For me September 11, 2001 dawned as any other day for making the commute in to the seminary and my first class of the day. As usual, I awakened early and prepared myself for a day of teaching. However, I broke my routine in a major way—I turned on the TV to check the news. In New York City a fire raged in one of the World Trade towers. Someone said that a plane had crashed into it, but confusion accompanied the story—really? what kind of plane?
Two Fallen Towers
Then, as I watched, viewers could hear the approach of a plane and gazed, horrified, as it struck the second tower!… Continue reading
Even before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:17–21), God appointed Christ and His perfect sacrifice as the basis for showing mercy to the Gentiles. Through Christ they could experience hope in spite of being strangers to Israel and not being recipients of God’s covenants with Israel (Ephesians 2:11–13). The apostle Paul understood this point very clearly and the Spirit of God led him to repeatedly write of its profound significance. One such occasion appears in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
Some preachers produce abundant applications (or, implications?) for their congregations from biblical narratives, whether they are Old Testament historical narratives like Judges 4 or New Testament Gospel narratives like Mark 3. Other preachers insist they should offer only theological and practical implications. Still others refuse to recognize any implications or applications from Scripture narratives. They declare, “Biblical narrative is only descriptive, not prescriptive.” Which practice is best? Which practice is legitimate and in keeping with sound biblical interpretation?
New Testament Teaching
No matter what the topic, one should always begin with the Scriptures themselves. What does the Word of God teach?… Continue reading
Our previous blog post (March 2) discussed the purposes for biblical genealogies. Now, please read the genealogy found in 1 Chronicles 1:17–27,
17 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. And the sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech. 18 Arpachshad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber. 19 To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg (for in his days the earth was divided), and his brother’s name was Joktan. 20 Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan.
The grace of God sets biblical Christianity apart from all religious systems. It is at the very core of what it means to be a Christian. The grace of God is what makes biblical Christianity different from every other worldview, every other philosophy, and every other way of life. It is what makes biblical Christians, period.
I have long loved the definition of God’s grace that J.I. Packer gives in his classic book, Knowing God. There he writes, “The grace of God is love freely shown towards guilty sinners, contrary to their merit and indeed in defiance of their demerit.… Continue reading