Recently, I outlined an extra-biblical reading list for the remainder of 2011 to aid in keeping my mind and heart focused and sharpened against the desires of my flesh, the world and the devil. However, my reading is not only as a means of defense, but also to aid in serving the brethren and engaging the lost. My goal is to read key works on the basics such as Theology Proper (the study of God), Christology (the study of Christ), Pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit), Soteriology (the study of salvation), Ecclesiology (the study of the church), Eschatolology (the study of last things), personal holiness and the like.
Today, was the beginning of my trek and I started with a A.W. Pink’s classic book, The Attributes of God. I started with “Theology Proper” because it establishes the foundation and interpretation of all other reading since everything stems from the nature, character and will of God. Without a proper knowledge of God, the source of all truth, we abandon ourselves to lies and continue to lay bricks for the road of destruction.
In the preface, Pink starts by quoting Scripture:
“23Thus says the LORD:”Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me,…” (Jeremiah 9:23-24a)
Do we understand and know the Lord as we ought? Do we possess that desire? If we’re honest, we’ll answer that we don’t. Much to our dismay, we are unjustifiably preoccupied by lesser things; some necessary and some unnecessary. Plus, we’re in a lifelong battle of killing the sin in our hearts that vies strongly against God. However, we are not without power. We have the Holy Spirit who testifies of Christ and allows us to cry out “Abba! Father!”, as reconciled and adopted sons and daughters. Therefore, we should strive in His power and by His strength to endeavor to grow in the grace and knowledge of God.
Pink begins the first chapter, The Solitariness of God, by declaring people generally don’t meditate on the perfections of God; namely His solitariness or His essence of being untouchably distinct or separate from all of His creation. Because we were created in the likeness and in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), there is the ability to understand some particular things about God because we share certain qualities. These are commonly referred to as communicable attributes. Some of these are love, grace, mercy, holiness, righteousness, and justice. However, His solitariness is something we cannot share in, nor understand apart from the help of the Spirit.
Consider how the Holy Spirit moved Moses to speak of God in Exodus 15:11:
11“Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
These questions rhetorically speak of God’s unmatched character and excellency. Consider a few more observations Pink made concerning the solitariness of God.
- There was a time when creation, even heaven, didn’t exist, but God’s glory did because He is from everlasting.
- There was a time when angels, nor humans were praising Him and He was still altogether wonderful.
- He is self-contained, self-sufficient, and self-satisfied.
- He was under no compulsion to create out of necessity or deficiency.
- He created all things simply to display His glory.
- God could’ve very well chosen not to create and He still would be The Perfect One.
Perhaps one the most humbling observations Pink made was that God gains nothing from our worship as it pertains to His intrinsic worth. What Pink is saying is that God’s glory and worth isn’t contingent on our praise or adoration. Surely, we are called to praise Him, which Pink terms our praise as manifestative glory, but not intrinsic glory. God’s glory isn’t increased or diminished by any outside agency’s recognition, acceptance or rejection of Him. He is altogether lovely! We are very small. He is big! Ponder Isaiah 40:9-31.
Behold your God!
Grace & Peace,