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Wisdom (of God)

(5 posts)

Responding to Majesty

Friday··2008·11·21
This week we’ve read of some of the attributes of God related to his majesty. Now, how shall we apply these things? Packer repeats three questions from Isaiah. 1. “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One” (Is 40:25 RSV). This question rebukes wrong thoughts about God. . . . This is where most of us go astray. Our thoughts of God are not great enough; we fail to reckon with the reality of his limitless wisdom and power because we ourselves are limited and weak, we imagine that at some points God is, too, and find it hard to believe that he is not. We think of God as too much like what we are. Put this mistake right, says God; learn to acknowledge the full majesty of your incomparable God and Savior. 2. “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord and my judgment is passed away from my God?” (Is 40:27 RV). This question rebukes wrong thoughts about ourselves. God has not abandoned us any more than he abandoned Job. He never abandons anyone on whom he has set his love; nor does Christ, the good shepherd, ever lose track of his sheep. It is as false as it is irreverent to accuse God of ever forgetting, or overlooking, or losing interest in, the state and needs of his own people. If you have been resigning yourself to the thought that God has left you high and dry, seek grace to be ashamed of yourself. Such unbelieving pessimism deeply dishonors our great God and Savior. 3. “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” (Is 40:28 KJV). This question rebukes our slowness to believe in God’s majesty. God would shame us out of our unbelief. “What is the trouble?” he asks. “Have you been imagining that I, the Creator, have grown old and tired? Has nobody ever told you the truth about me?” The rebuke is well deserved by many of us. How slow we are to believe in God as God, sovereign, all-seeing and almighty! The need for us to “wait upon the Lord in meditations on his majesty, till we find our strength renewed through the writing of these things upon our hearts. —J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 88–89.

Getting Wisdom

Tuesday··2008·11·25
Theologians divide the attributes of God into two categories, communicable and incommunicable. That God created man in his image means that man was given qualities corresponding to the attributes of God. However, not all of God’s attributes were included in this image. Incommunicable attributes are those for which there is no corresponding quality in his image in created man. These attributes were not communicated to Adam. They include aseity (self-existence) and infinitude (unlimited by time or space). Communicable attributes are those that God communicated to man in creation. They are his moral qualities. God’s communicable attributes are the image of God in us. That image, and therefore those attributes, were lost or damaged in the fall. A part of God’s redemptive plan is the renewal of those communicable attributes (2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:10). Among those communicable attributes is wisdom. It should be clearly seen that fallen man is lacking wisdom. It is equally clear that God wants to give us wisdom. Scripture, particularly the book of Proverbs, exhorts us repeatedly to “get wisdom.” The New Testament also instructs us to seek wisdom (Ephesians 5:15–17; James 1:5). But how can we get wisdom? J. I. Packer offers two prerequisites for receiving this gift. 1. We must learn to reverence God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” . . . Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty . . . acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours. 2. We must learn to receive God’s Word. wisdom is divinely wrought in those, and those only, who apply themselves to God’s revelation. “Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,” declares the Psalmist; “I have more insight than all my teachers”—why?—“for I meditate on your statutes” (Ps 119:98–99). So Paul admonishes the Colossians, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly . . . with all wisdom” (Col 3:16). How are we of the twentieth century to do this? By soaking ourselves in the Scriptures, which, as Paul told Timothy (and he had in mind the Old Testament alone!), “are able to make you wise for salvation” through faith in Christ, and to make us “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:15–17). Again, it is to be feared that many today who profess to be Christ’s never learn wisdom, through failure to attend to God’s written Word. . . . How long is it since you read right through the Bible? Do you spend as much time with the Bible each day as you do even with the newspaper? What fools some of us are!—and we remain fools all our lives, simply because we will not take the trouble to do what has to be done to receive the wisdom which is God’s free gift. —J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 101–102.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Immortal, Invisible

Saturday··2014·04·19
Immortal, Invisible Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. 1 Timothy 1:17 Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious—Thy great Name we praise. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might; Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love. To all, life Thou givest—to both great and small; In all life Thou livest—the true life of all; We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee. Great Father of glory, pure Father of light, Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight; All praise we would render—O help us to see ’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee! —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Faith and the Attributes of God (1)

Friday··2017·09·08
My righteous one shall live by faith —Hebrews 10:38 The efficacy of faith is not in its strength, but in its object. “The object of faith,” writes David Clarkson, “is God in Christ, as made known in his attributes, offices, relations, promises, and providences.” Just as our trust in any person depends on what we know of his character, our trust in God can only rest on his character as he has revealed himself to us. [God’s Divine attributes] are the pillows and grounds of faith, rocks of eternity, upon which faith may securely repose: ‘Though the earth should be removed,’ &c. ‘The name of the Lord’ (i. e., his attributes) ‘is a strong tower, the righteous fly into it,’ and faith admits and there secures them. Hence this is faith’s ordinary plea in Scripture. ‘For thy name’s sake,’ i. e., for the glory of those attributes whereby thou art known to us, as men are known by their names. These are frequently propounded and made use of as the objects and supports of faith. Power. This is it on which the heroical faith of Abraham fixed: Rom. iv. 21, ‘Being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able to perform.’ Wisdom. This upheld Peter’s faith, when Christ, so often questioning his love, might have made him doubt of it: ‘Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest I love thee,’ John xxi. 17. And David’s faith acts upon the omnisciency and immensity of God, Ps. cxxxix. Justice. This was David’s plea: Ps. cxliii. 11, ‘For thy righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble.’ And Daniel’s, ix. 16, ‘Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee,’ &c. Faithfulness. This was the foundation on which Solomon raised that prayer, so full of faith, 1 Kings viii. 33, ‘There is no God like unto thee, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants;’ and Dan. ix. 4, Heb. x. 23. Truth. David useth this, Ps. cxv. 1, ‘For thy truth’s sake;’ and frequently, ‘Do this according to thy word,’ Ps. cxix. 154. Mercy. Faith never finds more strong support, nor ever fixes with so much delight as here: Ps. cxix. 149, ‘Hear my voice, according to thy loving-kindness;’ Ps. cxxx. 7, ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy;’ Ps. lii. 8, ‘I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.’ —David Clarkson, Of Living by Faith, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:176.

Why God Must Punish Sin

Wednesday··2017·11·01
Sin being entered into the world, the Lord was concerned not to let it go unpunished. It is enough for our purpose, which is out of question, that it was the Lord’s will and determination to punish all sin. But there seems to be a sufficient proof, that it was not from the mere pleasure of his will that he should be punished, but there was a necessity for it, from the nature and perfections of God, and from his relation to man as his governor, and from the law enacted as the rule of his government. The Lord is obliged, not only by his truth and unchangeableness, but by his wisdom, holiness, and justice, to punish sin. His truth engages him to it. He threatens it in his law, and if he will rule according to law, it must be inflicted. His truth is obliged for the executing of the threatening, and to make good what he had declared to be his resolution. His unchangeableness makes it necessary. He did determine from eternity to punish it. The event shews that it was eternal purpose, and the counsel of the Lord must stand: he is not as man. His wisdom makes it necessary. The end and designs of his law and government would be lost, his law would appear to be powerless and insignificant, his government would be rendered contemptible, the authority of the one, and the honour of the other defaced, if sin is not punished. The holiness of God requires it. Sin is contrary to him; he hates it. If he will shew himself to be what he is, ‘an holy God, of purer eyes than to behold evil, and who cannot look on iniquity,’ Hab. i. 13, it is necessary to shew his hatred of it by punishing it: Josh. xxiv. 19, ‘he will not forgive,’ that is, he will punish, because he is holy, where, as in other places, the necessity of punishing is grounded upon his holiness. If the Lord be necessarily an holy God, it will be necessary to hate sin; for hatred of sin is essential to holiness, and cannot be conceived or apprehended without it. Now to hate sin . . . necessarily includes a will to punish it. It is essential to holiness to be displeased with sin. Now as the love of God is our chief reward, so God’s displeasure is the chief punishment of it. If then it be not necessary that he punish sin, there will be no necessity that he be displeased at sin. It will be arbitrary to the holy God to be pleased with sin, if it be arbitrary not to punish it. We might conceive that he may as well be pleased with sin as displeased with it, which is intolerable to say or imagine. Finally, His justice obliges him to punish it; for suffering is indispensably due to sin, and the sinner justly deserves it, and justice requires that everything, every one, should have his due, that every disobedience receives a just recompence of reward, Heb. ii. 21, Rom. i. 32, 2 Thes. i. It is righteous with God to give to every one according to his work. —David Clarkson, Justification by the Righteousness of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:282–283. This is very bad news, but there is good news to come.

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