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Time to Think

Time to Think
by Pastor Ron Snyder

Gospel of Salvation [#1-15]

1. Salvation: In Acts 16:30 the Philippian jailer asked Paul,"What must I do to be saved?" Most people think"My works (baptism, alms, keeping the commandments) earn salvation" (Mk.10:17-22). Salvation, or deliverance from sin's bondage, is not of works, but all of grace, God's unmerited favor (Rom.11:6; Eph.2:8-9). Paul, as saved man, said it right,"By the grace of God I am what I am" (I Cor.15:10) - by a Spirit-given faith union with Christ.

2. Gospel: There is only one Gospel (I Cor.15:1), but 4 accounts of the Gospel (The Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Gospel means "good news." The Gospel has 2 pillars, the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ (I Cor.15:3-4). The death of Christ is the victory over sin, and the resurrection of Christ is the victory over death (Rom.5:12). There is no salvation without belief in both pillars (I Cor.15:1-2).

3. Justification: Luther said "Justification is the doctrine by which the church stands or falls" (Gal.2:16). In the order of salvation, justification follows born again (John 3:3,5,7), and goes before sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3,7). It can be summarized in two doctrines: forgiveness of sins (Eph.1:7) and the imputation of Christ's righteousness (2 Cor.5:21). Praise God for His free grace to us in justification (Rom.3:24).

4. Forgiveness: The greatest mercy we receive from God is forgiveness of sins - God's gracious removal of a believing repentant sinner from the guilt of all his sin for Jesus' sake. Jesus alone, His blood shed on the cross, give all the glory (merit) to Him (Eph.1:7; 4:32; Heb 9:22). Forgiveness alone, not regeneration or repentance, blots out or cancels our sin (Ps.51: 1,9). God never forgets, but forgiven sin is never brought up (Ps.103:12).

5. Imputation: In justification the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us (2 Cor.5:21; Phil.3:9). Imputation means "to credit to one's account" (Gen 15:6). If I put a hundred dollars into your bank account, that's imputation. You did not do anything for the money. It was gratis, a gift, pure grace (Zech.3:1-5; Philemon v.18). "Clothed in righteousness divine, bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own."

6. Promises: There are over eight thousand promises of God in the Bible. Promises are divine intentions for the future that are sure as to God's actions and they bring comfort to His people. "Only a God who has spoken promises to mankind can be thought of as faithful" (Maclaren; Isa 14:24; 46:9-11; 55:11; 2 Cor.1:20). "Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail," only then will we prevail.

7. Hope: Biblical hope is certain and not wishful thinking. The early church symbolized it as an anchor (Heb 6:18-20). It is based on God's certain promises and prophecies are all fulfilled in Jesus (2 Cor.1:20; John 13:19; 14:29). All fulfilled promises and prophecies proclaim the deity of Christ, our solid Rock (1 Cor.10:4; Duet.32:4; Ps.18:46). "In times like these, we need an anchor. Be sure your anchor holds and grips the solid Rock, Jesus."

8. In Christ: Regeneration is the implantation of the soul into Christ, of being united to Christ. 'In Christ' is a theme of Ephesians (27 times). Paul defines a Christian in Eph.1:1 as saints, faithful, and in Christ, by God's will. Life in Christ is threefold: legal (no condemnation, Rom.8:1), spiritual (vital, a corpse made alive; Eph 2:1-5), and eternal (permanent, never lost). Disciples, being in Christ, do not join Christ to sin (1 Cor.6:15-20).

9. Regeneration: Why must regeneration (new birth, being in Christ) precede faith? Because a spiritually dead person cannot believe; a person must have spiritual life before he can believe (Eph 2:1-5; John 3:1-8; I Cor.2:14). "Regeneration precedes faith" (R.C. Sproul) summarizes the Reformation. Otherwise, to believe is a humanistic gospel that glorifies man and his ability, not God; it destroys grace (Rom.11:6; I Cor.1:30).

10. Conversion: Regeneration is a changed heart (John 3:6; 2 Cor.4:6; Ezek.36:26) and conversion is the awareness of a changed heart. Regeneration is immediate, whereas conversion is either immediate or gradual. Genuine conversion does not begin with making a decision for Jesus or accepting Him, but with real repentance (2 Cor.7:10). It makes one a disciple of Jesus who follows His example (Eph.5:1).

11. Repentance: In the Greek, repentance is not simply a change of mind, but a grace of God in which a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed. In the Hebrew, repentance means "turn" (eighteen times in Jer.3 and vs.22- 25 is a prayer of true repentance). True repentance (contrition) is a 180 degree turn to the right, to God (I Thess. 1:9). The need is for forgiveness and the door to it is repentance (Rev. 3:19).

12. Doctrine: Doctrine is key Bible truths or what the Bible teaches. Many Christians don't like doctrine; "Just give me Jesus, that's all I need." We only know Jesus from what the Bible teaches. "All in the Bible is Christ in all" (Ryle). Doctrine is God's means to His ends - to His people becoming like Jesus (Rom 8:29). Doctrine without duty (becoming like Christ) is dead (Eph 5:1; John 13:17). Duty without doctrine is blind.

13. Life: "O taste (experience) and see that the LORD is good" (Ps. 34:8). Many today have divorced life (experience) from doctrine (what the Bible teaches). Life without doctrine is mere emotions, feelings and leads to falsehoods (2 Tim.4:3-4; Eph. 4:14). God's revelation of who He is and what He wills is foundational to real Christianity. Doctrine in the head (mind) precedes heat in the heart, which fosters true willful Christian living.

14. Love: Is there a difference between "I love you" and "I love You (Jesus)"? The first is sensual, the second originates with God (agape love, unique Christian love; I John 4:19), and is primarily an action word (I John 3:17-18). Agape love is THE mark of a Christian (John 13:34-35) and puts others' interests and welfare above our own (I John 3:14). We are to act just like Jesus did for us on the cross (John 3:16; 15:13; I John 3:16).

15. Sanctification: In Roman Catholicism sanctification precedes justification; hence salvation is falsely by works. In the biblical order of salvation, sanctification follows justification. Sanctification means increase in holiness (1 Pet.1:15-16), increase in pleasing God (2 Cor.5:9), increase in Christlikeness (1 Cor.11:1), and increase in knowledge (2 Pet.3:18). Sanctification is God's will for us (1 Thess.4:3; Phil.2:12-13).

Godhead – Trinity [#16-40]

16. Eternal: Eternal is existing forever, timeless, everlasting, immortal. Eternality is an incommunicable attribute of God. There never was a time when God was not."Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting Thou art God, To endless years the same." The"I Am" exists in eternal present (Ex.3:14; Acts 15:18)."Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee… Who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be" (Ps.90: 2).

17. Creator: Only God is the Creator (a person who creates, an author, originator, designer)."In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen.1:1)."Heaven and earth" is a Hebrew merism (take two extremes to comprise the whole); God is the Creator of everything. The Hebrew"creates" (three times in Gen.1, vs.1,21,27, for supreme emphasis) means to bring something out of nothing (Ps.33:9; Rom.4:17). Praise Him!

18. Providence: Providence is from the Latin pro ("before") and video (“to see"), but it means more than to see beforehand. God not only watches all things, but He watches over us; He provides for us, and rules and governs all things, including our affairs (Ps.57:2; John 15:5; Isa.26:12; Eccl.7:14). In 19th century Providence was capitalized to refer to God, not just God's activity. Thanksgiving makes visible the invisible hand of God's providence.

19. Trinity:"How many persons are in the Godhead? There are three persons..., the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory" (WSC Q6). God has revealed some things in nature and to conscience, but not the Trinity. It is revealed only by supernatural revelation. The word is not in Scripture, but the mysterious teaching is (Mt.3:13-17; 28:19; 2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:2).

20. Living God: In Isa.41:21-24 and 44:9-20, Isaiah mocked the dead gods or idols of the apostate Jews; idols cannot speak or hear, nor do anything or predict anything. As Jesus reminded the scribes and Pharisees, only God is the living God and those in Christ live also (Mk.12:26-27)."That God lives is at once the simplest and most profound thing to be said of Him, for it comprises all His sovereign being and activity" (Carl Henry).

21. Revelation: Because God is a living God, He reveals Himself. The Bible is God's self-revelation to us."Revelation denotes any immediate informative communication from God, disclosing things that would not otherwise have been known" (J. Owen). The clearest definition of divine revelation is in Mt.16:16-17. The end or goal of all revelation is sola dei gloria ("To God alone the glory"), the theme of the Reformation (John 17:3).

22. Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4), a member of the Trinity (2 Cor.13:14), and He glorifies the Son, Jesus (John 16:14; 2 Cor.3:17). He is the author of Scripture (2 Pet.1:20-21), and always works with Scripture (John 14:26; 16:13). He supernaturally regenerates the elect (John 3:6,8), indwells believers (1 Cor.12:13), seals (secures) believers (Eph.1:13-14; 2 Cor.1:22), and enables them to live the Christian life (Phil.2:12-13).

23. I AM: When Moses asked God His name, He replied"I AM WHO I AM" (Ex.3:14;15,"The LORD"). It means: God is self-existent (Doctrine of Aseity; He has life in Himself and is not answerable to anybody;"He who causes to be"; John 5:26; Ps.115:3; Dan. 4:35); God is self-sufficient (He has no needs; Acts 17:25), and God is eternal (He has no beginning and no end; Ps.102:27) and unchangeable (Mal.3:6). God's name is sacred.

24. I AM - Jesus:"Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58), meaning"I AM Who I AM" (10:30; 14:9; Ex.3:14). Seven times in John's Gospel Account Jesus said"I AM":"I am the bread of life” (6:35,48);"I am the light of the world" (8:12; 9:5); “I am the gate" (10:7,9);"I am the good shepherd" (10:11,14);"I am the resurrection and the life" (11:25-26);"I am the way, the truth, and the life" (14:6); and"I am the true vine" (15:1,5). Jesus is God.

25. Condescension: To condescend is to stoop, lower, humble or demean oneself."No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven" (John 3:13). The degree of stoop of the Lord Jesus from the highest (third) heaven to earth is beyond human ability to grasp (Ps.113:6). For the Son of God to be born in a manger is the highest of highs as to humiliation. Why?"The Savior came from glory to save a wretch like me."

26. Incarnation: The incarnation means two natures in one person, hence the God-Man. Jesus came to this earth and added human flesh (Gal.4:4-5; John 3:13). He was 100% human (yet without sin; 1 John 3:5; Heb.4:15) and 100% God (John 1:18; 10:30); He had to be God to have the power to save us, and He had to be Man to be our perfect sacrifice (Mt.1:21). This has been called the hinge underlying all Christianity (John 1:14; Isa.7:14).

27. Kenosis: The hymn writer errored,"[Jesus] Emptied Himself of all but love." This is a false theory of kenosis ("emptying"). The question is,"What were the limits of the incarnate Christ on earth (Phil. 2:7; John 14:10; Rom.8:3)? A correct doctrine of kenosis involves veiling of the divine attributes in Jesus' condescension to earth ("veiled in flesh the Godhead see") and their voluntary nonuse (humility precedes exaltation; Phil.2:6-11).

28. Miracle: Liberals deny the miraculous or supernatural; they deny God and worship an idol (Acts 26:8; Luke 1:37; Gen 1:3)."A miracle is a direct act of divine intervention in which God overrules His creation to display His glory" (Ex.15:11; Acts 2:22). It is a display of supernatural (above nature) power. It does not operate by the laws of nature; if it did it would not be a miracle."Miracles are meant to be believed not understood" (Lloyd-Jones).

29. Miracles - Jesus: The Bible records 34 of Jesus' miracles (John 20:30; 21:25). He did miracles of healing (John 4:46-54; Mk.5:25-34) including raising the dead - the ultimate healing; Mk.5:21-24,35-43; Luke 7:11-17; John 11:1-44); miracles of casting out demons (Mt.8:28-34); and miracles of nature (Mt.14:22-33; Mk 6:30-44; 45-52;). The miracles Jesus did were a witness to His deity; Jesus was the Son of God (John 5:36; 20:31).

30. Mediator: A mediator is a go-between (umpire, referee) to bring agreement or reconciliation. The incarnate Jesus, the God-Man, is the perfect Mediator between God and Man (1 Tim.2:5). He executes His office of Mediator as Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet Jesus came to reveal God to us (Heb.1:1-3). As Priest He came to ransom us (Heb.4:14-16; 7:24-25; 9:28; Col.1:20). As King He came to reign over us (John 18:37).

31. Crucifixion - Blood-shedding: Shed blood is a figure of speech for death. In the Old Testament God established the sacrificial system where unblemished lambs were scapegoats and altar sacrifices for sin remission (Heb 9:22; Lev.16). The sinner placed his hands on the scapegoat and his sins were transferred. The lamb was sacrificed as the sinner's substitute for sin remission. Jesus was God's Lamb (John 1:29; Heb.10:5-14;1 Pet.1:19).

32. Crucifixion: Roman crucifixion was the most cruel, painful punishment ever concocted for the worst of noncitizen criminals. Nailed to a cross where one had to lift oneself to breathe was excruciatingly painful. Buzzards would peck at the eyes and body. It was a public spectacle with people mocking the dying criminal. Death by asphyxiation would normally take several days. Crucifixion shows the vileness of sin (Rom.3:9-18).

33. Crucifixion - Jesus: The type (figure) is the bronze serpent (Num. 21:4-9). The arch-type (fulfillment) is the crucifixion of Jesus (John 3:14- 15). As Moses lifted up the serpent, so Christ was lifted up (crucified; John 12:32). The serpent-bitten people looked to the bronzed serpent and were healed, so those who look to (put faith in) the crucified Jesus are saved from their sins. God was reconciling His people to Himself (2 Cor.5:18-21).

34. Resurrection: A resurrection is not a resuscitation - a reviving from unconsciousness or apparent death. Rather, it is the actual restoration of life after real death (John 19:34; Luke 24:36-43; Rom.1:3-4). Liberals falsely say resurrection is merely the permanent influence of Jesus in the world. That saves no one. To Christians the resurrected Jesus has authority over death (Rev.1:18), and because He lives we too shall live (John 14:19).

35. Ascension: The ascension is the visible rising of the resurrected, glorified, God-Man Jesus from earth to heaven (Acts 1:2; 9-11; Luke 24:50- 53). Looking backward the ascension completes the resurrection (both are
God's stamp of approval on Jesus' cross work). Looking forward it leads t Christ enthroned in heaven (Heb.1:3; 12:2). Jesus had to ascend before the Spirit came (John 16:7), and our hearts gravitate upward (Col.3:1-4).

36. Heavens: The Jews had three heavens (Ps.19:1; Job 38:31-33). The first heaven was the earth's atmosphere up to two hundred miles (Job 38:34-37). The second heaven was all the stars, planets, and galaxies (Ps.147:4; Isa 40:26). The third heaven, the highest heaven, is where God dwells, the Most High God (Gen.14:18-22)."The High and Lofty One" (Isa. 57:15) humbles Himself to behold the other heavens & earth (Ps 113:6).

37. Session: The enthronement of Jesus is His ascension (ascend plus session). The session of Jesus is His exaltation to the throne of heaven, His being seated at the Father's right hand (Heb.1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). The right hand is figuratively the place of honor, dignity, and authority. Being seated means He is ruling (Col.1:17) as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev.19:16). His"seating" is interrupted by His second descent (Heb. 9:28).

38. Exaltation: Exaltation means to go from meanness (lowliness, humiliation) to greatness (Ps.145:3). The focal text for Christ's exaltation is Phil.2:9-11. The name which places the exalted Christ above all is"Lord" (Rev.19:16; 1 Tim.6:15). His exaltation consists of the following events: His resurrection (Mt.28:6), His ascension (Acts 1:9-11), His session (Heb.1: 3; 12:2); and His second coming (the climax of His exaltation; Mt.16:27).

39. Trinity - Economic: The three persons in the Trinity are one God, but for salvation They divided the work. The Son humbled Himself, took on human flesh, and subordinated Himself to the Father (John 4:34, 10:17-18; 14:10). The Holy Spirit subordinated Himself to both the Father and the Son (John 16:13-14) - all this to save a single soul. The Father authored redemption, the Son accomplished it, and the Spirit applies it (Eph.1:3-14).

40. Worship - Worth:"Worship has become a laboratory of frivolities and acircus of creativities" (Mohler). Nothing evokes the true worship of God like the Word of God. As the understanding of God goes deeper, the worship of God goes higher; it becomes transcendent wonder (Isa 57:15; Ex.34:6-8). In the 16th century worship was called"worth-ship.""Savior, You are worthy and wonderful; worthy of worship and praise" (Rev.5:8-14).

Attributes of God [#41-77]

41. Name - God: God does all things for the glory of His name (Isa.42:8; 48:11; Ezek.20:9,14). God's name is the sum of His character (Isa.57:15; Ex.34:6-7; this has been called the definition of God). It is the reputation God deserves (Isa.46:9). In God's self-revelation, the Bible, He is telling us His name."There's a wondrous power about the character of God, for the more you regard it, the more you'll be conformed to it" (Spurgeon).

42. Attributes: Teaching the truth about God requires teaching about His attributes as revealed in the Bible. Attributes are characteristics affirmed by God as belonging to His nature or being."Attributes are the letters of His name" (Spurgeon). If one attribute is removed (wrath, anger, holiness), His name is changed; in God's case, He is changed into an idol (a false god). His attributes are not abstract. God saves sinners (Acts 4:12; John 1:12).

43. Praise: Praise means to exalt, adore, revere, glorify, worship, hallow. Biblically, praise means: to exalt God's attributes, to exalt God's works, and to thank Him for both His attributes and works. For Christians praise of God is to be a continual activity (Ps.34:1; Heb.13:15). The Book of Psalms was the Hymnbook of Israel. It ends with the theme"Hallelujah, praise Jehovah" (Psalm 146-150)."Let everything that breathes praise the Lord" (150:6).

44. Spirit:"God is a Spirit" (John 4:24), which means He has no body (corporeal, material, physical substance). God is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17), and has never been seen by any human being (1 John 4:12; Ex. 33:20). Jesus, the eternal Spirit, added human flesh (Gal.4:4) and made God visible (John 1:18). In worship the human spirit communes with God, the Spirit. It takes spiritual sight to worship what is not seen (1 Pet.1:8-9).

45. Infinite: Infinitude is an incommunicable attribute of God. God only is without limit, boundless, measureless in all His attributes."Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds," and"His strength is in the clouds" (Ps.36:5; 68:34); it means God's attributes of mercy, faithfulness, and strength are infinite."Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven, what can you do? (Job 11:7-8).

46. Aseity: Mankind's existence, life, is derived from outside of self, namely from God. God's existence, life, is derived from within Himself. God alone is self-existent. The doctrine of aseity is the self-existence of God; The"I Am Who I Am" is not answerable to anybody (Ex 3:14-15; Ps.115:3; Dan.4:35; Ps. 135:6). Jesus, as the second person in the Godhead, has life within Himself (John 5:26). We owe everything to God (1 Cor.6:19-20).

47. Holiness: The holiness of God is His only attribute that is repeated three times in Scripture for supreme emphasis (Isa.6:3; Rev.4:8). God alone is absolutely holy as to His being or essence (Rev.15:4); holiness of
believers is delegated and relative (1 Pet.1:15-16). Holiness means: purity, opposition to all evil, and positive moral excellence. There are four elements to God's holiness: His majesty, wrath, will, and righteousness.

48. Sovereignty: No doctrine excites the hatred of mankind more than the absolute sovereignty of God (Rom.8:7; 1 Sam.2:6; Ps.103:19; 115:3). His sovereignty is threefold: He is supreme, He is independent, and He has optional power, that is, the ability to act or not to act in any given situation (Shedd). Divine sovereignty makes us all secure (Spurgeon). It is the basis of all humility. All the why questions end at the sovereignty of God.

49. Decrees: The decrees of God are His eternal purposes, plans, what He has from eternity determined to do (Ps.33:11; Isa.14:24,27; Acts 15: 18). He works out His decrees in creation (Rev.4:11) and providence (Eph 1:11). "Whate'er the mighty Lord decrees, shall stand forever sure. The settled purpose of His heart to ages shall endure." Nothing is left to chance."My Father Planned It All." To believers this is comforting (Rom. 8:28).

50. Omniscience: God alone is omni ("all") knowing ("science"). God sees and knows all things (Heb.4:13; Ps.33:13; 139:1-6; Prov.15:11; 1 Kgs.8:39; Jer.23:24). Only a being who is infinite and eternal is capable of knowing everything. God knows all thoughts (Amos 4:13), and words on the tongue before they are ever spoken (Ps.139:4). This is a threat to unbelievers, a comfort and correction to believers. The Teacher never leaves the room.

51. Wisdom - God:"God only wise" is three times in Scripture (raised to the superlative emphasis; 1 Tim.1:17; Rom.16:27; Jude v.25). God's wisdom is absolute (essential to His being; Rom.11:33). God's wisdom is His ability to devise perfect plans and ends, and His ability to arrange perfect means to achieve both His plans and ends. Its basis is His omniscient goodness (Ps.119:68), tied to omnipotence; it cannot fail.

52. Remember - God: God as omniscient, never forgets and always remembers (Ps.139:1-6). Samson prayed,"God, remember me" (Judg. 16:28). The Hebrew verb means"to take note of,""to act on behalf of." God "remembers His covenant forever" (Ps.105:8;"a thousand years" - endless or without limit, 2 Pet.3:8). It means God acts according to His covenant promises in a way that's evident to His people (Gen.8:1. Ex.2:24-25).

53. Good - God: The rich young ruler called Jesus"Good teacher" (Mk. 10:17-22). Jesus replied,"No one is good, but One, that is God." The rich young ruler was blind as to Jesus being the"Good God." The goodness of God refers to the perfection of His nature (Mt.5:48; Ps.119:67-68). God is eternally, infinitely, immutably, and continually good without defect (52:1). Man's good is not innate; it’s given from God (John 3:27), and but a drop.

54. Omnipresence: Many Christians believe that hell is separation from God's presence. That denies God's omnipresence, His"all, everywhere presence," and Scripture (Ps.139:7-12; Prov.15:3,11; Job 26:6; Heb.4:13). Sin separates us from God spiritually, but not spatially."And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God, art present there." A sober thought from Jonathan Edwards, “Hell is God's wrathful presence forever” (Rev.1:18).

55. Omnipotence: Omnipotence means God is all powerful (Ps.68:34; His strength"is in the clouds" means infinite, without limits; Ps. 62:11; 90:11; 115:3; Dan.4:35). Biblically, the order of power from greatest to least is God, Satan, Michael (the archangel, Jude v.9), other angels (holy and unholy), and humans. Christians can overcome Satan (1 John 4:4; James 4:7). The order is very important: Submit to God first, then resist the devil.

56. Power: The sinful world prizes power, abuses it, and employs it in its bent on evil and corruption (Prov.4:16-17; Jer.9:3). Power is the ability to do something. Biblically, God is all powerful (omnipotent); His power is infinite. It is the effective energy of His perfect nature by which he is able to do immutable being and divine character. God's power is most seen in creation (Ps.19:1) and salvation (Eph.1:19-20).

57. Finger of God: The finger of God is an anthropomorphism (to ascribe human features to God to aid our understanding). The hand of God symbolizes His power; His finger accentuates omnipotence (being all- powerful; Ps.62:11; 68:34). Humans use fingers for construction. The finger of God is seen in creation (Ps.8:3), revelation (Ex.31:18), and in salvation (Ex. 8:19, Luke 11:20). A mere touch of God's finger brings change.

58. Impossible:"Nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37) needs to be qualified. God has ordered power; He can do anything He wills (Ps. 115:3). God does not have absolute power; He cannot do everything. It is impossible for God to die, lie (Titus 1:2), or make a rock so big He cannot move it. The power of God's perfect nature is able to perform only that which accords with His unchangeable being and attributes (Ps.62:11).

59. Immutable: Immutability or unchangeable is an incommunicable (in God alone) attribute of God. It is impossible for God to change (Mal. 3:6; Heb.13:8; James 1:17). That comforts believers, but it is a terror to unbelievers. In “Man Naturally God's Enemy” (Rom. 8:7), J. Edwards said, "There are four things about God that make men hate Him: His holiness, His sovereignty, His omniscience (all knowing), and His immutability.”

60. Unchangeable: Unchangeable means immutable and invariable (Mal.3:6; Jam.1:17). Mormons believe a false law of progression that both god and man change. False belief: God was a man who progressed to god and men can change to become gods. Biblically, God is unchangeable; man changes [but not as gods]."Change and decay in all around I see: O Thou who changest not, abide with me.""Jesus Never Fails" (Heb.13:8).

61. gods: Word of Faith's Kenneth Copeland falsely believes Christians are little gods citing 2 Peter 1:4 [through God's promises"you may be partakers of the divine nature"]. That is blasphemy (Ex. 20:7). Christians partake of God's communicable attributes (love, joy), but not His incommunicable attributes (omniscience, omnipotence). Scripture is clear, God is jealous of His glory, uniqueness, aloneness, and oneness (Isa. 42:8, 46:9; 48:11).

62. Absolute - Relative: Biblically, the difference between absolute and relative spells the difference between God and man (Isa.46:9; Ps.50:21; Isa.55:8-9; Deut.29:29). Absolute means complete, perfect, unlimited - a standard not relative or comparative. Relative means proportional, and implies comparison. Believers’ holiness is relative, delegated (1 Pet.1:15-16). God's holiness is of His essence; He alone is absolute (Rev.15:4).

63. Faithfulness: Hudson Taylor's life motto was Mark 11:22,"Hold onto the faithfulness of God." This attribute of God means He will do what He says (2 Tim.2:13; 1 Thess.5:24; Isa.55:11). Believers live each day feeding on God's faithfulness (Ps.37:3). This nourishes commitment and hope. "Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me" (Lam.3:22-23).

64. Immortal - God:"The man Jesus is dead, forever dead" (Russell, founder of Jehovah Witnesses)."God is Dead" is the false mantra of cults and those who desire no accountability for sin. It is impossible for God to die (John 3:13, 5:26, 8:58; Rev.1:18; Ex.3:14; Gen.1:1; Acts 15:18). God is immortal, meaning imperishable, incorruptible, existing outside of time. He will never know decay or lose strength. This merits doxology (1 Tim.1: 17).

65. God's Love: God's love is an act of His will, apart from human emotions, that evidences undeserved, self-sacrifice on behalf of others. The greatest act of God's love was on the cross of Jesus (John 3:16; 15:13). Jesus died for His people when they were yet ungodly (Rom.5:6), sinners (5:8), and enemies (5:10)."Died He for me, who caused His pain?" (Mt.1:21)"Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."

66. "God is Love":"God is love" is the mantra today, based on 1 John 4:8. "God is love" is interpreted as a tautology (a needless repetition of an idea; "God is love" and “Love is God"). It is used to either exclude God's other attributes or give them relative insignificance. What about 1 John 1:5,"God is light"? Do they say that's an equal tautology or not? Emphasizing love, they falsely assume a God of love would never send anyone to hell.

67. Wrath: The wrath of God is shunned by Christians today; they say a loving God would never send people to hell. Wrath is an attribute of God. It is cited throughout the Bible (over 600 times in the O.T.; John 2:13-17, Book of Rev.). Wrath is God's holy, resolute action in punishing sin (Ex. 34:7; Rom.1:18-32). Unpunished sin means God ceasing to be God. Christians don't fear God's wrath (John 5:24; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21).

68. Unity of Essence: Christians have falsely debated which attribute of God is most important - holiness, sovereignty, love. God has unity of essence, meaning He is a simple, not a composite being. God's attributes cannot be separated or one acting above another. Neither can the fruit of the Spirit, Gal.5:22-23. They are singular. God's love is a holy love and God must punish sin or He would cease to be the God of the Bible (John 3:16).

69. Immanence: On Sesame Street, Glover illustrates near and far. Biblically, near is the immanence of God, and far is the transcendence of God. Immanence means God is here (more personal than saying every- where; Ps.139:7-10; Acts 17:27-28). It means God is indwelling ("the inside God"; John 17:24), near, omnipresent, walks together (Amos 3:3), never leaves (Heb.13:5), with us (Isa. 7:14), Shekinah of God (Ex.13:20-21).

70. Transcendence:"When transcendence ("the outside God") melts into immanence ("the inside God"), the church loses its identity" (Wells). To maintain true worship of God, the tension between immanence (nearness) and transcendence (farness) must be maintained. Fear of God cannot melt into friend of God. His transcendence is His otherness (Ex.15:11; Isa 46:9; 57:15; Ps.50:21). He is knowable, but still beyond comprehension! (113: 6).

71. Self-sufficient: God is the"I AM," He is self-sufficient, independent; He has no needs (Acts 17:25; Ps.50:9-12). God is the Creator, Sustainer, and Life-giver over all things (Col.1:17). The Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) did not need to create. They did so out of their goodness and pleasure (Gen.1:31; Ps.115:3). It is not that we provide for Him; He provides for us (Phil.4:19)."I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord."

72. Personality:"The Spirit itself" (KJV Rom.8:16) is wrong; other translations (NAV, ESV) are right,"The Spirit Himself." All three members of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are persons referred to by personal pronouns in Scripture. They have personality, which exists where there is: mind, intelligence, will, reason, individuality, self-consciousness, and self-determination. Personalities are relational (John 17:3; 2 Cor.6:18).

73. Pantheism: The girl sang"God is wind and God is rain." Everyone in ignorance clapped for pantheism! That God has personality is important in denying the error of pantheism, which falsely says everything is God and God is everything - God is wind and rain. Pantheism denies that God has personality; it says God is simply a force ("May the force be with you") or He is an unconscious energy. God as a person is vital for any true worship.

74. Greatness: Antiochus Epiphanes ("the greatest"), the Seleucid King (d.164 BC), was called by the Samaritans,"the great God." Muhammed Ali, the boxer, said,"I am the greatest." Man has sinful delusion before God, whose"greatness is unsearchable" (Ps.145:3), who will not give His glory to another (Isa.42:8; 48:11-12). Greatness can refer to size (1 Kgs. 8:27), but it refers to the exclusive preeminence, worthiness of God (Col.1:18).

75. Exclusivity: It means to exclude all other things, to be all alone. The God of Scripture is exclusive (Isa.45:22; 46:9-11). In Exodus 20:3 the first of the Ten Commandments demands exclusivity. God is jealous of His Name, glory, and worship; He tolerates no rivals (Ex.34:14; Isa. 42:8; 48:11; Mt. 4:10). Exodus15:11 asks a rhetorical question,"Who is like unto God, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" Answer,"No one!"

76. Glory: Glory is the visible display of the essence (attributes) of God’s divine character or the outward shining of His inward Being. The Hebrew word is kabod ("weight"), the outward display of light, Shekinah (Ex.33:18- 23; 40:34; 1 Kgs. 8:10-12; Luke 2:9). The Greek word is doxa, the display of the inner character of God (John 2:11). God does everything for His glory."The more God's glories strike your eyes, the humbler you will lie."

77. Silence: Silence is the absence of sound, speech or music. In modern culture,"Where will the word resound? Not here, there is not enough silence" (T.S. Eliot). Silence is the highest way to express the inexpressible. When God's name (the sum of His revealed character) has weightiness (value, Ex 33:18), silence in worship abounds (Hab.2:20) and true humility is found (Job 40:4; Isa. 57:15; Mt.5:3; James 4:10). Be silent before Him.

 
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