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Life Theology

Weekly Spurgeon

From Morning and Evening:

“To him be glory both now and for ever.”
– 2 Peter 3:18

Heaven will be full of the ceaseless praises of Jesus. Eternity! thine unnumbered years shall speed their everlasting course, but for ever and for ever, “to him be glory.” Is he not a “Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek?” “To him be glory.” Is he not king for ever? –King of kings and Lord of lords, the everlasting Father? “To him be glory for ever.” Never shall his praises cease. That which was bought with blood deserves to last while immortality endures. The glory of the cross must never be eclipsed; the lustre of the grave and of the resurrection must never be dimmed. O Jesus! thou shalt be praised for ever. Long as immortal spirits live–long as the Father’s throne endures–for ever, for ever, unto thee shall be glory. Believer, you are anticipating the time when you shall join the saints above in ascribing all glory to Jesus; but are you glorifying him now? The apostle’s words are, “To him be glory both now and for ever.” Will you not this day make it your prayer? “Lord, help me to glorify thee; I am poor, help me to glorify thee by contentment; I am sick, help me to give thee honour by patience; I have talents, help me to extol thee by spending them for thee; I have time, Lord, help me to redeem it, that I may serve thee; I have a heart to feel, Lord, let that heart feel no love but thine, and glow with no flame but affection for thee; I have a head to think, Lord, help me to think of thee and for thee; thou hast put me in this world for something, Lord, show me what that is, and help me to work out my life purpose: I cannot do much, but as the widow put in her two mites, which were all her living, so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into thy treasury; I am all thine; take me, and enable me to glorify thee now, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have.”

Categories
Theology

The Guiding Principle for Interpreting Scripture

The principle that should guide our attention to Scripture is that its meaning is objective, not subjective. The meaning of Scripture does not change with every new reader or every new reading. It cannot be twisted to mean whatever we like. It is what it is, unchanging and unending. The first principle, therefore, in giving heed to Scripture is that there is a true meaning and there are false meanings, and we must submit our minds to trace out what is really there rather than presuming that whatever pops into our minds at our first reading is the true meaning.

– John Piper, sermon on 2 Peter 1:20-21

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Theology

What Kind of Free Will Exists?

In my morning study of 2 Peter today, I was camped in 1:5-7.  Here, Peter writes,

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knoweldge, and knowledge with self-control, and sef-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

As I studied this passage, I was referencing Calvin’s commentary on 1 Peter.  At the end of verse 7, he made this note:

It may, however, be here asked, whether Peter, by assigning to us the work of supplying or adding virtue, thus far extolled the strength and power of free-will? They who seek to establish free-will in man, indeed concede to God the first place, that is, that he begins to act or work in us; but they imagine that we at the same time co-operate, and that it is thus owing to us that the movements of God are not rendered void and inefficacious. But the perpetual doctrine of Scripture is opposed to this delirious notion: for it plainly testifies, that right feelings are formed in us by God, and are rendered by him effectual. It testifies also that all our progress and perseverance are from God. Besides, it expressly declares that wisdom, love, patience, are the gifts of God and the Spirit. When, therefore, the Apostle requires these things, he by no means asserts that they are in our power, but only shews what we ought to have, and what ought to be done. And as to the godly, when conscious of their own infirmity, they find themselves deficient in their duty, nothing remains for them but to flee to God for aid and help.

The only kind of free will that exists is that will which God frees in order to follow him.  God is completely sovereign and will always work “in us that which is pleasing in his sight” (Heb. 13:21).  God began a good work in us and “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).  God has given us grace so that we might inherit the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8-9).  Truly no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (Jn. 6:44).

With that said, there is still the cosmic mystery of how God’s sovereign reign over this world and our lives meshes with our responsibility.  It may be a mystery, yes, but not a contradiction, for it’s plain that Scripture teaches both!  We have the responsibility, as Peter urges us, to furnish our faith with moral excellence.  But as we saw in the few verses above, God is ultimately in control.  Without works, our faith is mere demon faith — it is dead.  But without God’s grace, there would have been no faith in the first place.

Augustine was quite right when he said, “Pray as though everything depended on God.  Work as though everything depended on you.”  May we do that today so that we might walk in the good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in.

Categories
Theology

Who in the Skies is Like the Lord?

In my morning worship with the Lord today, I am in 2 Peter 1:3-4.  Verse 3 says,

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.

God has a goal: that his people obtain eternal life and be godly.  God has a source: his own glorious, divine power.  God has a means: the deep, intimate knowledge of his own Son Jesus Christ.  Notice the language in this verse; it’s utterly unavoidable.  In short, we can say that no one can earn what only God can give.  God has granted what we need to know him.  He has called us to inherit it.  He has done it for his own glory and excellence.

God came to us and initiated with us so that we could have that initial knowledge of Son — saving knowledge.  Paul shows us this in 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “[God] who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works bet because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” But not only did he do it once, at the time of salvation, but he does it continually as well.  Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 says, “We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.”  God calls us to eternal life and godliness everyday.  He calls us to knowledge — to know his Son every day.  He is calling us to his glory in these things.

Life is about God’s glory; we are invited to come and delight in it.  It is as if a great king sends an invitation to the citizens of his kingdom for a party.  He asks them to come and enjoy a banquet in his own honor.  “Come, you children of the king and enjoy his presence and marvel at his majesty!  Come and delight in his splendor!”  God has called us to a great party in his honor.  He called us to his own glory and excellence.

This really connects with my heart today.  There is no other glory that is worth being called to. There is no other glory that can even compare to the God of the Bible.  Meditating on this lead me to this passage in the Psalms: “For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who area around him?” (Ps. 89:6-7).

God has invited us.  He has given us all we need.  He has provided a means and that means is a true, genuine, special knowledge of Jesus Christ.  God is good.  Truly, there is no one like him.