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Has God Ever Ordained Evil to Take Place?

A closer look at a couple of texts in the book of Acts may be able to shine some light on the subject.

"...as you yourselves know — this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it." - Acts 2:23

"...for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place." - Acts 4:27

According to these texts, did God ordain and predestine the crucifixion of Jesus to take place? ? Were the men who did it held responsible? (See 2:23b). Did God coerce or force them to murder Jesus? Or is it something their wicked hearts wanted to do voluntarily? We can only surmise, then, that what men meant for evil, God meant for good. The intent and motives for the event were completely different. As such, I would propose that this is a good example of how we are to see God's involvement in evil throughout the Bible. He ordains sin sinlessly because he has an often unseen purpose which is ultimately for His glory.

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 15:14 -- john_hendryx

Exposition of Revelation (MP3 Series) by G. K. Beale


This monumental study of the book of Revelation will be especially helpful to scholars, pastors, students, and others seriously interested in interpreting the Apocalypse for the benefit of the church. Too often Revelation is viewed as a book only about the future. As G. K. Beale shows, however, Revelation is not merely a futurology but a book about how the church should live for the glory of God throughout the ages -- including our own. Approaching Revelation in terms of its own historical background and literary character, Beale argues convincingly that John’s use of Old Testament allusions -- and the way the Jewish exegetical tradition interpreted these same allusions -- provides the key for unlocking the meaning of Revelation’s many obscure metaphors. In the course of Beale’s careful exegesis, which also untangles the logical flow of John’s thought as it develops from chapter to chapter, it becomes clear that Revelation’s challenging pictures are best understood not by apparent technological and contemporary parallels in the twentieth century but by Old Testament and Jewish parallels from the distant past.

The following lectures were given in MP3 format. To download, right click and save to your hard drive

The Book of Revelation: About the Future? Revelation 1:1-3

Why Should We Go to Church? Revelation 1:1-3

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 12:46 -- john_hendryx

The Shepherd’s Unchanging Love for His Sheep


“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine…and I lay down my life for the sheep…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them…and they shall never perish” (John 10:14 f., 27 f.)

J.I. Packer,

What matters supremely, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it — the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind.

All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is not a moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.

This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort — the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates — in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me. . .There is great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His son to die for me in order to realise this purpose.”

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 16:40 -- john_hendryx

Why Doesn't God Extend His Saving Grace To All by B. B. Warfield

“We may ask, no doubt, why God does not extend his saving grace to all; and why, if he sends it to some only, he sends it to just those some to whom he sends it rather than to others. These are not wise questions to ask. We might ask why Christ raised Lazarus only of all that lay dead that day in Palestine, or in the world. No doubt reasons may suggest themselves why he raised Lazarus. But why Lazarus only? If we threw the reins on the neck of imagination, we might possibly discover reasons enough why he might well have raised others, too, with Lazarus, perhaps many others, perhaps all the dead throughout the whole world. Doubtless he had his reasons for doing on that great day precisely what he did. No doubt God has his reasons, too, for doing just what he does with his electing grace. Perhaps we may divine some of them. No doubt there are others which we do not divine. Better leave it to him, and content ourselves. facing, in the depths of our ignorance and our sin-bred lack of comprehension, these tremendous realities, with the O altitudo of Paul: ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!’ Or may we not even rise to the great consenting ‘Yea!’ which Christ has taught us: ‘Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight!’ After all, men are sinners and grace is wonderful. The marvel of marvels is not that God, in his infinite love, has not elected all of this guilty race to be saved, but that he has elected any. What really needs accounting for — though to account for it passes the powers of our extremest flights of imagination — is how the holy God could get the consent of his nature to save a single sinner.

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 17:38 -- john_hendryx

Does the Bible really teach that there is no such thing as chance?


Visitor: Does the Bible really teach that there is no such thing as chance? My version still says that "time and chance happen to all."

If everything - absolutely everything mind you - was decided before that first "let their be" then Ryle's last paragraph simply makes no sense. All that talk about what we should seek and strive to do and believe is advice impossible to follow because what I believe as well as what I do were, apparently, fully and finally established before the foundation of the earth. Radical Calvinists will vehemently disagree with me about my ability to make any choice - however trivial - but only because God decided some time ago that they would. Nothing to do with them though, just grace that they back the right horse. Me though? Apparently there is a God in Romans who makes things he hates and will eventually destroy. Weird though, don't you think, not to mention any of that in Genesis 1, where things are only "good" and "very good"?

Response:

A two-part response:

1) The Bible teaches that God is all-seeing (Psalm 33:13-15), never-sleeping (Psalm 121:3-4) and cares deeply about His people (Romans 8:38-39). He assures us that He knows every hair on our head, and when every sparrow falls ... but He comforts us that we "are of more value than many sparrows" (Luke 12:6-7).

The text and all of Ecclesiastes is speaking from a human perspective, so time and chance refers to man who does not know his time. Please read the text in context:

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 11:25 -- john_hendryx

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (eBook)


by J.C. Ryle

Available in ePub and .mobi formats

The complete set of J.C. Ryle's classic expositions on the four gospels in one eBook

Observing this need in his own parish, J.C. Ryle prepared his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels which have enriched the earth for more than a century with undiminished popularity and usefulness.

Ryle's 'plain and pointed' words are a great stimulus to the reading of the Bible itself. While his chief aim is to help the reader to know Christ he also has another object in view. He writes so that his commentaries on the Gospels can be read aloud to a group. Unlike many authors he is equally good, read or heard. There are many other fuller commentaries on the Gospels, but no others make such compelling listening--whether it be in the family, in neighborhood groups, or over the air--as those of J.C. Ryle.

Ryle's own comments:

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 16:24 -- john_hendryx

Yielding to God’s Providence by J.C. Ryle


"Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God’s ordering and permission.

The providential government of God over everything in this world is a truth of which the Greek and Roman philosophers had no conception. It is a truth which is specially revealed to us in the word of God. Just as the telescope and microscope show us that there is order and design in all the works of God’s hand, from the greatest planet down to the least insect, so does the Bible teach us that there is wisdom, order, and design in all the events of our daily life. There is no such thing as ‘chance,’ ‘luck,’ or ‘ accident’ in the Christian’s journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are ‘working together’ for the believer’s good. (Rom. viii. 28.)

Let us seek to have an abiding sense of God’s hand in all that befalls us, if we profess to be believers in Jesus Christ. Let us strive to realize that a Father’s hand is measuring out our daily portion, and that our steps are ordered by Him. A daily practical faith of this kind, is one grand secret of happiness, and a mighty antidote against murmuring and discontent. We should try to feel in the day of trial and disappointment, that all is right and all is well done. We should try to feel on the bed of sickness that there must be a ‘needs be.’ We should say to ourselves, ‘God could keep away from me these things if He thought fit. But He does not do so, and therefore they must be for my advantage. I will lie still, and bear them patiently. I have ‘an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure.’ (2 Sam. xxiii. 5.) What pleases God shall please me.’”

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 13:20 -- john_hendryx

Free eBook: Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism by John L. Girardeau

Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism: Compared as to Election, Rebrobation, Justification and Related Doctrines

by John L. Girardeau

PROFESSOR OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY IN COLUMBIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, SOUTH CAROLINA.

Available in Kindle .mobi and ePub formats

-+ scanned and marked up by Lance George Marshall +-

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 11:44 -- john_hendryx

The Gospel Across Time by David F. Wells


In Christ alone is all our trust
For full and free salvation.
With His own blood He ransomed us
From ev’ry tribe and nation.
For us He lived and died.
Now, at the Father’s side,
Full knowing all our needs,
Our High Priest intercedes.
He lives to make us holy.

GARY A. PARRETT


Where We Start

It might seem that the best way to begin a study of God’s character, his holy-love, is to open a concordance and look up all the instances of holiness and all those of love and see if a synthesis is possible. This would yield much that would be helpful.

But there is a better way. It is to begin at the beginning and see how God revealed his character across time. In doing so, we find that as God’s redemptive history moved toward its goal, it provided what are the contours of our subject. It was moving toward Christ, in whom it culminated. From that time on, the Holy Spirit’s work became that of applying to sinners the benefits of Christ’s work on the cross. This progressive unfolding of the purposes of God is, at the same time, the unfolding of the character of God. We see more and more clearly what God’s redemptive plan was, as we move from Abraham toward Christ, and we also see the principles in that plan as it unfolded. That should be no surprise. It is the same triune God at work in this plan. It is the God who James says is one “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). And redemption means the same thing whether a person was born millennia before Christ or is yet unborn. It is redemption from sin, and that, in the nature of the case, can only be by grace.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 11:40 -- john_hendryx

Real Help For Your Prayer Life


Below I have some practical and devotional suggestions for your daily prayer life which includes a written list (below) of things you can prayer for which you can print out or cut and paste into digital index cards (like PrayerMate) for your hand held device.

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Do you often end up separating your career and daily activities from your spiritual life? Do you find yourself working in the midst of so much confusion that, many times, you don't feel as if you are able to easily recollect your heart in the presence of God? Are your distractions so intense that God often appears far away? Why does this happen? Why is it that we often lose the knowledge of God's presence during the day and live with a kind of spiritual schizophrenia? Well, the explanation is probably fairly simple. Whenever we react in a fleshly manner to the various providences that God puts before us; whenever we are temperamental, rash, impatient, restless, self-willed, letting circumstances make us depressed or angry, and given over to our tyrannical passions, we can almost always trace it back to one foundational reason: prayerlessness.

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 13:34 -- john_hendryx

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