It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy. -George H. Lorimer, editor (1868-1937)
The idea of God’s omnipresence has sometimes troubled people who wonder how God can be present, for example, in hell. In fact, isn’t hell the opposite of God’s presence, or the absence of God? This difficulty can be resolved by realizing that God is present in different ways in different places, or that God acts differently in different places in his creation. Sometimes God is present to punish. A terrifying passage in Amos vividly portrays this presence of God in judgment:
Not one of them shall flee away;
not one of them shall escape.
Though they dig into Sheol,
from there shall my hand take them;
though they climb up to heaven,
from there I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
from there I will search them out and take them;
and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And though they go into captivity before their enemies,
there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good.
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 175.
“Do American Christians really believe that Christianity benefits by being associated with all that America represents in the Muslim world? To many Muslims, America appears as the great fountain of pornography, debased entertainments, abortion, and sexual revolution. Does it help our witness to Christ that all this would be associated in the Muslim mind with ‘Christian’ America?”
In our depravity, if God came down to us we’d hide from him, run from him, deny him, and even kill him, and that’s precisely what we did.
“Many evangelicals use the evangelistic appeal to ‘ask Jesus into your heart’. The positive aspect of this is that the New Testament speak of ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Col. 1:27); of Christ dwelling ‘in your hearts through faith’ (Eph. 3:17), and the like. It speaks of the Christian as having ‘received Christ Jesus the Lord’ (Col. 2:6). But it also makes clear that Christ dwells among his people by his Spirit, for the bodily risen Jesus is in heaven. Furthermore, there are no examples in the New Testament involving the asking of Jesus into one’s heart. In many cases, this practice represents a loss of confidence in faith alone…
“…The gospel is seen more as what God is doing in me now, rather than what God did for me then. The focus is on Jesus living his life in and through me now, rather than the past historic event of Jesus of Nazareth living his life for me and dying for me. When the legitimate subjective dimension of our salvation begins to eclipse the historically and spiritually prior objective dimension, we are in trouble. The New Testament calls on the repenting sinner to believe in Christ, to trust him for salvation. To ask Jesus into one’s heart is simply not a New Testament way of speaking. It is superfluous to call on Christ to dwell in us, for to be a believer is to have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us. In the same way, it is not the New Testament perspective that we should call on Christ to give us the gift of new birth.”
Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2006), 176-177.
“Competitive ambition and the accompanying disciplines that bring about its achievement can be pursued, and more often that not are pursued, without conscience, without love, without compassion, without humility, without generosity, without righteousness, without holiness. Which is to say, quite apart from maturity. Immature entertainment celebrities routinely walk out on their families. Immature scholars and scientists who collect Nobel Prizes make do with estranged and godless lives. Immature star athletes regularly embarrass their coaches and fans by infantile and adolescent, sometimes criminal, behavior.
These are the men and women who set the standards for a life fueled by ambition, getting to the top, making a name for themselves, beating out the competition. These are the men and women who provide the images and examples for North Americans of what it means to be standout human beings. Do any of us want to live, I mean really LIVE, that way? Is that living? Has that ever, in the entire history of humankind, been living—fully alive?
I don’t think so. And I don’t think many other people think so when they stop to think, if they ever do. The misery, the emptiness, the superficiality, the boredom, the desolation that accompanies this kind of living is devastating, not only to the individuals involved but to their families and communities. And the seepage of such lives into our culture—for no man is an island unto himself—impoverishes us all.”
Eugene H. Peterson, Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), 90-91.
“Jesus is God incarnate – that is, he is fully God and fully human. But to be human is to be made from the created dust of the earth while being given life by the breath of God. In the God/Man we thus have all of reality present in a representative way that involves no dislocation of relationships. Jesus is thus the representative new creation. If reality consists of God-Humanity-Universe, Jesus is the perfect representative of all three dimensions in which all relate perfectly. Christology in the New Testament shows Jesus to be the comprehensive expression of reality in the purpose of God. The notion of the cosmic Christ rightly applies to the incarnate Son because he is representative reality.”
Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2006), 249.
God does not invite people to repent, he commands them (Acts 17:30).
R. C. Sproul, The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1994), 17.
If you meet with a system of theology which magnifies man, flee from it as far as you can.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (aka C.H. Spurgeon)
Faith is a refusal to panic.