The Attributes of God Tract 4—God is Spirit
The Glory of God
God is Spirit
The Bible teaches us that although God is a person (meaning He has an intellect and a will, being self-aware and knowable), He is not limited to a physical body. John 4:24 says, “God is spirit.” No other being is unhindered and free like God is. The Bible describes God in physical terms at times, but such imagery is used to teach us difficult truths about God in ways that we can understand; it is not teaching us that God possesses an actual physical body. For example, “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”1. This is clearly a metaphor talking about the comfort and security that a believer has in God; it is not teaching that God has literal wings that His people hide under. God is spirit, and is thus totally free – unconfined by a physical body.
God, being a spirit, is invisible2, which means that any image we could come up with would not be able to accurately depict Him. In fact, efforts to make an image of God greatly dishonor Him, since such actions both deny the truth of God’s spiritual nature, and suppose that the creature (man), with his limited knowledge, imagination, and abilities could accurately depict His Creator. These are some reasons why it is wrong to make images of God3. God is invisible, so we should not try to represent Him with images. How then could we ever hope to know an invisible God? The wonderful truth is that “[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God…”4. John 1:18 (ESV) says of Jesus, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” Our wonderful Creator is revealed to us by His Son.
Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”6. You can know your Creator. Knowing God is the greatest pleasure man is capable of experiencing, and God desires you to experience the matchless delights and ravishing pleasures of fellowship with Him, now and for eternity5!
The Bad News
One reason God gave us the gift of sex is to illustrate the pleasures of intimacy with Him9. We are not suggesting that anyone enters into a physical relationship with God, but that sex was designed, in part, to beautifully illustrate the spiritual pleasures of fellowship with and worship of God. This is one reason why the misuse of sexuality is sinful10. Sex was designed and blessed by God to be enjoyed by one man and one woman in the context of a marriage covenant before Him11. This side of man’s fall into sin, we are deeply broken, and tend to misuse our sexuality. Our good sexual desires are bent in directions they were never meant to go. Perhaps you, driven by lust, have sex outside of marriage, or with another person’s husband or wife. Maybe sin has bent your sexual desires toward the same sex, or toward the use of pornography. Regardless of how loudly the world may applaud fornication, adultery, pornography, or homosexuality, loving or acting upon any unrighteous lust (sexual desire tolerated or acted upon outside the marriage covenant as defined by God), is turning something He designed to beautifully display His glory into something perverted and sinful.
The fact that you can sin without feeling the horrible weight of that sin, and God’s judgment against you for it is because unless you have been born again, you are “dead in the trespasses and sins in which you walk”12, and are “darkened in [your] understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in [you], due to [your] hardness of heart”13. Even though we know God exists because nature clearly reveals Him to us14, and that He will hold us accountable for our sin15 (our God-given conscience tells us this), and though many of us have read the truth in the Bible, and have had the truth spoken to us, unless you’ve been born again, you will take your knowledge of the truth, and “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”16. Outside of Christ, God will not have fellowship with you because of your bad record, and you will not seek after Him because of your bad heart17. This is what the Bible calls spiritual death.
Unless God acts on your behalf, raising the dead to life – changing your heart, and enabling you to respond to Him18, you will die in your sin and spend eternity in a state of death19. Far from being unaware or unconscious in eternity, you will know the unspeakable agony of being totally separated from the favorable presence of the one from whom all goodness and well-being comes20. Because God is loving, merciful, and kind, you have known goodness and all kinds of pleasures in your life21. You have not yet known what it means to be completely cut off from His generosity. If you remain in your sin, you will surely know that dreadful separation from Him. God’s kindness does not extend past the gates of hell – only justice is given there. If you will not repent of all sin, including sexual sin, you will not enter heaven22. You cannot have both sexual sin and Christ. Our Lord will not welcome someone who reaches to Him with only one hand while the other is still firmly attached to sin. This is why Jesus said, “if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.” 23
The Good News
In an act of amazing grace, Jesus was sent to provide the way for sinners like you and I to be healed of our deadly sin disease. In Christ, these precious words will be a reality to you: “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross”24.
Through the Son of God’s death and resurrection, His people’s bad record is wiped away since justice was served to Him in our place on the cross, and His resurrection life is our life. In that way God “forgives us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us”. God gives Jesus’s righteousness to those who come to Him as their only hope of salvation25. In Christ, our bad record is buried and forgotten26, and instead of being treated as we deserve for our wickedness, we are loved with the love that Christ deserves.
Jesus also made the way for His people’s bad hearts to be made new. “He made you alive together with Him”. When God truly saves someone, the Bible teaches that they are “born again”27. This means that we are given a new heart that desires to come to God through His Son28, to turn from all sin29, and to love the God we once hated and ignored30. In the second birth we’re changed from the inside out – we begin to hate the sin we once loved and love the righteousness we once hated31. The regenerate (those who have been born again) have both the desire and the ability to “…present [ourselves] to God as those alive from the dead, and [our] members as instruments of righteousness to God”32. Turn from your sin today and come to Christ before it’s too late.
“Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezk. 33:11)
1 Ps. 36:7 (emphasis added); 2 1 Tim. 1:17; 3 Dt. 4:15-19; 4 Col. 1:15a; 5 Acts 17:24-27; 6 Jn. 17:3; 7 Hab. 1:13; 8 Is. 59:2; 9 Eph. 5:31-32; 10 Ex. 20:14; 1 Cor. 6:9, 18; 11 Gen. 2:24; 12 Eph. 2:1-2; 13 Eph. 4:18; 14Rom. 1:18-23; 15 Rom. 2:15-16; 16 Rom. 1:18, 21-22; 17 Rom. 3:11; 18 Jn. 3:6-8, 6:44; 19 Rev. 21:8; 20 2 Thess. 1:9; 21 Mt. 5:45; Lk. 6:35; Jam. 1:17; 22 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 23 Mk. 9:43; 24 Col. 2:13-14; 25 1 Cor. 1:30;26 Ps. 103:12; 27 Tit. 3:4-7; Jn. 3:3-8; 1 Pt. 1:3-5, 20-23; 28 Jn. 6:44; 29 2 Tim. 2:25; 30 Rom. 3:11, 5:5; 31Rom. 3:10; 1 Pt. 2:24; 32 Rom. 6:13b