Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16—NKJV)

There is something notably empty about a museum, a historic site, or even a cemetery. The very ones being accorded honor are not there and we have no interaction with them. The major thing missing at Mount Vernon is George Washington, missing at Gettysburg are Generals Lee and Meade, and missing from the cemetery are our loved ones. Sadly, many follow a religious life with one thing missing, the one they worship. It may not be the fault of the religious man but rather the fact that their “God” is not living.

When the religious man does not have either a living God or any living Hope he will have a nagging suspicion that there is no real satisfaction beyond fulfilling the duty of his worship. In this world false gods abound because man tends to create his gods in his own image (often tending to incorporate capricious will, distance, corruption, malevolent moods, silence, and generally mirroring man’s seamy side and fickleness) regardless of whether the worshipper is a pagan, a cultist, or a practitioner of any mainstream world religion.

Our text is Peter’s proclamation that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God (as opposed to all the rest which are dead). This is the solid-rock foundation of the church and the basis of soul-salvation. The Old Testament often calls Jehovah the Living God (Deut. 5:26, Joshua 3:10, Psalm 42:2, etc.).

We know what life is as we experience it during our sojourn on earth. The word “living” is usually added to other terms to display the flavor of vibrant meaning. Living rock is natural rock remaining in place and undisturbed like bedrock. Living water is water flowing freely. Making a living, living wage and livelihood all describe an income which allows a person to live comfortably. Living large and living legend depict vibrant lives as observed by others. And for us older set, living color is vibrant in comparison to black and white TV.

The Scriptures use similar compounds in such phrases as “light of living,” “book of the living,” “living bread,” “living way,” “living hope,” and the “living God.” God uses this term because it is a connection point for all of us in the land of the living. We relate to living things. Women in relationships often wonder how alive their relationship is by asking, “Is there life in this relationship?”

When it comes to asking if your “God” is alive there are two logical tests to apply, both deserving honest evaluation. On a sliding scale from 1 to 10 ask yourself: 1) How remote is your “God” from you according to your religion and, 2) to what extent is your “God” a responder to man rather than the initiator in relation to man?

Both of these tests arise from a biblical Name for Jehovah in the Old Testament “the Living God.” The thinking man always senses his remoteness from those elements around him which are not alive (i.e. rocks, bricks, museums, and cemeteries). Man knows that a sign of life is personal activity exerting itself upon others.

Because He is near and the Initiator, God/Jehovah is the Living God in contradistinction to all false gods. Surely, it stands to reason that a God who creates relational man a “living soul” would pursue a relationship with men. False gods and false religion would logically display their god in untouchable remoteness, and their god would primarily fill the role of responder if man does everything right—if their god cares at all. What more can be asked of a dead hope? The same may be said for anyone who claims to know the Living God but has a faulty faith; to him God will appear distant and powerless.

Hebrews 10:31 states, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Do you know that your sins are forgiven through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ? How healthy is the living relationship the Living God has with you? Trust and obey.