“For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37 NLT)
While it’s difficult to think of something that God is not or cannot do, if we’re not careful we’ll inadvertently blame God for something He can’t possibly do. Our frame of reference is human beings. That’s what we are, that’s who we are, so, naturally, we think and act like humans. The downside of that, as it pertains to how we view God, is that we superimpose human characteristics onto God.
For example, humans can be spiteful, selfish, rude, arrogant, proud, unkind, unloving, and a thousand other things that God can never be, yet we sometimes are tempted to accuse Him of those kinds of behaviors. Wayne Gruden wrote: “God cannot will or do anything that will deny His character.”
What is character? Character can be defined in many ways, but for our purposes The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines character as: “a distinguishing feature or attribute; the complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person or a group.” What do those things mean?
Essentially, they refer to how someone thinks and behaves. It would be very difficult for us to understand what that means as it relates to God, but He drew us a very clear picture of Himself when He poured Himself into human flesh and became a human being. The Bible says in John 1:10: “He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him.”
And from our perspective, at least those of us who know and love Him, we’re tempted to think: “How blind could they have been not to recognize that Jesus was/is God in human form?” How quickly we forget! There was a time when we didn’t really “see” Him either. Some who grew up attending church and having believing parents may not remember a time when they didn’t understand intellectually that Jesus was God.
But there must come a time of spiritual insight when what the Bible teaches about God and Jesus becomes personal. We can understand intellectually and still miss who He is and why He came. But once we’re “born again,” as Jesus said we must be in John 3:3, our “spiritual eyes” are opened to the Truth, not only of what He said, but of who He is.
That’s when we can begin to understand that though nothing is impossible for God, there are things He restricts Himself from doing. For example, in Psalm 89:35 God says: “I have sworn an oath to David, and in My holiness I cannot lie.” Some other things are revealed in that same Psalm. God will never not punish sin, nor will He ever stop loving. He is light and He will never cease to illuminate what’s wrong in our lives, nor will He ever withhold His Spirit who alone can enable us to correct what’s wrong in us.
When someone refuses to repent and turn from their sin, God will never make them come to Him. Though it breaks His heart, He will allow people to make the choice to defy Him and, against His will and desire, choose to spend eternity in hell.
Nothing is hidden from God’s sight, so He can never not see sin; He cannot deceive, nor will He ever tempt us or cause us to sin. He will never abandon or forsake us, nor will He ever stop loving us. God doesn’t hold grudges, nor will He withhold His grace, mercy, kindness, goodness, and love from anyone who seeks after Him.
He is forgiving, so much so that He casts our sin into the sea of His forgetfulness, never to be remembered against us again. On many levels God is everything we are not and is capable of providing things that we could never in all eternity ever provide for ourselves.
He is trustworthy and good and will go to impossible lengths to prove His love for us, but there are things He will not do that would violate His character.
Blessings, Ed 😊