness is governed by the fact that He is holy .

[In other words, these aspects of God’s goodness are limited or governed by God’s holiness. That is, each of these characteristics that we’ll talk about today are holy. What do I mean by “holy”? Read next part.]

God’s holiness has two aspects:

1. God is separate from His creation.

The word “holy” literally describes something that has been “ set apart .” To say that God is holy means that He is not part of the universe, nor is the universe part of Him. He is unique .

[This explains how objects (e.g., furniture in the tabernacle and temple, holy ground) can be considered holy.

Also, God created the universe, and He is in the universe, but he is separate from the universe. ]

2. God is morally pure.

God’s uniqueness is seen not only in His nature (what He is like), but also in His activities (what He does). He does not act like mankind. For example, we sin  He does not. Therefore, the word “holy” came to be applied to the apartness or difference between the moral character of God and the moral character of man. Unlike us, God never does anything that is wrong; He always does what is right.

[So when you see the word “holy,” think of two things: separate/different, and morally pure. This holiness characterizes or governs the other attributes we’ll talk about today.]

In this lesson, we will learn:

1. God is holy in love .

2. God is holy in righteousness .

3. God is holy in grace .

I. God is Holy in Love.

[I.e., God’s love can be described as “holy” — set apart, morally pure.]

A. Characteristics of God’s love

1. God’s love is an act of the will , not an emotion .

Feelings are fickle — they change from day to day. When love is based on feelings, it too is changeable. Love does affect the emotions, but one should not equate the two. Biblical love is not a feeling but a choice . Thus, God could promise to love His people and command them to love as well.

I will heal their waywardness and love them freely.   Hosea 14:4

[The love we’re talking about is not romantic or erotic love. It’s different that the world’s definition of love. Rather than a feeling, godly love is a concern for the well-being of the one loved. Matt 5:44 “Love your enemies.”]

2. God’s love is governed by His other attributes .

People often think that in order to be loving, one must ignore sin and overlook error. However, true biblical love cannot contradict the other attributes of God. It always functions within the confines of truth and justice .

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.   Psalm 33:5

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

[God’s love does not override his holiness. God won’t accept in his love what his holiness rejects. Christianity is big on “acceptance” these days–you need to accept people as they are, not offend them, etc. But love is not synonymous with acceptance. You can love a person and still reject their behavior–in fact, that’s what we are commanded to do.]

3. God’s love is sacrificial .

Mankind’s version of love tends to be selfish. It is preoccupied with getting rather than giving . However, true love requires giving  sacrificing one’s self for the benefit of another. The supreme example of the self sacrificial nature of genuine love is God’s gift of His Son for our salvation.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.   1 John 4:9 10 (See also 1 John 3:16.)

[C.f. also John 15:13 “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”]

4. God’s love is unconditional .

It is common to find people using so called love as a bargaining tool. They say, “I will love you if . . . .” However, God loves mankind with no “if’s” attached. He does not ask what we can give Him in return. He loves us in spite of our sinfulness.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.   Romans 5:8

To put it another way, we tend to say, “I love you because you are lovely .” But God says, “I love you because I am love  in spite of the fact that you are unlovely .”

5. God’s love is unending .

People often speak of falling in and out of love. However, genuine love does not just happen  it is a choice. God never “falls out of love.” Love is part of His very nature. Therefore, God has said:

I have loved you with an everlasting love.   Jeremiah 31:3

B. A definition of God’s love

God’s love is the attribute which causes Him to sacrificially and unconditionally choose to do what is best for us.

II. God is Holy in Righteousness.

The words “holy” and “righteous” are often used interchangeably, but they are different concepts. As noted above, holiness emphasizes God’s separation from His creation. His righteousness is holy because it is unlike any standards of right and wrong that mankind would establish.

[“Righteous” and “just” mean “right” or “fair.” “Righteousness” is “right-ness,” the quality of being right. Justice is a result or out-working of righteousness.]

A. Characteristics of God’s righteousness

1. Righteousness is conformity to a standard.

This point is clearly illustrated in the Old Testament laws pertaining to weights and measures.

Do not use dishonest (lit. “unrighteous”) standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest (lit. “righteous”) scales and honest weights.   Leviticus 19:35 36

Scales are called righteous (honest) when they conform to an established standard.

2. God Himself is the standard of right.

There is no standard of right and wrong one may impose on God. He is the standard. He is righteous because all that He does is completely consistent with His character.

I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.   Deuteronomy 32:3 4

[If there is no God, can there be a true standard of right and wrong? No. You can see then how atheism has brought about the idea of relativism.]

3. Righteousness requires the punishing of disobedience (failure to conform to the standard).

The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.   Daniel 9:14

[God would not be just if he ignored the breaking of the law. God punishes sin because crime (sin) is worthy of punishment. A punishment equal the crime must be made. Think of a judge who ignores criminals–he is unjust. So God has to respond when someone sins, because if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be just/righteous. It’s God’s nature to react against sin.]

4. Righteousness requires the rewarding of obedience (conformity to the standard).

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.   Hebrews 6:10

Both 3 and 4 are expressions of God’s justice . Because God is righteous, He will always do what is just in light of our actions, handing out punishment or reward.

[Why is it that sin often seems to go unpunished? Because God is gracious, and because God often reserves punishment and reward for later (hell and heaven).]

B. A definition of God’s righteousness

God’s righteousness is the attribute which ensures that all that He does conforms to His character. It also demands that all others conform to His perfect standard. God’s justice is the aspect of His righteousness in which He rewards obedience and punishes disobedience.

III. God is Holy in Grace.

“Grace” is one of the most misused and abused words in theology, yet it is a very simple concept. A biblical word translated into English by the word “grace” means “to

stoop ; to bend down.” It communicates the idea of reaching down with condescending favor or kindness.

A. Characteristics of God’s grace

[Remember that even God’s grace is governed by his holiness. God will not overlook sin just because He is gracious.]

1. God’s grace is undeserved .

God extends His grace to sinners though they do not deserve it.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.   Romans 3:23 24

[Grace is receiving something we do not deserve–favor. Mercy is not receiving something we do deserve–punishment, condemnation.

Even unsaved people benefit from God’s “common” grace. Common grace restrains sin generally and allows people to do good generally. Without it there would be no limit to the sinfulness of man.]

2. God’s grace is unearned .

Most people feel that they can do something to earn God’s favor. However, God cannot be manipulated. Nothing can obligate Him to mankind. God’s grace is a free gift. If you have to do something to earn grace, it can no longer be grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith  and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God  not by works, so that no one can boast.   Ephesians 2:8 9

[Earning God’s favor is the basis of every other religion in the world. Works is the basis of favor for most other people. But there is nothing a sinful person can do to earn God’s favor. C.f. also Rom 11:6.]

3. God’s grace is unwanted .

Contrary to popular belief, mankind does not want anything to do with God. When an unsaved person speaks of a desire for God, he is really referring to a desire for the benefits that only God can give. The two are not the same!

There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.   Romans 3:11

[Before a person is saved, he is dead in trespasses and sin. He is unresponsive to God. He hates God. So he is unconcerned about receiving any favor from God.]

B. A definition of God’s grace

God’s grace is His undeserved, unearned, and unwanted favor given to condemned sinners.

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned that God is holy. That is, He is separate from His creation and morally pure. This attribute governs all the attributes of His goodness. We have learned three of these attributes of goodness:

1. God is holy in love. He always does what is best for us.

2. God is holy in righteousness. Everything He does is right.

3. God is holy in grace. He extends His favor to us, although we do not deserve, earn, or want it.

Learning to Live It

During a lengthy discussion of the gospel with an unsaved friend, the subject of hell is mentioned. He responds by saying, “I don’t believe in hell. After all, God is love. How could a loving God ever send anyone to hell?” How would you answer this question?

God is love, but He is also just and holy and righteous. His justice demands eternal punishment because man’s sin is against an infinite God. If one will not obey God (be saved), then he will suffer the punishment for his sin. God in his love has provided a way of salvation. It’s not God’s fault if someone ignores that way. The degree of punishment is based on who the crime is against, e.g., killing an ant vs. murder. Sin is against an infinite, holy God; thus the punishment fits the crime.

Later in the same conversation, your friend says, “I’m not worried about my soul  I’m as good as anyone else!” Based upon your understanding of righteousness, how would you respond to this statement?

Man is not the standard, God is. The standard is perfection. The state and destination of your soul does not depend upon how good you are compared to someone else. It depends upon how good you are in God’s eyes. The only way you can be good with God is to be saved (2 Cor 5:21).

Finally, your friend says, “Well, I may not be perfect, but I’ve

taken care of that by attending church, taking communion, and being baptized.” What misunderstandings does he have about grace?

salvation is by grace–It cannot be earned through good works (Eph 2:8-9)

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.