Tag Archives: I believe in God the Father Almighty

“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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“A freshness of vision” by John Piper

“One of the tragedies of growing up is that we get used to things. It has its good side of course, since irritations may cease to be irritations.

But there is immense loss when we get used to the redness of the rising sun,

and the roundness of the moon,

and the whiteness of the snow,

the wetness of rain,

the blueness of the sky,

the buzzing of bumble bees,

the stitching of crickets,

the invisibility of wind,

the unconscious constancy of heart and diaphragm,

the weirdness of noses and ears,

the number of the grains of sand on a thousand beaches,

the never-ceasing crash crash crash of countless waves,

and ten million kingly-clad flowers flourishing and withering in woods and mountain valleys where no one sees but God.

I invite you, with Clyde Kilby, to seek a ‘freshness of vision,’ to look, as though it were the first time, not at the empty product of accumulated millennia of aimless evolutionary accidents (which no child ever dreamed of), but at the personal handiwork of an infinitely strong, creative, and exuberant Artist who made the earth and the sea and everything in them.

I invite you to believe (like the children believe) ‘that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course you shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the Architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega’ (note 11, resolution 10).”

–John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God (Portland, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1991), 95-96.

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“He is king forever” by Herman Bavinck

“What a father is for his family, what an educator is for the young, what a commander is for the army, what a king is for his people—all that and much more God is in a totally original way for his creatures.

Not just one but all His attributes come to expression in the world and therefore need to be honored by us.

Now ‘kingship’ for one is a glorious divine institution as well. It not only confers on a people a unity symbolized in a person, but as a hereditary kingship it also assumes the character of originality, loftiness, independence, and constancy.

In all this it is a beautiful—albeit a weak—image of the kingship of God.

All sovereignty on earth is derivative, temporary, and limited, and in the case of abuse, more a curse than a blessing. But God is king in the absolute and true sense.

The government of the universe is not democratic, nor aristocratic, nor republican, nor constitutional, but monarchical. To God belongs the one undivided legislative, judicial, and executive power.

His sovereignty is original, eternal, unlimited, abundant in blessing. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 19:6). His royal realm is the whole of the universe.

His are the heavens and the earth (Exod. 19:5; Ps. 8:1; 103:19; 148:13). He possesses all the nations (Ps. 22:28; 47:8–9; 96:10; Jer. 10:7; Mal. 1:14) and is supreme in all the earth (Ps. 47:2, 7; 83:18; 97:9).

He is king forever (Ps. 29:10; 1 Tim. 1:17); no opposition stands a chance against Him (Ps. 93:3–4).

His kingdom will surely come (Matt. 6:10; 1 Cor. 15:24; Rev. 12:10); His glory will be revealed and His name feared from the rising of the sun to its going down (Isa. 40:5; 59:19); He will be king over the entire earth (Zech. 14:9).

Also, in this government God deals with each thing according to its kind. God rules over all things conformably to their nature. Consequently, that rule of God is variously represented in Scripture and described with various names.

By his rule He upholds the world and establishes it so that it will not be moved (Ps. 93:1).

He ordains the light and the darkness (Ps. 104:19–20), commands the rain and withholds it (Gen. 7:4; 8:2; Job 26:8; 38:22ff.), gives snow and hoarfrost and ice (Ps. 147:16), rebukes and stills the sea (Nah. 1:4; Ps. 65:7; 107:29), sends curses and destruction (Deut. 28:15ff.).

All things fulfill His command (Ps. 148:8). With equally sovereign power and majesty He rules in the world of rational creatures.

He rules among the Gentiles and possesses all nations (Ps. 22:28; 82:8). He deems the nations as emptiness and less than nothing (Isa. 40:17), deals with the inhabitants of the earth according to His will (Dan. 4:35), and directs the hearts and thoughts of all (Prov. 21:1).”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2, Ed. John Bolt, and trans. John Vriend, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 615–616.

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“He is great in little things” by John Newton

“I heartily sympathize with you in your complaints; but I see you in safe hands. The Lord loves you, and will take care of you.

He who raises the dead, can revive your spirits when you are cast down. He who sets bounds to the sea, and says ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further,’ can limit and moderate that gloom which sometimes distresses you.

He knows why He permits you to be thus exercised. I cannot assign the reasons, but I am sure they are worthy of His wisdom and love, and that you will hereafter see and say, He has done all things well.

If I was as wise as your philosopher, I might say a great deal about a melancholy complexion; but I love not to puzzle myself with second causes, while the first cause is at hand, which sufficiently accounts for every phenomenon in a believer’s experience.

Your constitution, your situation, your temper, your distemper, all that is either comfortable or painful in your lot, is of His appointment.

The hairs of your head are all numbered: the same power which produced the planet Jupiter is necessary to the production of a single hair, nor can one of them fall to the ground without His notice, any more than the stars can fall from their orbits.

In providence, no less than in creation, he is Maximus in minimis, ‘Great in little things.’ Therefore fear not; only believe.

Our sea may sometimes be stormy, but we have an infallible Pilot, and shall infallibly gain our port.

I am,

John Newton”

–John Newton, Letter IX – November 27, 1778” in The Works of John Newton, vol. 2, Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 247–248.

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“God is King” by Herman Bavinck

“Preservation itself, after all, is also a divine work, no less great and glorious than creation. God is no indolent God (deus otiosus). He works always (John 5:17), and the world has no existence in itself.

From the moment it came into being, it has existed only in and through and unto God (Neh. 9:6; Ps. 104:30; Acts 17:28; Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:15ff.; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 4:11). Although distinct from His being, it has no independent existence; independence is tantamount to nonexistence.

The whole world with everything that is and occurs in it is subject to divine government. Summer and winter, day and night, fruitful and unfruitful years, light and darkness—it is all his work and formed by him (Gen. 8:22; 9:14; Lev. 26:3ff.; Deut. 11:12ff.; Job 38; Ps. 8, 29, 65, 104, 107, 147; Jer. 3:3; 5:24; Matt. 5:45; etc.).

Scripture knows no independent creatures; this would be an oxymoron. God cares for all His creatures: for animals (Gen. 1:30; 6:19ff.; 7:2ff.; 9:9–17; Job 38:41; Ps. 36:7; 104:27; 147:9; Joel 1:20; Matt. 6:26; etc.), and particularly for humans.

He sees them all (Job 34:21; Ps. 33:13–14; Prov. 15:3), fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds (Ps. 33:15; Prov. 5:21); they are all the works of His hands (Job 34:19), the rich as well as the poor (Prov. 22:2).

God determines the boundaries of their habitation (Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26), turns the hearts of all (Prov. 21:1), directs the steps of all (Prov. 5:21; 16:9; 19:21; Jer. 10:23; etc.), and deals according to His will with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth (Dan. 4:35).

They are in His hands as clay in the hands of a potter, and as a saw in the hand of one who pulls it (Isa. 29:16; 45:9; Jer. 18:5; Rom. 9:20–21).

God’s providential government extends very particularly to His people. The entire history of the patriarchs, of Israel, of the church, and of every believer, is proof of this.

What other people meant for evil against them, God turned to their good (Gen. 50:20); no weapon fashioned against them will succeed (Isa. 54:17); even the hairs on their head are all numbered (Matt. 10:30); all things work together for their good (Rom. 8:28).

Thus all created things exist in the power and under the government of God; neither chance nor fate is known to Scripture (Exod. 21:13; Prov. 16:33).

It is God who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11) and makes all things serviceable to the revelation of His attributes, to the honor of his name (Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36).

Scripture beautifully sums up all this in repeatedly speaking of God as a king who governs all things (Ps. 10:16; 24:7–8; 29:10; 44:4; 47:6–7; 74:12; 115:3; Isa. 33:22; etc.).

God is King: the King of kings and the Lord of lords; a King who in Christ is a Father to His subjects, and a Father who is at the same time a King over His children.

Among creatures, in the world of animals, humans, and angels, all that is found in the way of care for, love toward, and protection of one by the other is a faint adumbration of God’s providential order over all the works of His hands.

His absolute power and perfect love, accordingly, are the true object of the faith in providence reflected in Holy Scripture.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2, Ed. John Bolt, and trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 592–593.

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“We are His children” by Martin Luther

“Here you learn what a great glory and what an ineffable eternal treasure the advent of God’s Son brought to those who accept Him, believe in Him, and regard Him as the Man sent by God to help the world.

They believe that He is to be the new means and agency for the bestowal of both the power and the prerogative of children of God upon all who believe in His name.

If we believe that He is the eternal Word of the Father through whom all things were made (John 1:3); if we believe that He is the Light and the Life of man (John 1:4) and the Lamb of God which bears the sins of the world (John 1:29) and removes these sins and casts them into the depths of the sea, as the prophet Micah said (Micah 7:19); if we call upon Him in every need and thank Him for His inexpressible grace and benefits—then we shall have the singular privilege, liberty, and right to be the dear children of a gracious Father in heaven, to be heirs of all His eternal and heavenly goods, to be, as Paul declares in Rom. 8:17, the brethren and fellow heirs of Christ, and to have salvation and life eternal.

How is this to be understood? Did He grant this power and privilege to all men, who, as we know, are all children of wrath (Eph. 2:3)?

The evangelist replies: ‘No, not to all; but to all without limit and to the exclusion of none who believe in His name; this means, to all who accept His Word in faith, who remain steadfast and call upon Him.’

Here you hear explicitly that this high honor, glorious liberty, and power to become the children of God can be attained through no other means or method than solely through a knowledge of, and faith in, Christ.

Ascetic life, the Carthusian order, the rules of St. Francis, free will, human skills, devotion, holiness, whatever you may mention on earth, yes, angelic piety and humility, also God’s Law—all these prove bootless.

This glory is preached and offered to us year after year and day after day. No man, no matter who he may be, can ponder the magnificence sufficiently or express it adequately in words.

We poor mortals, who are condemned and miserable sinners through our first birth from Adam, are singled out for such great honor and nobility that the eternal and almighty God is our Father and we are His children.

Christ is our Brother, and we are His fellow heirs (Rom. 8:17). This is a grand and overpowering thought!

Whoever really reflects on it—the children of the world will not, but Christians will, although not all of them either—will be so startled and frightened by the thought that he will be prompted to ask: ‘My dear, can this really be possible and true?’

Therefore the Holy Spirit must be the Master here and inscribe this knowledge and faith deep in our hearts, must bear witness to our spirit, and say yea and amen to the fact that we have become and eternally remain children of God through faith in Christ (Rom. 8:16).

If we really believed with all our heart, firmly and unflinchingly, that the eternal God, Creator and Ruler of the world, is our Father, with whom we have an everlasting abode as children and heirs, not of this transitory wicked world but of all God’s imperishable, heavenly, and inexpressible treasures, then we would, indeed, concern ourselves but little with all that the world prizes so highly; much less would we covet it and strive after it.

Indeed, we would regard the world’s riches, treasures, glories, splendor, and might—compared with the dignity and honor due us as the children and heirs, not of a mortal emperor but of the eternal and almighty God—as trifling, paltry, vile, leprous, yes, as stinking filth and poison.

For this glory, no matter how great and magnificent it may be, is, in the end, consumed by maggots and snakes in the grave. And if those who sit enthroned and exalted here on earth do not depart this life in the knowledge of, and belief in, Christ, they will pass into the hands of the devil; ‘their worm will not die, their fire shall not be quenched’ (Is. 66:24).”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 22: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 1-4, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), Jn 1:12.

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“Repose upon God alone” by John Calvin

“‘For Thou hast done great things.’ If we attribute to God’s known power the praise which is due to it, we will never want ground for entertaining good hope.

Finally, our sense of the goodness of God should extend so far as to ravish us with admiration; for thus it will come to pass that our minds, which are often distracted by an unholy disquietude, will repose upon God alone.

If any temptation thrusts itself upon us, we immediately magnify a fly into an elephant; or rather, we rear very high mountains, which keep the hand of God from reaching us; and at the same time we basely limit the power of God.

The exclamation of David, then, ‘Who is like Thee?’ tends to teach us the lesson, that we should force our way through every impediment by faith, and regard the power of God, which is well entitled to be so regarded, as superior to all obstacles.

All men, indeed, confess with the mouth, that none is like God; but there is scarce one out of a hundred who is truly and fully persuaded that He alone is sufficient to save us.”

–John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 3 in Calvin’s Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), Calvin is commenting on Psalm 71:19.

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