Archives for August 29, 2012

First Day of Class

Today I began teaching for the 2012-2013 school year at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. I have 36 students in my Soteriology class—the study of salvation. What a joy they are to teach! They are from 14 different countries and more than 20 denominations. You can see here how they are crammed into our largest classroom. We can’t wait for our much-needed building expansion. So far, we have received $1.8 million in gifts and pledges. We have $1 million to go (the 18,000 square feet expansion will cost about $2.8 million). We need another $300,000 before we can begin building. If you, or friends you know, are vitally interested in seeing solidly Reformed preaching spread around the globe, please consider helping us close this gap now. You can donate and/or pledge by contacting Chris Hanna (616-977-0599 x138) or going here.

Consider Christ in Affliction (VIII): The Plan of Christ

Finally, when you face affliction, consider the plan of Christ. Highly exalted, there is no name like His. At His name, every knee shall bow (Phil. 2:10). The eternal plan lying behind all His affliction was eternal glory.

Eternal glory—not only for Himself, but also for you. He returned to His Father differently than He came. He returned with His blood-bought bride, just as He planned in His eternal covenant with His Father. His church, figuratively speaking, ascended into glory with Him, accepted by the Father in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). Oh, then think more of God’s eternal plan for you and your eternal end in glory if you would be more submissive under affliction and learn to praise God in trial!

Your trials in this life are but for “ten days” (Rev. 2:10). Your life-to-come glory is forever. The “ten days” here are preparation time for glory to come. Affliction elevates your soul to heaven (Heb. 11:10); it paves your way for glory: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).

Your rainy days on earth are nearly over. Don’t overestimate them. Think more of your coming crown and your eternal communion with God Triune, saints and angels. “He that rides to be crowned,” John Trapp wrote, “will not think much of a rainy day.”

Light after darkness;

Gain after loss;

Strength after weakness;

Crown after cross;

Sweet after bitter;

Hope after fears;

Home after wandering;

Praise after tears.


Sheaves after sowing;

Sun after rain;

Sight after mystery;

Peace after pain;

Joy after sorrow;

Calm after blast;

Rest after weariness;

Sweet rest at last.


Remember, you are but renting here; your personal mansion is reserved there. Expect no heaven on earth (apart from spiritual foretastes by means of sanctified affliction!), but trust that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

Be assured: the Shepherd’s rod does have honey at the end. Don’t despair. Your afflictions are imposed by a fatherly hand of love in the context of grace, not (as you are too prone to think) by a punitive hand of judgment in the context of works.

Keep your eye on Christ. Consider Christ—His passion, power, presence, perseverance, prayers, purposes, and plan. Seek grace to live Christianly today through and in your afflictions, and you will soon discover with the apostle, “For me to life is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).