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The Potter's Clay

Scripture, Theology, the Christian worldview, and other ramblings.

31 May 2005

Be Not Mere Shadows and Echoes

We are not God. So by comparison to ultimate, absolute Reality, we are not much. Our existence is secondary and dependent on the absolute Reality of God. He is the only Given in the universe. We are derivative. He always was and had no beginning. So he was not given form by another. We were. He simply is. But we become. "I am who I am" is his name (Exodus 3:14).

Nevertheless, because he made us with the highest creaturely purpose in mind - to enjoy and display the Creator's glory - we may have a very substantial life that lasts forever. This is why we were made ("All things were created by him and for him," Colossians 1:16). This is why our sexuality was redeemed ("Shun sexual immorality. . . . You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body," 1 Corinthians 18-20). This is why we eat and drink ("So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God," 1 Corinthians 10:31). This is why we pray ("Whatever you ask the Father in my name I will do it that the Father may be glorified in the Son," John 14:13). This is why we do all good deeds ("Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven," Matthew 5:16).

That is why we exist - to display the glory of God. Human life is all about God. That is the meaning of being human. It is our created nature to make much of God. It is our glory to worship the glory of God. When we fulfill this reason for being, we have substance. There is weight and significance in our existence. Knowing, enjoying and (thus) displaying the glory of God is a sharing in the glory of God. Not that we become God. But something of his greatness and beauty is on us as we realize this purpose for our being - to image forth his excellence. This is our substance.

Not to fulfill this purpose for human existence is to be a mere shadow of the substance we were created to have. Not to display God's worth by enjoying him above all things is to be a mere echo of the music we were created to make. It is to be a mere residue of the impact we were created to have.

This is a great tragedy. Humans are not made to be mere shadows and echoes and residues. We were made to have God-like substance and make God-like music and have God-like impact. That is what it means to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). But when humans forsake their Maker and love other things more, they become like the things they love - small, insignificant, weightless, inconsequential, and God-diminishing.

Listen to the way the Psalmist puts it: "The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, the work of man's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, Yes, everyone who trusts in them" (Psalm 135:15-18).

Think and tremble. You become like the manmade things that you trust: can't speak; can't see; can't hear. This is a shadow existence. It is an echo and residue of what you were meant to be. It is an empty mime on the stage of history with much movement and no meaning.

Dear reader, be not shadows and echoes and residue. Break free from the epidemic of the manward spirit of our age. Set your face like flint to see and know and enjoy and live in the light of the Lord. "Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD" (Isaiah 2:5). In his light you will see him and all things as they truly are. You will wake up from the slumbers of shadow-land existence. You will crave and find substance. You will make God-like music with your life. Death will but dispatch you to paradise. And what you leave behind will not be a residue, but a tribute written in heaven to the triumphant grace of God.

John Piper-Pierced by the Word-pgs. 26-28 (MS Reader version)

25 May 2005

The King Follett Funeral Discourse

James White recently finished a series of entries related to the King Follett Discourse, a funeral sermon given by Joseph Smith, first published in 1844. These entries come from Dr. White's book Is the Mormon My Brother, one of the best books I have read on the subject of Mormonism (along with Letters to a Mormon Elder, found here).

As Dr. White explains in the first paragraph, this is "quintessential Mormonism" enclosed in a sermon given by the founding prophet of the LDS church, Joseph Smith. It is a great resource when witnessing to LDS, since there seems to be a desire amongst LDS missionaries and apologists these days to say they agree with the historic formulations of the nature of God, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and, in submission to Scripture, the creeds and confessions. But, when you dig beneath the surface, it becomes quite clear the god of Mormonism is a pathetic idol compared to the Lord God of Scripture.

I found this material to be edifying, and informative when dealing with LDS theology. Recommended!

Part #1 - The King Follett Discourse

Part #2 - God is an Exalted Man

Part #3 - Learning to be a God

Part #4 - The Council of the Gods

Part #5 - Mans Spirit Eternal and Uncreated

Part #6 - The Principles of Eternal Life

SDG,
Joe

Books

"Get books into your houses, when you have not the spring near you, then get water into your cisterns; so when you have not that wholesome preaching that you desire, good books are cisterns that hold the water of life in them to refresh you.... So when you find a chillness upon your souls, and that your former heat begins to abate, ply yourselves with warm clothes, get those good books that may acquaint you with such truths as may warm and affect your hearts."

--Thomas Watson - 1662

15 May 2005

Defend & Attack

The Christian position is that we must never tolerate falsehood, but we must rather destroy it; nevertheless, we destroy false ideas not by physical violence, but by intellectual persuasion and argumentation. We encourage intellectual violence against non-Christian ideas and religions, and not physical or military violence.

Honest and courageous people should encourage various worldviews to clash in private and public debate, and decide beforehand that they should abandon the beliefs that cannot withstand intense scrutiny. Christianity will be the only one left standing when the dust settles.

Vincent Cheung--(from: "The Light of Our Minds")

13 May 2005

God Remembers

"They do not realize that I remember all their
evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are
always before Me." Hosea 7:2

What is sin? It is not . . .
an accident,
nor an imprudence,
nor a misfortune,
nor a disease,
nor a weakness.
It may be all these, perhaps; but it is something
beyond all these; something of a more fatal and
terrible character.

Sin is guilt. Sin is crime.

Man's tendency is either to deny, or to extenuate
sin. He either pleads not guilty, or he smoothes
over the evil; giving it specious names.

Or if he does not succeed in these, he casts the
blame off himself; he shifts the responsibility to . . .
his nature,
his birth,
his circumstances,
his education;
even to God himself!

But human sin is not thus to be diluted or
transformed into a shadow. It is infinitely
real; true; deep; terrible in the eyes of
Him with whom we have to do.

Let us not trifle with sin, either in the conscience
or the intellect. Let us learn its true nature from
the terribleness of the wrath and condemnation
threatened by God against every sin, great or small.

God remembers our sins!

His memory never fails in anything.
Nothing escapes it, great or small.
Nothing effaces anything from it.
Time does not efface it.
Ages blot out nothing.
The past is as clear and full as the present.
Other events do not efface it.
Our own forgetfulness will not efface it.

Our memory and God's are very different.
Our forgetfulness does not make Him forget.

Though man should forget, God remembers; and
He can call up sin to remembrance. It will and
must come up at last. Men may try to forget it;
to drown all thought of it; to efface all traces of
it; but it will come up!

God remembers!

Nothing can make Him forget.

He may seem to do so; but it is only seeming.

God remembers...
the person;
the time;
the circumstances;
the thing itself;
public or secret.

God remembers our sins!

"They do not realize that I remember all their
evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are
always before Me." Hosea 7:2

--H. Bonar, "Human Heedlessness; Divine Remembrance"

11 May 2005

Elected and Called

'Whom he predestinated, them he also called'.

Election is the foundation-cause of our effectual calling. It is
not because some are more worthy to partake of the heavenly
calling than others, for we were 'all in our blood' (Ezek. 16:6).
What worthiness is in us?

What worthiness was there in Mary Magdelene, out of whom
seven devils were cast? What worthiness was in the
Corinthians, when God began to call them by the gospel? They
were fornicators, effeminate, idolaters. 'Such were some of
you, but you are washed'.

Before being effectually called by God, we were not only
without strength, but His 'enemies' (Col. 1:21). So the
foundation of our effectual calling is election.

"It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did
this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan
long before the world began--to show his love and kindness to
us through Christ Jesus." 2 Tim. 1:9

--Thomas Watson

10 May 2005

Jury Duty

I am on jury duty this week, so blogging will be light. I hope to be back in the saddle later this week.

SDG,
Joe

06 May 2005

Psalm 32

I read this Psalm today. Comfort and conviction. What comfort to know I am forgiven in the sight of my Creator. Confession to God is a blessing. Rejoice!!

Psalms 32:1-11 ESV
(1) A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
(2) Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
(3) For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
(4) For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah.
(5) I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
(6) Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
(7) You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.
(8) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
(9) Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
(10) Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
(11) Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

03 May 2005

Reformation Theology & Books!

John Hendryx at Monergism.com has put together a great reading list to help develop a "well-rounded Christian worldview".

I have always been a reader, before and after God converted me to Christ. Since being a Christian, my library has grown full of theological works, some I have read, others I have not. Lately, I have felt convicted to read those books that I have not yet started. What use are they if they simply sit on my bookshelf and collect dust?

Reading books is a blessing in this day and age. To be able to sit, with a hot cup of tea, and enjoy a book written hundreds of years ago by a man who's singular focus was God, and His glory, is simply refreshing. It is a discipline lost on most Christians today.

I have been reading Thomas Watson lately and it is like finding a gold mine of treasure. Reading through the Psalms has been an absolute blessing as well. To see God's manifold greatness is awe inspiring and humbling all at once. This should be our thought pattern as we read Scripture, in humble submission to our Creator. I highly recommend you "tolle legge" this week, and pray God will illumine your mind to His almighty Word.

SDG,
Joe

02 May 2005

Response to Eerdmans

James White has provided a response, (to a response to Pastor Kinchen), to Eerdmans Publishing concerning the fracas over Eerdmans publishing A Different Jesus by Robert Millet, a confessing Latter-Day Saint apologist.

I think Dr. White has done a fine job of getting past all of the post-modern rhetoric of "dialog" and "discussing Jesus" with the LDS, and getting to the heart of the matter: the gospel of the LDS church is not the Biblical Gospel, for it cannot save someone from the wrath of God.

I highly recommend you read this entry by Dr. White, and then check out his published works on Mormon theology. In my opinion, his works are the best on the subject of Mormonism.

SDG,
Joe