HERE is an insightful and stinging post by Carl Trueman in regards to some Church of Scotland matters to be raised at this year’s General Assembly. If you want a longer explanation of this see his article “Why You Shouldn’t Buy the Big Issue” in his Wages of Spin. It is about this same issue in relation to the Church of England.
Archive for April, 2009
…in the Lord’s perfections.
I’ve recently been reading from the New Living Translation. It is a dynamic equivalent, so more interpretive than literal, but I have found it quite good. It is always helpful when something that can become familiar, causing us to pay less attention to it, is made new and fresh.
All that to say, the NLT in Psalm 27.4 says this:
The one thing I ask of the LORD – the thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his temple.
A good goal for each day, to delight in the Lord’s perfections. To give us right perspective, right expectations, and a right hope.
Good stuff from Martin here, pertinent with all the confusion on the atonement floating around in evangelicalism today. Get rid of penal substitution and Christ as priest, and you get rid of everything. This is from Martin’s commentary on Jonah (pg. 335) and is worth reading on from where this quote leaves off.
Let it be observed very specially that it is “Christ crucified” that is the Power and Wisdom of God. It is Christ in the fundamental act of His priesthood; offering Himself a sacrifice to satisfy Divine justice and reconcile us to God. This is indeed remarkable. Would we not have thought that when Christ was to be called the Wisdom of God, we would have been asked to contemplate His Prophetic office? and when Christ was to be called the Power of God, to contemplate His Kingly office? As a teacher, He might have been called God’s Wisdom; and as a prince, God’s power. But not so. He is a wise teacher; and He is a powerful prince. But it is as a priest on His Cross that He is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.
As a Teacher, He might have taught us many truths; but there could have been no power in them but for the Cross. Gospel morality might have been very beautiful–but weak. It might have been very acceptable to the Greeks in their search for wisdom. But oh! the folly of being followers of a dead, a murdered Teacher! Yes; and that folly is undeniable, if the sufferer be not a Priest.
And so, as a King, He might have done many great and powerful things; but there could have been no wisdom in them; no adaptation for the cancelling of guilt; for reconciling men to God; for giving peace of conscience and power over Satan and death:–none but for the Cross. The astounding signs and wonders might have been very acceptable to Jews. Gladly would they have accepted Him as king; taken Him by force and made Him a king. But oh! the shameful Cross! The King of the Jews crucified! Write not, “the King of the Jews,”–but only that he said it. Our king crucified! They stumbled at that stumbling stone. A king should be with great power and observation.
Yet not in the kingly office are we to look for all the power of God; and not in the prophetic for all His wisdom. It is the priest,–the sacrifice,–the Lamb of God,–Christ crucified,–who is the power of God, and the wisdom of God unto salvation. If He is not a priest, the Greek may rightly reject Him as a teacher, and call the whole exhibition folly; and the Jew reject Him as a king, and call it weakness and unprofitableness unto the uttermost. The Greek inevitably falls into his error, and the Jew into his, because they both are blind to the priestly nature and glory of His death. The Greeks seek a wise teacher–and the Jew a powerful king. A crucified king and teacher seems absurdity and imbecility. And it really is so, except upon the ground that Christ crucified is an atoning priest for ever after the order of Melchizadec. As a prophet, there is wisdom in His instructive voice. As a king, there is might in His majestic arm. His Cross may cast a cloud over His wisdom; and cast more than a doubt upon His power; yet, rightly seen, the Cross, as the alter of eternal propitiation, proves that He was not merely powerful and wise, but the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.
From an article by Hugh Martin by this name. He writes:
And it is a melancholy, yet instructive, view of human nature, in its unrenewed condition, to behold the mind of man thus not only misunderstanding the great scheme of God’s sovereign grace in Christ Jesus, but, as it were, ingeniously and perseveringly contradicting and reversing it throughout,—insisting on works where God has excluded them, restraining them where God has called for them. But be not deceived. If you are to work for justification, God can never justify you. If you are not to work unto sanctification, God can never sanctify you.
What happened as a result of the actions of the first Adam?
No longer peace between God & man; no longer peace between people; no longer peace between man & creation; no longer peace between man & himself .
What are the results of the life, death, and resurrection of the Second Adam?
Peace between God & man; peace between people; peace between man & creation; peace with ourself. Though not all fully realized yet, the work of Christ is comprehensive in its scope. Surely this is what all people need.
And this is just part of the picture. Jesus doesn’t merely fix what Adam messed up, but he goes beyond that such that we experience joy and a relationship with God that is more than Adam had in the garden. Amazing!
Hebrews 4.12 is a familiar passage to many. I have never read or heard anyone speak about it as referring to Christ except in one of M’Cheyne’s sermons (from Sermons on Hebrews). He begins “‘The WORD OF GOD’ in this passage does not mean the Bible, or written Word of God, but the Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word.” He goes on to explain why this is the case.
We can’t really separate the written word from the living Word. In fact, in Hugh Martin’s The Abiding Presence (happily looking like it is being reprinted) the thrust of his thesis is that one of the ways Christ continues to abide with his people is in his word.
Anyhow, I haven’t really heard much on Hebrews 4.12 in reference to Christ and was curious if anyone else had, or if you have any thoughts on it? I’m not sure if it is “either or,” or “both and.”
Consider Epaphras’ prayer for others:
That you may stand mature and fully assured in the will of God. (Col 4.12)