Tag Archives: Isaiah

Attributes of God Part 2: God is Righteous and Holy

God's Righteousness
Isaiah Experienced the Righteousness of God in Isaiah 6

It was probably about the 1980’s that secular “marketing” experts began to move into the Christian church. These experts showed how through proper marketing, you can sell anything. If these secular techniques worked for selling cars and soap, they certainly should work to sell the “gospel”. Out of such thinking was born the “Seeker Sensitive” church and the “Purpose Driven” life.

At the start, these movements were not patently evil, just terribly misguided. The idea was, in effect, we want more people to “accept” Christ, and more people to “believe” the Bible. The church can get more people to “accept” Christ if we make Him more acceptable, and more people will “believe” the Bible if we make it more believable. We can help the process of accept and believe along if we basically tell people what they want to hear. We can “sell” the Gospel better if we describe a god of Love who expects nothing of us.

As a result of this we have ended up with a church that preaches an “acceptable” gospel that depends on the techniques and tricks of secular man instead of the Power of God and His Holy Spirit.

One of the outcomes of this secular gospel is that God is presented more as a cool dude, just like us, than the Righteous, Holy, Lawgiving, Judging, Returning KING of Kings and LORD of Lords. In effect we have lost any sense of fear and trembling as we consider Him. We have created a god in our own image, and our god expects little to nothing from us, and is always pleased with us.

To begin to develop a more Biblical view of God, there is no better place to start than Isaiah 6. Isaiah was a prophet, and one of the most Holy men who ever lived. Isaiah was unique in that he actually got to get a glimpse of God sitting on His thrown. It is one of only three places in the Bible where we get any type of description of the throne room of God. Please prayerfully read and consider Isaiah 6:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

So I said:

“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it,and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:

“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”

Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

This chapter demonstrates the Holiness and Righteousness of God. Notice that God is surrounded by Seraphim, a special type of angel, that constantly encircle the throne and declare the Glory and Holiness of Him who sits upon the throne. The magnificence of the seraphim themselves is almost beyond comprehension, but notice that the glory of God is so great that even they can not look upon Him, but are given two special wings to cover their faces, so as to not look upon the King.  The seraphim have voices that thunder, and shake the room, and the room is filled with smoke.

Next we should notice the response of Isaiah to the Holiness and Righteousness of God. He does not wander up to the throne and give God a high five. He does not go give the King of Glory a knuckle bump or a slap on the back. No, Isaiah falls to his knees in fear, trembling and repentance.

Over 300 times the Bible warns us to “fear” God. The modern church often teaches that this word, “fear” really means “respect”. My friend, we need to remember that God had full command of the language, and had he intended to convey the concept of “respect” He would have chosen that word. But He did not. He chose the word “fear”. While there are many facets of our relationship with God, it is important to remember that one aspect of our relationship wit Him is that we should fear Him. Certainly the response of Isaiah to the Holiness and Righteousness of God was one of fear and repentance.

Isaiah falls to his knees before the Lord, and in fear and trembling he is totally aware of his sin, and in complete brokenness he confesses his sins. He also confesses that God is both Lord and King.

Then we notice God’s response to Isaiah’s fear, trembling,  repentance and confession. God does not tell Isaiah that he is wrong in his assessment of himself and the situation. He does not try and build Isaiah’s self esteem. He basically acknowledges Isaiah’s unworthiness, and in His mercy and sovereignty uniquely provides atonement for Isaiah via a coal from the alter, so that Isaiah is not consumed by being in the presence of a Holy God.

We know that our atonement comes through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Isaiah 6 occurred before the atoning sacrifice of Christ, but yet this verse gives us a glimpse of the redemptive model of God. Ask yourself what was the role of Isaiah and what was the role of God in this redemptive picture? Isaiah’s atonement did not stem from his worthiness, obedience, or righteousness. It was solely and completely a gift from God, based on God’s mercy and His sovereignty. It had nothing to do with Isaiah. For his part, Isaiah recognized, confessed and repented of his sinfulness and wickedness, and when the atonement was offered, he simply accepted it.

The next part of the picture is the response of Isaiah to his receiving the atonement. The Lord was looking for someone to deliver His message to His people, and Isaiah said “Here am I! Send me.”

The thing to notice is that Isaiah’s obedience did not lead to his forgiveness, it followed after. God provided atonement for Isaiah through the hot coal, and Isaiah’s response was then to follow and obey God.

The primary teaching of Isaiah 6 is to demonstrate the Holiness and Righteousness of God. However, in studying the text, God can also be seen as King, Judge, and Savior.

My prayer is that as you study and ponder Isaiah 6 you will come away with a renewed sense of the holiness and righteousness of God. That you will be careful to maintain an element of fear as you approach your Christian walk. That you will render to God the reverence demanded by His nature and His glory. My prayer is that you will never take lightly His magnificent nature, and that you would hold as precious His mighty name.

PART 1: Attributes of God

Eagle Nebula
God’s Majestic Creative Power are illustrated in this picture of the Eagle Nebula

In this articles, I would like for us to begin a study on the Attributes of God. We all have beliefs on the nature of God, but we need to ensure that we are genuinely contemplating the God of the Bible, and not a god of our popular culture, the god of popular t-shirt slogans,  or the god of our own creation.

Certainly, fully understanding the attributes of God is a large undertaking. One could spend a lifetime of study, and yet still not fully grasp His awesome power and majesty. However, even though we might not fully comprehend His splendor, it seems a good pursuit to endeavor to each day understand Him better.

We are given two magnificent tools to understand the attributes of God, and they work together, hand in hand. We are given His Word, the Holy Bible, and we are given His Holy Spirit. We need both to understand Him. If we contemplate and study His Word, we can draw on His Holy Spirit to guide us in a more perfect understanding of who He is. The Word and the Spirit work together.

One could start in Genesis, and then read the Bible cover-to-cover and make a list of all the attributes of God. I could give you that long list, but I think it is more beneficial to begin to uncover that list by looking at two verses that reveal to us key aspects of God’s character. We will begin by looking at Jeremiah 9:23-24 and Isaiah 33:22. We will then make a starting list of attributes from these two verses, and then in following articles, we will examine more in depth each of the attributes by cross referencing many other Biblical texts.

We will begin our study in Jeremiah 9:23-24:

23 Thus says the Lord:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

 Note that in the opening lines of this passage, we are told that we are not to glory in our wisdom, might (power) or riches. I think it is wise for each of us to ponder this instruction. If I were honest, I would have to say that I spent my youth in pursuit of wisdom, fame, fortune and power. I always sought the spotlight, more money, more fame and more powerful positions. Eventually I realized the emptiness and shallowness of these pursuits. The more I achieved these goals, the more empty I was left.

Then one day my heart was changed. My passion became to begin to pursue the things of God instead of the things of the world. It was at this point that I truly found peace in my life.

The beauty of this verse is that it instructs us not just in the things NOT to pursue, but tells us what our passion should be . . . “But let him who glories, glory in this, That he understands and know Me”.

The passion of our lives should be to Know God and Understand God.

This passage then goes on to give us a starting point in knowing and understanding God by listing some of His attributes. We can see that God is LORD, God is Love, God is Righteous, and God is Judge.

We can further learn of the attributes of God from Isaiah 33:22, which says:

22 For the Lord is our judge,

the Lord is our lawgiver,

the Lord is our king;

he will save us.

In this passage we see that God is Lord, Judge, Lawgiver, King and our Savior.

So, with these two verses we have a pretty good start on studying some key attributes of God.

God is Lord

God is King

God is Lawgiver

God is Judge

God is Righteous and Holy

God is Love

God is our Savior

In our popular culture, we have unfortunately chosen to contemplate only two of the attributes of God, God as love and savior. Unfortunately, a focus on only two of His characteristics can lead to serious error, and in fact can create an image of God that might lose the power to save. When we only believe in a god of love and  that saves, we are left free to live our lives on our own terms. A god of love is a god that accepts our choices. We make the rules, we live life on our own terms, and god will love, bless and save us. All we have to do is believe in this god we have created, and then he loves and saves us. This indeed is a very attractive thing to believe, but unfortunately, it is not the God of the Bible.

As we begin to get into this study, what I hope you will come to realize is that we can not genuinely understand God as love and God as savior until we first learn just how much trouble we are in. We must first learn of God as Righteous, Holy, King, Lawgiver, and Judge, and only then can we genuinely understand and know the full measure of His love and the magnificent and awesome nature of his Saving Atonement.

This is an analogy I will give. Consider a stoplight. It has three attributes. It can be red, it can be yellow or it can be green. Imagine as you go about your day, you see people always talking about the stop light . . . “The Stoplight is Green”, “Green means Go”, “Go, Go, Go, the stoplight is always green!”. This description of a stoplight is not wrong, it is just incomplete, and this incomplete understanding of a stoplight can lead to deadly consequences. The light is not always green and not understanding that could lead you into a deadly collision.

Similarly with God. Yes God is love. But He is also King, Lawgiver and Judge. Failure to understand these could leave you missing out on the attribute you desire . . . His love.

Since most people grasp the “love” attribute of God already, in this series, I will begin by examining the attributes we tend to ignore. Then as we develop an understanding of God as King, Lawgiver and Judge, then we can more fully appreciate His attributes of Love and Savior.

Next Up: Read Part 2, God is Holy and Righteous.