Category Archives: doctrine of God

“Do you think Jesus Christ is only for little sinners?” by Charles Spurgeon

“Remember that even after you are secure in Christ, and accepted before God, and clothed in Christ’s righteousness, you may sometimes get despondent.

Christian men are but men, and they may have some trial, and then they get depressed if they have ever so much grace. I would defy the apostle Paul himself to help it.

But what then? Why then you can get joy and peace through believing. I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to, but I always get back again by this— I know I trust Christ.

I have no reliance but in Him, and if He falls I shall fall with Him, but if He does not, I shall not. Because He lives, I shall live also, and I spring to my legs again and fight with my depressions of spirit and my downcastings, and get the victory through it.

And so may you do, and so you must, for there is no other way of escaping from it. In your most depressed seasons, you are to get joy and peace through believing.

‘Ah!’ says one, ‘but suppose you have fallen into some great sin—what then?’ Why then the more reason that you should cast yourself upon Him. Do you think Jesus Christ is only for little sinners? Is He a doctor that only heals finger-aches?

Beloved, it is no faith to trust Christ when I have not any sin, but it is true faith when I am foul, and black, and filthy; when during the day I have tripped up and fallen, and done serious damage to my joy and peace, to go back again to that dear fountain and say:

‘Lord, I never loved washing so much before as I do tonight, for today I have made a fool of myself; I have said and done what I ought not to have done, and I am ashamed and full of confusion, but I believe Christ can save me, even me, and I will rest in Him still.’

That is the true way of Christian life, and the only way of getting joy and peace. Go to Christ even when sin prevails.

Only let your confidence be not in your peace, not in your joy, but in Christ.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Joy and Peace in Believing,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 12 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1866), 12: 298–299.

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“God is His own blessedness” by John Gill

“God is His own blessedness; it is wholly within Himself and of Himself: He receives none from without himself, or from His creatures; nothing that can add to His happiness; and He himself is the blessedness of His creatures, who are made happy by Him; whose blessedness lies in likeness to Him; which is begun in this life, in regeneration; when new-born souls are made partakers of the divine nature, is increased by sights of the glory of God in Christ, and will be perfected in the future state, when they shall awake in His likeness, and bear His image in a more perfect manner; and also it lies in communion with God; it is the happiness of saints now, and what they exult in, when they enjoy it, that their fellowship is with the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ; and it will be the blessedness of the New Jerusalem state, that the tabernacle of God will be with men, and He will dwell with them; and of the ultimate glory the saints shall then have, everlasting and uninterrupted communion with Father, Son, and Spirit, and partake of endless pleasures in the divine presence: and it will, moreover, lie in the vision of God: which, because of the happiness of it, is usually called the beatific vision; when they shall ‘see God for themselves, and not another;’ see Him as He is in Christ, and behold the glory of Christ; see no more darkly through a glass, but face to face, and know as they are known.”

–John Gill, A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity: Or A System of Evangelical Truths, Deduced from the Sacred Scriptures (vol. 1, New Edition.; Tegg & Company, 1839), 1: 179.

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“The greatest thing a minister of the gospel or a professor of theology can do for others” by Steven J. Duby

“Finally, that theologia is not immediately practical and certainly not oriented to questions of technique and efficiency is in fact one of its salutary aspects.

Contemporary preoccupation (even in the church and in academic programs preparatory for church ministry) with ‘mission statements,’ ‘measurable outcomes,’ and the like needs to be relativized by the joy of knowing the triune God.

It needs to be relativized by a strong sense of the fact that the greatest thing a minister of the gospel or a professor of theology can do for others is to communicate faithfully about the rich wisdom and goodness and holiness and love of the triune God—and their free and gracious exercise in the economy.”

–Steven J. Duby, God in Himself: Scripture, Metaphysics, and the Task of Christian Theology (Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture; London: Apollos, 2020), 295.

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“We owe God a love more for what He is in Himself, than for what He is to us” by Stephen Charnock

“We owe God a love for what He is in Himself; and more for what He is, than for what He is to us.

God is more worthy of our affections because He is the eternal God, than because He is our Creator; because He is more excellent in His nature than in His transient actions.

The ‘Ancient of Days’ is to be served before all that are younger than Himself.

As God is infinite, He hath right to a boundless service; as He is eternal, He hath right to a perpetual service.

If God be infinite and eternal, He merits an honour and comportment from His creatures suited to the unlimited perfection of His nature, and the duration of His being. How worthy is the psalmist’s resolution, ‘I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have any being,’ (Ps. 104:33).

It is the use he makes of the endless duration of the glory of God, and will extend to all other service as well as praise. To serve other things, or to serve ourselves, is to waste a service upon that which is nothing.

In devoting ourselves to God, we serve Him that is;

–we serve Him that was, so as that He never began;

–we serve Him that is to come, so as that He never shall end;

–we serve Him by whom all things are what they are;

–and we serve Him who hath both eternal knowledge to remember our service and eternal goodness to reward it.”

–Stephen Charnock, “The Eternity of God,” in The Existence and Attributes of God, in The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 1: 373.

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“The more Trinitarian the salvation, the sweeter it is” by Michael Reeves

“As the oil ran down Aaron’s head to his body (cf. Psalm 133:1-2; Lev. 8:12), so the Spirit would run down from Christ over our Head to His Body, the church. Thus we become ‘partakers of His anointing’ (Heidelberg Catechism, #32).

The Spirit, through whom the Father had eternally loved His Son, would now anoint believers ‘that they may be one as we are one’ (John 17:22). One with the Lord, one with each other.

This is salvation with jam on top. In fact, the more Trinitarian the salvation, the sweeter it is.

For it is not just that we are brought before the Father in the Son; we receive the Spirit with which He was anointed. Jesus said in John 16:14 that the Spirit ‘will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.’

The Spirit takes what is the Son’s and makes it ours. When the Spirit rested upon the Son at His baptism, Jesus heard the Father declare from heaven: ‘You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.’

But not that same Spirit of sonship rests on me, the same words apply to me: in Christ my high priest I am an adopted, beloved, Spirit-anointed son. As Jesus says to the Father in John 17:23, You ‘have loved them even as You have loved Me.’

And so, as the Son brings me before His Father, with their Spirit in me can boldly cry, ‘Abba,’ for their fellowship I now freely share: the Most High my Father, the Son my great brother, the Spirit no longer Jesus’ Comforter alone, but mine.

–Michael Reeves, Delighting In The Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012), 74-75.

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“Without losing Himself, God can give Himself” by Herman Bavinck

“A deep chasm separates God’s being from that of all creatures.

It is a mark of God’s greatness that He can condescend to the level of His creatures and that, though transcendent, He can dwell immanently in all created beings.

Without losing Himself, God can give Himself, and, while absolutely maintaining His immutability, He can enter into an infinite number of relations to His creatures.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, Vol. 2, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 2: 159.

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“The external word is the instrument, the internal word the aim” by Herman Bavinck

“The difference between Rome and the Reformation in their respective views of tradition consists in this: Rome wanted a tradition that ran on an independent parallel track alongside of Scripture, or rather, Scripture alongside of tradition.

The Reformation recognizes only a tradition that is founded on and flows from Scripture. To the mind of the Reformation, Scripture was an organic principle from which the entire tradition, living on in preaching, confession, liturgy, worship, theology, devotional literature, etc., arises and is nurtured.

It is a pure spring of living water from which all the currents and channels of the religious life are fed and maintained. Such a tradition is grounded in Scripture itself.

After Jesus completed his work, he sent forth the Holy Spirit who, while adding nothing new to the revelation, still guides the church into the truth (John 16:12–15) until it passes through all its diversity and arrives at the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God (Eph. 3:18, 19; 4:13).

In this sense there is a good, true, and glorious tradition. It is the method by which the Holy Spirit causes the truth of Scripture to pass into the consciousness and life of the church. Scripture, after all, is only a means, not the goal.

The goal is that, instructed by Scripture, the church will freely and independently make known “the wonderful deeds of him who called it out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

The external word is the instrument, the internal word the aim. Scripture will have reached its destination when all have been taught by the Lord and are filled with the Holy Spirit.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena, Vol. 1, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 493–494.

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