The Knowledge of the Holy – God is Self-Existent and Self-Sufficient (Chapters 5-6)

I’m midway through a study of the classic Christian book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. I’m studying it online with some friends in Asia. These are my notes from our third week. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

In the fifth chapter of The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer discusses the “Self-existence of God.” Self-existence means that God is the One who has always existed, the great “I am.” God has no beginning. God has no origin.

“origin” (noun) – source, where things come from

“Origin” is also a term used in math. The origin on a graph is at (0,0). Everything on a graph is measured relative to the origin, whether positive or negative from that original point.

America has often been called the “Melting Pot of the World,” because it is filled with people from every nation around the globe. In America, people here might ask, “What is your national origin? Where did your family come from?” I would answer that my mother’s family was from Wales and England, and my father’s family was from Germany.

How about you? What is your national origin? Where did your family originate? What is your original hometown?

God didn’t come from anywhere or anyone, rather God is who made everything.

God has no origin, rather God is who made everything.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

“起初, 神创造天地。” (创世记 1:1)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him,
and without him was not any thing made that was made. “ (John 1:1-3)

“太初有道,道与 神同在,道就是 神。 这道太初与 神同在。 
万物是藉着他造的;凡被造的,没有一样不是藉着他造的。” (约翰福音 1:1-3)

When we think about God’s self-existence, we can appreciate even more that God created everything in creation, and we can especially appreciate that God created man in the image of God.

As selfish humans, we do not like someone else to rule over us. Like Eve in the garden of Eden, we want to make our own choices. We may want God to rule over the universe, over the nations, over other people, but we rebel against God ruling over our own lives. This is the essence of sin. Like foolish sheep, we want to go our own way.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

“我们都如羊走迷;各人偏行己路;
耶和华使我们众人的罪孽都归在他身上。” (
以赛亚书 53:6)

We were created to worship and glorify God. God is our creator, our Father, and our King … but we choose (intentionally or unintentionally) to put ourselves on the throne. We want God to rule “with us,” but we don’t want God to rule “over us.”

Jesus Christ, the Almighty Son of God, lived a sinless life, obeying His Father perfectly, and He wants us to obey Him perfectly. In fact, we will be the most fulfilled in life when we follow Him, rather than our own selfish desires.

As a follower of Jesus Christ and a child of God, we must take ourselves off the throne and give Jesus His rightful place on the throne of our lives. Paul wrote about this in Galatians 2:20.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

“我已经与基督同钉十字架,现在活着的不再是我,乃是基督在我里面活着;
并且我如今在肉身活着,是因信 神的儿子而活;他是爱我,为我舍己.” (加拉太书 2:20)

Putting God on the throne is easier when we remember that we need God for everything, but God does not need us. The Father and the Son have life in themselves (John 5:26). God has created man for His own good pleasure, not because He needs us. God is the only one who doesn’t need anything outside of Himself to survive.

Chapter 6 is about the “Self-Sufficiency of God.” The word “sufficient” means enough. God is sufficient in Himself. He is self-sufficient. He is enough in Himself. Paul often uses the words “sufficient” and “sufficiency” in 2 Corinthians.

“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves
to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5)

“我们因基督,所以在 神面前才有这样的信心。 并不是我们凭自己能承担什么事;
我们所能承担的,乃是出于 神。” (哥林多后书 3:4-5)

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9a)

“他对我说:「我的恩典够你用的,因为我的能力是在人的软弱上显得完全。” (哥林多后书 12:9)

We are not self-sufficient, but God’s grace is sufficient. His grace is enough. In fact, our need for God draws us closer to Him. All created things need something outside of themselves to survive. All living things need air, water, and food. And all living things need God’s sustaining grace.

Humans are naturally full of pride. We think we can provide for our own needs. We take pride in our self-sufficiency. We don’t want to need other people or God. I remember my little children saying, “I do it myself” when they were trying to feed themselves with a spoon or get a t-shirt over their head.

Additionally, we want to think that God needs us. We take pride in our human accomplishments, wrongly thinking God needs our help to achieve His plans.

No, sisters. No. God does not need us to accomplish His purposes. Rather, it is an honor and joy to serve God. It is an honor and joy to take up our cross and follow Him. It is an honor and joy to take up the yoke of Christ for the glory of God and the good of mankind. Not because we need to repay Him for a gift, but because we are grateful to be used by Him.

Where do you struggle with feeling like you are self-sufficient and don’t need any help? Where do you need God’s help today? How can you praise God today for His self-sufficiency and His provision for your every need?

Song: Your Grace is Sufficient for Me – Shane and Shane

Your grace is sufficient for me
Your strength is made perfect
When I am weak
And all that I cling to, I lay at Your feet
Your grace is sufficient for me

Your grace is sufficient for me
Your strength is made perfect
When I am weak
And all that I cling to, I lay at Your feet
Your grace is sufficient for me

Your grace is sufficient for me
Your strength is made perfect
When I am weak
All that I cling to, I lay at Your feet
Your grace is sufficient, Your grace is sufficient, Your grace is sufficient for me

To see the Lord in the promised land
Wherein all sin’s pearly gates look bland
And what was once a pearl, now sand
That blows away, that blows away
In light of Him

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