The work of God in the cross of Christ strikes us as awe-inspiring only after we have first been awed by the glory of God. Therefore, if we are going to talk about the scope of the cross, we need to first talk about who God is. What is he like? How big is he? How deep and wide is his power? The cross provides our access to relate to God, but we must always relate to him in light of who he is, not merely who we think or hope him to be. If this is true, the deeper we go into God’s glory, the deeper we find ourselves in the precious work of Christ on the cross, and vice versa.
We find a great explanation of the glory of God in Romans 11, verses 33-36. This scripture says, “Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen”
You and I are stymied in our own creativity. We can only create as sub-creators, and even then our best work is merely sub-creation. If you’re a writer, you can write only as well as you understand language, diction, grammar, and the general art of writing. If you want to paint a picture, you can paint only as well as you have developed your skill, using whatever paints are available to you, in only the colors and combinations that already exist. If you want to build a house, you will be limited by whatever your mortgage approval is, whatever equipment you can afford, and whatever raw material is already out there. We are great at creating, but our creation is always dependent. Not so with God.
God creates anything he wants and as much of it as he wants, and he does it all out of nothing! He doesn’t need raw material. He makes raw material. God is not limited like you and I are. We are always limited by what’s available, and always dependent on outside considerations and constraints. Now we’re getting nearer to the impulse that caused Paul to sing, “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!”
God’s creativity is so rich, so expansive, and so far above us that he simply says, “I want this,” and there it is. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the things of God that are beyond us. You and I are caged in by what we can afford, what we can gather, and what’s already been created. Maybe you’ve heard of scientists creating life in a laboratory, but that will never happen. No scientist has ever been able or will ever be able to stare into an empty petri dish and wish the nothing it holds into something. Whatever it is scientists do, they do with raw materials already in existence.
Roll this around in your brain a while: God knows everything and God is everything. He knows everything at the macro level. He knows the temperatures at which certain stars burn. He knows the orbital lines of planets. He knows every mountain in every mountain range on this planet and others. He knows the depths of every ocean. But he also knows everything at the micro level. He knows every molecule and every atom. He knows their positions, their locations, their functions. He sees and governs every instance of mitosis. Not only does God know everything that is happening at every level, he also has a never-ending breadth of knowledge. He is aware of every event that has ever occurred and will ever occur. He knows it all without the need of post-it notes or strings wrapped around his fingers.
God is holding all things together, seeing all things and knowing all things, all purely from the reality of his wanting it to be so. This is, at the very least, what it means to be God. Nobody gets to counsel God. Nobody gets to give God advice. No one gets to straighten God’s path. No one. And we have nothing to give him that he doesn’t already own outright. This speaks of God’s grace, because it shows that he doesn’t need us; rather he wants us. When we who call ourselves Christians realize how utterly self-sufficient God is all within himself, the gift of Christ to us and for us becomes all the more astonishing. And we will want it this way. Because God who is ultimately focused on his own glory will be about the business of restoring us, who are all broken images of him. His glory demands it. So we should be thankful for a self-sufficient God whose self-regard is glorious.