We distinguish between our sufferings in general and evil or wickedness. The persecution of the believer is constituted ‘sufferings.’ The killing of many people in Las Vegas is evil. It is the evil of man . It has always been so. We recognize the difficulty in saying that God knew of such an evil and did nothing to prevent it. We do not know, first of all, how much God did actually prevent, so it is pointless to speculate. We must acknowledge that God is on control of all things, even the evil of man. If God did not then he is not God. To say that God does not care or God did nothing is to seriously misrepresent all that Scripture reveals about God. [Read more…]
Geerhardus Vos (in his Reformed Dogmatics, Vol.1) defines these as:
Immensity – That perfection of God whereby He is exalted above all distinction of space, yet at every point in space is present with all His being and as such is the cause of space.
Immutability – That perfection of God whereby He is exalted above all becoming and development, as well as above all diminution, and remains the same eternally.
And then, there is Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, Avery present help in trouble, therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be removed into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
As hurricane Irma descends upon us with frightening ferocity and devastation, we must remind ourselves that we are safe and secure from all alarms because we are leaning on the everlasting arms. It’s the ‘everlasting’ part that is significant and, therefore, what have I to fear, what have I to dread?
Jonathan Edwards distinguishes so clearly in his little sermon “The Reality of Spiritual Light” between real enlightenment for the believer and (any) light that might be given to the unbeliever. He says,
“In this spiritual light…(there is) a true sense of the divine and superlative excellency of the things of religion; a real sense of the excellency of God and Jesus Christ, and of the work of redemption, and the ways and works of God revealed in the Gospel. There is a divine and superlative glory in these things; an excellency that is of a vastly higher kind and more sublime nature, than in other things…He that is spiritually enlightened truly apprehends and sees it or has a sense of it. He does not merely rationally believe that God is glorious, but he has a sense of the gloriousness of God in his heart. There is not only a rational belief that God is holy, but there is a sense of the loveliness of God’s holiness.”
(Works, Vol. 2, p. 14)
Such a sense can only come as a result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. The reality of it is sweet indeed.
“for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child” (Hebrews 5:13).
This verse is set in the context of apostasy, which makes it all the more serious. The writer to the Hebrews gives six warnings to his readers (2:1–4; 3:7–14; 5:11–6:20; 10:26–39; 12:15–17; 12:25–29). These warnings are exhortations to encourage the believer to continue in his or her faith. They are not merely hypothetical warnings (imaginary) but real warnings. This means we must listen to them and respond correctly. To ignore the warnings is perilous. The danger sign at the edge of a cliff is there for a reason. If you respond to it correctly, you would save your life, but if not, you would fall and die.
This is what the warnings mean in Hebrews. They are designed to prevent destruction. Ultimately, then, the warning passages in Hebrews have to do with salvation. Those who are truly saved will persevere and heed the warnings, and those who are not, either need to be saved or cannot be saved due to apostasy. They are also about the danger of profession. Just because we say we are Christians does not make us Christians. Lip service saves no one. The real evidence, at least outwardly, is fruit—”you will recognize them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16, 20). [Read more…]