According To The Plan: Chapter 3

Photo From Desiring Virtue

I’m reading through According To The Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God In The Bible by Graeme Goldsworthy with the Desiring Virtue Book Club. Unfortunately, most weeks I cannot participate in the group discussion because it is schedule at the same time we start bedtime routine here. Nonetheless, I am so thankful Jessalyn introduced me to this book! I am only on chapter four and it is so thought provoking! I wanted to share a few excerpts from the previous chapter that I have been thinking on over and over.
“All forms of humanism make the enormous assumption that the human mind alone is the final judge of what is or is not true. When people present scientific “proofs” that something is true, it is rarely acknowledged that certain unprovable assumptions have to be made. It is assumed that the human senses and reason actually make contact with what is there, and that they are capable of assessing the meaning of what is there. In other words, man’s experiences become the final point of reference for what is true.”

“Man was created to know God. Every fact in the universe speaks of its creator and is open for us to discern. In addition, the image of God in us means that we know ourselves only as we know God, and know God only as we know ourselves. God’s eternal power and divine character can be discerned from nature,  which includes humankind. Man in the image of God communicates by word, and this reflects the fact that God is the one who communicates by word. The first word of God to man indicated the relationship that God established between himself and man and between man and the rest of creation. (Gen. 1:28-30). God spoke to Adam and told him what he needed to know about himself and his relationship with God. Thus, every word from God to man interprets the meaning of reality.

That part in bold and especially the underlined part really got me thinking. I started asking myself if I really lived like every word from God to us (the Bible) determines the meaning of reality, or do I rely more upon experiences?

“Presuppositions, then, are the assumptions we make in order to hold some fact to be true. We cannot go on indefinitely saying, “I know this is true because …” In the end we must come that which we accept as the final authority. By definition a final authority cannot be proven as an authority on the basis of some higher authority. The highest authority must be self-attesting. Only God is such an authority.

The presuppositions we must make in doing biblical theology are those of Christian theism. The alternative to this is to accept the presuppositions of some form of humanism. Either we work on the basis of a sovereign, self-proving God who speaks to us by a word that we accept as true simply because it is His word, or we work on the basis that man is the final judge of all truth. The Christian position, to be consistent, accepts that the Bible is God’s Word and that is says what God wants to say in exactly the way He wants to say it.”

We all have presuppositions. What are mine? Am I acting as God truly is the final authority or do I prop up men or my own experiences into that place at times? Are my actions on par with what I claim to believe about God’s authority and the Bible?

In Christ,

The Excellent Wife Chpt 7: On Idols

If we are not content to wait on God for our desires, if we are miserable and sin as a result, then our heart’s desire is not set on the glory of God. Instead, our desire has become an idol.” -from The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective Chpt. 7
What a profound, true, convicting statement. I’ve been reading The Excellent Wife for a few months now and I highly recommend it to all wives and fiancés. It’s full of strong, theologically sound, Bible based truth on what it means to be a Biblical wife.
In chapter seven, titled Christ: The Wife’s Heart, it talks about idols, namely idols of the heart. The author gives lists of things that may be idols and some of them may surprise the reader.
1. Good health.
2. Physical appearance.
3. Having a Christian marriage.
4. Being treated fairly.
5. Having a hurt free / pain free life.
6. Worldly pleasures.
7. A child or children.
8. Another man or woman.
9. A material thing.
10. An ideal of movement (pro-life movement, peace movement, etc.)
11. Money
12. Success
13. Others’ approval.
14. Being in control.
15. Having your “needs” met.
Of course, just because something is on this list doesn’t mean it is bad in and of itself. But, as the author discusses, our thoughts and actions in regard to the items on this list can be the problem. As wives (and Christians in general) the main desire of our heart should be to glorify God. We should be content in our circumstances … much easier said than done.
And that’s so important to realize, there’s a reason it is much easier said than done. We are sinners, it goes against our nature.

“… Seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Col. 3:9-10 ESV
It is only by the sweet, free gift of Grace that we can accomplish this. God alone, through grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone allows us to do all things to the glory of Him. Yes, we still fail because we are in a process of being sanctified. It is only in heaven, free of the sinful flesh that we will do this always and fully. But, how merciful of God to allow us to experience some of that here! Can you imagine the awful fight, the gloom, the despair if we could not taste any of the fruits of delighting in the Lord while here on Earth? God does not owe us this grace, this help, or anything at all! But He is good, He is merciful, He is kind, and He is loving. Bless the Lord for allowing us this!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5 Esv
Be encouraged dear friend, God has given you grace to overcome trials, to overcome sin and sorrow! Feast on His word, full of Grace and wisdom for His children. Meet with Him in prayer as often as possible. Let the Lord transform your heart through the renewing of your mind.

“Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern
what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:12 ESV

The Holiness of God: Chapter 9

The title of this chapter was, “God in the Hands of Angry Sinners.” Of course, that title is a play on the famous Johnathan Edwards sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God.” I love that sermon because I get chills whenever I read or listen to it. It seems unfortunate we don’t hear sermons like that anymore.

This is an excellent reading of Mr. Edward’s sermon by Max  McLean. It is nineteen minutes long, but a wonderful listen!

For this chapter I want to share some of my favorite quotes found within it.

“Gone are the Gothic arches; gone are the stained-glass windows; gone are the sermons that stir the soul to moral anguish. Ours is an upbeat generation with accent on self-improvement and a broadminded view of sin.”

“If we had any compassion for other people, we would wail at the thought of a single one of them falling into the pit of hell. We could not stand to hear the cries of the damned for five seconds. To be exposed to God’s fury for a moment would be more than we could bear. To contemplate it for eternity is too awful to consider.”

“If we hate the wrath of God, it is because we hate God Himself. We may protest vehemently against these charges, but our vehemence only confirms our hostility toward God. We may say emphatically, “No, it is not God I hate; it is Edwards that I hate. God is altogether sweet to me. My God is a God of love.” But a loving God who has no wrath is no God. He is an idol of our own making as much as we carved Him out of stone.

“We reveal our natural hostility for God by the low esteem we have for Him. We consider Him unworthy of our total devotion. We take no delight in contemplating Him. Even for the Christian, worship is often difficult and prayer a burdensome duty.”

“The failure of modern evangelicalism is the failure to understand the holiness of God. If that one point were grasped, there would be no more talk of mortal enemies of Christ coming to Jesus by their own power.” 

“… as we grow in knowledge of Him, we gain a deeper love for His purity, and sense a deeper dependence on His grace. We learn that He is all together worthy of our adoration. The fruit of our growing love for Him is the increase of reverence for His name. We love Him now because we see His loveliness. We adore Him now because we see His majesty. We obey Him now because His Holy Spirit dwells within us.”

Be Blessed,

The Holiness of God: Chapter 8

The chapter eighth chapter of Sproul’s book is titled: Be Holy Because I Am Holy. And, like all the chapters preceding it, it is awesome. 
The author starts off by talking about the word saint and what the word actually means. Through out the Bible we see average believers referred to as saints. Is this okay? Now days we associate the word saint with someone that did something amazing for Christianity, or someone especially righteous. I’ve actually seen list of things one has to do to be worthy of the title “saint.” The list of steps to becoming a saint are usually far too long, as they require more than one thing. In reality all believers are saints. Saints are what makes up the church. So, really the only step required to becoming a saint is: justification. And we know, we are justified by faith alone (in Christ alone). 
But, wait. Don’t “saints” usually do all sorts of good and righteous things? Yes. And all Christians should strive to live upright, holy, and blameless before God. I like how Martin Luther put it: 

“Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.” -Luther

From our justification comes our sanctification. We have been chosen for this. As children of God we have been chosen for a set apart life. A life striving toward holiness. Of course, we will never see our sanctification complete this side of heaven. We still live in a fallen world, and have on our sinful flesh. The battle will be raging on until Christ’s glorious return . Our lives should look different.  RC Sproul reminds us, we are called to a life of non-conformity: 

The Bible calls us “holy ones.” We are holy because we have been consecrated to God. We have been set apart. We have been called to a life that is different. The Christian life is a life of nonconformity.

We can see this idea expressed in Romans: 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,  by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,  but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  (12:1-2)

Notice, this is not a cheap, shallow idea of non-conformity. Paul is talking about inwardly transforming yourself, starting with the renewal of your mind. 

“The simplistic way of not conforming is to see what is in style in our culture and then do the opposite. When piety is defined exclusively in terms of externals, the whole point of the apostle’s teaching has been lost. Somehow we have failed to hear Jesus’ words that it is not what goes into a person’s mouth that defiles a person but what comes out of it.”

Sproul goes on to talk about how it takes no great moral courage to avoid dancing or certain movies. This is a cheap morality being substituted for a real, deep righteousness.  This kind of righteousness starts with the renewal of the mind, as Paul mentioned. What is this? It is disciplined education on the Word of God. We can never begin to reach true righteousness if we neglect the precious Word. Children of God should love His Word, we should feast upon it. We need to be masters of the Word. This is the renewing of our minds. Knowing the Word will help us to know Jesus. To learn to value what he valued and despise what he despised. This should be at the heart of the saints. 
This is all part of the daily process of becoming holy. Since we are justified we are being sanctified. This does not mean we are perfect. 

“Simul justus et peccator” – Luther ( At the same time just and sinner).

We must never, never forget that we are not justified before God based on anything we have done or will ever do. We are justified only because of the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed to us.  This is truly an amazing thing. Grace should never stop being amazing, and should always propel us forwarded to live the life God has called us to as, “holy ones.”

Be Blessed,

The Fruit of Her Hands: Chapt. 3&4

I have been participating in a book study at my friend Becky’s blog. The book we’re reading is the Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson. This book has been such a blessing to me! It’s a very small book, and easy to read but filled with a wealth of knowledge, advice and warnings for the mother and/or wife.

Chapters three and four are the only two chapters I’ve taken down notes on so far. I thought I’d share them here.

Chapter 3
The main thing that has stuck with me from this chapter was the amazingly simple New Testament reading plan the author puts forth. If you read five chapters from the New Testament each day you will thus read through the entire New Testament every two months! I was completely unaware of this, but have put it to practice since learning of it.

The quotes that stuck out most to me:



Where there is worry there is no trust. Trust in God is a protection from fear.

I do tend to be fearful, but I rarely see it as that. I see it more as a curious, impatient, anxious manner about myself. But those things can all equate fear and a non-trust in God. Another one on fear:

Fear drives out the gentle, quiet spirit that is so precious in God’s sight.

This is so true. I can relate this most to my impatience (which I firmly believe can be consider a type of fear because at it’s root is not trusting God, is it not?). I get anxious and restless and the last thing I am is gentle or quiet. The more I meditated on this the more I realized that I’m far from where I once was (about a year ago) in the gentle/quiet spirit department. It seems as things improved in my life and I found an earthly happiness again little by little I slipped away from trusting God and back into trusting Hollie … my feelings, my timeline. I need to repent of this and get back to only trusting my source of life: God. Almost a year ago when my boyfriend and I started courting he commented on my, “serene countenance.” Do you know what he has compared my behavior to lately (jokingly of course)? A lobbyist. That’s a pretty big difference. And, he was merely poking fun at me because I talk about marriage so much … but it is worth noting.

Chapter Four

These two quotes stuck out to me most:

If you are feeling good about your standing before God because of anything you’re doing, you aren’t looking to Him or trusting Him.

I just wanted to shout, “Amen!” when I read that. I don’t even really need to elaborate on it. It is simply true.

Christian women must learn that justification is not found in long dresses, long hair, gardening, vitamins, or herbal medicine. These are all “things indifferent.” But if you are looking to these things instead of Christ, seeing your acceptance before God because of these externals, or feeling superior to your Christian sisters who have different methods, then these things are no longer indifferent — they become wicked.

 This hit home for me. I was raised in a very legalistic church. So I could relate to this very, very much. It’s a true statement. We all need to be wary of becoming dogmatic with our methods, because Satan will use them for the destruction of others and even ourself.