Samples from Seminary – God Spoke

As promised in my last post, here is another snippet from a conference that the seminary students attended this semester [1]. While this post cannot capture the captivating Welsh accent of the speaker, Derek Thomas, it can pose the same heart-probing question: God has spoken; what are you doing with his speech?

This is an important question because we are culpable for every word God has spoken. In other words, we are liable for what we do with God’s Word to us.

Indeed, God has spoken. He has done so in various ways. First, God speaks to us in creation. Romans 1:18-20 indicates that God manifests himself to all men in creation. Secondly, God speaks through his Son. For Jesus Christ is both truly God and truly man. Therefore, every time he spoke, God spoke. Finally, God speaks in Scripture. All of Scripture is the product of God “breathing out.” While God used human writers to record his word, nevertheless, God himself speaks in Scripture.

This is remarkable! The great God of heaven and of earth has spoken to us in a language that we can understand. This is an act of supreme grace on his part. Since God has taken the initiative in speaking to us, we have friendship and communion with Him.

What are you doing with this speech from God? And please note the present tense: what are you currently doing with it?

We know from Romans 1:18 that sinful man suppresses the speech of God. When this verse says that sinful men “hold the truth in unrighteousness,” the word “hold” means to hold down or to suppress. Derek Thomas used a helpful analogy for this – It is as though sinful man is holding his thumb over an open Coke bottle. Each of us can hold our thumb tightly over the mouth of a bottle to prevent any liquid from coming out. Are we doing the same thing with God’s speech to us?

Importantly, Derek Thomas posed this question to an audience of professing Christians. This question comes especially to those who have ready access to the Word, who sit under the preaching, who have opportunity to attend Bible studies, etc. More so than others, we are culpable for what we do with God’s Word to us. Thus, the question remains: God has spoken; what are we doing with it?

Matt Kortus

[1] The speech I am drawing from was given by Derek Thomas, who is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC. The speech was entitled “God Spoke” and was given at the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology hosted by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. This conference comes each year to First CRC of Byron Center. The theme for this year’s conference was, “How Firm a Foundation: The Bible’s Authority, Sufficiency, and Clarity.”

The Godly Man

What is a godly man? The definitions of a man from this world change from time to time and from culture to culture; therefore we are not interested in the the world’s definitions. Instead we are interested in the definition that the Bible gives us, as it does not change. It is an unchanging definition because it is the Word of God; and what God has decreed, let man not put asunder. The man of God according to 2 Timothy 3:17 says, “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” We must be spiritually different from those from the world. If you are not a man of God and have the mind of Christ, then you have the mind of the world and of mammon. For remember in Matthew 6:24, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” It is a sad thing in this world when women, not men, are far more spiritual and strong in faith even from an outward sense than men are; as men are the ones called by God to be the spiritual leaders. I have noticed in the time that I have been in a public school, that especially when it comes to pre-marital sex, it is always the man who is putting the spiritual responsibility of not having it on her; and she will never say no. Being a real and godly man is rare. I can’t remember how many times I have heard women at school complain how there are seemingly no real men who walk the walk, as they talk the talk. This should be an encouragement; real godly men are rare, precious, and one-in-a-million.

In order to be strong men of God who contend, run, and fight the good fight of faith, one must be courageous in his faith in God. It is not arrogance that causes him to boast in his faith, but a heartfelt confidence in the knowledge of knowing that he is saved and must live his life out of thankfulness to God. The world should know that he is strong in his faith, for it shows in his life. But he must also at times required give a confession of the faith he does have. For if one only lives a godly life and never proclaims his faith, the world should recognize that he is different; but they will not know fully what it is until he proclaims it. The things that the godly man is commanded to flee is the love of money and obtaining it; and must rather run after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness (1 Timothy 6:11). There is nothing wrong with money, but it is the desire for more, more than what one really needs. It is the yearning for it that is wrong. The love of money is dangerous as it can become an idol; the “never enough” idea. This can lead to pride and arrogance, especially when one who has money looks down on the members that either don’t have enough or have made bad financial decisions that caused them not to have enough money.

So what examples should we follow to be godly men? Even though Adam before the fall was perfect, and therefore a good example, he fell, leaving the only really true example to be the second Adam, Christ. Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you; which was also in Christ Jesus.” When we are to have the mind of Christ, it is not a suggestion, or good advice, or something that will improve our intelligence, but rather a command. We must have the mind of Christ in order to be spiritually strong and godly men.

When we as godly men live this command faithfully and with integrity, we can in no way cause occasion for the world or even the devil to tempt us in our hearts, that we have caused shame and a broach to either the name of God or His church. The tools that we have are plenty. They are God’s Word, a dependence on the Spirit, faithful saints, studying, and good literature.

Patrick Streyle