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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « Four Short Book Reviews | Main | The Advance of the Kingdom »

    Hidden Idolatries

    Circumstances are very good at revealing our hidden idolatries. We all have God-given desires and so our desires are a good thing in themselves. But these desires become idolatry when they become inordinate. That is, when they take precedence over God and His providence in the specific circumstances of your life. For example, at the office we now have a couple of employees at Monergism.com. There is nothing the matter with wanting the Internet connections to be working for everyone here so they can be productive. But I remember one day when the computer connections went down and information was irretrievably lost that I boiled over in anger and wanted to throw my computer off of a high building. I even raised my voice to the computer (an inanimate object) and had some angry words for it. But here I was displaying natural human instinct to believe that I was the sovereign of the universe, so in doing so I sinned by trying to steal God's glory by being more than a little discontent at the unfolding of His plan. In such situations, we are either worshipping God, something else or ourselves. Instead I should remind myself beforehand each day that God is sovereign so "if the Lord wills I will do this or that..." for God may very well have had something else in mind for you [me] that day, something contrary to your good desires.

    Now consider the above situation. There is nothing wrong with desiring computers to work smoothly, but when these desires become inordinate and take the place of God and His providence, I sin because my discontentment is ultimately directed toward God, since He sovereignly makes all things come to pass. As Christ's church, our perspective should be that we all worship something at all times. What I mean by this is that, something, in each moment of the day grabs hold of our heart's affections and these affections direct our thoughts and actions. A Christian response to God's acts of providence in our lives should be to yield to God alone in all circumstances. When we get angry over something that God brought about in our lives we are letting the circumstances drive our emotions and actions rather than always carrying the godly disposition with us which yields to His providence. If I find my identity in Christ, in both His death and resurrection then I can live differently and overcome anger (and other sin) for I will see every situation that God brings about in my life as just that, God's doing ... and thus we can fully rest in His sovereignty in each situation. We often think that it is our situations, our childhood and our biology that determine who we are, but this is not true. Different people respond differently to the same treatment or circumstances. Why? Because the state of their heart is different - that is, they worship different things. Jesus teaches us that a thornbush does not produce figs and that a bad tree does not bear good fruit. So if we merely change the outward circumstances we are not getting to the root of the problem in our hearts. But the circumstances will reveal what kind of fruit we have on our trees [the condition of our hearts], so to speak. Either our heart is directed by Christ or directed by something else. Either we are getting nourishment from the root of the tree or we are withering because we are not connected to the branch. This happens when something else replaces Christ (John 15). But those of us who are in Christ can respond to the worst of circumstances with calm and confidence because we are unconditionally adopted as His children and we no longer have to draw from our own resources. In Him we are like tree planted by streams of water (Psalm 1).

    Similarly, we all interpret the world we live in. We either interpret by our own limited and self-created understanding or we interpret the world through the only lens that can give true understanding, God's word. The way we interpret the facts of the world, and thus our identity, will determine our response to it.

    Posted by John on April 23, 2007 01:58 PM

    Comments

    Great stuff!!

    Thanks, John.

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