In order to have a personal relationship with God, we need to understand His character. That means knowing His attributes. How does He define Himself? His character is revealed from Genesis to Revelation. Developing our understanding of His character occurs when we meticulously read Scripture and contemplate the essential Bible study question: Who is God? The Bible clearly states how God defines Himself. Let how God defines Himself challenge your conception of Him.
4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”Exodus 34:4-7
There is a tension that we must deal with in God’s attributes. How can God be the kind of God who punishes sin and one who abounds in lovingkindness? Wrestling with this tension helps us grow in appreciation for the finished work of the cross. God is gracious, compassionate, full of love and faith but also too righteous to overlook sin, wickedness and rebellion.
Romans 3:26 | It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus.
For all the Glory Moses saw he wasn’t allowed to see God’s face. God’s glory revealed in the law was incomplete – it contained an unresolved tension, which is why the glory revealed in the gospel far surpasses it. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory”—the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And that’s something Moses could never say.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.John 1:14
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.2 Corinthians 4:6
The light, knowledge, and glory are reflected “in the face” of Christ. Rather than man being assigned virtues, or work, God intended us to seek a relationship with His Son.
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.2 Corinthians 3:7-18