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God’s Self-Sufficiency

November 12, 2012

Child: How did I get here?

Adult: God created you just like God has created everything else.

Child: Why did God create me?

Adult: Because God was lonely and he made people so that He could have a relationship with them.

I think that this was the first way that I ever heard this particular “doctrine” articulated. While it may be possible that you have never heard of, or observed, this particular situation, I am sure that you have heard this theology.

Allow me to give you an example that you might find hits a little closer to home.

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

“God has created you with a specific purpose that only you can fulfill.”

This theology is the staple of American evangelicalism. This theology permeates our churches, pulpits, and even how we read our bibles. We seem to have this innate ability to take what the bible says about God and His creation and make it all about us. We are the center of the universe and God has placed all these things in our lives so that we could fulfill our purpose.

One of the reasons that this seems to have become a popular theology is because it attracts people to “christianity” (note I use this term lightly here). We want to be needed. I think that the people who promote this theology do it with good intentions but the results are devastating.

God owes me…

If God needs us for relationship or to do a particular task for Him while we are on this earth, then we put God into our debt. We do a favor for God, then God gives us a favor…

We carry an insidious prosperity gospel around in our dark, little, entitled hearts. We come to the throne and say, “I’ll do this, and you’ll do that. And if I do this for you, then you’ll do that for me.”
– Matt Chandler

The preacher stands up in the pulpit on Sunday morning and talks about God’s great love and about all the wonderful things that God can do in your life. The preacher points you to those wonderful passages like Jeremiah 29:11 that show you that God intends to prosper you. The sermon ends with the call to walk the aisle or raise the hand.

Why walk the aisle?

Because God wants to have this relationship with you. Unfortunately, God can’t do anything until you make the first move. Then… God is in your debt. God wanted to have a relationship with you but in His helpless state, He was totally dependent on you making the first move. You came through and did what God asked. You “surrendered all” and you allowed Jesus to come into your heart and now because you did God this big favor, He owes you.

None of us actually want to say it but that is how we live our lives…

We go throughout our day, nary a thought about God. We do not marvel at how God would allow green grass to grow in a world full of evil. We do not marvel that God would allow sinners to breathe clean air or eat good food or drink pure, refreshing water.

Something bad happens to us…

”God how could you? I did everything you asked! I surrendered and followed you and this is how you decided to treat me!!?!”

While we are quick to point out how God has failed to do us good, we are quick to forget that God owes us nothing. Every time a bridge does not collapse, every time a loved one makes it home safe, every morning that you wake up; none of it is owed to you and is completely a gift of God’s Grace.

The type of self-centered theology that causes us to think God is in our debt is by nature, sin. When talking about human nature and sin, Martin Luther defined it this way, “Homo in se incurvatus” (turned/curved inward on oneself). We are by nature “bellybutton gazers”; seeing ourselves at the center of everything. Need more proof of this…

Why did God save us? Well, God saved us because of our worthiness right? We even sing songs about it..

Yeah, I wanna believe, Jesus, help me believe
That I am someone worth dying for
— Mikes Chair

The whole point of the Gospel is that we are not worth dying for and yet Christ did it anyway (Romans 5:8), but we are quick to make the whole point of the cross about us and not about HIM.

So what is meant by the title “God’s Self-Sufficiency”?

Simply put: God doesn’t need you…

All that God needs, He finds in Himself. The Apostle John put it this way…

John 1:3-4 “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

We come to God and we try to barter with Him using our stuff and God replies, “It’s all mine! I made it, I sustain it, it came from me and I can take it back just as quickly.”

Then we come at God and we offer Him our service and our very lives. God again replies, “Is not your very life a gift from me? You try to pay me with something you do not yourself own. And do you imagine that I am somehow served by human hands as if I need anything?” (Acts 17:25)

God finds in Himself all that is needed and when our man-centered theology bumps up against this marvelous attribute of God, our idolatry and pride are made visible.

That being said, the idea that God is “Self-Sufficient” should be a source of joy and not of sorrow. The fact that God finds all He needs in himself and still “wants” us causes the Gospel to become a precious thing indeed. God doesn’t need us to fill some longing in His heart, yet He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die a horrible death. His love then, is no longer dependent on us or our ability but rather, the basis for God’s love is found in the perfect union of the Trinity.

God doesn’t need you, but He does want you…
…and that is another matter altogether…

“To admit the existence of a need in God is to admit incompleteness in the Divine being… God has a voluntary relation to everything He has made, but He has no necessary relation to anything outside of Himself. His interest in His creatures arises from His sovereign good pleasure, not from any need those creatures can supply nor from any completeness they can bring to Him who is complete in Himself.”
A. W. Tozer

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