We have already examined God’s love as expressed through His Person (i.e. intellect, sensibility, and volition) as well as His Nature (i.e. divine, holy, and spirit). This week, we will examine His love expressed through His character. A person’s character is their moral qualities or attributes.
God’s character is good (cf. Psalm 100:5). God has many moral qualities. We are going to examine three of the most prominent character qualities of God. We can begin with the goodness of God. God is good. I used to be confused by the prayer, “God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.” I was confused because it seemed to me that being “good” was less than being “great.” As if it were a step down in the prayer. However, when I understand that each word is describing different aspects of God, then I understood the prayer more appropriately. For example, “God is great” describes the great power of God’s divine nature. “God is good” describes the moral standard of God’s character. Imagine an all-powerful being (i.e. great) that is not also good. I am thankful that Satan is not all-powerful. God’s goodness means that God is the final standard of good, and all that God is and does is worthy of approval. God expresses His goodness through grace, mercy, and patience. The goodness of God is expressed through grace, which is unmerited favor. I think of it as receiving something you don’t deserve. The goodness of God is also expressed through mercy, which is not receiving something you do deserve. Mercy is often expressed to those in distress or misery. Third, the goodness of God is expressed through patience, which is God’s delay of punishment.
God’s character is righteous (cf. Psalm 119:137). God’s righteousness means that God always acts in accordance with what is right and is Himself the final standard of what is right. In English the terms righteousness and justice are different words, but in both the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT there is only one word group behind these two English terms. Think of God’s righteousness this way… when God takes action, we know that His actions will always be right. Abraham knew that God’s actions in dealing with humanity were always right, “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
God’s character is truthful (cf. Psalm 119:160). God’s truthfulness means that He is the true God, and that all His knowledge and words are both true and the final standard of truth (cf. John 17:3; 1 John 5:20). God’s truthfulness is expressed through His faithfulness. God will always do what He has said and fulfill what He has promised (cf. Numbers 23:19; 2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 141:6).
When we consider the essence of God’s character is love, we are suggesting that every action of God flows from the love of God. Love is not merely an attribute or virtue of God. Love is the very essence of God that is evidenced through His person, nature, and character.
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."