“In Romans 16:7 Paul mentions those who ‘were in Christ before me’ or ‘before I was.’ Here Paul, speaking autobiographically but surely representatively of all Christians, brings into view a before and after of being ‘in Christ’ that points to a critical transition.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight, p. 37).
“We may not tone down the unity of the church. This comes to expression repeatedly in Paul (cf. 11:16-24; Eph. 2:16, 18-22; 4:2-16). But Paul is also jealous to maintain that in every instance where the saints are gathered together in Christ’s name in accordance with his institution, there the church of Christ is (cf. vs.5).” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, Vol. 2, p. 233).
“The way to be filled with the Spirit is to let God’s word dwell in you richly. We will be more and more filled with the Spirit as we are more and more filled with Scripture.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., The Work of the Holy Spirit, p. 31).
“. . . the Scriptures are especially serviceable for this purpose — to raise up those who are prepared by patience, and strengthened by consolations, to the hope of eternal life, and to keep them in the contemplation of it.” (John Calvin, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, at Rom. 15:4).
“In Christ’s resurrection the end-time resurrection-harvest becomes visible, a visible reality.”
“In Paul there is no more important conclusion about the Christian life, nothing about its structure that is more basic than this: the Christian life in its entirety is to be subsumed under the category of resurrection. Pointedly, the Christian life is resurrection-life.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, pp. 60 and 68).
“Jesus says, ‘I lay down my life, in order that I may take it again’. Here we are apprised of a relationship that exists between His death and resurrection that too often escapes our attention. It is that the laying down of His life was to the end that He might take it again, that His death was to the end of His resurrection. . . . The death of Christ is not an end in itself. It is subordinate to a great purpose that can be achieved only through resurrection.” (John Murray, “Who Raised Up Jesus?” The Westminster Theological Journal, May 1941, pp. 119-120).
From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC
In Romans 13:11-14 Paul calls you to wake up, to walk properly, as in the daytime, and to put on Christ.
“[I]n the Old Testament the bond between God and Israel, as his covenant people, is expressed in a variety of ways, but perhaps most evocatively in the description of God himself as ‘the portion’ of his people (Pss. 73:26; 119:57; Jer. 10:16). Reciprocally, they are ‘the Lord’s portion’ (Deut. 32:9)…. The climactic realization of this covenant bond, this reciprocal possession between the triune God and his people, the church, is centered for Paul in union with Christ.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not by Sight, pp. 40, 41).
This Friday evening the 101 Bible Study meets in Astoria to look at that passage of Scripture.
“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
“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
“’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.