Kyle Golden

About Kyle Golden

Alex's Blog
Kyle Golden is an upcoming senior in high school and second-year student enrolled in a dual-enrollment program at a local college. Oftentimes, you will find him with a book in his hands, enjoying the outdoors, cooking or baking in the kitchen, and/or with earphones in while listening to a podcast, sermon, or music. You can find him at his website: Inklings of Broken Clay.

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering Book Review

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering Book Review

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

by Timothy Keller
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Book Overview

Meshing the what and how of apologetics, Apologetics at the Cross is a guidebook on how to witness Christ in a late-modern world. Effective witnesses will vary their approach based on the context, and Apologetics at the Cross helps a Christian understand how.

Who should read this?

Christians who want to understand how to more effectively witness Jesus in an increasingly Godless society.

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering 1

At the 2018 TG4 conference, in his sermon, The Whole in Our Holiness, Ligon Duncan emphasised the point that Adam and Eve could enjoy God’s supreme blessing and love in the sphere of obedience. But, because of their disobedience, all of mankind was plunged into despair of God’s supreme curse and wrath. Yet, mankind is not alone in its groaning, since creation groans, awaiting future redemption, because it, too, was subjected to God’s supreme curse and wrath.

Therefore, “[h]uman life is totally fragile” and “tragic,” as Timothy Keller opens in Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. Our lives are dictated by “forces beyond our power to manage” (Keller 3). Yes, these forces are under the sovereignty of God. Yet, many of these forces are not benevolent, but rather malevolent, since they are the schemes of the devil, designed to swallow and devour us in despair.

From cradle to grave, death is a looming reality that dangles like a sword over our entire being ~ head, heart, and hands. This reality affects the direction of our lives. Because of our intuition that we are eternal beings and the consequent longing to find eternal bliss, life will take two of the following forms: an idol or a gift. If we esteem life as supremely precious, we will grip onto our life and agonize when it is taken away.

If we esteem the Author of life as supremely precious, we will joyfully hold our lives out with an open hand to God to cultivate, sustain, and take as He pleases. Whether life is perceived as our deserved property or an undeserved gift, we know brokenness was not a part of the original natural order. Therefore, we desire to find the meaning and purpose behind that brokenness.

At the end of each chapter in the first two sections, personal stories of suffering are written. One story was written by Tess who experienced tragedy in her training to become a physician: “seven-year-olds being thrown from pickup trucks, fatal automobile accidents, twenty-five-year-olds diagnosed with breast cancer, heart attacks on Christmas Day” (Keller 60). Tragedy touched her family.

Her mother eventually died after being diagnosed with “metastatic and recurrent ovarian cancer, with a terminal prognosis.” Her son died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), during a nap, while she was at work (Keller 61, 62). Yet, she trusted and hoped in the Lord.

Her very first thought was, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21), which was soon followed by, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). For an hour, she and her husband, along with their nanny, prayed to the Lord for physical resurrection for her son:

“We went to the throne of God boldly, completely lucid, not grief-stricken, and asked as as forthrightly as we could to give us back our baby. Not my will, but Yours be done. God heard our prayer. And He said no. And I told Him, okay, but You’re going to have to get us through this, because we cannot do this ourselves” (Keller 62).

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During this trial, her Redeemer Church community rallied around both she and her husband during their grief. “Every single last detail was taken of, in typical Type-A New Yorker style, with precision and excellence, and all without our knowledge or consent.” They were given the opportunity to descend into the depths of their grief, experience that grief in all its agony, and emerge on the other side in joy.

God used this trial to cultivate unity in their church community and blessed them with another child. In the midst of all of this pain, this is the idea that sustained and empowered her: God, Himself, has suffered everything in the human experience and, in His resurrection, His scars became His glory (Keller 62-63).

This is an encouraging story which gives us hope, yet not all stories have such harmonious and happy endings. The sons of Korah ended a psalm, “darkness is my only friend” (Psalm 88:18 CSB).

We share in the common experience with sickness, pain, and death, alongside the accompanying sorrow, yet we have different experiences with the stench of death. The emotional responses to such disaster are varied and paired opposites: peace and angst, belief and disbelief, prayer and silence, confidence and fear, hope and despair, joy and gloom, and love and hatred.

How can we face, endure, and triumph over such monstrous tragedy? The solution is not found in ignoring our internal impulses and longings, while fooling ourselves into believing that death is reducible into a predictable and exhortable equation. The solution is found in searching the Bible for the object of our internal impulses and longings, knowing that “[d]eath is irreducibly unpredictable and inexorable” (Keller 2).

The Bible’s “balanced” and “comprehensive” teaching on the subject of death is “profoundly realistic” and “astonishingly hopeful,” providing us a path through the furnace. In light of Jesus’ victory over death, we can walk with patience and hope through affliction, rather than avoid, deny, or despair in it. Going beyond patient tolerance, we can joyfully embrace the promised, central, spiritual goods won for us in our redemption through the shedding of Christ’ blood.

 

The Modern Response to Suffering

Andrew Delbanco, writing on the century when America was founded, wrote, “Pride of self, once the mark of the devil, was now not just a legitimate emotion but America’s uncontested god… Liberal individualism assumed its modern form in these years.”

Modern American culture abhors suffering as a “damaging encumbrance” and “purely negative force,” because it esteems individual freedom and happiness as the ultimate meaning of life. We are seduced to fool ourselves to believe our purpose is to “use our reason and free will to support human flourishing” (Keller 54). Typically, when tragedy strikes, the secular person’s source of meaning has been snatched from right under their feet, leaving them to hazardly fall backwards in despair.

To keep this nightmare from becoming reality, the secular person will attempt to eliminate every possibility for suffering. “Suffering is caused by unjust economic and social conditions, bad public policies, broken family patterns, or simply villainous evil parties” (Keller 26). By mainstream secular theory, with man acting as sovereign to respond in outrage, to confront the parties at fault, and to take action to change such unjust conditions, all the evil in the world can be solved.

Relying on man to solve evil is hopeless and vain, since “[t]he causes of suffering are infinitely complex and impossible to eliminate” (Keller 74). In New York Times Magazine, Ann Patchett once wrote on “staving off our own death,” a favorite national pastime:

“Despite our best intentions, it [death] is still, for the most part, random. And it is absolutely coming.”

Not even the greatest earthly wealth, power, and planning can keep death at bay. Death will somehow, sometime, and somewhere strike and succeed. In our youth, standing at the bedside of our loved-ones, we will gaze into their eyes for the last time. We will hear their last gasp of breath. The vigor, strength, and beauty of youth will fade away into the lethargy, weakness, and unattractiveness of old age.

Having flipped roles, we will gaze into the eyes of our loved-ones from the deathbed for the last time. We, too, will gasp our last breath. Then, we will be buried into the ground. Blaise Pascal once wrote, “The last act is bloody, however fine the rest of the play. They throw earth over your head and it is finished forever.”

Though our culture understands the vanity in attempting to eliminate suffering, it will not surrender itself to death’s sovereignty. Rather, it violently shoves death into the margins as subject of taboo nature. Then, it promotes distraction from the inevitable through the modes of entertainment and sex. Because the body, supposedly, is “the sovereign property of the self,” vain attempts are made to push back aging and disease.

The prevention of aging and disease is not a bad goal, since taking dominion of creation, including our bodies, is part of the mandate expressed by God to Adam and Eve. Yet, the end of prevention can prove to be problematic. The attempt to claim “total sovereignty” over the body are one of those problematic ends since that attempt denies the sovereignty of God as our Creator.

The pro-choice movement, which supports abortion, gender-realignment surgery, and euthanasia, is unbiblical for this exact reason: the creature claiming to be supreme in wisdom, love, and power is defying the natural and moral laws of the Creator.

 

The Christian Response to Suffering

Pleasure and joy, not suffering and sadness, was the pinnacle of the original natural order. With the rebellion of Adam and Eve, chaos took root in the world and affected every piece of our lives.

The world was spoken into being by the World which dwelled with God and was God. A few thousand years of groaning by the earth and its inhabitant passed. Suddenly, as Luc Ferry wrote, an “unfathomable shift” occurred, and this shift had an “incalculable effect on the history of ideas.” In writing, “in the beginning [of time] was the Logos(John 1:1), John agreed with Greek philosophy that “there is an ordering structure behind the universe, and that the meaning of life is to be found in aligning oneself with it” (Keller 43).

But, John also went beyond Greek philosophy, writing, “The Logos became flesh, and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory” (John 1:14). Essentially, the Logos is “not an abstract rational principle that could only be known through high contemplation by the educated elite. Rather, the Logos of the universe is a person – Jesus Christ – who can be loved and known in a personal relationship by anyone at all” (Keller 43).

After living a life of perfect obedience, Jesus imputed His righteousness to us on the cross, while He took on our sin. His sacrifice was finished when He gasped His last breath and was approved by the Father when He rose from His grace. By the same Holy Spirit who rose Jesus from dead, we are risen from our spiritual graves to walk in newness of life. We are united to Christ in His death, so that we can be united to Him in holy matrimony, having died to the law as our abusive spouse.

In Christ, our suffering is for our spiritual good. As Sinclair Ferguson once put it, the friction of suffering removes the blemishes of our faith and magnifies its shine. Christ reigned supreme and victorious over death, and uses it as a tool to purify and sanctify us more into conformity to His image. He also uses it to create a pathway for our abstract knowledge to travel from our head to our heart, so that we can experience a personal, intimate relationship with Him as a living reality. C.S. Lewis once wrote:

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pain.”

In this quote, C.S. Lewis is alluding to God arousing us from the “illusion that we have the strength and competence to rule our own lives and save ourselves” (Keller 49). Essentially, man is emptied of his creaturely false confidences, so he can confide in God and His grace.

Martin Luther once wrote, “It is God’s nature to make something out of nothing; hence one who is not yet nothing, out of him God cannot make anything.” By emptying us of our earthly confidences, God is making room to create and cultivate our sense of dependence upon Him.

The mindset of Job’s friends, the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, and many of the leaders of the medieval church in Luther’s day and of the “evangelical” church of our day is what Martin Luther called a theology of glory. They gaze into “the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things that have been made.” Meanwhile, the Bible encourages a theology of the cross. They comprehend “the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.”

We can hope and rejoice, while we lament and suffer. While we gaze into the casket of a loved-one, lay in a hospital bed after having an open-heart surgery, see nothing but a dark abyss because we are blind, stand at the side of the road after a car accident, or sit in isolation without any company to console us, we can look to the coming return of Jesus.

At His second-coming, He will restore to us what we lost in this life. He will surpass what we dreamed and longed for in this life. Through His sacrifice, He has been given the power to do such amazing things.

In a personal story at the end of a chapter, Mary wrote:

“Problems don’t disappear and life continues, but He replaces the sting of those heartaches with hope… Hope comes not in the solution to the problem, but focusing on Christ, who facilitates the change.”

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By | 2018-08-04T00:07:40+00:00 August 6th, 2018|

What Would Judas Do Book Review

What Would Judas Do Book Review

What Would Judas Do?

by John Perritt
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Book Overview

In What Would Judas Do?, John Perritt reflects on Judas’ life in thirty-one short reflections. His aim is to encourage us in the Christian fight and to provide hope for the faint of heart. Ultimately, he hopes the book will produce the kind of the fruit in our lives that will inspire us towards a life of growing in the certainty of our election and calling through the practice of diligent introspection (2 Peter 1:10).

Judas serves as a warning for every Christian.

Today, you would find him sitting in a pew Sunday after Sunday without any intimacy with God. He would be eagerly jotting down notes from the sermon, filling his mind with knowledge to puff up his ego. He would be fervently raising his hands while singing songs of worship, getting his “emotional high” for the week.

He would be bowing his head during the benediction, attempting to heap up praise and adoration from others. Whenever the church doors are open, you would find him there on Sunday and Tuesday mornings sipping on coffee, while sparking various conversations before discussing the Bible or a book addressing a biblical topic.

Perhaps taken captive by his gain in influence from practicing ritualistic routine, he would continue in it for the rest of his days with the appearance of a changed life while without a changed heart. Perhaps taken “captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition,” he would grow tired of this ritualistic routine (Colossians 2:8). Consequently, he would slowly become enamoured and focused on some combination of strict self-denial and licentious self-indulgence (vv.18-19).

Recently I’ve listened to two podcast episodes, one by Reformed Brotherhood and another by Popcorn Theology, concerning Derek Webb, a well-known musician, who presently rejects Christianity. In his interview with the co-hosts of Popcorn Theology, Derek Webb displayed a profound understanding of Christianity and the astute ability to articulate that understanding.

Yet, for the moment, that understanding appears to be similar to the understanding of the Devil and his cohort of demons. Despite their abundant knowledge of God, they are distant from and cold towards God.

In What Would Judas Do?, John Perritt reflects on Judas’ life in thirty-one short reflections. His aim is to encourage us in the Christian fight and to provide hope for the faint of heart. Ultimately, he hopes the book will produce the kind of the fruit in our lives that will inspire us towards a life of growing in the certainty of our election and calling through the practice of diligent introspection (2 Peter 1:10).

John Perritt addresses questions that every Christian needs to ask themselves:

How deep is my understanding of God’s knowledge of my brokenness and his merciful, tender response to that brokenness? Am I captivated by this knowledge to love, rejoice, and believe in Jesus as my Beloved Groom? Does this knowledge serve as the foundation of my obedience in temptation and my comfort and assurance in trials?

In his commentary of Galatians, Timothy Keller wrote, “What makes a person a Christian is not so much your knowing of God but His knowing of you” (emphasis mine). Before the foundation of the world, the Father knew the many instances in which you and I would mess up and fail. Yet, he chose to adopt us in Christ.

When Jesus left his throne in Heaven to become man incarnate, he was fully aware of our rebellion against him as our Lord and King. Before the Holy Spirit settled down within us as his temple, he did so with the knowledge of the need to transform us from a broken, dead temple into a complete, living one.

No other knowledge could draw us to greater intimacy to our Heavenly Father, Groom, and Counselor. God drew David back to Himself by this knowledge. With a heart of contrition, David repented of his extra-marital affair with a woman who was not his wife, his attempts to cover up his sin by tempting Uriah to sin, and his order to Joab to leave Uriah at the frontlines to be killed:

“Hide your face from my sins,

   and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

  and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

   and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

   and uphold me with a willing spirit…

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

   a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

(Psalm 51:9-12, 17)

Judas lacked this intimate knowledge of God:

“Here’s the bottom line, a true understanding of Jesus’ knowledge of you will shape your knowing of Him. To say it another way, the more you understand your brokenness, the more you love the man, Jesus Christ. Or, to say it how John Calvin once did, to know self, one must know God. That is, once you more deeply know your sin and brokenness, you more deeply rest in the arms of the One who can deliver you from it” (Perritt 20).

Among the sons of disobedience, Judas dishonored and grumbled against God despite the revelation of God in creation and the Scriptures (Romans 1:18-21, Ephesians 2:1-3). Instead of being driven to the gracious embrace of God, Judas was hardened to further condemn himself to the wrath of God by betraying Jesus. His thinking and desires increased in futility and darkness, which led him to exchange everlasting life and joy for everlasting death and torment.

We, also, were among the sons of disobedience. But, by the Holy Spirit’s work alongside the proclamation and reading of the Word of God, we were made into new creations that can turn from our hatred, despondency, and disbelief. We can turn towards God in a spirit of worship to love, rejoice, and believe in Him. We no longer stumble and fall as those consumed in darkness. Rather, we walk with great confidence since the Word is a “lamp to our feet and light to our path” (Psalm 109:105; 2 Peter 1:19a).

Though we have never seen the physical appearance of our risen and immortal Groom, we are captivated by Him (1 Peter 1:8-9). We are full of confidence knowing that God will preserve us by His mighty hand in faith, while He completes His work begun in us (Philippians 1:6, 1 Peter 1:5).

I heavily recommend What Would Judas Do? Understanding faith through the most famous of the faithless. As we analyze Judas’ life during Jesus’ ministry, we ought to be able to connect the dots between us and Judas. We lack belief and faithfulness. We are idolaters. We are man-fearers and lovers. Though Judas dwelled in the presence of the Word made flesh, his heart was hardened and not softened.

How often are we calloused and distracted in the presence of God during quiet times of prayer and devotion, Bible study, fellowship, and worship? This knowledge ought to drive us to run to Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice for comfort and healing. Jesus lived and died for those moments of callousness and distraction. Reflecting on God’s character, we must strip ourselves of all self-reliance and depend upon Him with a heart of humility.

For, God gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5-6). As our Heavenly Father, He wants us to rest in Him when we doubt our faith in His Son (1 Peter 5:7).

Though the devil, a roaring lion, often accuses us of our rebellion to arouse angst within us, we must remind ourselves that Jesus, the Author of our faith, will keep us to the very end. As our gracious and faithful shepherd, He pursued us, lifted us up into his tender embrace, and will carry us for the rest of our days. No one can snatch us from His hand. “Simply subtract God’s grace from my life… and I’m like Judas” (Perritt 187).

In the end, our salvation hinged on Judas’ betrayal. Judas perverted the kiss, “one of the most intimate of human experiences,” to signal to the guards whom “to mock, ridicule, beat, scourge, and nail to a cross” (Perritt 180). When Judas kissed Jesus, the Father’s plan of salvation was brought into fruition. Yet, Jesus has a kiss of his own:

The kiss of Christ is epitomized in the reality of the divine God ‘kissing humanity’ by becoming a human being. Jesus the King became Jesus the babe. The Creator became creature by taking on flesh, leaving His throne and coming to dwell with sinful man. The King of Glory does not belong among prostitutes, tax collectors, and self-righteous Pharisees, yet He humbled Himself and dwelt among them” (Perritt 181).

That kiss of life overcame the kiss of death.

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By | 2018-08-03T23:55:48+00:00 July 16th, 2018|

Can I Smoke Pot Book Review

Can I Smoke Pot Book Review

Can I Smoke Pot?

by Mark L. Ward Jr., Tom Breeden
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Book Overview

Much anticipation has awaited the opening of the last of six dispensaries to open in New Jersey. Authorities in Los Angeles City have scheduled an ordinance in July to protect minors from exposure to billboard ads, promoting marijuana use. Curaleaf, a retail company, is opening a drive-thru in Florida to make picking up medical marijuana more convenient for disabled patients.

Can I Smoke Pot Book Review 1

The legalization of marijuana is a hot-button topic.

Much anticipation has awaited the opening of the last of six dispensaries to open in New Jersey. Authorities in Los Angeles City have scheduled an ordinance in July to protect minors from exposure to billboard ads, promoting marijuana use. Curaleaf, a retail company, is opening a drive-thru in Florida to make picking up medical marijuana more convenient for disabled patients.

Back in April, the Washington Post reported Matt Barnes, a former NBA player, admitting that he medicated during his best games with pot. Additionally, in response to the findings of two different studies, Keith Humphreys exhorted his readership to await further research before making a final decision on the inherent (un)helpfulness of marijuana.

Lastly, in the Atlantic, after admitting the inevitability of the government legislating marijuana, Reihan Salam avouched the gravity and complexity of legalization that places Marijuana, Inc. in the driver’s seat:

“But let’s not kid ourselves: Marijuana, Inc., thrives by catering to binge users, many of whom explicitly state that their dependence is getting in the way of their lives. By the time the cost of an hour of cannabis intoxication falls below $1 nationwide, the picture will start to change: The number of people who will turn to marijuana as a form of self-medication, or as a form of escape, will drastically increase. And most of them will be poor and vulnerable people, not the affluent bohemians so affectionately portrayed on HBO dramedies.”

Accordingly, how should Christians approach this topic? In their book, Can I Smoke Pot?, Tom Breeden and Mark L. Ward Jr. analyzes marijuana within the Biblical narrative of creation, government, medicine, and alcohol. To the surprise of a few, they conclude that the recreational use of weed is unbiblical, but to the demise of a few, the Bible warrants the medicinal use of marijuana:

“… [J]ust as our skin heals itself through a process God built into it, so God typically uses methods that appear ordinary and routine to us, but are no less acts of God… The Creator set up the universe to operate by a set of principles. These can be studied, and to some degree understood and manipulated because they follow the unchanging laws of one lawgiver” (Breeden and Ward Jr. 41, 46).

So, how does the biblical narrative of creation, government, medicine, and alcohol inform Christians on marijuana’s designed and commanded use?

Creation

After each day during the first six days of creation, God declared the goodness of His creation. Within the original natural order, marijuana is not inherently evil. Rather, it is good, and its goodness reflects the goodness of God. Do not be deceived. By faith, we can use marijuana, alongside food and sex, as a gift from God to increase our enjoyment of Him (Psalm 8; 29:1; 1 Timothy 4:3-5).

In and with Christ, we have died to the elemental spirits of the world (Colossians 2:20). “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, we need not submit ourselves to regulations, according to human precepts and teachings, which threaten disqualification by not abstaining from particular behaviors such as eating meat or drinking alcohol (Colossians 2:21-22).

We should be cautious in our use of marijuana. God commands us to use serious contemplation before using marijuana (Romans 14:5). All truth is God’s truth. Therefore, we need to seek wisdom from above. We need to pursue wisdom from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to dive into the Bible and science.

Then, we can piece all that knowledge and wisdom into an actionable plan. We will not always be fully correct. But, this process of serious contemplation glorifies God. We are making His gifts holy by faithfulness to His Word and prayer (1 Timothy 4:5). As new creations, we are bringing a sphere of creation, marijuana, under the Lordship of Christ.

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Government

When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, creation was subjected to futility with the goal of future redemption (Romans 8:19-23; Isaiah 65:17-25; Jeremiah 31:31-40). The mind and heart of man has become futile and darkened. Therefore, the usage of marijuana became warped and perverted in rebellion to the precepts of God.

Fire can foster warmth on a cold night. Water can nourish thirst. Uranium can power a city. When used in nonconformity to its original design, fire can burn a home, water can drown a person, and a nuclear bomb, containing uranium, can destroy a city. The government is necessary to maintain order.

In Genesis 1:26-28, God commands human beings to take dominion over creation:

“Humanity was created to be God’s representative authority, a major means by which he exerts his rule on our planet” (Breeden and Ward 21).

Government, alongside marijuana, is a part of the original natural order and is therefore good. God has granted our governing leaders the sword to execute justice and maintain order (Romans 13:4; Genesis 9:5-6). Without a system of government, chaos and anarchy would be widespread. Therefore, we are to respect our governing authorities (Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-7).

This respect is to reflect an internal acknowledgement that God ordains them. Yet, because the government is run by people, and no perfect people exist besides Jesus, no government will be perfect on this side of heaven. Our governing authorities will make morally compromised decisions, but as long as their decisions do not collide with our allegiance to God, we must obey. We possess the responsibility to stay up to date and align ourselves with federal and state laws concerning marijuana.

Medicine

We can love and serve our neighbor by using medical marijuana to treat illness (Luke 10:34). By extension, we are glorifying God in that service. As the Great Physician, He heals the physically and spiritually broken. He has defeated death and suffering by the death and resurrection of Christ.

At the second-coming of Jesus, He will destroy and wipe away suffering  from our presence. Therefore, as recipients of divine mercy and love, we ought to acknowledge God’s acts of mercy and love through medicine and embrace those gifts with a grateful heart.

After King Hezekiah became sick, the prophet Isaiah commanded, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover” (Isaiah 38:21). Even though God commands us to give wine to the perishing and bitterly distressed, we are to cautiously use wine in treatment (Proverbs 20:1; 31:6; 1 Timothy 5:23).

Nonetheless, God permits treatment that relieves pain but does not necessarily promote health. Ultimately, in the practice of medicine, we must trust in God, who blesses the intellect and hands of the doctors, and not in the practitioners themselves (2 Chronicles 16:12).

Alcohol

Because of the goodness of our Creator imputed to us, we can use marijuana in conformity to His design. Because of the corruption brought by the fall, man, left to himself, uses marijuana in nonconformity to God’s design. What is God’s design for marijuana? God designed marijuana as a divine gift to further our enjoyment of Him through its use.

God considered the drink offering of wine to be a “pleasing aroma” (Exodus 29:38-46; Numbers 15:7). Man can use wine to gladden their hearts (Psalm 104:14-15). In David’s day, he commanded the Israelites, “Bless the LORD your God.” The Israelites responded with paying homage to King David and God, offering sacrifices to God, and feasting upon food and wine with glad hearts (1 Chronicles 29:20-22).

Because of the fall, God cut off man from fellowship with Him. But, God partially restored man’s ability to have fellowship with Him through the sacrificial system. While eating and drinking, the Israelites could enjoy joyful and intimate fellowship with God.

While drunk with wine, we cannot have joyful and intimate fellowship with God. We are bent towards making foolish and harmful decisions because we lose self-control. It deprives us of fruitfulness of work (Proverbs 23:20-21). When a person is drunk,

wine has dominated him (1 Corinthians 6:12):

“Wrong use brings drunkenness which robs us of clear thinking and our capacity for God-given fruitfulness” (Breeden and Ward Jr. 67).

Its the same with smoking pot. The point of smoking pot is not to enjoy God. The point of smoking pot is to escape from or radically alter reality.

In Christ, all the good gifts of God are designed to aid joyful and intimate fellowship with God. Jesus’ very first miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding of Cana. This miracle pointed to the blood that would be shed on the Cross to pay our ransom to reconcile us to God:

“Unholy people can sit down with a holy God through the blood of Christ symbolized by the Passover wine” (Breeden and Ward Jr. 69).

In response to Christ’s sacrifice, our spiritual worship is the presentation of our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1). We no longer serve sin, which corrupts the good gifts of God. We serve God, who is redeeming us and His good gifts. In service to Him, we are to dominate marijuana with the same grace He dominated us with in our calling and regeneration.

I heavily recommend this book for all to read.

 

Anecdotal Articles:

http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/06/new_jerseys_long-awaited_sixth_medical_marijuana_d.html

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-damico-marijuana-ad-restrictions-20180618-story.html

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-reg-medical-marijuana-store-offers-drive-thru-option-20180618-story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/04/20/all-my-best-games-i-was-medicated-matt-barnes-on-his-game-day-use-of-marijuana/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.268a08ef94ce

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/04/20/does-medical-marijuana-decrease-opioid-use-or-boost-it/?utm_term=.afdab1fd2882

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/legal-marijuana-gardner/558416/

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By | 2018-08-03T23:54:22+00:00 July 12th, 2018|

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