Author Archives: John Mahaffy

The Triumphant Lamb

lion_3708c“[I]n their struggle against the world, believers should remember that Christ also suffered at the hands of the world but triumphed over it. His destiny is to be theirs, if they persevere.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 353).

“When every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the sea joins the song, our perspective, which began in adoration of the thrice-holy God from eternity past (‘who was and is and is to come,’ 4:9), is expanded to embrace eternity future: may the enthroned One and the Lamb receive blessing, honor, glory, and dominion ‘forever and ever’—literally, ‘into the ages of the ages’ (5:13).” Dennis Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, pp. 111–112).

“Our understanding of heaven’s eter­nal worship as expressed in Revela­tion also informs our understanding of worship following the death and resur­rection of Christ, for ‘eternal’ worship must include the past, present, and future.” (Paul S. Jones, “Hymnody in a Post-Hymnody World,” in Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, p. 230).


How do we speak to God? We sing praise–because the Lamb has triumphed! Quotes are from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.


Law and Love

Rm1310“The thought appears to be that it is love that carries into effect the law of God; love constitutes the fulfillment of the law. It is the motive and active principle of fulfillment. . . . If we may use the metaphor, love fills to the brim the cup which the law puts into our hands. Love is the first drop; it is the last drop; and it is all the drops in between” (John Mur­ray, Principles of Conduct, pp. 22–23).

What do you do in the presence of God?

Rv0411“[T]heologically and biblically speaking the the throne room of God in Revelation 4 represents the heart of the universe, the heart of meaning, the heart of history. Our lives are renewed through worship, through adoring the God who created us and saw fit to redeem us through the blood of the Lamb. Revelation renews us, not so much by telling us about particular future events, as by showing us God, who will bring all events to pass in his own time and his own way.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 99).

“The Book of Revelation wages war on the reductionism that chokes awe. Among its most pervasive motifs is that those who see only the surface, who explain human history and experience merely in terms of observable (physical, economic, political, societal) forces, are blind to the pattern that explains why things happen as they do. To see that deep pattern is to experience an awe impervious to cynicism because it is to stand in the presence of the God who is worthy of our fear and wonder.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, pp. 96–97).

(Quotes used in the Reflection this week)


water_15944c“This church needs an injection of Christ’s resurrection power, since they are in the worst condition of all the churches in the letters.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 302).

“Jesus’ knock is not that of a homeless traveler, standing outside the locked door of a human heart, seeking shelter. Rather, he is the master of the house, and he will burst through the door in in sovereign judgment (James 5:9).” (Dennis E. Johnson, The Triumph of the Lamb, pages 92–93).

(Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.)

United to Christ

2Tim0401“Christ is not only the object of faith and his glorious appearing the pole star of hope but he is also united to believers now in the bonds of mystic union. And they are united to him. Because Christ is united to believers, he is in them in the life they now live upon earth — he is formed in them the hope of glory. And because believers are now united to Christ, they are in him in the glory of his exalted state — their life is hid with Christ in God. Christ is with them where they are; they are with him where he is. A great mystery, beyond doubt. But this is what is true of Christ and his church.” (John Murray, “Structural Strands in New Testament Eschatology.” Unpublished manuscript, Westminster Theological Seminary Library, Philadelphia).

(In preparation for the Sunday afternoon Bible study on 2 Timothy 4:1–5 at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC)


Love Unmasked

berries_16138cWhat does genuine love look like? How should we relate to fellow believers? How should we deal with those outside the church? How do you react to terrible wrong? And what does genuine, unmasked love have to do with heaping coals of fire?

The 101 Bible Study meets the Friday, February 2, at 6:30 p.m. in a home in the Astoria area. Call 971/238-6101 for details.

“The essence of ungodliness is that we presume to take the place of God, to take every­thing into our own hands. It is faith to commit ourselves to God, to cast all our care upon him, and to vest all our inter­ests in him. In reference to the matter in hand, the wrongdoing of which we are the victims, the way of faith is to recognize that God is judge and to leave the execution of vengeance and retribution to him.” (John Mur­ray, The Epistle to the Romans, pp. 141–142).

Prayers of Elijah

prayer_8774cJames 5 points us to Elijah as one who, though human like us, prayed, and saw the Lord accomplish great things. In the Wednesday evening Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church we look at some of those prayers in 1 Kings 17 and 18.

Elijah’s prayer restored to life the son of the widow of Zarapheth.

“Living daily with that miracle must have been a constant joy for his [Elijah’s] faith and hers [the widow’s]. Do we live any differently? That there is still a Word of grace today, that there is grace in the Lord Jesus Christ, is a miracle. Yet, it is through this grace that we receive all things. Everything we receive is a revelation of the miracle of grace in the Christ. This realization is the key to a life full of joy.” (S. G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol 2, p. 249).

In contrast to the frenzied prayers of the prophets of Baal, Elijah quietly prayed–and the Lord sent fire from heaven on the altar the prophet had made.

“The sign Elijah asked for is not the last word. Rather, it cries out for a greater, more powerful, more elevated demonstration of God’s truthfulness. It cries out for the One in whom all signs and wonders find their fulfillment. In that great Miracle, the truthfulness of the God of the covenant, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, the God of historical revelation, will be fully manifested.” (M. B. van’t Veer, My God is Yahweh, pp. 269, 270).