The Attributes of God – Communicable Attributes – Part 1 Wrap Up

The Lord passed before him [Moses] and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:6-7, ESV; all Bible quotations are from the ESV).

The above is the Bible memory passage that Wayne Grudem suggests that students memorize for Chapter 12, “The Character of God: ‘Communicable’ Attributes (Part 1),” of his Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 1994), which my family and I are reading in our after breakfast Bible reading time. It is certainly an appropriate passage because it refers to several of the attributes of God that the chapter considers–mercy, grace, patience, love, faithfulness (as aspect of His truthfulness), and righteousness.

Yesterday my family and I discussed the application questions that Grudem poses for the chapter. Actually we discussed only some of the questions. Grudem asks 16 questions on the 12 attributes considered in the chapter. The day before our discussion I asked each member of the family to pick at least one question and answer it mentally. In our discussion each person read the question(s) he or she had selected and shared his or her answer to it and then the rest of us commented on the question and/or the answer.

Some points that were made in our discussion are:
– (Spirituality) We should think of what God is like rather than trying to picture Him when we pray to Him.
– (Knowledge) We should never try to hide our thoughts and deeds from God because He knows everything. However this can be a blessing to us because it means that we don’t have to try to explain things to Him.
– (Holiness) Having unsaved friends can hinder our growth in holiness. If we keep them as friends, we should try to make our lives be a witness to them.
– (Peace) If there is confusion or disorder in any part of our internal or external life, we should spend more time with God and try to reduce activities and relationships that contribute to that confusion or disorder.

Unfortunately we’d already considered the hymn which Grudem recommends for the chapter, “O Worship the King.” We considered it at the end of Chapter 10, Grudem’s suggesting it as an alternative to the hymn that he recommended for that chapter. However, on my request my wife sang part of the hymn for us again, this time singing just the two verses with which this post closes. Notice how appropriate the hymn is, those two verses alone referring to God’s glory, power, love, might, grace, and wrath. The words for the full hymn appear in my September 23 post, “The Knowability of God – Part 3.”

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His pow’r and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in spendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
Whose chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

2 thoughts on “The Attributes of God – Communicable Attributes – Part 1 Wrap Up

  1. Allison

    In considering the last two points of your discussion, what do you consider the balance in these situations:
    *Loving mankind while also separating ourselves from unsaved individuals so that we might grow in God?
    *Living in this world but also removing oneself from it to find peace in God?

    1. Bob Hunter Post author

      I agree with your implication that both situations are ones in which it is hard to find a balance both for oneself and, in the case of parents and leaders, for those for whom one is responsible.

      *Loving mankind while also separating ourselves from unsaved individuals so that we might grow in God?” I’d suggest asking oneself these questions: (1) Am I being influenced by my relationship with the unsaved individuals to compromise my life as a Christian?” and (2) “Am I influencing the unsaved individuals with whom I have a relationship to consider accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour?” If the answers are (1) YES and (2) NO, I’d reduce or end one’s relationship with the unsaved individuals. If the answers are (1) NO and (2) YES, I’d keep or increase one’s relationship with the unsaved individuals. If the answers are both YES or both NO, I’d play it by ear.

      “*Living in this world but also removing oneself from it to find peace in God?” I’ve always had and still have difficulty achieving a balance here. Two questions that I often ask myself are: (1) Am I following Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (ESV)? and (2) Would I be pleased or ashamed to have Jesus Christ walk in on me when I’m in a particular place or doing a particular thing?


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