Scripture opens with the statement, “In the beginning God” (Gen 1:1a). The Bible does not seek to prove the existence of God, but simply acknowledges His being. The Bible teaches God has made Himself known through nature. David wrote, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psa 19:1). And Paul stated, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Rom 1:20).
And God has revealed Himself within the heart of every person. Paul wrote, “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Rom 1:19). Within each human mind is an intuitive awareness of God. John Calvin called this awareness the sensus divinitatis (sense of divinity). Calvin wrote, “there is no nation so barbarous, no race so brutish, as not to be imbued with the conviction that there is a God…Since, then, there never has been, from the very first, any quarter of the globe, any city, any household even, without religion, this amounts to a tacit confession, that a sense of Deity is inscribed on every heart.” This awareness does not inform us as to the specifics of God, but merely informs us that He is. The Bible is that special revelation that informs us about the particulars of God.
The Bible reveals God exists as a Trinity (or Triunity). In the Bible we learn that there is one God (Deut 6:4), who exists as three Persons (Gen 1:26; Matt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 Pet 1:2). All three members of the Godhead are co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal, possessing the same nature and attributes (Deut 6:4; Isa 44:6-8; John 10:30; 14:9). The Trinity consists of God the Father (Gal 1:1; Eph 6:23; Phil 2:11), God the Son (Isa 7:14; 9:6; John 1:1, 8:58; 20:28; Col 2:9; Heb 1:8), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor 2:11-12; 2 Cor 13:14). An ancient Christian diagram illustrates the Trinity as follows:
Furthermore, the Bible reveals God has specific attributes that describe who He is and explain why He thinks and acts in certain ways. What we know of God’s attributes comes to us only by divine revelation, and these attributes belong to all the members of the Trinity, who are worthy of all praise and service. Charles Ryrie states:
The various perfections of God are not component parts of God. Each describes His total being. Love, for example, is not a part of God’s nature; God in His total being is love. Although God may display one quality or another at a given time, no quality is independent of or preeminent over any of the others. Whenever God displays His wrath, He is still love. When He shows His love, He does not abandon His holiness. God is more than the sum total of His perfections. When we have listed all the attributes we can glean from revelation, we have not fully described God. This stems from His incomprehensibility. Even if we could say we had a complete list of all God’s perfections, we could not fathom their meaning, for finite man cannot comprehend the infinite God.
When studying the attributes of God in Scripture, we should never seek to understand them separately from God, as though an attribute of God may exist apart from Him. More so, the attributes of God are as infinite as God Himself, and to try to understand them fully is not within the scope of our ability. A detailed understanding of God’s attributes prevents us from having an incomplete or faulty view of God, in which we see Him only in part. For example, a solitary view of God as righteous can lead to legalistic behavior, whereas a singular understanding of God as loving or gracious can lead to licentiousness. A thorough understanding of God will prove healthy for us who seek to reflect His character. The biblical revelation of God has practical application for growing Christians, for as we advance in spiritual maturity, we will take on the characteristics of God, though only a few of those characteristics may be visible to others at any given moment, depending on the situation. Below is a short paragraph listing God’s attributes with a basic meaning of each.
God is living and is the ultimate source of life (Psa 42:2; 84:2; Jer 10:10; Matt 16:16). Paul states, “for in Him we live and move and exist” (Act 17:28). He is personal, thoughtful, emotive, volitional and active. This attribute takes priority, for if God is not living, none of the other attributes are possible. God is self-existent (aseity), and His existence depends on nothing outside of Himself (Ex 3:14; John 1:4; 5:26). He has life in Himself. There is no prior cause that brought God into existence, He will never cease to be, and He depends on nothing outside of Himself. God is holy(Lev 11:44; Psa 99:9; Isa 45:5-19). This means God is positively righteous and separate from all that is sinful. Holiness connotes moral purity. Being holy means God cannot be affixed to anything morally imperfect. God is Spirit (John 4:24; 2 Cor 3:17). This means the nature of God’s being is spirit, not material. God is sovereign (Psa 115:3; Isa 46:9-11; Dan 4:35; Acts 17:24-28). This means God acts freely as He pleases, always as He pleases, and only as He pleases. God is immutable (Psa 102:26-27; Mal 3:6). This means God’s essential nature does not change. God is eternal (Deut 33:27; 1 Tim 1:17). This means God has always existed, does exist, and forever will exist. God is infinite (1 Ki 8:27; Jer 23:24). Though God exists in space, He is also beyond space, infinite in being. God is omniscient (Psa 139:1-4; Matt 6:31-33). This means God knows all things, being infinite in knowledge. God is omnipresent (Psa 139:7-10; Jer 23:24). This means He is equally and fully everywhere present. God is omnipotent (Job 42:2; Isa 40:28). This means God is all-powerful and able to accomplish all He desires. God is righteous (Psa 11:7; 119:137). His righteousness is that intrinsic moral perfection, from which He commands all things in heaven and earth, and declares as good that which conforms to His righteousness and as evil that which deviates. God is just (Psa 9:7-8; 19:9). His justice is the outworking of His righteousness in which He justifies or condemns, blesses or curses, that which does or does not conform to His righteous character. God is true (Jer 10:10; John 17:3), which means He is genuine, in contrast to false idols. God is truthful (2 Sam 7:28; John 17:17). His knowledge and declarations define reality and help us make sense of what is. God is love (Jer 31:3; 1 John 4:7-8). Because God is love it means He is committed to us, desires our best, and gives for our benefit. God is good and He is the ultimate source of all that is good (Psa 100:5; 145:9; Nah 1:7; Jam 1:17). God is faithful (Deut 7:9; Lam 3:21-23); which means He is reliable in all He says and does, always keeping His word. God is merciful (Psa 86:15; Tit 3:5). Mercy is when God is kind toward us and does not judge us as we deserve. God is gracious (Psa 111:4; 116:5). Grace means God treats us better than we deserve.
Learning about God and His character helps us understand the fundamental nature of reality. Our complex universe is the result of a complex divine Being that chose to create. And what He created is magnificent and beautiful. In contrast to biblical theism is atheism, which is the belief that God does not exist. Biblically, this is the view of the wicked and foolish, who say in their hearts, “There is no God” (Psa 10:4; 14:1). For the atheist, mankind is nothing more than a molecular accident in a material universe where everything is the product of matter, motion, time and chance. For the atheist, there is no reason for humans to exist; therefore, no given purpose for life. Our thoughts, feelings, morals and actions are simply electrochemical impulses that occur in the body and brain, and when we die, those impulses cease. Right and wrong as well as good and evil become arbitrary. Without God and Scripture to guide and give purpose, our uniqueness is lost in the universe, as we ultimately are of no greater value than what we paint on the canvass or study under the microscope. If there is no God and man is not unique (as the Bible teaches), then we are of no greater value than the tree, the rock, or the worm on a hook. If there is no God, then we are a zero. When we die, our biological life is consumed by the material universe from which we came. Bertrand Russell wrote:
Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hope and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruin – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy that rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built [bold added for emphasis].
Most who hold to atheism desire to operate independently of any authority outside of themselves, especially God’s authority set forth in Scripture. These assign no serious thought of God to their discussions, plans, or projects, but seek to use His resources independently of His wishes. But these same persons become trapped in their own system when their individual sense of good and evil, right and wrong, clashes with another person who holds to opposing moral standards. Having rejected God and moral absolutes, they have no objective final standard by which to measure values and behavior, to declare anything good or bad. These can go about their daily lives as long as the pressures of life are not too great; however, if they’re ever confronted with vicious evil that disrupts their lives, they’ll naturally seek a mechanism to control it, lest it destroy them (I’m speaking about the atheist who desires law and order rather than anarchy and chaos). If they continue to reject God, they’ll likely turn to a totalitarian government they hope is strong enough to deal with the depravity of reckless people; but in so doing, they’ll trade freedom and prosperity for slavery and the illusion of equality. In contrast, a society that acknowledges God and operates in accordance with His moral laws will tend to produce a virtuous people that can enjoy freedom and prosperity; but this must start with God and His Word.
Learning about God and applying the knowledge of who He is to our thinking results in a mental paradigm shift that changes how we see ourselves and the world around us. “In our spiritual lives, we cannot transcend the God we worship; we can rise no higher than what we believe to be the highest. Our concept of God will have a marked effect on our practical lives.”
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), 1.44
 The use of the Hebrew numeral אֶחָד echad reveals, in some contexts, the idea of a complex one (cf. Gen 2:24; Ezra 3:1; Ezek 37:17).
 Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 39–40.
 Bible scholars are not entirely in agreement concerning the number of God’s attributes. I started with a basic understanding of God’s attributes back in the mid 90’s, but it has grown since then as I’ve learned more about God through His Word.
 There are pagan theistic views other than what is being set forth here; however, this article is written from a Christian perspective which does not recognize other claims to deity, whether Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, etc. Therefore, biblical theism is being contrasted with atheism, which seeks to deny the existence of God, and which is the dominant view among unbelievers in America.
Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship” from Mysticism and Logic (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1917).
 Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume Two: God, Creation (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2003), 18.
The Bible reveals God is righteous. He is righteous in essence and action. He loves righteousness and approves of those who walk in conformity to His character and commands. Scripture declares, “For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face” (Ps. 11:7), and “Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments” (Ps. 119:137). God’s attribute of righteousness may be defined as that intrinsic, immutable, moral perfection of God, from which He commands all things, in heaven and earth, and declares as good that which conforms to His righteousness and as evil that which deviates. There is no law or code of ethics outside of God to which He must give account; but rather, His righteous character is the basis for all His laws and from which all good human laws derive.
The attributes of God are manifold and work in perfect harmony with each other, being governed by the all-wise mind of God. When focusing on God’s attribute of righteousness, it is helpful to keep all His other attributes in mind, as this will provide balance to the Christian’s thinking concerning the character of God. For example, because God is righteous, all His actions and commands are just. Because God is immutable, His moral perfections never change. Because God is eternal, He is righteous forever. Because God is omniscient, His righteous acts are always predicated on perfect knowledge. Because God is omnipotent, He is always able to execute His righteous will. Because God is love, His judgments can be merciful toward the undeserving and humble. The cross of Christ perfectly displays God’s righteousness in connection with His attributes of love and mercy toward those who deserve only condemnation.
THE PERSON OF GOD
This article is a focused study on God’s attribute of righteousness. However, one cannot talk about the righteousness of God as an attribute without recognizing the Personhood of God. Righteousness is a moral attribute of personhood. Personhood requires existence, intellect, and volition. More so, to say that God is righteous means that one knows something about God. Knowledge—from infancy onward—is obtained by experience, observation, and revelation. Knowledge is a resource of the mind. It is a mental bank of information. To obtain and build a bank of knowledge, the human mind borrows and invents language as a means of categorizing objects and concepts in order to form a mental framework that allows one to reason and make sense of what is. One person can communicate with another when they share a similar bank of information—basic words and concepts—and use language as a reliable vehicle for the expression of ideas. Information about God comes as a revelation. God has revealed Himself through His creation, through Jesus, and through Scripture.
In creation, God has revealed Himself through people who are made in His “image” (Gen. 1:26-27), through nature (Ps. 19:1-2; Rom. 1:20), and through His goodness (Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:17). He has revealed Himself through His decrees (Gen. 1:3, 11, 26-27; Ps. 33:6), by direct speech (Gen. 2:16-17; Ex. 3:1-10; Matt. 3:17; Mark 9:7; John 12:28), through the mouth of His prophets (Ex. 4:12; Jer. 1:9), and through Jesus (Matt. 11:27; John 1:18; Heb. 1:1-2). Lastly, God has revealed Himself through Scripture (Ps. 12:6-7; John 17:17; Rom. 15:4; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:21). The Bible is written in propositional terms and understood and accepted by those whom the Holy Spirit illumines (1 Cor. 2:14-16; 2 Cor. 3:14-16; 4:3-4). Among the various ways God reveals Himself, the Bible provides the most specific information concerning His Personhood, character and actions.
Scripture reveals that God exists as a Trinity. “It declares that there is only one true God; that this God is three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, each of whom is distinct from, yet interrelated with, the others; and that all three persons are fully, equally and eternally divine.” The Trinity is implied in the Old Testament (Gen. 1:2; 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8; 9:6; Prov. 30:4), and is more clearly revealed in the New Testament (Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; John 1:1, 18; 10:30; 16:13-15; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2). One could never know about the Trinity apart from divine revelation. God had to reveal this about Himself. Unfortunately, throughout history there have been attacks on the doctrine of the Trinity, and this is contrary to Biblical revelation.
The three persons of the Trinity are: God the Father (John 6:27; Rom. 1:7; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11), God the Son (John 1:1, 14, 18; 5:18; 8:58; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:11-12; 3:16; 2 Cor. 13:14). Each Person of the Trinity is co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal. To say that each Person in the Trinity is co-equal means that each Person shares the same attributes.
The essential oneness of God is linked to Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one (Heb. echad, “compound unity; united one”). This statement stresses not only the uniqueness of God but also the unity of God (cf. also James 2:19). It means all three Persons possess the summation of the divine attributes but yet the essence of God is undivided. Oneness in essence also emphasizes that the three Persons of the Trinity do not act independently of one another.
Overview of God’s Attributes
Having briefly addressed the doctrine of the Trinity, a presentation of God’s attributes shall follow. “An attribute is a property which is intrinsic to its subject. It is that by which it is distinguished or identified…God Himself cannot be conceived apart from the qualities attributed to them.” To know God is to learn about His personhood as well as those characteristics, attributes, or qualities that explain who He is and why He thinks or acts in a certain manner. More so, it is important to understand that God’s attributes work together in perfect harmony and should not been seen as independent of each other.
The various perfections of God are not component parts of God. Each describes His total being. Love, for example, is not a part of God’s nature; God in His total being is love. Although God may display one quality or another at a given time, no quality is independent of or preeminent over any of the others. Whenever God displays His wrath, He is still love. When He shows His love, He does not abandon His holiness. God is more than the sum total of His perfections. When we have listed all the attributes we can glean from revelation, we have not fully described God. This stems from His incomprehensibility. Even if we could say we had a complete list of all God’s perfections, we could not fathom their meaning, for finite man cannot comprehend the infinite God. God’s perfections are known to us through revelation. Man does not attribute them to God; God reveals them to man. To be sure, man can suggest attributes of God, but these cannot be assumed to be true unless they are revealed by God. The perfections of God describe equally the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They describe the nature of the Triune God and therefore each person of the Trinity.
The infinite personal God can be known, but only in a limited way as a finite creature might grasp. “The Bible presents a revelation which, though limited by the restrictions that language must ever impose, is of a Person, and this revelation attributes to him those exalted qualities which are His. These qualities thus attributed are properly styled attributes.” The attributes of God should be seen in harmony with each other.
Light provides a good analogy of the harmony of God’s attributes. Light consists of the primary colors of red, blue and green. These colors are constant in the light wave. When the primary colors are evenly mixed, they produce the secondary colors of yellow, cyan and magenta. Objects take on various colors depending on which wavelengths are reflected or absorbed. When light falls upon an object, such as a tomato, it appears red to the human eye because the tomato reflects certain wavelengths of light while absorbing the rest. Objects that absorb all wavelengths of light appear as black, and objects that reflect all wavelengths of light appear as white. Similar to light, God has multiple attributes, and those attributes are constant. However, when reading through a passage of Scripture, we see only one or more of God’s attributes at a time, depending on what God chooses to reflect about Himself. In one passage David writes, “Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like a great deep. O LORD, You preserve man and beast” (Ps. 36:5-6). These two verses of Scripture reveal God’s lovingkindness, faithfulness, righteousness and judgments. But this is not the total sum of God’s attributes. Other passages of Scripture reveal His graciousness (Ex. 34:6), mercy (Eph. 2:4), truthfulness (John 14:6), and so forth.
When studying the attributes of God, the student should never seek to understand them separately from God, as though an attribute of God may exist apart from Him. More so, the attributes of God are as infinite as God Himself, and to try to understand them fully would be like pouring the ocean into a thimble. “The attributes of God present a theme so vast and complex and so beyond the range of finite faculties that any attempt to classify them must be only approximate as to accuracy or completeness. So, also, the attributes are so interrelated and interdependent that the exact placing of some of them is difficult if not wholly impossible.”
A detailed understanding of God’s attributes guards the believer from developing a faulty view of God as well as taking on only certain attributes to the exclusion of others. A solitary view of God as righteous can lead a Christian to legalistic behavior, whereas a singular understanding of God as loving or gracious can lead to licentiousness. A thorough Biblical understanding of God will prove healthy for the Christian who seeks to emulate God. The Biblical revelation of God has practical application for the growing Christian, for as the believer advances in spiritual maturity, he/she will take on the characteristics of God, though only a few of those characteristics may be visible to others at any given moment, depending on the situation.
When surveying systematic theologies, theologians will often cite many of God’s attributes as they observe in Scripture. Below is a sampling of God’s attributes as understood and presented by various evangelical theologians.
Lewis S. Chafer:
omniscience (Ps. 33:13; Matt. 11:21-23; Rom. 4:17), sensibility (Jer. 31:3; Rom. 9:13), holiness (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8), justice (Ps. 89:14; Rom. 3:26), love (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8), goodness (2 Cor. 1:3; Heb. 4:16), truth (Num. 23:19; Rom. 3:4), will (John 1:13; Rom. 8:27), freedom (Ps. 36:6; Rom. 11:33-34), omnipotence (no Scripture cited), simplicity (no Scripture cited), unity (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 44:6), infinity (no Scripture cited), eternity (no Scripture cited), immutability (Ps. 102:24-27; Mal. 3:6), omnipresence or immensity (1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:7-12), and sovereignty (1 Sam. 2:6-8; 1 Chron. 29:11-12; Ps. 50:12).
However one understands the nature and number of God’s attributes, it is always important to keep in mind that His attributes be taken as a collection that work together in perfect harmony. “The attributes of God form an interwoven and interdependent communion of facts and forces which harmonize in the Person of God. An omission or slighting of any of these, or any disproportionate emphasis upon any one of them cannot but lead to fundamental error of immeasurable magnitude.”
The Righteousness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
The singular attribute of righteousness is the focus of this article, and that attribute is observed in all three Persons of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit all possess the same attributes, and the particular attribute of righteousness is observed by direct statement as well as action. The Father is said to be righteous (John 17:25), the Son is called the “Righteous One” (Acts 3:14; cf. Acts 7:52, 22:14), and the Holy Spirit has a ministry that promotes “righteousness” (John 16:8). All three shall be observed.
God the Father is Righteous
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus spent time teaching His disciples and preparing them for the transition of the coming church age (John 13-16). At the end of His teaching session, Jesus offered a prayer to God the Father (John 17), a prayer that speaks of His return to the Father, but only after He faced the judgment of the cross. Jesus did not pray to avoid the pain and shame of the cross, but that the Father would be glorified in it. In His prayer Jesus referred to His Father as “Holy Father” (John 17:11) and “righteous Father” (John 17:25), and he made these statements knowing that the Father was sending Him to the cross to die as a substitute for sinners (Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:8). God the Father was right to send His Son into the world to reveal His love (John 3:16), and He was right to send His Son to the cross to die in our place (Rom. 5:8). If anyone had grounds to argue with the Father concerning the events of the cross, it was certainly Jesus. However, God the Son addressed God the Father as righteous, knowing and accepting His plan of salvation through penal substitutionary atonement. Not only was the Father righteous concerning His plan for the Son, but He is also righteous as “the Judge of all” (Heb. 12:23).
God the Son is Righteous
The righteousness of God the Son became obvious when He took upon Himself a human nature, was born under the law (Gal. 4:4), obeyed the law (Matt. 5:17-19), and directed others to do the same (Matt. 8:4; 23:1-3). “Christ’s righteousness is completely perfect. He lived a perfect life (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 3:3), and He fulfilled the demands of the law.” Jesus is called “that righteous man” (Matt. 27:19), and the “Righteous One” (Acts 3:14; cf. Acts 7:52, 22:14). “The title ‘the Righteous One,’ was used by the early church as an appellation for Jesus (Acts 3:14; 7:52; 22:14). John declared that believers have an Advocate with the Father, ‘Jesus Christ, the Righteous One’ (1 John 2:1).” The apostle Peter writes about “the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:1). John writes about those during the Tribulation who will sing “the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!’” (Rev. 15:3). As the Righteous One, Jesus judged, and will judge, with perfect righteousness. He says, “As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just [or righteous – δίκαιος dikaios], because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30).
It is a sad commentary when we read in Scripture that Jesus was falsely accused of sin. It is a blemish on sinful mankind that they saw the Son of God, heard His perfect words, and personally witnessed His miracles; yet, they rejected Him and sought to destroy His reputation among the people, saying, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Matt. 11:19). And later said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons” (Matt. 12:24). Many false charges were brought against Christ by the Jewish leadership in order to have Him killed. Scripture reveals, “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. 60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward” (Matt. 26:59-60). Both Pilate and Herod found the charges against Jesus to be flimsy and not worthy of putting Him to death. Luke records:
Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.” (Luke 23:13-15)
The Jewish leadership and the crowds did not care to hear Pilate’s words. They did not care about what was right before God or men. They only sought to have Jesus crucified, so they began to shout, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!” (Luke 23:18). Pilate tried to have Jesus released, but the crowds kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21). Eventually, “their voices began to prevail. 24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted” (Luke 23:23a-24). Pilate, in a moment of weakness, caved to the demands of the Jewish mob, so Jesus was sentenced to death and crucified as a criminal, even though He was innocent. As the Lord hung upon the cross, God the Father judged Him in our place. The sky grew dark for three hours, between 12 and 3 PM, and during that time God the Father poured out His wrath upon Jesus. Immediately after Jesus’ crucifixion, the Roman centurion who saw what had happened “began praising God, saying, ‘Certainly this man was innocent [or righteous – δίκαιος dikaios]’” (Luke 23:47). God never creates evil, however, He can and does control those who do (John 6:70-71; 19:10-11; Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28). Though sinful men wrongly crucified the Lord, it was necessary that He die as our substitute and bear the punishment for our sins. Scripture reveals that Jesus “died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18). The shed blood of Christ atoned for our sins, and “having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Rom. 5:9). Jesus’ obedience makes us righteous before God, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).
God the Holy Spirit is Righteous
God the Holy Spirit has a ministry of righteousness. The righteousness of the Holy Spirit was revealed by Jesus in the upper room discourse. Jesus revealed the ministry of the Holy Spirit in which He convicts “the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). The word “sin” is singular and refers only to the sin of unbelief in which men reject Christ as Savior (John 16:9). “The Spirit also convicts the sinner of righteousness, not unrighteousness. Whose righteousness? The righteousness of Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God.” The Holy Spirit also convicts the world of the fact that Jesus has left the world and has been received in heaven by the Father. This acceptance in heaven is a testimony concerning the righteousness of Christ, because only perfect righteousness can be accepted by the Father. More so, the Holy Spirit also convinces people that the prince of this world, Satan, has been rightly judged and will face eternal punishment (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:1-3, 10).
Another example of the Spirit’s righteousness is found in the book of Hebrews where the Holy Spirit sustained Jesus on the cross so He could accomplish the Father’s will by atoning for the sins of the world (Heb. 9:11-14). The writer to the Hebrews presents Jesus as superior to the Old Testament sacrificial system in numerous ways, and especially His death on the cross which cleanses sinners from sin in ways the Levitical sacrificial system could never do (Heb. 10:4; 10-14). “The Old Testament sacrifices were limited to outward cleansing; they only cleansed the flesh. But, the work of Jesus avails in the spiritual sphere and results in inward cleansing.” Jesus was sent by God the Father into the world (John 17:3, 8, 18), and the primary mission of Jesus was to go to the cross and die for sinners (John 3:16; Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:8). His atoning death was an act of righteousness that satisfied the Father’s righteous demands for our sin, and Scripture reveals the Holy Spirit was involved in this most important work of Christ, “who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God” (Heb. 9:14). “With this lovely assertion, the writer of Hebrews involved all three Persons of the Godhead in the sacrifice of Christ, which magnifies the greatness of His redemptive offering.” The Holy Spirit was right to sustain Jesus on the cross as he offered His blood as an atoning sacrifice to the Father.
 God has also revealed Himself through the Person, words and works of Jesus; however, that direct revelation is not available to us now, for all that we know about Jesus comes only through Scripture.
 The Bible is a library of sixty six books written by nearly forty human authors spanning a period of roughly sixteen hundred years. Scriptural authority resides in the autographs as they were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. God the Holy Spirit superintended the writing(s) of each author so that what they produced is historically and theologically accurate in all it affirms (the Bible accurately records lies and sinful acts, but it does not affirm those lies or sinful acts). That which the Bible affirms about the Person and character of God is both accurate and instructive.
 Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies (London: Martin Manser, 2009).
 Throughout history there have been heresies such as: Tritheism, which teaches there are three absolutely separate gods; Modalism, which argues that there is only one god who manifests himself in three forms as Father, Son, and Spirit; and Arianism, which argues that the Son is not equal to the Father and reduces the Son to the status of a creature.
 Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 199–200.
 Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI., Kregel Publications, 1993), 190.
 Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 39–40.
 It is peculiar that Dr. Chafer would so clearly explain several of God’s attributes without providing a single Scripture reference to support his assertions.
 This list is a condensation of the attributes of God as presented by Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI., Kregel Publications, 1993), 192-223.
 This list is a condensation of the attributes of God as presented by Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich., Baker Books, 2000), 293-323.
 This list is a condensation of the attributes of God as presented by Henry Clarence Thiessen and Vernon D. Doerksen, Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979), 75-98.
 This list is a condensation of the attributes of God as presented by Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume Two: God, Creation (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2003), 31-572.
 This list is a condensation of the attributes of God as presented by Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 156-221.
 This list is a condensation of the attributes of God as presented by Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 41-50.
 Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, 223.
 Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume Two, 333.
 Charles R. Swindoll and Roy B. Zuck, Understanding Christian Theology (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003), 188–189.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 362.
 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Messianic Jewish Epistles: Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude, 1st ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2005), 120.
 Zane C. Hodges, “Hebrews,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 801.