God – The God of the Living

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Matt. 22:31, 32)

To know the Scripture and the power of God is the answer of the Lord to all unbelief. That was Christ‘s answer to the unbelieving Sadducees of His day, the people who denied the resurrection of the dead and also the very existence of angels and spirits. They were the liberals of that day, and leaders in the church at that.

At this particular time they were confronting Jesus with what they considered to be a real dilemma. A certain woman had seven husbands. Whose wife would she be of these seven men, in the day of the resurrection? Then Jesus gave another one of those remarkable answers. “Ye know not the Scriptures nor the power of God.” The power of God can change such things, for He is God. But they really did not believe the Scriptures. As a result they did not know the power of God. Neither intellectually nor experientially.

We all have many questions about the resurrection of the dead : What win it all be like? Will we miss people who now are close to us? Who will not be in heaven?—and many more. The answer to all such questions is the same basically, faith in the Scriptures and the power of God. With these same Scriptures which constantly speak of the power of God, Christ then proceeded to prove the very resurrection itself. Christ also lives by the Word. He quotes Exodus 3:6 where God said to Moses: “I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”

Abraham was the 6rst one to hear these blessed words. Shortly after he had entered Canaan God had said to him: “I am thy shield and exceeding great reward.” Notice the “I AM.” To a mortal, weak and still sinful creature, as we all are, God gave this glorious promise. The unchangeable One said to him, “I am thy God.” Regardless of what will happen in the future, God would be his God. Of course, Abraham received and enjoyed this through faith, which is haw all Christians receive it. Later God said the same to Isaac and Jacob, “I am your God.”

Many years later, to Moses standing near the burning bush, God speaks the same words. At this time Israel was groaning under the bondage of cruel Egypt. Remember, Israel is the seed of Abraham.

The cause of Israel seemed very hopeless at that time. They had been in Egypt almost four hundred years already, and that is a long time to people of time. Exactly at this time, while Moses stands near the bush that is not consumed, God repeats these words, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” But wasn’t Abraham dead a long time already now? Fact is, it was some five hundred years ago that he had died. It was almost four hundred years ago that Isaac had been buried in the same cave, and not too many years less that Jacob had gathered his feet into his bed and given up the ghost. How could God say at this time, five hundred years later, to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?” Wouldn’t it have been more proper to say, “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?”

And now Christ uses the same language, with lhe same tense. Now it is two thousand years or more since the patriarchs had died. But God still says, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Today it is some four thousand years ago that these men sojourned on the earth. But God still says the same thing. Not I was their God, nor I will be their God, no very definitely, I am their God.

Change the tense of this one word (am) and you lose the Gospel. Still more, you lose God and even deny the very being of God. God is the unchangeable One. With Him there is no time.

The changes that take place in us dont really change God, or His relation towards us. This is, however, true of us, at least in some ways. If you have a child, then you are its parent, and you remain its parent whether the child is at home, or out of the home, or even living far away from home. You are its parent regardless of what happens. And as a parent you will do what you can for that child, whether it is ten years old or fifty years old. Even a wayward child usually remains the object of much love and affection on the part of the parents. Even then you remain its parent. But when death comes you must say, “That was my child, and I was its parent.”

God is the rock, the unchangeable, the self-existent God. He surely is not affected by any change or time or circumstances on the part of His people. Even death cant change this. When once God says to a sinner, “I am your God” nothing can change this, not even sin, or death, or the whole world of devils.

Of course, Christians also die. But realiy, so what? Does this change God‘s attitude or limit His power? Of course notl Because He is the God of His people He sends Christ to make atonement and rise from the _dead and be their Lord. And remember, Christ is not the living Savior, first of all because He arose. No, as God He is the living One, and therefore conquered death. He is the God and Savior of life. The implication is that He is always the God of living people, never of dead people. As soon as God is our God He makes us alive. And this believer never dies, really.

Gods very name and being are at “stake” here. What kind of God would we have if He would neglect His people in their misery and be impotent when they die? We simply wouldnt have a God. Therefore all doubt about the resurrection is a questioning of the very existence of God.

In God and in His faithfulness is all the hope of the saved sinner. What a blessing to know that this God says to me, “I am your God.”

How can I know this? How can any sinner know this? How did Abraham know this? Through faith. That is the one answer. Wasn’t he a great man of faith and isnt he called the father of all believers? If by the grace of God you are a believer, you can be assured that God says to you, “I am your God.” To every undeserving sinner who trusts in Jesus Christ as his Savior the Lord says, “I am your God.”

Our weaknesses and failures are still many, but trusting in our Lord‘s finished work and committing our lives to Him we are daily assured, “I am your God.” Life still has many fears and anxieties, but in and through them all God’s Word comes to us loudly and clearly assuring us that He is and always will be our God. These promises are given every Sunday in church and in a special way by every administration of the sacraments.

The time will come when I can’t confess this truth anymore, my mouth and lips being silenced by death and the grave. But what a wondrous and glorious God we have, for He will continue to say even then, “I am your God.”

Remember this word the next time you are at a cemetery. There many saints are buried and their bodies may have already turned to dust. However, don‘t look at these graves without remembering the Word which God once spoke to Abraham and continues to speak to His people, “I am your God.” These people are in glory today and will one day receive new bodies, exactly because of these blessed promises. Thank God we are not our own, but belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ.