Category Archives: Doctrine of God

Basic Reformed Theology 7

Basic Reformed Theology 7

Reformed Theology (RT) must translate into real life! As those who have been humbly affected by what the Bible teaches, they seek to apply those wonderful truths to their lives. Too many seek to master the doctrines of grace and RT rather than to be mastered by them. Knowing these truths without being thoroughly changed and affected by them is a waste and places us in a guilty (culpable) state. These are some of the ways RT becomes concrete.

Means of Grace: Individual and Family Piety

People rightly taught and deeply influenced by RT give themselves to reading and meditating on God’s Word regularly since they cannot live without it (Mt. 4:4). We hear God through His Word (1Thess. 1:5). We do not seek to find God in our feelings, reason, culture, emotions, etc. Since RT is “word centered” (see BRT 1), each believer attempts to be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11). We believe God meets us as we prayerfully read and study His Word. Furthermore, since we are called to constantly pray (Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2; 1Thess. 5:17, etc.), each believer gives himself to earnest prayer because he knows God hears him through Christ Jesus. If the believer has a family, then he seeks to instruct the members in the things of the Lord (Eph. 6:4) knowing God uses His Word to bring salvation to his children (2Tim. 3:15). To faithfully maintain this, he seeks to daily lead family worship.

Reading the Word of God privately, listening to sermons, praying regularly, and partaking of the Lord’s Supper during public worship are the primary “means of grace” – the channels through which God meets His people and conveys grace to them. He does not seek “extraordinary” means though he knows God often acts in extraordinary ways through the ordinary means. He believes God rewards “those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). He seeks God through God’s appointed means and attempts “to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1Tim. 2:2). He aims at personal godliness and not personal fame — all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

Reverent Public Worship

Since believers must not forsake assembling with God’s people (Heb. 10:25) and must worship God (Luke 4:8; Acts 13:2, etc.), we must worship Him according to His Word and not according to our desires. The Reformed believer takes worshipping God seriously and obediently; it is not an option. Knowing God to be infinitely Holy and majestic, humble believers do not approach Him in a cavalier manner as if He were a “buddy”. If fact, we are called to worship Him with reverence and awe: “let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28, 29). The manner is with “reverence and awe”. This does not mean in a gloomy fashion but with gladness; not somberly but soberly; not haphazardly but humbly; etc. We read that the 24 elders “fell down and worshiped” (Rev. 5:14), worship sometimes included fasting (e.g. Acts 13:2), worship can lead to serious conviction of sin (cf. 1 Cor. 14:23-25), etc. Worship in the NT is never glib, trite, comical, etc. but always serious and reverent.

The Word of God remains central to NT worship and prominent in RT. Therefore the public reading of Scripture (1Tim. 4:13; cf. Col. 4:16) and the preaching of God’s Word dominate Reformed churches. The believer listens to God from His Word. We must also recognize that OT worship does not regulate NT worship because we do not have the Levitical priesthood, the Temple, divinely ordained choirs, instruments, regulations, sacrifices, etc. The first four commandments always apply but worship robed in OT regulations fit the Old Testament (the old economy, the shadow of things to come). Because of the covenantal progression, we worship in accordance with the New Covenant requirements in Spirit and Truth (Jn. 4:24).

Submissive to God’s Providence

We see RT in its best practical form in the area of God’s providence. Since God is absolutely sovereign and is our good wise tender heavenly Father, the child of God recognizes that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” (Rom. 8:28 NASB). He knows that nothing happens to Him “apart the will of your Father” (Mt. 10:29, NIV). Nothing “accidentally” happens to him, whether good or bad. For that reason, he humbly submits to what God brings into his life: “It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him” (1 Sam. 3:18). At times, like David he will say, “I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you [God] who have done it” (Ps. 39:9). David took it as the Lord’s doing in allowing Shimei to curse him by saying, “the Lord has told him to” curse (2Sam. 16:11).

Being fully convinced of God’s absolute sovereignty, he does not murmur but knows that the difficulties are God’s loving ways of disciplining or sanctifying him (Heb. 12:4-11). Though some events and circumstances may defy simple explanations, the Reformed believer knows that God brought this upon him out of His goodness, love, and wisdom. God’s sovereignty does not threaten him but it sweetens the way he experiences the difficulties. When wonderful and good things befall his life, He knows it came from God and acknowledges it! He knows how he responds to circumstances reveal his deepest convictions about God, therefore he humbly submits to God in all conditions and glorifies Him by his responses. 

Confidence in Evangelism

Many of the most ardent and effective evangelists were Reformed (Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Gilbert Tennant, Asahel Nettleton, etc.). In obedience, he declares the good news being confident (not in himself or abilities) that God will sovereignly convert His people. God will not fail to bring His children into the fold and Reformed believers know God uses their feeble efforts and stammering lips to call the sheep into fellowship with His Son (1Cor. 1:9). RT encourages evangelism and emboldens the preacher because God and not the preacher converts sinners through the free offer of the gospel.

World and Lifeviews

Finally, RT teaches that the child of God must look at everything in biblical terms. He attempts to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2Cor. 10:5). God’s Word regulates his view of purpose, ambition, sexuality, identity, money, relationships, family, marriage, politics, arts, education, etc. That does not mean a “distinct Christian” view emerges over everything but his commitment to Christ influences everything he does and pursues. In all things, God’s glory and will constrain him and not his own personal peace, prosperity, comfort, glory, etc. So the world is “surprised when you do not join them” in their same passions and goals (1 Pet. 4:4). RT affects the person’s private and public life comprehensively; Christ’s lordship touches every inch of the individual’s life!

CCPC Reading Groups for 2019 (DV)

CGG                                                                           CCC

Christian Growth Group                                            Christian Classics Club

1St Sunday of the Month                                              3rd Sunday of the Month


William Gurnall                                                          Wilhelmus a’Brakel

The Christian in Complete Armour                       The Christian’s Reasonable Service

3 Vols. (Abridged) BOT                                             4 Vols. (Unabridged) RHB


Jan.                                                                             Jan. (Vol. 1)

2:21-58                                                                        1:381-425



Feb.                                                                             Feb.

2:58-94                                                                        1:427-463



March                                                                         March

2:94-137                                                                      1:465-491



April                                                                          April

2:137-172                                                                    1:493-537



May                                                                            May

2:172-208                                                                    1:539-574



June                                                                            June

2:209-244                                                                    1:575-623



July                                                                            July

2:245-281                                                                    1:625-658



Aug.                                                                            Aug. (Vol. 2)

2:281-314                                                                    2:3-54



Sept.                                                                           Sept.

2:314-348                                                                    2:55-106



Oct.                                                                             Oct.

2:348-371                                                                    2:107-155



Nov.                                                                            Nov.

2:372-398                                                                    2:157-187

The Larger Catechism, #2

The Larger Catechism

Question 2

2.         Q. How doth it appear that there is a God?

A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God;[3] but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.[4]

Scriptural Defense and Commentary

[3] Romans 1:19-20. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Psalm 19:1-3. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Acts 17:28. For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. [4] 1 Corinthians 2:9-10. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 2 Timothy 3:15-17. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Isaiah 59:21. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Regarding the letter to the Romans, Shedd says this: “It is sometimes forgotten that the introductory part of this Epistle contains the fullest and clearest account ever yet given, of man’s moral and religious nature, and his innate knowledge of God and law. There is no deeper psychology, and no better statement of natural religion, than that in the first and second chapters.”[1] He rightly recognized that Romans teaches us that a knowledge of God is clearly available to us. The first two chapters teach us much about the kind of theological knowledge all men possess.

The Bible teaches us that both internally and externally, the created world declares that God exists. Internally, that is, in our constitution, God has written a knowledge of Himself.[2] In Rom. 2:14-16, we are taught that God’s righteous requirements are written in our hearts: “the work of the law is written on their hearts” (v. 15).  Also, Rom. 1:19 states “that which may be known of God is manifest in them” (KJV).[3] Calvin and most of the traditional interpreters have taken it to be “in them.” However, the two verses are not the same. In Rom. 2:15, it suggests that God’s moral law is within them and in 1:19, the knowledge of God is in them because of the knowledge of God evident around them (“within them…to them,” NASB).[4] It is in us because it is evident around us. God’s created order plainly manifests His being.

Several things can be observed from Rom. 1 and 2. First of all, the knowledge of God is universal (v. 18). Verse 18 clearly has in mind all of humanity “all ungodliness and unrighteousness.” It is not for the few and the intelligent; all human beings are given this knowledge. The pagan, in a remote part of Africa, as well as the pagan in an extremely secular region of America, are both recipients of this knowledge. Secondly, it is God-authored. “God” has made it known (v. 19): “because God has shown it to them” (ὁ θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν). God is the subject of this sentence and the dispenser of this knowledge—He ensures that it gets to us. “The clause guards against any notion that people have access to true knowledge of God through their natural capacities.”[5] Thirdly, it is perspicuous or clear/plain (v. 19). We are told that God made it “plain” (φανερόν) to or in us and that He has manifested or shown (ἐφανέρωσεν) it to us (the same word translated differently). God is not playing a game here; the knowledge of God is clearly before us. This knowledge of Himself is not murky or cryptic; we may have shut our eyes against it but that does not lessen its clarity. This is more forcefully seen in v. 20 when Paul says that the things of God “have been clearly perceived” (νοούμενα καθορᾶται). Fourthly, it is accurate or true (vv. 18, 25). The knowledge man suppresses is the “truth” (τὴν ἀλήθειαν, v. 18). What is known is true; it is not a false general knowledge of a god— it is the unmistakable knowledge of Himself. In v. 25, we are told that humanity once again exchanged “the truth of God” for a lie. What is known or perceived is the genuine truth.  Fifthly, it is the real God and not a god (or, it is theistic and not deistic) that is known and suppressed. God is making HIMSELF known (v. 19); He is not declaring a knowledge of a “god” that is vague. Our God is impressing a knowledge of Himself into the very fabric of His creation.    Sixthly, it is more than mere existence (v. 20). It is not a bare existence of the true God that is known. Enough is made known to recognize His “invisible attributes.” Paul lists God’s “eternal power” (by the sheer vastness and extensiveness of the creation) and His “divine nature” (only a God could have created this universe). Evolution (the theory without God) is the deliberate attempt to hide this simple fact—viz., that the complex created world somehow sprang into existence by chance. Only God could have created such a complex world.  We must also notice what Paul teaches us regarding the true God. God’s attributes (what some call, his involuntary attributes) are evident (power, justice [from God’s wrath, v. 18], etc.) but not his attribute of mercy (his voluntary attributes).  Seventhly, it is authoritative (v. 19, 2:15, 16).[6] God is the one revealing Himself and God is the one addressing our consciences.  His clear declaration and conviction in our consciences are authoritative, that is, He binds men to what He has so clearly revealed. The revelation is not a suggestion but an authoritative declaration of His person, character, and will.  Lastly, it is sufficient (v. 20).  God has made enough of Himself known to hold men inexcusable. Man cannot presume to play the pseudo-intellectual game, “Well, I do not think there is sufficient evidence to prove one way or the other. I am agnostic.” It is not sufficient enough to save man but sufficient enough to condemn him. Continue reading