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The God of "Not Onlys"

There are a lot of opinions about the One, true God. Some believe He is a distant deity who created all things but now sits back and cares nothing for His Creation. Some agree with the distant part but attribute it to His inability to intervene in the lives of those He created. Others claim humans can attain equality with God, and yet others say nature is god.

Even for those within the realm of Christianity, the roles, purpose and character of God vary depending on opinion and Biblical interpretation. Some gravitate toward God’s love and neglect His righteousness, others the opposite.

Much can (and has) been written about these topics, but the standard by which all are measured is the one and only source of Truth: the Bible. As the written Word of God, it is the most accurate source of information we have about God (see John 13:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Proverbs 30:5). It contains accounts of His power, love, presence, goodness, works and more.

Time and space prevent us from exploring the beautiful tapestry of God found within the Bible, so we will focus on one facet of His character: that of His being the God of “not onlys.”

Rainbow of thread bundles formed to make a heart in the middle
Karly Santiago photo | Unsplash

What does this mean exactly? Well, unlike many of God’s other attributes, there is not a special name given to describe this part of Him; not like His name, “Elohim” (meaning God “Creator, Mighty and Strong,” as given in Genesis 17:7 and Jeremiah 31:33) or “El Roi” (meaning “God of Seeing,” as spoken about in Gen. 16:13 when God saw Hagar in distress and reminded her of His omnipotence and omnipresence). (For more about God’s names, check out this article from or this one from David Jeremiah.)

Yet, this part of God’s character is not any less true or life-giving just because it lacks an official name. In fact, Him being the God of “not onlys” illustrates His other attributes, such as His love, grace and patience.

For example, not only did God save us from our sins by sending Jesus to die in our place (see John 3:16), He also claims us as His children (John 1:12, 2 Corinthians 6:16-18) and prepares a place for us in Heaven with Him (John 14:1-3). He does all of this for those who believe in Him—those who go “all-in” for Him and live under His Lordship rather than simply under the Christian “label” (for more about those who claim to follow Christ but do not live out their faith, see Matthew 7:21-23, 10:32-33).

To put it another way, Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf not only grants us salvation from our sins (and death, its consequence), He also gives us a forever relationship with Him, both in this world and in the life to come in Heaven.

Yet, Jesus, though He Himself never knew sin, took on flesh and bore the penalties our sins deserve so that the relationship between us and Him can be what it once was before sin entered the world (2 Cor. 5:21).

How many of us would absolve every wrong our enemy commits against us? And not only absolve them, but pay the penalty ourselves? Even if so, would we then go even farther and write this person into our will, granting them equal status with our dearest loved ones? Imagine a father taking the place on death row for the person who murdered his son and writing the murderer into his will before doing so, giving the killer the same rights as that of his wife and other children. No one would do such a thing! It’s preposterous!

Yet, that is what God did for us, but His sacrifice was even greater. As sinful human beings, we constantly betray God and choose that which satisfies our temporary sinful nature, rather than choosing Him and obeying His perfect commands (see Romans 3:23). God is so infinitely holy and we so horrifically sinful. Yet, Jesus, though He Himself never knew sin, took on flesh and bore the penalties our sins deserve so that the relationship between us and Him can be what it once was before sin entered the world (2 Cor. 5:21). (For more about sin entering the world, read Genesis 3.)

This is what is meant by God being the God of “not onlys.” His love, grace and righteousness are immeasurable! Just as are His gifts to His children.

Wooden table with bowl of strawberries, red rose, cup of tea and gold and orange watercolor with the words, "His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning Lam. 3:22-23" written in script
Miriam G photo | Unsplash

We see another example in the peace He extends us. Having rectified our wrongs (sins) against Him, He could have left us to face our hardships alone and in our own futile, human strength. But He doesn’t! Instead, He extends us peace when all around us seems to be in chaos. And not only peace, but perfect peace which surpasses understanding (see Isaiah 26:3-4, Philippians 4:7). The peace which He exercised when He overcame the evil darkness of this world (see John 16:33).

When we face difficult decisions, He offers us not only knowledge but also wisdom in how best to exercise that knowledge (see Proverbs 2:6-15). As God’s redeemed ones, we are targets of the enemy (Satan), not because he can steal us from God’s hands, but to rob us of joy, peace and fruitfulness in God’s name (see John 10:10). (For more about our security as God’s children, see John 10:27-29, Rom. 8:35-39.) Of course, God knows the enemy’s schemes, so not only does He give us His armor (see Ephesians 6:10-17), He also is our shield and refuge, a very present help in trouble (see Psalm 18:1-3). Not to mention the weapon He gives us as part of His armor is the living Word of God, which accomplishes all that it sets out to do (Isa. 55:10-11), including when He used it to speak all of Creation into existence (see Gen. 1) and raise people from the dead (see Luke 7:11-17, John 11:38-44).

God is infinitely greater than we can imagine, and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface here. (We aren’t even in the same galaxy as the surface.)

Discover for yourself the beautiful, magnificent, awesome God of not onlys. Words cannot describe the glory you will discover nor the gratitude you will feel toward Him. Praise God He is the One of not onlys. Which one will you start with today?


English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.

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