The Church: A Body of Witnesses

“The single most im­portant activity of the apostles is surely that. . . of witness to Christ (e.g., John 15:27; Acts 1:8; 13:31). The apostles bear wit­ness, authorized and empowered by Christ himself, to his resur­rection as the fulfill­ment of covenant his­tory.” (Richard B. Gaf­fin, Jr., Perspectives on Pente­cost, p. 91).

“Jesus is claiming to be this unique Lord, the God and Savior of the new Israel, whom he empowers with the Spirit and commis­sions as his witnesses. Those who worship Jesus as Lord, who pray to him and serve him, bear witness that he, not the idols, is the only God and Savior. The Spirit is sent to empower us to testify to the divine glory that the Son deserves.” (Dennis B. Johnson, The Message of Acts in the History of Re­demption, p. 44).

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

Why Is God Gracious?

“Hezekiah made an appeal to the honor of the Lord in His grace toward His people. He wrestled in faith, and his prayer came before the Lord’s throne. He was the intercessor for his people. As such he was a type of he Christ, who is always interceding on behalf of his people. Through the Christ, this spirit of prayer was in Hezekiah,and for the sake of the Christ, the Lord heard.” (S. G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol. 2, p. 375).

“Surrounded by poetry on ei­ther side, Isaiah 36–39 is a narrative bridge that links chapters 1–35 with 40–66. Isaiah previously proclaimed that God would judge Is­rael’s enemies and save those who trust him. Can God be trusted to do this? In chapters 36–39, God acts concretely in history to res­cue his people from attack, answering this question in the affirmative. This section also provides the context for chapters 40–55 as Isaiah tells Hezekiah that the na­tion is doomed to exile in Babylon.” (Drew Hunter, Isa­iah: A 12 Week Study, page 51).

The next 101 Bible Study, meeting Friday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Astoria area, focuses on Isaiah 40. You are invited! Call 971/238-6101 for location.

The Church: A Forgiven and Forgiving People

“That peculiar sight which Moses had of God (Exodus 34), was a gospel sight, a sight of God as ‘gracious,’ etc., and yet it is called his ‘back parts,’ that is but low and mean in comparison to his excellencies and perfections.” (John Owen, Overcoming Sin and Temptation, edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor, p. 112).

“[God’s] full glory would accessible to the Mediator Christ but could not be seen by anyone in this sinful life. The Mediator would see that glory, but Moses was only a shadow of the true Mediator. . . . Christ is now our Mediator, and in heaven he beholds God’s face. What is there that he cannot do for us?” (S. G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol. 1, p. 308).

“The grace of God is love freely shown towards guilty sinners, contrary to their merit and indeed in defiance of their demerit. It is God showing goodness to persons who deserve only severity, and had no reason to expect anything but severity.” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 120).

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

The Church: A Holy People in the Presence of a Holy God

“Those who are called to be partakers of God’s holi­ness must be holy them­selves; this is the recurring theme of the Pentateuchal law of holiness, echoed again in the New Testa­ment: ‘Ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Lev. 11:45, etc.; cf. 1 Pet. 1: 15.). To see the Lord is the highest and most glori­ous blessing that morals can enjoy, but the beatific vision is reserved for those who are holy in heart and life.” (F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, NICNT, pp. 364-365).

“To praise His name in­volves more than the mere repetition of the word qa­dosh [holy-jwm]. It includes deep meditation upon God and His attributes and the living of a life of humility in accordance with the pre­cepts laid down in His Word. It is, in other words, the life of faith in Jesus Christ, lived for the glory of God.” (Ed­ward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 1, p. 243).

“Sanctification has es­pecial regard to God. Even though the whole world blazes with war, we must not let go of sanctification because it is the chain which binds us in union with God. . . . No one can see God without sancti­fication since we shall only see God with eyes that have been re­newed according to his image.” (John Calvin, Com­mentary on Hebrews, at 12:14).

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

The Church: Baptized into Christ and His Body

“The first thing that baptism points to and validates is God’s gospel. To the person being baptized, and to all who witness or experience the event, or to all who even consider the symbol, baptism testifies to tot he truth of an enduring promise which God himself made, which he continues to proclaim, and which he continues to honour: it is the promise of redemption for all who trust in Christ alone for their righteousness.” (Chad Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith, p. 366).

“Baptism is most basically and universally—just as circumcision was—about the works and the righteousness of Another, and not about the righteousness of ourselves. The enduring importance of baptism rests in what it always says about God and his gospel, and not what it sometimes says about the person who is baptized.” (Chad Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith, p. 367).

“As surely as Christ rose from the dead so surely shall we walk in newness of life.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, Vol. 1, p. 216).

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

Your God Will Come!

What does it mean when your God comes? Is it something to dread? Something to rejoice in? Isaiah 34 & 35 both speak of God coming.

“[T]he physical and spiritual curses of the fall are starting to be taken away by Jesus. The healings were signs of the inbreaking new creation, which were not the complete healing of peo­ple’s bodies, since they would still die due to effects of the fall. Nevertheless, these wonders foreshadowed Jesus’ own complete healing in resurrection and the time when his followers will be completely healed.” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical The­ology, p. 569).

The next 101 Bible Study, meeting Friday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Astoria area, focuses on Isaiah 40. You are invited! Call 971/238-6101 for location.

Faith Working Through Love

“The gospel removes an abso­lute law-gospel antithesis in the life of the believer. How so? Briefly, apart form the gospel and outside of Christ, the law is my enemy and condemns me. Why? Because God is my enemy and condemns me. But with the gospel and in Christ, united to him by faith, the law is no longer my enemy but my friend. Why Because now God is no longer my enemy but my friend, and the law, his will—the law in its moral core, as reflective of his character and of concerns eternally inherent in his own person and so of what pleases him—is now my friendly guide for life in fellowship with God.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. By Faith, Not by Sight, pages 117–118).

Galatians 5:1–15 is the passage we are looking at in the Sunday afternoon Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church.