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Divine Reasons for Divine Doings

Another daily devotional from the little book Opened Treasures written by Frances Ridley Havergal.

And they shall know that I am the Lord (Ezekiel 6:10).

It is one of the shining threads that run all through the Bible, a supply indeed for the heart’s desire of those who delight in the Lord. It is never long out of sight, judgments and mercies being alike sent for this great purpose. For this the waters of the Red Sea receded and returned again; for this the Jordan was dried up; for this Goliath was delivered into David’s hand; for this 185,000 of the Assyrians were smitten by God’s angel; and many more instances. Throughout Ezekiel it seems to be the very key-word, recurring seventy-five times as the divine reason of divine doings, that they may “know that I am the Lord.” Is there not a peculiar solace in this?


Round the Sphere Again

On the meaning of the cross

It Demonstrates Love and Justice (Update, March 11: and Wisdom)
Quoting Sinclair Ferguson at Pure Church.

  • God’s love

    When we think of Christ dying on the cross we are shown the lengths to which God’s love goes in order to win us back to himself.

  • God’s justice

    Sometimes when we explain the message of the gospel to others we say something like this: ‘God has laid aside his justice.  He no longer deals with us as sinners; he forgets our sin, and accepts us.’  But when we say this we distort the biblical teaching.

  • Update, March 11: God’s Wisdom

It Doesn’t Just Make Salvation Possible
But actually saves, effectually, particularly, and perfectly. (Kevin DeYoung)

It Was to Secure Forgiveness for Others
Lorraine Boettner on the significance of Christ’s death.

And There’s More
There’s no better time to read a book on the meaning of the cross than in the days leading up to the commemoration of Christ’s death and resurrection. Here are two that I’ve reviewed and recommended previously.

  • The Atonement: Its Meaning and Significance by Leon Morris.
    I have a very short list of books that I’d put in the must-read category for every Christian, and this book is on it. Of course, there are many excellent books and many important books, but what sets The Atonement apart from many other worthwhile books is that I can recommend it to you and know that no matter who you are, you’ll learn something valuable from it, and at the same time, you won’t find it too difficult. 
    Read the whole review.

  • Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper.
    What John Piper has done in this book is take fifty of the results of Christ’s death given in scripture and listed them for us as fifty reasons why Jesus came to die. … I’d call Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die an introductory level book—there’s nothing difficult in it—and yet I’d say almost everyone will learn a thing of two from it. And who among us doesn’t need a reminder of the infinite wisdom of God in the cross of Christ? Read the whole review.

Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (RE: Lit)There’s also a new book on the cross of Christ by D. A. Carson. I haven’t read yet, but I’m betting Scandalous would make good pre-Easter reading, too. Update: John Bird recommends it.


Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate one of the year’s biggest holidays—and as author D. A. Carson writes, one of history’s biggest scandals. Nearly two thousand years ago, a Galilean hung on a cross, died, and rose from the dead three days later. In the midst of an event that may seem familiar, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus introduces the ironies and scandal involved, and its implications for those who follow Jesus.

They are letting us preview all of chapter 1 (pdf).


Theological Term of the Week

special revelation
God’s self-disclosure in direct, supernatural revelation, disclosing truths, including the good news of salvation, that could not be known through general revelation.

  • From scripture:

    Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…. (Hebrews 1:1-2a ESV)

    Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-3 ESV)
  • From The Belgic Confession, 1561, Article 2:
    The Means by Which We Know God

    We know him by two means:

    …Secondly, he makes himself more clearly fully known to us by his holy and divine Word, that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to his glory and our salvation.
  • From ESV Study Bible, Biblical Doctrine: An Overview: The Bible and Revelation:

    …[G]eneral revelation does not provide knowledge of the only true solution to man’s guilt before God: the forgiveness of sins that comes through Jesus Christ. This means that general revelation does not provide personal knowledge of God as a loving father who redeems his people and establishes covenants with them. For this, one needs special revelation, which God has provided in his historical supernatural activities, in the Bible, and definitively in Jesus Christ.

    The Bible is God’s God’s written revelation of who he is and what he has done in redemptive History. Humans need this divine, transcendent perspective in order to break out of their subjective, culturally bound, fallen limitations. Through God’s written Word, his people may overcome error, grow in sanctification, minister effectively to others, and live abundant lives as God intends.

  • From The Starry Firmament on High by Robert Grant

    The starry firmament on high,
    And all the glories of the sky,
    Yet shine not to Thy praise, O Lord,
    So brightly as Thy written Word.

    The hopes that holy Word supplies,
    Its truths divine and precepts wise,
    In each a heavenly beam I see,
    And every beam conducts to Thee.

    Almighty Lord, the sun shall fail,
    The moon forget her nightly tale,
    And deepest silence hush on high,
    The radiant chorus of the sky.

    But, fixed, for everlasting years,
    Unmoved amid the wreck of spheres,
    Thy Word shall shine in cloudless day,
    When Heaven and earth have passed away.

Learn more:

  1. Don Stewart: What Is Special Revelation?
  2. What is general revelation and special revelation?
  3. Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry: What is general and special revelation?
  4. Christianity 101 (Gospel Outreach Ministries Online):  Special Revelation
  5. J. Hampton Keathley III: The Bible: The Written Word of God

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.