Other places I blog




web stats

Follow Me on Twitter

Entries in I Read Dead People (6)


Thankful for immutability

My neighbours to the south are in the midst of preparing for Thanksgiving. We already celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. It is still good, though, to be thankful.

I am thankful that God is immutable; he is unchanging in all aspects of his character. When I look at God's unchanging nature compared with my own tendency to be fickle and unreliable, I am reminded that He is God and I am not.

This is from Stephen Charnock's The Existence and Attributes of God:

Immutability is a glory belonging to all the attributes of God. It is not a single perfection of the Divine nature, nor it is limited to particular objects thus and thus disposed. Mercy and justice have their distinct objects and distinct acts; mercy is conversant about a penitent, justice conversant about a obstinate sinner. In our notion and conception of the Divine perfections, his perfections are different: the wisdom of God is not his power, nor his power his holiness, but immutability is the centre wherein they all unite. There is not one perfection but may be said to be and truly is, immutable; none of them will appear so glorious without this beam, this sun of immutability, which renders them highly excellent without the least shadow of imperfection. How cloudy would his blessedness be if it were changeable! How dim his wisdom, if it might be obscured! How feeble his power, if it were capable to be sickly and languish! How would mercy lose much of its lustre, if it could change into wrath; and justice much of its dread, if it could be turned into mercy, while the object of justice remains unfit for mercy, and one that hath need of mercy continues only fit for the Divine fury!

Ungodly fear versus Godly fear

In a discussion of William Perkins's exposition of the Lord's Prayer, J. Stephen Yuille comments on how Perkins viewed the fear of God:

When we speak of the fear of God, it is important to distinguish between ungodly and godly fear. Perkins affirmed that these two are distinguished by our perception of God. Ungodly fear is the result of viewing God as a potential source of harm, and it causes people to take steps to minimize the perceived threat while continuing steadfast in their sin. For Perkins, this ungodly fear occurs when people fear only God's punishment. In marked contrast, godly fear is the result of viewing God as the greatest good. This may include a fear of God's wrath, but it is not limited to this; on the contrary, it focuses on God's majesty. Perkins maintained that this fear is synonymous with fearing God's name --- the fullest revelation of His glory. It is a fear that grips the affections, thereby making a divide between the soul and sin. In other words, it is a fear that manifests itself in the pursuit of holiness.

I found Perkins's comment about minimizing the perceived threat quite interesting. Before I was converted, I did indeed have a fear of God. When I was a teenager, the world's bogeyman was the USSR, and threats of nuclear annhiliation at the hands of the Soviets was something some of the more fear mongering teachers talked about, thus creating fear in our teenaged hearts. I certainly did have a fear; a fear that I was not fit to stand before God should he visit the earth, which would surely accompany the bombs likely to fall.

The solution? For a long a time, I simply chose to believe that a loving God would never hurt those he created. Did I alter my lifestyle? Not really. That was not a healthy fear. That was not a godly fear. I didn't understand godly fear until I was confronted with my sin, and I think many people have similar experiences. 


Why pray?

John Knox gives two reasons why the Lord commanded us to pray:

First, that our hearts may be inflamed with continual fear, honour, and love of God, to whom we run for support and help whensoever danger or necessity requires; that we so learning to notify [make known] our desires in his presence, he may teach us what is to be desired, and what not. Second, that we, knowing our petitions to be granted by God alone (to him we must render and give laud and praise), and that we, ever having his infinite goodness fixed in our minds, may constantly abide to receive that which with fervent prayer we desire.

Quoted in Taking Hold of God, Edited by Joel R. Beeke and Brian G. Najapfour


For the guy with the "smokin' hot wife"

I've been reading Richard Baxter's The Godly Home. In the first chapter, he talks about the reasons for and against getting married. Clearly, the Puritans thought a lot about the pros and cons of marriage. Today, I wonder if some of us don't assume we'll get married, and so don't think a lot about the up side and down side. Either that, or our reasons for marriage have more to do with serving ourselves, and again, we don't think of the down side.

Baxter devotes a lot of words to why one should not get married. He's not trying to be a killjoy; he was, after all, married himself at some point. However, he cautions people to be prepared for the very difficult work ahead. My mother used to say that the issue wasn't the ease of divorce; it was the ease with which people make the commitment to marry in the first place.

Baxter comments about not making outward appearance, and what he calls "fancy and lust" a reason for marriage. In finding a spouse, men are cautioned to think about their future spouse. I liked this part:

... do not overvalue vanity, or think highly of a silken coat, the great names of ancestors, money, lands or painted or spotted face or that natural comeliness called "beauty." Do not judge of things as children but as men, and do not be fools in magnifying trifles and overlooking inward, real worth. Would you thus fall in love with a flower or a picture? Bear in mind what work the pox or any other withering sickness will make with that silly beauty you so admire. Think of what a spectacle death will make it and how many thousands once beautiful are turned now to common earth!

I don't think Baxter was against beauty, but he was pretty clear that young men ought to look beyond beauty. No, we don't have "the pox" today, but we do have other illnesses that are no respecter of persons. Just because a woman is a beautiful 25 year old doesn't mean she won't have cancer, a chronic disease, or an accident that leaves permanent damage. Have you ever seen the physical toll treatment for cancer takes on a person? I have. 

No, it's not wrong to have our attention gained by someone's pretty face, but if we make that the basis of our marriage, then we may be in trouble some day.


Wise words from The Doctor

No, not this one:

This one:

From his book Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. A sure fire remedy when we are prone to judging others harshly. Click here to read the cure.