A Man’s Identity

David Powlison: Who are you? What gives a man his identity? On what foundation are you building your sense of self? Your answer, whether true or false, defines your life. Wrong ways of defining who we are arise naturally in our hearts, and the world around us preaches and models innumerable false identities. What are the ways men get identity wrong? Perhaps you construct a sense of self by the accomplishments listed on your resume. You might identify yourself by your lineage or ethnicity, by your marital status or parental role. Your sense of self might be based on money, on achievements, on the approval of others, on your self-esteem. Perhaps you think that your sins define you: an angry man, an addict, an anxious people-pleaser. Perhaps afflictions define you: disability, cancer, divorce. In each case, your sense of identity comes unglued from the God who actually defines you. Who God says you are God’s way of sizing up a man

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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)

The Re-Creation

From Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 4:720 “Just as the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, as carbon is converted into diamond, as the grain of wheat upon dying in the ground produces other grains of wheat, as all of nature revives in the spring and dresses up in celebrative clothing, as the believing community is formed out of Adam’s fallen race, as the resurrection body is raised from the body that is dead and buried in the earth, so too, by the re-creating power of Christ, the new heaven and the new earth will one day emerge from the fire-purged elements of this world, radiant in enduring glory and forever set free from the ‘bondage to decay.’” (HT: Tony Reinke)

“God’s reconciling project”

From Tony Reinke: Graham A. Cole, God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2009), 229-230: The God of the Bible is the righteous God of holy love. The trouble is, however, that we have become paradoxically the glory and garbage of the universe. Our great need is peace with God, and not just with God but also with one another. … There is no shalom, however, without sacrifice. Peace is made through the blood of the cross. The atoning life, death and vindication of the faithful Son bring shalom by addressing the problem of sin, death the devil and wrath definitively. Sacrifice, satisfaction, substitution and victory are key terms for understanding God’s atoning project in general and the cross in particular. Eschatologically speaking, the realization of the triune God’s reconciling project will see God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule living God’s way enjoying shalom in God’s holy and loving presence to God’s glory. … The broad

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Majestic Splendor

Amazing new images from the Hubble telescope O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth! ( Psalm 8  ) (HT: Stand to Reason)

The Narnia Code

The BBC has produced an excellent documentary about Michael Ward’s discovery of a ‘secret code’ hidden beneath the narrative of the Narnia Chronicles by CS Lewis. Ward’s book is called, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis. The documentary is a fascinating story about Lewis’ love and expertise of  medieval cosmology and Ward’s tying this to the ultimate reason behind the Chronicles. The result is a God-glorifying testimony to the order and grandeur of creation. Lewis’ aim! There are some great interviews at the end with Christian scientists, and a wonderful conclusion centred on the resurrection of Jesus as the beginning of the new creation. You can watch the BBC program here on BBCi, available for one week.

The regeneration of all creation

I’m off to Uganda in a few days for two weeks teaching ministry. This is the book I’m taking with me. Here’s a great quote from it: “Our renewal is tied to the eschatological renewal of the creation. We cannot separate our present spiritual regeneration from cosmic regeneration because our present restoration to life is the first stage in the eschatological restoration of all creation to its proper vitality and relationship to God. We are the firstfruits. The goal of redemption is nothing less the restoration of the entire cosmos. The scope of redemption is truly cosmic. Through Christ, God determined ‘to reconcile to himself all things’ (Col 1:20). Matthew 19:28 speaks of the renewal (the word is ‘regeneration’) of all things. Acts 3:21 also indicates a cosmic regeneration when it says that Jesus must remain in heaven ‘until the time comes for God to restore everything.’ Why must God regenerate, give new life and direction to, all things? Because

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The Heavens Declare God’s Infinity

By John Piper: Sometimes I’m asked how I explain the disproportion between the size of the universe and the smallness of man created as the crown of God’s creation. The tension is felt in Psalm 8:3-5. “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” My answer is that the magnitude of the universe is not meant to correlate with the image, but with the Original. The heavens are not designed to declare the glory of man. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalms 19:1). The point of the universe is that God is great and man is infinitely less great. I did not say man is not

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Christ and the Meaning of the Universe

. John Piper: . Why did God create the universe and why is he governing it the way he is? What is God achieving? Is Jesus Christ a means to this achievement or the end of the achievement?Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God. He is God in human form. As such he is the end not a means. The manifestation of the glory of God is the meaning of the universe. This is what God is achieving. The heavens and the history of the world are “telling the glory of God.” But Jesus Christ was sent to accomplish something that needed doing. He came to remedy the fall. He came to rescue sinners from inevitable destruction because of their sin. These rescued ones will see and savor and display the glory of God with everlasting joy. Others will continue to heap scorn on the glory of God. So Jesus Christ is the means to what God meant to

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