How does the suffering that we experience in this present evil age fit with the triumph that we have as we are united by faith with the risen, exalted Christ? In Romans 8:18 Paul counts the present sufferings not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us. But in Romans 8:36-39 it is precisely in our present sufferings that Paul affirms that we are more than conquerors.
Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 to describe our situation. What could be less triumphant than a sheep about to be slaughtered. The Psalm is the cry of people who feel abandoned by God. Yet it is in that context that Paul points you to God’s love in Christ. That love focuses on the cross, but includes the care you continue to receive from the exalted Christ.
It sounds paradoxical, but it is precisely as sheep about to be slaughtered that we are more than conquerors.
“He is the beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased. If, then, we are through him united to God, we may be assured of the immutable and unfailing kindness of God towards us. . . . [Paul] declares that the fountain of love is in the Father, and affirms that it flows to us from Christ.” (John Calvin, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, at Romans 8:39).
(The 101 Bible Study meets this Friday, July 21)
“The gospel does not come to man as a communication or offer that leaves him free, but asks of him the decision and the act to enter into that way of salvation ordained of God and to abandon every other means of salvation than that which is proclaimed to him in the gospel.” (Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, p. 238).
A quote used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC
“He is the Savior because he not only died for our sins but rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now, as the exalted Lord, prays for his church. . . . In and with Christ, God gives to believers all they need (Rom. 8:32f.; Eph. 1:3-4; 2 Pt. 1:3).” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, p. 469).
(You are invited to tomorrow (June 30) night’s 101 Bible Study in Astoria. Call 971/238-6101 for details.)
“[T]he tabernacle . . . is the place where the people offer their worship to God. It is the palace of the King in which people render Him homage.” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 168).
“How do we first experience God’s tabernacling presence? We do so by believing in Christ, that he died for our sins and rose from the dead, and reigns as the Lord God. God’s Spirit comes into us and dwells in us in a way similar to the way that God dwelled on his throne in the sanctuary of Eden and Israel’s temple. . . . God’s presence will become increasingly manifest to us as we grow by grace in our belief in Christ and and his word and by obeying it. . . . Believers are images of God in his temple who are to reflect his presence and glorious attributes in their thinking, character, speech, and actions.”
“[T]he task of the church in being God’s temple, so filled with his presence, is to expand the temple of his presence and fill the earth with that glorious presence until God finally accomplishes this goal completely at the end of time. This is the church’s common, unified mission. May we, by God’s grace, unite around this goal.” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, pp. 646 & 648).
Quotes from the reflection for June 25, 2017 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC
“Why does Jesus, who has fish for the meal on the fire, tell the disciples to bring fish from those they have caught? . . . Only as the disciples bring fish that have just been caught does the meal prepared by Jesus achieve its full significance. Jesus makes the usual meal of bread and fish, which the disciples have so often shared with him, into a resurrection meal, not only by sitting down with them as the Risen One, but also by involving them in it as those who share in his resurrection power and as those who will continue his work on earth.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary, p. 662).
Tonight’s Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC, focuses on John 21.
“With an eye to current ongoing discussions, where charges of ‘antinomianism’ and ‘legalism’ are often exchanged—sometimes warranted, sometimes not—it will help to keep clear that in its application salvation is neither justification-centered nor sanctification-centered, but is and has to be both because it is Christ-centered. Both justification and sanctification are central to the gospel, because union with Christ in all his benefits is its center.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., “The Work of Christ Applied,” in Christian Theology. Reformed Theology for the Catholic Church, M. Allen and S. Swain, eds., 2016).
“[T]he covenant of God imposed obligations also on those with whom it was made—obligations, not as conditions for entering into the covenant (for the covenant was made and based only on God’s compassion), but but as the way the people who had by grace been incorporated into the covenant henceforth had to conduct themselves (Gen. 17:1-2; Exod. 19:5-6, 8; 24:3,7…).” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, p. 204).
“Yahweh God appeared to the men, representatives of the covenant people, as the God of beauty, majesty, glory, and life. Israel’s God did not appear as a phantom or an imagined reality. He, the eternal, invisible, holy,m and majestic one, presented himself to be seen. . . . Only in Christ, centuries later, is a a higher, fuller, revelation given of the actual presenting of God to his people.” (Gerard Van Groningen, From Creation to Consummation, p. 343).
“Before the blood could act for the benefit of the people it had to do its work with reference to Jehovah, and this could scarcely consist in aught else than to make the prerequisite expiation.” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 139).
(Quotes used in the Reflection for Sunday morning’s message at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC)