Jean’s Gospel: Caught by Christ

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12 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Beautifully composed as always, Jean.

    There is a ton of theology woven through this piece…perhaps if I have a moment between appointments this morning I can dig in to some with you and our readers.

  2. Jean says:

    Absolutely Michael. If the appointments are medical in nature, then my prayer is for your health, body and soul.

  3. Michael says:

    Took Trey to work this morning, then I have medical stuff a little later.
    Appreciate the prayers…

    “This is how God usually works: hidden but within creation. ”

    This is well said…do you see a correspondence here with the Reformed doctrine of providence?

  4. Jean says:

    Hi Michael,

    I don’t know the Reformed doctrine of providence well enough to provide a comparison. However, I can share a Lutheran perspective and perhaps you could respond with how well that lines up with your background or current theology:

    Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth. All authority has been granted to Him.

    God sustains creation and all creatures:

    “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

    “In him we live and move and have our being”

    God uses even unbelievers to carry out His will, whether they know it or not.

    His wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.

    God “unpreached” is wrathful. Things look unjust – the wicked prosper, the good suffer. God unpreached is terrifying, and we should not seek Him “naked”, because if we found him that way, we would surely die.

    The Psalmist writes:

    “For all our days pass away under your wrath;
    we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
    10 The years of our life are seventy,
    or even by reason of strength eighty;
    yet their span is but toil and trouble;
    they are soon gone, and we fly away.
    11 Who considers the power of your anger,
    and your wrath according to the fear of you?”

    Only in God “preached” can we find a gracious God. Only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ can we find the death of death, forgiveness of sins, salvation and everlasting life.

    I am no Greg Boyd fan. I would rather have a sovereign God who works everything for the good of those who love Him, rather than a distant God who doesn’t get His hands dirty in the seemingly chaotic and often ugly events which take place in His creation.

  5. John 20:29 says:

    “And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.’ ”

    sometimes it is very hard to find just where obedience lies as we do our daily walk, but oh, to have Simon’s attitude, his heart…

    my take away is it isn’t always clear or easy, but keep at it – thank you, Jean

  6. Michael says:

    Westminster on providence;

    I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things,from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge,[and the free and immutable counsel of His own will,to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

    II. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

    III. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means, yet is free to work without, above,and against them, at His pleasure.

    IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men] and that not by a bare permission, but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

    V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

    VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, does blind and harden, from them He not only withholds His grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had, and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin;and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God uses for the softening of others.

    VII. As the providence of God does, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it takes care of His Church, and disposes all things to the good thereof.

  7. Jean says:

    You’re welcome John 20:29.

  8. Owen says:

    Michael,

    That’s something which which I struggle at times – the difference between articles V and VI listed above. The difference between “His own children”, and “those wicked and ungodly men”. How did that separation occur……

    Jean,

    Could you enlighten me on what is meant by God “unpreached” and “preached”?

  9. Jean says:

    Hi Owen,

    Great to see you here.

    God preached and unpreached at one level refers to God revealed in Scripture vs. God hidden. But the finer point about “preached” vs. “unpreached” is that God does not want simply to be known, feared or worshiped on the basis of the revelation of himself in the Scriptures. God wants to be our God; He wants the atoning death of His Son to be your sacrifice and mine for the forgiveness of our sins, received through faith. Therefore, what we need is a preacher to bring us this Good News, the Holy Spirit and faith.

    Does that make sense?

  10. Owen says:

    Ah, okay, that makes sense.
    God preached is bringing in the personal relationship aspect.

    One might also say the OT is God unpreached, the NT is God preached. Probably oversimplified, however.

  11. Michael says:

    Owen,

    I think that distinction should trouble us…I’m not sure that I would defend that statement of the Confession fully.

    The Reformed have a way of making God appear to enjoy damning people…I reject that notion.

  12. Owen says:

    Yeah, I too wonder about that, Michael…. especially the “from them He not only withholds His grace….”.

    It’s hard for me to believe that , with all the abundance of grace I know I’ve received from Him (completely undeserved), that there are those from whom He withholds it.

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