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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Youngest daughter: "Daddy, can I have some ice cream?"

Father: "Of course you can have some ice cream, the real question is whether or not you may have ice cream..."

There are many today who would say that the distinction is trivial and even pompous; for if, by the context, the father understood what his daughter intended to say then the grammar doesn't matter. These would regard the father as a Hebert (you must be familiar with Star Trek TOS to understand the reference).

I make this distinction with my children all the time because I know that, even though our generation is grammatically slack, previous generations were not. The word "can" denotes ability, the word "may" denotes permission. Anyone can commit murder, but the law tells us that no one may. When scripture says that "no one -can- come to the Son, unless the Father draws him, it means that no one has the ability to come to the Son, unless the Father draws that person. It doesn't mean no one wants to, or no one has permission to, or no one thinks about it - what it is saying is that it is impossible for anyone to come to the Son unless/until the Father draws that person to the Son.

That's not the point of this post however, I just mention that to illustrate how a failure to understand even the language we speak, can translate into bad doctrine, which always leads to bad practice.

Consider the word "faith". Without faith it is impossible to please God. What does scripture mean here (Hebrews 11:6)? That unless a person believes there is a God, he cannot please God? Um. No.

You see, a person can easily believe that there is a God, and that He is the God of scripture, and that He is able to do everything that scripture says He is able to do; a person can even believe all that and believe that Christ is going to save him (or has already saved him) based on the promises found in scripture - and still fail to believe God for even trivial things. That is, a person can assent to the fact that God "can" do something, but will halt at the thought that God "will" do a thing.

Faith is more than simply giving an intellectual assent to the facts.We see this mostly in our prayer life. Yes, of course God "can" bring so and so to faith, but will he? Yes, God "can" heal the other over there, but will he? In fact, God "can" answer prayer, but does he ever? Oh sure, the one says, God answers prayers, -- just not mine.

You see, that's not faith, that's unbelief.

Of course God "can" do these things. It doesn't take a great "faith" to know this. The demons know that God "can" do these things, and it isn't counted as faith for them. It would just be counted as lunacy to deny it - only a fool (who has embraced his own sin) can say there is no God. Faith is more than simply giving an intellectual assent to the facts; faith requires a trust that God -will- do something. In other words faith doesn't say God "can" do this, it says, God "will" do this.

Now before we go off the rails and into word/faith heresy, let's understand that even if I really, really believe that God is going to give me a million dollars, that isn't going to "make it happen". Faith is not a kind of power that makes things happen. No one can incline God to obey their voice, even if they really, really believe He will. Faith doesn't work that way. In other words, faith has more to it than simply believing God will do something.

Let's recap briefly:
[1] Faith requires more than believing that God can do something, it requires that one believes that God -will- do something.

[2] Faith is also more than being convinced that God -will- do something...

Biblical faith believes that God will do everything that He has promised to do. It believes that God is exactly as scripture portrays Him to be, personified perfectly in the person of Christ. There is no reason for any believer to doubt any of God's promises, and where we find ourselves asking for something outside of God's promises, we can trust in the character of God - that is, we can trust God to respond to our prayers as the God of scripture would respond.

Faith is also more than being convinced that God -will- do something ...Let's bring this home, it is good and right to believe that God will answer your prayer providing (at least) that your prayer is actually good and right. James wrote that you do not receive what you ask for because what you ask for is not right. It really is that plain and simple. If you don't believe that God is going to answer your prayer positively, why on earth are you praying? That is praying from a position of doubt. What you need is not to hype yourself up until you can convince yourself that God will bow to your desires - you need instead to educate yourself and learn whether or not this is something God has promised to do. If you can find nothing, or if time is pressed so that you must pray before you can be sure that what you are praying for is fit and right - then commend your prayer to God's character - believe that God will answer according to what is right, and be satisfied with God's answer.

It troubles me that there are some who are crippled in their prayer life because they only ever ask God for things that a loving God would never give them, and so have learned through their own sad history that God doesn't ever, or hardly ever, answers prayer. I want people like that to know that God does answer prayer, all the time. If you want to see God answering prayer in your life, start praying for thgose things that God has promised - if a son asks his father for bread, the father will not give him a scorpion, but bread. How much moreso will our heavenly Father give? He won't supply our lusts, our gluttony, our avarice - but He will supply the Spirit for what we need - sanctification; He will answer every promise He has made.

Seriously, God will.


posted by Daniel @ 8:41 AM  
  • At 12:26 PM, September 09, 2009, Blogger Bob Johnson said…

    I'm grateful for the emphasis placed on believing that God will do what He has promised, and the importance of studying His word so that we know His promises and can distinguish them from what we want Him to do. Good job.

  • At 1:13 PM, September 09, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    Amen! What a good reminder that God is indeed faithful to His promises. We need only know His word and we will know how to pray in faith.

  • At 3:14 PM, September 09, 2009, Blogger Margaret said…

    He won't supply our lusts, our gluttony, our avarice - but He will supply the Spirit for what we need - sanctification

    Thank you for this! Our minds really do need to be transformed, otherwise even our questions/requests are just plain wrong.

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