Monday, July 9, 2018

Quotes of Note

Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking,  or all of the above.


Another great one from Concise Theology:
Christ's death was God's act of reconciling us to himself, overcoming his own hostility to us that our sins provoked (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Col. 1:20-22). The Cross propitiated (i.e., quenched his wrath against us by expiating our sins and so removing them from his sight). Key texts here are Romans 3:25; hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2 and 4:10, in each of which the Greek expresses propitiation explicitly. The Cross had this propitiatory effect because in his suffering Christ assumed our identity as it were, and endured the retributive judgment due to us ("the curse of the law," Gal. 3:13) as our substitute, in our place, with the damning record of our transgressions nailed by God to his cross as the tally of crimes for which he was now dying. 
Take note of the sentence beginning, "The Cross propitiated . . . " This is exceptional writing. Packer makes the cross the subject of the sentence, and gives it a transitive verb, "propitiated." This adds a powerful emphasis on the significance of the cross. Forgiveness is because of the cross. The cross has won our redemption for us. Packer has beautifully drawn our attention to the essential nature of the cross.


These related quotes are from The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson. If you are looking for a book that addresses antinomianism and its "nonidentical twin," legalism, this is the book for you.
There is only one genuine cure for legalism. It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ himself. This leads to a new love for and obedience to the law of God, which he now mediates to us in the gospel. This alone breaks the bonds of both legalism (the law is no longer divorced from the person of Christ) and antinomianism (we are not divorced from the law, which now comes to us from the hand of Christ and in the empowerment of the Spirit, who writes it on our hearts.) (pg. 157)
Commandments are the railroad tracks on which the life empowered by the love of God poured into the heart by the Holy Spirit runs. Love empowers the engine; the law guides the direction. They are mutually interdependent. (pp. 168-169)


I'm still reading The Essential Trinity, a collection of essays on the "New Testament foundations and practical relevance" of the Trinity. I'm three-quarters of the way through the last chapter, the one on the Trinity and preaching, which is written by Michael Reeves. You might think a chapter on preaching would have nothing to say to an ordinary woman who will never preach, but much of what Reeves has written is also applicable in some way to every Christian.

It "will not do," writes Reeves, "for Christian preachers to mouth a vague or general theism. How, then, will the glory of the living God be distingished from the glory of all others?"

The same thing goes for the lay Christian. It will not do for us to think and speak about God as if he were a generally theistic god. Our God—the one we hold in our minds when we worship, and the one we speak of in our daily lives—should be the one true God who exists as Trinity.

Reeves continues, speaking to the preacher, but much of what he says also applies to every believer:
A faithful servant of this God will be eager to speak in trinitarian language as often and as clearly as possible, knowing our natural propensity to squash God into our own fallen perception.
'Preaching the Trinity' really (unfortunately) requires a little explanation. All too easily that could be taken to mean that, every now and again, the preacher departs from his usual expository ministry and puzzles his congregation with the question of how three can be one. Out with the verse-by-verse that week; in with talk about triangles and 3-in-one shampoo. But the Trinity is not an addendum to the gospel of Jesus, a side room for those ready to move on: the triune God is the God of the gospel. To preach the Trinity is simply to preach the Father who is made known by his son Jesus Christ in the  power of the Spirit. It is, in fact, no more than to preach Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God anointed with the Holy Spirit. Note the trinitarianism of the simple summons to faith in Jesus found in John's Gospel: 'these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Sond of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name' (John 20:31).
So when you read your Bible, especially the New Testament, look for the Trinity. Where is the Father in the passage you are reading? The Son? The Spirit? The Spirit sometimes hides, but behind any words about new life, new creatures, being made new, becoming like Christ, and more, is the Spirit, who is working withing every believer to recreate them in the image of Christ. When you think about the gospel, think about each person's role in the work of salvation. And when you speak of God to others, speak frequently of Father, Son, and Spirit.

When you worship, are you worshipping the Christian God—Father, Son, and Spirit—or a vague or general theistic god?

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