The Mind and Sin’s Deceitfulness

In ch. 8 of his The Power and Efficacy of Indwelling Sin, John Owen elaborates on Hebrews 3:13 (“Take heed that you be not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”) and discusses the role of the mind in the deceitfulness of sin:

Deceit properly affects the mind; it is the mind that is deceived… But where the mind is tainted, the prevalency must be great; for the mind or understanding is the leading faculty of the soul, and what that fixes on the will and affections rush after, being capable of no consideration but what that presents to them. Hence it is, that though the entanglements of the affections unto sin be oftentimes most troublesome, yet the deceit of the mind is always most dangerous, and that because of the place that it possesses in the soul as unto all its operations.

The Wrath of God

Berkouwer, on page 258 of his The Providence of God writes about the wrath of God:

Apart from God’s wrath neither His righteousness nor holiness, neither His love nor mercy can be understood… Wrath is the implication of God’s holiness. It must direct itself against evil… God’s wrath is not arbitrariness… It is the exalted reaction of His holiness.

But he also points out that –

God show His goodness and forgiveness in this, that He does not keep His anger forever (Mic. 7:18) The question “who knoweth the power of thine anger,” is the converse of the question, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity…?” (Micah 7:18)

Thus, Berkouwer can conclude that “In God’s forgiveness, it is also possible to recognize His righteousness, His wrath and His holiness.” How come? Because this same righteous and wrathful God  gave his Son for our redemption, who bore the penalty of our sins (i.e., the wrath of God) so that we might receive forgiveness. And in fact when Christ hung on the cross as our sin-bearer and substitute “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself” (II Cor. 5:19). The wrathful God is the God of love!

What Greater Atheism Can There Be?

Thus man by nature being a willing servant of sin, is more desirous to be bound in the devil’s iron chain, than in God’s silken cords. What greater atheism can there be, than to use God as if he were inferior to the devil? to take the part of his greatest enemy, who drew all others into the faction against him? to pleasure Satan by offending God, and gratify our adversary with the injury of our Creator? For a subject to take arms against his prince with the deadliest enemy both himself and prince hath in the whole world, adds a greater blackness to the rebellion.

– Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God (vol. 1), p. 119

Against Our Wills

What we call service to God is done naturally much against our wills; it is not a delightful food, but a bitter potion; we are rather haled, than run to it. There is a contradiction of sin within us against our service… Our hearts are unwieldy to any spiritual service of God; we are fain to use violence with them sometimes… Man’s nature, being contrary to holiness, hath an aversion to any act of homage to God, because holiness must at least be pretended; now as men are against the truth of holiness, because it is unsuitable to them, so they are not friends to those duties which require it, and for some space divert them from their beloved lusts. The word of the Lord is a yoke, prayer a drudgery, obedience a strange element.

– Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God (Vol. 1), p. 112

My Vocation

My vocation has become clearer as the years go by: to study the unchanging God without something else to do, some pragmatic reason or result. This is what I feel most called to do: simply enjoy the study of God – not write about it, not view it in relation to its political residue or imagine that my opinions will have some visible  social effect. The joy of inquiry into God is a sufficient end in itself, not only as a means to some practical consequence.

Thomas C. Oden, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy, p. 95

The Study of God

Plain theology delights in its very act of thinking, reading, praying, and communing – not for the effects, written artifacts, or social consequences … but for the beauty of their subject …. The study of God is to be simply enjoyed for its own unique subject: the One most beautiful of all, most worthy to be praised.

– Thomas C. Oden, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy, p. 96

Reading Theology

There’s nothing that can integrate reality in the way that theology can, and so I feel as if I’m reading something whole when I’m reading great theology, and I feel as though I’m reading something very partial when I’m reading anything else.

– from an extended interview with Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead

Calvin’s Birthday in Bacolod!

Today a group of Reformed theology-minded Christians gathered together at West Negros University, Bacolod City to celebrate John Calvin’s 500th birthday. Atty. Jerry Basiao talked on John Calvin and the Sovereignty of God; Atty. Juan Rubrico talked on Why Calvin Matters; and I talked on Calvin and Preaching. My talk was based on the 1st seven distinctives of Calvin’s preaching as found in Steve Lawson’s book, The Expository Genius of John Calvin, as follows:

1. Biblical Authority

2. Divine Presence

3. Pulpit Priority

4. Sequential Exposition

5. Diligent Mind

6. Devoted Heart

7. Relentless Will

We had a great time! It is only right to give honor to whom honor is due. We honor John Calvin because he honored God with his life and by his preaching. Benjamin Warfield said of Calvin,”No man ever had a profounder sense of God than he.” Calvin himself said,

The thing (O God) at which I chiefly aimed, and for which I most diligently labored, was that the glory of thy goodness and justice… might shine forth conspicuous, that the virtue and blessings of thy Christ…might be fully displayed.

(Source: John Piper’s Legacy of Sovereign Joy)

The Theologian

From R.C. Sproul’s Right Now Counts Forever:

Calvin in debate could draw on his encyclopedic knowledge of biblical passages, as well as the ability to quote at length from ancient thinkers such as Augustine and Cicero. But above all things, Calvin sought to be true to the Word of God. He was the biblical theologian par excellence who was at the same time a singularly gifted systematic theologian.

We owe a great debt to this man. He is God’s gift to the church, not only for the sixteenth century but for all time. We therefore join the multitudes who are celebrating the 500th birthday of John Calvin in the year 2009.

Read the whole thing: The Theologian | Ligonier Ministries