WHAT WE BELIEVE – GOD
The most important knowledge we can ever have is the knowledge of who the one living and true God is. Knowing God is the beginning of wisdom; the highest privilege given to human beings made in his image and likeness. Our understanding of everything depends on our understanding of him, our beliefs about God and his ways make all the difference in our lives.
Our statement of faith says this about what we believe concerning God (further statements reflect on who God is as Father, Son, and Spirit): “We believe that there is one God who eternally exists as three persons in one nature: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 fleshes this statement out in more detail: “There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.”
God is the one and only God, he is not one among other gods, or even the greatest of the gods, he is the only God, he exists by his very nature (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-6). As the living and true God, God has always existed, he was never created or came into being, and he defines reality himself (Jeremiah 10:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). God is spiritual, which means that God exists as a being that is not made of any matter, has no parts or dimensions, is unable to be perceived by our bodily senses, and is different and higher than any other kind of existence (John 4:24).
God is both infinite and personal at the same time, transcendent and immanent simultaneously. God is infinite in that he is not subject to any of the limitations of creation and far greater than anything else that exists. At the same time God is intimately involved with us as persons, and he relates with us, he speaks to us, rejoices in us, loves us, responds to our worship and prayer and obedience and love and disobedience and sin (Psalm 86, 116; Isaiah 40-48). God is self-existent and self-sufficient. He does not need us or the rest of creation for anything, yet we and the rest of creation can glorify him and bring him joy (Exodus 3:14; Job 41:11; Psalm 50:10-12; 90:2; John 17:5, 24; Acts 17:24-25).
God is eternal, he has no beginning, end, or succession of moments in his own being, and he sees all times vividly, yet God sees events in time and acts in time (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2, 4; Job 36:26; Isaiah 45:21; 46:9-10; John 8:58; Acts 17:30-31; Galatians 4:4-5; 2 Peter 3:8; Jude 25; Revelation 1:8). God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises, yet God does act and feel emotions, and he acts and feels differently in response to different situations (Psalm 33:11; 102:25-27; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17).
God is glorious, majestic, and radiant in and of himself. He is incomparable. Although he does not need us, he chooses to glorify himself through us and share his glory with us (Numbers 16:42; 1 Chronicles 16:28-29; 29:11; Psalm 19:1; 24:7-8; 72:19; 96:3; Romans 11:33-36; Revelation 4:11). He is Creator (Genesis 1-2); Redeemer (e.g., Exodus 6-12; Mark 10:45); Preserver (e.g., Matthew 10:29); and Ruler of all (e.g., 1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Daniel 4:17).
Finally, God is one and three and three in one. The doctrine of the Trinity affirms three truths: There is only one God, God is three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit, and God is one and three at the same time (e.g., Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19-20; John 10:29-30; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14). We understand God this way not only from Scripture, but from personal experience, as we saved to God the Father in God the Son by God the Spirit, as we pray and worship the Father in the Son through the Spirit.
God is absolute perfection in and of himself. Praise God that he made us and saves us to know him and make him known!