When life gets really hard – like, the kind of tough that makes us long for the sweet release of death – it’s difficult not to turn our confusion on God and begin to question His goodness. We want to believe God is trustworthy, but in those really dark times, it’s easy to isolate His sovereignty from other attributes of God and somehow assign blame to Him. After all, How can we trust a God who has allowed such terrible pain?
If this is where you find yourself my friend, please know you’re not alone. I have been there too. I sat in that dark place for quite some time. But God is faithful and He revealed Himself to me, showing me His kindness and proving His goodness. So, I would like to share with you today six attributes of God that work together to prove that He is indeed quite worthy of our trust, for He is very VERY good.
3 Attributes that Speak to His Character and Prove God is Trustworthy
The magnificent God of the Bible is infinitely complex, which means there are more aspects to His character than we even know. But the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 29:29 that we are not accountable for those things which He has not yet revealed to us. We are only expected to know and believe those things about Him which have been made known.
Romans 1:19-20 (ESV) – For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For the invisible attributes of God, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Of course, even those attributes of God which have been revealed to us are more numerous than we have space or time to unravel today. So let’s just start with three attributes of God that begin to show us His character. Surely as we begin to understand who He is, we will see that our incredible God IS trustworthy and therefore completely deserving of our confidence in His goodness!
1. God is True – There is Nothing False, Manipulative, or Deceptive About Him
Truth matters SO much when it comes to trust. But in a world dominated by lies and manipulation, it becomes almost impossible to figure out what is true and what is a false. Deceit is everywhere and we’ve been burned so many times that we’ve learned not to trust even those in authority over us. As a result, we tend to transfer our skepticism even to God and His authority. We start to think we can only trust ourselves, which only leads to further confusion since even our own judgement is clouded by the hold of sin’s deceit on our hearts.
But even though every one of us is a liar, here is what God has told us about Himself in the Bible:
Numbers 23:19 – But God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?
(See also 1 Samuel 15:29, Romans 3:3-4 and Titus 1:1-2)
No matter what deception hides in the hearts of people, God is not a man. He does not lie because He cannot lie. Not only does He speak what is true, but He IS true and He is the very definition of truth.
John 14:6 – Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
God is trustworthy because He is true. And that means anything He says is also true and can be trusted. And the whole Bible is filled with the words of God, breathed out into the hearts and minds of the prophets who wrote those messages down for us. That means we can trust every single thing the Bible says because the God who inspired it is absolute truth.
Revelation 21:5 – And the One sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then He said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”
Beyond that, God has not left us to interpret the Bible on our own. We don’t have to sort out its mysteries using only our own flawed judgement to guide us. If we belong to God, then He has given us His own Spirit to guide us into all truth. His counsel is always right and can be trusted completely!
John 16:13-14 – When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me.
(See also John 14:26, John 15:26, 1 John 5:6-11, & 1 Corinthians 2:10-12)
Of all the attributes of God that prove to us that He can be trusted, I believe this is the most significant. What is true can be trusted, and God is not just honest, He is truth itself! We can trust Him because unlike people, He does not lie. At the very core of His character we find truth! If He has made a promise, we can take it to the bank that He will carry it through. Even if everyone else is a liar, even when our own hearts deceive us, God IS true my friend! So you can trust Him!
2. God is Holy – He Has No Part in Sin
As I said at the beginning, we’re going to get to God’s Sovereignty but first we need to understand some of the other attributes of God that can not be separated from that one. So let’s talk about His holiness. I believe these two attributes of God especially must be understood together, because if we believe He is sovereign without understanding He is holy, we will surely doubt His goodness. And if we doubt His goodness, how can we trust Him?
To be holy is to be set apart as morally and spiritually excellent. In other words, it is to be separate from sin. One who is holy can have no part in what is evil. The Bible tells us that, without exception, God is completely holy.
No one is holy like the Lord and one cannot be both holy and complicit in sin. Not only did He never sin Himself but the Bible tells us He cannot tolerate sin, neither does He tempt us to sin. Rather, it is what separates us from Him because we are sinners and He is completely holy.
1 John 1:5 – This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.
Psalm 5:4 – O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; You cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
(See also 1 Peter 2:21-22, Isaiah 59:1-2)
James 1:12-17a – God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the Heaven…
The Bible is also clear that death and all the misery and sorrow that comes with it entered the world when Adam sinned (Romans 5:12). Every terrible thing that happens in this world, every pain we feel, every heartache that impacts our lives is the result of the presence of sin on the earth and since God has no part in sin, He is not to blame for the evil things that hurt us.
As a fundamental aspect of His character, God is holy; and because of that truth, God is trustworthy! On our own, we are not holy. None of us. As a fundamental aspect of our character, we are sinners and cannot be trusted.
But what is so wonderful about the attributes of God that separate Him from us, like His holiness, is that He did not leave us there. Though He is holy and never sinned Himself, He took our sins upon Himself and paid the price our sins demanded by sacrificing His own life. He made a way for us to get back to Him, despite sin, and have access to relationship with Him once again!
Hebrews 7:26-27 – He is the kind of high priest we need because He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sons of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when He offered Himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.
Hebrews 10:19-22 – And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By His death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Can you even imagine how much He must love us and desire relationship with us to do such a thing? Any holy God who would do something like that must be good!
3. God is Immutable – He Does Not Change
We already saw in Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29 above (See also Job 23:13, Hebrews 6:17-20) that God is not a man and He is not a liar. Those verses also say that He does not change His mind. This brings us to another one of the attributes of God that define His character and make Him so completely trustworthy. God is immutable, which simply means He does not change. This goes far beyond changing His mind though. The Bible says it like this:
Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Revelation 1:8 – “I AM the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I AM the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come – the Almighty One.”
James 1:17 – Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation, became His prized possession.
(See also Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102:25-28)
This is one of those attributes of God (at least in my opinion) that is kind of hard to understand, because it is so different from anything we know. Everything in this world changes. In fact, it is all constantly changing! The only thing that stays the same is that nothing ever stays the same. For that reason, it’s hard to place our confidence in anything because who knows what might be different tomorrow.
But as we’ve seen again and again, God is not a man. God is trustworthy because He’s not like us. He is who He is and who He is does not change. One of His names, I AM, really captures this truth.
Exodus 3:14-15 – God replied to Moses, “I AM who I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.
(See also John 8:58)
There are many things we can take away from this aspect of God’s character. Here are just a few:
* It also means that everything about Him – all the attributes of God – also do not change. His love is steadfast forever (Jeremiah 31:3), His faithfulness is always sure (Psalm 119:89-91), and the truth of His Word will stand forever (2 Timothy 2:13).
In a life filled with uncertainty, what comfort there is in the immutability of God!
3 More Attributes of God that Show His Greatness and Goodness
Before we continue with three more attributes of God, lets quickly recap what we have so far. We know now that as part of His character, God is true, He is holy, and He does not change. In other words, God is trustworthy, good, and dependable.
Now let’s move on to look at three more attributes of God that begin to show us His greatness and His goodness.
4. God is Omniscient – He Has All Wisdom and Knows Everything
God is wise. But this attribute goes far beyond our understanding because what God knows is so far above our human wisdom. He isn’t just smart or knowledgeable, He is omniscient. It literally means He knows every single thing there is to know and understands it all fully!
Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.
(See also Isaiah 40:12-14 & 25-31, Job 28:23-28, Psalm 147:4-5)
None of us can even come close to that kind of knowledge. In fact, much of what makes life so difficult to navigate is that we never have enough information to make a truly wise decision. There is always the fear that we’ll act and then discover something new and realize we made a terrible mistake.
What comfort there is in knowing that God not only knows everything that has happened, is happening, and is going to happen, but He also knows every secret thing hidden away in our hearts and in the hearts of every other person who lives, has ever lived, or who is ever going to live! Not only that, He tells us we only need to ask and He will share His wisdom with us and guide our decisions(James 1:5-6).
Surely a God with such extensive insight is someone far greater than we can even imagine!
Psalm 44:20-21 – If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods, God would surely have known it, for He knows the secrets of every heart.
(See also Ecclesiastes 12:14, 1 Chronicles 28:9-10, 1 Kings 8:37-40, Acts 1:24 , 1 Samuel 2:3, Job 21:22)
Luke 12:2-7 – The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!
Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do anymore to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He’s the one to fear.
What is the price of five sparrows – two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
I love the passage above from Luke because I think it perfectly encapsulates the two sides of the omniscience of God. The greatness of this attribute is both terrifying and comforting. What sorrow awaits those who do not take seriously His omniscience and pridefully reject His salvation!
But as long as we do take it seriously, understanding that we are accountable to God and He knows every sin both secret and known, we can turn to Him in repentance and accepted His salvation. Then we have nothing to fear and can rest in the depth of His wisdom, knowing He cares so deeply for us!
It is then that the incredibly personal nature of God’s understanding becomes such a precious gift. What a treasure to be so completely seen and known! And how unimaginable that He offers to use His wisdom for our good, guiding us through the pitfalls of life with absolute clarity.
Psalm 139:1-6 – O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand.
(See also Romans 11:33-36, Psalm 56:8, Matthew 6:7-8)
5. God is Just – Everything He Does is Right
Alright, so we know that God knows everything, including the secret things hidden away in our wicked human hearts. And we also know that we’re all going to be held accountable for all that wickedness. Another reason that God is trustworthy is that He is just.
Deuteronomy 32:3-4 – I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; His deeds are perfect. Everything He does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright He is!
(See also Psalm 97:1-2, Psalm 19:7, Psalm 111:7-8)
When we each give our account to Him, He will judge us with a perfect standard. He will not show favoritism, or accept excuses. It won’t matter what sits at the root of our sin. It won’t matter who sinned first. The standard will be Jesus – who never sinned and is completely holy. Either we will meet that standard because we have died to self in repentance and been covered in His perfect blood, or we will not meet it because we rejected the free gift of salvation He offered.
Acts 17:30-31 God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now He commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to Him. For He has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man He has appointed, and He proved to everyone who this is by raising Him from the dead.
Psalm 9:7-8 – But the Lord reigns forever, executing judgement from His throne. He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness.
(See also Revelation 20:11-15, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, Acts 10:34-36, Isaiah 30:18)
Now, let’s be honest with each other though, it doesn’t always feel like God is just does it? Unfair things happen in this world, without question. So how can it be that God is just if unfair things happen? Once again, I believe this kind of thinking is the result of placing the blame for the consequences of sin on God’s sovereignty rather than where it belongs.
Sin is a terrible thing, and unfortunately, the painful consequences do not always land only on the sinner. Innocent babies who have never sinned are painfully destroyed because of the sins of their parents. Faithful spouses who have honored their marriage vows are heartbroken by the sin of betrayal committed by their beloved. Parents who have raised their children in the fear of the Lord are left to try to put the pieces of their lives back together when the sin of a drunk driver steals away the life of their precious child. None of this is fair or just.
But all of it is the result of sin. Plain and simple. And we have already shown that God has no part in sin. He is not the one who causes the injustice, and in fact the Bible says He hates the injustice that happens as a result of sin.
Proverbs 11:1, 12:22, 17:15 – The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but He delights in accurate weights. The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in those who tell the truth. Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – both are detestable to the Lord.
2 Chronicles 19:7 – Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.
Isaiah 61:8 For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Since God is trustworthy, we can have confidence that the injustices of sin will not be allowed to continue forever. We’ll talk more about that when we get into God’s sovereignty, but before we get to that, we need to be fully convinced that these first five attributes of God are true, because I don’t believe it is possible to rightly understand His sovereignty without first understanding these.
God is just. Though sin has been allowed to reign on this earth for a time, we cannot mock the justice of God. He is watching. He is working. His vengeance is coming, and He will dole out justice in the end. Despite what we see or how it feels, the justice of God WILL be satisfied. It is certain!
Galatians 6:7-9 – Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
(See also Psalm 18:30, 2 Chronicles 16:9, Jeremiah 16:17, Colossians 3:24-25, Romans 12:19, 1 John 1:9)
6. God is Sovereign – He Works Everything Together For His Good Plan
All right. We’re finally ready to explore God’s sovereignty. To be sovereign simply means to be over something or to have supreme power or authority. God is sovereign over everything. Every. Single. Thing.
He is holy, so He has no part in sin, but He IS sovereign over sin. He remains true though His power is over what is not true and His justice does not change though He is supreme over injustice. Since He knows and understands everything, He steps down into our weaknesses with us though these things bear no impact on His perfect character. And though His creation, over which He has complete authority, is always changing, He remains the same forever.
To say God’s sovereignty is hard to understand would be the understatement of the century. But when it is coupled with all the other attributes of God, we begin to get a picture of this magnificent and incredibly complex plan that somehow gives us the freedom to choose sin while never taking any authority away from God. For He is working (even through the sin He has allowed to reign in our hearts) every single thing together into a plan that will ultimately be for our good and His great glory.
Psalm 33:11 – But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken.
(See also Isaiah 46:8-10, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 45:5-12, Acts 4:28, Proverbs 16:4,9&33, Psalm 115:3)
Ephesians 1:9-11 – God has now revealed to us His mysterious will regarding Christ – which is to fulfill His own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ – everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.
(See also Colossians 1:15-20, 1 Timothy 6:15, Romans 9:16-24, Psalm 135:5-7, Daniel 4:34-35)
As I said, God’s sovereignty is complicated. We could probably write a whole post or even a whole book just about this one attribute and not even come close to unraveling it or fully understanding it. Frankly, for every question that is answered about God’s authority over everything, I tend to come up with three more. But here’s the thing about the attributes of God – we are not Him. God is greater and higher than we are, and sometimes we have to be okay with accepting what He says is true without being able to fully understand it (Isaiah 55:8-9).
What we need to know and believe about God and His sovereignty is that it is absolute, and He is good. Also, He is incredibly personal. Which is impossibly wonderful. Though He is supreme over everything, He cares about each of us and is intimately involved in the minute details of our lives. It is His sovereign care that guarantees our ultimate victory over sin and death! For He chose us, He is working in us, and He is going to finish the work He started!
Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
(See also Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Romans 8:26-31,
How the Attributes of God Work Together to Show Us that God is Trustworthy
I know there is a whole lot here and we’ve really only scratched the surface of the attributes of God. But I hope this has offered at least a little insight into His incredible complexity and helped us all understand a little better how good the God of the Bible really is.
Life is hard. We want to blame it on something bigger than us, and we should. Not everything about the difficulty of life is our own fault. It really isn’t, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is not living in reality. But the bigger thing to blame is sin. Period.
Sin is everywhere, reeking havoc and causing pain. Even things like natural disasters, which can’t be pinned on the specific sin of any one person, can rob us of precious things and cause deep suffering. But even those things happen as a broader result of sin. They are here because this world is fallen, and without sin that wouldn’t be true. The Bible is clear that God is in control over those things, they come and go when He says, but before sin they didn’t happen.
So let’s stop blaming God, and start blaming sin. Let’s believe what the Bible says about God and start looking for His good work in the midst of our pain. Let’s remember that we ourselves are sinners, and even though the specific pain we’re feeling might have been caused by the sin of another, that doesn’t mean there isn’t something God can show us about ourselves in it.
He has promised to work all of it together for our good if we love Him and are called according to His purposes. He tells us that if He’s for us, no one can ever stand against us. No one. They can try. They can knock us down, but He’s going to pick us right back up and set our feet on a firm foundation. Because our incredible God is trustworthy! He is completely trustworthy!
I am going to leave you with four passages that I believe make a great prayer for us to life up to God in faith, believing that He is who He says He is, and He is so, SO GOOD!
1 Chronicles 29:11-12 – Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from You alone, for You rule over everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and at Your discretion people are made great and given strength.
Lamentations 3:37-40 – Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord!
Psalm 9:10 – Those who know Your name trust You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.
2 Timothy 4:18 – Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.