19 September 2011

What Can and Cannot Change in Our Relationship with God

I found this helpful, from Bryan Chapell's Holiness by Grace, beautifully reprinted this month from Crossway--

In a chart entitled 'Our Relationship with God,' Dr. Chapell lists what can change and what cannot change. Clarifying.

What Can Change
  • our fellowship
  • our experience of his blessing
  • our assurance of his love
  • his delight in our actions
  • his discipline
  • our sense of guilt

What Cannot Change
  • our sonship
  • his desire for our welfare
  • his actual affection for us
  • his love for us
  • our destiny
  • our security

--Bryan Chapell, Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength (Crossway, 2001), 196


Brad said...

That's great! I like it!

Nick said...

Hey Dane, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how the "anger" of God, as real emotion in the divine life, fits into this scheme. I get the feeling that many evangelicals today understand the gospel in such a way that God can never grow angry with His redeemed people anymore because of their sin, as this would call into question or deny either his love or the accomplishment of the cross. Yet in the OT God is frequently angry at His redeemed people (including individuals such as Moses, Elijah, etc.) without this calling into question either His love for them or the reality of their forgiveness and right standing with Him. I can't see how this dynamic can possibly be understood to have "changed" in the NT--judgment still begins with the household of God, and God is truly, emotionally angry and grieved with us when we turn away from Him. Would love to hear your thoughts on this, and how you would "fit" this (however you understood it) into Chapel's framework. Thanks!

Dane said...

Hi friend. Good question. I wonder what your thoughts are.

I think God does get angry with his own children, and would not be God if he did not. The question, though, is, what kind of anger? Even in the OT there is a distinction between the wrath that washes away the godless and the fatherly chastising anger that gets his children back in line. He loves us too much NOT to get angry when he sees us fail, just as part of my anger when my sons sin is because I love them so much and want them not to grow up to be miserable selfish men.