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“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves;
but our sufficiency is of God.”  2 Corinthians 3:5 KJV

A loving church member asked, “Pastor, you seem to be a bit worried! Is everything OK?” While I don’t remember the actual words I used, I’m sure I brushed it off with some pious platitude to assure them of my faith in God and my trust in the promises of His Word.  But to be honest, when I look at the problems of the world and the needs of the people within my sphere of influence, I do feel that sense of inadequacy, and I do find myself asking, “What could I possibly do that would make a difference in any of these situations?” And, humanly speaking, the answer is, “Not much!”

Where are we, as Christians, supposed to find our adequacy? Where do we find the resources to enable us to live our own godly lives in an ungodly world, much less to become the salt to preserve the world from further putrefaction, and the light to lead the lost to see their need for salvation?

The Scriptures answer those questions in a two-fold manner:

    • God wants us to realize that we are not the source of anything we need for ourselves, much less in our ministry to others.
    • God wants us to realize that He is the source of everything we need for ourselves and the channel through which He works in the lives of others.

The Apostle Paul made this very clear in his second letter to the church at Corinth. Having just boasted about the amazing results of his ministry among them, Paul hastened to make it clear that none of it was because of him or anything he had done, but rather because of what God chose to do through him for their benefit.

Beloved, we do not have the resources to save a soul, to transform a life, or to cause the church to be edified, much less to change the world. When we approach our calling from a natural mindset, we think we must be the source of our own spiritual growth, that through a daily regimen of prayer, Bible study, and other spiritual disciplines, we can achieve spiritual maturity. While that time of daily devotions is essential to becoming a true disciple of Christ, in John 15:5, Jesus told His disciples, “Without Me, you can do nothing!”  By application, Paul told the Philippians the same thing, “Put no confidence in the flesh,” that is, in our own human resources, for Christ alone is sufficient for our salvation and the salvation of others.

Spurgeon wrote: “Brethren, if Paul is not sufficient of himself, what are you and I? Where are you? Do you indulge the dream of self-sufficiency? Be ashamed of your folly in the presence of a great man who knew what he said, and who spoke under the direction of the Spirit of God, and wrote deliberately, ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves. Our sufficiency is of God; let us practically enjoy this truth. We are poor, leaking vessels, and the only way for us to keep full is to put our pitcher under the perpetual flow of boundless grace. Then, despite its leakage, the cup will always be full to the brim.”

Therefore, our sufficiency is in God, and it is from God. Just as surely as we are totally inadequate to supply what we need for life; God is totally adequate to be our source for godly living in an ungodly world. In John 15:5, Jesus affirmed His sufficiency by telling His disciples, “He who abides in Me bears much fruit.”  The Apostle Paul testified to that truth when he said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) While that verse has been misused over the years, it is still the truth, nonetheless. God is the source of our sufficiency in everything that pertains to His calling upon our lives, including the development of His character within us and His work of redemption through us.

Of the seven attributes of God, His eternity, goodness, graciousness, holiness, immanence, immutability, and impassibility, His aseity is perhaps the least known and understood. The word aseity is built on the Latin words “a,” which means “from,” and “se,” which means “self.” So, the word “aseity” means from himself. The aseity of God is His attribute of self-existence. God is the “uncaused Cause,” the “uncreated Creator!” God is not only the Originator of all things, He is the Sustainer of all things and the source in whom all things find their reason for existence, including mankind.

Beloved, God alone is the ever-present Power that sustains life. There is no other source of life. In Isaiah 46:9, God told the prophet, “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me.”  God revealed His aseity in Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked the Lord about His name, and God replied, “I AM WHO I AM!” While that declaration revealed God’s eternality and His immutability, it also revealed His aseity. God is the only self-existent Being who always was and always will be. He is fully complete within Himself – He has no need – He never has, He never will. God alone decides what He will and will not do. Nothing can thwart His will.

In Isaiah 46:10, God told the prophet, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”  God told Isaiah He depended on nothing or no one to be who He was. Because of the aseity of God, we can depend upon Him as the independent One who is able to deliver, protect, and keep those who trust in Him. Those whom God has purposed for salvation will come to Christ, and nothing can hinder them. In John 6:37, Jesus said, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

Beloved, being God in the flesh, Jesus Christ shares the aseity of God with the Father. In John 8:58 and 18:6, Jesus claimed the name I AM for Himself. In Isaiah 44:6, God declared to the Israelites that He is “The first and the Last,” and in Revelation 1:17, Jesus made the same declaration about Himself. In Colossians 1:16-17, speaking of Jesus, Paul declared, “In him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

It is obvious that we have no sufficiency of our own – for we are but jars of clay. However, rather than trying to conjure it up on our own and destroying ourselves, trying to become all things to all people, we need to learn to rest in the aseity of God, for He never grows weary, He is always sufficient to meet our needs, and He is also willing to work through us to meet the needs of others. As the songwriter so eloquently wrote:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning, new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

Beloved, once we fully experience the aseity of God, to ask Him for anything else is bordering on the sin of ungratefulness!