The child of God can find confidence and assurance in the fact that the transcendent God is a relational and intimate God. He desires to lovingly dwell with his people. The storyline of the Scripture is one of God working and planning to dwell in sweet fellowship with his people (Deuteronomy 4:7, 20; 7:6; 14:7; 26:18; 2 Samuel 7:24; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 21:7). He wants to be their God, and they his people. He is Immanuel! Which is translated as ‘God with us.’
The messenger in Isaiah is exhorted to exclaim to the people: “Behold your God!” This is a call to see the majesty, splendour, and power of God, who is transcendent from all his creation, but also a call to behold the knowable, ever-present and intimately personal God. In many ways, the series on the attributes of God has served that purpose, to cause us to look at, marvel, and worship God in light of both his transcendence and immanence.
The Lord is the mighty and infinite one, who calls himself Father, husband, and redeemer. He is seated on his throne, but he reaches out to the needy in the ashes. He dwells eternally, but comes down to comfort the lowly. These twin truths, God’s transcendence and immanence, must be held in tension for the believer’s comfort, encouragement, and soberness.
Though He Needs Nothing, God Draws Near
As Stephen R. Holmes writes: “God is both transcendent over and immanent in his world. These 19th century words express the thought that, on the one hand, God is distinct from his world and does not need it. While on the other hand, he permeates the world in sustaining creative power, shaping and steering it in a way that keeps it on its planned course.”
The Bible speaks of God as both transcendent and immanent. For example, we read that God is holy and in his holiness he will consume sinners in wrath. Yet he is so tender that he covers us in his unending and overflowing delight (Psalm 21:8–9; 16:11).