10 Things You Should Know about God’s Attributes

Mark Jones: 1. God is simple. What that means is this: God is free from all composition; He is not the sum of his parts. There is not one thing and another in God. Rather, whatever is in God, God is. He is absolute, which means that there are no distinctions within his being. 2. When we speak of his attributes, we must keep in mind that because his essence remains undivided, his goodness is his power. Or, God’s love is his power is his eternity is his immutability is his omniscience is his goodness, and so forth. In other words, there is technically no such thing as attributes (plural) but only God’s simple, undivided essence. Why is this important? The simplicity of God helps us to understand that perfect consistency exists in God’s attributes. 3. God is infinite. The infinity of God is sort of like a “meta-attribute,” such as simplicity, in the sense that it qualifies all the

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The Cross Illuminates God’s Attributes

Erik Raymond : Many have said that it is a study of the attributes of God that has been most impactful in their spiritual walk. No doubt it is when we, with eyes full of grace, look at God as he presents himself in his revelation that we are truly humbled and God himself is exalted in accordance with true knowledge of him. I share these same sentiments. Several years ago, I began a home Bible study on the attributes of God. But a funny thing happened to me in this study. In preparing to teach on God’s holiness, I searched for the supreme representation and/or demonstration of divine holiness, I graciously stumbled upon what appeared to be the power cord that illuminated the divine perfections without rival. As I studied the attributes of God’s holiness I found the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ to be the supreme demonstration of this eternal perfection of God. The same thing happened as

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What Happens When You Emphasize God’s Love in the Wrong Way?

Geerhardus Vos, writing in 1902: Whatever may be charged against the intellectualism of the period when orthodoxy reigned supreme, it can claim credit at least for having been broad minded and well balanced in its appreciation of the infinite complexity and richness of the life of God. The music of that theology may not always please modern ears, because it seems lacking in sweetness; but it ranged over a wider scale and made better harmonies than the popular strains of today. On the other hand, it is plain that where the religious interest is exclusively concentrated upon the will and entirely exhausts itself in attempts at solving the concrete, practical problems of life, no strong incentive will exist for reflecting upon any other aspect of the nature of God than His love, because all that is required of God is that He shall serve as the norm and warrant for Christian philanthropic effort. It is a well-known fact that all

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Created to share joy

Historian George Marsden makes a summary of what Jonathan Edwards thinks of why God created: “Why would such an infinitely good, perfect and eternal Being create?… Here Edwards drew on the Christian Trinitarian conception of God as essentially interpersonal… The ultimate reason that God creates, said Edwards, is not to remedy some lack in God, but to extend that perfect internal communication of the triune God’s goodness and love… God’s joy and happiness and delight in divine perfections is expressed externally by communicating that happiness and delight to created beings… The universe is an explosion of God’s glory. Perfect goodness, beauty, and love radiate from God and draw creatures to ever increasingly share in the Godhead’s joy and delight… The ultimate of creation, then, is union in love between God and loving creatures.” ~ The Reason for God, Belief in an age of Skepticism. Timothy Keller (Dutton, New York, 2008) P218 (HT: Rick Ianniello)

Edwards on Why Seeing God Would Kill Us

From a sermon on James 1:17 God is arrayed with an infinite brightness, a brightness that doesn’t create pain as the light of the sun pains the eyes to behold it, but rather fills with excess of joy and delight. Indeed, no man can see God and live, because the sight of such glory would overpower nature, . . . ’tis because the joy and pleasure in beholding would be too strong for a frail nature. According to Edwards, it isn’t God’s holiness that would incinerate us. It’s the joy that would erupt within us that we can’t handle. Yet. –Jonathan Edwards, ‘That God is the Father of Lights,’ in The Blessing of God: Previously Unpublished Sermons of Jonathan Edwards, p.346 (HT: Dane Ortlund)

What Does the Cross Demonstrate?

Thabiti Anyabwile has reprinted a helpful section from Sinclair Ferguson’s Growing in Grace. Ferguson asks, “How do we find the grace of God in the cross? How has it become God’s instrument of salvation to those who have faith?” His answer is that the cross of Christ demonstrates: the love of God the justice of God the wisdom of God (HT: Justin Taylor)

This Infinite Fountain of Love

There, even in heaven, dwells the God from whom every stream of holy love, yea, every drop that is, or ever was, proceeds. There dwells God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, united as one, in infinitely dear, and incomprehensible, and mutual, and eternal love. There dwells God the Father, who is the father of mercies, and so the father of love, who so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son to die for it. There dwells Christ, the Lamb of God, the prince of peace and of love, who so loved the world that he shed his blood, and poured out his soul unto death for men. There dwells the great Mediator, through whom all the divine love is expressed toward men, and by whom the fruits of that love have been purchased, and through whom they are communicated, and through whom love is imparted to the hearts of all God’s people. There dwells

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Tim Keller’s impressions of The Shack

From The Gospel Coalition. Over the holidays I read a good (and devastating) review of William P. (Paul) Young’s The Shack in the most recent print edition of Books and Culture: A Christian Review (Jan/Feb 2010.)  It was a reminder that I was one of the last people on the planet not to have read the book. So I did. So why write a blog post about it? It had sold 7.2 million copies in a little over 2 years, by June of 2009. With those kinds of numbers, the book will certainly exert some influence over the popular religious imagination. So it warrants a response. This is not a review, but just some impressions. At the heart of the book is a noble effort — to help modern people understand why God allows suffering, using a narrative form. The argument Young makes at various parts of the book is this. First, this world’s evil and suffering is the result of our

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God’s self-exaltation

“Here is the end of the matter: God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is not the act of a needy ego, but an act of infinite giving. The reason God seeks our praise is not because he won’t be fully God until he gets it, but that we won’t be happy until we give it. This is not arrogance. This is grace. This is not egomania. This is love.” – John Piper, Is Jesus an Egomaniac? (HT: Of First Importance)

The Holy Trinity

Here are some helpful thoughts from Bavinck on the Trinity: For a true understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity three questions must be answered: What is the meaning of the word “essence”? What is meant by the word “person”? And what is the relation between “essence” and “person” and between the persons among themselves? The divine nature cannot be conceived as an abstract generic concept, nor does it exist as a substance outside of, above, and behind the divine persons. It exists in the divine persons and it totally and quantitatively the same in each person. The persons, though distinct, are not separate. They are the same in essence, one in essence, and the same being. They are not separated by time or space or anything else. They all share in the same divine nature and perfections. It is one and the same divine nature that exists in each person individually and in all of them collectively. Consequently, there is in

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What is true of Him

  “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 We must think of suffering in a new way, we must face everything in a new way. And the way in which we face it all is by reminding ourselves that the Holy Spirit is in us. There is the future, there is the high calling, there is the persecution, there is the opposition, there is the enemy. I see it all. I must admit also that I am weak, that I lack the necessary powers and propensities. But instead of stopping there . . . I say, “But the Spirit of God is in me. God has given me his Holy Spirit.” . . . What matters . . . is not what is true of us but what is true of Him. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, page 100. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

Man Is Not the Centre

Spurgeon writes in Lectures to My Students: Just as the earth is not the centre of the universe, so man is not the grandest of all beings. God has been pleased highly to exalt man; but we must remember how the psalmist speaks of him: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him; and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” In another place, David says, “Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.” Man cannot be the centre of the theological universe, he is altogether too insignificant a being to occupy such a position, and the scheme of redemption must exist for some other end than that of merely making man happy,

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Reach them with the Amazing God not helpful tips

From Kevin DeYoung: I beg of you, don’t go after the next generation with mere moralism, either on the right (don’t have sex, go to church, share your faith, stay off drugs) or on the left (recycle, dig a well, feed the homeless, buy a wristband). The gospel is not a message about what we need to do for God, but about what God has done for us. So get them with the good news about who God is and what he has done for us. Some of us, it seems, are almost scared to tell people about God. Perhaps because we don’t truly know him. Maybe because we prefer living in triviality. Or maybe because we don’t consider knowing God to be very helpful in real life. I have to fight against this unbelief in my own life. If only I would trust God that God is enough to win the hearts and minds of the next generation. It’s his

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Piper: Why I Don’t Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies

I find John Piper’s rationale compelling. I also appreciate his humility: Now that the video of the Q&A at Advance 09 is available, I can look at it and feel bad all over again. Here’s what I regret, indeed what I have apologized for to the person who asked the question. The first question to me and Mark Driscoll was, “Piper says get rid of my TV, and Driscoll says buy extra DVRs. How do you reconcile this difference?” I responded, “Get your sources right. . . . I never said that in my life.” Almost as soon as it was out of my mouth, I felt: “What a jerk, Piper!” A jerk is a person who nitpicks about the way a question is worded rather than taking the opportunity to address the issue in a serious way. I blew it at multiple levels. So I was very glad when the person who asked the question wrote to me. I wrote

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The Pleasures of God Seminar

Another great resource from John Piper at Desiring God is the audio and video from the seminar, “The Pleasures of God.” The Pleasures of God, Part 1 The Pleasures of God, Part 2 The Pleasures of God, Part 3 The Pleasures of God, Part 4 The Pleasures of God, Part 5

Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility by D. A. Carson – some quotes

“The sovereignty-responsibility tension is not a problem to be solved; rather, it is a framework to be explored.” (2) “Once again, then, the divine activity calls for a response, not fatalism; while human calling and seeking do not make the divine activity contingent.” (14) “The point is so obvious that it scarcely requires making. From the first prohibition in Eden, through commands to individuals like Noah and Abraham -whether commands to build an ark or to walk blamelessly- to the prescriptions laid on the covenant people, human responsibility is presupposed.” (18) “Men are not held to be responsible in some merely abstract fashion; they are responsible to someone.” (19) “It is difficult to find an adequate word or phrase to express this ‘ultimacy’ in God. The crucial point is that his activity is so sovereign and detailed that nothing can take place in the world of men without at least his permission; and conversely, if he sets himself against some course,

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God himself is the great good of our redemption

“The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption. He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ has purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the portion of their souls. God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory. They have none in heaven but God; he is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they are to rise to at the end of the world. The Lord God, he is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem; and is the ‘the river of the water of life’ that runs, and the tree of life that grows, ‘in the midst of the paradise of God.’ The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be

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