THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Lesson # 22
The Life of God††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ephesians 4:18
††††††††††† My purpose and desire in these studies of Godís character is to assist (if God the Holy Spirit will be pleased to bless my efforts) the reader in beholding the supreme excellence, glory, and greatness of God. Oh, that we may be consumed by it! If we are, indeed, consumed with a sense of Godís greatness and glory, we will do whatever we can to make him known. That is my heartís desire. I pray that God will be pleased to make himself known in this generation (1 Kgs. 18:36-39). We must know God. There is no salvation apart from the knowledge of God himself as he is revealed in Christ (John 17:3). It is the ever increasing desire of every believing sinner, saved by grace through faith in Christ, to know him (Phil. 3:10). And those who know him desire to make him known to others (Rom. 10:1-4).
††††††††††† Nothing is more suitable to that end than a study of the divine attributes. In Ephesians 4:18, Paul tells us that all unbelievers, all unregenerate men and women, live in the vanity of their minds, ďHaving the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.Ē But believers, those who are born again, are by the grace of God made partakers of the life of God.
††††††††††† I realize that it is impossible for us, with our puny, finite brains, to comprehend the life of God. I only hope in this study to set before you a sense of the infinite, incomprehensible greatness of Godís life. The one thing that must be grasped is the fact that God is life; and apart from him there is no life.
††††††††††† GOD IS LIFE ESSENTIALLY. There are many forms of life in the universe. The lowest form of life is plant life. In animals there is a higher degree of life. Like us, animals breathe, see, smell, hear, taste, and feel. Like us, they eat and drink. But there is a much higher form of life in Godís rational creatures, in angels and men. Angels and men have all the senses of life possessed by plants and animals; but we have other senses of life which set us apart from those lower creatures. Angels and men are rational creatures, capable of understanding, affection, and will.
††††††††††† However, there is still a much higher form of life among Godís creatures, spiritual life. Spiritual life is that which is given to men and women in the new birth. It is a principle of life, grace, and holiness implanted in us by the Spirit of God. Spiritual life makes us partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4; Gal. 2:20). Spiritual life produces in the believer a nature that is as far above natural human life as human life is above plant life (Gal. 5:22-23). But even this highest form of life among Godís creatures falls far short, infinitely short, of that life which is God. All creature life is derived life. God is life essentially. All creatures get life from God. God gets life from no one. He is life!
††††††††††† God is life in and of himself (John 5:26). As we have seen in previous studies, God alone is eternal and self-existent. God the Father has life in himself. And he has given to the Son, (not to the Son as God, but to the Son as Man), as our Mediator to have life in himself. God the Father is life. God the Son is life (John 1:1-4). And God the Spirit is life (Rev. 11:11 - ďThe Spirit of life.Ē).
††††††††††† Because God is life in and of himself, Godís life is totally free and independent. There is no cause for his life and nothing upon which his life is dependent. Our lives, both naturally and spiritually, depend entirely upon God (Deut. 30:20). He gives us life, physical life and spiritual life. And he sustains us in life, physical life and spiritual life. But God lives his own life. Our natural lives depend upon the union of our bodies to our souls. And our spiritual lives depend upon the union of our souls to Christ (John 15:1-6). This union of our souls to Christ is a union of grace and of faith, an indissolveable union with the Son of God (Eph. 5:30-32). But the life of God depends upon nothing. His name is El-Shaddai, God all-sufficient, blessed and happy in himself forever.
††††††††††† The Lord our God is the one true and living God. Throughout the Scriptures, Godís very glory by which he is exalted above and distinguished from the idols of men is his life.
1. The law was given by the authority of the living God (Deut. 5:26).
2. Joshua led Israel in triumph into the land of promise by the power of the living God (Josh. 3:10).
3. Davidís love and the thirst of his soul was for the living God (Psa. 42:1-2; 84:2).
4. Our Savior is the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16).
5. And as believers we are the temple of the living God.
††††††††††† All the idols of men are motionless, lifeless, and dead (Jer. 10:5, 10, 15, 16; Acts 14:15; 1 Thess. 1:9). Therefore, the worshippers of idols place great emphasis on dead ceremonies. But we believe, trust, worship, and submit to the living God (Rev. 10:5-6).
††††††††††† When I was a boy, a professor at a religious college near my hometown started a foolish lie that caught the nation and spread like wildfire. He said, ďGod is dead!Ē Well, that wretch is now dead. His blasphemy did not even disturb God. Some say, ďGod is alive.Ē But that is not true either. God is not alive. God is life! God is life essentially.
††††††††††† GOD IS LIFE ETERNALLY (1 John 5:20). God is life without beginning, without succession, and without end. The eternality of God is a subject that baffles human reason. We cannot think in terms of eternality. But God is eternal. His life is eternal. The eternality of life in God implies many things: His simplicity, his spirituality, his independence, etc. But for the purposes of this study, let me direct your attention to just twov things that are revealed in the eternality of God.
1. Immutability (Psa. 102:26-27; Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8; James 1:17) - Only God is eternal. And only God is immutable. God who is eternal life must also be immutable life. He never experiences any change of any kind. Blessed be his name! Because God is immutable his purpose is steadfast; his promises are sure; and his people are secure. Eternality and immutability go hand in hand. And eternality and immutability go hand in hand with...
2. Immortality (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16). Angels are immortal because God made them so. The souls of men are immortal because God made them so. The bodies of the saints shall be made, like Christís human body, immortal, because God will make them so in the resurrection. Even the bodies of the damned in hell will be made immortal by God. However, God alone has immortality in and of himself, because God alone has life in himself eternally.
††††††††††† GOD IS LIFE EFFICIENTLY (Psa. 36:9). God is the source, the Spring, the Author, and the Giver of life. Life in its lowest form and in its highest form is the gift of God. And God is totally sovereign over all life. He gives life to the grass; and he takes it away (Gen. 1:11-12; Isa. 40:7). He gives life to the beasts; and he takes it away (Gen. 1:20-25; Psa. 104:29). He gives life to men upon the earth; and he takes it away at his pleasure (Gen. 2:7; Psa. 68:20; Heb. 9:27). When he is pleased to do so, God can make a jackass talk and reason like a man (Num. 22:28). And when he is pleased to do so, God can cause a brilliant, powerful man to eat grass like an ox, grow feathers like an eagle, and his nails to become claws like a birdís (Dan. 4:32-33). God is totally sovereign over all life. He alone can give life. No man can make a living fly. He might as easily create a world. And no man can destroy a fly. He might as easily destroy the world. As God is sovereign over all natural, physical life, so he is sovereign over all spiritual, eternal life.
††††††††††† Spiritual life is the free gift of God (John 5:21, 25; 11:25; Rom. 8:2). All men by nature, though alive physically, are dead spiritually, dead in trespasses and in sins. They cannot give themselves life. No one can give what he does not have. It is God alone who gives us life. He gave us life legally by the sacrifice of Christ (Rom. 7:4). He gave us life spiritually by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:1-6). The new birth is a resurrection from the dead (John 5:25), the first resurrection over which the second death has no power (Rev. 20:6). He gives us life continually by the power of his grace (1 Pet. 1:5).
††††††††††† And eternal life, so often spoken of in the Scriptures as that which the saints shall enjoy forever, is the gift of Godís free and sovereign grace (Rom. 6:23). It is our predestined inheritance, promised before the world began (Eph. 1:11 Acts 13:48; Tit. 1:2). It is our purchased possession (Eph. 1:14), purchased for us by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:12). It is the gift of God to all who trust his dear Son (John 17:2; 10:28; 1 John 5:12). Because every aspect of eternal life is the free gift of Godís sovereign grace in Christ, all who believe the gospel message of salvation by grace alone must reject the ridiculous notion that there are degrees of reward in heaven!