Why God has to be a jealous God

God is a jealous God. It is part of His nature. What does that mean?

Why God has to be a jealous God

A jealous God

When God was going to describe Himself, on one occasion He called Himself, “Jealous.” This denotes something of God’s nature. “For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”  Exodus 34:14. [Editor’s note: In other translations the word ‘zealous’ is used – these words have the same root, and show God’s character in vigilantly guarding that which is His.]

God breathed the breath of life into the first man. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7. He breathed this life into every person. God jealously yearns for – desires – this spirit in us. “Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’?” James 4:5.

battle for our spirits

God does not want our spirits to be consumed by this world or by the god of this world, who is the devil. God wants a relationship with our human spirit, so that He can instill His good will within us. If this good relationship is established, He will guide us to a good and peaceful life.

However, the god of this world, the devil, is active as well. He also wants to get a hold of our human spirit, to influence us to do his will.  He has come to destroy us, and he speaks to our “flesh.” “The flesh” refers to mankind’s indwelling sin and earthly lusts, which we have inherited from our forefathers, (see 1 Peter 1:18) and which originate from the fall. Here there is a battle between two forces, and in this battle God is a jealous God. He is zealous (jealous) for our spirits. He wants us to be zealous, with “God’s zeal” in this battle.

Opposing forces

The Bible speaks about these opposing spiritual forces: “the Holy Spirit” vs. “the spirit of the antichrist.” Within the Holy Spirit is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2), while in the spirit of antichrist is the influence of the devil to exalt oneself and exclude God and His will. In this battle, God is zealous for us, and provides us with this zeal as a driving force, an enthusiasm – to attain God’s goal for us – that we overcome the spirit of antichrist. This means that our human spirit is turned away from being directed toward the earth. In other words, instead of only being occupied with our own interests and needs and the things of this earth, we become turned toward heaven and become united with God’s will, which is good, perfect, and eternal.

In this work with us, God is zealous, and He instills this zeal in us who believe in Him. God uses all the means at His disposal for this to succeed, in the ups and downs of life. He sends us circumstances in our lives that will show us the sin dwelling within us, and He gives us power and zeal to overcome the sin that wants to destroy our joy and peace in God.

Also read: “The Holy Spirit vs. the spirit of the times: Who is controlling you?”

God’s zeal vs. human zeal

There is a difference between God’s zeal and human zeal. God’s zeal has a future and a hope, but the driving force of human zeal is only about one’s own life, interests, and earthly advantages. God’s zeal drives us into a new life where we are willing to give up our self-life to find the life which is in Christ Jesus, eternal life.

This zeal drives us into the death of Christ – where we can put to death the sin which dwells in our flesh, and thus be made alive in our human spirit for this eternal life. (2 Corinthians 4:6-18) The portion of our human spirit which is made alive becomes our light and our radiance eternally.

God’s desire is for all people to enter into this cleansing and development, by being delivered from the clutches of the fall of sin and partaking in a victorious life, as Paul describes in Romans 6:22, “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”

God is a jealous God. He is zealous for this work. He is jealous for our spirit – and He gives the necessary grace so that it will succeed.

You may be interested in reading more about God’s nature on our theme page “Who is God?” or about our relationship with God on the theme page “God and me.”

Some suggested articles:

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Grace means that all our sin is forgiven when we confess it. But it also means that we receive power to obey the truth that Jesus came with. In this book, Sigurd Bratlie expands upon this, showing the true gospel of God which is obedience to the faith.