This is a year devotional work (365 chapters) by Paul Enns. Each day you will study some doctrinal aspect of the Bible. This is an excellent theological work in itself.
Table of Contents
- Part 1: The Lord God (43)
- Part 2: The Bible(44)
- Part 3: Christ (48)
- Part 4: The Holy Spirit (45)
- Part 5: Humankind and Sin (41)
- Part 6: Salvation (29)
- Part 7: The Church (25)
- Part 8: Angels, Satan, and Demons (43)
- Part 9: Last Things (48)
Below are some excerpts from the work.
JANUARY 1 GOD EXISTS: THE PROOF FROM CAUSE-EFFECT
For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. (Hebrews 3:4)
I have always been partial to Bulova watches because my father was a jeweler and always wore a Bulova wristwatch. A wristwatch is a precision instrument—it is small, intricately made, amazing in its ability to keep accurate time. If I were to open my wristwatch it would probably state, “Made in Switzerland.” Although I have never been to Switzerland or a watch factory I know that somewhere there is a watch factory that manufactures wristwatches. How do I know? Because my wristwatch bears witness of the fact. Every effect demands a cause. Something does not come from nothing. A wristwatch demands that there is a watchmaker; a book demands that there is a publisher; a house demands that there is a carpenter-and a creation demands a Creator. Since the world exists there must be a cause for its existence; it did not come into being by accident.
However, some who deny God’s existence suggest that the universe is eternal in spite of the indication of the second law of thermodynamics that the universe is running down. The law states that although the amount of energy remains the same, there is less available for work. Similarly, the law of entropy indicates that there is a decrease of order and organization in the world. Symptoms throughout the world reveal there is a “devolution” from order to chaos. A hot cup of coffee does not become hotter; it gradually turns cold. Man begins to die as soon as he is born; there is a constant deterioration of the human body-black hair turns gray, teeth decay, organs become weak.
All those things imply that the universe is not eternal and self-sustaining; rather, it has been created by an all-wise God. All of nature speaks a testimony of an all-wise Creator. The beautiful hibiscus, the majestic mountains, the magnificent hummingbird-all remind us of an all-wise Creator who desires fellowship with us. How wonderful that this great Creator has also deigned to share His eternal life with you and me (1 Corinthians 1:9)! Enjoy this day in fellowship with the majestic Creator God!
LESSON: The existence of the world demonstrates the existence of God who created it, the majestic God with whom we may enjoy fellowship.
JANUARY 3 GOD EXISTS: THE PROOF FROM DESIGN
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and the firmament is declaring the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1)
Everywhere in the universe there is evidence of a Master Designer. The sun at 93,000,000 miles from the earth is precisely the right distance to permit life on earth. Were it closer, the earth’s surface would be too hot to sustain life; were it farther away, the earth would be too cold for habitation. The moon, at 240,000 miles, is also just the right distance from the earth. Were it closer, the gravitational pull would be stronger, producing tidal waves of enormous proportions.
One may also look at life on earth. Have you ever considered the wonder of the human body? The eardrums are recessed sufficiently to prohibit children from poking their fingers into their ears and damaging them. Have you ever considered that if your nostrils were turned upward you could drown in a rainstorm? The human body is magnificent in its design-clearly the production of a Master Creator. Everywhere in the universe is evidence of harmony and intelligence.
The magnificence of creation bears witness to God’s existence. The harmony in our world could no more come about by accident—or evolution—than a monkey left alone in a room with a typewriter could produce a Shakespearean play.
God has not left Himself without a witness; there is tangible proof that He exists. The harmony in the universe is inexplicable apart from God. Why is there not chaos in the universe? How do we explain the order, symmetry, and harmony in creation apart from God? Order and harmony do not happen by accident-they are the resultant work of a loving, all-wise, and merciful God.
God’s general revelation is designed to lead people to a knowledge of Him and ultimately to faith (Romans 10:17 -18). Have you responded to the God who has revealed Himself? Perhaps you want to approach God on a rational basis. The intricate design and harmony in the universe, the world, and nature demonstrate His existence. He has spoken! Will you speak to Him? “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
LESSON: The order and harmony in the universe testify that there is an all-wise God who has created all things.
JANUARY 5 GOD IS INDEPENDENT
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”, and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14)
An unborn child is entirely dependent upon its mother for nourishment and life. It can do nothing to sustain itself; it is dependent on someone else. Animals are dependent on nature for survival and life. They are dependent on other animals, rainfall, and vegetation. Trees, plants, and vegetation are dependent on the proper amount of sunshine and rainfall for survival. During a drought or flood the vegetation may dry up or drown. Everything that has life is dependent upon someone or something else for survival. Except God.
God alone is independent. He is not dependent upon anyone or anything else for survival because God has life in Himself. The basis for His existence is within Himself. That is particularly evident in His name. When God commissioned Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan, Moses asked, “What is [Your] name?” (Exodus 3:13). God explained to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). In the following verse God identifies Himself as Lord. Many people understand the name Lord to be related to the Hebrew verb “to be”; hence, to say, “I AM WHO I AM” would be similar to saying, “My name is Lord.” But what does it mean?
When God referred to Himself as I AM WHO I AM, He was saying that He is the continually existing One. God is not bound by time; He had no beginning, and He has no end. He is the One who continually exists. For Him everything is in the present. God’s very name emphasizes His self-existence, that He is independent of anything and anyone. He has life in Himself.
The wonder of this truth is that whereas God has life in Himself, so does Jesus Christ since Christ is God (John 5:26). Further, God has extended His grace to us that we might live in Him, for “in Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). Whether we recognize it or not, every breath we take is a result of His daily gift of grace. Surely every vestige of pride should vanish as we consider our complete dependence upon Him.
LESSON: God is independent of all things; He is self-existent, having life in Himself.
FEBRUARY 9 HOW CAN WE UNDERSTAND THE SOVEREIGN PLAN OF GOD?
This [Jesus], delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (Acts 2:23)
Some things are difficult to understand. There are teachings in Scripture that teach opposite truths, yet both are equally true. That is called an antinomy (“against the law”), something that is contrary to finite, human reason. We mortals cannot grasp such things with our finite minds. For example, Jesus is both God and man; how can we understand that? There is only one God, yet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God. We cannot comprehend that. Those are antinomies.
The sovereign plan of God is also an antinomy, namely, although God has planned all things in eternity past, man is responsible for his sinful actions. For example, Peter said that Christ died on the cross because God had sovereignly planned it from eternity past, yet in the same breath Peter indicted the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers for killing Him. We cannot grasp that-but both statements are true.
When the prophet Habakkuk saw the sinfulness of his people he cried to God to do something. God reminded Habakkuk that He was doing something: “I am raising up the Chaldeans” (Habakkuk 1:6). In His sovereign plan God was taking His disobedient people into the divine woodshed, using the Chaldeans as His stick to punish His people. Yet, after the Chaldeans had inflicted punishment on Judah, God would hold the Chaldeans responsible for what they had done (Habakkuk 1:11).
Although God has planned everything that comes to pass, people are responsible for their actions. God has chosen believers from eternity past for salvation, but no one is saved apart from evangelism. Someone must present the gospel to the unbeliever, and the unbeliever must respond by an act of the will and believe the gospel to be saved (Acts 16:31).
We cannot understand all these things—and it isn’t necessary that we do. Although we can rest secure that every part of God’s sovereign plan will be completely carried out (Psalm 33:11), we are also responsible to respond to the gospel and live in obedience to the Scriptures.
LESSON: God’s sovereign plan is an antinomy—though God has foreordained everything that happens, man is responsible for his actions.