Acts 17:24-25 (ESV)
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
(This is part 5 of our study on ‘Who is God‘)
In this part of a sermon given by the Apostle Paul, he makes it clear that God does not require us. In fact, it is the other way around – we need God. Without Him we would not exist, without his continual sustaining intervention in our very lives we could not even continue to breathe.
God is independent.
This means that God does not require anything to be who He is. He is self-sufficient. There is no prerequisite for God to continue existing; there is nothing that He requires to maintain Himself.
One thing that we need to keep in mind here (and which we will spend further time on at a later date), is that God is a Trinity – that is, we are not just speaking of ‘God the Father’, but also the Son and the Holy Spirit. Within that trinity, there is no requirement for anything else. God did not need to create us to love Him; God did not need to create us so He had something to do. God is utterly independent.
So what does this mean in our lives? I think first that it is a good reminder that it is God who sustains us, not us who sustains God. In fact, there is essentially nothing we can do for Him that He needs. There may be things He wants us to do, for our own good or others, but there is nothing we must do so that God remains God – He will be God with or without us, and our actions or deeds, for or against.
For me, that is a mighty humbling thought. First, God does not need me for Him to remain God, but I certainly need God to remain in existence. In that context, I am nothing. And yet – God does call me. He calls me not only into a relationship with Him, but to live for Him, and sets aside things in His kingdom that I need to do. He doesn’t need me to do them – but he has chosen me anyway. I couldn’t do them without His sustaining power, and yet He chooses me to do it none the less.
Secondly, it again calls us back to worship. God doesn’t need me, doesn’t need you – and yet He has chosen us. That should leave us firstly in awe of His grace, and then lead us to thankfulness and worship!
Exodus 3:14 (ESV)
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
Lastly, that leads us back to one of our first points, God is consistent. Because God in His nature is both independent and unchanging, nothing we can do will change His nature. Sounds obvious, but apply it a little deeper. If you sin more, God does not love you less. But if you sin less God is no less upset with the sins you still do. This is just one example, but it reminds us that our God is unchangeable, and therefore, our God is reliable. If you study and read His Word, you can come to know what is right and wrong, what God wants and likes (also what he does not like), and those things will not change. God is unchanging, consistent and reliable, even when we are not!