MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Will of man, Will of God – and Legalism

May 14th, 2007 Viewed 1700 times

Open Bible
First I intended to write down what John Piper said while commenting on Desiring God Radio. But then I went over to Kim’s and found a post on legalism, which gave me an idea to actually combine Piper’s commentary with my own conclusions. Transcript first.

When God wants something to happen in my life, He doesn’t say: ‘your choices don’t matter’; He says: ‘I will now influence your choices’.

Question: John, some people’s response to God’s sovereignty in Romans 9 is *fatalism*. If God’s going to do what God’s going to do, our choices mean nothing, so we can just go about our business, and if God’s going to get our attention, He’ll do so. Where do you find fault in that thinking?

John Piper: God doesn’t exercise His sovereignty around human will, but through human will. If God wills that a nail go through this 2×4 into another 2×4, and hold this wall in place, He wills that you hit it with a hammer. He doesn’t say: ‘Nail, enter!’, and it just kind of sinks. Rather, He says in His sovereign providence, ‘Carpenter, bang the nail!.’ And the nail goes in, and God’s will is accomplished.

So, take prayer, or evangelism as corresponding to the hammer and the carpenter. Does God will that my children come to faith? I hope He does. But He won’t will it around my will or their will. He influences me, in His sovereignty, to teach my children the Word of God. He influences me in His sovereignty to pray for my children. He influences them to read their Bible and to comply with my requirement that they go to church. And in bringing about His total sovereign control over the outcomes of our lives, He doesn’t do it in spite of what we’re thinking or in spite of what we’re willing – He does it through what we’re thinking and what we’re willing – He influences what we think and what we will; so we’re folded in into a drama.

It’s not a fatalism that says, ‘Oh, our thinking and our choosing doesn’t matter’, as though God has some track He can run along while our thinking and our willing are off to the side. Rather, the track runs right through my will and right through my thinking, and He inclines my heart.

When God wants something to happen in my life, He doesn’t say, ‘your choices don’t matter.’ He says, ‘I will now influence your choices.’ And so, we pray.
I mean, the psalmists model for us how to pray: ‘Incline my heart to Your Testimonies.’

What does that mean? It means: ‘I’m not right now inclining or desiring, or choosing Your Testimonies!’, and so he cries out, ‘God, exercise Your sovereign influence over my will and make me want to read the Bible!’ and so God doesn’t fatalistically do a run around my will, He rather works in and under my will, so that I am freely, freely choosing to do what He wants me to do.

Now what I think legalism is or is not, according to the above, is this: it is impossible to do Father’s will this way and sidetrack to the legalistic path. As long as you follow this underlying will of God, the one that influences your own willing and thinking, you follow the commandment of love. The problem starts when you rebel against this gift of influence and try to take your own track, when there is a battle of wills in you, and when you no longer work out of will, but out of duty and in spiritual solitude – when you yourself separate your will from the will of God.

I do not know if this makes sense, but it certainly made sense when I was thinking about it. So, what do you think?

My Sunday Hymn

February 18th, 2007 Viewed 1881 times
Find your joy in the Lord
Take His guidance in your ways
Open your heart for His Love
Soften your mind for His Teaching
Bow your soul for His Grace
He will never leave you, and He will never betray you
His Word will guide you forever into the Light of His Home
Before Him you are righteous and pure
Before Him you are not aloneFind your joy in Jesus
And your salvation in God
Taste the sweetness of surrender
And drink the waters of obedience

See His Power and Greatness in everything He does
Admire His Mercy and Love in everything He undertakes
Tremble before His Justice and Majesty
Put your life trustingly in His Forgiving Glory

Find your joy in prayer
Talk to the Lord constantly
Praise His Holiness and Righteousness
Find your peace with the Lord

Wisdom of God

January 3rd, 2007 Viewed 1970 times

(Originally posted on my blog)

There are so many things I have been thinking about lately, meditating upon Scriptures, and one of them is the notion of hatred in the world. Undoubtedly the diversification and isolation among various groups have created some close-mindedness and ignorance, thus leading quite often to misunderstandings, conflicts and hatred, to be honest. Many religions throughout the history have added their share of trouble, too. As soon as a religion becomes a means to power for some groups of greedy people, it stops being about deity, and turns into being about man.
And it goes on…
It is after this wonderful sermon John Piper preached on “The Great Work of the Only Wise God” on December 10, 2006 I really started examine the issue in my heart. How little do we really understand of God… How much there is to learn, to prayerfully ask for, in order to grasp some elementary understanding… We do not even know why we are saved, apart from the fact that this is His mercy…

Form of Sound Words

November 26th, 2006 Viewed 1649 times

Psalm With Flower(also posted at Everyday in Grace)
The reading of John MacArthur books is an enormous feast and inspiration to me. An amazing number of questions have got the clear answers and I really can see the importance of the proper and faithful preaching of God’s Word.

The watered-down Gospel, pleasing to the ear of a listener, calling him to believing, forgetting to call him to repentance, does not produce good fruit.

The Internet’s Effect on Sharing the Gospel in Far Away Places

November 15th, 2006 Viewed 1909 times

World

We are placed here and now. What I mean is that we live in a global village, interconnected and vibrant, awake 24 hours a day, having almost no boundaries in communications among its inhabitants.

I had a lecture on communication model for my students the other day, telling them about the sender, the channel and the receiver. The basics are the same as they have always been, the only difference now being the technology making things both easier and more difficult. The paradox of development.

Richness and Unity – Together in Christ

November 5th, 2006 Viewed 1565 times

Lamp PostUnity in Richness

Being a Christian certainly means many things to many people, especially to all sorts of unbelievers. We are observed and judged constantly by the world. This is not out of its love towards us:

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (Joh 15:19)

We claim certain truths and we are expected to produce fruit off of those truths. Every single failure is noticed and remembered, and in fact, there is no other faith so openly watched and scrutinized as Christianity. It is essential, then, to give forth the good fruit, not only for the sake of our souls, but also for the sake of the Church, to prove the world wrong in its assumptions and accusations towards us. What is the most obvious first step in this direction of producing the good fruit? There is no one right answer, but if I may say my meaning, it would be the blessing effort to be one body of many souls, one body of Christ, one body of the true Church, worshiping Him in the way that pleases Him.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.