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Let God Be God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 29, 2022 12:01 am

Let God Be God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 29, 2022 12:01 am

The attributes of God ought to comfort Christians, for these majestic characteristics belong to our Father. Today, R.C. Sproul notes several comforting implications of who God is.

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When things are difficult and we don't understand why what we have to do is let God be God.

We tried to redefine God and strip him of his attributes because we don't want to live in a universe that is run by one who runs it not for our glory for his glory in our society today. God is defined in the Newman frankly disturbing ways of reducing go to our level is a dangerous business eternally dangerous today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul continues his exploration of the Westminster confession of faith comprehensive and historic theological statement written for centuries ago and designed to keep our eyes on how God is defined in Scripture as we continue with our study chapter 2, section 1. Because of this concept of God is the most perfect being that one who has all being fully actualized in themselves. The reason why we see the repetitive use of the word. Most throughout this section. As I've said before an earlier part of our study that each one of these attributes or character traits that is listed here in section 1 of chapter 2 is worthy of at least one full lecture so we could do a whole course just on these various attributes and for times like were not in it about that much time to. But I would like to spend a few moments just in passing to call attention to some of these we will relook that God's bidding.

The one only living and true God, and someone who is infinite as being in perfection. A most pure spirit invisible without body or parts that refers to the nature of God's being is unlike ours in the sense that there is nothing corporeal about him. He is a pure spirit having no body or parts and is not made up of 5 pounds of this in 10 pounds of that or someone because he is pure spirit that gives some people pause. We remember that the Mormons argue that God has a body since the Bible says that we are made in his image and since we have bodies that must mean that God has a body and not only that, throughout the Scriptures, God is often depicted as having a body and bodily parts we hear of the strong right arm of the Lord. We hear of the earth being his footstool that suggest that he has legs and feet, and so on. And that is I is all seeing and so throughout the biblical literature we hear God described in human terms in the term we have for that is Antero Poe more fake language.

Anthropomorphic language. Now that's sort of a $0.50 word limit, just break it down for you. Anthropology is the study of human civilization, and so on.

It comes from the Greek word arthropods which is the Greek word for man or humanity.

Actually, it's a not just the mail but that all humans and more false is the Greek word for form or structure, morphology studies forms were structures in the scientific world is so anthropomorphic simply means literally in the form of the human. So when God addresses us. He addresses us in human terms.

This is the only way God could communicate with us because we are not God.

We can't rise to the level that he is and speak to him in his terminology because were not God, and Calvin, for example, when he speaks of God's verbal revelation to us says it's as though God condescends to list to his creatures.

Just as parents in this world will use what we call baby talk when were trying to communicate with our infants in the family and so God condescends to speak to us in our language in our terms because that's the only way we could possibly have any understanding of him at the same time. The Bible is quick to warn us that when the Bible uses anthropomorphism's of God that they are just that, that they can't be pushed too far. As we looked at earlier when we talked about the language about God because the Bible in one sense warns us that even though narratives.

For example, when God stops Abraham on Mount Moriah from slang.

Isaac uses stopping him for now I know that you honor me and so on as if God had to wait till that moment. Before he knew what Abraham would do what we read on those occasions in Scripture where God says is going to punish the people and the people repent, and they beat their chest and that there their garments and then I will say.

And God repented or relented of what he intended to do and yet then later on in the didactic portions.

It reminds us that God is not a man that he should repent or change his mind and so we have to be careful that anytime we see these human forms projected onto God to remember that the Bible tells us that when they use human language to describe God.

It is in a manner of speaking my labor. That point right now because right now one of the greatest threats to Christian orthodoxy that is invaded the church tremendously in our day is this movement called open theism and open theism has a view of God that was developed in order to account for a complete free will dimension to humanity, Clark Pinnock. It was original architect of this made the statement that he was trying to come up with a doctrine of God that was somewhere between process theology that gives you a finite God is always changing and the Orthodox historic doctrine of God.

The one thing is good about that is that most heretics when they preach their heresy try to parade it off as orthodoxy where panic is up front at the beginning and says I am departing from Christian classical orthodoxy. He doesn't believe he's departing from biblical truth, but he thinks that Christian orthodoxy is been wrong with respect to their understanding of the omniscience of God.

And so the idea here is that God does not know what human beings are going to do until they do it and they will argue for this from biblical passage such as the one that I've just mentioned, where God says, now I see now I know, and so on, which seems to suggest that God doesn't know all things until they happen. Even though elsewhere, the Scripture says see not working. I flee from your presence. If I send a have about their if I make my bed and shield our fair you know when I sit down, you know, when I stand up and before award is formed on my lips. The Lord now does know it altogether and in the New Testament. We are also told that God knows we were going to say what we do before we do it and so if were going to be consistently biblical. We have to get rid of this idea of a finite God whose a cause make a cheerleader, hoping that everything is gonna come out in the wash. But in the final analysis, it all depends upon what we do and it best. God is a spectator and as I said again, more like a Aristotle's God, a do-nothing king who reigns but doesn't rule in any case, God is described here, not in bodily human terms that we are reminded that God is a spirit and the spirit it was a pure spirit has no corporeality to them in the ancient world and the philosopher sought for alternate reality.

They were divided into four different camps there were those who said that ultimate reality is one they were called Mona's mother said no. There are multiple realities that are all lament like earth, air, fire and water. Therefore things and then the question was, while those four things hang together and then the philosophers came up with what they called the Quint essence or the fifth essence that transcended the other for the became the unifying factor of earth are far more, but they will argue over whether alternate reality was one or many monistic or pluralistic in the other argument was whether it was physical or nonphysical, corporeal or incorporeal on what Christianity declares without any hesitation is that ultimate reality. God is incorporeal and he cannot be contained to 1 Particular Pl. That's because he's an infinite spirit that he can be omnipresent that he can be all-knowing on this event and so on immutable and eternal. One word I want to mention here within this list is the word immense. Usually when we use the word immense. We think that the that just made something of huge, gigantic size, but when the confession speaks of the immensity of God. It's speaking of an incredibly mysterious but majestic idea about God and that is though God is everywhere at all times.

There is no place where he is not present, but wherever he is present, he's present in his fullness less enough to give you an Excedrin headache number nine if you want to think about that for a long time. We have a tendency to think of God is being like a great big elephant were the tale was in New York City in the trunk is in San Diego and is he so big that he he spans the whole nation now our father who art in heaven, who thoroughly transcends this earth and cannot be contained in this earth. Yet whenever we meet him in our worship service and is present with his people. All who he is and all that he is is here he is here in the fullness of his being the fullness of his immutability is omniscience is a terminology and so and so is when the mention that one in passing, incomprehensible Almighty. The term Almighty is one that is that we've talked about this is often misunderstood and I will always have the seminary student once the stump the professor is see the question coming in the first year seminary in seminary raises answers is a true God is omnipotent, yes, will of God is omnipotent, meaning he can do all things is that mean that he can build a rock so big that he can move it.

Now they had impaled on the horns of a dilemma. So the matter what you say your transgression truth and entering the heresy. If I say that God builds a rock so big he can't move it. I'm saying there's something can't do and therefore denying his omnipotence, but if I say can't build a rock so big they can't move it. I'm saying there's something he can't do denying his omnipotence and is not really Almighty, and I say to my students as of you know, that's really it's a trick question because there is a correct answer to it.

One answers true in Ellen's false answer your question is this God cannot possibly build a rock so big that he could move it. What he may not sue, because if that were the case, and he would no longer be omnipotent.

Omnipotence does not mean that God can do anything he can't lie. He can't die, can't be God, not begun at same time and what it means is, he cannot ever be in a situation where he's not all-powerful over what he makes. So, for God to build a rock so Billy could move it would be for God to stop being God. There is a right answer to that Malone is just like the other question we hear is a immovable object and the irresistible force and you hear that dilemma and the question is, can there be coexisting in the universe the same time, an irresistible force in an immovable object that are two different entities. Is it possible to have both of those coexisting in the universe for the answer course is what no and the songwriter got it right. If an irresistible force such as you meant, and movable object like me somewhere, somehow, that up at the what was the refrain sums.

Gotta give some's gotta give some guy to give that's right give us think that you have an irresistible force meets an immovable object and the object doesn't move with his Italian but that force was not really irresistible.

It could be resisted because that immovable object just achieved resistance against that. On the other hand, if the irresistible force meets an immovable object and moves it does it tell you about the immovable object wasn't really immovable city, but he can't have it both ways. In the same university can have both coexisting we were doing a seminar in Providence in Seattle, Washington, and the other speaker at the seminar was Derek Thomas from Wales and he did his doctoral dissertation on Calvin's sermons on the book of Job while we were talking about divine providence and and Derek was speaking about Job's complaint and lament against God's apparent unfairness towards him because of his great suffering. One of the things it didn't come out in that study was the there's probably no book in all of Scripture that Moore dramatizes the omnipotence, the Almighty character of God than the book of Job and their many titles for God in the Old Testament names that are given to him Yahweh Elohim, Jehovah gyrating and so on. But one of the most important ones is the name LSAT.

I which has been translated in various ways. There's some dispute about the exact meaning of that name LSAT. I but the most common translation of it is the over power the one who overpowers the one who possesses all power and that lengthy interrogation that God gives to the Job there. He says gird up yourself like a man and answer me you want me to answer question forensic what you answer mine were you when I set the foundations of the world speak up and drove Santa gulping for chapters. Gotta say, can you draw out the Leviathan.

Nope, no can you unbind the belt of Orion note, can you set the Pleiades and the court notes and on so you see this overwhelming manifestation of L Shaddai, the one who overpowers nothing can overpower him, that's the way the Scripture speaks which is so comforting we go through what we've been through recently here in Florida with back to back hurricanes and and the unbelievable power that is unleashed in these things and think till you experience a hurricane. You can't really conceive of the power in this force of nature but that that power of the hurricane is nothing in front of the power of God and is as overpowering as that force of nature seems to be above and beyond that stands the one who holds the whole world in his hands, who is our father. That's with the great news is for the Christian is that we do not trust or put our faith in an impotent deity again. One of my favorite stories that the Old Testament is when the people of Israel after they come out of Egypt and the Exodus in their wandering all around in the wilderness, and they start getting homesick and they start complaining God has miraculously met their needs by providing manna for them from heaven will have to do is go out and pick it up off the ground and then get it, but after a while I get sick and tired of man that had manna for breakfast man for lunch.

Manna for dinner and they had fried manna baked manna roasted man-to-man a soufflé pop manna.

They've tried everything they can to give some diversity to this food, and finally the kitchen and there crying at Moses 10 everyday say let's go back to Egypt. We had our leaks are garlic and onions things were well back there when we were in slavery and so Moses comes to guns is God. If you love me at all.

Kill me see if I can put up with this people, all they do is moan and bellyache innocence their liberation uses a Ike I can't take care of these people because all I want now is meat to eat. Numbers 11 when the funniest chapters Nola Bible God says to Moses in one meet the hug and made to eat, not for one day for one week not for month but until it's coming out of their nostrils and becomes loathsome and and so then what the Moses terrifies us of. We've really made God. We gonna do you take all of our flocks and slay them just so that they can have me for months. None will be out of meat. Are you gonna take all the fish out of the sea so that we have fish to feed them for all this time, then the be nothing left. How are you going to do it is what Moses is saying to Gardner what God says to Moses, the awesome rhetorical question, Moses has the arm of the Lord waxed short who do you think you're talking to you think I have a withered arm.

You step back and watch me, Moses, and you will see if it comes to pass, as I have said and that's why we missed so much in our Christian life by ignoring the Old Testament because all of these attributes of God take on feet in the Old Testament and we see illustrations of God's omnipotence of his omniscience of his most great being of his being most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable most righteous will. Since the confession itself will take that dimension of God's providence up at a later date. We will wait for that to only this thing we need to see that he does all that he does in the final analysis, if you want to ask God why and it's a legitimate question when things are beyond the ken of our ability to penetrate and understand it's perfectly legitimate for us to ask questions of God and ask him why, but remember how you asked the question, the word why can be an honest question or could be an accusation if I tell my wife Amanda cut the grass. She comes home later in the day and I am cut the grass she consuming honey 1 inch cut the grass, assuming that there was a legitimate reason. That's a genuine question or she can be sent 1 inch cut the grass. That's not a question that's an accusation stemming is something left unsaid like what into cut the grass, dummy, sub.

We have to be careful how we ask questions of God like this. They were invited to come to him with the things that we don't understand, and ask why sometimes the only answer you get from God. When you ask why is the answer. Job good Gardner answer Jeff's question specifically what he did was he revealed himself in his glory in his Majesty and said here's your answer. Job may support Luther understood when he said when things are difficult and we don't understand why what we have to do is left God be God.

We try to redefine God recast him according to how we wanted to look and strip him of his attributes because we don't want to live in a universe that is run by one who runs it ultimately not for our glory for his glory. And that's in here. He does all these things for his own glory. He's the one who's most loving, most gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin reward of him that diligently seek him.

Most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin and will by no means clear the guilty woman is finish with this and make a test for ministers who had ordination trials in the Presbytery up north and I had to make a true and false quiz with 100 questions theological questions on the confession see how they did and before I gave this test that I made up to the young men coming out of seminary were facing their trials of ordination. I gave the test to all the men who were already ordained because I want to make sure that the test was fair and I said no, nobody has to put their name on the paper but I'm testing this test to see if it's accurate and it was one question on their and it went like this.

There's only one way that God will ever clear the guilty.

And that's through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross every minister in that Presbytery answered the question.

True answers.

False because here it says God hates Olson and he will by no means clear the guilty.

He saves the guilty.

He forgives the guilty, he justifies the guilty but doesn't clear the that's made clear right here. God in his redemption doesn't ever negotiate his own character, his own thing. He remains most just most holy and most gracious continue with our study of this that's Dr. RC Sproul reminding us that a right understanding of God is the foundation of every other doctrine.

That's why the framers of the Westminster confession of faith were so careful and detailed in their description of God's attributes. We are pleased to hear portions of Dr. Sproul series on this historic confession of faith today and all next week on Renewing Your Mind glad you joined us today we web the Westminster confession along with the accompanying larger and shorter catechisms are part of what we call the Westminster standards.

They have help generations of Christians stay within biblical balance, making sure that the essential doctrines of Christianity, or maintained. Let me recommend Dr. Sproles single volume edition of truths we confess in his signature easy to understand style. He gives us insight into modern application for each chapter of the Westminster confession of faith will be happy to send you the hardcover edition. When you give a donation of any amount to litigator ministries you can give your gift online that Renewing Your or you can call us at 800-435-4343. We also encourage you to share this program with others. It is a great opportunity to introduce your friends to the sound biblical teaching you enjoy. Here each day when you go to Renewing Your you'll see a sure button right in the middle of the page. That button allows you to post today's program on Facebook or twitter or you can share by email, but here's a preview of the message will hear tomorrow if we could understand everything that's in section 2 of chapter 2 of the Westminster confession of faith with respect to our understanding of the nature and character of God that I would say to that 90% of the theological issues that range over the centuries within the church would be resolved will. That's a bold assertion and I'm anxious to find out what that is. I hope you are is well and make plans to join us Friday for Renewing Your Mind

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