In our last blogpost, we looked at the six incommunicable attributes of God, which are unique to His being—His independence, His simplicity, His infinity (omnipresence and eternity), His immutability (unchangeableness). His omniscience, and His omnipotence (almighty power).
There are other qualities, characteristics or perfections, which God shares to a limited degree with the creatures that He has made—we call them God’s communicable attributes.
Not all men share in these communicable attributes, and not all share in them to the same degree. Only believers in Jesus Christ possess any of these attributes, because only believers in Jesus Christ have the image of God and the Holy Spirit. We are not so interested at this point in the communicable aspect, but in the attributes themselves, as God possesses them.
First, God is holy. To be holy means to be set apart and separated from all evil. God’s holiness is His devotion to Himself as the only and highest good. Everything God is and everything God does is for His own glory. Because God is holy, He is absolute purity and ethical perfection: “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Moreover, because God is holy, He burns in holy wrath against all sin. The holy God can have no pleasure in wickedness. “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13). “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).
Second, God is righteous or just. In fact, God Himself is the standard against which all righteousness is to be measured. God is righteousness. Anything that conforms to Him is righteous; anything that deviates from His standard is unrighteous. “The righteous LORD loveth righteousness” (Psalm 11:7). “His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment. A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4). God’s righteousness means that He will judge all men in perfect righteousness according to His perfect Law. All His dealings with His creatures are, and will be, perfectly just.
Third, God is wise. Wisdom is related to knowledge, but wisdom is the right application of knowledge. God is able, in His wisdom, to adapt everything to reach the highest goal, which is His own glory. “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” (Psalm 104:24). God displays His perfect wisdom in creation, in salvation, in judgment, and in history. The perfect display of God’s wisdom is in Jesus Christ and in Christ’s cross, which the world calls foolishness. “Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:24).
When God saves us by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, He makes us partakers of His nature (II Peter 1:4). The result is that we begin to reflect some of the perfections of God (His communicable attributes). We are holy in Christ because we are devoted to God in love. We are righteous in Christ because we are brought into conformity to God's standard. And we are wise in Christ because we are enabled through the Spirit to adapt our lives to bring glory to God.
God's goal in saving us is that we might be "conformed to the image of His Son," that is, to the image of His holy, righteous and wise Son (Rom. 8:29).
Are you? Believe in Him today!