2ND COVENANT

GOD’S SECOND COVENANT PROMISES

“Theology that isn’t zealous to promote forgiving and transforming grace, the kind of grace that changes your life, is simply bad theology” Paul David Tripp (ref#190 Oct 20th).

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.  For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more”  (Heb 8:10-12 ESV).

“All their affections, passions, and appetites, shall be purified and filled with holiness and love to God and man; so that they shall willingly obey and feel that love is the fulfilling of the law: instead of being written on tables of stone, they shall be written on the fleshly tables of their hearts” Adam Clarke (ref#289).

“God promiseth his true Israel his entering with them into a new testamental covenant; after the days that the covenant administration at Sinai was expired, then the Lord saith, Jeremiah 31:33, that he will renew minds and hearts by his Spirit, and conform them to his will, that they shall be living, walking examplars of his law…This work of sanctification of souls is properly inferred here, to prove that such as enjoy it are perfected by Christ, because the promise of holiness is joined with that of perfect righteousness” Matthew Poole (ref#290).

“And added to this will be the complete removal of their sinfulness. All their sins and iniquities, their outward failures (‘sins’) and their inward sinfulness (‘iniquities’), will be remembered no more. They will be deliberately obliterated from God’s memory. ‘Remembered no more’ is, of course, hyperbole to express the completeness of God’s forgiveness. Nothing that they have done or failed to do will be counted against them any longer” Peter Pett (ref#291).

“So His covenant offers a new freedom to obey God, and a dealing with the spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5), bondage (Mark 10:45; 1 Corinthians 6:20; John 8:34-36; Romans 6:6; Romans 6:14; Romans 6:17-18), indebtedness (Colossians 2:14) and alienation (Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 4:18) caused by sin” Peter Pett (ref#291).

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.

FAITH

WEAK FAITH

“Faith has its trials as well as its temptations….The faith of a child of God may not only be severely assailed, but there are times when that faith may waver greatly….Nothing but the divinity that dwells within that grace keeps it….David: in the strength of faith slaying Goliath, and in the weakness of faith fleeing from Saul!…Nothing but the power of God and its own incorruptible and imperishable nature preserve it” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 2nd).

“You don’t have to hide in guilt when weak faith gets you off the path, because your hope in life isn’t your faithfulness, but his.  You can run in weakness and once again seek his strength.  And you can know that in zealous grace he will not leave his craftwork until faith fully rules our heart unchallenged.  He always gives freely what we need in order to do what he has called us to do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 12th).

“…this direct faith; it is simply resting upon Christ…realizing our utter weakness and helplessness and hopelessness….” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 10th).

FATHER, when I recognize weak faith my first reaction is to rely on myself to rise to the occasion.  Misguided, I think I own faith and it is my responsibility to make it better.  But, no; I own nothing; I have given my life to CHRIST.  Now that I know, continually remind me that my strength of faith comes from You.  If I dislike my weak faith let me turn to You and plead and not think twice of trying to raise faith myself.

FAITH

FROM FAITH TO FAITH

 “…the righteous will shall by his faith” (Hab 2:4 ESV).

“When faith and duty demand anything from us, we must close our eyes to all obstacles and go forward in our work; for all events are in God’s hands alone, and they will happen as he pleases.  Our duty is to proceed, even if we think our labors may be in vain and will not bear fruit” John Calvin (ref#164, April 28th).  FATHER, I desire help to possess the faith to allow the days to play out by Your hand.  May I find it not important whether I think I’m doing well or poorly.

“The grace you’ve been given is not just the grace of forgiveness and acceptance; it’s also the grace of empowerment.  So get up and follow….So here’s how this works.  God has promised to supply and empower; your joy is to follow him by faith where you live every day.  You don’t wait for the provision before you move.  God has not promised that you will see it beforehand.  You don’t try to figure out what God is going to do next and how he will meet your needs; you move forward in the certainty that he is with you, for you, and in you” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, July 6th).

“Would you have more faith?…Then take heed that you are diligent in the use of every means of grace,–diligent in your private communion with God,–diligent in your daily watchfulness over time, temper, and tongue,–diligent in your private Bible-reading,–diligent in your own private prayers” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p195).

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith” (Rom 1:17 NIV).

“Faith…teaches us to hope for and to desire every blessing from God” John Calvin (ref#164, March 1st).

FAITH

SUPERNATURAL FAITH

“I need emancipation; I need to be lifted to another realm; I need a force and a strength and a power that I do not have myself.  That is my need, and here is the answer: I am given faith—I am given an outlook and understanding—I am introduced to a source of power” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 7th).

“Faith means you take God at his word, you never let yourself think that you’re smarter than him, and you live inside his boundaries….We tend to live by sight, by personal experience, by collective research, or by good old intuition, but faith isn’t natural” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, April 17th).

“The highest rational knowledge of God cannot profit without the knowledge of faith….In the Scriptures, Christians are not called knowing persons, but believers” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p151).

“…trusting God to shape the right living in us…It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is…God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead….You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation….” (Rom 10:4-10 MSG).

“The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith.  The same dynamic is at work at every stage of the Christian life.  The power of God’s grace that saves through faith (Eph 2:8) is the same power of God’s grace that sanctifies through faith” John Piper (ref#220, p245).

 “…God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power…” (1 Cor 2:4-5 MSG).

FAITH

UNBELIEF

“’…If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all’” (Isa 7:9 ESV).

There is a significant difference between amazement and faith.  God doesn’t just want to blow your mind; he wants to rule your heart….You can be amazed by the grand sweep of the redemptive story in Scripture and not be living by faith…You can be amazed by the great worship music you participate in every Sunday and not be living by faith….You can be amazed by the wonderful biblical preaching and teaching that you hear and not be living by faith” David Paul Tripp (ref#190, June 27th).

“There is nothing really mysterious and hard to understand about saving belief.  But the whole difficulty arises from man’s pride and self-righteousness….They cannot understand it because they will not stoop” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p182).

“’…my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him’” (Heb 10:38 ESV).

“…faith…the more it is exercised, the mightier it becomes…God never places His child in any difficulties or throws on him any cross except to call faith to exercise; and if the opportunity of its exercise passes away without improvement, the effect will be a weakening of the principle and a feeble exertion of power in the next trial” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 27th).

FATHER, what scary information—that the less faith I have the less faith I have.  This hits on the subject of obedience.  How many times does my memory tell me of my disobedience?  Please keep me in remembrance of these four words: “disobedience flows from unbelief” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2366, [Heb 3:15-19]).  My disobedience is caused by not trusting You fully.  Oh to have great faith!

“…the real trouble with most Christian people is not so much in the realm of their conduct and practise as in the realm of their belief” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p39-40).  “The commandments of God are only as hard to obey as the promises of God are hard to believe” John Piper (ref#220, p250).

“Nothing more effectually…obscures our view of Christ than the sin of unbelief.  Not fully believing His Word, not simply and implicitly relying on His work, not trusting His faithfulness and love…”  Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 1st).

“…whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23 ESV).

SCRIPTURE

THE BIBLE, GOD’S GIFT TO ME

“God’s Word has a claim…upon your attention because of its majesty and its condescension” Charles Spurgeon (ref#251, p47).

“Every word that God has given us in this Book claims our attention because of the infinite majesty of Him that spake it…God’s claim to be heard lies also in the condescension that has led Him to speak to us….Thou art so full of lovingkindness and tenderness that Thou wilt stoop out of heaven to converse with Thy sinful creatures” Charles Spurgeon (ref#251, p46-47).

FATHER, You did not speak Your Word to me just to increase my knowledge but that it move me to change my conduct. Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p187)

“…to make progress in all the good things that he gives us, we must have his Word so we may be built upon it and grow more and more through it.  To bring this about, we must be teachable.  From day to day , we must labor to seek help in the Word to strengthen our faith…” John Calvin (ref#164, Oct 12th).

“We don’t see ourselves with clarity, but we think we do, and we don’t know ourselves with accuracy, but we are convinced we do….” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 4th).  “…the mind was designed not to defend what we want, but to discover what is ultimately true….The purpose of the mind is not to rationalize subjective preferences, but to recognize objective reality and to help the heart revel in God” John Piper (ref#220, p261, underlining mine).  “Only when the Word of God is applied to a person’s life does he realize how deep and wide is his corruption” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 13th).

FATHER, I am reminded again what a great gift Your Word is as the SPIRIT convicts me of utilizing my mind all too often to “rationalize subjective preferences.”  How refreshing it is to follow “objective reality” reading Your Scriptures, instead.

“…we all need help.  It comes to us in the gift of God’s Word…” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 4th).

SCRIPTURE

WHAT IS THE BIBLE?

“The Bible isn’t a series of stories.  It isn’t a catalog of interesting characters.  It isn’t a manual of theology.  It isn’t a book of interesting wisdom principles.  One story, with one hero, forms the cord that holds the whole Bible together.  The Bible is essentially the story of redemption. This grand redemptive story, with God’s essential explanatory notes, is the main content of the Word of God” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 9th).

“The message of the Bible is not to urge us to try to find truth; it is to ask us to listen to the truth, to God’s truth.  For its whole point is to say that God, knowing Himself, knowing man, knowing everything, has devised and schemed a plan whereby men and women can be delivered out of their failure and sin and can be made citizens and worthy citizens of God’s kingdom.  This is God’s plan” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 2nd)!

“…God’s faithfulness to his people convinces us that there is nothing missing from Scripture that God thinks we need to know for obeying him and trusting him fully….Scripture today is exactly what God wanted it to be, and it will stay that way until Christ returns” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p68-69).  “…He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words” (Heb 1:1-3 MSG)!

“O Word of God Incarnate”

 

O Word of God incarnate, O wisdom from on high,

O truth unchanged, unchanging, O light of our dark sky;

We praise thee for the radiance that from the hallowed page,

A lantern to our footsteps, shines on from age to age.

 

The church from her dear Master received the gift divine,

And still that light she lifteth o’er all the earth to shine.

It is the golden casket, where gems of truth are stored;

It is the heave’n-drawn picture of Christ, the Living Word.

 

It floateth like a banner before God’s host unfurled;

It shineth like a beacon above the darkling world.

It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging sea,

‘Mid mists and rocks and quicksands, still guides, O Christ to thee.

 

O make thy church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold,

To bear before the nations thy true light, as of old.

O teach thy wand’ring pilgrims by this their path to trace,

Till, clouds and darkness ended, they see thee face to face.

 

Author: William Walsham How, 1867 Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p72)

JESUS

THE SHEPHERD OF OUR SOULS

“God was so sure of the depth and expansiveness of your sin, of your inability to grasp how desperate your condition is (and, even if you were able, your complete inability to free yourself from it), that he was willing to harness the forces of nature and to carefully control the events of human history so that at a certain point Jesus would come to live the life you could not live, die the death that you should have died, and rise again, conquering death.  Why did God go to this elaborate and sacrificial extent?  There is only one answer to the question.  God the Father planned it, God the Son was willing to do it, and God the Holy Spirit applied this work to your heart and mine because there just was no other way” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 29th).

“…He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls”(1 Pet 2:21-25 MSG).

“…the guilty, trembling sinner may confidently and safely rest in the work of the Savior….Acts 2:32;…Rom 5:10;…Rom 4:25;…Rom 8:34;…John 14:19;…Heb 1:3;…1 Pet 3:22;…Jesus is at the right hand of God, and the principalities and powers of all worlds are subject to His authority….Your Head and Redeemer is alive to frustrate every purpose, resist every plot, and silence every tongue that would condemn you” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 15th).

“…our enemies…are…under the hand of God and can do no more than what he permits them to do. Furthermore, God can, whenever he pleases, render all their endeavors vain and ineffectual” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 31st).

“…it’s the gospel that changes us….not only have our sins been forgiven, but our bondage to sin has been broken….in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21)” Bob Kauflin (ref#199, p132-133).

“Since your standing with God is based not on your righteousness but on Christ’s, in moments of failure, you can run to him and not from him” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, March 6th).

JESUS

SIN’S REMEDY

FATHER, You have put us all in the prison of sin.  We all start out in identical conditions (Rom 3:9).  Then You invite all to come to the cross of CHRIST.

“The cross of Christ triumphs only in the hearts of believers over the devil and the flesh, over sin and wickedness, when they lift their eyes to behold the power of the resurrection” John Calvin (ref#313, p82-83)

“…God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone”(Rom 11:32 NLT).

“Sin is every human being’s core disease.  It is completely beyond the power of any human being to escape it.  It separates you from God, for whom you were created. It damages every aspect of your personhood.  It makes it impossible for you to be what God created you to be and to do what God designed you to do.  It robs you of inner contentment and peace, and it puts you at war with other human beings. It renders you blind, weak, self-oriented, and rebellious.  It reduces all of us to fools, and ultimately it leads to death.  Sin is an unmitigated, almost incalculable disaster…you and I have no ability whatsoever to escape from the hold that sin has on us.  It is the moral Vice-Grip that has held the heart of every person who has ever lived” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 29th).

“It is the cross of Christ that brings us all down to the same place. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ The differences between nations and groups within them and individuals are nothing when you look at the cross of Christ.  We are all miserable, helpless, hopeless sinners” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 15th).

“…the eternal Word Who became man, uniting a true human nature to his divine nature…the two natures joined in the one Person forever….if your personal problem of sin is ever to be remedied in a biblical way, it will be remedied only as you have personal dealings with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such is the unique stand of the Christian faith: the sinner in all his need, united to the Savior in all the fullness of His grace; the sinner in his naked need, and the Savior in His almighty power, brought directly together in the gospel.  That reality is the glory of God’s good news to sinners” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p10-11)!