As we will be studying what God’s word has to say about His holiness, I thought I would quote some of what our elders have said on the topic of holiness in this brief preface to our study. We can learn from their wise counsel. Also, We would be remiss to do a study of holiness without first acknowledging the source. The holiness of God is not merely, or solely, an attribute of His among many others. To quote Charles Hodge, “The holiness of God is not to be conceived of as one attribute among others. It is rather a general term representing the conception of God’s consummate perfection and total glory. It is His infinite moral perfection crowning His infinite intelligence and power.” There is no other quality of God that the seraphim angels praise three times, time and again in eternity. [Isa 6:3 NASB] “And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” To know God, we must know He is holy, and we are not. “Only one attribute of God, in sacred Scripture is emphasized three times. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love; or mercy, mercy, mercy; or wrath, wrath, wrath; or justice, justice, justice. It does say that he is holy, holy, holy, that the whole earth is full of His glory.” R.C. Sproul.
Being distinct, other than, separate, set apart, in moral perfection,
transcendent in His holiness, cannot be fathomed by man. This
holiness also manifests as majesty. The chasm that separates us from
Him due to our sin is so great, only the cross can bear us from one
sin to glory. R.C. Sproul wrote, “The most violent expression of
God’s wrath and justice is seen in the Cross. If ever a person had
room to complain for injustice, it was Jesus. He was the only
innocent man ever to be punished by God. If we stagger at the wrath
of God, let us stagger at the Cross. Here is where our astonishment
should be focused.” The only way to please the holy God, is for Him
to provide what is pleasing. In Christ, He has provided
righteousness for our justification. In Christ, we are separated
from sin, and set apart for His use. We are consecrated to and for
the glory of God. Jonathan Edwards wrote, “Never did God so
manifest His hatred of sin as in the death and suffering of His only
begotten Son. Hereby He showed Himself unappeasable to sin, and that
it was impossible for Him to be at peace with it.”
problem is that we are not holy. Here is a quote from R.C. Sproul,
“Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure
Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom
we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you
ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the
most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we
disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the
righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My
judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me.
I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what
I want to do, not what You command me to do.” It is evident that
we must come to the knowledge of what holiness is by contrasting our
dire lack of it with its perfection in God’s being.
Tozer had this to say, “We cannot grasp the true meaning of the
divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and
then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of.
God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered.
We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique,
unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man
is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire God’s wisdom,
but His holiness he cannot even imagine.” This is the transcendent
holiness of the Creator. It is on display for us, in the natural
creation, in His word, and personally in His Son.
such a vision of God’s holiness, true worship is not possible.
Worship is not giddy. It does not rush into God’s presence
unprepared and insensitive to His majesty. It is not shallow,
superficial, or flippant. Worship is life lived in the presence of an
infinitely righteous and omnipresent God by one utterly aware of His
holiness and consequently overwhelmed with his own unholiness… If
you have never worshiped God with a broken and contrite spirit,
you’ve never fully worshiped God, because that is the only
appropriate response to entering the presence of Holy God.” John
holiness means He is separate from sin. But holiness in God also
means wholeness. God’s holiness is His “God-ness.” It is His
being God in all that it means for Him to be God. To meet God in His
holiness, therefore, is to be altogether overwhelmed by the discovery
that He is God, and not man.” Sinclair Ferguson.
every attribute of the Deity were a distinct member, holiness would
be the soul to animate them. Without holiness His patience would be
an indulgence to sin, His mercy a fondness, His wrath a madness, His
power a tyranny, His wisdom an unworthy subtlety. Holiness gives
decorum to them all.” Puritan, Stephen Charnock.
The predominate cult determines the culture. Until the last one and a half centuries, Christianity was the predominate, “cult” if you will, in America, and much of the civilized world. Post-modernism, and secular humanism have had their sway for the last 50, or more years. This has culminated in a Post-Christian, atheistic, and ever increasing antichrist cult, and resultant culture. The views of this cult are evident in the dogmatic doctrines of the leftist, otherwise known as socialists/communists. God is replaced by the state, because you shall have no other god than the state according to the enemy. After all, if they knew they were outright worshiping satan, the couldn’t immediately stomach it, or convince others to do so either. Give them the state as god, and they will rend themselves into a bloody foundation for it to set atop as a glorious, and gory crown to their sacrifice of neighbors, friends, and brothers. Its gaping maw ever open, ever consuming the human chattel like chafe tossed into a boiler furnace to further power the all-consuming monster of human suffering.
The god they worship has given them a sliding rule of right and wrong, that is more often than not, an inversion of God’s created order. This blasphemy, rebellion, and idolatry is no accident. It is engineered by the most infamous of totalitarian rulers, the devil himself. Our enemies are not of flesh and blood, but rather are spirit. Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Like unto marionettes dancing on the silken black threads of their malevolent master, they dance the dance of demoniacs immemorial. They have taken what is good, by force, blackmail, coercion, deceit, fraud, and theft, and corrupted it. They have convinced the world of the dead, enslaved to the satanic system that what is good, is actually evil, and that what is evil, is actually good. Good has become such an evil it requires the ultimate humiliation and punishment. They cry for blood, and have swift feat to carry them along to its macabre end. It is a slight of hand that should not work, but does.
For who can blame the deaf, blind, and dead, for not being able to discern the truth from a lie? From their state, there is no excuse. They remain fully culpable for their estate. God is just, and those who remain dead in their sins and trespasses will experience God’s wrath eternal. Would you like to change the world? Are you greatly vexed, as I am with the insanity, and immorality of the leftists? You won’t find the solution as a politique. Much like the politique of 16th century France, if you believe you will find the solution in human policies, and national strength, you will be disappointed.
The solution for our current debauchery lies in the miraculous power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation. It quickens the dead soul to life, true life, life eternal! It makes the word of God come forth and dominate the darkened mind, it illuminates it, bringing light into the darkest man! O there is nothing more grand and glorious than the power of God displayed saving a wretch from his defiled and putrefied body of death except for God Himself! Preach the gospel to all the Earth, make disciples of all men! By His stripes we are healed! God commands all men everywhere to repent! Preach repentance and faith in our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ! For when a dead sinner becomes our true brother, he cannot help but to be changed in spirit, and soul! He will begin to hate the sin that he reveled in, and love the glory of God above all else! [1Co 6:20 KJV] 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. [Psa 115:1 KJV] 1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, [and] for thy truth’s sake.
[Eph 6:10-24 KJV] 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 But that ye also may know my affairs, [and] how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: 22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and [that] he might comfort your hearts. 23 Peace [be] to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
[Isa 53:1-12 KJV] 1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
[Act 17:22-34 KJV] 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead. 32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this [matter]. 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which [was] Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
[Rom 1:15-32 KJV] 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Psalms 103:1-2 (NASB Strong’s) Praise for the Lord’s Mercies. A Psalm of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul,And forget none of His benefits;
As David exhorts his soul to bless the Lord, we have to ask ourselves what it means to bless God. When we think of blessing a person often ideas of gifts or deeds to benefit them come to mind. What can one give to God, the Creator of all things, who knows all things perfectly? The error with that notion is that God is a man to be blessed as a man, but He is not as we all know. To bless the Lord means to speak well of Him. To extol His attributes. We can see in the following verses that is exactly what David does. He also exhorts the angels and all of creation to do so as well.
In verses 3-5 the psalmist asks five rhetorical questions to motivate the hearer (his soul) to recognize the Lord God. The answer to all five questions is obviously God.
Psalms 103:3-5 (NASB Strong’s) Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
God pardons his iniquities. God heals his diseases. God redeems his live from the pit. God crowns him with lovingkindness and compassion. God satisfies his years with good things so that his youth is renewed like the eagle.
In verses 6-19 we see the psalmist bless the Lord. He lists ways God is in His attributes, and how He is towards man, His creation in light of those attributes. You see when God blesses us, it is for our benefit. He doesn’t speak well of us to bless us. He involves us in relation to Him.
Psalms 103:6-19 (NASB Strong’s) The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
The closing verses not only exhorts the angels to bless God, but also all of creation, and is a restatement for conclusion of the exhortation at the beginning.
Psalms 103:20-22 (NASB Strong’s) Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul!
We should likewise bless the Lord from the depths of who we are in Him. Let us speak well of God in reverential awe of who He is, what He has done, and what He continues to do in space-time, and eternity.
Let’s be civil, and act as mature people in Christ while dealing with the lost. Remember, the people who have modern leftists ideals are not your enemy. It is the power behind them, pulling their strings. That is why our Lord, and His apostles, when they were killed, could ask God to forgive their murderers, due to their ignorance. We are dealing with a group of people who are unable to recognize truth, reason, love, and who are enslaved to sin, their master. They are children of their father, satan. According to Romans 1, their minds are debased, and unable to reason. Pray for the miracle of regeneration to happen to them, that they would be born again, and that they would repent of their sins, and trust solely in Jesus’ work on the cross for their justification.
We tend to compare human volition with that of God’s. I believe this is what causes so much confusion when it comes to understanding sovereign election, and man’s culpability. We hear comments like, “If God decides who gets saved, and who doesn’t, then it doesn’t matter what I do. We are just a bunch of mindless robots.” Now we know that we are not mindless robots, and our choices have consequences. We also know from scripture that God says we are culpable for our sins. We also should know, that we as finite, cursed, creatures, can’t know perfectly the attributes of God. We can only know them as much as we are made able to know them. That isn’t to say that our knowledge is insufficient for our spiritual needs, it is simply something we must acknowledge before moving on.
I’m not going to go into great detail in this article, as I do think the subject needs deeper, and more thorough treatment. I plan on writing a larger paper, or book on the topic later. I’m only going to use a few attributes in this example. Also, please keep in mind that even though there are attributes that were communicated to us in our creation by God, making us in His image, those attributes cannot be directly compared to them as found in God, as He is incomparable, having no analogous being.
God’s will is informed by His sovereignty, omniscience, and beneficence, to only name a few of His attributes. How do you think those qualities affect His determining compared to the enslaved, ignorant, malevolently informed wills of human beings? You see, the will of man cannot be rightly compared to that of God’s. In eternity past, when God created everything out of nothing, and determined all things, He did so with perfect rights, as owner/Creator. He did so with perfect knowledge of everything in all times and places, and even of all things not constrained by space-time. Finally, He did so with perfect goodness, love, and justice, these all being informed by all of His other perfections/attributes.
When man makes a decision it is informed by his enslaved nature. He is a slave to sin unless he has been born again. Then he is a slave to Christ Jesus. Those two facts make an eternity of differences. His will is also informed by his ignorance. Man can only consider what he reasons that he knows, when making a decision. If we consider this honestly, we would admit that compared to God’s omniscience our knowledge is incomparable. They belong in different categories. Our wills cannot operate independently apart from our sinful flesh, even when we are born again, due to our residence in the unredeemed flesh.
Since these two wills operate in different conditions, one being eternal/timeless, and the other being confined to finite, unfolding time, and space, the experience of these wills is very different. I can experience the situation that requires a response, the reasoning through the known options, make a decision, and experience the consequences of my decision as they unfold in my temporal, material, experience of life as a creature. This doesn’t in any way negate the reality of God’s volition in eternity past. I, as a result of God’s will in eternity past experience my life as He has determined it.
I know this seems impossible to people. We are stuck many times trying to compare things that are not in the same categories. By looking briefly at how different the two wills are, we should be able to accept that there is an aspect of ignorance in our reasoning due to our nature as creatures, that can’t justify fully how we can have a personal volition, and that God can determine all things, without there being a conflict. Our experiences as creatures are real. We are culpable for our sins. We do make choices in the construct in which we reside. Outside of that small, finite, dark, construct exists the full, luminescent, glorious truth of God. He is sovereign, omniscient, and good. We can trust those attributes as we experience the temporal, and eternal consummation of His will.
Romans 9:6-33 (NASB Strong’s) But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “ through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “AT this time I will come, and Sarah shall have A son.” And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate MY power in you, and that MY name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea,
“I will call those who were not MY people, ‘MY people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
“And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not MY people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” And just as Isaiah foretold,
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us A posterity,
WE would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written,
“Behold, I lay in Zion A stone of stumbling and A rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
God is omniscient. He knows everything. He cannot learn. He has always known who He would save, and who He would not. He did not have to look down the corridors of time to see who would choose Him. He knew before He made them. It is not evil for God to save only the elect. We cannot judge God. He is the infinite, transcendent Creator. We are small, finite, creatures, with limited faculties as creatures, then add on to that the noetic effect of our sin natures inherited from the fall of original sin. In Adam all die. The wages of sin is death. All of us, even the newborn, deserve death and Hell, but God in His mercy saves some. If there are two doctrines that are seemingly at odds, in your understanding, it is not the truth of God that is wrong. If the Bible says we have a volition, make choices, and suffer the consequence, or reap the rewards of those choices, then it is true. If it says that God has determined, or ordained all things to come to pass according to His will, then that is also true. Just because someone can’t justify the two ideas in their small, finite, creaturely, sin sick minds doesn’t negate the truth of God.
We are limited to an existence in space/time. We only experience life in a linear progression through unfolding time, in space. We see our lives as a series of instances, and of choices, and outcomes. Eternity is not like that. God is bigger than space/time. He transcends His creation. He sees all things, perfectly, as the actually are, forever. God made the construct of this material world for us to live in, and for His story to be experienced in. He made it for His glory.
The Bible, the Gospel of Christ, are theocentric, not anthropocentric. In Eternity, God sovereignly chose who would respond to their sin, and the gospel, with repentance and faith. He grants repentance and faith, to those whom He chose. This does not negate our culpability. He says as much in Romans. It doesn’t mean that we don’t experience choices and the outcomes of those choices. Let God be true.
You can read that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, Israel was chosen, Aaron, and Moses were chosen, Hosea, and Gomer were chosen, even the pagans were chosen to work God’s will in their wickedness they were used to punish Israel when they strayed. Christ chose His Apostles. Paul was chosen, and we see that on the road to Damascus. Romans 9, Ephesians 1, God’s sovereign choices are all over the old and new Testaments. We can’t ignore it, or interpret in a way that makes it anthropocentric. Our purpose is to glorify God, not man.
Sanctification is about being conformed to the Word of God and His likeness. A Christian would love for His sinful will in the unredeemed flesh to be gone. It is one of the things we look forward to in eternity, is being in a glorified body, that no longer desires to sin, but entirely desires to do God’s will only. People make the accusation that God wouldn’t make a bunch of mindless robots, but I would love it if I no longer sinned or were tempted to sin. It doesn’t mean that I would be mindless. Election, and man’s volition are both true. Before a man is saved, his will is enslaved to his sinful nature. After he is saved, it is enslaved to the Christ Jesus His Lord and Savior, who died for his sins.
We see at work in the world, both good and evil. This last weekend, I was reminded of the battle that is being waged in the spiritual realm, and its ramifications in the material world. After a wonderful service at Church, I checked my Facebook account, only to find out about the Church shooting in Texas. I was frustrated at my response. I was not outraged, or shocked. I felt bad for the victims. I prayed for them, but I was not burdened enough by the horror that had occurred. I found myself desensitized by the violence, and the evil that propelled it. Part of this hardening is due to my 22 years as a Corrections Officer, witnessing the doctrine of Total Depravity fleshed out.
I began to think about this in contrast to the wonderful time of worship, prayer, fellowship, and learning, I experienced on the Friday, and Saturday, that preceded the evil that occurred on Sunday. Hundreds of brothers, and sisters in Christ, from different Churches around the area, came together for the Reformation 500 Conference. It was such a joy to see the unity of the body. I was encouraged by news of revival by Dr. Beeke during the Q. & A. session. I could see the results of it in my little corner of the world. I met some brothers, I had not known before. Fellowship in Christ was easy, and familiar like a homecoming. I went home encouraged and uplifted.
The next morning at Church Dr. Dennis exposited the word of God faithfully, it too was a joy. Then to hear about the malignant work of evil in Texas, as I mulled over my lack of significant emotional response, and what it meant about my heart. Then later in the day, news came that struck much closer to home. A teen, who was about my daughter’s age, and the son of a Pastor I know, had committed suicide. This young, well liked, healthy, teen, killed himself. There was some lie he had heard from the enemy, in some shape, way, or form, which moved him to this. I don’t know what it was. The details don’t matter right now, just the fact that they have had their beloved son torn from them by evil, and its lies.
This happened directly after such a wonderful time, which it caused in me to think of how much was going on behind the scenes, so to speak. We live our lives, not considering the battle going on about us, oblivious to it and the effects. Why does it seem the highs and lows of the spiritual life are in constant rise and fall? A wonderful thing happens, and is immediately followed by a horrible thing. An unspeakably evil thing occurs, and then a marvelous event is witnessed. It keeps going on, and on.
Do I believe there will be a great revival in the end times? Yes I do. Do I believe there will be a great apostasy in the end times? Yes I do. I don’t think they necessarily are going to happen separately. I think we can see them happening now. Ebbing and flowing, in increasingly dramatic levels. Like birthing pains, increasing in frequency, and intensity. I don’t mean to imply that in the spiritual battle the enemy ever has victory. What ever back and forth fighting is happening, rest assured, it is all working according to God’s good, and final will.
While we are able, let’s revel in the glory, love, and righteousness of God. Let us love and minister to the hurting, and share the gospel of Christ with the world. They, who are laboring under the burdens of the world system, and the condemnation of sin, have no reprieve, unless by the power of God they be saved. Let’s be bold in proclaiming hope through Jesus. Let’s not neglect the delicate work of soul care. The injured, battered, abused, victims of evil in this world must be led by those justly inflicted, injurious wounds to the only one who can heal, and bring them to wholeness, Jesus Christ.