Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Calvin: Book 1, Chapter 10, Section 2

2. The attributes of God according to Scripture agree with those known in his creatures.

" but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord." - Jeremiah 9:24

"The Lord is gracious and merciful, The Lord is good to all, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and his mercy is over all that he has made." - Psalm 145:8-9

The two books of God - nature and Scripture - agree in what they reveal of the Creator God. When we look to God's word to see Him described and proclaimed, we find there the same God who is also evident in creation. The attributes of God in Scripture (as seen in Exodus 34:6-7 and Psalm 145, among other places) are these: power, might, kindness, goodness, mercy, justice, judgment and truth. Notice that these attributes primarily describe how God acts toward us, his creation. This is no accident: The purpose of God's self-revelation- both in creation and in Scripture- is to cause us to fear Him and to trust Him so that we may worship and obey Him as we were created to do.

Good News:
God wants us to know Him as our Creator! He has not only shown Himself clearly in the things He has made (Rom. 1:19-20), but He has also shown us Himself in Scripture. He reveals Himself consistently in both places as the Creator God who is powerful, almighty, kind, good, merciful, just and true. As such, He invites us to worship Him! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Confession: Chapter 7, Section 1

Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant with Man

1. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant. 

Chapter 6 of the Confession dealt with our sin and its consequences; now we begin to see how God remedies the mess we have made: Our sin has separated us from God, but it has not removed the fact that we owe God our full and complete obedience and worship. Our purpose as humans, and thus our fulfillment, is found in giving God the worship and obedience He is due and which we were created to give. Yet how can we, given our state of sin and distance between us and God? Thankfully, God has taken it upon Himself to make and enter into covenant with us, which is His way of stooping to meet us and engage us in relationship with Himself.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Calvin & the Confession: Returning in July

I began this blog in 2012 and continued it into 2013, blogging through Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion and the Westminster Confession of Faith, while serving as pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Cheraw, SC. I ended the blog in 2013 and then transitioned to serving as the Upper School Principal of Whitefield Academy in the Atlanta area.

In July, I will begin serving as the pastor of Forest Hill Presbyterian Church. At this time, I will also begin blogging again on Calvin & the Confession. In 2012-13, I posted daily on both Calvin and the Confession. In July, my plan is to write one post per day, alternating between Calvin and the Confession.

I plan to pick up right where I left off in 2013, so feel free to look through the previous posts between now and then. I hope this site will be beneficial to many for the glory of God and the good of His church.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Calvin: Book 1, Chapter 10, Section 1

Chapter 10: Scripture, to Correct Against All Superstition, Has Set the True God Alone Over Against All the Gods of the Heathen

1. The Scriptural doctrine of God the Creator.

Calvin has already explored the truth that God the Creator may be truly seen in His works, in what we might call "general revelation," the knowledge of God through the created world. Now he turns his attention to the Scripture to see if the Bible shows us the same Creator God that we see in nature. He warns that this kind of study could be quite lengthy and in-depth but that he will just give "a sort of index" to what the Scriptures say about God the Creator.

What we see when we turn to the Bible is that God is "the Maker of heaven and earth" who "governs the universe" He created. We also see evidence of how good and patient God is toward His creation. Yet we also see how severe He can be as "the righteous avenger of evil deeds" when His patience is ignored.  

Confession: Chapter 6, Section 6

CHAPTER 6: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof

6. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.
We tend to think that our sin is "no big deal" and we look for every excuse to minimize, deflect, rationalize and contextualize our sin. We do not see our sin for what it is- vile in the sight of God and an absolute offense against His holy nature. Each and every sin we commit brings guilt upon our soul that adds to our original guilt. This guilt weighs heavily upon us, making us legally subject to God's wrath and curse and personally subject to death in every sense of the word. Such a realization ought to drive us to flee to God for mercy!      

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Confession: Chapter 6, Section 5

CHAPTER 6: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof

5. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be, through Christ, pardoned, and mortified; yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." - 1 John 1:8
Even when we are born again by God's grace, made alive by his Spirit, we still have a sinful nature and we still sin, "truly and properly." Sin, though forgiven and even put to death in Christ, still lingers in us and is real and present in every believer. This is both frustrating and comforting news. It is frustrating because I know I will never be totally free of sin in this life, but comforting because I do not need to doubt my salvation because I sin.   

Calvin: Book 1, Chapter 9, Section 3

Chapter 9: Fanatics, Abandoning Scripture and Flying Over to Revelation, Cast Down All the Principles of Godliness

3. Word and Spirit belong inseparably together.

"The Word is the instrument by which the Lord dispenses the illumination of his Spirit to believers."

Some who disregard Scripture accuse those of us who have a high view of Scripture of following "the letter that kills." But that reference by Paul (2 Cor. 3:6) is to those who teach the Law of God apart from its fulfillment in Christ. It is not a reference to the Christ-exalting, Spirit-illumined teaching of Scripture. In his New Covenant promise, God says he will "engrave his law in the inward parts of believers" (Jer. 31:33). The Spirit who inspired the Word also writes that same Word deeply on our hearts, so that we might know him. Indeed, we cannot know him apart from his Word, illumined by his Spirit. The same Spirit who gave the Word confirms that Word in our hearts. Word and Spirit are inseparable.