One of the first and primary conclusions we draw in life is an answer to the “why” question. The solution we contrive is going to be the very paradigm which we view everything through and is going to provide the framework wherein we live, move and have our being. We will draw all subsequent conclusions based upon that grand conclusion; we will defend all our ideas and propose all our assumptions from that foundation, and often we’ll do this all unawares. So what is the “why” question?
That great 18th century theologian, Jonathan Edwards wrote a discourse titled, A Dissertation Concerning The End For Which God Made The World wherein he opens the matter of the “why” question with this grand, all-clarifying sentence,
“Indeed this affair seems properly to be an affair of divine revelation.In order to be determined what was designed, in the creating of the astonishing fabric of the universe we behold, it becomes us to attend to, and rely on what HE has told us, who was the architect. He best knows His own heart, and what His own ends and designs were, in the wonderful works which He has wrought.”
“My meditation of Him shall be sweet!” - Psalm 104:34
It is the tendency of love—to excite in the mind, many thoughts about the beloved object. A right knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, will fill the mind with thoughts and meditations concerning Him—so as to excite the affections to cleave to Him with delight. A discovery of the glory of His person, of the perfection of His atoning sacrifice, and of the fullness of His grace—must inspire the heart with love to Him!
“Yes, He is very precious to you who believe!” - 1 Peter 2:7
Reader, this is an important question. Listen to the Christian’s answer, and see if it is yours. “On whom dost thou trust?”
“I trust,” says the Christian,
“In a triune God. I trust the Father, believing that He has chosen me from before the foundations of the world; I trust Him to provide for me in providence, to teach me, to guide me, to correct me if need be, and to bring me home to His own house where the many mansions are. I trust the Son. Very God of very God is He—the man Christ Jesus. I trust in Him to take away all my sins by His own sacrifice, and to adorn me with His perfect righteousness. I trust Him to be my Intercessor, to present my prayers and desires before His Father’s throne, and I trust Him to be my Advocate at the last great day, to plead my cause, and to justify me. I trust Him for what He is, for what He has done, and for what He has promised yet to do. And I trust the Holy Spirit—He has begun to save me from my inbred sins; I trust Him to drive them all out; I trust Him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondency, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness; I trust Him to dwell in me as my life, to reign in me as my King, to sanctify me wholly, spirit, soul, and body, and then to take me up to dwell with the saints in light for ever.”
Can you hear an implicit truth here in this command by Christ?
If the Word incarnate instructs His earliest disciples and in turn us to take care how they hear, is it not implicit that there’s a way to hear that’s profitable, helpful, eternally rewarding and another way to hear that is just plainly not?
It was Charles Spurgeon who appropriately described the nature of theology this way,
“...in the great summary of doctrines,...as surely as you believe one, you must believe the rest... One doctrine so leans upon the others that, if you deny one, you must deny the rest. Some think that they can believe four out of the five points, and reject the last. It is impossible; God’s truths are all joined together like links in a chain!”
This is the key to what is called, ‘Systematic Theology’. In order to be systematic, every point of theological truth must thoroughly agree with and compliment the rest.
1. If we love a person, we like to think about him. We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
2. If we love a person, we like to hear about him. We find a pleasure in listening to those who speak of him. We feel an interest in any report which others make of him... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
3. If we love a person, we like to read about him. What intense pleasure a letter from an absent husband gives to a wife, or a letter from an absent son to his mother... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
4. If we love a person, we like to please him. We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions, to act upon his advice and do the things which he approves... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
5. If we love a person, we like his friends. We are favourably inclined to them, even before we know them. We are drawn to them by the common tie of common love to one and the same person... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
6. If we love a person, we are jealous about his name and honour. We do not like to hear him spoken against, without speaking up for him and defending him... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
7. If we love a person, we like to talk to him. We tell him all our thoughts, and pour out all our heart to him. We find no difficulty in discovering subjects of conversation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
8. Finally, if we love a person, we like to be always with him. Thinking and hearing and reading and occasionally talking are all well in their way. But when we really love people we want something more... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!