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“I will be treated as holy.”

The first petition of the “Lord’s Prayer” says, “hallowed be your name.” God is holy, and though we are invited to come to him boldly (Hebrews 4:16) and intimately (Romans 8:15; cf. Galatians 4:6),


[T]his filial relationship does not allow us to have the type of familiarity that breeds contempt. We are to come with boldness, yes, but never with arrogance or presumption. “Our Father” speaks of the nearness of God, but “in heaven” points to His otherness, His being set apart. The point is this: When we pray, we must remember who we are and whom we are addressing.

Hallowed Be Your Name

No matter how close God invites us to come, there is still an infinite gulf between our sinfulness and His majesty. He is the heavenly one; we are of the earth. He is perfect; we are imperfect. He is infinite; we are finite. He is holy; we are unholy. We must never forget that God is wholly “other” than we.

The sacred “otherness” of God is a fact the sons of Aaron forgot, but they forgot it only once. In Leviticus 10:1–3 we read:

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’”

God demands to be treated as holy, for He is holy. He is jealous for His honor. He does not plead for respect in this passage. Rather, it is a statement of fact: “I will be treated as holy.” We must never make the fatal mistake of Nadab and Abihu and approach the sovereign God in a flippantly casual attitude.

—R. C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things? (Tyndale, 2009), 26–28.

God is not the father of all, but everyone has a father. We don’t find the idea of universal fatherhood and brotherhood in the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer. This cultural tacit assumption causes us to miss what Jesus is saying. In the first place, the fatherhood of God cannot be taken for granted by anyone in the world. Jesus is the one person with the ultimate right to address God in this way, for Jesus alone is the monogenes, “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14, KJV), having existed from all eternity in a unique filial relationship with the Father. If there is a universal fatherhood and brotherhood in any sense whatsoever, it would have to be in the context of Jesus’ discussion with the Pharisees in John 8. The Pharisees were claiming to be children of Abraham, offspring of God by ancestral association. Jesus challenged them on this point, saying, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did . . . You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:39–40, 44). There is a clear distinction between the children of God and the children of the Devil. God’s children hear His voice and obey Him. The children of the Devil do not listen to God’s voice; they disobey Him by doing the will of their father, Satan. There are only two families, and everyone belongs to one or the other. Both groups have one thing in common, however. The members of each family do the will of their respective fathers, whether God or Satan. —R. C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things? (Tyndale, 2009), 15–16.

Is God your father? [T]oday we live in a world that assumes God is the Father of everyone, that all men are brothers. We hear this in the cliches “the fatherhood of God” and “the brotherhood of man.” But nowhere does Scripture say that all men are our brothers. It does say, however, that all men are our neighbors. There is a restricted sense in which God is the Father of all men as the Giver and Sustainer of life, the progenitor par excellence of the human race. But nothing in the Bible indicates that an individual may approach God in a familiar sense. The only exception is when that person has been adopted into God’s family, having expressed saving faith in the atonement of Christ and having submitted to His lordship. Then and only then is one afforded the privilege of calling God his Father. To those who received Him, God “gave the right [authority, privilege] to become children of God” (John 1:12). Only then does God call men “sons.” The Greek word exousia, translated “right to become,” denotes the freedom to act and the authority for that action. Calling God “Father” without the proper credential of sonship is an act of extreme presumption and arrogance. . . . If we go through the New Testament, making inquiry as to who are the sons of God, the answer is clear. The New Testament is neither vague nor enigmatic on this point. Romans 8:14–17a says this: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father.” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. In verse 14 of this passage, the word all (autoi in the Greek) is in what is called the emphatic form to indicate an exclusiveness. The verse is best translated, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these alone are the sons of God” or “these only are the sons of God.” Paul teaches that it is only by the Holy Spirit that we can call God our Father. The significance of this in the New Testament is that we are sons, not illegitimate children, because we are in union with Christ. Our sonship is not automatic; it is not inherited and it is not a genetic necessity, but rather it is derived. The New Testament word for this transaction is adoption. Because of our adoptive relationship with God through Christ, we become joint heirs with Christ. It is only because we are in Christ and Christ is in us that we have the privilege of addressing God as our Father and of approaching Him in a filial relationship. Martin Luther once said that if he could just understand the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer, he would never be the same again. —R. C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things? (Tyndale, 2009), 15, 16–17.

Lord’s Day 11, 2018

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. —Romans 5:6–11 Hymn 9. (C. M.) Godly sorrow arising from the sufferings of Christ. Alas! and did my Saviour bleed? And did my Sov’reign die? Would he devote that sacred head For such a worm as I? [Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, thine, And bathed in its own blood, While all expos’d to wrath divine The glorious Suff’rer stood!] Was it for crimes that I had done He groan’d upon the tree? Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree! Well might the sun in darkness hide, And shut his glories in, When God, the mighty Maker, died For man, the creature’s sin. Thus might I hide my blushing face, While his dear cross appears; Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, And melt my eyes to tears. But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of love I owe; Here, Lord, I give myself away; ’Tis all that I can do. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book II: Composed on Divine Subjects (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about #LordsDay from:thethirstytheo !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts St. Athanasius Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts, Eternal King, by the heav’ns and earth adored! Angels and archangels sing, chanting everlastingly to the blessed Trinity. Since by Thee were all things made, and in Thee do all things live, be to Thee all honor paid; praise to Thee let all things give, singing everlastingly To the blessed Trinity Thousands, tens of thousands stand, spirits blest before Thy throne, speeding thence at Thy command; and, when Thy command is done, singing everlastingly to the blessed Trinity Cherubim and seraphim veil their faces with their wings; eyes of angels are too dim to behold the King of kings, while they sing eternally to the blessed Trinity Thee, apostles, prophets, Thee, Thee, the noble martyr band, praise with solemn jubilee, Thee, the Church in ev’ry land; singing everlastingly to the blessed Trinity Alleluia! Lord, to Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Three in One, and One in Three, join we with the heav’nly host, singing everlastingly to the blessed Trinity. —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, recently published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

When God Repents

You might ask, “Doesn’t the Bible say from time to time that God repents?” Yes, the Old Testament certainly says so. The book of Jonah tells us that God “repented of” the judgment He had planned for the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:10, KJV). In using the concept of repentance here, the Bible is describing God, who is Spirit, in what theologians call “anthropomorphic” language. Obviously the Bible does not mean that God repented in the way we would repent; otherwise, we could rightly assume that God had sinned and therefore would need a savior Himself. What it clearly means is that God removed the threat of judgment from the people. The Hebrew word nacham, translated “repent” in the King James Version, means “comforted” or “eased” in this case. God was comforted and felt at ease that the people had turned from their sin, and therefore He revoked the sentence of judgment He had imposed. When God hangs His sword of judgment over people’s heads, and they repent and He then withholds His judgment, has He really changed His mind? —R. C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things? (Tyndale, 2009), 11.

If God Knows Everything

There is something erroneous in the question, “If God knows everything, why pray?” The question assumes that prayer is one-dimensional and is defined simply as supplication or intercession. On the contrary, prayer is multidimensional. God’s sovereignty casts no shadow over the prayer of adoration. God’s foreknowledge or determinate counsel does not negate the prayer of praise. The only thing it should do is give us greater reason for expressing our adoration for who God is. If God knows what I’m going to say before I say it, His knowledge, rather than limiting my prayer, enhances the beauty of my praise. . . . In what way could God’s sovereignty negatively affect the prayer of contrition, of confession? Perhaps we could draw the conclusion that our sin is ultimately God’s responsibility and that our confession is an accusation of guilt against God Himself. Every true Christian knows that he cannot blame God for his sin. I may not understand the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility, but I do realize that what stems from the wickedness of my own heart may not be assigned to the will of God. So we must pray because we are guilty, pleading the pardon of the Holy One whom we have offended. —R. C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things? (Tyndale, 2009), 9,&nnbsp;10.

Π Day, 2018
God’s Glory, Our Benefit
Fiscal Pharisees
Lord’s Day 10, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Holy Trinity
By God’s Decree
My Perfect Bible

The Secret Things
“Man’s Steps Are from the Lord”
No Idle Observer
Lord’s Day 8, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name
No Chance
Creation and Providence Inseparable

Does God Repent?
A Blessed Knowledge
Providence and Responsibility
Lord’s Day 9, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Morning & Evening Prayers
Providence, for Better or Worse
The Believer’s Solace in God’s Providence


Who Is Jesus?

The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian

Norma Normata
What I Believe

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