Friday, July 27, 2007

So sweet I think I have cavities

Just got an e-mail:

Now I really do not hunt for heresy, nor do I claim that this is completely useless. What I am opposed to is sentimentalism:

...asserts that moral truths are known via feelings or sentiments of approval and disapproval.

Here is the expectation: "God will never take away something without giving you something better to take its place."

This moral kind of message forces a "God is just, according to me" standard of thinking that blows my mind through the roof and beyond the stars. Has anyone read Job 38?

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.

I get the feeling that God is asking "Who do you think you are?" What on earth do we deserve, as sinners? God can give and He can take away, according to the good pleasure of His will. If He gives you something, you praise Him. If He takes away, you don't? What kind of God do you serve? Are you a Christian because God is going to give to you what you want, or because He is the king of the universe?

Let me tell you now why I love Calvinism: I get nothing out, save knowing the God who saves me. Everything else is dirty sprinkles. It is all about the glory of God and if I should die, that quickens my transport to Him. He is the goal. He is the reason.

Materialists just should not call themselves Christians. I do not care what you believe, but do not just pick and choose what you like and then associate yourselves with me by calling yourselves Christian. This may sound harsh, but it is sadly true.

Christians are people who accept Christ as both Lord and Saviour. If He is just a saviour then why did he give us commandments to follow? Do not allow yourselves to think you have 'accepted' Christ because you said a prayer or put your hand up. "If you love me, you will obey my commandments." The very fruit of Christianity is obedience.

I am not trying to be unloving, but you should praise God for what you have and for what you do not have. He knows best, not you. If you submit to Him, it may not be a happy road, but it will be a joyful one. The joy of the Lord is my strength.


Qjay said...

Pyromaniacs: Getting by on Christian vapors: a rant

Bruce Vivian said...


boss, help me out here, (yes i am officially the 2nd person who reads your blog, albeit once a month....)

you spoke in this article about the whole way God takes away and gives... which from experience I agree with... but can you give me a Bible verse/passage that supports this? The best i could think of was Job, but is there anywhere else?

The background to the query is that some clever person in my Church thought it a good idea to change the bridge in Blessed be Your Name from "You give and take away" to "Life gives and takes away".... so i got on a mission to prove a line that I know is true, cause I can't really moan unless I hav found something in the Bible to support it.


Qjay said...

The first thing we must keep in mind is the sovereignty of God. Above all we cannot allow ourselves to be bound to the material temporal things of this world. A pastor dear to me once told me that a true disciple of Christ is one who holds on to the world with very loose fingers.

Should we abandon God when He does not appear to give to us? Do we dare judge God by saying that He is not in control over all things? To rely on the temporary things of this world is idolatry and strictly forbidden by scripture [1]. So surely then we cannot expect anything good to come from God? As servants of the Lord we are promised that "Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours."[2] The Christian life is therefore a life called to suffer in this world. True as this is, it is not a life of utter sufferance.

Of course God gives us gifts, but the most valuable gifts of God are eternal. They do not fade or perish like the kinds of gifts that the worldly man so desperately grasps for until the day of his death. God gives the gift of obedience[3] as fruits of those who love him. He languishes many gifts on those: Grace[4], wisdom[5], repentance[6], faith[7], righteousness[8], strength and power[9], a new heart[10], peace[11], rest[12], glory and eternal life[13]{1}. These are the gifts we are to seek of our God.

Can God manifest temporal gifts from God? The answer is a clear and resounding yes. We are urged by scripture not to worry about tomorrow, for it is God who will provide for us [14]. These gifts include life[15], food and clothing[16], rain and fruitful seasons[17], wisdom (for wordly use)[18] and peace[19] {1}.

Remember that James was explicit that gifts are not to be received for ourselves[20]. The Father knows the manner in which good gifts are to be given [21]. But whose standard of good do we use, the human standard, or a higher one? What is the purpose of a gift from God? They are to be used and enjoyed[22], but more importantly, there are to be used to remember God[23]. The problem with wanting a temporal gift is that we tend to allow it to replace God. People worry over who they will marry, where they shall live and what they will eat. These concerns are valid, but a trust in the Lord God is far more important than these things.

My concern is this: Christians who believe that God will not allow temporal consequences of sin to affect them are in danger. Disobedience to God, known as sin, causes God to forfeit His promised blessings[24]. Who among us do not sin? Even worse than this, a curse is brought on them who disobey[25]. The curse is brought to cure the sinner of his sin, this is an act of love on God's part [26].

So when we receive, we must receive in the joy of the Lord. When we suffer loss, we must examine ourselves to ensure that we are made right with God. Some loss is not indicative of being in sin. But one thing is to remain clear: That the Christian is the one who prays "[God's] will be done"[27]. Does God take away? He certainly does. He will take away sometimes as a test, which is why we have the book of Job. Does God grant gifts, yes He does. Material blessings are to be held loosely in comparison to the love we have for God[28].

When we pray for God's will, we forsake what we want, what we have. This is no common or ordinary practice. The greatest gift God has to offer He has given us: Salvation. If God is not the primary goal, His glory, His honour, we have missed the point.

Can God give us better than we have? Yes. Does He always? No. Many a poor person has died saved and yet still poor. The Gospel is not meant for those who hold to earthly things[29]. Jesus is not a spiritual means for earthly gain.

[1] Exodus 20:3
[2] John 15:20
[3] John 14:15
[4] Psalms 84:11, James 4:6
[5] Proverbs 2:6, James 1:5
[6] Acts 11:18
[7] Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 1:29
[8] Romans 5:16&17
[9] Psalm 68:35
[10] Ezekiel 11:19
[11] Psalm 29:11
[12] Matthew 11:28, 2 Thessalonians 1:7
[13] Psalms 84:11, John 17:22
[14] Matthew 6:25, Matthew 6:11
[15] Isaiah 42:5
[16] Matthew 6:25 - 33
[17] Genesis 27:28, Leviticus 26:4&5, Isaiah 30:23
[18] 2 Chronicles 1:12
[19] Leviticus 26:6, 1 Chronicles 22:9
[20] James 4:3
[21] Luke 11:11
[22] Ecclesiastes 3:13, 5:19&20, 1 Timothy 4:4&5
[23] Deuteronomy 8:18
[24] Joshua 5:6, 1 Samuel 2:30, 1 Samuel 13:14, Jeremiah 18:10
[25] Deuteronomy 11:28, 28:15
[26] Revelation 3:19
[27] Matthew 6:10
[28] Deuteronomy 6:5, Luke 14:26
[29] Matthew 6:21, 9:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 12:34, 18:25

{1} MacArthur, J. The MacArthur Topical Bible, 1999. ISBN 0-8499-1572.

Bruce Vivian said...

sho, thanks qjb, not exactly the type of response i can glance through in a quick 2 minutes before getting my teeth into work... but i am definitely gonna print that all out and have a solid read through tonight.


Qjay said...

Here's a two-minute answer Moose -

"But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (7)For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;" - James 1:6-7 [Emphasis added]

The fact is we do not deserve anything from God. That does not mean we should not ask. However, we must ask in faith. This is not a "if you believe it you will receive it" verse, it is saying that we have steady faith in God, not in gifts.

Qjay said...


What you told me about the song lyrics plagues me, it really does. I cannot imagine changing a song in that manner, rather throw the song out.

While I am not a fan of rocking the gospel in any way, I would like to propose that they have, in fact, thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

Firstly, from those particular lyrics, who have they removed? It's God. That's idolatry.

Secondly, the baby is thrown out when you give life credit for the giving. So all of a sudden life gives? This, again, is idolatry.

Thirdly, consider what God has taken away. This is a crucial point. God takes away suffering, guilt, pain and condemnation. He takes away sin!

Qjay said...


I cannot let go of this until I get it 100% correct. I did not want to get into Job because that is obviously where the whole argument stems from. Some will say "It is the devil that gives sorrow" (Notice the Devil can give as well)

But hear this verse out. I think it is the whole basis of the song itself:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." - Job 1:21

Please note that Job was the most righteous man on earth at the time. If he can say it, then it is good enough for us.

Bruce Vivian said...


yeah i am hearing what you are saying, especially on the idolatry thing. i think the reality though is that this is the kind of thing that is proved by experience, what I mean by that is I have seen things be given and taken away from me, and I have subsequently seen the wisdom in such giving and taking away... and that I have attributed to God, by default. It is one of those things that is difficult to prove to anyone, because it is deeply personal, I have seen the wisdom of God giving and taking from me, and the reason I believe this is because of faith. Someone else might argue the case of a fluke, but then my life is the biggest fluke in all of history.

This same thing came up in Bible study last night, and you know, there were a lot of brothers in the same room experiencing flukes if God was not the one in control.

I do agree with you though, the clincher is that Job verse, and the whole story of Job. I guess the counter argument (which is probably NB to at least consider) is that life gives and takes away, and then God uses thoses situations for his glory. E.g. people might argue that it was not necessarily God's will for Paul to be in prison, but that once He was there He schemed a brilliant scheme to use Him to reach out to the prisoners, and to use his spare time to write a bit of Scripture...

Perhaps at times this may be true (God making the most out of a situation He did not cause). But I donno, i am still pretty certain God has so been planning my life way in advance, kinda like a good chess player he is thinking not just in the present but many moves in advance. Maybe a lifetime in advance. Not maybe, definitely.