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Archive for October, 2009

I know that the Bible teaches both although it emphasises predestination over free will.

I have generally said that one must accept both by faith, ensure that they weight each with the same weighting they have in Scripture and accept that the two cannot be understood in relation to one another.

But I’m wondering if I am right on that last point. Perhaps I’m just being lazy. So below is a thought …

God uses natural wind currents and weather patterns to purposefully direct the winds to blow where he desires. It is not simply that God set up weather conditions at creation and now like a spinning top the winds blow accordingly on their own. Rather God has decreed where the winds blow but the means by which he accomplishes that is wind currents and weather patterns. The latter do not function independently – they function as God ordains.  Nevertheless wind currents and weather patterns are real things.

Our very next breath occurs only by the decree of God. The means by which God causes this to happen is the functioning of our lungs. However our lungs do not act independently on their own – they function only by God’s enabling them to do so. Nevertheless lungs really work.

God foreordains all things that mankind will do – the means by which God achieves this is human free will. And yet even that means does not work itself out independently of God’s working. Nevertheless free will is genuine.

So predestination is the ends and free will is the means.

Ok only rough thoughts. I’m not sure if they help but seems like not bad observations.

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I was thinking about how our resurrection bodies are continuous with our present bodies.

Presently our bodies are distinguished from one another in terms of such things as height, strength, appearance of the eyes etc.

Does this possibly mean that our resurrection bodies will be distinguishable from one another in ways similar to the present?

In other words current differences between height, strength, eyes etc. will be apparent in our resurrection bodies. e.g. I will always be taller than so and so.

Possibly bodies that are characterised by strength will be stronger, athletic bodies will be more athletic, the stature of taller people will be more impressive (not necessarily taller), people with intelligent or kind eyes will have eyes that appear more wise or more compassionate.

There will be no lack of beauty or attribute in anyone but the differences between bodies may match present differences with those differences being more glorious and complete than their partial expressions now.

Just my wondering …

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On February 25, 1838, Robert Murray M‘Cheyne preached from 1 Samuel 3:19 a sermon entitled ‘God Let None of his Words Fall to the Ground’. In the course of his exposition he gave the following illustration of how blessing may follow the preaching of God’s Word long after its spokesman has departed this life.

The excellent John Flavel (1627 – 1691) was minister of Dartmouth, in England. One day he preached from these words: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha.” The discourse was unusually solemn – particularly the explanation of the curse. At the conclusion, when Mr Flavel rose to pronounce the blessing, he paused, and said: “How shall I bless this whole assembly, when every person in it who loves not the Lord Jesus is anathema maranatha?”

The solemnity of this address deeply affected the audience. In the congregation was a lad named Luke Short, about fifteen years old, a native of Dartmouth.

Shortly after, he went to sea, and sailed to America, where he passed the rest of his life. His life was lengthened far beyond the usual term. When a hundred years old, he was able to work on his farm, and his mind was not at all impaired. He had lived all this time in carelessness and sin; he was a sinner a hundred years old, and ready to die accursed.

One day, as he sat in his field, he busied himself in reflecting on his past life. He thought of the days of his youth. His memory fixed on Mr Flavel’s sermon, a considerable part of which he remembered. The earnestness of the minister – the truths spoken – the effect on the people – all came fresh to his mind.

He felt that he had not loved the Lord Jesus; he feared the dreadful anathema; he was deeply convinced of sin – was brought to the blood of sprinkling. He lived to his one hundred and sixteenth year (1746), giving every evidence of being born again.

(wave)

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They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them …

Micah 2:2

"You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Exodus 20:17 

Matthew Henry imagines a person saying “Oh that such a one’s field and house (husband/wife, ox, etc.) were mine! It lies convenient for me, and I would manage it better than he/she does; it is fitter for me than for him/her.”

He goes on to say, “They set their wits on work to invent ways of accomplishing their desire; they devise iniquity with a great deal of cursed art and policy; they plot how to do it effectually, and yet so as not to expose themselves, or bring themselves into danger, or under reproach, by it.”

Henry says that this thinking on one’s bed is the working of evil and that the thinker derives as as much pleasure thinking about it as actually doing it.

(sigh)

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Thinking in bed

Woe to them that devise iniquity and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.

Micah 2:1

Albert Barnes (1798–1870) writes,

They plot and forecast and fulfill it even in thought, before it comes to act.

… [the bed] ought to be the place of holy thought, and of communing with their own hearts and with God …

Stillness must be filled with thought, good or bad; if not with good, then with bad.

The chamber, if not the sanctuary of holy thoughts, is filled with unholy purposes and imaginations.

Man’s last and first thoughts, if not of good, are especially of vanity and evil. The Psalmist says, "Lord, have I not remembered Thee in my bed, and thought upon Thee when I was waking?" Psalms 63:6.

These men thought of sin on their bed, and did it on waking.

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Chapter 1

The sin of prayerlessness

It is a reproach to God

It is the cause of a deficient spiritual life.

The Church suffers great loss as a result of the prayerlessness of their minister.

Chapter 2

The cause of prayerlessness is the flesh.

Chapter 10

One great power of sin is that it blinds men so that they do not recognize its true character. Even the Christian himself finds an excuse in the thought that he can never be perfect and that daily sin is a necessity. He is so accustomed to the thought of sinning that he has almost lost the power and ability of mourning over sin. And yet there can be no real progress in grace apart from an increased consciousness of the sin and guilt of every transgression against God. And there cannot be a more important question than this: "How can I regain the lost tenderness of conscience and become prepared really to offer to God the sacrifice of a broken heart?"

What think you? Do you not begin to see that the sin of prayerlessness has had a more terrible effect than you at first supposed? It is because of this hasty and superficial converse with God that the sense of sin is so weak and that no motives have power to help you to hate and flee from sin as you ought. Nothing, nothing except the hidden, humble, constant fellowship with God can teach you, as a child of God, to hate sin as God wants you to hate it.

Chapter 16

There are many who think they must preach the Word only, and that the Spirit will make the Word fruitful. They do not understand that it is the Spirit in and through the preacher who will bring the Word to the heart. I must not be satisfied with praying to God to bless, through the operation of His Spirit, the Word that I preach. The Lord wants me to be filled with the Spirit: then I shall speak aright and my preaching will be in the manifestation of the Spirit and power.

Chapter 21

Many think that they must, with their defective spiritual life, work themselves up to pray more. They do not understand that only in proportion as the spiritual life is strengthened can the prayer life increase. Prayer and life are inseparably connected. What do you think? Which has the stronger influence over you, prayer for five or ten minutes, or the whole day spent in the desires of the world? Let it not surprise you if your prayers are not answered. The reason may easily lie here; your life and your prayer are at strife with each other; your heart is more wholly devoted to living than to prayer.

Dr. Alexander Whyte, in an address, once said: "I think sometimes, when my salary is paid to me so faithfully and punctually: the deacons have performed faithfully their part of the agreement; have I been so faithful in my part, in persevering in prayer and the ministry of the Word?" Another minister has said: "How surprised people would be if I proposed to divide my time between these two equally, one-half given to prayer, the other to the ministry of the Word?

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“No creature can see or understand God as he is and as he speaks in himself. Revelation therefore is always an act of grace; in it God condescends to meet his creature … All revelation is anthropomorphic, a kind of humanization of God.

… In [general] revelation his divine and eternal thoughts have been deposited in creatures in a creaturely way so that they can be understood by human thought processes.

And in [specific] revelation he binds himself to space and time, adopts human language and speech, and makes use of creaturely means …

God makes his presence felt, his voice heard, and his works seen. From the beginning, by theophanies, word, and deed, God made himself known to people.”

source: Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics. Vol. 1: Prolegomena (General Revelation – All Revelation is Supernatural) page 310


Reminds me of an earlier post – God’s lisp

God is often described in the Bible using anthropomorphisms. For example although God is Spirit, the Bible attributes to Him arms, hands, and fingers. John Calvin said that God is so far beyond us that he must lisp to communicate with us through such examples.

For who even of slight intelligence does not understand that …

God is wont in a measure to “lisp” in speaking to us?

Thus such forms of speaking

do not so much express clearly what God is like

as accommodate the knowledge of him to our slight capacity.

To do this he must descend far beneath his loftiness.”

source: John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book I:13:1.

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