Friday, August 31, 2007


In What Saint Paul Really Said, NT Wright does a great job supplying the meaning to a lot of Paul's language regarding justification, righteousness, justice, and other words in the dikai- word group...

"First, it is covenant language – not in the sense of that word made famous through some 16th and 17th century discussions, but in the 1st century Jewish sense. When Paul speaks of justification he is operating within the whole world of thought of second-temple Judaism, which clung to the covenantal promises in the face of increasingly difficult political circumstances.

Second, it is law-court language, functioning within the covenantal setting as a strong explanatory metaphor. Two thing must be said about this. First, this metaphor is necessary for understanding what the covenant was all about. The covenant was there to put the world to rights, to deal with evil and to restore God’s justice and order to the cosmos. Second, it is never independent of the covenant setting. It cannot be made in to an absolute and free-standing concept without doing violence both to itself and to the fundamental meaning of the covenant.

Third, justification for Paul cannot be understood properly apart from eschatology. It cannot, that is, be made into an abstract or timeless system, a method of salvation to be randomly applied. It is part of the Pauline worldview in which the creator of the world has acted, uniquely, climactically, and decisively, in Jesus Christ, for the rescue of the entire cosmos, and is now, by his Spirit, bringing all things into subjection to this Jesus."

the barren wombs

So, when women in the Bible couldn’t have babies, that’s when God loved to show off and short-circuit the human reproductive system. It is pretty impressive to scout the line-up of the “barren” women in the Bible. What’s even more impressive is the children these women bore. It is a real shocker that these kids were always main players in God’s redemptive story. Not only does it make me ponder the dead womb of nothingness and matter-lessness before creation [Heb 11.3], but it reminds me of the dead womb of my heart before He revealed and imparted grace.

Sarai [Gen 16.1]
Rebekah [Gen 25.21]
Rachel [Gen 29.31]
Manoah’s wife [Jdg 13.2]
Hannah [1 Sam 1.2]
Elizabeth [Luke 1.7]
Mary [Is 7.14, Mt 1.23]

"shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay?” [isaiah 29.16]

All befuddling and unanswerable questions concerning theology, theodicy, philosophy, psychology, biology, quantum physics and every realm of study must be duly discerned in view of God’s wisdom, His multi-dimensional eternality, His providence, His power, our sin, our finitude, and our limited knowledge on the truth of everything in this list. However, this must not and will not deter us in pursuing His glory in each of these disciplines. If anything, it should cause us to dig deeper, study harder, think broader, and live more humbly.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen [Ro 11.33-34, 36; 16.27].

EiNSTEiN and MARK 9.35, 10.43-45

Most people would say that Albert Einstein [1879-1855] was a pretty smart fella. He once said something that sounded an awful lot like the guy that he called the “luminous Nazarene.” Albert claimed that “the highest destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.”

iSAiAH 40-66 [perpetual promises]

One can see the substitution of the suffering servant, the freeness of grace in the gospel, and the new heavens and new earth all in Isaiah 40-66. Within these chapters, it is unique to note all the things that are modified with the Hebrew word olam, usually translated “everlasting.” These descriptions show the unending nature of the New Covenant in Jesus.

40.28... everlasting God
45.17... everlasting salvation [also 51.6]
51.8.... everlasting righteousness
51.11... everlasting joy [also 61.7]
54.8.... everlasting lovingkindness
55.3.... everlasting covenant [also 61.8]
55.13... everlasting sign
56.5.... everlasting name [also 63.12]
60.15... everlasting majesty/pride
60.19... everlasting light [also 60.20]

Thursday, August 30, 2007


1. blindside [Silence]
2. sufjan stevens [Come on Feel the Illinoise]
plankeye [Relocation]
4. mxpx [Panic]
5. pigeon john [Is Dating Your Sister]
6. an
athallo [A Holiday at the Sea]
7. bleach [Farewell Old Friends]
8. stretch arm strong [The Rituals of Life]
9. kirk franklin [The Nu Nation Project]
10. half-handed cloud [Halos and Lassos]
11. five iron frenzy [Our Newest Album Ever]
12. mewithoutYou [Brother, Sister]

Friday, August 24, 2007

"for what the Law could not do, God did..." He showed mercy.

John Bunyan was in prison for 12 years. There he wrote one of the best sellers of all time. The Baptist tinker painted Moses and the Law with such striking imagry that you must keep reading. The dialogue is Faithful telling Christian of the assaults he has met on his journey. Faithful describes an old man he met named Adam the First, who tried to persuade him to go to his home and be his servant.

Faithful: Why, at first I found myself somewhat inclinable to go with the man, for I thought he spake very fair; but looking in his forehead, as I talked with him, I saw there written, “Put off the old man with his deeds.” Then it came burning hot into my mind, that, whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his house he would sell me for a slave. So I bid him forbear to talk, for I would not come near the door of his house. Then he reviled me, and told me that he would send such a one after me that should make my way bitter to my soul. So I turned to go away from him; but just as I turned myself to go thence, I felt him take hold of my flesh, and give me such a deadly twitch back, that I thought he had pulled part of me after himself: this made me cry, “O wretched man” [Rom. 7:24]. So I went on my way up the hill. Now, when I had got above half-way up, I looked behind me, and saw one coming after me, swift as the wind; so he overtook me just about the place where the settle stands... But, good brother, hear me out. So soon as the man overtook me, it was but a word and a blow; for down he knocked me, and laid me for dead. But when I was a little come to myself again I asked him wherefore he served me so. He said because of my secret inclining to Adam the First. And with that he struck me another deadly blow on the breast, and beat me down backward; so I lay at his foot as dead as before. So when I came to myself again I cried him mercy: but he said, I know not how to show mercy; and with that he knocked me down again. He had doubtless made an end of me, but that one came by and bid him forbear.

Christian: Who was that that bid him forbear?

Faithful: I did not know him at first: but as he went by, I perceived the holes in his hands and in his side: Then I concluded that he was our Lord. So I went up the hill.

Christian: That man that overtook you was Moses. He spareth none; neither knoweth he how to show mercy to those that transgress the law.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


When she was 13 years old, Sarah was noticed by Jonathan; he was 20. Here are Jonathan Edwards' words about Sarah at that time. This seems like a decent litmus test for what to look for in a spouse [guys who write like this and girls who act like this]. They were married nearly 4 years later...

They say there is a young lady in [New Haven] who is beloved of that almighty Being who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons, in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on him; that she expects after a while to be received up where he is; to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and praiseworthy in all her conduct; and you could not persuade her to do any thing wrong or sinful, if you would give her all of the world, lest she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness, and universal benevolence of mind; especially after this Great Being has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly, and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure, and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have someone invisible always conversing with her.

Friday, August 17, 2007

JESUS has to be my righteousness

For everyone who plants their flags in the authority of church history, here's a sweet little excerpt from chapter 9 of the Epistle to Diognetus. Then, for those who can be blessed by solid Great Awakening preaching, here a section from a George Whitfield sermon on Jer 23.6.

"He himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! - that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!"

"And you think, O sinners, that you will be able to stand in the day of judgment, if Christ be not your righteousness! No! That alone is the wedding-garment in which you must appear. O Christless sinners, I am distressed for you! The desires of my soul are enlarged! O that this may be an accepted time, that the Lord may be your righteousness! For whither would you flee, if death should find you naked? Indeed, there is no hiding yourselves from His presence. The pitiful fig leaves of your own righteousness will not cover your nakedness when God shall call you to stand before Him. Adam found them ineffectual, and so will you. O think of death! O think of judgment! Yet a little while and time shall be no more; and then what will become of you, if the Lord be not your righteousness."

LUTHER on music

"Next to the Word for God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits… A person who does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God does not deserve to be called a human being; he should not be permitted to hear anything but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs."

Friday, August 3, 2007

the cross

Regarding our Lord Jesus’ work on the cross, Luther calls it the FONS SALUTIS… salvation’s Gospel spring that has been opened to refresh sinners.

Calvin calls it the CARDO SALUTIS… the hinge in which our salvation turns.

matthew 7.13-14

a. the many
b. the few

a. destruction
b. life

a. wide
b. small

a. broad
b. narrow

who's afraid of the holy GHOST?

For those of you from Charleston, SC or decently familiar with Charleston, this should be humorous. For those you who aren't, because it is such an old city, they give a bunch of "ghost" tours about freaky stuff and odd happenings. Often mentioned in their talks are the dozens of really old churches there. This is a sign at one of them...

Love, Courage, Wisdom

Ammon Hennacy was a Catholic activist who lived from 1893-1970. He never payed taxes. He also said:
Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolishness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. But the one who has love, courage, and wisdom moves the world.


Here are 3 lectures on Romans. Whether your think NT Wright is a heretic or scholar, these talks are hugely insightful. You're definitely allowed to disagree with some of his finer points, but his overall grasp of Romans is brilliant.