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Archive for the ‘Love of God’ Category

Hope in Suffering Part 3

Romans 5:3-5

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Purpose: There are three truths we need to know in order that we might not be crushed during suffering in our lives so that we would have hope in our suffering.

  1. We need to know that we all will face tribulations (v.3a)
  2. We need to know that God is working within us (v.3b-4)
  3. We need to know that God loves us greatly (v.5) 

Previously we have looked at the first two points:

We need to know that we all will face tribulations (v.3a)

We need to know that God is working within us (v.3b-4)

Today we will look at the third point:

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how-do-you-combat-the-love-of-money

The last few Sundays we have featured posts tackling the sin of the love of money.  I thought I share them all in one post as a table of contents.

The first post is important because if one doesn’t realize they have the love of money, they aren’t going to see the importance of how one combat one’s love of money.  The second and third posts deals with fighting against the love of money in terms of what to put off and what to put on instead, respectively.

Here are the posts:

How do you tell if you are a lover of money?

How do you combat the love of money? Part 1

How do you combat the love of money? Part 2

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the-difficult-doctrine-of-gods-love

Don A. Carson. The Difficult Doctrine of God’s Love.  Wheaton, IL: Crossway, December 10th, 1999.  93 pp.

5 out of 5

This book is by New Testament scholar Don Carson who wrote this book that is accessible for a popular audience.  Carson tackles on the doctrine of God’s love which he noted that this is not an easy doctrine.  The book has four chapters and I found that I learned a few things and the book also helped organized my thoughts better concerning God’s love.  In my review below I will focus more on the first two chapters.

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love-of-money

Christian ought not to be lovers of money (1 Timothy 6:10).  But this challenge is harder than most think.

Then there is this prediction by Paul: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,” (2 Timothy 3:1-2).  Given the times that we are living in how much do we need to be discerning to see if we are lovers of money!

Of course people can often deceive themselves.  So how do you know if you are a lover of money?  The following are four diagnostic questions.  I tried to make it flow with the acronym “SNAP:”

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truth and life conference

The Master’s College every year has a wonderful conference called “Truth and Life Conference.”  This year’s topic was on the subject of “Practicing the Biblical “One Anothers.””  It was held on January 14th-16th, 2015.

Below are the audios from the conference.  Enjoy!

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1040window_religions

It is a sobering question that many Christians dread to hear someone ask: How could a loving God condemn those who have had no opportunity to respond to Christ?  Any Christian who has seriously pondered about his or her faith will sooner or later ask this very question.  How does one reconcile the proclamation made in the Bible that God is love and square that with the reality that there are people who will not go to heaven that might not have had an opportunity to respond?  I think a helpful way to navigate through this difficult issue is to think clearly of the relationship of various doctrines in the Bible pertaining to this issue.

If we are going to reconcile God’s love with people condemned by God we have to begin with why people are condemned in the first place: Sin.  Sin is any violation of God’s laws.  Since God is the Creator, He has the prerogative to require of his creation and specifically Creatures what He wants from them just like a potter can shape a pot the way the potter sees fit.  However as moral creatures humanity as a whole has chosen the path of sin.  Everyone has sinned; the Apostle Paul makes that clear in his epistle to the Roman church said “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Unfortunately the consequences of sin are grave, we read of the condemnation in the first half of Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death,”

It might sound strange but I think it is important to realize that God is a loving God even when he shows judgment against sinners.  He never punishes people beyond what they deserve.  Part of God being a loving God means that He will never falsely accuse people and punish them for things they did not do.  We would not say a court judge is good if he was arbitrarily punishing those before him for things they didn’t do.  Likewise, as paradoxical as it might sound, God’s love even for those who are condemned ensure no injustice would ever occur in His own judgment against sinners.  This of course means that God will judge us according to what we do know and rejected instead of what we are truly ignorant of.  Robert McQuilkin’s comment is helpful for us here:

Judgment is against a person in proportion to his rejection of moral light.  All have sinned; no one is innocent.  Therefore, all stand condemned.  But not all have the same measure of condemnation, for not all have sinned against equal amounts of light” (McQuilkin, 173).

I think it is also helpful to think of the relationship of God’s general revelation of Himself outside of Scripture that is accessible to all.  Paul told the Athenians in Acts 17:27 what the purpose of God’s general revelation in nature and history is: “that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”  It is so that we can respond to it by reaching out to God.  There is in some sense in which General revelation is a “bridge” to special revelation which content is the Bible, Jesus and salvation.  But Romans 1 reveal that as fallen human beings, our sinful inclination is to suppress the truth of God that is revealed all around us, rather than travel the road to further truth: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).  Note Romans 1:20 mentioned that we ought to know God even to the extent of His divine nature and power.  It suggests that humanity’s ignorance of God is a culpable ignorance in the same way that we ought to know the speed limit of the road we are driving.  Unfortunately because man suppresses the truth of General revelation this doesn’t help man come to know Jesus as Savior (apart from the Grace of God).

In closing I think it’s important to think more clearly concerning the relation of Jesus as Savior (which is a clear and concrete example of God’s love) versus mankind getting into sin and thus standing condemned.  We must not think that the problem lies with God providing salvation.  Salvation is due to His mercy and grace in the first place.  The problem is with man’s sin.  If I could use the traffic violation analogy from above, we cannot be focused on why some did not have the opportunity for traffic school when it is our traffic violations that makes us stand condemned before the traffic court in the first place.

 

Mentioned: McQuilkin, Robertson. 2009. Lost. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds., 170-17

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