God: The Supreme Benefit of the Covenant

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:16-17 (ESV)

“Paul asserts that believers have inherited the promise of Abraham (Gal. 3:14, 29), and this promise is an astounding one, for Abraham is heir of the world (Rom. 4:13…). Here he says something even more stunning: believers are “heirs of God” himself. The wording suggests not merely that believers are heirs of what God has promised but of God himself. The supreme benefit of the covenant with Abraham is not inheriting the land but having God as one’s God (Gen. 17:7).”

– Thomas Schreiner, Romans (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 427-28.

If God Came to Church

“On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to the pews. ”

– Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), 40.

photo: source

God Helps the Helpless

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” – Romans 5:6

“Christ’s work was not according to the ‘God helps them that helps themselves’ of Poor Richard’s Almanac. He did not wait for us to start helping ourselves, but died for us when we were altogether helpless.”

– C.E.B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, Ed. J.A. Emerton, Vol. 1 (International Critical Commentary; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975), 263-64.

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The Supply Far Exceeds the Needs

“For the first time in my life I experienced what Abraham felt when he fell upon his face and laughed. I was riding home, very weary with a long week’s work, when there came to my mind this text – ‘My grace is sufficient for thee:’ but it came with the emphasis laid upon two words: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ My soul said, ‘Doubtless it is. Surely the grace of the infinite God is more than sufficient for such a mere insect as I am,’ and I laughed, and laughed again, to think how far the supply exceeded all my needs.”

– Charles Spurgeon, The Holy Spirit in Connection with Our Ministry in the second series of Lectures to My Students.

“While he lightly opposes us, he supplies invincible strength.”

“And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.” – Genesis 32:24

Commenting on this verse Calvin says, “in short, such is [God’s] apportioning of it is conflict, that, while he assails us with one hand, he defends us with the other; yea, inasmuch as he supplies us with more strength to resist than he employs in opposing us, we may truly and properly say, that he fights against us with his left hand, and for us with his right hand. For while he lightly opposes us, he supplies invincible strength whereby we overcome. It is true he remains at perfect unity with himself: but the double method in which he deals with us cannot be otherwise expressed, than that in striking us with a human rod, he does not put forth his full strength in the temptation; but that in granting the victory to our faith, he becomes in us stronger than the power by which he opposes us.”

photo: Ray Ortlund

No Need to Go Nuts

God, who has “established his throne in the heavens,” also crowns individuals with steadfast love (Psalm 103:19 and 5).

The One whose “kingdom rules over all” is the same One whose steadfast love is “from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:19 and 17).

God’s sovereign rule over everything is not exercised independent from his steadfast love. In fact, God is continually demonstrating his steadfast love in his sovereign rule.

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The God To Whom We Pray

When we pray to God as Governor of the world, “we pray to One that hath the whole globe of heaven and earth in his hand, and can do whatsoever he will: though he be higher than the cherubims, and transcendently above all in majesty, yet we may soar up to him with the wings of our soul, faith, and love, and lay open our cause, and find him as gracious as if he were the meanest subject on earth, rather than the most sovereign God in heaven. He hath as much of tenderness as he hath of authority, and is pleased with prayer.”
– Stephen Charnock, Discourse Upon the Existence and Attributes of God (London: James Blackwood and Co., ND), 699.

He has the whole of heaven and earth in his hand and can do whatever he wants to do. He has as much tenderness as he does authority. This is the God to whom we pray.

photo: FlyingSinger