Humans live in a three-dimensional world. The three dimensions are commonly called length, width, and height. A cube is a typical three dimensional object:
If you unfold a cube you get this:
In Euclid’s famous “Elements” treatise two thousand years ago, Euclid, the father of Geometry, said that “a point has no dimension at all. A line has only one dimension: length. A plane has two dimensions: length and breadth. A solid has three dimensions: length, breadth, and height. And there it stops. Nothing has four dimensions.”
Euclid’s axioms spawned Euclidean Geometry, and for two thousand years that was it, there was only Euclidean Geometry (and three dimensions). Then “In 1854, George Bernhard Riemann broke the cult position that the Euclidean geometry had for two thousand years with the introduction of the theory of higher dimensions. In the paper “On the hypotheses which lie at the foundation of geometry“, Riemann exposed the novel properties of higher dimensional space and demonstrated that Euclid’s geometry is based only in the perception.”
In other words, it seems there ARE more than three dimensions!
If it was only in 1854 that mathematicians began experimenting with geometric representations in space and in math of objects in the fourth dimension… If Euclid said that there’s ‘length, breadth, and height and there it stops’, how then could the Bible speak of four dimensions two thousand years ago as here in Ephesians?
“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge …” (Ephesians 3:17-19a)
Stay with me here: “Three-dimensional objects are bounded by two-dimensional surfaces: a cube is bounded by 6 squares. A four-dimensional cube, known as a tesseract, is bounded by 8 cubes.” A tesseract is a hypercube, a square figure with four dimensions to it, like a cube has three, and a square has two. Since we are three-dimensional humans, we can’t really accurately depict a four-dimensional object, but the closest we can come is this: a sort of cube within a cube with other cubes adjacent along each plane-
The 4D cube (tesseract) can be unfolded into eight cubes, just as the cube can be unfolded into six squares. There are three cubes meeting at every vertex … You see it gets complicated fast. If you unfold a 4D (tesseract, also known as a hypercube) it will look like this:
And once more for effect, an unfolded 3D cube and an unfolded 4D hypercube next to each other:
Albert Gleizes said, “Beyond the three dimensions of Euclid we have added another, the fourth dimension, which is to say, the figuration of space, the measure of the infinite,” The fourth dimension is the measure of the infinite. As soon as we go from the 3D solid to the 4D we go from known and understandable solid to the infinite. In the Ephesians passage, the breadth and length and height and depth of His love, is so far from our limited understanding,”it surpasses knowledge”.
Salvador Dali captured the infinite love of God in his work, “Crucifixion.” In that famous work, Dali showed Christ on an unfolded hypercube, ascending. If unfolded again, the shadow of the 3D hypercube hovering over the tiles below becomes a 2D representation of the tiles on the ground. Dali knew the mathematical principles behind his work and was purposeful in showing Christ as Master over four dimensions, and three, and two. Just as Ephesians says. The ‘son of God’ Himself is, by the way, a 3D representation of the 4D God.
The point in all this is not only that the Bible once again wrote about maths and science that humans didn’t “know” until centuries later (a spherical earth, gravity, four dimensions) but of the infinite depths of His love, love that exists in dimensions “which surpasses knowledge.”
And he loves you. He knows you: your name, the number of hairs on your head. He knew you before you were born. He wants to be with you, He delights in you. Aren’t you grateful He sent you grace through faith to repent? You can praise His gift of love and can be with Him in His word, commune with Him in prayer. His love may surpass our knowledge but it certainly doesn’t surpass our ability to receive it.
I’ve mentioned Providence to readers before and how I love that doctrine. I’m absolutely fascinated with and delight in His providence. Phil Johnson said in the Wretched series, Drive By Pneumatology, ‘that seeking after miracles or the miracle gifts is demonstrating weak faith, because of Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”’
We hear so often today, “Expect a miracle!” Why? Why expect a miracle? Does my faith need one, like an exclamation mark of the daily enactment of my faith? Am I putting God to the test by expecting Him to perform for me? Is my faith by sight or by faith, anyway?
It diminishes the magisterial sovereignty of God to water down the true miracle by saying, “I have had a knot in this shoelace for two weeks, and I finally got it untied. It’s a miracle!” No it’s not.
Many people have had this happen- including me- I receive a check in the mail from an unknown or unexpected source that is the exact amount I’d needed in order to prevent a dire thing from coming to pass. People say, ‘It was a miracle!’ No, it wasn’t – it was the Providential working of God in our lives of the faithful for the good of those who love Him.
Providence is when God works through normal, ordinary means, orchestrating events by His providence in order to answer my prayer. Normal ordinary means, a real, live check, via the normal mail.
Miracles are supernatural events that suspend or set aside the natural laws. A handful of flour that is refilled in a bowl every night and makes 1500 loaves. The sea parting and drying up. Rods that become snakes or blossom and bear fruit overnight. Coming back alive from the dead after 4 days and decomposition had set in.
I believe Providence is the greater miracle, or at least catalyzes my wonder to an incredible degree. My sovereign God whose intellect is so high my brain hurts just to think of it (He named each of the trillions of stars!!!) this God orchestrates events among 8 billion people so that the exact thing will happen at the exact moment it needs to. And then He does it the next minute, and the next minute, and the next minute, and it is perfect every time.
Take for example something that happened years ago. I was recently moved here and didn’t have a job. I was living on the money that I got from selling my newspaper, but it wasn’t going to last forever. I needed $1,000 dollars. One day, I went to the PO and got an envelope out of the box and it has Maine State Teachers Association on it. I retired from teaching in 1990. I had cleaned out and closed my retirement account at that time. It was now 2007. I hadn’t taught for 17 years and I hadn’t even been living in Maine for more than a year, how did they find me in GA??
I opened it and there was $1,200. They said that the Maine Legislature had changed a Teacher Retirement fund rule and that it turned out they owed me more money. After 17 years and a distance of 1500 miles, a relationship I’d severed long ago, cleaned out and closed my account, and yet the Lord prompted a Legislature, an Administrator, a bank, and an entire mail system to trace me to GA, to arrive in my 5 inch PO box on the day I needed it. That is Providence. And He does this kind of thing every day and in the entire world minute by minute.
Regeneration is a true miracle. Making alive a spiritually dead soul into a live, worshipful soul is a miracle! Only God can do that. My salvation was a wonder and truly from God, and I appreciated it so much. But the minute by minute Providential weaving of His thoughts and His work into my life, every day of my life awakens in me a gratitude and a wonder that I don’t believe miracles really do in the same way.
Providence is an activity of God to know omnisciently what each and every believer on earth needs, and grants it to them at the very moment they need it. And it doesn’t have to be a ‘good thing’. If someone needs a car crash in God’s economy, they will receive that. If someone needs a heart attack for the good of that person in the long run, he will receive it. And God anticipated and orchestrates all the events minute by minute leading up to the moment the person needs the thing.
Miracles scare me. Providence humbles me. Just thinking that He is thinking of me and orchestrated all that to get a check to me, slays me and melts my heart me and makes me cry even to think of it.
Praise the providential working of God in your life, don’t go seeking after miracles. Opening your eyes to your salvation & sanctification. The providential work of God in your life is the TRUE Miracle.
I had listened to Phil Johnson lecture in the Wretched series Drive By Pneumatology. ‘Drive By’ means short lessons of 7-11 minutes that you can listen to on your driving commute. (Or anywhere else). Johnson defined cessationism and continuationism. Here is Phil’s definition- I transcribed it, that’s why it is in quotes-
“The Holy Spirit is at work in us in the ordinary things of life. A lot of people have an idea that the Holy Spirit is only working if He is doing miraculous or phenomenal things. If it’s not something that takes your breath away, or amazes you, that if He is not doing things like that, that He is not at work at all. But I believe that scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is at work in all the ordinary aspects of life. He orders every minute detail of our lives. It is He who actually gives us life. That’s what it says in Romans 8- He gives life to our mortal bodies… . Most of what He does seems ordinary but it is really extraordinary because He is the Holy Spirit.”
Phil Johnson went on to explain the difference between revelatory gifts and ministry related gifts. Revelatory ones (the Charismata) are utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, prophecy, miracles, healing, tongues and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians). This is compared to the gifts in Romans 12: preaching, service, exhortation, generosity, leadership, mercy, and teaching. These gifts are ministry related, neither supernatural in character nor revelatory. Revelatory means giving new revelation, or new information, outside of and apart from what is revealed in the Bible.
Phil again: “The distinctive claim of the Charismatic movement is that these revelatory gifts of healing, miracles, tongues knowledge/wisdom and prophecy are continuing today just as they were in Apostolic times. The Charismatic person says they continued since then and never ceased. That these gifts are available and operational just as they were since Pentecost. This is the continuationist view.”
“The opposing view is cessationism. This is the belief that these revelatory gifts, these sign gifts, have ceased. That they pertained uniquely to the Apostolic age and that those gifts ceased sometime at the end of the first century upon the death of the last apostle”. (Phil is a cessationist).”
“So the question is, is the Holy Spirit doing everything exactly as He was doing as He did in the book of Acts? Has that stopped, or has that continued? And is there a proof text that shows it has stopped?”
“The miraculous gifts of the apostolic era had a specific and clearly defined purpose. I contend that it is also clear in scripture that they did diminish in frequency and importance and in fact, faded from use after the era in the Book of Acts ended.”
“However, cessationism is today a minority opinion. It was practically standard evangelical theology for many centuries until about 60-75 years ago. Prior to the 20th century, it would have been hard at any time to find any Protestant who believed that the charismata, the miraculous gifts, continued uninterrupted from the time of the apostles thru all of church history. It is a fact that the most orthodox church theologians all believed the miracle gifts ceased.”
“The reason they say this today, that the charismatic gifts continue, is that they cannot find a proof text or a verse that would support the view that the spiritual gifts of this nature have ceased. Specifically there is no verse in scripture that says the miracle gifts have stopped at a particular date or time. Bottom line there is no proof text that states that the miracle gifts would end at the conclusion of the Apostolic era. I grant you that.”
“There is no proof text to show the Jehovah’s Witness to show their flawed view of the Trinity, either. You compare scripture with scripture to show the Trinity. I would say the same method applies to cessationism.”
“Those of us who are cessationists base our conviction not on a single proof text but is a theological conclusion that is drawn from a number of biblical, historical, and doctrinal arguments.”
“Scripture does teach that the charismata had a specific, foundational and temporary purpose. They are part of a hierarchy of supernatural signs and wonders that were associated with the founding of the church. That hierarchy is listed in 1 Corinthians 12. It specifically states not all the miracle gifts were given to all in the church. (Phil goes on to explains some verses here). Scripture does not have a specific proof text that shows the Apostolic age ended, that there are no more apostles. There is no specific proof text that the canon of scripture is closed. Those arguments are the same exegetical arguments used to also say that the miraculous gifts ended too.“
——————end Phil Johnson——————–
So in effect,
–tongues were for a sign to the unbeliever, fulfilling prophecy that judgment has come, –they, as all miracle gifts, were for a sign to confirm the message and the messenger, –we no longer need such signs because we have the Bible to compare a message and can confirm the messenger if he brings a message consistent with it, –they were real languages, –they were not the highest gift, –they were to be interpreted or people were to be silent, –they were dying out as the Apostolic Age came to an end, –they obviously ceased for 1900 years, –they were not the gibberish we see today.
So that is the continuationist vs. the Cessationist view. Continuationists believe the sign gifts (or the miracle gifts) continued unabated from the NT era. Cessationists believe they ceased at the end of the NT era when the last verse was written and the canon of God’s word closed.
I am a cessationist. I believe scripture shows that the sign gifts ceased. A common charge by continuationists is that they say cessationists claim that our position means the ‘Holy Spirit isn’t operating anymore’. Of course He is. He regenerates hearts every day. He draws men to the Lord every day. He brings scripture to mind every day. He does a ton. He just doesn’t dispense the sign gifts anymore because we have the sign in writing: the New Testament, which is completely profitable for all training, education, reproof.
So that is a quick lesson on the distinctions between the two positions on the sign or miracle gifts. Here are further resources:
I love looking at God’s creation and praising Him for it. Job 38-42 has an extended treatment on creation spoken of by God Himself.
When I was a pagan, I saw His creation and I wondered about it. I wondered how it got here, why it was so orderly, and who made it. It was obvious earth was made. So…who?
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20).
During the time I was living on my sailboat and cruising up and down the eastern seaboard and across to the Bahamas, I decided to make a scientific study of mollusks, all the shells and animals that lived in them, since we spent so much time beachcombing.
I challenged myself to look at the form of the shell and see what function it may have served- like angel wings are tall and skinny with a delicate shell so you know they aren’t going to be tossed around in the surf. In fact they drill down in soft sand and the sand protects the shell from breakage. A moon snail is round and thick so it can take being tossed in the surf.
I learned along the way that barnacles have a super cement that man can’t figure out how to reproduce, but that hasn’t stopped the Navy from trying. They have been trying for a long time to figure out what’s IN that glue to make barnacles soooo adhesive to hulls of ships! They are still trying.
You see, barnacle cement is interesting because it cures underwater, without the need for air drying, and is able to bind to materials with a wide range of textures. It is composed mostly of proteins (70%) and extrudes it from underneath its base plate to the surface below, (think, squeezing grout from between your teeth) and cures within a matter of hours. Once attached it is nearly impossible to get it off. The Navy really, really wants to know how a barnacle does that.
Its cement is among the most powerful natural glues known — with a tensile strength of 5,000 lbs per square inch and an adhesive strength that has been measured at 22 – 60 lbs per square inch. And that’s just barnacles. Blue mussels know how to make 21 different kinds of adhesives. That’s a quote from the Office of the Naval Research, btw. They are really interested both in getting rid of barnacles from their ships and learning how to make the cement for themselves.
Barnacles drag the boat, slowing it down. Often during our sailing journey we had to swim and dive around our boat with a chisel and chip those critters off the hull. Any time we docked for more than a few days the hull would have barnacles on them when we left.
Also, speaking of a wonderful created order, when we visited Woods Hole Oceanographic Lab we learned that horseshoe crabs have a kind of blood that clots instantly when encountering toxins or bacteria. See, in the 1960’s, “Dr. Frederik Bang, a Johns Hopkins researcher working at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, found that when common marine bacteria were injected into the bloodstream of the North American horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, massive clotting occurred.” (Source) What? We humans need that!
Woods Hole Lab reported, “seawater is a virtual “bacterial soup”. Near-shore areas where the horseshoe crab lives can easily contain over one billion bacteria per milliliter of seawater. That’s a lot. So the horseshoe crab is constantly threatened with infection. Such bacteria do not affect us humans because we have an immune system. The horseshoe crab doesn’t. It doesn’t spontaneously develop antibodies to fight infection like humans can. But the horseshoe crab does have a number of compounds that will bind to and inactivate bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Cool, so though horseshoe crabs have no immune system they can combat bacteria! How is horseshoe blood used today you might ask? So glad you asked! “The horseshoe crab plays a vital, if little-known, role in the life of anyone who has received an injectable medication. An extract of the horseshoe crab’s blood is used by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to ensure that their products, e.g., intravenous drugs, vaccines, and medical devices, are free of bacterial contamination. No other test works as easily or reliably for this purpose.” (Source: Audubon). No other man-made test works like the natural horseshoe crab blood!
God is great! And He made a crab that is not going to win any beauty contests but has within its blood hidden gems!
I am in awe at God’s creation and how perfectly he created every living thing.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their lights. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He puts the depths in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood firm. (Psalm 33:6-9)
Sundays are a good time to ponder who God is. He is worthy of service and worship. We have been taking a look at God’s attributes each Sunday.
Remember, God’s attributes are not parts that make up a whole. Everything good that there is, is 100% contained in God. He is 100% beauty, 100% aseity, 100% omniscient, etc. He is complete in Himself.
I usually publish three short definitions of God’s attributes. But the love of God is an important one to ponder all by itself. We must understand the attribute of Love of God, because it has become misunderstood and abused in these past decades. As RC Sproul said,
“Regrettably for us today, however, I don’t think there’s any word in the English language that’s been more stripped of the depth of its meaning than the word love. Due to the shallow romanticism of secular culture, we tend to view the love of God in the same way popular music, art, and literature view love. Yet the Bible says God’s love is far different—and greater.”
“Whatever else God’s love is, it is holy. His love is therefore characterized by the qualities that define holiness—transcendence and purity.” RC Sproul.
With that in mind, let us take a close look at the love of God from a piece published by Don Fortner I found at GraceGems. There is a lot to say about the attribute of God’s love, so please bear with me as this is a longer podcast, since I will read Pastor Fortner’s piece on God’s love.
Don Fortner (1950-2020) pastored and faithfully declared the gospel of God’s free grace in Christ at Grace Baptist Church of Danville Kentucky for over thirty years and was a widely published author, and conference speaker.
God’s redeeming love is Particular and Distinguishing. Those who declare that God loves all people alike, the saved as well as the damned, greatly tarnish the love of God, reducing it to a fickle, helpless, frustrated passion. But that cannot be. The love of God is like himself, from everlasting to everlasting, immutable and sure.
“Nothing is more absurd than to imagine that anyone beloved of God can eternally perish (A. W. Pink).
God’s love is Effectual and Saving. When Paul says, nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” the word “us” refers to God’s elect, those sinners who are actually saved by his grace. There are some people in this world whom God does not love. The Scriptures state that fact in clear and unmistakable terms (Ps. 5:5; 11:5-7; Jn. 3:36; Ro. 9:13).
And there are some whom he does love. They are his elect, those who are chosen of God, redeemed by Christ, and called to life and faith in him by the Holy Spirit. To tell sinners that God loves them regardless of their relationship to Christ is either to assure them that God will save them without Christ, or to imply that God is weak, mutable, helpless and frustrated. Surely, God will save those whom he loves if he is able to do so. And he is able to do so!
God’s love is more than a sympathetic passion. It is his determination to save. Because the love of God is in Christ, nothing can separate us from his love, for nothing can separate us from Christ! “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” — 1 John 4:9-10
The love of God has been, and forever is, manifested and revealed to sinners in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ as the sinners’ Substitute. Here are three characteristics of God’s love, which set it apart from any other thing that is called “love”.
1. THE LOVE OF GOD IS FREE AND UNCONDITIONAL. God’s declaration concerning the manifestation of his love to his elect is this — “I will love them freely” (Hos. 14:4). That simply means that God’s love toward us is an unconditional, unqualified, unmerited, and uncaused love. God does not love his elect because of anything amiable and attractive in us. He says, “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated,” and that before either had done anything good or bad, “that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls” (Rom. 9:13, 11). Not even the death of Christ caused God to love us. Christ’s death as our sin-atoning Substitute is the result of God’s love for his people (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10).
2. THE LOVE OF GOD IS ETERNAL. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). Try to get hold of this. As God the Father loved his Son from eternity, so he loved his elect from eternity. And as the love of God is in Christ, God’s love for Christ and his love for us is the same! Only faith can grasp this blessed truth. It is higher than reason and emotion. God loves his elect in Christ. As he beholds his people in his dear Son, he loves us as he loves his Son, delights in us as he delights in his Son, and is pleased with us as he is pleased with his Son. This is exactly what our Savior declares in his great, high priestly prayer in John 17:23.
3. THE LOVE OF GOD IS IMMUTABLE, IRREVOCABLE, AND INDESTRUCTIBLE. God’s love is not like man’s love. God’s love does not change, ever, under any circumstances or conditions. Having loved us from eternity, he will never call back his love in time. There is nothing we can do to destroy, or even lessen, the love of God for us (John 13:1). We did nothing compel God to love us; and we can do nothing to repel God’s love. The love of God is not dependent upon, or regulated by our faithfulness to him (Mal. 3:6). The freeness, eternality and immutability of God’s love to us in Christ means that our everlasting salvation is a matter of absolute certainty.
Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.” “Because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, has the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” – Deut. 7:8 Love is seen in its deeds. And we know the love of God by the gracious operations of his love which he has performed on our behalf. All the acts of God’s grace performed for his people in time are expressions of his love for us from everlasting.
THE VERY FIRST ACT OF GOD’S LOVE, AS IT IS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE, IS ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Thess. 2:13). No one believes in the love of God who does not believe in election. And no one can talk about the love of God in Bible terms who does not talk about predestination. Election and predestination are eternal acts of God’s amazing love toward hell deserving sinners such as we are.
Secondly, THE LOVE OF GOD IS REVEALED IN THE REDEMPTION OF OUR SOULS BY THE DEATH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:10; 3:16). We read the love of God clearly spelled out in the precious blood of Christ. The love of God is not fully revealed and made manifest in Christ’s incarnation, nor his example, nor his doctrine, nor his prayers, nor even his life of righteousness, but only in his blood. Had Christ done everything else and left this undone, had he not poured out his life’s blood unto death for the atonement of our sins and the redemption of our souls, we could never have known the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. But because he died for us, his love is made manifest. “Amazing love! How can it be, That You my God should die for me!”
Thirdly, THE NEW BIRTH, BY WHICH WE HAVE BEEN BORN INTO THE FAMILY AND KINGDOM OF GOD, IS THE RESULT OF GOD’S LOVE TOWARD US FROM ETERNITY. Our regeneration came in “the time of love” (Ezek. 16:6-8). The effectual call, by which we were given faith, was the fruit of God’s love (Jer. 31:3). And our adoption into the family of God was the work of our heavenly Father’s eternal love (1 John 3:1).
Fourthly, OUR PRESERVATION IN GRACE IS THE WORK OF GOD’S LOVE (John 13:1; Isa. 43:1-4; Jer. 32:38-40). “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it” (Song of Sol. 8:7). God’s love toward his elect is invincible and unquenchable. There is no possibility that it will expire. The black waters of our sin cannot extinguish it. And the floods of our unbelief cannot drown it. With men, nothing is stronger than love. His love for us overcomes every obstacle that might stand in the way of our everlasting glory. Every sinner loved of God from eternity was redeemed by Christ at Calvary, shall be called by the Spirit in time, and shall be saved forever.
Yes the government hates you. Yes they intend to harm you.
I had never heard of Neil Oliver before recently, when I came across this clip below that someone had retweeted. He spoke some eloquent words, and truthful, too. He talked about thinking the unthinkable. He explained that he and others are changing from thinking the government and its associated entities are benevolent and wanting to make a positive difference for their people, to believing that government actually wants harm for their people. From believing at best that government is misguided or apathetic in implementing policies that bring stress on the populace, to understanding that these entities are purposeful in their evil against the people.
A few years ago I read a book by Jerry Bridges called “The Joy of Fearing the Lord”. It was a book my elder had recommended because he knows how much I enjoy fearing the Lord!
Fearing God is little spoken of these days. The current push in Christian circles is to focus on God’s love, which is magnificent. But not to the exclusion of all His other attributes such as holiness, wrath, and fearing Him. Over-emphasizing one attribute over another is not good. We should have a balanced view of Who God is, as He has revealed Himself to us throughout the Bible.
We fear Him because we love Him for who He IS. Not the lovey-dovey boyfriend God so many women make Him out to be.
On one of the pages author Bridges is talking about Psalm 31:19,
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!”
It’s obvious from this one verse alone that fearing God is approved by God. What does it mean to “fear God”? Gill’s exposition says of the Psalm 31:19 verse,
and this is said to be “for them that fear him”; not naturally, but by his grace; for the fear of God is not in man naturally, but is put there by the grace of God; and such who have it are those who are brought to a true sight and sense of sin, so as to loathe it and forsake it. For the fear of the Lord is to hate evil, and by it men depart from it. Because of it they cannot sin as others do; such have an humble sense of themselves, their own insufficiency and weakness, and trust in the grace of God and righteousness of Christ. They have a filial reverence of God, and worship him in spirit and in truth.
God gives us grace to fear Him! Another grace! What manifold gifts He gives us!
Jerry Bridges says, “God is pictured here like a wealthy person who establishes trust funds for his children to be used after they reach maturity. The money is on hand, but it has been set aside. It isn’t available to the children until they reach the age of maturity. This is what God does for those who fear Him. He sets aside, or stores up goodness for His children, and gives it at appropriate times in the future. What this goodness is, and when it will be bestowed, is unique to each individual according to God’s plan for that person.”
Bridges says, “I came across Psalm 31:19 during my discouraging days. [He had said on the page before that his wife suffered from cancer and had died and agonizing death, during that time he was depressed and discouraged]. “God gave hope that at some point in the future he would once again bestow His goodness, the goodness that He was storing up for me. That’s exactly what happened. In due time God opened up ministry opportunities far beyond anything I had imagined. Ironically, the very circumstances that brought me to those discouraging days were used by God to both equip me and set me free or re ministry He had stored up to bestow in His good time.”
Pretty neat. He goes on to explain that God doesn’t store up for everyone, only those who fear Him, and he went on to explain about fearing God. The book is really good, I’m glad my elder recommended it to me.
Here are some other books and sermons, and essays that discuss fearing God- the right way.
Today, Thursday, September 8, 2022, the Queen of England’s medical team had put out a bulletin that they “are very concerned for the Queen’s health.” They said she must be under medical supervision, she must rest, and stay at Balmoral. Her entire family is flying in as I write this.
It is sobering news for the 96-year-old monarch, and for her subjects, world leaders, and fans (like me).
Only Louis XIV of France has been verified by exact date to have ruled longer than Queen Elizabeth, at 72 years, 110 days. Elizabeth has ruled so far 70 years, 214 days. Will she surpass Louis as longest ruling monarch? Only God knows.
No, sadly we receive the news just now from Buckingham Palace that Queen Elizabeth has died.
But being second-longest verifiable reigning sovereign monarch in world history is something, no matter what one’s personal views on her are. I believe she handled herself well overall.
I have a connection to Queen Elizabeth in my heart and memories. My grandmother was British. She was from Bolton in England, which is near Manchester in NW Britain. She was English through and through. Genteel, with a wonderful accent, she loved tea and the Queen. An early memory I have is seeing a plate displayed on her wall of the Queen. It was likely some kind of memorabilia or a commemorative plate for her 25th jubilee.
I’m named after the Queen. Or after my great-aunt Sissy (Elizabeth). Stories varied.
I have read the Queen’s Christmas messages and watched her all my life, because I’m fascinated. Of course the Charles-Diana story occurred when I was in my thirties and the Annus Horribilis, where the Queen said,
1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.
I believe she bears the fruit of salvation. She references Christ in them, saying for example,
To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.
I hope she is saved. I hope at this time as the Lord takes her from this life that I will meet her in heaven. I know the British people will grieve as she passes, and I am sad myself. I often think along these lines when a famous person or a known-only-to-me person passes from this life, whether they were saved. Our souls are eternal, with the sovereign above all sovereigns, God, deciding where that soul will reside forever. As with Queen Elizabeth, it all depends on whether a person repented of their sin and believed on Jesus Christ, who died for sin, was buried, and rose again, to ascend to the Father and put all enemies under his feet and all believers close to His bosom.
In the day of tribulation, everyone, no matter their station in life, will fear the Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords, so says Revelation 6:15.
Then the kings of the earth and the eminent people, and the commanders and the wealthy and the strong, and every slave and free person hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;
Alternately, believers will dwell in New Jerusalem, and I hope Elizabeth will be there. .
I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:22-27).
Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of Life? If you are not sure, read this page about The Gospel.
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.” (Exodus 34:29-30).
His perfection and holiness puts fear into us. That is because we recognize how depraved and evil we are.
Isaiah saw immediately how depraved he was, when confronted by the holiness of God. “And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5).
The delusion satan brings is that we are good, we are innocent, we are pure. Or, at least to the slightly more honest among us, we’re not so bad. “We’re not like HIM” our minds cry out when we discover that our neighbor was an embezzler. We use each other as a benchmark of progress in the goodness department, when the true standard is God. Our minds want to shrink from using Him as a benchmark because deep down we know what we are:
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5).
Do you see how complete that statement is, “so great”, “every intention”, “continually”? We are saturated with sin, permeated down to the last molecule. Paul Washer is right when he preaches on the depravity of man, “All men are born evil.”
Paul Washer is right to say that God’s restraining power upon Hitler was restrained from worse. The restrainer is holding back the full potential of sin in the human heart, and so we enjoy His common grace. But once the restrainer is out of the way,
“Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, … The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders…” (2 Thessalonians 2:7b, 8a, 9).
In other words, watch out! ‘Satan with all power’. Everyone on earth except those who believe in Jesus after the rapture will make Hitler look like a choirboy. God’s common grace will have been removed- which will reveal the undeniable fact that everyone is not just a Hitler, but is an antichrist.
Once we understand this, the shock shifts. We are no longer shocked by the Nazi man puttering in his garden, because we see ourselves as having the same potential. The shock is, GOD LOVES US ANYWAY.
We can have a higher and deeper awe and love for Holy God because he loved each and every little Hitler on earth who was to be saved. Our precious Jesus died and shed His blood to save us who would believe!
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
He began with an anecdote; which I’ll paraphrase-
‘If my wife and I had the opportunity to go to an orphanage and choose a child to adopt, I think that would be pretty cool. If you’re looking over the kids, you’d have to be honest and say that you’d kind of want a likeable one. I mean, you’d look for one that was kind of nice or kind of cute or sort of smart, in other words, had something going for him.’
‘But if you think of looking at the “orphanage of humanity” in truth we are all oozing with hostility toward our potential Father. We are dirty and unintelligent and mean and hostile. We’d all be the smart alecks, and we’d have nothing going for us. Yet God chose us anyway.’
that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
He said that there are no conditions on Jesus’s love for us. It’s not like if we have a lengthier quiet time, that He loves us more, of if we forgot to pray, He loves us less. It’s about what we believe, not what we do. He simply loves us. He loves us perfectly, too.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that His hour had come that He would depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
He reminded us of the foot washing and the humble service Jesus gave to His disciples and the people. Jesus loved His children to the very end- through torture and through death and through the resurrection and will love us to the end of time when time will never end.
I’d posted about fearing God the other day, now today we looked at the love of God. He has many attributes we can ponder. His love for us is permanent to those who confess and believe unto His Son, and it will never end. No matter what is going on in your life, bask in that truth. May it sustain you through good days and hard days.