Posted in theology

The Attributes of God: Peace, Righteousness, Perfection

By Elizabeth Prata

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. Links to previous weeks are below. Most definitions are taken from Tim Challies’ visual theology chart of the attributes of God.

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.

Tim Challies explained: “To study God’s attributes is to study his character, to answer questions like, Who is God? and What is God like? A typical classification of God’s attributes divides them into those that are incommunicable (those that he does not share or “communicate” to anyone or anything else) and communicable (those that he shares with other beings). Like most theological classifications, this one is imperfect but still helpful as we seek to understand what is so far beyond ourselves. God’s communicable attributes can be further categorized into: attributes of God’s being, mental attributes, moral attributes, attributes of purpose, and “summary” attributes (attributes that, in a more particular way, modify each of the others).”

PEACE
Moral attribute. God, in his being and actions, is separate from all confusion and disorder.

Jonathan Edwards on peace: “My peace I give unto you.” Christ by calling it his peace signifies two things,

1. That it was his own, that which he had to give. It was the peculiar benefit that he had to bestow on his children, now he was about to leave the world as to his human presence. 
2. It was his peace that he gave them, as it was the same kind of peace which he himself enjoyed. The same excellent and divine peace which he ever had in God, and which he was about to receive in his exalted state in a vastly greater perfection and fullness.

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”

RIGHTEOUSNESS
Moral Attribute
God is the final standard of what is right and he always acts in accordance with what is right. (This is also known as God’s justice).

RC Sproul on God’s righteousness: “His righteousness is of two sorts. We distinguish God’s internal righteousness from His external righteousness. What God does is always consistent with who God is. He always acts according to His holy character. God’s “internal righteousness” is the moral excellence of His character. It is rooted in his absolute purity. There is no shadow of turning in Him. As a holy God, He is utterly incapable of an unholy act. Only unholy beings commit unjust and unrighteous acts.

Psalm 11:7, “For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will see His face.

PERFECTION
Summary Attribute
God fully possesses all excellent qualities and lacks no qualities that would be desirable for him.

Charles Spurgeon on God’s perfection: “Perfection, indeed, seems to be the sole prerogative of God. He is perfect in everything. In all his attributes there is no lack; from whatever point of view we regard him, he is without blot or blemish; and no man, speaking truthfully of God, can say that there is aught of imperfection in him.” 

Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Previous entries of the Attributes of God-

1. Attributes of God: Aseity, Beauty, Blessedness
2. Eternity, Freedom, Glory
3. Goodness, Holiness, Immutability
4. Invisibility, Jealousy, Knowledge
5. Love
6. Mercy, Omnipotence, Omnipresence

Previous weeks-1. Aseity, Beauty, Blessedness
2. Eternity, Freedom, Glory
3. Goodness, Holiness, Immutability
4. Invisibility, Jealousy, Knowledge
5. Love
6. Mercy, Omnipotence, Omnipresence
7. Peace, Righteousness, Perfection
8. Will, Wisdom, Wrath

Posted in theology

A Devastating Exchange

By Elizabeth Prata

If some of you plume yourselves with the notion that you are righteous, I pray God to pluck those fine feathers off you and make you see yourselves, for if you never see your own nothingness, you will never understand Christ’s all-sufficiency. Unless you are pulled down, Christ will never lift you up.

~Charles Spurgeon, Sermon 3392, “Justification by Faith”

There is something called The Great Exchange. Sinclair Ferguson explains the positive side of it here as he goes through Romans 1:

Exchange number three is the gracious, unmerited (in fact, demerited) exchange that God provided in Christ. Without compromise of His righteousness revealed in wrath, God righteously justifies sinners through the redemption He provided in Christ’s blood-propitiation for our sins. This Paul states in the rich and tightly-packed words of Romans 3:21–26.

It is only later in the letter that he gives us a different, and in some ways more fundamental, way of looking at this: the Son of God took our nature and came “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3) in order to exchange places with Adam, so that His obedience and righteousness might for our sakes be exchanged for Adam’s (and our) disobedience and sin (Rom. 5:12–21).

Exchange number four is that which is offered to sinners in the gospel: righteousness and justification instead of unrighteousness and condemnation. Moreover, this Christ-shaped righteousness was constituted by His entire life of obedience and His wrath-embracing sacrifice on the cross, where He was made a sin offering (He came, says Paul in Rom. 8:3, “on account of sin,” or “to be a sin offering”; NIV).

In short, on the cross, Jesus exchanged His righteousness for our sins, so that when God looks at us He sees Christ’s righteousness, and when He looked at Jesus on the cross, He saw our sins that must be punished. Praise Him who knew no sin for taking upon Himself our sins, so that we may be justified before a Holy God!

There is a negative exchange too.

The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. Psalm 16:4.

Woe! They have bartered away their life and soul for an evil vapor that will only send them to their position in the Lake of Fire! Gill’s Exposition says of the verse in Psalm 16,

that hasten after another god”; a false god, an idol, to serve and worship it; for, generally speaking, idolaters are more forward, eager, and hasty to attend a false worship, than the worshippers of the true God are to attend his service: now their sorrows are many, even in their worship, by cutting their bodies with knives and lancets, as the worshippers of Baal did; and by sacrificing their own children, which, notwithstanding their rash and precipitate zeal, could not fail of giving them pain and uneasiness; and, besides temporal punishments inflicted on them for their idolatry by God, and stings of conscience, which must sometimes attend them, the wrath of God lies upon them, and they will have their portion in the lake of fire, and the smoke of their torment will ascend for ever and ever. 

Back to Romans, this verse also makes mention of the negative exchange the pagan makes:

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:23).

Faithlife Study Bible explains Romans 1:22, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools A fool is not merely someone who is ignorant or lacks intelligence. The term has moral connotations that include a rejection of God (Psa 14:1; Jer 10:14). By refusing to acknowledge God, people reveal their foolishness.”

Matthew Henry put it concisely:

They ascribed a deity to the most contemptible creatures, and by them represented God. It was the greatest honour God did to man that he made man in the image of God; but it is the greatest dishonour man has done to God that he has made God in the image of man. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2195). Hendrickson.

We should be eternally and powerfully grateful for our salvation. The Great Exchange is initiated by God at His timing and choosing. We have no merit in ourselves that sparks his attention, or in any way influences Him. Gratitude and eternal worship of our Holy God is the proper – and only – response.

EPrata photo
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

He did this … so He could do this

Satan tempted Jesus with hunger. (Matthew 4:3)

Satan tempted Jesus with suicide. (Matthew 4:6).

Satan tempted Jesus with power. (Matthew 4:9).

Satan tempted Jesus with life, to avoid the cross. (Matthew 16:23).

Jesus resisted it all, answered with the word of God. He remained sinless, never falling into any of satan’s wiles.

He went to the cross, taking all of God’s wrath, dying as a humiliated sacrifice, separated in darkness for hours, “Father why have you forsaken me?” and then He died.

He did this,

powers
Illustration by Chris Powers, fullofeyes.com

The Father resurrected Jesus. He took our wrath because God placed our sin onto Him…He gave us His righteousness, which we could never possess.. Double imputation. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So He could do this:

robe
Robe of Righteousness, by Lars Justinen

Let us take a moment to praise, honor, and glorify our precious Savior.

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Justified and made righteous

Here, in 90 seconds Pastor Gabe explains what justification is. When he explained that it is the legal declaration of God as to the pardon of all our sins AND the credit to our account the righteousness of Christ, it made me think of the verse from Luke regarding the return of an unclean spirit. But first, take a listen to Pastor Gabe’s explanation:

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26).

Without the imputation of righteousness to our account and the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit, we would be damned and punished forever. We can stave off obvious sin and project a certain morality in keeping our ‘house’ empty for a while, but sin soon creeps back in to take over again. (Genesis 4:7), We can’t help it, our sin-nature demands it.

An empty house is ripe for possession again. And as we see in the verse, the unholy spirits return. But they return in force and the state of the person is worse than before.

We always remember how great and wonderful it is that not only are we forgiven of our sins, but our Lord gave us HIS righteousness, without which, we would simply be either a suppurating cauldron of putrid sin, or a temporarily swept house waiting to become the cauldron of sin once again. His purity and righteousness is fresh, clean, and given in grace to His people. Thank you Lord for justifying Your chosen sinners!

glory

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Righteousness v. Wealth

I was saying last night at Bible Study that I live paycheck to paycheck. The relentlessness of always minding the budget and working assiduously to stretch it to the end of the month gets tiring and frustrating at times. The discussion was about contentment v. discontentment. I said I work hard to avoid being discontent with my circumstances by keeping my trust and faith and eyes on Jesus and not on my circumstances. I hope I avoid discontentment, at least.

So this morning I was reading the Bible in my quiet time, and along comes this verse. It was immensely encouraging. I pray it might be to you as well, if you’re living on the thin side.

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Proverbs 16:8).

Hmmm, interesting! What can it mean? Matthew Henry’s Commentary provides a succinct interpretation:

Here, 1. It is supposed that an honest good man may have but a little of the wealth of this world (all the righteous are not rich),—that a man may have but little, and yet may be honest (though poverty is a temptation to dishonesty, ch. 30:9, yet not an invincible one),—and that a man may grow rich, for a while, by fraud and oppression, may have great revenues, and those got and kept without right, may have no good title to them nor make any good use of them.

2. It is maintained that a small estate, honestly come by, which a man is content with, enjoys comfortably, serves God with cheerfully, and puts to a right use, is much better and more valuable than a great estate ill-got, and then ill-kept or ill-spent. It carries with it more inward satisfaction, a better reputation with all that are wise and good; it will last longer, and will turn to a better account in the great day, when men will be judged, not according to what they had, but what they did

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 990). Peabody: Hendrickson.

My interpretation: Righteousness reaps more contentment than do riches, because riches are from the world and righteousness is from Jesus.

Selah!

treasure