The Believer’s Eternal Destiny

TheologyGirl Spiritual Selections
“The Believer’s Eternal Destiny”
April 19, 2017

We begin a new series of theologically based quotes on our eternal destiny with the Lord Jesus Christ as our hope and joy as we walk through our pilgrimage here as His servants and ambassadors.  We have chosen some of the best theological writings for this series and pray it will be an encouragement to you in your daily walk.  We begin with  series of quotes from Geerhardus Vos.  Be encouraged!

“The Believer longs for heaven because it is the realm of closest embrace of God:

‘Those who looked for the city that has foundations sought it for no other reason than that its maker and builder is God.  It is because it is the city of God, the structure in which he has embodied his own perfection, in which his thoughts and purposes for his own stand objectified, that it forms a worthy object of the supreme religious quest of the believer.  In it is God at every point, and those who dwell in it see him constantly.  The measure of their desire for it becomes the measure of their love for God.’”*

_________
*Geerhardus Vos, Pauline Eschatology, 61

Advertisements

The Attributes of God: The Immutability of God

immutabilityTheologyGirl-ReformedWomen

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
A.W. Pink

THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD

This is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17).

First, God is immutable in His essence. His nature and being are infinite, and so, subject to no mutations. There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6) is His own unqualified affirmation. He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything outside Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same. He only can say, “I am that I am” (Ex. 3:14). He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time. There is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.

Secondly, God is immutable in His attributes. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so forever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Semper idem (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied. The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is “forever settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). His love is eternal: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3) and “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is “everlasting” (Ps. 100:5).

Thirdly, God is immutable in His counsel. His will never varies. Perhaps some are ready to object that we ought to read the following: “And it repented the Lord that He had made man” (Gen. 6:6). Our first reply is, Then do the Scriptures contradict themselves? No, that cannot be. Numbers 23:19 is plain enough: “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent.” So also in 1 Samuel 15:19, “The strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.” The explanation is very simple. When speaking of Himself. God frequently accommodates His language to our limited capacities. He describes Himself as clothed with bodily members, as eyes, ears, hands, etc. He speaks of Himself as “waking” (Ps. 78:65), as “rising early” (Jer. 7:13); yet He neither slumbers nor sleeps. When He institutes a change in His dealings with men, He describes His course of conduct as “repenting.”

Yes, God is immutable in His counsel. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29). It must be so, for “He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13). Change and decay in all around we see, may He who changeth not abide with thee. God’s purpose never alters. One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for Him to revise His decrees. No. “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Ps. 33:11). Therefore do we read of “the immutability of His counsel” (Heb. 6:17).

Herein we may perceive the infinite distance which separates the highest creature from the Creator. Creaturehood and mutability are correlative terms. If the creature was not mutable by nature, it would not be a creature; it would be God. By nature we tend to nothing, as we came from nothing. Nothing stays our annihilation but the will and sustaining power of God. None can sustain himself a single moment. We are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw. We gladly own with the Psalmist Thou “holdest our soul in life” (Ps. 66:9). The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him “in Whom we live and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

As fallen creatures we are not only mutable, but everything in us is opposed to God. As such we are “wandering stars” (Jude 13), out of our proper orbit. The wicked are “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” (Isa. 57:20). Fallen man is inconstant. The words of Jacob concerning Reuben apply with full force to all of Adam’s descendants: “unstable as water” (Gen. 49:4). Thus it is not only a mark of piety, but also the part of wisdom to heed that injunction, “cease ye from man” (Isa. 2:22). No human being is to be depended on. “Put not your trust in princes, in the son of man, in whom is no help” (Ps. 146:3). If I disobey God, then I deserve to be deceived and disappointed by my fellows. People who like you today, may hate you tomorrow. The multitude who cried “Hosanna to the Son of David,” speedily changed to “Away with Him, Crucify Him.”

Herein is solid comfort. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will stable, His word is sure. Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee” (Isa. 54:10).

Herein is encouragement to prayer: “What comfort would it be to pray to a god that, like the chameleon, changed color every moment? Who would put up a petition to an earthly prince that was so mutable as to grant a petition one day, and deny it another?” (S. Charnock, 1670). Should someone ask, But what is the use of praying to One whose will is already fixed? We answer, Because He so requires it. What blessings has God promised without our seeking them? “If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14), and He has willed everything that is for His child’s good. To ask for anything contrary to His will is not prayer, but rank rebellion.

Herein is terror for the wicked. Those who defy Him, break His laws, have no concern for His glory, but live their lives as though He existed not, must not suppose that, when at the last they shall cry to Him for mercy, He will alter His will, revoke His word, and rescind His awful threatenings. No, He has declared, “Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Ezek. 8:18). God will not deny Himself to gratify their lusts. God is holy, unchangingly so. Therefore God hates sin, eternally hates it. Hence the eternality of the punishment of all who die in their sins.

The Divine immutability, like the cloud which interposed between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, has a dark as well as a light side. It insures the execution of His threatenings, as well as the performance of His promises; and destroys the hope which the guilty fondly cherish, that He will be all lenity to His frail and erring creatures, and that they will be much more lightly dealt with than the declarations of His own Word would lead us to expect. We oppose to these deceitful and presumptuous speculations the solemn truth, that God is unchanging in veracity and purpose, in faithfulness and justice. (J. Dick, 1850).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There are several very excellent treatments of this subject and ones in which we distinctly adhere to, i.e., Calvin, Hodge, BB Warfield and more but we have chosen A.W. Pink’s “Attributes of God” for its simplistic easy-to-understand writing for the novice believer who happens upon our blog. _TheologyGirl

Hope for You and Your Family

Theology Girl-ReformedWomen Studies
Study Notes: “There is Hope”
Title: “Hope and Help For Your Family”
Author:
“ReformedWomen-Theology Girl”

__________________

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:1-5

“There is hope, real hope for you and your family. The problems that you have can be solved. There is hope for your family, for your life, and for your children, because God is the foundation of that hope.”1

Hope: “To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.”2

Hope for You and Your Family

As we continue in our study in Chapter 2, we are looking at the problems, trials and afflictions of living in a sinful world. We are looking at how society deals with them, blameshifts the responsibility for them and how we as Christians work through and understand them. We see the error of the world’s answers and we see the truth of God’s answers. We see a world in despair and we see the hope that Christ has given us in how we, as Christians, solve our problems. As we look at this chapter, we come to it with the knowledge of what we have learned in Chapter 1 about sin. This will help in our analysis of this chapter and our application of it. [Note: The summary below is an excerpt from the original study and does not include the entire lesson and commentary (you will have to wait for the book for it in its entirety!)]

First several questions from our “Questions for Discussion and Reflection”

  • Q.10. What is hope?
    a. For life?
    b. For solving problems?
    c. For the future?
  • Q. 11. When we solve our problems using God’s Word, using His terminology and applications, they can be solved. We have God’s promises and assurance that this is so. This means a change in our thinking from “worldly” thinking to “Christ-centered” thinking.
    a. What are some of the fruits of the spirit that come into view here to help us?
    b. How does this change our lives and give us hope?

In summary, we have learned:

1. That the world and often the “Christian” community peddles a viewpoint that blames most of our troubles and failures on “mental illness” or “sickness.”

2. That God in His great wisdom and providence has created “truly” mentally ill, mentally incapacitated, retarded or brain-damaged, via birth, accident or otherwise, people for His purposes, His glory and for our good.

3. That “sin” is the root and base cause of the “problems” of humanity.

4. That persisting in sinful behavior will result in physical ailments, discouragement, unrest, and no hope.

5. That God’s Word has the answer for every problem and every sin. This gives humanity hope. The Bible shows us how to live a godly life, to forsake sin, the results of sin, and to pursue righteousness in Christ Jesus our Lord.

6. That our “only hope in life and death” is Christ. That all sin, no matter how awful, can be forsaken and cleansed by Christ. That any sinful lifestyle can be changed to a life that is pleasing to God. This gives humanity hope and instead of an “excuse for sin,” an answer to how to deal with sin and how to change.

7. That God’s Word is the guidebook for Christians. That sins within people and the family can only be solved by God’s Word, prayer, confession, and an 180-degree turn from sin to righteousness.

8. That Christians must “fight the good fight of faith” by putting on the “whole armour of God” daily by exercising the fruits of the Spirit to live a “godly Christian life” and forsake the world, its methodology, its psychobabble, and its lies from the heart of the evil one. We are to “put off” unrighteousness and “put on” righteousness and “make no provision for the flesh.”

9. That we as Christians have a “sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7), one that is sober-minded, diligent, self-controlled, and that “sound mind” has been given to us as a gift from Christ.

10. That God has promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13 and many other Scriptures that he will provide everything for life, godliness and help when trials, discouragements, affliction, pain, and suffering come our way.

11. That our God has provided everything we need via His Spirit, His Word, prayer and His provisions for life now and forever. He has given us a “lively living hope” that does not pass away; that we have hope for today and hope for tomorrow. That “all things work together for our good” and that the “work He has begun in us will be completed.” That this “hope is built on nothing less that Jesus and His righteousness.”

12. That Christian families must work together prayerfully and biblically to solve problems of this life using God’s Word, the Bible, for their answers, help and hope.

This is a profound and difficult area for Christians to get a good grip on. The world and its system permeates everything with its erroneous doctrines. They are such a part of our society that we, as believers, as ministers, and as churches, take on the “reflection” of the world. This must not be so. We are a separated people, set apart for God’s glory and to be a light of hope in a dark world. We must be bold and forthright in calling “sin” sin, and that work first begins in us, in our homes, in our family life. That is a full-time job. There is not time for us to pick the speck out of other people’s lives, we must begin in our own. We do that by understanding what God’s Word says about these things and then applying that biblical terminology, problem-solving solutions and answers to our own lives. This gives hope to our own lives and families and then we can be that “reflection” of Christ to others. May God help us to do this and by His indwelling Holy Spirit we can.3/

__________________
1/ Dr. Jay Adams, Christian Living in the Home, p.19
2/ Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
3/ ReformedWomen-Theology Girl Book-Bible Study: “Christian Living in the Home, Summary and Commentary on A Christ Centered Home” (Oct. 2001)