“Each element is significant. God will crush Satan, he will crush him under the feet of the faithful, and he will do it speedily. The promise of a victorious issue undergirds the fight of faith.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, Vol. 2, p. 237).
“[I]n Paul (as in the whole of the Scripture) ‘peace’ refers not only in the first place to disposition, but is the declaration of the all-embracing gift of salvation, the condition of shalom, which God will again bring to unrestricted dominion. It is the peace that is to reign when ‘the God of peace will soon crush Satan under the feet’ of his people (Rom. 16:20.” (Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, p. 184.)
“[T]hen only [at the coming of the Messiah] were opened the treasures of celestial wisdom, when God appeared to his ancient people through his only-begotten Son, as it were face to face, all shadows having been done away.” (John Calvin, Commentary on Romans, at 16:26).
Quotes used preparation for the 101 Bible Study meeting in Astoria on June 22. This will conclude our study of Romans. See the Study Notes page for a copy of the handout.
Salvation cannot be bought. Forgiveness is gracious, unearned. You cannot bargain with God for it. Forgiveness begins with God, not with you.
Yet, God works in you, and as he forgives, he changes you. Salvation is all of God, yet there is no salvation without trust in God. You are to work our your own salvation because God works in you both to will and to do, Philippians 2:12,13. Just as Hebrews has strong warning passages, not to deny the perseverance of the saints, but rather to encourage them in perseverance, so your forgiving is part of your covenantal life before God. Thus, in this prayer, God forgives as you do. There is an inseparable connection between God forgiving you and your forgiving your brothers, Matthew 18:35.
“The purpose and meaning of the gospel is unmistakable. Again and again it represents the relation of man to God as that of a debtor to his creditor. . . . Sin places man in the position of one who must pay, give satisfaction.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 214).
(Continuing our study of the Lord’s Prayer this evening at Trinity Presbyterian Church.)
“Looking back to the exodus from Egypt, Isaiah foresaw a future exodus from exile and showed Israel that God’s promise of deliverance entails his summons to separate from all that defiles. . . . The sky-high compost pillar of her sins has not escaped God’s notice, for he has ‘remembered her iniquities’ (Rev. 18:5; cf. 16:19). The new covenant promise that God will ‘remember no more’ the sins of his people assures us of both forgiveness and release from punishment (Jer. 31:34). By contrast, the assurance that God ‘remembers’ Babylon’s sins means that he holds her fully accountable, so that her punishment is inescapable.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, pp. 254–255).
Revelation 18 speaks of the might of the God who judges. That is true. But he is also a God who is mighty to save. Notice how many of the expressions used in describing judgment here in Revelation are used in the Old Testament as part of descriptions of God’s mercy. The sins of Babylon pile up the heavens—but Psalm 103 reminds you of God’s love for his people that is as high as the heavens are above the earth. The double is used in Isaiah 40 to emphasize God’s comforting mercy to his people. Whom does God command to come out? His people, echoing the language of Hosea. How can a God who is holy enough to punish cruel Babylon or Rome be merciful to you, a sinner? He cannot ignore your sin. He cannot simply turn off his holy wrath against it—for his holiness is part of his character. But what he can and did do was to send his Son into this world, so that you might escape from the judgment to come upon it. The wrath of God against your sin was borne by him. The only way to flee from God’s wrath is to flee to him in the person on his Son.
From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC
Perhaps you say, “Nothing surprises me anymore.” That may be true, but don’t lose the ability to be astonished with John, to be taken aback, not just at the the horrible wickedness of rebellion, but also at the awful punishment which it brings. Stand firm in the face of both temptation to engage in sin and in the pressure to conform to a rebellious world. Live as what you are: a follower of the Lamb!
“Our modern cities, with their wealth, false religions, and sexual exploitation, are modern forms of Babylon. . . . Little babylons also operate in the recesses of our heart. . . .The Beast controls his subjects through fear; the Prostitute seduces people by playing on their lusts with the enticements of illicit pleasures. However subtle the remaining sinful tendencies in the Christian’s heart may be, they also involve fear and lust.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 161).
“Since the woman in ch. 12 and the bride in chs. 19 and 21 represent the church throughout the ages, so the harlot counterpart represents satanically infused economic-religious institutions throughout history.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 859).
“At its root every pagan world empire is another incarnation of the same satanic spirit that will reach full intensity just before it shatters before the glory of the Lamb and ‘goes to destruction’ (17:8, 11). The final conspiracy is also symbolized in the ten kings (ten horns) who receive authority with the beast ‘for one hour,’ for the sole purpose of putting that authority at the beast’s disposal as it launches its last desperate assault on the Lamb and his ‘called and chosen and faithful followers’ (17:12–14). . . . Jesus’ followers must be prepared for a period of unparalleled, intense persecution at the end, when evil forces now restrained will be released to work their worst against the church. Yet that time of trauma will be brief, and our enemies final conspiracy will end not in the downfall of the church, as they expect, but in their destruction.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, pp. 251–252).
Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.
9:00 a.m. (Pacific time) on Saturday, June 9: The Perils of Pornography (Guest: Jamie Dean). Listen live here.
Do you bow your head and pray before a meal? That is an excellent habit–though it sometimes becomes a mere habit. What does it mean to ask God for daily bread? We are looking at that part of the Lord’s Prayer this evening at Trinity Presbyterian Church.
“[I]n its present context it [the petition, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’] can unmistakably be understood only from the new relation to God given with Christ’s coming. Just like the exhortation not ‘to take thought,’ it is as Christologically determined as the petition for the remission of sins. In both cases the basis of the petition and its answer is found in God’s fatherhood as realized in the coming of Christ. (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 268).
Philemon is an apostolic letter about a personal matter. But it also gives you a glimpse into the way that a sovereign God, through the Son of his love, can bring his grace to bear on a world that is broken and hurting. Relationships can be restored and renewed, not just for now, but for eternity.
The Sunday afternoon Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church examines Paul’s letter to Philemon.