God is with us in a very personal and intimate way. The God of all creation lives within each of his children. He comforts them in difficult times. He teaches them his ways. We can have no greater privilege than having God with us.
As believers, is God always with us? When do we meet as believers? In both the good times and the bad? As Christians, we would generally say yes to all of these questions. But what does this little expression mean, “God is with us”? Throughout this study, you will understand.
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The immanence of God
As Christians, we believe that God is transcendent and immanent. Transcendence refers to its exteriority. God is external to his creation; he is not linked to it or by it. Immanence, on the other hand, refers to his activity within creation.
God is intimately involved in the government of his creation.
There’s a lot of debate about how involved he is. But no one seriously questions that he takes an active interest in his creation, humanity, and especially the church and believers.
In the opening pages of the Bible, we find God walking with Adam and Eve in the garden. At the end of the Bible, we see God in the New Jerusalem living with redeemed humanity. And among these, you find God interacting with people, nations, and the created order.
He is not a passive observer of creation and everything within it. He is an active participant in their affairs, guiding and directing according to his divine purpose. God’s presence with Israel was obvious during the wilderness wanderings after the Exodus.
After the incident with the golden calf at Mount Sinai, God told Moses that he would not go with the people on their journey to Canaan because they were “a stiff-necked people” ( Exodus 33:3-4 ). But Moses pleaded with God to accompany them on the journey, and God relented ( Exodus 33:12-17 ).
And so, God was with Israel, leading them with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of smoke by day. Where that pillar led them, they went. For Israel, during the Exodus, God is with us meant two things: that God was pleased with them ( Exodus 33:16 ) and that he was providing direction ( Exodus 40:36-38 ). This would continue to be true in the rest of the Old Testament.
Emmanuel, God with us
In the New Testament, we see God’s presence in an even more intimate way. When God reassures Joseph about Mary’s pregnancy, he tells him that the one to be born to Mary would be named Emmanuel, or “God with us.” Jesus was Emmanuel. He was God, in human form, living and moving among us.
Those who followed Jesus during the three years of his earthly ministry experienced God’s presence with them in a very intimate and personal way. During Jesus’ last night with his disciples, Philip asked him to show them the Father ( John 14:8 ). Jesus replied that if they had seen him, Jesus, they had seen the Father.
In Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells us that where two or three of us gather, in his name, there he will be. Although we no longer see his physical presence among us when we gather, we can be sure that God is with us. As a church, we are his body. Wherever we are, he is also.
The Holy Spirit that dwells in us
In the New Testament gospels, the followers of Jesus experienced God’s presence with them in the person of Jesus. Jesus was God in human form, walking, talking, and eating with them. I have often wondered what it would be like to spend time with Jesus like this.
But the reality is that we now have an even more intimate relationship with God. As Jesus walked alongside the disciples, we have the Holy Spirit living within us. For those of us who believe in Jesus, God is with us every moment of every day. In John 14:16-17, Jesus said:
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever: the Spirit of truth.”
Jesus promised that the Father would give us another Advocate, the Holy Spirit. This lawyer, like Jesus, would be God. El Salvador said that this lawyer would be with us forever. Unlike the presence of God with Israel, a reality that seemed to come and go.
Unlike Jesus, who walked with his followers for a limited time, the Holy Spirit will be our constant companion. He is God with us. Jesus also said that this lawyer would help us.
The Holy Spirit not only walks with us, but he also helps us live holy lives. It teaches us the things of God. And it empowers us to serve in the kingdom. Your help is indispensable for each one of Christ’s followers.
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So what does it mean that God is with us?
From a global perspective, it means that God is at work within his creation. He is not the God of deism, who creates a universe and then leaves it alone. Instead, God has a plan for his creation and is working it out. It means that nothing that happens is outside of the ultimate purpose of the Creator.
God is with us has a special meaning for those who have surrendered to the lordship of Jesus. In the person of the Holy Spirit, Our Lord is with us in a very personal and intimate way. The God of all creation lives within us, comforting us in the worst of times and teaching us to walk with and serve him.
What does it mean? It means you are never alone. Even in your darkest moments, he is with you. You can trust that no matter what comes your way, he will keep you safe. We can have no greater privilege than having God with us.
10 beautiful and comforting verses to remind you that God is with you
There is something incredibly reassuring about the fact that God is with us. He has assured us that he will never leave us or forsake us throughout the scriptures. Here are some Bible verses that can help us remember that God will not leave us, especially in our darkest moments.
1. Matthew 1:23
Matthew 1: 22-23 is the narrative of the birth of Jesus; “a virgin would conceive a son and his name would be Immanuel (meaning God with us)” ( Matthew 1:22-23 ). This Scripture fulfills some ancient prophecies that we witnessed in the Old Testament. God promised to be with us in a completely new way, and he fulfilled it during the New Testament.
2. John 14: 16-17
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will be with you forever” ( John: 14:16 ). God exists with us in a completely new way after his death and resurrection. In this passage, Jesus promises that we will experience God in an unprecedented way.
When he ascends to heaven and can no longer be physical with the disciples, the Holy Spirit comes and rests on each one of them (taking the appearance of tongues of fire). The Holy Spirit dwells within them and remains with them forever.
We do not see this in the Old Testament. Although the Holy Spirit would empower people, it had never occupied a permanent tabernacle within someone until after Jesus ascended. What a beautiful reminder! God does not abandon us to navigate life on our own. The Holy Spirit guides us, comforts us, and intercedes for us.
3. Jeremiah 31
The Lord declares that he will put the law and write it on hearts in this passage. ( Jer. 31:31, 33 ). God does not leave his people high and dry in the Old Testament. He knew they had a sin problem that no amount of good deeds could ever rectify. So he makes this promise that he will find a way to be with us.
We must also take into account the context of the book of Jeremiah. This prophet existed during a difficult time in Israel’s history. Babylon had conquered and taken her people captive. However, Jeremiah leaves this hope and promise of a new covenant with God, to be fulfilled 500 years later.
4. Matthew 28:20
Before Jesus left this earth, he spoke the following words to his disciples: “I am with you always , even to the end of time” ( Matthew 28:20 ). They must have felt some trepidation when he ascended to heaven. Jesus, who had walked by her side for three years, had disappeared. However, this promise shows that the Savior never left. God would still be with them through the role of the Holy Spirit. God never abandons us.
5. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Here it is affirmed that we are a temple of the spirit of God. In the Old Testament, people traveled to the temple on certain days of the week and year. And no one could truly approach the abode of God (the Ark of the Covenant), except the High Priest, once a year.
And if he did it wrong, he could die! Fortunately, we have a different temple thanks to the New Covenant. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, and we no longer have to go to the Holy of Holies to feel his presence.
How wonderful that God chooses to reside within us! May we boldly approach him and feel his presence. Something that many heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 could only dream of.
6. Psalm 139:7
“Where will I go from your Spirit?” Or where will I flee from your presence? ( Psalm 139:7 ). We cannot escape from God. This can be a comfort and peace of mind for those who love God. For those who want to run from God or His plan, like Jonah, this may seem like a small warning.
I found it interesting in my minor philosophy that all philosophers pointed to the Gospel, whether they wanted to or not. Plato, Kant, Aristotle, among others. They all had Gospel threads woven into their messages. We cannot escape from God physically, mentally, or spiritually.
7. Ephesians 2:18 and 3: 11-12
“Because through him we both have access by the same Spirit to the Father.” Think about the profound nature of this verse. We have access to the Father. We can often take this for granted in our prayer life until we realize what the High Priest went through when he had to go into the Holy of Holies.
They had to put bells on it in case it stopped moving (which would indicate that it had died in the presence of God). Praise the Lord that he found a way for us to have access to him and the ability to come into his presence.
8. Psalm 145:18
“The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth” ( Psalm 145:18). Many Christians may fear that God will leave them. I know I have certainly felt this way many times in my life. Many teachers had given me a false idea that if I messed up once, God would abandon me during my childhood.
But this verse reminds us that God is close to those who call on him. Even during our darkest moments, when we fear that God has left us to the wolves, we can know that it is not in His character to abandon us. Therefore, even when we cannot feel him, he is there.
9. Hebrews 13:5
“Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you” ( Hebrews 13:5 ). The blessing of God’s presence reminds us that he will take care of our needs.
When we worry about him leaving us, we can often shift our focus to temporary fixes that can give us the appearance of a complete life, like money. But this passage reminds us that we must rest because God never plans to abandon us.
10. Revelation 3:20
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Perhaps, like me, you had some teachers in your life who gave you the false idea that you had to fix your life before you could get close to God. No. God draws near to us. Knock on the door. Yes, the passage indicates that we should open it, but God does not expect us to have an absolutely clean life.
He loves us as we are and wants to usher in his grace in our lives through the changes. “God is with us.” These four little words can change lives. Many of us have had friends or relatives who abandoned us one day, but we have a solid foundation that the Lord will never do.
It can be hard to understand that God is with us, especially in bad times. However, he always walks by our side. Everything the Lord does in our lives, he does with a purpose. What we want to tell you with this is that you do not grieve because whether on good days or bad, he is within you, consoling you, talking to you, and helping you with whatever you need.
You have to know how to feel his presence. You will see that everything becomes easier and more bearable for you when you do. If you are going through trials, perhaps God wants you to learn something, to prepare yourself for a situation. Or maybe he wants to use you to show His glory through your testimony, so wait! Be patient! And follow his will.