The Essence of God
Thus says the Lord, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the Lord. (Jer 9:23–24)
The Apostle Paul subordinated everything in his life to one goal: "that I may know Him" (Phi 3:10). This greatest of all the apostles counted everything else in life as skor, "dung," compared to "the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phi 3:8). There is no higher knowledge in life than the knowledge of God. It is God’s desire that we understand Him and that this understanding give us the courage to conquer, as the heroes of Hebrews 11 conquered, by seeing Him who is unseen (Heb 11:27). As we learn to concentrate our thoughts on the essence and the attributes of God rather than on ourselves and our circumstances, we gradually come to realize that we could not possibly ever have a problem that He cannot solve. We begin to understand that we do not always have to know what God is doing; we only have to know that He knows what He is doing.
  1. Sovereignty (Dan 4:34–35). God’s divine will is above every will; He always has everything under control. He, as Creator, is king—ruler over all His creation. He has assigned to every living thing its place in the universe and the scope of its freedom and authority. If we know this to be true, then we should be able, in the midst of the most difficult circumstances, in the darkest times of our lives, to give thanks to Him. Only when we acknowledge His sovereignty and yield ourselves to it can we rest, knowing that we occupy the only safe place in the universe—the center of His will (Psa 46:10, Psa 97:1; 1Co 15:25; Jud 25).
  2. Righteousness (Psa 145:17). God is absolute righteousness, perfect goodness. It is impossible for Him to do anything wrong. He is holy and free from sin or wrong—guiltless. He is absolutely righteous both in His person (Jam 1:17; 1Jo 1:5) and in His ways (Rom 3:25–26). He cannot look upon or have fellowship with that which is anything less than absolute righteousness. Because He is perfect and right, His plan is perfect and right. If we understand this, then we should realize that whatever He does or allows in our lives is perfect because it is part of His perfect plan and His perfect person. If we know that He can never make a mistake with us, we can be thankful in all things (Gen 18:25; Psa 11:7; Psa 71:24; Psa 111:3; Jer 23:6).
  3. Justice (Deu 32:4). God is absolutely just; it is impossible for Him to do anything unfair. By virtue of His being the Creator, God has the absolute right of authority over His creatures. He has given to man fair and righteous laws which every one of us has broken (Rom 3:23). God’s righteousness demands that disobedience against His laws be punished. God’s justice fulfilled that demand when God the Son on the cross took the punishment for all men’s sin and disobedience. Because of this, God is just (fair and right) to forgive anyone who accepts Christ’s provision. He is also just to condemn anyone who rejects His provision. God’s justice will see to it that everything that falls in line with His righteousness will be blessed and everything that does not will be cursed. Understanding God’s justice should not only give us the constant assurance that even if the world treats us unfairly, God never will; but it should also remind us that He—who is the only one who knows all the facts—will always discipline the unbelief and reward the faith of His children in His perfect time (Mat 5:45; 1Pe 1:17; Jam 3:17).
  4. Love (1Jo 4:8; 1Jo 4:16). Agape, the love that is part of the essence of God, is nothing like the love that man produces. God’s love is part of His eternal Being and thus can never be increased, diminished, or changed. Long before God created anything, love existed among the three Persons of the Trinity. The love that God extends to man is an impersonal love in the sense that it is not based on the goodness or integrity of the person who is the object of love, but on the goodness and integrity of God. God does not love us because of who we are, but because of who He is. The love of God extended to man is not an emotion or a feeling. It is a divine passion for the ultimate good of men. It is not passive; it is active. It is not casual; it is sacrificial. God’s love is exemplified in Joh 3:16 and Rom 5:8. God Himself was the initiator; He made the ultimate sacrifice not for those who were eager and ready to know and serve Him, but for those in rebellion, for enemies. If we understand this love of God, we know that no matter how lonely or isolated or forsaken we may feel, God loves us. If God is love, then whatever happens to us is an expression of His love (Eph 2:4; 1Jo 3:1; 1Jo 4:9; 1Jo 4:16).
  5. Eternal Life (1Ti 1:17). God always has existed and always will exist. He is the source of all life. He is not subject to time, because He existed before time was and is, in fact, the inventor of time. Therefore, God always sees everything from the eternal perspective. He always has our welfare in view, not only for time but also for eternity. If we understand this, we can be thankful under any circumstances because we know absolutely that God is working for our eternal good (Psa 111:3; Isa 9:6; 2Pe 3:8).
  6. Omniscience (1Jo 3:20). All knowledge belongs to God. He knows everything past, present, and future, everything actual and everything possible. He also understands all things. He has known and understood everything forever. He cannot be confused or surprised. Nothing is news to God. If we understand that God is omniscient, then we will always know that a wisdom greater than our own is in control of circumstances and situations. We will always know where to go with our questions and problems (Job 42:2; Psa 139:3; Rom 8:27; Heb 4:13).
  7. Omnipotence (Rev 19:6). God is infinitely, awesomely powerful. He is able to accomplish anything that He wills, but He never abuses His power and He never wills to accomplish anything contrary to His holy nature. If we understand this, then we need never doubt His ability to keep His promises, to answer our prayers, or to carry out His plan. We can be thankful in the face of our own weakness, because we know His strength (Gen 18:14; Job 26:14; Psa 62:11; Isa 26:4; Col 1:11).
  8. Omnipresence (Jer 23:24). God is always in all places. He fills the entire universe. This means He can see and hear everything all the time and is always present in every circumstance of our lives. Because God is omnipotent and omnipresent and independent of time, He always has time for everyone. He can give full attention to each of us as if we were the only person on earth. If we understand this, then we know with absolute certainty that we are never alone, never outside the sphere of His care (Psa 139:3; Psa 139:7–10; Pro 15:3).
  9. Immutability (Heb 13:8). God has never changed and will never change. He can neither increase nor decrease. His essence and attributes will always remain the same, no matter what. If we understand this, then we can rest in the fact that no matter how inconsistent or unstable or undependable we are, God will always be consistent, stable, and dependable. When we feel like He no longer loves us or does not understand us or cannot help us, we can ignore our feelings because we know the fact of His immutability (Mal 3:6; Heb 1:12; Jam 1:17).
  10. Veracity (Psa 33:4). Because God is truth itself, He always acts in veracity ("devotion to the truth or truthfulness") and in faithfulness toward man. Because it is impossible for God to lie, we know that His every word to us is true. The Bible is God’s revelation of truth to man. We can always depend on His Word. If we know that God is true and that His Word is true, and if we claim His promises, then the essence of God will become a source of encouragement to us. We will be able to pray in faith, to pray without ceasing, and to pray with thanksgiving (Num 23:19; Psa 57:3; Psa 100:5; Psa 119:160).
To help young people commit the essence of God to memory, Gary Horton, former Army Ranger and now a youth missionary, composed the following sentence. Each large letter is the first letter in one of the ten attributes of God:
Stop and
Love, then
Obstacle will become an
Opportunity for you to drive
This material was originally a highlighted topic in "The Basics".

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