This week the blog is sponsored by Heritage College & Seminary and the post is written by Dr. Stephen Yuille, Vice President of Academics and Academic Dean of the College.
It’s my joy and privilege to serve at Heritage College & Seminary in Canada. In my role, I get asked lots of questions—inside and outside the classroom. Among them are some good ones and not so good ones, some interesting ones and not so interesting ones. But recently I was asked a question that gave me pause. What is your number one desire for students at Heritage? I quickly said something about cultivating an unshakeable conviction concerning the authority of Scripture, the sufficiency of Christ, and the centrality of the gospel, and followed it up with some remark about training men and women for life and ministry. But I wasn’t very satisfied with my answer, and I’ve since given it some thought. Here’s where I’ve landed: My number one desire for students at Heritage is that they might know the blessed God. That’s it.
We live in a world that’s unable to meet our deepest longing. It offers innumerable gizmos and gadgets and other mind-numbing distractions. It offers extreme sports, virtual reality, and reality TV. It offers amusements upon amusements. Accompanying all of these offers are promises of happiness, but the world fails to deliver on its promises. Why? God “has put eternity into man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We know there’s more to this life than the material, temporal, and trivial. For most people, however, their perception of life never extends beyond their immediate pursuit of earthly comforts. No truth grips them; no cause inspires them, and no purpose motivates them. Their life is one prolonged yawn. Consciously or not, they’ve fallen prey to Macbeth’s delusion: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”i
In a word, blessedness proves elusive for most people because they don’t know where it’s found. They equate it with externals such as possessions, experiences, or relationships. But here’s what escapes them: blessedness isn’t found in changing conditions and circumstances but in an unchanging God. As the psalmist declares, “Blessed are you, O LORD” (Psalm 119:12). God is His own blessedness because He’s sufficient and satisfied in Himself. Does He need us? Does He gain anything from us? No. Our effect upon God is that of a snowball hurled at the blazing sun.
But here’s the wonder of wonders: although God is sufficient and satisfied in Himself, and stands in no need of us, He willingly imparts His blessedness to us, making us happy in the enjoyment of Him. This is the sum and substance of all the promises: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). We find in Him all we could ever want. He’s the dearest love, surest friend, highest honour, greatest beauty, and fullest joy. He’s omnipotent in His power, unsearchable in His wisdom and inconceivable in His grace. Our knowledge of this blessed God diffuses into our soul a satisfying peace in this life and a tantalizing taste of what awaits us in glory.
At one point in The Silver Chair, C. S. Lewis describes Jill, parched with thirst, walking in a forest. She hears the bubbling of a stream. As she draws near, she sees a terrifying lion, standing between her and the stream. At that moment, Jill is arrested by holiness. She starts to back away, but the lion beckons her to come forward: “If you’re thirsty, come and drink.” Jill is very thirsty, but the lion is too terrifying. “I dare not come and drink,” she whispers. The lion declares, “Then you will die of thirst.” Jill replies, “I suppose I will go and look for another stream.” To her shock, the lion declares, “There is no other stream!”ii
God alone is blessedness, and this is what Christ has purchased for us. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). When we come to this blessed God through Christ, He becomes ours. His power is ours to protect us; His wisdom to direct us; His mercy to pity us; His grace to pardon us; His love to refresh us; His joy to satisfy us.
“Blessed are the people whose God is the lord” (Psalm 144:15). I can’t think of a greater aim for a Christian college or seminary than seeking to cultivate the knowledge of this God. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of a greater aim for the church. As the catechism expressed it so well centuries ago: “What is man’s chief end? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”iii
Located in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, Heritage College & Seminary is devoted to producing a deep knowledge of God for the good of the church and the spread of the gospel from coast to coast to coast in Canada and around the world. To learn more about Heritage or to apply to the college or seminary for Fall 2020 – visit DiscoverHeritage.ca.