Daily Bible Nugget #530, Deuteronomy 28:64

The Nugget:

Deu 28:64  And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.

My Comment:

A question arose about this verse, Deuteronomy 28:64, in a Facebook discussion I saw and responded to this morning. It is important to know how to do real Bible study. I think this is a good example to follow.

My response on Facebook:

The only proper way to understand the Bible correctly is to consult ALL that the Bible itself declares about the subject under consideration. This can only be done by considering the immediate context, the verses before and after, of a given verse being studied or at issue, AND by carefully considering the cross references given for that passage and its related passages.
 
Deuteronomy 28:64,
 
Deu 28:64  And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
 
Here are the cross references given in my book, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, for Deuteronomy 28:64,
 
Deuteronomy 28:64

scatter. See on Deut 4:27, 28; Deut 29:28; Deut 32:26, Lev 26:33, 2Ki 15:29; 2Ki 17:6; 2Ki 25:21, 2Ch 6:36, Neh 1:8, *Psa 44:11; Psa 59:11; Psa 92:9; Psa 106:27, Pro 2:22, *Isa 24:1, *+Jer 9:16; Jer 10:18; Jer 13:19; Jer 13:24; *Jer 15:4; *Jer 15:14; Jer 16:13; Jer 18:17; Jer 24:9; *Jer 34:17; Jer 49:32; Jer 49:36; Jer 50:17; Jer 52:27, Lam 4:16, *Eze 5:10; Eze 11:16, 17; *Eze 20:23; *Eze 22:15; Eze 36:19, Hos 9:6; Hos 9:17, Amos 9:4, *Zec 7:14, *Luk 21:24, Jas 1:1, 1Pe 1:1.

among. Hos 8:8, **Amos 9:9.

all. FS171A, +Exo 9:6, Jer 29:18; Jer 49:36.

from the one end. Deut 30:4, 1Ki 8:46, Isa 23:12; Isa 26:15, Jer 14:18, Zec 2:6.

and there. Lam 1:3, Hos 9:17.

thou shalt serve. Deut 28:36, Jer 16:13, Eze 20:32, Rom 11:10.

other gods. Deut 29:26; Deut 32:17.

which neither. Jer 19:4.
 
I have used the double asterisk symbol, ** , to indicate a crucially important cross reference. That symbol is used just once among all the references given for Deuteronomy 28:64. It is given for the key word “among” for the reference to Amos 9:9,
 
Amos 9:9
9  For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
King James Version
 
Note the expression at Amos 9:9, “yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”
 
Here are the cross references for the clause, “yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth”
 
yet shall not. Gen 19:22, 2Ki 10:23, Isa 27:12; Isa 65:8, Jer 30:11; **Jer 31:35; **Jer 31:36; *Jer 46:28; Jer 51:5, +*Eze 9:6; Eze 12:16; **Eze 39:28, Hab 1:12, *Zec 10:9; *Zec 13:8; *Zec 13:9, *Mal 3:6, +*Mat 3:12; *Mat 10:29, Luk 22:31, Act 27:44, +*Rom 11:1, Rev 7:3.
 
Once again, take special note of the cross references I have given emphasis to by means of the double asterisk symbol: Jeremiah 31:35, 36,
 
Jeremiah 31:35
35  Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
King James Version
Jeremiah 31:36
36  If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
King James Version
 
The other cross reference given the double asterisk emphasis is Ezekiel 39:28,
 
Ezekiel 39:28
28  Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
King James Version
 
The Bible clearly predicts that though the nation of Israel has been scattered among the nations, God will regather them all, down to every last individual, in the future back to their own land. God affirmed in Jeremiah 31:35, 36 that this promise to the nation of Israel is as secure as the fact that the sun still shines by day and the moon and stars shine by night, and the promise will not be negated until those ordinances cease.
 
I think this fully settles the issue for anyone with eyes to see and the ability to read what God has written in His word, the Bible.
 
This is fully confirmed by Malachi 3:6,
 
Malachi 3:6
6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
King James Version
 
 
 
 
 
Posted in Bible Promises, Bible Prophecy, Bible Study Tools, Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions, How to Study the Bible | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

FB TOPIC: “Do you think Jesus would care that they ‘Aren’t from our country?'”

TOPIC: “Do you think Jesus would care that they “aren’t from our country”?

The Nugget:

Mat 25:35  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Mat 25:35  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, (ESV)

Mat 25:35  When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, (CEV)

 

My Comment:

A very nice friend on Facebook posted the topic above. That post has attracted quite a lively discussion! I include only my three comments. The last comment did not post. Fortunately, I saved the comment before attempting to post it.

My first comment:

He most certainly would care! Jesus would be against lawlessness. Jesus could never support the violation of God’s written word found in the Bible. National borders are divinely ordained.

Deuteronomy 32:8
8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
King James Version

Deuteronomy 19:14
14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
King James Version

Here is the note on Deuteronomy 19:14 which is included in my Bible study software resource, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

Deuteronomy 19:14
shalt not remove. Note: Before the extensive use of fences, landed property was marked out by stones or posts, set up so as to ascertain the divisions of family estates. It was easy to remove one of these landmarks, and set it in a different place; and thus a dishonest man might enlarge his own estate by contracting that of his neighbour. Hence it was a matter of considerable importance to prevent this crime among the Israelites; among whom, removing them would be equivalent to forging, altering, destroying, or concealing the title-deeds of an estate among us. Accordingly, by the Mosaic law, it was not only prohibited in the commandment against covetousness, but we find a particular curse expressly annexed to it in Deu_27:17, A similar law existed among the Greeks, as appears from Plato; and Numa Pompilius made this crime capital. Josephus considers this law a general prohibition, intended not only to protect private property, but also to preserve the boundaries of kingdoms and countries inviolable. *Deut 27:17, Job 24:2, *Pro 22:28; *+Pro 23:10, Hos 5:10, Act 17:26.

Notice the cross reference given to Acts 17:26,

Acts 17:26
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
King James Version

The principle of the inviolability of national boundaries is therefore also a New Testament principle. Notice “the bounds of their habitation.”

There is much more in the Bible that relates to this question, but I think I have highlighted some principles that Jesus would not violate. It would be much better to solve the problems in the countries these people are fleeing than to open our borders to everyone who wants to come here illegally.

My second comment:

From what I have read and studied about our current border crisis, there are many strange anomalies. Remember that the news sources generally available to all to see and hear are extremely biased and unreliable.

In the first place, it is my understanding that under international law, refugees are to seek asylum in the first country they come to upon exiting their own country. This would seem to be Mexico, not the USA.

In the second place, the videos I have seen of the crowds of refugees coming to our border are well dressed. Some are even carrying the flags of the country they are allegedly fleeing from.

In the third place, if individuals are asylum seekers, they surely should not be breaking our laws as their first act by entering our country illegally.

In the fourth place, it is a known and widely reported fact that there is a significant number of individuals among the group of alleged refugees that are gang members who have committed serious felonies in their own countries. They are dangerous, lawless individuals.

In the fifth place, allowing such a great number of alleged asylum seekers into this country seriously negatively affects the available entry-level job opportunities of poor people, minority people, and those already here who need to have access to entry level jobs.

In the sixth place, we need to ask and find the answer to the question: who is funding this operation, and what are their motives? Any individual or group who favors lawbreaking on such a wide scale is highly suspect to me.

THE ANSWER may well be to strictly enforce on all employers the law, already in place, that requires the consistent use of “e-verify,” and make the penalty for breaking that law or for the failure to enforce that law so high that all employers will enforce it or go immediately out of business.

The principle is simple and straightforward: Where there is no penalty, there is no law.

Jesus Himself warned that one of the signs of the last days would be lawlessness. That is just what we see before our eyes going on with the massive, unrelenting assault on our borders.

No other country in the world has the policy of “open borders.” It would be an unwise policy for us to have such a policy here.

My third and final comment:

Alexis Epps That is a link to some very good material. Thank you for sharing it here. I listened to the entire podcast. I also downloaded for reference their study about how aliens are to be treated according to the Bible.

The three professors did not address the issue as directly as I did in my comments above. I did find their reference to Ezekiel 47:22 to be most helpful. That may have been the only direct reference to the Bible text by chapter and verse included in the podcast itself.

Their document containing a Biblical study about aliens and their treatment does include an abundance of good Bible references.

The professors seem to be addressing problems that they assume exist at the border. The main issue I heard them bring up is the matter of separating children from their parents.

That matter may have been corrected since they thought through their position.

But there are other issues they no doubt could not address in the brief time available even in a 48 minute podcast.

For example, the claim of a family relationship between children and alleged parents is often questionable. Children may be being used as a means for adults claiming to be the parent to enter this country illegally.

The solution appears to be to stop making it so easy to break the laws of this country and get away with it. If the laws we already have were properly enforced with real penalties, then the crowds of individuals now seeking to enter this country illegally would be greatly diminished. I mentioned this in my comment above about enforcing E-verify. I myself as a teacher in Detroit at one point had to produce proof of my citizenship! I see no problem in requiring others to do the same.

There is much in the Bible itself that instructs us how we are to treat genuine aliens. That is a whole different issue. That is likely the aspect almost every other commenter here is addressing.

The aliens and foreigners in the Bible were not trying to enter Israel illegally. They were not trying to overrun Israel. They were not being illicitly attracted to come to the land of Israel for the purpose of changing permanently the demographics of the country for political purposes as is the case with what is happening at our southern border at this time. They were not being enticed to enter Israel as a source of cheaper labor to displace the native citizens by depressing wages artificially.

So, as for what the Bible itself teaches about how innocent aliens and strangers or foreigners are to be treated, the Bible is most clear and insistent.

God will severely judge both individuals and nations which treat others unjustly.

I think that Malachi 3:5 is one of the most striking verses in the Bible about this. I will give this verse in three different English translations (King James Version, English Standard Version, and the excellent and very clear Contemporary English Version):

Mal 3:5  And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)

Mal 3:5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. (ESV)

Mal 3:5 The LORD All-Powerful said: I’m now on my way to judge you. And I will quickly condemn all who practice witchcraft or cheat in marriage or tell lies in court or rob workers of their pay or mistreat widows and orphans or steal the property of foreigners or refuse to respect me. (CEV)

 

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The Origin of Idolatry

by Vijay Chandra

The Origin of Idolatry: Genesis 1:26, 27, 28, 2:15,  3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Introduction:

Though Genesis 3 does not explicitly label Adam and Eve’s sin as ‘idolatry’, we must investigate further whether or not a concept of idolatry is present there. It would  be strange to find  the sin of idolatry often throughout the Old Testament but not in the first sin of Adam and Eve at the beginning of the history, which plunged the rest of humanity into iniquity (Rom 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). I will here try to show that when Adam stopped being committed to God and reflecting his image, he revered something else in the place of God and resembled his ‘new’ object of worship. Thus at the heart of Adam’s sin was turning from God and replacing reverence for God with a ‘new’ object of reverence to which Adam became conformed. Now the word ‘idol’ does not appear in the texts. But let us look anyway in these texts.

GENESIS 1-3:

  1. Adam as the image and likeness of the Creator: 

    a. In order to explore the possibility of this idolatrous idea in Genesis 1-3, the purpose of Adam and Eve’s creation and placement in Eden needs a brief

Genesis 1:28 affirms that Adam was to subdue the entire earth:God blessed them;……  Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that creeps on earth’. Genesis 1:27 provides the means by which the commission and goal of Genesis 1:28 was to be accomplished: humanity will fulfill  the commission by the means of being in God’s ‘image’. They were to reflect God’s kingship by being his vice-regents on earth.

b. Adam and Eve and their progeny were to be created in God’s image in order to reflect his character and glory and fill the earth with it (Genesis 1:27, 28).

c. What was Adam’s commission according to Genesis 1:27, 28?

  1. ‘to cultivate’ [with connotations of serving and ‘to guard’ (Genesis 2:15) as a priest King is probably part of the commission given in Genesis 1:27, 28. Hence, Genesis 2:15 continues the theme of subduing and filling the earth by humanity created in the divine image.
  2. This ‘ruling’ and ‘subduing’ over all the earth is plausibly part of a functional definition of the divine image in which Adam was made. Just as God, after his initial work of creation, subdued the chaos, ruled over it and further created and filled the earth with all kinds of animate life, so Adam and Eve, in their garden abode, were to reflect God’s activities in Genesis 1 by fulfilling the commission to ‘subdue’ and ‘rule’ over all the earth and to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Gen 1:26, 28).They were to reflect him by reflecting his activities in Genesis 1 of subduing—God’s subduing of the darkness and activities of ruling [God’s rule over creation  by his creative word], of multiplying [= God creating] and of resting.

Point:

Even the name of the tree—‘the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’—of which he was not to eat was suggestive of Adam’s magisterial duty—‘the discerning between good and evil’ is a Hebrew expression that refers to ‘kings or authoritative figures being able to ‘make judgments’ in carrying out justice. In the Scriptures the phrase usually refers to figures in a position of judging or ruling over others (2 Sam 14:17; 1 Kings 3:9; Is 7:15, 16). It is in this connection that Solomon prays to have ‘an understanding heart to judge’—- to discern between good and evil’ (1 Kings 3:9; cf. 1 Kings 3:28), not only reflects his great wisdom, but he would appear to echo “the tree of the knowledge [for discerning] of good and evil” (Gen 2:15), from which Adam and Eve were prohibited to eat (Gen 2:17, 3:5, 22).

Many commentators differ over  the meaning of this tree in Eden but the most promising  approach explains the tree by determining the use of ‘know/discern good and evil’ elsewhere in the Old Testament.

  1. In this light, the ‘tree’ in Eden seems to have functioned as a judgment tree, the place where Adam should have gone to ‘discern between good and evil’ and thus where he should have judged the serpent as “evil” and pronounced judgment on it, as it enters the Garden. Trees were also places where judgments were pronounced (Judges 4:5; 1 Sam 22:6, 19; cf. 1 Sam 14:2) so that trees were places that were symbolic of judgment, usually pronounced by a prophet. So Adam should have discerned that the serpent was evil and judged in the name of God at the place of the judgment tree.

Point:

The notion that Adam was set in a sanctuary as a ‘royal image’ of his God is an ancient concept found even outside Israel. Parallels from Assyrian and Egypt typically show that images of gods were placed in the god’s temple and that kings were viewed as living images of a god and thus reflections of that god.

The following examples of this show how natural it is that images of a god are placed in a temple after it has been constructed. Ashurbanipal II, 883-859  B.C. “created an icon of the golden Ishtar……from the finest stones, fine gold —[thus] making her great divinity resplendent,” and he “set up in [the temple] her dais [throne platform] [with the icon] for eternity”.

Pharaoh Seti the first [302-1290 B.C.] built for the underworld god Osiris a temple, like heaven;  its divine ennead are like stars in it, its radiance is in the faces [of men] like the horizon of Re [sun god] rising therein at early morning. The Egyptian believed that the sun god, Re, would empower other lesser  deities to enter stone images placed in the temple.  Accordingly, an inscription from the Pyramid Age affirms that the Creator Ptah “fashioned  the lesser god’s—He installed the god’s in their holy places——he equipped their holy places. He made likeness of their bodies—Then the god’s entered into their bodies of every wood and every metal idol. Ramese the 3rd [1195-1164 B.C.] said that in the temple of the sun god Re he fashioned the god’s in their mysterious forms of gold, silver, and every costly stone. Indeed, ‘the king is a sacred image, the most sacred of the sacred  images of the Great One. The Egyptian King is not merely a ‘sacred image’ of the deity, but he is a living image of the god. Other Egyptian texts say that the god Horus has acted on behalf of his spirit in you [the Pharaoh],  and one king is recorded  as saying, “I am the essence of a god, the son of a god, the messenger of a god.

  1. Adam an Image-Bearer was to Reflect the Character of God.a. Just as Adam’s son was in Adam’s likeness and ‘image’ (Gen 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5) so as to resemble his human father in appearance and character, so Adam was a son of God who was to reflect his Father’s image.

    b. This means that the command for Adam to subdue, rule and fill the earth  includes uppermost that he is a king, filling the earth, not merely with progeny, but image-bearing progeny who will reflect God’s glory [“the chief end of men is to glorify God and to enjoy Him” (WCF)].

    c. As we have noted before through examples, ancient Near Eastern kings were considered to be ‘sons’ of their god and to represent the image of their god in their rule, especially reflecting the god’s glory and, accordingly, the manifestation of his presence. And the image of gods in Mesopotamia and Egypt were intended  to represent the god and manifest his presence.

    d. The Genesis portrayal of a human king created in the image of God and being placed in the sanctuary of Eden is even generally in line with the ancient Near Eastern practice in which images of god were placed in a ‘garden like temple’ and were to represent the likeness of and reflect the glory of the god. There is a fascinating parallel from Mesopotamia, where the creation, animation and installation of divine images followed a strictly specified set of rites. A series of rituals were acted out in the workshop of a craftsman, at a riverbank and finally in the temple. Through these actions the image of a god was born, brought to life, clothed and changed into a living manifestation of the god. Its image was  then installed in a temple.

    e. In the same manner God likewise did the following:

  1. God formed Adam in his workshop (Gen 2:7a), Adam was transmuted, a living person by God’s breath (Gen 2:7b), and was fully brought to life (Gen 2:2c).
  2. Next, he was installed into the Garden (Gen 2:15). Such a background suggests further that Adam was a living image of the true God not of a false pagan deity, and as such was placed into the Garden temple and as living image he was to reflect  God’s glory and likeness. These ancient Near Eastern similarities are only imperfect shadows of the genuine task described in Genesis 1-3.
  3. Adam in the Distorted Image and Likeness of the Creation:a.

    Genesis 3 recounts however, that Adam and Eve sinned and did not reflect God’s image.
    b. They violated God’s command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam failed in the task he was commissioned to do, which included not permitting anything unclean and antagonistic to God to enter into the Garden temple.
    c. Though Gen 2-3 does not explicitly say that Adam’s ruling and subduing task was to guard the Garden from the satanic snake, the implication is there [Beale: The Temple and the Church’s Mission, pp 66-67], Adam did not guard the Garden but allowed a foul snake to enter, which brought sin, chaos, and disorder into the sanctuary and into Adam and Eve’s lives. He allowed the serpent to ‘rule over him and his family’ rather than ruling over it and casting it out of the Garden.
    d. Rather than extending the divine presence of the garden sanctuary by reflecting it as he and his progeny moved outward, Adam and Eve were expelled from it. Though it was to be only in the Eden temple where Adam and Eve were to reflect God’s rest, outside the Garden, where they were exiled, they could find only wearisome toil (Gen 3:19).They disobeyed God’s mandate in Gen 1:28, could no longer reflect God’s living image, as they were designed to do, and now would experience death (Gen 3:19). Instead of wanting to be near God to reflect him, Adam and his wife “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the Garden” (Gen 3:8,  3:10).

Point:

There is no explicit vocabulary describing Adam’s sin as ‘idol worship’, but the idea appears to be bound up with his transgression. But how can we discern this? We may recall from Ex.20:1, 2 that God forbid idol worship. So what is idol worship? It is revering anything other than God. At least Adam’s allegiance shifted from God to himself (self-focused) and probably also to Satan, since he comes to resemble the serpent’s character in some ways.

  1. The serpent was a liar (Gen 3:4), and a deceiver (Gen 3:1, 13), and Adam does not answer God forthrightly when God confronted him: “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded not to eat?” (Gen 3:11). Adam answers God, “The woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate” (Gen 3:12). He was deceptively blaming Eve for his sins which shifted accountability from him to his wife, in contrast to the biblical testimony that Adam was accountable for the ‘Fall’ and not Eve (Rom 5:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19).
  2. Adam, like the serpent, does not trust the word of God (with respect to Adam, cf. Gen 2:16, 3:6; and with respect to the serpent, cf. Gen 3:1, 4, 5). Adam’s shift from trusting the serpent meant that he no longer reflected God’s image but must have begun to mirror the serpent’s image.
  3. Eve’s misquotation of God’s commandment in Gen 2:16, 17, mirrored the serpent’s intended change of the same command in Gen 3:4, “You surely will not die” which was already implied by the serpent’s question (in Gen 3:1). We need to remember that after God put Adam into the Garden in Gen 2:15 to ‘cultivate’ and ‘to guard’ the garden, Adam’s threefold statement to remember by which he would be helped to serve and guard in Gen 2:16, 17.


When confronted by the serpent, Eve failed to remember God’s word accurately or intentionally changed it for her own purpose.

  1. First, she minimized their privileges by saying merely ‘we may eat’, whereas God had said ‘you may freely eat’.
  2. Second: Eve minimized the judgment by saying ‘lest you die’, whereas God said, ‘you shall surely die’.
  3. Third: she maximized the prohibition by affirming, ‘ you shall—not touch it’ becoming the first legalistic in history [for God had originally said only that they ‘shall not eat’—it]. In effect, the serpent’s questioning of God’s word (Gen 3:1) and negation of God’s command (Gen 3:4) was a nullification of the truthful effect of God’s word. Eve’s changes to God’s command were a reflection of the serpent’s ungodly stance, which also represented a negation of the full truth of that command. She made changes to God’s Word from Gen 2 which shows that her reverence for God had subtly shifted from God to Satan and that she began to resemble the devil’s character, and it led to her ruin. As Adam had done, she deceptively shifted her own blamefulness to Satan.

Conclusion:

There also seems to be an element of ‘self-worship’ [idol worshipping is ‘self worship’] in that Adam deceived himself to think that he knew what was better for him than God did, that he wanted to advance himself at all costs, and that he trusted himself, a created man, instead of in the Creator. He had likely heard the serpent’s tempting word to Eve (Gen 3:5, 22, 23).

On the one hand, Adam could only become like God and resemble him by trusting and obeying Him. But there was a way in which Adam had become like God that was not good; indeed, it was blasphemous. Adam had arrogated to himself the authority to make ethical law, but this is the prerogative of God and not the role of human beings. Knowing good and evil refers to making judgment. The tree, I contend, was a place of where Adam was to recognize either concurrence with or the breaking of God’s law. Accordingly, as a priest-king he was to pronounce judgment on anything not conforming to God’s righteous statutes. Adam, however, not only stood by while his covenantal ally, Eve, was deceived by the serpent, but he decided for himself that God’s word was wrong and the devil’s word was right. In fact, in doing what he did, Adam was reflecting another feature of the serpent who exalted his code of behavior over against the dictates of God’s righteous judgment standard.

I believe this is the origin of ‘idol’ which comes from Adam.

Christopher Wright says the following:

God accepts that humans have indeed breached the Creator-creature distinction. Not that humans have now ‘become god’s’, but they have chosen to act as though they were—defining and deciding for themselves  what they will regard as good and evil. Therein lies the root of all other forms of idolatry; we defy our capacities, and thereby make gods of ourselves and our choices and all their implications. God then shrinks in honor from the prospect of human immortality and eternal life in such a fallen state and prevents access to the ‘tree of life’.

At the root, then, all idolatry is human rejection of the Godness of God and the finality of God’s moral authority. The fruit of that basic rebellion is to be seen in many other ways in which idolatry blurs the distinction between God and creation, to the detriment of both [Mission of God].

 

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Daily Bible Nugget #529, 1 Peter 3:12

The Nugget:

1Pe 3:12  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (KJV)

1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (ESV)

1Pe 3:12 The Lord watches over everyone who obeys him, and he listens to their prayers. But he opposes everyone who does evil.” (CEV)

My Comment:

I saw this verse on Facebook a few days ago. The Facebook meme did not include the last part of the verse, “but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”

Peter in his letter was quoting Psalm 34:15, 16,

Psa 34:15  The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
Psa 34:16  The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. (KJV)

Psa 34:15 If you obey the LORD, he will watch over you and answer your prayers.
Psa 34:16 But God despises evil people, and he will wipe them all from the earth, till they are forgotten. (CEV)

There are many encouraging promises in this passage. Psalm 34:15 provides a condition, which if met, promises that in return for obedience God will watch over you and answer your prayers.

I posted a thorough study here of why some prayers are not answered (see Psalm 66:18). Psalm 34:15 provides an example of one reason the Bible gives: failure to obey the Lord.

The Bible is very clear that the Lord is against them that do evil. In our day, that might well mean that a great many individuals are in serious trouble in the light of eternity!

To dig further into what the Bible says about all these matters found in 1 Peter 3:12, read the cross references from The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury shared below:

1 Peter 3:12

the eyes. FS22A7, +Deut 11:12. Deut 11:12, 2Ch 14:7; *2Ch 16:9, Ezr 5:5, Job 36:7, +Psa 11:4; Psa 33:18; +*>Psa 34:15; Psa 34:16, +*Pro 15:3, *Jer 24:6, Zec 4:10.

of the Lord. +*1Pe 2:3 note. Jas 5:4.

are over. Gen 39:21, Ezr 8:22, Psa 11:7, Jer 39:12.

the righteous. 2Pe 2:7.

his ears. +*Exo 22:23, 2Ch 7:15, Psa 5:1; Psa 10:17; Psa 34:6; Psa 55:1; Psa 65:2; +*Psa 77:1, *Pro 15:8; *Pro 15:29, Isa 37:17, +*Joh 9:31, +*Jas 5:4; +Jas 5:16.

prayers. Gr. deēsis (S# G1162, 1Ti 2:1). *1Jn 5:14; *1Jn 5:15.

but. Lev 17:10; Lev 20:3; Lev 20:5, 6; Lev 26:17, +*Psa 66:18; Psa 80:16, Jer 21:10; Jer 44:11, Eze 14:8; +Eze 15:7, Amos 9:4.

the face. FS22A4, +Gen 19:13, Lev 17:10; Lev 20:5, Psa 68:2, +Act 2:28.

against. Gr. upon. **+Gen 6:13 (T566). 2Sa 22:28, Psa 21:9; +Psa 34:16 (T303). *Jer 23:30, Lam 4:16, Eze 13:8; Eze 34:10, Amos 9:4.

do evil. +*Psa 34:16; +*Psa 37:9, Isa 14:20, 2Ti 3:13, Rev 11:18.

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Daily Bible Nugget #528, Psalm 116:15

The Nugget:

Psa 116:15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

My Comment:

I and several family members witnessed the final hours of my mother-in-law, Grace Opificius, on Tuesday, June 24, 2019, when she drew her last breath at 12:30 am. She is now at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

In Bible language, “saints” include every even very ordinary believers, so my mother-in-law is most definitely included in that category. There may be some faiths where a funeral is a very sad, even frightening, occasion. But for those who truly have been saved, while we may experience sorrow here, it is most certainly a time of rejoicing for any departed saint to be welcomed into heaven.

Known in our home affectionately as Grandma Grace, she was delighted to engage in Real Bible Study. For the first five years of the posts on this site, I often had her read my post before I hit the key to make it live on the Internet. I had her check what I wrote for clarity and suitability.

We studied the Bible together as a family. We did more than just read the Bible. We studied the Bible using the cross-reference Bible study method. We worked our way through a set of cross references by reading each reference in turn, round robin style.

We spent much time studying Bible prophecy. I read aloud from George N. H. Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom, and read through most of the three volumes twice.

We also studied Bible doctrines. We were especially interested in what the Bible actually teaches about the mode of Christian baptism. I read aloud to the family not only the relevant passages in the Bible, but also some older printed books on the subject.

I enjoyed taking Grandma Grace to Bible studies with members of my adult Sunday school class.

I also took her each month to get her food allotment. We had good fellowship during the ride to and from where she needed to go.

Grandma Grace served at a local elementary school as a “foster grandparent.” She helped students with their work, as needed. One boy was especially needy, and during a parent-teacher conference, Grandma Grace mentioned to the boy’s grandmother that her son-in-law had written a reading program that might help him. The grandmother bought a copy, and the boy did much better the rest of the way through school. Now my reading program is available on Amazon. Just search for the title, The Language Enrichment Program.

Some years before that, Grandma Grace drove me around. She took my wife and I to the hospital each time a son was born. When I was shot in the school parking lot in Detroit, she drove my wife and two young sons to come get me and take me home from the hospital.

I think I have been closer to my mother-in-law, Grandma Grace, than I was to my own mother! We will dearly miss her, but we know she is in a better place now.

For those who read here and have the time and inclination, I provide below the cross references for Psalm 116:15 from the Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury: 

Psalms 116:15

Precious. Note: That is, the Lord accounts the death of His saints of so much importance, that he will not suffer their enemies cut them off before His appointed time; all the circumstances of their death being regulated by infinite wisdom and love for their final and eternal benefit. William Kay notes: “Precious;”—not lightly permitted:—and, when permitted, prized by Him as the final act of self-surrender, in which their souls are made partakers of Christ’s atonement,—sprinkled at their exodus with the blood of the Paschal Lamb. “The Apostolical Constitutions recommend this (among other passages from the Psalms) for use at the funerals of the faithful. In the Decian persecution, Babylas, Bishop of Antioch, sang these words cheerfully on his way to martyrdom” (Delitszch). Psa 9:12; Psa 31:15; *Psa 37:32; *Psa 37:33; Psa 49:7-8; *Psa 72:14; Psa 126:5, 6; Psa 139:17, 1Sa 3:1; *1Sa 25:29; 1Sa 26:21, 2Ki 1:14, *Job 5:26, Pro 20:15, Isa 28:16, Hos 11:4, Mat 26:7, *Luk 16:22, *Rev 1:18; **Rev 14:13.

the death. Gen 4:10, Num 23:10, +**1Co 15:55.

of his saints. or, separated ones (CB). Psa 4:3; Psa 16:3; Psa 31:23; Psa 37:28, 1Sa 18:30, 2Ki 20:6, Isa 38:5, Act 12:17, Eph 3:18.

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Daily Bible Nugget #527, Hebrews 5:7

The Nugget:

Heb 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

My Comment:

There are now some among us of other religious faiths who try to use Hebrews 5:7 to make false claims about our Lord Jesus Christ.

These individuals ask, “If Jesus is God, how could God pray to God?”

If you are a Christian, can you answer that question? If not, read on!

The Bible teaches that Jesus has always existed as a Person. There was a time before his birth in Bethlehem when he was not yet a man but he existed as a Person.

John the Baptist said:

John 1:15  John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

Notice that John states:  “for he was before me.”

Yet we know that the birth of John the Baptist took place before Jesus was born to Mary.

So, when John the Baptist states “for he was before me,” John the Baptist must be referring to the existence Jesus had from all eternity past before he became a man when he was born in Bethlehem.

Jesus himself asserted his prior existence:

John 8:58
58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
King James Version

John 17:5
5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
King James Version

The writer of the book of Hebrews makes a similar assertion:

Hebrews 13:8
8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
King James Version

Jesus made the claim that he was seen by Abraham, and that Abraham rejoiced to see him (John 8:56). When we read the account in the Old Testament where this event is recorded in the book of Genesis, we realize that Jesus is claiming to be the Angel of the Lord who visited Abraham. In that Genesis passage, this divine visitor is also called Jehovah.

Jesus was truly a man. He had a human nature. Jesus was also at the same time truly God, and had a divine nature. The doctrine of the two natures of or in Christ is in theology called the hypostatic union.

Individuals from other faiths are probably not familiar enough with Bible doctrine and Christian doctrine to understand these things about our Lord Jesus Christ.

Going back to Hebrews 5:7, I have seen, probably more than once, individuals from another world religion ask “Why was Jesus afraid to die?”

They read that Jesus “offered up prayers” with “strong crying and tears” unto him that “was able to save him from death.”

They argue that Jesus, therefore, never died. God saved Jesus from experiencing death. Therefore, Jesus did not die on the cross. Therefore, it was someone else, not Jesus, who was crucified in his place. Of course the historical record in the Bible does not suggest this at all. The text of Hebrews 5:7 is being woefully misread.

But what about the statement in Hebrews 5:7 that says Jesus was heard, “in that he feared”?

Doesn’t that statement prove (1) his prayer was answered so he did not die, and (2) he was afraid to die?

To suggest this is what Hebrews 5:7 says is to completely misread the text.

The statement that God “was able to save him from death” is stated in the underlying original Greek text that God was able to save him not from (Greek, apo) death but out of death. Thus Jesus went down into death but was saved out of (Greek, ek) it by resurrection. God most certainly answered that prayer, for Jesus arose bodily from the grave on precisely the third day by resurrection just as Jesus repeatedly predicted (John 2:19; Matthew 17:23. Mark 8:31. Luke 24:7. Luke 24:21).

Furthermore, Jesus is not said to be afraid to die.  The expression in Hebrews 5:7, “in that he feared,” is given the alternate translation by the King James Version translators themselves, “or, for his piety.” His piety surely has absolutely nothing to do with being afraid! Later in the book of Hebrews itself we read:

Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Note especially the statement, “who for the joy that was set before him.” That hardly reflects any notion that our Lord Jesus Christ was afraid to die for us.

And as for the question, “How could God pray to God?” That is answered quite directly and simply by understanding that our Lord Jesus Christ has two natures:  a human nature and his divine nature. As a true man he was able as man to pray to God. I see no problem with that.

It will greatly help you to grow in your faith if you will take the time to become very familiar with the contents of the Gospel of John! You can learn more by studying the verses related to the questions others are asking by using the cross references and notes found in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury which I often share here.

Posted in Apologetics Issues--Other Faiths, Bible Study Tools, Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions, False Religions | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

God’s Knowledge: His Omniscience and Wisdom

by Vijay Chandra

God’s Knowledge: His Omniscience and Wisdom [Gen. 16:1-15].

Introduction:

1689  Confession of Faith chapter 2:2 states the following about God’s omniscience and wisdom:  “God has all life, glory, goodness, and blessedness in and of Himself. He alone is all-sufficient in Himself. He does not need any creature He has made, nor does He derive any glory from them (Job 22:2, 3). Instead, He demonstrates His own glory in them by them, to them and upon them . He alone is the source of all being, and everything is from Him, through Him and to Him. He has absolute sovereign rule over all creatures, to act through them, for them, or upon them as He pleases. In His sight everything is open and visible (Heb 4:13). His knowledge is infinite and infallible. It does not depend upon any creature, so for Him nothing is contingent or uncertain (Ezek 11:5). He is absolutely holy in all His plans, in all His works (Psa 145:17), and all His commands. Angels and human beings owe to Him all the worship (Rev 5:12, 13, 14), service, or obedience that creatures owe to the Creator and whatever else He is pleased to require of them”.

One wonders what went through the mind of Hagar on the road to Shur (Gen 16:13, 14). She fled from her mistress, Sarai, and turned her face toward her homeland of Egypt. In her womb grew Abram’s son, Ishmael. She was a foreigner, a woman, and a slave—hardly someone whom the ancient mind-set would regard as a likely candidate for  a visit from God. Yet the angel of the Lord found her in the wilderness, told her to go home, and gave her extraordinary promises about her son and his posterity. In response to God’s favor, Hagar called  “Thou God seest me” or “the God who sees” [Elroi] and named the place Beer-lahairoi or “Well of the Living One who sees me” (Gen 16:13, 14).

Hagar’s life testifies to the personal attention that God gives to each human being, regardless of ethnicity, gender, social status, or location. Whoever or whatever we are, God sees us and knows the whole panorama of our life—past, present, and future. He is the all-knowing God, and the doctrine of infinite and exhaustive knowledge of all things helps us to understand and love his sovereignty and compassion.

The messenger who spoke to Hagar is thrice called “the angel of the LORD” (Gen 16:9, 10, 11), and His intervention led to a greater revelation of the “name of the Lord” (Gen 16:13). God’s knowledge is an aspect of his personal lordship. It distinguishes him from pantheistic concepts of an impersonal, unknowing deity and from polytheistic concepts of a local or limited god. Francis Bacon [a scientist, (1561-1626)] said “knowledge is power”. He was expressing the biblical truth that knowledge is an aspect of God’s sovereign ability to act like the working of His power. We read in the Word, “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength” (Prov 24:5; cf. Eccles 7:19).

God speaks of his knowledge to communicate not of mere cognizance but his faithful love. The Bible extols God’s knowledge as the root of his great acts of judgment and salvation. At the same time, we must not reduce the doctrine of God’s knowledge to his power and goodness. Knowledge is a distinct attribute of God revealed in His Word. We will bring three things about God’s knowledge: That is, (1) God’s infinite knowledge, (2) God’s omniscience, (3) God’s wisdom, then (4) Practical Applications of God’s Knowledge and Wisdom.

  1. GOD’S INFINITE KNOWLEDGE:

Our minds cannot fully comprehend or describe God’s knowledge. It is “high as heaven” and deeper than hell’, “longer than the earth” and “broader than the sea” (Job 11:7, 8, 9). Elihu twice said that the mighty Maker shows Himself, “perfect in knowledge”, both in his moral government of mankind and in his natural providence over the weather (Job 36:4, 37:16). The word translated as “perfect” [tamim] means ‘complete‘ or ‘whole’. God lacks no knowledge or wisdom requisite to be perfect King. Shortly after Elihu’s statement, God questioned Job or reminded him how little he understood God’s creation and ways (Job.38-39). Greg Nicholes comments: “In the seasons of perplexity and trial, we should dwell on God’s supreme knowledge. We should compare our knowledge with his until we sense afresh just how little we really know”.

  1. The Display of God’s Infinite Knowledge:
  • Contemplating the universe, or the whole creation, helps us to recognize the immense magnitude of God’s mind. As the Psalmist says, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them names. Great is our Lord and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Ps 147:4, 5).
  • Exhaustive divine knowledge is inseparable from God’s limitless power [‘great power’], ‘infinite’ translates the Hebrew phrase meaning ‘there is no number or counting’ [eye mispar]. God’s understanding cannot be measured, for it has no quantity or boundary. Therefore, God’s chosen people praise him with confidence that he will restore them (Ps 147:1, 2, 3), and even multiply them as the stars in the sky (Gen 15:5). The Lord knows how to fulfill his promises when it seems impossible to us.
  • Isaiah teaches us that the infinite knowledge of God is an aspect of his incomparable glory. After meditating on God’s sovereignty over the stars (Isa 40:26), the prophet addressed the doubts of Israel: “Lift up your eyes on high and see who created thee? He who brings out their host by number; calling them all by name, by greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing”. Isaiah 40:28 says “have you not known, have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable” [ESV]. God’s people should not be surprised when they cannot understand God’s dark providence, for, as E.J. Young commented, God’s way of bringing salvation displays a wisdom that they “could never wholly grasp”. Yet those who wait on the triune Lord will find his unfailing support (Isa 40:29, 30, 31). God weds his infinite knowledge to his covenantal love for his people. He will come to them both as a mighty king and a tender shepherd (Isa 40:10, 11).

Point:

His knowledge is not a mechanical knowledge that simply stores information and algorithms, but knowledge warmed by sovereign love and steeled by faithful resolve to keep his promise. Therefore, God’s saints should never think that God has forgotten them (Isa 40:27), however much it may seem to him that he has (Ps 44:23, 24, 77:9).

God’s thoughts infinitely transcend ours (Isaiah 55:8, 9):  “ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD”. [Isa 55:9] “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” [ESV]. This tells us that God’s thoughts are his mysterious wisdom by which he raises up his people for the sake of his glorious name just as beautiful trees grow out of the thorns and thistles of our cursed condition (Isa 55:13). But if God’s thoughts are so far above ours, how can we know the mind of God? He sends his word, which descends like a rain from heaven to give life and fruitfulness as he wills (Isa 55:10, 11). These words woo sinners to turn back to God (Isa 55:1, 2, 3, 6, 7). Therefore, we encounter God’s transcendent knowledge by his revelations and redemption when it bears fruit in our repentance. Paul compared God’s knowledge and wisdom to a bottomless vault of treasure (Rom  11:33). The “ways” in view here are God’s action of “goodness and severity” toward sinners as he accomplishes “the election of grace” (Rom 11:5, 22). Here again we see that God’s Word couples his infinite knowledge with his activity and love; it is a practical, sovereign knowledge (Rom 11:34, Isaiah 40:3). What fools we are to hope in the wisdom of men! How rash and proud we are to criticize the ways of the only wise God! Calvin said that the worldly mind “improperly subjects his inscrutable counsel to human reasonings, but Isaiah’s words deter us from judging of the unreachable counsel of God”. Job said, “Shall any teach God knowledge?” (Job 21:22). His knowledge is infinitely self-sufficient (Job 22:12).

2.The Divinity of God’s infinite knowledge:

These Scripture testimonies exalt Good’s knowledge far above man’s. Human beings know by a process that involves observation and experience, listening to the words of others, and reasoning in our minds. Our knowledge is limited and waxes and wanes over time. We may contemplate ideas with passive detachment . God’s mode of knowing is very different from ours.

  1. His knowledge is altogether worthy of his divine being and nature. He knows truth. Immediately and independently without any learning process (Job 21:22, Isa 10:13, 14).
  2. His knowledge cannot change and is immutable. It need not change, because God’s wisdom is infinite, always grasping all truth with eternal fullness of understanding (Isa 40:28).
  3. God is light (1 John 1:5). In the Bible, light is often used to represent knowledge, because light reveals things. God does not receive illumination from outside sources, his nature is his own illumination. All knowledge is in Him and radiates from him, either from his essential glory as the triune God or from his will concerning his creation. All our knowledge shines from Him, and our greatest knowledge is to know him (Dan 2:22). David says, “In thy light shall we see light” (Ps 36:9). This is no cold light, but the warm light of overflowing life (Ps 36:9). Divine knowledge is like a bright light of fire, for our God is consuming fire. He revealed and concealed himself through a pillar of cloud and fire. In visions of Revelation, Christ’s eyes are as “a flame of fire” (Rev 1:14, 2:18), the source of light, while our eyes see by receiving light.
  4. His knowledge exalts him, but it does not distance him from his people. Believers cherish his infinite knowledge when he draws near to meet our needs. After meditating upon God’s knowledge of him, the psalmist says “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I count them, they are more than the sand, I awake, and I am still with you” [ESV, Ps 139:17, 18]. “he cried to the Lord”, and when God brought him out of the pit; he said “You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us, I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (Ps. 40:5, ESV; 1 Cor 8:3; Gal 4:9). 


C. 
GOD’S OMNISCIENCE:

God’s infinite knowledge encompasses all reality. Scholars calls God’s exhaustive knowledge of all things his omniscience [Latin ‘omni’ ‘all’ and ‘scientist’ ‘knowledge’]. John writes that God knows us better than we know our own hearts, for “he knoweth all things’” (1 John 3:10). Pink said, “he knows everything; everything possible, everything actual; all events and all creatures, of the past, the present, and the future, he is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth, and in hell— His Knowledge is perfect”.

  1. God’s Complete Self-Knowledge:
  • The greatest object of God’s knowledge is God Himself, the doctrine of divine revelation presupposes God’s self-Knowledge, for God could not reveal himself if he did not know himself. God is self-conscious and speaks in the first person: “I am God” (Isa 45:22). Hoeksema said, “the very act that God reveals himself as “I AM” (Ex 3:14) implies that he is the eternally self-conscious being” (Christ brings this out again in Matthew 11:27.
  • Since God knows himself, he knows all he is capable of doing ,all possible worlds that he might create, and all possible histories his providence might direct. There are many things that God does not do, but could do. He might have sent twelve legions of angels to rescue Christ from crucifixion, but did not (Matt 26:53). He is able to raise up children of Abraham from the very stones but he does not (Luke 3:8).
  1. God’s exhaustive Knowledge of Creation: Let me point out the following:
  • He knows the world that he created. Genesis 1 says seven timers that “God saw” that what he had made was good. After the fall of man, God ‘saw’ the wickedness and evil of mankind (Gen 6:5). He is a great watcher, auditor, and evaluator of all creation. Psalm 33:13, 14, 15 says “The Lord looks down from heaven, he sees all the children of man; [v.14 ] from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth; [v.15] he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds”. The Bible often portrays God’s knowledge by an analogy to seeing, but his is a pervasive and penetrating vision. Job 28:24 says “For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens”; “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account” (Heb 4:13 ESV). God knows reality directly and exhaustively without discursive reasoning or limitation.
  • God’s omniscient knowledge of his creation coordinates with his omnipresence . He knows all things because he is present in all places (Ps 139:5, 9). Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good”. God is the universal eyewitness. As we read in Jer 23:24, “Can any hide himself in secret place that I shall not see him? saith the LORD.

Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the LORD” [Gill, John: Body of Divinity, 58].

  • He also gives perfect attention to each individual man, woman, and child. David said, “O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me” (Ps 139:1). The Lord knows when you sit and when you stand; he knows your travel and your rest, your thoughts and your words (Ps 139:2, 3, 4). There is no place you can escape his knowledge (Ps 139:7, 12).
  • God’s knowledge extends to the smallest details of his world: he knows every bird and beast (Ps 50:11). He hears the cries of these creatures and satisfies them with food (Job 38:39, 40, 41; Ps 104:21, 27). Christ comforted his disciples in the face of persecution by telling them that not a ‘sparrow’ can ‘fall to the ground without your Father’ and ‘the very hairs of your head are all numbered’ (Matt 10:29, 30). He pays attention to minute details of our lives that even we do not know. His Word searches all; all things are exposed before Him (Heb 4:12, 13). Therefore, hypocrisy is stupidity, for the LORD will reveal everything hidden (Eccles 12:14, Luke 12:1, 2, 3). God knows the innermost thoughts and motives of a man. The Lord said to Samuel, “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). He knows the hearts of all men, and thus is eminently qualified to rule and judge the world (1 Kings 8:39). God says to the sinners, “I know the things that come into your mind” (Ezek 11:5). Knowledge of men’s hearts is supernatural and divine: who can know it?, for our true inner-selves are wrapped in layers of deception (Jer 17:9, 10).


Point:

Therefore, God’s knowledge is a powerful motive to repent of sin and seek forgiveness through His blood. There is no other way to escape the condemnation of the all-seeing God. His omniscience is a great comfort to us. God hears our groaning and sees our affliction (Ex 2:23, 24, 3:7). He understands our weakness and responds with tender pity, “for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust” (Ps 103:14). He will never misjudge true saints or falsely accuse them of sins they have not committed. “Shall not God search these out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Ps 44:21); “would not God discover this, For he knows the secrets of the heart” [ESV].Though in this life faithful children of God are “as sheep for the slaughter” (Ps 44:22), they may rejoice that God knows that they belong to him and nothing can separate them from his love (Rom 8:35, 36).

  1. The Omniscience of Every Person of the Trinity:
  • The Lord’s complete knowledge leads us to glorify the triune God with holy fear and confident hope.
  • The Father knows what his children need before they ask him, and this doctrine frees them to seek first his kingdom and righteousness while entrusting all their needs to his care (Matt 6:8, 31, 33. cf. Isa. 65:24). Believers’ greatest ambition is to please their Father, “who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work” (1 Pet 1:17).

As to the Son of God, even in the days of humiliation, Christ exhibited supernatural knowledge of the hearts of men. His apostles confessed to Him, “Thou knowest all things” (John 16:30, 21:17). In Revelation, Christ says to the seven churches, “I know thy works” (Rev 2:2, 9, 13, 19). Christ says in Rev 2:23, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works”. Such knowledge of the hearts is a mark of deity. Charnock concluded, “Jesus Christ is not a mere creature. Christ’s Knowledge of us sharpens the wonder of his love for us, His love is not blind to our sins, He loves his penitent people and desires to commune with them, just as a friend sits at the table with a friend” (Rev 3:20).

Point:

We also worship the Holy Spirit as the omniscient God. The Spirit is not an impersonal force, but a conscious person who speaks in the first person. “The Holy Ghost said, Separate Barnabas and Saul for the work where unto I have called them” (Acts 13:2). We can depend upon the Spirit of God to reveal to us “the things that are freely given to us of God, for the Spirit searcheth —the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10, 11, 12). The Holy Spirit possesses infinite knowledge of God’s divine nature and eternal counsels.

D. GOD”S WISDOM:

  1. What is God’s wisdom: God’s wisdom is one aspect of his knowledge. Biblical wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge; God’s perfect knowledge is shown by the perfect wisdom displayed in all his works. He is “the only wise God” (Rom 16:27, ESV). God possesses all wisdom and gives whatever wisdom men have (Job 38:36, 37). Job said, “With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding”. 

    What is God’s wisdom [defined and delineated].

What is wisdom? In the Scriptures, wisdom often appears parallel to or correlated with knowledge and understanding. However, the words translated as ‘wisdom’ [Hebrew khahmah, in Greek ‘sophia’] carry the nuance of ‘practical skill’ (Ps 104:24, 136:5). God’s wisdom gives the universe its structure and stability (Prov 3:19) so that wise men and women can study it (1 Kings 4:29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34). The infinite wisdom of the Creator distinguishes him from the false gods worshiped by the world (Isa 10:11, 12).

* God’s wisdom glorifies him as the Lord (Dan 2:20, 21).

  1. God’s Wisdom in Christ [how Christ is the wisdom of God]. 

    a. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of divine wisdom joined to human nature. He is the “Wonderful Counselor” (Isa 9:6), the King of Supernatural insight and extraordinarily excellent plans. He is anointed by the Spirit of wisdom and understanding so that he overflows in the fear of God and executes his righteous will (Isa 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
    b. 
    The Lord Jesus identified himself with the personified Wisdom [Prov 8-9].
    c. God glorified himself alone by hanging his Wisdom on the cross. Though the world looked for divine wisdom in miraculous power or magnificent speeches, God both concealed and revealed  his wisdom “in Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23, 24). For those united  to Christ by God’s effectual calling, “Christ is made unto us wisdom” (1 Cor 1:30), for in Jesus Christ and his church, God has manifested to heaven and earth the unsearchable riches of the wisdom that he purposed before the creation of the world (Eph 3:8, 9, 10, 11).

Conclusion:

What are the practical implications of God’s knowledge and Wisdom for us as believers? Although God’s knowledge and wisdom are infinitely above ours, they have limited but faithful reflection in the image of God in man, especially as it is renewed in Christ (Col 3:10). Therefore, the doctrine of divine knowledge has much practical relevance.

First, seek to grow in knowledge: If God of glory is wise, then it is our glory to receive more wisdom from him. The very ‘angels’ long to look “more deeply into God’s wise plan” (1 Pet 1:12 ESV). Therefore seek wisdom as you would silver, and search for it as hidden treasures” (Prov 2:4).

Second:  rely upon God’s wisdom when you are undergoing trials and do not know what to do. Be often in prayer (James 1:5, Matt 7:11, Prov 3:5, 6, 7).

Third, trust God’s knowledge when you cannot understand his ways: When God’s church seems like a valley of dry bones, and the question comes, “Can these dry bones live?” then say with the prophet, “O LORD GOD, thou knowest” (Ezek 37:3).

Fourth, admire God’s knowledge and wisdom displayed in all his works: Have an eye upon the marvelous beauty and the order of the stars (Jer 51:15). Meditate upon Christ and his cross, and how the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men (1 Cor 1:18-25).

Fifth, live in sincere piety because God’s eyes are always upon you: We need to remind ourselves every day that his eyes are like flames of fire, and they search our secret thoughts and feelings (Rev 2:18, 23). Cast off all hypocrisy. Set your heart upon Christ as your only righteousness before God. Let the fear of the omniscient God turn you from evil in secret temptation. Charnock said,  It is the language of every sin…. “The Lord sees not” (Ezek 9:9). Aim to please God not just with outward conduct, but in your thought life and your inner spirit (Rom 1:4, 5, 9). Encourage yourselves in the life of hidden devotion and service by the knowledge that the Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matt 6:4).

Sixth, when you are falsely accused of wrongdoing, quiet  yourself  with the knowledge that the Judge of all earth knows all and will vindicate you. Follow Christ, who, when accused and insulted, did not accuse and insult in return, but “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet 2:23).

Seventh, do not succumb in the temptation to believe that God has forgotten you: If you belong to Christ, then your name is written on the heart of your priestly intercessor in heaven (Ex 28:21). He knows your tears, trials sufferings. Therefore, wait on the LORD, wait on his timing, wait on his salvation, wait on his glory, and he will renew your strength (Isa 40:27, 28, 29, 31).  

Posted in Christian Living, Doctrinal Discussions, Practical Application Studies, Principles of Christian Living, Vijay Chandra Articles | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

God’s Moral Excellence: Love

by Vijay Chandra

God’s Moral Excellence: Love (1 John 4:1-10).

Introduction:

God expressed his ‘goodness’ [tub, Ex 13:19] in a list of attributes that begins “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfastness love” (Ex.34:6, ESV). I will only look at one of the attributes of our God—love. The motive for loving God, is God. No title can be stronger than this. God gave himself to us in spite of our unworthiness, and being God what could he give us of greater worth of himself. Today the love of God is defined in different ways. The world has defined it as ‘a sentimental’ love—or simply God’s love is same as man’s love.

When the Lord says he is ‘abundant in goodness’ (Ex 34:6), the word rendered as ‘goodness’ [khesed] is more often translated as “kindness”, “lovingkindness” (KJV), “mercy” (LXX, KJV), “righteousness” (LXX), or “steadfast love” (ESV). The term [khesed] communicates faithfulness, as in God’s keeping of his covenant of grace, “However, it cannot merely refer to God’s reliability, but includes his kind affection, for he ‘delighted in mercy [khesed]” (Mic 7:18). Therefore, [khesed] is best understood to mean faithful love and affectionate loyalty.

God’s unbreakable husbandly love for his bride is [khesed] (Isa 54:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). His faithful love is the hinge upon which the hope of his people turns when they have broken his law and need his forgiveness (Neh 9:17). It is the greatness of God’s faithful love that enables his people to approach him and worship in his presence with reverent fear (Ps 5:7), and it is the subject of one of the most common refrains of worship in the Scripture, “his mercy [khesed] endureth forever,” literally, “his love is forever”. Whether we consider creation or redemption, all things magnify God’s enduring love (Ps 136) [numerous verses]. His [khesed] is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him (Ps.103:7).

The Old Testament background of God’s love:

a. The Old Testament employs another term for God’s ‘love’ [verb aheb], noun [ahabah], that can be used for human affection for a wife or child, or for loyalty between friends. God’s love is not fickle passion; the Lord loves righteousness and justice (Ps 11:7, 33:5, 37:28, 45:7). Yet his love is merciful to the weak and vulnerable (Deut 10:18).

b. God’s love with sovereign freedom, for his redeeming love is expressed in his election of and covenant with his people. He warns those to whom he had extended outward privileges but who persist in wickedness that “I will love them no more” (Hos 9:15). God’s love for his holiness will be undoing of the unfaithful (Mal 2:11, 12).

Point:

However, in his love God pursues elect sinners as a husband pursues an unfaithful wife to make her his own (Hos 3:1. cf. Isa 54:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). He chooses to “love them freely,” so that their backsliding is healed, his anger is propitiated and his divine vitality makes them fruitful (Hos 14:4, 5, 6, 7, 8). The Lord has loved them “with everlasting love” and says, “I will make a new covenant” with them (Jer 31:3, 31). His love is parental, discipling his children to train them in righteousness. God will dwell with his people in love to their mutual delight (Zeph 3:17). The LXX regularly renders “love” [aheb] as the Greek word [agapao] and on occasion as [phileo].


Agapao
and the related noun agape are the primary terms used in the New

Testament in connection to the great revelation of divine love in Christ. The agape of God is best understood not by lexical distinctions but in usage of the term in Scripture. God’s love is not indifferent to justice, but as we have seen the Lord “loves” [agapao] righteousness and justice. Though God demonstrated his love by sending his Son to die for lawless wicked men (Rom 5:6, 7, 8, 9, 10), the cross glorifies God’s righteousness (Rom 3:23, 24, 25, 26), for Christ bore the curse of the law to satisfy divine justice (Gal 3:10,13). As Leon Morris notes, “though [ agape] does not by definition mean divine and gracious love, it seems that early Christians seized this rare word as the primary vehicle to communicate the love of God-love revealed not so much in the lexical meaning of. a particular word as in the work of Christ” (1 John 4:10).

2. Theological Exposition of God’s Love:

 

Though not generally known as the love chapter, 1 John 4 contains the highest concentration of agapao and agape in the New Testament [used 27 times in vv. 7-21]. In it we see that God’s love is essential to his nature. Trinitarian in its form, active in its display, and free in exercise.

  1. God’s Essential Love:
    1. Love is essential to God. Twice in John’s discourse on love, we find the remarkable statement “God is love” [ho theos agape estin, 1 John 4:8, 16]. What does this mean?
    2. To clarify John’s message, we first need to consider what he does not mean. “God is love” does not mean that ‘love is God’. This error deifies love, so that all warm feelings and even impure lusts are regarded as somehow divine.
    3. Real love hates moral evil and clings to righteousness. God is love distinguishes God’s love from all other love, even godly Christian love in his image, by identifying God’s love with the holy Creator, but leaving the purest human love on the level of the creature. It is also an error to interpret, “God is love” to mean ‘God is only love”—using love as a paring knife to cut away his power, justice, and wrath against sin, leaving only unconditional acceptance and positive regard, what Pink rightly disdained as “amiable weakness and mere sentiment”. Evangelical preachers and theologians do not eliminate divine justice, but they still become imbalanced if they teach that God is primarily love, as if love trumped all other attributes of God. “God is love” and God is “holy, holy, holy” (Isa 6:3, Rev 4:8). We must reject the opposing error, namely, that God’s love is only an anthropomorphism, for in reality, he is above all human knowledge. While all our language about God is anagogical, biblical teaching is true analogy, so we can know God in the truths we confess and the life we experience (1 John 4:7, 14, 15, 16).

 

  1. What then, is the true message of ‘God is love’?

A. Love is God’s nature so that no one has a saving relationship with God unless he loves other people (1 John 4:7, 8). John says, “God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God is him” (1 John 4:16). Just as “God is Spirit” (John 4:24 ESV) indicates that God’s nature is entirely spiritual and “God is light” (1 John 1:5) tells us that God’s nature is truth and righteousness, so ‘God is love’ tells us of God’s very essence. Love is not merely a relation that God has with those outside of himself, or an activity in which he engages toward his creation, but love is God’s very being.

B. The truth that ‘God is love’ has a significant implication for the doctrine of God.

  • In the simplicity of God’s being ‘without body, parts, or passions. God’s love is not a part of him but all of him. The love of God is simply God loving.
  • Love permeates God’s attributes and harmonizes with them all. His holiness is loving holiness, and his love is a holy love.
  • God is pure love. Just as ‘God is light’ implies that ‘in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5), so “God is love” implies that no malice lurks in his being.
  • God’s love is of himself. God’s love does not arise from something outside of him, but is God’s very life, he is love.

    2. God’s Trinitarian Love:

    A. Even prior to creation, God’s love involved relationship and self-giving within the Trinity. John’s teaching that “God is love” comes through the gospel framed by the Trinity of the Father, Son, and the Spirit (1 John 4:12, 13). God manifested his love by giving his ‘only begotten [monogenes] Son’ (John 3:16), implying Christ’s preciousness to his Father, the highest price he could pay to demonstrate his love for the world (John 3:16, Heb 11:17). The greatest display of God’s love for us is grounded upon his love for His Son.

    • The Bible emphasizes that ‘the Father loveth the Son’, and this love is the foundation of their partnership in all of God’s sovereign works (John 3:35, 5:20). Christ is God’s beloved Son. The Father “loved the Son before the foundation of the world,” and thus appointed him to his mediatorial glory (John 17:24).
    • The Son has always been with God and was God and is, the only begotten of the Father (John 1:1,18). The father honored the Son to be the “heir of all things,” and the Son is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb 1:2, 3). Paul writes, “All things were created by him, and for him—that in all things he might have the preeminence (Col 1:16).
    • The Son loves the Father, and he shows that love by doing as the Father commands (John 14:31). However, the Bible’s emphasis falls not on the Son’s love for the Father but upon his obedience to the Father’s will (Matt 3:16, 17, 12:18, Mark 1:10, 11, John 3:34, 35).

      3. God’s Active Love: Kindness and Delight:

1.The love of God willingly overflowed outside of his own being in his works of creation and providence, and supremely in the giving of his Son to save sinners (1 John 4:9, 10). Paul writes, “love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on own its way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor 13:3, 4, 5, 6 ESV).
 

Point.  Paul magnifies the love of God by declaring that God loved those whom he saved with ‘great love’ precisely when they were the objects ‘of his wrath’ (Eph 2:3, 4). How could God love people so much that he sent Christ to save them when he was angry enough to send them to the hell that they deserve?

It is false to say that God has only wrath and no love for unconverted sinners, for “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” [Tom Nettles denies the free offer of the gospel] (1 Tim 1:14, 15). Neither can we say that God has no wrath toward his elect people prior to their conversion, for they “were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph 2:3). It is misleading to say that God hates the sin but loves the sinner, for David says of God, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Ps 5:5, 11:5).

  1. Augustine noted, “In a wonderful and divine manner, even when he hated us, he loved us”. It is also not the whole truth to say that God is angry with sinners, but loves and forgives them when they trust in Christ, for “he loved us, even when we were dead in sins” (Eph 2:4, 5). Calvin said, “It was then from God’s goodness alone, as from a fountain, that Christ with all his benefits has come to us”.
  2. How, then is it possible that God loved us when he hated us? Paul explains that God saved us because he ‘is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” (Eph 2:4). God’s saving love flows from the great riches of his glory (Eph 1:18, 19, 2:7). The God who loves the cheerful giver is himself the infinitely cheerful and all-sufficient Giver (2 Cor 9:7, 8). Therefore, he is able to love those whom he hates for their sins, for his love springs from the bottomless riches of his own goodness. Furthermore, God’s saving love flows from his mercy to our misery. Even as he hated sinners for their sins, he loved them as his pitiful creatures. Truly God’s love is a loving benevolence, a compassionate goodwill that pays the highest price so that unworthy sinners may know the riches of his grace.

    D. God’s Free and Sovereign Love:

“God is love” (1 John 4:7); and therefore, he is loving to all: every good gift— cometh down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). God’s goodness is a necessary attribute of his being, and all his works are good (Ps 119:68). Calvin said, “for there is no drop of any goodness, wisdom, righteousness, power, or truth which does not flow from him, and of which his is not the cause”.

  1. God exercises sovereign freedom in how he loves his creatures. He is not like a sun which mindlessly radiates light in all directions; his acts of goodness are those of a personal, intelligent, voluntary agent. The Lord said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Rom 9:15, Ex 33:19).
  2. Psalms 145:8, 9 speaks of God’s universal goodness in broadest terms to include all creatures as we note: “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works”. This text ties together God’s revelation of his goodness to his people (Ex 34:6), with his generosity and compassion to all creation. Psalm 119:64 says, “the earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy,” or faithful love [khesed, Ps 33:5]. Perkins wrote, “God therefore being faithful Creator, tenderly loves all his creatures. Among them the creatures, however, God distributes his gifts diversely. The Father cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, but he gives far greater value to human beings” (Matt 6:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 10:31, 12:12).
  3. God’s love for his children caused John to exclaim, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God, therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:1, 2).

Practical Implications of God’s Goodness and Love:

Point: God’s goodness and his love is the cause of everything in the world. It is a wide and fertile field, therefore, in which to grow human piety and justice. It is the vital heartbeat of God’s image. Knowing God’s goodness and making it known is the central purpose for which we exit. Therefore, it calls for you to respond.

  1. First, we need to set our mind to know God’s love and engage our powers to make it Those who are wise observe God’s mighty acts in order to understand his lovingkindness (Ps 107:43). This is God’s intention behind his great acts: that people will declare his ‘great goodness’ in a memorable way (Ps 145:7).
  2. Second: have absolute confidence that the Lord is good: trust him and believe that those who trust in such a good God are blessed by him (Ps 34:8). Charnock said “The goodness of God by his promises leads us to reliance. If God be not first believed to be good, he would not be believed at all in anything he speaks (1 John 4:9, 10).
  3. Third: turn from your sins and come to God in repentance: He is good so he will welcome you and teach you his ways (Ps. 25:8). Brakel said “You who need to be convinced of your miserable condition and are desirous to be reconciled to God, be not discouraged from coming to God, you need not to be discouraged if your desire is to approach unto him in truth with sincerity, and in the right way, that is only through Christ. Simply come; the Lord is not merciless, cruel, or pitiless—Just as the father of the prodigal son, the Lord runs to meet all who turn to him from afar’.
  4. Fourth: by faith in his goodness, keep his commandments, trusting that the laws of the good and kind God are for your good (Deut 6:24, 10:13). Believe that ‘his commandments are not grievous’ (1 John 5:3). Pray with the psalmist, “Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statues” (Ps. 119:68). 
  5. 5th, hope in his love in the darkest times. David said, “How long will thou forget me, O Lord? Forever? —–, But I have trusted in thy mercy” (Psa 13:1). Perkins said, “the ground of our religion stands in this; to believe things neither seen nor felt; to hope above all hope, and without hope; in extremity of affliction to believe that God loves us, when he seems to be our enemy, and to persevere in the same to the end” [Vol 5:215]
  6. 6th, ground your confidence in God’s goodness upon Christ. Look to the cross for irresistible proof that God loves us, and when God’s providence hurts you deeply, see in Christ’s hands and his side the marks of his love. Charnock said, “The wounds of the Almighty God for us are a greater testimony of goodness, than if we had all other riches of heaven and earth. In the shadow of the cross, patiently bear your sorrows with confidence that he will give you all good things and works all things for your good” (Rom 8:28, 31, 32).
  7. 7th, love God for His goodness (Luke 7:47, 1 John 4:19). God’s goodness displays his loveliness (Zech 9:17). We must love God, love him above all things and in all (Ps 73:24, Matt 10:27)—we should express our love to him by our care of keeping his commandments (John 14:15, 15:10, 1 John. 2:3).
  8. 8th, receive his good gifts with gratitude and holiness (1 Tim 4:3, 5). If we do not glorify him in his gifts, he may take them back (Hos 2:8, 9). Fear to abuse God’s goodness with ingratitude, complaining, and contempt for the Giver, lest God give you over to inner darkness and depravity (Rom 1:21).
  9. 9th, desire God as your supreme good (Ps 73:25, 28). God is to be desired of all, he is the chiefest good. Mediate prayerfully on the love of God until, as Brakel said “your soul is increasingly irradiated by the love of God to ignite with reciprocal love, so that your heart, no longer covets the love of others and is really weaned from all that appears to be desirable on earth”. 
  10. 10th, imitate his goodness to all things: show kindness even to the plants and animals that God created. Love men, even your enemies (Matt 5:44, 45). 
  11. 11th, love others fervently and sacrificially in the church of Christ (Eph 4:12, 1 Peter 1:22). The gospel both reveals God’s love and enjoins us to love each other as God loved us (1 John 4:10, 11). We have an obligation to “do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10, 1 John 3:17, 18 ESV).
  12. 12th, worship God for his goodness and love. This was the response of Moses when the Lord proclaimed his goodness and the greatness of his love (Ex 34:6). “And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward  the earth and worshipped” (Ex 34:8). “Sing psalms to him, enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations” (Ps 100:4, 5).
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Daily Bible Nugget #526, Matthew 6:13

The Nugget:

Mat 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)

Mat 6:13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (ASV)

Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (ESV)

Mat 6:13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (RV)

Mat 6:13 And do not let us be subjected to temptation, but save us from the evil one. (Williams NT)

Mat 6:13 Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. (CEV)

Mat 6:13  Don’t allow us to be tempted. Instead, rescue us from the evil one. (GW)

Mat 6:13 And let us not be put to the test, but keep us safe from the Evil One. (BBE)

Mat 6:13 `And mayest Thou not lead us to temptation, but deliver us from the evil, because Thine is the reign, and the power, and the glory–to the ages. Amen. (YLT, Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible)

My Comment:

No single Bible translation fully captures the message of the original Greek New Testament, so I have given nine different translations above, each of which sheds additional light on this portion of the Lord’s Prayer.

This Bible verse was in the news earlier this year when the Pope allegedly approved a new wording for this part of the Lord’s prayer. The issue to be resolved is clear: we know God does not tempt or otherwise lead anyone into evil (see James 1:13). So, to soften the apparent contradiction, solve it by offering an improvement to the wording of the Lord’s Prayer as it was originally given by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whole books have been written on “the hard sayings of Jesus.” I don’t know if they include this one, but it might be a very good candidate for inclusion. I think that Jesus sometimes said things in a way that would force the hearer or reader of His words to think more deeply about what He said.

So, where can you turn for a possible answer to the question that the wording of Matthew 6:13 raises?

I believe you would do well to turn to the information I provided in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or its most recent sequel, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.

Here is a thorough lesson on how to use these resources to get answers to your Bible questions:

Matthew 6:13

lead. FS111, +Gen 18:27, FS121I2, +Gen 2:17, **FS108A4, +Gen 31:7, *Mat 26:41, *Gen 22:1, *Deut 8:2; *Deut 8:16, +*1Ch 4:10, Psa 79:9; *Psa 141:4, *Pro 30:8; *Pro 30:9, Mar 14:38, **Luk 11:4 note. Luk 22:31-46, Joh 14:13, **1Co 10:13, **2Co 12:7, 8, 9, Heb 11:36, 37, %Jas 1:2, 1Pe 5:8, *2Pe 2:9, Rev 2:10; +*Rev 3:10.

In the above set of cross references for the first key word “lead” from the clause “And lead us not,” I have bold faced the reference to Luke 11:4 because there is a note given at that text which is the parallel to Matthew 6:13.

The next step, therefore, is to turn to the note at Luke 11:4.

Luke 11:4  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Luke 11:4

lead us not. FS111, +Gen 18:27, Luk 8:13; Luk 22:40; Luk 22:46, +*Jer 29:11, Mat 6:13; *Mat 26:41, Mar 14:38, **1Co 10:13, 2Co 12:7, 8, **Jas 1:2; **Jas 1:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, Rev 2:10; +*Rev 3:10. There is no suggestion intended here that God might “lead us into temptation.” The balanced sentence employs a contrast, where the first member (“lead us not into temptation”) is employed solely to emphasize the last member (“but deliver us from evil”). For other instances of this construction, see Joh 20:27, Rom 12:21, 1Co 10:24, 2Co 3:6, Eph 5:17, 18, Php 2:4, Col 3:2, Compare +**Mat 24:35 note and 2Ti 1:8 note.

Notice the reference to “The balanced sentence.” When a “balanced sentence” is present in the verse or text you are reading, take note of that construction or you will likely misconstrue the intended message or meaning of the text! This could even lead you to get the message of the verse exactly backwards! I happen to know (since I wrote this book of cross references) that there is another note on the “balanced sentence” at Ephesians 5:18, so I will take you to that note next.

Eph 5:18  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Ephesians 5:18

but. FS111, Gen 18:27, “But” marks this sentence as another instance of the balanced sentence (Eph 5:17, +*Luk 11:4 note), where the command of the first clause is used to enhance the emphasis of the last clause. There is no suggestion here on the part of Paul that the Ephesians had a problem with drunkenness. A further careful study of the occurrences of this Figure (see **+Mat 24:35 note) will demonstrate conclusively that the first clause utilizes a statement contrary to fact to emphasize the statement in the clause which follows—here, the command to be filled with the Spirit. Eph 5:17, Psa 63:3, 4, 5, Song 1:4; *Song 7:9, Isa 25:6; Isa 55:1, Zec 9:15, 16, 17, **+Mat 24:35 note. *Luk 11:4 note, Luk 11:13, *Act 2:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18; Act 11:24, *Gal 5:22, 23, 24, 25.

For more information on the “balanced sentence,” I will next take you to the note at Matthew 24:35.

Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Matthew 24:35

shall pass away, but. FS111, Gen 18:27, This is most assuredly the Figure Meiosis, also known as Litotes (Luk_11:4 note), involving a Balanced Sentence where the first statement is contrary to fact or reality, and is used in a contrast to most strongly emphasize what is affirmed in the last statement.

In this form of statement the last statement is frequently introduced by the word but, which helps to mark this figure (see Isa 51:6; Isa 54:10, +Luk 11:4).

Scholars can wrangle with my assertion all they please; their contrary opinion only demonstrates they have not studied the Scriptures carefully enough. I have.

Jesus does not, and absolutely could not, affirm that heaven and earth will pass away. The expressions used here are frequently reflected elsewhere in Scripture (see the preceding Parallel Passages).

Surely our Lord Jesus Christ and His Jewish hearers, intimately acquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures (T1122, +**Joh 6:14), were aware of the context, for example, of **Psa 102:26 note as seen in Psa 102:28, something apparently missed by some modern scholars.

God’s Covenant Promises are absolutely guaranteed as being more sure than the promise that the earth abides forever and shall never perish, so sure are the sure mercies of David, mercies above and greater than the heavens (Psa 108:4).

Note carefully in the context of Psa 102:26 the statement of Psa 102:28 that the generations of “thy servants shall continue” (+**Psa 72:5) and be “established before thee”—surely the Bible writers (who cite or allude to Psa 102:26)  were most aware of its context and the assurance of Psa 102:28, so when Jesus states “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away,” His words are the guaranteed words of the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants, which are more sure than the heavens and will certainly come to pass.

God Himself appeals to the promised eternal constancy of the universe (Jer 31:35, 36, 37) to affirm the absolute certainty of the “Sure mercies of David” (+**Isa 55:3). To suggest the heavens or the earth shall literally pass away would violate the provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant (+**Gen 12:2 note) and the Davidic Covenant (+**2Sa 7:10 note), which would contradict the very character of God Himself (+*Mal 3:6), which is utterly impossible (+**Gen 18:25 note. +*Titus 1:2).

If our Lord Jesus Christ is to rule eternally here upon this earth in Jerusalem on the Throne of David forever over the whole earth (+**Isa 24:23, Dan 7:13, 14, +*Zec 14:9, +*Mat 5:5, **Luk 1:32; **Luk 1:33, Rev 11:15), then the earth as we know it will stand forever (**1Ch 16:30, **Psa 148:5; **Psa 148:6). Psa 58:8; +**Psa 108:4, +**Luk 1:32; +**Luk 1:33.

Additional Bible proof that the earth will never be destroyed but will endure forever is furnished by the text and note at Psalm 102:26.

Psa 102:26  They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
Psa 102:27  But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
Psa 102:28  The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.

Psalms 102:26

They shall perish. This affirmation, frequently echoed elsewhere in Scripture (see the Parallel Passages), as it is generally understood actually means exactly the opposite of what on the surface it appears to say, as the cross references given at Psa 108:4 and Ecc 1:4 absolutely prove. Psa 108:4 unequivocally states “For thy mercy is great above the heavens.” Thus God’s mercy is more sure than the heavens, and Scripture declares that the earth will abide forever and not pass away, as required by both the Abrahamic Covenant (+**Gen 12:2 note) and Davidic Covenant (+**2Sa 7:10 note) provisions. “Mercy” certainly is a reference to the “sure mercies of David,” which by God are guaranteed by the eternal stability of the universe itself (Jer 31:35, 36, 37). To suggest otherwise is to deny the Covenant and the Sign by which God affirms its guarantee of fulfillment. %**Psa 102:28, %+*Psa 89:37; %+**Psa 108:4; %Psa 148:6, Job 14:12; Job 14:18, %+**Ecc 1:4, *Isa 34:4; *Isa 51:6; *Isa 65:17; Isa 66:22, Mat 5:18; +**Mat 24:35 note. **Luk 21:33, *Rom 8:20, **2Pe 3:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 note. +*1Jn 2:17, Rev 6:14; Rev 20:11; Rev 21:1.

Here are the cross references for Psalm 108:4,

Psa 108:4  For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.

Psalms 108:4

thy mercy. Psa 36:5; Psa 57:10; *Psa 85:10; *Psa 85:11; Psa 86:13; Psa 89:2; Psa 89:5; Psa 103:11, +**Isa 55:3; Isa 55:9, *Mic 7:18, 19, 20, Eph 2:4, 5, 6, 7.

above the heavens. *Psa 8:1; Psa 57:10; Psa 71:19; **Psa 102:26 note. Psa 113:4; +*Psa 119:89; Psa 148:13, +Ecc 1:4, **Isa 51:6, **Jer 31:35, 36, 37, Dan 4:22.

thy truth. +*Psa 89:2; +*Psa 119:89, +*Exo 34:6.

clouds. or, skies. Psa 36:5; Psa 68:34 mg. Psa 89:6; Psa 89:37.

Here are the cross references for Ecclesiastes 1:4,

Ecc 1:4  One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Ecclesiastes 1:4

One generation. Ecc 6:12, Gen 5:3-31; Gen 10:1-32; Gen 11:10-32; Gen 36:9, etc. *Gen 47:9, Exo 1:6, 7; Exo 6:16, etc. 2Ch 6:10, Job 21:33, *Psa 89:1; *Psa 89:2; *Psa 89:47; *Psa 89:48; *Psa 90:9; *Psa 90:10, Zec 1:5, Luk 20:32.

passeth away. Job 14:20; Job 21:33, 1Co 7:31.

but. +Gen 8:22, Psa 78:69; Psa 89:36, 37; **+Psa 102:24, 25, 26, 27, 28; *Psa 104:5; +*Psa 119:90; Psa 119:91, +**Mat 24:35 note. Luk 21:33, Heb 1:11, *2Pe 3:10, 11, 12, 13.

the earth. Gen 1:10; Gen 8:22, *Psa 37:9; +*Psa 102:26 note. Isa 11:9.

abideth. **1Ch 16:30, %+Psa 102:25; Psa 102:26; +*Psa 119:90, Isa 66:22, +*Mar 2:22 note.

for ever. Heb. olam, +Gen 9:12; +Gen 8:22; +*Exo 12:24. Ecc 1:10, Ecc 2:16; Ecc 3:11; Ecc 3:14; Ecc 9:6; Ecc 12:5, **+Psa 72:5; Psa 72:7; Psa 72:17; Psa 78:69; *Psa 89:36; *Psa 89:37; +*Psa 104:5; **Psa 148:6, +*Isa 9:6; +*Isa 9:7; Isa 49:8, +*Eze 37:25.

This post has grown long, but I hope I have furnished you enough tools for Real Bible Study to help you discover some things in the Bible you likely have not understood accurately before.

One last note referred to above at Luke 11:4 is to 2 Timothy 1:8,

2Ti 1:8  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

2 Timothy 1:8

Be not. FS111, Gen 18:27; Luk 11:4 note. This is an example of the Figure Litotes: strong affirmation by means of negation, affirmation by negation of the opposite, a kind of understatement or miosis (FS111, Gen 18:27) (see William Hendricksen, pp. 14, 218). Use of this Figure is characteristic of Paul (2Ti 1:12; 2Ti 1:16, 2Ti 2:9, Act 21:39; Act 26:19, Rom 1:16, 1Th 2:1; 1Th 2:3; 1Th 4:13, 2Th 3:13, Tit 1:2; Tit 2:5).

Now you know about several figures of speech used in the Bible and how they clarify the meaning of several very important verses in the Bible, including Matthew 6:13 and the concluding part of the Lord’s prayer.

Posted in Bible Study Tools, Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions, How to Study the Bible | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God’s Sovereignty: An Introduction to His Omnipotence

by Vijay Chandra

God’s Sovereignty: An Introduction to His Omnipotence (Matt. 19:25, 26)

 

Introduction:

No rock could be as hard as the fallen human heart, especially when satisfied with idols. Christ warned that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, burdened as he was by his ‘great possessions’. Jesus’ disciples, disturbed by this saying, exclaimed, “Who then can be saved?”. He replied “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”. The infinite power of God is good news for sinners. Human inability to save ourselves and hostility to the claims of Christ cannot stop the Savior from rescuing those whom he wills, in his great love to deliver from their sins.

 

God is sovereign, that is, he is the supreme LORD who rules over all. This is one of the greatest doctrines of the Bible, pervading its pages. It is the nourishment root for us as believers, for our piety and comfort and strong foundation of his hope. This doctrine of God’s sovereignty is the most hated, unliked by some believers and unbelievers, because it destroys men’s pride and extols God.

God’s sovereignty has many facets. It resides in his ‘infinite’ divine nature, appears in His decreeing of all things (Gen 1:1-3, 4-6, 7-10), crystallizes in his election of those whom he will save by Christ’s grace and in his reprobation of those whom he will damn for their sins, and carries all things along by his works of providence, which are according to his will. The doctrine of God’s decree, election, reprobation, and providence will each require further attention but not now. Here we just want to offer an introduction to God’s sovereignty as one of the excellencies of his lordship.

A. OPPOSITON TO DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY:

  1. God calls his people to be his witnesses who know and declare to the world his unique glory as the sovereign Lord and Savior (Isa 43:10, 11, 12, 13). Spurgeon said “There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne. On other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings—men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne.
  2. Secondly: Modern theology severely truncates the doctrine of God’s sovereignty because people assume it hinders love and relationship. [John Cobb and David Griffin] say that God “seeks to persuade” his creatures but “cannot control” [Process Theology]. Another modern liberal, John Sanders, says ‘God’s sovereignty is his freedom to limit his control over significant parts of reality so others can join him in a relationship and partnership’ [The God who is at Risk]. Another liberal, Brunner, said, “God limits himself by creating something which is not himself, ‘a self-limitation of omnipotence’ that springs from the love of God”.
  3. However, the Bible never views God’s creation of the world and its rational inhabitants as a limitation of his being and power. Creation displays his eternal power and confirms his ability to rule the world as he chooses (Isa 37:15-26, 44:24, 25, 26, 27, 28; Jer 32:17).

Point:

God has unlimited power to execute his will in all events. The Lord proclaims, “There is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?” (Isa 43:1 ESV). Isaiah was not declaring an ‘abstract deity’ or a tyrannical divine bully, for the Lord who is with his people to save them because they are precious to him (Isa 43:2, 3, 4).

We do not need to set aside sovereignty to affirm love. God’s love is omnipotent to do good to all (Psa 145:6-16).

We must proceed carefully as we contemplate upon this theme of ‘sovereignty of God’. Our hearts naturally oppose God’s sovereignty (Rom 8:7, 8). If the knowledge must illuminate us and then only we will understand as what is God’s sovereignty (Eph 1:17, 18, 19). Then our worship will be effective and God glorifying, then we will be edified by the Holy Spirit.

B. GOD’S NAMES OF SOVEREIGNITY:

  1. One way in which God reveals his sovereignty is in the names that he ascribes to himself in his Word.

    a. The first divine name to appear in Scripture is Elohim—a name used for ‘God’ thirty -five times in the first thirty-four verses of the Bible (Gen 1:1—2:3).

    b. God’s creation of the heaven and the earth presents Elohim as the powerful sovereign, for he made all things and controls them with his mere word, yet it reveals the God of love, who uses his power to give all good things. The occasional use of ‘elohim’ for human rulers shows the terms’ association with majesty and power. This simply means that God of all power (2 Cor 4:6, 7).

    c. The Bible also names God ‘Elyon (Psa 18:13, 73:11], which means ‘Most High’. It is a title of supremacy over the world and implies the victory of God’s people over the world (Ps 83:18; 97:9, Gen 14:18-20, Ps 47:2, 3), the name of him whose power supernaturally worked in the virgin’s womb to produce the incarnate Son of God (Luke 1:35). The “Son of the highest God’ terrified a legion of demons and cast them out with a word (Mark 5:7).

    d. The Lord revealed himself to the patriarchs as El Shaddai – God Almighty (Job 5:17, 6:4,14, 11:7, 13:3, 15:25, 21:15, 20).

    e. Abraham and his offspring also addressed God as Adonai [an intensified form of Adon] which designates him as “Lord” or “Master”. It denotes a relationship of authority, on one hand, and of allegiances and love on the other. When Isaiah reported his vison of the exalted thrice holy King of angels above “the whole earth”, he said, I saw the Adoni (Isa 6:1, 2, 3).

I have taken only some names of the Sovereign Lord to remind ourselves as what kind of God we have. The names of God in their biblical contexts prominently feature his sovereignty. He is the God of creating and controlling power [Elohim], absolute supremacy [Elyon], majestic strength sufficient to keep His word [Shaddai], and supremacy and mastery [Adoni].

Such titles aim to teach us the fear of the Lord. This is the God who inspires both awful dread in his enemies and reverent hope in his servants (Psa 10:16). “God is King for ever and ever” (Psa 24:7-10), “the King of Kings” and a “great king over all the earth” (Ps 47:2). God is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of Lords” (1 Tim 6:15).

 C. ASPECTS OF GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY:

Sovereignty means supremacy, which involves divine will, authority, and power, for God is supreme over all in his being, rights, and ability to reign and accomplish his will.

 

  1. God’s sovereign will:

It is evident from the Holy Scriptures that God is a ‘voluntary agent’, a personal being of “rational self-determination”. He works intentionally, not mechanically or automatically. He is a wise moral agent who performs praiseworthy actions (Rev 15:3).

  • In the broadest sense, all God’s moral excellencies could be considered under the topic of His will.
  • More narrowly, the divine will refers to the active, intelligent exercise of those moral attributes in God’s choices. As the Lord he ‘chooses” [Hebrew, bakbar, Greek ‘eklegomai’] his holy people, holy places, and holy offices with supreme liberty.
  • God’s choice implies that he selects one possibility and passes by others that he might have chosen (1 Sam 16:10). All the redemptive history flows from God’s choice and reveals the goodness of the God who wills.
  • The great object of God’s will is his glory. As the great ‘I AM” (Ex 3:14), God knows his own infinite greatness and goodness, and he loves himself and delights in his glory. After Paul celebrated the infinite depths of God’s way, he concluded with these words as we see in (Rom 11:36). In all His purposes for the world, he wills the manifestation of his own glory, as the highest end of all things and acts for the sake of same. God’s perfect sufficiency in himself implies that he wills the creation without any necessity (1 Chron 29:11, Acts 1:25). Nothing compelled him or required him to create the world.

    a. What the Scriptures say of God’s will toward his creatures in two distinct senses.

  1. what they should do and what they will do, the first pertains to God’s authoritative regulation and the second to his effective reign.

    a. Seen in Gen 22, illustrates this, God’s command defined Abraham’s duty to sacrifice Isaac, but God’s intention was not that Isaac would die. Rather, the Lord tested Abraham’s godliness to show its reality and strengthen its exercise. God also revealed that he would provide the sacrifice so that the chosen seed could live.

    b. We may also express this distinction, perhaps most accurately, as that between God’s preceptive will and his decretive will.

  • The first describes what God instructs us to do, the second what he has decreed to take place. God’s preceptive will is “the rule of man’s duty”, Gill explains, and, “every sin is a transgression of it”.
  • The ‘preceptive will’. The Bible tells us that we should be “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph 6:6), for “to do his will” by his grace is “well-pleasing in his sight’ (Heb 13:21). God’s will in this sense is made known for our understanding (Eph 5:17) and his law (Rom 2:18; 1 Thess 4:3; Psa 143:10).
  • By “decreed will’, he wills what shall come to pass in history—God’s plan for his world. God “created all things” and literally, “for the sake of your will they are created” (Rev 4:11; Rom 9:18, 1 Cor 12:18, Eph 1:11).
  • Gods ‘will’ in the N.T is preeminently his plan of salvation executed through the Mediator and lovingly applied by the Holy Spirit to the elect through the preaching of the gospel. This redemptive plan is also called his ‘good pleasure’ [eudokia].

 

Point:

The doctrine of God’s decretive will calls us to submissive trust. We read of God’s servants yielding their aspirations and fears about the future to the Lord’s will (James 4:15, Rom 9:19). This distinction between God’s decretive will and preceptive will guards two great doctrines: God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility (Acts 2:23) and this distinction also has enormous practical value for our lives as believers. We must learn to distinguish between what God will do with our lives and what our duty is toward God. When we pray for God to teach his will we must seek to know our responsibility and be content to leave his plan for our future hidden in the secrecy of his wise decree.

c. God’s Sovereign Authority:

God’s freedom to do with all creatures as he pleases is rooted in the fact that he is the Creator of all things (Ps 24:1, 2). Therefore, God has the right to impose his will both in what he decrees and what he commands (Ps 83:18. cf. Ps 97:9, Josh 3:11, 13, Zech 6:5, Dan 4:35, Isa 29: 16, 45:9).

We should obey God with a profound sense that it is right to command us as he pleases. And we should perform all duties to him with greatest care, diligence and reverence, and in highest degree, love him greatly, fear him greatly, praise him with all our might, yield to him a service proportionable to his incomprehensible greatness.

d. God’s Sovereign Power:

The Lord has infinite power to accomplish all his decretive will and enforce the full rights of his authority.

  1. How he has demonstrated that power?

    a. In the work of the creation (Gen 1:1, 2, 3, Psa 33:6, 9). God’s mere will is powerful and effective, as we see in creation by divine fiat (Matt 8:2, 3). Creation demonstrates the amazing fullness of God’s power. He made the whole universe out of nothing, but as Thomas Watson noted “All the world cannot make a fly. The majestic heavens express only a ‘little of his strength’, and ‘the thunder of his power who can understand?’ (Job 26:14, Acts 17:25, Gen 18:14, Job 42:2).

    b. The Lord Jesus is the embodiment of divine power, the ‘arm of the Lord’ hidden in human weakness to save God’s people (Isa 52:10—53:1-3]. Christ is the divine Son of God, “by whom also he made the world’s”, the Son, who throughout history, has been “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Heb 1:1, 2, 3). Owen noted, “He who upholdeth all things by the word of his power is God”

(Luke 1:37, Matt 11:5, 20, 23). In the mystery of God’s will, he gave the greatest revelation of his power in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. At Calvary, we find no miracle such as the Jews sought, but, “Christ crucified” is “Christ the power of God” wedded to the exquisite “wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:23, 24), for by shame and pain of the cross, Christ conquered sin and Satan (Rom 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Col 2:14, 15). Though God’s Son was crucified in human weakness, he rose from the dead in “the power of God” (2 Cor 13:4), to live by the energy of the Holy Spirit (Rom 1:4, 8:11], which presently energizes his people to live by faith (Eph 1:19, 20, 21, 22).

Point:

The living God is the mighty King (Jer 10:10). Even if we are in prison, we may exult with the apostle Paul (Eph 3:20, 21). Gill said, “As he is great, his power is great, there is exuberancy [superabundance], exceeding greatness of power in him, beyond all conception and expression”. God’s power is truly infinite. Therefore, we should believe his Word even when it says that God does what man cannot conceive.

 

Practical Application of God’s Sovereignty:

The doctrine of God’s power has nearly as many applications as there are verses in the Scripture. For it fills the Bible from beginning to end. For the sake of the believer’s meditation and spirituality, I will highlight several practical implications of this important truth about God’s power.

  1. First, God’s sovereignty calls us to repentance from rebellion [Job 9:4 says, He is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered. Thomas Watson said, “it is better to meet God with tears in your eyes than weapons in your hands”. In fact, it is the most foolish thing in the world to fight against the omnipotent God. The psalmist marveled, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Ps 2:1). Mankind has engaged in an impossible war. Their plots provoke only divine laughter by Christ, derision, and wrath” (Ps 2:4, 5). In the end, rebels will be crushed by Christ as a piece of pottery is shattered by an iron club (Ps 2:9). He will crush you in a moment. Will you not, therefore bow before Him”. If we have repented and have been reconciled to God, let us wage ceaseless war against our remaining insubordination.
  2. Second: God’s sovereignty calls us to trust in the promises; The eye of the flesh cannot see how it is possible for God’s promises to come true but the eye of faith looks to the Lord omnipotent (Gen 18:14, Rom 4:21).
  3. Third: God’s sovereignty calls us to reverent fear (Ps 33:8, 9, 90:11, Rev 15:3, 4).
  4. Fourth: God’s sovereignty calls us to humble We should sing unto the Lord and ‘make a joyful noise’ for he is “a great God and great king above all god’s” who holds the earth and the sea in his hands (Ps 95:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). All creation displays God’s power in order to awaken our adoration. Does your soul desire to praise him for his excellent greatness? Proud sinners do not stoop to praise God, but humbled man acknowledge that “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation” (Dan 4:34). Perhaps you are weighed down with troubles, but even there, the godly may say “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
  5. Fifth: God’s sovereignty calls us to faithful service: Whatever authority and influence you may have, remember that these are delegated to you from the Lord. God entrusted dominion to mankind as his image (Gen. 1:26)—not as an independent god, but as representative of the Creator. You are a steward entrusted with the Master’s possession, charged to do his will for his glory and your good (Eph 6:9).
  6. Sixth: God’s sovereignty calls us to submission to sorrow. When bad news strikes our families, God’s grace enables us to say, “If it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good” (I Sam 3;18). God has the right and the power to do with us as he sees best. Bowing before God who ordains good and evil in his righteousness, one finds new hope in God’s mercies and faithfulness (Lam 3:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 37, 38). Believers can rejoice in God’s power, for, as Charnock said, “it is a power in the hands of an indulgent Father, not a hard-hearted tyrant”.
  7. Seventh: God’s sovereignty calls us to have hope for the salvation of others. When we consider the hardness of men’s hearts and their slavish attachment to this world, we may despair of their conversion and cry out, “Who then can be saved?” Christ answers, “With men it is impossible but not with God for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). We must preach this word to ourselves as we look upon the loved ones who seem a million miles from the Lord, reminding ourselves continually that with God all things are possible.
  8. Eighth: God’s sovereignty calls us to boldness in prayer. Paul’s prayers for the spiritual growth of the saints are staggering in their high aspirations, but he reminds us that the Father “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”(Eph 3:20).

 

 

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