6 Devotionals about Knowing God in Grief
KNOWING OUR GLORIOUS GOD
“In the beginning, God…”
Perhaps this time of life-altering sorrow is one in which you are starting to think more theologically than you have in the past—or maybe you are revisiting and testing your already-held theological assumptions. Though your pain may have propelled this new urgency for examining your beliefs, I want to suggest that you not begin your theological paths of reasoning and study with the thoughts and questions surrounding your sorrow. Though perhaps prompted by suffering toward greater answers and assurances than you previously felt need to have, I want to recommend that you rewind your theological starting point to the starting point of Scripture: “In the beginning, God…” (Gen. 1:1a).
The knowledge of God Himself is first and ultimate; He has given us His Word in order to know Him—not fully, but truly. By starting with knowing Him as our goal—and with His self-revealed Word as our axiom—we can grow to have grand view of Him that reigns above our experiences. Through truly knowing Him as He is, we can come to say—God, be glorified forever! Though mysteries of Your understanding exist that I cannot access with my feeble mind, I long to see all that happens in this world magnify You. You are worthier than I can comprehend, and so in suffering, You are my answer; I get to know You, and I praise You.
Which has been more important to me in grief—knowing God or having answers to all of my questions?
Is coming to an accurate knowledge of God so that I can worship Him my active aim when studying Scripture?
What is my current view of who God is? Has my loss influenced my current view of God, and if so, how?
PRAYER AND PRAISE:
Father, I long to know You as You desire to be known. Though I cannot fully understand You, thank You for Your Word through which I can truly understand You. I recognize that my loss has likely influenced my view of You; I desire to know You as Scripture teaches. As I continue to make a study of You, may any right areas of change in my view of You be confirmed by Scripture so that I can trust them, and may I be willing to dismiss any misconceptions I may have formed. I have been made to know You, and to know You is to worship You. That is what I want—a life of worship. You have made me such that knowing You is the greatest joy I am capable of experiencing. For that joy, thank You.
QUOTES FROM SOURCES CONSULTED:
Use the quotes below for reflection upon the doctrine of God, and to launch your own further study.
It is the clear doctrine of the Scriptures that God can be known. Our Lord teaches that eternal life consists in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. The Psalmist says, “In Judah is God known” (Ps. 76:1). Isaiah predicts, that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Is. 11:9). Paul says even of the heathen, that they knew God, but did not like to retain that knowledge (Rom. 1:19, 20, 21, 28).
It is, however, important distinctly to understand what is meant when it is said, God can be known.
This does not mean that we can know all that is true concerning God. […]
It is not held that God, properly speaking, can be conceived of; that is, we cannot form a mental image of God. […]
When it is said that God can be known, it is not meant that He can be comprehended. To comprehend is to have a complete and exhaustive knowledge of an object. […]
It is included in what has been said, that our knowledge of God is partial and inadequate. There is infinitely more in God than we have any idea of; and what we do know, we know imperfectly. […]
While, therefore, it is admitted not only that the infinite God is incomprehensible, and that our knowledge of Him is both partial and imperfect; that there is much in God which we do not know at all, and that what we do know, we know very imperfectly; nevertheless our knowledge, as far as it goes, is true knowledge. (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology)
God is great, says Scripture (Deut. 7:21; Neh. 4:14; Pss. 48:1; 86:10; 95:3; 145:3; Dan. 9:4): greater than we can grasp. Theology states this by describing him as incomprehensible—not in the sense that logic is somehow different for him from what it is for us, so that we cannot follow the workings of his mind at all, but in the sense that we can never understand him fully, just because he is infinite and we are finite. Scripture pictures God as dwelling not only in thick and impenetrable darkness but also in unapproachable light (Ps. 97:2; 1 Tim. 6:16), and both images express the same thought: our Creator is above us, and it is beyond our power to take his measure in any way. […]
As it would be wrong, however, to suppose ourselves to know everything about God (and so in effect to imprison him in the box of our own limited notion of him), so it would be wrong to doubt whether our concept constitutes real knowledge of him. Part of the significance of our creation in God’s image is that we are able both to know about him and to know him relationally in a true if limited sense of “know”; and what God tells us in Scripture about himself is true as far as it goes. Calvin spoke of God as having condescended to our weakness and accommodated himself to our capacity, both in the inspiring of the Scriptures and in the incarnating of the Son, so that he might give us genuine understanding of himself. The form and substance of a parent’s baby talk bears no comparison with the full contents of that parent’s mind, which he or she could express in full if talking to another adult; but the child receives from the baby talk factual information, real if limited, about the parent, and responsive love and trust grow accordingly. That is the analogy here. […]
We should never forget that in any case theology is for doxology: the truest expression of trust in a great God will always be worship, and it will always be proper worship to praise God for being far greater than we can know. (J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs)
ADDITIONAL SOURCES CONSULTED FOR THIS SERIES:
God the Father, God the Son, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Moody Handbook of Theology, Paul Enns
Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything."
That God is self-existing is also know as “aseity,” or “independence.” In Latin, a se means, “from himself.” God’s existence—being underived—is contingent upon no one and nothing outside of Him.
Consider some passages that teach this truth:
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”
And He said, “Say this to the people
of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel
and His Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
For as the Father has life in Himself,
so He has granted the Son also to
have life in Himself.
Acts 17:25 tells me that because God is self-existent, He is able to give “life” and “breath” to all mankind. Because my dear daughter was stillborn, she had no breath on this earth. He was able to make her breath here; life and breath can only ever arise from Him. But the frailty of life on this earth has never been more apparent to me than when, within hours, I went from hearing my daughter’s heartbeat to not—when my prayer changed from asking for a safe delivery to asking for a miracle He deemed fit not to enact.
As my awareness grew that God would not perform a miracle of more earthly breaths for my daughter, there He was—and there His Word was, still proclaiming that He is, that He has always been, and that He always will be. I AM, He says—not frail, not able to lose His life, not able to cease, but necessarily existing. When my daughter did not have life on this earth—but instead in the next—I knew I AM. And because God is, in and of Himself—independent of any needed supply—and exists beyond my greatest possible thought of Him, a hope beyond me could also still be.
When is the last time I reflected upon the greatness of God to exist, beyond my comprehension, in and of Himself? (Meditate upon verses listed above.)
How has God sustained my life—i.e. moving and having being—since the moment it started to feel frailest?
PRAYER AND PRAISE:
Father, You have not been made or created. You do not need man. You are—from everlasting to everlasting, first to last—and You are life. You sent Your Son, the Way, the Truth, and the Life—that He might bring those needy in sin back into communion with You. To know You is to live. You do not always grant further earthly life, but in You is life that will exist for all eternity by Your self-existing, continual power. I have the hope of life—of continuing to move through the stages of grief—and have my being from You still—when the weight of loss stalls me. Thank You for being my never-ending supply.
In theology, endless mistakes result from supposing that the conditions, bounds, and limits of our own finite existence apply to God. The doctrine of his aseity stands as a bulwark against such mistakes. In our life of faith, we easily impoverish ourselves by embracing an idea of God that is too limited and small, and again the doctrine of God’s aseity stands as a bulwark to stop this happening. It is vital for spiritual health to believe that God is great (cf. Ps. 95:1–7), and grasping the truth of his aseity is the first step on the road to doing this. (J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs)
“For I the LORD do not change”
God is immutable—or, unchangeable. In all of His promises, acts, words, and being, He is always who He is—and He cannot be otherwise. This is one attribute in a series of what theologians have classified as God’s “incommunicable” attributes; while humans cannot fully relate with or share any attributes of a perfect, infinite Being (even those considered “communicable”—like love, justice, mercy, etc.), incommunicable attributes are those especially “other.” That label can alert us to not think about God as existing in the same manner as we exist—it can alert us pause for contemplation so that we can be led to worship.
I am a changeable creature. I might say to my husband, “I love you more each day.” And he would be appreciative that my love for him grows as I grow. But viewed another way, this also means that yesterday and the day before yesterday, I loved less.
God on the other hand, is always capable of the same incomprehensively great love—as is the case with His other perfections. The apostle John, who reclined on Jesus (Jn. 13:23), had a different experience of God than the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19)—but that is because people change and vary. Over time and in comparison with others, people display differing reactions to God and His Word. But God’s responses in both of these scenarios are perfectly aligned with who He never ceases to be.
By the time my daughter went ahead, God was already justly keeping His word in human history that mankind’s fall in the garden would result in death being part of this earthly experience (Gen. 3), and He had already planned to never leave or forsake me during one moment of my grief (Heb. 13:5). These may have felt like two different experiences for me—in experiencing the first, my view of God’s goodness became clouded for a time, and in experiencing the second, I was drawn nearer to His heart. I might have come to perceive and understand even more evidences of His loving presence as time went on, but never did God change. The minute death came so near, God was already even closer—just as He had always planned to be.
God’s unchangeableness can prompt me to both receive and share the gospel message while on this earth. For God will keep His Word that the time of grace (Titus 2:11-14) will turn into a time for judgment (Acts 17:31). For all eternity, He will never change in blessing those made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ—His promise of eternal life. And for all eternity He will never change in punishing the eternally damned—His promised response to unrepentant sinners of everlasting wrath. Have I believed in the unchanging nature of God’s gospel and future plans, and have I understood the urgency of sharing the gospel message during my own short stay here?
PRAYER AND PRAISE:
Father, thank you that I can trust Your Word. You will not alter one bit of it. You will not change one promise. It is true that, for me, when my daughter went ahead, I had difficulty remembering your goodness. I thank You that, during those times, You were near to me—arranging the details of my life, ministering to me through others, and speaking to me through the truths of Your Word. I am grateful that You are a just and loving God. That means I can trust You will always do what You say, and You will always do what is right. You are more wonderful than I comprehend, being unchanging in all of Your perfections forever. You are worthy of my life, goals, dreams, aims, and priorities. Have them all, my God. You have always been and will always be worthy—immutably to be worshiped.
I know nothing, in a sense, in my Christian life and experience which is so comforting as the doctrine of the eternity and immutability of God. Of course, to the sinner it is one of the most terrifying of all the doctrines. In other words, God is eternally righteous. God is eternally holy. Is there anything more wonderful, especially in the modern world as it is?
Change and decay in all around I see,
Oh Thou who changest not, abide with me.
H. F. Lyte
Is it not a wonderful and a glorious thing to know that God never changes? (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God the Father, God the Son)
So God is absolutely immutable in His essence and attributes. He can neither increase nor decrease. He is subject to no process of development, or of self-evolution. His knowledge and power can never be greater or less. He can never be wiser or holier, or more righteous or more merciful than He ever has been and ever must be. He is no less immutable in His plans and purposes. Infinite in wisdom, there can be no error in their conception; infinite in power, there can be no failure in their accomplishment. He is “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17.) “God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent; hath He said and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19.) “I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6.) “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever; the thoughts of His heart to all generations.” (Ps. 33:11.) “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” (Prov. 19:21.) “The Lord of Hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” (Is. 14:24.) “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Is. 46:9, 10.) Those passages of Scripture in which God is said to repent, are to be interpreted on the same principle as those in which He is said to ride upon the wings of the wind, or to walk through the earth. These create no difficulty. (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology)
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one”
One God worthy of worship exists—one essence in three Persons. The Father is fully God, the Son is fully God, and the Spirit is fully God. What can be meant by each Person of the Trinity being fully God than that each Person of the Trinity is all of who God is? Though much more could be written about the oneness of God, I would like to focus here on a common misconception about God as it relates to this topic.
The idea seems to prevail that the God of the Old Testament (typically referring to the Father) is wrathful and the God of the New Testament (typically referring to Jesus) is loving. Enough examples of God’s love in the Old Testament and judgment in the New Testament could provide correction. But further, this thought seems to be an affront to the doctrine of God’s unity, or oneness.
If we have decided to follow God and seek to know Him as He is, we are precluded from selecting mere “parts” of God to love. Jesus is not the “more loving” Person in the Trinity and the Father the “more wrathful”—for that would negate that Jesus and the Father are one in essence. Therefore, we cannot be worshipers of the “God of the New Testament” without being worshipers of the “God of the Old Testament.” God has indicated what kind of worship He requires: of the truthful variety (Jn. 4:24).
God “is love” (1 Jn. 4:8), “is light” (1 Jn. 1:5), and “is a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24)—and more. And in His perfection, He is never conflicted about how to act or accomplish His purposes. I think of the cross, where Jesus met death willingly. There I see God’s love and justice displayed. Jesus knew that, in His mission, the only way to joy was through satisfying the justice of God (Heb. 12:2). And God knew that the only way for Jesus to accomplish His mission of being the justifier was for Him to be just (Rom. 3:26)—punishing the sins imputed to Jesus so that all who have faith in Him can be free (2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:10). What incomprehensible love and righteousness in One!
Due to an understanding of God’s oneness, I do not dismiss the relevance of His justice to my life. And that has incalculably informed the way I grieve. I know the level of suffering that is justly mine—if not for Christ. So, I am not caught in worldly thinking that makes much of self—much of what I deserve. Instead, I contemplate that Jesus is worthy, but took upon Himself in great love what He was not worthy to bear—my sins. Through this, I can praise Him in gratitude throughout my earthly suffering that eternal suffering will not be mine. I have gained freedom forever through Him because He is righteous and just. In turn, this truth only grows my view of His love.
Read 1 John 4:10. Reflect upon the truths of God’s love and justice displayed at the cross. Are there any ways I can grow to see the “God of the Old Testament” and the “God of the New Testament” as One? If so, how can my grief become filled with more truth through a more unified understanding of God?
The book of Revelation is rich with description and praise for who God is. For an overview, take some time to read 1:5-8; 4:8-11; 7:14-17; 11:17-18; 15:3-4; 16:5-7; 19:1-5; 21:3-8. List the characteristics/ attributes of God evident in these passages. How can this book of the Bible inform a more complete theology of God, especially with view to His oneness? Do any of my observations change the way I understand my grief and suffering?
PRAYER AND PRAISE:
I worship You, my God, for the greatness and majesty that are Yours alone. I cannot fully comprehend the perfection of Your character, Your attributes, and Your essence. I also cannot fully fathom a holiness like Yours. And therefore, I cannot fully fathom a love like Yours. But I know—and am grateful—that my perceptions never change or separate You, for You are One. Coming to know You more and to contemplate the cross in light of Your oneness is beautiful to me, directing my heart and mind to gratitude. And in suffering, biblical gratitude is sustaining for me; thank You for leading me to it.
It is the same God who is omniscient, who is omnipresent. It is the same God who is glorious and wonderful. It is the same God who is love and compassion and mercy. We must not divide these things, though we distinguish them for the purposes of thought and understanding. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God the Father, God the Son)
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.”
A couple of years ago while having coffee with another woman who had experienced baby loss, I remember talking about bereaved mothers and what she called our “Why? gap.” “God allowed my child to die because…”—whatever follows is what bereaved mothers put as the answer for the pain of loss. Often, pursuing these “answers” means we are trying to fill the gap in our understanding about the unsearchable purposes of God.
Believers are told that our sorrows on this earth will work together for our good and God’s glory (Rom. 8:28)—so, I believe we can certainly praise God for the good purposes visible to our sights that come alongside of great loss. And we can be ready for every opportunity the Lord grants for sharing the gospel of Christ and exhibiting faithfulness amidst grief. And yet—ultimately—filling the “Why? gap” is not our role.
The story of Job teaches this principle. God speaks to sufferer Job of His unfathomable greatness—without giving specific answers to the Why? kinds of questions for Job’s pain. And after listening to God, Job simply confesses that God—his great God—has made him content: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). The greatness of God—and how the finite cannot fully comprehend the infinite, and the sinful cannot fully fathom the holy—can bring us to contented awe. When He is in our sights, our grand view of Him satisfies us with nothing “more” than Himself. What could possibly be more? For “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3). If we desire to increase our holy, reverent awe—we can seek for more truth about God to be placed before our sights, just as God lovingly does for Job.
Now, by way of application, I am aware that writing online is a very visible outlet of service—and so, I strive to be all the more aware that there are excellent and faithful worshipers of the Lord who do not have as visible outlets of service. Others have ministries involving quiet conversations, behind-the-scenes service, prayer, etc. Without this in my view, how easy it is for “visible” to equate with “great” in my sights! The Lord has a far different teaching: “The greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 23:11). Jesus sees a different picture than man because He fully sees that God alone is great—or in the words of D. A. Carson: “God does not give his glory to another.”¹
Because of this, I pray that I might not aim to make myself or my departed daughter “great,” highly-regarded, acknowledged, or famous in the eyes of the man. Instead, when I focus on God’s surpassing greatness—including His purposes and plans that are wonderfully beyond me—I see that greatness surrounding myself or pursuing service as a way to make my daughter’s memory great would only be an illusion. I have found that if I want to serve the Lord well out of my sorrow, I need to humble myself. I cannot seek to go too low; before infinite greatness, low is never too low. What more could any of us desire than to humbly follow our God who alone is great?
Read Job 38-41. I have heard of God, but have I seen Him? How might the Holy Spirit be prompting me to grow my view of God to be greater?
Read Jeremiah 45:5 and Matthew 23:12. Am I concerned that I have not done enough for the “legacy” of my departed child because my service is not as visible as others’? What does God speak to me about seeking great things, and then, what does He speak to me about the high value He places instead upon humble service—for the audience of One?
PRAYER AND PRAISE:
Lord, I confess that You alone are great. I want to see You as You are, and bless Your infinitely great name in true humility. I know that lowliness means dependency upon You and Your Word. I love to remember my baby who I have the great hope is now with you, and I praise You for how I have seen goodness and purpose come alongside my loss. Most of all, I thank You that through humility, You can derive meaningful service that points to You alone. You are very great and worthy—fulfilling purposes for this world that I cannot fathom. I am highly privileged to participate with Your plans in any way You desire. Bless Your great and awesome Name—You are exalted infinitely above any other.
God’s wisdom and knowledge cannot be comprehended, and His decisions cannot be tracked as footprints in the sand. God has consulted no one and no one has advised Him. But because God knows all things He controls and guides all events for His glory and for our good (cf. Ps. 104:24; Prov. 3:19). (Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology)
GOD IS GLORIOUS
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O LORDmy God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that Your servant prays before You this day, that Your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which You have said, “My name shall be there,” that You may listen to the prayer that Your servant offers toward this place.
1 Kings 8:27-29
King Solomon, did you hear about the Messiah being called the Lord of the Sabbath who is greater than the temple, the embodiment of it (Matthew 12:6)? Did you hear, following His perfect sacrifice, of God intending to dwell with man, announced with a loud voice (Revelation 21:3)—a declaration matched to man’s innermost desire? Did you know of the God-Man who will sit on Jerusalem’s throne (Luke 1:32-33)? And did you know that the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord, who will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15)?
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth?” you pose in your dedication prayer of the temple (1 Kings 8:27a).
You knew the name of the Lord would be with you (1 Kings 8:29), and you also knew that the one true God could know no containment (1 Kings 8:27)—thus, your question of awe. But King Solomon, even more poignant is your question to consider now! God has given further promises, since your time, about the manifestation of His presence.
Will He? Will God dwell with man? King Solomon marveled—and so do I—at what God will do. As Solomon’s dedication prayer progresses, he ends up pointing to God’s Word (1 Kings 8:29), concluding with awe: God has said He would put His name upon this place. So it will be.
Even more, God has spoken prophetic promises for present-day believers to trust:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
So it will be.
King Solomon was astonished as he put together seemingly-precarious pieces of theology in his prayer, as if saying, “My great God knows no bounds, and yet He will choose to especially dwell with man in this house? I take Him at His marvelous word!” God’s greatness goes beyond the limitlessness of His presence, being great in all of who He is. Solomon’s question only becomes more perplexing when considered in light of God’s great holiness—a theme Solomon proceeds to consider as the prayer reaches its conclusion. How will the holy God of heaven dwell with sinful man?
He has planned a sure way: one temple foreshadowed another. The sacrifices in one pointed to the perfect sacrifice of the One, and the way for redemption of sinners. Ultimately, this way, this plan, is at the crux of the revelatory glory God destined in great love to bring from His earthly creation—culminating in Christ:
New Testament writers proclaim that the glory of God’s nature, character, power, and purpose is now open to view in the person and role of God’s incarnate Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:14–18; 2 Cor. 4:3–6; Heb. 1:1–3).
God’s glory, shown forth in the plan and work of grace whereby he saves sinners, is meant to call forth praise (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14), that is, the giving of glory to God by spoken words (cf. Rev. 4:9; 19:7).
Matthew Henry writes on the certainty of God completing His plan for this world—from initial creation to a new heaven and a new earth—in his commentary on Revelation 21:3:
As his power and will were the first cause of all things, his pleasure and glory are the last end, and he will not lose his design; for then he would no longer be the Alpha and Omega.
God’s purpose to dwell with His people through Christ is sure: “It is finished!” and “It is done!” (John 19:30, Revelation 23:6). And the glory His people will forever ascribe to Him is as good as accomplished.
Intertwined together are these: the glory of God and the keeping of His revealed design. Such hope—that God would so tie His glory to dwelling with a people of His creation—is confounding, comforting, and best of all, true.
Consequently, the Christian’s glory-giving to God is also tied to true gladness about His plans: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!” (Revelation 19:7a). What an incentive for us, who may be tempted to confine ourselves within grief, to not resist the coming of true, celebratory joy within our souls, as these truths of God’s glory through redemption renew our hoping!
Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.
—1 Kings 8:56
Scan through today’s reading again and list the ways God shows His glory.
Re-read Revelation 19:7a. Have I given much consideration to the connection between the glory of God and my personal gladness in God’s design of salvation? Given that gladness in God’s salvation does not preclude sadness about my loss, am I resisting any of this joy?
PRAYER AND PRAISE:
This world, this creation, this life—these are about You, my Lord, and the demonstration of Your glory. You know exactly and fully how my experiences will bring glory to Your name. For Your sake—and the glory that You have ordained to draw from my life—I trust You with every moment of heartache. Perfect, holy, and righteous in all of Your designs—You have made a way from me to You. Together we will dwell. And so, may Christ be lifted high and glorified always. So it will be. And in knowing and glorifying You now, I am being made glad.
God is the sum total of all excellency. There is nothing higher or greater or better than God. Every conceivable perfection is in God in an absolute manner, and He is exalted above all shortcomings and all limitations. The Bible therefore speaks of the perfection of God and it also speaks of the blessedness of God. Take those many expressions in Paul’s epistles—for example, Paul’s words, ‘the glorious gospel of the blessed God’ (1 Tim. 1:11). What does Paul mean when he refers to God as ‘blessed’? Well, he means that God’s own perfection is the object of God’s own knowledge and of His own love. He rejoices in Himself. He delights in Himself and is perfectly and absolutely self-sufficient. God is, according to the Scriptures, well-pleased within Himself and His glorious being: the blessedness of God.
The last thing is the glory of God and this is the biblical way of describing His greatness, His splendour, His majesty. We read of the glory of God filling the house—the Temple (1 Kgs. 8:11), and of the glory of God being manifested in dimmed vision to certain people. This means they had some conception of the greatness, the splendour, the majesty, the might of His being. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God the Father, God the Son).
¹J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 60.
²Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. VI, Acts to Revelation, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc6.Rev.xxii.html, italics in the original.
These posts were originally published at Hope Mommies.