The Attributes of God in Biblical Counseling: Eternality

attributes“From everlasting to everlasting, you are God” (Ps. 90:2).

“In the beginning God…” (Gen. 1:1)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8)

To say “God” is to speak of a being who is beyond time. He had no beginning, there was never a time when He was not. He has no ending, there will never be a time when He ceases to exist. The eternality of God is an attribute of power, and from this power the believer can find tremendous hope. Biblical counselors can use the doctrine of God’s eternality to encourage trust in the Lord among counselees.

The world is chaotic, and life often unreliable. We are taught at a young age that there are consequences for bad behavior, and yet it can often feel like wicked people get away with evil all the time. It can feel like the good and noble suffer for their righteousness. People that we have trusted betray that trust. So, spouses leave us, friends lie about us, parents abuse us. The world, it feels like, is constantly changing. “The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain,” we say to ourselves as we enter adulthood. In the face of such unpredictability we look for confidence and hope somewhere. Often we look to ourselves, but we are no more reliable than the rest of the world. Our own lusts betray us and enslave us. Our convictions waver under pressure. Our integrity, so glistening at one moment, is a sham the next. Where can we look to secure hope and confidence? A faithful counselor will turn a person’s attention to the unchanging God of Scripture, the same today and yesterday and forever (Heb. 13:8).

The fact that God never changes is an invitation to put our confidence in Him. Because He is eternal and unchanging you can trust His character. Who He testifies to be today, is who He will be tomorrow. God doesn’t go through developmental adjustments. He doesn’t age like we do. He never grows in wisdom, nor loses His memory. When you seek wisdom from Him it is eternal wisdom, perfect and complete in knowledge. He doesn’t grow weary of doing good, nor frustrated or melancholy over life. God’s character of goodness is everlasting (Ps. 106:1). He never gets tired of helping those in need. “God’s love,” says counselor Heath Lambert, “like all of his other virtues, is inexhaustible” (A Theology of Biblical Counseling, 112). His complete infinite perfection of character is a wonderful resource in counseling. Lambert writes:

In counseling God’s infinite perfection is of crucial importance. When a person experiences the kind of pressure that leads them to seek counseling help, there is always some negative circumstance at work. Something bad is happening. Some bad situation is unfolding in some bad place caused by, perhaps, a bad person. In such negativity, it is of great practical benefit to point to God’s infinite perfection.

God’s perfect character is eternal, infinite in its perfection. He never changes and thus can be trusted.

God is also eternal in his strength. Repeatedly the Bible tells us that God does not grow weary. Isaiah pleads with the people to remember the strength of God:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired His understanding is inscrutable. (40:28)

While others “wear out like a garment,” says the Psalmist, God endures (Ps. 102:26-27). You can count on God to do great works. He does not grow weary, need a nap, or succumb to exhaustion and decay. His strength is eternal. His might arm never needs to rest, His muscles never require recovery. Because His strength never fails we can rely on Him to come to our aid, to help us in our time of need, and even more profoundly to supply us strength for the battle. His supply is endless and He can give us exactly what we need to keep fighting. So, Paul says:

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:19-20)

God’s unchanging strength invites our trust and reliance.

God is unchanging in His promises too. His word is “eternal,” we are told (1 Peter 1:24-25). It will never pass away (Mark 13:31), it is “settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). His promises are sure in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20), and we can trust Him. What God says He will do, He will do (Num. 23:19). He who promises is faithful (Heb. 10:23). So, we remind people of the eternality of God and point them to the surety of His promises. He will keep His word. When you doubt, when you struggle, remember that He who promises is faithful!

Finally, God is eternal in His presence. The ultimate goal of salvation is that we will be with God. He will dwell with us forever. Jesus makes clear that He will “never leave nor forsake” us (Heb. 13:5). His covenant, the relationship He enters with His people, is an everlasting covenant (Jer. 32:40). You can trust God because He will always be with you, walking through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23), or lifting your feet up from the pit. He is ever-present, and unchanging in His covenant relationship with the believer.

A good counselor will know how to point people to the hope and confidence that they can have in this perfect and infinite God. He is unchanging and eternal and because of that we can live with confidence. In fact, the apostle Peter unites our godly living to this kind of confidence in the eternal God.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Since God’s promises are sure and He is reliable, then, we ought to be people of holy and godly living now. Regardless of what the world around us looks like, we know God’s promises are true and therefore we can pursue godliness because we can trust Him. Biblical counselors point people to the solid foundation of God’s unchanging character, strength, promises, and presence. Give them hope in the eternal God of Scripture.

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