The One True God

Nothing is more important than knowing God rightly.  Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  Knowing God means more than just knowing about God, but it certainly doesn’t mean less than that.  Knowing God means knowing him intimately in a relationship of fellowship, but in any such relationship there’ll also be knowledge of the facts about the other person.  This is why true faith is said to consist of three elements:  knowledge, assent, and personal confidence.  It’s essential for us as Christians to know some key teachings about the one true God.

God is Spirit

In John 4:24, our Lord said that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  This isn’t saying anything about the Holy Spirit.  Instead, what it means is that, in his essence, God isn’t a physical being, but a spiritual one.  Although he has sometimes revealed himself with human forms (“theophanies”), God isn’t a physical being like we are.  The only qualifier we have to add to that is that he did come in human flesh in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is Personal

God isn’t an impersonal force or power.  Rather, he has all the characteristics of a “someone.”  Most importantly of all, he is someone with whom we can have a relationship through Jesus Christ.  Perhaps one of the greatest challenges that sinful human beings face when thinking about God is the tendency to depersonalize him and think of him as an object, a concept, or a “something.”  To counter that, Scripture says, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account” (Heb. 4:13).  Impersonal forces don’t have eyes.  You don’t give an account to impersonal forces.

God is Infinitely Perfect in All His Attributes

God is described in Scripture as having many characteristics or attributes.  The Belgic Confession mentions some of these in its first article.  We confess that God is “eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable (unchangeable), infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good.”  Some of these attributes can be shared by human beings to varying degrees – we call those communicable attributes.  Examples include wisdom and goodness.  Other attributes are incommunicable – we cannot share them, they are unique to God.  Examples include God’s incomprehensibility and immutability.  Nevertheless, all of God’s attributes exist in him to an infinite degree of perfection.

God is Triune

 The Bible is clear that there is but one God (e.g. Deut. 6:4).  However, the Bible also speaks about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and describes each of these as God as well.  Each person has divine attributes, does divine works, and receives divine honours.  This is the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity.  The best way to express it is in the words of the Belgic Confession, article 8, “…we believe in one only God, who is one single essence, in which there are three persons…”

How We Know God

If knowing God really is so important, then we’d better endeavour to do so!  The Bible tells us that we know God to a limited degree from nature (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:19-20).  However, to really know God in a saving way, we need his complete revelation in the Bible.  If you’re going to know God in the way of a healthy relationship, you need to be busy with the Bible, both through its proclamation in church and through your own personal engagement with it.