Showing posts from April, 2023

Christ and the arena of history

"Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, 'Come!' And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer." (Revelation 6:1-2 ESV) In his lectures on the book of Revelation -- which I highly recommend -- Dr. S. Lewis Johnson commented on how historians view the historical process, and particularly, seek to understand how civilization and Christianity relate to each other. He comments on the views of two specific historians, Arnold Toynbee and Leopold von Ranke. Here's an excerpt...   "Toynbee also went on to point out that civilization might exist to facilitate the development of Christianity and the world. And after holding [another] view, he had finally come to believe that this was correct, that civilization itself exists in order to facilitate the development of Christianity in th


"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."  (Romans 8:15-17 ESV) As we studied the riches of salvation, purchased for us by Christ upon the cross, one topic came up that is perhaps not given the attention it deserves. That is the truth about our adoption by the Father. We are his children and heirs of the new creation.   Through faith in Christ,  we experience a new birth, are forgiven, are declared righteous, being united with Christ forever, and are being sanctified and preserved by God. But there's more.  Adoption is the truth that we are brought into God's family as his very own children, with all the warmth and privilege

a small detail

"...and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself."  (John 20:7 ESV) Here's a little detail that the Apostle John notes about the now-empty tomb of Jesus. The face cloth -- a separate wrapping for the head of the one prepared for burial -- was folded up, off to one side. It was a simple act, yet with profound meaning.    The scene that faced the witnesses at the tomb early that first Easter morning was not one of chaos or disarray. The empty tomb of Christ was not a scene of plundering. Neither was it the scene of some strange force, or some unexplained anomaly.  This action -- folding a cloth -- is such a human thing.  It was deliberate, calm, and personal. Chaotic or random forces do not usually take time to fold clothing.  It's as if Jesus, done with his work, is putting his work clothes away. Jesus' life was not taken from him, but he freely laid down his life in his redeeming work for

The finished work of Christ

In our Systematic Theology class,  we are studying the biblical doctrines of salvation. Last week we discussed the truths about our union with Christ, justification, and adoption. This week we are looking at sanctification, perseverance, and glorification.  How do these doctrines relate to the Christian life? Two of the most helpful books for me on this have been works by Francis Schaeffer: True Spirituality (Tyndale House, 1971, 2001) and The Finished Work of Christ (Crossway, 1998). The latter book is a kind of spiritual life commentary on the first eight chapters of the book of Romans. It is also an excellent introduction to the gospel for postmodern seekers and new believers.  Here are some highlights from The Finished Work of Christ ...  Man is fallen, but he is not a zero, he is not worthless. Man has great value as created in the image of God. At the same time, however, all of our being has been tragically affected by the Fall, including our will and intellect. The problem is