Attributes represent qualities,
characteristics, or properties that contribute to the way we see or know or someone. Our Triune God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one. He reigns over all, sees all, hears all, and compassionately, faithfully,and righteously loves all. No matter what is unraveling from where we sit, His promises remain true. He is close to the brokenhearted, because He is who He is: “I am,” Most High, Yahweh, Savior, Defender, Protector, and good, good Father. “The two truths that have the most transformative power in your life are that you are God’s child and God is a good Father,” says Andrea Lucado. Hold onto the truths that reveal His character when the ways of this world have us clinging on for dear life.
What Does the Bible Tell Us about God’s Attributes?
The New Testament Greek Lexicon says the helmet of salvation is “the protection of the souls which consists in (the hope of) salvation.” One of the root words emphasizes the literal gravity of losing our heads. Our bodies can’t operate without them. Hebrews 4:12 explains the sword of the Spirit: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” God’s word effortlessly cuts through the toughest hearts.
God’s Word is reliable and trustworthy. Isaiah 55:11 states “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” God’s Word reveals who He is. When we search for Him with all of our hearts, we will find Him there (Jeremiah 29:13). When everything in your life feels crazy, hold on to these 11 attributes of God.
1. God, Our Creator
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11 (NIV)
God spoke creation into being. The name for God, our Creator, is Elohim. All creation exists to honor Him, including us. God draws us to Him. In moments of frenzy, it’s important to remember who He is. We’ve been created purposefully, and are loved audaciously by Yahweh, translated LORD (in all caps) in most English translations of the Bible. “God aims to be known not as a generic deity, but as a specific person with a name that carries his unique character and mission,” said John Piper. God is not hiding from us. He wants to be found and meets us where we are. Our Creator knows where to find us and waits patiently for us to engage with Him.
2. God Reigns
“The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” Psalm 97:1 (ESV)
Old Testament prophets and writers often referenced the story of God’s people as a testament to His reign. God promised Abraham his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. He rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and split the Red Sea to protect them. Jeremiah, amidst his message of the consequential destruction due to rebellion against God, spoke of the Messiah to come. Jesus fulfilled that promise, and God will continue to carry out His plan, eternally. John Piper said “Christ is risen from the dead and reigns over the world forever. If Christ has conquered the last enemy, what can man do to you?” When we’re unraveling, remember He is not moved.
3. God is Faithful
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Tim 2:13 (NASB)
God’s faithfulness is perhaps best characterized by the keeping of His covenant with His people. “Life has many unanswered questions, but be settled about God’s faithfulness to you,” writes Max Lucado. He continues,“Romans 8:32 declares, If God ‘did not spare his own Son but have him for us all,’ will he not also give you all you need…” In Exodus 20:6 it says, “but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (NASB). God isn’t asking for our perfection, rather our hearts.
4. God is Holy
“There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2 ESV
God’s character is unmoved, unmatched and eternally sustaining. His holiness is sacred and set apart. We are commanded to be holy, because He is (1 Peter 1:16). The ongoing growth of our Christian faith is the maturation of holiness in our hearts to match His. This attribute cuts through what we cannot see and determine in our own hearts, and the hearts of others. In his message, John Piper said “God’s holiness is his infinite value as the absolutely unique, morally perfect, permanent person that He is and who by grace made himself accessible – His infinite value as the absolutely unique, morally perfect, permanent person that He is.”
5. God is Good
“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.” Psalm 31:19 (NLT)
God’s plans for us are good. He knows every day of our lives before we take our first breath, and longs to bless us. Earning God’s love and blessing is impossible, and Jesus’s death paid the price for our sin. Out of His goodness, He is good to us. In Crosswalk.com’s First15 devotional, it says “Goodness is something meant to be experienced and then believed, not the other way around.” God’s goodness is all around us, because He is all around us. As Christians living in the New Covenant, His goodness is in us because the Holy Spirit of the Living God is in us!
6. God is Patient
“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15 (ESV)
In Exodus 16:1-19, the Israelites had just been rescued from slavery and escorted through the middle of the Red Sea. Shortly afterwards, they complained and wished to go back to Egypt or die because they were hungry. God’s response was to provide for them! “God doesn’t just show us patience. He is Patience. It’s how He defines Himself,” wrote Liz Curtis Higgs. God is patient with us, too. Though we continue to sin, He has made a way for us to be with Him eternally, through Christ. His is slow to anger, leading us to repentance, and others to Himself.
7. God is Merciful
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:23-33 (ESV)
God’s mercy is evident in the break of each new day. As the sun splits the sky into pastels, so God wipes away the darkness of the day before. “Why,” writes Dave Zuleger, “after a night of complete dependence on God in sleep, do we so often wake up in anxious self-reliance?” Only God can negate carrying over grievances into the next day. We hold a record of wrongs, but He does not. For all who confess Jesus is their Savior and repent of their sins, the slate is continually wiped clean. That is mercy.
8. God is Compassionate
“I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Exodus 33:19 (ESV)
The middle of John 17:6 reads, “They were always yours,” signifying the powerful draw of God’s presence in all of us. He calls us, and then we seek Him. He has woven our desire for Him into our very being. He compassion is reflected in the way we were made to crave Him. It’s a comfort to remember He has always had His hand on our lives. “The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:6 ESV). Compassion is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is hurting, in pain, or has misfortune and is accompanied by a strong desire to help the suffering.” No one deserves grace, but the outpouring of Christ’s blood to make it available to all of us reflects our Father’s compassionate heart.
9. God is Joy
“For the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV)
Our joy is rooted in who God is. He is joy. It’s not a fleeting happy feeling, but an over-arching theme song reigning true in our lives. Though Job was stripped and tested, his faith in God remained. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, He stood on the Truth of God’s Word. Our joy is found in Him. It isn’t a feeling, but an attribute of God, Himself, in us. “Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul,” explains John Piper, “produced by the Holy Spirit, as He causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.” Joy is a filter through which we view the world through God’s perspective. Life will unravel at our feet, but His joy reigns, as true as He, Himself. “We experience joy because God reigns, and because He reigns, we rejoice,” says Grace Fox.
Photo credit: Thinkstock/Eziutka
10. God is Love
“God is love.” 1 John 4:8b (ESV)
God’s love is more than a feeling or a note of admonishment, it’s a commitment. Psalm 98:3 says,“He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” God’s love and faithfulness are often strung together in biblical prose as lovingkindness. One cannot exist without the other, because both are attributed to who God is. Pastor Colin Smith writes that “Paul is saying to believers in 2 Thessalonians 3:5, ‘I want something better for you. I want your soul to be filled with the love of God.’” Jesus died on the cross out of His love for us. He remains with us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because He loves us. He is committed to love us. Love is who He is. He will faithfully love us eternally.
11. God is Forgiving.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
Forgiveness is an outpouring of God’s love. No one deserves to be forgiven, yet God chooses to offer it to all of us through Jesus Christ. True forgiveness flows from the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The very nature of His plan for His people is expressed through the way of forgiveness and restoration. In a BibleStudyTools.com article, it says “when we forgive others, we are not saying what they did was OK, but we are releasing them to God and letting go of its hold on us.” Unforgiveness is toxic to our souls. Created in His image, it’s important to purge any grudges or bitterness lodged into the corners of our hearts. 1 John 1:9 reassures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
There are Many Other Attributes of God
There are additional attributes of God to be discovered and cherished. He is just, protective, personal, righteous, the living water, light, hope and peace. He is trustworthy, and He cares about each of us. Though hard moments will never fade to black this side of heaven, we can amplify the sound of His voice above all others.
“Megs” writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. (https://sunnyand80.org) Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.” She loves teaching God’s Word and leading her Monday morning Bible study, being a mom, distance running and photography. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Golden-Doodle … all avidCleveland Browns fans.