Recently I have been reading through the new book by Joel Beeke titled Living for God’s Glory: an Introduction to Calvinism. Beeke’s work explains the history of this system, demonstrates its biblical foundation and examines its wide influence on the Church and culture. One element I’ve really enjoyed is the book’s rich examination of God’s work in our salvation. So, over the next week I thought I’d share some quotes from the Beeke’s work that have impacted me and got me thinking, specifically as it relates to a God’s work and role in our redemption.
I thought I’d start this series this morning with Beeke’s explanation of the heart of Calvinism. He sees it as a Theocentric system, in which all doctrine, study, and practice is ultimately aimed at manifesting the glory of God. He writes:
Calvinists define all doctrine in a God-centered way. Sin is horrible because it is an affront to God. Salvation is wonderful because it brings glory to God. Heaven is glorious because it is the place where God is all in all. Hell is infernal because it is where God manifests His righteous wrath. God is central to all of those truths.
As Calvinists, we are enamored with God. We are overwhelmed by His majesty, His beauty, His holiness, and His grace. We seek His glory, desire His presence, and model our lives after Him.
Other Christians say that evangelism or revival is their great concern, and these things must concern us greatly, of course. But ultimately, we have only one concern: to know God, to serve Him, and to see Him glorified. That is our main objective. The salvation of the lost is important because it leads to the hallowing of God’s name and the coming of His kingdom. The purifying of society is important because it helps us do God’s will on earth as it is done in heaven. Bible study and prayer are important because they lead us into communion with Him. (pg. 42)
I truly appreciate this focus. Although I do not believe that Calvinism is the only theological system to stress the glory of God, I am thankful for how thoughtfully and carefully Calvinistic theologians down through the years have worked so many issues of life and faith through this “Theocentric” grid. The puritans were prime examples of this approach truly fleshed out in all of life’s facets. This doctrinal foundation, brought to bear on the Christian life, has often produces disciples who are biblically humble and rightly joyful as they see their lives framed by Someone far greater than themselves. This is a commendable quality that Christians from all theological approaches should seek to embrace.