The Glory of God 36

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.

While few would argue that God is not self-sufficient, there are disagreements on where His sufficiency starts and begins in His relations with human beings. The argument here is that God alone is self-sufficient and there is no starting place and there is no ending place for His sufficiency regarding human beings. He is sovereign and self-sufficient in all things and human beings are completely insufficient for anything good. Human beings are depraved and have no ability to do anything good unless it is given them by the gift of the self-sufficient God who gives these things in and through Christ. When Jesus says to His disciples “apart from Me you can do nothing,” He meant that as literally as it can be meant. There is nothing we can do in the spiritual realm unless it is given to us by Christ first. We can go no farther than His sufficiency will sustain and uphold us.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

This passage (just above) is rich and glorious in what it does in setting out the self-sufficiency of God and how it comes to sinners through and by Christ. The mercy and grace of God are fully sufficient to do all that He desires in raising sinners from the dead and He does not need any help from them. The mercy and grace of God not only need no help from sinners, but they cannot be helped by sinners since sinners are dead and nothing but dead. What can sinners do to make themselves spiritually alive? What help are they to God when they are dead and have no ability at all? Behold the glory of the self-sufficiency of God in taking dead sinners and making them alive by Himself and with no help at all. There is nothing in the sinner that can help God or anything raise itself, so clearly God has to be self-sufficient in this work as there is no one to help Him. There is nothing in the sinner to move God to raise the sinner from spiritual death. The sinner is sinful by nature and practice. The sinner is not good and has no good to move God. The sinner is full of obnoxiousness and things that God hates. So, once again, God is self-sufficient in all things in order for this dead sinner to be raised to spiritual life.

The text displays the self-sufficiency of God in Christ in all possible ways. Why does God raise sinners from the dead? He does it in Christ and by Christ. Why does God set His love on sinners in order to raise them from the dead? It is simply because He is sufficient in love within Himself as triune to do so. God does not need to look outside of Himself to find motives and reasons to save sinners because He does it all in Christ. It is the Lord Jesus who has purchased sinners and it is on behalf of Christ that the Father raises them and makes them alive. Not only does the sufficiency of God display its power in Christ, but also the motives and desires are also found only in Christ. The Lord Jesus is the self-sufficiency of God on display if we have eyes to see. Those eyes should also take note that it is by grace that sinners are saved through faith, yet even that faith is not from the sinners but is of God. If the salvation of men had the slightest bit of man’s act or sufficiency in it, then God is not self-sufficient and God does not save by grace alone. Once again the glory of His self-sufficiency shines brilliantly in Christ for those who have eyes to see.

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