Spurgeon For The Win!


I was just skimming through C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Mission of the Son of Man,” when I came across this blurb:

Now, some persons love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say it so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should have died for all men; it commends itself, they say, to the instincts of humanity; there is something in it full of joy and beauty. I admit there is; but beauty may be often associated with falsehood. There is much which I might well admire in the theory of universal redemption but let me just tell you what the supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on his cross intended to save every man, then he intended to save those who were damned before he died; because if the doctrine be true, that he died for all men, he died for some that were in hell before he came into this world, for doubtless there were myriads there that had been cast away. Once again, if it were Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has he been disappointed! …To think that my Saviour died for men in hell seems a supposition too horrible for me to imagine: that he was the substitute for the sons of men, and that God having first punished the substitute punished men again, seems to me to conflict with any idea of justice.

Spurgeon hit it right on the head here. If Christ died in place of all men without exception, then he knowingly went to the cross in vain, for there were millions at that point who had already died and been judged. And if that is the case, how can we speak of Christ’s death as a triumph over the powers and principalities? Christ failed in the greater part of his mission, if he died with the intent to save all men.

But we have a Savior who really saves- a Savior who wrested Death’s dark keys away from him and cast out the ruler of this world, ransoming a people- his people, those whom the Father had given him- from every tribe and tongue and language and nation. Someday we will stand before the throne of God worshiping that slain and risen Lamb with untold millions from every age of history and every corner of the earth- and we will know the death of Christ to be a victorious death, without a pang of regret or a hint of defeat. And that is beautiful.


The Best-Smelling Rose


I’m reading a book right now by Brian Greene, called The Fabric of the Cosmos. I love reading books about science for two reasons: first, of course, I love the actual bits about science, and second, I love the philosophical statements these scientists always make, sometimes without even realizing it. For some of these men and women, they’ve operated in one philosophy of science for so long that they’re no longer aware that their philosophy isn’t empirically demonstrable (certainly behavior unbecoming of a scientist).

Now, I have to say that Greene seems to be very self-aware. He’s a brilliant man with a sense of beauty, which I appreciate. Listen to him recount reading Feynman:

And when I read Feynman’s description of a rose- in which he explained how he could experience the fragrance and beauty of the flower as fully as anyone, but how his knowledge of physics enriched the experience enormously because he could also take in the wonder and magnificence of the underlying molecular, atomic, and subatomic processes- I was hooked for good. I wanted what Feynman  described: to assess life and to experience the universe on all possible levels, not just those that happened to be accessible to our frail human senses. The search for the deepest understanding of the cosmos became my lifeblood.

I like that. I think it’s true. And I think I’ve got something better.

See, when Brian Greene looks at a rose, he sees an organism complex beyond human comprehension, beautiful on a thousand levels. But when I look at a rose, by virtue of my faith in God, I see a gift. I see a glimpse of the infinite care, the vitality, the creativity and power, the joy of my Creator. I see that this rose is no accident, that at this moment in time it was placed here for me and I for it, so that I might enjoy it and that God may be glorified in my joy.

When Brian Greene looks at a rose, he can feel amazement, and no more. When I look at a rose, I feel amazement, yes; but in and beyond that I feel love, worship, and gratitude- and that makes the roses smell all the better.


Nailed It!

After yesterday’s post I was reading Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics volume 4, and I came across this gem that connected so well with what Owen was saying.

To understand the benefit of sanctification correctly, we must proceed from the idea that Christ is our holiness in the same sense in which he is our righteousness. He is a complete and all-sufficient Savior. He does not accomplish his work halfway but saves us really and completely. He does not rest until, after pronouncing his acquittal in our conscience, he has also imparted full holiness and glory to us… He bore for us the guilt and punishment of sin, placed himself under the law to secure eternal life for us, and then arose from the grave to communicate himself to us in all his fullness for both our righteousness and sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30). The holiness that must completely become ours therefore fully awaits us in Christ. (Reformed Dogmatics, IV, 248)

Like a boss. A big, stiff, Dutch Reformed boss.