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.

Your Life Is Hid with God in Christ

“Christ is not only the object of faith and his glorious appearing the pole star of hope but he is also united to believers now in the bonds of mystic union. And they are united to him. Because Christ is united to believ­ers, he is in them in the life they now live upon earth — he is formed in them the hope of glory. And be­cause believers are now united to Christ, they are in him in the glory of his exalted state — their life is hid with Christ in God. Christ is with them where they are; they are with him where he is. A great mystery, beyond doubt. But this is what is true of Christ and his church.” (John Murray, “Structural Strands in New Testament Eschatology.” Unpub­lished manuscript, Westminster Theological Seminary Library, Phila­delphia).

From a handout for the adult Sunday School class at Trinity 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.

For What Is God Waiting?

This evening’s 101 Bible Study, meeting in the Astoria area, looks at Isaiah 30 and 31 for the answer. Call 971/238-6101 for details.

“God’s purpose is to show mercy, to be gracious; but until the judgment is past, He will not do this. He longs, however, to be gracious, and earnestly awaits the time when He may. Akin to this thought is the description of the Lord as longsuffering…. Whereas He waits to exhibit mercy, He also pronounces a blessing upon those who wait for the Lord, and He will close the verse with a state­ment concerning those who do abide in Him.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 2, pages 353–354).

“This passage refers to God in the fol­lowing manner: ‘descending,’ appar­ently from his heavenly temple, which is pointed to further by observing that it is located far away (‘a remote place’ and ‘the mountain of the Lord’); in ad­dition, God appears in ‘dense . . . smoke . . . his tongue like a consum­ing fire,’ and his breath [rûah̩ = Spirit] like an overflowing torrent . . . in the flame of a consuming fire’; and ‘the Lord will cause his voice of authority to be heard.’” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical The­ology, p. 599).

The next 101 Bible Study, meeting Friday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Astoria area, focuses on Isaiah 34 & 35. You are invited! Call 971/238-6101 for location.

A Sealed Book and Talking Pots

Isaiah 29 includes references to a book or scroll that is sealed and thus unreadable, and to a pot that talks back to the potter.

“The point of this chapter [of Beale’s book] has been to underscore that, on the one hand, trust in idols ‘formed’ by humans results in spiritual blindness and deafness, as a reflection of of the idols themselves. It is idolatry that leads to all other sins committed by humans. On the other hand, trust in God as the only legitimate ‘former’ of images results in humans being ‘formed’ into something that is unique­ly able to reflect God’s glorious image. Being re-created in God’s image leads to increasing righteousness.” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical The­ology, p. 380).

“This is perhaps as sad a picture as is to be found anywhere in the Old Testa­ment. When one considers all the manifold and rich gifts that the gracious God had given to this people; when one reflects that it was His design to make of this peo­ple a ‘kingdom of priests and a holy nation,’ and then reads of the rebellion and apostasy that characterized the nation, one can but won­der at the goodness and pa­tience of God. Yet God’s pur­poses were not frustrated.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 2, p. 318, on Isa­iah 29:12).

The next 101 Bible Study, meeting Friday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Astoria area, focuses on Isaiah 34 & 35. You are invited! Call 971/238-6101 for location.