„Hier stehe ich“
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It is common to say that hell is the absence of God. Such statements are motivated in large part by the dread of even contemplating what hell is like. We try often to soften that blow and find a euphimism to skirt around it.
We need to realize that those who are in hell desire nothing more than the absence of God. They didn’t want to be in God’s presence during their earthly lives, and they certainly don’t want Him near when they’re in hell. The worst thing about hell is the presence of God there.
When we use the imagery of the Old Testament in an attempt to understand the forsakenness of the lost, we are not speaking of the idea of the departure of God or the absence of God in the sense that He ceases to be omnipresent. Rather, it’s a way of describing the withdrawal of God in terms of His redemptive blessing. It is the absence of the light of His countenance. It is the presence of the frown of His countenance. It is the absence of the blessedness of His unveiled glory that is a delight to the souls of those who love Him, but it is the presence of the darkness of judgment. Hell reflects the presence of God in His mode of judgment, in His exercise of wrath, and that’s what everyone would like to escape.
I think that’s why we get confused. There is withdrawal in terms of the blessing of the radical nearness of God. His benefits can be removed far from us, and that’s what this language is calling attention to.
-R.C. Sproul (H/T: Desiring God)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The wrath of God is as personal, and as potent, as his love; and, just as the blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus was the direct manifesting of his Father's love toward us, so it was the direct averting of his Father's wrath against us.So far from the manifestation of God's wrath in punishing sin being morally doubtful, the thing that would be morally doubtful would be for him not to show his wrath in this way. God is not just - that is, he does not act in the way that is right, he does not do what is proper to a judge - unless he inflicts upon all sin and wrongdoing the penalty it deserves.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
"But then it happened one day," we will continue Raattamaa's account, "that when I received the grace to gaze in faith and the Spirit at the bloodred thorn crowned King, power came from Him, and Christ's suffering affected in my soul a living power I had never known before. I believed my sins forgiven in the shed heart-sprinkling atoning blood, from which followed the recognition of the resurrected and living Lord Jesus. That which I had been seeking from afar was close at hand, and effected joy and peace in my soul. Now I was ashamed of my unbelief, and noticed that I had not previously believed from the heart."-Juhani Raattamaa (1811-1899)
Friday, October 23, 2009
There is no thought in the Bible that Satan had to be paid off to let sinners be saved. What happened to Satan when Christ died was not payment but defeat......If we ask who received the ransom, the biblical answer would surely be God. The Bible says that Christ "gave himself up for us, [an] . . . offering . . . to God" (Ephesians 5:2). Christ "offered himself without blemish to God" (Hebrews 9:14). The whole need for a substitute to die on our behalf is because we have sinned against God and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And because of our sin, "the whole world [is] held accountable to God" (Romans 3:19). So when Christ gives himself as a ransom for us, the Bible says that we are freed from the condemnation of God. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). The ultimate captivity from which we need release is the final "judgment of God" (Romans 2:2; Revelation 14:7).
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
More recently, in some of the post modern readings, we are called to all experience Christ in our own way and not be bothered by the confines of some ancient Apostolic proclamation. Post modernism urges us to live as independent islands in a sea of meaninglessness. Your autonomous opinions, they argue, are just as meaningful and valid as those who deliberated at Nicea or who were first commissioned by the Risen Lord. A hermeneutic of proclamation and faith is replaced by a hermeneutic of suspicion and doubt and both called equally valid. According to this scheme, theology, it seems, is really – after all – only anthropology. The church is a human construct, not a divinely ordained community. Yet, in the face of all of this - though the tempest rages for a season, the church is once again reconstituted into the truth. What we are experiencing in our day has been the re-emergence of a more faithful church from other quarters, mainly in the non-western world and the great unanimity of the church throughout the ages marches on, because God is the one who preserves His church and its living witness to Jesus Christ...
...If Nicea does not lay out boundaries, then we are left only with self-identification and we can no longer use the word ‘Christian’ or ‘Body of Christ’ with any real meaning. For if you don’t have doctrinal stability, you cannot have ethical stability and if you don’t have ethical stability you don’t have stability of worship and therefore we are no longer related vitality and necessarily to the headship of Jesus Christ. Our historic boundaries would become lost in a post-modern sea of autonomous self-definitions. What a contrast from the Apostle John who gives that final testimony at the end of time which gives us the courage to know that in the Final Day the church will be preserved out of every snare for he hears this act of worship in heaven, testifying not to another gospel or something novel, but to the Apostolic proclamation:
You were slain and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…and so… to him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever (Rev. 5:9,13), thus fulfilling those words of the Apostle Paul in Col. 1:18: And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from the dead, so that in everything He might have supremacy.
- Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, President of Asbury Theological Seminary from his essay here.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Therefore, let your soul, by faith, dwell on such thoughts as these:I am a poor, weak creature; unstable as water, and I cannot excel. This corruption is too hard for me, and is the doorway to the ruin of my soul. I do not know what to do.My soul has become parched ground, and a habitation of dragons. I have made promises and broken them. I have made vows, but I did not keep them. Many times I have been persuaded that I have gained the victory, and that I should be delivered, but I was deceived. Now I plainly see that without some great help and assistance, I will perish and be forced to abandon God.But yet, though this is my state and condition, I will lift up my hands that hang down, and strengthen my feeble knees, for, behold, the Lord Jesus Christ has all the fullness of grace in His heart, and all the fullness of power in His hand. He is able to slay all these enemies. There is sufficient provision in Him for my relief and assistance. He can take my drooping, dying soul and make me more than a conqueror.-John Owen (1616-1683), from The Mortification of Sin in modern English by Richard Rushing.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Bring your lust to the gospel. Not for relief, but for further conviction of your guilt. Look on Him whom you have pierced, and let it trouble you. Say to your soul, 'What have I done? What love, what mercy, what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this how I pay back the Father for His love? Is this how I thank the Son for His blood? Is this how I respond to the Holy Spirit for His grace? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, and the Holy Spirit has chosen to dwell in? How can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before Him? Do I count fellowship with Him of so little value that, for this vile lust's sake, I have hardly left Him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great a salvation?'What shall I say to the Lord? His love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation - I have despised all of them! I have considered them as nothing, that I might harbor lust in my heart. Have I seen God as my Father, that I might provoke Him to His face? Was my soul washed that there might be room for new defilements? Shall I seek to disappoint the purpose of the death of Christ? Shall I grieve the Holy Spirit, Who has sealed me unto the day of redemption? Allow your conscience to consider these things every day. See if your conscience can resist the way in which these considerations aggravate guilt. If this does not cause your conscience to sink and melt, I fear that your case is very dangerous.- John Owen, written in modern English by Richard Rushing.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
In the winter of 1844 I came to the Åsele region of Lapland in the capacity of inspector. I met a few Readers of the more moderate type there. Among them was a Sami girl named Maria who, after hearing my sermon from the altar, opened her whole heart to me. This simple girl had experienced the order of salvation in a way that was totally new to me. She had traveled far and wide, seeking light for her darkness. In her journeys she had at last encountered Pastor Brandell in Nora, and after she opened up her heart to him, Brandell released Maria from her doubts. Through him, Maria came to a living faith. And I thought to myself, "Here is a Mary who sits at the feet of Jesus. For the first time now," I thought, "I can see the way that leads to life; it was hidden from me until I had the privilege of speaking with Maria." Her simple account of her pilgrimage and experiences made such a deep impression on my heart that I, too, saw the light; that evening spent with Maria, I experienced a foretaste of the joy of heaven. But the pastors of Åsele did not understand Maria's heart, and even Maria recognized that they were not of this sheepfold. I shall remember the poor Maria as long as I live, and I hope to meet her in the brighter world beyond the grave.
Falling snowflakes covered her as she lay unconscious on the road. It was Christmas time, and nobody was abroad at that hour in this sparsely settled region. A short distance from where Milla lay was an isolated farm. The farmer's son had gone visiting with the intention of returning the following day, but he was so overcome with anxiety about his family that he hitched up his sleigh and left for home the same evening. After traveling some distance, the horse shied and stopped abruptly. When the young man alighted to investigate, he found the Sami girl lying in the road covered with snow. He picked her up, laid her in his sleigh and took her home. In the warm house, she recovered enough to continue her journey the next day.