Friday, November 24, 2017

Behind Every Transgression: Doubting the Goodness of God

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by David Brand

“. . . everything that does not come from faith is sin.”

– Romans 14:23 ESV

 

Beginning with that tragic episode in the garden of Eden, Satan’s strategy has been to sow doubt into the human heart concerning the goodness of God. [1]  Jesus so accurately called him “a liar and the father of lies,” and on that basis a “murderer.” [2]  If Satan can sow doubt within our hearts, he can divert us from the enjoyment of the blessing of God.  No wonder our Lord Jesus Christ called Satan a “liar” “the father of lies,” and a “murderer”!  And, conversely, how marvelous that hymn writer Elisha A. Hoffman could proclaim, “I have blessedness with my Lord Divine, leaning on the everlasting arms”!  Arguing from the greater to the lesser, the Psalmist expressed that blessedness: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the house of the wicked.” [3] 

In the midst of personal, domestic, and financial ruin, Job affirmed,

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;

may the name of the LORD be praised.

“In all of this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” [4]  In God’s timing, after later giving in to extensive complaining and affirming his own innocence over the accusations of his friends (“So who needs enemies with well meaning friends like that?” [5] ), God saw fit to restore to Job far beyond what he had originally enjoyed. [6]

Godless Esau, by contrast, unable to repent, was rejected, though he sought the blessing afterward with tears. [7]  Judas gave into despair over the “thirty pieces of silver” he had received for betraying Jesus and ended up casting that pay-off money into the temple before going away and hanging himself [8].  Neither Judas nor Esau could conceive of the goodness of God.

Cain’s half-hearted worship and downcast face, not to mention his murdering his brother,  was traceable to a deficiency of faith. [9]  “. . . everything that does not come from faith is sin.” [10]  Neither was the founder of modern “liberalism,” Friedrich Schliermacher, a happy camper. [11]

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About the Author.

            David C. Brand was ordained to the Christian ministry at John Knox Church in Seattle.  After assisting at John Knox Church, Brand pastored churches in Ohio, New Jersey, and Virginia.  He served as a Christian school administrator in New Jersey and Arizona.  His Th.M. thesis in church history at Westminster Seminary was published by Scholars Press in 1991 by the American Academy of Religion.  He has done adjunct teaching in Bible, church history, and philosophy at two junior colleges in Virginia.  He and his wife Marilyn have four children and eight grandchildren.

 

Endnotes

[1]. Gen. 3:1

[2]. John 8:44

[3]. Psalm 84:10

[4]. Job 1:21

[5]. Fuller Seminary President, David Allan Hubbard, voiced such a perspective concerning Job’s plight.

[6]. Job 42:7-17

[7]. Heb. 12:16-17

[8]. Matt. 27:3-5

[9]. Gen. 4:5

[10]. Rom. 14:23

[11]. See David C. Brand’s article: “Progressivism and Infallibility” in the Christian Observer.  http://christianobserver.org/progressivism-and-infallibility-shall-their-unbelief-make-the-faith-of-god-without-effect-romans-33-geneva-bible/

 

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