Archive for the ‘God’ Category

February 20 Daily Devotion Ephesians 2:4

Ephesians 2:4

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.

The worldly man speaks of riches in terms of material wealth. He yearns for money, jewellery, big houses and luxury items. Sadly, even churchgoers of our time are overly concerned for material riches.

But a godly man, like the apostle Paul, will be extremely vigilant and cautious toward material wealth (cf.1 Tim. 6:9-11). In fact, such a man will also be overwhelmingly fascinated with the riches of God. In his epistles, Paul spoke glowingly of “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8), “the exceeding riches of his grace” (Eph. 2:7; 1:7), “the riches of his glory” (Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:18; 3:16), “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” (Rom. 2:4), “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33), etc.

Our text for today declares that God is rich in mercy. The riches of His mercy far outshine all the wealth of this world. While man becomes rich by hoarding things for himself, the riches of God’s mercy endlessly bestow His goodness and glory on those who need them. He is so rich in mercy that no one who comes to Him for His mercy shall be turned away for lack of it.

What sinners like us need most from God is His mercy. Shall we dare to approach His awful throne for His blessings? The answer is that He is rich in mercy! Are we then worthy to ask favours from Him? The answer is that His mercy is abundant to those who seek Him. You need not possess any merit nor meet any eligibility requirement. Just come to Him, you shall have mercy; and His mercy shall supply all your needs.

What is the guarantee of the bestowal of His mercy? The apostle assuredly says, “for his great love wherewith he loved us.” The love of God towards His people is everlasting, and His loving hands are always stretched out to receive those who come and to bestow upon them His rich mercies.

The richness of His mercy and the greatness of His love are both now extended to His children in full measure. O what great encouragement we are given to come to our God! There is no reason why we should hesitate to come to Him. He says to us, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

God is Love!

God is LOveGod is love.” Though short, it is a statement of eternal magnitude and significance. Never was more meaning encapsulated in so few words as in this short sentence – “God is love.” The Apostle John stated this truth twice in his first epistle (cf. 1 John 4:8, 16). The message of this short verse is splashed across the Bible.

Some clarifications are necessary before any further elaboration of this glorious statement is attempted. When John wrote that “God is love”, he was not saying that “love” is the complete revelation of God. In fact, he has already written in the same epistle that “God is light” (1 John 1:5); and that refers to God’s holy nature (cf. John 3:18–21; 1 John 1:5–10). So love is not the only attribute that adequately describes God. God cannot be fully explained by one of His attributes alone. Love is not the only perception we ought to have of Him. Neither was the Apostle John implying that “love is God”. The emphasis of the saying, “God is love”, is that in God alone can one fully view what true love is; and only by His enablement that one can have the power to express true love.

God is essential boundless love

The declaration that “God is love” not only reveals God as a loving God, but also portrays love as natural and essential to His divine glory. All of God’s will and all of His works are draped in His glorious love. In nature and essence, He is “God of love” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

God is perfect, and His love is perfect too. God is unfathomable, and hence His love is beyond our full grasp. But the knowledge that God is full of perfect and infinite love enables us to draw near to Him with full assurance of faith for pardon and redemption.

In this dark world of hatred, sin and sorrows, we have the assurance that a God of infinite love rules over all. Though we may not be able to reconcile all the cruelty and tragedies that occur around us, yet by exercising faith on this marvellous declaration, we can find consolation. In fact, amidst all the sadness, sin and sorrow, there is abundant evidence that God is love. Among all the manifestations of His love in this dark world, the gift of a Saviour is the greatest of all.

God manifested His love through His Son

We can know God because His great love is manifested unto us. Immediately after making the assertion that “God is love”, the Apostle John wrote, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). God’s love has sent the Son of God to bear all our sins so that we may know Him intimately.

How amazing it is that God should love vile mortals like us. Who can fully comprehend that the eternal God, who is holy, would love ungrateful rebels such as we? What a great mystery and a grand miracle that the divine love would send His only begotten Son into the world for us! If this is not love, what then is love?

John says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). God’s sending of His Son is so unusual and such an unprecedented expression of love that the apostle says, “Herein is love”. God loved the world so wonderfully, so amazingly and so incredibly that He sacrificed His only begotten Son as the ransom for the redemption of sinners. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God’s matchless love

Being moved by the love of God manifested through Christ, the Apostle John exclaimed, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1a). John encourages us to contemplate the greatness of God’s love. He points us to God’s love as peculiar. It is out-of-this-world kind of love. There is no act of love in this world that can ever be compared to God’s love that received us as His children, though we were once His enemies.

The apostle was so astonished at the greatness of God’s love that he wrote, “What manner of love”. The Greek words potapên agape, used by the apostle, point to both the quantity and quality of God’s love. Its length, breadth, depth and height are beyond description.

How can we ever describe the love of God that allows us to call Him, “Father!” There can be no higher expression of love than His adopting of us, reckless children as we are, as His own, now and forever. There can never be any greater act of love, even from God, than that which He manifested through the sacrifice of His Son so that we may be reconciled to Him as His children. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

He loved us, when we had no love for Him. He lovingly came to us, even when we had wandered away from Him. When we laid down in our sin, guilt and misery, His tender love sought to redeem us. When we were undeserving, ill-deserving, polluted and unclean, in love He stooped down to wash us from our sins with His sacred blood. While we were dead in trespasses, His love for us affixed Him on the cross to die that we might live forever through Him. He loved us, the wretched sinful mortals, that we might live in heaven, live with God and live in eternal glory and blessedness with Him and through Him: O what love has reached us here on earth!

Conclusion

All those who have tasted His love, in receiving the salvation by faith in Christ, must praise Him for His eternal love. When we remember how insignificant we are as creatures, and how ungrateful, rebellious and vile we have been as sinners, we may well be full of adoration and worship at His love which had adopted us into the holy family of God, so that we may be regarded and treated as the children of the Most High. The love of God that surpasses all finite conception will be the theme of adoring praises from multitudes that no man can number, for ever and ever. Moreover, we should declare His love to every creature that others may also come to Him and rejoice in His love.

Even in this world of animosity, bitterness, violence and suffering, we have sufficient evidence to prove that He is benevolent. Let us always behold the cross where the love of God shines through the injustice, travesty and violence of human sin. The gruesome experiences of this earth tend to mask our perception that God is love. The full glory and meaning of His infinite love will be fully understood only when we reach heaven. In the meantime, let us hold on to the truth that God is love. Let us believe that He sincerely desires our good, and that what seems dark to us may be designed for our welfare; and amidst all the sorrows and disappointments of the present life, let us be rest assured that our interests and our destiny are in the hands of the God of love.

There is none who is infinitely perfect in love as God. O what astonishing goodness and condescension from the Almighty God towards us who believe on His Son. God is love!

Worship Must Be Trinitarian

When we speak of worshipping God, we must always be mindful that we speak of Trinitarian worship.

That God is one, and that He is three is the ver05 Worship in the beauty of holiness REVISEDy essence of who God is. The Trinitarian doctrine of God – One God, Three Persons – is thoroughly biblical, and uniquely Christian.

The great affirmation (Shema) of Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” bespeaks the unity of God as One. The baptism formula, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19), is evidence of the fact that the name of God comprises Three Persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Many more of such Scripture portions can be cited to affirm that God is triune.

The Scriptures also have ample evidence that each of the Three Persons receives the worship of His people.

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:14).

“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:23).

Matthew 28:19, which mentions the Holy Spirit along with the Father and the Son, testifies to the Spirit’s rightful place in our worship. Moreover, Paul’s well known benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14 includes the Holy Spirit also as the object of our worship – “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

Admittedly, we have fewer records in the Scriptures concerning the worship of the Holy Spirit. This is not surprising because in God’s design of our salvation, the Spirit is the One who awakens us to worship the Father and the Son. Jesus said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:13-14). Let us not forget that the One who awakens us from our spiritual deadness to true worship is God.

When we call on the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit, we call on each one as the representative of the Trinity. When we say, “Our Father, which art in heaven”, we are not becoming anti-Trinitarian. He is the Father in the Trinitarian relationship within the Godhead, representing the Son and the Holy Spirit. When we call on any one of the Divine Three, by implication, we pray to all Three.

If we were to render appropriate and acceptable worship to God, our worship must be directed to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 21, Paragraph 2, states: “Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

THE HOLY TRINITY

The doctrine of Trinity, which de001 Plainclares that God is Triune, is fundamental to the Christian faith. We must believe this grand doctrine because it is clearly taught in the Scriptures. But it is a doctrine that defies human logic. It is beyond man’s ability to fathom and explain.

Why is this doctrine so incomprehensible? God is infinite; and hence He is beyond human reasoning. We can know Him only because He has revealed Himself to us by His Word. Whatever He has revealed concerning Himself in His Word must be received by faith and with humility. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

The word “Trinity” is derived from the Latin word Trinitas, meaning “threeness”. It is not found in the Bible, but it has been historically used by theologians to define and defend the divine mystery that is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

Very early in the church history, the truth of the Trinity has been studied and affirmed. Trinity was the designation for the uniquely Christian monotheistic understanding of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as tri-unity. The church fathers vehemently defended the Trinity against those who denied it with their heretical teachings. In AD 325, a church council that met in Nicaea (now Iznik in Turkey) affirmed this eternal truth concerning God; and it has been known as the Nicene Creed.

Our Westminster Confession of Faith defines the Trinity thus: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son” (Chapter 2, Paragraph 3).

Truths affirmed by the Doctrine of Trinity

There is only one true God who must be worshipped and loved exclusively. The doctrine of the Trinity does not teach tri-theism, but monotheism. The Scriptures firmly declare in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Our Lord Jesus also reaffirmed this truth in Mark 12:29-30.

The essential oneness of God is taught by the biblical statement: “The Lord is one”. The Hebrew word for “one” (echad) denotes “compound unity” or “united one”. Here, both the uniqueness of God and the unity of God are underscored. God is a unity of three divine Persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. God is one in essence and three in person.

Christians are monotheistic in their theology. “The LORD he is God; there is none else beside him” (Deuteronomy 4:35; cf. Isaiah 44:6,8; 45:5-6).

All three Persons are coequal and coeternal. God eternally exists as three persons, and each person is fully God. They are equal in authority, power, glory and all the divine attributes. None is lesser than the other; they are coequal and coeternal, each partaking of the full divine essence.

Jesus’ words “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30) clearly give evidence that they are equal in essence and authority. The Baptism formula (“in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” – Matthew 28:19) which mentions the Holy Spirit along with the Father and the Son, testifies to their equal divine authority. Moreover, Paul’s well known benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14 includes the Holy Spirit as the object of our worship – “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Ghost is God!

All three Persons are distinct, but not separate: There are three distinct Persons in the Godhead. It means that the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father. But the great mystery of the Trinity is that though the three Persons are distinct, they are not separate, but one in their essential being. The divine essence is not divided among the three Persons.

Furthermore, the designations – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost – do not indicate inferiority among them, but their eternal relationship within Godhead. The three Persons are distinguished by certain personal distinctions: the Son is eternally begotten of the Father, and the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son.

The three Persons of the Trinity do not act independently of one another. This was a constant theme of Jesus in rebuffing the charges of the Jews. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19; cf. John 8:28; 12:49; 14:10).

Conclusion

Trinity is triunity! This is one of the great mysteries of faith, and as such, it is far beyond our human comprehension. The Trinity must be acknowledged as a biblical doctrine. The clearest of all Scriptural passages on the Trinity is 1 John 5:7 – “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

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