We are children of the Father and the bride of the Son. When God the Son takes his people as his wife, God the Father looks upon his Son’s bride and says, “Welcome, my child, to my family.” Our union with Christ guarantees our reception into the household of His Father.
Joel R Beeke, Getting Back in the Race, p79
When John Owen writes about saints, he is referring to all Christians, not those who have been specially recognised by the church.
The chief way by which the saints have communion with the Father is love – free, undeserved, eternal love. This love the Father pours on the saints. Saints are to see God as full of love to them. They are to receive him as the One who loves them, and are to be full of praise and thanksgiving to God for his love. They are to show gratitude for his love by living a life which pleases him.
John Owen, Communion with God
In this quote, naturalism is the belief that physical matter is the only thing that exists, and that the universe is a system of cause and effect with no external person (e.g. God) who can interact with it.
Is there a test for distinguishing illusion from reality? Naturalists point to the methods of scientific inquiry, pragmatic tests and so forth. But all these utilize the brain they are testing. Each test could well be a futile exercise in spinning out the consistency of an illusion.
For naturalism nothing exists outside the system itself. There is no God … There is only the cosmos, and humans are the only conscious beings. But they are latecomers. They “arose,” but how far? Can they trust their minds, their reason?
Charles Darwin himself once said, “The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust the conviction of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” In other words, if my brain is no more than that of a superior monkey I cannot even be sure that my own theory of my origin is to be trusted.
James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door
When talking about homosexuality, I think it is helpful to make a three-tier distinction between attractions, orientation, and identity. … The first tier is same-sex attraction. Using this term is the most descriptive way people can talk about their feelings. This is the part of the equation they can’t control. … The next tier is homosexual orientation. When people talk about having a homosexual orientation, they are essentially saying that they experience a same-sex attraction that is strong enough, durable enough, and persistent enough for them to feel that they are oriented toward the same sex. … The person is simply describing the amount and persistence of their own attraction, which is based on what they perceive attraction to be. … The third level, gay identity, is the most prescriptive. It is a sociocultural label that people use to describe themselves, and it is a label that is imbued with meaning in our culture.
Mark Yarhouse, Homosexuality and the Christian
There far away was the Lonely Mountain on the edge of eyesight. On its highest peak snow yet unmelted was gleaming pale. “So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!” said Bilbo, and he turned his back on his adventure.
J. R. R. Tolkein, The Hobbit
This is the Christian hope in the midst of pain and suffering; fire is quenched and even dragons have their ending.
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.
To say that Bilbo’s breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful. Bilbo had heard tell and sing of dragon-hoards before, but the splendour, the lust, the glory of such treasure had never yet come home to him. His heart was filled and pierced with enchantment and with the desire of dwarves; and he gazed motionless, almost forgetting the frightful guardian, at the gold beyond price and count.
J. R. R. Tolkein, The Hobbit
When I get to heaven and see Jesus Christ face to face, even Tolkein’s description of Bilbo seeing the treasure hoard of the great dragon Smaug will be nothing in comparison to the wonder there will be. How thankful I am that there is no “frightful guardian” for the Christian to face, but a loving Father!
All human marriages begin with joy but end in tragedy. Whether it is divorce or death, the human bond of love is eventually torn apart. The marriage of Christ and his church, however, begins with tragedy and ends with a joyful and loving union which will never be rent asunder.
Carl Trueman, Reflections on “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?”