The Light of Christmas

“[W]e have the obligation to accept that revelation of God, to understand it, and to respond to it with a life consisting in knowing, serving, and loving God with all our heart and mind.” “[T]here is an illumination of the Logos (John 1:9), or of the Spirit of God, in intellect, conscience, heart, and mind of human beings, such that they can understand God’s general revelation in nature and history. . . . [T]here is an illumination of human beings who live in the light of the gospel, by the Spirit of God, such that they can recognize and know the special revelation that comes to them in Christ and more specifically in Scripture as special revelation of God.”(Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 1, p. 350)

“Testimony is a serious matter and it is required to substantiate the truth of a matter. . . . Witness establishes the truth. It does more. It commits a man. . . . John lets us see that there are those like John the Baptist who have committed themselves by their witness to Christ. But he is bold enough to think that God has committed Himself.” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, p. 90)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

In the Beginning

“The thought of incarnation is stupendous, for it means the conjunction in one person of all that belongs to Godhead and all that belongs to manhood. . . . The Son of God was sent and came into this world of sin, of misery, and of death.” (Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 2, p. 133)

“This introduction [to the Gospel of John] shows Jesus to be deity (v. 1) and that he was the creator of the cosmos in the very beginning (vv. 2–3, 10b). Verse 4 begins to show him to be the commencement of another new creation at his incarnation: he was the source of ‘life’ and the creative ‘light’ (v. 4) that ‘shines in the darkness.’ And just as the first light in Gen. 1 was not swallowed up by the darkness, so Jesus as the ‘light’ was not dimmed by the surrounding darkness (v. 5).” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, p. 392)

“There was never a time when the Word was not. There never was a thing that did not depend on Him for its very existence. . . . John is affirming that the Word existed before creation, which makes it clear that the Word was not created. It is of the utmost importance to grasp this.” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, NICNT, pages 73–74)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

Wrapped with Love

“Holy Scripture is a hymn of praise to the goodness of the Lord; from it Scripture derives the work of creation, as well as all life and blessings for humans and animals (Ps. 8; 19; 36:5–7; 65:44; Matt. 4:45; Acts 14:17; James 1:17). It is extended over all his works (Ps. 145:9) and endures forever (Ps. 136).” “God is King; the King of kings and the Lord of lords; a King who in Christ is a Father to his subjects, and a Father who is at the same time a King over his children. Among creatures, in the world of animals, humans, and angels, all that is found in the way of care for, love toward, and protection of one by the other is a faint adumbration of of God’s providential order over the work of his hands. His absolute power and perfect love, accordingly, are the true object of the faith in providence reflected in Holy Scripture.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 2, pages 213 and 593)

“To love our enemies is to live a life patterned after God. . . . [T] idea of imitating God is biblical. It is our destiny and our obligation to be conformed to the character of God.” (Daniel M. Doriani, Matthew, Vol. 1, p. 191)

“Like Jesus, his followers are to show benevolence to their enemies in order to reflect God’s benevolence which he shows to evil people. Thus, they are ‘to be complete’ or ‘perfect’ as is their Father (i.e., they are to aspire toward the end time goal of the law, which the Father perfectly reflects).” (G, K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, p. 426)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

Getting Even—Or Not

“His disciples must not resist one who is evil, that is, they must not (according to the rule ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’) return evil for evil. They must not counter an unfair demand of their neighbor with an equally unfair demand of their own. They must not attempt to avenge themselves on their neighbor with like conduct but rather seek to win him with love, patience, long-suffering, leniency, and a spirit of accommodation. Christ is absolutely not condemning every instance of defending one’s own rights. . . . but the rights of others as well as our own must, according to Christ, be esteemed so highly that they may not in any way be subordinated to personal vindictiveness, hatred, self-interest, to the evil tendencies of the human heart.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, p. 161)

“Retribution is never for the purpose of placating personal revenge but for the purpose of satisfying justice. Justice is not vindictive though it is vindicatory.” (John Murray, Principles of Conduct, p. 174)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.


Tonight my wife and I witnessed a powerful presentation of Sophocles’ play, “Electra,” by the Veritas School’s Drama department. Exceedingly well done! (For those of you who are local, there is one more performance, Saturday evening.)
The play wrestles with the idea of vengeance—as it came to expression in a classical Greek setting. The director’s notes summarize: “Vengeance for a wrong was personal, and justice often required the person who was wronged, or their family, to carry out that vengeance. Moreover, the gods and other divine forces demanded vengeance.”
The play is performed in the building of Grace Baptist Church. Joshua W. D. Smith’s director’s notes conclude: “Hopefully the power of Electra’s emotions will tell its own story and inspire reflection on the nature of our own hearts. As a final word, however, it does not escape us that this entire play about justice, vengeance, and the divine, is being staged below the sign of the cross: in Christ crucified, the foolishness of God is wiser than men. (see 1 Cor. 1:20–25)”

Promises, Promises

“When our Lord in his high priestly prayer says, ‘This is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent’ (John 17:3), he is predicating of the Father the most ultimate and absolute in respect of deity that biblical language provides. . . . When we speak, therefore, of the sanctity of truth, we must recognize that underlies this concept is the sanctity of the being of God as the living and true God. He is the God of truth and all truth derives its sanctity from him.” “It is because untruth is the contradiction of the nature of God that it is wrong. Truth and untruth are antithetical because God is truth.” (John Murray, Principles of Conduct, pp. 124–125, 148).

“[A] fundamentally false approach to the divine law is in view and is being condemned, an approach which, through externalistic and casuistic interpretation of isolated passages resulted in the justification of frivolous oaths, oaths by heaven and earth, by Jerusalem, by one’s head, or the like. Jesus condemns such vain efforts to avoid a reckoning with God in all of one’s asservations, whether in the form of oaths or not, by the declaration that they were not to swear at all.” (Ned B. Stonehouse, The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ, p. 207).

“God is awesome. Before him, all the empty words and false assurances of empty religion will melt away. Ananias and Sapphira discovered that to be the case when they promised God God one thing and then did another.” (Gordon Keddie, Ecclesiastes, p. 133).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.


“Our ultimate hope is that God is a covenantal, promise-keeping God. Marriage is a relationship based entirely on promises and public, binding oaths. The promises made between husband and wife to remain faithful, no matter what comes and to forsake all others, is a picture of God’s incredible commitment to us. It is a dim reflection of of the amazing reality that ‘neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:38–39).” (David White, God, You, & Sex: A Profound Mystery, p. 49).

“’One flesh’ certainly includes physical intimacy, but it is broader than that. It means learning both the words and the silences of the beloved. It means dreaming great dreams, but also cleaning up the kitchen. It means sharing the deep concerns of the heart and the little bumps on the toe.” (Daniel Doriani, Matthew, Vol. 1,, p. 160).

“The marriage relationship of Adam and Eve and of all their progeny appears to have been established as a kind of shadow to point to the consummated end-time relationship of God and his bridal people (cf. Isa. 54:1–6; 62:2–5; Eph. 5:29–32).” “This new name [in Revelation 21:2] is then explained in Isa. 62:3–5 to signify a new. Intimate marriage relationship between Israel and God. Therefore it is not accidental that the remainder of Rev. 21:2 addresses a marriage metaphor to explain the significance of ‘new Jerusalem”” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, pp. 41 & 676).

“When God receives the Church as His bride and rejoices at the multitude of her sons, then truly the Church is blessed.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah Vol. 3, p. 470).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.