If you want to help addicts, you will create a culture that delights in openness and honesty. Be someone with whom they can speak without fear of self-righteous judgment. Invite them to speak this new language of truthfulness, in which they speak honestly and aim to know the Truth—who is the antidote to all idolatry.
Addictions continue their upward swing. Given that we live during a time when self-control is not yet prized, our cultural strategy with hardships is to medicate them away rather than stand in the midst of them. And the possibilities for medicating hardships are always increasing. To sexual obsessions, add illegal drugs, then prescription narcotics, then computer games, and there are more to come. With this in mind, the church has a perennial project: to draw out fresh insights from Scripture on modern addictions, and move toward those who are enslaved by them.
This is part three in a series of snippets addressing the question of God’s will.
From CARM’s Dictionary of Theology: Permissive Will
The Permissive Will of God is that will which God does not decree to occur, nor is it His will since it is not in accordance with His Law. God’s permissive will is His will to permit sin to occur. God allows man to rebel against Him, and in this God permits people to do such things as lie, steal, etc.
- Jer. 19:5, “and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind.”
- Luke 8:32, “Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons entreated Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.”
- Rom. 1:21-23, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”
See also Decretive Will (what God causes) and Preceptive Will (what God desires for people).
This is part two of a series of snippets addressing the question of God’s will.
From CARM’s Dictionary of Theology: Preceptive Will
The Preceptive Will of God is the will of God for man. For example, God wills that man does not sin, that we do not lie, do not steal, etc. It is the will of God for man that is revealed through his Law (Exodus 20:1-17) where God is concerned with man following his precepts. It is also the will of God for us to be holy, repent, love, etc. (1 Pet. 1:16; Acts 17:30; John 13:34)
- Rom. 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- Eph. 6:6, “not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”.
- 1 Thess. 4:3-6, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.”
See also Decretive Will (what God directly wills to cause) and Permissive Will (what God permits to occur).
This is part one of a series of snippets addressing the question of God’s will.
From CARM’s Dictionary of Theology: Decretive Will
The Decretive Will of God is that which is God’s sovereign will that we may or may not know, depending on whether or not God reveals it to us. The decretive will is God’s direct will where he causes something to be, he decrees it. For example, God has caused the universe to exist as well as Christ‘s incarnation.
- Job 23:13, “But He is unique and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does.”
- Psalm 33:11, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever. The plans of His heart from generation to generation.”
- Isaiah 14:24, “The Lord of hosts has sworn saying, ‘Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand.'”
- Isaiah 46:10, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, ‘Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’”.
- Acts 17:24, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.”
See also Preceptive Will (God’s good will for man) and Permissive Will (God permits bad to happen).
“Take two hours to ask ten questions of Galatians 2:20, and you will gain one hundred times the insight you would have attained by quickly reading thirty pages of the New Testament or any other book. Slow down. Query. Ponder. Chew.” – – John Piper, Brothers, We are Not Professionals
In answering the question: Who is God? the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith asserts:
The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
Tim Keller points out that the Bible depicts “the extremely close connection between deed-ministry and word-ministry. The practical actions of Christians for people in need demonstrate the truth and power of the gospel. Acts of mercy and justice are visible to non-believers and can lead men to glorify God (Matt. 5:13–16).”
Morgan, C. W. (2010). A Theology of James: Wisdom for God’s People. (R. A. Peterson, Ed.) (p. xiii). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.
Anticipation of a Setback: Like a Flat Tyre
Once addiction sets in, the user has a whole new set of problems, because addiction damages the part of the brain that helps you think things through to make good choices— the brain’s limit setting system. For more than 10 years, studies have shown that drug addictions can cause the brain’s frontal lobes to start shrinking. While “frontal lobe” sounds really technical, basically it’s the part of the brain that controls logical problem solving and decision making. But recent studies have found that it’s not just drugs that cause that kind of damage—the same problems show up with other kinds of addictions, such as overeating, Internet addictions, and sexual compulsion.
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