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John Piper Poetically Imagines the New Heavens and the New Earth

Jul 13, 2015 | Justin Taylor

dog-jumping-off-dock-labrador-water-fetch-ball-chase-dives

A portion of John Piper’s poem, “Justified for Evermore,” found in his book, Future Grace: The Purifying Power of the Promises of God, rev. ed. (Multnomah, 2012), 379-82.

And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass,
And saw my dog, old Blackie, fast
As she could come. She leaped the stream-
Almost-and what a happy gleam
Was in her eye. I knelt to drink,
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere
I turned and saw a wonder there.
A big man running on the lawn:
That’s old John Younge with both legs on.
The blind can see a bird on wing,
The dumb can lift their voice to sing.
The diabetic eats at will,
The coronary runs uphill.

The lame can walk, the deaf can hear,
The cancer-ridden bone is clear.
Arthritic joints are lithe and free,
And every pain has ceased to be.
And every sorrow deep within,
And every trace of lingering sin
Is gone. And all that’s left is joy,
And endless ages to employ
The mind and heart, and understand,
And love the sovereign Lord who planned
That it should take eternity
To lavish all his grace on me.

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Randy Alcorn Opens Up about His Depression

Jul 10, 2015 | Justin Taylor

Randy Alcorn talks to David Mathis here:

Here are some resources on battling depression and ministering to those who do:

For those in ministry, the writings by and about Charles Spurgeon on depression may be particularly valuable:

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Amazing Grace the Musical: Now on Broadway

Jul 10, 2015 | Justin Taylor

The musical Amazing Grace, after a run in Chicago, is now on Broadway, telling the story of John Newton’s life.

If you want to go to the show, here’s a way to get discounted tickets (through September 6, 2015):

  • $85 Tickets (reg. $139) Orchestra & Front Mezzanine
  • $65 Tickets (reg. $98) Mid Mezzanine

1. You can buy them online through Ticketmaster, using code FAITH1

2. You can call 877.250.2929 and mention code FAITH1

3. You can bring a printout of this offer to the Nederlander Theatre box office: 208 West 41st Street (between 7th & 8th Avenues)

For more information, visit AmazingGraceMusical.com.

*Restrictions & service fees apply.

To read more on Newton, see Tony Reinke’s new book on his vision of the Christian life and Jonathan Aitken’s page-turning biography.

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What about Those Who Have Never Heard of Jesus? A Classic Illustration from Francis Schaeffer

Jul 10, 2015 | Justin Taylor

41i6ZiUOP1L._SX300_A classic illustration from Francis Schaeffer:

If every little baby that was ever born anywhere in the world had a tape recorder hung about its neck, and if this tape recorder only recorded the moral judgments with which this child as he grew bound other men, the moral precepts might be much lower than the biblical law, but they would still be moral judgments.

Eventually each person comes to that great moment when he stands before God as judge. Suppose, then, that God simply touched the tape recorder button and each man heard played out in his own words all those statements by which he had bound other men in moral judgment. He could hear it going on for years—thousands and thousands of moral judgments made against other men, not aesthetic judgments, but moral judgments.

Then God would simply say to the man, though he had never head the Bible, now where do you stand in the light of your own moral judgments? The Bible points out . . . that every voice would be stilled. All men would have to acknowledge that they have deliberately done those things which they knew to be wrong. Nobody could deny it.

We sin two kinds of sin.

We sin one kind as though we trip off the curb, and it overtakes us by surprise.

We sin a second kind of sin when we deliberately set ourselves up to fall.

And no one can say he does not sin in the latter sense. Paul’s comment is not just theoretical and abstract, but addressed to the individual—“O man”—any man without the Bible, as well as the man with the Bible.

. . . God is completely just. A man is judged and found wanting on the same basis on which he has tried to bind others.

—Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century, 2d ed. (Wheaton: Crossway, 1985), 49-50.

Consider the principles set forth in Romans 2:

1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? . . .

14 . . . When Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

For more thoughts on this, see Sam Storms’s helpful blog post.

The best book I know of on this and related question is Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan’s excellent edited volume, Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism (IVP, 2008).

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Jeremy Begbie on 4 Ways Music Can Reshape Us

Jul 09, 2015 | Justin Taylor

Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology at Duke Divinity School, argues that music can reshape us by
(1) by combining dissonance with hope, (2) by making us wait in the midst of delay, (3) by generating empathy, (4) by retiming us:

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Two New Talks on Christian Faithfulness in a Post-Christian Country

Jul 08, 2015 | Justin Taylor

QIdeas recently hosted a couple of talks that are well worth your time:

Russell Moore: The Prophetic Minority

Every year the number of churches closing their doors in America increases, the average age of church attendees goes up, and more Americans are ceasing to identify with any religion, especially Christianity. In a nation in which the church was once a dominant and unifying mainstay in America life, what does it look like to be the minority? Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, calls the Church to faithfulness in a post-Christian society.

Rod Dreher: The Benedict Option

Around the year 500, a man called Benedict fled from Rome to a forest to escape the revelry of city life. He spent three years in a cave as a hermit, preserving his own virtue and praying for society’s moral restoration. But does a medieval monastic story have modern-day significance? Rod Dreher, writer for The American Conservative, coined “The Benedict Option” to convey the challenge of sustaining tradition amidst a “Dark Age.” For such a time as this, could St. Benedict’s example be more relevant than we think?

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Historical Adam, the Resurrection of Christ, and the Results of Mainstream Science

Jul 07, 2015 | Justin Taylor

I really appreciated Hans Madueme’s contribution to the Books & Culture forum on the historicity of Adam. Dr. Madueme is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Covenant College and the co-editor, with Michael Reeves, of Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin: Theological, Biblical, and Scientific Perspectives (Baker, 2014).

You can read his initial essay here. And here’s the conclusion to his response to the other contributions:

I want to close with a lingering Christological worry. Scientific plausibility is the key; can we still believe doctrines that are implausible by the lights of current science? We can invert the question: If scientific plausibility should guide the expectations we bring to Scripture, then why would we be Christians? Why would we believe that the Son of God became a man? That he died and rose again after three days? That he ascended into heaven? These fundamental Christian beliefs contradict everything we know from mainstream science. If we can no longer believe Adam was historical, then why should we believe in the resurrection? In The Evolution of Adam, Peter Enns answers this way: “For Paul, the resurrection of Christ is the central and climactic present-day event in the Jewish drama—and of the world. One could say that Paul was wrong, deluded, stupid, creative, whatever; nevertheless, the resurrection is something that Paul believed to have happened in his time, not primordial time.” That misses the point. We’re told that we can’t affirm a historical Adam because it’s scientifically unbelievable, but why trust Paul on the resurrection when that, too, is scientifically unbelievable? Or, to flip the script, if we believe the resurrection, then a historical Adam is no biggie.

HT: Andy Naselli

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An Important New Book on Word-Filled Women’s Ministry

Jul 07, 2015 | Justin Taylor

Gloria Furman and Kathleen Nielson sit down to talk about their new edited book, Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church, published by Crossway in conjunction with TGC. What a difference it would make to local churches around the world if the message of this book was taken to heart!

You can download an excerpt of the book here.

9781433545238Endorsements

“Out of both biblical conviction and years of experience, these women think seriously about discipleship, evangelism, intergenerational mentoring, and compassion. Their strength is evident, their commitment to Scripture robust, their joy in the gospel intoxicating, their anticipation of the consummation providing a lodestar to their lives and service. Although this is a book by women to foster “Word-filled women’s ministry,” much of it will be read with equal profit by men. I hope that some of those men will be pastors who in consequence reflect on what they can do encourage such ministry in their own churches.”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Women’s ministry is ultimately not about women. Nor is it about programs. It’s about the glory of God and the health of his church. Word-Filled Women’s Ministry is a much-needed resource for both men and women to consider the necessity of ministry among women as well as the centrality of the Word for cultivating a church in which women flourish.”
Melissa Kruger, Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Uptown Church; author, The Envy of Eve

“There is no question that the women in your churches will be discipled. The only question is whether they will be discipled by the world or the Word. That’s why I’m so excited about Word-Filled Women’s Ministry. It’s more than a book. These contributors represent a movement of teachers guiding women to find hope and freedom and salvation in the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in his Word. I couldn’t more highly esteem these writers, and I pray that you will take up their charge to take up the Word.”
Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots

“Here is a book that focuses on the possibilities and not just the problems of ministry among women. It is written by women from a wide range of ministry contexts, but all with hearts that beat with a common gospel rhythm. Every chapter is grounded in Scripture and wonderfully practical. Women and men of the Word, read it and be encouraged by all the gospel possibilities.”
Jenny Salt, Dean of Students, Sydney Missionary and Bible College

“This is a significant subject that I have long been interested in, and the voices of my sisters in this book are as edifying as they are encouraging. Pastors, teachers, elders, and women’s ministry leaders alike will benefit from this Bible-based, gospel-centered, local church-focused work. I so resonate with their central thesis—“Profitable ministry among women is grounded in God’s Word, grows in the context of God’s people, and aims for the glory of Christ”—that I anticipate with joy the flourishing of this vision in the churches.”
J. Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi

Word-Filled Women’s Ministry is written for the bustling daughters of Christ, who need God’s Word to train and sustain them in their various labors. It acknowledges the vast diversity of women’s ministries in different churches while calling them to a unified commitment to God’s Word. Women grow best as they learn from Scripture, first as it is preached to the gathered church and then as it is explored and explained in the company of other godly women. This book is an incentive to the latter, casting a vision for what can and ought to happen when the Bible takes its rightful place at the center of women’s ministry.”
Megan Hill, pastor’s wife; author, Praying Together; blogger, Sunday Women

“A marvelous resource for thoughtful Christians, male and female, who long to see the power of the gospel unleashed in their own lives, in the church, and throughout world.”
Colin S. Smith, Senior Pastor, The Orchard, Arlington Heights, Illinois

“Full of careful biblical teaching and many helpful applications, this book is an invaluable aid for all Christian women to think through their own ministry possibilities. But it is also a highly useful tool for pastors and elders to understand and then activate much-needed biblical opportunities for every ministry in the local church. I hope it will be on the must-read list of every church leader.”
David Jackman, Former President, Proclamation Trust, London, England

“Gloria Furman and Kathleen Nielson, along with a host of other talented writers, help us explore a vision-guided practice of our theology. Too often in church ministry, gender is received as a problem to be solved rather than as a beautiful gift from God to be explored. This book is a marvelous map to enjoy God, lead in God’s church, and explore God’s world, whether a woman is stepping into ministry for the first time or is a seasoned veteran.”
Daniel Montgomery, Pastor, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, Kentucky; Founder, Sojourn Network; author, Faithmapping and Proof

Table of Contents

Part 1: The Heart of Women’s Ministry

  1. The Word at the Center: Hearing God Speak
    Kathleen Nielson
  2. The Word on Women: Enjoying Distinction
    Claire Smith
  3. The Word Passed On: Training New Leaders
    Carrie Sandom

Part 2: Contexts for Women’s Ministry

  1. The Local Church: Finding Where We Fit
    Cindy Cochrum
  2. The World around Us: Practicing Evangelism
    Gloria Furman
  3. The Ends of the Earth: Thinking Global
    Keri Folmar

Part 3: Issues in Women’s Ministry

  1. Older and Younger: Taking Titus Seriously
    Susan Hunt and Kristie Anyabwile
  2. Sexual Wholeness: Affirming Truth with Compassion
    Ellen Mary Dykas
  3. Gifts and Giftedness: Finding the Place to Serve
    Kathleen Nielson and Gloria Furman

Part 4: The End of Women’s Ministry

  1. Ultimate Goals: Heading for That Day
    Nancy Guthrie
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A Theology of Singleness

Jul 02, 2015 | Justin Taylor

One of the things I think the gay-marriage debate has revealed is that many evangelicals do not have a robust theology of singleness.

The following talks are not directed to those who struggle with same-sex desire, but I think they are both helpful in helping the church recover a biblical understanding of a full and fulfilled life lived chastely before the Lord:

For the manuscript and audio of Piper’s talk, go here.

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An Interview with John Frame on Apologetics to the Glory of God

Jul 01, 2015 | Justin Taylor

9781596389380P&R Books has just released John Frame’s book, Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief, a redeveloped and expanded version of Frame’s previous work, Apologetics to the Glory of God. This was one of the most influential books I’ve read on defending the Christian faith, and helped me bring together theology, Bible, and apologetics in a clear and compelling way.

James Anderson offers a similar testimony:

If I were asked to list the top three books that have had the greatest impact on me as a Christian thinker, John Frame’s Apologetics to the Glory of God would undoubtedly be one of them. It brought about a paradigm shift—one might even say a “Copernican revolution”—in my understanding not only of apologetics but of all other intellectual endeavors as a Christian. Ever since then, it has been the first book I recommend to those looking for an introduction to Christian apologetics, and it is required reading in my apologetics classes.

You can read for free online Vern Poythress’s foreword and Frame’s first chapter.

Dr. Frame, the J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, answered a few questions for me about this new edition:

How would you summarize your approach to apologetics?

I am called a “presuppositionalist,” following the work of Cornelius Van Til. That is probably not the best label for what I do, but I don’t quibble much over words. My emphasis is

  1. to base all my argument on the truth of God’s revelation,
  2. to apply that revelation to each apologetic encounter differently as the situation calls for it,
  3. to move as quickly as possible to the Gospel,
  4. always expressing “gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).

What makes your approach different from evidential or inference-to-the-best-explanations apologetics?

I can use the same evidence as they, and some of the same arguments. But I argue that no evidence and arguments make sense unless the God of the Bible exists. So in discussing causality, the point is not just that causality implies God, but that all discussion of causality presupposes God. You really cannot even talk coherently about causality if the universe is nothing but matter, motion, time, and chance.

What is different about this new edition? Have you changed your mind or nuanced any of your particular arguments?

The substantive argument is the same as the 1994 edition. Joe Torres, editor of the new edition, has added some clarifying footnotes and essays. He has also added an additional chapter dealing with the discussion of “transcendental argument” that occurred after the 1994 edition was published.

What criticisms of covenantal-presuppositional apologetics to you find most frustrating?

The argument that presuppositional apologetics is “circular” (that is, that it presupposes what it intends to prove). We’ve answered that argument scores of times, it seems, but it keeps coming back again. My reply:

  1. Presuppositional apologetics does not endorse all circular arguments, but only a small class of them, namely those designed to prove an ultimate authority for human reason.
  2. All arguments of this type are circular in a way. If a rationalist, for example, tries to prove that human reason is the ultimate rational authority, he can do nothing else than appeal to a rational argument, using reason to prove reason. He cannot appeal to anything higher than reason, because he believes reason is the highest authority.
  3. The same is true with any other attempt to prove an ultimate authority: the Islamic appeal to the Qur’an, the empiricist appeal to sense experience, the existentialist appeal to feeling, etc., etc.
  4. The circular argument is not the end of discussion. In addition to that circular appeal, the presuppositionalist is able to show that alternative presuppositions (i.e. alternative circles) deconstruct: they cannot account for their own meaningfulness without themselves appealing to the biblical God.
  5. This view is biblical, for the God of Scripture presents himself as the origin of all things: all meaning, all rationality, all goodness, and his Word claims absolute authority.

How has the state-of-the-discussion and the popularity of these arguments changed since you wrote the first edition of this book?

As I said earlier, there has been a renewed interest in “transcendental” argument. To me, “transcendental” is a synonym of the “presuppositional” argument I have outlined above. But the substantive apologetic arguments haven’t changed much. In 2000, we published Five Views of Apologetics (ed. Steve Cowan, Zondervan Publishers), and the five views debated there are pretty much the same as those debated today.

I think the development of “postmodern” thought since the 1980s has made people more responsive to the idea that presuppositions underlie all human thought. We dealt with postmodernism somewhat in the Five Views book. But we don’t seem to have impressed sufficiently on the Christian public the astonishing fact that the Biblical God is the source of all meaning, rationality, truth, beauty, and goodness.

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Audio FAQ with D. A. Carson on the Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Jun 26, 2015 | Justin Taylor

On the Desiring God Ask Pastor John podcast, Tony Reinke asks New Testament scholar and Gospel Coalition president D. A. Carson the following questions:

[1] Generally speaking, what would you say to someone who came up and asked you for your initial thoughts about the SCOTUS ruling?

[2] Does this landmark ruling today mark a new era for the church in America?

[3] What would you say to Christians who feel angry and betrayed by the courts for this ruling?

[4] This ruling hit on Friday. Sunday’s coming. If you were preaching on Sunday. What text would you choose?

[5] Back to religious freedoms. What do you predict will be the fallout from this SCOTUS decision for religious freedom in America?

[6] Finally, you travel extensively. As the international community watches so-called same sex marriage become the law of the land in America, how is the international community viewing the United States right now? And especially from the global church?

You can listen below to the 18-minute audio:

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The First Amendment Defense Act: A New Bill Before Congress

Jun 26, 2015 | Justin Taylor

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision that gay marriage is legal and required in all 50 states—the decision in explained here—the question now becomes what to do with those individuals, associations, or businesses who disagree.

It seems to me that we should support this new proposed bill designed to protect religious liberty and prohibit federal intrusion on the rights of conscience—specifically, to prevent discriminatory treatment of any person on the basis of views held with respect to marriage.

Here is the press release about it:

WASHINGTON – Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID), today [June 17, 2015] reintroduced legislation to clarify and strengthen religious liberty protections in federal law, by safeguarding those individuals and institutions who promote traditional marriage from government retaliation.

The First Amendment Defense Act  (S. 1598, H.R. 2802) would prevent any federal agency from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license, or certification to an individual, association, or business based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. For example, the bill would prohibit the IRS from stripping a church of its tax exemption for refusing to officiate same-sex weddings.

“There’s a reason the right to religious liberty appears first in our nation’s Bill of Rights,” said Senator Lee. “The freedom to live and to act in accordance with the dictates of one’s conscience and religious convictions is integral to human flourishing, serving as the foundation upon which America has produced the most diverse, tolerant, and stable society the world has ever known. The vast majority of Americans today still hold a robust view of religious liberty, yet across the country the right of conscience is threatened by state and local governments that coerce, intimidate, and penalize individuals, associations, and businesses who believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The First Amendment Defense Act is necessary to ensure that this kind of government excess never occurs at the federal level.”

“Religious freedom is at the heart of what it means to be an American,” Labrador said. “America set the standard for upholding freedom of belief and worship in a diverse society. No American should ever doubt these protections enshrined in the First Amendment. Our bill ensures that the federal government does not penalize Americans for following their religious beliefs or moral convictions on traditional marriage. Our bill shields against federal intrusion without taking anything away from anyone. In a shifting landscape, it’s time that Congress proactively defend this sacred right.”

There are currently 18 co-sponsors on the Senate bill and 57 co-sponsors on the House companion bill. Senate co-sponsors include Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE).

Similar bills were introduced in the 113th Congress as H.R. 3133 and S. 1808.

And here is the actual bill:

First Amendment Defense Act by Senator Mike Lee

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Reaction To The Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

Jun 26, 2015 | Justin Taylor

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Hudson Taylor and the Gospel to China: 150 Years Ago Today from the Sands of Brighton Beach

Jun 25, 2015 | Justin Taylor

OMF International:

And here is John Piper’s 2014 talk on “The Ministry of Hudson Taylor as Life in Christ”:

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What Does It Feel Like to Fear a God Who Is For You?

Jun 24, 2015 | Justin Taylor

greenland storm

The Bible tells us again and again that “the fear of the LORD” is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10) and knowledge (Prov. 1:7).

The Bible also commands us to “hope in God” (e.g., Ps. 42:5; 42:11; 43:5).

And a passage like Psalm 147:10-11 brings both fearing God and hoping in God together:

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

John Piper, writing in The Pleasures of God, asks about the relationship between hope and fear:

Does it strike you as strange that we should be encouraged to fear and hope at the same time and in the same person? . . . Do you hope in the one you fear and fear the one you hope in? It’s usually the other way around: if we fear a person, we hope that someone else will come and help us. But here we are supposed to fear the one we hope in and hope in the one we fear. What does this mean?

Piper offers his own answer:

I think it means that we should let the experience of hope penetrate and transform the experience of fear. In other words, the kind of fear that we should have toward God is whatever is left of fear when we have a sure hope in the midst of it.

He then provides this helpful picture to explain what he means:

Suppose you were exploring an unknown glacier in the north of Greenland in the dead of winter. Just as you reach a sheer cliff with a spectacular view of miles and miles of jagged ice and mountains of snow, a terrible storm breaks in. The wind is so strong that the fear rises in your heart that it might blow you over the cliff. But in the midst of the stormyou discover a cleft in the ice where you can hide. Here you feel secure. But, even though secure, the awesome might of the storm rages on, and you watch it with a kind of trembling pleasure as it surges out across the distant glaciers.

At first there was the fear that this terrible storm and awesome terrain might claim your life. But then you found a refuge and gained the hope that you would be safe. But not everything in the feeling called fear vanished from your heart. Only the life-threatening part. There remained the trembling, the awe, the wonder, the feeling that you would never want to tangle with such a storm or be the adversary of such a power.

And so it is with God. In the same Psalm we read, “He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He casts forth his ice like morsels; who can stand before his cold?” (vv. 16-17). The cold of God is a fearful thing—who can stand against it! And verses 4-5 point to the same power of God in nature: “He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names. Great is our LORD, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”

In other words, God’s greatness is greater than the universe of stars, and his power is behind the unendurable cold of arctic storms. Yet he cups his hand around us and says, “Take refuge in my love and let the terrors of my power become the awesome fireworks of your happy night-sky.” The fear of God is what is left of the storm when you have a safe place to watch right in the middle of it. And in that place of refuge we say, “This is amazing, this is terrible, this is incredible power; Oh, the thrill of being here in the center of the awful power of God, yet protected by God himself! Oh, what a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God without hope, without a Savior! Better to have a millstone tied around my neck and be thrown into the depths of the sea than to offend against this God! What a wonderful privilege to know the favor of this God in the midst of his power!”

And so we get an idea of how we feel both hope and fear at the same time. Hope turns fear into a trembling and peaceful wonder; and fear takes everything trivial out of hope and makes it earnest and profound. The terrors of God make the pleasures of his people intense. The fireside fellowship is all the sweeter when the storm is howling outside the cottage.

Discussion of the fear of the Lord is a subject sorely lacking in evangelical circles. For a good introduction to this biblical theme, see Jerry Bridges, The Joy of Fearing God.

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