Based on the Theology of Suffering course Finch teaches at Moody Bible Institute, this examination of the reality of evil and suffering in the world gives a framework to understand along with a pathway to cope with it. The author examines the reality of and causes of suffering, then points readers to the light of the Trinity, the Cross, God-s point of view, and finally, to how a person experiences suffering. It does something to a person, it reduces their tolerance of superficiality," writes Finch. Not a personal memoir so much as a treatise on theological truth.
Reality As We Know It. Who Is the Sovereign God?
A Very Present Power. Lewis called cause Christian Colossians comfort Corinthians creation Creator crises cross death described divine earth Ecclesiastes endure Ephesians eternal everything evil experience experienced eyes face faith fallen world Faramir Father feeling fering focus foundation Francis Schaeffer Genesis glory God's response greatest grief Grief Observed healing heart heaven Hebrews Holy Spirit hope hospital human humble Isaiah J.
A former pastor, Tom lost his wife to brain cancer and began a journey into the suffering of man and sovereignty of God. He is author of Unmapped Darkness: Paul does not, by any means, wish for sympathy, but rather he seeks to share the truth which will enable the Ephesian saints, like the Philippians see Philippians 1: Let the Ephesian saints not be discouraged by his imprisonment, but rather let them take courage, knowing that his suffering is for their glory.
He understood his calling to be prompted by the grace of God. God was gracious to take one who formerly persecuted the church and to make him a preacher of the gospel. God was gracious in sending Paul to the Gentiles, so that those who believed might become partakers of His blessings, by grace. Broadly speaking, the mystery was about Christ, and about the salvation which He would accomplish on the cross of Calvary for both Jews and Gentiles.
These things were spoken of in the Old Testament, even though they were not fully understood. It was not a welcome thought to unbelieving Jews.
It was not even quickly or enthusiastically accepted by Jewish believers. Let us pause momentarily to trace the revelation and development of this mystery through history, and its reluctant acceptance by the Jewish Christian community. And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.
But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
Unmapped Darkness: Finding God's Path Through Suffering [Thomas Finch] on grapplingindo.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Based on the Theology of. Unmapped Darkness has 4 ratings and 1 review. Peter said: Grappling logically with feelings often seems like an impossibility. This book is a.
God is spirit; and those who sonship Him must worship in spirit and truth. Judaism misinterpreted the Old Testament promises concerning blessing and salvation. This error was exposed by many, including John the Baptist and Paul:. The Jews further believed that only those Gentiles who became Jews could be saved:. He knew that they would be saved, and he sought to prevent it.
And even here he still evidences the pride and prejudice of a self-righteous Jew, looking down on the pagan Gentiles:. That which I have vowed I will pay. He did not praise God for His grace, he protested against it:. Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. He did not think that he, as a Jew, needed grace. Here is self-righteousness in its most crass and ugly form.
And Jonah is not the exception, he is the rule. He typifies the reason why the Jews resist the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles. They do not want to be saved by grace, on the same basis as the Gentiles. They expect God to bless them because of who they are—Jews, as though they are superior to Gentiles. They fail to understand that the Law was given to them, not to make them superior to the Gentiles, but to condemn them as sinners, just like the Gentiles, so that they can be saved by grace:.
Are we better than they? This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Romans 3: Salvation, as Jonah reluctantly confessed, is not the private possession of the Jews, but it is the possession of God. He is the one who has accomplished it through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Who would have ever imagined that this salvation would come about by His death? As a result, the leaders in the church at Jerusalem came to acknowledge the work which God was doing among the Gentiles Acts It was not through the planning or program of the Jerusalem church that Gentile evangelism commenced, but rather through the sovereign work of God. He is all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful. The epistles of Paul to Timothy, along with others, warn of the speculative and heretical teachings of such Jews see, for example, 1 Timothy 1:
And He is the One who has the right to bestow it upon any whom He chooses, by grace. The reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles in Christ and in His church was a mystery which no Old Testament saint including the prophets understood. It was a reconciliation accomplished by our Lord on the cross of Calvary, and the message of the apostles and prophets including Paul , who proclaimed it. It was a message which self-righteous Jews hated intensely, and this is why the Apostle Paul found himself writing to his readers from a prison cell. This was a message the Jews were not eager to hear see Luke 4: The Great Commission, given to the apostles by our Lord before His ascension, was a command to take the gospel to all nations see Matthew Nevertheless, the Jewish apostles were reluctant to carry out this command.
It was not through the planning or program of the Jerusalem church that Gentile evangelism commenced, but rather through the sovereign work of God.
The vision God gave to Peter prompted him to take the gospel to the household of Cornelius, a Gentile. As a result, the leaders in the church at Jerusalem came to acknowledge the work which God was doing among the Gentiles Acts The stoning of Stephen brought about great persecution on the church in Jerusalem, which caused these saints to scatter abroad. Most of the Jewish saints shared the good news only with their fellow-Jews, but a few intrepid souls began to evangelize the Gentiles, which brought about the birth of the church at Antioch Acts Before long, the church at Antioch was instructed by the Holy Spirit to send out Barnabas and Saul to commence evangelism among the Gentiles Acts As the number of Gentile converts increased, certain Jewish legalists began to insist that the Gentile believers must become Jewish proselytes.
They insisted that these Gentile believers must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be saved. And so the Jerusalem Council was convened to determine what was to be required of the Gentile saints. It was determined there that since the Jews were not able to be justified by the law, but only by grace, the Gentile believers must not be placed under the law either Acts The epistles of Paul to Timothy, along with others, warn of the speculative and heretical teachings of such Jews see, for example, 1 Timothy 1: Peter, followed by Barnabas and others, were intimidated by certain Jewish brethren, and began to disassociate with the Gentile believers, and Paul strongly rebuked them for this Galatians 2: The centuries old hostility between the Jews and the Gentiles would not quickly or completely be eradicated.
And so it is that Paul finds it necessary to write this epistle to the Ephesians, describing the new unity of Jews and Gentiles in Christ. Let not any of his readers misinterpret the glorious privilege Paul had of suffering for the sake of the gospel. And let not any of them allow his suffering to deter them in rejoicing with him, to the glory of God. God had purposed to redeem fallen men, both Jews and Gentiles, for the praise of His glory and grace see Ephesians 1: Prompted by His kind intentions, God provided a redemption for sinners through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And those whom He saves He gives the blessed hope of dwelling in His presence forever, holy and blameless. God has purposed to save and to sanctify both Jews and Gentiles, and to reconcile them to Himself in one body. Because God has purposed and provided for the salvation and sanctification of Gentiles, as well as Jews, and because God has called Him to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles, Paul now prays for the Ephesian saints, to whom he writes. The paraphrase by J. Because we have been instructed to address our prayers to Him:.
Therefore do no be like them; for you Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way: In the next chapter of the Gospel of Matthew Jesus encourages His disciples to pray by reminding them about their heavenly Father, to whom they address their prayers:. No wonder Paul reminds us of the Fatherhood of God. Note the things for which Paul does not pray, the very things for which we often pray. Paul does not pray for …. What he can pray for is that which God has purposed and promised, and which He has assured us He will accomplish, to His glory and to our good.
Paul prays for the spiritual strengthening of the believers in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is as the outer man perishes that the inner man gains strength:.
Paul prays also for that as a result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Christ will dwell in the hearts of his readers, by faith. Every Christian has been united with Christ, by faith. Even so, Christ is in every true believer, but Paul prays that His dwelling in us might be enhanced. Paul desires spiritual growth, so that each day God is more evident in our lives, and that we are more aware of and devoted to Him. Prominent in this pray of the apostle for the Ephesian saints is his request that the saints come to a greater knowledge, appreciation, and manifestation of the love of God:.
And that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge Ephesians 3: It is also the life-long pursuit of the saint. And it is the goal. The love of God is infinite, boundless. Exploring the love of God is something like studying the universe. The more of it we know, the more of it we find is still unmapped and unexplored. We can spend our whole lives exploring its boundaries, but then discover that we have not pressed its true boundaries at all.
In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul spoke of the relationship which exists between the Lord Jesus Christ and the church: In chapter 3 Paul therefore prays that the church would be filled with all the fulness of God in Christ. Before we leave this prayer of the Apostle Paul, let me make several additional observations about this prayer. Just as he could pray these things all his life, so we can pray for them life-long too, because these prayers will never be fully answered until we are with Christ in the kingdom of God. In this life, we will never fully fathom the love of God and yet we can pray for it life-long and continue to grow in our grasp of that love every day of our lives.
Christ does abide in us, yet Paul prays that He will abide in our hearts. We are strengthened by the Holy Spirit, who has sealed us and who constantly indwells us, and yet Paul prays that we will be strengthened. Paul prays here, not for something which we do not possess, but for something we do possess, and should possess even more as we grow in Christ. These last two verses are a benediction of praise.
Note the emphasis of this benediction. First, it is God-centered. Paul will not end other than with his eyes fixed on God, and with these words he seeks to turn our eyes on Him as well. The ultimate goal of the church and every Christian is to bring glory to God. Christians differ from unbelievers in this matter. They, too, will bring glory to God, not by their obedience, but by their disobedience see Romans 9: We should strive to bring glory to God as our ultimate goal see 1 Corinthians Unbelievers unwittingly glorify God, in spite of themselves.
It is He from whom, through whom, and to whom are all things Romans The power of God is infinite. The power of God is at work in us. The infinite power of God is at work in us to bring glory to Him. To God be the glory! This should be the theme of our lives, as it was with the Apostle Paul. The third chapter of Ephesians is dominated by three dominant themes: His prayers were not for himself, but for Gentile believers.
He prayed for those whom he would have tortured or put to death before his conversion, he now prays for as an apostle.
And when Paul prayed for the Ephesian saints, it was for their spiritual growth, not for their physical and material well-being. He prayed for what God purposed in the lives of His elect. Concerning his status as a prisoner for Christ, Paul avoids speaking of his circumstances, or of the details of his suffering. He speaks rather of the reason for his incarceration. His imprisonment was due to his faithfulness to his calling. While Paul did not take a Gentile into the temple precincts, as he was accused Acts Paul chose not to focus on the negative aspects of his circumstances, but on the positive dimension of the mystery which had been revealed to Him.