Not sure if you’re a fan of Owl City (I like), but here’s a rendition of In Christ Alone.
Posts Tagged ‘ Christ ’
The discussion on Spiritual Gifts from yesterday made me think about 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 — specifically the part about “the perfect”. Most charismatics I know (and also the ones I don’t know) understand this passage to mean the second coming of Christ. But not so fast…
I recall a great presentation from seminary a couple of years back by Pastor Rich Peralez. I’ll try to give the bullet points from memory. The text says (emphasis mine):
 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Now, both sides agree that what’s partial & passing are the spiritual gifts, such as tongues. It’s a matter of when. If the perfect means Christ’s return, then spiritual gifts should continue until then. But what else would it mean?
I think the answer is Scripture. At the time Paul is writing his epistle to the Corinthians the canon was not yet completed. There was more to come and it would be profitable for every good work (1 Timothy 3:16-17) and not something to add to (inferred from Revelation 22:18).
You may say “That seems like a stretch.” But consider the following about the 2nd coming interpretation.
You see, the whole passage reads as a comparison of something incomplete and fleeting contrasted against a fullness. Paul uses the metaphor of a dim mirror vs. the clear vision of seeing face to face. Some do injustice to the literary style by mixing the metaphor & taking face to face to mean looking Jesus in the eyes… but there’s no indication that’s what it means and it strains his comparison. These gifts are finite and show knowledge and authority of God for those in and around the church. The completed canon of Scriptures do the same — but in an entirely sufficient manner. So if the gifts are a dim reflection of God’s perfect and completed Word to us… why do we still need them? And if Paul is talking about the Scripture instead of Christ’s return, why would we insist that he was wrong about the gifts coming to a close (1 Cor. 13:8)?
I began my 10th year of marriage on Wednesday the 11th. That in & of itself doesn’t give me any special insight into having a marriage that glorifies God. The Scriptures have already done that. But, 10 years of marriage has my wife & I talking about the subject. If we were to write a book about marriage, what would the chapters be about? (this is the kind of stuff we talk about in the evenings). So here’s one thing we’d include in the book.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A recently married couple is receiving advice from a more experienced married couple. Maybe they asked for it. Probably they didn’t. The old routine goes something like this:
Advice giver turns to the husband and says; “These are the two most important words for your marriage: ‘Yes, dear.’” The rim-shot is optional, as is the courtesy laugh usually offered to this modern day sage. Of course, this is spectacularly bad advice. Men who simply acquiesce to the every whim of defer to every tantrum their wife has without opposition are bad husbands, failing to fill the role set forth for them by God in marriage. There’s a similar problem with wives who understand headship to mean that you do whatever your husband asks immediately and without discussion or question, regardless of the implications. More on that another time, though.
Keeping quiet about your marriage isn’t necessarily bad advice. You don’t want it to be a principle of the communication between husband and wife. But in several cases, you absolutely do want it in the communications husbands and wives have outside the home. What do I mean?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
Christian husband goes out with his buddies.
“Hey, glad (wife’s name) finally let you out!”
“No doubt. It’s nice to be released from the ball & chain every once in a while.”
“I hear that. (Other dude’s wife’s name) absolutely freaks whenever I say I want to go out. She won’t even talk to me for like 15 minutes.”
“Don’t get me started on the cold shoulder thing. Last week I…”
And the conversation continues. The same scenario can involve a group of wives getting together and collectively lamenting the shortcomings of their husbands. Or just an individual conversation (say between a parent & their married child) going over what they get annoyed about in their marriage.
It’s these conversations that needs to be killed. This is where you need to just stop talking. Making your spouse look bad in front of your friends or whoever else is not just making conversation or having a laugh. It’s marital sabotage.
Why do I think so? A couple of reasons:
Those are just the problems that come from the outside perspective. You effectively dishonor your spouse when you verbally drag them through the mud, and you teach others that such is a part of marriage and perfectly acceptable. But it’s not.
Now you may say – “So what! Let them think that. It doesn’t change how much I love him/her.”
Are you sure about that?
Ever have something come into your life that annoys you? Then you start talking with someone about it and you go over it and over it and soon you’re filled with soul crushing rage for the former annoyance? I’ve seen memos sent by a Boss turns into an affront against the recipient’s very being after the topic was kicked around the water cooler long enough. The same thing applies to relationships. ”Dude, my wife’s cooking is horrible.” easily turns into “Your cooking is awful! And you know what else?” // full disclosure – my wife’s cooking is THE BOMB.
More importantly, gossiping about your spouse in no way resembles the relationship between Christ and the church it is modeled after. Jesus loves the church. Fully. In spite of the blemishes and spots. Jesus makes the church pure as snow through his sacrificial death. He doesn’t sit back looking at the church and lament their sinfulness (Sorry to break it to any political cartoonists hoping to recycle the gag about Jesus looking down from a cloud and getting all bummed about His sheep). Christ predestined his church because that’s what he chose to do – not because of how awesome we are. Take that view to marriage – that the charge of the Christian husband is to love his wife like Christ loves the church… and then explain to me how exposing all the sins and shortcomings of your wife to whoever you’re talking to is an apt illustration of how Christ views you and your sins. It’s not. So just stop talking.
I preached the final sermon on the book of Ruth chapter 4 yesterday morning.
The man with no name (the redeemer who opts not to take on Naomi & Ruth) is a good illustration of many in the church today. He’s willing to serve Christ… to a point. When all he was required to do was put some money up front and take care of an old woman, he was all about it. In fact, he might even get ahead on the deal. After Naomi dies, he’s got some extra land all to himself, since she didn’t have any sons to inherit it. But when Boaz revealed the fine print (Ruth came along with the purchase, and he would have to provide an heir for Naomi) the man with no name backed out of the deal.
The nameless man saw his finances getting stretched, his inheritance diminishing and said the cost was too high. Boaz had no such qualms and continued to serve the Lord by providing for the poor and the needy – he’d been helping Ruth & Naomi for a while, all without even a whiff of personal gain.
So it is with following Christ. We’re slack when it comes to counting the cost of discipleship (Luke 14:28-33). Instead of cultivating a life where we seek to glorify God (even, gasp! at a personal cost) we cultivate a life where we’ll only go so far. Love your neighbor unless they’re just too annoying. Love one another so long as they meet your personal marks for piety, competence, or personality. Make disciples so long as you’ve got the time, etc. The Christian who lives like this, will be nameless, while the believer who seeks to honor Christ by loving Him and keeping His commands will, like Boaz, be known.
Also: Boaz totally “gets” the importance of having a godly, Proverbs 31 kind of wife.
Also, Also: God is amazing & incomprehensible and Christ’s suffering and love for us are brought into a clear perspective via this chapter. Let me know what you think.
Ruth Finds Redemption, is available for streaming or downloading on the TBPC website.
God’s plan for Salvation, according to the Scriptures, is characterized as being a Supernatural, Evangelical, Particular event per Benjamin B. Warfield’s excellent book: The Plan of Salvation. Today we’re going to see just how particular B.B. means when he uses the word.
After showing that God’s saving grace is not universally administered (not all are will be saved), Warfield turns his sight on a group of Particularists holding a different view in regards to the operation of how men are to be saved.
“…the precise point [of the] issue comes therefore to be whether the redemptive work of Christ actually saves those for whom it is wrought, or only opens a possibility of salvation to them.“
In the corner of the the “possibility” camp are the Amyraldians, a group named after the idea’s formulator, Moses Amyraut. Let me just say right off the bat that Moses is an awesome name & my wife should relent and let me name our next son Moses. Amyraldianism, however, is less awesome. The idea is one of a hypothetical redemption. Christ’s death on the cross secured salvation for no one in & of itself, but rather made salvation a viability by removing any obstacles that might have been in their way. The actual salvation comes when the individual believes on Christ, which is achieved only through God the Holy Spirit giving them new hearts.
The understanding that Warfield ascribes to is what he would call consistent particularism – Christ’s work on the cross actually redeems and is in itself a saving act that actually saves, rather than a saving act that could save.
“If the saving operations of God actually save, then all those upon whom he savingly operates are saved, and particularism is given in the very nature of the case; unless we are prepared to go the whole way with universalism and declare that all men are saved.”
Any act, option, or possibility of salvation apart from Christ — solely and entirely, is in some way going to be making friends with universalism. Any universalistic involvement is essentially a denial of Soli Deo gloria – Christ’s redemptive work cannot extend beyond those who are actually saved.
“It is God the Lord who saves; and in all the operations by which he works salvation alike, he operates for and upon, not all men indifferently, but some men only, those namely who he saves. Thus only can we preserve to him his glory and ascribe to him and to him only the whole work of salvation.”
My question to you is: Does holding the Amyraldian position, as opposed to the Reformed position, make any difference in the life of a believer, from a practical perspective?
As finals approach for Seminary I’ve been brushing up & re-reading some books that we’ll be discussing or that I have to make presentations on. One such book is B.B. Warfield’s The Plan of Salvation. In it Warfield lays out (you guessed it) God’s plan for the salvation of Man. The opening chapter, which was the introduction to a series of lectures Warfield gave which became the book lays down the paths towards salvation.
He begins by examining Deism and Theism. Often time Deists will appeal to a perceived freedom from God (who no longer has any direct involvement in the world which He created). Warfield shows these people to be slaves to law through an Ackbar-esque proclamation that Deism is a trap. If we are bound by the laws that God put in place at creation with no hope of divine intervention, there is no hope, or no plan for salvation. Things simply move on. Warfield dismisses this view as dumb and moves onto theism, skilfully halving the views of theists on salvation as he goes along.
There are fundamentally only two doctrines of salvation: that salvation is from God, and that salvation is from ourselves.
Can’t wait to wade further in through the rest of the week!
Dreams & Instincts (Jude 6-8). I have a blog? Huh. Well, here’s the last sermon I preached…
5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.
…if Christianity is truth, it ought to touch on the whole of life. The modern drift in some evangelical circles toward being emotionally and experientially based is really, very, very weak. The other side of the coin, though, is that Christianity must never be reduced merely to an intellectual system. It too has to touch the whole of life, which means the devotional and so on. So to the extent that has been an emphasis at L’Abri, which I think it has, I’m thankful. I think it fits into the concept of the fullness of truth. After all, if God is there, [if] it isn’t just an answer to an intellectual question, then he’s really there. We should love him, we’re called upon to adore him, to be in relationship to him, and, incidentally, to obey him.