John Calvin writes about our “knowledge” of God’s providence in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:
‘Gratitude of mind for the favourable outcome of thing, patience in adversity, and also incredible freedom from worry about the future all necessarily follow upon this knowledge.’ (see 1.17.7)
By knowledge he means that we properly understand and see the ramifications of the doctrine. By “providence” he means that as described by many passages of scripture (e.g. Isaiah 46:10-11), and by the 1689 London Confession 5:1, which says that God “upholds, directs, organises and governs all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least … ” I wrote about God’s providence recently here.
With that in mind, read the quote again. Calvin says that when we know and trust God in his providence, we should be 3 things.
1. Thankful for all of the good things that come about in our life,
2. Patient in difficult times in our life, and
3. Free from worry.
God is in control, says Calvin. So, be thankful! Be patient! Don’t worry!
Picture credit: John Calvin’s church in Geneva, by Mark Gstohl. Some rights reserved.
In my last post I discussed the certainty of Christ’s return and the importance of being ready. In this post I want to answer the question, what will happen when Christ returns? When He comes back, there will be consequences. After declaring the certainty of Christ’s coming, John goes on to say in Revelation 1:7-8,
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen”
During our Lord’s earthly ministry His glory was veiled. Though many believed in Him and were genuine followers, no one saw His glory (apart from Peter, James, and John who saw a glimpse at the Mount of Transfiguration). The day is coming when our Lord returns that all will see Him in His glory and there will be no denying who He truly is! John states, “and every eye will see Him.” This reveals that every single individual will be an eyewitness to this climactic event. This is why we ought to always reject any claims that Christ has returned (cf. Matt. 24:23-25).
As a result or consequence of our Lord’s return, John makes mention of two groups who are greatly affected at the time of the event. The first group are designated as “those who pierced Him” and the second as “all the tribes of the earth” (Rev. 1:7).
Who does this first group refer to? Continue reading
I have just finished Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book, The Black Swan. It was, ironically, given the name of the publishing company, published by Random House back in 2007. The Black Swan is about improbable, unexpected events which have a high impact. Even more importantly, Taleb wants the reader to be aware of our inability to predict these events. Indeed, we all stomp around behaving as though we just know that our home won’t catch on fire tomorrow. We also behave like we know that a plane won’t crash into the building we work in while we’re working in it. And yet we don’t know. We cannot know.
This is not a book review, but more of a Christian reflection on the ideas in the book. The kind of events Taleb has in mind are massive stock market crashes (e.g. 1929, 1987, and 2008), terrorist attacks on Australian soil, or the rise of Christianity. High impact, unpredictable, and improbable. That’s the trio of features. Continue reading