Drinking Deeply

Sunday, December 31, 2006 at 11:51 AM

Lord's Day 18

Q. 46. How dost thou understand these words, "he ascended into heaven"?

Answer: That Christ, in sight of his disciples, was taken up from earth into heaven; (a) and that he continues there for our interest, (b) until he comes again to judge the quick and the dead. (c)

(a) Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. Matt.26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. Luke 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. (b) Heb.7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Heb.4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Heb.9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Rom.8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Eph.4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) Col.3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (c) Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Matt.24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Question 47. Is not Christ then with us even to the end of the world, as he has promised? (a)

Answer: Christ is very man and very God; with respect to his human nature, he is no more on earth; (b) but with respect to his Godhead, majesty, grace and spirit, he is at no time absent from us. (c)


(a) Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (b) Heb.8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Matt.26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (c) John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. Matt.28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Eph.4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Eph.4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Question 48. But if his human nature is not present, wherever his Godhead is, are not then these two natures in Christ separated from one another?

Answer: Not as all, for since the Godhead is illimitable and omnipresent, (a) it must necessarily follow that the same is beyond the limits of the human nature he assumed, (b) and yet is nevertheless in this human nature, and remains personally united to it.

(a) Acts 7:49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Jer.23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. (b) Col.2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Matt.28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Question 49. Of what advantage to us is Christ's ascension into heaven?

Answer: First, that he is our advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven; (a) secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, as the head, will also take up to himself, us, his members; (b) thirdly, that he sends us his Spirit as an earnest, (c) by whose power we "seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth." (d)

(a) 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: Rom.8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (b) John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Eph.2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (c) John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 2 Cor.1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 2 Cor.5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. (d) Col.3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Philip.3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006 at 11:44 AM

Rethinking Memory Verses:Eccl. 12:12

Ecclesiastes 12:12
12My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
This really isn't as much of a memory verse as much as it has been an informal "student's creed." I had always taken it (jokingly) as if it were saying, "man, studying is overrated, even the Bible says so, go out and have some fun."

But the other day, I was reading through Ecclesiastes 12 and I found the context. Funny how often random bible verses get ripped out of context isn't it? But anyways, here it is, summing up the book of Ecclesiastes. After all that searching for meaning and truth, here's what the preacher is saying to us:

Ecclesiastes 12:9-12
9Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

11The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

What is the text saying? Not specifically that studying in generally wearies the body, but that what is written already is sufficient. Don't go past them. This isn't to say that what is new is necessarily bad, but ultimately, there really is nothing new under the sun. Everything that needs to be said has already been said (in Scripture, which is sufficient to make a man prepared for every good work).

As a personal example, I was quite surprised how much of today's debates has been done before. For example, in Luther's Bondage of the Will, not only does he deal with God's complete and comprehensive sovereignty in salvation, but he also discusses how people come to know things (epistemology) and deals with Erasmus' view of knowledge (which I thought was surprisingly similar to today's postmodern views of knowledge and truth).

You find similar examples of all this all over the place. It's all been done =)

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Friday, December 29, 2006 at 10:57 AM

Book Review: Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev. is sort of an autobiographical story of Mark Driscoll and the growth of Mars Hill Church. Written in a very readable first-person format, I was definitely drawn in Mark and Mars Hill's life and growth through the ups and downs. The book followed Mark as he went through his own personal theological development, his problems with various people and situations in the church and personal life and how he dealt with them. It certainly showed the dark side as well as the good sides of Mark and Mars Hill. I finished this book in like a day. It was pretty good and very readable.

It did an excellent job of introducing me to Mark Driscoll and his idea of what "Emerging"/"Missional" looked like. I think he would qualify himself as missional more than emerging, though many of the organizations he is/was involved with are known more as emerging from my understanding. He takes the charge to be a friend of sinners very seriously, and is always encouraging people to bring friends, reach out to the community, and the like.

There was a lot of things I appreciated about this book. Mark was winsome, blunt, honest, harsh on his opponents and harsher on himself. Mark was bold about what he believed, almost to a fault. There are many times where he would simply state what he believe (on the sovereignty of God, infant baptism, church government) and then sort of dismiss the other views. Which is certainly fine in a personal autobiography, but the book came at times as a "how to build a church" book, complete with questions at the end of each chapter, so I wasn't quite sure how appropriate I thought the blanket dismissals were, even if I agreed with them. The few times I didn't agree with Mark, I found his sarcastic (almost mocking) tone a bit arrogant, so I can only image how people would respond if they didn't agree with him on women pastors or the sovereignty of God.

It was also humbling to see the costs and sacrifices that he made for the church and building up the church and the need for commitment from his congregation and how they responded. Certainly challenged me to examine just how committed I was to my church, if pastors were willing to do that for their flock. I was surprised at how often he had to basically tear down the existing structure and start anew, and longed for the same humility in myself that the elders and members of his church showed throughout the process.

I also really appreciated the emphasis upon manhood that Mark had. Properly diagnosing the problem as a lack of Biblical teaching, Mark did exactly the right thing in raising up leaders, teaching them to teach other leaders (per the commands in Titus), and keeping an eye especially on making men men. Way to go Mark!

As with all things, there are things I didn't quite agree with or like about Mark or the book. My big issue was the colorful language. There are a number of occurrences where Mark depicted something in a manner that I thought was very unbecoming of a pastor of a church. Phrases that my mother would slap me for seem to be funny or a joke to Mark. It wasn't like he admitted his language was a problem (which would have made it better I guess), but it sounded like he was trying to win points with the "in" crowd, who knew all the slang and all the funny ways to joke about sexuality. Very uncool.

I do wish there was a little bit more Scripture in support of the theology he was espousing (especially for church government, something I am still uncertain about myself), but I guess that's how he decided to write the book, not as a Scriptural defense of his ecclesiology but as a casual explanation of what they went through.

All in all, an excellent read for getting to know Mark Driscoll and his brand of Reformissions. Good stuff. There are better books on church (namely, Dever's Deliberate Church) and better books on theology (if you're looking for that), but certainly an excellent biographical account. Worth reading if someone wants a better picture of who Mark Driscoll is and what he's about.

Worth reading =)


My recommendation: Borrow it

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 7:24 PM

TULIP (10) - Foreknowledge

One possible objection to the usage of Romans 8:29-30 is that God isn't calling people He chose, but rather calling people that He foreknew would come to faith. The claim is that "those he foreknew, he predestined" in verse 29 means that God foreknows the faith of the people he predestines.

Well, we're treading a bit on unconditional election (which will be the next topic), but I figure to just clear things away as they come up. In short, no I don't agree that the foreknowledge referenced here is a foreknowledge of future faith. Here's why:

1) This possibility is negated logically by our doctrine of total depravity. The only faith that people will be coming to is faith born out of God's work, because man's work is sinful and hostile to God. There is no single person that is going to come to God without God first renewing their mind.

2) Grammatically, the verse says, "29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers" and points to God as foreknowing people and not faith. To change the sentence into "for those whose faith he foreknew" is inserting a concept that isn't there.

3) Positively, we understand God's foreknowing as an act of fore-loving. In the same way that Adam knew his wife Eve, God knows us in a loving manner. Jeremiah 1:5 reads:
5"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Here, we see God's fore-knowing of Jeremiah as leading directly to his consecration and appointment as a prophet. We see the same concept when Jesus says in Matthew 7
"And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"
We certainly can't say that Jesus never knew about these people, but rather he never loved them.

I would say that a more interpretative translation of Romans 8:29 would say, "For those God loved he predestined..."

Even if we concede that the foreknowledge is a foreknowledge of faith, it still remains to be shown that a person somehow comes to faith apart from God giving faith to him.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 10:49 AM

Book Review: Truth Matters

Truth Matters is a compilation book of the best chapters from John MacArthur's teaching ministry. As someone who has greatly enjoyed what books of John MacArthur I had read, I looked forward to the same hard hitting truth boldly proclaimed and I wasn't disappointed.

Within the book were chapters on the sufficiency of Scripture, the holiness of God, the cost of discipleship, justification by faith, the prosperity Gospel, a picture of Heaven, parenting, and many others. Each chapter was filled with the truths of the faith presented in a clear manner. The chapter on the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ while on the cross brought me to tears, for reasons I honestly didn't quite understand. I suspect it was the reminder of the servant suffering for my sins, Christ's example of righteousness, and Christ's concern for His mother. I had read a couple of the books that some of the chapters were excerpted from previously, but it was certainly no burden to reread the chapters he had written. It was pretty solid. The chapter on sanctification (Hacking Agag to Pieces) was stupendous and convicting. It presented clear biblical teaching on the difficult topic of sanctification. I would recommend that chapter to everyone.

One interesting thing to note though, is that many of the chapters were written in response to perversions of various doctrines, so some of them probably will lose their context in a few years (but it seems that the older teachings are now 20 years old and going, so who knows). It was the chapters that gave a positive presentation of truth that I enjoyed the most. I'm glad that John MacArthur does not only spend his time refuting heresies, but also making positive presentations of the Gospel.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested. There is a lot in here to chew upon, and it would be good for all sorts of believers, young and mature alike.


My recommendation: Own it if you don't own much of John Macarthur's books, Borrow it if you do.

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Monday, December 25, 2006 at 8:11 PM

It's not me, it's you

John 15

18"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,[c] but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'

Sometimes Christians are accused of being divisive and argumentative. "Why can't we all get along? After all, aren't all the religions basically the same, seeking the unity of humankind?" Sometimes being a Christian will require someone to take an unpopular position, putting the kingdom of God first. Sometimes being a Christian will cost one's close friends and family and the pressure to compromise will be great.

For those who call for compromise between light and darkness, the problem is with the Christian. But in fact the problem is with them. Unity with darkness (and we're not talking about people who agree on the fundamentals but disagree somewhere else) is never encouraged or permitted by Scripture. Unity of the human race is not the goal, the glory of God is. Remember that one of the greatest shows of unity resulted in the curse of Babel, where God scattered the people and confused their languages specifically to check their corruption (Genesis 11). The division that happens today within families is not the Christian's fault, it is the non-Christian's fault. The world hates us because it has hated Christ first. Let us remember that Christ was not some heavenly version of Mr. Rogers. Christ was crucified for a reason. He enraged a large group of people. And when they complained, he mocked them a bit more.

If as a Christian I do something in obedience to God, and other people object yet my conscience is clear, then I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry because the problem isn't with me, and I'm not going to apologize for something that Christ has commanded me to do (these are commands in Scripture and not subjective emotions). The problem is with them. I'll help them deal with it (if they want), but I'm not going to apologize for Christ or for what He's done in me.

This all doesn't mean it's no longer a Christian duty to love one's neighbor btw.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 at 11:17 PM

TULIP (9) - Effectual Call(2)

John 6 is another passage in support of the doctrine of Effectual Call (or Irresistible Grace).

To lay down some background of the passage, Jesus has just fed the 5000 (John 6:1-14), convincing many that he was the prophet to save the world. While they want to make him king, he withdraws (John 6:15). He then crosses the sea (by foot) and frightens some apostles (John 6:16-21), finally landing on the other side of the sea. The crowd, waking up and not finding Jesus, decide to go looking for him (John 6:22-24). They find him on the other side and are amazed. Jesus rebukes them for seeking the food of this world and exhorts them to labor for eternal life (as a side note, there is much in this short passage that can be expounded upon, but my focus is the next one, so that sentence will have serve as a summary of John 6:25-34).

John 6:35-40
35Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
With the exhortation of minding spiritual food that lasts and not material food, we find Jesus saying that whoever comes to him shall not hunger and whoever believes in him shall never thirst. What is he speaking of? Eternity of course.

Verse 37 is the big verse in support of Irresistible Grace.
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out."
The act of the Father giving people to Jesus preceeds their coming to Jesus. Notice also how the 5 points of TULIP are being woven together here. Preservation of the saints is directly supported by the second half of that verse and by the two verse 39 and 40.
39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
Notice also that the connect to preservation of those who come to Christ for all eternity prevents the possibility of reading into the passage a possibility of a universal giving by the Father to Jesus Christ.

Continuing in the passage, we see Jesus making similar statements. The Jews grumble that Jesus couldn't be divine (from heaven) as he has a father and mother that they know. Jesus reaffirms his divinity and points to why they actually don't believe him.

41So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" 43Jesus answered them, "Do not grumble among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. ho sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."
Why don't the Jews believe him? Because the Father does not draw them. But what does this draw (same word translated "drag" in Acts 16:19 and Acts 21:30) result in? Jesus raising the ones drawn on the last day. Notice the direct connection to John 6:39

39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
This drawing is the same (or at least very closely connected) as the giving of the Father. It is an active thing done by God and only God. We cannot come to Jesus without this drawing, and this drawing leads directly a raising up on the last day. Notice also the direct connection to our complete inability (Total depravity). No one can come unless the Father draws.

As if this isn't convincing enough, we see Jesus hammering home the point. Why does he say all this about no one being able to come? Because that point explains why some people do not come. (Does this remind us of Romans 8:7-8?) They do not because they cannot.

John 6:64-65
64But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

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Thursday, December 14, 2006 at 11:02 PM

Free stuff

Interesting contest.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at 11:33 AM

Reading Deeply

Haven't had one of these in a while. I haven't been reading much of blogs lately, so some of these are a little older/repetitious. I'm in the middle of finals, so working and working =)

Steve Hays does an excellent job discussing what God's glory means and what it looks like.

He also addresses the common WWJD fad.

Paul Helm has an imagined conversation with Paul the Apostle and discusses Christmas. Excellent read.

Dan Phillips sounds the trumpet call for a life lived out for the glory of God. Convicting.

centurion just finished up a series on Christmas. Very insightful and convicting. A good reminded of what it means that "to us a child is born." Read them all.

Douglas Wilson takes a good hard look at the Pharisees.

Tim Challies has an excellent post dealing with our sinful nature, how sometimes we can acknowledge that we sin, but not that we are sinners. Insightful. He also references the Marsden biography of Jonathan Edwards. If you have the time, I would highly encourage you to read it.

In books, Total Truth is chugging along. Very insightful, though does repeat a lot of How Now Shall We Live. I've also started John Macarthur's Truth Matters, which is a "best of John Macarthur" type book. Takes some of the best chapters of other books he's written and bound them all together. Very good stuff.

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Monday, December 11, 2006 at 2:39 PM

Coram Deo (before the face of God)

Sometimes it's interesting how the Bible pierces right into the heart, even when it's on a topic that may only be tangentially related. Well, I guess that's why it's living and active! (Hebrews 4:12)

I was reading 1 Kings last week and something interesting came to light. I found it very convicting for myself so I decided to share it on my blog.

Some background story. Jeroboam is now king of Israel after Rehoboam, Solomon's son, made the stupid move of listening to the young hot-heads instead of the wise advisers. (But this was all in accordance to God's will, 1 Kings 12:15). Now, you'd think after being basically handed the kingdom by God, he'd turn to God and follow Him all his days, but nope, goes after false gods. Builds some golden calves and comes up with new feasts (1 Kings 12:25-33).

Just brilliant. Brilliant I say. And then his son gets sick, so what does he do? He sends his wife to the prophet Ahijah and tells her something very interesting (1 Kings 14):
2And Jeroboam said to his wife, "Arise, and disguise yourself, that it not be known that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh. Behold, Ahijah the prophet is there, who said of me that I should be king over this people. 3Take with you ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what shall happen to the child."
And at this point I just laughed aloud. She's going to ask a prophet of God about what to do with the child, and he wants her to disguise herself so the prophet doesn't know it's his son! Wow, sheer brilliance. As if the prophet would know which son, what to do, all without knowing who was asking. Boy is he going to get it. And get it Jeroboam did:
7Go, tell Jeroboam, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: "Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel 8and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes, 9but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back, 10therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone. 11Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat, for the LORD has spoken it."' 12Arise therefore, go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. 13And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found something pleasing to the LORD, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam. 14Moreover, the LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today. And henceforth, 15the LORD will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the LORD to anger. 16And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin."
Man, what a joke! How could someone be so stupid. Trying to go to a prophet of God for answers when he was blatantly sinning and hoping not to get caught but would still get what he wanted. I would never do something that dumb...

And of course, I was caught. I could easily think of so many instances where I had done just that. Of course, I had no dying child, no wife to send in my stead, to prophet to approach, but the principle was the same. I am a little better with the disguise of course. I try to "serve" other people. I try to read the Bible more. I try to hang out with people in my dorm ("ministry"), all the while hanging onto my idolatrous pride, legalistic mindset, and discontentment.

Who was I fooling? There I was, approaching the throne of God hoping that the disguise I was wearing was good enough to get what I wanted, while the knower of hearts looked on. (1 Samuel 16:7)

God have mercy on me, a sinner.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006 at 6:24 PM

Lord's Day 17

45.

Q. How does Christ's resurrection benefit us?

A. First, by His resurrection He has overcome death, so that He could make us share in the righteousness which He had obtained for us by His death.1 Second, by His power we too are raised up to a new life.2 Third, Christ's resurrection is to us a sure pledge of our glorious resurrection.3

1 Rom 4:25; 1 Cor 15:16-20; 1 Pet 1:3-5. 2 Rom 6:5-11; Eph 2:4-6; Col 3:1-4. 3 Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 15:12-23; Phil 3:20, 21.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006 at 2:24 PM

TULIP (8) - Effectual Call

Romans 8 is quite possibly one of my favorite chapters of the entire Bible, simply because it's filled with such hope and joy in Christ.

The golden chain of salvation located in Romans 8 is one of the clearest presentations of irresistible grace out there. I would like to point specifically to the usage of the word "call" in verse 30 for my defense of "irresistible grace".

Now, as a point of clarification, it's necessary to remark that the term "called" can often mean different things. There is a general call to repentance which is for everyone (Matthew 22:14), but there's also a special calling, one where God irresistibly draws us to Him. That's the call I'm talking about here, and that's the call Romans 8 is talking about as well.

Romans 8
29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
To restate things:

29a) Those God foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son
29b) This was done so that his Son might be the firstborn among many brothers

30a) Those God predestined he called
30b) Those he called he justified
30c) Those he justified he also glorified.

Verses 29 and 30 amount to a logical argument

A person who was foreknown was predestined
A person who was predestined was called
A person who was called was justified
A person who was justified was glorified

Notice that foreknown => predestined => called => justified =>glorified.

A person who goes through the first step will also go through the rest.

Now, what I am calling irresistible grace is simply the "called was justified" statement. Every single person who is called, was justified. I think it's fair to argue the future sense as well (that every single person who will be called will be justified), as Paul is not only looking back in Romans 8, but to the future as well. We cannot read this "call" as a general call for all people, since that would mean that every single person in the entire history of the world would have been called, justified, and glorified, something not attested to in Scripture. Instead we see "call" as a specific call, one which leads to justification and glorification. The call is preceded by foreknowing and predestination. (I've already dealt with foreknowledge here, but am planning on doing a more complete post dealing with the question "is our election based on foreknown faith?")

So what do we find? We find that there is a calling that invariably leads to justification and glorification. This calling is thus properly termed "effectual" or "irresistible." Being called leads to salvation.

Still to come: John 6 and foreknowledge

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006 at 6:59 PM

TULIP (7) - Irresistible Grace

Irresistible grace - (Also known as "effectual calling," "inward call," and closely associated with the phrase "regeneration precedes faith.")

Here's my definition again, subject to revision.
For those that God has chosen, there comes a point where God will save them by the working of His Holy Spirit in their lives, bringing them to repentance and faith. This call, done by God's grace, is thus termed “irresistible” as He overcomes all obstacles to faith and saves people.
The key point that the Synod of Dordt wanted to make was against "resistible grace."

As I understand it, "resistible grace" depicted God's call to salvation as that of "wooing," "drawing," an "invitation" and a "gift," and thus could be rejected or accepted. That was dependent upon free human choice. (see article 4)

In contrast, the doctrine summarized by "irresistible grace" (in it's more consistent form, as there is disagreement about the sincere offer) rejects the idea of "God invites you" in favor of a divine command to repent and believe the Gospel. It presents God not only as "wooing" but also actively transforming the person. This act, done by the Holy Spirit, is termed irresistible, as it is seen as on the same level as God commanding "Let there be light." (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)

While it certainly is possible for men to resist the Holy Spirit in a sense (Acts 7:51), but there is a point where God says "enough!" and He brings repentance and salvation upon people. Simply put, God transforms their heart so that they can't help but believe.

Irresistible grace is a complement to total depravity. If we accept that man cannot take that step to God, but instead is hostile to God, dead in its sins, a slave to sin, blind, deaf, and possessing a heart of stone, then it must be completely dependent upon God to save him, transform him, raise him from the dead, open his eyes, remove his heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh. For if it were up to man at all, then his depraved nature would reject God completely and turn away from Him. (see my previous post for where all these references are to)

Before I dive into expounding two specific passages, here are some brief references of this actively happening in Scripture.

2 Timothy 2:24-25-
24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
(God granting repentance)

Acts 16:14-
14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
(Lord opened her heart)

2 Chronicles 30:11-12
11However, some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.
(Some humbled themselves, and the Lord's hand also was on Judah to give them one heart to obey the Lord)

The two major texts to come: John 6 and Romans 8.

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