Saturday, February 28, 2009

I0228-Reading 1.15.1

This post is part of our group read of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.

Of no small importance is the following statement as we open this chapter concerning the two-fold knowledge of ourselves necessary to properly know God.
first, to the condition in which we were at first created; and, secondly to our condition such as it began to be immediately after Adam's fall."

The condition in which man was created, which we were created in Adam as the first man, is a paramount truth we should not forget. That our Great God could say "let us make man in our image" and then upon completion look around at all His creation and say "it is VERY good" is no small truth and no small part of understanding the gospel.

Secondly of equal importance is understanding that we have fallen from that first condition.

There are three questions which interest us very much, questions that perhaps take different form in different cultural settings, but boil down to this.

1) Who am I? (this includes also, "why am I here, what is my purpose?)
2) Why do I do what I do?
3) How can I change?

These three questions are very much spiritual in nature and are answered spiritually. Not psychologically, not according to man's wisdom. For example in the negative: We should not answer saying "I am the center of the universe, I am very worthy of self-esteem and self-love and self-respect. I am basically good inside, I do what I do when I suppress my basic inner goodness. I do what I do because I do not love myself appropriately or because I do not have a high self-esteem. I can change by believing in myself, by listening to my heart, by loving myself, by thinking positive thoughts, etc.

The first two questions are dealt with in Calvin's opening statement regarding the two-fold knowledge of ourselves. 1) to understand our condition in which we were first created and 2) understanding our condition subsequent to Adam's fall.

The third question is answered in the gospel of grace. Ye must be born again.

With these three questions in mind, the glory of God ever before me (my purpose in being) I greatly look forward to continuing on in our daily reading.

These three questions and the biblical revelation that answers them impact our lives in multiplied ares. How we can be a good husband, a good father, understanding our children and how to raise them, conducting ourselves in business, even in the establishment of governments. (thinking of the check band balances of our own Republic necessary and arising from an understanding of the fallen nature of man.)

Thanks be to God who gives wisdom to understand ourselves and to worship Him in
Spirit and in Truth.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I0224-Providence Applied

This post is part of our group read of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.

Jim makes the following application from our reading on Providence.

I am just amazed at Gods providence in having me read Calvin right now and especially now on reading the doctrine of Providence. I am overwhelmed by the needed confirmations we are receiving as I read everyday. Knowing that God is in control of all things gives us such great peace and rest. I have been reminded of the scripture in Hebrews four that says, "there is a rest for the people of God". Resting is certainly knowing Gods sovereignty in all things. How gracious our Father is to give us this wisdom to rest our thoughts and minds as we struggle with the enemy and with the flesh. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" while you rest in Him!

"But when once the light of Divine Providence has illumined the believer's soul, he is relieved and set free, not only from the extreme fear and anxiety which formerly oppressed him, but from all care. For as he justly shudders at the idea of chance, so he can confidently commit himself to God. This, I say, is his comfort, that his heavenly Father so embraces all things under his power--so governs them at will by his nod--so regulates them by his wisdom, that nothing takes place save according to his appointment; that received into his favour, and entrusted to the care of his angels neither fire, nor water, nor sword, can do him harm, except in so far as God their master is pleased to permit." 1.17.11 click here

Sunday, February 22, 2009

MBC-02/22/09 Sermon on 1Pe 1:1-2

This post is a summary of the notes taken from the most recent sermon preached at Morningside Baptist Church (MBC) by Pastor Dave Sowers. The audio of the sermon can be found at the "Sermon Audio Podcast" link of the website Pastor Sowers pictured to the left.


1Peter 1:1-2
1Pe 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Although we know of persecution here in the states, yet much more are Christians being persecuted in other countries. Headlines report violence against Turkish Christians is on the upswing - click here. Another headline reads: Turkey's Mistreatment of Christians Becoming More Brazen click here.

This article reads:
"But that evening at the shop, his supervisor angrily accused him of "missionary work" and "brainwashing." With the help of two employees and a relative, he beat Erdogan for two hours. The men repeatedly struck the designer's head and face with their fists and the butt of a pistol. Three times Erdogan's boss attempted to shoot him, but the gun failed to fire. He really wanted to kill me. It wasn't just to scare me," said Erdogan, who told Compass that he prayed for help and meditated on Bible verses while his attackers threatened to murder him and hide his body."

Another headline reads of three turkish believers brutally killed click here.

How would you write a letter to encourage Christians in Turkey?
We are now beginning to study just such a letter, written to persecuted saints in northern Turkey by a man who was himself persecuted, Peter.

To alert us to the content of 1 Peter, subject matter covered, and how this letter is to be an encouragement to a persecuted church soon to be much more persecuted. See Grudem's Preface from page 9 of 1 his Peter Tyndale commentary. Click here

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ:
As an apostle, these are not his own thoughts, much more, this is the Word of God. Peter writing as an Apostle, called and commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself.

Written To:
aliens scattered: people who are not living in their homeland.

Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Citizens of heaven, living as aliens - there is some conflict.

This epistle written 60-62AD during a time of persecution, but also on the verge of much more persecution coming. In 65AD there was and is recorded in history a major outbreak of persecution for the Church of Jesus Christ.

An epistle written to Christians who were suffering some hostility and for them it was going to get worse.

Regarding persecution, do you think it's going to get better or worse in America? Based on what is going on around us - the sense of our times - trends in our culture it truly seems that it is going to get worse.

1 Peter can be used to strengthen our heart - give us some backbone - and prepare us for the persecution coming - that we may stand in the evil day.

1Pe 1:2 also teaches that these are aliens who are loved and chosen by God.

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1Pe 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Now you are a people of God, Now you have received mercy. This is amazing stuff. Precious Stuff.
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

How is it that the people who were not God's people are now God's people?

How is it that now we are recipients of God's mercy?

The Answer involves each member of the Trinity.

Verse 2: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God. 1Pe 1:2

Foreknowledge: What does this mean? Is it God foreseeing who would believe and then choosing them?

Acts 4:12 No other name ... and John 14:6 I am the way - these are the verses from which the persecution will come.

We must believe in Christ.
But why is it that we do believe in Christ?
Is it self-initiated?

Be a Berean, submit what is said in this sermon to the scriptures, not just trusting my words but test them by the Word of God.


1. This verse does not say God foresaw our faith. No verse says that in any version of the bible. neither does Rom 8:28-29
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It does say he foreknows people.

The first rule of bible study is to ask and answer the question: "What does this text actually say?"

Example: "The bible says Money is the root of all evil -- so you better get rid of your money. Does the text say this? Don't add words -- Don't take away words. (actually says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil - so then stop loving money. editors note)

So the phrase: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God does not say expressly this that "God foresaw our faith."

2. We don't find a cause/effect sequence that teaches: "Us first and then God responding."
We do find God's first gracious initiative to us. Note the SUBJECT and the OBJECT in the following passages:

GOD is the Subject - HE hath chosen. US is the object - of whom God chose.
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

and again God is the subject, God hath...chosen the object, you.

2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Thanking God, because God has chosen.

The ones ordained/appointed believed. Not, they believed, then appointed. It says the opposite of that. The appointing comes first then those are the ones who believed.
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Depends on God who has mercy.
Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

And so based on these texts I should be careful not to be too quick in thinking God is responding to me.

3. The meaning of the word "Foreknow."
Amos 3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Known here translated as chosen in some translations.

Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

1Pe 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Same word as found in 1Pe 1:20, translated variously as foreordained, foreknown, chosen.

In verse 1Pe 1:20 we learn, God from eternity past ordained this -- this is what foreknown means there in verse 20, surely a few verses earlier in verse 2 it means the same thing.

This word means more than an awareness ahead of time. Fore-Loved, in advance setting regard upon, in advance acknowledging as one's own.

Jer 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

ESV Study Bible includes a note explaining in this way: They are God's people because of god's foreknowledge - He set his covenantal affection upon them in advance.

4. What is it about our faith that God would foreknow?
God would foresee that we are blind and unable to open our own eyes.
God saw unless he gave us faith as a free gift we would never believe in Christ.
We don't have the wherewithal to bring ourselves to life.

It is "BY HIM" that we believe.
1Pe 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

We have "received" faith. We received it -- we did not generate it.
NAU 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

It is given to believe, granted to believe:
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

We must believe.
No one is saved apart from Faith.
But why faith happens is because of grace.

Spurgeon's own experience in coming to grips with these truths click here:

I can recall the very day and hour when first I received these truths in my own soulwhen they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron: I can recollect how I felt that I had grown all of a sudden from a babe into a manthat I had made progress in scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God.

One week-night when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, "how did you come to be a Christian?" (...I sought the Lord). But how did you come to seek the Lord?(the truth flashed across my mind in a moment)I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him.

I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, "How came I to pray?"I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. I did read them; but what led me to do so?Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith; and as the whole doctrine of GRACE opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make it my constant confession.

Also Wayne Grudem who writes in his Systematic Theology click here:
"Election based on something good in us (our Faith) would be the beginning of Salvation based on merit.

The Answer to our original question comprising the three persons of the Trinity began with:

1. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God
and continues as follows
2. through the sanctification of the Spirit
3. And and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

As we prepare to partake of the Lord's supper let us dwell further on this sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

The application of all the benefits of Christ's death - including cleansed from sin.

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

GLORY TO GOD. By His Grace and for His Glory.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I0219-Angels and Demons 1.14.3ff

This post is part of our group read of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.
Scattered Observations concerning the Doctrine of Angels and Demons:

"This branch of doctrine is very necessary for the refutation of numerous errors."

Hmm, I really concur in this statement. And am thankful for the scriptural instruction concerning angels and demons which follow.

Concerning this subject Calvin gives a warning similar to many others which consists in two rules:
1) not to speak, think, long to know what is not revealed.
2) When reading scripture look for edification not curiosity.

I found the discussion of Dionysus to be quite illuminating. Giving the following statement -

"Wherefore, if we would be duly wise, we must renounce those vain babblings of idle men, concerning the nature, ranks, and number of angels, without any authority from the Word of God."

Calvin then uses Dionysus as an example. "When you read the work of Dionysus, you would think that the man had come down from heaven."

Have you been exposed to such men? They have such an ability to really cause one to fear not to listen to their incredible insight. Fear that here in this man's teaching and experience is an opportunity one dare not pass up. BUT HALT, and praise God with all you have that he has provided such a testimony from PAUL, a divinely inspired testimony, the testimony of one who was made an apostle by JESUS CHRIST.

2Co 12:3-4 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

and again:
Col 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Matthew Poole writes on Col 2:18:
and therefore they would pay a religious homage to angels, as of a middle nature between God and them, presuming they would mediate for them: an instance to express all that invented worship, which, how specious soever it may seem to be, hath no warrant from Christ, who alone can procure acceptance of our persons and services. He expects that his disciples should assert his rights, and the liberty with which he hath made them free, against the traditions of self-willed men, and no more to solemnize for worship, than teach for doctrines, the traditions of men, Mat 15:2,6,9. We must not, under any pretext of humility, presume to know what belongs to our duty and God’s service better than Christ doth, showing us that he alone is the true and living way, and we may come boldly by him, Mat 11:28 Joh 14:1,6 Eph 3:12 Heb 4:16 Heb 10:19,20. And therefore the adoring and invocating of angels as heavenly courtiers, whatever the papists out of a show of humility do argue, is not after Christ, but against him.

So then the next time someone comes to you with doctrines of angels and demons that go beyond the revelation of Holy Scripture, doctrines that offer to show you the secrets of how to win over an angel to do your bidding, that describe the angelic government and organization with the knowledge of one who has been privy to their secret meetings, remember that God has given us a witness that even though there was a man caught up into paradise yet the things he heard were 'unspeakable words', 'not utter'.

Seek rather such teaching designed "not to tickle the ear, but confirm the conscience."

1.14.5 The nature, offices, and various names of angels.

They are called hosts (Luke 2:13), because they surround their Prince as his court...

Great in Number: "thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him," (Dan. 7: 10.)"

Dominions, Powers, Governments: "
his government of the world is exercised and administered by them." (Col. 1:16; Eph. 1:21; I Cor. 15:24.)

1.14.6 Angels are ministers of God's bounty toward us:
They watch for our safety psa 90:11-12
They undertake our defense.
Angels ministered to Christ (Matt. 4:11); (Luke 22:43); (Acts 1:10)
(Gen. 16:9), II Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36; (Judg. 2:1; 6:11; 13:3-20);

1.14.7 On Guardian Angels
"If any one does not think it enough to know that all the orders of the heavenly host are perpetually watching for his safety, I do not see what he could gain by knowing that he has one angel as a special guardian. Those, again, who limit the care which God takes of each of us to a single angel, do great injury to themselves and to all the members of the Church, as if there were no value in those promises of auxiliary troops, who on every side encircling and defending us, embolden us to fight more manfully."
1.14.8 Dogmatizing on the Ranks and Numbers of Angels
"Farther than this, in regard both to the ranks and numbers of angels, let us class them among those mysterious subjects, the full revelation of which is deferred to the last day, and accordingly refrain from inquiring too curiously, or talking presumptuously."

1.14.9 Concerning Angels, there is one Truth we should certainly Hold to:
"Angels are ministering spirits." Heb 1:14

There are thousands and legions of angels.
They rejoice.
Bear up the faithful in their hands.
Carrying their souls to rest
Beholding the face of their Father
The law was enacted in the hands of angels.
The elect will be like angels.
Christ will return with the holy angels.
ANGELS are Real.
Souls of believers together with holy angels in heaven.
Angels of children are said to behold the face of God.
Defend us by their protection.
Rejoice in our salvation.
Admire the manifold grace of God in the Church.
Are under Christ.
Various verses: Luk 15:10; Psa 19:11; Matt 4:6; Luk 4:10; Luk 4:16; Luke 4:22; Matt 18:10; Acts 7:55; Gal 3:19; Matt 22:30; Matt 24:36; Eph 3:10; 1Pet 1:12; Heb 1:6; Psa 97:7

1.14.10 The heathen error of placing angels on the throne of God refuted.

Regarding the superstition of surpplanting Christ with angels in his offices, among the corruptions which we now oppose, there is scarcely any one of greater antiquity.
1.14.11 Why does God employ angels instead of acting directly?
Not because he must, not of necessity: "Therefore, when he employs them it is as a help to our weakness, that nothing may be wanting to elevate our hopes or strengthen our confidence. It ought, indeed, to be sufficient for us that the Lord declares himself to be our protector. But when we see ourselves beset by so many perils, so many injuries, so many kinds of enemies, such is our frailty and effeminacy, that we might at times be filled with alarm, or driven to despair, did not the Lord proclaim his gracious presence by some means in accordance with our feeble capacities. For this reason, he not only promises to take care of us, but assures us that he has numberless attendants, to whom he has committed the charge of our safety, that whatever dangers may impend, so long as we are encircled by their protection and guardianship, we are placed beyond all hazard of evil."

I found this paragraph above especially encouraging, and I think a precious comfort I had not too much considered before. What a gracious God. So Calvin adds the example of Elisha:

2Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

1.14.12 Use of the Doctrine of Angels
Employ it to strengthen your confidence in God.
"Since the Lord has provided us with such protection, let us not be terrified at the multitude of our enemies as if they could prevail notwithstanding of his aid, but let us adopt the sentiment of Elisha, that more are for us than against us (II Kings 6:16) "

1.14.13 We are warned in scripture so as to be put on guard.

"For when Satan is called the god (II Cor. 4:4) and ruler of this world (John 12:31), the strong man armed (Luke 11:21; cf Matt 12:29), the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), the roaring lion (I Peter 5:8), the object of all these descriptions is to make us more cautious and vigilant, and more prepared for the contest."

1.14.14 To excite our feelings the more strongly to our duty -- we learn we have not one or two enemies but a great HOST of them.

Christ is our head -- but the scriptures teach that the demons also have a prince by stating:
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

1.14.15 The devil is our adversary and the adversary of our God.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

1.14.16 The devil is not wicked FROM CREATION but from depravation.
Even this day I had a conversation with a brother similar to this, as we discussed how it is that the devil is wicked - since God made him. Did God make him wicked?

Calvin draws from Joh 8:44 to show: "... although the expressions are brief and not very explicit, they are amply sufficient to vindicate the majesty of God from every calumny."
(calumny -a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something:)
Do not ascribe wickedness to God. "Do not ascribe to God what is foreign to his nature."

When Satan lies, "he speaketh of his own" why? "because he abode not in truth." This very phrase teaches us that he once was in the truth. He did not continue to abide in it. He does not speak of God when he lies but he speaks of his own because he did not continue in truth. He speaks of "his own." that is not of God. Satan alone bears the responsibility.

Satan is the Father of Lies, "by calling him the father of lies, he puts it out of his power to charge God with the depravity of which he was himself the cause."

But what else can we know about the fall of Satan and his Angels? Where can we ascertain these secrets? Calvin responds:
The Holy Spirit could not deign to feed curiosity with idle, unprofitable histories. We see it was the Lord's purpose to deliver nothing in his sacred oracles which we might not learn for edification. Therefore, instead of dwelling on superfluous matters, let it be sufficient for us briefly to hold, with regard to the nature of devils, that at their first creation they were the angels of God, but by revolting they both ruined themselves, and became the instruments of perdition to others. As it was useful to know this much, it is clearly taught by Peter and Jude; "God," they say, "spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgement," (II Pet. 2:4; Jude ver. 6.) And Paul, by speaking of the elect angels (I Tim. 5:21), obviously draws a tacit contrast between them and reprobate angels.

1.14.17 We learn an IMPORTANT FACT - Satan cannot possibly do anything against the will and consent of God.


SATAN is Under the Power of God.
Satan resists God. ... he eagerly, and of set purpose opposes God,...But as God holds him bound and fettered by the curb of his power, he executes those things only for which permission has been given him, and thus, however unwilling, obeys his Creator, being forced, whenever he is required, to do Him service.

1.14.18 SO GOD employs unclean spirits in exercising believers by warring against them, assailing them with wiles...disturbing, alarming, and occassionaly wounding, but never conquering or oppressing them.

But the wicked they hold in thralldom, exercise dominion over their minds and bodies, and employ them as bond-slaves in all kinds of iniquity.

Neither give place to the devil. Eph 4:27
Your adversary the devil...resist stedfast in the faith. 1Pet 5:8
Paul acknowledges this contest... A messenger of Satan... 2Cor 12:7

1.14.19 As Angels are real so also are DEMONS real.

Many scriptures speak to this, "neither few nor obscure."

Matt 12:43
Jude 1:6
Children of God contrasted with Children of the devil. 1John 3:8
Michael the archangel contending with the devil. JUDE 1:9
These demons will be punished. Matt 8:29; Matt 25:41; 2PET 2:4

How absurd the expressions, that devils are doomed to eternal punishment, that fire is prepared for them, that they are even now excruciated and tormented by the glory of Christ, if there were truly no devils at all?"

Conclusion: there is so much confusion today concerning both Angels and Demons. On the one hand there are those that ascribe too much to both. Taking eyes off Christ and looking for angels to do what properly belongs to Him. Plus giving the adoration, prayers and worship that is God's alone to angels - what grievous horrific abomination. And then seeing a demon under every rock, not recognizing that if you belong to Christ he has delivered you. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. Perhaps seeing some kind of dualism as though the devil were an equal and opposite of God himself. Blaming your problems not on your own sin, your own lack of faith in Christ and obedience to his word, but rather saying, "I know I'm saved but now I need to be delivered from these demons plaguing me." or "I'm only a victim here of a demonic influence - I can't love my wife properly until I get rid of this demon." Belittling the work of Christ in salvation making it only a little thing compared to what a deliverance minister can do, men greatly error. Some teaching that your real problem lies in some demon hanging onto you because of the sin of your great-great-grandmother. Repent for her sin and loose the bonds of which that demon holds you - these destroy the simplicity that is in Christ.

One the other hand some deny the existence of angels and demons altogether. Not knowing or believing the scripture they greatly dishonour God.

Calvin well spoke when he said we must consider the biblical truths concerning demons and angels in order to refute numerous errors.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I0218-1.141-2 Bold Assertions

This post is part of our group read of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.

There are a couple of asstounding assertions made in Book First - Chapter 14. Astounding because they are so contrary to our modern ears but not contrary at all to the word of God.

Assertions regarding the Creation of the World:

We read that one use of the account of the creation is to provide us with a more "intimate knowledge in order that we might not wander to and fro." Calvin indeed often warns us against probing beyond the revelation of scripture. Or allowing our imaginations to trump the word of God. Or allowing any thought to trump the revelation God has given.

Another example was pointed out to me by Jim in a recent phone converation:
"It was a shrewd saying of a good old man, who when some one pertly asked in derision what God did before the world was created, answered he made a hell for the inquisitive, (August. Confess., lib. 11 c. 12.)"

"...the period of time is marked so as to enable the faithful to ascend by an unbroken succession of years to the first origin of their race and of all things.... " and the 6000th year has not yet completed.

(in otherwords you can trace back the ancestry through scriptures arriving at a time of the creation.)

Uses of First Bold Assertion and the history of creation: 1) antidote to monstrous fables, 2) "clear manifestation of the eternity of God contrasted with the birth of creation, and thereby inspiring us with higher admiration. " 3) Don't complain: "as if, in the period of six thousand years, God had not furnished facts enough to exercise our minds in ceaseless meditation. Therefore, let us willingly remain hedged in by those boundaries within which God has been pleased to confine our persons, and, as it were, enclose our minds, so as to prevent them from losing themselves by wandering unrestrained."

Now a days Bishop Ussher has been pictured in a dunce hat foolishly suggesting the world is only 6000 years old. see link for short article by translator of the Annals of World . I loved reading this quote from Calvin. Believe it to be a true statement. Don't want to fight. Will seek for peace. Am thoroughly persuaded in my own mind. Read much - some from both sides. Wish believers would calmly discuss these differences as between brothers realizing they may not have all the facts. Refreshing to hear Calvin simply affirm the same.

"Moses relates that the work of creation was accomplished not in one moment, but in six days."

Hey this agrees with the Westminster Confession of Faith - it is not a novel idea - But above all this is the testimony of the holy word of God:

WCF IV.1 I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,[1] for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness,[2] in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.[3]

Use of this 2nd assertion: "By this statement we are drawn away from fiction to the one God who thus divided his work into six days, that we may have no reluctance to devote our whole lives to the contemplation of it."

In so many ways I am just a simple believer. I don't like to think that I only believe as a simpleton but rather have a heart to accept just what the scriptures say. That doesn't mean I always get what the scriptures are saying - but I do want to be believing and honor God and honor God by believing and accepting the testimony he has given. Also, I am not so naive as to to not know there are many godly men, whom I respect, who yet take exception with these two assertions listed above. So how do we come together in this kind of disagreement? How do we keep peace when there are such strong differences of opinion? Tough questions. And two questions I think about quite often.

Some thoughts I have on these two questions:
Rejoicing when we embrace the same Gospel.
When we both have a high view of the Scripture.
When God's Glory is our mutual goal.
Thinking also, that I have held positions as a believer which called for repentance when understanding came.
Thinking also, how whatever understanding we have it is of grace.
Thinking also, how we are members one of another with differing gifts, and differing grace.
Hoping to grow together in the truth as it is in Jesus Christ.

I'll leave it here for now. Please feel free to comment. Would love to discuss face to face or possibly interact further within this blog.

Monday, February 16, 2009


This post is part of our group read of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin. First some observations by Kwame, then a little notice on some changes/helps I've tried to add to the blog.

Kwame wrote:
I like how Calvin points out the importance of pondering over what brings glory to God and leads to edification and his warning to avoid vain questions that may even be blasphemous.

Also, as he fears to even use examples outside of scripture to illustrate or explain answers, it is not surprising that his answers are so scriptural.

Kwame, I appreciate both these observations and hope I retain them in my memory and practice. Oh God, that I would be careful to answer not with a "I think.." but "The scriptures say... God's Word reveals..."

Brothers, really enjoying reading Institutes together with each of you.

FYI: all blog entries that are related to our reading together (which is most blog entries) will be titled beginning with an "I" followed by the month and day of the entry. For example this entry begins with I0216. Which you can read as "Institutes February 16th." Also, I reedited all blog posts entered thus far and changed the title to follow this example. Plus I added Labels to each post. I will try to use meaningful labels but especially wanted to note that I am adding the name (first name only) of the individual who wrote the entry into the Label list.

I0216-Institutes PDF

In case you would like a nice offline but electronic text of Institutes:

Josh found the following link to a PDF version of The Institutes of the Christian Religion. It looks nice, the Table of Contents link right to the chapter in question. Each chapter has a link back to the table of contents.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I0210-Reading 1.13.14-1.13.25

This post is part of our group read of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.

This section 1.13 as a whole, I still believe is one of my favorites within the Institutes. Of course our continued reading will put that claim to the test. One reason I think may be that so much of what Calvin wrestles with here has quite a testimony in other writings. I gave an example of Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy in a previous post. As well as Grudem's Systematic Theology, and Schaff's History of the Christian Church. The history surrounding the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, etc. have bearing on the material Calvin presents to us in this entire section. Most of all though - these truths which we are now focusing call me to worship God who is glorious beyond all knowing.

I love the summary of the chapter headings - you can refresh yourself quickly on how the subject matter was treated, the truth set forth, the error refuted from a reading of just the section headings. For example when proving the divinity of the Spirit we see this outline:

1.13.14 - 1.13.15
  1. The Divinity of the Spirit proved.
    I. He is the Creator and Preserver of the world.
    II. He sent the Prophets.
    III. He quickeneth all things.
    IV. He is everywhere present.
    V. He renews the saints, and fits them for eternal life.
    VI. All the offices of Deity belong to him.
  2. The Divinity of the Spirit continued.
    VII. He is called God.
    VIII. Blasphemy against him is not forgiven.
You can almost recall some of the verses in support of each point:
I. Gen 1:2
II. Isa 48:16
III. Job 33:4
IV. Psa 139:7
V. Joh 3:5-8
VI. 1Co 2:10; 1Co 12:10-11; Isa 40:13; Rom 11:34
VII. Act 28:25-26;Psa 33:6; 1 Cor. 3: 16; 6: 19; 2 Cor. 6: 16

1.13.16 And these three are ONE "ONENESS"
Proving from Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
and comparing with Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

We read the proper conclusion: "since this is the same thing as to be baptized into the name of the one God, who has been fully manifested in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Hence it plainly appears, that the three persons, in whom alone God is known, subsist in the Divine essence."

1.13.17 And yet these three are distinct "THREENESS"
I love this demonstration, if the son in Joh 1:18 was in the bosom of the Father -- then he is not the Father. There is a distinction. Jesus can say I will pray the Father and He will give you another Comforter, then there is distinction intended between Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Somehow in my own past studies I arrived at this method of understanding and proving a Trinity of Persons in one divine essence - perhaps it was Calvin's Institutes - but certainly it is the authority of Holy Scripture that teaches this:

There is One God Mk 12:29; Deut 6:4
Jesus is God John 1:1; John 1:14; 1Ti 3:16
The Father is God Luk 10:21
The Spirit is God 1Co 3:16
Jesus is not the Father John 14:16
The Father is not the Spirit John 14:16
The Spirit is not Jesus John 14:16
This is a trinity of persons in the one Godhead. One divine essence. 1Jo 5:7

The verses could be and should be multiplied for our proper understanding at each point. I hope this outline though simplistic yet does follow scriptural truth and also agrees with Calvin's own setting forth of the same in the whole of 1.13 - He asserts and proves the divinity of the Son, and of the Spirit. He asserts and proves a oneness of essence in the Godhead. He asserts and proves a distinction of persons in the Godhead. So what is above says simply the same. I write it down though with some trembling as I do believe this is a matter to believe and not explain as though fully comprehended. To teach but not to simplify. To glorify God by knowing this is yet of an incomprehensible depth, Holy Ground and Precious Truth.


"I am not sure whether it is expedient to borrow analogies from human affairs to express the nature of this distinction. The ancient fathers sometimes do so, but they at the same time admits that what they bring forward as analogous is very widely different. And hence it is that I have a great dread of any thing like presumption here, lest some rash saying may furnish an occasion of calumny to the malicious, or of delusion to the unlearned."

These three sentences really arrested my attention. A great dread of presumption, and the danger in borrowing analogies from human affairs. I thought here, of how many explanations there are which were drawn from creation and have been used to describe how there can be a Trinity of persons in the one Godhead, ie: Water, Ice, Steam; Sun, Light, Photosynthesis; another one having to do with concentric circles. Should we have a dread also how we use these things if we use them at all - which lead to a wrong view, or rob God of due Majesty and reverence and godly fear.

1.13.22 Sound advice and a proper concluding of the previous scriptural aruguments:
"But if we hold, what has already been demonstrated from Scripture, that the essence of the one God, pertaining to the Father, Son, and Spirit, is simple and indivisible, and again, that the Father differs in some special property from the Son, and the Son from the Spirit, the door will be shut against Arius and Sabellius, as well as the other ancient authors of error."

For a Bible Study on the doctrine of the Trinity with fuller scriptural testimony, and additional comments by John Gill, John Calvin and Matthew Henry, click here. Within the Bible Study, the section on the Trinity is introduced as follows:
"As we tread on this most holy ground of thought - the being and nature of our God I pray that we will carefully consider what God has revealed of himself and not proceed beyond the scriptures and not confuse this revelation. We must be careful that we do not think God is like US. God is not a man though often times we hear scripture reveal himself to us with terms of human anatomy -- not to LIMIT GOD but to help us in our feeble gropings after him -- that we can understand him in terms and words suitable to our own minds. Oh the mystery and majesty of our Great and incomprehensible GOD!

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are ONE God, and yet the Father is not the Son nor is the Son the Spirit. They are one God yet three persons. There are NOT three Gods only one. A trinity of persons in Unity in the Godhead. The Father is NOT the Spirit nor is the Son the Father. There is difficulty of using the term "person" and "trinity" as they are not expressly taught in this language yet we will try to show that this is precisely the teaching of the scripture."

Closing with this quote from A. W. Tozer:
"The doctrine of the Trinity is Truth for the Heart." [Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer, p20]

Let me know what you think.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I0209 - Angel of the Lord, a 2nd look

This post is part of our group read of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.

Having outlined in the previous post Calvin's defense that Christ is indeed the Angel of the Lord, I have continued to think on this truth - that there is more to this understanding than I perhaps had previously grasped.

Consider these words from 1.13.10:
"The orthodox doctors of the Church have correctly and wisely expounded, that the Word of God was the supreme angel, who then began, as it were by anticipation, to perform the office of Mediator. For though he were not clothed with flesh, yet he descended as in an intermediate form, that he might have more familiar access to the faithful. This closer intercourse procured for him the name of the Angel; still, however, he retained the character which justly belonged to him - that of the God of ineffable glory.........he is the God who was always worshipped by the Jews."

Calvin is telling us here, that the title of Angel of the Lord, Angel of the Covenant (Mal 3:1) was then a beginning, by way of anticipation of Christ performing the office of Mediator. Then especially concluding that "he is the God who was always worshipped by the Jews."

I had missed this idea of the faithful saints in the OT knowing somewhat of a mediator through the title, Angel of the Lord, and whom they worshiped as truly God.

Saying in another way, In the past with undoubtedly some help I've noted the identification of the Angel of The Lord (at least in several passages if not all) with the 2nd Person of the Godhead. But what I believe I missed is the IMPORT of what this means. That's what I'm trying to grasp now as I take a new look at the scripture passages Calvin cited. There is an application to make of this -- the application perhaps comes out in Calvin's commentary on Act 7:30 when he writes:

Therefore, let us, first of all, set down this for a surety, that there was never since the beginning any communication between God and men, save only by Christ; for we have nothing to do with God, unless the Mediator be present to purchase his favor for us. Therefore, this place doth plentifully prove the divinity of Christ, and teacheth that he is of the same essence with the Father. Furthermore, he is called an angel, not only because he had the angels always to bear him company, and to be, as it were, his apparitors (officers) but because that deliverance of the people did shadow the redemption of us all, for whose sake Christ was to be sent of his Father, that he might take upon him the shape of a servant together with our flesh. It is certain, indeed, that God did never appear unto men as he is, but under some shape agreeable to their capacity; notwithstanding, there is another reason why Christ is called by this name, because he being appointed by the eternal counsel of God to be unto men the minister of salvation, doth appear unto Moses to this end. Neither is that contrary to this doctrine, which is written in the 2nd chapter to the Hebrews, (Heb_2:16) that Christ never took the angels, but the seed of Abraham; for although he took upon him the shape of an angel for a time, yet did he never take the nature of angels, as we know that he was made very man.

SEE CALVIN on Act 7:30.

There is Gospel-Truth in this title, Angel of the Lord, when it is applied correctly to the eternally-begotten Son 0f God.

What do you think? Let me know

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I0208-Reading 1.13.8 thru 1.13.13

1.13.8 Calvin begins 1.13.8 sending us a warning regarding those who appearing to admit the deity of Christ, "secretly rob him of his eternity." They ascribe a beginning to Christ at the time when God spoke into being the creation of the world. But this would mean a change even in God in whom there is NO variableness. James 1:17.
For Jesus can rightly pray: ""Now O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was," (John 17: 5.) How careful and precisely are these subjects dwelt with in throughout section 13. The word was in the beginning, with God and was God. "We, therefore, again conclude, that the Word was eternally begotten by God, and dwelt with him from everlasting. In this way, his true essence, his eternity, and divinity, are established."

1.13.9 Rick Phillips over at Ref 21 advises "It would be good if we all knew these verses so as to demonstrate from the Old Testament the deity of Jesus." I really enjoy how Calvin biblically defends the truths he sets forths. I am reminded as I read Institutes how much my own thinking has been informed through my previous reading of Institutes.

The eternal ruler from Psa 45 " "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,"

Or Isa. 9:6 where "Christ is introduced both as God, and as possessed of supreme powers one of the peculiar attributes of God"

Jer 23:6 he is named as "The Lord our Rightousness."

Isa 42:8 "My glory will I not give to another," Note compare this verse with John 17.5 as Jesus prays restore unto me the Glory which I had with you before the world was. What a testimony to the deity of Christ. I remember the wonderful testimony of a former leader amongst the Jehovah Witnesses who said these two verses were the key to free him from that false doctrine. For how could Christ pray such a prayer when the Glory of God is not shared with another? Unless he is indeed God manifest in the flesh. 1Ti 3:16.

1.13.10 Who is the Angel of The Lord? see also the REF 21 blog.

Judges 6:7: Judges 13:16-23
"This Angel claims for himself the name of the Eternal God. "

The angel orders the sacrifice to be offered to himself - no servant of God would ever ask such a thing.

Manoah says "we shall die, we have seen the Lord." Judges 13:22

And the angel's words "Why do ye ask my name, which is wonderful?" Judges 13:18

The words of Hosea after describing Jacob wrestling with the Angel: "Even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial" Hos 12:5

Jacob's own words: "I have seen God face to face." Gen 32:30

Calvin describers Paul's own words to mean "that Christ led the people in the wilderness." 1Co 10:4

Reference was made to SEE CALVIN on Act 7:30. His comments being so informative I give them to you here:

The angel of the Lord appeared unto him. It is first demanded who this angel was? and, secondly, why he appeared in such a form? For after that Luke had called him an angel, he bringeth him in immediately speaking thus: I am the God of Abraham, etc. Some answer, As God doth sometimes attribute and impart unto his ministers those things which are most proper to himself, so it is no absurd or inconvenient thing, if they have his name given them; but seeing this angel affirmeth manifestly that he is the eternal God, who alone is, and in whom all things have their being, we must needs restrain this title unto the essence of God; for it can by no means agree to the angels. It might be said more fitly, that because the angel speaketh in the name of the Lord, he taketh upon him his person, as if he declared his commandments word for word, as out of the mouth of God, which manner of speaking is usual in the prophets; but when Luke shall say afterwards, that this was the same angel through whose assistance and guiding Moses delivered the people: and Paul, in the 10th chapter of the First to the Corinthians, (1Co_10:4) doth affirm that Christ was that guide, there is no cause why we should now wonder that the angel taketh to himself that which is proper to God alone.

Therefore, let us, first of all, set down this for a surety, that there was never since the beginning any communication between God and men, save only by Christ; for we have nothing to do with God, unless the Mediator be present to purchase his favor for us. Therefore, this place doth plentifully prove the divinity of Christ, and teacheth that he is of the same essence with the Father. Furthermore, he is called an angel, not only because he had the angels always to bear him company, and to be, as it were, his apparitors:426 but because that deliverance of the people did shadow the redemption of us all, for whose sake Christ was to be sent of his Father, that he might take upon him the shape of a servant together with our flesh. It is certain, indeed, that God did never appear unto men as he is, but under some shape agreeable to their capacity; notwithstanding, there is another reason why Christ is called by this name, because he being appointed by the eternal counsel of God to be unto men the minister of salvation, doth appear unto Moses to this end. Neither is that contrary to this doctrine, which is written in the 2nd chapter to the Hebrews, (Heb_2:16) that Christ never took the angels, but the seed of Abraham; for although he took upon him the shape of an angel for a time, yet did he never take the nature of angels, as we know that he was made very man.

For another proof of the divinity of Christ and that he is that Angel of the Lord, Calvin advises us to compare Zec 1:9 ff with Zec 2.3 ff
and "it will be seen that the angel who sends the other angel is immediately after declared to be the Lord of hosts, and that supreme power is ascribed to him."

Then for a stronger yet proof and most powerful see Mal 3:1.
Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger (angel), and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger (also angel) of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. By which Calvin concludes: "The temple certainly was dedicated to Almighty God only, and yet the prophet claims it for Christ. Hence it follows, that he is the God who was always worshipped by the Jews."

1.13.11 The divinity of Christ in the New Testament: witness of the apostles
Isa 8:14 Rom. 9: 33
Psa 68:18 Eph 4:8
John 12:41 Isa 6:4
Heb 1:10 Heb 1:6
John 1:14
2Co 5:10
1Ti 3:16
Phil 2:6
1Jo 5:20
1Co 8:5-6
John 20:28

1.13.12 The divinity of Christ is demonstrated in his works
My Father worketh hitherto, and I work

1.13.13 The divinity of Christ is demonstrated by his miracles

Please add your comments describing your own gleanings and thoughts as you read this weeks assignment. Time prevents me at the moment from completing through section 25.

Hoping to come back and provide additional summary.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I0202-Reading 1.13.4 - 1.13.-7

Chapter thirteen, I think is my favorite of all chapters I remember reading from Institutes. The discussion of Sabellius who confounded the persons of the Godhead, and Arius who denied the divinity of Christ our Lord were for me many years ago profitable and memorable. What an enjoyment to read them once again.

Consider these words from, Knowledge of the Holy, by A. W. Tozer:

God of our fathers, enthroned in light, how rich, how musical is the tongue of England! Yet when we attempt to speak forth Thy wonders, our words how poor they seem and our speech how unmelodious. When we consider the fearful mystery of Thy Triune Godhead we lay our hand upon our mouth. Before that burning bush we ask not to understand, but only that we may fitly adore Thee, One God in Persons Three. Amen.

To meditate on the three Persons of the Godhead is to walk in thought through the garden eastward in Eden and to tread on holy ground. Our sincerest effort to grasp the incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity must remain forever futile, and only by deepest reverence can it be saved from actual presumption. .................

Christ did not hesitate to use the plural form when speaking of Himself along with the Father and the Spirit. ”We will come unto him and make our abode with him.” Yet again He said, ”I and my Father are one.” It is most important that we think of God as Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance. Only so may we think rightly of God and in a manner worthy of Him and of our own souls.

In the Institutes 1.13.4 we read of the preciseness and exactness of words the early Fathers used in order to put a halt to the damage "slipper snakes" were wrecking upon the Faith and Sound doctrine. Have you ever read the Athansian Creed, the Nicene Creed, or the Apostles Creed thinking of this goal. Thinking how they strived to produce clear, accurate, precise, unambiguous words that could not be evaded by a false teacher such as Arius or Sabellius.

Following is the Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The examples of the deception based on words is very instructive. Arius appearing to confess an orthodox belief at one time confessing the Christ is God, but then in another breath though he confesses this confessed also that Christ was created and had a beginning.

Or quoting Calvin on Sabellius:
When the matter was debated, he acknowledged his belief that the Father was God, the Son God, the Spirit God; but then he had the evasion ready, that he had said nothing more than if he had called God powerful, and just, and wise. Accordingly, he sung another note, viz., that the Father was the Son, and the Holy Spirit the Father, without order or distinction.

While reading this passage were you encouraged to be faithful to contend for the truth. Surely we must weigh carefully what each situation calls for and not to be wranglers, and contentious for the sake of contention. But in this matter of real importance Calvin ably admonishes:

Who dare charge those ancient writers as men of strife and contention, for having debated so warmly, and disturbed the quiet of the Church for a single word? That little word distinguished between Christians of pure faith and the blasphemous Arians.

Let not fear keep us from speaking the truth in love. Words and definitions of words do matter.

Again I am reminded of the Tozer's prayer with which he opens up Chapter one of his Knowledge of the Holy.

O, Lord God Almighty, not the God of the philosophers and the wise but the God of the prophets and apostles; and better than all, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may I express Thee unblamed?

They that know Thee not may call upon Thee as other than Thou art, and so worship not Thee but a creature of their own fancy; therefore enlighten our minds that we may know Thee as Thou art, so that we may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tozer then after a few paragrphas closes chapter one with the following:

Before the Christian Church goes into eclipse anywhere there must first be a corrupting of her simple basic theology. She simply gets a wrong answer to the question, ”What is God like?” and goes on from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is; and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind.

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him - and of her. In all her prayers and labors this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past. This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise.

It is also a danger that we are proud over our own chosen words risking the possibility that we are opposing those who affirm the same truth with a difference of words. Calvin gives examples of early Fathers who were fearful of speaking unworthily of God by making to simple through their own words the incomprehensible God. Lest we do become just quarellsome over words, which matter, because of definition, we are also cautioned.

But I was long ago made aware, and, indeed, on more than one occasion, that those who contend pertinaciously about words are tainted with some hidden poison; and, therefore, that it is more expedient to provoke them purposely, than to court their favour by speaking obscurely.1.13.5

By person, then, I mean a subsistence in the Divine essence, - a subsistence which, while related to the other two, is distinguished from them by incommunicable properties. By subsistence we wish something else to be understood than essence.

DEITY OF THE SON begins with section seven:
Calvin writes:
I know prattlers would easily evade this, by saying that Word is used for order or command; but the apostles are better expositors, when they tell us that the worlds were created by the Son, and that he sustains all things by his mighty word, (Heb. 1:2.) For we here see that "word" is used for the nod or command of the Son, who is himself the eternal and essential Word of the Father. And no man of sane mind can have any doubt as to Solomon' s meaning, when he introduces Wisdom as begotten by God, and presiding at the creation of the world, and all other divine operations,(Prov. 8: 22.)

Proving the deity of the Son with the Spirit of Christ speaking in the prophets, and the Son upholding all things by the word of His power Heb 1.2, and John 1.1. Even the account of creation found in Genesis, where

And this is clearly enough shown by Moses in his account of the creation, where he places the Word as intermediate. For why does he distinctly narrate that God, in creating each of his works, said, Let there be this - let there be that, unless that the unsearchable glory of God might shine forth in his image? I know prattlers would easily evade this, by saying that Word is used for order or command; but the apostles are better expositors, when they tell us that the worlds were created by the Son, and that he sustains all things by his mighty word, (Heb. 1:2.) For we here see that "word" is used for the nod or command of the Son, who is himself the eternal and essential Word of the Father.

Hmmm, and can we learn something further here "apostles are better expositors."

Also, identifying Wisdom from Psa 8.22 with the eternal Son.

For additional discission and the difference one iota can make see Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, page 244.

Also Phillip Schaff has a lengthy discussion on this same word from which I found this though I think one could find many more references if pressed.

Better stop here. Please feel free to send me your own blog posts are add to the discussion in the comment section below.