“Apart from Christ we can only experience the wrath of a dishonored and distant God Who “is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa 7:11). But in Christ God has become to us a reconciled God, a promising God, a glorified God, and a God near to us. Erskine opens up a great deal of the glory of grace that we see when we view God in Christ.” – – Ralph Erskine http://www.chapellibrary.org/book/gich/god-in-christ
Now why this fear and unbelief?
Has not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for us?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for the debt of sin
Now canceled at the cross?
Jesus, all my trust is in Your blood
Jesus, You’ve rescued us
Through Your great love
Complete atonement You have made
And by Your death have fully paid
The debt Your people owed
No wrath remains for us to face
We’re sheltered by Your saving grace
And sprinkled with Your blood
How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me
Be still my soul and know this peace
The merits of your great high priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood
Don’t fear your banishment from God
Since Jesus sets you free
Original Verses by Augustus Toplady (1772), Music, Alternative, and Additional Words by Doug Plank
© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)
Recently, students at the Auckland University were invited to a public discussion concerning an upcoming referendum. The question to be voted on from Monday is relates to whether or not Pro Life Auckland should be disaffiliated from the Auckland University Student’s Association (AUSA). The question also relates to whether a permanent ban should be imposed, preventing any group of similar ideology from becoming affiliated with the AUSA.
The 90-minute discussion was live-streamed to Facebook by the AUSA.
I have taken the liberty of making the watching of the discussion more palatable by isolating selected clips from it and presenting it as a Youtube Playlist. Some of these clips include members of Pro Life Auckland at Auckland University.
This is part three in a series of snippets addressing the question of God’s 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.”
This is part two of a series of snippets addressing the question of God’s 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.”
This is part one of a series of snippets addressing the question of God’s 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.”
The will of God. God’s will. What is it? What is the relationship between God’s will and human will? What is His Permissive Will? What is His Decretive Will? What is His Preceptive Will?
Over the next few posts, I want to address the question of God’s will with a series of snippets – mainly from Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.
Before I post on the permissive, decretive, and perceptive will of God – here’s an article from gotquestions.org
Answer: When speaking of God’s will, many people see three different aspects of it in the Bible. The first aspect is known as God’s decretive, sovereign, or hidden will. This is God’s “ultimate” will. This facet of God’s will comes out of the recognition of God’s sovereignty and the other aspects of God’s nature. This expression of God’s will focuses on the fact that God sovereignly ordains everything that comes to pass. In other words, there is nothing that happens that is outside of God’s sovereign will. This aspect of God’s will is seen in verses like Ephesians 1:11, where we learn that God is the one “who works all things according to the counsel of His will,” and Job 42:2, “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” This view of God’s will is based on the fact that, because God is sovereign, His will can never be frustrated. Nothing happens that is beyond His control.
This understanding of His sovereign will does not imply that God causes everything to happen. Rather, it acknowledges that, because He is sovereign, He must at least permit or allow whatever happens to happen. This aspect of God’s will acknowledges that, even when God passively permits things to happen, He must choose to permit them, because He always has the power and right to intervene. God can always decide to either permit or stop the actions and events of this world. Therefore, as He allows things to happen, He has “willed” them in this sense of the word.
While God’s sovereign will is often hidden from us until after it comes to pass, there is another aspect of His will that is plain to us: His preceptive or revealed will. As the name implies, this facet of God’s will means that God has chosen to reveal some of His will in the Bible. The preceptive will of God is God’s declared will concerning what we should or should not do. For example, because of the revealed will of God, we can know that it is God’s will that we do not steal, that we love our enemies, that we repent of our sins, and that we be holy as He is holy. This expression of God’s will is revealed both in His Word and in our conscience, through which God has written His moral law upon the hearts of all men. The laws of God, whether found in Scripture or in our hearts, are binding upon us. We are accountable when we disobey them.
Understanding this aspect of God’s will acknowledges that while we have the power and ability to disobey God’s commands, we do not have the right to do so. Therefore, there is no excuse for our sin, and we cannot claim that by choosing to sin we are simply fulfilling God’s sovereign decree or will. Judas was fulfilling God’s sovereign will in betraying Christ, just as the Romans who crucified Him were. That does not justify their sins. They were no less evil or treacherous, and they were held accountable for their rejection of Christ (Acts 4:27-28). Even though in His sovereign will God allows or permits sin to happen, we are still accountable to Him for that sin.
The third aspect of God’s will that we see in the Bible is God’s permissive or perfect will. This facet of God’s will describes God’s attitude and defines what is pleasing to Him. For example, while it is clear that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, it is also clear that He wills or decrees their death. This expression of God’s will is revealed in the many verses of Scripture which indicate what God does and does not take pleasure in. For example, in 1 Timothy 2:4 we see that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” yet we know that God’s sovereign will is that “no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
If we are not careful, we can easily become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the “will” of God for our lives. However, if the will we are seeking is His secret, hidden, or decretive will, we are on a foolish quest. God has not chosen to reveal that aspect of His will to us. What we should seek to know is the perceptive or revealed will of God. The true mark of spirituality is when we desire to know and live according to the will of God as revealed in Scripture, and that can be summarized as “be holy for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Our responsibility is to obey the revealed will of God and not to speculate on what His hidden will for us might be. While we should seek to be “led by the Holy Spirit,” we must never forget that the Holy Spirit is primarily leading us to righteousness and to being conformed into the image of Christ so that our lives will glorify God. God calls us to live our lives by every word that proceeds from His mouth.
Living according to His revealed will should be the chief aim or purpose of our lives. Romans 12:1-2 summarizes this truth, as we are called to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” To know the will of God, we should immerse ourselves in the written Word of God, saturating our minds with it, and praying that the Holy Spirit will transform us through the renewing of our minds, so that the result is what is good, acceptable and perfect—the will of God.
Cross Posted from The Spinoff.
Assisted dying devalues the disabled
At first look, it all seems so sensible: people who find no value in their lives should be allowed the choice to end them. Right? Wrong, says Dr John Fox – and here’s why.
One of my first memories is pain. It was my first hospital operation, a corrective surgery to make it easier to walk. People advanced on four year old me to remove my cast and mobilise my feet. My parents tried vainly to distract me, as I tried to find the face of my favourite nurse. I still remember that feeling of radical vulnerability, pinned to a table, trying to find words to explain what was happening, trying to feel safe.
It’s that feeling that came back to me last month, when David Seymour’s End of Life Choices bill was pulled from the ballot.
It seems so reasonable, and Mr Seymour makes the argument with the slightly rabid consistency of the convinced Libertarian. “My life, and my death, is my business”. Buttressed by really tragic and truly awful situations like those of Lecretia Seales, who would welcome pain? And of course, shouldn’t we let people who find no value in their lives make the choice to end them?
No. Here is why.
I live with a mild form of cerebral palsy and various associated problems including spastic hemiplegia. I know from first-hand experience how hard it is to be physically vulnerable, to lose control of one’s own body, how hard it can be to depend on other people, how easy it is to feel like a burden. From this angle I have every human sympathy with Lecretia Seales and others like her who show us how real, ugly and frightening death can be.
But I’m also a trustee of a disability organisation that has a 40 year history of advocating for the vulnerable. For many people we see at Elevate, suffering is a fact of life. We reject, and we resent, the idea that being sick, or even terminally ill, takes away our dignity. Many of us have incurable conditions, some much worse than mine, that would qualify under the bill’s massively broad drafting: the blind, the deaf, those with chronic pain, or long-term disability. And me.
Including us in a category of people who may be legally killed is redolent of the worst attitudes of the past.
If we were an organisation representing, say, 25 year old rugby players, we would not have to make the case that their suicide would leave society poorer. Their death would be seen as a waste, a tragedy that should be prevented, no matter what. Because we are disabled people with incurable conditions, we now have to make that case. Why?
Being sick doesn’t make your life worth less. Suicide is not medical care. And people don’t make life and death decisions by themselves. Those choices are made in a context – the same contexts we would recognise in youth or elder suicide.
When I lie on my bed, wishing my body were different, wishing I could compete on the same scale as the powerful, and questioning the value of my life, my friends and family remind me of something David Seymour’s bill forgets: Pain, like death, is a team sport.
Surrounded by solidarity, the love of caring families, and the competence of medical professionals, we can carry together the experience of suffering, find meaning and stillness inside it, say the things that should be said, and make and receive the peace we need.
I can receive the assurance than I am loved by the people close to me, that my death would leave them poorer. It’s that trust, that moment of connectedness and care, I rely on as a disabled person. And it’s that trust assisted dying attacks. It tears the trust between medical professionals and their patients that doctors will cure, not kill. It brings the spectre of killing as an option to every death bed, to every overworked administrator, to every hospital looking for budget cuts. The power of life and death hovers over every legal loophole, not in a thought experiment or an internet poll, but in real life exposing the elderly and the infirm, the vulnerable and inarticulate to appalling risks.
It’s common for people to have stereotypes and prejudices about disability and illness. It’s common for people to say “I wouldn’t want to live like that” or “We’d put down a dog who was suffering like that”. But “people”, including the Greek chorus in the media, ignore people like us, who live “like that” every single day. And vague, or even specific, safeguards, are inadequate to the task of protecting us in a society increasingly tempted to do the easy thing. It’s easy to say “if you don’t believe in the choice, don’t make it” but this ignores the effect creating the category already has on our country, and on how it values the disabled.
We already know as disabled people that we have to fight to have a job, fight to be born, fight structural prejudice, patronising assumptions, and cultural realities which call us less than, and worth less. Those challenges are likely not equal for you and me, and the impact of David Seymour’s bill would not be equal either.
Disabled people, like the very young, and the very old, depend on others seeing and protecting our value. But past platitudes about inclusion, it’s moments like this that tell us what our society really believes about the infirm and the sick. Are we “all in this together?” or do some people’s lives matter less?
Dr John Fox is trustee of Elevate Christian Disability Trust. He is a son, a brother, a grandson, a friend, and an Anglican ordinand.
1. The option of physician-assisted suicide is becoming more prevalent across the United States.
It is currently legal in Oregon, Washington, California, Vermont, and most recently, Colorado. It is soon to be legal in Washington, DC. Its legality in New Mexico is delayed due to a court challenge and it is allowed in Montana on the basis of a court order. There are legislative proposals currently being considered in roughly half of the other states.
2. Physician-assisted suicide is more often about maintaining control than ending intractable pain and suffering.
Over the seventeen years it has been legal in Oregon, participants have been asked to indicate their reasons for choosing assisted suicide. Whereas 92% have indicated a loss of autonomy (control) and 89% a lack of enjoyment of life, only 25% have indicated they are choosing it because of intractable pain or the fear of intractable pain.
3. Those championing assisted suicide are choosing to call it “Aid in Dying.”
This has far reaching implications for it means their agenda will lead to eliminating the need for physician involvement and the necessity that it be a voluntary act by the individual whose life is coming to an end.
4. Physician-assisted suicide will not continue to be strictly a personal, voluntary choice.
Though current laws require it to be voluntary, many anticipate on the basis of the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment that the option of aid in dying will be extended to those who are incapable of making a voluntary decision to ingest the lethal medications (or physically do so).
5. The freedom to choose assisted suicide may lead to a feeling of obligation.
Recognizing that continuing to live may be a burden on others, some may feel obligated to end their lives as a means of relieving loved ones of the burden and cost of giving end of life care.
6. Physician-assisted suicide is not the only option when experiencing a difficult death.
Palliative care is coming of age in the modern world of medicine. Much can be done to relieve both physical pain and the emotional, existential suffering that can accompany it.
7. Physician-assisted suicide does not guarantee a painless, dignified death.
In the majority of cases, after the lethal medication is ingested, patients who have opted for assisted suicide fall asleep and die comfortably within several hours. However, sometimes the medication causes vomiting, other distress, and/or does not lead to death for a number of hours or days.
8. Physician-assisted suicide is not strictly a personal decision that only impacts the one who chooses it.
We tell stories lauding the bravery of the first responders on September 11, 2001 but all too frequently view suicide as an act of weakness. We know that having a near relative who commits suicide increases the risk of suicide.
9. The prescribing physician is morally complicit in the assisted suicide.
A patient once told me, “All you have to do is write a prescription; I am the one responsible for my choice.” My response was to ask, “If I was a gun salesperson and someone told me they were buying a gun to kill themselves, did I not have the obligation to refuse to sell it to them?”
10. The church must equip God’s people to make God-honoring end of life choices.
Throughout a believer’s life, there may be a continuous struggle to submit to God’s control. But when my earthly life comes to an end I want to be fully surrendered to God and be able to rest in Jesus. Choosing assisted suicide would be just the opposite—taking rather than surrendering control.
by Brendon Ward
Rich in mercy
Grace and love
Once was dead
Raised with Christ
At the Father’s side
He to show
His grace and kindness
To those who know
Saved by grace
Through faith alone
Gift of God
In His Son
Not of works
Lest I boast
To glory boast
Called to works
Which He ordained
Before the world
Was ever framed