Who God is will determine what God does.
What God does will reveal a great deal about Who God is.

Too often, we think of God's Love in association with, and compared by human love. Even the best of human love does not hold a candle to God's love. Humans think of love as a relationship, i.e. "I love someone and they, in turn, love me back". From a human perspective we speak of: being in love, having love for another, rejected love, passionate love, Love triangle, it was love at first sight, and the list goes on and on. When we speak of human love, it is in reference to some thing , some force , some emotion , etc.

Human love is something we do, say, feel, think , etc. Humans fall in love, and fall out of love. Love is something we give or withhold. We speak about a person who is easy to love, and someone who is lovable. We speak of a person, and say that their love is growing. The Bible speaks of people who lost their first love.

If we were to try to give a definition to human love, it would take page after page to describe this thing we call love, because love is many things. Love to one person is different than love to another person. We could use illustration after illustration of the acts of love, but when we were through, we would be no closer to having a definitive definition of love than when we first started.

Webster, in his dictionary, makes an attempt to define love. After all, that's what he's paid to do, you know. Even after he went on and on for a column or so, you really don't have a good handle on this thing called love from any of the many different shades of meanings.

love (Webster)
the attraction, desire, or affection for a person who arouses delight or admiration or elicits tenderness, sympathetic interest or benevolence

There you have it! Webster's #1 definition of love. It sounds more like a romantic sitcom that a definition of love. Webster, in his dictionary, does go on with some 20-30 more shades of meanings of this word love. Even putting all those shades of meanings together in one pile, they still do not give us a good handle on love. About the 7th on Webster's list seems to summed up the whole process of trying to define love.

love (Webster #7)
a score of zero, (in tennis and other games).

That is usually what we do when we try to describe love, we score zero. We strike out. We get a big goose egg. That may be taking Webster's definition out of context, but if some so called theologians can take a portion of Scripture out of context, then it should be all right to take definitions out of context, shouldn't it? No, it's not right to take either a definition or Scripture out of context. Nonetheless, as I was reading down the dictionary lists of meanings, it just struck me as so appropriate, and a little humorous.

Even the fact or act of human love is far beyond the definitive comprehension of a human mind. That being the case with human love, can you understand how much more incomprehensible God's love is to the human mind? Like it or not, we humans equate love with such things as sex, passion, romance, desire, etc. (as was indicated in Webster's definition).

I've had young people, and sometimes not so young people come to me, and tell me they would like to get married. In the process of that conversation, I have a standard question I ask. "Why? Why do you want to get married?" Usually, the couple has a standard answer for that standard question, and it is: "Because we are in love!" There have been times when circumstances other than love was driving them to marriage. After the couple gives me this glowing and somewhat giddy response of "Because we are in love", then comes the zinger. I ask them, "What do mean? What is love?"

After they stumble around for a while with no real answer, I tell them that they probably aren't really in love, But that's all right! With the right preparations and determination they can probably approach the beginning of love after about 25 years of marriage. I go on to tell them that is one reason why they need marriage counseling.

Many people go all through life and are never in love. Some people never learn to love, and some people never know the security of being loved. Some of you may have spent most of your married life without being in love. It breaks my heart to see so many Christians who know very little about giving and receiving even human love, to say nothing of divine or God's love. We have too often, as Webster did, equated love as desire, attraction, arousal, or passion.

Let me tell you, you don't have to have passion to have love. Passion is not love, and love is not passion. You can be in love and have great passion. However, if you try to get love through passion, you only have lust in it's worst form. Because of this human mind-set, it is next to impossible to understand love, real love, God's Love. When humans talk or joke about love, it has little if anything to do with holiness. As a matter of fact, to the human mind, the greater the un-holiness the better the love. That is, if TV and the movies tell us anything.

The Bible gives definition to love, real love.

1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

That is about as definitive as you can get, God is Love. Therefore, as we learn about Who God is, or His essence, we will know more about the love of God. The Bible not only tells us what love is , it tells us how we are to love.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,

All aspects of God's essence are important. However, the Word of God does not instruct us to emulate or reflect all aspects of God's essence. We are instructed to emulate or reflect God's essence in love, holiness, truthfulness, etc.

God can not demonstrate any aspect of His essence, without that aspect being in perfect harmony with all other aspects of His essence. Likewise, we can not emulate or reflect any aspect of His essence, unless we are living in harmony with all other aspects of God's essence that we are instructed to emulate and reflect.

We are to love as Christ loved, and our living and conduct, which includes love
is to be in holiness, because God is holy (1 Peter 1:13-15).
Joshua 24:18-20 "And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, even the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord , for He is our God." 19 But Joshua said to the people, "You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.
Psalms 99:9 Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.
1 Peter 1:13-15 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
God is holy. God is love. God is truth.

These must be in harmony, if God is to act by any one of: love, holiness or truth. Likewise, the Believer cannot emulate or reflect love, real love when in a state of unholiness or truthlessness.

We can't take the time to establish each of these facets by a step by step study of the Scriptures. A reasonable study of God's essence would take a year or so of weekly lessons. Even then we couldn't chase each detail through the entire Bible. Therefore in this series we will only look at some of the more obvious aspects, and take a look at God's essence in general.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

This verse is taken from the account of Balaam and Balak. We wouldn't dare take the time to replay this account. If we did, that would be the end of this lesson. On the other hand, if this account is tucked away in your memory, it can shed a lot of light on this statement.

For this lesson, we want to see the obvious and apply those truths to our subject. Notice the negative approach the Holy Spirit uses to this subject. A popular humanistic approach to spiritual things is that of approaching everything from the positive. We must not be negative, you know. It is nice to have that power of positive thinking, so we can see and present everything through rose colored glasses, even if it has nothing to do with reality.

That approach is all right for a pep rally, But if you are going to teach or read the Word of God, you had better be prepared for many negative approaches. The first recorded words of God to mankind, even before sin, leaves a negative taste in the academic mind, and leaves a big dent in the self-image.

Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Now, surely an all knowing God could have put that in a positive context, so that Adam could have roamed through the Garden with a healthy self-esteem. The next recorded words of God are negative, also.

Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

For the Holy Spirit to teach spiritual things that are beyond the human mind, He must start with what the human knows. What humans know naturally, is almost always negative compared to the spiritual. Therefore, God starts with the very familiar negative position of mankind, and leads to the spiritual, which is unknown and positive. Some want nothing more than religious fluff. They don't want to start in the religions slime pit of mankind's daily life, and be instructed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God to move from that carnality to spirituality.

Many want to have only nice thoughts, and by those nice thoughts to elevate themselves to positions of heavenly grandeur. But the Holy Spirit says that there is nothing spiritually good or nice in the nature of mankind, and that no person, on their own, is capable of achieving spiritual things. The Holy Spirit tells us that the very essence of mankind is spiritually corrupt, and there is nothing of spiritual value in any of their actions, thoughts or motives.

Romans 3:9-17 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. 10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one." 13 "Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; 14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 and the way of peace they have not known." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

You know, I can't find very much in this passage that is positive, except, I'm positive that everything about the natural human is worse than negative. Humanity in essence is as different from and as far away from holiness as can it be. That is the best positive spin I can put on it.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

There are a number of factors in this passage that apply to God's essence, and the essence of mankind. We want to look at one of these aspects, and build on it.

God is not a man, that He should lie... 

In contrasting what God is not, by comparing Him to mankind, the Holy Spirit points out an integral part of the essence of mankind, also. Humans, by their very nature, are liars! That is the opposite of the nature of God, or it is what God is not.

Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
Hebrews 6:17-18 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

God in His essence is truth or veracity. God doesn't just speak the truth, God is truth. What God says or does is more than just right and true, it is truth. Nothing that God does or says is anything less than truth. On the opposite end of that spectrum is antithesis of all that God is Satan.

John 8:43-44 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

There is so much in this passage, as there is in any of words of Christ. Let me remind you again, I'm not going to chase each of these spiritual truths through the Scriptures, in this lesson. Many of these truths we've looked at in the past, so I will only point to some of them as we move along.

In John 8, the great doctrinal truth of Satan and his nature is in the setting of a common complaint concerning Biblical truth, both in Christ's day and to this very time. These religious leaders could not understand the teaching. Therefore, it was the fault of the Teacher. In some cases, that could be true. But in this case, the Teacher was the Lord Jesus Christ. The problem of lack of understanding was not the material, nor the presentation, and certainly not the Presenter.

The problem lay with those receiving the teaching, and their inability to listen, or to hear with understanding. This was an internal problem, within the hearers. As Christ explains this situation, He gives great insight into the nature of mankind and Satan, along with many other lessons.

These religious leaders could not listen with understanding to what Christ said, not because of their lack of information, But because of a lack of equipment. They did not have the One and Only spiritual Hearing Aid, the Holy Spirit.

We know from the Scriptures that the things of God are only understood, or discerned by spiritual perception. That spiritual perception comes only through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2). These religious leaders did not have or were not willing to have the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

These religious leaders had only the nature and perceptive ability of their 
spiritual father the Devil. 

I realize that this next bit of information and its application is out of order as far as teaching protocol is concerned. However, for the protocol of time, I'm going to stick it in here, and ask you to remember it, and apply it at the proper time.

As Believers, we have both the spiritual nature of God through the new birth, and we also have the spiritual nature of Satan through the natural birth. There are many Scripture passages that bear this out. You have heard and hopefully know some of them. So please, dust them off in your memory bank, and bring them out from ROM and into your RAM memory.

As a Believer with these two natures, we can choose by our volition to allow one or the other to power our perception. Only one of these natures can be in control of our mind at any one time. If we are living and thinking by our old nature, we will not be able to understand or perceive the truths of God's Person or His essence.

I want to point out the two most prominent features of Satan's nature, and they are opposite of God's nature. Those features are self-pride and truthlessness. Truthlessness or lying is the result of self-pride. Satan's self-pride was derived from desiring to be someone other than who God made him, and to have a position other than God had given him. Humility is the recognition and acceptance of who and what we are in Christ. Self-pride is the rejection of the same, along with the attitude that I am worth more than what people or God see in me. (Romans 12:3)

These two features of Satan's nature (self-pride & truthlessness) are also the two most prominent driving forces of the human nature of mankind. If these two features of the human nature are in the driver's seat of your life, then you are allowing the desires and resources of Satan to control your life (John 4:43-44).

The only positive thing we can say about this situation is that we are to put to death the works of the flesh, and live spiritually. Otherwise, you are dead to any real spiritual activity or knowledge.

Romans 8:12-13 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Colossians 3:4-10 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you also once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

We can't study these portions, because we are running out of time. However, please notice at least one truth brought out here. In verses 6 and 8, Paul lists some of works of the flesh. Then he sums up all of these works of the flesh into a package or an effect. That one effect is the basic nature of Satan. The quality or attribute of lying.

John 8:43-44 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
A question for you. If the Devil is controlling a person by his (the Devil's) desires and 
resources, should that be considered as gross sin?

If a person was being controlled by the desires and resources of the Devil, would that be considered the height of carnality, or maybe we should say the depths of carnality? Should a person in that condition be allowed to teach the precious Word of God, or participate in the Holy Service of the King of all kings, the God of all gods? Satan, after all, is the #1 enemy of God and His word. That we all agree upon.

In the light of that fact, is it right, or should we allow the main destructive weapon of Satan to be operative within the work and service of God? There would be an outcry, if we allowed a person to teach the Word of God while living in open sin (and there should be). What about those gross inward sins? Is it all right to live in gros" sin as long as it doesn't show on the outside?

Notice a couple of other facts in the passage of John 8:43-44 that are very important to our subject of today. We know from Scripture, that the fact and act of not recognizing or respecting the truth of the position of God, and his own position were the main factors in Satan becoming a liar. It was because of not standing in the truth, that he attempted to dethrone or become above God. He wanted a position that was not his, nor that he should possess. Satan was being controlled by and was demonstrating his self-pride.

Therefore, in an attempt to obtain this position for himself, he destroyed or murdered one third of the angels. The human mind thinks of murder as killing the physical body. However, in the spirit realm murder has nothing to do with the physical. The motive for this murder was self-pride, and the weapon of this murder was The Lie. The Lord Jesus Christ tells us that Satan fathered the lie.

Satan convinced one third of the angels to also leave the truth, thereby destroying their person or position as angels of God. Those angels and Satan will spend all of eternity in the Lake of Fire which God prepared for the Devil and his angels. This Lake of Fire is called by God the Second Death.

Satan tried and is continually trying to destroy God and God's work, so that he, Satan, can have what he thinks he wants, instead of standing or staying in the truth of God concerning where God placed him and remaining as who God had made him. Therefore, all that Satan does and is, is a lie, or probably better stated, all that he is and does is truthlessness. Satan, his work and his nature are void of any truth.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Remember that Satan's basic false motive was to have a position that was not his, and to be something that he was not (Self-pride). In like manner, these of 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 were those who did not live in the truth or stand in the truth of their God given position. Like these in Paul's time (2 Corinthians 11:12) who desired to be as Paul, the false apostles of today want the position of someone else, but fail to live properly in the position God has placed them.

Therefore, they, like Satan, are workers of deceit untruth, and are false apostles.  
These false apostles, like Satan, falsely cloak, or sell themselves as angels of light. 

This illustration that Paul gave us in 2 Corinthians 11:12 and following, is played out time and time again in churches today. Someone wants to be the music director, so they destroy or kill the reputation of the one who is. Someone wants to be the youth leader, the pastor, the Sunday School teacher, etc, or they just don't like the other person. So they duplicate Satan's desires or essence using Satan's resources (instead of emulating or reflecting the essence of Christ). Both Satan's desires and resources are void of truth.

Once we are void of truth in our motive, then all that we do, say or think will be a lie or truthlessness. When truth ceases to be an issue, then the only thing that matters is accomplishing our purpose (self-pride). Therefore, The end justifies the means, even if it is the destruction of God's purpose.

2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In this passage, Paul describes the mode of operation of Satan in the last days, and he is quick to point out that Satan's mode of operation is even at work today, and it will intensify in those last days.

This mode of operation is according to the workings (operation) of Satan. Then the Holy Spirit through Paul points our several aspects of Satan's workings (operation). However, He points out one of those aspects several times and from several different directions. The aspect that the Holy Spirit repeatedly brings to our attention in this passage is lying or truthlessness.

I'm afraid that most of us are more interested in the power and"signs that Satan is going to use and is now using, than we are in the truth. However, the Holy Sprit only mentioned each of those once, but this matter of truth and lies, He mentioned at least 5 times.

To any reasonable thinking person, they would have to conclude that the Holy Spirit is more interested in the truth and lack of falsehood than He is in power and signs. It might be a good idea if we, too, took more interest in the subjects that God is most interested in. Think so?

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
1 Timothy 1:8-11 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Revelation 22:15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

These and many other passages give us lists of some of the worst sins. In many of those lists of worst sins, we find that innocent little Christian sin of not living and/or speaking the truth. If the Holy Spirit puts together a list of things, such as sins, and made no distinction as to the degree of each sin in the passage or anywhere else, then I would have to conclude that the Holy Spirit regards those sins as pretty much on the same par.

It is high time that we as Christians began to realize and act according to the facts that:

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

In that list of hated thing by God, twice we see the mention of lying or truthlessness, and the comparisons could continue.