Friday, 25 July 2008

Grudem on Fasting and Angels

The reading continues, with a hospital visit and a marriage prep session thrown in.

On Prayer

My favorite in this chapter is the piece on fasting—something I and the people of StB have to get into.
several benefits come from fasting, all of which affect our relationship with God:
  1. Fasting increases our sense of humility and dependence on the Lord (for our hunger and physical weakness continually remind us how are not really strong in ourselves but need the Lord).

  2. Fasting allows us to give more attention to prayer (for we are not spending our time eating), and

  3. It is a continual reminder that, just as we sacrifice some personal comfort to the Lord by not eating, so we must continually sacrifice all of ourselves to him. Moreover, 

  4. Fasting is a good exercise in self-discipline, for as we refrain from eating food which we would ordinarily desire, it also strengthens our ability to refrain from sin, to which we might otherwise be tempted to yield. If we train ourselves to accept the small “suffering” of fasting willingly, we will be better able to accept other suffering for the sake of righteousness (cf. Heb 5.8, 1 Peter 4.1-2),

  5. Fasting also heightens spiritual and mental alertness and a sense of god’s presence as we focus less on the material things of this world (such as food) and as the energies of our body are freed from digesting and processing food. This enables us to focus on eternal spiritual realities that are much more important. Finally, 

  6. Fasting expresses earnestness and urgency in our prayers: if we continued to fast, eventually we would die. Therefore, in a symbolic way, fasting says to God that we are prepared to lay down our lives that the situation be changed rather than that it continue. In this sense fasting is especially appropriate when the spiritual state of the church is low. 390-391
I hate fasting, but it's getting down to the wire, folks. Time to get serious.

On Angels

Angels are created, spiritual beings with moral judgment and high intelligence, but without physical bodies. 397

…ordinary activities…guarding and protecting us (Ps 34.7, 91.11, Heb 1.14), and joining with us in worship to God (Heb 12.22), they are invisible. 397

…angels are never said to be made in "the image of God." 402

Though we are "for a little while lower than the angels" (Heb 2.7), when our salvation is complete we will be exalted above angels and rule over them. 402
Satan and Demons next.