Category Archives: God the Father

“The sea of God’s compassion can drown thy great sins” by Thomas Watson

Question: But will God be a Father to me, who have profaned His name, and been a great sinner?

Answer: If thou wilt now at last seek to God by prayer, and break off thy sins, God hath the compassion of a Father for thee, and will in no wise cast thee out.

When the prodigal did arise and go to his father, ‘his father had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him,’ Luke 15:20.

Though thou hast been a prodigal, and almost spent all upon thy lusts, yet, if thou wilt give a bill of divorce to thy sins, and flee to God by repentance, know that He hath the compassion of a father.

He will embrace thee in the arms of His mercy, and seal thy pardon with a kiss. What though thy sins have been heinous?

The wound is not so broad as the plaster of Christ’s blood. The sea covers great rocks. The sea of God’s compassion can drown thy great sins.

Therefore be not discouraged,—go to God,—resolve to cast thyself upon His fatherly compassion.

What comfort is there to such as can upon good grounds call God, Father. There’s more sweetness in this word Father, than if we had ten thousand worlds.”

–Thomas Watson, The Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, Comprising His Celebrated Body of Divinity, in a Series of Lectures on the Shorter Catechism, and Various Sermons and Treatises (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855), 390-391.

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“The heartbeat of God’s entire revelation” by Herman Bavinck

“In the doctrine of the Trinity we feel the heartbeat of God’s entire revelation for the redemption of humanity. Though foreshadowed in the Old Testament, it only comes to light fully in Christ.

Religion can be satisfied with nothing less than God himself. Now in Christ God Himself comes out to us, and in the Holy Spirit He communicates Himself to us.

The work of re-creation is trinitarian through and through. From God, through God, and in God are all things.

Re-creation is one divine work from beginning to end, yet it can be described in terms of three agents: it is fully accomplished by the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

A Christian’s faith life, accordingly, points back to three generative principles. ‘We know all these things,’ says article 9 of the Belgic Confession, ‘from the testimonies of holy Scripture, as well as from the operations of the persons, especially from those we feel within ourselves.’

We know ourselves to be children of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and in communion with both through the Holy Spirit. Every blessing, both spiritual and material, comes to us from the triune God.

In that name we are baptized; that name sums up our confession; that name is the source of all the blessings that come down to us; to that name we will forever bring thanksgiving and honor; in that name we find rest for our souls and peace for our conscience.

Christians have a God above them, before them, and within them. Our salvation, both in this life and in the life to come, is bound up with the doctrine of the Trinity.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, Vol. 4, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 4: 333–334.

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“He gives rain on the earth” by John Piper

“‘God does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth.’ (Job 5:8-10) In Job’s mind rain really is one of the great, unsearchable wonders that God does. So when I read this a few weeks ago, I resolved not to treat it as meaningless pop musical lyrics. I decided to have a conversation with myself (which is what I mean by meditation).

Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come from another source on the fields. From where?

Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea over several hundred miles, and then be poured out on the fields from the sky. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 2,323,200 cubic feet of water, which is 17,377,536 gallons, which is 144,735,360 pounds of water.

That’s heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it’s so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That’s a nice word. What’s it mean? It means that the water stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What’s that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That’s small.

What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is saltwater. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up millions of pounds of water from the sea, takes out the salt, carries the water (or whatever it is, when it is not water) for three hundred miles, and then dumps it (now turned into water again) on the farm?

Well, it doesn’t dump it. If it dumped millions of pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the millions of pounds of water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.

How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh millions of pounds get heavy enough to fall (if that’s the way to ask the question)? Well, it’s called coalescence. What’s that? It means the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger, and when they are big enough, they fall.

Just like that? Well, not exactly, because they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up if there were no electric field present. What? Never mind. Take my word for it.

I think, instead, I will just take Job’s word for it.”

–John Piper, Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2005), 24–26.

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Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Creation, God the Creator, God the Father, God's Power, Jesus Christ, John Piper, Providence, Quotable Quotes, Worldview, Worship

“Behold the glory of God in the pieces of His art” by Stephen Charnock

“Study God in the creatures as well as in the Scriptures. The primary use of the creatures, is to acknowledge God in them.

They were made to be witnesses of Himself in His goodness, and heralds of His glory, which as the glory of God the Creator ‘shall endure forever’ (Psalm 104:31).

That whole psalm is a lecture of creation and providence. The world is a sacred temple. Man is introduced to contemplate it, and behold with praise the glory of God in the pieces of His art.

As grace doth not destroy nature, so the book of redemption blots not out that of creation. Had He not shown Himself in His creatures, He could never have shown Himself in His Christ. The order of things required it.

God must be read wherever He is legible. The creatures are one book, wherein He hath writ a part of the excellencey of His name, as many artists do in their works and watches.

God’s glory, like the filings of gold, is too precious to be lost wherever it drops. Nothing so vile and base in the world, but carries in it an instruction for man, and drives in further the notion of a God.

It’s as if He said of His cottage, ‘Enter here.’ God disdains not this place.

So the least creature speaks to man, as well as in the highest creature. Every shrub in the field, every fly in the air, every limb in a body: ‘Consider me, God disdains not to appear in me; He hath discovered in me His being and a part of His skill.’

The creatures manifest the being of God and part of His perfections.

We have indeed a more excellent way, a revelation setting Him forth in a more excellent manner, a firmer object of dependence, a brighter object of love, raising our hearts from self-confidence to a confidence in Him.

Though the appearance of God in the one be clearer than in the other, yet neither is to be neglected. The Scripture directs us to nature to view God.

It had been in vain else for the apostle to make use of natural arguments. Nature is not contrary to Scripture, nor Scripture to nature, unless we should think God contrary to Himself who is the Author of both.”

–Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, Vol. 1 (Robert Carter & Brothers, 1682/1853), 86.

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“Adoption in Christ” by Marcus Peter Johnson

“Jesus Christ is an inexhaustible fountain of blessing to us (Eph. 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:30). When He gives Himself to us that we might enjoy Him, He is not only our justification—the One through whom we experience the forgiveness of sins and the fellowship of His righteousness—He is also our sanctification— the One through whom we are made holy and are transformed into His image.

Yet He is the source of yet another blessing, one so amazing that it would be blasphemous to suggest if it were not true. In our union with Christ, the only begotten Son of God, we participate in what is most precious to Him: His relationship with His Father.

We are, in union with Christ, adopted into the family of God; we become the children, the sons and daughters, of the Most High God. The blessing of adoptive sonship answers another desperate need we have as sinners.

Whereas justification (a forensic benefit) addresses the guilt and condemnation that accompanies sin, and sanctification (a transformative benefit) addresses the depravity and pollution of our nature, adoptive sonship (a familial benefit) addresses our estrangement and alienation from God…

The neglect of adoption in the soteriological understanding of the church is sorely lamentable, for our participation in the sonship of Jesus Christ is indeed basic to the New Testament gospel.

From the biblical teaching on adoption, we learn that we are restored to a familial intimacy with God the Father, through which we are assured of His eternal fatherly care and provision, a love and indulgence that exceeds our imaginations.

We learn that our relationship to God is so radically changed that we go from being ‘children of wrath’ (Eph. 2:3) to His beloved sons and daughters, a relationship in which the Father vouchsafes to care for our every need.

Perhaps even more amazing, we learn that by sharing in the Son we share in His rights as the Firstborn and only begotten Son of God—we are ‘heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ’ (Rom. 8:17).

Our minds and hearts should surely stagger under the weight of this reality. It simply exceeds our comprehension.

All of this makes defining adoption concisely a rather difficult task. Nevertheless, here is my effort:

Adoption is that benefit of being united to the Son of God through which we share in His sonship with the Father, become the beloved children of God, and enjoy all the privileges and rights of being included in God’s family.

–Marcus Peter Johnson, One With Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 145-146, 147.

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“This is surely the apex of grace” by John Murray

“By adoption the redeemed become sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty; they are introduced into and given the privileges of God’s family…

Adoption, as the term clearly implies, is an act of transfer from an alien family into the family of God Himself. This is surely the apex of grace and privilege.

We would not dare to conceive of such grace far less to claim it apart from God’s own revelation and assurance. It staggers imagination because of its amazing condescension and love.

The Spirit alone could be the seal of it in our hearts. ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God’ (1 Cor. 2:9, 10).

It is only as there is the conjunction of the witness of revelation and the inward witness of the Spirit in our hearts that we are able to scale this pinnacle of faith and say with filial confidence and love, ‘Abba Father!’…

It is the same Person who is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ in the ineffable mystery of the trinity who is the Father of believers in the mystery of His adoptive grace.

God the Father is not only the specific agent in the act of adoption; He also constitutes those who believe in Jesus’ name His own children.

Could anything disclose the marvel of adoption or certify the security of its tenure and privilege more effectively than the fact that the Father Himself, on account of whom are all things and through whom are all things, who made the captain of salvation perfect through sufferings, becomes by deed of grace the Father of the many sons whom He will bring to glory?

And that is the reason why the Captain of salvation Himself is not ashamed to call them brethren and can exult with joy unspeakable, ‘Behold I and the children whom God hath given to me’ (Heb. 2:13).”

–John Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 132, 134, 140.

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“Our love for His Son” by Mark Jones

“Believers should always remember that nothing makes us more like the Father than our love for His Son.”

–Mark Jones, Knowing Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2015), 12.

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