Friday, June 15, 2012

How has the gospel of the knowledge of God spread throughout the world?

Altars of idols have been overthrown. Knowledge of God has been implanted. The consubstantial Trinity, the uncreated Godhead is worshipped, one true God, Creator and Lord of all. Virtue is practiced. Hope of the resurrection has been granted through the resurrection of Christ. The demons tremble at the men who were formerly in their power. Yes, and most wonderful of all is that all these things were successfully brought about through a cross and suffering and death. The Gospel of the knowledge of God has been preached to the whole world and has put the adversaries to flight not by war and arms and camps. Rather, it was a few unarmed, poor, unlettered, persecuted, tormented, done-to-death men, who, by preaching the One who had died crucified in the flesh, prevailed over the wise and powerful, because the almighty power of the Crucified was with them. That death which was once so terrible has been defeated and He who was once despised and hated is now preferred before life. These are the successes consequent upon the advent of Christ; these are the signs of His power... O Christ, O wisdom and power and Word of God, and God almighty! What should we resourceless people give you in return for all things? For all things are Yours and You ask nothing of us but that we be saved. And even this You have given us, and by Your ineffable goodness You are gracious to those who accept it. 

- John of Damascus An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4.4

Friday, June 1, 2012

What is the greatest unkindness we can do to our Father?

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.  - Galatians 4:4-7

We see in this passage that it takes the entire Godhead, the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Spirit- to complete our adoption. God the Father plans and initiates our adoption. Twice Paul says that God the Father “sent.” At the fulness of time, the Father “sent” the Son into the world to redeem us and to secure our adoption and make us heirs. And the Father “has sent” the Spirit of Jesus into our hearts to seal our adoption.
Our adoption process began long ago. God the Father initiates and plans our adoption from eternity past. Before the dawn of time, God the Father’s heart of love was fixed upon you. The Father’s adoption plan started in eternity past, and the blessings and joys that flow from this grace of adoption will continue throughout the endless ages of eternity. Then, in history, the Father sends both the Son and the Spirit to make our adoption happen.
The Father looked out at a world in rebellion against Him. He saw the world filled with “children of wrath.” He saw children who had rejected Him, walked away from Him, turned their backs on Him, and wanted nothing to do with Him. And what was the Father’s response? Out of His great love, He sends His one and only Son, His beloved Son, into the world to make “children of wrath” into “children of God”!
Because of the great love of God the Father, we are now children of God: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” For this reason John Owen wrote: “The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay upon the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him, is not to believe that He loves you.”

Justin & Lindsey Holcomb, Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault, Crossway Publishers, 2011, pg. 77