Character and Power - Which is First?

Posted Dec 24, 2015 by Adrian Ebens in Character of God Hits: 516

1. Why do we worship God? What is it that we worship?

Rev 19:4-6  And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.  (5)  And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.  (6)  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Rev 4:10-11  The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,  (11)  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Rev 5:12-13  Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.  (13)  And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Rev 14:7  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Heb 7:16  Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

2 Pet 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

2. The Glory of God

Moses asked God to see His glory

Exo 33:18-19  And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.  (19)  And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

What did God show him?

Exo 34:6-7  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,  (7)  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

We see here two pictures of God. A God of power and a God of character.

So how do we relate these two aspects of God? Power and Character?

Notice what God says to us?

Jer 9:23-24  Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  (24)  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

If we are not to glory in wisdom, power and riches then is God asking us not to do something that He feels free to do? Is this the heavenly parent that has one rule for Himself and another rule for us? Do truly believe that because He is God, He can do whatever He wants?

3. Another picture of God in terms of power and Character - Elijah

1 Kings 19:11-13  And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:  (12)  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

What does this mean? He is not in the wind, the earthquake and fire? Did not the wind, earthquake and fire not occur because of Him? Yes. Then why does it say he was not in them?  

Zec 4:6  Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

Could that possibly mean He did not glory in those things?

What is the significance of the still small voice?

“The works of Christ not only declared Him to be the Messiah, but showed in what manner His kingdom was to be established. To John was opened the same truth that had come to Elijah in the desert, when "a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire:" and after the fire, God spoke to the prophet by a still, small voice. 1 Kings 19:11, 12. So Jesus was to do His work, not by the overturning of thrones and kingdoms, not with pomp and outward display, but through speaking to the hearts of men by a life of mercy and self-sacrifice.” 

     “The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. It comes through the gentleness of the inspiration of His word, through the inward working of His Spirit, the fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life. The greatest manifestation of its power is seen in human nature brought to the perfection of the character of Christ.”  {MH 36.2}

So does this mean we do not think about the power of God?

Does this not mean that when we see the mighty power in nature that we do not worship the Creator and reverence His power?

This is a critical question. One of the most fundamental questions we must answer.

What is the relationship between God’s character and His power?

Do we hold these two principles in co-equal tension? We simply worship His power and Worship His Character? Do we simply blend them as one and the same thing? Are His character and power indivisible neither dividing the substance or the elements? Is this the same formula that is used to concoct the Trinity? Do we simply combine them as one yet hold some theoretical distinction between them?

If we take a different pattern of thinking which is based on the begotten Son, can we ask whether power begets character or character begets power?

Would we not believe that power gives birth to character because without power you can’t exist? Is that right?

1 John 4:8 God is love

Isa 57:15  For thus saith the high and lofty One [1] that inhabiteth eternity,[2] whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

 Inhabits [H7931]= lodges or resides
eternity [H5703] = duration, eternity.

1 Tim 6:16  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Whose name [character] is holy

Psa 29:2  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

So God is Holy and is love and is mercy and God inhabits eternity and He possesses immortality. He is Character and He has power. This means that character is the source and power/light/life is channel.

Character gives birth to power.

Power is an expression of God’s character of love. Love is the source.

1 Cor 1:24  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Heb 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,

If Character is not the source but power is the source then power can be expressed through love and hate, kindness and force, gentleness and aggression.

If character is source and character is love then God’s power can only ever be an expression of love, tenderness, mercy, patience and righteousness. This is a pivotal point. Without this distinction then where ever we see power displayed we can never be sure that it is always done in love. When we know that God’s character of love is the source then we can be certain that all power He manifests or displays is in love.

Life is only in Christ.

John 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

It is the spirit of love between Father and Son that gives life – spiritual life and this life then gives birth to power life or existence. Power to live is the fruit of the loving character of God.

1Jn 1:1-3  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  (2)  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)  (3)  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

So in conclusion we see that Character is the source and power is the channel and this thought process is based upon the pattern Father and Son where Father is Source and Son is Channel according to 1 Cor 8:6.