What Can Compare to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior?

“When we put it plainly like this–as a direct choice between God and our stuff–most of us would hope that we would choose God. But we need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest in our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all?

We disgust God when we weigh and compare Him against the things of this world. It makes Him sick when we actually decide those things are better for us than God Himself. We believe we don’t need anything Jesus offers, but we fail to realize that slowly, almost imperceptibly, we are drifting downstream. And in the process we are becoming blind, being stripped naked, and turning into impoverished wretches.

No wonder Jesus says He will spit lukewarm people out of His mouth! [Revelation 3:15-17]”

– Francis Chan, Crazy Love, p.97

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God’s Ways Do Not Change

“He continues to act towards sinful men in the way that He does in the Bible story. Still He shows His freedom and lordship by discriminating between sinners, causing some to hear the gospel while others do not hear it, and moving some of those who hear it to repentance while leaving others in their unbelief; thus teaching His saints he owes mercy to none, and that it is entirely of His grace, not at all through their own effort, that themselves have found life. Still He blesses those on whom He sets His love in a way that humble them, so that all the glory may be His alone. Still He hates the sins of His people, and uses all kinds of inward and outward pains and griefs to wean the hearts from compromise and disobedience. Still He seeks the fellowship of His people, and sends them both sorrows and joys in order to detach their love from other things and attach it to Himself. Still He teaches the believer to value His promise gifts by making him wait for them, and compelling him to pray persistently for them, before He bestows them. So we read of Him dealing with His people in the Scripture record, and so He deals with them still. His aims and principles of action remain consistent; He does not at any time act out of character. Man’s ways, we know, are pathetically inconsistent–but not God’s.

– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p.70-71

The Problem with Images and Symbols

“The heart of the objection to pictures and images is that they inevitability conceal most, if not all, of the truth about the personal nature and character of the divine Being whom they represent.

To illustrate: Aaron made a golden calf (that is, a bull-image). It was meant as a visible symbol of Jehovah, the mighty God who had brought Israel out of Egypt. No doubt the images was thought to honor Him, as being a fitting symbol of His great strength. But it is not hard to see that such a symbol in fact insults Him: for what idea of His moral character, His righteousness, goodness, and patience, could one gather from looking at a statue of Him as a bull? Thus Aaron’s  image hid Jehovah’s glory. In a similar way, the pathos of the crucifix obscures the glory of Christ, for it hides the fact of His deity, His victory on the cross, and His present kingdom. It displays His human weakness, but it conceals His divine strength; it depicts the reality of His pain, but keeps out of our sight the reality of His joy and His power. In both these cases, the symbol is unworthy most of all because of what it fails to display. And so are all other visible representations of Deity.”

– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p.40-41

God’s Greatest Adversaries are His Gifts

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife. The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies, but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of the earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”

– John Piper, A Hunger For God, p.14