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The Attributes of God – 2 Peter

February 5, 2010

Father

  • Divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (1:3)
  • Called us to His own glory and excellence (1:3)
  • Granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them we may become partakes of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (1:4)
  • Gave honor and glory to the Son (1:17)
  • Men spoke from Him as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (1:21)
  • Did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment (2:4)
  • Did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly (2:5)
  • Turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and condemned them to extinction, making them and example of what is going to happen to the ungodly (2:6)
  • Rescued righteous Lot (2:7)
  • Knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority (2:9-10a)
  • The earth was formed out of water and through water by His word (3:5),
  • By His word, storing up the heavens and earth that now exist for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (3:7)
  • One day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (3:8)
  • Not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (3:9)
  • Promised new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (3:13)
  • His patience is salvation (3:15)

Son

  • Made clear to Peter that the putting off of his body will be soon (1:14)
  • Received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to Him by the majestic glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (1:17)
  • Be the glory both now and to the day of eternity (3:18)

Holy Spirit

  • Carried along men who spoke from God (1:21)

“Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self.”

January 28, 2010

This series of posts I am writing on the attributes of God is really nothing special per se.

It is simply a compilation of God’s attributes taking from God’s Word.

The purpose behind these posts is simply to spur us all on to a greater affection for God, through knowing God better.

How often do we pray, not knowing what we should say?  We know we should first praise God for who He is, but our tongues get tied when we cannot come up with words to describe Him.

What better words to pray to Him, than to use the words that He has given us!

The great reformer, John Calvin, opened up his Institutes of Christian Religion in this way (Book I.1.1):

Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.

Indeed, a good question I’ve often asked myself is this: what comes first – knowledge of God or knowledge of self?  Which drives which?

I would submit that we cannot truly know or understand ourselves without first (logically, temporally) knowing God.  I admit it is possible that some non-believers know that they are sinful and depraved through general revelation.  But without a certain knowledge of God through the Scriptures , man cannot truly understand the depths of our depravity. And without a a clear understanding that God is holy, holy, holy and righteous altogether, sinful man cannot truly realize the heights of His divinity.

Calvin understood this, when he goes on to say that, “Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self”:

it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also – He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced.

Do you want to know yourself better –  to get a better grasp of who you are & how you are made in the image of God?  Let us first not dig deeper into our sinful flesh, but let us dig deeper into God’s sacred Word.  By striving to know Him better, we shall in so doing know ourselves better in the light of His glorious Word.

May our knowledge of God through His Word be the canon for our life and our faith, that we may better understand who we are, so that we may better worship Him for all that He has done for us in His Son.  I hope that you can use these posts for future reference, for your own devotionals, and even in your own time of prayer to the Lord.

Ministry Resource Review: The Leadership Opportunity from PeaceMaker Ministries

January 21, 2010

A ministry resource which I would like to review is the The Leadership Opportunity (www.peacemaker.net/leadership) from PeaceMaker Ministries which was released last year (2009).  PeaceMaker Ministries is a ministry whose mission is to equip and assist Christians and their churches to respond to conflict biblically.  This new resource is certainly in line with this mission.  In this review I would like to explain what it is about, provide an outstanding quote, and provide an important critique which this resource makes of all other leadership resources.  A conclusion will follow.

About The Leadership Opportunity

In 2007 Baker published the 3rd edition of Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.  This book is a good resource because it critiques the negative ways people resolve conflict and offers positive ways to resolve conflict biblically. The reason I mention this book is because The Leadership Opportunity has updated and adapted the material used in this book for a DVD and workbook format.  Several authors have done this with their books in the past and helpfully so.  However, this one has been done greatly because it has been mindful of the best, recent scholarship on this issue. When I first heard about this resource on leadership I immediately thought of Timothy S. Laniak’s Shepherds after My Own Heart: Pastoral Traditions and Leadership in the Bible (Downers Grove: IVP, 2006).  In this book Laniak surveys all of the biblical teaching on shepherding and leadership and presents all the information in an excellent and scholarly fashion.  The Leadership Opportunity has made use of Laniak’s excellent study and implemented into their teaching in this resource.

This resource’s content is about how to live in light of the gospel, specifically when (not if) conflict and leadership intersect.  When conflict arises, decisions have to be made, someone gets angry, etc., this material explains how to handle these situations best in light of the work and person of Jesus Christ.  Many, including myself, have seen conflict situations among leadership go to two extremes, fight of flight – neither of which are healthy and biblical ways to resolve conflict.  The main emphasis of this book is superb because very few resources on leadership discuss how to handle conflict in light of the gospel.  However, we as Christians have no other viable option if we want to bring glory to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

An Outstanding Quotation

Sometimes when I am recommending a meal which I had all I can really say is “You must try it for yourself.”  This resource is similar to that because its outstanding contents speak for themselves.  Below is an example from the study guide (p. 13) which is designed for the DVDs:

When conflict breaks out and relationships are broken, it is not a time to come at each other with a bunch of “should’s,” or threats, or warnings. Instead, it is a time to come at people with the hope of the gospel of Christ.

Remember, the greatest conflict in the world was the estrangement of sinful mankind from the Creator of the universe.  This conflict was resolved through the gospel, the good news that Jesus died and rose again to save us from our sins and reconcile us to God.

19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Col 1:19-22).”

The more we understand the gospel, the more willingly we will live it out, clothing ourselves with character of Christ and imitating his reconciling love toward others in the midst of conflict.  People who understand the gospel in its fullness tend to be eager and enthused to forgive others.  People who do not value or understand the gospel tend to be slow to reconcile.

The biblical teaching on resolving conflict is no better said than how this quote puts it because it identifies the real problem when it comes to resolving conflict, namely, whether or not someone has believed and applied the gospel to their life in this area.

A Sad But Important Critique of Other Leadership Resources

Sometimes there is something that everyone wants and needs to say but for whatever reason neglects to do so.  However, once in a while someone comes along with enough wherewithal to voice what many have been thinking.  The writers of this resource do this very thing with regards to other leadership resources.  This resource claims that all other resources on leadership, whether secular or Christian, need to be used carefully because they either use outright worldly and thus unbiblical principles, or they attempt to baptize worldly principles, or something similar.  At first their claim sounds a bit presumptuous. However, and sadly, they are correct.  About a year ago I took the opportunity to examine whatever leadership book I could find in order to write a biblical theology of leadership for a class.  What I found was that these resources did as these authors explain or they were mystical in their approaches to leadership.  To conclude my study I noted that there is a need for a biblical theology of leadership and then application of its principles for today.  I believe that The Leadership Opportunity is a step in that direction.  However, if anyone knows of any gospel-centered resources on leadership then feel free to mention them by commenting on this blog.

Conclusion

Resources on leadership are more numerous and forthcoming than one can easily count.  However, if someone is looking for a biblical-based resource then they should look no further than The Leadership Opportunity.  As Christians we must desire to apply the implications of the gospel to all areas of our lives.  The Leadership Opportunity helps us do that in the area of leadership and is thus a tremendous resource for anyone who uses it.

The Attributes of God – James

January 4, 2010

Father

  • Gives generously to all without reproach (1:5)
  • Will not give anything to those who do not ask in faith and doubt (1:6-7)
  • Promised the crown of life to those who love Him after they have stood the test and remained steadfast under trial (1:12)
  • Cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one (1:13)
  • Gives every good gift and every perfect gift (1:17)
  • Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shadow due to change (1:17)
  • Brought us forth of His own will by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures (1:18)
  • Righteousness is not produced by the anger of man (1:20)
  • Sees religion that is pure and undefiled is this, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (1:27)
  • Chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom (2:5)
  • Promised His kingdom to those who love Him (2:5)
  • Said, “Do not commit adultery” and, “Do not murder” (2:11)
    One (2:19)
  • Friend of Abraham (2:23)
  • Enemy with whoever is a friend of the world (4:4)
  • Yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us (4:5)
  • Gives more grace (4:6)
  • Opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (4:6)
  • Draws near to us if we draw near to Him (4:8)
  • Exalts us if we humble ourselves (4:10)
  • Only lawgiver and judge (4:12)
  • Able to save and to destroy (4:12)
  • Ears are listening to the cries of the harvesters who mowed the fields of the rich who kept back their wages by fraud (5:4)
  • Coming is at hand (5:8)
  • Standing at the door as a judge (5:9)
  • Compassionate and merciful (5:11)
  • Raises up the one who is sick and is prayed over with faith and anointed with oil in the name of the Lord by the elders of the church (5:14-15)

Son

  • Lord of glory (2:1)

Holy Spirit

  • Dwells in us (4:5)

Amazing Grace for a New Year

January 3, 2010


more about “Amazing Grace“, posted with vodpod

Amazing Grace is perhaps the best known hymn by English poet and pastor, John Newton (1725-1807). Although first published in 1779, the hymn was written as an illustration for Newton’s New Year’s Day, 1773, sermon. Its lyrics are a powerful reminder of the mercy of God, who alone offers salvation to ill-deserving sinners—to a wretch like me.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
We have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

We have already come;
And grace will lead me home.
His word my hope secures;
As long as life endures.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

Happy New Year, everyone.

(Originally published at Blogging Theologically)

Cheap Christian Ebooks – Until the End of the Week

December 11, 2009

I was blessed to receive an e-book reader for my birthday (and Christmas, etc.). It’s really great. And I have a tendency toward fantastic fiction (lately it’s been David Weber), but I try to temper that with some reading that’s good for me, and not just junk food.

I found out Crossway was offering the ESV Study Bible in EPUB format for $15, and decided to get that. The nice thing about the electronic version is that if you choose to ignore the footnotes, you’ve got a regular Bible for reading, something you absolutely can’t do with the print version of the thing.

Better yet, it turns out that my favorite ebookstore for fiction also carries a whole bunch of Crossway books. Who knew?

Fictionwise has 130 titles available from Crossway. They are distributed in multiple formats (abbreviated multiformat on the site), which basically means that any reader you have you can download a version of the book for it. You can download in one format, or several. Not only that, but through the end of this week, all of those books are 40%-60% off. So instead of paying $10.00 for Mark Dever’s “The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept,” I paid $4.00.

In fact, I think most of the Crossway books are $4.00. Here’s the link to a list of Crossway books on the site.

I don’t know whether their week ends on Saturday or Sunday, so you’ll have to act quickly.

P.S. They’ve also got Tim Challies book there. Don’t know if I’ll be getting it this time around, but it’s nice to know it’s available electronically.

Thank Who?

December 5, 2009

Have you ever stopped to consider that when we say the phrase “thank you,” it is directed at someone? By implication, when we celebrate Thanksgiving, we are giving thanks to someone.

For the atheist, this creates a dilemma. Who is being thanked? This is not to say that atheists aren’t thankful. Most atheists probably are, at least in a general sort of way. But because of their worldview, the whole idea of being thankful only operates outwardly, not upwardly. So no matter how the thankfulness manifests itself, the atheist is not able to be thankful in the proper way.

Those who are religious (or “spiritual,” in modern-day, Oprah-anity parlance) are no better off. Since God commands us to worship Him “in spirit and in truth,” the one who does not worship Him in that way has in essence created his own God, and in doing this has actually committed idolatry. The thankfulness of this person actually incurs God’s judgment.

For the Christian, thankfulness should be no problem. Above all others, we are the ones who should be thankful, because of all that God has done for us. But even knowing this, I often times find myself slipping into that same type of generic “thankfulness” directed at no one in particular. Worse, sometimes I’m just not really thankful at all.

This holiday season, spend some time considering not just what you are thankful for, but also to whom you are thankful – God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. And then spend some time being thankful.

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