Can anyone enumerate the works of God?

Remembrance and its opposite - Eighth in a series

In our previous post, we focused on remembering the Lord for his work of Creation. Now we turn to his works of providence.

A Sunday School teacher may be asked: What is providence? Usually a student would like to understand how— if God controls all of history— can man have free will? This is not easy to explain. At such times it's well to have the Westminster Confession and Catechisms on hand. The first tenet of Chapter 3 in the Confession, "Of God's Eternal Decree," states:

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Beyond that, the first point of Chapter 5, Of Providence, is pertinent:

God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

For any who are not familiar with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, more information is here.

In the Larger Catechism a question is framed: How doth God execute his decrees? The answer is: God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.

What are these works? The Larger Catechism explains: God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory.

We can be sure that God is working all things together for good, for those who love him. (Rom 8:28) Whether supplying our individual needs and desires or superintending the overarching culture and events that affect our lives, God’s works of providence will culminate in fullest blessing for the faithful.

We are warned that to forget his immeasurable kindness and faithful watchcare is a deadly oversight. (Deut 8:19) We are encouraged to trust that God is working his purposes out: a day is coming when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Isa 11:9)

Psalm 106 is an uplifting litany of God's faithful help and works on behalf of his children, despite their —and our— frequent disobedience and wandering from his pastures. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry. (Ps 106:44) What he has done for others, he will do for you.

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise? (Ps 106:1-2)

Remembering God as Creator

Remembrance and its opposite - Seventh in a series

God is the only Creator.

Though we speak of people having creative skills, or of creating various things, did they not merely discover or manipulate what is at hand? When inventors join bits and pieces together in a new way, are they creating? This is manufacturing or devising, but a creator fashions elements whose substance is not made of things already made.

When God created the world and all that is in it, he employed the medium of his Word. This is a mystery. Somehow, the Word of God has creative agency to give life; to bring into being that which never before existed. (Jhn 1:3; Ps 33:6; Heb 11:3)

God's Word is speech; it is communication or narration; and it is the seed of the sower (Mark 4:14), the bread by which man lives (Luke 4:4), the glad tidings to publish abroad (Acts 13:49), the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), the means by which we are saved (Jas 1:18), the power that upholds the world (2 Pet 3:7), and the name of God's son (Rev 19:13).

Somehow the analogies grow into realities upheld by the Logos: In the beginning (Gen 1:1) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jhn 1:1)

Considering the marvel of the created world and its testimony about the Creator, it is no wonder that Satan worked to undermine the first chapter of Genesis by the false concept of evolution. As Christ pointed out, it is possible to nullify the Word of God by man-made traditions (Mark 7:13). But the faithful will remember and acknowledge the Lord as the Creator. (Ps 100:3; Rom 1:20; Ps 8:3-4)

We commemorate God's work of creation by resting on the Sabbath, which was established to be Sunday rather than Saturday, after the Resurrection of Jesus. (Acts 20:7; Jhn 20:1)

The instruction to remember the Sabbath is often noted. (Gen 2:3; Exo 16:23-30; Exo 31:13,14; Lev 19:3; Lev 23:3; Num 15:32; Deut 5:14; Isa 56:4-6; Jer 17:21-24 et al) The idea is not only to rest but to worship and to remember the Lord.

Satan strives to undermine this truth so that few today worship or rest on Sunday, often crediting Jesus for their notion that it is fine to work on Sunday (Jhn 5:17) as though he came to nullify the Ten Commandments. Also, many believe they are obeying the Fourth Commandment by attending or engaging in sports events or other leisure activities and leading their children to do the same.

Nevertheless, the Sabbath was made for man, (Mark 2:27) a profound statement. A day of rest in Christis essential to our emotional and physical health.

Forget not all his benefits

Remembrance and its opposite - Sixth in a series

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (Ps 103:1-2) The Psalmist is reflecting upon the many reasons to thank the Lord: For forgiving sins, for healing our diseases, for redeeming us from destruction, for so many loving and merciful deeds to us, for nourishment, for executing righteous judgment for those in need, for his piteous care.

Yet the history of Israel, God's own people, is a litany of forgetting. Despite the miracles establishing her as a nation and the multitude of deliverances over the centuries, she was wayward and idolatrous in times of peace and prosperity.

As promised— or threatened as it were, when God's people forgot Him, he heaped mischiefs upon them and spent his arrow on them; he enforced hunger and burning heat on their frames; wild beasts and serpents attacked them. "The sword without, and terror within" destroyed young and old alike. (Deut 32:23-25)

Both the Old and New Testaments remind and warn us to be diligent to remember the Lord in all our ways. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Mat 6:33); Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. (Rev 3:3); Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day. (Deut 8:11)

The punishment for forgetting is: even more forgetfulness. A frightening prospect! The careless turn from remembering the Lord devolves to an erosion of memory, a mark of temporal judgment that may foreshadow eternal damnation.

Isaiah describes this process.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. (Is 6:8-12)

The sorrowful judgment was also described by Christ:

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (Mat 13:16)

It was both Isaiah's and the Lord’s ministry to prophesy, knowing their words would fall on deaf ears. Thus, the warnings of God, ignored, would result in very severe desolations. Yet, a small number in the land would hear and respect God's Words.

Likewise, for us today, the forgetful do not appreciate that we have God's Word for help in every need, and as they ignore and discount it, at first rebelliously and then by his divine enforcement, tragedies and miseries are in view. Perhaps some would criticize: Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?" (Rom 9:19)

Will enlightenment be given to the defiant?

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Ps 60:4

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

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Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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