The Glory of God 26

An attribute of God must be determined from what He is within Himself rather than judged by our own standards. God is the standard of Himself and of all things.

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.

The self-sufficiency of God and therefore the utter dependence of men is such a hard concept for modern Americans to get a hold of that it must be stressed over and over. The natural tendency of fallen man is to reject anything that causes an alarm to his own perceived autonomy. Man will fight and suppress the truth of God in order to protect his perceived free-will and autonomy. It is far easier to get a religious man to accept the doctrinal statement regarding God’s self-sufficiency than it is to get that religious man to bow from the heart to the truth of God’s self-sufficiency and therefore man’s utter dependence upon God. Without getting to the Gospel at the moment, this shows how man must be broken from his own perceived self-sufficiency in order to rest alone in the sufficiency of God as found in Christ.

Job 22:1-3 Can a vigorous man be of use to God, a wise man be useful to himself? Is there any pleasure to the Almighty if you are righteous, or profit if you make your ways perfect?

The verse just above should drive a stake into the heart of all men. In other words, a man with great energy is of no real use to God. A man with great wisdom is of no use to God. If a man is very righteous that man brings no pleasure to God. If a man could make his ways perfect he is still of no profit to God. The point should and must be driven home to the depths of our souls. It must come to us, though indeed it may shatter our inaccurate but high view of ourselves, and that is that we are of no profit to God. There is nothing we can do now or even if we were perfect that we could do to profit God or be of use to Him. Oh the helpless feeling this will bring when it is recognized and perhaps even great anger toward God. For the person without Christ or the person trusting in himself to have Christ this is a terrible thing to realize. I live at the mercy of God and He sustains me though He has no need of me or any human being. I can do nothing to bring Him pleasure and I can do nothing that will be of profit or benefit to Him in the slightest. The very fact that God is self-sufficient points to the fact that the Gospel absolutely must be of free-grace or there is no Gospel at all.

Job 41:11 Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.

The devastation that the knowledge of God brings to the pride and self-centeredness of man just continues the more we study who God really is. Everything that there is under the whole heaven belongs to God. There is nothing that man can do to pay God back, which is to say that there is utterly nothing man can do to pay God back or bring God into obligation to man. This should shatter the pride of man and leave him in utter helplessness before the living God. Why should it do that? Without any question that is the real state of man as given to us in Scripture. Man is without strength to obtain anything from God based on merit and can do nothing to bring God into his obligation. All things belong to God and man can do nothing and there is nothing man can give to God.

It is one thing to hear about the self-sufficiency of God, but it is quite another to have the reality of it pressed home on our hearts and consciences by the Holy Spirit. While learning the doctrine can actually be a means of our pride being pumped up, the reality as brought home by the Holy Spirit is utterly devastating to our pride. When the light of this great attribute begins to pierce the eyes of the soul, man will see the arrogance and pride that has filled him. Not only that, man will begin to see how he has treated God and tried to be religious in order to obtain something from God and then the reality of the wickedness of works to please God will set in. Oh how men hate this idea but they cannot escape it when the Spirit brings it home. The anguish of their hearts and who they have been and are before God drives them inescapably to a Gospel of free-grace. To the anguished heart there is no other Gospel.

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