August 21 I Saturday
1 Corinthians 4
Then God said, ‘Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness....’ So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” —Genesis 1:26-27
When we describe someone, we often talk about their attributes. What is an attribute? An attribute is a quality or character that is ascribed to a person. For example, when we say this man is tall or that woman is generous, we are ascribing an attribute to that person. We can understand the attributes of God in two different categories. Firstly, there are God’s incommunicable attributes, which are qualities that belong to God alone and are not shared with His creation. An example is that God is omniscient, meaning “all-knowing,” and there is nothing in His creation that He gives that particular attribute. Someone once put up an ad that said, “FOR SALE BY OWNER: Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, 45 volumes. Excellent Condition. Reason: Husband knows everything.” Whoever that husband is, he does not know everything, because nobody knows everything. There are essentially five incommunicable attributes of God: His omnipotence, His omniscience, His omnipresence, His eternal nature and His immutability.
Secondly, there are God’s communicable attributes. They are qualities that God has chosen to share with His creation, in particular, with humanity because we have the unique distinction in all of creation of being created in His image. The attributes that God shares with humanity are attributes of His character; in other words, they are by and large moral attributes that are to do with behaviour. For instance, God is love, and He has chosen to give us the capacity to love. Even those who do not profess to believe in God share in His given attributes, but as Christians, we come to know and experience God more intimately, expressing His attributes more fully in our life. His communicable attributes are many including His goodness, His grace, His kindness, His mercy and His patience.
When Jesus prayed with His disciples, He said, “This is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God...” (John 17:3). Jesus was not talking about knowing God in a manner of checking off things we know about God, such as His incommunicable and communicable attributes. Instead, eternal life is more than knowing, but experiencing His love, His goodness, His grace, His kindness, His mercy and His patience, because our knowledge of God will be directly related to the measure in which the character of God is being reproduced in us.
The goal of the gospel is transforming us from one degree of glory to another, where we are being conformed into His image, into His moral character. When people meet us, how clearly do they experience the character of God?
Prayer: Creator God, thank You that I can know You more than just listing out Your attributes. Spirit, help me to live out the character of the One who chose to share His own image with me. Refine me in Your likeness.