Category Archives: reflection

The Church: A Confessing People

“As Paul wrote from prison to his protégé, Timothy, his mind was focused on how the church was to manage once he and the other apostles had passed from the scene. His answer had two components: a structure in which the governance of the church was put in the hands of ordinary but faithful men, and a form of sound words. Both were necessary. Without structure, the church would have no leadership; without a form of sound words, she would drift from her theological moorings, losing touch with her past and with other congregations in the present. A form of sound words, a confession, was crucial for maintaining both continuity with the apostles and unity among Christians in the present. And that is what our confessional documents do today: they bind us to faithful brothers and sisters in the past and with the same in the present.” (Carl Trueman, “Why Christians Need Confessions,” New Horizons, February 2013).

“God has grounded his church in revelation. He does not content himself with sending his Spirit into the world to turn men to him. He sends his Word into the world as well. Because, it is from knowledge of the truth, and only from the knowledge of the truth, that under the quickening influence of the Spirit true religion can be born.” (“Is the Shorter Catechism Worthwhile?”, Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield–I, p. 382)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The Church: A Believing People

What does it mean to have faith or to believe? How important is it?

“Far from being an incidental statement in Habakkuk, this passage declares the profound truth of the believer’s new mode of life in Christ. He or she lives by faith. . . . Jesus Christ is the object of saving faith, for he has been faithful to establish a new covenant in his own blood, having died for the sins of his people and having been raised for their salvation.” (Camden Bucey, Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, p. 55).

“No matter how it is said, the point is that faith does not simply look to promises. Nor does faith look to the blessings that Christ brings to Christians, such as the forgiveness of sins or the gift of righteousness. No, faith looks to Jesus Christ himself.” (Chad Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith, p. 191).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The Church: A Repentant People

“[R]epentance contemplates our sin and the cost of it to the Saviour. . . . [P]eople being led to repentance should see and sense the danger of their sin too. . . . But sinners must not only see the danger, but also the filthiness and repulsiveness of their sins. . . . Sin is also a personal affair, for sin is set against God himself, the one to whom we ought to have been faithful.” (Chad Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith: A reader’s guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, pp. 194–195).

“True repentance not only sorrows for sin but sees a Saviour. This is so important for us to grasp. As we consider what God thinks of sin, we must also consider his mercy to sinners.” (Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith, p. 195).

“[Mark’s] interest in the history of Christ indeed is not that of the modern biographer or historian. It is rather that of one who has set as his goal the aim to present the glad tidings concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God. . . . It had to do with the joyful significance of the appearance and action of the Son of God in Galilee and Jerusalem.” (Ned B. Stonehouse, The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ, p. 37).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The Church: A Body of Priests

A priest in the Old Testament spent his life in serving God, offering sacrifices in the tabernacle or temple and teaching the people. When the Word tells you that you, as a New Testament believer, are a priest, there is wonderful privilege involved. You have direct access to the throne room of heaven. But you also have the responsibility of living a life that is set apart to serving God. That doesn’t mean that every believer has to seek the foreign mission field or the ministry. But it does mean that the details of your life need to be directed to the glory and honor of your God. You are set apart to serve him.

“The contemplation of Christ’s greatness in verse 14 might lead people to have lofty ideas of Him as One who could not have any feeling for them; therefore the author goes on to assure them: ‘For. . . we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. . . .’” (Geerhardus Vos, The Teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews, p.102).

“The sinner who capitulates to the first solicitation to evil cannot claim to have felt the full power of temptation. It was otherwise with Jesus who experienced the anguish of temptation to an unimaginable degree, for his immaculate person was was subjected to the continuous assaults of the Tempter.” (Geoffrey B. Wilson, Hebrews A Digest of Reformed Comment, p. 58).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The Church: God’s Royal House

A godly king, a man after God’s own heart, wants to build a house for God? No wonder Nathan welcomed this (2 Samuel 7). But God had a better plan. He builds his own royal house, as Peter confesses in Matthew 16:13–20.

“Our Lord says emphatically ‘I will build,’ and thereby appropri­ates for himself the the objective task of calling this church into existence by his Messianic acts. Though Pe­ter confessing be the foundation, the church is not of Peter’s or of any human making, the Lord him­self will build it. And not only this, he will supremely rule in it, for out of the fullness of his authority he immediately proceeds to invest Peter with the power of the keys: ‘I will give unto thee.’” (Geerhardus Vos, The Kingdom and the Church, pp. 78-79).

“Peter, a despised Galilean fisherman, stands before the Messiah with the chosen elders of the New Covenant. The great Shepherd gathers the remnant of his people and establishes Israel anew to confess his name. Jesus undertakes God’s own work to rebuild his people.” (Edmund P. Clowney, The Church, p. 40).

“The Church, in short, is a present manifestation of the Kingdom of God and in her the Kingdom’s transforming power operates and from her its life and blessedness flows to form an oasis in the desert of this world’s sin and mis­ery, darkness and death, to which the thirsty traveler may come and drink deeply at the well-springs of salvation.” (Raymond O. Zorn, Church and Kingdom, p. 81).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The Church: A Body Served by Elders

Why does a church need elders? How important are they to the life of the church? Acts 20:28–32 helps us see how God expects them to function, and how you and I benefit from their work.

“Jeremiah 23:4 predicts a plurality of faithful shepherds, replacing Israel’s unfaithful kings and priests. The fulfillment of this promise is the body of elders or overseers now given to the church, charged by Paul here and by Peter in 1 Peter 5:2 to shepherd the flock of God—to feed, protect, and discipline God’s people for their growth in grace. Through such shepherds, Jesus, the chief Shepherd, now cares for his sheep.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Let’s Study Acts, p. 255).

“And now he [Paul] was leaving them; they could no longer count upon his personal presence for such pastoral guidance and wise admonition. But, though Paul might go, God was ever with them, and so was God’s word which they had received—the word that proclaimed His grace in redeeming them and His grace in sanctifying them. To God, then, and to this word of His, Paul solemnly committed them.” (F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, NICNT, p. 417).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The Church: Heirs of the Prophets

What makes a prophet a prophet? Why does Peter in Acts 3:24–26 refer to his hearers as heirs of the prophets? And what do Numbers 12:1–9 and Deuteronomy 18:14–22 have to do with the church. Are youheirs of the prophets? A prophet fore-tells and tells forth God’s Word. His job is two-fold. But, also, prophet has religious fellowship with God. As the Lord As the Lord rebukes Miriam and Aaron for their jealousy, he points to the closeness of the fellowship between God and Moses. God graciously communicated with prophets. But he spoke face to face with Moses.

“It is evident that a religious preeminence was involved. Moses, in Numbers 11:29, expressed the desire that all of God’s people might be prophets. This clearly shows that from the first there was a religious as much as a functional value found in the appearance and exercise of the office. This appraisal runs through the entire history of prophecy from beginning to end. The divine promise in Joel 2:28–32 extends it into the eschatalogical age. Not only is Israel honored by having prophets, the greater honor is that the people are intended to become prophets.” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 217).

“Moses is surpassed by our Lord Jesus Christ, who did only what God commanded Him. He was not a servant in house of His Lord; He was a Son set over the house of His Father—which is also His house, for the people of God are also His people.” (S. G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol. 1, p. 342).

“Viewed against the background of prophetic promise, these early signs of Jesus’ power to rescue and repair by his Spirit reveal that the church’s life is now a first installment and preview of the peace, purity, love, and joy of the world to come, even in the midst of the old creation’s present pollution, decay, and death.” (Dennis E. Johnson, The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption, p. 56).

Peter describes God’s pepole as the heirs of the prophets. He means more than that his hearers have received what Samuel and the prophets promised, true though that is. Rather, that religious fellowship, that close relationship with God, that characterized Moses especially, but also the other prophets, has now become your relationship with God. It takes place because the Servant of the Lord has come to turn you from your wicked ways to fellowship with God. His death and resurrection are yours. And thus, also, the close fellowship between the Christ and his Father is what you are called to as an heir of the prophets.

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.