Posts for September 2010
3 Posts found

Romans 15.4 – Humility and God’s Word
Posted: 3 September 2010 in Romans

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Therein lies the humility required of anybody who would come to God. The scriptures are there for our learning. The notion of authority comes ill to some today. They think they should be able to make up their own religion as they go along, and God should be more than happy with the result.

Even people with a professional duty to “contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” can sometimes be heard to say, “I don’t believe that because….”, and then follows a statement to the effect they do not believe something because they wouldn’t like that something to be true. Typically, a statement such as that will involve predestination.

But it really does not matter whether we like what we read in the Bible or not. If something is revealed to be true, then we must learn to like it, because we must learn to love God’s will and to desire only what he desires.

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Luke 16.19-31 – Belief & Unbelief
Posted: 2 September 2010 in Luke

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham…… I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him [Lazarus] to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The final verse in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus reminds me of the verse in John 6.45. The rich man’s words correspond exactly to what I hear from the new atheists today: “If God wants me to believe in him, why doesn’t he materialise if front of me, and raise somebody from the dead?” or words to that effect. Always it is one more piece of evidence, and then they will believe.

The New Testament bears witness to the fact of it always being the other way around. Those receptive to new revelation are always those who have been receptive to what God has had to say for himself in the past. Conversely, those who have not been receptive to existing revelation are also those who will continue to find excuses for not believing in the future. In the final analysis it all hinges upon what is in the heart, and not upon the amount of evidence available. For those who do not want to believe, no amount of evidence will ever be sufficient. For those who are prepared to believe, because they have been blessed by divine grace, and are God’s children, all the evidence they need is available to them in the Bible.

I do not want those last couple of sentences to sound too harsh. There doubtless are people, growing in faith, for whom the Bible may not seem to be sufficient evidence. I used to be one of them. There are others for whom the biblical evidence, though important, needs to be supplemented. But the key difference is that they are not looking for reasons not to believe.

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Acts 17.16-31 – Repentance and our attitude towards God
Posted: 1 September 2010 in Acts

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. ….. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him….. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”

There is but one God. He is the creator of all things, if there is one theme which runs throughout the Bible it is that this God does not give his glory to another, and he commands all men everywhere to repent.

And yet it is a command we are completely unable to obey. Sold under sin (Romans 7.14) we stand condemned before this holy God. Our only chance of salvation is if the Holy Spirit works in our hearts in such a way as to bring about a receptivity to the message of Jesus. And in some hearts he does work to bring about repentance – but not all. Why not? The Bible is silent on that subject. Perhaps with the intention that we should tremble before this fearful and ineffable God of ours.

How many of today’s Christians are possessed of the same feeling of dread experienced by Moses at Mount Sinai, or the dread the ancient Israelites experienced more generally, when they considered it not possible that any mortal man should see God and live?

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