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School work is building up again which demands more time to get it done. Since school comes before blogging I wanted to let you know that things are going to be slow around here until the work subsides. Hopefully I will be back soon.
CCEF faculty member Dr. David Powlison responds to follow up questions from this video:
00:45 – Summary of what was said in part one.
02:08 – How is God different from earthly fathers?
05:15 – How can God be disappointed in us if He has complete foreknowledge?
07:46 – The importance of understanding our union with Christ.
09:45 – The comfort of forgiveness and redemption for those who are fearful.
For more help, visit us at: CCEF.org
One evangelical cliché has it that God hates the sin but loves the sinner.
There is a small element of truth in these words: God has nothing but hate for the sin, but this cannot be said with respect to how God sees the sinner.
Nevertheless the cliché is false on the face of it, and should be abandoned. Fourteen times in the first fifty psalms alone, the psalmists state that God hates the sinner, that His wrath is on the liar, and so forth. In the Bible the wrath of God rests on both the sin (Rom. 1:18–23) and the sinner (1:24–32; 2:5; John 3:36).
Our problem in part is that in human experience wrath and love normally abide in mutually exclusive compartments. Love drives wrath out, or wrath drives love out. We come closest to bringing them together, perhaps, in our responses to a wayward act by one of our children, but normally we do not think that a wrathful person is loving.
But this is not the way it is with God. God’s wrath is not an implacable blind rage. However emotional it may be, it is an entirely reasonable and willed response to offenses against His holiness. At the same time His love wells up amidst His perfections and is not generated by the loveliness of the loved. Thus there is nothing intrinsically impossible about wrath and love being directed toward the same individual or people at once. God in His perfections must be wrathful against His rebel image-bearers, for they have offended Him; God in His perfections must be loving toward His rebel image-bearers, for He is that kind of God. . . .
The reality is that the Old Testament displays the grace and love of God in experience and types, and these realities become all the clearer in the New Testament. Similarly, the Old Testament displays the righteous wrath of God in experience and types, and these realities become all the clearer in the New Testament. In other words both God’s love and God’s wrath are ratcheted up in the move from the Old Testament to the New. These themes barrel along through redemptive history, unresolved, until they come to a resounding climax in the Cross.
Do you wish to see God’s love? Look at the Cross.
Do you wish to see God’s wrath? Look at the Cross.
—From D.A. Carson, “God’s Love and God’s Wrath,” Bibliotheca Sacra 156 (1999): 388–390.
HT: Justin Taylor
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)
Some scholars object that believers may turn against Christ’s love, that they can choose to separate themselves from Christ’s love. Such an objection fails to comprehend Paul’s teaching. He contemplates the worst things that can happen in life, such as starvation and martyrdom, because these are precisely the circumstances that could propel one to commit apostasy. Paul stares apostasy in the face by considering what could cause believers to forsake Christ. And he argues that they will not do so because the love of God and Christ will not let them go. Nothing in the created order can sever believers from God’s love. Their assurance is strong and steadfast, resting on God’s unalterable and irrevocable promises.
~ Tom Schreiner, Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, p. 278
This video of Piper speaking at Southern’s Chapel back in 2007 came to my mind recently. Such a good reminder about the target we are shooting for in all our ministries. Whether it be pastoring, meeting someone for lunch, or hanging out with siblings; we have an aim with our work.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13). There is the development of one’s happiness in the person of God so that you are no longer dependent on anything else for true life. He is the one who loved you when you were unlovable. He is the one who made you His child when you deserved His condemnation. It is resting in the truth that He has become all things for you. Christ is you redemption and sanctification. Thus, you can trust that He will provide.
But with this trust there is also a transformation of thinking. One use to think that the possession of money, of fame, or sexual intimacy was what was really needed to get through life happy. But as one rejoices more and more in the giver, you find that you can go without the gifts.
But, contentment is not ambivalence to the gifts. Our God is not a stingy God. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Yet, it is growing in a loving, humble trust while the temporal desires and withheld. “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 131).
This is right for God to do this. Let me say this, you will not experience the greatest happiness from a gift unless your greatest happiness comes from the giver of the gift. Trying to get ultimate satisfaction from something that cannot supply that satisfaction will only lead to frustration in the end. You will get a measure of happiness from it, but it will fail you in the end. God has so made the world that when He is your fountain of living water every other joy find its place in Him and can give you the happiness that the Giver wanted to give you.
In the end, contentment is freeing you from the pain of false saviors and giving you the true savior.
“Love is patient and kind;” (1 Corinthians 13:4a)
I remember the morning when I came to this passage: “Love is patient, love is kind.”
It’s actually a verb: “Love does patience.” Or better yet, the KJV: “love suffers long.”
Patience is what you show when your computer doesn’t work.
Long-suffering is what you show when people don’t work, and you’ve been around them a long, long time. That’s what it means to suffer long.
And I looked at those words and then realized that Paul was here describing God’s character. Those are exactly the words he uses of God back in Romans 2 [v. 4].
Then it dawned on me:
the first (long-suffering) is the passive side of His love;
the other (kindness) is the active side of His love.
And then I started to cry for a long time. It took me a long time to return to my computer. What if God was not like this toward us?
~Gordon Fee. HT: Justin Taylor
Praise His name Our God is like this! He suffers long with our failures to meet us with His kindness. This is love incomprehensible! All we can do is believe it and enjoy it.
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. (2 Corinthians 13:4)
Paul knew the Savior he followed. In human eyes, there was nothing powerful about this Savior. He came to earth and let Himself be executed by the most humiliating way possible. According to human standards, Jesus is weak.
Yet, Paul knew the rest of the story. Divine power reversed the execution of the Beloved Son. The power of God broken the very reign of death which had been sentenced on humans. Christ arose from the dead by a power that was unstoppable yet unnoticed by the wisest men of this world.
And so with ministry,
When our ministry is identified with Christ in its purpose, authority, and methods we enter into the weakness of Christ. “we also are weak in him.” We are not powerful according to worldly standards. Instead, there is a disarmament of any human ability and strength. We are striped of any human power and prestige, as the one our ministry testifies too was striped of any dignity and prestige. A crucified ministry should show strength, power, prestige as much as a real crucifixion should.
Yet, when our ministry is at a lost of all human power because of it identity in our crucified savior another power comes into play. A power that ushered in the eschatological age by destroying the bonds of death itself. The power of the resurrected Savior.
The man who believes in the peculiar doctrines [of the Gospel], will readily bow to the peculiar demands of Christianity. When he is told to love God supremely, this may startle another; but it will not startle him to whom God has been revealed in peace,and in pardon, and in all the freeness of an offered reconciliation. When told to shut out the world from his heart, this may be impossible with him who has nothing to replace it – but not impossible with him, who has found in God a sure and a satisfying portion.
Tell a man to be holy and how can he compass such a performance,when his alone fellowship with holiness is a fellowship of despair? It is the atonement of the cross reconciling the holiness of the lawgiver with the safety of the offender, that hath opened the way for a sanctifying influence into the sinner’s heart; and he can take a kindred impression from the character of God now brought nigh, and now at peace with him. Separate the demand from the doctrine; and you have either a system of righteousness that is impracticable, or a barren orthodoxy. Bring the demand and the doctrine together and the true disciple of Christ is able to do the one, through the other strengthening him.
The object of the Gospel is both to pacify the sinner’sconscience, and to purify his heart; and it is of importance to observe, that what mars the one of these objects, mars the other also. The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one; and by the love of what is good, to expel the love of what is evil. Thus it is, that the freer the Gospel, the more sanctifying is the Gospel; and the more it is received as a doctrine of grace, the more will it be felt as a doctrine according to godliness.
On the tenure of “Do this and live,” a spirit of fearfulness is sure to enter; and the jealousies of a legal bargain chase away all confidence from the intercourse between God and man; and the creature striving to be square and even with his Creator, is, in fact, pursuing all the while his own selfishness, instead of God’s glory; and with all the conformities which he laboursto accomplish, the soul of obedience is not there, the mind is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed under such an economy ever can be.
It is only when, as in the Gospel, acceptance is bestowed as a present, without money and without price, that the security which man feels in God is placed beyond the reach of disturbance – or, that he can repose in Him, as one friend reposes in another – or, that any liberal and generous understanding can be established betwixt them – the one party rejoicing over the other to do him good – the other finding that the truest gladness of his heart lies in the impulse of a gratitude, by which it is awakened to the charms of a new moral existence.
~Thomas Chalmers, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection, p. 9-10