God Is Self-Sufficient (God, Part 2)

The fact that God has made Himself known means it is possible for us to know Him. Even though we can never know Him fully and completely, we can know Him truly and accurately. He has given us this gift. There are many places you can start in studying the nature and character of God, but we will begin by looking at the attributes of God before looking at His nature as three persons in one. In looking at these attributes, it is good to remember that these are things which are true of all three persons of the Godhead – not simply the Father.

The first thing we can say very clearly about God is that He is independent. Put simply, this means that God does not need anyone or anything. He can exist on His own apart from everyone and everything else. We – as human beings – are dependent because we draw our life from another – from the One who created us. If God had not created us, we would not exist (John 1:3). God had no such beginning.

There are many facets to this. Foundationally, it means that God has life within Himself. He does not depend on anyone else for His existence – it is part of His very nature and essence to exist. Exodus 3:14 makes this clear as God reveals His name as “I Am Who I Am”. The concept of “I Am” is one of existence. At the center of His being, God is the One who always “Is” – always existing and being. This is difficult for us to conceive in our finite minds, but it is an essential part of God’s nature. He is self-existent – containing within Himself everything necessary to exist.

He is also self-sufficient and self-contained. There is nothing outside of Him on which He depends, and He does not need anyone or anything outside of Himself for anything. Acts 17:24-25 says God is not “served by human hands, as though he needed anything” (see also Job 22:2-3 & Ps. 50:8-15). Instead, everything else depends on Him. He is the One who preserves everything (Neh. 9:6). If He stopped sustaining His creation, all flesh would perish together (Job 34:14-15). All things look to Him in order to be sustained (Ps. 104:24-30). Ultimately, all things are “from” Him (Rom. 11:33-36; 1 Cor. 8:6).

God also never needs counsel from anyone (Job 36:22-23; Isa. 40:13-14; Rom. 11:34; 1 Cor. 2:16). His wisdom is entirely sufficient on its own. In fact, He does everything according to His own will because His will is sufficiently good and perfect by itself (Ps. 33:11; 115:3; Prov. 19:21; Isa. 46:10; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11). And His independence also means He never owes anyone anything (Job 35:7; 41:11; Rom. 11:35). In the truest sense of the term, God is obligated to no one. He is the Maker, Sustainer, and Giver of all things.

But why do we care? Why does this truth even matter? First of all, it provides a compelling reason to worship Him. If God is entirely self-sufficient and has no need of anything, then He is incredibly great and deserves to be praised. Such greatness compels our praise. Since everything is “from him and through him and to him”, it makes sense that we would say: “To him by glory forever” – just like Paul (Rom. 11:36). The folly of idolatry is that human beings worship images that are entirely dependent on them (Isa. 40:19-20; 44:15-17; Jer. 10:3-5; Hab. 2:18-20). God has no such need.

Second, this truth matters because it shows us the incredible kindness and grace of God. He did not create us because He needed us. He does not provide us with life and breath and every other good gift we experience every day because He needs us. He did not send His Son to redeem us from our sins because He needs us. He did those things out of love – so that we might see, acknowledge, and proclaim His greatness and glory. We are not the center of all things. We exist to demonstrate the wonder and majesty of the One who is the center of all things.

Third, this truth reminds us that we are always dependent on Him. Everything we get, we receive. In fact, there is nothing we have that we did not first receive. And that means we have no grounds for boasting (1 Cor. 4:7). Instead of boasting in ourselves – as if we are great, we should boast in the One who has made us and given us everything we have.

Ultimately, God needs nothing. God needs no one. He is perfectly, everlastingly complete within Himself. And that is good news. It means there is Someone worthy of our worship. It means there is Someone able to provide everything we need. It means there is Someone who is always sufficient and always able – Someone who will never “fall short” or be incapable of providing what is needed.