The Eternity of God

Stephen Charnock: Existence and Attributes of God, p 280 ff.

 

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Psalm 90:1,2   Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.    Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

 

Introduction

1.                    The notion of eternity is difficult.  If no one asks us the question, “What is time?” we know what time is.  But we may have great difficulty explaining it.  So it is with eternity.  The word is easily pronounced, but hardly understood.  We know more what it is than what it is not.  We can better conceive a time with the addition of numberless days and years than imagine a Being without bounds; whence the apostle joins his eternity with his power:  “His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. 1:20); BECAUSE NEXT TO THE POWER OF God, apprehended in the creature, we come necessarily by reasoning, to acknowledge the eternity of God.

2.                    We must conceive of eternity contrary to the notion of time; as the nature of time consists in the succession of parts, so the nature of eternity in an infinite immutable duration.  Eternity and time differ as the sea and rivers; the sea never changes place, and is always one water; but the rivers glide along, and are swallowed up in the sea; so is time by eternity.

3.                    Improper uses of “eternal.”

a)                   Things that have long duration are called eternal.  Deut. 15:17; Lev. 6:20;  Gen. 17:8; Gal. 5:2  Ex. 12:24.  Canaan was to be an everlasting possession, in regard of the glory of heaven typified, to be forever conferred upon the spiritual seed of Abraham.

b)                   When a thing hath no end, though a beginning, it is called eternal.  So angels and souls are everlasting; though their being shall never cease, yet there was a time when their being began.

4.                    Proper use of “eternal.’   Only God has eternity, and it is an incommunicable property of God.

 

How God Is Eternal

 

Eternity is a negative attribute, and is a denying of God any measures of time, as immensity is a denying of him any bounds of place.  Immensity is the diffusion of his essence, so eternity is the duration of his essence; and when we say God is eternal, we exclude from him all possibility of beginning and ending, all flux and change.  As his essence comprehends all beings, and exceeds them, and his immensity surmounts all places; so his eternity comprehends all times, all durations, and infinitely excels them.

 

God is without Beginning

Gen. 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Gen. 21:33  And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

Rom. 16:26   But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

John 17:24   Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Eph. 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

2 Tim. 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

1.       God was before the beginning of the world.  Heathen gods, are newly invented; God is the eternal God.

2.       The Gospel was commanded by the everlasting God..  The manifestation of it was in time, bet the purpose and resolve of it was from eternity.  Christ was foreordained, and men were predestined, before the world was.

3.       Time began with the foundation of the world; but God being before time, could have not beginning in it.  To be in time is to have a beginning; to be before all time is never to have a beginning.

4.       He could not be the only immortal if He had a beginning.  He could not be his own origin, for if he had a beginning, then He was once nothing, and nothing can come from nothing.

5.       God cannot be properly called Ancient, nor can He be called young, for both are time phrases that have no meaning when applied to God.  But improperly both may be applied to Him, for He is forever new, and exists before all things.

 

 

1 Tim. 4:16  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.  

Dan. 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

 

 

God is Without Ending.

James 1:17   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Rev. 4:9,10  And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Ps. 102:27   But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

1.        Since God never depended upon any, what should make him cease to be what eternally he hath been, or put a stop to the continuance of his perfections.

2.        There is no weakness in the nature of god that can introduce any corruption, because he is infinitely simple without any mixture; nor can he be overpowered by anything else; a weaker cannot hurt him, and a stronger than he there cannot be; nor can he be outwitted or circumvented, because of his infinite wisdom.

3.        Not a jot of the happiness and life which God infinitely possesses can be lost; it will be as durable to everlasting, as it has been possessed from everlasting.

 

There is no Succession in God.

Psalm 102:27  But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

1 Timothy 6:16  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.

Hebrews 1:12  And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

Acts 15:18   Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Ephesians 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

1.       The creatures are in a perpetual flux; something is acquired or something lost every day.  A man is the same in regard of existence when he is a man, as he was when he was a child; but there is a new succession of quantities and qualities in him.  Every day he acquires something till he comes to his maturity; every day he loses something till he comes to his period.  But God hath his whole being in one and the same point, or moment of eternity.  He receives nothing as an addition to what he was before; he loses nothing of what he was before.  He is always the same excellency and perfection in the same infiniteness as ever.

2.       There is no succession in the knowledge of God.     He knows all things from the beginning.   There is no succession in the decrees of God, but all things appear in their own order according to the counsel and will of god from eternity.  God is His own eternity, for there is no eternity distinct from God, which perfects Him.  He necessarily exists, and necessarily exists eternally.   Hence all the perfections of God are eternal: his power, mercy, wisdom, justice, knowledge.  If anything requisite to the nature of God had been wanting one moment, he could not be said to be the eternal God.

 

That God Is Eternal

 

Though the Spirit condescends to our capacities in signifying the eternity of God by days and years, we must not more conceive that God is bounded or measured by time, and hath succession of days, than we can conclude him to have a body, because Scripture says He has hands, arms, eyes, and ears.  Rather, a thousand years are as a day, and a day as a thousand years.  Time has no meaning if applied to God.   Psalm 102:27  27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. Job 36:26  Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. Isaiah 40:15  Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. Revelation 1:8   I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.   Revelation 4:8  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

 

God’s eternity is evident by the Name He gives Himself.

Exodus 3:14  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

This is the name whereby he is distinguished from all  creatures; I Am, is his proper name.  This description being in the present tense, shows that his essence knows no past, nor future; if it were he was, it would intimate he were not now what he once was; if it were  he will be,  it would intimate he were not yet what he will be; but I Am; I am the only being, the root of all beings; he is therefore, at the greatest distance from not being, and that is eternal.  So that  IS  signifies his eternity, as well as his perfection and immutability.

 

God has life in Himself.

John 5:26   For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.

Daniel 6:26   I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

1 Timothy 6:16  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.

Acts 17:28    For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

He has life by His essence, not by participation.  He is a sun to give light and life to all creatures, but receives not light or life from anything; and therefore he hath an unlimited life, not a drop of life, but a fountain; not a spark of a limited life, but a life transcending all bounds.  He that hath life in himself doth necessarily exist, and could never be made to exist; for then he had not life in himself, but in that which made him to exist, and gave him life.  What hath life in itself, hath life without bounds, and can never desert it, nor be deprived of it; so that he lives necessarily, and it is absolutely impossible that he should not live; whereas all other things “live, and move, and have their being in him”; and as they live by his will, so they can return to nothing at his word.

 

If God were not eternal, He were not immutable in His nature.

Malachi 3:6   For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Job 37:23   Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.

Had God not been eternal, there had been the greatest change from nothing to something.  A change of essence is greater than a change of purpose.  God is a sun glittering always in the same glory; not growing up in youth; no passing on to age.  If anything sprang up in the essence of God that was not there before, he could not be said to be either an eternal, or an unchanged substance.

 

If not eternal, God could not be an infinitely perfect Being.

Job 11:7  Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

Psalm 41:13   Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.

God has an unsearchable perfection.  He cannot be found out: he is infinite, because he is incomprehensible.  In comrehensibility ariseth from an infinite perfection, which cannot be fathomed by the short line of man’s understanding.  His essence is regard of its diffusion, and regard of its duration, is incomprehensible, as well as his action:  if God, therefore, had beginning, he could not be infinite; if not infinite, he did not possess the highest perfection; because a perfection might be conceived beyond it.

 

God could not be omnipotent, almighty, if he were not eternal.

Isaiah 2:22   Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

Revelation 1:8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The almightiness and eternity of God are linked together.  He is almighty because He is eternal;  He is eternal because He is almighty.  The title of almighty cannot agree with a perishing nature.  Man’s breath is in his nostrils, hence no account is to be made of him.

God could not be the first cause of all if He were not eternal

Revelation 1:8   I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to comer, the Almighty.   

That which was first cannot begin to be; it were not then the first; it cannot cease to be; whatsoever is dissolved, is dissolved into that whereof it doth consist, which was before it, and then it was not the first.  The world might not have been; it was once nothing; it must have which was before it.  Nothing hath no power to make itself something; there is a superior cause, by whose will and power it comes into being, and so gives all the creatures their distinct forms.  Nothing cannot will or nil; nothing hath no faculties; so that it is necessary to grant some eternal being, or run into inextricable labyrinths and mazes.  If we deny some eternal being, we must deny all being; our own being, the being of everything about us; inconceivable absurdities will arise.  So, then, if God were the cause of all things, he did exist before all things, and that from eternity.

That Eternity is Proper Only to God

It is madness either to ascribe eternity to the creature, or not to ascribe it to God.

Hebrews 1:10-12  And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

1 Timothy 6:16  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Whatsoever is not God, is temporary; whatsoever is eternal, is God.  It is a contradiction to say a creature can be eternal; as nothing eternal is created, so nothing created is eternal.

1.       Creation is a producing something from nothing.  What once was nothing, cannot be eternal.

2.       All creatures are mutable, therefore not eternal.

3.       No creature is infinite, therefore not eternal:  to be infinite in duration is al one as to infinite in essence.

4.       No effect of an intellectual free agent can be equal in duration to its cause.  A free act of the will is necessary to precede in order of time, as the cause of such effects as are purely voluntary .  God only is eternal, the “first and the last, the beginning and the end,” who, as he subsisted before any creature had a being, so he will eternally subsist if all creature were reduced to nothing.

The Use That God Is Eternal

Information:  Jesus is God for He is eternal.

Colossians 1:16,17  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Hebrews 7:3  Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 

Revelation 1:8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

John 16:28   I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

John 17:5   And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 

1.       Eternity is the property of God; it is ascribed to Christ.

2.       He is before all created things; hence, He is no creature.

3.       He is no more today than he was yesterday, nor will he be any other tomorrow than he is today.

4.       Why is the great Melchesedec’s lineage suppressed, contrary to the custom of Scripture, if not to give a type of Christ?

5.       Christ goes to the Father as he came from the Father;  he goes to the Father “for everlasting,” so he came from the father “from everlasting.” 

6.       He was with the Father before the world was, in glory, not just in decree.  This expression is used only of Christ.

7.       If he were the work of God, he existed before himself, if he existed before all the works of God.  God’s wisdom is distinguished from God, and his goings forth have been from everlasting.

8.       There are two goings forth (begettings), one from Bethlehem in history, one from eternity.  This is said only of Christ, and cannot refer to the decree to send Christ.

 

 

Proverbs 8:22  The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

Micah 5:2   But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Isaiah 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

9.        He is true God, and hence, can be called the Everlasting Father, as considering His essence.  He is a Son with respect to Person; Everlasting Father, with respect to essence.

10.     Only an eternal Divinity could perfectly and completely expiate our sins, committed as they were against the most high majesty of God.

 

 

Information:  If God is eternal, He knows all things as present.

Acts 15:18  Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

1.        There is no succession in eternity, hence, all things are “now.”

2.        God’s knowledge is co-eternal with him; if he knows that in time which he did not not know from eternity, he would not be eternally perfect, since knowledge is the perfection of an intelligent nature.

 

Information:  How foolish for a mortal creature to be too curious in his inquisitions!

Job 36:23,26   Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?   ….  Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

Job 36:24  Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.

Job 38:4   Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. 

1.       We cannot foresee an unexpected accident which falls in to blast a well-laid design…we cannot understand the reason of things we see done in time, the motions of the sea, the generation of rain, the nature of light, the sympathies and antipathies of the creatures;  and shall we dare to censure the actions of an eternal God, so infinitely beyond our reach.

2.       Whenever, therefore, any unworthy notion of the counsels and works of god is suggested to us by Satan, or our own corrupt hearts, let us look backward to God’s eternal and our own short duration, and silence ourselves with the same question wherewith  God put a stop to the reason of Job.

 

Information:  What folly sin is, to offend the eternal God!

Romans 1:23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

3.       Every sin is aggravated by God’s eternity.

4.       There is in the nature of every sin a tendency to reduce God to a non being.

5.       He that would put an end to God’s glory by darkening it, would put an end to God’s life by destroying it.

6.       Those who  love a beast more than a rational being, debased men;  those who loves perishing things more than God, debase God, and set Him at small value.

 

Information:  It is dreadful to lie under the stroke of God.

 Jeremiah 10:10   But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

Deuteronomy 32:40,41  For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. 41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.

1.        God’s eternity is a great a terror to him that hates him, as it is a comfort to him that loves him.  That the Judge and punisher lives forever, is the greatest grievance to a soul in misery, and adds an inconceivable weight to it, above what the infiniteness of God’s executive power could do without that duration.

2.        His eternity makes the punishment more dreadful than his power; his power makes it sharp, but his eternity renders it perpetual; ever to endure, is the sting at the end of every lash.

 

Comfort: If God is eternal, so is His covenant.

Hebrews 6:13,16,17   For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,  for men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of is counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 

1.       The oath that confirms the covenant is taken on the life of God, for He swears by Himself.

2.       The immutability of his counsel follws the immutability of his nature.  Immutability and eternity go hand in hand together.

 

 

Titus 1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 

Revelation 14:6   And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Revelation 4:3   And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

 

 

Comfort:  If God is an eternal good and possession.

Psalm 48:14  For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

Genesis 49:26  The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Psalm 102:27,28   But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. 28 The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.

Habakkuk 1:12   Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.

Malachi 2:15   And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  

Luke 12:19,20  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

1.        An earthly inheritance yields comfort for a few years; how much more may the soul be swallowed up with joy in the enjoyment of the Creator, whose years never fail, who lives forever to be enjoyed, and can keep us in life forever to enjoy him!

2.        It is from the eternity of  God that we conclude the eternity of believers.

3.        It is the greatest folly, according to Christ, to look for duration in the world, to expect continual enjoyment from the greatest of earth’s blessing.  Everlasting contentment and joy come only from the eternal God.

4.        Happiness cannot perish as long as God lives; he is the first and the last; the first of all delights, nothing before him; the last of all pleasures, nothing beyond him; a paradise of delights in every point, without a flaming sword.

 

 

Comfort:  The enjoyment of God will be as fresh and glorious after many ages, as it was at the first.

Psalm 102:27   But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

Revelation 4:3  And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

1.       God is eternal, and eternity knows no change; there will be the fullest possession without any decay in the object enjoyed.  There can be nothing past, nothing future; time neither adds to it, nor detracts from it.

2.       As God is, so will the eternity of him be, without succession, without division; the fullness of joy will be always present; without past to be thought of with regret for being gone; without future to be expected with tormenting desires.

3.       God is like a jasper stone, which is of a green color, a color always delightful, because God is always vigorous and flourishing; a pure act of life, sparkling new and fresh rays of life and light to the capacious desire; forming your interest, pleasure, and satisfaction; with an infinite variety, without any change or succession; he is not a cistern, but a fountain, wherein the water is always living, and never putrefies.

 

Comfort:  A strong ground against all

distresses and threats

Lamentations 5:19,20  Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. 20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?   

Exodus 3:14,15  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Psalm 92:7-9  When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: 8 But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. 9 For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.

Zechariah 1:5  Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

Job 17:14  I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.

1.        The church is weak; created things are easily cut off; what prop is there, but the God that lives forever?

2.        In the greatest confusions, the church’s eyes are to be fixed upon the eternity of God’s throne, where he sits as governor of the world.

3.        The name “I Am,” which signifies eternity, was first revealed from the secret place of God as a comfort to Israel in distress; that Name has not, nor can every lose its virtue in any of the miseries that have, or shall befall the church.  It is a comfort as durable as the God whose Name it is.

4.        The church’s enemies are not to be feared; they may spring as the grass, but soon after do wither by their own inward principles of decay, or are cut down by the hand of God.

5.        Not even the prophets and teachers of the church live forever.  Neither do the enemies of the church.

6.        He that inhabits eternity is above them that inhabit mortality; and must, whether they will or no, say to corruption “Thou art my father, and to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.”

7.        The wicked are in the greatest danger when they are strong and boast as if they were living gods, for Jehovah will show Himself to be the only Living God.  Why, then should God’s people be afraid of the frowns of dying men.

 

Exhortation:  To be deeply affected with old sins.

Psalm 90:4   For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

All sins are present and open to God.  Sins are not forgotten by God, though they may be forgotten with us.  Time does not “heal” when the sin concerns Him who is not in time.

 

Exhortation: Let God’s eternity abate our pride.

Job 42:5,6  I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Psalm 30:7  LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.

Psalm 40:5   Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. 

1 Samuel 2:2  There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

Psalm 36:9  For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

Job 25:6  How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Job 14:2  He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

James 4:14   Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Psalm 102:3   For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.

Psalm 39:5   Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. 

1.       If man compares himself with other creatures, he may be too sensible of his greatness; but if he compares himself with God, he cannot but be sensible of his baseness.

2.       It is repugnant to eternity to be known, because it hath no limits, no causes; the most soaring understanding cannot have a proportional understanding of it.

3.       As it is the prerogative of God to be, “I am what I am”; so it is the property of a creature to be, “I am not what I am”;  I am not by myself what I am, but by the indulgence of another.  I was nothing formerly; I may be nothing again, unless he that is “I Am” make me to subsist what I now am.

4.       Man’s life is an image, a dream, which are next to nothing; and if compared with God, worse than nothing.  How unworthy is it for dust and ashes, kneaded together in time, to strut against the Father of eternity!

5.       The angels, that have been of as long a duration as heaven and earth, tremble before him; the heavens melt as his presence; and shall we, that are but of yesterday, approach a divine eternity with unhumbled souls, and offer the calves of our lips with the pride of devils, and stand upon our terms with him, without falling upon our faces, with a sense that we are but dust and ashes, and creatures of time?

 

Exhortation:  Let us not love the world.

1 Corinthians 7:31  And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Hosea 9:6   For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles.

Hosea 10:15   So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.

Joel 1:15   Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

Proverbs 23:5   Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Hebrews 12:23  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

2 Peter 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Psalm 17:14  From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

Psalm 73:26  My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 

1 Corinthians 7:29  But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

1 Samuel 20:3  And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.

Revelation 12:12  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Revelation 4:8   And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

1 Timothy 1:15-17  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 73:25,26   Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

 

 

Exhortation:  God is worthy of our choicest affections, strongest desires, and best service.

Psalm 104:33  I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

1.       Should we not love him, who is not only lovely in his nature, but eternally lovely; having from everlasting all those perfections centered in himself, which appear in time?

2.       He is more worthy of our affections because he is the eternal God, than because he is our Creator; because he is more excellent in his nature, than in his transient actions;  the beams of his goodness to us, are to direct our thoughts and affections to him; but his own eternal excellency ought to be the ground and foundation of our affections to him.

3.       In devoting ourselves to God, we serve him that is, that was,  so as that he never began; is to come, so as that he never shall end; by whom are all things are what they are; who hath both eternal knowledge to remember our serve, and eternal goodness to reward it.

4.       Since nothing but God is eternal, nothing but God is worth the loving; and we do but a just right to our love, to pitch it upon that which can always possess us and be possessed by us; upon an object that cannot deceive our affection, and put it out of countenance by a dissolution.  And if our happiness consists in being like to God, we should imitate him in loving him as he loves himself, and as long as he loves himself;  God cannot do more to himself than love himself; he can make no addition to his essence, nor diminution from it. What should we do less to an eternal Being, than to bestow affections upon him, like his own to himself; since we can find nothing so durable as himself, for which we should love it?

All rights reserved, 1998.  No portion of this chart may be copied by any means, including electronic, without permission of C. W. Powell, New Geneva Theological Seminary, Colorado Springs, CO.