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By Nick P.

What does the self-sufficiency of God really mean? I think this is one of those doctrines we accept but sometimes forget what it really means. Christians will acknowledge that God is a Trinity but how many of them know what that means? "Why he's one God in three persons" they'll say but what does that mean? Does it have any impact on how we understand God and relate to him?


While I could go into the Trinity this is on the self-sufficiency of God. What does this mean? God is complete within himself. He needs absolutely nothing. This doesn't mean that he desires nothing as we know that God desires all men to be saved and God desires that we would avoid sin. However, I doubt anyone believes all will be saved or that they will never sin.


But if God needs nothing it also means that he changeth not. God cannot be benefitted by worship nor can he be benefitted by the lack of worship. This doesn't mean, of course, that God doesn't deserve worship. In fact, he is the only being in the universe who is worthy of worship and deserves it.


To love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is the greatest of the commandments. Loving God is the most important thing we can do in life. The second commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. This one actually contains two commandments. We are to love our neighbors but we are to love ourselves as well. Truly, every man in some sense is our brother and we are our brother's keeper but we are to keep ourselves as well.


Loving God is not for God's benefit. God will be hurt it is shown in Hosea when we refuse to love him but it is not because he has suffered loss. It is because we have suffered loss. Jesus's own cry was that he longed to care for Jerusalem but she would not be willing. What did Christ (who was and is God incarnate of course) long for? Jerusalem to repent and turn to him. Why? So he would be benefitted? No. Because he wanted to love her and care for her.


God is the most selfless being in the universe which is something so amazing about him. He who created all would have the most reason to be selfish and self-centered but he isn't. God is the most humble being in the universe which is also amazing because if anyone in creation had anything to be proud of it would be God. When we read 1 Cor. 13, we can apply the characteristics of love to God.


Thus, it is for our benefit that we love God. God will not be improved for our loving him any more than he would be lessened for our not loving him. God will have sorrow again but it will be sorrow for our sakes. When we start with loving God, the rest of life will fall into place.


And how does God who loves us immensely desire we live? He has left behind for life the manufacturer's instructions. Let me use an analogy along those lines.


I am a technological idiot personally. I have to call my friends for help to hook up my Playstation or Gamecube. If there was a book on those lines in the "For Dummies" series it would probably be too complex for me.


Now it is possible that I could work at a system that I brought home for the first time and hook it up without help but it would not have been done in the best way and I might not get the best picture or what-have-you that I could because I chose to disregard the manufacturer's instructions. However, it would be probable to figure it out as the manufacturer is a finite person with a finite mind and whatever is finite can be completely grasped and understood.


In such a way, God has given us instructions for life in Scripture. We could never figure this out on our own though as he is the infinite designer and his wisdom and knowledge is infinite. There is no way we could ever figure it out on our own. Thus, we can live our life the way we want and disregard what he says in Scripture but we will not get the most out of it that we could.


For instance, the person who chases after pleasure for pleasure's sake will find that it will never satisfy. The person who seeks God will ultimately find both the quest for God and the quest for pleasure fulfilled. The person who chases after love for its own sake will not receive true love. The person who seeks God will find both. The person who seeks truth apart from God will find only folly. The person who seeks God will find God and truth. The person who seeks relief from life's sorrows apart from God will find more sorrows but the person who seeks God will find both.


God doesn't give a commandment to see who will be good and who won't. He gives it for our betterment. God says "Do not commit adultery." Why? Because God knows that adultery will rob us of intimacy with him which is the real joy of life. In fact, adultery will cause pain not only to God but to ourselves and others. How many present and future marriages have been damaged because of the adulterous life of one member? (This isn't to say God can't redeem such actions though for good though.)


God is a relational being in the Trinity itself and God values relationship more than anything else. Rules always come when relationship is violated. You'll find man only had one negative in the garden and this was because if real love is to be possible the opportunity to deny that love must also be possible. True, man was commanded to work the ground and tend the garden but it is my guess that he did this with great joy.


For those of us who love God, it is true what the apostle John said. We must keep his commands but his commands are not burdensome. Instead, they are a joy. They are given to keep us free from the damaging effects of sin in our lives. Every sin we will commit will have consequences as will any action.


When God created this universe, he created it with certain laws in effect. These include laws of physics and if they are violated, there will be consequences. Thus, if I'm at home on the upper floor of our house and choose to jump out the window and deny the law of gravity, I will face consequences for denying that law.


God has also set a moral law within the universe. Thus, if one violates this moral law, there will be consequences as well. If one wants to sleep around and disregard God's command to be with one woman forever that's there choice. They will however have the consequences of things like unwanted pregnancies and STD's as well as a life filled with meaninglessness.


Take this on a larger scale. Suppose one wants to deny the existence of God or suppose one wants to deny the Christian belief like the Muslim or Hindu or even like the cultist as the Mormon or JW who choose to deny the nature of God in the Trinity and Deity of Christ, then they will face the consequence of that action. The consequence, of course, is eternity apart from God.


But if there are negative consequences are there not positive consequences as well? If I choose to stay within the law of gravity, I have the blessed benefit of not breaking my bones by jumping out the window. That is a very positive benefit!


Now what happens if I affirm what God has said is true? If I affirm that his idea of how to live my life is better than mine? If I affirm that he should be the Lord of my life and not myself? If I affirm that his decrees are righteous? If I affirm his deity in admitting that he is God and I am not? My benefit is that I lead a much much better life. In fact, even if not in this life, I am guaranteed that my afterlife will be a blast.


Let me put in a note as to what I believe the afterlife will be like. I believe relationship is the most important thing to God. The things we hear about no pain, sorrow, sickness, and death are secondary to me. Those are important but they are not of prime importance. The prime part of Heaven will be a perfect relationship between God and I and a perfect relationship with my fellow brethren in Heaven.


This means that in Heaven God and I will be completely open to each other. There will be no secrets. I will have a perfect relationship with my friends. We will have no secrets from each other. As blessed as my friendships are in this Earth, they will be all the better in Heaven. One reason is we will be made perfect in love and love is selfless. We will always be seeking the betterment of the other. (And lo and behold! We find the betterment of ourselves.)


God's instruction plan for life is to prepare us for this place. In the words of Max Lucado, God does love us the way we are but he loves us too much to let us stay like this. He wants us to be Just Like Jesus. This is the same many will do as parents. A parent will love their child and will set standards for them and instruct them on the way they should go. If the parents are good and godly parents and give their children good and godly commands and the children don't heed their instructions, the parents will surely do all they can to get the child to come around and follow their path without making the choice (Mr. Calvin) for them.


God has given us the way we should live our lives as the parent of all. In a sense, God is the parent of everyone. Paul affirmed the pagan poet was right in saying "We are his offspring." However, Jesus said those who do not affirm him have Satan as their father. Could it be though that Jesus is affirming they have the character of Satan who chose to deny God's reign in the universe? When Jesus claimed the Father as his Father then he was saying he had the same nature as the Father.


God will try to get our attention through various ways. The normal breaking of the law of his morality is one way. However, God can discipline his children through other various ways and those of us who are Christians know that the writer of Hebrews has promised that all of God's children will be disciplined. However, knowing God is selfless, we know that this is not for God's benefit again but for ours. He wants us to be just like Jesus.


And how does this show through? The writer of 1 John affirms again that if we say we love God who we have not seen but don't love our brothers who we have not seen then we are liars and the truth is not in us. One way that we show we are children of God is by our love for our fellow man. This is how Christ said we would know we were his disciples.


If we love God, the fellowship with other men will come. This doesn't mean that we will enjoy the company of every other man or even like every other man but that we will love them. As an apologist, one of my main verses is 1 Peter 3:15. This verse starts off with making sure the relationship with God is right. Then, our relationship in our apologetics will follow. We will be honest with ourselves in giving an answer for the hope that lies within us, but also honoring the value of the other by giving with gentleness and respect.


We must remember that man is a triune being and that we are not just bodies relating to each other walking around on this planet. We are souls that happen to be traveling in bodies. Thus, intimacy will value souls most of all. Again, the man who values just a woman for her body will never get real intimacy. However, the person who values her for her soul could get both. This isn't to say he won't desire the body. Any guy around my age will admit that the female body is certainly desired and that is a natural desire God put within us but if we chase the girl just for her body we will not only devalue her but ourselves as well. We will settle for second best when we could chase her soul and get her body and soul both.


One can make the comparison to the Word-Faith teachers today. They are the ones who want to come to the table of God for the blessings that are on the table. They don't want to come for the one who is sitting at the table. However, if we come to the table for the desire to be with God, we will often get what is on the table and we will certainly get what is on the table in Heaven.


The greatest love we can give is then for the soul. The soul is the very nature of who a man or woman is. The soul is the mind and emotions underneath. The soul carries deep down the things that a man values the most. This is why C.S. Lewis said at the resurrection of man there will be surprises as our souls are bared to one another. Lewis could also make the comparison between the relationship in Heaven and sexual relationship on Earth. The greatest revelation on Earth of sexual love is naked bodies presented to each other. The greatest revelation in Heaven will be naked souls revealed to each other.


My person favorite apologist and Christian speaker, Ravi Zacharias, has made this point about the sexual union as well. That in the union, the eros is definitely fulfilled with the agape factor of God blessing it if it is within the confines of marriage as he has instructed us to keep the marriage bed pure, your partner becomes your best friend fulfilling the phileo, and children are produced fulfilling the storge.


God has chosen to relate to us on each of these four levels of love I believe as well. He has given us the fatherly love of storge. He has given us the unconditional love of agape. (Norman Geisler makes the point well in the answer to "If God loves unconditionally how come some go to Hell?" God does love unconditionally but we don't always accept that love.) He has given us the love of phileo in calling us his friends and Christ relates to us a bridegroom to a bride in eros.


This is what is meant by God is love. It doesn't mean that God is a sentimental feeling. God, at his very nature is love. God has love within himself within the Trinity and again this brings us back to the beginning of God being the love and having the description in 1 Cor. 13 applicable to him. 


God at his very nature is every good and perfect ideal in the universe. God is perfection in total. God is pure in all he is. He lacks nothing at all. There are some things it is logically impossible for God to do. We know God cannot lie for instance and I will say God doesn't do things logically impossible also. God can't make square circles. Again, as C.S. Lewis said, "You may attribute miracles to him but you cannot attribute nonsense."


These and others are because God's nature requires it. God cannot cease to exist. He is a necessary being. God must judge sin. He is holy and righteous. God also, going along with perfection, cannot improve or get better. He is the best that he can be already. If anyone ever fulfilled the old cry of our great military, "Be all that you can be." it was most certainly God. God is all that he can be and he cannot be more than he is.


And what has God desired more than anything else? Relationship with us. Man is the crown of God's creation and the greatest glory has been bestowed upon man by God. What is man that you are mindful of him? The Son of Man that you should care for him? You have made him a little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8)

I should point out that is an orthodox reading. Again, Ravi Zacharias says the language best says "A little bit of God lacking in him." No other part of creation has received this focus from God. Truly all of his creation is good and wonderful but man is the pinnacle of it. This is one reason human life must be put above animal and all other life. (Try convincing the movie stars and politicians of this who cry when an animal is in danger but say nothing for the life of a human being in the wound or the environmental groups like Earth Liberation Front who are willing to destroy human life to protect the environment.)


And knowing the importance man has, we ought to love one another knowing that each and everyone of us, including that person that really gets on our nerves (Whoever they may be and I'm sure we each have one) because that person is created in the image of God and is someone Jesus died for. (Again a disagreement with Calvinists. Calvin himself though did not hold to Limited Atonement.)


Again, I return to the beauty of that epistle 1 John wrote. This epistle has such simplicity but is so profound that it amazes me. What does he say? We must walk in the light as he is in the light. God wants us to be just like Jesus. He wants us to enter into a relationship with him. Why? Perchance so he can say the same thing he said to the faithful servant in the parable of the talents. "Well done O good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your creator."

Imagine that. The joy of our creator. Don't you want to enter into that? I know I do. What's the best way? Follow the path of the designer. The designer has come and dwelt among us. If we choose to walk as he did, then we will face the natural consequence of that action, the joy of our creator.

Email the author at ApologiaNick@yahoo.com