REDEMPTION

SABBATH RENEWAL

“…we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16 ESV).

“…the Spirit’s quickening is only the beginning of God’s work of grace in the soul.  This does not wholly renew the heart at once: no indeed, the inner man needs to be ‘renewed day by day’…” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p65).

“…the Sabbath…God is not satisfied by the people’s merely resting from their weekly labors; rather, inward sanctification is the primary purpose of the Sabbath…Sabbath is a sacrament of regeneration…” John Calvin (ref#164, May 10th).

“…though spiritual things always remain the same, yet we do not experience their effect or perceive their value unless we are careful that our lack of faith does not profane what God has consecrated to our salvation….Merely taking time off from work and going to church perfunctorily may be missing the most crucial benefit of all: the blessing of the Spirit in our inward sanctification.  By faith we must observe the wondrous grace of the sacraments, including this sacrament of regeneration” John Calvin (ref#164, May 10th).

FATHER, I learn keeping the Sabbath is just as important as following Your commands for You always link Sabbath-keeping with a call for obedience. One example:  “…they rejected my rules and did not walk in my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths…” (Ezek 20:16 ESV).

I ask that You fulfill my need for day to day regeneration by forever reminding me to keep the Sabbath so that I might not “lose the blessing of the Spirit” John Calvin (ref#164, May 10th).

REDEMPTION

RENEWED AND RECTIFIED

“…a new man…is but the original man ‘renewed’” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p55).

“he saved us…by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5 ESV).

“In regeneration nature is not ruined, but rectified.  The convert is the same man, but new made….God in conversion does not bestow a new understanding, but a new light to the old; not a new soul, but a new life to the old one…We put off the rags of the old man, and put on the robes of the new man, and continue in regard of substance the same man” George Swinnock (ref#225, March 1st).

“…when this new building of regeneration is erected, the Spirit of God makes use of the old substantial materials—the soul and its faculties, the body and its members which were in man before, only he now polishes and purifies them, and squares them according to the rule of God’s Word” George Swinnock (ref#225, March 1st).

“Regeneration consists…of grace infused into the soul…the powers of the soul are spiritualized and made alive unto God, fitted to enjoy God and hold communion with Him.  Regeneration consists in a radical change of heart, for there is implanted a new disposition as the foundation of all holy exercises; the mind being renovated, the affections elevated, and the will emancipated from the bondage of sin” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p54).

“The change in my disposition does not mean that I have a greater intellect now than I had before….But because the disposition governing it is changed, my mind is operating in a different realm and in a different way…it is exactly the same with the feelings…The will…was obstinate and rebellious, but now it desires, it is anxious, it is concerned about the Gospel” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 16th).

“Salvation is all of the grace of God; damnation is all of the will of man.” Charles Spurgeon

REDEMPTION

REDEMPTION

“…the Bible is the story of a hero Redeemer who transforms weak and ordinary people by his powerful grace” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 29th).

“God’s ultimate purpose in redemptive history is to create a people to dwell in his presence, glorifying him through numerous varied activities, and enjoying him forever.  The story begins with God in eternal glory and it ends with God and his people in eternal glory.  At the center stands the cross, where God revealed his glory through his Son.

The biblical story of redemption must be understood within the large story of creation.  First Adam, and later Israel, was placed in God’s sanctuary (the garden and the Promised Land, respectively), but both Adam and Israel failed to be a faithful, obedient steward, and both were expelled from the sanctuary God had created for them.  But Jesus Christ—the second Adam, the son of Abraham, the son of David—was faithful and obedient to God.  Though the world killed him, God raised him to life, which meant that death was defeated.  Through his Spirit, God pours into sinners the resurrection life of his Son, creating a new humanity “in Christ.”  Those who are “in Christ” move through death into new life and exaltation in God’s sanctuary, there to enjoy his presence forever.

The ‘bookends’ concept of biblical theology illustrates that in the third-to-last chapter of the Bible (Revelation 20) God removes his enemies—Satan, death, and evil—that entered the story line in the third chapter of the Bible (Genesis 3), thus completing the story of redemption.  The last two chapters (Revelation 21-22) don’t simply restore the first two chapters (Genesis 1-2); they go beyond them to a world that is fully ordered and holy, in which God is fully present with his people, completing the story of creation….” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2495, “The Bookends of Biblical Theology”).

“…the person who fears the Lord and attends to his commandments has God’s own moral traits reflected in his character.  This is the goal of redemption, to renew the image of God in human beings” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1085, “Psalm 111).

“…I’m no longer under God’s wrath.  I don’t have to live with the burden of low-grade guilt.  I’m completely and finally forgiven.  I have been declared righteous in the sight of God—not on the basis of my own works, but on the basis of Christ’s righteousness that has been imputed to me.  This is what it means to be justified.  There’s nothing more we can do to earn God’s forgiveness” Bob Kauflin (ref#199, p130-131).

FATHER, I bow in inexpressible admiration.

REDEMPTION

THE TRIUNE GOD IN REDEMPTION

“Redemption is the result of the compassion of all three Persons in the Trinity” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p173).

“…one God without division in a Trinity of persons, and three persons without confusion in an unity of essence….The Trinity is a mystery which my faith embraces as revealed in the Word, but my reason cannot fathom” John Arrowsmith (ref#225, May 18th).

“God the Father has made everything through the Son by the Holy Spirit.  The blessed Trinity is operative in the whole work, always, but labor is divided up” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 10th).  “In the economy of redemption all is from the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.  All proceeds from the foreordination of the Father, all that comes to the believer is through Christ, that is, on account of His infinite merits: all is actually wrought by the Spirit, for He is the Executive of the Godhead, the active Agent in all the works of redemption” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p169).

God said, Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26).  Do not let man be content until he knows something of the ‘us’…Endeavor to know the Father…Sit at His table, and let your heart be made merry in His grace.  Then press forward and seek to know much of the Son…Know Him in the unique complexity of His nature: eternal God, yet suffering finite man….Do not forget the Holy Spirit…who first of all moved upon chaos and brought forth order; who now visits the chaos of your soul and creates the order of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 8th PM).

FATHER, I marvel at the complexity of the Godhead.  I marvel more that You have shown me love through redemption.

1ST COVENANT

FAITH COUNTED AS RIGHTEOUSNESS

“The exodus was a sign for Israel, just like the death and resurrection of Jesus are a sign for the church.  The meaning of the sign is that God is for you and will work for you and take care of you if you will only trust him” John Piper (ref#277).

“…Old Testament believers, were saved by looking forward to the work of the Messiah who was to come and putting faith in him” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p519).

“…the law did not call for meritorious works, but for the obedience which flows from faith.  If love is what the law aimed at, and only faith can love, then the law must teach faith…the law…taught us to trust the gracious God…and to live out the obedience of faith” John Piper (ref#277).

“Acceptable sacrifices are based on a right relationship brought about by faith in the God who delivers” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1388, [Jer 7:22-23]).

“Paul teaches that we should not leave the law behind, not reject the law for something else, but fulfill the law in the power of the Holy Spirit through faith which works itself out in love” John Piper (ref#277).

“True religion consists of communion with God based on trust and issuing into obedience” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p13, [Gen 3:6]).

1ST COVENANT

THE LAW OUR GUARDIAN

“…the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin…we were held captive under the law, imprisoned…So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came…” (Gal 3:22-24 ESV).

“The law took men into its training…to make the very best that could be made of them by external instruction….God dealt with them as men in whom, with all the ruin sin had brought, there still was a conscience to judge of good and evil, a heart capable of being stirred to long after God, and a will to choose the good and to choose Himself” Andrew Murray (ref#279).

“Before Christ and His salvation could be revealed and understood and truly appreciated, these faculties of man had to be stirred and wakened” Andrew Murray (ref#279).

  “The law, in short, was nothing else than an immense variety of exercises, in which the worshippers were led by the hand to Christ” John Calvin (ref#281).

“The law had promised life; but it could not give it (Deut iv. 1; Gal iii.21).  The real purpose for which God had given it was the very opposite:…He gave it that it might convince man of his sin and might so waken the confession of his impotence, and of his need of a New Covenant and a true redemption…” Andrew Murray (ref#279).

1ST COVENANT

THE TWISTED FIRST COVENANT

“The ten commandments are based on a call for faith in the God of the exodus, just like the moral teachings of the NT are based on a call for faith in the Lord of Good Friday and Easter” John Piper (ref#277).

FATHER, from Genesis to Revelation Your entire Bible holds the one theme: Your people trusting in You.  The subject of “faith” did not instantly appear with Your 2nd Covenant.  It would be well for all Your chosen ones if we would just trust in Your instructions.  However…

For some simply trusting You is not an immediate concept.  I, for one, spent many years trying to love and be loved by You through my own efforts.

“Sin is essentially man’s failure to trust in God, an act or state of unbelief” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p13, [Gen 3:6]).  “…the human heart would much rather offer to God its works, no matter how costly, than humble itself to confess sin.  That is the reason why man is always predisposed to go the way of works” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p80).

“…concerning Israel…they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness” (Rom 9:27, 10:2-3 ESV).  “…in…the covenant God had made with them, they perverted His grace by seeing it as dependent on their own law-keeping” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1631, [Rom 10:3]).

“Why did Israel fail to achieve right standing with God through the law?  They did not pursue obedience to the law in humble trust, but tried to make it a means of establishing their own righteousness” The ESV Study Bible (ref# 125, p2174, [Rom 9:32]).

“…many in Israel twisted the Mosaic law into legalism.  That is, they severed it from its foundation of faith…and thus turned the commandments into a job description for how to earn the wages of salvation” John Piper (ref#277).

“The law never commanded anyone to try to merit his salvation.  The law is based on faith in God’s promises, not on legalistic strivings.  The mistake of Israel was not in pursuing the law, but in pursuing it by works instead of by faith” John Piper (ref#277).  “The Jews’ zeal and sincerity does not lead them to salvation.  The broader principle is that many sincere, ‘religious’ people are wrong in their beliefs” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2174, [Rom 10:2]).

1ST COVENANT

OLD COVENANT LAW

“The LORD was pleased for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious” (Isa 42:21 ESV).

“To understand the Old Covenant aright we must ever remember its two great characteristics — the one, that it was of Divine appointment, fraught with much true blessing, and absolutely indispensable for the working out of God’s purposes; the other, that it was only provisional and preparatory to something higher, and therefore absolutely insufficient for giving that full salvation which man needs if his heart or the heart of God is to be satisfied” Andrew Murray (ref#279).

“The dispensation of the old covenant was one of distance….When He [GOD] manifested Himself on Mount Sinai to His own chosen…one of the first commands He gave was, ‘Set bounds about the mount’ (Exod 19:23)….It was as if the Lord…wanted to teach man that sin was…utterly loathsome to Him…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 15th PM, brackets mine).

“A…use of the Law is to curb sinners….not only the reprobate, but also of the elect, previous to regeneration” John Calvin (ref#113, p218).

“God’s end in giving us the law was, that we might be fitted for Christ, and obtain justification by believing in him” Matthew Poole (ref#282).  “People see that they are condemned; they are convinced by the Law that they cannot save themselves…Hence, the importance of preaching the Law still;…it is needful that people should be made to feel that they are sinners, in order that they may be prepared to embrace the offers of mercy” Albert Barnes (ref#280).

1ST COVENANT

COVENANTS

“…God works in history to redeem His chosen ones through a series of covenants.  These covenants define His law, assess penalties for breaking His law, and provide for the imputation of Jesus’ vicarious fulfillment of God’s requirements…” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p148).

INTERVENING FATHER, Your loving will and compassion work to my advantage through the covenants You set in place.  Through them I have no question about my course with You.

“A covenant is an unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p515).

In sovereign authority You reveal Your desire and my part is only to accept or reject it (ref#63, p 515).  You will be my GOD and I will be Your child if I keep Your decrees and ordinances (Lev 18:5).  Moses writes that the man who can practice the perfect conformity to Your will shall live (Rom 10:5).  “If you obey…by loving the LORD…by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments…then you shall live…” (Deut 30:16 ESV).

FATHER, how I long to keep Your covenant but, my contribution makes it impossible.  I may not murder, but I certainly can’t keep Your law that says I am a transgressor even if I am angry at someone (Matt 5:21-22).  And Your stipulation is that if I fail in one point of Your law, I become accountable for all of it (James 2:10).

So, because I can’t keep Your covenant I am liable to judgment—liable to the hell of fire (Matt 5:22).  The very ordinance which You designed and intended to bring me life actually means death to me (Rom 7:10).  On my own I cannot keep Your covenant of works.

“…the covenant of works is still in force for every human being apart from Christ, even though no sinful human being can fulfill its provisions and gain blessing by it….for Christians today to think of themselves as obligated to try to earn God’s favor by obedience would be to cut themselves off from the hope of salvation” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p518).

Thank You, FATHER, for CHRIST and Your covenant of grace.