WE NEED GOD ALWAYS
Because of how busy life is, and because of the weaknesses of the flesh, it is easy to find ourselves thinking only of our earthly needs and desires. If we “get along just fine” through our daily routines, we may feel pretty self-sufficient. What else can we want? We think of our own successes and failures, perhaps thinking little of God’s purposes or our need to live for Him. Why do we really need Him? Even as Christians maneuvering through life, we may run through the day without much thought given to our need for God. If we want to check this, just ask ourselves how often we spend time in prayer.
Someone might think, “I need God because I am a sinner in need of forgiveness.” This is true, but if we are not careful, we might tend to think that were it not for the fact that we have sinned, we really wouldn’t need God all that much. He is there to provide us some grace, but what if we didn’t really need that much grace? (We all need much grace!)
This can paint a picture of a faulty view of God if we are not careful. It can also miss the point of our own humanity and the purpose for which we exist. God is not some machine that we plug into to wipe away sin then unplug from so we can do our own thing. We need God all the time and for everything. Our purpose as human beings is not to just receive forgiveness, but to seek after our Creator and glorify Him in all that we do (Acts 17:27). In other words, we exist for Him; He doesn’t exist for us as though He needed anything.
Before Adam and Eve sinned, they needed God. They needed Him for life in the garden and they continued to need Him after they were exiled. After all, they were living in God’s presence by His grace in God’s creation, having the breath of life because He gave it to them. They continued living by the sustenance and love of God. So it is with all of us. He “gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25) and the Lord “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb 1:3). All things were made in and through the Lord and “in him all things hold together” (Col 1:15-17). There is no time at which we can ever say that we don’t need God. We needed Him before we sinned and we continue to need Him because we could not exist without Him. That should tell us something of our purpose for existence.
Yet this is more than mere existence. We are made to serve God, to seek after Him, and to live eternally with Him (Acts 17:27; 2 Cor 5:5). God did not make us for the purpose of sinning only to receive forgiveness and that’s that. He created us in His image to reign with Him (Gen 1:26-28). Sin was the side-track, the distraction that derailed and wrecked us. Forgiveness gets us back on track where we ought to have been — a bit worn but not without purpose and redemption. By the grace of God, we can still function — no — excel according to His eternal purposes. This is not because we are sufficient in and of ourselves, but because He made us and will supply the strength to do what He calls us to do. This is the point of Paul’s well-known statement, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
Paul wrote to Timothy and expressed the same sentiments: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim 1:12-14)
Paul saw the grace of God as being essential to all that He did, but also notice that Paul saw himself as being put into service and strengthened by God to do what he needed to do. God shows us mercy, not simply to say we are forgiven, but to strengthen us so that we can be “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph 2:10).
Living with God was God’s plan from the beginning and we will continue to need Him even as we are before His throne eternally casting our crowns at His feet. “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…” (Rev 21:3). We don’t need God only because we have sinned. We just need Him and will continue to need Him throughout eternity. He will strengthen us and be with us.