“And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.’ This expression, ‘Yet once more,’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:26-29

Just what is and “evangelical.” The word used to mean the belief that there is good news, that good news stems from the life, death, resurrection of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, to save all who would believe in Him from the just wrath of God the Father. It meant among other things a world view that this life is not all there is, but a prelude to eternal life and pleasures unknown in the presence of God Almighty. Sins gone, condemnation abolished, sickness and infirmity no more. Lusts of the flesh erased indelibly. Hate, vengeance, curses annihilated. The glory of God the ever present and expanding wonder. Delighted worship the eager mode of life. A loving companionship among God’s people. Satan and his blandishments repulsed once and for all. Evangelical also meant the desire to propagate the gospel promiscuously in the world at large.

It is understandable that those whose hope is not in the coming kingdom of God would scrabble for the delights and seeming advantages that this world has to offer. That’s the worldling way; natural to all human beings. And the world’s way has from of old seeped into the blood-bought church of Jesus Christ, and the god of this world has blinded the eyes of many even in churches through the centuries. The fear of God, and I mean real fear, was a fence that suppressed many a sin, and the love and promises of the Gospel motivated and encouraged a life of faith and courage that could see through the trials and woes of temporary earthly life to the eternal one to come.

But among many, now in this age, no more. I do believe that God is shaking all that can be shaken (Hebrews 12:27, 28) in judgment on increasing sin and rebellion. A cup filled to the brim, spills out what is already there. So also churches and individual lives reveal their true selves when facing adversity. Adversity is given to spur us to turn to God.  And so, I expect that many will be swept into the Kingdom of God, because God mercifully brings His grace with His shaking.



The Problem of Evil


“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25

That evil exists in the world is a self-existent fact.1 All mankind must deal with not only the effects of evil,2 of but in pensive moments account for its existence. Why does, must, evil exist?

The question is a profound and seminal one, and the existence of evil in the world is put forth by the materialist as evidence for the nonexistence of God, or at least, the God of Christian belief. The discussion presented here is guided by the reasoning of Dr. Greg Bahnsen (1948-1995).3 I will also add thoughts of my own.

The materialist objection to the existence of the God of Scripture (the Bible) vis-à-vis the question of evil is that belief in God is illogical if you hold that:


In the words of atheist George Smith:4

“Briefly, the problem of evil is this: …If God knows there is evil but cannot prevent it, he is not omnipotent. If God knows there is evil and can prevent it but desires not to, he is not omnibenevolent.” Since Christians hold all three premises above, their faith is incoherent. We cannot have it both ways; that God is all good and all-powerful in the presence of evil in the world.

prob_evil_3There is, of course, no contradiction between premises 1 and 2. Premise 3 is the fly in the ointment. How to resolve the problem? Premise 1 speaks of “good,” and premise 3 speaks of “evil.” As Bahnsen states, “What are the presuppositions5 in terms of which the unbeliever makes any moral judgments whatsoever?” If the unbeliever cannot point to any transcendent code of morals, then it may be asked, what can be the materialist/unbeliever’s meanings of good and evil that does not reduce to subjectivism? Good and evil do exist; to be human is to acknowledge that this is true. How do any of us, believer or unbeliever6 intuitively know it?

In the unbeliever’s world, logically morals cannot be transcendent and absolute, but relative and malleable. He has no absolute rock on which to stand. No north star to navigate by. And still, he will insist that there are such things as functional good and evil.7 It is ironic that premise 3 above relies on some sort of transcendent moral code that is denied but by which he lives and makes judgments. How can this be? The presupposition of the believer in the God of the Bible, and belief in the Bible itself, is that mankind is created in the image of God.8 As such he is innately aware of God and His moral law.9 John Calvin maintained that an interior law is “written, even engraved, upon the hearts of all,” a law which “asserts the very same things which are to be learned from the Two Tables (Ten Commandments)”.10 Although the unbeliever suppresses God and His moral law, still his moral ear buds play back through static true echoes of God’s moral truth (the first premise of which is that God IS.), which resonates in his own rebellious and defiant heart. The problem of evil in one form or another is a real problem for the believer and unbeliever, such that we can rail against it, but must still live with its effects. For the unbeliever there is no hope but annihilating death. For the believer there is The Hope; the kingdom of God to come.

So how to resolve the paradox of an all-powerful, all-good God, and evil in the world? Again I rely on Bahnsen.

“If the Christian presupposes that God is perfectly and completely good—as Scripture requires us to do—then he is committed to evaluating everything within his experience in the light of that presupposition. Accordingly, when the Christian observes evil events or things in the world, he can and should retain consistency with his presupposition about God’s goodness by now inferring that God has a morally good reason for the evil that exists. God certainly must be all-powerful to be God; He is not to be thought of as overwhelmed or stymied by evil in the universe. And God is surely good, the Christian will profess—so any evil we find must be compatible with God’s goodness. This is just to say that God has planned evil events for reasons which are morally commendable and good.

To put it another way, the apparent paradox created by the above three propositions is readily resolved by adding this fourth premise to them:


When all four of these premises are maintained, there is no logical contradiction found, not even an apparent one. It is precisely part of the Christian’s walk of faith and growth in sanctification to draw proposition 4 as the conclusion of propositions 1-3.11

Biblically, it turns out, God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil that exists. Christians are not dualists who hold to the existence of two equally ultimate principles of good and evil in the world.12 Christianity believes in one God Who reigns over all. A sampling of relevant Scriptures would be:

“Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries. He smote the firstborn of Egypt, Both of man and beast.” Psalms 135:6-8

“also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,” Ephesians 1:11

“He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

““The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29

We must remember that we are considering God here. He is the uncreated, self-existent, all wise, good, and powerful One. Holy. His ways and thoughts are above and beyond our comprehension.13 Our most brilliant minds cannot comprehend Him nor His ways. In the light of what He has done in Creation, and the outworking of His will in it, we can only say:

lion_lamb_2“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the LORD, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36

I conclude with these thoughts.

  1. “God has created all things for Himself, directs them to His own sovereign ends, and owns everything—in which case, everything in the created realm must serve Him.”14
  2. Evil in this world is the result of Mankind’s sin, and the testing of Men’s hearts in light of the inward knowledge of the God Who IS.
  3. God does not allow human solutions that ignore or defy His presence, commands, and glory.15
  4. God loves us creatures made in His image. The Apostle John put it this way: ““For God so loved the world (that is to say, this is how God loved the world), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Our one recourse and escape from God’s just judgment is the gracious gift that He gave us by the work, life, death, and resurrection of His Son in the flesh on our behalf, Who is the supreme Image of God among us.


  1. What we name as evil relies in its meaning on the existence of a moral code that distinguishes and sorts conditions and actions according to its standard. A materialistic worldview cannot sustain a rational absolute understanding of right and wrong, but must fall back on a relativistic view of right and wrong that is not grounded in immutable truth, but merely a convenience of the moment. I do not intend to delve there at the moment. []
  2. Biblically the word evil is of two kinds; moral evil which stems from sinful hearts, and environmental, natural disasters which happen to us such as plague, famine, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, death etc. []
  3. Referring to chapter 30 in his book Always Ready. []
  4. Atheism, The Case Against God, quoted by Bahnsen []
  5. What must be assumed as a basis for arguing something. An “ultimate presupposition” is what must be assumed as a basis for arguing anything at all. A History of Western Philosophy And Theology, John M. Frame, 770. []
  6. By believer and unbeliever I mean as pertains to the reality of God. []
  7. The consistent materialist will allow that the universe does not favor conditions one way or the other, but as a machine it grinds along according to natural laws. The cogs of this grind may and do catch human life in its teeth, but all in all, it means nothing in the great “Scheme” of things. Morality then, is a mechanistic human construct meant to lubricate life amongst human beings. []
  8. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 []
  9. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” Romans 1:18, 19 []
  10. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian religion, 2.8.1 []
  11. Dr. Greg Bahnsen , Always Ready. 171, 172 []
  12. The Manichaeism belief of ancient Persia expressed a perpetual struggle between kingdoms of light and darkness. Nor does Scripture support the notion that Satan is God’s equal but opposite doppelgänger. He is but a fallen creature subject to his Creator as are all created things/entities. []
  13. Psalm 139:17 []
  14. Bahnsen, 52 []
  15. The account in Genesis 11 illustrates the defiance to God of a unified Mankind. After Noah’s flood God had told the survivors to “Be fruitful and fill the earth.” Genesis 9:1. Instead they said “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4. History attests that God never allows organized rebellion and defiance to endure long. The seeds of its destruction are sown within. []

GraphiCom #15


The very first verse of the Psalms, immediately tells us that there is such a thing as “wicked.” They are those who in the things they think, say and do, follow a course of disdain of, and opposition to, God. They much prefer the counsel (wisdom), that is, the worldview and pursuits of a life without submission to God. Among all mankind there are two polar opposite heart states; enmity toward God, and love for God. The first is the natural default; the second is a supernatural creation. As if from a fountain, the way of life in the lives of every human being springs up from the heart condition and consequent counsel-of-life. The life guiding counsels sought and valued by the wicked are the antithesis of “delight in the law of the LORD,” stated in verse two. Love of the law of the LORD engenders love for the LORD Himself. Blessed, happy the Psalmist says, is the one who desires and follows the correct counsel.

In following the incorrect counsel one “stands in the way of sinners.” “Stand in the way” is a description of position, the place where life is lived. To place oneself among other sinners is the natural and comfortable desire of the sinful for community with those who are like-minded and approve of a similar lifestyle. To be in the place and company of sinners is insulation from the reproach of conscience and the convicting presence of the godly.1

To “sit in the seat of scoffers” is to sit in knee jerk reviling judgment on those who delight in the LORD, and in the LORD Himself. The natural propensity of the ungodly is to prefer spiritual darkness, to be repelled by the light.2 That is not to say that fellow God scorners are spared vilifying judgment; sin flies under many conflicting self-serving colors.

In contradistinction to the wicked is the one who takes his delight in the law of the LORD. Though he was born of the same sinful stock as the wicked, his family ties have been changed, as though he has been adopted into a new clan, and his heart has been altered along with a new identity. He is blessed (verse 1) because something has been done to him, and for him. He has been replanted (verse 3). This is a happy grace of God, the LORD Himself.

To be happy in the LORD and His law is really an effect faith, because all God-fearing people experience adverse circumstances in life. Faith is a form of seeing.3 To perceive the light of the grace, wisdom and love of God even in places of darkness and conflict, is the grace of the Holy Spirit.

And because the heart is oriented to the love of God, and communion with Him is prized, the heart muses day and night, sunshine and gloom, on God and His words. He is, after all, sovereign over all, and He is good.

  1. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;” … John 16:7-9 []
  2. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:18-21 []
  3. A phrase remembered from a John Piper sermon []

We Need An Intercessor

Moire_orng“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:33,34).

It is the great hope of the believer in Christ that he will one day arrive in heaven, at last safe from this world, which is fading away, and facing the sure judgment of God. God has provided for him an inheritance, which is indestructible and unspoiled, which will never fade away. But in the mean time, life must be lived here, and the believer with any self-awareness knows that he is weak and easily distracted and worn down. There are times when the pleasures of sin that are within reach seem to eclipse the pleasures of God and heaven which feel intangible and distant.

But, God has not left us alone, He has never left us to our own devices. The fact is that scripture tells us that God planned for us before we even existed by “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world“ (Revelation 13:8). It was not for those who are strong or who love God that He acted; “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son . . .” (Romans 5:6, 8, 10). And further, if we are in Jesus Christ it is God Himself who put us there. “. . . by His doing you are in Christ Jesus. . .” (1 Corinthians 1:30), and again “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again . . . ” 1 Peter 1:31.

But there is more. God has not left us to ourselves in this world. Our passage in Romans 8 tells us that Jesus intercedes for us. By His very presence at the right hand of God He presents an unassailable defense. Jesus died. The spotlessly pure Son Who is of infinite worth to the Father, has borne our sin to death and hell. He was raised from the dead because He had no sin of His own, and in discharging the curse for our sin, God is forever satisfied! At the right hand of the Father Jesus reigns (Matthew 28:18). So who can successfully accuse you who are found to be “in Christ?” As Isaiah 50:9 says “It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?” There is no higher appeal than God! If He says of you “not guilty,” though angels or principalities or Satan or your neighbor next door should accuse you, you are free before God. Period. God averted His own wrath through the death of His Son. You are immensely blessed in what you have received, and God is greatly glorified in what He has done.

Does having Christ as our intercessor mean that we can expect no hardships, or sickness, or sin, or pressures, or persecution, or that we need not face death? No, God has His purposes in all the trials of this life. But we have this confidence: because of the finished work of Jesus Christ all things in life will have a blessed and priceless result. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the (the preeminent2 ) among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30). We are works of grace in progress. Like an acorn that is planted to bring about in time the full, mature, majestic oak, we will finally be glorified. And what will that glory be? To be conformed to the image of Jesus. And in so being we will eternally glorify the Son Who eternally glorifies the Father, Who unceasingly loves the Son, and unceasingly loves His redeemed brethren.

For God’s purposes trials will come. But God is almighty. Jesus’ cross, death, resurrection, and exaltation guarantee without fail that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ. Not “. . .tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword.” (Romans 8:35). We may die to the glory of God (v. 36), but “. . . in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I (Paul) am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39). This is our confidence and firm hope. We shall see Jesus, and our glory will be our likeness to Him.

In the mean time, we live, we serve and obey, and we pray. In all these we receive help from God because we are but dust. After all, if God “. . . did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32). We “. . . ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23). And “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26,27). We hope for what we presently do not see, but with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. For we can say with the apostle Paul that “(We) consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18).


  1. See also Colossians 1:12,13; John 1:13; James 1:18. []
  2. Greek prototokos (pro-tot-ok’-os), preeminence as the divine Son over all creation (Colossians 1:15, 18; Hebrews 1:6; Rev 1:5), including those finite sons conformed to His image. []