New City Question 2: What is God?
Topic: God Passage: Psalms 86:8–86:10, Psalms 86:15–86:15
This is a RLC podcast and in this podcast, we are working through the New City catechism. When I say catechism, many today have an almost immediate negative reaction. And I think it is because they either don’t know what it is or have a caricature in their mind that they are connecting with the word. The word catechism simply means to teach or instruct orally and has been used for centuries by Christians to learn and teach the foundational truths of the Christian faith. And I would suggest that our present disuse or a robust and systematic approach to learning the faith that leads to a shallow and weak faith. Twentieth century theologian John Murray said that following specifically about the use of a catechism:
It is to the discontinuance of this practice that we can trace much of the doctrinal ignorance, confusion and instability so characteristic of modern Christianity.
Believing a statement like that to be true, we want to work toward a common confession of what we believe about God, his law and word, mankind, sin, redemption, the work of the Spirit, and so forth, so that we are strong in faith and faithfully passing the faith on to the next generations. Listen to what Psalm 78:4-7 says,
4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
Let’s look at question 2.
Question 2: What is God?
Answer: God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.
There is no greater thing to think about or talk about than God. There can be no higher subject we could occupy our minds with (Tozer). Fundamental to our relationship to God is to recognize the Creator/creature distinction. The essence of humility is to recognize that God is God and I am not.
As such, God is not just a little above us. Not even a lot above us. He is infinitely above us. The God of the Scriptures is in a category all by himself. There is none like him. God is the Creator and Sustainer of everyone and everything. In other words, everyone and everything comes into being because of God and continues to exist because of God. He is eternal (no beginning or end), infinite (limitless), and unchangeable. Amazingly all that God is, he always has been and always will be. He is never growing, learning, or becoming. He simply is. And we see that he is perfect in power, goodness, glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. He always has been and always will be.
In a world that is constantly changing, where truth is malleable, where justice is subjective, and increasingly evil is called good, we need to know our God who defines all of these things does not change. We need to know that he is sovereign. And in light of this, we are called to bow in submission, worship in awe, trust in his goodness toward us, and obey what he requires of us.
Psalm 86:8-10, 15 - 8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. 9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. 15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.