Glory in the church

Before the beginning, there was God and since there was God in all his many perfections, there was the outshining of those many perfections, that unapproachable light,  that we now call his glory.

The very idea of God’s glory, a reality that exists only as the product of God’s absolute perfection, is hard for us to fathom. Actually, that is the reason God created everything (including us), to magnify his glory, to give us object lessons in creation that reveal something of  his glory.

Elsewhere I have written of how the rainbow is an object lesson in God’s condescension to reveal his glory to us in smaller pieces since we cannot approach the light of his glory directly. When the light of the sun, which is relatively unapproachable, shines through the prism of water drops in the sky, the light is broken into its component colors allowing us to see some of the dimensions of the glory of the light of the sun. (more…)

Before the beginning…there was Trinity

So some say God is a Trinity. So what?

Lots of Christians don’t like to consider truths that require real intellectual exercise and so claim there is some irreconcilable difference between those who have “an experience” with God and those who live in intellectual debate about things theological.

That is a false dichotomy.

I proffer that one cannot gain the full value of an experience without understanding it through sound Biblical doctrine. And likewise, sound doctrine is worthless if one does not have an accompanying experience with the living God who is the subject of the doctrines.

So, for all who claim a personal relationship with God, let’s do a little thinking. I don’t want to lay out the Scriptural argument for the existence of God as Trinity. For this article, I am assuming it to be true. I do want to look at some of the essential implications of the fact of God as Trinity. (more…)

The mystery of the God Man

 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Jesus of Nazareth is the front and center character in the narrative known as Christianity. He is, without a doubt, the most controversial figure in all history. But many have no idea who he really is. (more…)

Can I pray aright if there is no Trinity?

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God (the Father), and there is one mediator between God (the Father) and men, the man Christ Jesus (the Son), who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. – 1 Timothy 2:1-6) 

…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God (the Father), purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. – Hebrews 9:14-15

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. – Romans 8:26-27

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God (the Father), waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. – Jude 1:20-21

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. – John 14:13-14

The Celtic Knot symbol of the Trinity

First, let’s do a little bit of theology. We need to parse this term, Trinity. I think we all know it refers to God as the three-in-one God. One God, three persons. But let’s take it a little bit further. We need to understand the Trinity in both ontological terms and economic terms. Now, I hope I didn’t lose anyone already. It’s not that complicated. Here’s what I mean. (more…)

The uniqueness of the Christian God

Uniqueness that only the Trinity can provide

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:24-26

 In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. – Ephesians 1:4-6

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Romans 3:26

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods. – Psalm 97:9

 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LordDo I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 23:23-24

 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. – 1 John 4:7-16

The Celtic Knot symbol of the Trinity

Only the Christian Trinitarian God is eternally loving, both just and the justifier of sinners, both transcendent and imminent and is an eternal community in himself. It is important to our worship and our apologetics to know who our God is. (more…)

The love Trinity (not a love triangle)

Without the Trinity, we would not know love

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. – John 17:24

For by him (Christ) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:16-17

And,“You, Lord (the Son), laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands…” – Hebrews 1:10

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. – Hebrews 1:3

The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. – John 3:35

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. – John 5:20

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. – John 14:30-31

As the Father has loved meso have I loved you. Abide in my love. – John15:9

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  – Matthew 3:16-17

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14

 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” – Galatians 4:6

Without the Trinity, we would not have an eternal loving Father God.

The fact that God is one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is of far greater importance than is realized by many. The Trinity is not just a doctrine to simply acquiesce to or maybe to argue about. Without God’s existence as Trinity, much of what we know and love would not be possible. We would not know God as an eternal loving Father. (more…)

The comfort of Divine Providence

Life is not random

By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability and expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, altho’ death was levelling my companions on every side.
George Washington, letter to John A. Washington July 18, 1755

The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.
George Washington letter to Thomas Nelson
 August 20, 1778

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. – Hebrews 1:3

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17

You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. – Nehemiah 9:6

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will… – Ephesians 1:11

For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
7 He seals up the hand of every man,
that all men whom he made may know it.
8 Then the beasts go into their lairs,
and remain in their dens.
9 From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
10 By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
12 They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
13 Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen. – Job 37:6-13

These (creatures) all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust. – Psalm 104:27-29

The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord. – Proverbs 16:33

For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations. – Psalm 22:28

A man’s steps are from the Lord;
how then can man understand his way? – Proverbs 20:24

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9

For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
7 but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another. – Psalm 75:6-7

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  – Genesis 50:20

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. – Romans 8:28-30

The term “Providence” is largely lost in our contemporary vocabulary. I would love to see it restored with its full meaning. It is a powerful word communicating a concept that is of great comfort to those who have fled to the Savior, Jesus Christ. (more…)

What does “holy” look like?

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. – Ephesians 1:3-4

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:25-27

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. – Colossians 3:5-10

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:12-13

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:19-26

We have a wholly holy God who tells us he wants us to be holy also because he is holy. That takes me back a bit. I think of myself as so far from being holy as God is holy that it could be considered a joke. I do think I am what most people would consider a “good” man, but holy? I don’t think so. You see, I think of holy as perfect, absolutely perfect (that is actually a redundant statement, but you get it). I am not perfect and don’t suppose I will be in this life. However, I am called to be holy because God is holy. Fortunately, we will arrive (Eph. 1:4). (more…)

Our Wholly Holy God

I will also praise you with the harp
    for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
    O Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 71:22

And one called to another and said:
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” – Isaiah 6:3

Exalt the Lord our God,
    and worship at his holy mountain;
    for the Lord our God is holy! – Psalm 99:9

“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. – Leviticus 19:2

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16

To be holy is 1)to be separate and 2)to be pure from sin or evil.

How is God separate?

(more…)

A Biblical response to the response to the recent election

 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good.  – Romans 13:1-4

Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it? – Amos 3:6

Draw near, O nations, to hear,
    and give attention, O peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
    the world, and all that comes from it.
For the Lord is enraged against all the nations,
    and furious against all their host;
    he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
Their slain shall be cast out,
    and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
    the mountains shall flow with their blood. – Isaiah 34:1-3

For not from the east or from the west
    and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment,
    putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
    with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
    and all the wicked of the earth
    shall drain it down to the dregs. – Plsam 75:6-8

Daniel answered and said
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise… – Daniel 2:20-21

 

As I have pointed out elsewhere, it is my objective in this site to incite people to a more intimate, more passionate, and more accurate knowledge of God. For our knowledge of God to be accurate, it must be practical.

Life with God is not a cloistered activity but is found in the stuff of everyday life. Right now in the United States, politics is a big deal and is dominating the news cycles. Some don’t believe our new President is legitimate and are vowing to oppose him at every opportunity. How is a Christian to understand the faith in this environment? (more…)