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

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