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Questions and Answers | Loving One Another

Can you provide me with a definition or statement of who God is?

Your request is at once huge and wonderful. The question of who God is cannot be answered in one short paragraph. It is the inquiry of a lifetime, and even in the unbounded scope of eternity, fresh and thrilling vistas of who God is will unfold forever (Eph. 2:7).

Since God is infinite, it is impossible for finite beings to define Him, but based on what He has revealed of Himself in Scripture, the following is my feeble, brief, and yet joyful attempt to explain who He is. The One True God is the God of the Bible, an infinite and supreme being (Deut. 6:4), the Creator (Gen. 1:1) and Sustainer of the universe (Heb. 1:3). He is spirit, light, and love (John 4:24; 1 John 1:5; 4:8). He is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17), self-sufficient (Rom. 11:33–36), unchangeable in His essential being (Ps. 102:25–27; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17), and eternal (Ps. 90:2; Rev. 1:8; 4:8).

The God of the Bible is the Almighty (Rev. 1:8) and all-knowing One (Ps. 139:1–6), everywhere pre- sent in the fullness of His being (Ps. 139:7–12). He is living One—eternally vigorous, eternally flourishing, thriving, and gushing with the infinite oceans and springs of His own glorious life and goodness (1 Tim. 4:10). He is the blessed One—inherently whole, overflowing with well-being and joy (Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 1:11). He is the “only wise” (Rom. 16:27), the three-times Holy One (Isa. 6:3), existing forever in the unity of His being in three distinct and inseparable persons or personal self-distinctions—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). What a joy and privilege it is to know and serve our God!

I hear a lot about justice these days. As a Christian, should I be concerned about justice issues?

As Christians we should be concerned about justice because God is concerned about justice. Justice is one of the perfections of God, and He is a lover of justice (Isa. 61:8). Furthermore, He is the source of all biblical manifestations of justice (Isa. 30:18). According to Micah 6:8, the Lord requires that His followers act with justice. This justice is not determined by our culture or social activism, but rooted in the gospel and the righteousness of God demonstrated at the cross of Christ.

Justice, according to the Bible, is a comprehensive term. It is rightness rooted in God’s character and in His Word that expresses itself practically in righteous and fair dealing with other people. Our practice of biblical justice is our response to the saving work of the Lord in our lives, a response that expresses itself in fairness in all our social relationships, fair dealings in all our institutions, and rightness and fairness in the development of human structures in order to promote human flourishing in the name of Jesus. Justice signifies God’s intended order for the whole of life. It includes legal justice, but its meaning is broader, embracing all of life. Biblical justice is needed in our world today because the same injustice that plagued ancient Israel plagues us. Widespread personal and social injustice fills the land (Mic. 2:1– 2; 3:9–12), leaders are corrupt (3:1–4), the prophets mislead God’s people (3:5–6), and the breakdown of trust among family members and neighbors is rampant (7:2–6). God’s people are to be a redemptive channel through which the refreshing and powerful gospel rivers of justice flow to our world.

In 1 John 2:7–8, John says the commandment is old and new. How can the commandment be old and new at the same time?

The words “old” and “new” used to describe the same commandment highlight two vital aspects of the commandment and the Word of God in general. “I am writing you no new commandment but an old commandment that you had from the beginning,” John writes. “At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you” (1 John 2:7–8).

The commandment John refers to is old because it was from the beginning of our Lord’s earthly ministry and its origin is from the Lord Himself (1 John 1:5; 3:11). Beginnings still matter. Even though John is writing about 60 years after the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the commandment has not changed, and its origin is still divine. In this sense it is old.

At the same time, the commandment is new in that it is fresh, and its power can and should be experienced in fresh ways. While Christianity is an “old” belief, each believer experiences Christianity in a “new” and fresh way. The oldness and newness of the commandment teaches us a vital lesson: We do not alter Christianity. It must be experienced anew and in fresh ways by every generation of Christ followers.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is Vice President and Dean of Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School. An ordained minister, Winfred has served churches across the city of Chicago, the near west suburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He is the author of How to Overcome Worry (Moody Publishers) and a contributor to the Moody Bible Commentary and Moody Handbook of Preaching. Winfred and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren.

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