Pondering Creation, an Advantage to Faith

Manton Mondays — Insights on the Word from puritan Thomas Manton

Hebrews 11 begins with a wonderful description of faith in action:  “[1] Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. [2] For by it the people of old received their commendation.’ (ESV)  It then immediately speaks of the role faith in understanding the act of creation (11:3), “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” 

Thomas Manton points us to the great advantages for our faith in pondering God’s creation….

[Turning our minds to creation] is a wonderful advantage to faith to give us hope and consolation in the greatest distresses. The whole creation is a standing monument of God’s power; we see what He can do— Psalm 114:8, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” As long as heaven and earth is standing, we need not distrust God’s power — Jer. 32:17, “Ah Lord God, behold Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power, and stretched out arm; and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” So Psalm 146:5-6, “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help; whose hope is in the Lord his God, which made heaven and earth, and sea, and all that therein is, which keeps truth for ever.” The works of creation are but pawns and pledges of the possibility and certainty of everything promised. Every promise is as powerful as God’s first creating word, “let there be light.”

In those four phases, Manton shows his mastery of the Word, and his pastoral heart to help and encourage us — read them again, and again.

  • Creation is a monument of God’s power; we see what He can do…
  • As long as heaven & earth stand, we need not distrust God’s power…
  • The works of creation are but pawns & pledges of the possibility and certainty of everything promised.
  • Every promise is as powerful as God’s first creating word, “let there be light!”


Learn from Judas Iscariot

On the first Good Friday, when Jesus had finished wrestling in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, His disciple Judas came to Him, leading a band of Jewish officials and armed men. “Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’” (Luke 22:48, ESV). It is a moment of spiritual treason as a disciple — one of the Twelve Apostles — betrays his master to His mortal enemies.

1158157_96927848We do well to pause and learn from Judas here. You should ask yourself some serious, spiritual questions on this Good Friday. I was led to do so after reading a couple pages in a recent book by Michael McKinley entitled PASSION, How Christ’s Final Day Changes Your Every Day (The Good Book Co., 2013). Here’s a good way to learn from Judas —

It’s worth remembering the things that Judas had seen and done. He was one of the disciples sent out to preach the gospel with power to cast out demons and heal people (Luke 9:1-2). He sat in a boat as Jesus calmed a storm with a word (8:22-25). He saw Jesus feed the 5,000 (9:10-17). He watched as Jesus raised people from the dead (7:11–17). He heard Jesus’ sermons, probably multiple times. He was personally selected by Jesus to be part of HIs inner circle. He had even had his feet washed by Jesus!

And yet… despite all of those amazing experiences, Judas turns out not to be a disciple. He is not a true follower of Jesus. In the end, he is a traitor and a liar and a thief. He is a real-life example of what Jesus warns in Matthew 7:21-23:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (ESV)

Judas is a chilling reminder to us that you can’t rely on your past experiences as an indication of your current spiritual condition. And so Judas’ example should cause us to pause. If you think of yourself as a Christian, have you ever stopped to think how you can be sure you really are a Christian? Why are you confident that you are a genuine follower of Jesus? Because your parents are believers? Because you go to a church and everyone there assumes you are a Christian? Because you have served faithfully in your church? Maybe even because you’ve preached sermons or led people to Christ?

Judas reminds us that nothing you have done in the past can assure you that you are truly a follower of Christ. Yes, good fruit in your life is a good sign. But look at Judas; examine the resume that he could roll out for you. He looked good on paper, but in reality he sent Jesus to His death. Nothing you or I have seen or accomplished, nothing in our pedigree or experience can ultimately makes us a Christian.

from PASSION, How Christ’s Final Day Changes Your Every Day, by Mike McKinley, pages 30-31.
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