TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

II. Spiritual Attributes

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Chapter 18  Part II

Spiritual Attributes

The spiritual attributes that God bestows on his people far exceed anything that this world can offer. Attributes or blessings such as love, hope, joy, peace and wisdom are longed for by most people, and sought after in many ways. But it is only from God that they can be gained in their highest form.

Love, Faith and Hope

Love, faith and hope form a key triad of spiritual graces or attributes. They are linked a number of times in the NT, most famously in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

God gives his people love . . .

See also:

Eph 6:23  [Paul, to believers:] Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  NET

. . . God enables his people to love

1Thes 4:9  [Paul, to believers:] Now on the topic of brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.  NET

God gives his people faith

Rom 12:3b  [Paul, to the believers in Rome:] God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.  NET

God gives his people hope – especially by what he has done through Jesus Christ

2Thes 2:16a  [Paul, to believers:] God our Father loved us and by his kindness gave us everlasting encouragement and good hope.  GW

1Pet 1:3-4  [Peter, to believers:] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah! Because of his great mercy he has given us a new birth to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah, from the dead 4and to an inheritance kept in heaven for you that can’t be destroyed, corrupted, or changed.  ISV

Through Jesus Christ’s resurrection, God has brought believers into an “ever-living hope” (v. 3). This encompasses the hope of their own resurrection and an everlasting inheritance in heaven (v. 4).

God’s promises give his people hope

Heb 6:17-18  To those who were to receive what he promised, God wanted to make it very clear that he would never change his purpose; so he added his vow to the promise. 18There are these two things, then, that cannot change and about which God cannot lie. So we who have found safety with him are greatly encouraged to hold firmly to the hope placed before us.  GNT

This indicates that “the hope placed before us” (v. 18) by God is based on, or comes from, his promise that is referred to and his confirmation of it with an oath – the “two things… that cannot change” (v. 18).

God’s promises to his people include promises for the present life . . .

Acts 2:38-39  Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”  NET

Ps 119:76, 116a  [A psalmist, to God:] May your loyal love console me, as you promised your servant.116Sustain me as you promised, so that I will live.  NET

In these verses “as you promised” refers to promise of deliverance.

. . . and promises for the afterlife – notably the promise of eternal life

2Pet 3:13  [Peter, to believers:] But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides.  NET

Titus 1:2  [Paul, speaking of believers:] Then they will have the hope of eternal life that God promised long ago. And God never tells a lie!  CEV

 Questions for Section A

Peace

OT references to the peace that God gives to his people encompass both inner peace (including being at ease) and outer peace (the absence of war and adversity). In addition to peace with God, the NT speaks of God giving his people an inner, spiritual peace – even amidst adversity. The NT also speaks of God engendering peace or harmony amongst groups of believers.

God gives his people peace

See also:

Ps 29:11  The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.  NCV™

Col 1:2  [Paul:] To the holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that live in Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.  NCV™

God provides his people with rest

Ex 33:14  And the Lord said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”  NET

Jesus Christ gives God’s people peace . . .

John 14:27  [Jesus, to his disciples:] Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.  NET

John 16:33  [Jesus, to his disciples:] I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.  NET

Because Jesus Christ has overcome the world, in him believers have peace amidst the trouble that the world causes them.

. . . and Jesus Christ gives his people rest

Matt 11:28-30  [Jesus:] Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.  NET

Here “rest” appears to encompass (or at least be applicable to) rest from: trying to obey the OT law in order to be righteous before God, particularly with how it was embellished by the Jews; the burden of sin; and any troubles in our lives that weary and burden us.

God’s people have great peace

Isa 26:3  The Lord gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.  CEV

Phil 4:6-7  [Paul, to believers:] Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. 7And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  NET

2Thes 3:16  [Paul, to believers:] Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.  NET

Note that this is primarily speaking of peace amongst believers.

God’s people have peace and rest even in death

Isa 57:2  Those who live good lives find peace and rest in death.  GNT

Note: God is the God of peace

Rom 15:33  [Paul, to believers:] Now may the God of peace be with all of you. Amen.  NET

 Questions for Section B

Joy

God gives joy to his people

See also:

Ps 97:11  Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.  ESV

God and Jesus Christ give their people fullness of joy

Rom 15:13  [Paul, to believers:] Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  NET

John 15:10-11  [Jesus, to his disciples:] If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete.  NET

The joy is present even in trouble

Ps 94:19  [A psalmist, to God:] When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, your comfort makes me glad.  ISV

2Cor 8:2  They [churches in Macedonia] have been severely tested by the troubles they went through; but their joy was so great that they were extremely generous in their giving, even though they are very poor.  GNT

Promises of God replacing sorrow with joy

Isa 35:10  And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  ESV

Jer 31:11-13  For the Lord will rescue the descendants of Jacob. He will secure their release from those who had overpowered them. 12They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion. They will be radiant with joy over the good things the Lord provides, the grain, the fresh wine, the olive oil, the young sheep and calves he has given to them. They will be like a well–watered garden and will not grow faint or weary any more. 13The Lord says, “At that time young women will dance and be glad. Young men and old men will rejoice. I will turn their grief into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy in place of their sorrow.  NET

Note: God’s joy strengthens people

Neh 8:10  He [Nehemiah] said to them, “Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  NET

The grief of the people would be offset through them drawing strength from the joy they had in the Lord, or the “joy that the Lord gives” (GNT, cf. CEV).

 Questions for Section C

Wisdom and Knowledge

See also:

God gives his people wisdom

James 1:5  But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.  NET

James 3:17  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.  NET

God gives his people knowledge

Eccl 2:26  God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to anyone who pleases him.  GW

Matt 13:11  He [Jesus] answered them, “You have been given knowledge about the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but it hasn’t been given to them.  ISV

Jesus revealed God’s hidden teachings of the kingdom of heaven to his disciples but not to others in the crowds. Presumably this was in part at least because the others were not open to believing and/or were not prepared to intently seek the truth.

God’s people are given spiritual sight . . .

Eph 1:17-19  [Paul, to believers:] I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him, 18– since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened – so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength.  NET

Ps 119:18  [A psalmist, to God:] Open my eyes so I can truly see the marvelous things in your law!  NET

As suggested by the psalmist’s request, God opens his people’s eyes to spiritual truth.

. . . They have spiritual light instead of spiritual darkness

1Pet 2:9  [Peter, to believers:] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one [God] who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  NET

John 8:12  Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  NET

The light that Jesus gives enables one to recognize and avoid “darkness” or falsehood – including false ideologies and ways of life – and shows the way to spiritual life.

Note: The exceptional wisdom that God gave to Solomon

1Ki 4:29-31  God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment; the breadth of his understanding was as infinite as the sand on the seashore. 30Solomon was wiser than all the men of the east and all the sages of Egypt. 31He was wiser than any man, including Ethan the Ezrahite or Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. He was famous in all the neighboring nations.  NET

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians