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Wednesday
Sep172014

About Faith

From J. I. Packer, a summary of what the book of Hebrews says about faith. 

  1. Faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (11:1 NIV) — the emphasis being, as always in Scripture, on the reality of faith’s objects rather than the degree of confidence we feel about them.
  2. Specifically, faith honours and pleases God by taking His word about things (creation, 11:3; rewards 11:6; God’s faithfulness to His promises, 11:11; this life as a journey home, 11:13-16; the fact that obedience always makes sense, even when it looks like nonsense, 11:17-19, etc.).
  3. Faith approaches God boldly through Christ (4:16; 10:19-22) to find help and strength for the winning of the moral, spiritual and circumstantial victories (11:32-38; 4:16) and for the enduring of hostility both from within and from outside oneself (sin within, 12:1-4; ill-treatment from without, 10:32-34; 12:3).
  4. Faith interprets trouble as God’s discipline of his child (12:5-11) and, so far from being daunted, rejoices to think of it as proving one’s sonship to God and preparing one for peace and pleasure to come.
  5. Faith takes courage from examples of living by faith which the “great cloud of witnesses” have left us (12:1; 13:7), from thoughts of their present happiness (12:23), and from knowing that when we come to God here on earth we plug into the present worship and fellowship of the heaven that will be our own home one day (12:22-24).
  6. Faith battle against temptations to unbelief, apathy and disobedience, sustaining against them the quality sometimes called “stickability” (Canadians say, “stick-to-it-iveness”), and referrred to in the letter as patience and endurance (Greek, hypomone) (6:11f.; 10:36; 12:1). Faith in God produces faithfulness to God.

Quoted from 18 Words: The Most Important Words you will Ever Know, page 132.

Tuesday
Sep162014

Theological Term of the Week

nihilism
“[T]he view that there are no objective values,” particularly no objective moral values, and “no objective purpose or meaning in human life or the universe at large.” 1

  • From What’s Your Worldview? by James N. Anderson:
    [Nihilism] conflicts with our strongest moral intuitions. Most people recognize that some things are just plain wrong, no matter what. For example, torturing and murdering children for sadistic pleasure is objectively wrong. Even is everyone in the world enjoyed it and wanted to do it, it would still be wrong. Some moral values really are independent of human preferences.

    Of course, the Nihilist might insist that our moral intuitions are completely unreliable and should be disregarded. But we would need to have very good reasons to dismiss such strong and widely held intuitions. Are there reasons to embrace Nihilism that are more obvious to us than our moral intuitions? And if our moral intuitions are so thoroughly misleading, why should we trust any of our other intuitions? Why should we trust our rational intuitions? Nihilism threatens to undermine our rationality just as much as it undermines our morality.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep152014

Heidelberg Catechism

Question 53. What do you believe concerning the Holy Spirit?

Answer: First, that he is true and coeternal God with the Father and the Son. (a) Second, that he is also given to me, (b) to make me by true faith to share in Christ and all his benefits, (c) and that he may comfort me (d) and remain with me forever. (e)

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep132014

Sunday's Hymn: A Debtor to Mercy Alone

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with thy righteousness on,
My person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which his goodness began,
The arm of his strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Nor all things below or above,
Can make him his purpose forgo,
Or sever my soul from his love.

My name from the palms of his hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on his heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heav’n.

—Augustus Toplady

Other hymns, worship songs, prayers, sermons excerpts, or quotes posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.

Friday
Sep122014

Linked Together: Etymology

Two suggestions for your weekend reading.

Hacking History
How old is the word cough? What about *cough*? Which other words have been used for cough? All your coughing questions answered. (OxfordWords Blog).

Changing Names
If you read Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, you will find numerous examples of people who have one name in one book, and another name in another book. Jesse Johnson gives us the two main reasons for this (The Cripplegate).