An Exposition of the Articles of Faith
There is but one living and true God,1 immanent, transcendent, infinite in being and perfection, pure spirit,2 invisible, immutable,3 eternal, almighty, all wise,4 most holy, most free, most loving, most gracious, most merciful, longsuffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin,5 the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, and withal most just and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin. He will by no means clear the guilty.
2 John 4:24
3 Malachi 3:6a
4 Romans 11:33-34
5 Exodus 34:6-7
Following our exposition of the Trinity, we move on to consider the nature and attributes of, what we call, the first member of the Trinity: the Father. He is referred to as the Father simply because of his unique relationship to the Son. He takes priority as first, although all are equal in essence, because again, with regards to his relationship to the Son and the Spirit, whom proceeds from both.
As reminder of what we already considered with the Trinity, there is but one living and true God. In contrast to idols of stone, we worship a living God in whom there is no falsehood. Everything about God is living, and life-giving, and truthful. No deceit is found in him. The article then goes on to consider a number of his attributes:
- Immanent – He is near his creation. God is present in all of creation. There is no place where God is not.
- Transcendent – He is apart and above all of his creation. He is independent from all of his creation. All things are upheld by him and the whole universe exists to glorify him.
- Infinite – God is not bound by the laws of physics. He cannot be held in the created universe.
- Spirit – God has no body. He is not bound by our physical limitations.
- Invisible – Since he has no body, he is unable to be seen.
- Immutable – He never changes. His being and character and actions are completely and wholly and consistent from beginning to end.
- Eternal – He has existed from eternity past (before time began), and will exist until eternity’s end (which is never).
- Almighty – He is all-powerful. He can do anything within his character.
- All-Wise – He is the embodiment of wisdom and skillfully and perfectly exercises knowledge in good and moral ways.
- Most Holy – He is completely separate from anything that is sinful. God is absolutely perfect in his moral being.
- Most Free – God is not bound to do anything because of man. He does as he pleases.
- Most Loving – God’s love is boundless, to the point of his willingness to sacrifice his son for our redemption.
- Most Gracious – God eternally gives us far more in reward than we can possibly deserve.
- Most Merciful – God does not give us what we deserve as a manifestation of his benevolent character.
- Longsuffering – God is eternally patient with his sinful creatures.
- Abundant in Goodness and Truth – He is completely good and truth. There is no deviation in his character. He is always good and always true.
- Forgiving – Despite our continued sinful treason against this eternal King, he time and time again forgives us that sin.
- Rewarder – For those who seek after God, they will find the reward of his love, mercy, and grace.
- Just, Hating Sin, Not Clearing the Guilty – While God is gracious and merciful, he simply does not excuse sin and wickedness. He does not simply forget about our sin and look past it, but instead, Christ faces our punishment in our place. He hates sin and therefore will punish it. If we are outside of Christ, we will face the judgment, but if we are in Christ, He does.