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working through some notes

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?"  "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?"  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.  (Romans 11:33-36 ESV)

Some notes from the Spiritual Life Conference with John D. Hannah...

1.  There is a lot of confusion in the churches concerning the practical side of walking with the Lord. Some teachers paint an idealized picture that simply is fiction, yet such teachers can lead the serious listener to guiltiness and the naive to misplaced confidence.

2.  Walking with God must begin with the recognition four things:

a)  We must become students of our God and ourselves (the mental).

b)  We must come to grips with divine sovereignty and splendor (the
ever-first priority).

c)  We must realize the fact that the struggle with sin is an ongoing,
never-in-this-life over (the ever-present fact of sin).

d)  We must constantly remember that we are “in Christ;” we are perfect in the mind of God (the wonder of redemption).

3.  Some preliminary observations about the spiritual life:

a)  The Christian life is a mental struggle. What you entertain, what you
focus upon, is what you will become and do. Therefore, right thoughts
are of utmost importance.

b)  The spiritual life boils down to actions based on priorities. The
internal manifests itself in the external.

c)  Walking with God is a process; we are all on a journey. There is no
beatific plateau in this life. There are plateaus, but life is exceedingly

d)  It is confusing to realize that there are godly people believing very
diverse things about how to walk with God. This suggests that the key
ingredient is not any particular method. All methods entail “trust and
obey;” that is the insight of all of them.

4.  What does it mean to glorify God? How can finite creatures glorify God when we have absolutely nothing to offer Him, even on our better days?

a)  The fundamental dilemma: a command that is impossible. How can
God show forth himself in the creature since we have been blighted and twisted within? What did God give us in our blightedness?

b) The term “glory” in Scripture literally means “heavy,” something deep and profound ("awesome"). It has two primary meanings in Scripture: it is used as a synonym for the character of God (Ps.8:1); and it can mean the outward shining of inward characteristics, the effulgence or manifestation of God’s character (Ezek 43:2). 

c)  What is God’s final, chief, and ultimate end (Rom.11:36)?
“All things,” the whole, the totality.
“From” -- he is the origin (John 1:3).
“Through or by” -- he is the sustainer.
“To or for” -- he is the goal.
“Him,” the focus, repeated four times.
See also Is.48:11, Rev.1:8.
A Fact: Life is not about us!

5.  Five key questions and answers:

a)  What does it mean to glorify God? God is glorified in his creation
when it reflects His character. We are to be mirrors of what God has
granted to us of Himself by the Spirit. We glorify God when we reflect the beauty of God's character back to God. Does God see God when he looks at me?

b)  What is the point of the Bible? The focus of the Bible is the glorification of God; the Bible begins and ends with divine and creaturely harmony. The fall brought disharmony, but God is sovereign and patiently bringing a restoration when creation will glorify Him fully once again. Christ, the anticipated lamb, came in the incarnation, and purchased a people for God by paying the debt that prevented their assimilation into God‘s family and God declared them righteousness in Christ. God, by His Holy Spirit, is drawing the redeemed family together. When complete the “garden” will be perfectly restored. God will be eternally glorified in his creatures.

c)  What is the experience of redemption? The experience of redemption is an affectionate embrace of the beauty of Christ, a life of transforming delight in God as revealed in Christ.

d)  What is the nature of the indwelling of the Spirit? The Spirit resides within us morally. Indwelling is in the nature of the nine fruit of Spirit (e.g., love, joy, etc).

e) What is the practical import of all this? The Bible reveals Christ who makes the spiritual life possible through His death for us. The experience of redemption is a sense of awe in the wonder of divine forgiveness and the beauty of a wonderful savior. Salvation is the life of God, the Spirit, within us. The indwelling Spirit is the basis of glorifying God because God beholds the Spirit in us in His glorification. It is the life of the Spirit’s moral character that we are to reflect.

Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16 ESV)

[more to come]



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