Big Words of the Christian Life: Omniscience (Part 1)

October 5, 2017 at 9:30 am | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 20 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.

Psalm 86:8

God is holy – not only in the sense of His sinlessness (righteousness), but in the sense of His uniqueness. He is the only Being of His kind. Because He is so fundamentally different from us, it is difficult for us to accurately and truly describe Him. We are limited to talking about His characteristics – to “attributing” qualities to Him that we can grasp, which is why they are called His “attributes.”

One characteristic of personhood is that a person who can think, can know things. He can possess information. Some people think they know something about everything. We call them know-it-alls, but God not only knows something about everything – He knows EVERYTHING about everything. We call this attribute “omniscience:” omni = all; science = knowledge.

Our knowledge can only be partial at best, but God’s knowledge is comprehensive.

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Psalm 147:5

He is not like us, only smarter. He is not really like us at all in this regard. His knowledge is exhaustive. God can do anything, but He is still a God of logic, so we might say that there are some things that logic does not permit us to say about Him. This means that, while, in His power, there is nothing too difficult for God, there are some things that God “can not” do. He can not get better. He can not improve. He can not sin. He can not learn anything new, or “learn” anything at all. He can not gain any new information, because all information there is originates IN HIM. His omniscience means that His knowledge is comprehensive and that He can never be surprised or caught off-guard. He can’t be confounded or confused or stumped or fooled.

God’s knowledge is comprehensive and it is continuous. It is a constant knowledge.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Proverbs 15:3

You and I can run certain rudimentary brain functions on different levels at the same time (such as singing a song and driving a car), but what we are really doing is shifting our attention back and forth very quickly, and we often find it impossible to control the focus of our thinking. Sit there for a few seconds and try your hardest NOT to think about a purple elephant…

… or try to suddenly switch off your thoughts at the end of a stressful day, and simply go to sleep. Not so easy, is it? However, God not only knows everything, but He knows everything ABOUT everything – all at once – all the time. He doesn’t have to take His mind off North Korea for a second to consider your prayer about healing for your ingrown toenail.

Next time we will consider some more of the ramifications of God’s omniscience.

Big Words of the Christian Life: Regeneration (Part 2)

February 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Posted in big words of the Christian life, John | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

1. Regeneration is intelligible.
2. Regeneration is irrevocable.

When Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:3 that, “… Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” the Greek word which is translated as “again” also has the flavor of meaning something which comes from above, or from a whole other realm. And in fact regeneration does.

This is not only a second birth – it is a whole new kind of birth – a spiritual birth – wholly the work of God. Physical birth not only gives us resemblances to our parents, but it gives us part of their “natures,” too. When my kids get complimented for their looks, I have to say they get that from their mother. If they are accused of having a bad temper, or if they act ornery, I have to admit that they get that from their dad.

Regeneration is irrevocable. It can’t be undone. Naturally born children can’t be unborn. Spiritually regenerated believers can’t be unregenerated. At regeneration we inherit some of the characteristics of our Father:
-eternal life
-the ability to love
walking in the light as He is in the light

Regeneration will cause a resemblance between the Father and His children.

1. Regeneration is intelligible.
2. Regeneration is irrevocable.
3. Regeneration is imperative.

Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:7 that, “… Ye must be born again.” This is not only a fact; it is a commandment. It is an imperative, as well as an indicative. Regeneration is the fundamental change in your nature – in your ontology, in your consciousness, in who you are on the inside – that allows your justification and your adoption and your sanctification. We speak of a dead person as being buried, but really we only bury a body. The person has gone somewhere else. A lifeless body can’t respond to stimuli. Spiritually dead people can’t respond to God in love.

Regeneration is real: it results in a real change in who you are. If I claimed I had just tripped and fallen in a mud puddle, and yet I looked perfectly clean and neat, you would think I was either lying or delusional. God is infinitely more powerful than a mud puddle. If you have a regenerating encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, you are going to be infinitely different. A profession of regeneration must be a reflection of a real work of God. It is always worth considering whether you truly have been regenerated. Has God supernaturally changed your basic nature from a sin-loving and righteousness-hating lost person, to a sin-hating and righteousness-loving child of God? Sadly, as Christians, we still sin, but one of the great blessings of regeneration is the in-dwelling, loving, convicting presence of the Holy Spirit.

1. Regeneration is intelligible.
2. Regeneration is irrevocable.
3. Regeneration is imperative.

Big Words of the Christian Life: Regeneration (Part 1)

February 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Posted in big words of the Christian life, John | 68 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Justification is not how you get into God’s family. It is what God declares about you once you become part of His family: that you are righteous before Him because of having put your trust in Christ.

Adoption is not how you get into God’s family. It is how you enjoy your place in God’s family: God gives you the “standing” of an adult child.

Regeneration is how you get into God’s family.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matthew 19:28

There is a sense in which all of creation will one day be regenerated. It will be returned to the pristine condition in which it was originally created by God. So, even though this type of regeneration is not precisely the same thing we’re talking about in the salvation of men, it does teach us that regeneration deals not only with re-creation – a new birth – a new start – but with a new start that is specifically directed to be “unto God.” The soteriological implication of regeneration is not just a re-creation for a blank slate of experimentation. It is a re-creation pre-ordained to set things right – with God Himself as the focus of all life.

The basis for our definition of regeneration in the salvific sense can be found in Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

We were not justified by our own works or merit. We are not adopted because of our own works or merit. We are specifically told that our very salvation in every aspect is completely of God. It is according to His mercy, which flows from Him.

The word “regeneration” means “born again.” When a person is “born” the reason that you know he has been born is because of one over-arching feature about him or her: Life. People have been born once in sin, and the experience of being “born” spiritually is a second birth. We call it – just as Jesus called it – being “born again.”

If we received only a physical form of life at our first birth, we must receive some “new” type of life at our second birth. Here is a fuller definition of Regeneration: It is the act of God which grants a second, spiritual birth, and new life, to the person who has trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior.

Over and above just having a definition, I want describe three main things about regeneration from Jesus’s most overt teaching about it: John 3:1-9.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

John 3:1

Nicodemus would have been very religious. He would have sacrificed and prayed in keeping with the Old Testament law. He would have been outwardly moral, and would have been in the habit of giving generously to the poor.

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

John 3:2

Maybe Nicodemus came to Jesus at night out of shame, or maybe just out of a desire to have a private conversation with Him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3

Nicodemus struggled with this idea, but not because he wasn’t sharp enough to grasp it, and not because the concept was too obtuse. No, he couldn’t see the point because he was lost and, therefore, spiritually blind.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

John 3:4

People did this with Jesus’s teachings throughout the New Testament. There was once a lady at a well who wanted to know how Jesus could give her water when He didn’t have a dipper, even though He was talking about the Living Water of eternal life (John 4:6-14). When Jesus talked about eating His Body and drinking His blood, meaning fellowshipping with Him in the Life-giving blessings of His crucifixion, some may have accused Him of cannibalism (John 6:47-66). Many of the people that Jesus encountered were spiritually, albeit willfully, blind – just like lost folks today.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

John 3:5-7

Regeneration is intelligible. It’s understandable. It is basic. The meaning of it is simple (even though I don’t like the expression, “It’s simple to be saved,” because it minimizes the great and mighty work of salvation that the Lord accomplished in the plan of redemption).

In a natural biological birth two parents are involved. In the Spiritual birth there are also two Parents involved: The Word of God…

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

James 1:18

… and the Spirit of God (John 3:5).

In natural biological birth the baby’s effort does not play a part. In the Spiritual birth Christians are born by God’s will, not our own.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13

There is a simplicity to regeneration. There is a mystery to it, too, but everyone is familiar with having a baby, and with the truth that a baby is a brand new life. Christians are brand new creatures in Christ Jesus from the moment of salvation, with a new kind of life: eternal life, God’s life.

1. Regeneration is intelligible.
Next time we will see that:
2. Regeneration is irrevocable.
3. Regeneration is imperative.


Entries and comments feeds.