What is man’s primary purpose?

At church last night we began looking at the Westminster Shorter Catechism, a series of questions with answers focusing on the Christian faith which were completed in 1647.

If you want to look at / print off the 107 questions of the catechism for yourself you can find the original version here, and if you are really cool you’ll find an updated English version here.

The first question and answer of the catechism is also without doubt the most well know

Question: What is the chief end of man? (What is man’s primary purpose?)

Answer: Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.  

And as John Piper has helpfully stated,

Spurgeon on how many will be saved

In his commentary on Revelation 7:9, David Chilton quotes Spurgeon’s exhortation to a gathering of missionaries with these words on whether there are many or few that will finally know God’s great salvation.

“I myself believe that King Jesus will reign, and the idols be utterly abolished; but I expect the same power which turned the world upside down once will still continue to do it. The Holy Ghost would never suffer the imputation to rest upon His holy name that He was not able to convert the world.”

Nothing less than a saved world

“You must not fancy, then, that God sits helplessly by while the world, which He has created for Himself, hurtles hopelessly to destruction, and He is able only to snatch with difficulty here and there a brand from the universal burning. The world does not govern Him in a single one of  its acts: He governs it and leads it steadily onward to the end which, from the beginning, or ever a beam of it had been laid, He had determined for it. . . . Through all the years one increasing purpose runs, one increasing purpose: the kingdoms of the earth become ever more and more the Kingdom of our God and His Christ. The process may be slow; the progress may appear to our impatient eyes to lag. But it is God who is building: and under His hands the structure rises as steadily as it does slowly, and in due time the capstone shall be set into its place, and to our astonished eyes shall be revealed nothing less than a saved world.” 

Benjamin B. Warfield, from a sermon on John 3:16 entitled “God’s Immeasurable Love” 

God the just is satisfied

When Satan tempts me to despair, 
And tells me of the guilt within, 
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died, 
My sinful soul is counted free; 
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me

Charitie L. Bancroft, 1863.

These well known words from the hymn, Before the throne of God above, remind us that it is God’s justice that brings comfort to despairing sinners in the shadow of the cross.  Satan may well tempt us to despair with our own unworthiness and the sin that so easily besets even those who have walked along the road of faith for many years.

But Peter tells us of the great transaction that occurred on that first Good Friday.  Why did Christ suffer and die, despised and rejected by men and God?

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24)

Our just God will not, cannot punish sin twice.  If Christ bore my sin then, I have no sin left to bare.  Truly, God the just is satisfied, to look on him and pardon me for my sin has already been answered for.

Making Disciples

In the Great Commission at the end of Matthew 28, Jesus instructs his disciples to “make disciples.”  He does not instruct them to make converts who are only later to be discipled.  That’s an important distinction with regard to how we view evangelism and something  Jonathan Dodson picks up on here.

What is the gospel?

How would you answer that question?

This coming Sunday evening we will be asking the question, “What is the gospel?”  Perhaps it’s a question we think is so basic it doesn’t need an answer.  But as we saw a few weeks ago when we asked the question, “What is evangelism?” the most basic questions are the most important questions.

Below are a some definitions from a few well know evangelicals and you can find a lot more here thanks to Trevin Wax  who has complied a whole list.

Finally, this article by Derrick Olliff is a sizeable but excellent read.

 

 

You shall not murder

On Sunday evening we are going to be looking at the 6th commandment ‘You shall not murder.’ – Exodus 20:13. It’s a commandment that directly relates to many of the big issues in our society today including abortion, euthanasia / assisted suicide, as well as war, law and punishment.

These areas are so emotive because many are living in the shadow of past actions – either our own or of people dear to us, and we know the pain that facing these issues brings.

As we’ll be dealing with the commandment in general we won’t be able to say all that ought to be said about each of these issues.

That makes the series of posts that have been written on the Good Book Company blog this week on abortion most helpful and I’d recommend them to you. They have been written by Andrew Nicholls, an ex-doctor who is currently a pastor in Kingston.

Andrew starts with helpful pastoral insight when thinking about this issue. Then there’s a post on why we might think the unborn child is already a precious human life, followed by posts thinking how we might go about caring for those thinking about having an abortion and those who have previously had an abortion.

Dangerous children in an R rated world

The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them
sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.

(N. D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, p. 157)

God’s authority over life

“Every last material creature on this globe will come to an end.  If God has the authority to invent sperm, to invent eggs, to invent DNA; if He has the authority to choose me out of a near infinite numher of possible human combinations and call me into existence out of nothing; if He has the authority to choose my parents, my race, my birthplace, my height, my intelligence, the size of my tonsils; if He has the authority to design my teeth from scratch, then He has the authority to choose my end.”

(N. D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, p. 112)