BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

LESSON 7 - The Character of God

Equally as important as knowing the attributes of God, is knowing the character of God. There are many who are convinced that God is truly an almighty Being, the One who is Ruler of the entire universe, yet still, they will not serve Him. Why? The reason is that they do not know the kind of Person that God is in His character. Some view Him as a tyrant who is happy to destroy men for the slightest reason, a harsh demanding dictator whose pleasure it is to roast men in a never-ending fire. Others see Him as a pretender who says one thing, but means something else, who misleads men by making statements which are not really true (such as the statement that Christ is His begotten Son). With this kind of ignorance of God, it is impossible to learn to love Him and to trust Him. The Psalmist declares, "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee:" (Psalms 9:10). God's name is His character. To know Him is to love Him, because He is eminently lovable. The love and mercy revealed in God's character is beyond the ability of man to comprehend but like Moses, we may plead, "I beseech Thee, show me thy glory," and we may have the privilege of beholding all that man may see and live.

                    

Part 1: Love

                                                                                               

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:8)

"God is love" is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green -- all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy." _ Steps To Christ, p. 10

"All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue cannot utter it; pen cannot portray it. You may meditate upon it every day of your life; you may search the Scriptures diligently in order to understand it; you may summon every power and capability that God has given you, in the endeavor to comprehend the love and compassion of the heavenly Father; and yet there is an infinity beyond. . . ." _ Testimonies for The Church, Vol.5, p. 740

 

What is the greatest demonstration of the love of God? John 3:16; 1 John 4:9,10

The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind. He is willing to do more, "more than we can ask or think." An inspired writer asks a question which should sink deep into every heart: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Shall not every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ say, "Since God has done so much for us, how shall we not, for Christ's sake, show our love to him by obedience to his commandments, by being doers of his word, by unreservedly consecrating ourselves to his service?" _ Review and Herald, RH, July 9, 1895

"You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving His Son to die for the world. Eternity itself can never fully reveal it. Yet as we study the Bible and meditate upon the life of Christ and the plan of redemption, these great themes will open to our understanding more and more. . . ." _ Testimonies for The Church, Vol.5, p. 740

Such love is without a parallel. Children of the heavenly King! Precious promise! Theme for the most profound meditation! The matchless love of God for a world that did not love Him! The thought has a subduing power upon the soul and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God." _ Steps To Christ, p. 15                  

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

Can I truly believe in the love of God without having a transformation in my life?                        

                                   

Part 2: Mercy

                                                                                               

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. (Psa 103:10-14)

"Meditate on the beneficence of God, dear reader; you will find it most profitable to recount your blessings. Let the language of your heart be, "God had been very good to me. He delights in mercy; therefore I may trust in him. His love, his patience, his long-suffering, have followed me all the days of my life. I will believe and watch and pray; and unworthy and helpless as I am, exposed to disappointment and sorrow, and the temptations of a wily foe whom I cannot resist in my own strength, Jesus will be my helper, and will fight my battles for me. He loves me. He has given the fullest evidence of his love in dying for me. He will withhold no real blessing." _ Bible Echo, January 1, 1888 "When we dwell upon the justice of God, we look upon only one side of his character; for in his greatness and might he has condescended to our feebleness in sending his Son to the world that man may not perish. In the cross we may read his tender mercy and forgiveness, harmoniously combined with His stern, unwavering justice. The severity of God is felt when we are separated from him; but when we repent of our sins, and make our peace with him through the virtue of the cross, we find him a merciful Father, reconciled to men through his Son." _ Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 3, p. 186

 

What statement made by God concerning the inhabitants of Canaan reveals God's mercy towards those who are in rebellion against Him? Gen. 15:13-16

"In the days of Abraham the Lord declared, "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." He would not at that time allow them to be destroyed. In this is revealed the long-sufferance of God. The Amorites were at enmity against His law; they believed not in Him as the true and living God; but among them were a few good persons, and for the sake of these few, He forbore long. Centuries afterward, when the Israelites returned from Egypt to the promised land, the Amorites were "cast out before the children of Israel." They finally suffered calamity because of continued willful disregard of the law of God." _ Review and Herald, July 12, 1906               

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

           

Does the fact the Christ paid the price for our sins mean that we are now free to trifle with the mercy of God?                                                

                                                                                                           

Part 3: Justice

                                                                                                           

That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Gen 18:25)

"In the final execution of the judgment it will be seen that no cause for sin exists. When the Judge of all the earth shall demand of Satan, "Why hast thou rebelled against Me, and robbed Me of the subjects of My kingdom?" the originator of evil can render no excuse. Every mouth will be stopped, and all the hosts of rebellion will be speechless. . . . The whole universe will have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its utter extermination, which in the beginning would have brought fear to angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His love and establish His honor before the universe. . . . Never will evil again be manifest. Says the Word of God, "Affliction shall not rise up the second time." Nahum 1:9. . . . A tested and proved creation will never again be turned from allegiance to Him whose character has been fully manifested before them." _ The Faith I Live By, p. 71

 

What act of God shows that though He is merciful He cannot overlook sin? Isaiah 53:6

 

"The exceeding sinfulness of sin can be estimated only in the light of the cross. When men urge that God is too good to cast off the sinner, let them look to Calvary. It was because there was no other way in which man could be saved, because without this sacrifice it was impossible for the human race to escape from the defiling power of sin, and be restored to communion with holy beings--impossible for them again to become partakers of spiritual life--it was because of this that Christ took upon Himself the guilt of the disobedient, and suffered in the sinner's stead. The love and suffering and death of the Son of God all testify to the terrible enormity of sin, and declare that there is no escape from its power, no hope of the higher life, but through the submission of the soul to Christ." _ The Faith I Live By, p. 60

The cross of Calvary, while it declares the law immutable, proclaims to the universe that the wages of sin is death. In the Saviour's expiring cry, "It is finished," the death-knell of Satan was rung. The great controversy which had been so long in progress was then decided, and the final eradication of evil was made certain. The Son of God passed through the portals of the tomb, that "through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." [HEB. 2:14.] _ The Great Controversy, p. 503                      

                       

Key Thought                                                                                                 

Though God is merciful there are consequences and a penalty for every sin. (see Exodus 34:7)                        

Part 4: Faithfulness

                                                                                               

It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23)

"At times the arm of faith seems too short even to touch the Saviour's garment, but there stands the promise, with God behind it: "Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Isa. 58:9-11). . . . "It is not our efforts that bring victory. It is seeing God behind the promise, and believing and trusting Him. Grasp by faith the hand of infinite power. The Lord is faithful who hath promised." "There are critics who, if you listen to their words, will rob you of all heart and hope. Do not allow them to discourage you. Say, "God abideth faithful. He cannot deny Himself." He has given to every man his work, and He calls upon all to begin to work just where they are. He cannot do what He desires to do until the human agent acts his part." _ The Upward Look, p. 133

 

What assurance may we have as we face the assaults of Satan each day? 1 Cor. 10:13

"This promise is to you, my beloved sister. Jesus loves you. You have been purchased by the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave His precious life to redeem you. Through faith, you are a child of promise. In giving Jesus, in that one precious Gift, our heavenly Father gave you all the treasures of heaven. And when you come to God in prayer, bear in mind that He is your Father, and that He regards you as His child. He looks upon you with the most tender pity. He will not forsake you, though you may be the weakest, the very feeblest of His creatures. If you put your trust in Him, He abideth faithful. "You are not to entertain the thought that because you have made mistakes and your life has been darkened with errors, your heavenly Father does not love you and therefore has forsaken you. No, dear sister. I tell you NO! Jesus loves you still. His eye is upon you, and He "will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13). _ Manuscript Releases, Vol. 12, p. 34                     

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

Does God's faithfulness depend on man's faithfulness?              

                                                                                                                                   

Part 5: Longsuffering

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                             

In spite of His longsuffering what decision will God finally have to take? Rev. 22:11 (See 2 Chron. 36:15,16)                     

                                   

                       

Part 6: Holiness

                                                                                               

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isa 6:3)

"These holy beings sang forth the praise and glory of God with lips unpolluted with sin. The contrast between the feeble praise which he [Isaiah] had been accustomed to bestow upon the Creator and the fervid praises of the seraphim, astonished and humiliated the prophet. . . . "The seraphim before the throne are so filled with reverential awe in beholding the glory of God that they do not for an instant look upon themselves with self-complacency, or in admiration of themselves or one another. Their praise and glory are for the Lord of Hosts. . . . They are fully satisfied to glorify God; and in His presence, beneath His smile of approbation, they wish for nothing more. In bearing His image, in doing His service and worshiping Him, their highest ambition is fully reached. "While he [Isaiah] listened to the song of the angels, . . . the glory, the infinite power, and the unsurpassed majesty of the Lord passed before his vision, and was impressed upon his soul. In the light of this matchless radiance that made manifest all he could bear in the revelation of the divine character, his own inward defilement stood out before him with startling clearness. His very words seemed vile to him." _ Conflict and Courage, p. 233

 

What effect does the manifestation of the presence of a holy God have upon men? Isa. 6:4; Gen. 3:8

"Thus when the servant of God is permitted to behold the glory of the God of heaven, as He is unveiled to humanity, and realizes to a slight degree the purity of the Holy One of Israel, he will make startling confessions of the pollution of his soul, rather than proud boasts of his holiness. . . . This is not that voluntary humility and servile self-reproach that so many seem to consider it a virtue to display. This vague mockery of humility is prompted by hearts full of pride and self-esteem. There are many who demerit themselves in words, who would be disappointed if this course did not call forth expressions of praise and appreciation from others. But the conviction of the prophet was genuine." _ Conflict and Courage, p. 233

"There can be no self-exaltation, no boastful claim to freedom from sin, on the part of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary's cross. They feel that it was their sin which caused the agony that broke the heart of the Son of God, and this thought will lead them to self-abasement. Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the merit of a crucified and risen Saviour." _ The Great Controversy, p. 471              

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

How does God express His desire that His people should be as He is? 1 Peter 1:15,16


Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

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