Tag Archives: Self-Sufficient

“Is this not a joyful life—a heaven upon earth—to have such a God as your God?” by Wilhelmus à Brakel

“When the soul is privileged to reflect upon God as his God in Jesus Christ, such a soul will be conscious of the righteousness of God. He will magnify and delight in this righteousness no less than in God’s goodness and love.

He will perceive in this attribute only light, purity, and extraordinary glory. Such a soul rejoices the more in this righteousness, since by virtue of the merits of Christ it is no longer against him unto destruction, but rather for his help and salvation, and to the damnation of the ungodly.

The soul beholding God’s goodness and all-sufficiency, and tasting the power of these is so fully satisfied with this that all the goodness of the creature vanishes. It no longer has any appeal to him.

He can do without it and confesses with Asaph, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee … but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Psa. 73:25–26).

The soul, irradiated by the love of God and ignited with reciprocal love, loses itself in this love and is silent in response to it. He stands in amazement of this love, and finds so much in it that all creature-love loses its appeal.

He no longer perceives any desirability in the creature except where he perceives something of God in it. Therefore he no longer covets the love of others and is readily weaned from all that appears to be desirable upon earth.

Viewing the holiness of God, the soul, not able to endure its brilliant splendor, covers her countenance, exclaiming with the angels, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!” He thus becomes enamored with this holiness and desires to be holy as He is holy who has called him.

The soul perceives the sovereignty of the holy will of God, exalting, esteeming, and approving it as such. He rejoices in the full accomplishment of this will relative to all creatures as well as himself.

He submits himself to this will which sweetens and makes all things well. He yields his own will to be swallowed up in the will of God. The Lord’s will is his will both in what he endures and does, and he is thus ready to perform all that is according to God’s will and is pleasing to Him.

Contemplating the magnificence and glory of God, the dignity and glory of all creatures vanish and are in comparison considered to be lowly, insignificant, and contemptible. He neither desires the splendor and glory of the world for himself, nor is he intimidated by the dignity of others who might cause him to act contrary to the will of His God.

In that aspect he deems the dignified and honorable equal to the most insignificant and contemptible even though he will fully subject himself to all whom God has placed over him because God wills it. Rather, he bows in all humility before God the most High, rendering Him honor and glory. His heart and tongue are prepared and ready to speak of the honor and glory of His majesty.

Viewing the omnipotence of God in itself as well as in its manifestation in all creatures, the power of creatures which either is exercised for or against him vanishes. He will neither rely upon nor fear it, but dwelling in the secret place of the most High he abides under the shadow of the Almighty. In that shadow he rejoices over all his enemies, enjoys safety without fear, and is confident.

In contemplating the multifacetted and unsearchable wisdom of God as it is manifested in all His works both in the realm of nature and of grace, he loses his own wisdom, considering it to be but foolishness, as well as all esteem for the wisdom of friend and enemy.

Such a soul is quiet and satisfied with the all-wise government of God, be it in relation to the whole world, the church, his country of residence, times of peace and war, or its effect upon him and his loved ones. He yields in everything to the wisdom of God who knows both time and manner, even though the soul has no prior realization or perception thereof.

The soul, viewing the infallible truth and faithfulness of God, refuses to rely upon human promises. They neither can cause him to rejoice nor can human threatenings terrify him, for he is aware of human mutability.

However, He knows the Lord to be a God of truth who keepeth truth forever. He knows the promises and believes them, being so convinced of their certainty as if they were already fulfilled. He therefore rests in them and has a joyful hope in them.

Behold, is this not a joyful life—a heaven upon earth—to have such a God as your God who promotes both your welfare and your salvation? Can there be sorrow in such a soul?

Does not He who has a God as the God of joy and gladness have every reason to experience immediate comfort? Does not such a walk with God cause the soul to manifest utmost meekness and humility, being cognizant of his own insignificance?

This engenders in the soul a circumspect and unwavering spiritual frame, a quiet and humble submission in all things, and a fearless valor and courage in the performance of his duties, even when the Lord calls to a duty which is extraordinary in nature.

There is a delighting in that which he may have done for the Lord, submissively leaving the outcome to be determined by His government. Such a spiritual frame engenders genuine holiness.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).”

–Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 1 (God, Man, and Christ), Ed. Joel Beeke, Trans. Bartel Elshout (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1700/1994), 1: 134-137.

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“God is infinitely perfect, infinitely blessed and happy” by John Gill

“God is infinite in all His attributes; and which are indeed, Himself, His nature, as has been observed, and are separately considered by us, as a relief to our mind, and helps to our better understanding it. And, perhaps, by observing some of these distinctly, we may have a clearer idea of the infinity of God.

His understanding is infinite, as is expressly said Psalm 147:5, it reaches to and comprehends all things that are, though ever so numerous; to the innumerable company of angels in the highest heavens; to the innumerable stars in the lower ones; to the innumerable inhabitants of the earth, men, beasts, and fowl; and to the innumerable creatures that swim in the sea; yea, not only to all that are in being but to all things possible to be made, which God could have made if He would; these he sees and knows in His eternal mind, so that there is no searching of His understanding, (Isa. 40:28), there is no end of it, and therefore infinite.

The same may be said of His knowledge and wisdom, there is a βαθος, a depth, the apostle ascribes to both; and which is not to be sounded by mortals, (Rom. 11:33); He is a God of knowledge, or knowledges, of all things that are knowable, (1 Sam. 2:3), He is the only and the all-wise God; and in comparison of Him the wisdom of the wisest of creatures, the angels, is but folly, (Job 4:18).

The power of God is infinite; with Him nothing is impossible; His power has never been exerted to the uttermost; He that has made one world, could have made millions; there is no end of His power, and His making of that, proves His eternal power, that is, His infinite power; for nothing but infinite power could ever have made a world out of nothing, (Rom. 1:20, Heb. 11:3).

His goodness is infinite, He is abundant in it, the earth is full of it, all creatures partake of it, and it endures continually; though there has been such a vast profusion of it from the beginning of the world, in all ages, it still abounds: there is no end of it, it is infinite, it is boundless; nor can there be any addition to it; it is infinitely perfect, (Psalm 16:2).

God is infinite in His purity, holiness, and justice: there is none holy as He is; or pure and righteous, with Him; in comparison of Him, the most holy creatures are impure, and cover themselves before Him, (Job 4:17, 18, Isa. 6:2, 3).

In short, He is infinitely perfect, and infinitely blessed and happy. We rightly give Him titles and epithets of immense and incomprehensible, which belong to His infinity. He is immense, that is, unmeasurable; He measures all things, but is measured by none; who can take His dimensions? They are as high as heaven, what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, what canst thou know? If the heavens above cannot be measured, and the foundations of the earth beneath cannot be searched out, how should He be measured or searched out to perfection that made all these? (Job 11:7–9, Jer. 31:37)

As there is an immeasurable height, depth, length and breadth in the love of God, (Eph. 3:18), so there is in every attribute of God, and consequently in His nature. His immensity is His magnitude, and of His greatness it is unsearchable, (Psalm 145:3), and therefore, upon the whole, must be incomprehensible.

His greatness not only cannot be comprehended and circumscribed by space, or in place, for the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him; but He is not to be comprehended by finite minds, that cannot conceive of Him as He is; His omniscience is too wonderful for them, and the thunder of His power who can understand? (Job 26:14)

Something of Him may be apprehended, but His nature and essence can never be comprehended, no not in a state of perfection; sooner may all the waters of the ocean be put into a nutshell, than that the infinite Being of God should be comprehended by angels or men, who are finite creatures.”

–John Gill, A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity: Or A System of Evangelical Truths, Deduced from the Sacred Scriptures (vol. 1, London: Tegg & Company, 1767/1839), 1: 60-61.

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“God is a self-sufficient Being who needs nothing from outside Himself to support Himself or to make Himself happy” by John Gill

“God has one of His names, El Shaddai, which signifies He who is sufficient or all-sufficient. God is a self-sufficient Being, and needs not anything from without Himself to support Himself, or to make Himself happy.

He is the first of beings, the first and the last; before Him there was no God formed, nor will be any after Him: from everlasting to everlasting He is God. And therefore His existence is not owing to any, nor has He received any assistance or support from any.

Being self-sufficient, He must be self-subsistent. As He existed of Himself, and subsisted in and of Himself, millions and millions of ages, even an eternity, inconceivable to us alone, before any other existed, He must be self-sufficient, and as then, so to all eternity.

He is an infinite and all-comprehending Being. To what is infinite nothing can be added. If anything was wanting in Him, He would be finite; if there was any excellency in another which is not in Him, He would not be infinite, and so not God.

But being infinite, He is incomprehensible by others, and He comprehends in Himself all excellencies, perfections, and happiness. And therefore He is self-sufficient. ‘Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of Fim, and through Him, and for Him, are all things,’ (Rom. 11:35-36).

God is the summum bonum, the chief good, and has all that is good in Him. He is good essentially, originally, and inderivatively. He is the source and fountain of all goodness. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17), and therefore He must have a fulness of goodness in Him sufficient for Himself, as well as for His creatures, and can receive nothing from them.

Otherwise, He would not be the independent Being He is: all have their dependence on Him, and all owe their being and the preservation of it to Him; but He depends on none; which He would, if He stood in need of, or received anything from them.

He is possessed of all perfections and is sufficiently happy in them. He is perfect and entire, wanting nothing, and therefore self-sufficient. He is the Fountain; creatures, and what they have, are streams. And it would be as absurd for Him to need them, or anything from them, as for the fountain to need its streams.

Besides, God in His divine persons, God, Father, Son, and Spirit, have enough within themselves, to give the utmost, yea, infinite complacency, delight, and satisfaction among themselves, and to one another, and had before any creatures were made, and would have had if none had been made, and so ever will.

The Father delighted in the Son, ‘the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.’ (Heb. 1:3) The Son delighted in the Father, before whom He was always rejoicing, when as yet no creature existed. And both in the blessed Spirit, proceeding from them, and He in them (Prov. 8:30), for creation adds nothing at all to the perfection and happiness of God, nor makes the least alteration in Him (Rev. 4:11).

God is an all-sufficient Being and has enough within Himself to communicate to His creatures. He is able to do whatsoever He pleases, to fulfill all His engagements and promises, and to do exceeding abundantly above all that men ask or think.

And so communicative and diffusive is His goodness, that it extends to all His creatures. And every good and perfect gift comes from Him, which is a proof of His all-sufficiency.

In His gifts of nature and providence, He gives life and breath and all things to His creatures, (Acts 17:25). A painter may paint as near to life as can be, and a sculptor may give a statue its just features, and frame its limbs in proper symmetry and proportion, but neither of them can give life and breath.

But God is sufficient to do this, and has done it: He breathed into Adam the breath of life, and gives life to all his posterity. So it is with great propriety that He is called the God of their life (Psalm 42:8).

And He is sufficient to support, maintain, and preserve the life He has given, and does, as long as He pleases, and to provide for men all the necessaries of life (Job 10:12, 12:10; Psalm 66:9).

God is all-sufficient in the communications of His grace. He is the God of all grace, and He is able to cause all grace to abound towards His people, and to supply all their wants out of that rich and glorious plenitude and all-sufficiency in Himself by Jesus Christ.

He has stored the covenant with all the blessings of grace. He has presented Christ, the head and mediator of it with all the blessings of goodness.

He has blessed His people in Christ with all spiritual blessings, and given them grace in Him before the world began. He caused the fulness of His grace to dwell in Him, which is always sufficient for them, sufficient for them in all ages and periods of time.

His grace in Christ is sufficient for them of all nations and kingdoms throughout the world, and for them in every state and condition of life, and for all believers, weak or strong.

And He has a sufficiency of it for all saving purposes: for their acceptance with God, and justification before Him; for the remission of their sins, and the cleansing of their souls, and for the supply of all their wants whilst they are in this state of imperfection.

And He has a sufficiency of it to communicate to them at all times: when they are called to service, ordinary or extraordinary, to do or suffer for His name’s sake; in times of affliction, temptation, desertion, and in the hour of death, to bear up under and carry them through all, and bring them safe to His kingdom and glory (John 1:14, 16, 2 Cor. 12:9, Phil. 4:19).”

–John Gill, A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity: Or A System of Evangelical Truths, Deduced from the Sacred Scriptures (vol. 1, London: Tegg & Company, 1767/1839), 1: 170–175.

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“With His all-sufficiency He can fill and saturate the soul to an overflowing measure” by Wilhelmus à Brakel

“All creatures, whatever the degree of their perfection may be, are dependent upon an external source for their being and well-being.

God’s perfection, however, excludes such a possibility, as He has no need of anything. No one can add to or subtract anything from His being, neither can anyone increase or decrease His felicity.

His perfection consists in His self-sufficiency, His self-existence, and that He is the beginning— the first (Rev. 1:8). His all-sufficiency is within and for Himself, the אֵ֣ל שַׁדַּ֔י (El Shaddai), the All-sufficient One (Gen. 17:1).

‘Neither is He worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything’ (Acts 17:25).

‘Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? Or is it gain to Him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?’ (Job 22:3).

‘My goodness extendeth not to Thee’ (Ps. 16:2).

Thus there is no common ground between the perfection of God and of creatures— except in name. That which is in man is contrary to the perfection of God, however, and thus the perfection of God is an incommunicable attribute of God.

The salvation of man consists in knowing, honoring, and serving God.

Such is our God, who not only is all-sufficient in Himself but who with His all-sufficiency can fill and saturate the soul to such an overflowing measure that it has need of nothing else but to have God as its portion.

The soul so favored is filled with such light, love, and happiness, that it desires nothing but this.

‘Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee’ (Ps. 73:25).””

–Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 1 (God, Man, and Christ), Ed. Joel Beeke, Trans. Bartel Elshout (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1700/1994), 1: 91.

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