Category Archives: Blessedness

“Grace is the beginning of glory” by Thomas Manton

“Grace is the beginning of glory, and glory is but grace perfected.

Grace is glory in the bud, and moulding, and making; for when the apostle would express our whole conformity to Christ, he only expresseth it thus, ‘We are changed into his image from glory to glory,’ (2 Cor 3:18), that is, from one degree of grace to another.

It is called glory, because the progress of holiness never ceaseth till it comes to the perfection of glory and life eternal. The first degree of grace is glory begun, and the final consummation is glory perfected.

All the degrees of our conformity to Christ are so called. It is a bud of that sinless, pure, immaculate estate which shall be without spot and wrinkle; the seed of that perfect holiness which shall be bestowed upon us hereafter.

Thus the spiritual life is described in its whole flux; it begins in grace, and ends in glory.

See the golden chain: Rom. 8:30, ‘Whom he hath called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.’

There is no mention of sanctification, for that is included in glory.

Grace is but young glory, and differs from glory as an infant doth from a man; therefore by degrees the Lord will have you enter upon your everlasting inheritance.”

–Thomas Manton, The Works of Thomas Manton, Vol. 13 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1870/2020), 13: 331.

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“An infallible interpretation” by Richard Barcellos

“Let us consider Genesis 1:2 once again.

While Genesis 1:2 says, ‘And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters,’ Psalm 104:24 says, ‘O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions–‘ and in Ps. 104:30 we read, ‘You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth.’

In Job 26:13 we read, ‘By His Spirit He adorned the heavens.’

These texts (and there are others) outside of Genesis echo it and further explain it to and for us. These are instances of inner-biblical exegesis within the Old Testament.

When the Bible exegetes the Bible, therefore, we have an infallible interpretation because of the divine author of Scripture.

Scripture not only records the acts of God, it also interprets them. If we are going to explain the acts of God in creation, God’s initial economy, with any hope of accurately accounting for those acts, we must first know something of the triune God who acts.

And the only written source of infallible knowledge of the triune God who acts is the Bible and the Bible alone.”

–Richard C. Barcellos, Trinity and Creation: A Scriptural and Confessional Account (Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2020), 23.

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“What God tells us about Himself 6,800 times” by John Piper

“God’s name is a message. And the message is about how He intends to be known.

Every time His name appears—all 6,800 times—He means to remind us of His utterly unique being. As I have pondered the meaning of the name Yahweh, built on the phrase “I AM WHO I AM” and pointing to God’s absolute being, I see at least ten dimensions to its meaning:

  1. God’s absolute being means He never had a beginning. This staggers the mind. Every child asks, “Who made God?” And every wise parent says, “Nobody made God. God simply is and always was. No beginning.”
  2. God’s absolute being means God will never end. If He did not come into being, He cannot go out of being, because He is absolute being. He is what is. There is no place to go outside of being. There is only God. Before He creates, that’s all that is: God.
  3. God’s absolute being means God is absolute reality. There is no reality before Him. There is no reality outside of Him unless He wills it and makes it. He is not one of many realities before He creates. He is simply there, as absolute reality. He is all that was, eternally. No space, no universe, no emptiness. Only God, absolutely there, absolutely all.
  4. God’s absolute being means that God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring Him into being or support Him or counsel Him or make Him what He is. That is what absolute being means.
  5. God’s absolute being means that everything that is not God depends totally on God. All that is not God is secondary and dependent. The entire universe is utterly secondary—not primary. It came into being by God and stays in being moment by moment on God’s decision to keep it in being.
  6. God’s absolute being means all the universe is by comparison to God as nothing. Contingent, dependent reality is to absolute, independent reality as a shadow to its substance, as an echo to a thunderclap, as a bubble to the ocean. All that we see, all that we are amazed by in the world and in the galaxies, is, compared to God, as nothing. “All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are accounted by Him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isa. 40:17).
  7. God’s absolute being means that God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot be improved. He is not becoming anything. He is who He is. There is no development in God. No progress. Absolute perfection cannot be improved.
  8. God’s absolute being means that He is the absolute standard of truth, goodness, and beauty. There is no law book to which He looks to know what is right. No almanac to establish facts. No guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful. He Himself is the standard of what is right, what is true, what is beautiful.
  9. God’s absolute being means God does whatever He pleases, and it is always right, always beautiful, and always in accord with truth. There are no constraints on Him from outside Him that could hinder Him from doing anything He pleases. All reality that is outside of Him He created and designed and governs. So He is utterly free from any constraints that don’t originate from the counsel of His own will.
  10. God’s absolute being means that He is the most important and most valuable reality and the most important and most valuable person in the universe. He is more worthy of interest and attention and admiration and enjoyment than all other realities, including the entire universe.

This is the message of His name. And in the exodus, He establishes a link forever between His name and His mighty rescue of Israel from bondage.

The timing of the revelation of His name is not coincidental. God is coming to save. Israel will want to know who this saving God is.

God says in effect, ‘Tell them that My name is Yahweh, and make clear what this means. I am absolutely free and independent. And I choose freely to save My people. The freedom of My being and the freedom of My love are one.'”

–John Piper, Providence (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 90-92.

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“Gentler than all gentleness” by Heinrich Bullinger

“What can you fitly think of God,
He that is above all loftiness,
higher than all height,
deeper than all depth,
lighter than all light,
clearer than all clearness,
brighter than all brightness,
stronger than all strength,
more virtuous than all virtue,
fairer than all fairness,
truer than all truth,
greater than all greatness,
mightier than all might,
richer than all riches,
wiser than all wisdom,
more liberal than all liberality,
better than all goodness,
juster than all justice,
and gentler than all gentleness?

For all kinds of virtues must needs be less than He, that is the Father and God of all virtues: so that God may truly be said to be such a certain Being, as to which nothing may be compared.

For He is above all that may be spoken.”

–Heinrich Bullinger, Fiftie Godlie and Learned Sermons, Divided Into Five Decades, Containing The chiefe and principall points of Christian Religion, written in three severall Tomes or Sections (trans. H.I.; London: Ralph Newberie, 1587), 606-607. As quoted in Samuel D. Renihan, Deity and Decree (Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing: 2020), 26-27.

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“God is infinitely perfect, infinitely blessed and happy” by John Gill

“God is infinite in all His attributes; and which are indeed, Himself, His nature, as has been observed, and are separately considered by us, as a relief to our mind, and helps to our better understanding it. And, perhaps, by observing some of these distinctly, we may have a clearer idea of the infinity of God.

His understanding is infinite, as is expressly said Psalm 147:5, it reaches to and comprehends all things that are, though ever so numerous; to the innumerable company of angels in the highest heavens; to the innumerable stars in the lower ones; to the innumerable inhabitants of the earth, men, beasts, and fowl; and to the innumerable creatures that swim in the sea; yea, not only to all that are in being but to all things possible to be made, which God could have made if He would; these he sees and knows in His eternal mind, so that there is no searching of His understanding, (Isa. 40:28), there is no end of it, and therefore infinite.

The same may be said of His knowledge and wisdom, there is a βαθος, a depth, the apostle ascribes to both; and which is not to be sounded by mortals, (Rom. 11:33); He is a God of knowledge, or knowledges, of all things that are knowable, (1 Sam. 2:3), He is the only and the all-wise God; and in comparison of Him the wisdom of the wisest of creatures, the angels, is but folly, (Job 4:18).

The power of God is infinite; with Him nothing is impossible; His power has never been exerted to the uttermost; He that has made one world, could have made millions; there is no end of His power, and His making of that, proves His eternal power, that is, His infinite power; for nothing but infinite power could ever have made a world out of nothing, (Rom. 1:20, Heb. 11:3).

His goodness is infinite, He is abundant in it, the earth is full of it, all creatures partake of it, and it endures continually; though there has been such a vast profusion of it from the beginning of the world, in all ages, it still abounds: there is no end of it, it is infinite, it is boundless; nor can there be any addition to it; it is infinitely perfect, (Psalm 16:2).

God is infinite in His purity, holiness, and justice: there is none holy as He is; or pure and righteous, with Him; in comparison of Him, the most holy creatures are impure, and cover themselves before Him, (Job 4:17, 18, Isa. 6:2, 3).

In short, He is infinitely perfect, and infinitely blessed and happy. We rightly give Him titles and epithets of immense and incomprehensible, which belong to His infinity. He is immense, that is, unmeasurable; He measures all things, but is measured by none; who can take His dimensions? They are as high as heaven, what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, what canst thou know? If the heavens above cannot be measured, and the foundations of the earth beneath cannot be searched out, how should He be measured or searched out to perfection that made all these? (Job 11:7–9, Jer. 31:37)

As there is an immeasurable height, depth, length and breadth in the love of God, (Eph. 3:18), so there is in every attribute of God, and consequently in His nature. His immensity is His magnitude, and of His greatness it is unsearchable, (Psalm 145:3), and therefore, upon the whole, must be incomprehensible.

His greatness not only cannot be comprehended and circumscribed by space, or in place, for the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him; but He is not to be comprehended by finite minds, that cannot conceive of Him as He is; His omniscience is too wonderful for them, and the thunder of His power who can understand? (Job 26:14)

Something of Him may be apprehended, but His nature and essence can never be comprehended, no not in a state of perfection; sooner may all the waters of the ocean be put into a nutshell, than that the infinite Being of God should be comprehended by angels or men, who are finite creatures.”

–John Gill, A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity: Or A System of Evangelical Truths, Deduced from the Sacred Scriptures (vol. 1, London: Tegg & Company, 1767/1839), 1: 60-61.

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“God is a self-sufficient Being who needs nothing from outside Himself to support Himself or to make Himself happy” by John Gill

“God has one of His names, El Shaddai, which signifies He who is sufficient or all-sufficient. God is a self-sufficient Being, and needs not anything from without Himself to support Himself, or to make Himself happy.

He is the first of beings, the first and the last; before Him there was no God formed, nor will be any after Him: from everlasting to everlasting He is God. And therefore His existence is not owing to any, nor has He received any assistance or support from any.

Being self-sufficient, He must be self-subsistent. As He existed of Himself, and subsisted in and of Himself, millions and millions of ages, even an eternity, inconceivable to us alone, before any other existed, He must be self-sufficient, and as then, so to all eternity.

He is an infinite and all-comprehending Being. To what is infinite nothing can be added. If anything was wanting in Him, He would be finite; if there was any excellency in another which is not in Him, He would not be infinite, and so not God.

But being infinite, He is incomprehensible by others, and He comprehends in Himself all excellencies, perfections, and happiness. And therefore He is self-sufficient. ‘Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of Fim, and through Him, and for Him, are all things,’ (Rom. 11:35-36).

God is the summum bonum, the chief good, and has all that is good in Him. He is good essentially, originally, and inderivatively. He is the source and fountain of all goodness. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17), and therefore He must have a fulness of goodness in Him sufficient for Himself, as well as for His creatures, and can receive nothing from them.

Otherwise, He would not be the independent Being He is: all have their dependence on Him, and all owe their being and the preservation of it to Him; but He depends on none; which He would, if He stood in need of, or received anything from them.

He is possessed of all perfections and is sufficiently happy in them. He is perfect and entire, wanting nothing, and therefore self-sufficient. He is the Fountain; creatures, and what they have, are streams. And it would be as absurd for Him to need them, or anything from them, as for the fountain to need its streams.

Besides, God in His divine persons, God, Father, Son, and Spirit, have enough within themselves, to give the utmost, yea, infinite complacency, delight, and satisfaction among themselves, and to one another, and had before any creatures were made, and would have had if none had been made, and so ever will.

The Father delighted in the Son, ‘the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.’ (Heb. 1:3) The Son delighted in the Father, before whom He was always rejoicing, when as yet no creature existed. And both in the blessed Spirit, proceeding from them, and He in them (Prov. 8:30), for creation adds nothing at all to the perfection and happiness of God, nor makes the least alteration in Him (Rev. 4:11).

God is an all-sufficient Being and has enough within Himself to communicate to His creatures. He is able to do whatsoever He pleases, to fulfill all His engagements and promises, and to do exceeding abundantly above all that men ask or think.

And so communicative and diffusive is His goodness, that it extends to all His creatures. And every good and perfect gift comes from Him, which is a proof of His all-sufficiency.

In His gifts of nature and providence, He gives life and breath and all things to His creatures, (Acts 17:25). A painter may paint as near to life as can be, and a sculptor may give a statue its just features, and frame its limbs in proper symmetry and proportion, but neither of them can give life and breath.

But God is sufficient to do this, and has done it: He breathed into Adam the breath of life, and gives life to all his posterity. So it is with great propriety that He is called the God of their life (Psalm 42:8).

And He is sufficient to support, maintain, and preserve the life He has given, and does, as long as He pleases, and to provide for men all the necessaries of life (Job 10:12, 12:10; Psalm 66:9).

God is all-sufficient in the communications of His grace. He is the God of all grace, and He is able to cause all grace to abound towards His people, and to supply all their wants out of that rich and glorious plenitude and all-sufficiency in Himself by Jesus Christ.

He has stored the covenant with all the blessings of grace. He has presented Christ, the head and mediator of it with all the blessings of goodness.

He has blessed His people in Christ with all spiritual blessings, and given them grace in Him before the world began. He caused the fulness of His grace to dwell in Him, which is always sufficient for them, sufficient for them in all ages and periods of time.

His grace in Christ is sufficient for them of all nations and kingdoms throughout the world, and for them in every state and condition of life, and for all believers, weak or strong.

And He has a sufficiency of it for all saving purposes: for their acceptance with God, and justification before Him; for the remission of their sins, and the cleansing of their souls, and for the supply of all their wants whilst they are in this state of imperfection.

And He has a sufficiency of it to communicate to them at all times: when they are called to service, ordinary or extraordinary, to do or suffer for His name’s sake; in times of affliction, temptation, desertion, and in the hour of death, to bear up under and carry them through all, and bring them safe to His kingdom and glory (John 1:14, 16, 2 Cor. 12:9, Phil. 4:19).”

–John Gill, A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity: Or A System of Evangelical Truths, Deduced from the Sacred Scriptures (vol. 1, London: Tegg & Company, 1767/1839), 1: 170–175.

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“The simple triune Creator is the self-efficacious and ultimate origin of all that exists” by Steven Duby

“This formulation of divine simplicity has proceeded on the conviction that this attribute is an implicate of God’s singularity, aseity, immutability, infinity, and act of creatio ex nihilo.

It has been maintained throughout that a dogmatic approach to the doctrine is in order, and this has involved attending to the biblical teaching on the various attributes that imply God’s simplicity and supplying elaborative clarification and examining the ways in which each of these divine perfections conduct the theologian to a recognition of simplicity.

After delineating the central claims of the doctrine of divine simplicity, the proposed exegetico-dogmatic approach was carried out, following the manner in which each of the attributes distinctly considered addresses and vouchsafes certain of the constituent claims of the teaching of God’s simplicity.

God’s singularity implies that He is Himself the fullness of His deity subsisting, that He transcends the categories of genus and species, that He is really identical with each of His perfections and is therefore not composed of substance and accidents, and that He is without composition altogether in the uniqueness with which He is God.

God’s aseity implies that He is actus purus, ipsa deitas subsistens, ipsum esse subsistens, really identical with each of His own perfections, and free from all composition with nothing back of Him governing or actualizing His being.

Likewise, God’s immutability implies again that He is wholly in act, without potentia passiva whereby He might be altered or enhanced.

In His selfsameness and indivisibility, He is each of His perfections subsisting, without accidents and without any composition whatsoever.

God’s infinity too implies that He is actus purus. In His boundless perfection, each of God’s attributes is really identical with His essence, and each of the divine persons is really identical with His essence subsisting in a certain manner.

Finally, the act of creatio ex nihilo implies that God is actus purus and ipsum esse subsistens without any eternal co-existents.

Just so, the simple triune Creator is the self-efficacious and ultimate origin of all that exists.”

–Steven J. Duby, Divine Simplicity: A Dogmatic Account (T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), 235.

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