God is infinitely and unchangeably good (Zephaniah 3:17) and while He is infinitely powerful and majestic, He also desires to have a personal relationship with us. After reading about the qualities of God, you soon begin to realize that they are not independent of each other; instead, they complement each other and encompass His very nature and being.
What makes God good? Is it because He loves us, or is it because He is merciful? He is good because of these and so many other reasons. The love of God is a totally unselfish love and He demonstrated His love for us by sending His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. God is good because He loved us even when we had no concern for Him and Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Love is so important that Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love and whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8).
God’s love is a persistent unending love, even when people resist it and many scholars believe, in grace, God manifests His goodness toward the ill-deserving, but in mercy, He directs it toward those who are in misery or distress. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5). Because of God’s mercy towards us, He also expects us to be merciful to others and by not showing mercy to others, we keep ourselves from receiving mercy from God.
To act out of true love, one must put their concern for someone else equal to or above that for themselves. People know they are loved when they feel it, not when they hear it or if it is implied. Loving someone as Christ loved us involves a decision to meet people where they are at in their walk in life and coming along side them. It involves getting our hands dirty by reaching down to pick them out of the pit they are in or walking with them through a trial just like Christ has done for us time after time. We quickly forgot what and where our Savior pulled us out from and as the Body of Christ that is how a lost and hurting world will feel the love and compassion of God. We are His instruments and while He doesn’t need us to accomplish His will, we need Him and when we act according to His will, we bring glory to His name.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Mercy is shown by those who have authority, power, or control over another person. Jesus paid the ultimate debt with His life and He expects us to do the same. In Matthew 18:23 we read about a king forgiving one of his servant’s vast debt. In this story, the Lord was showing us that forgiveness must be in direct proportion to what was forgiven. In the story, the servant was forgiven of all his debt and he in turn should have forgiven all. Instead, he chose not to forgive one of his debtors who owed merely a fraction of the debt he himself had just been forgiven. As children of God, we have been forgiven of all our sins, so in turn when someone sins against us we must be willing to forgive them no matter the circumstance or how many times it occurs.
God is our ultimate provider, protector, deliverer, and guide and He has infinite resources to accomplish His will and purpose, one of which is angels. Angel means “messenger” and they are ministering spirits who are sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. An angel has the power to provide physical and spiritual strength in our time of need. In Matthew 4:11, after Jesus’ tempting, angels came and attended Him. God also uses angels to protect His children. In Daniel 6 God sent His angel to shut the mouths of the lions and in Daniel 3 God sent His angel to protect Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. God can also use angels to deliver people out of or from perilous conditions and situations. In some instances, He uses angels to even keep people from entering dangerous circumstances. On two separate occasions in Acts 5:17-23 and Acts 12:6-10, God dispatched an angel to deliver the apostle Peter from imprisonment. Angels can also guide people according to God’s word. Many times, He uses angels to minister to us without us even knowing it. Other times, as in Acts 10:1-8, Cornelius was reassured and instructed by an angel to send for the apostle Peter who could help make sense of the heavenly visitation he had received.
The purpose of holy angels is to serve God and to minister to those He has redeemed. The opposite is true with evil angels, whose purpose rest solely on opposing the gospel. As a result, we are engaged in an ongoing spiritual battle and it becomes evident that angels play a significant role in God’s plan. With 175 references to angels in the New Testament, it becomes apparent that there is an increase in the activity of angels or that the writers of this period simply decided to write more about them. Ultimately, spiritual warfare began when Lucifer exercised his free will and chose to rebel against God. At that instance, he and a third of the angels fell from grace like lightning falling from heaven and as each day passes; Satan’s earthly kingdom becomes less secure. After the fall, some angels were bound in darkness (Jude 1:6) while others were free to carry out Satan’s purpose. As a result, the devil attempts to strike back against God by attacking His children.
To win a battle, understanding the weapons and tactics of your opponent is essential. To battle Satan and his dominion and to wage war in the heavenlies, we must grasp what it truly means to put on the full armor of God and we must know how to stand firm against his attacks. Our key to victory rests in our ability to not give the devil a foothold because he is the great accuser and he is the tempter. The same ploy he used in the Garden of Eden was the same ploy he used in heaven – why worship God, when you can be God? His tricks and schemes don’t change and he knows where we are vulnerable to temptation. Satan roams the earth like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour and he masquerades as an angel of light. Understanding this and knowing that whatever God calls us to do that He will grant us the strength and power required is our key to fighting the good fight. Satan operates under limitations and he does not possess the same attributes that God does. His power is limited, his knowledge is incomplete, and his presence is restricted. The greatest pay-back the devil could deliver would be to have as many of God’s children going to the place in which God created specifically for the devil and his angels.