An Article of Faith
What is God like? Exodus 34:6-7 presents one of the most comprehensive pictures of God’s nature:
“...compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
Verse 6 reveals who God is and verse 7 reveals what God does because of who He is:
“God is ‘LORD’ – He is the self-existent, eternal God. He depends on no one and yet, everything and everyone depends on Him.
God is “compassionate and gracious” – He loves us deeply, tenderly, and sympathizes with our anguish and pain.
God is “slow to anger” – He remains patient with us even in the face of our foolishness and rebellion.
God “abounds in lovingkindness and truth” – God’s love is an unfailing love. He not only loves us, but He “abounds” in His love for us. He also abounds in “truth.” All truth is God’s truth and is true because it is related to the God of truth.
What does God do because of who He is? According to verse 7 God does three things:
He “keeps lovingkindness for thousands” – He is bound by His nature to keep unfailing love for us.
He “forgives iniquity, transgression and sin” – however, His forgiveness is conditioned by our willingness to turn from our sins and to turn to Him for forgiveness.
“He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” – He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. He is also a “just” God.
No where is the nature of God more clearly seen than in the compassion, grace, patience, love, truth, forgiveness, and justice of Jesus Christ. What is God like? Jesus says, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”
Jessie J. Charpentier Sr. is pastor of Jenkins Memorial Baptist Church in St. Martinville.