Earlier in the week I came across a powerful quote, and one that came at just the right time, helping me formulate some thoughts I had been trying to express. This comes from John Frame’s Systematic Theology, and it challenges each one of us to understand, believe, and obey the sheer authority of God’s Word.

When God Commands, we are to obey. When he asserts, we are to believe him. When he promises, we are to embrace and trust those promises. Thus, we respond to the sheer authority of God’s word.

Adam and Eve had no way of testing what God told them about the forbidden fruit. They couldn’t work any experiment that would show them whether God had rightly predicted the effects of the fruit. They simply had to take God at his word. Satan interposed a contrary interpretation, but the first couple should not have taken his opinion seriously. They should simply have believed God. They did not, of course. They sided with Satan rather than God–or, perhaps better, they claimed that their own authority transcended God’s. That is to say, they claimed autonomy. They claimed that they themselves were the highest authority, the ultimate criterion of truth and right.

The NT praises Noah (Heb. 11:7), Abraham (Rom. 4:1-25; Heb. 11:8-19), and many others because of their faith, and their faith was grounded in God’s word. They simply believed what God said and obeyed him. So for new covenant believers: if they love Jesus, they will do what he says (John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:7, 10, 14; 17:6, 17; 1 John 2:3-5; 3:22; 5:2-3; 2 John 6).

So we should think of God’s word as a personal communication from him to us. In DWG, I presented this as a general way of thinking about the word of God: the personal-word model. Think of God speaking to you as a real person would–as directly as your parents, your spouse, your children, your friends. Many in Scripture heard such speech from God, such as Noah, Abraham, and Moses.

And when God speaks, his word carries authority. This means that it imposes obligations. When God commands, he expects us to obey. When he brings information, we are to believe him. When he promises, we should embrace his promises.

If God really talked to you, as he did to Abraham, you would not (if you know what is best for you) criticize his words or disagree with him.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twelve:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Our God is a promise-making and promise-keeping God. What he says, he will do; what he offers, he will provide. One of his great promises is that he is with us in the midst of our temptations. Even in those times when Satan custom-crafts a temptation suited perfectly to our desires, even there—especially there—God promises that he is with us and that in his strength we can endure. All we need to do is take hold of what he offers.

My brother, you have only ever sinned because you have chosen to sin. You have only ever sinned because you have chosen to reject the way of escape that God has offered you. God does not promise that you will not be tempted or that you will not be tempted beyond your natural ability to resist. But he does promise that he is with you right there in the temptation and that, if you look to him and take hold of his promises, you will be able to resist. When the temptation comes, take hold of his good promises, take hold of his kind mercy. With his help you are able to endure every temptation without sin.

Father, I pray that you would help me to arm myself with your promises. Let me fill my mind and heart with your Word so in that moment of temptation I can be like Jesus and meet every trial, every temptation, with your truth. I know I will be tempted today and every day, so let me believe that you will provide a way of escape for every single temptation I face. I am too weak to rely on myself. Please teach me to rely on you, to trust in your promises. For your promises are true and good.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from According to Promise, pages 61-63, Pilgrim Publications.

“It will be a pity to pine in poverty from ignorance of our large property.”

The apostle Peter speaks of the promises as “exceeding great and precious.” They do indeed exceed all things with which they can be compared. None ever promised as God has done.

Kings have promised even to the half of their kingdoms; but what of that? God promised to give his own Son, and even his own Self, to his people; and he did it. Princes draw a line somewhere, but the Lord sets no bounds to the gifts which he ordains for his chosen.

The promises of God not only exceed all precedent, but they also exceed all imitation. Even with God himself for an example, none have been able to vie with him in the language of liberality. The promises of Jehovah are as much above all other promises as the heavens are above the earth.

They also exceed all expectation. He does for us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or even think.” Nobody could have imagined that the Lord would have made such promises as he has made: they surpass the dreams of romance. Even the most sanguine hopes are left far behind, and the loftiest conceptions are outdone.

The Bible must be true, for it could not have been invented: the promises contained in it are greater for quantity and better for quality than the most expectant could have looked for. God surprises us with the surpassing fulness of his cheering words: he overwhelms us with favours till, like David, we sit down in wonder, and cry, “Whence is this to me?”

The promises exceed all measurement: there is an abyss of depth in them as to meaning, a heaven of height in them as to excellence, and an ocean of breadth in them as to duration. We might say of every promise, “It is high: I cannot attain to it.”

As a whole, the promises exhibit the fulness and allsufficiency of God: like God himself they fill all things. Unbounded in their range, they are everywhere about us, whether we wake or sleep, go
forth or return. They cover the whole of life from the cradle to the tomb.

A sort of omnipresence may be ascribed to them; for they surround us in all places, and at all times. They are our pillow when we fall asleep, and when we awake they are still with us. “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” “Exceeding” all conception and calculation; we admire them and adore their Giver, but we can never measure them.

The promises even exceed all experience. Those men of God who have known the Lord for fifty or sixty years have never yet extracted the whole of the marrow from his promise. Still it might be said, “the arrow is beyond thee.” Somewhat better and deeper yet remains to be searched out in the future.

He who dives deepest by experience into the depths of the divine promises is fully aware that there is yet a lower depth of grace and love unfathomable. The promise is longer than life, broader than sin, deeper than the grave, and higher than the clouds. He that is most acquainted with the golden book of promise is still a new beginner in its study: even the ancients of Israel find that this volume passeth knowledge.