Sunday, October 29, 2017

WHO IS YOUR GOD? (part 5. The Omnipresence of God)

Who’s your GOD? 
A brief description of the Attributes of God.

We can know nothing about God, except that, and ONLY that, which He has revealed to us.  And those attributes are found in Scripture.  If the god you worship is less than, more than or different from the ONE TRUE GOD of the Bible, then your God doesn’t exist.
Ralph M. Petersen


THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD

In part 2, we caught a brief glimpse of this attribute; because He is Spirit, God is not confined to a physical body in time and space. 

Here, I want to reemphasize that God is present everywhere always.  There is no place anywhere, past, present or future, in the entire universe of His creation, where He is not.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 

If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.    Psalm 139:7-10

People often question or doubt God’s presence during times of catastrophes or griefs or losses, about God being absent or negligent.  But they are wrong; God is there. 

Where was God during the 9-11-2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York?  He was in the cockpits with the pilots, He was in the towers when they began to collapse, and He was under the rubble with hundreds of people as they were being crushed to death.  God was there. 

“If God be infinite, He is omnipresent.  Suppose Him infinite, and then suppose there is anything besides Himself, and His presence with that thing, wherever it be, doth necessarily follow; for if He be so bounded as to be in His essence distant from anything, He is not infinite.”  John Owen

“Does the Lord turn Himself unto our prayer only after long delay?  Is not He omnipresent?  Is not every whispered and stammering prayer know to Him before there is yet a word in the tongue?”  Abraham Kuyper

Most people, to some degree, imagine that God is transcendent; He inhabits and rules from Heaven.   According to scripture, The Lord is enthroned in the heavens (Psalm 23:1).  He is exalted over all other rulers and authorities on earth (Psalm 97:9).  His throne is high and lifted up (Isa. 6:1) and His throne room is in Heaven (Rev. 4:1-2).

But He is also, always immanently present; He is with us in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).  He is ever present on earth and in heaven (Deut. 4:39).  He dwells in the high places and with the humble and lowly (Isa. 57:15).  He will be with His children to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20) and He will never leave them or forsake them (Heb. 13:5).

There is no place where God is not.  We often talk about the eternal existence of the lost in hell as being isolated from the presence of God but that idea is not supported in Scripture.  God is the one who actively and eternally administers His divine wrath in hell.  Rev. 14:10 describes that eternal (never-ending) punishment occurring “…in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”

Many will rightfully argue that God cannot look on sin; that He will turn His countenance away from sinners.  But this is a part of His righteous vengeance and wrath on the unjust.     

Whenever I treat my wife poorly or inconsiderately, sometimes I get to the point where she suddenly turns her face away from me; “she gives me the cold shoulder.”  And then she gives me the silent treatment.  And that is not a fun place to be.  Nothing is right or happy in our relationship until I apologize.  I need her forgiveness and I can’t imagine what it would be like if she never forgave me.

In hell, God will turn His face away and there will never be any reconciliation, forever, for the inhabitants of hell.  They will exist eternally, in their sin.  And in the presence of the God whom they spurned, forever without any hope of forgiveness.




(Some material presented here has been quoted from "The Attributes of God" as published by Ligonier Ministries and influenced by the companion lectures of Steven Lawson)


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Does God Love Everyone?

'It has been customary to say God loves the sinner though He hates his sin.  But that is a meaningless distinction. What is there in a sinner but sin?   Is it not true that his “whole head is sick” and his “whole heart faint,” and that, “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness” in him? (Isa 1:5-6). 

Is it true that God loves the one who is despising and rejecting His blessed Son?   God is Light as well as Love, and therefore His love must be a holy love.  To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins.  The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.  With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus, the perfect teacher, telling sinners that God loved them!  In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the apostles, God’s love is never referred to at all! 

But when we come to the epistles, which are addressed to the saints, we have a full presentation of this precious truth—God’s love for His own.  Let us seek to rightly divide the Word of God and then we shall not be found taking truths which are addressed to believers and mis-applying them to unbelievers.  That which sinners need to have brought before them is the ineffable holiness, the exacting righteousness, the inflexible justice and the terrible wrath of God.  

Risking the danger of being misunderstood, let us say—and we wish we could say it to every evangelist and preacher in the country—there is far too much presenting of Christ to sinners today (by those sound in the faith), and far too little showing sinners their need of Christ, i.e., their absolutely ruined and lost condition, their imminent and awful danger of suffering the wrath to come, the fearful guilt resting upon them in the sight of God: to present Christ to those who have never been shown their need of Him, seems to us to be guilty of casting pearls before swine.  If it be true that God loves every member of the human family then why did our Lord tell His disciples “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father...If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him”(John 14:21, 23)? 

Why say “he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father” if the Father loves everybody? The same limitation is found in Proverbs 8:17: “I love them that love me.”

Again; we read, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity”—not merely the works of iniquity. Here then is a flat repudiation of present teaching that, God hates sin but loves the sinner; Scripture says, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity”(Psa 5:5)! “God is angry with the wicked every day”(Psa 7:11). “He that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him”—not “shall abide,”but even now—“abideth on him”(Joh 3:36). 

Can God “love”the one on whom His “wrath” abides?  Is it not evident that the words “the love of God which is in Christ Jesus”(Rom 8:39) marks a limitation, both in the sphere and objects of His love?  Again; is it not plain from the words “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”(Rom 9:13) that God does not love everybody?  It is written,  “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth”(Heb 12:6).  Does not this verse teach that God’s love is restricted to the members of His own family?  If He loves all men without exception then the distinction and limitation here mentioned is quite meaningless. 

Finally, we would ask, Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in the Lake of Fire?  Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change—He is “without variableness or shadow of turning”!' 

A.W. Pink, 'The Sovereignty of God'


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spiritual Quackery



“The real impulses which propel ministers to the new measures, while sometimes ignorantly pious, are more frequently improper, a prurient impatience to hurry and huddle the work which God reserves as his own, — sinners' conversion, — with a secret mistrust of the power of the simple truth, with prayer and faith; a love of notoriety, and of the reputation of effectiveness; a desire to count large numbers of converts, and especially an indolence which is impatient of God's method, the detailed, unobtrusive, sustained work of pastoral and catechetical instruction.  It is, in a word, a system of spiritual quackery; It relies not on spiritual powers, but on theatrical sympathies and manipulations.” 

R.L. Dabney, An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Discussions Volume 1

WHO IS YOUR GOD? (part 4. The Holiness of God)

Who’s your GOD? 
A brief description of the Attributes of God.

We can know nothing about God, except that, and ONLY that, which He has revealed to us.  And those attributes are found in Scripture.  If the god you worship is less than, more than or different from the ONE TRUE GOD of the Bible, then your God doesn’t exist.
Ralph M. Petersen


THE HOLINESS OF GOD

I would proffer that most Christians, today, don’t really understand the word, HOLY.

Holiness is not about practicing or exuding a posture of humility.  It’s not about the appearance of being devout or religious.  Holiness is a demarcation of separation.  It means to be sanctified, marked out, set apart, or unique.

One aspect of God’s holiness is His ultimate purity.  All His decisions are righteous, and His judgments are perfect. He is without flaw or blemish.

His goodness is not just an acquired or practiced virtue.  He IS Good.  He cannot look on evil.  There is no sin or moral blemish in Him. 

“Infinite purity, even more than infinite knowledge or infinite power, is the object of reverence… ‘The Holy One of Israel’ is He who is to be feared and adored.”   Charles Hodge  

But beyond His spotless purity, His holiness exists in His “utter otherness.”  He is not like us.  He doesn’t act like us and He doesn’t think like us.  His ways are not our ways.  He is utterly indefinable. 

As a man, when I look at a slug on the ground, I might think how much different I am than that slimy, slow-moving mollusk.  But, I have things in common with the slug.  We are both created, mortal, physical beings.  

The difference between God and me are infinite.  I am mortal; He is immortal. I am a creature; He is the creator.  I am a physical being; He is Spirit.  There is nothing comparable to God. 

His holiness is overwhelming.  He is superior to and separate above all creation.   He is superlatively majestic and indescribable in His splendor.  His Glory is too stunning to look upon or understand.

“When the Bible calls God holy, it means primarily that God is transcendentally separate.  He is so far above and beyond us that He seems almost totally foreign to us.”    R.C. Sproul   

Of all God’s attributes, revealed in scripture, His holiness is uniquely and superlatively emphasized.  He is thrice Holy.  The four living creatures surrounding His throne, raise up and honor Him by crying out continuously, day and night forever, “Holy, Holy, Holy!”   And that is what we, His Church will do also.  We will worship Him in His holiness forever as we bow before His throne and cry out, “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will, they existed and were created.”  (Rev. 4:11)

So when Scripture uses the word, holy, to describe people, places, or things, as holy, we should be sober in the way we mark them out or set them aside for service to our God.
  

According to the Bible, Human life, Marriage, Sex, His Church, His Word, His Name, and His Worship are not to be profaned, manipulated or abused for our convenience or pleasure.  They are to be set apart to Him and revered for His glory. 



(Some material presented here has been quoted from "The Attributes of God" as published by Ligonier Ministries and influenced by the companion lectures of Steven Lawson)

Monday, October 23, 2017

WHO IS YOUR GOD? (part 3 - the Sovereignty of God)

Who’s your GOD? 
A brief description of the Attributes of God.

We can know nothing about God, except that, and ONLY that, which He has revealed to us.  And those attributes are found in Scripture.  If the god you worship is less than, more than, or different from the ONE TRUE GOD of the Bible, then your God doesn’t exist.
Ralph M. Petersen


THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

Is there anything your god can’t do?  If so, yours is not the True and Living God of the Bible.

Our God is in control.  He has absolute control and authority over all His creation.  His authority transcends time and space; there is nothing He does not see and there is nothing that will confound Him.  God rules over everything including the human heart and will.  

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry,’Mine!’ ”   -- Abraham Kuyper


God’s RULE.

One who is sovereign is supreme in rank, power, and authority.  Because He is sovereign, God has the right to rule, govern, and preside over all things.

Satan is NOT sovereign.  The devil doesn’t make you do anything.  Compared to God, Satan is a powerless wimp whose most effective devices are deception and lies.

As a sovereign God, He exercises His control over our circumstances.  Our future does not rest in the hands of men.  Our destiny does not depend on chance.  God is actively involved in the direction of all things according to His pleasure and for our good.



God’s REASON

His purposes extend to eternity.  God is sovereign in salvation.  Christians are, predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.  (Eph. 1:11)

That “counsel” refers to the deliberate plan, of the triune God, that preceded the creation of the universe.   His “will” refers to His divine decisions that define and control every aspect of our lives.

It is His “purpose,” or, pre-determination, to accomplish His righteous will.

God’s act of predestination, is His guaranty that His will is completely accomplished.  God doesn’t have a plan B.


God’s REALM.

He is in control of creation.   He is the source of everything.  All things belong to Him and He created all things for His good pleasure and His manifest Glory.  (Psalm 33:6-9)

He is in control of history.  He didn’t just set everything in motion and then sit back to see what would happen; He orders and directs human affairs. (Psalm 33:10-11)   He manages all things and directs all circumstances for the glory of His Name and for the good of His people.  (Romans 8:28)

He is in control of salvation.  He does not “look down the corridor of time to see who would believe; He predestines His people for salvation according to His eternal purposes.  (Ephesians 1:3-7)

“God’s sovereignty has ever appeared to me a great part of His glory.  It has often been my delight to approach God, and adore Him as a sovereign God.”   -- Jonathan Edwards



(Some material presented here has been quoted from "The Attributes of God" as published by Ligonier Ministries and influenced by the companion lectures of Steven Lawson)

Friday, October 20, 2017

SOLUS CHRISTUS (In Christ Alone)


We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in CHRIST (Acts 4:12). We should, therefore, take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else.

If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of HIM’ (1 Cor 1.13).

If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in HIS anointing.

If we seek strength, it lies in HIS dominion;

If purity, in HIS conception;

If gentleness, it appears in HIS birth. For by HIS birth HE was made like us in all respects (Heb 2:17) that HE might learn to feel our pain (Heb 5:2).

If we seek redemption, it lies in HIS passion;

If acquittal, in HIS condemnation;

If remission of the curse, in HIS cross (Gal 3:13);

If satisfaction, in HIS sacrifice;

If purification, in HIS blood;

If reconciliation, in HIS descent into hell;

If mortification of the flesh, in HIS tomb;

If newness of life, in HIS resurrection;

If immortality, in the same;

If inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in HIS entrance into heaven;

If protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in HIS Kingdom;

If untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to HIM to judge.

In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in HIM, let us drink our fill from this fountain and from no other” 

(John Calvin's Institutes 2.16.19).



(If God should ask you, "Why should I let you into my heaven?" what will be YOUR RESPONSE?  Did you see anything of your efforts, your merits, your goodness, or your works in that list?  NO, YOU DIDN’T.) 


Salvation is in CHRIST ALONE!  There is NO OTHER NAME given under heaven whereby we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:10)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My Very Own Original Poem about Poetry

Poetry’s nice,

It’s quite the device
For speaking in language, sublime.

But seldom I rhyme;
I don’t have the time,
To fiddle with fluff, so concise.

Why be so terse,
And blather in verse,
That flows with cadence and beat?

I’d rather explete;
Use words more concrete,
So thoughts are made simple, not worse. 





An original poem by Ralph M. Petersen

Oct. 19, 2017




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Of Morons and Intelligence Quotients


I expect several people may be upset by this but, any REAL men over the age of 50 will understand.

I have been in the habit of meeting with other men for coffee nearly every morning for over 40 years.  It started when I was a young contractor.   Over the years, some have died and some have moved away but we always managed to pick up new acquaintances along the way.  The group has changed but the dynamic of the meetings has not.  Now, at the age of nearly seventy years, I am the youngest of the remaining five men.  So, what holds us together? 

Just guy stuff; that’s all!  At our ages, we repeat stuff but that's okay because we forget stuff, too.  It’s the same old stories (that get more unbelievably fantastic and embellished every time they are repeated), the same stupid jokes, and THE SAME INSULTS.

That’s right, every morning is NON-STOP INSULTS.

You see, we all grew up during a time when boys were taught how to roll with the punches. 

When someone on the playground called us names, we responded with snappy little self-defense retorts like, “Sticks and Stone can break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” Or “I know you are but what am I?”  Or my favorite, “I may be fat but you’re ugly and I can diet!”
     
We didn't consider that bullying.  We didn't run to "tattle" to the teacher.  We knew what real bullies were.  And we were taught how to stand up to, and fight them, if necessary.

Today, everything that offends someone or hurts someone’s feelings is called bullying.  That’s because too many young men have been sissified by unmarried mamas who have trained them to be emotional wrecks.  They run to safe spaces and cry whenever they hear something that doesn’t agree with them.

Not so with REAL, MATURE MEN.  So, in our early morning coffee shop meetings, we have polished and perfected the manly art of sarcastic insults.  There are NO LIMITS.  We make fun of each other and we insult each other’s physical appearances, disabilities, behaviors, and even stupidity.  Nobody is immune.  And at the end of the hour we all say goodbye and then we reassemble the next morning and it starts all over again.  That’s what men do.  And that’s how men express their affection for each other (although most of us would deny that there is any “affection”).


So, when two old guys, who work together, make seemingly insulting remarks, Most of us old guys are not necessarily concerned.  When one old guy named Rex calls another old guy named Donald, a moron; and when Donald retorts that his I.Q. is higher than Rex’s, I don’t see a problem. 

Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson are on the same team and are working toward the same objectives.  I just see two good old boys acting like good old boys.


For all the rest of you easily offended snowflakes; just deal with it. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WHO IS YOUR GOD? (part 2 - the Spirituality of God)

Who’s your GOD? 
A brief description of the Attributes of God.

We can know nothing about God, except that, and ONLY that, which He has revealed to us.  And those attributes are found in Scripture.  If the god you worship is less than, more than or different from the ONE TRUE GOD of the Bible, then your God doesn’t exist.
Ralph M. Petersen

THE SPIRITUALITY OF GOD

God is Spirit in His essence or His nature.   But His spiritual nature is unlike any other in His creation.  It is true that He created man with a spiritual nature but man is not like God.  And when men die, they do not become angels but they will exist forever in an embodied state with spatial and chronological limitations.  

He has also created spirits (creatures without physical bodies) to inhabit a different dimension.  We call them angels (or demons).  But they are not like God.  They are not infinite and they are not omnipresent.  They have spiritual bodies that are also limited by space and time.  And there are several instances in Scripture, where God has enabled some to see angels or demons.

Satan is not like God.  He is not the ever-present evil counter-part to God.  He is one of those created spiritual beings, who is limited by God in his power, presence, and influence. 

Only God is the uncreated Spirit.  He is not like a man.  He needs nothing; He doesn’t depend on anything or anyone for His existence or sustenance.  His being is fundamentally different from all His creatures.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:23-24

“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.   Amen.”   1 Tim. 1:17


God is IMMATERIAL, INVISIBLE, and INFINITE. 

God is Immaterial.

He does not have a body.  Where He describes Himself, in scripture, as having human anatomical parts (His eyes, His hands, etc.) or human qualities (walking, sitting, resting, etc), He does so for our finite understanding. 

He is not limited to physical or spatial constraints.   Therefore, He is everywhere, at all times, and we can be assured that He is always with us.  There is never anyplace we can be where God is not there.


God is Invisible.

No man has seen Him. 

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, He has made Him known.”  John 1:18

Some people claim that they have seen God.  They are wrong.  The only physical manifestations of God in human form is the God-man, Jesus Christ.

We can see evidence of God in His creation.  We can learn about Him in His revelation (the Word of God).  And we can know Him through a relationship with Jesus Christ.


God is Infinite.

God is not constrained by time.  He created time and He exists apart from time.  That is why He sees everything and He knows the beginning from the end.  That is why scripture says a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.  In other words, He exists in eternity apart from His creation.  When He spoke the world into existence, He is there, and, one day, when He brings it to its final consummation, He is there.

He is beyond all human understanding.

“Everywhere in the Old and in the New Testament, God is represented as a spiritual Being, without form, invisible, whom no man hath seen or can see; dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, and full of glory; as not only the creator, and preserver, but as the governor of all things; as everywhere present, and everywhere imparting life, and securing order.”  

Charles Hodge




(Some material presented here has been quoted from "The Attributes of God" as published by Ligonier Ministries and influenced by the companion lectures of Steven Lawson)



Thursday, October 5, 2017

WHO IS YOUR GOD? (part 1 - The Aseity of God)

Who’s your GOD? 
A brief description of the Attributes of God.

We can know nothing about God, except that, and ONLY that, which He has revealed to us.  And those attributes are found in Scripture.  If the god you worship is less than, more than or different from the ONE TRUE GOD of the Bible, then your God is one you have created in your own imagination.  And that is a violation of the First and Second Commandments. 

Part 1.     THE ASEITY OF GOD - God is Self-Existant

The word aseity (uh-SAY-eh-tee) comes from Latin roots meaning “from” and “self.”  God is self-existent and all-sufficient in His being. 

GOD IS!  He has no beginning and He has no end.  He exists both in and apart from His creation.   And should He destroy the physical universe, He still exists.

He is infinite and unaffected by time.  He is no older today than He is when He created the universe.  And He is no younger than He is at the end of the Ages. 

Because we are finite and physical beings, we have no words to describe an eternal existence so we use phrases like eternity past to describe time before God created everything.  But that is wrong because it is beyond our comprehension; there was NO TIME before the beginning (Genesis 1:1) when God created time, space, and matter.  Before time, God is.

A. W. Pink wrote, “God was under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create.  That He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part caused by nothing outside of Himself, determined by nothing but His own mere good pleasure.” 

God is complete and self-satisfied.  Some people say that He was lonely and because God is Love, He needed to create someone with whom He could share His love and companionship.  But God is not dependent on anything or anyone.  He is completely self-satisfied in His triunity.    

Romans 11:36 says “all things are FROM Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him.”  That means that God is the SOURCE of All Things, He is the MEANS of All Things, and He is the GOAL or the end of All Things.

Because God exists eternally apart from the physical universe, He is limitless in His Power and Majesty.

Does that sound like your God?  I hope so because This God is the TRUE and LIVING GOD.  Any other god is an idol.



(Some material presented here has been quoted from "The Attributes of God" as published by Ligonier Ministries and influenced by the companion lectures of Steven Lawson)