The Eighth Plague: LocustsExodus 10 1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”
3 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. 4 For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, 5 and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, 6 and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’ ” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.
7 Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. And he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God. But which ones are to go?” 9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.” 10 But he said to them, “The LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. 11 No! Go, the men among you, and serve the LORD, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again. 15 They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. 17 Now therefore, forgive my sin, please, only this once, and plead with the LORD your God only to remove this death from me.” 18 So he went out from Pharaoh and pleaded with the LORD. 19 And the LORD turned the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go.
The Ninth Plague: Darkness21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23 They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. 24 Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; your little ones also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind.” 25 But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. 26 Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the LORD our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.” 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me; take care never to see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.” 29 Moses said, “As you say! I will not see your face again.”
A Final Plague ThreatenedExodus 11 1 The LORD said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely. 2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, for silver and gold jewelry.” 3 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.
4 So Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, 5 and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again. 7 But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ 8 And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, you and all the people who follow you.’ And after that I will go out.” And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger. 9 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”
10 Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land.
The PassoverExodus 12 1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. 18 In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 24 You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. 25 And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ ” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
28 Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. 30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. 31 Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as you have said. 32 Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!”
The Exodus33 The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35 The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. 36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
37 And the people of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 A mixed multitude also went up with them, and very much livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
40 The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.
Institution of the Passover43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, 44 but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. 45 No foreigner or hired worker may eat of it. 46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. 49 There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”
50 All the people of Israel did just as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that very day the LORD brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.
ESV Study Bible
What I'm Reading
Forgive Us Our What? | Three Ways We Say the Lord’s Prayer
By Jon Bloom 1/19/2018
Do you know the most famous prayer on the planet? The prayer the most people on the street could recite portions of if asked? The prayer hundreds of millions of Christians of every stripe pray regularly and tens of millions of non-Christians have heard enough to repeat? (Mt 6:9–13) “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
How we recite that phrase usually depends more on what English-speaking Christian tradition influenced us than what Bible translation we use. Those raised in Presbyterian or Reformed traditions are more likely to say “debts.” Those who come from Anglican/Episcopal, Methodist, or Roman Catholic traditions are more likely to say “trespasses.” Those whose churches were influenced by ecumenical liturgical movements of the late twentieth century are probably more likely to say “sins.”
So which word is the right one? Well, nearly all of the most credible English translations over time have translated the Greek words, opheilēma/opheiletēs, as “debts/debtors.” And that’s because in the New Testament and the Septuagint, these words almost always convey the meaning of owing a financial or moral debt or obligation.
In Luke’s version of the prayer, Jesus says, “and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4). In this case, the Greek word used for “sins” is hamartia, which in general means “sins” or “guilt.” But since it’s paired with opheilonti (“indebted to us”) it’s still clear that Jesus had the sense of debt in mind when referring to sin in the prayer he taught his disciples. So, saying “forgive us our sins” is not inaccurate; it just loses the nuance Jesus apparently intended.
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(Mt 6:9–13) “Our Father in heaven,
Jon Bloom Books:
Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith
Things Not Seen: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Trusting God's Promises
Don't Follow Your Heart: God's Ways Are Not Your Ways
Is There a God?
By Sinclair Ferguson
Answer the question “Is there a God?” in around 775 words? Is this perhaps the easiest assignment Tabletalk has ever commissioned, since the answer is so clear? There are no consistent atheists, only people hiding from God. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). God is the inescapable given who undergirds all things.
Or, is this the hardest assignment Tabletalk has ever commissioned? A comprehensive answer might fill an entire library. What follows, then, is only a stray fragment from one chapter in a book in that library.
➝ 1 God the Creator is the only solution to Gottfried Leibniz’s and Martin Heidegger’s ultimate riddle: “Why is there something there, and not nothing?”
Ex nihilo nihil fit—“Nothing comes from nothing.” Let us note that nothing is not a “pre-something”; it is not “something reduced to a minimum.” Nothing is NO thing, no THING. Nothing—a concept impossible for the mind to comprehend precisely because nothing lacks “reality” in the first place. To transform Rene Descartes’; famous dictum Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) we can say, Quod cogito, non cogito de nihilo (Because I am, I cannot conceive of nothing). That leads to another Descartes-esque thought: Quod cogito, ergo non possibile Deus non est (Because I think, therefore it is impossible that God does not exist). The cosmos, my existence, and my ability to reason all depend on the fact that life did not and could not come from nothing, but requires a reasonable and reasoning origin. The contrary (time + chance = reality) is impossible. Neither time nor chance is a pre-cosmic phenomenon.
➝ 2 This God must be the biblical God, for two reasons. The first is that only such a God adequately grounds the physical coherence of the cosmos as we know it. Second, His existence is the only coherent basis, whether acknowledged or otherwise, for rational thought and communication. Consequently, the nonbeliever of necessity must draw on, borrow from, indeed intellectually steal from a biblical foundation in order to think coherently and to live sanely. Thus, the secular humanist who argues that there are no ultimates must borrow from biblical premises in order to assess anything as in itself right or wrong.
Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson is a Ligonier teaching fellow and distinguished visiting professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Sinclair Ferguson Books | Go to Books Page
3 Elements that need to be in every funeral sermon
By Brian Croft 1/2018
“DON’T PREACH THEM INTO HEAVEN. DON’T PREACH THEM INTO HELL. JUST PREACH THE GOSPEL FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE.”
A pastor contacted me last week asking this question and thought there might be others asking it also. The most helpful advice I ever received about preaching at a funeral for someone I didn’t know is: “Don’t preach them into heaven. Don’t preach them into hell. Just preach the gospel for the people who are there.”
This principle captures our task regardless the kind of funeral we do. Ironically, though we focus on remembering and celebrating the life of the deceased, the funeral service is ultimately for those who attend.
The gospel must be preached clearly in the sermon. Only when we can personally have confidence in a person’s conversion should we feel comfortable to speak of the heavenly reward he/she has now received. If there is any doubt in your mind, it is best to focus on the gospel for your hearers and resist the temptation to provide a false comfort that you have little or no basis to give.
A funeral sermon should not exceed 20 minutes and should highlight these three categories, preferably expounded from a text(s) of Scripture:
Brian Croft serves as senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville. He is also senior fellow for the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization at Southern Seminary. A veteran pastor and author of numerous books on practical aspects of pastoral ministry, Brian oversees Practical Shepherding, a gospel-driven resource center for pastors and church leaders to equip them in the practical matters of pastoral ministry. His latest book is Biblical Church Revitalization: Solutions for Dying & Divided Churches (Christian Focus, 2016)
The Metaphysics Of Democracy
By Fr. Thomas Joseph White 1/2018
Liberalism began as a political project that sought to curtail the role of religion in public life. Religious impulses haven’t proven easy to expel, however, even in secular societies. Contemporary secular liberalism aspires to be a universal project that supplants traditional religion and relegates it to the private sphere. Paradoxically, this process frustrates the spiritual desires of many modern secular people, who are unsatisfied with thin consumerism and wish to participate in something greater than themselves. Their mounting rejection of the liberal project has precipitated a crisis, one felt most acutely in the political realm. It has taken the form of a resurgent nationalism, an inchoate response to the suppression of faith that is inadequate and perhaps dangerous. We need to address the weakness of liberal modernity differently, which means metaphysically. No doubt, an appeal to metaphysics strikes many as strangely abstract and inconsequential. Politics is the realm of action, and people want to see church leaders, politicians, lawyers, and columnists fighting for religious causes. One can sympathize with this instinct, but it ignores the deeper problem. The dispute over metaphysics was the concrete issue from the beginning. It always has been.
One story of modern democracy goes like this: The conflicts over religious absolutes in the pre-Enlightenment Christian period of European civilization gave rise to the realization that our public life should not be constituted by absolutist commitments. In order to persist in a pluralistic, peaceful way, democratic governments need to surrender their alliance with religious creeds and distance themselves from robust metaphysical accounts of reality and human purposes. The space for mutual human concord arises only when there is a public square where metaphysical rivals can live in mutual toleration. Today, this view translates into a simple theoretical principle. The modern state should practice an “ecumenism” of theoretical minimalism: It affirms no one particular creed so as to allow for the multiple beliefs of all those who inhabit public space. Liberal modernity functions through asceticism, restraining our strongest metaphysical judgments, rather than saturating public life with them.
John Henry Newman took a different view of modern democratic liberalism. He famously declared in his “Biglietto Speech” the night before he was made a cardinal, “For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. . . . Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily.” In an extensive note in the Apologia he offers a definition of liberalism in which he presents its principles in the form of a creed consisting of eighteen propositions. These function as a system of secular faith and give orientation to modern politics in England, not unlike the Thirty-Nine Articles did in the seventeenth century. Basic to this view of the world is the primacy of what Newman calls the “principle of private judgment” in all matters religious, moral, and philosophical. The modern person is free to define his own meaning, and to do so he must be free from the influences of religious authorities. But this comes at a cost: Modern society must distance itself from any collective account of meaning and from all authorities who articulate such claims. When it comes to defining or defending the meaning of life, it’s every man for himself.
The first view of democracy is more libertarian, of course, and it is compatible with Christian ideas in some important ways. The second view of democracy is less so and suggests that at the heart of the modern world, there is an implicit theological debate that rages (now joined by Islam) about whether and to what extent traditional religious faith is compatible with modern democracy.
Contemporary secular progressivists seem to fit Newman’s description in that they are animated by a creed that is both anti-Christian and absolutist, and they stridently promote it. However, the secularism of our time is rife with sectarianism and marked by ideological disagreement and heterogeneity, which doesn’t tally with Newman’s version of liberalism as a “catholic” movement with a unified doctrine. The intellectual turmoil is evident when one considers the three metaphysical visions of reality that secularists promulgate, each one incompatible with Christianity and with one another.
One of these views derives from classical liberalism—Locke, Kant, and Rawls. It emphasizes the metaphysical primacy of freedom of choice in the individual subject. Its battle cry is autonomy, and its fruits are the ethics of authenticity. Each person has the right to define the meaning of his life, his sexuality, his way of participating in civic space, and his consumer opportunities. From this metaphysics we get the culture of rights talk, and the notion that sincerity of conviction serves as a moral warrant for the views that one holds.
Alongside this, there is the rival vision of the postmodern theorists who follow Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Foucault in outlining the ways that deep currents in human culture inform our mentality, structure our pre-reflective interpretation of experience, and privilege or disempower us in ways we fail to see. The metaphysics of Nietzsche are about power, not rights or the individual autonomy of each citizen. When one overturns social conventions that are arbitrary and oppressive, one makes room for artistic creativity and Dionysian freedom in a world marked by bourgeois convention and aesthetic mediocrity. From this strand of thinking we get the discourse of prophetic denunciation, militant calls for radical cultural transformation, and the politics of identity.
Thomas Joseph White, O.P., is director of the Thomistic Institute at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 10Why Do You Hide Yourself?
10:6 He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
7 His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
8 He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
9 he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
By Don Carson 3/1/2018
The Passover was not only the climax of the ten plagues, it was the beginning of the nation. Doubtless Pharaoh had had enough of Moses; God had had enough of Pharaoh. This last plague wiped out the firstborn of the land, the symbol of strength, the nation’s pride and hope. At the same time, by his design it afforded God an opportunity to teach some important lessons, in graphic form, to the Israelites. If the angel of death was to pass through the land, what principle would distinguish the homes that suffered death from those where everyone survived? Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition. He has authored numerous books, and recently edited The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016).
God tells the Israelites to gather in houses, each house bringing together enough people to eat one entire year-old lamb. Careful instructions are provided for the preparation of the meal. The strangest of these instructions is that a daub of blood is to be splashed on the top and both sides of the doorframe; “and when I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Ex. 12:13). The point is repeated: “When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down” (12:23). Because of the blood, the Lord would “pass over” them; thus the Passover was born.
The importance of this event cannot be overestimated. It signaled not only the release of the Israelites from slavery, but the dawning of a new covenant with their Redeemer. At the same time, it constituted a picture: guilty people face death, and the only way to escape that sentence is if a lamb dies instead of those who are sentenced to die. The calendar changes to mark the importance of this turning point (12:2-3), and the Israelites are told to commemorate this feast in perpetuity, not the least as a way of instructing children yet unborn as to what God did for this fledgling nation, and how their own firstborn sons were spared on the night that God redeemed them (12:24-27).
A millennium and a half later, Paul would remind believers in Corinth that Christ Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was sacrificed for us, inaugurating a new covenant (1 Cor. 5:7; 11:25). On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and wine, and instituted a new commemorative rite — and this too took place on the festival of Passover, as if this new rite connects the old with that to which it points: the death of Christ. The calendar changed again; a new and climactic redemption had been achieved. God still passes over those who are secured by the blood.
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Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition. He has authored numerous books, and recently edited The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016).Don Carson Books | Go to Books Page
The Bible is clear: abortion is murder and needs to be stopped
By Jared Moore
In the beginning, God created mankind, body and soul, male and female, in his image (Gen. 1:26-28; Matt. 10:28). God made mankind for the purpose of mirroring him. In light of creation, the image of God in man is meant to be displayed physically in a physical world. 27 So God created man in his own image,
(Ge 1:26–28) 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” ESV
(Mt 10:28) 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. ESV
Created In The Image Of God | Body and soul exist in unity and they make up human nature. Natures do not act on their own; rather, persons act through their natures. This is not to say persons can be separated from their natures. They cannot be separated from their natures; persons are the acting subjects. (The Evolution of the Soul) Natures do not subsist in themselves, but in persons.
Human persons act in and through their natures, their souls and bodies, simultaneously to make up a human being in unity. (Christian Theology) One cannot act through his soul without also acting through his body unless the soul has been separated from the body, meaning that the body is dead. In other words, the soul is the incorporeal substance and the body is the corporeal substance, and these make up a single substance, a capacity known as the human nature. If you have a human nature, you necessarily have a person; if you do not have a human nature, (pdf here) you necessarily do not have a person.
To summarize, the person is the acting subject, and they act in and through their nature. To have a human nature on earth, one needs a human body (regardless of how minimal) and a human soul. If the body is ensouled, the soul is embodied, and a human nature exists.
So, with these truths as a necessary foundation, we ask: Does Scripture teach that human embryos are human natures that subsist in persons? Two important pregnancies in God’s Word build a strong case: Jesus Christ in Mary’s womb and king David in his mother’s womb.
27 So God created man in his own image,
Jared Moore has served in pastoral ministry in a Southern Baptist context since 2000. He pastors Cumberland Homesteads Baptist Church in Crossville, TN. He and his wife Amber have four children. Jared is the author of 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped and is also a Ph.D. student in systematic theology at SBTS and serves as a teaching assistant for Bruce Ware and Greg Allison.
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
1. I believe it will not be out of place here to introduce the Ten
Commandments of the Law, and give a brief exposition of them. In this
way it will be made more clear, that the worship which God originally
prescribed is still in force (a point to which I have already
adverted); and then a second point will be confirmed--viz. that the
Jews not only learned from the law wherein true piety consisted, but
from feeling their inability to observe it were overawed by the fear of
judgments and so drawn, even against their will, towards the Mediator.
In giving a summary of what constitutes the true knowledge of God,
 we showed that we cannot form any just conception of the
character of God, without feeling overawed by his majesty, and bound to
do him service. In regard to the knowledge of ourselves, we showed that
it principally consists in renouncing all idea of our own strength, and
divesting ourselves of all confidence in our own righteousness, while,
on the other hand, under a full consciousness of our wants, we learn
true humility and self-abasement. Both of these the Lord accomplishes
by his Law, first, when, in assertion of the right which he has to our
obedience, he calls us to reverence his majesty, and prescribes the
conduct by which this reverence is manifested; and, secondly, when, by
promulgating the rule of his justice (a rule, to the rectitude of which
our nature, from being depraved and perverted, is continually opposed,
and to the perfection of which our ability, from its infirmity and
nervelessness for good, is far from being able to attain), he charges
us both with impotence and unrighteousness. Moreover, the very things
contained in the two tables are, in a manner, dictated to us by that
internal law, which, as has been already said, is in a manner written
and stamped on every heart. For conscience, instead of allowing us to
stifle our perceptions, and sleep on without interruption, acts as an
inward witness and monitor, reminds us of what we owe to God, points
out the distinction between good and evil, and thereby convicts us of
departure from duty. But man, being immured in the darkness of error,
is scarcely able, by means of that natural law, to form any tolerable
idea of the worship which is acceptable to God. At all events, he is
very far from forming any correct knowledge of it. In addition to this,
he is so swollen with arrogance and ambition, and so blinded with
self-love, that he is unable to survey, and, as it were, descend into
himself, that he may so learn to humble and abase himself, and confess
his misery. Therefore, as a necessary remedy, both for our dullness and
our contumacy, the Lord has given us his written Law, which, by its
sure attestations, removes the obscurity of the law of nature, and
also, by shaking off our lethargy, makes a more lively and permanent
impression on our minds.
2. It is now easy to understand the doctrine of the law--viz. that God, as our Creator, is entitled to be regarded by us as a Father and Master, and should, accordingly, receive from us fear, love, reverence, and glory; nay, that we are not our own, to follow whatever course passion dictates, but are bound to obey him implicitly, and to acquiesce entirely in his good pleasure. Again, the Law teaches, that justice and rectitude are a delight, injustice an abomination to him, and, therefore, as we would not with impious ingratitude revolt from our Maker, our whole life must be spent in the cultivation of righteousness. For if we manifest becoming reverence only when we prefer his will to our own, it follows, that the only legitimate service to him is the practice of justice, purity, and holiness. Nor can we plead as an excuse, that we want the power, and, like debtors, whose means are exhausted, are unable to pay. We cannot be permitted to measure the glory of God by our ability; whatever we may be, he ever remains like himself, the friend of righteousness, the enemy of unrighteousness, and whatever his demands from us may be, as he can only require what is right, we are necessarily under a natural obligation to obey. Our inability to do so is our own fault. If lust, in which sin has its dominion, so enthrals us, that we are not free to obey our Father, there is no ground for pleading necessity as a defence, since this evil necessity is within, and must be imputed to ourselves.
3. When, under the guidance of the Law, we have advanced thus far, we must, under the same guidance, proceed to descend into ourselves. In this way, we at length arrive at two results: First, contrasting our conduct with the righteousness of the Law, we see how very far it is from being in accordance with the will of God, and, therefore, how unworthy we are of holding our place among his creatures, far less of being accounted his sons; and, secondly, taking a survey of our powers, we see that they are not only unequal to fulfil the Law, but are altogether null. The necessary consequence must be, to produce distrust of our own ability, and also anxiety and trepidation of mind. Conscience cannot feel the burden of its guilt, without forthwith turning to the judgment of God, while the view of this judgment cannot fail to excite a dread of death. In like manner, the proofs of our utter powerlessness must instantly beget despair of our own strength. Both feelings are productive of humility and abasement, and hence the sinner, terrified at the prospect of eternal death (which he sees justly impending over him for his iniquities), turns to the mercy of God as the only haven of safety. Feeling his utter inability to pay what he owes to the Law, and thus despairing of himself, he rethinks him of applying and looking to some other quarter for help.
4. But the Lord does not count it enough to inspire a reverence for his justice. To imbue our hearts with love to himself, and, at the same time, with hatred to iniquity, he has added promises and threatening. The eye of our mind being too dim to be attracted by the mere beauty of goodness, our most merciful Father has been pleased, in his great indulgence, to allure us to love and long after it by the hope of reward. He accordingly declares that rewards for virtue are treasured up with him, that none who yield obedience to his commands will labour in vain. On the other hand, he proclaims not only that iniquity is hateful in his sight, but that it will not escape with impunity, because he will be the avenger of his insulted majesty. That he may encourage us in every way, he promises present blessings, as well as eternal felicity, to the obedience of those who shall have kept his commands, while he threatens transgressors with present suffering, as well as the punishment of eternal death. The promise, "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments; which if a man do, he shall live in them," (Lev. 18:5), and corresponding to this the threatening, "The souls that sinneth, it shall die," (Ezek. 18:4, 20); doubtless point to a future life and death, both without end. But though in every passage where the favour or anger of God is mentioned, the former comprehends eternity of life and the latter eternal destruction, the Law, at the same time, enumerates a long catalogue of present blessings and curses (Lev. 26:4; Deut. 28:1). The threatening attest the spotless purity of God, which cannot bear iniquity, while the promises attest at once his infinite love of righteousness (which he cannot leave unrewarded), and his wondrous kindness. Being bound to do him homage with all that we have, he is perfectly entitled to demand everything which he requires of us as a debt; and as a debt, the payment is unworthy of reward. He therefore foregoes his right, when he holds forth reward for services which are not offered spontaneously, as if they were not due. The amount of these services, in themselves, has been partly described and will appear more clearly in its own place. For the present, it is enough to remember that the promises of the Law are no mean commendation of righteousness as they show how much God is pleased with the observance of them, while the threatening denounced are intended to produce a greater abhorrence of unrighteousness, lest the sinner should indulge in the blandishments of vice, and forget the judgment which the divine Lawgiver has prepared for him.
5. The Lord, in delivering a perfect rule of righteousness, has reduced it in all its parts to his mere will, and in this way has shown that there is nothing more acceptable to him than obedience. There is the more necessity for attending to this, because the human mind, in its wantonness, is ever and anon inventing different modes of worship as a means of gaining his favour. This irreligious affectation of religion being innate in the human mind, has betrayed itself in every age, and is still doing so, men always longing to devise some method of procuring righteousness without any sanction from the Word of God.  Hence in those observances which are generally regarded as good works, the precepts of the Law occupy a narrow space, almost the whole being usurped by this endless host of human inventions. But was not this the very license which Moses meant to curb, when, after the promulgation of the Law, he thus addressed the people: "Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou does that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God." "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it," (Deut 12:28-32). Previously, after asking "what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?" he had added, "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life," (Deut. 4:8, 9). God foreseeing that the Israelites would not rest, but after receiving the Law, would, unless sternly prohibited give birth to new kinds of righteousness, declares that the Law comprehended a perfect righteousness. This ought to have been a most powerful restraint, and yet they desisted not from the presumptuous course so strongly prohibited. How do we act? We are certainly under the same obligation as they were; for there cannot be a doubt that the claim of absolute perfection which God made for his Law is perpetually in force. Not contented with it, however, we labour prodigiously in feigning and coining an endless variety of good works, one after another. The best cure for this vice would be a constant and deep-seated conviction that the Law was given from heaven to teach us a perfect righteousness; that the only righteousness so taught is that which the divine will expressly enjoins; and that it is, therefore, vain to attempt, by new forms of worship, to gain the favour of God, whose true worship consists in obedience alone; or rather, that to go a wandering after good works which are not prescribed by the Law of God, is an intolerable violation of true and divine righteousness. Most truly does Augustine say in one place, that the obedience which is rendered to God is the parent and guardian; in another, that it is the source of all the virtues. 
6. After we shall have expounded the Divine Law, what has been previously said of its office and use will be understood more easily, and with greater benefit. But before we proceed to the consideration of each separate commandment, it will be proper to take a general survey of the whole. At the outset, it was proved that in the Law human life is instructed not merely in outward decency but in inward spiritual righteousness. Though none can deny this, yet very few duly attend to it, because they do not consider the Lawgiver, by whose character that of the Law must also be determined. Should a king issue an edict prohibiting murder, adultery, and theft, the penalty, I admit, will not be incurred by the man who has only felt a longing in his mind after these vices, but has not actually committed them. The reason is, that a human lawgiver does not extend his care beyond outward order, and, therefore, his injunctions are not violated without outward acts. But God, whose eye nothing escapes, and who regards not the outward appearance so much as purity of heart, under the prohibition of murder, adultery, and thefts includes wrath, hatred, lust, covetousness, and all other things of a similar nature. Being a spiritual Lawgiver, he speaks to the soul not less than the body. The murder which the soul commits is wrath and hatred; the theft, covetousness and avarice; and the adultery, lust. It may be alleged that human laws have respect to intentions and wishes, and not fortuitous events. I admit this but then these must manifest themselves externally. They consider the animus with which the act was done, but do not scrutinise the secret thoughts. Accordingly, their demand is satisfied when the hand merely refrains from transgression. On the contrary, the law of heaven being enacted for our minds, the first thing necessary to a due observance of the Law is to put them under restraint. But the generality of men, even while they are most anxious to conceal their disregard of the Law, only frame their hands and feet and other parts of their body to some kind of observance, but in the meanwhile keep the heart utterly estranged from everything like obedience. They think it enough to have carefully concealed from man what they are doing in the sight of God. Hearing the commandments, "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not commit adultery," "Thou shalt not steal," they do not unsheathe their sword for slaughter, nor defile their bodies with harlots, nor put forth their hands to other men's goods. So far well; but with their whole soul they breathe out slaughter, boil with lust, cast a greedy eye at their neighbour's property, and in wish devour it. Here the principal thing which the Law requires is wanting. Whence then, this gross stupidity, but just because they lose sight of the Lawgiver, and form an idea of righteousness in accordance with their own disposition? Against this Paul strenuously protests, when he declares that the "law is spiritual" (Rom. 7:14); intimating that it not only demands the homage of the soul, and mind, and will, but requires an angelic purity, which, purified from all filthiness of the flesh, savours only of the Spirit.
7. In saying that this is the meaning of the Law, we are not introducing a new interpretation of our own; we are following Christ, the best interpreter of the Law (Mt. 5:22, 28, 44). The Pharisees having instilled into the people the erroneous idea that the Law was fulfilled by every one who did not in external act do anything against the Law, he pronounces this a most dangerous delusion, and declares that an immodest look is adultery, and that hatred of a brother is murder. "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment;" whosoever by whispering or murmuring gives indication of being offended, "shall be in danger of the council;" whosoever by reproaches and evil-speaking gives way to open anger, "shall be in danger of hell-fire." Those who have not perceived this, have pretended that Christ was only a second Moses, the giver of an evangelical, to supply the deficiency of the Mosaic Law. Hence the common axiom as to the perfection of the Evangelical Law, and its great superiority to that of Moses. This idea is in many ways most pernicious. For it will appear from Moses himself, when we come to give a summary of his precepts, that great indignity is thus done to the Divine Law. It certainly insinuates, that the holiness of the fathers under the Law was little else than hypocrisy, and leads us away from that one unvarying rule of righteousness. It is very easy, however, to confute this error, which proceeds on the supposition that Christ added to the Law, whereas he only restored it to its integrity by maintaining and purifying it when obscured by the falsehood, and defiled by the leaven of the Pharisees.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain
Institutes of the Christian Religion
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
The difference between Samson and Samuel (5)
1/21/2018 Bob Gass
‘Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favourable towards this people.”’
(Je 15:1) Then the LORD said to me, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! ESV
Difference five: Prayer. The Bible records only two occasions when Samson prayed: first, when he thought he was dying of thirst and needed water (Judges 15:18); second, in the last moments of his life when he’d lost everything and ended up in prison (see Judges 16:28). He was like the little boy who was asked, ‘Do you say your prayers every night?’ He replied, ‘No; sometimes I don’t need anything.’ On the other hand the Bible says, ‘Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel’ (1 Samuel 12:18 NKJV). One of the greatest tributes given to anyone in Scripture was spoken by God concerning Samuel’s prayer life: ‘Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favourable towards this people.”’ Such is the ‘clout’ Samuel had with God! The Bible also has much to say about the prayer life of Jesus. Sometimes He prayed all through the night; other times He was up praying before dawn. It was the secret of His effectiveness in ministry. He made regular deposits in prayer so He could make regular withdrawals of power when He needed it. And you’ll notice that He seldom prayed for anyone He healed. Why? Because He’d already spent time in prayer. Old-timers in church used to refer to this as ‘staying prayed up’. And it’s the secret of victorious Christian living.
January 21, 2016
The deepest conviction of the Christian is that Christ was not wrong.
--- Elton Trueblood, A Place To Stand
I am not that bright. When asked to define faith I answered, “Faith is trusting Jesus Christ as a person, not a religion or an idea, but a real person. To be sure, the son of God, but still a person.” How can we trust Jesus for eternity if we do not trust Him for the here and now. I think we need to trust Jesus for the here and now and let eternity take care of itself.
There are words I like and words I do not like. I prefer harmony over unity. Unity feels forced. I prefer response to react. Too many times I have reacted to hurt and caused hurt. I should have responded with the mind of Christ which means, don’t take offense. I don’t care for house. I like home. Lots of skilled people can build a house, but how many can build a home?
Maybe there is no God. Then the universe is not a home, just an accident. Maybe there is a God, but he lives in quiet habitations, untroubled by petty human problems. Or maybe God can make himself so small and vulnerable as to take up residence in a human heart—and break when it is broken. Maybe home is where God is. And maybe it will be awhile before we feel at home. --- John Ortberg
by Bill Federer
He produced epic films in Hollywood for almost five decades and started Paramount Pictures. His name was Cecil B. DeMille and he died this day, January 21, 1959. His best-known films include: Samson and Delilah, The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Show on Earth, for which he won an Academy Award. At the opening of The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille stated: “Man has made 32 million laws since the Commandments were handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai… but he has never improved on God’s law…. They are the charter… of human liberty, for there can be no liberty without the law.”
Thomas R. Kelly
In a letter to Rufus Jones written on September 26th, I938, he is eloquent on the experiences of the summer. "Two things have been very much on my mind about which I wanted to talk with thee . . . One thing was: I have had this summer, and still have, such a sweeping experience of 'refreshment of the spirit' so amazing, so sweet, and so prolonged as to go clear down to the roots of my being. The first verse of the Psalm I read in Meeting on First day 'My soul was in a ferment and I was pricked in the reins of my heart' (Psalm 73:21) was intensely personal as thee probably recognized and I have longed to talk to thee about it. No, that is not quite the way to say it: rather I have longed to talk about Him who deals so tenderly and lovingly to undeserving hearts. For the inner fellowship, the Gebundenheit, the Verbundenheit of souls who know and who live by His Presence is very deep. It is the stuff out of which the Kingdom is made, is it not? . . . The first days here in America were days of very difficult readjustment, for I was very deeply immersed in the German world. But now I feel I must get reconnected."
The previous spring he had gone out to Albert Baily's farm with a group of seniors from Westtown School for a week-end retreat with them. They had had a moving time together and now one of these students, T. Canby Jones, was a freshman at Haverford College, and wished to continue the fellowship. He and several of his friends began coming over to Thomas Kelly's home one evening each week to talk and read together of books of mutual interest. They lived on a mixed diet of St. Augustine's Confessions and Gibran's The Prophet for the first few weeks and had an easy time of silence together after the readings. During the next two years they read a number of books of devotional literature together. Pere Grou, Meister Eckhart, Brother Lawrence, Letters by a Modern Mystic, The Little Flowers of St. Francis, and then, quite naturally, the New Testament and the Psalms. The group grew until it often had six or seven students. At times no one would appear. But Thomas Kelly was always on hand. He found in this close spiritual fellowship that developed, one of the greatest comforts of his life. One of the students describes the group, "Tom, of course, was always telling funny stories even about the deepest thoughts. We met when we felt the need, not definitely once a week, but usually so. Tom often spoke of dry periods, but he as often described with a radiant face the degrees of ecstasy one achieves when he is wholly committed to God. In the Spring of I939, Tom expressed his concern for message-bearing. He told us many times he wanted us to be a band of itinerant preachers and expressed the desire that groups like ours be started everywhere: spiritual dynamos for the revitalization of meetings and the church. The idea grew that this gathering of such cells, more than speaking should be our task . . . In short, our group was a little religious order. Grounded in seeking God and the meaning of life, rejoicing in the love for each other, and thankful for the life that resulted from that corporate search." It is a tribute to the vitality of this group that they have continued to meet after Thomas Kelly's death and have added several other seekers to their number.
Compilation by RickAdams7
Those who never rebelled against God
or at some point in their lives
shaken their fists in the face of heaven,
have never encountered God at all.
--- Catherine Marshall
A deleted Bible results in a diluted gospel.
Protestantism, as it loses faith in the Bible,
is losing its religion.
We can decaffeinate coffee,
but we can’t de-Christianize Christianity.
--- Clarence Edward Noble Macartney
The godless Galileans feed our poor in addition to their own.
--- Roman Emperor Julian
For the real difference between happiness and joy is that one is grounded in this world, the other in eternity. Happiness cannot encompass suffering and evil. Joy can. Happiness depends on the present. Joy leaps into the future and triumphantly creates a new present out of it.
--- Elise Boulding, 1920-2010
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
incline your ear to my words.
21 Don’t let them out of your sight,
keep them deep in your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to their whole being.
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Recall what God remembers
I remember … the kindness of thy youth. --- Jeremiah 2:2.
Am I as spontaneously kind to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be kind to me? Am I full of the little things that cheer His heart over me, or am I whimpering because things are going hardly with me? There is no joy in the soul that has forgotten what God prizes. It is a great thing to think that Jesus Christ has need of me—“Give Me to drink.” How much kindness have I shown Him this past week? Have I been kind to His reputation in my life?
God is saying to His people—‘You are not in love with Me now, but I remember the time when you were.’ “I remember … the love of thine espousals.” Am I as full of the extravagance of love to Jesus Christ as I was in the beginning, when I went out of my way to prove my devotion to Him? Does He find me recalling the time when I did not care for anything but Himself? Am I there now, or have I become wise over loving Him? Am I so in love with Him that I take no account of where I go? or am I watching for the respect due to me, weighing how much service I ought to give?
If, as I recall what God remembers about me, I find He is not what He used to be to me, let it produce shame and humiliation, because that shame will bring the godly sorrow that works repentance.
My Utmost for His Highest
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
So God is born
from our loss of nerve?
He is the tree that looms up
in our darkness, at whose feet
we must fall to be set again
on its branches on some April day
of the heart.
He needs us
as a conductor his choir
for the performance of an unending
What we may not
do is to have our horizon bare,
is to make our way
on through a desert white with the bones
of our dead faiths. It is why,
some say, if there were no tree,
we would have to set one up
for us to linger under,
its drops falling on us as though to confirm
he has blood like ourselves.
We have set one up, but
of steel and so leafless that
he has taken himself
off out of the reach
of our transmitted prayers.
we explore the universe
on our wave-lengths, picking up nothing
but those acoustic ghosts
that could as well be mineral
as immortal mind communicating with itself.
Christology, the doctrine concerning God’s revelation in Christ and the salvation wrought through Christ, constitutes the core of Christian theology and belongs to the centre of the church’s proclamation. This significance is already evident in the writings of the first ‘theologian’ Paul, who says of himself that on the way to Damascus he received the gospel ‘through a revelation of Jesus Christ’ (Gal. 1:12) when ‘God chose … to reveal his Son in me’ (Gal. 1:16). When the apostle Paul refers in his letters to ‘the gospel of God’ or, more frequently, to ‘the gospel of Christ’, the basic notion of God’s self-revelation is being cast in terms of the inseparable ‘solidarity’ of the Father and Son, an idea which later would come to characterize the trinitarian understanding of God in Christianity. In Paul both the Father and Son can be addressed and invoked as ‘Kyrios’, and sometimes it is unclear (perhaps intentionally so) just which one is intended. Further, to a certain extent both are similarly addressed as the coming judge and can be credited with the ...creation itself. The Father has sent his Son into the world, and the Son is reconciling the present fallen world to the Father through his death on the cross. In restoring the world to the Father, the Son assumes the Father’s glory, though, to be sure, this all happens εἰς δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ πατρός (Glory to God in the highest) (Phil. 2:11). We may be reasonably certain, then, that this first Christian author and theologian, whose unique—because apostolic—authority spans into the present, tells in his writing of an event between God and humanity, between heaven and earth; it is an event of incomparable drama with a programmatic comprehensiveness which supersedes anything else known from religious writers of the ancient world. On the basis of the Christ-event Paul formulated at once both a ‘theology’ and ‘anthropology’ and thus was well on the way to the later confession of the triune God, a way which would reach its first climax in the Johannine corpus. Paul and John are both witnesses, each in his own way, to the conviction that Christology lies at the heart of theology.The triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is revealed in the world as the one God. Today, as many are questioning this central Christian doctrine of God—allegedly because of the growing dialogue with other ‘monotheistic religions’—we do well to devote our attention to the dynamic within New Testament Christology as it evolved out of its earliest beginnings into a full-blown belief in the triune God. In my opinion, this is a matter which determines the extent to which, if at all, we can remain really Christian theologians.
Here we are confronted by an (as yet) unresolved theological problem which already surfaces in Paul’s theology: how is God’s activity manifest through the Son and how can the Son’s activity be identified with that of the Father? In Paul’s writings, our earliest Christian source, we are already invited to think of God in a way which is open to trinitarian terms.
But this development in the understanding of God and Christ did not originate with Paul. It is ultimately rooted in Jesus’ own self-understanding, his ‘Persongeheimnis’. Of course, what Jesus thought about himself is inaccessible to our historical and pyschological curiosity. We can say, however, that Jesus’ own proclamation contained quite a new form of ‘messianic’ claim which became visible and audible through his activity. Moreover, Jesus’ closest followers, the disciples, and thereafter the evangelists who were either directly or indirectly dependent on them, unanimously preserved the thrust of this claim despite the sometimes great theological differences among them. For the disciples, there was no doubt that their master taught, ‘not as the scribes’, but rather proclaimed ‘a new teaching in fullness of power’ (Mark 1:22, 27). They were also convinced that in the parables ‘the mystery of God’s reign’, previously only known by Jesus, had now been disclosed to them (Mark 4:11, 33–34). And further, they knew that Jesus’ healings and exorcisms not only fulfilled the eschatological promises of the Old Testament prophets, but also demonstrated that God’s heavenly and transcendent rule had now been made tangible. Yes, in the prerogative of divine power Jesus even dared to offer forgiveness of sins, that is—as Ernst Fuchs has said—‘to act in place of God’. It is no wonder that in all four gospels, from Mark to John, those who observe and hear Jesus are repeatedly made to ask a question which serves as a point of departure for Christology: ‘Who is this one?’ (Mark 4:41). This question, which has constantly been the subject of dispute, continues as a vital issue into the present day.
The high Christology of the Fourth Gospel is already, at least partially, foreshadowed in a number of synoptic passages. These include the saying about authority in the relationship between the Father and Son,5 the temptation stories—both from ‘Q’—the parable of the wicked tenants, the question concerning the sonship of David and lordship of the Messiah on the basis of Psalm 110, and Jesus’ answer to the high priest’s question in Mark. These are all passages whose historical origins have been debated by modern exegetes. The rise of ‘historical-critical’ analysis has not, however, been able to curb the prejudicial biases of scholars with respect to the historical figure of Jesus and his divine mission, and thus historical-critics cannot lay claim to an objectivity any more than those who, in the ‘hey-day’ of Protestant orthodoxy, held that the written text itself possesses final authority. In the end, the old ‘orthodox’ rationalism, which betrays an ahistorical and fundamentalistic longing for security, and modern forms of rationalism, which seek to domesticate Jesus in accordance with selfish interests and ideologies, are after all in their roots not very different from one another. By way of contrast, we should first attempt to comprehend this Jesus and the disciples’ message about him in all their strangeness and unfamiliarity! The σκάνδαλον τοῦ σταυροῦ (offense of the cross) of the crucified Messiah is less understood today than in the time of Paul.
Studies in Early Christology (Academic Paperback)
Word Biblical Commentary
In A.D. 28 one of the Old Testament prophets returned. It had been nearly 400 years, and God had been silent. Malachi, the last of those Old Testament greats, closed his book with a promise — and a warning. “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord. And He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Mal. 4:5–6, KJV).
Thus, the Jews had been guided to turn their eyes ahead, and look for the day of Messiah’s coming. They were promised a forerunner, someone to warn them and turn their hearts back to God’s ways. Implicit in Malachi’s words was a choice. Unless the hearts of God’s people were turned, the Messiah’s coming would not bring Israel the expected blessing, but would bring a curse.
Later Jesus would tell crowds that John, then executed by Herod (a son of Herod the great), was the greatest of all the prophets and was, in fact, a messenger sent to prepare Messiah’s way. And Jesus added these words: “If you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come” (Matt. 11:14). Israel did not accept John’s Elijah - ministry. Their hearts would not turn. The golden opportunity slipped by. The Messiah’s body came to fit a wooden cross rather than an ivory throne, and Israel was destined to know another 2,000 years of scattering, of ghettos, of pogroms, of unrealized hopes. History would now pivot to focus on the second coming of Messiah. The fulfillment of Malachi’s words would await another Elijah.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. --- John 14:2.
Our Lord has taught us to connect heaven with the thought of himself—“my” Father’s house. (Classic Sermons on Heaven and Hell (Kregel Classic Sermons Series)) Heaven is the house of Christ’s Father. It is as when an arch is built and last the keystone is put in that binds it all into one, or as when a palace has been raised with all its rooms and their furniture complete, but it is dark or dimly seen by lights carried from place to place. The sun arises, and by the central dome the light is poured into all the corridors and chambers. The Lord Jesus Christ is the sun of this house. If we think of its rooms and wonder where the final resting place will be, it is where Christ takes up his dwelling. His person is the place of heaven. If we think of its extent and variety, our imaginations might be bewildered and our souls chilled by boundless fields of knowledge, which stir the intellect and famish the heart. But where he is, knowledge becomes the wisdom of love—the daylight softened—and a heart beats in the universe, which throbs to its remotest and minutest fiber, for “in him was life, and that life was the light of men.”
If we think of heaven in its unity of communion, it is in him that it is maintained and felt—at his throne, through his love—according to his prayer. And if we think of a Father in heaven, it is Christ who has revealed him. “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known”(John 1:18). Even in heaven, God cannot be seen by created eye; the pure in heart see him, but with the heart. For the human eye, it is Jesus Christ, the glorified God-man, who says in heaven as on earth, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” He who gave us a corporeal nature and surrounded us with a material world has put into us the craving wish to approach him with our entire beings, soul, body, and spirit, and he has met the wish in the Son of God. In his person are enshrined the infinite attributes of God, so that finite creatures can look on them and comprehend them and see the Father in the Son. Thus God becomes open to human vision and accessible to human affection.
--- John Ker
A Prayer Of Praise 2006
Turn your eyes on Jesus,
Not on the needs of the day.
My daily needs are ever before you,
All I can do is all I can do
And then trust you will do beyond.
My happiest day... I have discovered,
Is not when all my needs are met,
But when you, Lord, assure me you are here.
When you send unexpected waves of your presence...
You are here, You are here.
When I'd rather sing then worry,
You are here, You are here.
When laughter comes easy in the midst of trials,
You are here, You are here.
Yes, I know it, and I thank you God,
You are here, You are here.
Lily Adams is a Christ follower and has been a Christ follower all the 35 years I have known her and surely long before. The Lord has filled her with God's Holy Spirit and used her to convict me over and over again of my sin. She is a creative spirit, but reluctant to share. She is a best friend, bride, mother and grandmother of 10.
You Are Here
RE: Numbers 9 Passover
The Pint-Size Pope
Would you stand barefoot in the snow for three days to receive forgiveness of sin?
One man did. In the eleventh century the church fell into widespread corruption, and a dwarf-size reformer named Hildebrand became Pope Gregory VII. Gregory immediately instituted change, insisting that he—not secular kings—had the prerogative of appointing church leaders in the various nations of Europe.
Germany’s emperor Henry IV resisted and tried to replace Gregory. The pope excommunicated Henry, dispatching an edict that the emperor’s subjects should no longer obey him. Henry flew into a rage, storming around for months as his subjects rebelled. He finally realized the only way to save his crown was by seeking Gregory’s forgiveness.
The winter of 1077 was among the coldest in memory. Even so, a few days before Christmas Henry left Germany with his wife and infant son, crossing the Alps as a penitent seeking absolution. The queen and child were lifted and lowered across the icy slopes in rough sledges of oxhide. Horses were killed for warmth and food. The little entourage arrived at the palace housing the pope in Canossa, Italy, on January 21, 1077, when the cold was severest. For three days Henry stood in the snow, a penitent with bare head and feet, in a coarse woolen shirt, shivering, and knocking for entrance. “The stern old pope, as hard as a rock and as cold as the snow, refused till he was satisfied that the cup of humiliation was drained to the dregs.”*
Henry was finally allowed into the presence of the pint-size pope, throwing himself at his feet and bursting into tears, saying, “Spare me, holy father, spare me!”
Gregory forgave him.
We don’t have to stand barefoot in the cold, for Christ hung on Calvary that our sins, though scarlet, should be as white as snow.
I, the Lord, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool.
--- Isaiah 1:18.
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - January 21
“And so all Israel shall be saved." --- Romans 11:26.
Then Moses sang at the Red Sea, it was his joy to know that all Israel were safe. Not a drop of spray fell from that solid wall until the last of God’s Israel had safely planted his foot on the other side the flood. That done, immediately the floods dissolved into their proper place again, but not till then. Part of that song was, “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed.” In the last time, when the elect shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb, it shall be the boast of Jesus, “Of all whom thou hast given me, I have lost none.” In heaven there shall not be a vacant throne.
“For all the chosen race
Shall meet around the throne,
Shall bless the conduct of his grace,
And make his glories known.”
As many as God hath chosen, as many as Christ hath redeemed, as many as the Spirit hath called, as many as believe in Jesus, shall safely cross the dividing sea. We are not all safely landed yet:
“Part of the host have crossed the flood,
And part are crossing now.”
The vanguard of the army has already reached the shore. We are marching through the depths; we are at this day following hard after our Leader into the heart of the sea. Let us be of good cheer: the rear-guard shall soon be where the vanguard already is; the last of the chosen ones shall soon have crossed the sea, and then shall be heard the song of triumph, when all are secure. But oh! if one were absent—oh! if one of his chosen family should be cast away—it would make an everlasting discord in the song of the redeemed, and cut the strings of the harps of paradise, so that music could never be extorted from them.
Evening - January 21
“He was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst?” --- Judges 15:18.
Samson was thirsty and ready to die. The difficulty was totally different from any which the hero had met before. Merely to get thirst assuaged is nothing like so great a matter as to be delivered from a thousand Philistines! but when the thirst was upon him, Samson felt that little present difficulty more weighty than the great past difficulty out of which he had so specially been delivered. It is very usual for God’s people, when they have enjoyed a great deliverance, to find a little trouble too much for them. Samson slays a thousand Philistines, and piles them up in heaps, and then faints for a little water! Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel, and overcomes Omnipotence itself, and then goes “halting on his thigh!” Strange that there must be a shrinking of the sinew whenever we win the day. As if the Lord must teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds. Samson boasted right loudly when he said, “I have slain a thousand men.” His boastful throat soon grew hoarse with thirst, and he betook himself to prayer. God has many ways of humbling his people. Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. When David had mounted the throne of Israel, he said, “I am this day weak, though anointed king.” You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. If God has wrought for you great deliverances in the past, your present difficulty is only like Samson’s thirst, and the Lord will not let you faint, nor suffer the daughter of the uncircumcised to triumph over you. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route. So, tried brother, cheer your heart with Samson’s words, and rest assured that God will deliver you ere long.
STILL, STILL WITH THEE
Harriet B. Stowe, 1812–1896
Morning by morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5:3)
“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!… When I awake, I am still with Thee”. This was the phrase that inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe as she meditated one morning on Psalm 139:17, 18. In the midst of a busy and productive life—as a writer, an avid crusader against world-wide slavery, and a mother of six—it was Harriet Stowe’s practice to rise at 4:30 each morning to “see the coming of the dawn, hear the singing of the birds, and to enjoy the over-shadowing presence of her God.”
As a devoted mother and the wife of a seminary professor, Harriet still found time to write numerous hymns, a volume of religious verse, and approximately 40 books dealing with the various social problems of her time. Her best known novel was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which had a strong influence against slavery just before the Civil War.
In later life, as she looked back over many of the difficulties she had experienced in her busy years of raising a family while engaging in many pursuits, Harriet wrote, “I thank God there is one thing running through all of them—from the time I was 13 years old [the age of her conversion]—and that is the intense unwavering sense of Christ’s educating, guiding presence and care.”
It is commonly agreed by hymnists that for sheer poetic beauty, there are few hymn texts that excel these lines:
Still, still with Thee—when purple morning breaketh, when the bird waketh and the shadows flee; fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight, dawns the sweet consciousness—I am with Thee!
Alone with Thee amid the mystic shadows—the solemn hush of nature newly born; alone with Thee in breathless adoration, in the calm dew and freshness of the morn.
Still, still with Thee—as to each new-born morning a fresh and solemn splendor still is giv’n; so doth this blessed consciousness, awaking, breathe each day nearness unto Thee and heav’n!
So shall it be at last in that bright morning, when the soul waketh and life’s shadows flee; O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning, shall rise the glorious tho’t—I am with Thee!
For Today: Job 19:25–27; Psalm 139:17, 18; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 4:13.
Live this day with a fresh awareness of God’s beauty in nature and of His companionship in your life. Let this musical message remind you to be ---
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