Being in Awe of God’s Omnipotent Power

28 11 2007

I have been continuing to work through A.W. Pink’s book The Attributes of God (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan – 2001, pages 46-51). In reading through and reflecting upon The Power of God in Chapter 9 (click here) I have come to a halt. In reflecting upon Pink’s teaching and the Scriptural evidence, I am in wonder that God is far outside of my very limited linear understanding. I can not logically, intellectually grasp the endless power and eternal (without beginning or end) nature of Almighty God.

Thankfully, our God is a loving God, but He is also “dangerous”, “uncontrollable”, “unconstrainable”, and “undirectable”. In no way are these thoughts meant to be criticisms of God, but rather an acknowledgment that “God is enthroned in the heavens, and He does what He wants”.

Regardless of what I or any one else may think of God or wish this or that in regards to how He would act or how His nature would be fashioned, by His omnipotent power He carries out His sovereign decree regarding all creation, for all time. He in His power has created all things – in this galaxy and throughout the universe, throughout the cosmos – to the limits of and beyond that which we can conceive of or be aware of. His power to design, order and create all space, time, physical elements and forces in evidence through both our telescopes and our microscopes and through our limited understanding of God’s spiritual reality can and should bring us to worship Him, acknowledging His almighty power and wisdom.

Thank God for His love and grace in addition to His almighty power. In our utter dependence upon Him for each breath and for each aspect of our lives, we must thank Him for His good purposes – without His good will towards us in this life and for all time and eternity, what situation would we find ourselves in? He is Almighty God – in Him we have our life and breath and being.

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Following are some exerpts from A. W. Pink’s book regarding the power of God….

A. God has the Power to Carryout His Will

B. God’s Power is of Himself – Unchanging and Self-sustained

God’s power is like Himself, self-existent, self-sustained. The mightiest of men cannot add so much as a shadow of increased power to the Omnipotent One. He sits on no buttressed throne and leans on no assisting arm. His court is not maintained by His courtiers, nor does it borrow its splendor from His creatures. He is Himself the great central source and Originator of all power (C. H. Spurgeon).

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C. God’s Power is Even Greater Than What He Has Chosen to Display of it in His Creation

D. God’s Power in Creation

E. God’s Power in Preservation

F. God’s Power in Government

G. God’s Power in Judgement

Well may all tremble before such a God! To treat with impunity One who can crush us more easily than we can a moth, is a suicidal policy. To openly defy Him who is clothed with omnipotence, who can rend us in pieces or cast into Hell any moment He pleases, is the very height of insanity. To put it on its lowest ground, it is but the part of wisdom to heed His command, “Kiss the Son. lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little” (Psalms 2:12).

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God, You are worthy of honor and praise. We people cannot grasp or understand the limitless power and authority you possess. Lord, I trust you in accordance with the commands of Your word.

In the Name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!

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God’s Almighty Power

17 11 2007

A. W. Pink in The Attributes of God (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan – 2001) quotes 16th century Christian teacher Stephen Charnock in discussing the power of God (pages 46-51). http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Attributes/attrib_09.htm

“The power of God is that ability and strength whereby He can bring to pass whatsoever He pleases, whatsoever His infinite wisdom may direct, and whatsoever the infinite purity of His will may resolve. . . . As holiness is the beauty of all God’s attributes, so power is that which gives life and action to all the perfections of the Divine nature. How vain would be the eternal counsels, if power did not step in to execute them. Without power His mercy would be but feeble pity, His promises an empty sound, His threatenings a mere scarecrow. God’s power is like Himself: infinite, eternal, incomprehensible; it can neither be checked, restrained, nor frustrated by the creature. (S. Charnock).”

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God’s Power is discussed in The New Bible Dictionary, 2nd edn (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois – 1991, page 956)…….

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I. God’s Power Testified to in the Old Testament

True power, the ability to exercise authority effectively, belongs to God alone (Psalm 62:11). The power of God is shown in creation (Psalm 148:5) and the sustaining of the world (Psalm 65: 5-8). Some of his authority is delegated to mankind (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalms 8:5-8; Psalms 115:16), but God actively intervenes on many occasions, showing his power in miraculous deeds of deliverance. It was ‘with mighty hand and outstretched arm’ that he brought his people out of Egypt (Exodus 15:6, Deuteronomy 5:15, etc.), and he demonstrated his power by giving them the promised land (Psalm 111:6).

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Exodus 15:6

“Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.”

Deuteronomy 5:15

“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.”

Psalm 62:11

Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God;”

Psalm 65: 5-8

(5) By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea;
(6) Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might;
(7) Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples.
(8) They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.

Psalm 111:6

He has made known to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations.”

Psalm 148:5

Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.”

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II. God’s Power Testified to in the New Testament

IIA. “‘Power‘ in the English Bible versions represents chiefly Greek dynamis and exousia. exousia means derived or conferred ‘authority’, the warrant or right to do something (Matthew 21:23-27); from this it comes to denote concretely the bearer of authority on earth (Romans 13:1-3), or in the spirit world (Colossians 1:16). dynamis is ability (2 Corinthians 8:3) strength (Ephesians 3:16), or it may mean a powerful act (Acts 2:22) or a powerful spirit (Romas 8:28).

Christ had all authority given to him by his Father (Matthew 28:18) and he used it to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6) and to cast out evil spirits (Matthew 10:1). He gave authority to his disciples to become sons of God (John 1:12) and to share in his work (Mark 3:15).

  • Matthew 9:6 “”But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins“–then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.””
  • Matthew 10:1 “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
  • Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
  • Mark 3:15and to have authority to cast out the demons.”
  • John 1:12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,”

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IIB. Jesus came to his ministry in the power (dynamis) of the Spirit (Luke 4:14), and his power was operative in healing miracles (Luke 5:17) and he did many mighty works (Matthew 11:20). This was evidence of the power of the kingdom of God as a prelude to the new Exodus (Luke 11:20; cf. Exodus 8:19). But the kingdom had not yet come in its full power. That would happen at Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; ?Mark 9:1) and there would be the consummation of the parousia (Matthew 24:30, etc.).

  • Matthew 11:20Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.”
  • Matthew 24:30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.”
  • Luke 4:14 “And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.”
  • Luke 5:17 “One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.”
  • Luke 11:20 “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
  • Luke 24:49 “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
  • Acts 1:8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

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IIC. In the Acts we see the power of the Spirit operative in the life of the church (Acts 4:7, 33; Acts 6:8; cf. Acts 10:38). Paul looks back to the resurrection as the chief evidence of God’s power (Romans 1:4; Ephesians 1:19-20; Philippians 3:10) and sees the gospel as the means by which that power comes to work in men’s lives (Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 1:18).

  • Acts 4:7 “When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”
  • Acts 4:33 “And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.”
  • Acts 6:8 “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.”
  • Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
  • Romans 1:4 “who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,”
  • Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
  • Ephesians 1:19-20(19) and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (20) which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,”
  • Philippians 3:10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”

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During the past week as I thought about and tried to focus upon the power of God, it is convicting to me to perceive that it is impossible for people to rationally understand and intellectually grasp the fullness of the power of God.  It is also convicting to see how comprehensively the Scriptures describe God’s power.

It is a good thing for people to humble ourselves before Almighty God, and to confess that His ways are not our ways, that His will and purposes are beyond and not controlled by our own desires and actions.  God is omnipotent – He is all powerful.

Eternity will be so very interesting as we contemplate the wonders of God – to the degree that God sees fit that we do so with Him in heaven.

Thanks and praise be to God that He is so good and so powerful!

Amen!

Churchlayman





God’s Holiness and Mankind’s Response(s)

12 11 2007

(1) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

(2) in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

(3) Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

(4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

(5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

(6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

(7) so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

(8) For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

(9) not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

(10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

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A. The Response of Non-Christians to God’s Holiness? Unbelief, Denial, and Rejection

B. The Response of many professing Christians (Truly Saved?) – Emphasis on God’s Love (While Ignoring His Holiness)

C. God’s Holy, Just Punishment for Sin is Fulfilled by the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross

D. We (Mankind) are to approach the Holy God with Humble Reverence by Faith in Christ Jesus His Son

E. Christians are Called to Humble, Greatful Obedience to Holy, Almighty God

This is the prime way of honoring God. We do not so glorify God by elevated admiration, or eloquent expressions, or pompous services of Him, as when we aspire to a conversing with Him with unstained spirits, and live to Him in living like Him (Stephen Charnock).

Then as God alone is the Source and Fount of holiness, let us earnestly seek holiness from Him; let our daily prayer be that He may “sanctify us wholly; and our whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

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So, true God-honoring worship has more to do with our personal devotion and obedience to God than with our acts of corporate worship. Lord, help me to do so daily. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

Churchlayman





God’s Holiness – and how we then should live

6 11 2007

God is Holy, separate from sin, pure and undefiled, far – far beyond our minute comprehension in the transcending splendor of His glory. We struggle to even have any idea of the beauty of His holiness – and often to retain a God-honoring fear of the Lord as a deterrent against committing sin. If nothing else as believers, we should be motivated by our appreciation of the atoning penalty for our sin paid by Jesus Christ in his sacrificial, propitiatory death on the cross of Calvary.

Following are some important Scripture passages for us to think about that focus upon the holiness of God. Some commentary on this subject by J. I. Packer from his book Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton Illinois – 1993, pp. 43-44) is also included.
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Leviticus 11: 44-45

(44) For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth.

(45″ For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.'”

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J. I. Packer states:

“When scripture calls God, or individual persons of the Godhead, “holy” …. the word signifies everything about God that sets him apart from us and makes him an object of awe, adoration, and dread to us. It covers all aspects of his transcendent greatness and moral perfection and thus is an attribute of all his attributes, pointing to the “Godness” of God at every point. ….. The core of the concept… is God’s purity, which cannot tolerate any form of sin (Habakkuk 1:13) and thus calls sinners to constant self abasement in his presence (Isaiah 6:5).”

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Isaiah 6: 1-7

(1) In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. (2) Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. (3) And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”

(4) And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. (5) Then I said,

“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

(6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. (7) He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

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Packer also states:

“Justice, which means doing in all circumstances things that are right, is one expression of God’s holiness. God displays his justice as legislator and judge, and also as promise-keeper and pardoner of sin. His moral law, requiring behavior that matches his own, is ‘holy, righteous and good” (Romans 7:12). …. His “wrath,” that is, his judicial hostility to sin, is wholly just in its manifestations (Romans 2:5-16), and his particular “judgments” (retributive punishments) are glorious and praiseworthy (Revelations 16:5, 7; 19:1-4).

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Revelation 16:5-7

(5) And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; (6) for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” (7) And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

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A Call to Holy Living on Our Part

Finally, Packer makes the following statements that need to impact our lives as followers of Jesus Christ:

“When John says that God is ‘light,’ with no darkness in him at all, the image is affirming God’s holy purity, which makes fellowship between him and the willfully unholy impossible and requires pursuit of holiness and righteousness of life to be a central concern for Christian people (1 John 1:5 – 2:1; 2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1; Hebrews 12:10-17). The summons to believers, regenerate and forgiven as they are, to practice a holiness that will match God’s own, and so please him, is constant in the New Testament, as indeed it was in the Old Testament (Dueteronomy 30:1-10; Ephesians 4:17 – 5:14; 1 Peter 1:13-22). Because God is holy, God’s people must be holy too.”

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God, please forgive me for my lack of concern and conviction about sin and holy living. Thank You for the grace of God in Jesus Christ, that I may be saved from my sin. Lord, through your indwelling Holy Spirit, please enable me to resist temptation and live and walk in a manner that pleases You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.