Who Is God? (con’t)

Taken from an interview with John Piper  (Presented in 6 main points.  Today, point 4)

4. God is Trinity. 

And in his fullness and perfection, the Bible makes plain that, from all eternity, God has had a perfect image of himself, the radiance of his glory. The Bible calls it “the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). And this image is so complete with all that God is that the Bible speaks of this image as the second person in God and uses the language of Son of God, not because there’s any biological way that he’s a son — like he had sex with Mary and had a baby; that’s not what the Bible teaches. He’s a son, the second person that has always existed in and as the perfect image of God. 

This Son is a son to indicate that they have the same nature. They’re both personal, and love reigns between them. The Bible speaks of God the Father loving God the Son, and God the Son loving God the Father, and the Bible points to the reality that this Spirit between them — this love between the Father and Son — carries, as it were, such a fullness of all that they both are that a third person exists, stands forth, has always stood forth in God. 

So, the biblical picture is that there’s one God — not three gods — and that this one God mysteriously exists as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This is one reason that it makes sense to say, as 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.” Love has been surging from all eternity in the fellowship of the three persons of the one God. 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence

Who Is God? (con’t)

Taken from an interview with John Piper  ( Presented in 6 main points.  Today, point 3)

God is (Point 3)

Third, he revealed himself as absolute, self-existent, independent of all other reality. I think one of the most important verses in the Bible is Exodus 3:14: “God said to Moses, ‘I Am Who I Am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’” The phrase “I Am Who I Am” is a declaration of absolute freedom from being created or formed or guided or swayed or determined by anything outside himself. Whatever God is or whatever God does, he himself is the ultimate source and cause of that. 

Here are some implications of what that revelation means for who God is, that revelation of his “I Am Who I Am.” 

1. It means he never had a beginning. Nobody made God. God simply is, always was, with no beginning. 

2. God will never end. He is absolute being. If you are being from forever, there’s no place to go outside being. You can’t not be. 

3. There is no reality before him. There’s no reality outside him unless he wills it to be and makes it. 

4. God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring him into being or support him or counsel him or make him what he is. 

5. Everything that is not God depends totally on God. All that is not God is secondary and dependent. The entire universe — vast, vast, vast billions of galaxies — is utterly secondary to God. 

6. He is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot be improved. He is not becoming anything. There is no development in God, no progress. Absolute perfection cannot be improved. 

7. He is the absolute standard of truth and goodness and beauty. There is no lawbook to which he looks to know what is right. There’s no almanac to establish facts for God, no guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful. He himself is the standard of what is right and true and beautiful. 

8. All that God does is always right, always just, always beautiful, and always in accord with truth — that is, himself. It fits. In that sense, it is right and good and beautiful, all things considered. 

9. Therefore, God is the most important and most valuable reality in the universe. He is more worthy of interest and attention and admiration and enjoyment than all other realities, including the entire universe. 

Now, all of that, all nine of those implications of “I Am Who I Am” — all of that — is implied in God’s word to Moses, “Tell them, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” You can see the same implications in many other places in the Bible — for example, in the letter to the Romans. This is one of my favorite passages: Romans 11:33–36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
     or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
     that he might be repaid?” 

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. 

In other words, God can’t be counseled because his knowledge and wisdom are infinite. God can’t be negotiated with or bartered with or bribed because he owns everything. He can never be put in anybody’s debt. Everything originates with him. He sustains all that is. And the display of his glory, his beauty, his greatness, his value, is the goal of everything: “From him and through him and to him are all things.” Therefore, “to him be glory forever.” 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence

Who Is God?

Taken from an interview with John Piper  (Presented in 6 main points – Today, Points 1 and 2)

When I turn to Jesus and his teachings; and to the writings of his followers that he himself vouched for, guaranteed; and to the Jewish Scriptures that Jesus himself endorsed; and to the world of nature; and to the witness of my own conscience — when I turn from myself to these places where God has revealed himself — here’s what I see in answer to the question, Who is God? And I would appeal to everyone who’s listening not to take my word for it, but to search out those five sources as if your life depended on it, because it does. 

1. God (the Father) is spirit. 

Here’s the first thing I believe I see in those revelations from God of who he is. First, Jesus says that God (the Father) is spirit. John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” In other words, he’s not physical. He’s not material. He does not have a body. He is invisible. He’s spirit. 

2. God is personal. 

Second, God is personal. This is amazing when you think that absolute reality could have been anything — I mean, there was nothing before absolute reality to make it what it is. And to think it’s personal, that’s just mind-blowing! He has revealed himself as one who thinks and reasons and plans and loves and rejoices and experiences anger and compassion. 

Isaiah 55:8: “My thoughts are not your thoughts.” 

Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you.” 

Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, let us reason together.” 

Hosea 11:8: “My compassion grows warm and tender.” 

Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord “will rejoice over you with gladness.” 

Numbers 11:10: “The anger of the Lord blazed hotly.” 

Amazing! God is not impersonal. He’s not a substance. He’s not a mere force. He’s not material, like an element or a gas. He’s not just an influence. God is a person, personal. From him comes personhood. This is why human beings are so unique in the world of God’s creatures: he made us in his image; we are persons. 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence

Hope That Is Sure

God Never Lies 

Why is it that Christian hope — and not hope in general — has such a catalytic effect in and through our lives? Paul answers that in the opening lines of Titus. When he mentions “hope of eternal life,” he adds, “which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began” (Titus 1:2). Why would he say that here? Of course God never lies, but why say that now? 

Because the never-lying, certain promises of God, about the future, have everything to do with our hope. Our hope, which catalyzes faith in Christ into actions of love for the good of others, is based on the words of the God “who never lies.” God’s truthfulness is absolutely critical to our hope. And our hope, in Christ, is as good as God’s word. Our hope is not what we wish or dream; our hope is what God has promised — and he never lies. 

Taken from an article by David Mathis, executive editor for desiringGod.org  

Wired To Know

The despair of modern man takes many forms. It is despair in depth in that it tends to use formulations and forms which seem to give hope and yet in the nature of the case lead to more profound depths of despair.   

This type of despair comes from lack of belief or lack of objective knowledge of the God Who Is There.

There is a real tension in being a modern man because no one can live at ease in the area of despair. 

A Christian knows that this is because man has been made in the image of God and though man is fallen, separated from God by his true guilt, he has not become a machine. The fallenness of man does not lead to machineness, but to fallen-manness.  

Man is a finite created being who is hard-wired by design to know The God Who Is There.  And, because of this design, he has a natural inclination to seek for meaning and purpose and cause and source.     

Modern man in seeking answers to meaning and purpose for his existence can easily be enticed to look to naturalistic and mystical belief systems in order to provide some sense of meaning and purpose.   

If God exists and we are made in His image we can have real meaning, and we can have real knowledge through what He has communicated to us. If God does not exist, then we are left only with man and his finite self-expression. At this point all one has is the expression of the individual man. 

God is the cause and source and gives meaning and purpose to our existence.  We were ‘made’ to know Him.  The Apostle John records a prayer Jesus was praying to his Father…”And this is eternal life, that they can know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 ESV).  Life…fullness of life…now and into eternity.. is to have a personal relationship with the God Who Is There.  All other paths can only lead to eventual despair.  

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There 

Faith That Is Sure

A few days ago, we posted “Faith or Faith,” speaking on the contrast between Christian faith and modern faith. The same word, faith, is used, but has an opposite meaning.  

Modern man cannot talk about the object of his faith, only about the faith itself. So he can discuss the existence of his faith and its “size” as it exists against all reason, but that is all. Modern man’s faith turns inward.  

In Christianity the value of faith depends upon the object towards which the faith is directed. So it looks outward to the God who is there, and to the Christ who in history died upon the cross once for all, finished the work of atonement, and on the third day rose again in space and in time. This makes Christian faith open to discussion and verification.  

On the other hand, the new theology is in a position where faith is introverted because it has no certain object.  It is in contrast to the preaching of the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ which proclaims Jesus Christ as its object.    

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There 

What Happens Next After We Die?

Does the thought of experiencing a resurrected world appeal to you? Does it ignite your imagination to realize we will live happily ever after on a planet without sin and suffering? Is this a part of your belief-system?  Let’s never settle for less than the full truth of God’s promised salvation — eternal life with God’s people on a redeemed earth governed by the King of kings, whom we will joyfully worship and serve forever.  Know truth…live and love by truth! (To read the full article by Randy Alcorn…here is the link…I promise it will give clarity and definition to things you wonder about as to what happens when we die and what will the next realm of life be like. Please read this 🙂).  dh 


Why Do We Want to Go to Heaven? (Part 2)

Continuing from yesterday….we hear this desire on the very lips of Jesus himself: “this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). God does not merely give us eternal life, he is the life, the very source and essence of eternal life (John 11:25–26). 

Substance, Sun, Ocean 

Few have seen the Heaven of heavens as clearly from Scripture as Jonathan Edwards

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows, but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the ocean. 

This does not devalue the shadows, the scattered beams, the streams of this world. Every good gift comes from God (James 1:17). The gift of himself, however, is what gives every other gift its inestimable value in the first place. They only devalue when separated from the Substance, the Sun, the Ocean. 

And every good and perfect gift we receive from God in the age to come, and whatever else he has prepared for us, will be far better than those we’ve received and experienced in this life (1 Corinthians 2:9). But still, they will never compare with the Joy of joys, the Love of loves, the Light of light, the Life of life, the Heaven of heavens. For God will always be, as Lewis says in Till We Have Faces, the one satisfying “place where all the beauty came from.” 

Taken from an article by John Bloom, Staff Writer, desiringGod.org 

Why Do We Want to Go to Heaven?

C.S. Lewis in his book (The Problem with Pain, 150), stated “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else”.  What he’s talking about is the desire at the core of all our desiring, the thirst that is never quenched by anything we find in this world: our desire for God. 

Lewis calls this core desire “the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work” (152). 

This “unappeasable want” is a daily experience for us to lesser or greater degrees. Its presence is pervasive in our pursuits. Yet quenching this thirst eludes us in every earthly well we drink from. And nothing in this material life, or even a heavenly mansion will satisfy it either. Only One Thing will. As Randy Alcorn says, 

We may imagine we want a thousand different things, but God is the one we really long for. His presence brings satisfaction; his absence brings thirst and longing. Our longing for Heaven is a longing for God. (Heaven, 165) 

God himself is “the fountain of living waters”; apart from him every other cistern we dig will leave us dry (Jeremiah 2:13). Only he can give us the drink that will forever end our deepest thirst (John 4:14). Our unquenchable thirst, our unappeasable want, is a desire for God (Psalm 63:1–2). This is what the Bible reveals from cover to cover. 

Taken from an article by John Bloom, Staff Writer, desiringGod.org 

Faith or Faith

Draw a horizontal line and refer to it as the ‘line of anthropology’.  Below this line is the area of ‘man’. And everything above the line would be true revelation and knowledge of God, the truth of the existence of God. If you place all of the new age ideas related to meaning, cause, and source of existence above the line, at best, all you can come up with is a “philosophic other,” a metaphysical infinite, which is unknown and unknowable.  In the end, such a system can only fall below the line of anthropology. The reason it falls below the line is because it does not value or have experiential knowledge of man being created in the image of God, nor of God revealing Himself truly in the Scriptures.  

The important thing to note is that while for them nothing can be known above the line, yet nevertheless they go on using the word god to create a ‘theistic’ relevance.  Even though they deny and reject the God of the bible who created the natural world and man in his image, their system ends up being its own religious ideology.   

Probably the best way to describe this concept of modern theology is to say that it is faith in faith, rather than faith directed to an object which is actually there.   In Christianity, one places and directs their faith to the person of Jesus Christ who can be known and who is there.

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There