righteous

We are continuing our exploration of the attributes of God. Last week’s post on God’s greatness attributes focused on how God transcends us. This post and the next on the goodness attributes of God focus on how God relates to us: how God is immanent with us.

Again, we are following Millard Erickson’s division of attributes, goodness and greatness, from his Introducing Christian Doctrine.

God is holy. In Isaiah’s vision of God enthroned he saw God “high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1). The angels were crying “Holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3). God’s holiness refers to his being “set apart” and not like ordinary or normal persons or things. God’s holiness is one of his primary attributes, and his holiness sets him apart from us in nature and character.

God is righteous. God’s righteousness reflects the perfection of his law and his self-consistent actions in accord with his law. The decrees of the Lord are righteous (Psalm 19:9). Erickson defines God’s righteousness as “God’s holiness applied to his relationships to other beings” (Erickson, Introducing Christian Doctrine, 99).

God is just. That God is just means that God makes correct and right judgments with regard to his creation. God is just when he judges, and because he is good, he is also the justifier of those who believe in Jesus (Romans 3:26). God’s justness is good news for those in our world longing for justice. While the debates will continue over the proper interpretation of justice in social spheres, the Christian has a ready-made worldview with which to interpret issues of justice: the character and laws of God. God’s justice also means that he must punish sin. We’ll compare God’s justness with with his love, mercy, and grace in the next post.

God is true. God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18) and is identified as the “Truth” (John 14:6). God does not obfuscate or obscure. He is the epitome of what is true. His judgments, statements, promises and affirmations are true. This is one of the primary reasons why we can trust the truthfulness of biblical revelation. God is not a liar, and thus what he reveals will be true and trustworthy.

God is faithful. God’s faithfulness is affirmed over and again in Scripture. He is described as the faithful husband to unfaithful Israel (the book of Hosea), and Paul declares that God’s faithfulness assures us that he will accomplish his plans and purposes (1 Thessalonians 5:24). The faithfulness of God grounds our confidence in his promises and interventions.

God’s holiness, righteousness, honesty, justice and faithfulness reflect his glorious interactions with people. While we cannot adopt perfectly these attributes in our own lives, we can relate to them. In fact, these goodness attributes of God are specially important to followers of Jesus because they are relatable.

When we consider the greatness, glory, and wonder of God’s attributes, we should be amazed. He wants us to relate to him as he is, and he invites us to know him.

So on this day as you reflect on these attributes, praise God for these goodness attributes.

  • Imagine the glory of God’s holy splendor in Isaiah’s vision and bow before him in humility.
  • Consider the perfection of God’s righteous standards and declare his righteousness to your own sinful heart.
  • Contemplate the clarity of God’s justice and acknowledge that he alone is the true Judge of action and motive.
  • Meditate on the personality of God’s truth in Jesus Christ and praise him as the only True God.
  • Remember the persistence of God’s faithfulness and thank him that he will never fail you.

Look for next week’s post when we reflect on more of God’s goodness attributes.