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Archive for the ‘bibliology’ Category

D. A. Carson:

God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.

But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.

In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel (Romans 10:16;2 Thessalonians 1:81 Peter 4:17).

For Such a Time as This: Perspectives on Evangelicalism, Past, Present and Future, ed. Steve Brady and Harold Rowdon (London, UK: Evangelical Alliance, 1986), 80.

HT: DG

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1 Peter 1:23 declares the Word of God is living and endures forever.  The Word of God produces and sustains life. The Word of God is never out-of-date or irrelevant.  It is living and enduring because its Author, the God of this Universe, lives and endures forever!

Today, lots of ministers to listen to the demon “relevance” which says “When you preach you must be relevant to your people. Beware of being irrelevant.” Now there is a half-truth in that but as Christopher Ash contends,

“How do we define what is relevant? Who decides what Is relevant? Answer: the hearers do! What relevance means is that I must scratch where they itch. And therefore my method is the method of the contemporary politician. I must find out where they are itching.. So I gather a Focus Group, I take an opinion poll, I build up a picture of the issues bugging people. And this forms my agenda, which I address in my topical preaching. My preaching agenda is their itching agenda. They come to me as patients with their presenting symptoms, perhaps of anxiety, discomfort, low self-esteem or loneliness. And as their spiritual doctor I prescribe remedies for their perceived ills.

The problem—as every good doctor knows—is that the patient’s perceived ills, their presenting symptoms, their itches, may mask a deeper but unperceived illness. And the only one who knows the deeper illness is the God who made us. The Bible is the written expression of God’s agenda, the word of the God who made us. It expresses his purposes, his plans; it centers on him, not on us, and speaks to us only as we relate to him. To preach expositorily through a Bible book is to trust that the agenda of God is the right, the deepest, the best agenda. (The Priority of Preaching, p. 112)

This was part of my sermon on “Gospel-Powered Love” (PDF or MP3) from June 24, 2012.

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From one of the old guys:

Scripture is sufficient and the nature of the NT dispensation logically brings with it and demands this sufficiency of Holy Scripture. Christ has fully–personally and orally, or by his Spirit–revealed everything to the apostles. Upon this word we believe in Christ and have fellowship with God (John 17:20; 1 John 1:3). The Holy Spirit no longer reveals any new doctrines but takes everything from Christ (John 16:14). In Christ God’s revelation has been completed. In the same way the message of salvation is completely contained in Scripture. It constitutes a single whole; it itself conveys the impression of an organism that has reached its full growth. It ends where it begins. It is a circle that returns into itself. It begins with the creation of heaven and earth and ends with the recreation of heaven and earth.

~Herman Bavinck~

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Grace in every book!

This is a real keeper from Dana Ortlund who writes:

There is always a danger of squeezing the Bible into a mold we bring to it rather than letting the Bible mold us. And, there could hardly be more diversity within the Protestant canon–diverse genres, historical settings, authors, literary levels, ages of history.

But while the Bible is not uniform, it is unified. The many books of the one Bible are not like the many pennies in the one jar. The pennies in the jar look the same, yet are disconnected; the books of the Bible (like the organs of a body) look different, yet are interconnected. As the past two generations’ recovery of biblical theology has shown time and again, certain motifs course through the Scripture from start to end, tying the whole thing together into a coherent tapestry–kingdom, temple, people of God, creation/new creation, and so on.

Yet underneath and undergirding all of these, it seems to me, is the motif of God’s grace, his favor and love to the undeserving. Don’t we see the grace of God in every book of the Bible? (NT books include the single verse that best crystallizes the point.)

You can read how each OT displays God’s grace here but this is his NT list!

Matthew shows God’s grace in fulfilling the Old Testament promises of a coming king. (5:17)

Mark shows God’s grace as this coming king suffers the fate of a common criminal to buy back sinners. (10:45)

Luke shows that God’s grace extends to all the people one would not expect: hookers, the poor, tax collectors, sinners, Gentiles (‘younger sons’). (19:10)

John shows God’s grace in becoming one of us, flesh and blood (1:14), and dying and rising again so that by believing we might have life in his name. (20:31)

Acts shows God’s grace flooding out to all the world–starting in Jerusalem, ending in Rome; starting with Peter, apostle to the Jews, ending with Paul, apostle to the Gentiles. (1:8)

Romans shows God’s grace in Christ to the ungodly (4:5) while they were still sinners (5:8) that washes over both Jew and Gentile.

1 Corinthians shows God’s grace in favoring what is lowly and foolish in the world. (1:27)

2 Corinthians shows God’s grace in channeling his power through weakness rather than strength. (12:9)

Galatians shows God’s grace in justifying both Jew and Gentile by Christ-directed faith rather than self-directed performance. (2:16)

Ephesians shows God’s grace in the divine resolution to unite us to his Son before time began. (1:4)

Philippians shows God’s grace in Christ’s humiliating death on an instrument of torture—for us. (2:8)

Colossians shows God’s grace in nailing to the cross the record of debt that stood against us. (2:14)

1 Thessalonians shows God’s grace in providing the hope-igniting guarantee that Christ will return again. (4:13)

2 Thessalonians shows God’s grace in choosing us before time, that we might withstand Christ’s greatest enemy. (2:13)

1 Timothy shows God’s grace in the radical mercy shown to ‘the chief of sinners.’ (1:15)

2 Timothy shows God’s grace to be that which began (1:9) and that which fuels (2:1) the Christian life.

Titus shows God’s grace in saving us by his own cleansing mercy when we were most mired in sinful passions. (3:5)

Philemon shows God’s grace in transcending socially hierarchical structures with the deeper bond of Christ-won Christian brotherhood. (v. 16)

Hebrews shows God’s grace in giving his Son to be both our sacrifice to atone for us once and for all as well as our high priest to intercede for us forever. (9:12)

James shows us God’s grace by giving to those who have been born again ‘of his own will’ (1:18) ‘wisdom from above’ for meaningful godly living. (3:17)

1 Peter shows God’s grace in securing for us an unfading, imperishable inheritance no matter what we suffer in this life. (1:4)

2 Peter shows God’s grace in guaranteeing the inevitability that one day all will be put right as the evil that has masqueraded as good will be unmasked at the coming Day of the Lord. (3:10)

1 John shows God’s grace in adopting us as his children. (3:1)

2 and 3 John show God’s grace in reminding specific individuals of ‘the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever.’ (2 Jn 2)

Jude shows God’s grace in the Christ who presents us blameless before God in a world rife with moral chaos. (v. 24)

Revelation shows God’s grace in preserving his people through cataclysmic suffering, a preservation founded on the shed blood of the lamb. (12:11)

(HT: JT)

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A few quotes that were left on the cutting room floor from Sunday’s sermon about Scripture:

“There is no substitute for submission to Scripture.  Your spiritual health depends on placing the utmost value on the Word of God and obeying it with an eager heart.…Don’t relinquish the sweet, satisfying riches of God’s Word for the bitter gall of this world’s folly.” [John MacArthur]

“if you let the Word of God alone, and never use, and you can’t expect the benefits of it…You must not only hear and read, etc., but you must have it sunk down into your heart. Believe. Be affected. Love the Word of God. Written in your heart. [You] must not only read and hear, but DO the things [of the Word]. Otherwise [it is] no good; but [you] will be the worse for it.” [Jonathan Edwards]

“The first way to put ourselves in touch with the invisible realm is to live with the Holy Scriptures, which are the Word and the testimony of God.…We must feed on God’s Word, my dear friends.  We must live with it constantly, day and night.  May it be for us what it was (to cite one example) for the author of Psalm 119 — that psalm with 176 verses of which not more than two or three fail to mention the Word of God with one of those countless names the psalmist gives it.” [Adolphe Monod]

“The Word of God is the only power that can subdue the rebellion of our heart.…To make the kingdom of God enter our hearts we need a battering-ram that can overthrow the strongest walls, and that ram is the Word of God.” [J. H. Merle D’Aubigne]

“The Bible is not a how-to book, a self-help book, or an inspirational reading.  Scripture does not work like a handbook full of abstracted principles, advice, steps, sayings and anecdotes.  Instead, the Word of God reveals God’s person, promises, ways, and will on the stage and in the story of real human lives.” [David Powlison]

(HT: Terry Enns)

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John MacArthur in  How to Study the Bible:

Some time ago I read an illustration that went something like this:

The Bible is like a magnificent palace constructed of precious Oriental stone, comprising sixty-six stately chambers. Each one of these rooms is different from its fellows and is perfect in its individual beauty; yet, when viewed as a whole, they form an edifice—incomparable, majestic, glorious, and sublime. In the book of Genesis, we enter the vestibule, where we are immediately introduced to the records of the mighty works of God in creation. This vestibule gives access to the law courts, the passage way to the picture gallery of the historical books. Here we find hung on the walls scenes of battles, heroic deeds, and portraits of valiant men of God. Beyond the picture gallery we find the philosopher’s chamber (the book of Job), passing through which we enter the music room (the book of Psalms). Here we linger, thrilled by the grandest harmonies that ever fell on human ears. And then we come to the business office (the book of Proverbs), in the very center of which stands the motto: “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (14:34). Leaving the business office, we pass into the research department—Ecclesiastes. From there we proceed into the conservatory (the Song of Solomon), where the fragment aroma of choicest fruits and flowers and the sweetest singing of birds greet us. Then, we reach the observatory where the prophets with their powerful telescopes are looking for the appearing of the Bright and Morning Star prior to the dawning of the Son of righteousness. Crossing the courtyard, we come to the audience chamber of the King (the gospels), where we find four lifelike portraits of the King Himself that reveal the perfections of His infinite beauty. Next, we enter the workroom of the Holy Spirit (the book of Acts) and, beyond, the correspondence room (the epistles), where we see Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude busy at their tables under the personal direction of the Spirit of Truth. And finally, we enter the throne room (the book of Revelation), where we are enraptured by the mighty volume of adoration and praise addressed to the enthroned King, which fills the vast chamber; while, in the adjacent galleries and judgment hall, there are portrayed solemn scenes of doom and wonderous scenes of glory associated with the coming manifestation of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Oh the majesty of this Book, from creation to the culmination.  How it behooves us to be diligent in our study!

 

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“Peter Stoner, in his book Science Speaks, said that if you take just eight of the Old Testament prophecies Christ fulfilled (Stoner is a scientist in the area of mathematical probabilities), and add up the probabilities that these eight things could come to pass by accident, it would be one chance in 1017 that such an accident could happen—and yet every detail has come to pass. One chance in 1017 would be like filling the state of Texas two-feet deep in silver dollars, putting an “x” on one of them, and giving a blind man one pick. He’d have one chance in 1017 in picking the one with an “x” on it. That’s how much chance there is, according to the mathematics of probability, of these eight prophecies (with their specific details) ever coming to pass by accident. That’s incredible! When the Bible speaks prophetically it is right, and it contains literally hundreds of fulfilled prophecies”

–John MacArthur, How to Study the Bible

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