We have spent the last two months considering the so called ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ and using them as a tool to evaluate our own lives. In this next series, we are going to shift our focus from ourselves and turn instead to God. We are going to consider God’s character and in particular his incommunicable attributes and the effect of these for us.
As a result, we are going to be delving into some seemingly dense theology and using some nice big words (we’ve already used ‘incommunicable’ – what does that mean and why does it matter?!), so before we begin, let me try and persuade you why this is not only a good idea, but also a vital activity that all Christians should participate in.
A constant command for the Christian is to praise God’s name. In Psalm 148 the psalmist extols the nations of the earth to, ‘praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted’ and in the Lord’s Prayer in the New Testament we are commanded to pray, ‘Hallowed be your name’ (Matt. 6:9). Consistently throughout the Bible God’s name is linked to his character. When we pray, ‘hallowed be your name’ we are praying that people would talk about God in a way that correctly reflects his character. God is referred to in many different ways throughout the Bible – ‘the Lord Almighty… the Holy One of Israel’ (Isa 54:5), ‘the Most High God’ (Ps 9:2) and perhaps most profoundly ‘I am’ or ‘Yahweh’ (Ex 3:14). This last name is the one most commonly used when God refers to himself – it indicates his total independence and self-existence. By allowing us to know these names, God has graciously allowed us to know him and to know his character for the purpose of having a personal and intimate relationship with him.
When I left school, I knew my relationship had changed with my teachers because I was invited to call them by their first names. I had moved from having a somewhat distant child-adult relationship to a much closer adult-adult relationship – I leapt at the chance to know them better and find out more about them – beginning with their first names… You cannot have a relationship if you do not really know the other person. This is why it is so important for us to know God- for whether you are a child or a venerable church matriarch, God calls us all to have a relationship with him, so we all need to take time to study God’s character.
It is my hope that this series will assist you in getting to know God better and helping you develop your relationship with him. As for the big words like ‘incommunicable’, I’ll do my best to explain them as we go along! So what does ‘incommunicable’ mean? Well, it’s referring to those attributes that God does not share with us – things we don’t have in common, such as the ability to self-exist and his unchangeableness. This is in contrast with his ‘communicable’ attributes which humans share to some extent, such as love, mercy, justice etc. As we explore this topic, let’s pray that we would come to know God, our Lord and Saviour, in even more new and wonderful ways.