Category Archives: Gaffin

The Light of God’s Face in 2018

A16year04pc“The form of Christ’s resurrection power in this world is the fellowship of his sufferings as the cross-conformed sufferings of the church (Phil. 3:10). . . . With Calvin, we must recognize that as Christ’s whole life was nothing but a sort of perpetual cross, so the Christian life in its entirety, not just certain parts, is to be a continual cross (Institutes, 3:8:1, 2). Where the church is not being conformed to Christ in suffering, it is simply not true to itself as the church; it is without glory, nor will it inherit glory. Just as the Spirit of glory came upon Jesus at his Jordan-baptism opening up before him the way of suffering obedience that led to the cross, so the same Holy Spirit, with which the church was baptized at Pentecost, points it to the path of suffering.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., “The Usefulness of the Cross,” Westminster Theological Journal, 41.1 [Spring 1979]).

“The mercy-seat was a pledge of the presence of God, where he had promised to be near his people to hear their prayers. . . . [B]y the title which is here attributed to God, there is expressed his wonderful love towards men in humbling, and, so to speak, lowering himself in order to come down to them, and choose for himself a seat and habitation on the earth, that he might dwell in the midst of them.” (John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, at Psalm 80:1).

“God, it seems, prefers an excess of boldness in prayer to an excess of caution, as long as the boldness is something more than loquacity (Ec. 5:2; Mt. 6:7). We come to Him as sons, not as applicants.” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 73-150, p. 289).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

Butterflies and Your Bodies

“The basis and spring of sanctification are union with Christ, more especially union with him in the virtue of his death and the power of his resurrection.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Ro­mans, Vol. 2, page 109).

“The way to determine our spiri­tual gifts is not to ask, ‘What is my “thing” spiritually, my spiritual specialty, that sets me apart from other believers and gives me a distinguishing niche in the church?’….The question to ask is, ‘What in the situation in which God has place me are the particular op­portunities I see for serving oth­er believers in word and deed (cf. I Peter 4:10f.)?’ ‘What are the specific needs confronting me that need to be ministered to?’ Posing and effectively re­sponding to this question will go a long way not only toward discovering but also actually using our spiritual gifts.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Perspec­tives on Pentecost, p. 53).

Quotes used in this Friday’s 101 Bible Study on Romans 12

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Joy to the World!

icicles_16494ac“’All thy works shall praise thy Name, in earth and sky and sea.’ To sing that line from this well-known hymn is to confess that the present praise of creation is not merely pre-eschatological, destined in the end for the silence of eternal extinction. The present creation awaits the eschatological voice it will receive when, free at last from its ‘bondage to corruption,’ it will ‘obtain the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.’ With this obtaining together with the sons of God, creation’s praise— beyond all sighing and in a manner beyond present comprehension— will heighten their enjoyment of that freedom and glory in the new creation of God. (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., “What ‘Symphony of Sighs’” in Redeeming the Life of the Mind, pp. 160-161).

“The language of the Psalmist amounts to a declaration that God would not save the world by means of an ordinary kind, but would come forth himself and show that he was the author of a salvation in every respect so singular…. [M]ercy of such a wonderful, and to us, incomprehensible kind, should be celebrated by no ordinary means of praise.” (John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, on Psalm 98).

“The Psalms we sing now are a rehearsal, and God’s presence among his worshippers is a prelude to His appearing to the world.” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 73-150, p. 353).


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

Unashamed of the Gospel

Bible_14579cp“Faith always connects the power of God with the word, which it does not imagine to be at a distance, but . . . possesses and retains it.” (John Calvin, Commen­tary on 2 Timothy).
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“The origin of the believ­er’s faith does not lie in himself but in the calling of God, which in its irrevocable efficacy and power is life-giving and creative (Rom. 4:17; 11:29; Eph. 1:18-20; II Tim. 1:9). Yet this call­ing only realizes its en­livening function in the act of establishing fel­lowship with Christ (I Cor. 1:9), the life-giving Spirit, apart from whom there is neither life nor justification nor adoption nor sanctification nor any other saving reality. . . .” (Richard B. Gaffin, The Centrality of the Resurrection: A Study in Paul’s Soter-iolo­gy, p. 142).

Used in the Sunday afternoon Bible study on 2 Timothy 1 at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

 

 

 

Christ-centered

Rm0829a“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).

“For Us and for Our Salvation”

NH_coverAs the congregation I serve gathers for worship tomorrow morning, we will use the Nicene Creed as a confession of faith. What does the phrase, “for us and for our salvation” really mean? Dr. Richard B. Gaffin explores that: http://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=916. He asks:

This confession prompts the question I want to consider here. How specifically is the resurrection “for our salvation”? What in particular is the saving efficacy, or “efficiency,” of the resurrection? Or, to ask the question negatively, without the resurrection, what would become of our salvation?

To the question of how Christ’s death is for our salvation, virtually every Christian will likely have a ready and heartfelt answer: he died that my sins might be forgiven, to bear in my place the eternal punishment my sin deserves. Most if not all believers grasp in some measure the saving truth of penal substitution, of Christ’s “once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God” (Shorter Catechism, 25). At the same time, however, it seems fair to say that in general Christians are not as clear about the answer to our question about the saving efficacy of the resurrection.

Near the end he writes:

Our privilege, great beyond our comprehension, is this: we have been chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4) to the ultimate end that we be like Christ. This conformity to his image, already being worked in us by the sanctifying power of the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19), will be fully realized when, like him, we are raised bodily.

But there is more to this than what is ultimate for us. Even more ultimate in God’s predestinating purposes is what is at stake for the Son personally in our salvation, what he has invested for himself. This, as much as anything, is why from all eternity the Son willed, together with the Father and the Spirit, to become incarnate, to suffer and die. He did so, so that, having been resurrected triumphant over sin and death, he might have brothers like himself—brothers glorified not because of anything in themselves, but entirely because of his saving mercy. They will share with him in this triumph and magnify forever his own preeminent exaltation glory. And so his “kingdom shall have no end.”

Surely there can be no more ultimate perspective on Christ’s resurrection “for us and for our salvation” than this.

You will read the article with profit!

No Condemnation!

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“In late medieval Roman Catholicism, the future verdict at the final judgment was the uncertain outcome of the Christian life. In contrast the Reformers came to understand that, in effect, the verdict belonging at the end of history has been brought forward and already pronounced on believers in history, and so constitutes the certain and stable basis for the Christian life and provides unshakable confidence in the face of the final judgment.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not by Sight, p. 92).

“…when the Father sent the Son it was for the purpose of dealing with sin. Nothing should be allowed to detract from that simple but profound truth. For by it we are advised that the coming of the Son of God into the world had no relevance apart from the fact of sin.” (John Murray, Epistle to the Romans, Vol. 1, p. 280).

This Friday evening’s 101 Bible Study in Astoria focuses on Romans 8:1-4. You are welcome to join us! Call or text 971/238-6101 for details.