Monday, October 22, 2007

I Can't Believe It!

I’m still trying to make my way through the biography on Martin Lloyd-Jones. I’m finding it very difficult to make any real progress these days. It’s not that I’m putting a lot of work into the house; it’s more that I’m just tired when I get home from work. Here is a quick piece that caught my attention this evening.
What accounts for the fact that so few ever speak of the judgment in these days is that they do not believe in God. They think that they do, but when you come to analyze their belief you find that it is but a projection of certain ideas which happen to please them. Their god is something which they created themselves, a being who is always prepared to oblige and excuse them. They do not worship him with awe and respect, indeed they do not worship him at all. They reveal that their so-called god is no god at all in their talk. For they are for ever saying that “they simply cannot believe that God will punish the unrepentant sinner to all eternity, and this and that.” They cannot believe that God will do so, therefore they draw the conclusion that God does not and will not. In other words, God does what they believe he ought to do or not do. What a false and blasphemous conception of God! How utterly untrue and unworthy! Such is the new paganism of today.
There are a few lines in this short paragraph that stuck out to me. The most interesting pertains to the unbelief of those who say they “cannot believe that God” would punish sinners for all eternity. My first reading of this made me think of how these very words will be used against them at the last day. “Why did you not believe when told that judgment would be poured out forever against those who hate God?” “Because I couldn’t believe it.” They will be found guilty by their own words.

I often see people write things like, “I can’t/won’t/refuse to believe in a God who would elect some and not others.” They declare that such and act would be unloving, and since the Bible tells us that God is love, they conclude that God does not elect. The pride in such statements is simply unbelievable to me. First, what if they are wrong in assuming that election precludes love? Do they really want to stake their lives on such an assumption? Especially since Paul associates God’s election with his love!
“In love he predestined us for adoption as sons.”
Ephesians 1
Second, though this is not in the paragraph above, but concerns everlasting punishment, I’ve seen this kind of question, “How can sins done within the context of a finite world possibly merit everlasting punishment?”

Here are the best answers I’ve seen to the question:

1) Sin merits everlasting punishment, not because of the context within which it was committed, but because of the infinite person against whom it was committed. That is, since sin is ultimately against God, who is everlasting, it merits an everlasting judgment.

2) The opposite is also true. Our simple act of faith, done within the context of a finite world, is reckoned as righteousness, which allows the work of Christ to be applied to us for all eternity. If you reject the one, to be consistent, you must reject the other.

One quick comment about the suffering of Christ, since sin was committed by man, it’s punishment needed to be carried out on a man. Second, since sin was committed against God, who is everlasting, its punishment requires infinite satisfaction, thus necessitating a God to be punished. In Christ we have the God-man who satisfies both aspects of the atonement for sin. God be praised forever.

Above: I took this photo of a home in Wheaton last summer while flying with my brother. God's mercy and grace is magnified every time I see this house, for I say to myself, this man still has time to repent (NB: I do not know this man. For all I know he may be a believer. I am only using the picture as an example of the extravagance of America.). God's patience is tremendous, but it will come to an end, and then the judgment.


Anonymous said...

"For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

I am glad God's judgment of a man's soul is not based on a conclusion drawn from observing a house from the air, but from the condition of his heart. I don't know how you have made the judgment that the occupants of this house are not already Believers. Apparently it is based on the square feet of the building in which they live? A few months ago I was talking to the person I think you refer to as the grandmother, who herself had been providing extra care for several different family members who had come there to live and be cared for and had subsequently died. As she described some of her experiences, they sounded hauntingly familiar to our own.

Things are not always what they seem.

Christopher said...

Good Morning Carol,

First, let me say, "Thanks for the needed correction!" I don't like when others go off on a rant and I constantly try to check myself with things like this.

I have never met this family. I've never heard any word about this family, good or bad. When we were living in Wheaton, this property was simply a forest. So, in a real sense, I was not judging this family on any personal experience.

On the other hand, the condition of the heart is observable from a distance. I was looking at this home as I look at a woman who is immodestly dressed. Certainly the heart is revealed by what we chose to wear.

In this case, this house appears very immodest and I jumped to a conclusion. I'm going back to see how I can adjust the comments to be more helpful.



Anonymous said...

First of all I don't mean to be anonymous, but my google name got somehow reverted to the one I used to use on the Holloway Blog and it comes out "Taylor Family" instead of me if I sign in. So now I go by "anonymous" but not on purpose:-)

Thank you for your addendum to the house picture. Much more gracious.

Let me also say that I got lost in back posts of this blog on various subjects last night and read for what seemed like hours. It is a very thoughtful and interesting blog, as blogs go.