Saturday, January 21, 2017

dead religion

"These things you have done, and I have been silent; 
you thought that I was one like yourself. 
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you."  
(Psalm 50:21 ESV) 

"They substitute their own ideas of God for the true idea of God... Instead of taking God's own revelation of himself, they have substituted their own ideas." (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

Lloyd-Jones speaks of people within the church, people who regard themselves as religious (spiritual), who are interested in God.  Yet, they do so in a way that is guided by their own thoughts.  They are interested in God, but their beliefs are shaped by what they find acceptable or unthinkable to them about God. They say such things as, "I can't believe in a God of wrath, that's unthinkable." They conceive of God in ways to their liking.  They form their own ideas about the love of God, the justice of God, or the righteousness of God, according to their own preferences.  And as such, Lloyd-Jones shows, their beliefs have no basis in reality and have no authority whatsoever.  

Hear "Dead Religion" (Psalm 50) as preached by Martyn Lloyd-Jones here.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

unity of divine revelation

I have finished Carl Henry's exposition (in three volumes of the six in God, Revelation and Authority) of his 15 theses about God's self-disclosure, or the "God who speaks and shows."  Masterful.  

One excerpt today, regarding not just the truthfulness of God's revelation (corresponding to reality) but also its consistency (or, coherence).  Very helpful in presenting God's truth in a pluralistic (relativistic) society.  

Thesis #4. "The very fact of disclosure by the one living God assures the comprehensive unity of divine revelation."

"The polytheistic religions played off one deity against another.  On the presupposition of many competitive gods there can be no unified divine revelation.  The sense of the Hebrew Shema ('the Lord our God is one God') may well be that Yahweh cannot be split up into such multiple divinities.  From the very outset the self-revealing God of Scripture stands out as Creator and Lord of all.  God who makes himself known in revelation is the one sovereign God.  Elijah knew that the issue at Carmel was God or Baal, not God and Baal.  The Bible relates the whole of history to this one God.  In his letter to the Romans the apostle Paul underscores this very point: 'Do you suppose God is the God of the Jews alone?... Certainly of Gentiles also, if it be true that God is one' (Rom. 3:29-30).  Only the fact that the one sovereign God, the Creator and Lord of all, stands at the center of divine disclosure, guarantees a unified divine revelation.  While this revelation awaits completing in the future, the knowledge 'in part' given prophets and apostles is nonetheless trustworthy and coherent however incomplete it may be.  Divine revelation is reliable and consistent, or it would not be revelation.  The capstone revelation of the end-time will confirm all past and present disclosure of God.  The fact of revelation by the one sovereign God assures the comprehensive unity of God's disclosure." 

~ Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation And Authority, II:9

Saturday, January 14, 2017

8 jewels of reconciliation

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God."  (Romans 5:1-2 ESV)

As Paul continues his letter to the Romans, chapter 5 opens with a panorama of the many blessings he gives us in his Son, Jesus Christ.  Being united to Christ through faith not only justifies us, but reconciles us to God and gives us every good thing in Him.  (Compare Romans 8:28-30.)  Here are eight... 

Eight jewels of reconciliation from Romans 5:1-11...

1)  Peace:  God is not against us (5:1, 10)      

2)  Grace:  we have free access and a secure position before God (5:2a)     

3)  Hope:  our glorious future gives us joy and confidence now (5:2b, 4)    

4)  Character:  we have a new way to look at suffering.  (5:3-4)     

5)  Love:  we are the recipients of the outpouring of God’s love.  (5:5-8)

6)  Holy Spirit: he is God’s gift to us that we might know truth (5:5)  

7)  Salvation: not just now, but from now on, because Jesus lives (5:9-10)    

8)  Joy: because of all this we can rejoice in the Lord (5:11) 

Friday, January 13, 2017

those who know your name

"The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, 
a stronghold in times of trouble.  
And those who know your name put their trust in you, 
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you."  

(Psalm 9:9-10 ESV) 

"Ignorance is worst when it amounts to ignorance of God, and knowledge is best when it exercises itself upon the name of God.  This most excellent knowledge leads to the most excellent grace of faith.  O, to learn more of the attributes and character of God.  Unbelief, that hooting night bird, cannot live in the light of divine knowledge.  It flies before the sun of God's great and gracious name.  If we read this verse literally, there is, no doubt, a glorious fullness of assurance in the names of God.  By knowing his name is also meant experiential acquaintance with the attributes of God, which are every one of them anchors to hold the soul from drifting in seasons of peril.  The Lord may hide his face for a season from his people.  But he never has utterly, finally, really, or angrily, forsaken them that seek him.  Let the poor seekers draw comfort from this fact, and let the finders rejoice yet more exceedingly, for what must be the Lord's faithfulness to those who find if he is so gracious to those who seek."

~ Charles Spurgeon