As I continue to search out biblical views on the various positions and issues of the study of the earth and the universe, I found an article linked below by Sonlight to be an encouragement that we can study science and adhere to the Bible without compromising in either area. For years I have distanced myself from the mainstream young-earth creationist materials and have viewed them with almost the same amount of skepticism as I hold for the prevailing view of evolutionary naturalism. Homeschooling our son and picking books and curriculum to study is forcing me to continue to search for biblical answers even if I find them in the less popular avenues of Christendom.
Young- and Old-Earth Creationists: Can We Even Talk Together?
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Render Unto Caesar: A Most Misunderstood New Testament Passage
With one straightforward counter-question, Jesus skillfully points out that the claims of God and Caesar are mutually exclusive. If one’s faith is in God, then God is owed everything; Caesar’s claims are necessarily illegitimate, and he is therefore owed nothing. If, on the other hand, one’s faith is in Caesar, God’s claims are illegitimate, and Caesar is owed, at the very least, the coin which bears his image.
Render Unto Caesar: A Most Misunderstood New Testament Passage
Friday, May 28, 2010
A friend of ours, Mark Chambers, wrote this and while it is lengthy, it very much worth the time and energy invested to understand the role of God's Law for the believer.
Psa 119:33-34 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart.So wrote David the King. But that, we are told by many evangelical theologians today, has nothing to do with the church. To suggest such a thing would be legalistic. We are no longer under law we are under grace. So it is concluded that observance of the law is no longer required of the people of God. But is that so?
The answer to that question is an unequivocal no. The teaching that the law is no longer applicable in any respect to the church is caused by a number of things. One of them is the easy believism of “once saved always saved.” That doctrine is the modern day perversion of what is properly called the “perseverance of the saints.” Those who are truly saved will persevere to the end. Those that are elect will not and cannot lose their salvation. But the life of the elect child of God is one of fruit bearing.
Once saved always saved, if not accompanied by teaching on holiness and sanctification leads to spiritual laziness, questionable conversions and a false sense of security. I know. I was raised in a church like that. Every Sunday there was a gospel message followed by 10 (if we were lucky) or more verses of “just as I am” and they only sang the first verse. Accept Jesus. Let Him into your heart. That was the message. But I cannot remember one time when I was told that a tree is known by it’s fruit.
There were 25 or 30 of us in the youth group who had no idea what a holy life was like but we all had Jesus fire insurance. The only time anyone was exposed to the Ten Commandments when was they walked by the bronze plaque in the narthex or memorized them for a quiz.
But they were never taught. Didn’t matter for I had accepted the Lord. I had fire insurance. Once saved always saved.
Hyper dispensationalists hold to a discontinuity between the two testaments.
C.I. Scofield said this: “The dispensation of promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law in Exodus 19:8. Grace had prepared the deliverer (Moses), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by the divine power brought them out of bondage; but at Sinai they exchanged grace for law.
Louis Sperry Chafer said:
“A distinction must be observed between just men of the Old Testament and those justified according to the New Testament. According to the Old Testament men were just because they were true and faithful in keeping the Mosaic Law. . . . men were therefore just because of their own works for God whereas New Testament justification is God's work for man in answer to faith (Rom. 5:1).”
That has lead to a misinterpretation and misapplication of the Pauline commentary on the law. The apostle Paul, it is asserted, stands not just on the side of grace but also opposed to the law.
Those two things, coupled with the modern idea of individualistic freedom, man’s narcissism and ignorance of God’s word has led not only to the idea that we are not bound by the ethical demands of the law, but has exacerbated the human tendency to disrespect authority of any kind. We are a people who don’t like to be told----anything.
It is acceptable when we are told from the pulpit along with the entire congregation that we have a responsibility to study the word of God. But it is legalism if we are held accountable to do just that.
It is acceptable when we are told from a distance that each member has a spiritual gift given for the edification of the body. But it is legalism if anyone expects us to use them.
It is legalism as soon as it gets personal and infringes on our space. Things become legalistic when they entail personal responsibility and accountability to others. Holding one accountable is viewed as legalism. You can tell me from up their. But don’t look me in the eyes from right here and tell me that.
And there is an ethical crisis in American evangelicalism. The rates of divorce, incidences of adultery and even attitudes about abortion show little differences to that of secular society. Brothers and sisters these things ought not to be. Something is wrong. According to Barna Research:
o Just more than one-third of the adult public (36%) contends that abortion is a morally acceptable behavior. But
o an even higher percentage of people attending mainline Protestant churches feel this way (45%) and almost 20% of those calling themselves born again consider abortion morally acceptable.
o 20% of born again adults consider drunkenness morally acceptable.
o Among born again adults, one-third (34%) say that sexual relations between gay people should be legal
o 39% think that even apart from such things as adultery and abuse, divorce is not a sin. It’s acceptable for whatever reason.
Everyone of those things is a violation of the law of God.
But we are not under the law.
Those things are the result of the attitude that we are not. We are not responsible to anything but the dictates of our own opinions. I’m free in Jesus.
Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.
O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day
It is my prayer that at the end of this study we will all be able to say that with the same conviction that David did.
We all know that God used inspired men to record what He wanted written down in the Bible. All except for the Ten Commandments. Those He wrote in person. He carved them in stone with His own hand. In all of the words God has written for us, only those were carved directly by the finger of God. In all the Bible only Jesus Christ surpasses the Law in importance. Only the Word made flesh eclipses the word carved in stone.
Covenant as Relationship
The Westminster Confession of Faith states:
WCF 7:1 The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He hath been pleased to express by way of covenant (1Sa_2:25; Job_9:32, Job_9:33; Job_22:2, Job_22:3; Job_35:7, Job_35:8; Psa_100:2, Psa_100:3; Psa_118:5, Psa_118:6; Isa_40:13-17; Luk_17:10; Act_17:24, Act_17:25).
In other words the distance is so great between an infinite God and finite man that He must come to us. We could never traverse the distance that separates us. He transcends space and time, and is completely Holy. We can sense and see evidence of a God, Rom 1 makes that clear, but unless he reveals Himself to us we are at a complete loss to find Him. So He comes to us and establishes a relationship with man by means of covenant.
God always deals with man by covenant. Two of the covenants most pertinent to God’s dealing with men are, (1) The covenant of Works and (2) the covenant of Grace. Throughout the Bible the two run concurrently. The two elements are always present. God’s demands on man in the law and God’s grace to man in Christ.
WCF 7:2 The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works ( Gal_3:12), wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity (Rom_5:12-20; Rom_10:5), upon condition of perfect and personal obedience (Gen_2:17; Gal_3:10).
Had Adam been obedient he would have been maintained in his fellowship with God and enjoyed continued blessing in the garden.
Some have failed to recognize that God made a covenant with Adam because there is never a formal announcement of it. But Scripture tells us that there was a covenant.
o Hos 6:6-7 " For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they, like Adam, have broken the covenant. They were unfaithful to me, there.
What were the terms of the covenant? First the creation of men in the image of God entails their being responsible. Adam and Eve knew they were responsible to stay within the moral order. God gave them creation ordinances. For example he gave an ordinance to regulate the rule of the created order:
o Gen 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
He gave them an ordinance to regulate rest patterned after His own.
o Gen 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Implicit in all of this is that Adam should love God, should love and care for Eve, should love and care for his future children and teach them to do the same. Adam knew God’s law. When Cain slew Abel was it murder? Of course it was. Adam was also given the particular command to refrain from eating of the tree. He fell and we fell with him and in him. Adam transgressed the law of God. The Law didn’t begin and end with Moses.
WCF 7:3 Man, by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, [he is now reprobate and cannot obey] the Lord was pleased to make a second (Gen_3:15; Isa_42:6; Rom_3:20, Rom_3:21; Rom_8:3; Gal_3:21), commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him that they may be saved (Mar_16:15, Mar_16:16; Joh_3:16; Rom_10:6, Rom_10:9; Gal_3:11), and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life (Acts 13:48) His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe (Eze_36:26, Eze_36:27; Joh_6:44, Joh_6:45).
Notice in the paragraph above the reference to Gen 3:15. It is called the Proto-Evangelium. God revealed his redemptive intent to Adam. The element of grace is already revealed.
Abrahamic Covenant (quick review)
1. Salvation has been based on God’s promise from the beginning.
o Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel." Notice that the serpent has a seed. John 8:44 You are of your father the devil.
2. The Abrahamic Covenant is a further development of the covenant of grace intimated first to Adam
o Gen 12:2-3 And I will make you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great. And you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
3. Salvation has always been by faith
o Gen 15:6 Then he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. How was the belief of Abraham manifested? He left his home not knowing where he was going; he would have sacrificed his son. So when we are told that Abraham had faith, it was not an empty faith.
4. That the Church, consisting of both believing Jews and Gentiles, in Christ, is Abraham’s seed. It is NOT national Israel.
o Gal 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.
o Gal 3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.
i. 2Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
ii. Phi 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
iii. Col 2:10a and in Him you have been made complete,
o Mat 21:42-43 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner. This was from the Lord. It is marvelous in our eyes?' "Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and will be given to a nation bringing forth its fruits.
We, the church, are that nation.
I. Israel at Sinai. Looking back on Sinai Moses said this:
o Deu 5:2-3 Yahweh our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. "Yahweh did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today.
II. It is important to note that the Mosaic covenant does not replace the Abrahamic covenant but was concurrent with it. It didn’t last until the covenant with Moses and then end.
o Gal 3:17-18 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant [the promise to Abraham] previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
o The Abrahamic covenant is intact today as its fulfillment is brought to pass in Jesus Christ.
Why is that important? Because the Bible, which is made up of many books is also one book with one Author, the Holy Spirit. The thread of redemption and the element of grace runs from Genesis 3:15 to Revelation 22:21. Subsequent to the fall, and almost the whole Bible is subsequent to the fall, God’s dealings with the elect, however He chooses to deal with them, is an act of redemptive grace. Even the giving of the law.
Short Discussion on the Decalogue. The Ten Commandments. The Moral Law
The Law of God has always been known intuitively by man. When I say the Law here I mean the Moral Law or the Decalogue. The Ten Commandments. The Jewish Rabbi’s call them the Ten Words.
It is one of the elements of having been created in His image. The law is part of the image of God in man. It is why we have a conscience. It is why we have an inborn sense of what is right and wrong. It is why, in spite of the attempts of man to deny the truth of God’s law there is a sense of guilt whenever it is transgressed. (abortion, homosexuality, feminism, disobedience to parents)
The Mosaic covenant is among other things the in-scripturation of that moral Law; the moral demands of the covenant of works that God made with Adam; the law that Adam knew perfectly prior to the fall while still innocent, has been written down; set in stone by hand of God.
Why? Because subsequent to the fall man is depraved. What goes into man is corrupted and what comes out of man is corrupt. The law is denied and the truth is suppressed in unrighteousness. (Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, ) So God as an act of grace wrote it down for us.
Now I said that in order to say this. The demand made under the covenant with Adam, that is the absolute and perfect obedience to the Law of God has never ceased to be God’s requirement for mankind. Never. His expectation of perfect obedience has never changed. But those demands are met in Christ who fulfilled the Law on our behalf. I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings about that. Christ met the demands of the law. Christ fulfilled the law on our behalf.
We are not under law but under grace. That has to be clear. Especially since I’ve titled this study The Abiding Validity Of The Law In The Life of the Believer. As soon as I say that it is incumbent on the believer to obey God’s precepts I guarantee that someone is thinking that I am saying we are still under law. No.
Christ fulfilled the law on our behalf. Because of that the law has lost it’s power to condemn. (Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus) The law has lost it’s power to condemn. But it has not lost it’s power to convict. We are no longer under it’s curse, but we are still under it’s command.
It is still mans moral compass. What the law said was wrong in Moses day is still wrong today. The law is a reflection of the righteous character of God who is immutable, and as such is still our standard for righteousness. When we look at the Law we look at the heart of God. The nature and character of God are reflected in His precepts. They tell us something of who He is and what He is like.
Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid
Rom 7:12 Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Rom 3:31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? God forbid! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
Be Holy for I am Holy. That is found in Lev 11:45 and repeated in 1Peter 1:15 That is the directive of God to His people. What does Holiness look like? How does holiness manifest itself? Where do we look to see what is holy? We look to Jesus Christ who is the express image of God the Father and the exact representation of His being. (Heb 1:3) What did Christ do? He walked in perfect obedience to the law. “I always do the things that please Him” He is our example. What happens when we are walking in the Spirit of Christ?
Rom 8:3-4 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, So That----the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. NASB
The LITV says the righteous demand of the law. The ALT says the righteousness requirement of the law. The WEB says the ordinance of the law. The intent is clear. The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in those who walk in the Spirit. We must know God’s law because obedience is a determined effort to obey a known directive. We can’t obey what we don’t know.
III. Elements of the Mosaic covenant
1. Biblical covenants establish a binding relationship between God and man which are usually sealed by an oath and oft times sworn in a ceremony of ratification. There are different types of covenants. Think about the marriage ceremony. It is a perfect example of a covenant. There are two parties, the terms of the covenant are defined in a ceremony with vows (do you so and so promise to love honor and obey, in sickness and in health, till death do you part etc.) and an oath. I DO. The Abrahamic and the Mosaic are both covenants but they are radically different. In the Abrahamic covenant, God binds Himself by oath to irrevocable promises made to Abraham and to his seed. Read Gen 15 where the covenant was made with Abraham. Abram, in typical fashion, took a heifer, a ram, and a goat, split them in two pieces and laid the pieces opposite each other. Normally the man taking the oath passed between the pieces but here it is God who passes between. And as he does that he makes the promise “To your descendents I have given this land etc”. God made the promise and bound Himself to it by oath. But in the Mosaic covenant it is Israel that takes the oath and obligates itself to obey the stipulations of the covenant. Those stipulations are God’s law.
2. The Mosaic covenant is an adaptation of a type of covenant called a “suzerainty pact.” A type of treaty characteristic of the cultures of that time. A suzerain (overlord) promises protection and other benefits in return for obedience and fidelity on the part of his subjects called vassals.
Elements of the Covenant in Exodus 19:3-8
o (Exo 19:3-8) Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, "This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him. All the people answered together, and said, "All that Yahweh has spoken we will do." Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh.
3. The suzerainty pact typically had five elements four of which are contained in the passage above.
i. A Preamble or introduction identifying the parties of the covenant (Moses went up to God and Yahweh called to him, This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob ) It is interesting that in this covenant we also have a mediator. That is not always true but it is here. Moses is a type of Christ.
ii. A Defining Prologue. In this instance it is an historical one detailing elements of the existing relationship between God and Israel and calling attention to the benevolent nature of the suzerain by identifying the things done on behalf of the vassal. This is to elicit gratitude and is the basis for future loyalty and obedience. ('You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself) We should probably note the tenderness that is in these words. An eagle forces it young out of the nest but then flies beneath them to bear them up lest they fall. If we transfer that picture to Israel we see that it is not merely freedom that Israel gained. God says I bore you up on eagles wings, like a mother carrying her children. I carried you out and I brought you to Myself. It’s a beautiful picture and quite like the picture painted by Peter in 1Pet 3:18
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God,
iii. Covenant Stipulations with promises for obedience and threats of punishment for disobedience (if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples. For all the earth is mine) Punishment for disobedience is understood in this type of pact and we read about the curses later on in the Word.
iv. An Oath is taken that binds the vassals to the terms of the covenant (All the people answered together, and said, All that Yahweh has spoken we will do) Later on we see the oath ratified in a ceremony where people bring their sacrifices to God’s altar and Moses then sprinkles the nation with blood.
v. A Deposition. The covenant is committed to writing and is stored for safekeeping as a matter of record. This fifth element is fulfilled later when the stone tablets upon which are written the stipulations (the Ten Commandments) are placed in what else but the ark of the Covenant also called the ark of the Testimony.
4. In this vassal / suzerain type of treaty, adapted by God for the purposes of binding Israel by covenant to Himself, the stipulations (the Law) were not a system of legal observances by which the vassal earned or merited God’s acceptance. Instead they are based on the defining elements of the prologue and are therefore rooted and anchored in grace. Yahweh had already freely redeemed His people out of bondage in Egypt and now unites them to Himself by covenant. “I will be your God and you will be My people”.
5. Geerhardus Vos in his “Biblical Theology” writes this:
"The law was given after the redemption from Egypt had been accomplished, and the people had already entered upon the enjoyment of many of the blessings of the covenant. Particularly, their taking possession of the promised land could not have been made dependent on previous observance of the law, for during their journey in the wilderness many of its prescripts could not be observed. It is plain, then, that law-keeping did not figure at that juncture as the meritorious ground of life-inheritance. The latter is based on grace alone, no less emphatically than Paul himself places salvation on that ground.
6. The covenant that God made with Moses, was entirely an act of grace. The people had nothing to do with it. God sent Joseph to Egypt; God sent famine on the land; God sent Josephs brothers to Egypt; God brought Israel to Egypt; God blessed Israel and made them a great nation; God caused Pharaoh to enslave the nation---(for this very purpose I raised you up); and then God delivered them and brought them to Himself. It is a covenant enacted subsequent to the already accomplished deliverance of the nation of Israel as defined in the prologue (I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, I bore you up on eagles wings, I brought unto Myself), and obedience to the stipulations of the covenant, i.e. the Law of God, was to be the grateful response of a people redeemed by grace.
Who can see where I’m going to go with this?
7. The Mosaic covenant is to be worked out by a people who obey in gratitude for their accomplished redemption, by trusting, believing, and having a faith like Abraham, that their God who already delivered them from Egypt would do as He promised and take them into a land flowing with milk and honey and that He would give them rest from their wanderings. Israel was to have faith and be obedient.
Once more what is said about Abraham?
Rom 4:20-21 Yet, looking to the promise of God, he [Abraham] didn't waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
8. Israel is a perfect picture of the “already / not yet” relationship of the church who stands already redeemed in Christ but also waits in hope of the resurrection. Israel is a pattern for us. Salvation was never by the law. It has always been by grace with the promises received through faith.
Now this is a wonderful thing because it removes the disjunctive relationship that certain theologies make between the Old and New Testaments. In the hyper-dispensationalist system we have separate dispensations with separate people who have different purposes. The Jews inherit the land and the church a heavenly kingdom. The church becomes a parenthesis in Gods plan for his earthly people Israel. But if we understand each covenant to be a further development of the redemptive promise made to Adam then the whole Bible takes on a unity of purpose and we see the whole of redemptive history as a cohesive unit. The promise made to Adam is culminated in Christ. The original creation mandate “Let Us make man in Our image” which never found complete fulfillment in Adam, is actually fulfilled by the God-man Jesus Christ who is the express image of the Father and the exact representation of His being. (Heb 1:3)
NASB Heb 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.
MKJV who being the shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence
WEB His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance
ALT who being [the] outshining of His glory and [the] exact expression of His essence
9. God’s purpose in creation has always been the summing up of all things in Christ.
Eph 1:7-14 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also, we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Man in the image of God is realized by man as he stands redeemed in Christ. The completion of that will occur at the resurrection when we are raised immortal, incorruptible. But we must never forget the “now” aspect of our union with Christ.
1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
Let’s go back to the WCF:
7:4 This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a Testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed (Luk_22:20; 1Co_11:25; Heb_7:22; Heb_9:15-17).
7:5 This covenant [the covenant of grace] is differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel (2Co_3:6-9): under the law, [that is under the Mosaic covenant)] it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come (Rom_4:11; 1Co_5:7; Col_2:11, Col_2:13; Heb 8:1-10:29): which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah (Joh_8:56; 1Co_10:1-4; Heb_11:13), by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called, the Old Testament (Gal_3:7-9, Gal_3:14).
10. Salvation has always been by faith not by law. Even under the Mosaic covenant.
Heb 3:16-19 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. Disobedience and unbelief are flip sides of the same coin. If we don’t obey God it’s because we don’t believe God.
Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it]. KJV
The breaking of the law is the manifestation of the sin of unbelief. The breaking of the moral law reflects the condition of the heart. All sin is rooted in unbelief. That is why the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. For it is only by faith that we can obey and faith always obeys.
11. The law was never meant to save but to demonstrate the utter helplessness of man and his complete dependence upon God for his salvation. Israel, to the best of her ability, was to obey in faithful and thankful obedience the laws of her Redeemer God. Israel’s sin was unbelief.
12. Now Israel is a type of the church. Redeemed by Grace they were meant to live in obedience to Gods commands. Because there is a direct parallel, we can learn by reading about them.
1Co 10:1-6 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. And in verse 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
We read about Israel and learn from them. We must not be guilty of the same unbelief. As Christians we should have a desire to obey. There are certain characteristics that should be in every Christian. Hunger for His Word. We should have an unquenchable desire to know Him. A desire for fellowship with those God loves. For in them dwells the same spirit that indwells us. A call to worship. The life in us seeks its source. Christ calls us to worship. And it is a privileged call.
We should want to know what He wants from us. Each one of us is here, in this body for a purpose. We are Reformed. God is sovereign. Nobody is here by mistake or by chance. There are needs that each of us must fill. You have needs that are meant to be filled but there are also needs that YOU are meant to fill. There is someone who needs what you have. Others need you. And I can tell you that often our needs are met when meeting the needs of others. We are a body. If one suffers all suffer. If you smash your thumb, if you have a splitting headache, if you break your leg does the rest of the body carry on as if nothing was wrong? 1Jo 4:21 This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother.
There is a spirit of antinomianism in the church today. It is against the law. Why? For one it comes from the type of theology of men like Scofield and Chafer. It is simply theological error that finds it way into the teaching of the church. Israel is saved by law and the church saved by faith. So we ignore the law because that was for Israel. And there is another reason. It is a misunderstanding an overreaction a perversion of the main issue of the Reformation and that is the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Are we justified by faith alone? Absolutely. Rom 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
It was that very thing that led Luther to post his 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg and jump start the Reformation. The Roman church had made salvation a synergistic blend of gospel, purchase of indulgences, good works, penance and on and on. Synergism is the theological doctrine holding that in regeneration (salvation) there is cooperation of divine grace and human activity. Faith plus works. Luther said no, man is saved by faith alone. All the reformers said the same thing. But the reformers also understood the responsibility of the believer to obey the law. We are not saved by the law but we are saved unto the law. The Reformers didn’t reject the law but understood the role of the law in sanctification.
Calvin said this: Now in summarizing what is required for the true knowledge of God, we have taught that we cannot conceive of Him in his greatness without being immediately confronted by His majesty and so compelled to worship Him. In our discussion of the knowledge of ourselves we have set forth this chief point: that, empty of all opinion of our own virtue, and shorn of all assurance of our own righteousness—in fact broken and crushed by the awareness of our own utter poverty—we may learn genuine humility and self-abasement. Both of these the Lord accomplishes in His law.
The Reformers understood the relationship between faith and obedience. Between Law and Gospel. But today, we have gone in the opposite direction of Rome. We have gone from the Reformers “faith plus nothing”, to a faith that does nothing. Salvation is a mental assent to a savior with no reference to Lord. That attitude led John Murray to say this.
“it is not only the doctrine of grace that must be jealously guarded against the distortion by the works of law, but it is also the doctrine of law that must be preserved against the distortions of a spurious concept of grace.”
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
my blog is back to its old Blogger layout, it's because Wordpress and I just don't click. Thousands of people find WP to be the best blogging platform for them. I don't. I never have and I don't think I ever will. I loved the new look, the function of the tabs and sidebar features, but I hated the behind-the-scenes circus that posting became for me. So much to my high-tech husband's disappointment, I switched back and it feels wonderful. So please look for me here, because I plan to talk your ears off. :)
Monday, May 17, 2010
The following posts serve to remind me why I struggle with what "version" of history to teach our son as we study at home.
All People's Have A Story That Includes Hardship
followed up with
More That Upsets The "Mean Cruel White People" Racial Narrative
For additional reading from another source, go here.
All People's Have A Story That Includes Hardship
followed up with
More That Upsets The "Mean Cruel White People" Racial Narrative
For additional reading from another source, go here.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I got my seeds this year from an Ontario seed company Terra Edibles that came recommended from a friend. The prices are reasonable and so far I am having successful germination despite having to wildly deviate from traditional seed-starting methods. If you wanted to know if you can use cardboard egg cartons that you saved from the recycling bin to start your seeds in, you can. If you wanted to know if using the light on your oven hood is sufficient light, it is. If you wanted to know if using plastic wrap over the trays will create the greenhouse effect just like a sturdy plastic cover, it will. If you wanted to know if using broken bamboo skewer sticks will keep the plastic up away from the plants as they grow, they do. If you wanted to know if it's possible to keep all of this going with small children in the house, it is. :)
If you want to see how the professionals do it, follow the links.
Tomatoes: Getting Started