You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘God & His Work’ category.

lily_lilium_'citronella'_flower“Reason & natural justice alike move me to give up myself wholly to loving Him to whom I owe all that I have and am. But faith shows me that I should love Him far more than I love myself, as I come to realize that He hath given me not my own life, but even Himself… In the first creation He gave me myself; but in His new creation He gave me Himself, and by that gift restored me to the self that I had lost. Created first and then restored, I owe Him myself twice over in return for myself. But what have I to offer Him for the gift of Himself? Could I multiply myself a thousand-fold and then give Him all, what would that be in comparison with God?”

– Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Advertisements

img_4115“God is wholly one Deut. 6. 4. Gal. 3. 20. 1 Tim. 2. 5. Hos. 13. 4. Mal. 2. 10. All creatures are subject to multiplication; there may be many of them and are many; many Angels, men, starres, and so in the rest. Not one of them is singular and onely one so; but one might conceive that there should be more; for he that made one of them, can make another and another, and as many as he pleaseth; but God is simply one, singular, and sole essence; there neither is, nor can be more then one God, because he is the first and best essence; and there can be but one first, and one best. He is Infinite, and there cannot be but one Infinite because either one of them should include the other, and so the included must needs be finite, or not extend to the other, and so it self not be Infinite. There was a first man, and a first in every kind of creature, but not any absolute first save God: one Eternall, and one Incomprehensible, saith Athanasius in his Creed.”

-Edward Leigh (1602-1671)

img_4122II. God has all life,[25] glory,[26] goodness,[27] blessedness,[28] in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto he himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he has made,[29] nor deriving any glory from them,[30] but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things;[31] and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever himself pleases.[32] In his sight all things are open and manifest,[33] his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature,[34] so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain.[35] He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands.[36] To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.[37]

Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)2.2

img_4122II. Dios posee en sí mismo y por si mismo toda vida, (1) gloria, (2) bondad (3) y bienaventuranza; (4) es suficiente en todo, en sí mismo y respecto a si mismo, no teniendo necesidad de ninguna de las criaturas que El ha hecho, (5) ni derivando ninguna gloria de ellas, (6) sino que solamente manifiesta su propia gloria en ellas, por ellas, hacia ellas y sobre ellas. Él es la única fuente de todo ser, de quien, por quien y para quien son todas las cosas, (7) teniendo sobre ellas el más soberano dominio, y, haciendo por ellas, para ellas y sobre ellas toda su voluntad. (8) Todas las cosas están abiertas y manifiestas delante de su vista; (9) su conocimiento es infinito, infalible e independiente de toda criatura, (10) de modo que para El no hay ninguna cosa contingente o incierta. (11) Es santísimo en todos sus consejos, en todas sus obras y en todos sus mandatos. (12) A Él son debidos todo culto, adoración, servicio y obediencia que tenga a bien exigir de los ángeles, de los hombres y de toda criatura. (13)

1. Juan 5:26
2. Hechos 7:2
3. Salmos 119:68
4. 1 Timoteo 6:15; Romanos 9:5
5. Hechos 17:24,25
6. Job 22:2,3
7. Romanos 11:36
8. Apocalipsis 4:11; Daniel 4:25,35; 1 Timoteo 6:15
9. Hebreos 4:13
10. Romanos 11:33,34; Salmos 147:5
11. Hechos 15:18; Ezequiel 11:5
12. Salmos 145:17; Romanos 7:12
13. Apocalipsis 5:12-14

Confesión de Fe de Westminster (1646), 2.2

Listen to this short, 3 minute audio clip from a recent sermon on God as Warrior and Shepherd. For the complete sermon, visit here

 

untitled“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons” (Ruth 1:1).

It was once asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” So in the same way, one might ask, can anything good come out of such dark, evil days, the days “when the judges ruled?” After all, though the era of the Judges was marked by heroic underdog-victories and feats of superhuman strength, yet they were spiritually and morally backwards. The days of the judges were days in which “there was no king in Israel,” and when “everyone did what was right in His own eyes.”  Those were days of gross idolatry, of tribal civil war, days of foreign invasion and occupation, and of shocking moral abominations. But in these days, there was a great story, the story of Ruth.  Following the Book of Judges is this small, precious pearl, the Book of Ruth. Like a diamond shining in the rough.

Really, it is the answer to the book of Judges! “Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.” Though Israel had sunk so low, yet God stepped in.  Through Ruth the Moabitess, the unlikely convert to the God of Abraham, God restored life. He revived a family on the brink of extinction. And he established the house from which David came – and David’s seed, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Can anything good come out of such evil times?  “Come and see.”

Close-up_of_Sirius“What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.”

-John Chrysostom (c. 349-407)

untitledUn escultor se sienta en su taburete, con las mangas enrolladas. Se extiende la mano y se afianza del barro, frío, pasivo y sin forma. En el torno, él gira y le da forma al barro, elaborándolo según lo que existe en su ojo mental. Está en control total, experto en su arte. Es el señor del barro, y el producto es completamente suyo.

Todos los escultores humanos no son más que una imagen borrosa, una sombra, de Dios. El es el Escultor Supremo, haciendo los mundos, formándolos según el patrón y uso para que él los ha predeterminado. La Escritura confirma lo que la naturaleza enseña: Dios es soberano, obrando su absoluta voluntad.

Esto se extiende no sólo a la tierra inanimada o al reino animal, porque Dios es también el Escultor del hombre. Tiene un propósito predeterminado para sí, un propósito tal como le gusta. Ahora, mirando los escombros de la historia humana, puede parecer que el propósito ha fracasado. Satanás secuestró el proyecto humano, y Adány Eva quedaron arruinados. Claro está. Pero en el análisis final la voluntad de Dios no puede ser frustrada. Si fuera posible, lo degradaríamos a Dios. Despojado de la omnipotencia, él viviría no como el Formador, sino como el formado. ¡Pero Dios es Dios! “El ha hecho todo lo que le ha gustado.” Adán y Eva, complícitos con el Diablo, abusaron de su libre albedrío, y nosotros en ellos. Además, como sus descendientes, les seguimos. Pero esto no lo sorprendió a Dios. Dios ya desde la eternidad pasada determinó que el hombre cayera en el pecado y la miseria, y hasta esto cumpliría su propósito. “Conocidas de Dios son todas sus obras desde la fundación del mundo.”

Y desde antes de todo tiempo, Dios escogió del barro de la humanidad cierto número de hombres y mujeres todavía no nacidos y no existentes. El determinó formarlos y no otros en vasijas sobre las cuales derramaría merced y gloria eterna. Luego Dios también escogió soberanamente que lo demás de la humanidad fuera designado para la ruina eterna por sus pecados concretos. La vida eterna y la muerte eterna . . . éstas Dios nos las presenta como los dos destinos invisibles para las cuales este mundo no es más que una breve preparación. Algunos irán al cielo, mientras que otros serán hundidos en el infierno. ¿Y por qué? Porque Dios es el Escultor Supremo. Es el Determinador de todo. O, en breve, porque Dios es Dios. “Toda obra del Señor tiene un propósito; ¡hasta el malvado fue hecho para el día del desastre!”

Esto los ofende mucho a los hombres pecaminosos. Pablo, anticipando esta protesta, escribió, “Respondo: ¿Quién eres tú para pedirle cuentas a Dios? ‘¿Acaso le dirá la olla de barro al que la modeló: “¿Por qué me hiciste así?”’ ¿No tiene derecho el alfarero de hacer del mismo barro unas vasijas para usos especiales y otras para fines ordinarios? ¿Y qué si Dios, queriendo mostrar su ira y dar a conocer su poder, soportó con mucha paciencia a los que eran objeto de su castigo y estaban destinados a la destrucción? ¿Qué si lo hizo para dar a conocer sus gloriosas riquezas a los que eran objeto a su misericordia, y a quienes de antemano preparó para esa gloria? Esos somos nosotros, a quienes Dios llamó no sólo de entre los judíos sino también de entre los gentiles.”
Ciertamente podemos apretar los dientes, agitar el puño y protestar hasta el último grado. Pero Dios es Dios. El hace lo que le gusta. “Muchos son los invitados, pero pocos los escogidos.” “Tengo clemendia de quien quiero tenerla, y soy compasivo con quien quiero serlo.” ” . . . predestinados según el plan de aquél que hace todas las cosas conforme al designio de su voluntad.”

Si usted se enoja ante esto, usted está en peligro. La voluntad de Dios es irresistible. Usted puede echarle la culpa a Dios, pero Dios queda sin culpa. Todos sabemos que Dios no nos hace pecar; no lo hace nadie. Pero usted lucha contra Dios sin ser forzado; usted camina por la ancha senda a la destrucción por su propio libre albedrío.

Pero así como el sol ablanda algunas materias y endurece otras, Dios puede tomar esta doctrina solemne de la predestinación y emplearla para efectuar una respuesta muy distinta. El Señor está siempre ante su banco de trabajo. El usa varias herramientas para su propósito. Y hasta esta herramienta, con sus filas agudas, dentadas, está a su disposición. Quizás aun ahora él está haciéndole a usted humilde. Quizás aun ahora está infundiendo temor y ansiedad espiritual. Quizás hasta ahora usted nunca haya pensado en su destino eterno, y mucho menos la perspectiva horrible del infierno. Pero quizás ahora está pensando en ello. Y ahora usted debe ser salvado.

Clame a Dios. Invoque su nombre. Y haga mano de ese único nombre que él ha otorgado entre los hombres mediante el cual pueden ser salvados, el nombre de Jesucristo.

Some robust natural theology, courtesy of the redoubtable Mr. Sherlock Holmes (from The Naval Treaty, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

* * * *

“What a lovely thing a rose is!”

He walked past the couch to the open window and held up the drooping stalk of a moss-rose, looking down at the dainty blend of crimson and green. It was a new phase of his character to me, for I had never before seen him show any keen interest in natural objects.

“There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as religion,” said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. “It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.”

untitledA sculptor sits down on his stool, his sleeves rolled up. He reaches out and lays hold of the clay – cold, passive, and formless. On the wheel, he spins and shapes the clay, fashioning it into that which is before his mind’s eye. He is in total control, the master of his art. He is the lord of the clay, and the product is wholly his.

All human sculptors are but a hazy image, a shadow of God. He is the Prime Sculptor, making the worlds, shaping them into the pattern and use for which He has predetermined them. Scripture confirms what nature teaches. God is Sovereign, performing His absolute will.

This extends not only to lifeless earth or to the animal kingdom, for God is also Sculptor of man. He has a predetermined purpose for him, a purpose as it pleases Him. Now, looking at the wreckage of human history,  it may seem as though God’s purpose has failed. Satan hijacked the man-project, and Adam and Eve were ruined. True enough. But God’s will cannot in the end be thwarted. If it can, we demote God. Shorn of omnipotence, He lives not as the Shaper, but as the shaped.  But God is God!  And “He has done whatever pleased Him.”

Adam and Eve, complicit with the Devil, abused their free will – and we in them. Further, we have as their offspring followed suit. But this did not catch God off-guard. God had already from eternity past determined that man should fall into sin and misery, and even this would fulfill His purpose. “Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world.”

And from before all time, God chose from the clay of mankind a number of men and women as yet unborn and non-existent. He determined to fashion them and not others into vessels on which He would lavish mercy and eternal glory. Then God also sovereignly chose that the rest of mankind should be designed for eternal ruin for their eventual sins. Everlasting life and everlasting death – these the Bible presents to us as the two unseen destinies for which this world is but a brief preparation. Some will go to heaven, while others will be plunged into hell. And why? Because God is the Master Sculptor. He is the Determiner of everything. Or, in short, because God is God. “He hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of judgment.”

This rubs sinful men the wrong way. Paul, anticipating this objection, wrote,

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Rom. 9:20-24).

We can surely can clench our teeth, shake our fists, and protest all we want. But God is God. He does as it pleases Him. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” “Elect according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will .”

If you chafe at this, you do it at your peril. God’s will is irresistible. You can fault God, but God is faultless.  We all know that does not make us sin; no one does. But you fight God unforced; you walk down the broad path to destruction of your own free will.

But just as the sun softens some materials and hardens others, so God can take this solemn doctrine of predestination and use it to bring about a very different response. The Master is ever at His workbench.  He uses various tools for his purpose. And even this tool, with its seemingly sharp, serrated edges, is at his disposal. Perhaps even now He is humbling you.  Perhaps now He is instilling fear and spiritual anxiety.  Perhaps until now you have never thought of your eternal destiny before, much less the horrifying prospect of hell.  But maybe now you are.  And now you must be saved.

Cry out to God.  Call upon His name.  And lay hold of that only name that He has given among men through which they may be saved, the name of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 41 other followers

Follow on WordPress.com
Advertisements