Question 4f: Power

Read Psalm 18, Sing ‘Praise my soul the King of Heaven’

Q4 What is God?

Answer: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

Power: there is power to act,

Wisdom see ends and means, Power to enact them.

Q. 1. What is the Power of God?

Jeremiah 32:17. Ah Lord God, behold thou hast made the Heavens, and the Earth by thy great power, and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.

Child asks, ‘Can he lift a car?’ But we barely ascend higher as we try to grasp what God’s power this means… considering the difficulty we have envisaging anything outside our immediate experience. What is the heaviest thing you have lifted? At least that is within the realms of our understanding. We were sharing the hotel on Friday night with Newcastle Falcons professional rugby team and the size of rugby players is quite awesome, yet, as we have seen, there is still a place for smaller, nippy types.  Great power struggles to be kept under control. But God is not some clumsy oversized oaf.

Man’s power is at it’s height in destruction – as a child I lived through the 70’s with the constant threat of ‘cold war’ supernova blowing the planet to bits. But if such an explosion should happen, God could track the path of every atom and bring them back into their right place. In fact he has undertaken to do just that! The resurrection! What power!

What is power? What types are there?

Ps18 the power to delegate, bestow, enable, or give power.

Power of God to make different forms of energy: light, heat, chemical, kinetic, potential,

But the ‘light in my darkness’ – what kind of power is that? Spiritual too – over ‘shadow of death’

Power to endure…

Creativity – world thinks discord or graffiti as creative, vacuum cleaner music, ‘new’, but God…

He can do one thing as easily as anything else (but note redemption). But God is not diminished by this… Entropy does not affect Him, ‘He gives but He does not give away’ Tozer.

Cruise of oil, I think of the gospel like that, omnipotent blood of Jesus,

Flavel asks: Q. 4. Are there some things which God cannot do?

A. Yes, there are, but they are such things as are inconsistent with his truth and holiness. Titus 1:2. …which God that cannot lie. 2 Timothy 2:13. He cannot deny himself.

Q. If God’s power is unlimited, why do his people struggle under their burdens so?

A. His strength is made perfect in weakness. David encouraged himself in God.

  1. 1 Samuel 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:5-7 (in Context) 1 Samuel 30 (Whole Chapter)

But power can also mean Authority:

Contrast David’s authority and legitimacy with pretenders to the throne: Absalom: schemer, Mephibosheth: even the idea!, Sheba: man of Beliel, Adonijah: userper.

Power to set laws, ‘an external rule enforced by authority’, laws of ‘nature’ (Tozer). But this force is a Person!

Applications: Our motto should be ‘By his grace’

14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

Jas 4 14-17

God is not a miser. ‘My grace is sufficient’, ask of me, anything!

As we age, fade and diminish, ‘God endures unchanging on’. Hang upon him.

Flavel: Q. 5. What is the first thing inferred from God’s Power?

A. That all the Creatures necessarily depend on him for what ability they have, and without the permission of the supreme Power they can do us no hurt. John 19:11. Thou couldest have no power against me except it were given thee from above.

Q. 6. What is the second Inference from hence?

A. That the difficulties which lie in the way of the Promises, need be no stumbling-blocks to our Faith. Romans 4:20-21. He staggered not at the Promises through unbelief, being fully persuaded, that what he had promised he was able also to perform.

Q. 7. What is the third Inference from this Attribute?

A. The Saints need not be scared at the greatness of their sufferings: their God can carry them through. Daniel 3:17. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.

Q. 8. What is the fourth Inference?

A. That the Salvation of God’s People is certain, whatever their dangers be, being kept by this mighty Power. 2 Peter 1:5. Who are kept by the power of God through faith to Salvation.

Q. 9. What is the last Inference hence?

A. That the state of the damned is unconceivably miserable. Their Punishment proceeding from the glory of the Almighty. 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power.

These ‘inferences’ and some other points are from John Flavel’s work on the shorter catechism.

Q. 2. What evidence have we before our eyes of the Almighty Power of God?

A. It appears in the Creation of the World. Romans 1:20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal Power and Godhead. And its Sustentation. Hebrews 1:3. Who upholdeth all things by the word of his Power.

Q. 3. Did God’s Power ever act its utmost?

A. No, he can do more than ever he did, or ever will do. Matthew 3:9. God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Matthew 26:53.


Question 4e: Wisdom

These notes relate to the doctrine class of the 11th March 2012, Mike Johnson leading.

Q4 What is God?
Answer: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

Imagine a mole dug til until is his little snout pops out at the very pinnacle of  a high hill on a clear night… trying to peer at the spangled depths of space with little subterranean eyes. That is us with God’s wisdom to consider.
God ‘only wise’: Tozer makes the point that we do not say ‘more unique’ or ‘very infinite’… we witness the utter collapse of another common word when we apply ‘wise’ to God.
Wisdom implies a moral excellence too – other words for the same do not – clever, ingenious, imply a tainted ethic. ‘But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.’ Jas 3:17
Who else but the Almighty God, Only Wise, could hold a thousand generations in their mind with instant recall of and command and full understanding of every event and particle and planet at every moment?!
Thomas Watson (http://www.shortercatechism.com/resources/watson/wsc_wa_004_e.html ) says that God’s wisdom is to be considered with reference to Creation, providence and redemption.
Through all his ancient works
Amazing wisdom shines,
Confounds the powers of hell,
And breaks their cursed designs:
Strong is his arm,
And shall fulfil
His great decrees,
His sovereign will.
Isaac Watts
Consider creation – the creation of water – H2O – how elegant, vital, plentiful – consider the water cycle!!! The creation of Time itself.
It is said that ‘there is no such thing as an original thought… but God only deals in original thoughts.
Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.  20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: 22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter. http://mbible.com/kjv/daniel/2.htm
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
http://mbible.com/revelation/7-12.htm
Wisdom is more than an attribute, it is a ‘Whom’, a glorious and blessed ‘Person’! Consider the personification of wisdom in Proverbs 2 and the Logos in John 1  (wisdom or reason).

Affirmation 2010 The Trinity: Three in One

Alex Hutter led the Doctrine Class on 12 February 2012. The topic was The Trinity.

We have three principles to uphold in thinking about the Trinity.

  1. One God
  2. Three Persons
  3. These Three are co-equal and co-eternal

We believe something called the perspicuity of scripture, meaning that what we read in the bible we can take at face value. Yet we are dealing with topics far beyond our capacity to understand and it is no wonder if we struggle. We have truths, yet we cannot make ‘the ends meet’, yet there are no contradictions. Many have argued that the Trinity can be helpfully explained by analogies: the ‘three legged stool’, the clover leaf, the various roles/titles a person can maintain. Yet these always fall so far short that they are actually misleading and end up in a heretical position, which is always characterised by falling short on at least one of the three principles above. These short-comings are in no way a new phenomenon – the Doctrine of the Trinity has a long history of opposition:

  1. Tri-theism opposes the principle that there is One God
  2. Sabellianism opposes the principle that there are three Persons in the Godhead
  3. Arianism opposes the principle that there are three persons in the Godhead – Jesus is held to be a mere ‘demi-god’.

Affirmation 2010: The Trinity

Alex Hutter took the doctrine class on the subject of the Trinity on Sunday 26th February 2012. This was the second study on this topic. We saw that biblical references to the Lord Jesus Christ varied as to his being: ‘begotten not made’ in respect of his eternity, ‘made flesh’ in respect to his incarnation. We considered phrases which seem to imply at least a subordination of the Son to the Father, ‘My Father is greater than I’ Jonh 14:28, and yet, ‘I and my Father are one’ John 10:30. This is hard for us to reconcile or think about aright. Since none of us has been God and man at the same time. We saw that it was possible to have ‘equals’ and yet for one to be subordinate to the other, as in the relationship between husband and wife. As Jesus said, ‘a servant is not greater than his lord’, yet the two are still human and essentially equal.

But here is someone who not only cares for me, but comes to me, from the glory of heaven itself to save me. He comes not in the form of anything but a human, no more, no less, and vindicates and restores the image of God in mankind.
We spent a while considering the enormity of what we call the incarnation. If we really believed it, we would make more of it. We also grappled with some questions that arise. Some have said that Jesus was not a real man, like the New Testament gnostics. But Jesus bled, he wept, grew weary, hungry, and he ate to satisfy that hunger. He was a man; had taken upon him fallen human nature, yet without sin. And he had existence before the incarnation: visiting Abraham, wrestling with Jacob, which are what we call ‘Christophanies’.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:58
We briefly asked the question, ‘was Jesus able not to sin or was he not able to sin?’. This is a classic conundrum faced head on by the Early Church fathers (see this article from the Monergism website on human nature). We are indebted to God for these men who saw clearly amidst the heresy and it’s potentially devastating impact on the future of the church.