Remember the former things of old:
for I am God, and there is none else;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times the things
that are not yet done,
saying, My counsel shall stand,
and I will do all my pleasure:
Calling a ravenous bird from the east,
the man that executeth my counsel
from a far country:
yea, I have spoken it,
I will also bring it to pass;
I have purposed it, I will also do it.
Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted,
that are far from righteousness:
I bring near my righteousness;
it shall not be far off,
and my salvation shall not tarry:
and I will place salvation in Zion
for Israel my glory.
[Is 46:9-13, KJV]
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
This past Sunday I was given a slip of paper with the question: “In the next few months, what will be coming up in the life of you or your family?” Most of us would not hesitate to jump right in and expound on our plans for the future. But a question like this should be answered with hesitancy and give us pause to reflect on the God whom we serve and our perception of how He operates in our lives.
First and foremost, God is absolutely sovereign and within His sovereignty is His providence. Sovereignty is the free exercise of God’s will and authority over all things.
Prov 16:9- A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
Prov 16:9- A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
Prov 19:21- There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel; that will stand
James 5:14-15- whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with planning. There is wisdom in planning. I myself am the chief of all planners. And my plans have been thwarted many times. We should not be surprised, or even discouraged, when our Sovereign God, in His providential care for us, comes in and “interferes” in our lives for our own good and for His good will and purposes. When our plans do not come to fruition, many times because of trials and tribulation, we should not get upset but be thankful to God that He providentially cares for us enough to intervene and direct our steps.
Calvin gives great advice concerning the providence of God:
Gratitude of mind for the favorable outcome of things, patience in adversity and also incredible freedom from worry about the future all necessarily follow upon this knowledge. Therefore, whatever shall happen prosperously and according to the desire of his heart, God’s servant will attribute wholly to God, whether he feels God’s beneficence through the ministry of men, or has been helped by inanimate creatures. For thus he will reason in his mind: surely it is the Lord who has inclined their hearts to me, who has so bound them to me that they should become the instruments of his kindness.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
One of my favorite Preachers has come to be Phil Johnson over at GTY. I think it's his direct style and reliance upon God's word which most appeals to me. Phil on Monday posted this over at the Pyromaniacs which I found typical in my own evolution into a proper understanding of God and His relationship to the salvation of man, so I thought I would repost it here for your consideration.
have not always been a Calvinist. As a matter of fact, I was raised in the context of a liberal Methodist church, so long before I ever became a Christian, my mind was poisoned with a blend of liberalism and Wesleyan theology. And after I became a Christian, it was several years before I finally came to the point where I could affirm the biblical doctrine of election without trying to explain away clear statements of Scripture likeEphesians 1:4 (which says that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world). Or Romans 9:15-16, where God says, "'I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.' So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy."
I resisted those ideas for years. I knew the word election is biblical, but I had a friend who explained it this way: "God votedfor you the devil voted against you. You cast the deciding vote."
That made perfect sense to me.
Very early in my Christian experience, I went to a small church in the town where I attended college, and my Sunday-school teacher there was decidedly anti-Calvinistic. Almost every week, he would warn us against the dangers of putting too much stress on the sovereignty of God. Almost every week he would work into his lesson the idea that human free-will is sovereign, and the choice is ultimately left entirely up to each sinner to decide what to do with Christ. That seemed reasonable to me. It reinforced what I was inclined to believe anyway.
But at the same time, in my own study of the Scriptures and my reading of church history, I kept running into biblical statements and doctrinal issues that posed a severe challenge to that sort of free-will theology.
Then one Sunday while this guy was taking prayer requests, a girl in the class raised her hand and asked, "Should we really be praying for our lost relatives? It seems like it's a wasted effort to pray to God for their salvation if He can't do any more than he has already done to save them."
And I vividly remember the look on the face of this Sunday School teacher. This was clearly a question that had never occurred to him. So he thought about it for a moment, and you could see the wheels in his head turning while he tried to think of a good reason to pray for the salvation of the lost. And finally, he said, "Well, yeah, I guess you're right." And from that Sunday on, he never accepted any more prayer requests for people's lost loved ones.
That didn't seem quite right to me, even as a dyed-in-the-wool Arminian. I had just done a Bible study in Romans 10:1, where Paul says, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." Not only that, I began to wonder why we should pray about anything in the realm of human relationships if God never intrudes on the sanctity of human free will. You know: Why should I pray for God to move my English teacher to look favorably on my work when she graded my paper if she is ultimately sovereign over her own heart? Those were questions I couldn't answer.
And the more I studied the Bible, the more it seemed to challenge my ideas about free will and the sovereignty of God. One by one over a period of more than 10 years, the doctrines of election, and God's sovereignty, and the total depravity of sinners became more and more clear to me from Scripture.
It was a sermon series by John MacArthur on the doctrine of election from Ephesians 2 that finally turned me into a full-fledged Calvinist, and that was at least 15 years after I first came to the Lord.
So I know what it is like to be baffled by these truths and to resist what seems like a dangerous tendency to go overboard with the doctrine of God's sovereignty. I've been there, and I feel your pain.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
In a recent discussion the question was asked “Was it really necessary for God to provide animal skins to Adam and Eve.” While it would not be accurate to describe the choice of covering i.e. animal skins, as secondary, it would nevertheless be helpful to note that the primary instruction is that the only adequate and acceptable covering must come from God. It was thereby His choice to provide a covering which required the “shedding of blood” for without it there is no covering (Heb 9:22). It must therefore be understood to be a foreshadowing of the provision of a sin covering for all who would believe which was in the mind of God prior to the sin of Adam cf. Rev 13:8. This also foreshadowed the
First see above.
Second the fig leaves represent man’s effort’s to provide his own covering. And while this may represent Adam’s best effort at doing so nonetheless it was a covering of decay, of filthy rags (Isa 64:6) and would not be permanent nor permitted.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
So that ultimately there is only one will, that being God’s and how He works His sovereign will and still allows for the free will of man is a mystery He has not chosen to reveal.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
So back to our question of the righteousness of
Monday, April 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
The Revelatory Day Theory – holds that creation was revealed to man in six days and is therefore “pictorial” of the actual creative process. Advocates believe that God revealed His past creative account in visions much as He revealed future judgment in visions.