Eternal power and divine nature take top billing in the list of God’s “Invisible Attributes”. It seems strange that we don’t talk about them more than we do.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:20-21 (ESV)
Especially when scripture says these invisible attributes have been perceptible ever since creation, leaving us no excuse not to recognize them.
If they are that obvious, important, and required to honor God, is it no wonder why we have such difficulty resisting our fleshly nature? Our perception of who is our standard, is limited by our lack of understanding.
And even beyond this, we are to be given many of these invisible attributes for our own, specifically God’s divine nature.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (ESV)
Exploring Divine Nature
The reality for most of us that are followers of Jesus Christ is that we address Gods’ divine nature in our thought and conversation a lot more than we might think. So, we haven’t been necessarily neglectful in giving respect to this nature of God, but maybe we aren’t fully aware of it being something we should be more focused on, as a whole rather than the individual components.
I say this because we know that God is Love, unequivocally. We understand that He is just, compassionate, forgiving, pure, and holy.
To put this in a framework we can better understand, let’s consider the divine nature of God as being a shiny sports car.
We walk up on it and observe the aggressive tires. Then we gaze at the leather-wrapped steering wheel and upholstery. We revel in the mellow hum of the engine as it is running and take pleasure in the sound system.
While all these things are nice in and of themselves unless we see them in conjunction to that car we can’t fully appreciate or even comprehend the full nature of that vehicle.
God’s divine nature is very similar. We pick out specific attributes about God that intrigue us, but unless we take in all that we can of God we cannot fully appreciate who He is and what He really means to us as his children.
Going back to the analogy of the sports car, this would be like us sitting in the driver’s seat with the motor running, listening to the radio in that wonderful automobile. We end up with only a partial appreciation what that car provides.
Take in consideration the sport’s car enthusiast, they will want to experience how the car handles, it’s braking ability, how it out of a turn, and so much more. The one who takes a full interest in the complete vehicle will appreciate it more, get a better understanding of what it is and what it may be capable of, and a more complete appreciation for what this mass of metal, rubber, and plastic really is.
Our level of appreciation for something or someone is proportional to what we observe and acknowledge.
This may sound silly when you think about it, but if we had never seen a wrench in use, the first application for it might be to use it as a pry bar or a hammer. It would only be when we came to an understanding of what that tool was designed for and how to use it we would receive the full benefit.
This isn’t only true of the sports car and the wrench. It’s true about God too.
Recognizing God’s Invisible Attributes
With this understanding, the next thing we would want to do, if we wish to more fully appreciate God, is learning more about these invisible attributes and the divine nature.
The means to going about this is initially obvious. Just as with people the more we spend time with them the better our grasp of who they are and what they mean to us. Our relationship with God isn’t any different.
We need to spend time with Him. We need to be in His Word because that is where we can see and appreciate who God is from His own words. We should pray more and as we pray do it more diligently and honestly from our hearts. Seeking revelation from Him of who He is. Giving Him praise for all that he discloses of Himself to us. Then taking that understanding of who God is and using it as our standard, the template for our behavior and goal of our being.
Obviously, we cannot achieve a full emulation of God and His invisible attributes but the more we do the better our relationship with Him becomes. We can only recognize the reason for more joy, more peace, and more comfort in the assurance of who he is, when we have taken in as much of who God is, from what we can know.
The final means we grow in our understanding of God and His invisible attributes is when we go beyond observance and conversation, delving into having this standard we have embraced become our Master and mentor. It’s called being a disciple.
A big part of the disciple’s role is to be obedient to the wishes of the Master. It is only when we are obedient that we can see the invisible attributes at work. Observation is one method of learning, but experience is much more profound and impactful.
When Jesus said…
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
John 14:15 (ESV)
There was more to it than might meet the eye.
He wants us to be obedient to his commands because we are here for a purpose. Our existence, our being isn’t a random act of nature. Every human life was made for a reason and has a purpose in God’s design.
God wants to know us and us to know Him in the same manner. He has gone to extreme lengths to make knowing him possible. It is only when we are obedient that we can take the head knowledge of what we observe and put it into functional lessons by experiencing what He does and can do through us. And in doing so, we grow in a deeper understanding of who He is, along with His “Invisible Attributes”
In His Grace,