Isaiah 64:8 " Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand."
Dear CBC Family,
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). This makes the Bible, the Spirit-inspired depository of the words and self-revelation of God, the primary place we come to know and encounter Him. Much of the time, Bible reading isn’t a dramatic experience. But there are times when God reveals Himself in the word in such an extraordinary way, that we are consciously never the same. For me, Romans 9 is such a place.
I remember when the truth of God’s statement settled into my own soul like a ton of concrete: “So then He has mercy on whoever He wills and He hardens whoever He wills.” V18. That simple, yet profound sentence changed everything in one moment of divine revelation. All of a sudden, the questions came. Not questions about the righteousness of God in being, or acting, that way but questions about why I hadn’t been taught this before. Where and when did the idea of a sovereign man replace the truth of the sovereign God? Why was there such animosity against the God of the Bible by people who say they believe it?
Is it right for God to save by unconditional election, is it right for God to harden and judge? When we ask questions like this, we often forget that acquiring even worldly knowledge requires faith and training. Let’s consider an example:
If I were to ask a group of people, “Do you believe in the existence of a lepton or a baryon?” most people would give a perplexed look and say honestly; “I don’t know what you are talking about.” However, maybe one who knows physics, would understand that these terms refer to subatomic particles. They would then say, “Scientists say, and so I believe, that these particles exist.” Such deference to scientific authority for matters beyond ordinary jurisdiction is reasonable and desirable.
Yet to the questions of God’s character, and ways, almost all people will express some opinion; the atheists will be assertive, even aggressive, despite the fact that this question is far beyond their jurisdiction. Worse, they will condemn deference to spiritual authority as “blind faith.” Some believers will give their own opinions and even when presented with scripture to the contrary they will hold fast to whatever makes them comfortable. The truth of God is not beyond the believer’s jurisdiction. We just need a little training how to interpret the Bible.
A quantum physics student has to accept on faith that the universe is filled with particles that are intrinsically unobservable and undergo training for eight to ten years before he/she can begin comprehending quantum reality. Yet when pastor asks for something similar from a person who claims faith: receive the existence of God the way He says He is in His word objections abound, “My God is not that way.” That statement is like the physics student saying to his professor “My universe is not that way.”
Such blatant double standards beg the question: Is no training, no qualification needed to pass judgment on spiritual matters? It required years, decades and centuries of sustained training and effort for us to begin comprehending God’s creation through science. God is the profoundest of all beings and is far greater, and more complex, than His creation. Since that is true then why should we object to a little training, thinking, chewing, meditating, study and effort that is necessary to comprehend Him through scripture?
When we understand God’s exalted position, we will recognize that His demand for us to have faith in His self-revelation in scripture is not at all unreasonable; rather it is our demand to judge Him by our own standards and comfort without any putting in the study to see exactly who He is that is unreasonable.
We have been given a great privilege in the gift of the word of God. We have been given the mind of Christ. We live in a day where we have computerized tools to study His word effectively and accurately. We even have an internal teacher, the Holy Spirit. Why are the believers of our day so confused? Why can’t people agree even on simple spiritual things? Perhaps the answer is not complex at all. Perhaps it is simply God being God and showing us the true path is narrow, the true believers are few and knowledge of Him demands a little effort in studying the word. To that end I am here to help you in learning how to do that. There is only one right way to interpret the Bible so let’s do that together. If you want help just ask. I’m here to serve.
This weekend is “The Sovereign Rights of the Potter Part II.” Join us as we continue to have our understanding of God shaped by His precious word. I pray we will all forever be changed by it.
“Do you believe in the existence of a lepton or a baryon?” Yes, I do because scientists say they do. “Do you believe God is free to give mercy to whoever He wills and harden whoever He wills”? Yes, I do because God says that is who He is. God is the authority I defer all matters to regarding who He is because He is WAY beyond my jurisdiction!
Love and peace to the family,