Category Archives: General

Law or Promise?

Ayear0831oc“[I]t is the law which the heretical minds Paul is opposing in this letter are putting into competition with the promise — at bottom, in fact, they are placing it above the promise. It is by this opposition, this contrast, that the character of Paul’s conception of the covenant and the promise, yes, and of the law also, is entirely governed and determined. Law means demand, conditions; the promise, on the contrary, means free grant, guarantee, unconditionality.” (Herman N. Ridderbos, The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia, p. 135).

“Obedience as the appropriate and necessary expression of devotion to Christ does not find its place in a covenant of works or of merit but in a covenant that has its inception and end in pure grace.” (John Murray, Principles of Conduct, p. 200).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Abraham, the Man of Faith

gA0308“Christ, accordingly, is the turning point of the times, the cross the focal point of world history. First, everything led in the direction of the cross; subsequently, everything was inferred from the cross. . . . Believers in Israel indeed knew that the Siniatic dispensation was merely temporary and therefore anticipated the the day of the new covenant with longing.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, p. 223).

“The righteousness of God as virtue or mode of conduct has manifested itself most gloriously when in Christ he granted another righteousness apart from the law, on the basis of which he can justify—that is, absolutely and completely acquit—those who believe in Jesus.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 185).

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

The Time Is Near

Rv2207We have cringed at attempts to predict the date of Christ’s return. Without making predictions, news of wars and increasing wickedness draw remarks like, “It really seems as though the time is soon.” Yes, we ought to be looking for Christ’s return, but remember also that believers in every age since the Ascension, have made similar remarks. What does Jesus say about his return in Revelation 22:6–11? What should you be doing? How should you live?

“In the truest and deepest perspective, you are safe and secure, protected by the Lord God Almighty and defended by the Lamb who has overcome. You are the sealed people of God, marked with his name. Whatever may occur between today and the great day of the wrath of God and the Lamb, you know that on the last day you will be able to stand without terror and with expectant joy.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 335).

“The change from prediction in Daniel to imperatives in Rev. 22:11 expresses awareness that Daniel’s prophecy is beginning to be be fulfilled in John’s own time and that genuine believers should discern this revelation and respond positively to it.” (G. K Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 1133).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

The New Jerusalem

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“Revelation shows the lengths to which the Lamb has gone and will go to make us the holy city in whom he will dwell forever. Christ loves his church and binds himself to her with bonds that no enemy from without and no failure of ours from within can sever.” “When we glimpse the bride through the eyes of her Groom, it lifts our head in hope and calms our frustrated hearts for persevering love for one another.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 342–3).

“All Old Testament concepts shed their external, nationalistic-Israelitish meanings and become manifest in their spiritual and eternal sense. . . . [T]he New Testament itself has given to the particularistic ideas of the Old Testament a universal and cosmic meaning. (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 661).
“But in the new heaven and new earth, the world as such is restored; in the believing community the human race is saved. In that community, which Christ has purchased and gathered from all nations, languages, and tongues (Rev. 5:6; etc.), all nations, Israel included, maintain their distinct place and calling (Matt. 8:11; Rom. 11:25; Rev. 21:24; 22:2). And all those nations—each in accordance with its own distinct national character—bring into the new Jerusalem all they have received from God in the way of glory and honor (Rev. 21:24, 26). (Herman Bavinck, p. 720). Continue reading

Books Were Opened

Rv2012“The big one is coming. We all know that. We also know the big one might turn out to be the very big one. The 700-mile-long Cascadia subduction zone that’s just off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington will, sooner or later, produce a mammoth earthquake, scientists say.” So writes Douglas Perry in the Oregonian last Friday. Historically, the big one has come at roughly 300–500 year intervals, and the last big one was in 1700. Telling people it is coming (8.7 to 9.2 on the Richter scale) is one thing. Getting us to take some kind of action is another. It may happen soon, or it may not happen until you have been dead and buried for a couple hundred years—in which case you likely will not notice. In Revelation 20:11–15 John writes of an event that will most certainly happen, though we do not know when. And it will involve, not only the living, but also the dead—every single person who has ever lived will stand before God’s throne.

“Injustice and suffering never escape God’s eye. Those who persecute and those who practice injustice can never win. God will judge every deed, all wrongs will be righted, and all attempts to dethrone God and enthrone oneself will be completely frustrated. The prospect of final judgment ought to be a terror to God’s enemies and a fountain of assurance to the saints.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, pp. 182–183).

“The ‘life’ granted the saints in association with the book comes from their identification with the Lamb’s righteous deeds, and especially his death, which means likewise that they are identified with his resurrection. . . . The Lamb acknowledges before God all who are written in the book. . . .” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 1037).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

An Offering Acceptable to God

Rm1529“It is in Christ that the people of God will be resurrected and glorified. It is in Christ they will be made alive when the last trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible (I Cor. 15:22). It is with Christ that they will be glorified (Rom. 8:17). . . . Apart from union with Christ we cannot view past, present, or future with any­thing but dismay and Christ­less dread. By union with Christ the whole complexion of time and eternity is changed and the people of God may rejoice with joy un­speakable and full of glory.” (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, pp. 163-165).

“An offering to be acceptable to God must conform to condi­tions of purity. So in this case. The conditions of holiness are created by the Holy Spirit. Hence the clause, ‘sanctified by the Holy Spirit’, stands in appo­sition to ‘acceptable’”. (John Murray, The Epistle to the  Romans, Vol. 2, p. 211).

New: See “Study Notes” for the handout for this study

(One of the questions: “What is “ascension deficit disorder”?”