Communion with God

 

I cannot recommend highly enough this treatise by arguably the greatest British Theologian, John Owen. Particularly the section on delighting in Christ from page 80. It is very clear from Scripture that Christ’s love for us and our love for Christ is expressed in delight, the one with the other. We are meant to ENJOY him and fellowship with him just as he, unbelievably delights in us! If you relish the covenant this is a must read! I will be summarising the best bits on this blogsite.

http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/John%20Owen%20Communion%20with%20Father%20Son%20&%20Holy%20Ghost.pdf

Wisdom (2)

We have seen that wisdom consists:

The wisdom of Solomon!

1. Knowledge of God.

2. Knowledge of self and now we come to:

3.  Walking with God.

Now, that one may walk with another, six things are required:— 1. Agreement. 2. Acquaintance. 3. A way. 4. Strength. 5. Boldness. 6. An aiming at the same end. All these, with the wisdom of them, are hid in the Lord Jesus.

  1. Agreement-Amos 3:3. We now have peace and access.
  2. We know him-I John 5:20, John 1:18, because he has revealed himself.
  3. There is a way, a highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) into which we are directed(Is. 30:21), of good works (Eph.2:10).
  4. Ability is given (John 15:5, Phil. 2:13).
  5. We have confidence and boldness (Heb. 4:16).
  6. Our aim like Christ’s is the glory of God (I Cor.10:31).

 

From Communion with God by John Owen.

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Marriage-a lifelong bond!

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Has God’s standard for marriage changed over time?

We have to say NO because God is one and his law is one and eternal. The seventh commandment safeguards one man-one woman for life, reflecting his covenant with his bride, the church.

But some churches allow divorce and remarriage!

They cause their people to sin:

Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” Jesus in Luke 16:18

And adulterers will NOT enter the kingdom of heaven (I Cor.6:9).

So why polygamy and allowing divorce in OT?

New International Bible Dictionary states regarding polygamy, ” It would seem that God left it to man to discover by experience that his original institution of monogamy was the proper relationship.” It always brought trouble of some kind. Moses SUFFERED the ungodly Israelites to divorce and remarry because of the hardness of their hearts, same could be said of divorce and remarriage laws in our land today, all of which will be followed by the ungodly and the backslidden church member. There will ALWAYS be consequences and suffering when the ideal is not followed but God’s standard for his people and for society has never changed. What Christ said about it stands as God’s standard for all time.

This leaflet needs shared widely especially in churches who use the Westminster  Confession as their creed.

http://hopeprc.org/resources/uploads/2016/03/The-Marriage-Bond-is-a-Lifelong-Bond.pdf

 

He is altogether lovely.

When the spouse (in Song of Solomon) has gone thus far in the description of him (her husband Christ), she concludes all in this general assertion: “He is wholly desirable, — altogether to be desired or beloved.” (Concerning) the excellencies of my Beloved, in (the) way of allegory I can carry things no higher; I find nothing better or more desirable to shadow out and to present his loveliness and desirableness: but, alas! all this comes short of his
perfections, beauty, and comeliness; ‘he is all wholly to be desired, to be beloved;’ —
Lovely in his person, — in the glorious all-sufficiency of his Deity, gracious purity and holiness
of his humanity, authority and majesty, love and power.
Lovely in his birth and incarnation; when he was rich, for our sakes becoming poor, — taking
part of flesh and blood, because we partook of the same; being made of a woman, that for us he
might be made under the law, even for our sakes.
Lovely in the whole course of his life, and the more than angelical holiness and obedience
which, in the depth of poverty and persecution, he exercised therein; — doing good, receiving evil;blessing, and being cursed, reviled, reproached, all his days.
Lovely in his death; yea, therein most lovely to sinners; — never more glorious and desirable
than when he came broken, dead, from the cross. Then had he carried all our sins into a land of
forgetfulness; then had remade peace and reconciliation for us; then had he procured life and
immortality for us.
Lovely in his whole employment, in his great undertaking, — in his life, death, resurrection,
ascension; being a mediator between God and us, to recover the glory of God’s justice, and to saveour souls, — to bring us to an enjoyment of God, who were set at such an infinite distance from
him by sin.
Lovely in the glory and majesty wherewith he is crowned. Now he is set down at the right hand
of the Majesty on high; where, though he be terrible to his enemies, yet he is full of mercy, love,
and compassion, towards his beloved ones.
Lovely in all those supplies of grace and consolations, in all the dispensations of his Holy Spirit,
whereof his saints are made partakers.
Lovely in all the tender care, power, and wisdom, which he exercises in the protection,
safe-guarding, and delivery of his church and people, in the midst of all the oppositions and
persecutions whereunto they are exposed.
Lovely in all his ordinances, and the whole of that spiritually glorious worship which he has
appointed to his people, whereby they draw nigh and have communion with him and his Father.
Lovely and glorious in the vengeance he taketh, and will finally execute, upon the stubborn
enemies of himself and his people.
Lovely in the pardon he has purchased and does dispense, — in the reconciliation he has
established, — in the grace he communicates, — in the consolations he does administer, — in the
peace and joy he gives his saints, — in his assured preservation of them unto glory.
What shall I say? there is no end of his excellencies and desirableness; — “He is altogether
lovely. This is our beloved, and this is our friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”

John Owen in Communion with God

Wrath and love?

It is true that no human being can be under the wrath of God and be loved by him simultaneously. Christian believers, God’s elect sheep have been loved by him IN CHRIST from before the world was. Before we were saved we were BY NATURE children of wrath even as others and we retain this sinful nature till our dying day, yet we are loved infinitely and everlastingly.

What about Christ?

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Our Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way,”Q. 37.  What dost thou understand by the words, “He suffered”?
A.  That He, all the time that He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, sustained in body and soul the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind; that so by His passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the favor of God, righteousness and eternal life.”

In the Triple Knowledge*, Herman Hoeksema’s exposition of H.C. he states, “All his (Christ’s) life is one testimony of the fact that he lived in perfect fellowship with his father, and was conscious of his approval and favour.” But didn’t he bear God’s wrath too? Let it be clearly stated that Christ as a person was never the object of his father’s wrath but “he suffered the expression, the concrete effect of the wrath of God against sin”, “the reaction of his holiness against (us) the workers of iniquity.” This comes to it’s climax in Christ’s God-forsakenness at Calvary, “At the moment when God is most highly pleased with him, he experiences all the terror of being forsaken of God!”

What a Saviour! Who would not consecrate themselves body and soul to live for him?

*Books

tripleknowledge

Covenant Communion with God (2)

communion

“This is the will of God, that he may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein; and that peculiarly as the Father, as the great fountain and spring of all gracious communications and fruits of love. We rest in the Father’s love. We love him in return.

Both his love and ours are a love of rest and delight (Zeph. 3:17) seeking nothing more. The two-way love is through Christ. He is the treasury wherein the Father disposeth all the riches of his grace, taken from the bottomless mine of his eternal love; and he is the priest into whose hand we put all the offerings that we return unto the Father. Love is first poured out on Christ; and from him it drops as the dew of Hermon upon the souls of his saints.”

But God’s love and ours differ─”The love of God is a love of bounty; our love unto him is a love of duty. The cause of his love is his good pleasure and the cause of ours his love for us. His love is unchangeable and infinite, ours variable and weak.

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The love of God for his elect people is like the sun shining in all its strength despite being apparently hidden by the clouds of circumstance or our variable emotions. (from prayer of Rev. Angus Stewart CPRC).

 

Covenant Communion with God

In light of my love for the gracious covenant of God, the bond of friendship every true believer enjoys with Father, Son and Spirit, I propose to share notes from John Owen’s great work on communion with the triune God. May you be blessed and edified as I am sure I will be!

communion

It can be read in its totality here: Communion

I John 1:3

Communion implies:

  • common nature (humanity and spirituality) with Christ
  • common interest (God’s glory)
  • common condition (blessed, suffering)
  • common actions (gospel)
  • common delight

Essentially in this bond of fellowship God communicates himself.

II Cor.13:14

I Cor.12:4-6

Our worship, love and the exercise of faith are toward  each of the persons of the trinity.

Each TEACH: John 6:45, Matthew 17:5, John 14:26.

All GRACES come from all three persons. The Father communicates by way of original authority, the Son by purchased treasury and the Spirit by immediate efficacy. (Romans 8:11).

Preparing My Heart with Gladness

Even in the business of the week we still have fellowship with our covenant God although granted the privileges of the Lord’s Day are special.

Young Calvinists

This Saturday, as we prepare for worshiping our God tomorrow, I can’t help but think of the first verse of Psalter #348:

With joy and gladness in my soul

I hear the call to prayer;

Let us go up to God’s own house

And bow before Him there.

How glad and joyful I am that I can go to God’s house! Why am I so happy, you ask? Why is it such a good thing to go to church? How joyful can it really be to go and worship?

Let’s think about it this way. We are busy as beavers Monday through Saturday: school, work, family, friends, relationships—all of these things demand our attention and care. We are always thinking ahead to what we have to do next, or when this is going to happen, or who we are going to see here. It’s as if our minds are clocks…

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National repentance of the Jews?

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Here is proof that there will be no national repentance of the Jews:

  1. The Land: Although Abraham and his descendants were promised Canaan, Hebrews 11 makes it clear that the patriarchs actually looked for heaven as their homeland and Canaan just represented that hope. So the land of Israel has no great significance any more, it is real estate like England or India, one day to enter the conflagration and be renewed.
  2. The Temple: This structure representing God’s presence with Israel, was destroyed in 70AD thus ending God’s covenant with them as a nation (Matthew 21:43). We are told that we believers are now the temple of God. No more sacrifices will ever be offered because Christ has fulfilled them all and any return to them in the future would be a blasphemous denial of his once-for-all work on the cross.
  3. The King: David is a type of Christ. No more tabernacle of David ever (Isaiah 16:5 notwithstanding!) Christ’s kingdom is NOT of this world…ever. So no messianic state in Israel!
  4. Israel: This name which once stood for the Jews as a nation, although in reality it meant only the elect remnant among them (Romans 9:6). Israel, the church in the Old Testament is now the name for the church composed of Jew and Gentile, the true circumcision. So when Scripture states “All Israel shall be saved” it means all the elect of all nations. God’s elect church are now the only single nation of God (I Peter 2:9). God never did love the whole nation of Israel or any other nation for that matter. His everlasting, foreknowing, electing love has always and will always be, only for Christ and all those chosen in him before the foundation of the world, because love is the bond of perfectness (Col.3:14) that is, the bond between the members of the trinity and of all the elect in the Son, given to him and united to him by faith. God never did and never will love his enemies, the reprobate wicked (like Esau Romans 9).

For all these reasons Romans 11 CANNOT and DOES NOT mean there will be a national repentance and turning to God among the Jews in the last days. They are like any other people, they will have representatives before the throne in eternity.

The Meaning of Grace

Christians who believe grace is unmerited favour have only part of the answer and Christians who believe in “common” grace, that God in the gospel offers it to all men are very mistaken as definition 4 below shows. Only God’s elect are the objects of his saving, particular grace.

The word grace in Scripture has a variety of meanings:

1. Grace as an attribute of God has the fundamental meaning of pleasantness, attractiveness, and gracefulness. God is the perfection of all beauty and attractiveness and gracefulness, because He is the implication of all infinite perfection of goodness in the ethical sense. God is perfectly lovely and beautiful.

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A  graceful dancer

2. Grace in Scripture denotes the attitude of graciousness or pleasantness, the gracious disposition of God to the creature. This is undoubtedly the meaning of the phrase, “to find grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8; Gen. 19:19).

3. In close connection with the preceding, the word grace has the meaning of undeserved or forfeited favor. In this case, the favorable attitude of God is accentuated and enhanced by the condition of the subjects who receive the grace of God. The word of God uses the term grace as standing opposed to obligation and, therefore, as being opposed to works.

4. The word grace frequently is used in Scripture to denote the power of God whereby the sinner is actually saved and delivered from the bondage of sin and corruption, whereby he is regenerated and sanctified, and thus is made pleasant in the sight of God. It also includes all the spiritual blessings and virtues that are bestowed upon the objects of God’s favor.

5. Grace is used in the sense of thanks, as we read in the original of 1 Corinthians 15:57: “Grace be to God, who giveth us the victory.” The meaning is most probably that grace is ascribed to God by those who are the objects and recipients of the power of God’s grace, in order that He may receive praise and adoration as the only God of all grace.

Herman Hoeksema

(Reformed Dogmatics [Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2014], vol. 2, pp. 280-281)