Pastor Olaf Latzel is in Bremen, Germany, a city of over half a million people. He is rare among the state church there where a spirit of compromise has swallowed Germany. As a result, he has been attacked in the media, denounced by a group of 70 fellow pastors calling for diversity and even investigated by the local government for hate speech crimes and cleared. A parliament body did pass a resolution against him.
What are his great crimes? Preaching the gospel, saying there is only one way to heaven and only one God and this one God has a Son, Jesus Christ. Pray for Pastor Latzel and St. Martin’s Church, that he and they would stand firm and humble in the good fight of faith.
In an interview with CBN.com, he made this arresting statement: “The battle in Germany today is over who God is.”
In the midst of all he is seeing and facing, I find it fascinating where he draws the battle lines – over the person and nature of God. This is correct and will always be the battle line. Do we accept the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself or do we adjust the God we find there or even come up with our own.
This is one reason why knowing well the attributes of God is so important for every Christian.
In Knowing God, Part 2 we will ponder briefly three more characteristics of God.
God is Eternal
No beginning. No end. No creation, no development, no succession of moments in His essential being. Wow, if that doesn’t take your breath away, I’m not sure what will. Everything but God is created and therefore bound by time. Before there was time, there was God. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). God was active choosing those whom He would save “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One who was and is and is to come!
He sees time different from us. One day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. God sees all of history as if it just happened. He sees all the future in the present, knowing every event of human history with perfect vividness. He both rules over time and works within time.
God is Independent
Our daughter is, was and probably always will be independent minded. Her first word was actually a sentence, “I do it myself” as I tried to help her reach the sink. I know many a strong-willed, independent sort of Texan. But none compare to God’s independent streak.
God needs nothing. No one. Ever. He’s God and complete and sufficient and independent in Himself. He is Source of all good things, Lender, never borrower, Creditor, never debtor. We aren’t here because God was lonely or needed our fellowship. He had fellowship within Himself, being Triune in nature. He existed forever perfectly fine without us. How humbling is that? Acts 17:24-25 nails this and includes the rhetorical statement about God – “as if He needed anything”. Every atom of creation is dependent upon God for existence, but God’s existence isn’t dependent on creation. No one is self-made anything. We can’t do it ourselves. We need Him, every moment of every day. “In Him we move and breath and having our being.”
Although God doesn’t need us, He places value and significance on us and allows us by His grace to know, please, and bring Him joy. When we give Him glory as His children, we only give Him what He deserves, not what He needs.
God is Unchanging
This could be considered the most important attribute of all, because if any of God’s perfections could change, we would have no basis to trust Him and God would have nowhere to go but down. God’s essence is perfect and therefore unchanging. He doesn’t learn like we do, He doesn’t improve or decline. Perfect can’t get better.
This is a deep subject indeed, but suffice it to say that God is unchanging in His being, attributes, purposes and promises. Does God respond and react to changes among mankind, like when the citizens of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah? Yes He does, but this and similar passages were not changes in His being, attributes, purposes, or promises. “For I the Lord do not change” (Mal. 3:6). They are changes in His expressed attitude or response to specific situations as they change. What is amazing to our finite minds is that the unchanging God can feel emotions like joy and love or burning anger and hate and yet remain unchanged as to His essential being.
Some wives think their husbands never change, but this is not true. Our beings and attributes are constantly changing, either progressing toward Christlikeness if we are Christians or moving further and further into sin if not. How comforting to know the Rock of our salvation is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
Unless otherwise noted, all posts are written by Pastor Chris McKnight