May 24, 2019

History of the Work of Redemption Vol I of the Works - Edwards - XIX - Period III continued

Required reading
History of the Work of Redemption Vol I of the Works in Vol I of the Works by Jonathan Edwards (Available from Amazon or free here)Read Part IX of Period III.

My summary.
Now Edwards describes the success of Christ's redemption at the final judgement:
I. Christ will appear in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels, coming in the clouds of heaven.
II. The last trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, and the living changed.
III. Now shall the saints be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and all wicked men and devils shall be arraigned before the judgment-seat.
IV. The righteousness of the church shall be manifested, and all the wickedness of their enemies shall be brought to light.
V. The sentence shall be pronounced on the righteous and the wicked.
VI. Upon this, Christ and all his saints, and all the holy angels ministering to them, shall leave this lower world, and ascend towards the highest heavens.
VII. When they are gone, this world shall be set on fire, and be turned into a great furnace, wherein all the enemies of Christ and his church shall be tormented for ever and ever.
VIII. At the same time, all the church shall enter with Christ, their glorious Lord, into the highest heavens, and there shall enter on the state of their highest and eternal blessedness and glory.

What grabbed me
I liked the contrasting responses to the final judgement:

'This will be a most unexpected sight to the wicked world: it will come as a cry at midnight: they shall be taken in the midst of their wickedness, and it will give them a dreadful alarm. It will at once break up their revels, their eating, and drinking, and carousing. It will put a quick end to the design of. the great army that will then be compassing the camp of the saints: it will make them let drop their weapons out of their hands. The world, which will then be very full of people, most of whom will be wicked men, will then be filled with dolorous shrieking and crying; for all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, (Rev. i. 7.) And where shall they hide themselves? How will the sight of that awful majesty terrify them when taken in the midst of their wickedness! Then they shall see who he is, what kind of a person he is, whom they have mocked and scoffed at, and whose church they have been endeavouring to overthrow. This sight will change their voice. The voice of their laughter and singing, while they are marrying and giving in marriage, and the voice of their scoffing, shall be changed into hideous, hellish yelling. Their countenances shall be changed from a show of carnal mirth, haughty pride, and contempt of God's people; they shall put on ghastly terror and amazement; and trembling and chattering of teeth shall seize upon them.

But with respect to the saints, it shall be a joyful and most glorious sight to them: for this sight will at once deliver them from all fear of their enemies, who were before compassing them about, just ready to swallow them up. Deliverance shall come in their extremity: the glorious Captain of their salvation shall appear for them, at a time when no other help appeared. Then shall they lift up their heads, and their redemption shall be drawing nigh, (Luke xxi. 28.) Christ will appear with infinite majesty, yet at the same time they shall see infinite love in his countenance. And thus to see their Redeemer coming in the clouds of heaven, will fill their hearts full of gladness. Their countenances also shall be changed, not as the countenances of the wicked, but from being sorrowful, to be exceedingly joyful and triumphant. And now the work of redemption will be finished in another sense, viz. that the whole church shall be completely and eternally freed from all persecution and molestation from wicked men and devils.'

For the unrighteous, laughing will turn to groaning. For the righteous, groaning will turn to joy.

Next week's reading
Read Part X of Period III.

Now it's your turn
Please post your own notes and thoughts in the comments section below.

May 23, 2019

Dogmatic Theology Vol 1 - Shedd - XXIII - Chapter 5 The divine attributes commenced

Required reading
Dogmatic Theology Vol 1 by William G.T. Shedd (Available from Amazon or free here) - Commence Chapter 4 Divine attributes by reading up to the paragraph beginning 'God is an intelligent being, and knowledge is one of his communicable attributes' (page 353 of my edition).

My summary
Today we begin Shedd's chapter on the attributes of God.

Firstly, Shedd looks at different classifications of the attributes.

Secondly, Shedd examines the attributes of:
(i) self-existence;
(ii) simplicity;
(iii) infinity;
(iv) immensity;
(v) eternity;
(vi) immutability.

What grabbed me
I continue to be fascinated by the immutability of God: 

'The act of creation ex nihilo made no change in God. It did not affect his own eternal essence; and his will and power to create were the same from eternity. Emanation ad extra would make a change in the essence. This is the outward effluence of substance, and diminishes the mass from which it issues. Incarnation made no change in God. The Divine essence was not transmuted into a human nature, but assumed a human nature into union with itself.

God is said to repent. Gen. 6:6," It repented the Lord that he had made man upon the earth ;" Jonah 3:10, "God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them." This means no change in his attributes and character, but only in his manner of treating men. "Repentance in God is not a change of will, but a will to change." If God had treated the Ninevites after their repentance, as he had threatened to treat them before their repentance, this would have proved him to be mutable. It would have showed him to be at one time displeased with impenitence, and at another with penitence. Charnocke (Immutability of God) remarks that "the unchangeableness of God, when considered in relation to the exercise of his attributes in the government of the world, consists not in always acting in the same manner, however cases and circumstances may alter; but in always doing what is right, and in adapting his treatment of his intelligent creatures to the variation of their actions and characters. When the devils, now fallen, stood as glorious angels, they were the objects of God's love, necessarily; when they fell, they were the objects of God's hatred, because impure. The same reason which made him love them while they were pure, made him hate them when they were criminal." It is one thing for God to will a change in created things external to himself, and another thing for him to change in his own nature and character. God can will a change in the affairs of men; such as the abrogation of the Levitical priesthood and ceremonial; and yet his own will remain immutable, because he had from eternity willed and decreed the change. In like manner, promises and threatenings that are made conditionally, and suppose a change in man, imply no change in the essence or attributes of God. "If that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them," Jer. 18: 7-10. Ko change is made in God, as there is in the creature, by his knowledge. A creature increases his knowledge, and experiences a change intellectually. But God's knowledge is a fixed quantity, because it is infinite. He knows everything from everlasting to everlasting, and at each instant, and there is no more than everything.'

God does not change in his substance. But he does change in his manner of treating men.

Next week's reading
Continue Chapter 4 Divine attributes by reading up to the paragraph beginning, 'Justice is that phase of God's holiness which is seen in his treatment of the obedient and the disobedient subjects of his government' (page 365 of my edition).

Now it's your turn
Please post your own notes and thoughts in the comments section below.

May 17, 2019

History of the Work of Redemption Vol I of the Works - Edwards - XVIII - Period III continued

Required readingHistory of the Work of Redemption Vol I of the Works in Vol I of the Works by Jonathan Edwards (Available from Amazon or free here)Read Part VIII of Period III.

My summary.
Today Edwards describes the success of redemption when the Christian church shall be in a state of peace and prosperity.

Firstly he speaks of the prosperous state of the church through the greatest part of the period. It will be a time of heaven on earth, when prophecies of the Old Testament are fullfilled. A time of:
(i) knowledge;
(ii) holiness;
(iii) religion;
(iv) great peace and love;
(v) excellent order in the church;
(vi) beauty and glory in the church;
(vii) temporal prosperity;
(viii) rejoicing.

Secondly Edwards discusses the great apostacy at the close of this period:
(i) A little before the end of the world, a great part of the world shall fall away from Christ and his church;
(ii) Those apostates shall make great opposition to the church of God;
(iii) Now the state of things will seem most remarkably to call for Christ's immediate appearance to judgment.

What grabbed me
I liked the description of the very end of the age: 'And though the church shall be so eminently threatened, yet so will Providence order it, that it shall be preserved till Christ shall appear in his immediate presence, coming in the glory of his Father with all his holy angels. And then will come the time when all the elect shall be gathered in. That work of conversion which has been carried on from the beginning of the church after the fall through all those ages, shall be carried on no more. There never shall another soul be converted. Every one of those many millions, whose names were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, shall be brought in; not one soul shall be lost. And the mystical body of Christ, which has been growing since it first began in the days of Adam, will be complete as to the number of parts, having every one of its members. In this respect, the work of redemption will now be finished. And now the end for which the means of grace have been instituted shall be obtained.—All that effect which was intended, shall now be accomplished.'

Not one of Christ's sheep will be lost on that day.  

Come Lord Jesus!

Next week's reading
Read Part IX of Period III.


Now it's your turn
Please post your own notes and thoughts in the comments section below.

May 16, 2019

Dogmatic Theology Vol 1 - Shedd - XXII - Chapter 4 Trinity in unity concluded

Required reading
Dogmatic Theology Vol 1 by William G.T. Shedd (Available from Amazon or free here) - Conclude Chapter 4 Trinity in unity.

My summary
Today we finish our chapter on the unity in the trinity by looking at the deity of the Holy Spirit.

Firstly, Shedd establishes that the Holy Spirit is a person because:
(i) he speaks of himself in the first person;
(ii) personal acts are attributed to him;
(iii) he is described as personally distinct from the Father and Son;
(iv) he co-operates with equal power and authority with the Father and the Son;
(v) he appears in theophanies;
(vi) sin is committed against him;
(vii) he is distinguished from the gifts of the Spirit.

Secondly, Shedd demonstrates the Holy Spirit is a divine person because:
(i) a name is given to him;
(ii) the divine attributes are ascribed to him;
(iii) divine works are attributed to him;
(iv) divine worship is rendered to him.

The section then ends with a discussion of the difference of generation and procession.

What grabbed me
I liked Shedd's comments on why the Scripture says less about the Spirit than the Son and the Father: 'The reason why less is said in Scripture respecting the adoration and worship of the third person than of the others is, that in the economy of redemption it is the office of the Spirit to awaken feelings of worship, and naturally, therefore, he appears more as the author than the object of worship. But a person who by an internal operation can awaken feelings of worship is ipso facto God.'

The Spirit delights in moving us to worship the Son and Father.

Next week's reading
Commence Chapter 4 Divine attributes by reading up to the paragraph beginning 'God is an intelligent being, and knowledge is one of his communicable attributes' (page 353 of my edition).

Now it's your turn
Please post your own notes and thoughts in the comments section below.

May 10, 2019

History of the Work of Redemption Vol I of the Works - Edwards - XVII - Period III continued

Required readingHistory of the Work of Redemption Vol I of the Works in Vol I of the Works by Jonathan Edwards (Available from Amazon or free here)Read Part VII of Period III.

My summary.
Today Edwards shows how the success of Christ's redemption will be carried on from the present time, till Antichrist is fallen and Satan's visible kingdom on earth is destroyed.

Firstly Edwards observes some things in general concerning the destruction of Satan's kingdom:
(i) it will be a very dark time;
(ii) it will be wrought gradually.

Secondly he proceeds to show how this glorious work will be accomplished:
(i) the Spirit of God shall be gloriously poured out for the wonderful revival and propagation of religion;
(ii) this pouring out of the Spirit of God will not affect the overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom, till there has first been a violent and mighty opposition made;
(iii) Christ and his church shall in this battle obtain a complete and entire victory over their enemies.

Thirdly, Edwards explains that Satan's visible kingdom will be overthrown on earth and demonstrates the overthrow's:
(i) extent;
(ii) universality.

What grabbed me
I enjoyed this description of Christ's final victory over his enemies: 

'Christ and his church shall in this battle obtain a complete and entire victory over their enemies. They shall be totally routed and overthrown in this their last effort. When the powers of hell and earth are thus gathered together against Christ, and his armies shall come forth against them by his word and Spirit, in how august and glorious a manner is this advance of Christ with his church described, Rev. xix. 11. &c. And to represent how great the victory they should obtain, and how mighty the overthrow of their enemies, it is said, (Rev. xix. 17, 18.) that " all the fowls of heaven are called together, to eat the great supper given them, of the flesh of kings, and captains, and mighty men," &c. and then, in the following verses, we have a distinct account of the victory and overthrow.

In this victory, the seventh vial shall be poured out. It is said, Rev. xvi. 16 of the great army that should be gathered together against Christ: "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon ," then it is said, "And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. " Now the business is done for Satan and his adherents. When this victory is obtained, all is in effect done. Satan's last and greatest opposition is conquered; all his measures are defeated; the pillars of his kingdom broken asunder, and will fall of course. The devil is utterly baffled and confounded, and knows not what else to do. He now sees his antichristian, Mahometan, and heathenish kingdoms through the world, all tumbling down. He and his most powerful instruments are taken captive. Now that is in effect done, for which the church of God had been so long waiting and hoping, and so earnestly crying to God, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true? 

"The angel who set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the earth, lift up his hand to heaven, and swore by him that liveth for ever and ever, &c. that when the seventh angel should come to sound, the time should be no longer.—And now the time is come; now the seventh trumpet sounds, and the seventh vial is poured out, both together; intimating, that now all is finished as to the overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom on earth. This victory shall be by far the greatest that ever was obtained over Satan and his adherents. By this blow, with which the stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall strike the image of gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and clay, it shall all be broken to pieces. This will be a finishing blow to the image, so that it shall become as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor.

In this victory will be a most glorious display of divine power. Christ shall therein appear in the character of King of kings, and Lord of lords, as in Rev. xix. 16. Now Christ shall dash his enemies, even the strongest and proudest of them, in pieces; as a potter's vessel shall they be broken to shivers.—Then shall strength be shown out of weakness, and Christ shall cause his church to thresh the mountains, as in Isa. xli. 15. "Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing-instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff." And then shall be fulfilled Isa. xlii. 13-15.'

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.

Next week's reading
Read Part VIII of Period III.


Now it's your turn
Please post your own notes and thoughts in the comments section below.