The Character of God
Properties #5 & #6
God is Eternal & God is Glorious
So far we have looked at four of the properties of God’s Holiness. We have learned about God’s wrath, His righteousness, His power and His constancy in change. We move to properties 5 & 6. God is Eternal and God in His Glory. Let’s get right to it:
5. God is Eternal
When we talk about God being eternal we have to make sure we also understand that God doesn’t have a beginning. To say He is eternal is to not only say He has no end, but He also doesn’t have a beginning. God has always been therefore He is eternal in every way.
Humans are created. We have a beginning and if we receive the grace of Jesus and the salvation He offers we can become eternally alive in Him. Yet the Psalmist says it best in Psalm 90:2, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” As Jesus says in the Revelation written by John, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13.) The Holiness of God speaks to the only one who is everlasting.
The eternal character of God also shows that He is not encompassed by time. Time does not control God, but God works within time. The eternity of God shows that He is above time. Isaiah 57:15 say, “For this is what the high and exalted One says – He who lives forever, whose name is holy:…” The angels sang at the birth of Jesus, “Glory to God in the highest…” (Luke 2:14.) Remember the words of Isaiah when He experience God in Isaiah 6, “In the year King Uzziah died, I say the Lord, High and Exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1.) Over and over the Lord is seen Highly Exalted above the earth. He is not only above time, but He is present in time.
We see this displayed nowhere greater than in the very person of Jesus. God choose to become a part of time to bring salvation to all mankind. The very essence of God being eternal is the fact that He could insert Himself into the time continuum of mankind. The book of John records these words, “The word was made flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14.) Jesus was the personhood of God living in time. Matthew records this very fact when the angel spoke to Joseph in Matthew 1:23, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us.’”.) Over and over again in John Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30.) Jesus was in time, but not control by time. He allow Himself to be included in the continuum of time.
God is also beyond time. He is above time and in time, but He is beyond time. God can tells us He is the “same yesterday, today and forever,” because time doesn’t change God. It is part of His holiness, His separateness. The Bible says that God is the “God of hope.” (Romans 15:13.) Hope is a futuristic word that points to more than just a guess. The “hope” of the Bible is something that you can expect. God’s presence in the future is a sure thing communicated by the “hope” in God.
Another example of God’s futuristic character is the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in the present is the mark of the Christian for the future. The Holy Spirit resides within our soul and is the mark of God in our lives. Some religions see this as that then they become “gods.” Yet God in us the Bible says, “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27.) The God living us in the personhood of the Holy Spirit is showing us how to live and how to adapt to the world around us. God is beyond time in the fact that He gives us something beyond this life.
God controls time, but He is not bound by time. His timing is perfect. He is steady throughout time. God answers the question of His Holiness as eternal in Isaiah by stating, “I, the Lord, the first, and with the last, I am He.” (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12.) He reaffirms this in the New Testament in Romans 11:26, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” We never have to doubt the totality of God. The fact that He is eternal lends itself to His Holiness.
6. The Glory of Go
We see God’s glory when we see His manifested presence. He is omnipresent. Yet we do not understand the Holiness of His deeds. In the song sung after the crossing of the Red Sea we find these words, “Who is like thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, majestic in holiness, terrible in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11.) Moody says, “His majestic holiness is seen in His “glorious deeds.”* We see the “shekinah” glory shown on Moses’ face when He comes down from the mountain where He encountered God. “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.” This radiance shows forth the glory of God. No one else shines like God.
We see this exhibited in the writings of Ezekiel. In a Jewish scholar’s writing he said that “It was Ezekiel who saw the vision of glory.” Ezekiel talks of God’s glory as something that can be seen, “Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord. (Ezekiel 10:4.) In this story of Ezekiel the very glory of the Lord removes itself from the temple. Ezekiel describes it very vividly.
The Psalms also talks of the glory of the Lord. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of thy hands.” (Psalm 19:1.) “Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.” (Psalm 29:1.) “BE exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.” (Psalm 57:11.) “Praise be to His glorious name forever, may the whole earth be filled with His glory.” (Psalm 72:19.) The psalmist was very insistent on the glory of God. He recognized God’s uniqueness translates into the glory of God.
The New Testament speaks to God’s glory. We again see this so evident in the incarnation of Jesus. James the brother of Jesus calls Him “the Lord of Glory.” (James 2:1.) Peter is looking forward to the glory we will see in the Lord’s second coming, “To the elders among you. I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed.” (1 Peter 5:1.)
But nowhere is this glory more evident than in the transfiguration of Jesus found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. This scene where Jesus goes up a mountain with Peter, James and John. There before their eyes the glory of God comes down and envelopes them. They look and see Moses and Elijah standing with Jesus. In Matthew’s account Peter is ready to build tabernacles for them all to live and abide in for worship. Yet in the account the voice of God is heard, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” (Matthew 17:5.) The majesty and glory of God was confirmed and displayed and later recorded for all of us to see.
Paul also got in on the act of recognizing the Holiness of God seen in His glory. “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for it they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:9.) Paul even explains that creation is waiting to participate in the revealing of God’s Glory. Read Romans 8:18-25, but hear these words, “…that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21.)
So as we have seen the Holiness of God is revealed in His glory. We recognize the uniqueness of God’s Holiness by His glory. There is no one before since or after who deserves the glory attributed His name. We here this in the words of the apostle Paul when he claims to the church at Philippi, “Therefore God has exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11, emphasis added.)
To be holy is to be separated from all the rest. The characteristic of God’s Holiness is seen in so many properties. We have shown it to be evident in His eternal being. There is none above Him, like Him, or below Him. He is one and there is no one that even compares. The eternal God is not bound by time and space, but is God over time and space. He was not created and therefore will never be non-existent.
We must be careful not to put God in a box that limits Him in our world. He is a part of our world because He choose to be not because He has to be. This helps to make Him holy. There is no other created being that can make that claim.
Too often we speak of God in our terms and when we do we limit what God can do. If God chooses not to do something it is because He choose to limit Himself not because He is limited. We sing the song:
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord.
Holy is the Lord God Almighty.
Who was, and is and is to come.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.”
We must also recognize the property of God’s glory. God’s Holiness lends to His glory. The Old Testament writers say it in a cloud or an aura. The New Testament writers saw it in a man. You and I experience it in the Holy Spirit. The glory of God is to be seen and experienced. We see it sometimes and do not recognize it for what it is. We are blinded by our own sin and limitations that we cannot see the glory of God.
We need to be on God’s level if we are to see God’s glory. We must be submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit if we are to experience God’s glory. Moses’ face glimmered with the glory of God because it says, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” (Exodus 33:11.) We will never come to sense the glory until we learn how to speak with God. We must learn that God inhabits our praise and adoration. Until we become “Pure in heart,” we will never see God’s glory.
God’s glory is reflected in God’s actions, attitudes and service of His children. The glory of God is ready to be revealed not only in the present, but also in the future. God Holiness makes His glory like no other.
Think about you understanding of the Holiness of God. Have we place God in our time frame? Have we reduced Him to our understanding and believe that is enough? We must come to understand that God is so much more than our simple minds can conceive. He is a Holy God. We must surrender to His Holiness!!