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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Attributes of God That Belong to Him Alone

Don Stewart :: In What Sense Is God the Living God?

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In What Sense Is God the Living God?

The Attributes of God That Belong to Him Alone – Question 5

The Bible says that God is “alive.” Among other things, He is known as the “living God.” There are a number of observations that we need to make about this wonderful truth.

1. The God of the Bible Is Indeed Alive

Moses told the children of Israel that God of Israel, the One whom they served, is the “living God.” He wrote the following.

“‘For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire, as we have, and has still lived?’” (Deuteronomy 5:26 RSV)

This is in contrast to the various gods of the ancient world who were mere idols. The God of the Bible is alive!

The prophet Hosea told the people they will be called the children of the “living God.” He made the following declaration about the Lord and His promises.

“Yet the time will come when Israel will prosper and become a great nation. In that day its people will be like the sands of the seashore—too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’” (Hosea 1:10 NLT)

Again, the God of Scripture is living, not dead.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul also emphasized that the God of Scripture is the living God. He wrote the following to the Thessalonians.

For they themselves report about us what kind of reception we had from you: how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God... (1 Thessalonians 1:9 HCSB)

Here again we have the contrast between non-living idols and the living God. There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that God is indeed alive.

2. He Is Alive in a Different Way than Everything Else

Yet, He is alive in a manner that is different than anyone else. The basis of His existence is Himself. Jesus said that He has life in Himself.

“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself...” (John 5:26 RSV).

This can be said of nobody else. Only God has life in Himself.

Indeed, God depends upon nothing outside of Himself. The Apostle Paul said to a crowd in Athens that the God of the Bible needs absolutely nothing.

“And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” (Acts 17:25 NIV)

The God of the Bible is not needy like we are.

3. He Is the Self-Existing One

When the Lord spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, He told Him that He is the self-existing God. Scripture says,

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14 NRSV).

God exists completely by Himself. He needs nothing.

Furthermore, He is not affected by anything else, unless He chooses to be affected. He alone could make the following statement.

“I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.” (Isaiah 46:10 HCSB)

He alone accomplishes His purposes. No other being in the universe, angel or human, could make such a statement.

4. He Is the Source of Life

God is also the source of all life. The psalmist wrote the following.

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. (Psalm 36:9 NIV)

The Contemporary English Version puts it this way.

The life-giving fountain belongs to you, and your light gives light to each of us. (Psalm 36:9 CEV)

Whether it be nature, the animal kingdom, or humanity, or spirit-life He is the source of all life. Everything stems from Him.

5. He Is the Source of Spiritual Life for Believers

For believers, God gives to them spiritual life in the Person of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote the following to the Romans.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 HCSB)

Spiritual life, which translates into eternal life, can be found only in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John says it is God who gives us eternal life. In his first letter, he wrote the following to the believers.

God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. (1 John 5:11 CEV)

God gives us life everlasting and this life comes from God the Son.

In another place, John said that believers are children of God because of a decision by God and Him alone.

But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 HCSB)

Those who receive Him become His children, part of His forever family.

Scripture makes it clear that it is only believers which have a family relationship with Him. Paul wrote to the Galatians,

All of you are God’s children because of your faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26 CEV)

Unbelievers do not possess this type of life.

Paul also wrote to the Galatians about how we cry out to God as His loving children. He put it this way.

And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 NRSV)

We cry out to our heavenly Father in the same way a child cries out to his or her earthly father.

Therefore, the believer is related to the living God in two ways. First, He is the Creator and we are His creation, Second, He is our personal Father and we are His children.

Summary – Question 5
In What Sense Is God the Living God?

The Bible says that God is the living God. This theme is consistent throughout the Scripture. In contrast to the idols of the ancient world, the God of the Bible is alive.

However, we must understand that God is alive in a different way that anyone else. He has life in Himself, while everything else has life given to them. God is the source of life for all things. He is independent of all things while everything else in the universe depends upon something else to exist.

For the believer, there is another type of life, spiritual life. Just as physical life is dependent upon God so is our spiritual life. We are His children by the fact that we have believed in Jesus Christ, God the Son.

Therefore, the Lord provides life for us in two areas. As the Creator, everything has physical life which is a direct result of God’s creative hand.

However, there is another type of life which is limited to the believer, spiritual life. We have this life through faith in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, not everyone has this type of life.

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