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Chapter 73

 

The Solitariness of God

 

“Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)

 

Everyone knows that God is great in wisdom, wondrous in power, and abundant in mercy. But in these degenerate days of religious perversion, most people know nothing of God’s Being, his nature, and his attributes. There are very few who understand that God is infinite, majestic, great beyond imagination, and glorious. I hope that this study will be blessed of God to inspire you to trust, adore, and reverently worship him. There is no one and nothing in all the universe like our God. He is infinitely higher and greater than all his creation. It is the solitary excellence of God that inspires reverence for him, faith in him, and obedience to him. Yet, at the outset, it must be acknowledged that our God is incomprehensibly great. As Isaac Watts teaches in the verses below, no mortal can fully know him.

 

“Can creatures to perfection find

The eternal, uncreated mind?

Or can the largest stretch of thought

Measure and search his nature out?

 

‘Tis high as heaven, ‘tis deep as hell;

And what can mortals know or tell?

His glory spreads beyond the sky,

And all the shining worlds on high.”

 

            Here are seven facts about God which show his solitariness, six things which distinguish him from and set him apart from all his creatures, infinitely.

 

1.    There is one God.

 

The Word of God universally and with the utmost clarity states that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Ephesians 4:4-6). God alone is solitary in his Being. There are many angels, many men, and many of all other creatures; but God is One. He “only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:16). Because there is one God, our allegiance is due to him alone. Our affections are to be directed to him alone. And all who know, trust, and worship him are one body.

 

2.    God is eternal.

 

Angels are not eternal. Men are not eternal. And matter is not eternal. But God is eternal. In Genesis 1:1 we read, “In the beginning God.” In the beginning, there was nothing and no one but God. There was a “time” before time began, when God dwelt alone in the ineffable glory of his own great Being. There was no heaven in which to set his throne and manifest his glory. There was no earth to be his footstool and engage his care. There were no angels to sing his praise. There was no universe to be upheld by the word of his power. There were no men created in his image and after his likeness. There were no hours, days, months, years, or ages. From everlasting, in old eternity, God was alone in his glory. He is the great “I AM,” “the eternal God,” who says, “I live forever!” The psalmist says of him, “Thy throne is established of old; thou art from everlasting” (Psalm 93:2). He is the first and the last, “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity” (Isaiah 57:15). This great God, who alone is eternal, is and must be the Creator of all things, the Possessor of all things, the Ruler of all things, and the Disposer of all things.

 

3.    God is Spirit.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ declares, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). That does not mean that God is one spirit among many, but that he is Spirit, without the limitations of a body. The Bible often ascribes to God terms such as “the hand of the Lord,” “the mouth of the Lord,” “the eyes of the Lord, “the arm of the Lord,” and “the ear of the Lord.” But these terms are mere accommodations of language to help our puny brains understand the works of God. They are anthropomorphic terms, human terms, to describe the works of the Lord. They do not, in any way, represent the nature and being of God.

 

            As you read the Bible you cannot fail to notice that never once were men given any kind of physical, visible, tangible representation of God’s Being. Even under the types and shadows of the Old Testament age of ceremonial worship, nothing was given as a representation of God’s Being. All the types and shadows of the law represented his work of redemption through Christ. But nothing represented God himself. Why? Because God is Spirit. He is the infinite, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, omnipresent Spirit.

 

            Because God is Spirit, he expressly forbids every form of idolatry (Exodus 20:3-6). The first and second commandments forbid the acceptance of any other god or any intrusion of anyone or anything in our hearts in the place of God, as the object of our affections or the ruler of our lives. These two commands also forbid the worship of God using any image, the representation of God by anything visible, and the use of religious images, symbols or pictures (Pictures of Christ, crosses, crucifixes, religious relics, angelic forms, etc.). Do not look upon this as an extreme position. Those who make use of such religious symbols and emblems, who would be shocked to be charged with the practice of idolatry, only need to read 2 Kings 18:1-7 to see how serious this breach of God’s law is.

 

            All true worship and service rendered to God must be spiritual, heart worship. It is not sufficient to come before God on bended knee, with prostrate body, or with words of praise. We must worship God in and by his Holy Spirit, and with our spiritual nature, our souls, our hearts, our minds, and our wills True worship is heart worship (John 4:23-24; Philippians 3:3). We must worship God alone. We must worship him spiritually. We must worship God sincerely. And we must worship him in truth, in accordance with revealed truth. The doctrine of Scripture and the outward duties of public and private worship must never be neglected or altered (1 Chronicles 15:13); but the essence of worship must be found in the heart. Otherwise the outward acts of worship are an abomination to the Lord God (Isaiah 1:10-15).

 

4.    God is a trinity.

 

We worship one God in the trinity, or tri-unity, of his sacred persons. We do not have three Gods. We worship one God, who subsists in three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And these three persons are equal in all things. This is precisely what is stated in 1 John 5:7. — "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

 

            From the very beginning, God revealed that there are three persons in the Godhead. God the Father created all things through his Son, the Word (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3). God the Spirit moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). God said, “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). And God promised to send his Son, the Seed of the woman, to redeem fallen man (Genesis 3:15).

 

            In the New Testament, the doctrine of the Trinity is, as we have seen, expressly declared in 1 John 5:7; and it is frequently represented to us. When our Lord was baptized, the Father spoke from heaven, the Son was immersed in the Jordan river, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him from heaven (Matthew 3:16-17). God’s servants are commanded to administer the ordinance of baptism in the name of the Trinity. — “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). The apostolic benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) pronounces the blessings of grace upon God’s saints in the name of the triune God. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself plainly declares the trinity of persons in the Godhead (John 14:16). And all three persons in the Trinity are involved in the work of salvation. The salvation of God’s elect was planned by God the Father, purchased by God the Son, and applied by God the Spirit (Ephesians 1:3-14). The Word of God reveals one God in three persons. The Father is God (Romans 1:7). The Son is God (Hebrews 1:8). And the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). — “And these three are One.”[1]

 

5.    God is independent and self-sufficient.

 

God is solitary in his Being, in his eternality, in his spirituality, and in his trinity. And God is solitary in his independence and self-sufficiency. God alone needs nothing. God does not need you, me, or anyone else. God needs nothing but himself. In old eternity, when God dwelt alone in the glory of his triune persons, he was self-contained and self-sufficient, in need of nothing. He needed nothing to make him happy, glorious, and complete. And he is still independent, self-sufficient, in need of nothing. The creation of the world added nothing to God. He is immutable. He changes not (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). His essential glory could never be increased or diminished.

 

            God was under no constraint, obligation, or necessity to create the world. God who “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11), freely chose to create the world simply because it was his sovereign pleasure to do so. He created the world, not to get glory to himself, but to display and manifest his glory in it. God gains nothing from his creatures. Even the praises of redeemed sinners add nothing to the glory of his Being. Read Nehemiah 9:5. — “Stand up and bless the Lord, your God, forever and ever; and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.” Even the salvation of God’s elect adds nothing to his solitary, self-sufficient, and independent glory. He predestinated his elect to eternal salvation to the praise of the glory of his grace, “according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:5). He chose to save us to show forth his glory in us (Ephesians 2:7), but not that he might increase his glory (Psalm 16:2-3). We add nothing to him.

 

            I have often heard it said, “Because God is love, there was a great vacuum in God’s heart. He needed someone to love. Therefore, he created man.” That was not the case at all. “God is love.” But there was from eternity a perfect self-sufficiency even in his love. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost dwelt together in perfect love from everlasting. We gain everything from God; but God gains nothing from his creatures (Romans 11:34-36). And, if God gains nothing from man, then it is impossible for man to bring God into any obligation to him (Read Job 35:7-8). Every mercy, every blessing, every benefit we receive from the Almighty is a matter of his own free favor.

 

            By the same token, God loses nothing by the wickedness of his creatures (Job 35:6). As man can add nothing to God’s glory, so man can never diminish God’s glory. God made all things to show forth his glory, and all things shall serve their end (Revelation 4:11). The glory of his wisdom and power shall be seen in all creation and providence. The glory of his love and justice is seen in redemption. The glory of his mercy and grace is seen in the salvation of his elect. The glory of his truth and righteousness is seen in the eternal ruin of his enemies.

 

            The God of the Bible is so great that he is self-sufficient in the glory of his own holy Being. There was no vacuum in God’s heart that had to be filled by man. Had it pleased him to do so, he might have dwelt alone in his solitary glory forever without making his glory known to any. All that we experience of his grace and goodness we experience because of his sovereign good pleasure alone (Psalms 115:3; 135:6).

 

            God is totally independent of his creatures and self-sufficient without us (Isaiah 40:15-23; 1 Timothy 6:15-16). This is the God of the Bible. He is still, in this reprobate religious age, “the unknown God” (Acts 17:23). Because he is unknown in this religious world, we seek to make him known. This is a God to be reverenced, worshipped, and adored. “He is solitary in his majesty, unique in his excellency, peerless in his perfections. He sustains all, but is himself independent of all. He gives to all, and is enriched by none” (A. W. Pink).

 

6.    This great, solitary God can only be known by revelation.

 

I have offered no arguments to prove the existence of God. That is not because arguments cannot be produced. God’s being is a self-evident truth of creation and providence, so that all men and women are without excuse before him (Romans 1:20). But no man will ever come to know the living God by the light of nature (Job 11:7-8; 26:14). A savage might find a watch in the sand and conclude that there was a watchmaker; but he would never be able to know the watchmaker by looking at the watch. Even so, a man may know that God is by the light of nature; but he can never come to know God by the light of nature.

 

            God cannot be known by man, except as God is pleased to reveal himself to us (John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 2:14). But God has been pleased to reveal himself to men. God has revealed himself to men in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, his dear Son (John 1:18; Hebrews 1:1-3). God has revealed himself to men in the inspired volume of Holy Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-17). God reveals himself to sinners through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17). Yet, no sinner will ever see and know the living God until he reveals himself in the sinner’s heart by the irresistible grace and power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:6). Everything depends upon God! Even when we have been made to see and know the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, our spiritual knowledge, at best, is a fragmentary knowledge. We ever need to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing him, let us each seek grace that we “might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).

 

7.    God alone forgives sin freely, without any reparations being made by the one forgiven.

 

Sinners are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Micah 7:18-20). No god dreamed up and made by fallen, depraved man forgives freely. But he who is God forgives freely. He does not demand and will not accept any reparations made by man, but only the reparation and restitution made by himself for men in the sacrifice of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He who is God will accept no payment or satisfaction for sin, except the payment and satisfaction he has made for sin in the sacrifice of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            Oh, how we ought to thank God for so arranging the affairs of the universe that he might make himself known to sinners in redemption by Christ (Romans 6:17-18; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

 

“Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1]           Though the Son is voluntarily subject to the Father (John 10:16-18), and the Spirit is voluntarily subject to the Son and the Father (John 14:16) in the covenant of redemption and grace, for the salvation of God’s elect, there is no subordination of Persons in the Godhead.