Sunday, June 20, 2010

Prerequisite 1 (Cont.): God's Character

God’s Character

Granted, there are few scriptures that teach of God’s physical appearance, but myriad teach of His character. We learn that He is powerful and created the heavens and the earth. Nature obeys Him. He is loving and happy. He is patient, compassionate, and longsuffering. God is just and merciful. He’s all-knowing, all-powerful, and omnipresent. He sees and knows the end from the beginning. He’s wise.

He’s our Heavenly Father. Romans 8:16
In fact, throughout the history of the world, those who worshipped Him called Him Father. See Isa. 63:16; Isa. 64:8. And Jesus taught that God is “[His] Father, and [our] Father; and . . . [His] God, and [our] God.” John 20:17. Notice the placement of the titles. Father comes first, God second. That’s deliberate. Of all His titles, God, Almighty, All Knowing, Omnipresent, Creator, Endless, Eternal etc . . . He prefers the title of Father.
God’s choice of titles tells us much about who He is. Consider an experience that Moses had, as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price. Moses was on a mountain, and God appeared to him. God showed Moses the Earth and everyone who had ever lived on it. Moses 1:1-8. After the vision, God withdrew from Moses, and Moses, marveling at the glory of God and His creations exclaimed, “Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.” Moses 1:10.
A short time later, God reappeared to Moses and showed him every particle of the Earth and the innumerable creations of His hands. Moses 1:27-29. Moses marveled again and asked, “Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?” Moses 1:30. God answered that He made them for His own purpose through Jesus Christ. Moses 1:33. He also told Moses that His works will never end. Moses 1:33. And as one earth passes into eternity, another is born. Moses 1:38. That is, God has worlds inhabited by His children throughout the universe, and He will continue to create earth after earth into eternity. And then He told Moses why: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39.
By way of clarification, to be immortal is to live forever, and to have eternal life is to live forever in the presence of God, with the potential to receive all that He has. Luke 15:31; D&C 84:38 All are immortal, as we’ll discuss later, because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But only some, as you’ll soon see, will receive eternal life through the Redemption of Jesus Christ. Eternal life is the greatest of all of God’s gifts. D&C 14:7. And He wants us all to have it.
Think about it then. The vast universe, the billions upon billions of galaxies, the stars in the heavens without number, the sun, the moon, this earth that we live on, the glory of nature, everything, it was all created for us. In essence, by showing Moses the vastness of creation and by telling him that all was created for His children, God told Moses, “While compared to Me, mankind is nothing, to Me, mankind is everything.”
Because we mean everything to Him, God knows us, and He wants us to know Him. John 17:3. To reveal His nature and His love, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. Everything Jesus did revealed an attribute of His Father―our Father―because He only did those things that He saw His Father do. John 5:19. So as He blessed children, healed the sick, raised the dead, caused the lame to walk, cast out devils, restored sight to the blind, healed deaf ears, condemned sin, reprimanded hypocrisy, and forgave repentant sinners, Jesus was only doing what the Father would have done.
So the life of Jesus Christ is the ultimate manifestation of God’s nature. Had He been in the Holy Land instead of Jesus, He would have done exactly what Jesus did. He would have performed miracles. He would have taught true doctrine. He would have gone to Gethsemane. He would have been humiliated, been judged of the world, been scourged, and gone to Golgotha. He would have sacrificed everything for us. Thus, as we study the life of Christ, His teachings, and His we also study the character of God.
And we recognize how devoted to us, His children, God is.

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