LIVING THINGS: GOD
E. C. Richards
In this subject, and the common faith referred to in the book of Titus, it would seem superfluous to refer to God as “living,” for it was to be taken for granted. Nevertheless, in the fog of unbelief, the lack of treating God as living, and as the whole scope of the way of faith we are called to, it has some justification to think on these lines. We had previously considered the Word of God as living, and so continuing on with that premise, the Word of God, the Bible, says “living God” some twenty-eight times. It has as emphatic ring and perhaps some exasperation on the part of the divine Revelator, the Holy Spirit. We understand that God is a Trinity of Persons, but there let us think for a bit about the One called the Father. He is living and we have living contact with him. He is our Father, as the Son so kindly told us on the day of His resurrection.
One of the Scriptures that speak of this great Being in these terms is I Tim. 3:15. “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thy self in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Here our own people by His own placing, the church an age-long people in formation and with an eternal future, are called the “church of the living God.” It would seem that He thinks it very important that this part of His great people know that He is living. Surely, the church hasn’t always acted as if He were living, for they often direct their own steps actually ignoring Him. Of course, there is that which is called “church,” that is, not actually His, but is an imitation, and hence, He is not their God. Let us not ignore our Maker, our Owner, our Keeper for that is not the attitude of wise men. At any rate, we know that He is living for His Word declares it so.
John 6:57: “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” He, the Father, is given as the ultimate source of all human life, both Jesus and all those who believe in Jesus. This passage is in the discussion which Jesus had with the murmurers concerning Himself as living Bread, the Giver and Sustainer of spiritual life. There is reason for His stressing this quality of the Father, “living,” for there was question about the validity of Jesus’ claim of being this Central One of human spiritual and permanent life. So, our second important point presenting God as living is that He is the Father of real lasting humanity. It is a blessed thought, that of God being our actual Father by right of bringing us into being. He created us in Adam, and after falling away from Him, He has begotten us of His own nature and life which cannot fall ever.
James 1:17-18 days, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of His own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” Specifically, we want to point out the reality of “begetting” that this Great Being has performed. Again we say, that is certainly an attribute of a living Person, that of propagating its own kind. Our reverend Father has done that.
II Cor. 6:17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” The wonder of these words is that this One so Mighty, so Wise, so Great, is willing to actively be a Father in life to those born of Him in this earth which is too antagonistic to Him and His ways. Praise God, He will do such. As we take in His Word and look to Him, we will have the joys, and sometimes the severity, resulting from His very practical Fatherhood.
John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Jesus here describes this God of His (and ours) as One that desires worship. It would be foolish to worship something or someone that didn’t actually exist in some life-form.
David said in Psalm 96:5, “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD MADE THE HEAVENS.” The real Almighty God lost out in the life-contact with the mass of peoples long ago. Even the people, Israel, deteriorated into idol worship, which was extremely lamentable and foolish. These were literal figures of man’s fabrication. Even the irreligious have materials of secular meaning that are as gods to them. The spiritually wise know that men does not have a spiritual vacuum. Something will always take the place which belongs to Him in their passions, if there is not there the living God. The real worship takes place unto a real Being and is accepted of Him.
Acts 14:14-15, “Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.” After a great act of healing performed by this living God, the prime apostles of His gave the simple appeal to turn from the idolatrous practices to that God who so dramatically had demonstrated His living quality. That makes sense today, too. We may turn the worship tendency, which is built into our spirits, into a direct worship of the living God, instead of to the myriads of substitutes thrown at us.
I Thess. 1:9, “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” Here Paul, the Apostle, gives it succinctly as the relationship with God as of servant to Master. It doesn’t make sense to serve someone that is either dead or never existed. As implied earlier, the medium of faith is a fertile field for deception, and is energetically fertilized as such. An absentee God can be quite vague to the unspiritual mind. This informs us that He is not a Phantasm, but a real Person. We can’t be practical directed by a flighty theory, but a lively existent Spirit is the real Master of the believer. It was so at Thessalonica, in Rome, in London, in New York, in Kansas City, In Los Angeles, in Tokyo and in Seoul. In some of these places, and perhaps in all of them, people have given their spiritual and life-direction to this behind-the-scenes Being and been happy to do so. Praise the Lord for that! He had promised to direct the steps of a good man (a redeemed one) and He has, does, and will do so.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And finally, let us fix our eyes on another aspect of a living Being, that of emotions. The greatest emotion is love. The Great One has fully demonstrated this at the cross of His Son as given in the above Scripture. Love is very vital, meaningful and healing to the human soul. We have this exemplified in the cross, and verified and continued by the resurrection and present intercession of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Look at a few Scriptures evidencing motion: Matt. 3:17, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Note: “pleased,” a very vibrant emotion. Psalm 7:11, “…God is angry with the wicked every day.” Anger in very indicative of life. Again, Neh. 8:10, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So, this wonderful emotion, joy, the people of God are privileged to have. It surely comes from the life of its source. He, too, has joy, jealousy, peace, compassion.
Many emotions stem from this fountain of life that is God. I rather think that even in nature, which He set in motion and still has final control over, the emotions of a great living Being are reflected. Remember, that at both the death and resurrection of Christ there were great earthquakes, and an eerie darkness, too, at the time of the final hours of the cross. Likely, the many motions of nature such as: violent storms, falling rain, penetrating rays of the sun, beautiful heavenly bodies, flora and fauna of diverse attractions, cold and heat, surging seas, majestic mountains, inspiring waterfalls, wide prairies, flowing rivers, all express something felt by the Creator and Ruler of it all and, in fact, of us all.
Friends, bow before the LIVING GOD, and be thankful He is benevolent and not like His competitor, the mighty Satan, who is a lier and a murderer. Bless the name of the living God, our Lord’s, yours and mine. Amen!