Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Christmas
Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.
- Augustine of Hippo (Sermons 191.1)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why is God merciful to Jacob?

The reader of the life of Jacob might be perplexed at this point. In no episode throughout the life of Jacob does he ever emerge as the hero. He has never behaved as a moral paragon; instead he continually acted in foolish, devious, or even vicious ways. He didn’t seem to deserve any blessing from God at all. Why, if God is holy and just, was He so gracious to Jacob? Why would God feign weakness to keep from killing him? Then give him clues as to who He was, then bless him for no better reason than that he held on desperately?
The answer to our question comes later in the Bible, when the Lord again appeared as a man. In the darkness with Jacob, God feigned weakness in order to save Jacob’s life. But in the darkness of Calvary, the Lord appeared as a man and became truly weak to save us. Jacob held on in obedience at the risk of his life, in order to gain blessing for himself. But when facing the Cross, though He could have turned aside, Jesus held on at the cost of His life, in order to gain the blessing, not for Himself, but for us.
Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, Dutton, 2009, pg. 162

Saturday, November 17, 2012

First Washing, Then Worship

Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. - Hebrews 13:15

The words translated “sacrifice of praise” occur in the LXX of Leviticus 7:12 and speak of the highest form of peace offering under the old covenant. This thank offering was  voluntary offering and could only be made after the expiatory offerings had been presented and the worshiper was ritually clean; it’s primary purpose was to express gratitude to God.

George Guthrie,
Hebrews NIV Application commentary, Zondervan 1998, page 449

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is God ever lonely?

The doctrine of the Trinity expels unworthy ideas about the perfection of Godʼs life. It is unworthy to think that God without us is lonely or bored. God is not looking for something to do in the happy land of the Trinity. God did not created the world in order to fill the drafty mansion of heaven with the pitter-patter of little feet. God is not pining away for companionship in a lonesome heaven. [We should] always reject the idea of divine loneliness or boredom. But as soon as you entertain the truth of the doctrine of the ontological Trinity, the unworthiness of the idea of a lonely or bored God becomes patently obvious. 
The Triune God is one, but not solitary. 
Nothing that God does in creation or redemption is done because God lacked employment or occupation. The incarnation of the Son of God was not undertaken as an excellent adventure to provide diversion from the dullness of being the eternal Son. All these are ideas are unworthy of God, as the doctrine of the Trinity makes obvious...The tri-personal love of God is not a love that needs any completion. Consequently we should avoid presenting the gospel in a way that suggests God is begging us to come back home so He can finally be happy again, as if our redemption repairs a breach that ruptured the blessedness of God. 

- The Deep Things of God; How the Trinity Changes Everything, Fred Sanders, Crossway, Wheaton Illinois 2010 pg. 95-96

Friday, July 6, 2012

How does Jesus see the church?

On earth she is often in rags and tatters, stained and ugly, despised and persecuted. But one day she will be seen for what she is, nothing less than the bride of Christ, “free from spots, wrinkles or any disfigurement,” holy and without blemish, beautiful and glorious. It is to this constructive end that Christ has been working and is continuing to work. The bride does not make herself presentable; it is the Bridegroom who labours to beautify her in order to present her to Himself.
        -John Stott, as quoted by Josh Harris, Why Church Matters, Multnomah, 2011 pg. 31

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God inspires, God enables.

While God’s glory inspires obedience, it is empowered by His grace. Isaiah was right to be afraid to be in the presence of God. But God in His grace cleansed him of his sin so that he could respond to God’s call. God not only inspires us through His glory, He also gives us the ability to respond through His grace. This is the beauty of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. We have been reconciled so that we can image Him to the world, and He sends us the Holy Spirit to empower us to such a life.

Brad House, Community, Crossway 2011, pg. 39

Friday, June 15, 2012

How has the gospel of the knowledge of God spread throughout the world?

Altars of idols have been overthrown. Knowledge of God has been implanted. The consubstantial Trinity, the uncreated Godhead is worshipped, one true God, Creator and Lord of all. Virtue is practiced. Hope of the resurrection has been granted through the resurrection of Christ. The demons tremble at the men who were formerly in their power. Yes, and most wonderful of all is that all these things were successfully brought about through a cross and suffering and death. The Gospel of the knowledge of God has been preached to the whole world and has put the adversaries to flight not by war and arms and camps. Rather, it was a few unarmed, poor, unlettered, persecuted, tormented, done-to-death men, who, by preaching the One who had died crucified in the flesh, prevailed over the wise and powerful, because the almighty power of the Crucified was with them. That death which was once so terrible has been defeated and He who was once despised and hated is now preferred before life. These are the successes consequent upon the advent of Christ; these are the signs of His power... O Christ, O wisdom and power and Word of God, and God almighty! What should we resourceless people give you in return for all things? For all things are Yours and You ask nothing of us but that we be saved. And even this You have given us, and by Your ineffable goodness You are gracious to those who accept it. 

- John of Damascus An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4.4

Friday, June 1, 2012

What is the greatest unkindness we can do to our Father?

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.  - Galatians 4:4-7

We see in this passage that it takes the entire Godhead, the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Spirit- to complete our adoption. God the Father plans and initiates our adoption. Twice Paul says that God the Father “sent.” At the fulness of time, the Father “sent” the Son into the world to redeem us and to secure our adoption and make us heirs. And the Father “has sent” the Spirit of Jesus into our hearts to seal our adoption.
Our adoption process began long ago. God the Father initiates and plans our adoption from eternity past. Before the dawn of time, God the Father’s heart of love was fixed upon you. The Father’s adoption plan started in eternity past, and the blessings and joys that flow from this grace of adoption will continue throughout the endless ages of eternity. Then, in history, the Father sends both the Son and the Spirit to make our adoption happen.
The Father looked out at a world in rebellion against Him. He saw the world filled with “children of wrath.” He saw children who had rejected Him, walked away from Him, turned their backs on Him, and wanted nothing to do with Him. And what was the Father’s response? Out of His great love, He sends His one and only Son, His beloved Son, into the world to make “children of wrath” into “children of God”!
Because of the great love of God the Father, we are now children of God: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” For this reason John Owen wrote: “The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay upon the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him, is not to believe that He loves you.”

Justin & Lindsey Holcomb, Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault, Crossway Publishers, 2011, pg. 77

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is the super-fulfillment of our hopes and dreams for redemption. 
He is the super-fulfillment of the ancient longings. 
His heel crushes the serpent’s head. 
He is the sacrificial animal skins covering cursed humanity. 
He is the acceptable sacrifice of Abel. 
He is Noah’s ark. 
He is the ignored sibling. 
He is the warrior. 
He is the burning bush, the lifted staff, the struck rock, the pillar of fire, the manna. 
He is the ark of the covenant. 
He is the law-giver. 
He is the curtain to the holy of holies. 
He is the kinsman redeemer. 
He is the anointed king. 
He is the afflicted sufferer, taunted by his friends. 
He is music. He is wisdom. He is romance. 
He is the voice in the wilderness, and the news shared by the voice. 
He is safety from the furnace. 
He is coverer of the whore’s shame. 
He’s the vinedresser and the vine. 
He is the servant-teacher. 
He is the Word. 
He is the glory. 
He is the abolitionist. 
He is the lion and the lamb.
Jared Wilson - Gospel Wakefulness