Posts for May 2011
3 Posts found

Hebrews 1.8-11 – The Old Testament in the light of the New Testament
Posted: 7 May 2011 in Hebrews

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

The above passage from Hebrews consists of a couple of quotes from psalms 45 and 102. It seems to me that, implicit in them, is an important principle; namely that the Bible is its own authority in interpreting itself. If you read psalm 45, it is easy to see why the author of Hebrews thought it was an appropriate quotation, but it is wholly likely that liberal sscholars would debate whether that psalm really contained a prophesy of Christ, before coming to the conclusion that it didn’t. However, the writer of Hebrews clearly believed the quoted verses to be prophesies of Christ, and since scripture is divinely inspired we must necessarily share his opinion.

Of course, that does not necessarily mean that the Old Testament authors were consciously writing about Christ. Probably they were not; at most they might have been conscious of writing about the Messiah of Jewish expectations. Nevertheless, divine inspiration means that it is not only right, but incumbent upon us, to share the New Testament authors’ understanding of Old Testament texts.

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God’s rule over history – Jeremiah 33.14-18
Posted: 5 May 2011 in Jeremiah

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

To me this passage speaks of the way in which God’s purposes will always be realised. Elsewhere in the Bible there are any number of examples where people rebel against God’s rule, and thereby bring judgment upon themselves, but who nevertheless help (unintentionally) to bring his will to fruition.

Have Abraham’s descendents been promised that they will dwell in the land of ancient Palestine? Then, in spite of the Babylonian captivity, it will come to pass. Has a Messiah, who will be a descendent of David, been promised? Then that too will come to pass. It will do so, not because there was anything special or holy about Abraham’s descendents – clearly there was not – but because the Lord of history has decreed, from all eternity, that it should come to pass.

God does not leave the course of history to happenstance, nor does he leave it in the hands of sinful men, but retains full control of it himself, and directs the steps of men according to the good plasure of his own will.

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Our dependence upon God – John 15.1-8
Posted: 4 May 2011 in John

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

This passage obviously has as its theme our dependence upon Christ, but it also relates to God’s role as Creator. A not uncommon mistake is to think of Creation as a one off event, which happened long ago. But in reality it is something which is ongoing as God sustains the universe in its existence, and works to bring his plans to fruition. So, in particular, we are dependent upon God, not only for our physical existence, but also for the presence of that vital spark which takes us beyond life as a mere biological process, and which allows us to live in communion with God. We can do nothing without God, except perhaps to displease him, and the inevitable result then follows – which is judgment.

We are judged because the goal of all Creation, and of our service of God in particular, is that God should be glorified. God is not in the business of indulging us; he is seeking his own glory. Nevertheless, as part of that process, salvation is offererred to those who will be obedient to his will, and who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8.28).

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