Last time we finished the first subheading under the first major category of theology proper that we’re calling God’s greatness, and we talked about God as immortal spirit. You guys remember what God’s immortal spirit involves, as we were talking about that doctrine. Okay, don’t worry because we’ll review it. Alright?
I, I, had intended today to start into the second subheading under God’s greatness, which is, God as the creator. But I’m, I don’t want to do that. I’m concerned that if we take more than a month off, we’re going to forget everything that we covered today. So I want to, I want to do something a little bit different today.
What we’re going to do today is kind of go back through what we’ve talked about in the past few months and work through some of the implications of God as immortal spirit and talk about the usefulness of these doctrines for our devotion, our shepherding, and all that.
Before we do that, though, I want to give just a, I do want to give just a short preview of God the Creator. Just a very brief look at where we’re going to be going. And before I do that, I want to ask a question to talk about why we’re doing what we’re doing. Okay.
So this, every now and again, I think we need to stop and take our temperature, take our pulse, and this is a question that does that. Why is it we, we, spent a lot of time over the past couple of months getting into some pretty heady stuff. I, I, know you know that. Why is it so important to do that?
Why is it important to clarify the nature, the essence, the substance of God? This is the, ‘So what’ question, and I think it’s very important for us to ask.
I got you. You’ll be the first one. But I, why is it so important to ask this, so, so, ‘so what’ question? It’s important because we if we don’t ask, stop and ask, ‘so what’, every now and again, we kind of lose sight of what we’re doing, and a, and the importance of it; the practical import. So what is the practical import? Doug’s going to tell us.
Audience: I don’t know if I’m going to tell you. I got some things to say.
Travis: Alright, I’m sorry. I don’t wanna hide any expectations.
Audience: Yeah, I know, bring that down a little bit. One of the guys, I can’t remember who it was, some old theologian said that the most important thing we can think is what we think about God.
Travis: The most important thing about us. Yeah.
Audience: Yeah. The most important thing about us. And, and, and, another aspect of that or part of that is, is, what we believe about God affects greatly what we do as a man. Our, our, actions. So, it’s a huge thing to, to, correctly think about God because it will change our actions in that way.
Travis: It’s been said, you are what you worship. You know and if you, if you worship self, if you worship science, if you worship whatever, you’re gonna become like what you worship. That’s good. Yeah. Thank you. Very important. Chuck.
Audience: Theology informs our shepherding. Like you, when you were praying just now you said, help us to be theologians in our minds and shepherds in our hearts. So our hearts are informed by the study of the word and knowing it well.
Travis: Okay. Yeah. So, so, yeah, there’s a, there’s a, unbreakable connection between what we know. Well, that’s just what Doug was saying, but applied to shepherding. What we know, and then what we do, how we live, how we speak, how we, how we think, and certainly how we shepherd people, how we shepherd our families, people around us.
We, we, have to, we have to know God deeply, otherwise if we know God shallowly and we try to shepherd people that way, what happens? We find ourselves in the current state of circumstances we’re in right now. That’s what happens. Yeah, Bruce?
Audience: Architecturally, our foundation, our supporting structure, your understanding these paper truths builds on that integrated way, which gives us more confidence and assurance in what we believe.
Travis: Okay. Good. Yeah. So you, I, I, love those terms. I wrote those down too. Confidence and assurance. When we understand the, you know, maybe some more difficult, but deeper profound things about God and his nature, his essence, it helps us. It, it glorifies him to us. But it also gives us a solid foundation to build our lives from. It gives us a solid foundation for our confidence, assurance of hope in him. Yeah. There, there’s a devotional import and impact on, from these doctrines. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah.
Audience: I mean, I was thinking, like practically, every single way that I’ve changed. I’ve changed because of theology. Like knowing the truth about something. Like sanctification, knowing that we have to work, as God works in us. It was a huge thing for me to be convinced of biblically, because before that, I tried, let go let God. I’ve tried, Climactic experience.
You know, simplicity of God, just those, that was revolutionary. Just recently, I’ve never heard of the divine simplicity, but just to realize that God’s wrath is God’s love, that is amazing. That’s just, it just made things so different for me, even in my interaction with my family.
I mean, because I’m trying to think, like what do I mean by that? Because I know what I mean, but it’s just when I am dealing with a God who is on the one hand angry at me, at my sin, but on the other hand loving toward me. Then you, you, don’t mean to, but when you come to God in family devotions, even, you’re kind of like, ‘is this the guy that’s angry, you know, it’s sort of makes God capricious, if he’s, if he’s not simple. So then, that cleared that up so much.
So I noticed as I’m doing family devotions, on my, I’m steady, I’m, I’m consistent and in my prayers to God because he’s always loving even in everything. I was, it was amazing for me. I, you could go on and on. I mean, it’s like every single time you chg, if, when, when, I was convinced of Calvinism, the Bible all of a sudden made sense because passages that were unclear, well that were implied were subsumed under passages that were not implied.
Somebody just asked me at work today. Well then what do you do with kids that aren’t elect? You know that die early. Then I just said, well, you know, biblically, there’s no kid that’s not elect that dies. You know, they died, they were elect, you know, before the age of accountability. It’s like stuff makes sense.
It’s like you this, when you went over apologetics, that was massive for me in this place. And then it got augmented in the apologetics, just to realize I, I never again have to spend my time trying to convince anybody of anything. I just give them the word, and I mean just, you could go on, and on, and on. It just, you can see how as you deepen your understanding of God, you will become a better person. More Christ like.
Travis: Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, I don’t know how to summarize your, your, comment. But I didn’t mean that as a. I, I, just, I just, I mean it; I don’t know how to summarize that. But you are, I think, you’re giving voice to, I think, what a lot of us feel. What I certainly feel as I, in a sense, as I go through these doctrines, everything’s connected. Everything is, everything is profound. Everything is immense. Everything is broad.
And it, and as we, as we kind of come close to the holiness of this God, we are impacted. And sometimes we, we, fight for words to describe how we’re impacted, but it changes us. It changes the way we think. It, you know, like you, you talked about, just coming into God in prayer or coming to teach your family or to explain God to people who are lost. You don’t have this schizophrenia in your head about who God is. Or this; is he capricious, is he contradictory. You don’t.
You, by understanding some of these things, you understand he is unified, he is one, he is perfect. His is atr, his, his, the depths of him are unsearchable. And there’s a confidence you have as you, as you walk forward, whether you explain him to others or whether you’re just coming to him yourself. Let us come to his, boldly to his throne with confidence to find help in our time of need.
And you know that you come to a God who can help you in your time of need, not, not, some lesser God who doesn’t know the future or, or changes, or is compartmentalized, or you know, who, whose, whose one attribute is more important than all the other attributes, and all, you know, all that stuff that we have received from a lot of our upbringing. Yeah. That’s really good. Somebody else. Yeah, Paul and then John.
Audience: So I had two thoughts on this. The first would be that there are many counterfeits that Satan’s thrown up out there and when do we know the true God better, and his essence and who he really is, then we can better discern between the counterfeits. And that’s pretty important because there’s a lot of them. And a, and, and, lead people in the right way.
So knowing the truth, we can discern error. And then on a more personal note, we all have to face him on Judgment Day. And so, for, for me personally, I don’t want to be surprised then, about the character of God. I’d rather know who he is before I have to face him on Judgment Day.
So, you know, I can rest in assurance of his promises. But I mean, if there’s so many out there that have been deceived and they’re believing in something or, or, someone that they, they’re gonna be really surprised, I think on Judgment Day, and I don’t want that for them.
Travis: Yeah. That’s good. That’s good. You know I, I’m, yeah, I think part of the joy that I find in my salvation is that I will not face God on Judgment Day, in the sense that they will face God on Judgment Day. Right? So there’s two different judgments; there’s a Bema Seat judgment, which is a, is about doling out his, the rewards to his people, which is what we will stand before. Second Corinthians 5:10.
And then, there’s the Great White Throne Judgment. There’s the, there’s the dread judgment, that, that all unbelievers will face, and we’ve been rescued from that because of Christ. I’m so thankful for that. But that goes back to your point, is that, if you, if you’ve been believing a false representation of God you’re going to be shocked, when you don’t go before the Bema Seat to have, you know, God affirm you and your narcissism.
But, but, you’re going to actually find from, as I, I, can’t remember the, the, Puritan who said it, but you’ll find from the, from the presence of God, the throne of God, a porthole to hell. That’s a scary thought, John.
Audience: It’s interesting to talk about this condemnation thing. God is either your father or he’s your judge. And he’s our father, he’s not our judge, which is a huge difference that we have.
Travis: Well, he remains, he remains judge, because he is judge. Will not the judge of all the earth do what’s right? So I understand, but I understand your point. It’s kind of, what, back to what Brett was saying about understanding that he doesn’t have a, a, a fear of God’s capriciousness because now he’s; before he was ‘not’ rightly related to God, you know, he’s, he’s, facing God on judgment day and so there’s a, there’s a fear in his heart, a cowering, a terror. But then, when he’s rightly related to God. Now God has the attribute of fatherhood.
Audience: Yeah, it’s totally different going on, see, because that’s what is so beautiful in Hebrews where he says God chastens, those he loves.
Travis: Loves. That’s right. That’s right.
Audience: So it’s God’s not dealing us as a judge. He’s, in a sense disciplining us, which is as a son coming through. And another aspect of this whole thing comes to me is it becomes a motivating factor in your life. You know, that’s the basis, that’s the motive, you know, for what you do, for where you, how you act, and, and, carry on is really because of who God is and what he’s about and what our relationship is; becomes the whole motivating factor in how we live.
Travis: Amen. That’s right. That’s right. Lee?
Audience: I was just gonna say, I think, it’s to me, summed up in the Isaiah 6 passage. You have Isaiah, who we would all call probably very righteous, we say is a holy man. And when he actually sees God, he is convicted that he has unclean lips. I don’t think Isaiah ran around using God’s name in vain, like what it was, was he had misrepresented who God really was to people, and had fallen short of, of, really being able to express and explain who he was.
So what I see is God grows in, in, greatness, Isaiah grows in humility, and the result is worship and service, you know, Isaiah says, ‘here I am, send me’ and I think that really is the impact of when we really understand who God is, it humbles us and then we respond in love and, and, service.
Travis: Yeah, that’s really well said. I was talking to a man who’s starting to come to our church. I was talking to him yesterday, and he’s, he’s, a musician and very, very talented. And he was talking about this very thing, about all, you take all of God’s servants, you take Moses, David, you know, you go through all of them, but and he, he sees how Moses, no one more humble on the earth than Moses. Job, no one more righteous. David, man after God’s own heart. And yet what did God do with all of them? Humbled them. He humbled them.
The whole book of job is, he, he, I mean, Job is a righteous man, more righteous than any on the earth. He’s offering sacrifices for himself and his entire family and doing that regularly, all the time. He, he was, he, he was rightly concerned about his family and their sin and their right standing before God. And he took it upon himself to be the mediator in his family, toward, between God and them. And he just gave, gave himself completely to that, and yet, he still had to learn. I’m gonna shut my mouth. God is God. I am not. I’m laid in the dust. You’re righteous. I’m humble.
Same thing with Moses. He was, I mean, when he was, they wanted to kill him and go back to Egypt a number of times, and he threw himself in the dust before them and before God, to pray for them. Incredible humility. And yet he struck the rock, and God had to humble him, not let him go into the promised land. To just once again, a repeated theme of God is God and you are you. You’re a man. You’re small.
Same thing with David. A horrible sin, horrible sins in his life. Man after God’s own heart. And yet what? What? What happened? What? What came out of that heart, that sin? We just, we just need to acknowledge his greatness, and our smallness, and our humility before him. But man, that the fact that he would condescend to care for us, and to adopt us and bring us into his family is just an immense truth.
So yeah, thank you. That’s very well stated, and all that, all that, then comes out in expressions of a life of worship. That’s what we’re designed to do. Designed to be worshippers. Josh, were you raising your? Okay.
Audience: Kind of what you were just saying? In, in kind of what’s been said already, but, it’s, it causes us to proclaim him better to those who are shepherding and not just better, in like having a better understanding of him, which it does, but the more you know him and understand these deep things. The more excited you are when you speak about it. The more you’re transformed.
I just think of the difference between my college professors and when I got, yeah, they clearly know their subject, but it’s not, they’re not passionate about it. And then when I get to seminary. And some of these men teaching and you, you could just tell that this is, this is really important and, and, they’re passion about it, made you want to listen even more. Like there’s definitely something to what they’re saying. Like this isn’t just truth, like some of the stuff I was learning in college; this is life changing truth. I hear it.
Travis: These aren’t just cold facts on a page. But they, but they are living truths that give vitality like, like, you know of the vine to its branches, right? Yeah. Thank you. I want to just give two corelated, corelated connected reasons, you know, and they really are positive and negative in relation to one another. But that, that I, that I think it’s vital for us to study theology proper and do, the really, the mental spade work to be as accurate as possible about God.
And I’ll just, I’ll just state them first. We’ve, we’ve, already been talking about this. First, this kind of study stirs our hearts to right worship. Not just stirs our hearts to worship, because everybody worships, because we’re created to be worshippers, but to right worship. Secondly, this study keeps us from sinning against God, sinning against God.
And I think Lee put it well, when he talked about Isaiah who, ha, is a man of unclean lips and he was not, you know, believes probably right when he says that it’s not that Isaiah, you know, used to be a sailor and had salty language. It’s probably that he, as a prophet, as a, as a, is, Israelite, as a Jew, didn’t speak rightly about God. And he’s, he’s, condemning himself, for now being in the presence of holiness and realizing how many ways he has gone afoul in not speaking rightly.
But let me deal with the negative one first. To keep us from sinning against God, look at Exodus 20. And this is, you know, the Ten Commandments, Exodus chapter 20. We need to, we need to do this, this sometimes challenging, mentally stretching, spade work of theology proper to keep us from sinning against God.
God has revealed himself in Scripture and, we, it’s upon us, it’s incumbent upon us to learn what he told us. It says in Exodus 20, “God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God,’ I am Yahweh, ‘Your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’” If we just stopped there and, did a, we could, we could probably cover two hours in, in just exegeting and unpacking the implications of that statement right there. “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
Numbers, ah, verse three, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.’”
It’s interesting here, that he talks about those who hate him and those who love him. And I, I, think it’s, it’s, we have to make the note that those who hate God aren’t those, you know, radical atheists. I mean, certainly they are. But that’s not what he’s talking about here. He’s not talking about radical atheism. He’s talking about those who would be sitting sometimes in our churches.
He’s talking about those who in Israel, who misrepresent him. And they misrepresent him because they drift from Scripture, which is essentially tantamount to hatred of God. If you don’t study God, if you don’t give yourself to this task of learning him when he has taken pains to reveal himself to you. What is that? What is that cold indifference? It’s hatred.
Indifference is the coldest form of hatred. Prioritizing other things, you know, in your life above the study of God is basically indifference. It’s basically hatred. So that’s what he’s saying here. So those who ignore, abandon, drift, from God. What happens when they do that? They have other gods before him. They have other gods before him; whether it’s money, whether it’s power, whether it’s pleasure, whatever, whatever it is that is offered to them by the idols around them and the idols in their culture.
We are created, as we said, to worship, and yet because with sin we are, we are prone to wander. Even in the, you know, even with the best doctrine, in the environment, where we have the best doctrine preached to us, we are prone to wander. We need to keep on daily confessing, daily coming back to him, daily revisiting his word.
But even worse, for people, when they are presented with a God who is less than the God of the Bible; which has been the sin of many evangelical churches, that I’ve certainly been exposed to in my upbringing. And people rightly ask, as they listen to that god, small G, proclaimed from the pulpits, or they, they, say, why worship a lesser God? And as we see here in Exodus 20. I believe the chief way God judges a people is by withholding from them the truth about himself.
We have certainly and very sadly watched that happen in our own time, over the past number of decades. And I’m not talking about the wider culture. I’m talking about many evangelical churches, as they’ve drifted from the true knowledge of God and of many churches that call themselves evangelical. What it says in Romans 1:28 has come to pass, “since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,” that is the true and living God of Scripture.
As he presents himself, as he reveals himself, “God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” I think many churches have fallen into that. They have drifted because they don’t care to; they, what they care more about is the money that comes into their church. They can build bigger churches and have bigger salaries and have an easier life.
And I mean, they’re just doing what the world around them is doing. But they’re doing it religiously. And so, I think they’ve many have pro offered to their congregations and proclaim to their congregations a, a, lesser God. A God who is not glorious, who is not awesome, and the children of those people, who are sitting in the pews, they have vacated the pews in droves. And why not?
Why should they stay? The God that they have learned is barely higher than themselves. Which is, which means they have been given another God before them. They’ve, they’ve, had another God offered to them. They’ve been taught to worship an idol. So, without the proclamation of the true and living God in their churches, they have no clear view of God’s greatness. They have no exalted view of his excellence, the beauty of his holiness, the immensity of all his glory, the vastness of his essence.
They have not been, as they ought to be from preachers and teachers and men in their midst, they have not been compelled and commanded to worship him from what they’ve learned in their churches. So when they abandoned the lesser God that they’ve been exposed to, in their church, and they replaced that false God, for another false God of the modern world like money, sex, ambition, progress, self, or whatever.
They’re simply moving from one form of idolatry, a religious idolatry, to another form of idolatry, which is an irreligious idolatry, a secular idolatry. Do you see, do you see that, what I’m saying? And, and what I’m saying here is that we protect our churches. We protect our people by proclaiming the truth about God, the depth of God.
That’s the first Timothy, I think, it’s three, talks about the church being the pillar and buttress of the truth. It’s the Church of the living God is the pillar and buttress of the truth. And we are that pillar and that buttress when we proclaim the truth about God. That is our protection. It’s just by proclaiming the truth of him.
And so, we have to know the truth that we proclaim, right? You have to, you have to know it, in order that you can articulate it. So, I think by, by, being shallow about God, you inadvertently, you, well, not inadvertently, you will inescapably proclaim a different God, if you’re shallow about God. And so, it’s a drift and I think that by people repeatedly doing that, I think God hands them over to that. You don’t want to acknowledge me, I’ll deliver you over.
And I think whole churches, and whole movements, and whole denominations, we can see the litany of those people left in the liberal wake, where they drift. They’re man centered and not God centered in their theology. So that’s one reason why I think it’s so important that we, we take the time to do this. And I’m so thankful, men, that you’re here this morning and you’ve been coming to these studies, because this, this is a sign of God’s favor on our church.
The fact that you’re here and I, I, I would, that all the men of our church would be here every single Saturday morning, because that would be even a sign of greater favor and blessing. But I, I’m just thankful for what you being here. Because this is a sign of the health and blessing in our church. This is God’s favor, God’s goodness.
And when we rightly understand God and proclaim him to others, and that has, a, like Josh said; there’s an excitement, and a passion, and a fervor, and a joy that spreads. It’s contagious and infectious. And if people then depart from that proclamation, well, it’s not on us. It’s not. It’s not as much on us. It’s, it’s, on them. We’ve, we’ve, compelled them, and commanded them, and taught them, who the, who the living God is. And that’s, that’s, what we need to do.
It’s not just a matter, though, of avoiding the sin, the grave, consh, consequences of idolatry, there’s a positive reason as well, and this is what we were talking about before. And what you’ve attested to, to, stir our hearts to right worship. We’re created to worship. Our souls are only satisfying, in worshipping the creator who made us.
He, you ever hear, hear, that there’s a God shaped hole in your heart and God wants to fill it with himself and all that? You know it. It’s cheesy, but it’s, it is true. Isn’t it? That he created us in such a way that nothing lesser than him would satisfy us. And so, we must find our, all of our satisfaction and joy in him.
You, you’ve heard that Augustine quote from confessions, the confessions, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O LORD, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.
Solomon said it similarly in Ecclesiastes. You can, if you can flip there fast enough, you can get there. It’s Ecclesiastes 3 and verse 11. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
So that is an acknowledgement that there is an eternal longing inside of us for what is infinite. And yet, we’re finite creatures, so we can’t get there. We continually strive, and continually push, and find satisfaction in him. But he continues, “I perceived there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; and that everyone should eat and drink and” and “take pleasure in all his toil- this is God’s gift to man.
“I perceived that whatever God does endures forever, nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.” Reverence him. That’s what he’s, that’s what he’s after, is to, to, promote and provoke within us, a striving, and a seeking, and a searching, after him. A longing for him, so that we can, ret, and, and, yet we never come to the end of him. So that we may reverence him. So that he never becomes contained within our little finite minds.
And we say, okay, now that I’ve got him down, well, that makes me god, because now I’m above him. I’ve got him all figured out and all contained. That will never happen because of the immensity of who God is, right? So for all of eternity, we’re going to be in this process, right here, of learning, rejoicing, worshipping, learning, rejoicing, worshiping over, and over, and over, again. All through eternity. And there will be a bunch of people like us up there, enjoying that as well.
So we must proclaim God, and teach God, and uphold the truth about the true nature, the true living God, because, and we have to do this, as he’s revealed himself in his perfect word. Not, not intuiting it from, you know, our unsaved friends, but learning it from the, the, living word. Our hope and prayer, then, is that God is gonna bless us with the knowledge of himself and that this church, our church, will stand firm in its witness and that our hearts might be fully satisfied in him. That’s our prayer.
We also rejoice to see God fully glorified. It’s not just, and this is where, you know, I, I, think that some of those who listen to John Piper, you know, our, our, our, hearts being fully satisfied in God. And I love that theme, but I think some who listen to that, run off as if that’s all there is to it. But I, I, think, I, I, think they can, they can kind of mask their self-centeredness by talking about, and their narcissism by talking about, me being satisfied in God.
It’s not just about me being satisfied in God, but it’s me being satisfied, in God being completely glorified. It’s, it’s, said it’s really more about him, him, him. I want people to seek him. And it’s, you know even less about, you know, me being fully glorified or me being fully satisfied.
I think about those three saints I mentioned, who sinned; Moses, Job, David. They sinned and they were not, they were not rejoicing in that. Right? I mean, they were lamenting and, shamed, ashamed of what they’ve done, and yet when they back off, and it’s certainly from the perspective of where they are right now. They are so grateful that God glorified himself even through their failure. Does that make sense?
Because in the failure of David, what did it point to? A perfect mediator in Jesus Christ. The perfect king who would never fail. The one whose heart would always be right with God, who fulfilled all the Davidic covenant, all the Abrahamic Covenant, all the Mosaic Covenant, that’s what we find in Christ. And so even those saints, even in their failure, would say, let God be true and every man a liar. Does that make sense? Okay. I hope I’m not misstating that, because I don’t want to misrepresent God and lead you astray and be condemned by what I’ve just said.
So, having reminded ourselves of, of, why we’re doing what we’re doing, let me, let me preview what’s going to be coming, as in the doctrine of God as creator, and what we learn about him through creation. We talked about, I think rightly, when we talked about the simplicity of God; the creation being like a prism, you know, like, like, light refracted through a prism and you see all of its manifold colors, but it’s not really that they lack any of the properties of light, it’s just we perceive them differently, right? Well, creation is like that.
We borrowed that prism analogy to speak about how God, a simple being, reflect, refracted the simplicity of his being through the prism of his creation and it’s because that refraction of his being, which is not a true refraction, or separation, or splitting apart, but it’s just one perceived by us, right; his creatures. But because of that refraction, we’re able to discern his several attributes.
Creation, the entirety of creation, reveals the very message that John and his fellow apostles heard from Jesus Christ and then proclaimed to us in first John 1:5, “that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” So using light, God has given us this analogy that helps us to deduce the absoluteness of his being and also to recognize the relative attributes of his being.
So light, singular beam of energy, has absolute properties of energy, but it also has properties that are understood in relation to us as creatures that are receiving the light, right? And so warmth, sight, growth, all that. So using light, God has given us the analogy that helps us to deduce the absoluteness of his being, things like his spirituality, his immortality, simplicity, aseity, immutability, and also to help us to recognize the relative attributes of his being.
I don’t mean relative in the sense of subjective or something like that, but well, in a sense I do. It’s those, it’s those, they’re subjectively perceived. It’s those attributes that relate to us. We understand in his relation to us; that is like his Holiness, his truth, his love, his righteousness. We could talk about grace, and mercy, and all those things that come out of that. So come back to that.
But creation. So, creation reveals “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” And we see that, at the very beginning, there was the very first creative thing: “Let there be light.” Right? That’s, that’s profound. It’s very profound. Creation also reveals the limitlessness of God. And it’s out of the contrast with what God created, that comes a, a, cascading of attributes that we have yet to cover.
I, you probably have noticed that we haven’t talked about a number of what we probably call the more commonly known attributes of God, right, omniscience and omnipresence and all those other things. But we understand some of those things by contrast, with what’s actually been made; with us ourselves as creatures. So, first of all, by contrast with creation, we understand that God is everlasting. He is everlasting. There is this immensity in God.
In Psalm 90 verse 2, Moses wrote this, he said, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” He’s talking about things we’re contemplating right now. And he’s contemplating back in those primitive, terrible days before there was any writing implements, and they just kind of scratched things on cave walls; No, I’m just kidding. That’s an evolutionary paradigm. Just, that’s a lie. That’s not true.
But he’s, you know, profound theology in what Moses wrote there in Psalm 90; before anything was from everlasting to everlasting, not you were God, but you are God. Right. And then he was really ‘Johnny come lately’ on the scene. ‘Moses come lately’ because half of a, half a millennium before him, Abraham planted, remember a tamarisk tree in Beersheba was a reminder of a treaty established with Abimelech and, and, there it says he called on the name of the Lord, which is an indication of worship.
He, he, came to worship in Genesis 21:33, the one whom he knew as El Olam, which is the everlasting God. There’s Abraham wandering around in tents, got camels, and he’s got no home. He’s wandering from place to place. And this Bedouin, you might say, knows the everlasting God. So from the fact of his everlastingness, the saints overtime have discerned other attributes, as God, of God as well.
Psalmist in 9, Psalm 93:2, he discerns the, God’s absolute sovereignty. “Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.” So it’s again that El Olam idea, but now connected to the sovereignty of God. Isaiah 40:28. He discerns God’s omnipotence and his omniscience in the fact that he is El Olam. “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”
So again, this is cascading out of the fact that God created, and now Isaiah is reflecting on that. Well, God is giving him this understanding, but he’s the everlasting God. He’s the creator. So, no faintness, no weariness, which is in contrast to me, which is in contrast to the animals, which is in contrast to all creation. They faint, grow weary. His, his understanding is unsearchaba, unsearchable, in contrast to me; in contrast to the best of men, the most intelligent of men.
Because he is the everlasting God, also, Psalm 103:17, David finds, and this is back to Bruce’s point earlier. He finds the ground of all assurance. He says, “But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.” So, he finds in the fact that God is El Olam, the everlasting God, the God of all of, of eternity, the eternal God, he finds a ground for assurance in God’s steadfast love.
If he is everlasting, well his love is everlasting. It’s kind of like, back to what Brett was saying earlier about all his attributes being equal to all of his attributes. They are all the same with one another. So that’s the simplicity of God. So, by contrast with creation and by contrast with our own condition within creation, we understand that God is unbound by space or by time.
And so here’s where we get those attributes of God is omnipresent, right? He, he’s not bound by space. He is not bound by time. He’s infinite and eternal. And there’s more to say about those doctrines as well. Besides, beyond just being unbound by time. We also understand by contrast with creation that God is limitless in power, that is, he’s omnipotent. By contrast with his creatures, he’s limitless in knowledge. He’s omniscient. So all of those things, all those attributes are going to come out as we talk about God as the Creator God. This is just a short preview of what we’re going to study when we return in August.
Okay, now I want to spend the rest of our time this morning working through some of the implications, the doctrines we’ve heard over the last few months. I want to do this by asking a number of questions; kind of moving through the different categories that we’ve used as God is immortal, life giving, living spirit, life giving being.
And I want to ask first a general question, before we get into any specificity. Why is it necessary, do you think, to establish these doctrines of God’s absolute being that is God being, immortal Spirit, God being creator?
Why is it necessary to establish these doctrines of God’s absolute being, his greatness, before we talk about the relative attributes, the doctrines of God’s goodness? You know, one of our favorite doctrines is the doctrine of God’s love, right? But why do we wait? Why do we put that down the road and first talk about these absolute attributes before we talk about the relative attributes? Bruce.
Audience: To me it’s like getting the cart before the horse.
Travis: Okay, in what way?
Audience: Well, you know, the world we live, you know, refocuses us in on love and all the squishy parts of that. Well, where did love come from?
Travis: Good. Good point. Yeah. Where did love come from? So in, you, talked about we, we, like to talk about this and that’s, that’s, very true. We have, I think, inherited and grown up in an evangelical culture that, that, has highlighted and put a lot of emphasis on the imminency of God, the, the, nearness of God. Okay.
So that God is near. He’s always my, you know, and sometimes it goes to a really sick level and kind of like gross feeling; like I was taught in my, you know, youth group growing up to call God, you know, just curl up in his lap and say God, and don’t, don’t call him God, call him Daddy, you know and, and, you’re ta, you’re to pray that way and, and, you can, you can even throw a tantrum in God’s lap, and he’ll still love you. You can even, you can even insult him. And so, I mean, it’s like scream at God if you want to. That’s the kinds of things I was taught.
Audience: That would be awful stuff.
Travis: What’s that?
Audience: That’s deep theology.
Travis: Deep theology. But what it is, is, is a, it’s a perversion and a distortion of the true emphasis on the nearness of God. The God is near. He is loving. He is caring. But they so highlight that, to the neglect of what? The transcendence of God. Yeah, the holiness of God. And so by emphasizing the one, you lose the other. Now go back to the Middle Ages, what was emphasized there?
Audience: Transcendence of God.
Travis: Transcendence of God. God is unreachable. And I mean even, even, Christ, by emphasizing the deity of Christ, they put God, er, Christ into the unreachable category, too; which is why you have to create a Mary, because she, no, Jesus will always listen to his mother after all.
So she’s like us and she’s of like nature, so let her intercede for us. But Jesus, he’s too high and holy. He’s way out there. Either, either distortion is a really bad thing for us. So it’s, it’s, hard to maintain both and let me go to the two Odey’s, Josh and then.
Audience: Well, you kind of said it, in there. But yeah, it’s if you don’t, if you don’t have that understanding of God, if you take it, we just tend to think of our, like when we think of love, we think, we tend to think of something lovable in us. And then you look at who God really is and like, oh, ho no. And, and, so then it magnifies or just like, we can’t understand what God means by, by, love rightly, until we understand who he is fully cause, cause, it’s not, it’s not even close to what we think of when we talk about love.
Travis: We too often, we’ll say, God is love, and then we’ll project on his being our own understanding of what love means, you know, and then we’ll condemn everybody else for not being loving. That’s kind of how it works. Yeah. Gary.
Audience: I was just thinking if, if, we don’t understand God’s everlasting, eternal, and all this. That means there may come an end to him.
Travis: So I, I, missed that last part. If we don’t understand, what did you say? Everybody what?
Audience: If we don’t understand, he’s everlasting or eternal, it means there was a beginning, so there might be an end. And so he, he, could disappear as God. If, if, we don’t have that concept, it affects every attribute, and well, if God ceases to be and I don’t have to show allegiance or anything else.
Travis: Okay, Okay. So, so, again just a reminder of the question; why do we need to first ta, why is it proper for us, in our own understanding, to get a handle, handle? to fully comprehend, no, to, to, apprehend some of these attributes of God’s absolute, you know, some of these absolute attributes before we talk about the relative attributes, because it’s the absolute attributes of who God is in his essence that anchor our confidence about who he is, in his relative attributes.
So maybe God was love yesterday, but what about tomorrow? You know, could he change? Oh no, let’s go back to the absolute perfections of God that never change; his immutability. He does not change. Okay, so if he loved yesterday, does that mean he’ll love today and tomorrow? Yes, it does. Yes, it does. Okay. So we anchor. It’s, it’s, an anchor point for all the, rela, relative attributes. I thought beyond you, David. Was it you? Okay.
Audience: That’s, that’s, the context and the basis for how we approach him or how we relate to him.
Travis: Okay, good. Good. So that’s the context, the basis, and based on how we approach him and relate to him. So by my understanding, his transcendence, we understand how to relate to him in his imminence, in his nearness. Yeah, David.
Audience: I’m just thinking absolute and relative. That corresponds to incommunicable and communicable.
Travis: It does. Yeah.
Audience: I’m just thinking if we started with the communicable attributes, which have some correspondence with, with, our own natures. And then if we start there, there’s a, there’s a danger and temptation that we’ll then view God as like us. As more like us than, than not.
Audience: Then the absolute attributes very clearly teach that God is not like us and we’re not.
Travis Yeah, that is. That is very true.
Audience: Well, and even to the extent like I, I, understand, like the Eldridge teaching is my understanding is that they look at, at, people, at human nature, and from there reason to attributes of God that like it’s, it’s, the inverse. You look at the nature of, of, humans and say well because we’re the image of God, God must be like that. Right.
Travis: Right. Yeah.
Audience: And so that’s, obviously, completely backwards.
Travis: Yeah. So I, I, I want to be, I want to be careful and not stretch myself out too far on a limb here, but, Okay. So, So what you’re saying, point taken and true. We do not want to infer from ourselves and say, well then God is, because I’m like this, God is like that or like this the same way. We do find contrac, we do learn contrasting things; by contrasting, I am finite, he is infinite, you know, I am limited in my knowledge, he is omniscient.
So we do see and, and, deduce things about God by seeing things in ourselves and we’re saying, well, God is not like that. There’s, there’s, one. The fact of God’s spirituality, not, not, he’s, oh, he’s so spiritual. No, it’s not that. It’s that he is by essence of spirit, you know, not material.
There is a, now, I’m not going to go into this right now because it’s, it’s, really hard for me to grasp mentally and if I don’t grasp it fully mentally, I’m going to really slaughter it as I explain it to you. But it’s the ontological argument. All the other arguments, the teleological, the cosmological, you know, the first cause, all those kind of things, they, they, are reasoning through God as creator and what’s been made, and cause, and effect, and those kinds of things. Okay.
The ontological argument has to do with us being spiritual beings and the fact that my, as a spirit, I my spirit actually has an effect. It actually thinks, and reasons, and, and wills, and, and that’s a non-material entity within me. And so, from that we reason back to; therefore, the one that created me must have this ontological existence of the most perfect being.
Now I’m not going to get into anything beyond that, but just to say that there is a correspondence, not just by negative, but a true correspondence between me as spirit and God as spirit. We’ll look up Anselm and Aquinas next time, no?
Audience: And we’ve, we’ve, touched on Anselm a, a, bit, we haven’t really touched on Aquinas in here but I was going right to John 4, and the woman at the well, and Jesus said, “true worshippers worship him in spirit and in truth.” And so, the truth and the spirit are always married together. But our point of worship to God begins with the fact that he is spirit, doesn’t begin with us, as David’s point, begins with God and the fact that God is spirit. Now, whether we get that through Anselm and the ontological argument, again, that’s hard, but.
Travis: Okay. I’m not sure how to respond, but I..
Audience: I was just trying to add more scripture in with what you guys were saying. It just hit my heart.
Travis: Yeah, yeah. Good, good. Thank you. And were you going to say something earlier? Seems like
Audience: I was not. No.
Travis: Okay, alright. I thought I saw you. Brett. Maybe it was Brett’s arm behind you and it looked like
Audience: He talks. Just, back to what Joel was saying as far as that, that’s, like any experience in this room, a lot of times is one of awe. And I remember one of the first classes, we were able to talk about the authority of Scripture and, just, that Scripture is its own authority and, and, and, and, that was just such a huge thing to, to, to, me to, to, bow my heart, you know. I want my heart to bow. I do want my heart to bow to God, to the real God.
But so, so, many times in this class, found out, oh I’m lacking in that area. That’s a joyful thing to find out. Like I have not appreciated this God enough. I have not. I have not properly, under, understood his I have not been in awe of him. I have not been all my face in, in, front of him in my heart, you know. And so, so, that’s so necessary to take that into a study of the things that, that, that we are commanded to be like God in, because it, it, the authority thing, is a big thing for me, because it’s just such, such, a sin in my heart that I just constantly disregard authority.
I mean, I, I, I don’t appreciate. I mean, I’m, I’m American. I mean, I’ve earned it. What, what do you mean, you’re my authority. But and I don’t like just to be an American, but I mean, I, I, really haven’t; I don’t mean to have a problem with authority, but I don’t understand it.
Travis No, we do. You’re, you’re, right. We’re just we’re born with a, with a propensity for sin. Sin is ultimately a rebellion against God, and unbelief, and distrust of authority. And so that, that, translates into every other relationship, as well.
And, and, certainly as Americans, which in the way we established our nation. You know those politicians, they’re only in authority because I put you in authority, Jack. You know, I’m in ch, I’m in charge. The voter has, is sovereign. Now.
Oh wait. No, no, no, you’re, you’re not. Every vote doesn’t mean, no, you have a representative. No, I put a representative there. I’m in charge. You know. We still think like that and when it comes into the church as well.
Audience: Yeah it does. And yet God is so worthy of our, our, I mean, he’s so worthy. It’s just like it was a couple times in here. It’s been like, the word God, is infused with a more sonorous tone because of the fact that, that, you are just, oh my goodness, how worthy.
You, what are, what are the, you can’t even say it or almost. It’s like the Isaiah 6, I think that that one class that we were in here was when we went over to the Isaiah 6, thing. That was the first time that I’ve ever really understood Isaiah talking like that, and then, then, to talk about his love. Okay. You know then, then, you’re more properly related to.
Travis: That’s right. That’s right. Thank you, Chuck.
Audience: I just wanted to make sure I understood David right. Were you saying that it’s, it’s, going too far to, to, consider God as an extension of ourselves verses the other way around.
Travis: Certainly, certainly that’s true. But I think David was saying something.
Audience: I was inferring about the nature of God from the nature of man. And then like Travis said there, there, are some that’s appropriate, like for instance, I think, my understanding of one of the Eldridge books, it’s the one his wife wrote about women that, that, because women want to be pursued, therefore God wants to be pursued. They’re made in the image of God.
Travis: It’s very bad theology. Oh, yeah.
Audience: So, so, it’s that kind of, that kind of theology, that kind of learning, that we don’t want at all.
Travis: No, no, we do not want that at all. Ryan.
Audience: I just, I was thinking about Colossians 1, and I know we’re gonna touch on this in the next section, but I’m just going to read a couple verses. “He’s the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
And, just, we tend to view God, or at least I, I, have in the past that. I was created and then I’m kind of left to, you know, to kind of live my life and, there’s, there’s some interaction, but God is kind of remote. Yeah, but it’s, I mean, how my view was so distorted and wrong that, you know, in Christ all things are held together and there’s this, like every second is, you know, there’s an involvement of God in that activity. And, my view of God was so low that it just, I mean this, this study of God, this right view of who God is. I’m just, it completely informs my worship and it does. And yea humbles me.
Travis: Yeah, it does. Yeah. Yeah. Back to that, that theme of God. When God is, when we have a high view of God, we have a proper view of man, in relation to him.
Audience: And there’s so much in, in, those three verses that, that, I know we’re gonna, we’re gonna touch on, but it’s just, it’s just astounding, when you, when you view it through new eyes.
Travis: Yeah, yeah, and it puts, it puts the, the, the, miracle of the incarnation into, into, proper perspective, too. I think about, wow, this God that we’re talking about, omniscient, eternal, simple, you know, being a loving spirit. Personified in Jesus Christ. Embodied, incarnated in Jesus Christ, incredible. And the fact that he is all those attributes, at the same time, that he is walking, and breathing, and dying, on a cross for us.
Audience: How can it be that thou my God hast died for me.
Travis: Yeah, exactly. Hast died for me. That’s right.
Audience: And I wouldn’t have that.
Travis: Great, great line, exactly. Wesley’s thinking about the same thing we are here. Yeah.
Audience: What that means without, you know, sitting in here with these men unpacking it. No, I’ve read that that before and, yeah, it was profound, but it was such a surface level understanding without delving into it more and, and, understanding these attributes.
Travis: Yeah. Yeah. Amen. That’s right. So. Thank you. We had to establish though that, that’s why we are trying to take time to establish the absolute attributes; the attributes of God’s greatness before we get to the attributes of God’s goodness, relative attributes. Okay. So that was the general question.
And here’s a, here’s a number, I’ve got a whole litany of questions. We’ll see what we can get through. But we walked through a number of things in theology proper, starting with God, you know, this is God is immortal Spirit, which we talked about God as a living spirit. God is one and God is unchanging. I don’t know. I hope you guys remember those categories.
To some degree, they’re hazy in your brain, but starting with God is a living spirit. He’s an immortal, living, life giving spirit. And what, what, verses come to mind as you think about God is a living, immortal, life giving spirit, that support that statement.
Audience: “And in him was life.” His life was the light of men.
Travis: Okay. And in him was life and here, back in first John. Richard, good for you. John also.
Audience: Would Hebrews 4:12, would that tie in “the word of God is living and active sharper than any two-edged sword.”
Travis: Certainly an a, an extension of the living God, then his word is living. Yeah. Good yeah, Joe.
Audience: And he says I am. I am the same.
Travis: Yeah, yeah. Alright. Exodus 3:14. Okay, what else? What other verses? Woman at the well, didn’t you say that.
Audience: Here is that, that verse.
Travis: John 4:24.
Audience: John 4:24, “Which those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.”
Travis: It’s a definitional statement, isn’t it? God is spirit, right. Period. Yeah. Yeah. Good. Yeah. Paul.
Audience: Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his” loss “nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.”
Travis: Okay, good, good. So that’s related to one other, I was thinking about, and, and, that is the basis for it, of John 5:26, where Jesus said, “Just as the father has life in himself, and even so, he’s granted that the Son has life in himself.”
So a life giving spirit good. For, for, with regard to the immortality of this spirit that, that, the, the, fact that death cannot be; there will never come a cessation or an end to this life-giving spirit and life-giving power. Go to, you go to first Timothy. Okay, so yeah I’ll just, just, I’m gonna site him for second time, first Timothy 1:17, first Timothy 6:16, all them talking about, they’re both talking about the immortality of God. God is immortal invisible, he’s the God only wise. Okay.
I wanted to read to you. I should never let a day pass without reading a really good theologian to you. Right. So in the interest of just checking that off the list. Now here’s a, really this, this, aspect, this, this issue of God is immortal, living, but life, life giving, but spiritual. That he is a spirit and the essence of his being a spiritual that is not material. That’s very, very important. And we from that fact see all these other doctrines of his perfections as well, like his simplicity and the fact that he does not change and all those other things.
And this is what Hodge says about that, And he says, “It is impossible, therefore,” and he’s already gone through seven points of, of, God, being spirit, and what, what, that means, the importance of it. He says “It’s impossible, therefore, to overestimate the importance of the truth contained in the simple proposition, God is a spirit” or God is spirit.
“It is involved in that proposition that God is immaterial. None of the properties of matter can be predicated of Him. He is not extended or divisible, or compounded,” that’s the simplicity doctrine, right, “or visible or tangible. He has neither bulk nor form.” The God everywhere, never mind. Something jumped into my head and it’s a rabbit trail.
So, “He has neither bulk nor form. The Bible everywhere recognizes as true the intuitive convictions of men. One of these convictions is that spirit is not matter, or matter spirit;” There’s a distinction between those and, and, he’s going to use the term dualism. Don’t be put off by that. We’re not talking about good and evil dualism. We’re talking about material, immaterial.
Yeah, so, “The Bible everywhere recognizes as true the intuitive convictions of men.” And “One of these convictions is that spirit is not matter, or matter spirit; that different and incompatible attributes cannot belong to the same substance. In revealing, therefore, to us that God is a spirit, it reveals to us that no attribute of matter can be predicated of the divine essence. The realistic dualism,” that is not nominalism, but realism.
“The realistic dualism which lies at the bottom of all human convictions, underlies also all the revelations of the Bible. If God be a spirit, it follows of necessity that He is a person-a self-conscious, intelligent, voluntary agent. As all this is involved in our consciousness of ourselves as a spirit.” This is back to what I was referring talking to you about David. “It must all be true of God, or God is of a lower order of being than man.
“It follows also that God is a simple Being, not only as not composed of different elements, but also as not admitting of the distinction between substance and accidents. Nothing can either be added to or taken from God. In this view the simplicity, as well as the other attributes of God, are of a higher order than the corresponding attributes of our spiritual nature.
“The soul of man is a simple substance; but it is subject to change. It can gain and lose knowledge, holiness, and power.” These are in, “these are in this view accidents in our substance. But in God they are attributes, essential and immutable. Finally, it follows from God’s being a spirit, that he is a moral as well as an intelligent being. It is involved in the very nature of rational voluntary being that it should be conformed to the rule of right, which in the case of God is his own infinite reason.
“These are primary truths, which are not to be sacrificed to any speculative objections. It is vain to tell us that an infinite spirit cannot be a person, because personality implies self-consciousness, and self-consciousness implies the distinction between the self and the not-self, and this is a limitation.”
I’ve read that in modern theologians. “It is equally vain to say that God cannot have moral excellence, because moral goodness implies conformity to law, and conformity to law again is inconsistent with the idea of an absolute Being. These are empty speculations; and even if incapable of a satisfactory solution, would afford no rational ground for rejecting the intuitive truths of reason and conscience.
“There are mysteries enough in our nature, and yet no sane man denies his own personal existence and moral accountability. And he is worse,” well, that means we’ve got a lot of insane people are ages, “and he is worse than insane who is beguiled by such sophistries into renouncing his faith in God as a personal spirit and a loving father.”
Very, very good stuff. And I saw John shaking his head like the Cheeto guy, ‘I, I, I, you know.” And in, you know, and it does do that. But if with some reflection, pause, then we get to the point of what Hodge is saying. Immensely important, this doctrine of God being spirit, because it is a, I like his use of the word primary. It is a primary absoluteness of his being. So let me ask this question. What is the apologetic and evangelistic value of God as a living God; as a spiritual being? Apologetic and evangelistic? This is what we’re explaining to other people and defending our, defending the truth about God. How is this useful to us?
Audience: If we were to describe God as a, as a living being, we present to others, not our view and not our opinion. We present to them another person. We present to them a God who is above us, above them, and transcendent to all things. And, and, thus we present to them a God who is another person altogether. And I, I, have no other way to say it, but we don’t present our opinion. We present, we lay out the fact of what is; we lay out truth.
Travis: Okay, so let me, let me help you with that, because I’m, I think I’m tracking with you. By contrast to what any unbeliever believes or thinks about God or any other reality. We know the living God and there is no other God. And so, we know that whatever they are trying to explain to us, argue with us, debate with us, reason with us, whatever. They’re wrong! We just may, we may not know how to explain it, but they’re wrong about their worldview, about the essence of everything. They’re wrong! Why? Because they’re disconnected from the true and living God.
The true and living God is who he is. And so it gives us great confidence when we walk into a conversation with an unbeliever, even if we, and if we’re talking about the most intelligent unbeliever on the earth and we’re just, we’re just us, you know, we’re like, I don’t know how to answer that, but we don’t need to lose confidence by the fact that we don’t know how to answer that. That’s just an aspect of our humility to say, yeah, I don’t know, I’m, I’m, I’ll find the answer, maybe.
But God is who he is, all your arguments notwithstanding. God is; he is living God. And anything you’re worshipping and proclaiming to me is an idol. And it’s nothing. It’s less than nothing when weighed on the scales, it’s less than nothing. So it gives us great confidence. Yes, Adam.
Audience: I think when presenting God is a living God is that he’s here. He can hear you. He understands you. He’s like, he’s active. He’s moving. He’s not somebody who’s dead that can’t hear you, that can’t see you worship, that can’t see anything, but he can see you, hear you. He does those kind of things, those.
Travis: So what an awesome point when we’re talking like, you know, I, I, know that there are some in this room who have experience with Muslim thinking. The God of Islam is a monster and, and, there is no assurance. There is no love. There’s no relationship. There’s no, there’s no redemption. There’s no satisfaction of the soul. There’s no joy in that presentation of that false God.
And by stark contrast, our living God, he has eyes that see and ears that hear and he involves us in relationship that is huge. So any, any, take it into secular America and people who are, you know, tend to be secularized, atheistic in their, not maybe not their, their, their, intellectual thinking, but definitely then their practice. And they, they, give themselves to the idols of money or whatever they’re pursuing; that money doesn’t care.
That thing they’re pursuing and giving themselves to doesn’t care about them, it doesn’t. It can’t save them. It can’t do anything about their soul. It can’t really bring true joy. There’s nothing about that pursuit that is living, in contrast. That’s a great point. Thank you. Good Job.
Audience: I’m thinkin it’s, it’s, not an ideology. It’s not a philosophy. They look at it, but what we got is a person. It’s not this ideology they may have, or this philosophy they may believe in; what we have is a person, a God is real and that we’re, we’re, having a relationship. Not with really, not even with our doctrine. We’re having a relationship with the person, you know, not the doctrine or ideology. No. We’re having, it’s with a person.
Travis: Yeah. Yeah. it’s a, it’s a very cold relationship that one has with a system. Right? But, but the, when the, when the system serves your relationship with a person, you know, it’s like having, you know, I’m married to my wife, and I carry around a picture and I say, you know what, I’m good. I, I, can see her, know what she looks like. I’m good.
Well, don’t you want to know a little bit more of how she thinks? No, no, I’m happy with this. But you haven’t seen her in like three months, but I can look at her anytime I want to and know what she looks like. She’s very pretty and I like what she’s wearing and I keep it in color, you know. So, but you would say that you, you should actually, probably if you love your wife and you’re married to her, you should probably like spend a little more time getting to know her.
Maybe, maybe, understanding what she likes and doesn’t like. You mean systematize? You mean actually build some propositions about my wife? Forget it, that’s cold theology or anthropology, wifeology. No, no. We want to. I want to enter a relationship with my wife. I wanna know everything about her. I want to love and, and, I want to put it into categories of yes and no. It’s very simple for men, right? Binary. Yes. No. Don’t do that. Do this. Very easy for us.
Audience: That’s good wifeology.
Travis: Good Wifeology. No, no.
Audience: Back to your point of that the question about in an evangelistic context, now, because I feel like most people, their, when they think of their sin it’s just, I got this, they, they, have this understanding of God is like the Star Wars force or it’s just out there and he doesn’t really, he doesn’t really care about what I’m doing when I’m by myself, he and then
Travis: It’s Deism.
Audience: He’s not. Yeah, he’s not like that. He’s, it is; he’s a person. He’s personal. And he does care about that, because of that.
Travis: Yeah. Yeah. Good. Good. Yeah. Lee.
Audience: I was just thinking of the aspect of living and the, the, truth that all life comes from antecedent life. Our lives are wrapped up in him. I think it’s Acts 17, “that in him we live and move and have our being.” But I was thinking of Richard Dawkins when he was asked that question by somebody: So where did life come from? And here’s this guy that just hates God and, and, so forth, because perhaps spawn of aliens. You know, he has no answer to that. And yet a living God, who we are, we are in him in some sense. We’re dependent upon him and it, it, reduces a lot of things to that equation, that we’re related to him whether we want to be or not.
Travis: That’s, that’s, really good, bringing us back to the task of apologetics, where God is the necessary precondition of all knowledge.
Audience: Yeah, I wouldn’t have said it like that, but that’s good.
Travis: But yeah, I’m just summarizing. But he’s the necessary precondition of all knowledge. So if, if, if, the God of the Bible is, and he is the true and living God; if he is, then all that we see, in all that is, we, we, can learn from everything we see, is all predicated on that God. And you try to, you try to take out that God and put in some evolutionary model, nothing is predicated on evolution, because it’s a lie. It’s made-up.
Try to, try to place a law of, of, Islam, nothing is predicated off of that, except chaos, and pain, and sadness. Any, any, other god that you insert into the position of the living true God, everything comes apart. But everything that is, everything that we know, all our sense of beauty, all of our sense of joy, all of our sense of right and wrong.
Even, even, the world of mathematical world of numbers. The fact of numbers that have, have, an absolute reality, whether you care about it or not, or whether you, whether you agree with it or not. This many is still this many. Whatever language, whatever, culture, doesn’t really matter. It’s got a transcendent reality, and all that, is predicated only off the true and living God of Scripture. Okay?
I want to ask one final question about immutability and impassibility. What do we mean by those things, and what do we need to be careful with, with those doctrines? Yeah, Paul,
Audience: Immutability just makes reference to the fact that God does not change.
Travis: Okay, good. And impassability.
Audience: I’m not certain about that.
Travis: Okay, someone else? You may not have been here. Yeah.
Audience: The thing to be careful with about impassability is, just that it, is, is that simplicity explains impassibility. That’s something I learned just recently. It’s just that God is impassible. He’s not moved. He’s not full, he doesn’t become full of anger. And then full of, like we do, we become filled by something and it overcomes other, other, parts of us. God’s not like that.
God is always angry at the wicked every day. He, he is all, he so, is and, and, that’s a, so, so, so, so the danger with impassibility is to make God callous or unfeeling. But he’s not unfeeling. It’s that he feels eternally. He, he, he, he.
Travis: The feelings, the passions of God, are bound by his unchanging nature and his wholeness. So it, you know, he will always be thus, with a sinner, he will always be thus, with a child of his. Okay.
Audience: Like Steve [Richard] Kuklinski said, to the guy that some, one of the guys he killed, he said, Oh, you think you’re angry? That’s, that’s, I mean, that’s what, that’s different, right? That’s God is eternally angry.
Travis: Is that the Iceman? I was thinking we’d get to the Iceman. I studied.
Audience: I, I’m just saying, he is, like, like, like he, Iceman, was that, ‘I am angry from my birth. I am, I am angry and you are just temporarily angry in this situation. And that’s the difference between you and I, and that’s why I’m going to win in this situation.’ And that’s what I think about with God. God is eternally angry. So.
Travis: And eternally.
Audience: Exactly. Totally, absolutely. Sorry, but Steve [Richard} Kuklinski is not eternally loving.
Audience: He’s different than God in that way.
Travis: In that way, yeah. Besides the mass murderer thing. We’ve ended on a high note.
Audience: Now we all got a go.
Travis: Okay. So, okay. So here’s, here’s, what is what is, let me, let me ask this, listen, this will round it out well, but Brett, you can’t answer. What is the devotional impact of divine immutability? Yeah, Lee.
Audience: I can rest in the fact that God isn’t fickle. He isn’t going to flare up, as Brett was talking about in wrath. Today he’s, his, his nature is unchanging and dispositions toward me are unchanging. I, I, am a child of his. He will always love me. Doesn’t mean he won’t discipline me, but there’s love in the discipline. I can rest in that. And he is also purposed something in my life which is unchanging. And he will move me toward that, even with my sin, like David or whatever.
Travis: As he says in Malachi, “I the Lord do not change, therefore you, O Israel are not destroyed.” Why? Because he made a promise to Abraham to, to, to, preserve that nation, for, you know, so his faithfulness never changes. Yeah, Joel, you’re gonna?
Audience: That I was going to say, what you just, said that verse. So.
Travis: Sorry, I read your mind that time. I do that sometimes. No.
Audience: It’s like, David, how many times does he talk about his steadfast love. I mean in all those Psalms.
Travis: It never ceases. His mercies never come to an end, right? Yeah. Good. So this is a rhetorical question. And then I’m going to pray. Are you teaching others, men, especially your families, your kids, your grandkids? You’ve got to be evangelistic about this God. This, this, God demands we talk about him. How can we not? And that’s, that’s, back to Exodus 20. Those who hate me, those who love me.
Those who love God are evangelistic about God. They talk about him. That’s, we, we talk about what we rejoice in. But those who hate God, they take this, and in a cold heart, they just file it away and move on. Guys, we can’t do that. We have to evangelize about this God. We have to speak about him, because he’s, he’s, too great to keep in under a bushel and hide it. Okay. Alright, let’s pray.
Father, thank you for the time we’ve had this morning just to reflect on some of the things we’ve learned over the past few months. And we are grateful too for the way the schedule lined up that kind of pushed me in this direction, so that we cannot add more information before we stop and reflect. And we’re just grateful for the time to meditate. Think about your, your greatness, your perfections, the absoluteness of your being and, and, what that means for us and how that steadies our hearts and provides an anchor for our souls.
And we just pray, father, that you would cause us to rejoice and to love you, to be devoted to you, and then to, to, tell others, to teach and encourage the, the, godly, the saints, that they also might be encouraged, and, and steadied in confident hope. But we also pray that you help us to talk to those who do not yet know you and that you would save many through the, the, doctrine of you and your saving redeeming work in Christ.
We love you and thank you again for these men. Thank you for the morning we’ve had together. We just ask that you would bless our weekend that’s ahead of us. We thank you for our church and what you’re doing in it and, and, for our joy to be a part of it. And we just pray, Lord, that we’d all be of one mind and one spirit as we pursue Christ likeness together in conformity to his image. And it’s in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.