Category Archives: reflection

The Garden-City

Rv2201“The difference between day and night, between the Sabbath and the workdays, has been suspended. Time is charged with the eternity of God. Space is full of his presence. Eternal becoming is wedded to immutable being. Even the contrast between heaven and earth is gone. For all things that are in heaven and on earth have been gathered up in Christ as head (Eph. 1:10). All creatures will then live and move and have their being in God [Acts 17:28], who is all in all [1 Cor. 15:28], who reflects all his attributes in the mirror of his works and glorifies himself in them.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, pp. 729–730).

“In that life [in the new heavens and earth], religion—fellowship with God—is primary and central. But that fellowship will be richer, deeper, and more blessed than it ever was or could be on earth, since it will not be disturbed by any sin, or interrupted by any distance, or mediated by either Scripture or nature.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 722).

“Revelation is designed not only to assure us of God’s final purposes, but also to increase our longing for him and the realization of his purpose. The sureness of that final bliss comforts the saints during times of temptation and persecution. It purifies our desires by directing them to God and his glory. And then the tawdry counterfeits of this world are seen to be what they are. We have eyes to see the beauties and joys of this creation as pointers to God and his goodness (Acts 14:17), rather than foolishly perverting created things into idols (Rom. 1:18–23).” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 192).

The blessings John portrays are not only future, they are truly, though not yet completely, ours now. We already have benefits from the new heavens and earth, though we do not yet possess its fullness. As you trust the One who hung on a tree, you can taste of the tree of life. As you respond to the one calls you to come to him, you drink of the living water, and in turn, as part of the church which is connected to its heavenly head, you become a source of living water by the power of the Spirit whom he has poured out. As you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father! You will serve him in the new Jerusalem. Worship and serve him today.

Come to the garden-city. Eat from the tree of life. Drink the living water. See the very face of God in Christ and live!

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

Don’t Refuse to Repent!

repent_16175c“Neither the backwash of sin’s bitter aftertaste nor the firstfruits of its lethal harvest can soften hearts of stone. Only God’s Spirit, applying the gospel of grace, can turn stony hearts into hearts of tender flesh, but the bowls show us a moment in time when the Spirit’s gentle and irresistible wooing is complete, the Son’s sheep have been gathered, and the Father’s patience has waited long enough.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 239).

“It is not just Rome or some later great capital of evil that is decimated but all the world’s cultural, political, economic, and sociological centers. They fall because they are part of the Babylonian world system.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 843).

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


hb_19.73.209“We infer that God’s secret plan for history lies hidden in the sealed scroll; so when the Lamb takes the scroll from his hand and begins to break its seals, we look though John’s eyes for answers to our questions, When? and What? and How long? Instead of answering our questions, the prolonged process of preparing to unroll the scroll presents a series of portraits that answer the question, Why, if the Lion-Lamb has conquered, does the world continue to be a place of evil, violence, and misery?” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, page 117).

A quote used in the Reflection on Revelation 6 for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

Things Are Not What They Seem

clouds_13852ac“Paradox is vivid in the letter to Smyrna, one of Jesus’ two blameless churches. The Smyrnan Christians are poor, yet they are rich. Their opponents claim to be Jews but are Satan’s synagogue. The victor who is faithful to the extremity of death is promised a crown of life and safety from the second death. This promise is secured by the One who is Israel’s eternal refuge (‘first and last,’ echoing Isa. 44:6; 48:12) and yet is also the suffering savior who ‘was dead and has come to life’ (Rev. 2:8).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 73).

“[T]he churches are to read and reread the book in their assembly so that they may continually be reminded of God’s real, new world, which stands in opposition to the old, fallen system in which they presently live. Such a continual reminder will cause them to realize that their home is not in this old world but in the new world portrayed parabolically in the heavenly visions.” (Gregory Beale, The Book of Revelation, NIGTC, p. 175).

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

Washed—So That You Will Not Die

Basin.jpge5b4fb5f-3177-46b8-b150-8176be71fb55Large“Baptism . . . signifies union with Christ, purifying from the pollution of sin by regeneration of the Spirit, and purifying from the guilt of sin by the blood of Christ. . . . The sign and seal of baptism can be no pledge or guarantee to us of that which baptism signifies except as we are mindful of God’s covenant, embrace its promises, discharge its obligations, and lay hold in faith upon the covenant faithfulness of God.” (John Murray, Christian Baptism, pp. 89-91).

Quote used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC–looking at the bronze basin which God had Moses build for the Tabernacle.

How Great Is God?

waterfall_13379cThe isolation in Egypt had kept Abraham’s relatively small clan from being influenced by and absorbed into the pagan Canaanites as they grew into a nation. They were different from the peoples around them. Similarly, God’s people today are still a distinctive people. Beware of compromising that by replacing trust in the Lord with dependence on a political leader who cloaks himself in messianic garb—regardless of which political party he or she identifies with. The health and wealth gospel is a false gospel, whether coming from the left or the right. With Jethro, see the greatness of the God who, in distinction from whatever else is worshiped, has overcome his foes and delivered his people.

(from reflections on Exodus 18:9-12, Jethro’s visit to Moses and the nation of Israel)

Jethro, a Gentile, joins in worshiping the LORD, the covenant God of Israel. He anticipates what would happen when the Messiah came, drew us near to a holy God by shedding his blood for us, and then breaking down the wall of partition. We have been incorporated into a building made of living stones, and by the Spirit, have become a dwelling place for God!

Jethro saw in the rescue from the power of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh proof that the Lord was greater than all other gods, . . and, of course, especially the gods of Egypt. He thus perceived the spiritual background of the events of the Exodus and wilderness journey, even though he was a Gentile; his praise was a prophecy of the future recognition on the part of the nations, those who were not descendants of Abraham, that none among the gods was like the God of Israel (df. Ps. 86:8-10). In Jethro, the Lord showed Israel that, although the law would later be given to Israel alone, He was faithful to his promise of Genesis 12:3. . . .” W. H. Gispen, Exodus, p. 175).