I recently heard a young Christian remark, “I have no fear of dying.” When I heard this comment I thought to myself, “I wish I could say that.” I am not afraid of death. I believe that death for the Christian is a glorious transition to heaven. I am not afraid of going to heaven. It’s the process that frightens me. I don’t know by what means I will die. It may be via a process of suffering, and that frightens me. I know that even this shouldn’t frighten me. There are lots of things that frighten me that I shouldn’t let frighten me. The Scripture declares that perfect love casts out fear. But love is still imperfect, and fear hangs around.
There is one fear, however, that many of us do not have that we should have. It is the fear of God. Not only are we allowed to fear God, we are commanded to fear Him. A mark of reprobation is to have no fear of God before our eyes.
Martin Luther made an important distinction concerning the fear of God. He distinguished between servile fear and filial fear. He described servile fear as that kind of fear a prisoner has for his torturer. Filial fear is the fear of a son who loves his father and does not want to offend him or let him down. It is a fear born of respect. When the Bible calls us to fear God, it is issuing a call to a fear born of reverence, awe, and adoration. It is a respect of the highest magnitude.
As the centuries pass, the evidence is accumulating that, measured by His effect on history, Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet.
Preaching has fallen upon bad times since so little regard for the Biblical requirements for ministers have been largely ignored. Al Martin writes:
Paul says in I Thessalonians 1, ‘Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God, for our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sakes’. He states that there was a direct relationship between the gospel coming ‘in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance’ and the kind of men who preached it. You will find that same thought developed in chapter two of the same letter where Paul says, in verse 10, ‘Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.’ Then he says in verse 13, ‘For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe.’ There is a vital relationship between these two things. He says, on the one hand, ‘You know how we conducted ourselves’, and on the other hand, ‘we know how you received the word.’ These two things are not to be isolated. Paul and his companions stood as living embodiments of the power of the Word of God, so that when they spoke that Word it came with authority to their hearers. Notice that the apostle does not shrink to use a testimony as to the manner of his living as a witness to the validity of his preaching ministry.
In Titus two, there is some detailed instruction as to what Titus should preach and teach. Paul commands him in verse 7, ‘In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works.’ In other words, as ministers of God we are not only to proclaim right things by precept, but we are to embody these right things in a right example. Then, of course, there is that classic passage, I Timothy 4:16. ‘Take heed to thyself and to thy teaching; continue in these things. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.’ In essence, Paul is saying: ‘Timothy, carelessness in your own personal life will result in some measure of shoddiness in the discharge of your responsibility to the souls over whom the Holy Ghost has made you an overseer. Failure to take heed to yourself will in some measure result in failure to see the saving purpose of God wrought in the hearts of those to whom you minister.’ I have made these remarks as one who believes without reservation Paul’s statements of truth concerning the immutability of the purpose of God and the certainty of the salvation of all His elect. Yet we must not bleed out of this passage in I Timothy its obvious implication, that Timothy would not be that instrument of God that he could be unless he took heed to himself and then to his teaching. (“What’s Wrong with Preaching?”)
If the question is concerning the Deity of Christ, his eternal Sonship and distinct personality, look to your way-marks; inquire into the sacred records, and there you will find, that he is the mighty God, God over all, blessed for ever; the great God, the true God, and eternal life (Isa. 9:6; Rom. 9:5; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20); that all divine perfections are in him; that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in him; that he is the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person; to whom all divine works are ascribed, and all divine worship is given; that he is the only begotten of the Father, the firstborn of every creature; or was begotten before any creature was in being (Heb. 1:3l; Col. 2:9; 1:15); of whom the Father says, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee (Ps .2:7); that he is the Word which was in the beginning with God; and must be distinct from him with whom he was; and in the fullness of time was made flesh; which neither the Father nor the Spirit were (John 1:1, 14); and the same sacred writings will satisfy you about the deity and personality, as well as the operations of the blessed Spirit.
Jesus was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). He not only grew up in the house of a carpenter (Matthew 13:55), but He worked in the trade at least long enough that people knew Him to be a carpenter. There is a question of exactly what the word translated as carpenter really means. The Greek word “tekton” is a generic word for anyone who makes things. This was applied to artisans of various objects. Early writings, tradition, and culture indicate that Jesus probably worked with wood in some form. Therefore, carpenter is a good translation of “tekton” when speaking of Jesus.
There is a rest for souls to be found in the Scriptures. When men search the scriptures, their minds are made easy by the truth; and in consequence, they walk therein. John Gill writes:
Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein; and ye shall find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)
[If you doubt] the doctrine of Election, read over the sacred volumes, and there you will find, that this is an eternal and sovereign act of God the Father, which was made in Christ before the foundation of the world; that it is to holiness here, and happiness hereafter; that the means are sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; that it is irrespective of faith and good works, being before persons had done either good or evil; that faith and holiness flow from it, and that grace and glory are secured by it; Whom he did predestinate, then; he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 9:21; 8:30).
If you have any hesitation about the doctrine of Original Sin, look into your Bible; there you will see, that the first man sinned, and all sinned in him; that judgment, through his offense, came upon all men to condemnation; and that by his disobedience many were made sinners; that men are conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity; that they are transgressors from the womb, go astray from thence, speaking lies, and are by nature children of wrath (Rom. 5:12, 18, 19; Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Isa. 48:8, Eph. 2:3).
If the matter in debate is the Satisfaction of our Lord Jesus Christ, read over the epistles of his holy apostles, and they will inform you, that he was made under the law, and became the fulfilling end of it, in the room of his people; that he yielded perfect obedience to it, and bore the penalty of it, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in them; that he was made sin for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him; and a curse for them, that he might redeem them from the curse of the law; that he offered himself a sacrifice for them, in their room and stead to God, for a sweet-smelling savor; that he suffered, the just for the unjust, to bring them nigh to God; and died for their sins according to the scriptures, and made reconciliation and atonement for them (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3, 4; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 5:2; l Pet. 3:18; l Cor. 15:3; Heb. 2:17). (“The Scriptures: The Only Guide in Matters of Faith”)
Loraine Boettner D.D.:
The Arminian idea which assumes that the serious intentions of God may – in some cases at least – be defeated, and that man, who is not only a creature but a sinful creature, can exercise veto power over the plans of Almighty God, is in striking contrast with the Biblical idea of His immeasurable exaltation – by which He is removed from all the weaknesses of humanity. That the plans of men are not always executed is due to a lack of power or a lack of wisdom; but since God is unlimited in these and all other resources, no unforeseen emergencies can arise, and to Him the causes for change have no existence. To suppose that His plans fail and that He strives to no effect is to reduce Him to the level of His creatures. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, Loraine Boettner D.D., Providence, Reformed Christian Topics, Salvation, Samuel at Gilgal | Tagged: Arminianism, Reformed Doctrine of Predestination | 1 Comment »