Tag Archives: Covenant

“Christians today often speak less about saving the lost than about conquering the world” by J.V. Fesko

“In the church’s efforts to defend the faith, Christians must always take a humble stance toward the world. Like the sons of Zebedee, whom Jesus nicknamed “the Sons of Thunder,” we can be all too eager to call down fire on unbelievers (Mark 3:17; Luke 9:54).

Add in the misguided claim that the Bible provides a comprehensive view of life and the world that encompasses all knowledge, and this can easily turn into Christian imperialism.

Christians today often speak less about saving the lost than about conquering the world.

Especially in the secularized West, the problem with such rhetoric is that it does not align with the more modest claims of the Bible.

The church is a pilgrim people: this world is not our home. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were princes among the people of God and were heirs of the covenant promises, yet they dwelled in tents.

As the book of Hebrews tells us,

“By faith [Abraham] went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:9-10).

Too often, Christians thunder about transforming and conquering the world, but such rhetoric is far from Christ’s conduct. Rather than seeking to conquer the world, Christians in defending the gospel must be willing to roll up our sleeves, drop to our knees, and wash the feet of unbelievers.

Even Christ washed the feet of Judas, one who would eventually betray him.

To claim, as Van Til does, that no true learning occurs outside of Christian education, casts an unintended but nevertheless real shadow of contempt on God’s natural gifts, which He has abundantly given to the world, even to the apostate line of Cain.

Christians have much to learn from the unbelieving world about many things: science, mathematics, engineering, literature, art, music, and even ethics. Acknowledging that Christians have something to learn from unbelievers does not require that we embrace in toto what unbelivers claim.

Rather, to learn from the unbelieving world ultimately means to submit to God’s natural revelation in the world and the general wisdom He has so liberally bestowed on His good but nevertheless fallen creation.

We dig amid the muddy soil of this sin-marred world in search of pearls and gems of God’s wisdom.

We must always interrogate and compare any claim against the canon of Scripture to determine whether truth-claims are accurate. In our use of the book of nature, we must never set aside the book of Scripture.

Scripture must always regulate our understanding of the book of nature, lest we abandon the truth and imbibe the world’s erroneous and sinful interpretations of the book of nature.

But we must not forget that all truth is God’s truth, regardless of its human point of origin.

It is true that those who hold the truth in unrighteousness resist the very source of the order, pattern, purpose, freedom, and beauty in nature. They ineluctably presuppose the theism that they willfully distort and resist.

Nevertheless, nowhere in the New Testament do we find language touting the superiority of Christian knowledge, claiming that Christians understand math or science better than unbelievers.

Instead, we encounter the humility and love of Christ for sinners, the same characteristics that should mark the church. Hence, Peter counsels Christians to adopt a humble posture in the face of persecution as they testify and give a defense for the hope that is in us. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

We do not conquer through cultural domination and making claims about the world’s ignorance.

Rather, if love is one of the goals of epistemology, and epistemology is ultimately the submission to God’s authoritative revelation, then we are not cultural conquerors but beggars showing other beggars where they can find a meal.

We conquer the world by laying down our lives in testimony for and defense of the gospel, not in making claims of cultural conquest or epistemological superiority.

As a pride of ferocious lambs, Christians testify to and defend the truth of the gospel with the books of nature and Scripture always in hand.

Christians need not shun the book of nature. We can rejoice because Christ looks out on the creation and all truth and rightfully claims “Mine!” Every square inch belongs to Christ, and therefore every square inch belongs to Christians.

But just because it all belongs to Christ does not mean that Christians are somehow automatically intellectually or culturally superior to their unbelieving counterparts.

Christians know the right motivational foundation and teleological goal of all knowledge, though they frequently forget them, and never succeed this side of glory in living in full conformity to them.

Nevertheless, with this proper understanding of epistemology, we can fruitfully interact with unbelievers, because we share the image of God.

We can defend the gospel, knowing that apologetics can clear away intellectual obstacles to the gospel, clarify our own understanding of the truth, protect the church from false teaching, and encourage our own hearts as we further immerse ourselves in the truth.”

–J.V. Fesko, Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2019), 215, 217, 218-219.

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“Christ shall have a full reward for all His pain” by Charles Spurgeon

“I would, indeed I would, that the nations were converted to Christ. I would that all this London belonged to my Lord and Master, and that every street were inhabited by those who loved His name.

But when I see sin abounding and the gospel often put to the rout, I fall back upon this: ‘Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure; the Lord knoweth them that are His.’ (2 Timothy 2:19)

He shall have His own. The infernal powers shall not rob Christ, He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied.

Calvary does not mean defeat. Gethsemane a defeat? Impossible!

The Mighty Man who went up to the cross to bleed and die for us, being also the Son of God, did not there achieve a defeat but a victory.

He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands. If some will not be saved others shall.

If, being bidden, some count themselves not worthy to come to the feast others should be brought in, even the blind, and the halt and the lame, and the supper shall be furnished with guests.

If they come not from England they shall come from the east, and from the west, from the north and from the south. If it should come to pass that Israel be not gathered, lo!, the heathen shall be gathered unto Christ.

Ethiopia shall stretch out her arms, Sinim shall yield herself to the Redeemer. The desert-ranger shall bow the knee, and the far-off stranger enquire for Christ.

Oh, no, beloved, the purposes of God are not frustrated. The eternal will of God is not defeated.

Christ has died a glorious death, and He shall have a full reward for all His pain.

‘Therefore, be ye stedfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.’ (1 Corinthians 15:58)”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Wondrous Covenant,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 58 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1912), 58: 525-526..

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“The doctrine of the divine covenant lies at the root of all true theology” by Charles Spurgeon

“The doctrine of the divine covenant lies at the root of all true theology. It has been said that he who well understands the distinction between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace is a master in divinity.

I am persuaded that most of the mistakes which men make concerning the doctrines of Scripture are based upon fundamental errors with regard to the covenants of law and of grace.

May God grant us now the power to instruct, and you the grace to receive instruction on this vital subject.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Wondrous Covenant,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 58 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1912), 58: 517.

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“Jesus Christ is both the content of Scripture and the interpreter of Scripture” by Craig Carter

“Only the slain Lamb who is now alive is able to open the scroll.

Jesus Christ is both the content of Scripture and the interpreter of Scripture.”

–Craig A. Carter, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2018), 215.

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“There is a single story to be told because there is a single divine Author” by Matthew Barrett

“The whole of Scripture stands united by a single and primary author: God.

Rather than a collection of man’s highest thoughts about God, the Christian Scripture is God’s self-communication to humanity about who He is and what He has done to redeem a lost race in Adam.

Inspiration guarantees that the canon’s many stories tell one story; there is a single story to be told because there is a single divine author, who has declared Himself to be its architect and creator.

He is not only the main actor in the drama of redemption but the drama’s scriptwriter.

Presupposed is a striking reality: it is because the story of Scripture has one divine author that His divine authorial intent is embedded throughout Scripture’s storyline.”

–Matthew Barrett, Canon, Covenant and Christology (New Studies in Biblical Theology; Vol. 51; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2020), 16-17.

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“Our great and glorious Covenant Lord” by Stephen Wellum

“By taking on our humanity, Christ became the first man of the new creation, our great mediator and new covenant head. As this man, Christ reverses the work of the first Adam and forges ahead as the last Adam, our great trailblazer and champion (archégon; Heb. 2:10).

God the Son incarnate is perfectly qualified to meet our every need, especially our need for the forgiveness of sin. According to the storyline of Scripture, only the God-man—the Son incarnate—could mediate the reconciliation of God and man by offering Himself as a sinless, sufficient, substitutionary sacrifice such that God Himself redeems His people as a man (1 Tim. 2:5-6; Hebrews 5-10).

As the divine Son, Christ alone satisfies God’s own judgment upon sinful humanity and demand for perfect righteousness. As the incarnate Son, Christ alone identifies with sinful humanity in His suffering and represents a new humanity as our great and glorious Covenant Lord…

In Jesus, we truly meet God face-to-face; we meet Him, not indwelling or overshadowing human flesh, nor merely associated with it, but in full and wonderful glory.

Although we behold Him as a man, He is much more; He is the Lord, the divine Son who humbles Himself and veils His glory by becoming one with us. It is God the Son Himself who dwells among us to speak, act, live, love, rule, and redeem for our good and His glory.”

—Stephen J. Wellum, God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 434, 435-436.

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“A plotline that flows from Eden” by David Schrock

“In the end, the only typology worth preaching is that which we find in Scripture. Fortunately, we do not need to ‘go over hedge and ditch’ to ‘make a way’ to get to Christ, as the old Welsh preacher said it.

All of Scripture already is written with a plotline that flows from Eden through Israel’s hills and valleys until it terminates and overflows in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We do not need to fear typology nor create new spiritual meaning.

Rather, following the terrain of the text, we need to keep reading the Bible until we like beekeepers find the sweet scent of gospel honey in the pages of God’s Word.

If we do that, we will not (need to) add meaning to the text through some spiritual method of interpretation. Rather, we will hear what the Spirit originally intended as we pay careful attention to the contours of the biblical plotline.”

–David Schrock, “From Beelines to Plotlines: Typology That Follows the Covenantal Topography of Scripture,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 21.1 (2017): 48-49.

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