Apparently Contradictory Prophecies of Eschatological Israel in Isaiah
Any view of scriptures as inspired and inerrant demands of the interpreter a final product which is free of all absolute contradiction. If the bible is the word of God, and if God is trustworthy, then in the bible, A can never equal non-A fundamentally. That is, A can never equal non-A in the same sense and at the same time. Every instance we have in the bible, therefore, of A being equated with non-A is only a superficial, or accidental equation, and never an essential contradiction. That is not to say that we can find no examples of express A equals non-A formulas in the bible, but rather that every one of those formulas must be understood as indicating the negation of A respective of a different sense, or respective to a different time.
For instance, when we examine Paul's statement in Romans 9:6, "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel," we must be content to presuppose of Paul as a reasonable man, not to mention a man writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that the contradiction intended is not a fundamental one. The precise formulation of this expression leaves us no doubt that a contradiction is being posited: under the rubric "all who are of Israel" is included a subset, "those who are not Israel". Of this subset, therefore, we see characteristic A, being of Israel, attributed to them, and at the same time the negation of A, being not-Israel, attributed to the same set. The context of the apparent contradiction leaves us no difficulty in vindicating our presupposition of the reliability of scriptures. As Paul goes on to elaborate, there is, of the entire set of those who are in some sense "Israel" a smaller set of "Israel according to God's promise" or "elect Israel". This elect Israel is truly Israel in a deeper and more fundamental sense than the set of those who are merely ostensibly Israel. Therefore, the non-elect offspring of Jacob are, in a superficial sense, "Israel," but in a more fundamental sense they are not true Israel. And so the A equals non-A formula is one of contradiction respective merely of a different sense.
Announcing the Launch of the Reformation Study Center in Phoenix, Arizona
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 2007 marks the flaunch of the Reformation Study Center in the Greater Phoenix, Arizona area. Full details here.
Believing that the greatest need of the church today is a biblical understanding and proclamation of God as He really is, and the Gospel as it really is, the Reformation Study Center is being established to come alongside the Christian community to provide teaching and resources that will promote sound Christian doctrine.
OUR VISION LOCAL, GLOBAL AND COMPREHENSIVE
We seek to use all available means to propagate sound biblical and theological teaching. As God gives us the means (energy, man-power and financial resources) this includes:
THE PRINTED PAGE (books and theological articles)
TRANSLATIONS INTO OTHER LANGUAGES
TEACHING AND TRAINING CURRICULUM
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CENTER OF LEARNING
This vision that started as a seed in my heart, has become my burning passion, and my prayer is that it is something that will be shared by many. As God graciously provides a united team of commited praying people giving of their time, talents and treasure I believe so much will be accomplished as God blesses our efforts. Would you pray about your potential involvement in this vision? I covet your prayers enormously.
As we work together in this great venture, I believe God will be glorified and His purposes will be served in the earth, bringing Him much glory and honor. May God bless you richly.
Yours in the Master's service,
Rev. John F. M. Samson
Top Two Multiplying Churches in US are Reformed
Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York was ranked the number one multiplying church in America.
Based on a survey sponsored by Leadership Network, Outreach Magazine's 2007 list of the top 25 multiplying churches placed Redeemer on top, Mars Hill Church in Seattle second and NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, third. All three churches have planted a total of 100 churches since their founding.
"I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue 7- C. R. Biggs
Calvin on To Whom we Belong and the Necessity of Prayer
May you be greatly encouraged by some selections on God's love for us and the necessity of prayer today from Calvin's Institutes. We are a privileged people who have so great a Savior and Lord. As Mary says in Luke 1:46ff in what has come to be known as the "Magnificat": "My soul rejoices ("magnifies" or "in enlarged") in the LORD..." Mary's soul is enlarged, she is full of the knowledge and love of God, as she reflects on what God has done for her and for all believers in the Person and Work of Christ.
Let us also be reminded that to reflect upon our Great God is to have our own souls "enlarged" and to rejoice, praying unceasingly as we live as His people! To that end, may the quotations to day be a blessing to you.
"We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God's: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God's: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God's: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal [Rom. 14:8; cf. 1 Cor. 6:19]....
Let this therefore be the first step, that a man depart from himself in order that he may apply the whole force of his ability in the service of the Lord. I call 'service' not only what lies in obedience to God's Word but what turns the mind of man, empty of its own carnal sense, wholly to the bidding of God's Spirit." - John Calvin, 'Institutes', III.vii.1
Monergism Books: 3rd Annual Banner of Truth Mega Sale
Works Of John Owen-16 Vol Set ; The Works of Jonathan Edwards ; Works of Richard Sibbes:The Works of John Bunyan ;D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Romans 14 Volume Set:Works of Flavel ;Exposition of Hebrews by John Owen ;Works of Thomas Brooks;Puritan Paperback Bundle
Images of the Savior (30 â€“ His Giving the Keys of the Kingdom)
During his time on earth, Jesus himself was preaching the gospel of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, opening it to whom he would open it, and shutting it against whom he would shut it. But at the same time, he was also preparing his disciples to carry on this Kingdom-work when he should return to the Father, and begin to reign from God's right hand, sitting on the throne of David. He was then announcing the gospel and opening the Kingdom in his physical body; but he would soon be announcing the gospel and opening the Kingdom in his mystical body, the Church. For this reason, it was necessary that he take the keys of his kingly authority, and bestow them upon some representative (or representatives), to continue his work in his name, and with his authority, until the end of the age. Our account relates the details of this solemn bestowal of authority; and, although it has been much abused and perverted throughout Church history, its true meaning and importance must not therefore be minimized. We trust that the Spirit of God whom the Father has sent to us in the name of Jesus will protect us from all misunderstanding as we pursue the true meaning of his word today.
1 Timothy 4:10
"For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." - 1 Timothy 4:10
This verse has had many interpretations. Here are a few of them:
(1) The idea that "God is the Savior of all men" means that all who have ever lived will be saved. This of course is contrary to all sound doctrine. If this was true, the rest of the verse would have no meaning when it says "especially of believers."
(2) God wants to save everyone but His desire is many times thwarted by the obsinate free will of man (the Arminian view). Note though that the passage does not say He wants to save, but that He actually saves: He is actually the Savior (in some sense) of all men. Also, God's will is never frustrated (Isaiah 46:10).
(3) God is able to save all men, but though all can be saved, only believers actually are. Again, this is not what the text says.
(4) God is the Savior of all men (in one sense) and especially of those who believe (in another sense).
I believe this is the correct interpretation....
At the heart of Reformed Theology
"At the heart of Reformed Theology, at the heart of Luther and Calvin's struggle, and in Knox and Jonathan Edwards, were men who were awakened to the greatness, to the majesty, to the holiness, and the sovereignty of God. By contemplating the holiness and sovereignty of God, they were driven to develop their doctrines of the grace of God. Because until you meet a God who is holy and is sovereign, you don't know what grace means. I don't think we are ever going to see a healthy evangelical church until the evangelical church is solidly Reformed, where it takes biblical Christianity seriously with a right concept of a sovereign God.
That's because unreformed Christianity has failed in our culture. It has been pervasively antinomian (no law, no Lordship), and has been pervasively liberal in it's trends and tendencies away from scripture, because there's been no real basis in the sovereignty of God.
Today's evangelicals are never amazed by grace, because they don't understand sovereignty. They don't understand God. The evangelical church today is sick, more sick than it has ever been. We need a style and a variety of Christianity that is not a religion, but is a life and a worldview, where at the heart and foundational structure of it is a sound and deep biblical concept of the character of God."
R. C. Sproul - from his series "A Blueprint for Thinking."
"I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue 6- C. R. Biggs
Pastor (Bishop) J. C. Ryle on Realistic Expectations in the Ministry (from his commentary on Matthew, Banner of Truth Trust).
During my studies this week, I ran across an excellent quotation from the great theologian and preacher J. C. Ryle (19th century). As one of my local DJs used to say: "This goes out to..." Well, this quotation particularly goes out to those who labor as ordained officers in Christ's Church.
I send this particularly as a reminder and encouragement to you men who work hard shepherding and ruling in Christ's Church, those who serve Christ faithfully as elders, and still find yourself dealing with difficult people and their temperaments.
This wisdom from Ryle is something I wished I had been taught very early in my ministry. I send it to you for encouragement.
Hear Ryle (commenting on Matt 10:16-23):
"I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue 5- C. R. Biggs
Some Thoughts on the Law of God in Paul's Epistles by Herman Ridderbos (from 'Paul: An Outline of His Theology'- -a "must have" if you are a person interested in getting a better grasp at the Pauline Corpus).
"Zeal for the law can altogether alienate man from God, and has precisely the effect of making him a sinner. This occurs when faith is no longer the point of departure for the fulfilling of the law, but man addresses himself to what he takes for the work of the law. For the law then becomes detached from God, in the sense that man no longer trusts in God for his righteousness but in his works. And man in this way no longer arrives at the law, that is to say, no longer at the righteousness and at the life to which the law points him.
Conversion proceeds from...
"To believe in the power of man in the work of regeneration is the great heresy of Rome, and from that error has come the ruin of the Church. Conversion proceeds from the grace of God alone, and the system which ascribes it partly to man and partly to God is worse than Pelagianism" (The Reformation in England (London, 1962), Vol. 1, p. 98)
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America Update: Federal Vision Study Report
NEWS FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
JUNE 14, 2007
35th PCA GA Approves Recommendations of Federal Vision Study Report
MEMPHIS, TENN â€“ The 35TH General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, meeting in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, June 13, approved the recommendations of its Interim Committee on Federal Vision.
After the committee made its report, a motion was made to postpone taking action on the recommendations at this GA, to add two new members to the committee, and to direct the committee to include more exegesis of relevant biblical passages in its report. This motion failed. After further debate the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve the recommendations.
The recommendations included the following:
"I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue 4- C. R. Biggs
Classes of Legalists
Are you a legalist when you preach, teach or share the gospel?
An excellent book by Prof. Dan Doriani teaches how to "put the truth to work" and to faithfully apply Scripture in preaching (How to balance *rightly* the indicative and the imperative in preaching). In order to avoid the pitfalls of legalistic preaching, he explains four classes of legalism into which many preachers unintentionally find themselves.
The point he makes about "class-four legalists" is that they have the correct teaching, but that they make the correct teaching oppressive without the love of Christ and his fulfillment of the Law as foundational to all of their preaching. This is helpful for preachers, teachers, as well as all Christians when sharing and living the gospel with others.
"I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue 3- C. R. Biggs
A Contemporary Class of Monks?
Prof. Morris Berman (Johns Hopkins Univ), in his new book 'Twilight of American Culture', argues for a new "monastic option" in order to engage in culture preservation in our contemporary cultural crisis. His solution for combating the decline of culture in America is to consciously preserve culture as a contemporary class of monks. His ideas are quite interesting and I submit this quotation for your consideration and thought.
The context in which he writes the following is that he has argued for the decline in American culture and particularly in the decline of American character. He asserts that something personally (not governmentally) must be done to consciously try to preserve the good culture in America. He writes:
Images of the Savior (29 â€“ His Answering the Syro-Phoenician Woman)
Of the many lessons we may learn about the Savior from this account, the most notable is his utter resignation to the will of the Father, and his firm resolve not to do anything related to the work of redemption except in its own proper time; from which circumstance we may learn that all the acts of mercy and grace from the beginning of the world are indeed planned out by the sovereign counsel of the Father, and minutely executed by the Son. In this account, we may see this truth borne out, first, by Jesus' unswerving commitment to the temporal priority of the children of Israel to the nations, in God's redemptive design; and second, by his manner in responding to the personal request of a woman whose daughter he knew from the beginning that he should heal. In this latter circumstance we may find much that is well-suited to personal application, and so we will spend the greater part of our time on that point. But first, let us note what Jesus intended by his saying, â€œI am not sent except to the lost sheep of the House of Israelâ€ (Matthew 15:24).
Simply amazing! Go to the link here at Dr. James White's blog and scroll down the page until you come to the entry for "06/16/2007 - This Is Just...Special" - then just click on the link there.. and.. just enjoy!!!
Web Designer Position at Monergism
Do you have a passion for creating great cutting edge web projects? Monergism is looking for a front-end web designer to join our Interactive group. You should be a hard-working and self-motivated individual who has proven experience in brand development.
You will be leading all design aspects of Monergismbooks.com, Monergism.com and its' planned online community, email newsletters, online advertising and collateral. This is an energetic work environment that thrives on individual creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit. If you like to get in and get involved taking charge and driving the direction of your projects, then this is the place for you!
The ideal candidates must be extremely creative, have plenty of experience working on logos, the Web, brochures, print collateral, and some packaging.
Ideally the candidate is based in Portland, Oregon but we are open to off-site freelance based on qualifications.
Are There Two Gospels in the New Testament?
I just finished reading an article which had obviously been influenced by the idea that there are two distinct gospels in the New Testament. This insistence that there is a â€œgospel of the Kingdom,â€ which Jesus proclaimed to ethnic Jews, who rejected it insistently enough that they received a temporary retraction of the offer; and that this gospel is to be sharply distinguished from the gospel for the Church, as defined in I Corinthians 15:1-4; is a common Dispensational understanding (see Renald Showersâ€™ book, There Really is a Difference, for an example of such argumentation). Frankly, this disturbs me greatly, first of all, because it makes nonsense of the whole tenor of New Testament teaching. If the â€œgospel of the Kingdom,â€ is a different gospel than that which is preached today, then why is this â€œgospel of the Kingdom,â€ which Jesus had been proclaiming throughout his ministry (e.g. Matthew 4:23, 9:25), the very same gospel that he said must be proclaimed in all the world before his return (Matthew 24:14)? Why is it that the apostles throughout the New Testament writings continued to proclaim this Kingdom-gospel (see Acts 20:24-25; 28:23, 30-31)? How can one justify adhering to a belief that is so eloquently argued against throughout the New Testament scriptures?
John Calvin: His Life and Influence (Paperback)
Photo (c) 2006, Tony Reinke, The Shepherd's Scrapbook
â€œIslamâ€™s triumphant global march was halted by the sudden appearance of the freedom fostered by biblical Christianity in the sixteenth century in Western Europe. This occurred particularly as a result of Calvinâ€™s, not Lutherâ€™s, insistence on the churchâ€™s freedom from the state and the stateâ€™s freedom from the church that in turn also eventually produced disciplined capitalism, science and technology, and economic prosperity. In yet another way, then â€“ in the political freedom the Western nations enjoy now over against what would have possibly been military subjection to an Islamic theocracy â€“ we here in the West are indebted to the providentially-arranged thought and activity of John Calvin.â€
- Robert L. Reymond, John Calvin: His Life and Influence (Christian Focus: Great Britain) 2004. Page 143.
Images of the Savior (28 â€“ His Dispute with the Pharisees over Ceremonial Uncleanness)
We may observe in this account both the essence of false religion, which the Pharisees displayed in their encounter with the disciples of Jesus, and with Jesus himself; as well as the proper response to this sort of deceptive false teaching. For Jesus, when he had seen their hypocritical indignation over the violation of their man-made regulations, first destroyed the foundations of their religious system, rendering them without an answer or excuse; and second, built in its place the just principles of true religion, on the solid foundation of God's revelation; taking occasion, moreover, to instruct his true followers more thoroughly in these right principles, when they were alone. We ought to learn from this example, first of all, to be certain that our religion is in accordance with God's own will, and not founded upon our own uncertain speculations; and second, how to respond to false doctrine when we or those near us in the Church are confronted with it.
What Are We Looking for in the Bible?
"To preach the Bible as "the handbook for life," or as the answer to every question, rather than as the revelation of Christ, is to turn the Bible into an entirely different book. This is how the Pharisees approached Scripture..." Dr. Michael Horton
Dr. Michael Horton has written an outstanding article on the "redemptive-historical" approach to biblical interpretation that I would encourage all to read, especially those who preach and teach God's word - found here.
For a second related article "Wanted: Ministers Who Preach Not Themselves, But Christ" go here.
Here's a quote: "As I read these qualifications, I cannot help but think of how the apostle Paul might have fared. On the "innovative, progressive, change-initiator" scale, he would have scored poorly.... The basic difference between Paul's outlook and the dominant perspective reflected in these ads is quite simple: for Paul, the authority and power rests in the ministry, not the minister. It is the proclamation of Christ, not the skills, personality, charisma, or even personal godliness, that builds Christ's Church. We hear the reverse all the time: "Sure, he could stick closer to the text when he preaches, but he has a real heart for the Lord and wants to reach out to those who are hurting." But Paul turns this around: "Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice" (Phil. 1:15-18).
PCA General Assembly to Look at Federal Vision
Just found out from Justin Taylor's blog that the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is being webcast live. This afternoon they will be looking at the Federal Vision.
Review: Augustine Through the Ages
Review By. Monergism's B. K. Campbell
The book contains synopses of his ideas and outlines of his work and life. The format is alphabetical, topical with double columned text.
Augustineâ€™s shadow is still on the land, his influence is scattered across the face of Christendom. His thought was deep, profound and original. He mastered everything from theology to apologetics. As a Christian thinker he remains second to none. â€œAugustine Through The Agesâ€ is the only work I have ever seen that gets at every important aspect of his thought. If you have any inclination to know theology, defend your faith or understand the influence behind so much Christian thought this volume is a must for you. Augustine was the most important non-canonical Christian thinker; â€œAugustine through The Agesâ€ is the most important encyclopedia on that thinker. If you yearn for access to his mind there is no better volume available than â€œAugustine Through The Agesâ€.
Musings on Boldness
Why live boldly as a Christian? Why speak and act in a way that offends people who don't want to be confronted with God's truth? Most of us are to some degree people-pleasers, avoiding confrontation, flattering and cajoling, generally speaking and acting in a way that gets us ahead in life by not offending others, by saying things they want to hear. Self-preservation and self-advancement make us slaves to the ears of others. They won't kill you if they like you. You might get a raise, romance, or respect if you keep telling them what they want to hear. But if you tell them they need to be forgiven for their sins, otherwise God's wrath abides on themâ€¦ you might not get very far in life.
Some don't really care what others think, and speak their minds freely. Usually they are just obnoxious, not wanting to be bothered with concern for others. But how can we escape "people-pleasism" (the fear of men), yet still care about others? How can we be bold to proclaim that which people hate to hear, yet do it out of love?
We start by believing that our true preservation and true advancement come from God through the Gospel. People might leave us poor and abandoned and dead on the side of the road because they don't like our message. But in Christ we are rich and alive, in sweet communion with God for eternity. His kingdom and reign are over all the earth (and beyond), and we inherit all things through Christ. When we see that everything truly precious to us does not depend on what others think of us, but is hidden with Christ in God, untouchable, unassailable, and guaranteed to us forever on his bloodâ€¦ then we can find freedom from the fear of men. When we believe that the Gospel is the best thing that ever happened to us, and that no threat can separate us from God's love through Christ, we can fearlessly and boldlyâ€”with gentleness and affectionâ€”proclaim that same Gospel to others in need, whether they like to hear it or not.
Images of the Savior (27 â€“ His Walking on the Water)
As we turn to our next account, we must be aware of its close connection with the account immediately preceding it, in which Jesus presents himself as the true Bread from heaven, given for the life of the world; and hence, the fulfillment of the tabernacle imagery of the table of the bread of the presence. For just as the table signified the provision of the necessary substance of life, which Jesus portrayed as having its ultimate fulfillment in his own body that he would offer up for the life of the world, in illustration of which he provided this bread in the wilderness for the crowds that had gathered around him; so also it signified the ongoing provision and guidance that God offered to his people for their journey, through his own sustaining presence in their midst; which is indeed why the bread was called specifically the bread of the presence. But this element, too, Jesus would portray as having its ultimate fulfillment in himself, when he appeared miraculously to his disciples and brought them along on their journey through the power that his own abiding presence imparted to them. Let us now look at these truths in a little more detail.
New Particular T
A big thank you to Tony Reinke, Monergism's moderator for TakeUpandRead, who helped deign our T-Shirt concept, then took the following photos of his son wearing it:
Revelation 5:9 - Particular T
Photos (c) 2007, Tony Reinke, The Shepherd's Scrapbook
Reformation Theology Booksale
To Kickoff the Summer, Monergism Books is extending some really deep discounts on some Reformed titles:
Truth in All Its Glory: Commending the Reformed Faith by William Edgar (A great intro to the Reformed Faith)
Regular Price: $14.99 Special Price $4.50 - 70% Discount
Let the Reader Understand:A Guide to Interpreting and Applying the Bible
by McCartney, Dan and Clayton, Charles Retail Price $16.99 Sale price: $12.49 .... $6.79 - 60% Discount
("The best introduction to biblical hermeneutics for serious seminarians and other students of the Bible ... Each section presents profound concepts simply and clearly." Bruce Waltke)
Red Flowers for Him
The following is a piece written by a good friend of mine who is currently training native Chinese missionaries entering into missionary service to the largely unreached Islamic world. All names have been removed for obvious reasons.
Red Flowers for Him
The restaurant decor consists of garish red roses sweeping across the wallpaper, menus and chairs. A front door opens and a gust of winter air pushes in as another burst of arrivals noisily inquires where the large party of 40 is to be seated. In the increasingly crowded private room, expectant faces appear to be waiting the arrival of food Âbut something muchweightier than food looms ahead.
The details behind each individual in the room must wait for another day for the telling. It is enough to say that ten young Chinese individuals in the room had come to very separate and differently arrived at conclusions that God wanted to send each one westward to some unknown destination in the Middle East. Their paths had led them to this new place of equipping for a three month session of training in spiritual warfare, ministry among Muslims, cross-cultural training, and the list goes on.
Exposition of Revelation 5:9 - Particular Redemption
"Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
The scope of Christ's work of redemption is both universal and particular: universal because it includes people of every ethnicity and nation; particular because Christ redeems a people for Himself from out of these nations, having had an eye for a remnant of mankind from every tribe. Here is the climax of God's redemptive purpose, fulfilling God's covenant to Abraham to bless the children of promise through his seed (Gen 12:2; Rom 9:6-13). This is why God has commanded the church to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matt 28:18, 19) that He might gather those he has set apart for Himself in every city and town (Acts 18:10; John 17:9, 20)
The great, ultimate, and final exodus is here (Rev 5) being declared in song. There are three (3) reasons which define the lamb's worthiness to open the scroll
1) you were slain,
2) with your blood your purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (That is the meaning of the event). and
3) v10. You have made them to be a kingdom of priests and to reign on the earth. (That is the consequence of the event).
What is actually in view here? It is the final exodus and the ultimate, eternal establishment of a covenantal relationship between God and His people. It is what we see at the end of the Revelation. "Now I will be their God and they will be my people..." This event also uses language similar to the Exodus of the Jews. It not only points forward to the final consummation but also points back to that Passover event. This passage actually lifts language from the Book of Exodus, interpreting its ultimate meaning. What actually took place on the evening of the first Passover? A lamb was slain and painted on the doorposts of every Jewish home. That was the event. But what was the meaning of that event?. The Text is clear. The purchase of the firstborn for God. The firstborn in Israel were just as guilty as any Egyptian. The Jews were not saved because they were more righteous than anyone else. They were saved because God made them a provision of atonement. They too were liable to the death blow of the angel, but were purchased by the blood of an unblemished sacrifice that pointed to the ultimate sacrifice. To what end, and with what final consequence in mind? In their language: "That out of all the nations of the world they would become the personal possession of God, purchased out of Egypt to be made a kingdom and priests" (Ex 19).
Images of the Savior (26 â€“ His Feeding the Five Thousand)
In this remarkable account, we see our Savior signifying through a gloriously bountiful act of generosity the eternal life and joyful feasting in the presence of God that he would soon provide for those whom the Father had given to him, by the offering up of his own body for their life and sustenance; and in the process, we are confronted with an image of Christ the Savior as the perfect fulfillment of the tabernacle imagery of the table of the bread of the presence (Exodus 25:23-20); as the end and goal of the celebratory feasts of the Jews, and that of Passover in particular (note John 6:4), which looked ahead to the joyful feast of the end times, in the presence of God (see Isaiah 25:6-12); and also, as the true fulfillment of the manna that sustained the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years. Moreover, we have this wondrous sign expounded to us in great wisdom by the very words of Jesus, as he explains to the Jews its true meaning and significance. Let us then be richly instructed in these eternal truths, as we look to the account at hand.
"I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue 3
Humility from the Perspective of Screwtape and Wormwood- C. S. Lewis
Today's quotation is from a classic C. S. Lewis book entitled 'The Screwtape Letters'. For many of you this is perhaps a favorite book to read and re-read. For those who may be unfamiliar with the book, it is a book written from the perspective of Screwtape, a senior and seasoned devil, writing to his younger devil apprentice named Wormwood. The perspective of the book is from the "devils' point of view" and therefore the "patient" to whom he refers is the Christian and the "enemy" is God himself. Enjoy - -and be humbled by God's grace!
Top Ten Books on Piety, Sanctification, Spiritual Growth
Recently I posted an excerpt from William Gurnall's classic work, The Christian in Complete Armour and mentioned that this was on our top ten list of books of all time on piety, sanctification, spiritual growth. A visitor asked what the other books were on this list. The following list is in no particular order but consisitute our top ten. No doubt many of you will have different books on your list so feel free to post those that have had an impact on you. These are not in any particular order.
1. The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification: Growing in Holiness by Living in Union with Christ
by Walter Marshall - Hands Down, the best human-authored book on sanctification ever produced.
2.The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal
Critical work! Sanctification occurs because the human soul has been united to Christ and participates in the divine nature. A person is a Christian because of what Christ has done for us, not what we do for ourselves. The Christian life is the same as He and continues to live and intercede for us. He is our sanctification.
3. The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
If you lack assurance, are hurting, weak and suffering under the burden of sin, read this book, and by reading you will be amazed how helpful this is to yourself and your ministry to others.
04. The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
Truly an amazing book. John Owen never dissapoints. Our favorite Puritan author. In a related work, Owen's treatment of the Holy Spirit is the finest we have ever read.
05. Crook in the Lot (Hardback) by Thomas Boston
One of our favorite books of all time. While this book is about providence and the sovereignty of God, the depth of Boston's biblical insight will help you better get a bird's eye view of reality resulting in a life of genuine piety. We studied through this book with our early morning men's group and the result was changed lives.
06. The Fear of God by John Bunyan
This is a great book to give anyone new to the faith and a blessing to those who have already been Christians. A true classic which I am currently reading and benefitting immensely from.
07. Everlasting Righteousness, Horatius Bonar - The Everlasting Righteousness may be the best book on the doctrine of justification by faith alone ever written. Presented here in modern English and spelling, Bonars classic book is a clear and accurate explanation of the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although this book is about justificaiton, this is the most foundational book we have found as a basis of understanding sanctification.
08. The Doctrine of Sanctification by A.W. Pink
Here Pink compiles the best teaching on sanctification through church history.
09. Holiness by J.C. Ryle
Truly a rich little gem that is to be read and reread. Classic!.
10. The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall (Pub. 1662-1665)
This is, no doubt, the most comprehensive work ever written on the subject of spiritual warfare. Itâ€™s a massive tome, but there are few books in existence that I would recommend more highly. Very Edifying. A must own for your library.
Ok ... those are the top ten but I will list some others which come close
Renewal As a Way of Life: A Guidebook for Spiritual Growth Richard F. Lovelace
Desiring God by John Piper
The Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney (Author)