Monday, May 31, 2010

Much thanks to my beautiful wife for putting this together.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Psalm 66:1-4 Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; 2 Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious. 3 Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. 4 "All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name." Selah.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Anyone who knows his Jewish scriptures well understands that God appointed Levitical priests to offer sacrifices to "atone" for sin in the OT (just peruse through the pages of Leviticus 16 to see this). Last night I preached on Psalm 65 at church and found myself drawn to verse 3.

דִּבְרֵ֣י עֲ֭וֹנֹת גָּ֣בְרוּ מֶ֑נִּי פְּ֝שָׁעֵ֗ינוּ אַתָּ֥ה תְכַפְּרֵֽם׃

"The accounts of my iniquities prevail against me; but our transgressions you, yourself, have atoned for [them]."

Amazingly, there are three places in the OT where God makes atonement for sins (all 3 are in Pss)—and this is one of them. The remarkable thing in my mind is the fact that God appointed priests to perform the ceremony. Here in Psalm 65:3, the psalmist refers to the gospel. This is gospel 101. This is fundamental to everyone who has a saving relationship with God.

I. Understand Your Iniquities are Too Great for You to Bear—You cannot bear your own sins! Sorry, but you can't! The word here for "iniquities" refers to that which is rebellious and devious. It actually comes from a root that means 'twisted.' It takes that which God has given and twists it for one's own purposes/to one's own likings. This is perversion and rebelliousness at its worst! All of our iniquities are too great for us to bear. They're too heavy. No one can ever bear his own sins—ever (even into eternity in hell no one will ever fully bear his own sins; that's part of the reason why hell must be eternal). But here's the good news of the gospel: though your iniquities are too heavy for you to bear they are not too great for God to forgive.

II. Understand God's Atonement Is Accomplished for His Own in Christ—This simply means that you can't make your own atonement. You can't do anything (not-a-thing!) to atone and bring reconciliation with God for your sins. It just can't ever happen. And in the OT the priest had to make atonement for sins—often. He offered sacrifices first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. And this was the regular cycle of action. It's just how God appointed it in the Mosaic Law.

But in the NT, Jesus comes on the scene and atones for sin—once and for all. Note the parallel here. In Psalm 65:3, God Himself atones for sin. In the NT (=Hebrews 8-10 especially) Jesus who is God atones for sin once and for all! Just one NT support will suffice here:

Hebrews 10:11-14 11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

So mark it on your heart: even in the Jewish Scriptures of the OT there was revelation that would Himself atone for sin. There was a recognition that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin (Heb 9:13-14; 10:4). Thus, a greater sacrifice was needed that would once and for all remove the iniquities of His own children.

Praise God for the gospel. Praise God that though our sins have made a separation between us and God, his atonement is greater than the power of our sin and can atone for and wipe away our sins so that we can be forgiven only if we come to the Lamb of God who was slain and receive this forgiveness and cleansing.

Have you?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Soong-Chan Rah writes:
"How easy it is for an American Christian to finding the right church the way we approach buying cereal at the local supermarket? We're looking for all the right ingredients and rejecting churches because they don't have our style of worship, our style of preaching, or our type of people. We're purchasing a product rather than committing to the body of Christ. We are captive to the Western, white captivity of the church in our materialistic and consumeristic bent, more accurately reflecting American culture and society than Scripture."
Source: Soong-Chan Rah, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 2009), 47.

*Note* – I don't agree with everything Rah writes in this book. In fact, much is quite brashly said in this book but I think that this quote hits us dead on.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Sunday I preached on 1 Samuel 15 and how Saul disobeyed God and refused to put Agag and all the Amalekites do death—as the Lord had commanded. After swiftly progressing through the chapter, we finally arrived at v.33 where it reads: "Samuel hacked Agag to pieces." I think the NIV totally misses it as it says: "Samuel put Agag to death."

וַיְשַׁסֵּ֨ף שְׁמוּאֵ֧ל אֶת־אֲגָ֛ג לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בַּגִּלְגָּֽל׃

Interestingly, the word is used in modern Hebrew to 'separate' and this was the similar idea long ago as it was a butchering term used to divide and chop up in pieces.

Why such extreme measures? Why did Samuel commit this kind of bloody-gruesome-violent deed? Because it was precisely the man Agag who was the trophy of Saul's disobedience. At the conclusion of the chapter I practically gave three ways that every Christian must strive to put sin to death at its root (this portion of the sermon comprised half of my time).

If you only pluck the weeds in your backyard when they become visible and neglect to pull them up from the root it will sprout up again next week, and the next, and the next. But if you pull it up from the root it will ensure that that weed won't pop up again. So it is with your sin.

It's like Caleb in the movie FIREPROOF. Remember how he was accused by his wife of being "addicted to pornography?" Finally, after repenting and believing in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord he went home and yanked the computer off the desk, rushed outside, took a baseball bat and hacked that thing to pieces because that computer was the source of his stumbling into pornography. (Obviously there are heart issues to deal with as well—cf. Matt 5:27ff). This is a good example of, as Jesus said, "tear out your eye and throw it from you ... cut off your hand and throw it from you." Do you do this with your sins—specifically? Deliberately? Ferociously?

Here were my three ways to kill sin from its root in your life...

a. Find the root of the sin (32)—Apprehend the cause
b. Hack your sin to pieces (33)—Amputate the sin
c. Walk the path of the godly (34-35)—Alter your life

Note how Jonathan Edwards viewed this:
Resolution #24 — Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
John Owen saw it similarly:
“Watch against the first motions of sin, watch against its beginnings, don’t give it any ground whatsoever. The spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and meditation and prayer are crucial because without them there can be no watchfulness against sin, there can be no sensitivity to its deceitfulness, there will be no protection of the mind. The great wisdom and security of the soul in dealing with indwelling sin is to put a violent stop unto its beginnings, its first motions and actings. Venture all on the first attempt."
So I say: "be killing your sin or your sin will be killing you."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Matthew Henry wisely remarks (referring to Saul's blame-shifting in 1 Sam 15:15, 21):
"Those that are willing to justify themselves are commonly very forward to condemn others, and to lay the blame upon any rather than take it to themselves. Sin is a brat that nobody cares to have laid at his doors. It is the sorry subterfuge of an impenitent heart, that will not confess its guilt, to lay the blame on those that are tempters, or partners, or only followers in it."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Here is the clear gospel in 2 minutes 58 seconds. I compel you all to watch and listen.

Gordon Fee writes:
"Remember: Sermon preparation without personal encounter with the Word and without prayer will probably lack inspiration; and sermons preached by those who have not themselves sat in awful silence before the majesty of God and His Word will probably accomplish very little" (Gordon Fee, New Testament Exegesis, 3rd ed., p.152).
Those who knew me in high school affirm that I should not be the guy to give English grammar advice, but here it goes. I often hear preachers use grammar incorrectly when they speak of applying texts to you and I (it should be "you and me").

Consider some of the following phrases. Should it be...
1. Pastor Bob and me decided to start a new series... or Pastor Bob and I decide to start a new series...
2. Jerry applied the text to my wife and I or Jerry applied the text to my wife and me.

Here is a very good and clear description of when to use me and when to use I in your preaching.
Just between you and me, today I'm going to talk about the pronouns I and me. I've been meaning to talk about the phrase between you and I for a while, but when I heard that Hillary Clinton had chosen the song “You and I” by Celine Dion for her campaign theme song, I knew it was finally the right time to tackle this topic!

That's because Celine Dion's song “You and I” is grammatically correct, whereas the Jessica Simpson song “Between You and I” is incorrect.

First the basics: the words you, I, and me are all pronouns. They stand in for nouns like Hillary, Jessica, and Grammar Girl.

Pronouns can be subjects, objects, or possessive. I've talked about this before—the subject of a sentence is the agent taking action, and the object is the thing or person being acted upon. If I say, “I love you,” I am the subject (the one doing the loving), and you are the object (the target of my love and the object of my affection).

A possessive pronoun shows that the thing or person possesses something. I won't talk about possessive pronouns anymore today, because they aren't relevant to the topic.

This next part you just kind of have to know. If you've been speaking English for a long time, you probably know it whether you think you do or not, and if you are learning English you just have to memorize it.

I is a subject pronoun, and me is an object pronoun.

The proper sentence is I love you, not Me love you. You use I because the pronoun is the subject of the sentence, and I is the subjective pronoun. And if you've been speaking English your whole life, your ear quickly picks up the difference between right and wrong. I play the marimbas versus Me play the marimbas.

Squiggly loves me is the proper sentence, not Squiggly loves I. I'm the target of Squiggly's love, so I'm in the object position in that sentence, and the objective pronoun is me. Again, in most cases your ear should pick up the difference. He gave the marimbas to me versus He gave the marimbas to I.

The reason it gets a little tricky when you combine I and me with you is that you is both a subjective and an objective pronoun. It's one of those confusing things that just isn't fair. Whether it is in the subject or the object position, you still use the word you. You love Squiggly and Squiggly loves you. They are both correct.

Here's why the song title “You and I” is correct: The title comes from the line You and I were meant to fly. In that line, you and I are both in the subject case. We're taking action—flying.

That seems pretty straightforward. So now we can move on to “Between You and I” and figure out why it's wrong.

Between is a preposition, just as on, above, over, and of are prepositions. Because prepositions usually either describe a relationship, or show possession, they don’t act alone; they often answer questions like Where? and When? For example, if I said, “Keep that secret between you and me,” between describes where the secret is to be kept. If I said, “I'll tell you the secret on July 5,” on describes when the secret will be revealed.

So, instead of acting alone, prepositions are part of prepositional phrases. In those example sentences, between you and me and on July 5 are prepositional phrases. And it's just a rule that pronouns following prepositions in those phrases are always in the objective case (1). When you're using the objective case, the correct pronoun is me, so the correct prepositional phrase is between you and me.

Most grammarians are sympathetic to people who say between you and I because it's considered a hypercorrection. The theory is that people have been so traumatized by being corrected when they say things such as Ashley and me went to the mall instead of Ashley and I went to the mall that they incorrectly correct between you and me to between you and I (2, 3, 4).
Grammar girl.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As you know I'm preaching through the book of Psalms and last night I taught on Psalm 64. The psalm marvelously reveals David's (prayerful) response to his enemies who secretly plot verbal attacks against him. David proffers a fitting model for us to glean from when the time comes and we're viciously attacked—verbally, slanderously, maliciously.

I divided the psalm with a four-fold structure and I incorporated in my outline an acronym for P-R-A-Y.

I. P—Petition God's Ear (1-2)

In this section David cries to God with three staccato-like, concise, terse shouts to God:
1. Hear me (1a)
2. Preserve me (1b)
3. Hide me (2)
Amazingly, this section is not just asking God to actually 'hear' his prayer. David knows God will actually 'listen' to his prayer. What David is praying for is for God to act and not be inactive. He wants God to get up and respond to his request! What a good model for us to pray this way. There are times in our lives when we are slandered when we just need to come to God and be honest, open and, can I say "emotional", before God.

II. R—Recognize Your Situation (3-6)

In these verses David relays his situation to God. Oh yes God knows the situation. God knows it better than David himself knows it. Yet it glorifies God when David presents it all at His feet. And, it relieves David to remind himself that he's giving it all up to God. Be specific. Note how David speaks of the malicious, slanderous, cunning, plotting, secretive, vicious, and devious intentions of the wicked men. Bring it to God in prayer! Tell God what's going on in your life. Be specific! Be bold! Be frank! Be open and outright honest with God! He knows your heart and your life and your situations anyway!

Indeed, David concludes in v.6b, the inward thought and the heart of man are deep (cf. Jer 17:9; cp. Prov 22:14; 23:27). There is no 'fear of God' before them (v.4b). A 'lack of fear' is the ultimate characteristic of the wicked. Ironically, those who should fear God the most are those who do not fear God at all. Don't let this be you.

III. A—Affirm Your Trust (7-9)

Here David wonderfully recounts his unswerving and unwavering confidence in God's intercession on his behalf. Note how the enemies want to shoot their arrows (v.4) yet here in v.7a it reads: "but God will shoot at them with an arrow." I love how God only has one arrow; and he only needs one arrow for He never misses the bulls-eye of the wicked man's heart. God, here, intercedes and will judge David's enemies. So, David's response is a confident trust in God. This is how we should respond when we are slandered. Don't take revenge. Don't retaliate. Don't be vengeful. Rather, trust God and know He will (perfectly, wisely, and righteously) judge your (and His!) enemies.

IV. Y—Yield Your Worship (10)

The final verse of the psalm reveals David's commitment to worship God. After all, if David trusts God to destroy and judge the wicked, and if David doesn't need to take matters into his own hands (he could, he's the king!), then he knows he should yield his heartfelt worship to God! He does this in three specific ways:
1. Be glad (=rejoice!)
2. Take refuge
3. Be Praising (NASB: "glory"—the Hebrew word is praise [Hallel, הלל)

So then, when you're slandered, learn from this P-R-A-Y acronym and don't retaliate but give it up to God (all of it!), trust in God, and worship God. It's a good reminder and one that you will need to bear in mind in the near future when slanderous accusers talk behind your back. Get ready. How will you respond?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From Charles Spurgeon:
"The hearing of the gospel involves the hearer in responsibility. It is a great privilege to hear the gospel. You may smile and think there is nothing very great in it. The damned in hell know. Oh, what would they give if they could hear the gospel now? If they could come back and entertain but the shadow of a hope that they might escape from the wrath to come? The saved in heaven estimate this privilege at a high rate, for, having obtained salvation through the preaching of this gospel, they can never cease to bless their God for calling them by his word of truth. O that you knew it! On your dying beds the listening to a gospel sermon will seem another thing than it seems now."
Heed these wise words!
No. Scripture is replete with texts clearly stating that the only way to God the Father is through Jesus Christ. Period. No other way is acceptable. Not only does this include salvation but it also includes coming before the Father in prayer.

Last night I preached on evangelism and how it is imperative for the Christian to have a burden for the lost and share the gospel with unbelieving friends, family, and strangers. Afterward, one individual approached me and asked if God hears the prayers of good moral people who are not Christians. I responded by saying: "no."

John 14:6 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

1 Timothy 2:5 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 3:11-12 in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

These verses state that it is only through Jesus that anyone can approach God the Father in prayer. It is only those who are redeemed and forgiven and washed who have access in confidence before the Father in prayer (cf. Eph 3:12). You may ask, "well, how does someone get saved, then, if God only hears the prayers of believers?" Good question. At the moment of conversion, when the Holy Spirit miraculously, instantaneously, and supernaturally regenerates the deadened heart and instills salvation in that lost soul, God hears that sinner's cry of repentance and reconciliation and He eagerly forgives and instantly lavishes every spiritual gift on that person (cf. Eph 1:3). But that's at the moment of conversion. Before that, God is deaf to the prayers of nonChristians—indeed, every religion that rejects Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation is false and their prayers are impotent. Moral people nowadays who pray and ask God to help them through their specific 'financial crisis' fall upon deaf ears of God. Why? Because they have no one to plead them before the Father. Their access before the sovereign throne of God Almighty is forbidden.

The solution? Repent, confess, and believe in Jesus Christ! At the moment of saving faith, all access is granted to the sinner to have boldness in speech and access in confidence before God from that moment on—continuing into eternity!

So then, heed the words of Auctor:

Hebrews 4:15-16 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One interesting note revealed in the Pauline letters is that his humility seems to go deeper as he senses his own unworthiness as he continues in Christ's ministry. I've heard it said from many men older and much wiser than myself that the longer a man is in ministry the humbler that man becomes. Often I hear it said that the greatest obstacle to young, energetic, dogmatic preachers is pride—pride! We often here such statements (and rightly so!) as: Strangle all pride. Kill all pride. Cut it off. Gouge it out—at its root!

This is not to (even remotely) suggest that the Apostle Paul was prideful at the outset of his ministry but it is to say that the longer a man is in the ministry preaching and teaching God's Word, and the more a man learns more about the unfathomable riches of Christ Jesus, the deeper and stronger and baser that man's humility will be. Paul exemplifies this in three statements.

1. Paul says he is the least of all the apostles (Ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι ὁ ἐλάχιστος τῶν ἀποστόλων)—1 Cor 15:9.
2. Paul says he is the least of all the saints (ἐμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων)—Eph 3:8.
3. Paul says he is the worst of all sinners (Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ἦλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἁμαρτωλοὺς σῶσαι, ὧν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ)—1 Tim 1:15

Let me explain. I believe—along with most conservative evangelical NT introductions—that 1 Corinthians was written on Paul's third missionary journey (54-58AD). If this is the case, then Paul may have written 1 Corinthians near the mid-point of this journey. And, it is in 1 Cor 15:9 that he says: "I am the least of all the apostles." Indeed, Paul humbly acknowledges his unworthiness to be termed an apostle.

After this third missionary journey, Paul was imprisoned (in Rome, I believe) for 2 years (61-62AD). It is from Rome that Paul wrote his "imprisonment epistles" (Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon). It was here that he wrote in Eph 3:8: "I am the least of all the saints." Indeed, not only am I the least of all the apostles but now I recognize I'm the least of all the saints!

Finally, Paul's three missionary journeys and his two-year imprisonment in Rome (often termed his "first Roman imprisonment) he was released from this imprisonment (where he traveled extensively and wrote 1 Timothy and Titus). Thus, near the end of Paul's life, just before writing 2 Timothy in the mid 60's, Paul wrote in 1 Tim 1:15 that he is the "worst of all sinners." Indeed, Paul considers himself the chief or foremost of sinners. What an amazing example of humility. God certainly broke and humbled Paul throughout his journeys, travels, preaching tours, persecutions, and imprisonments.

Indeed, may God humble all of us so that we can obey what He says through the words of Peter:

1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Snatching the wife for a couple of days in the (almost always) perfect weather in San Diego.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From John Piper:
The deepest longing of the human heart is to know and enjoy the glory of God. We were made for this. "ring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth ... whom I created for my glory," says the Lord (Isaiah 43:6-7). To see it, to savor it, and to show it—that is why we exist. The untracked, unimaginable stretches of the created universe are a parable about the inexhaustible "riches of his glory" (Romans 9:23) ... The ache of every human heart is an ache for this. ... The point is this: we were made to know and treasure the glory of God above all things; and when we trade that treasure for images, everything is disordered. The sun of God's glory was made to shine at the center of the solar system of our soul. And when it does, all the planets of our life are held in their proper orbit. But when the sun is displaced, everything flies apart. The healing of the soul begins by restoring the glory of God to its flaming, all-attracting place at the center (Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, 14-15).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When man holds opinions, it is a belief. But when the beliefs hold a man, it is a conviction. How many of us really have convictions. I mean, full fledged, biblical convictions? We all hold convictions about certain things—family issues, political viewpoints, religious ideologies, relational issues. The man of God, however, must hold firm convictions that nothing, no one, ever can destroy. The believer in Jesus Christ believes the Word of God to be wholly true, perfectly inspired and eminently relevant. It is when this believer, who believes in God's Word is thus held and seized by the objective truth God's Word that he now has a conviction about God's Word.

Convictions just don't change overnight. When a conviction grabs a hold of a man and won't let him go then nothing can sway this person from the truth. All believers are to have convictions. All regenerate persons are to not only hold the truth of God's Word as reliable and trustworthy but be willing to be held by the truth of God's Word as absolutely authoritative and worthy of life-submission.

Beliefs. We all have them. But what is it that holds you?
Tonight I’m preaching on the radical reconciliation between Jew and Gentile in the body of Christ. Paul interrupts himself after v.1 (which he doesn’t pick up again till v.14 in his prayer) with a lengthy parenthetical remark on his stewardship to make known the mystery of Christ.

If I employ verbal aspect to this passage (Eph 3:1-13) there is only one perfect verbal form which gives heightened prominence (marked emphasis) to arrest the listener/reader’s attention on this most-important point.

The perfect verb form is found in verse 9: καὶ φωτίσαι [πάντας] τίς ἡ οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων ἐν τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι.

Thus, the perfect participle ἀποκεκρυμμένου brings the idea of this mystery which was once hidden but yet it has existed since the eternal times in God (v.9b). But now this mystery (μυστηρίῳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, cf. v.4) has been revealed where both Jew and Gentile can worship together in one body on equal ground because of Christ’s atoning death.

Not only do we see the amazing plan of salvation revealed where both Jew and Gentile have equal standing before God in the body of Christ but we also stand mind-boggled at the marvelous wisdom of God who had this plan from the eternal times (ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων, v.9). What a great God who is unchanging yet all wise and perfectly sovereign over our salvation. Soli Deo Gloria.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's a PROMO from a few years ago, but it gets the gist across...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From a Christian brother...
Even great familiarity with the Bible does not guarantee understanding of it, as I can testify from my experience of theological education at a liberal seminary. My New Testament professor carried a Bible as well thumbed as that of a believing Biblicist, but it had apparently done him little spiritual good. He told us of how he had become involved in New Testament study, not out of any reverence for the inspired Word, but because in college he had been introduced to the higher critical method of Bible study, and he had discovered that the exercise of trying to determine the origin of a saying in the gospels was intellectually stimulating. Trying to sift through what he saw as the different levels of tradition to determine whether a saying was original to Jesus or part of early church tradition or the invention of the gospel writer was an enjoyable mental challenge for him. He said that it gave him the same kind of satisfaction as solving a crossword puzzle or figuring out the ending of a mystery novel. He gleefully described how he had squelched a pious but naïve student who once asked him to begin a class with prayer. He was on his fourth marriage, as I recall. His example illustrates how it is possible to derive mental stimulation from the Bible and nothing else.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

So here is another excellent quote from Fred Klooster on the illumination of the Holy Spirit and how it is inextricably tied with heart-understanding. Read it, and then read it again to make certain you didn't omit anything:
The internal testimony of the Holy Spirit is a heart-rooted conviction that Scripture is the authoritative Word of God. Similarly, the continuing process of biblical interpretation in the process of sanctification should aim also at heart-understanding. Interpretation of Scripture involves much more than head-knowledge or the gaining of information, historical or other. That is why illumination is a continuing need.
—Klooster, "The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Hermeneutical Process," in Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible, ed. by Radmacher and Preus (Zondervan, 1984), 461-62.
In Psalm 62:7 David writes:

עַל־אֱ֭לֹהִים יִשְׁעִ֣י וּכְבֹודִ֑י צוּר־עֻזִּ֥י מַ֝חְסִ֗י בֵּֽאלֹהִֽים׃

Translation: In God is my salvation and my glory; the Rock of my strength and my Refuge is in God.

The original contains an inclusio that some English translations omit—אֱ֭לֹהִים...אֱ֭לֹהִים (God...God). David declares in this psalm that God is his salvation (deliverance) and his glory (worth, sufficiency). Everything that we have or hope to be is to be found in God and God alone. He is the Rock of our strength and our impregnable fortress. He is strong. He is mighty. He is towering. He is powerful.

And the rhetorical device encompassing this verse together is the repetition of "God" (אֱ֭לֹהִים). Thus, David's recognition of his salvation, glory, and protection is rightly grounded in the all-sufficient nature of God and God alone.

Monday, May 3, 2010

This week for my New Testament course, the topic of study is the Holy Spirit's role in our Bible interpretation. I'll be blogging periodically regarding my thoughts on this important aspect of hermeneutics. But to begin, I appreciate what Bernard Ramm notes as he speaks with reference to 2 Cor 4:3-4:

The Text:
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Ramm's Comment:
When our minds are blinded by the god of this world, everything we read in the New Testament may be equivocated, e.g., 'we are not sure of the Greek,' 'there is a parallel in the mystery cults to this,' 'this is a piece of Judean tradition,' 'this is but Paul's imagination,' or, 'this is a churchy interpolation.' Then, in the midst of our equivocations, God speaks: Let there be light! Immediately this creaturely equivocation ceases; unbelief burns itself out in a moment; and there before the eyes of our hearts stands Jesus Christ giving the light of the knowledge of the glory of God on his blessed face (v.6).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ephesians 2:18, we read:

Greek Text: ὅτι δι᾽ αὐτοῦ ἔχομεν τὴν προσαγωγὴν οἱ ἀμφότεροι ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα.
Translation: That through Him [Christ, Χριστοῦ [v.13]) we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

A wonderful reality from Ephesians 2:18 is that the Trinity is clearly seen as we find that Christ is the means by which we are able to have fellowship and access with God the Father. We both—in context this refers to both Jew and Gentile—have access to God through Christ. In other words, regardless of any kind of background whatsoever, those who are joined together and sealed by the Holy Spirit are joined together in unity in the body of Christ. And finally, by means of Christ and in the sphere of the Holy Spirit all believers have access (τὴν προσαγωγὴν) to the Father. This means that the only way God can be approached is by means of Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit uniting all true believers together. Of course, the glory of salvation briefly revealed here echoes 1:3-14 where the thrice-holy God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—accomplishes salvation for His children. Soli Deo Gloria.
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