Archive for October, 2011

Reformation Day

31 October 2011

HERE is a good wee interview with Mike Reeves on the reformation.

If you have a bit more time, then tackle THIS article on the reformation as well.

Want more?

HERE is a video interview with Michael Haykin.

HERE is a free download of RC Sproul’s children’s book on Luther.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Not everyone can be this lucky

21 October 2011

Maybe one day I’ll get to participate in an activity like this. A large library could be a means of staying fit. All kinds of perks!

The vocabulary of grace

19 October 2011

We’ve just finished a series in the book of Job at church. Many are familiar with the story of Job, but probably less have waded through the waters step by step with Job and his friends. If you were to take an hour or so and read all of the speeches of Job’s friends you’d find a mixed bag. Some wonderful things said, some confusion things said, and some awful things said. But one thing that would be missing from start to finish in these speeches is grace. Job’s friends had no vocabulary for grace, it was foreign to them and they were unfamiliar with it. In fact, the reason they were so oppressive to Job is because they kept throwing a graceless God at him. In their graceless worldview situations such as Job’s didn’t exist, hence their mistaken accusations of Job’s sin.

A wonderful old hymn that’s been given new life is Jesus, I my cross have taken.  There are 4 lines in the fifth verse of this hymn that would, I think, have been a wonderful balm for Job to hear rather than the drivel of his friends. Henry Lyte writes:

Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine (fret).

Those are words filled with grace, because they bring Jesus to the suffering (Job in this case).

Anyhow, what is fascinating at the end of the book is the vocabulary lesson Job’s friends get. Thankfully, for them, God is not like they imagined him to be. He is a God of grace.

Job 42.7   After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

They’ve witnessed the innocent suffering of Job and could not make sense of it, and now they witness the innocent suffering of these animals. And I imagine through this vocabulary lesson in grace they understood, ‘unless I have a substitute I am doomed’. And they look in faith to the one whom Job so clearly pictures, the truly innocent sufferer, the Lord Jesus Christ. In one life only is Job excelled, in innocence and in grief. That is, of course, life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus. In is in Jesus’ perfection and in Jesus’ suffering that the questions of Job ultimately find their answer. And what is that answer? In a word, grace.

The greatest event in Scottish history

18 October 2011

When John Knox went upstairs to plead with God for Scotland, it was the greatest event in Scottish history. – Spurgeon

‘Now, O Lord, thou hast revealed thyself and thy beloved Son Jesus Christ, clearly to the world again, by the true preaching of his blessed evangel, which also of thy mercy is offered unto us within this realm of Scotland…Give unto us, O Lord, that presently are assembled in thy Name, such abundance of thy Holy Spirit, that we may see those things that shall be expedient for the advancement of thy glory, in the midst of this perverse and stubborn generation. Give us grace, O Lord, that universally among ourselves, we may agree in the unity of true doctrine. Bless thou so our weak labours, that the fruits of the same may redound to the praise of thy holy Name, to the profit of this present generation, and to the posterity to come, through Jesus Christ; to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and praise, now and ever. So be it.’

What is lacking in Christ’s afflictions?

17 October 2011

I’m sure this has been helpfully explained before, but a light came on a couple weeks back in understanding what Paul is getting at in Col 1.24 where he writes, ‘Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions’.

The question is, is something about Christ’s work on the cross insufficient? The answer, of course, is ‘no’. But what does Paul mean here?

I think the easiest and most helpful way to understand this is to think about the one inflicting the suffering. On the cross it was the wrath of God against the sin of his people that Jesus suffered. The suffering Paul experiences (and is lacking in Christ) does not come from the Father to top-up what was insufficient in the cross, but comes from the enemy.

You might say it this way, in Christ’s death on the cross the wrath of God was satisfied, but not the wrath of Satan (not that Satan was pouring wrath on Jesus on the cross, he wasn’t; but even in his observance of these sufferings of Christ, he wants to see more).

So, the enemy is not done inflicting sufferings upon Christ’s body, and Paul was filling up what was lacking and now the church continues to fill up what is lacking.