God's Glorious Mystery

Given that there are opposing laws at work, laws that inhere in two different “kinds” of reality—God’s and creation’s—which themselves are unified by way of the one person of (the Son of) God, any proper attempt at explaining that union will result in paradox. This is as it should be, and it highlights for us the glorious mystery that just is God with us.

 

Scott Oliphint (2011-11-02). God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God (Kindle Locations 5391-5393). Crossway.

Gifts as Provisional Expressions

The purpose of those remarks is not to depreciate spiritual gifts or promote a cavalier treatment of them, but to set them in a balanced perspective. To sum up again: the gift of the Spirit, shared by all believers, is the eschatological essence of the new covenant, the fulfillment of the Father's promise, the down payment and firstfruits of resurrected life. The gifts of the Spirit, while particular expressions of this life, are provisional expressions. Necessitated by, bound up with, and shaped by the conditions that make up "the form of this world which] is passing away" (1 Cor. 7:31), they are themselves transient (the point of 1 Cor. 13:8-10). The balance intended here may be difficult to grasp and maintain, but it is crucial.

 


On the 2nd Commandment

The second commandment concerns the ordinances of worship, or the way in which God will be worshipped, which it is fit that he himself should have the appointing of.

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Our religious worship must be governed by the power of faith, not by the power of imagination.

 

Matthew Henry, Commentary on the whole Bible, p. 124

Affirming Covenantal Properties

...we should not hesitate to affirm that, in taking on covenantal properties while remaining who he is essentially, the Son of God partakes of two different and sometimes seemingly incommensurable kinds of properties, each kind of which should be acknowledged inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably. That is, the impassibility/passibility of the Logos (prior to his incarnation) requires that we neither confuse the two (as if the properties of the one, i.e., the Eimi, accrue to the other, i.e., the eikon), change the one into the other (so that they are unified via some kind of property merger), divide them (as if they do not reside in the one person), or separate them (as if they are not actually unified).

 

Scott Oliphint (2011-11-02). God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God (Kindle Locations 5338-5343). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Incomprehensible Covenantal Properties

As in the incarnation, so also in every manner of God’s assumption of covenantal, human properties, we simply cannot comprehend the mode of union at all.

 

Scott Oliphint (2011-11-02). God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God (Kindle Locations 5387-5388). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Slow to Anger

What else could Scripture mean—what else could Yahweh mean—when he says that he is “slow to anger” (cf. Ex. 34:6; Num. 14:18; Neh. 9:17; Pss. 86:15; 103:8; 145:8)? Surely Scripture is not telling us to believe that, in his patience and slowness to anger, the Lord bears no such relationship to us. To affirm such a thing would be tantamount to affirming that Scripture enjoins us to believe what is not the case in reality. If we are simply to believe that God is slow to anger, even though he is not, then we are encouraged by Scripture to believe a proposition to be true when it is false. This kind of language in Scripture cannot be relegated to mere metaphor. The Lord’s disposition toward us in cases like this necessarily depends on our responses to him in this world. When the Bible says that the Lord is slow to anger, there are two covenantal characteristics highlighted: he is slow, that is, patient with us. Thus, there is a real relationship to time in which God takes on temporality; and his anger, though tied to this patience, is nevertheless real. We should not simply believe he is angry or could become angry; he really is angry.

 

Scott Oliphint (2011-11-02). God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God (pp. 214-215). Crossway.

No Word, No Faith

Take away the Word, then, and there will be no faith left.

 

Calvin, Inst. 3:2:6

An Execrable Idol

It makes little difference, at least in this respect, whether you hold the existence of one God, or a plurality of gods, since, in both cases alike, by departing from the true God, you have nothing left but an execrable idol.

 

Calvin. Institutes 1:4:3

Luther

Here [Luther] says that the move from the requirement of self-analysis (contritio) to trust (fiducia) in the justice of Christ outside outside of us marks the end of medieval religious introspection and sets the Christian free for service, no longer in terms of his own salvation but in terms of the needs of his fellow-man...

 

Heiko A. Oberman. The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought (Kindle Locations 880-882). Kindle Edition.

Election and the Labyrinth

[Peter] would have us to know [election] by the effects, for there is nothing more dangerous or more preposterous than to overlook our calling and to seek for the certainty of our election in the hidden prescience of God, which is the deepest labyrinth.

 

John Calvin, Commentary on 1 Peter 1:1-2