Everyday, references about God make their way into our social feeds and social circles: Say a pray for me! Keep the faith! God’s got this! Some are expressed with sincere hearts, but all too often, such sentiments are more reflective of a person’s culture or upbringing—and less of a true belief in God.
But what is true belief in God? Surely it stretches beyond admitting he exists, beyond acknowledging he’s the creator and orchestrator of the universe. Even Satan and his demons believe these things: “Even the demons believe—and shudder” (James 2:19). But in no way do they trust God. In fact, Satan wants for himself the glory and honor due only to God.
Trust in God
More than believing in the existence of God, we must trust in Him for salvation, and that means coming to him through faith in Jesus alone.
Dr. Michael Milton said this about trusting in Jesus: “You can know assurance of eternal life by receiving Jesus Christ as the resurrected and living Lord and Savior of your life and by trusting, not in your emotions or in the vicissitudes of life, but in the unchanging covenant of grace.”
“For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5), who was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification“ (Romans 4:25) and is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3).
What does God want us to believe about his nature? The same things he wanted Moses to believe. In Exodus 34:6, God first introduces himself to Moses as one who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Who Is God?
Let’s take a closer look at what our relational God wants us to believe first about him:
1. God is merciful and gracious.
God’s compassion extends to everything he’s made (Matthew 5:45). He doesn’t wait for people to repent and put their faith in him before he blesses them (Luke 6:35). Indeed, it’s his kindness that draws people to repent. (Romans 2:4). God’s common grace covers the earth; folks everywhere know what it’s like enjoy beautiful weather, delicious food, and loving family. Yes, he deals with sin, but he always keeps in mind how frail and limited we are (Psalm 103:14).
2. God is slow to anger.
If God threw lightning bolts at us every time we sinned, we’d get zapped a dozen times before leaving the house every morning. It’s been said that God holds back his anger with the reigns of his love. He is extraordinarily patient with us, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Here are more Bible references about how God is slow to anger: Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Psalm 86:5, Psalm 86:15, Joel 2:13.
3. God is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
John Piper puts it this way: “The heart of God is like an inexhaustible spring of water that bubbles up love and faithfulness at the top of the mountain.” His love isn’t sparse, finicky, or temperamental; it isn’t contingent upon our love for him. And his faithfulness flows even when our faith ebbs.
Here are more Bible references about how God is abounding in steadfast love: Exodus 34:6, 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 86:5, Psalm 100:5, Lamentations 3:22-23, Jonah 4:2.
4. God is unchanging.
As we continue to ponder what it means to believe and trust in the great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14), we can rest in the glorious unchangingness of his nature – a nature that isn’t the result of good genes. A nature that didn’t come to be because a youth pastor or friendly mentor took him under his wings as a child. He never was a child. He has “no beginning of days nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3). His power and might don’t find their origins in some mythological realm, like Thor in Asgard.
In fact, there is no force, no reality outside of God. He is entirely self-sustaining, self-determining, and self-directing. And as Tolkien hinted in Lord of the Rings, “There is only one Lord of the ring . . . and he does not share power.” But what he does share is himself with those—who believe in him for salvation.
Molly Parker is a freelance copywriter and content editor whose passion is helping clients craft engaging, personality-packed content. In addition to finding beauty in the way God’s redemptive plan is woven throughout Scripture, she adores imaginative story lines, catchy phrasing, and sentence structure (just watch how her eyes twinkle when she mulls over comma placements). Molly calls California home with her grown-up kids, hunky husband, and sassy cat. Visit her at www.mollyjeanparker.com.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Oscarhdez