While reading a systematic theology (of sorts) I came across the following statement, which I’d like you to comment on. This was taken from a discussion of the church and it’s mission. I am not concerned so much with what the quote says regarding the church, but what it says about God. What do you think? True or False? (and why!)

“The church does not exist for itself alone any more than God has not chosen to exist for God alone.”


“The real use and purpose of the [Active/Passive Obedience] formula is to emphasize the two distinct aspects of our Lord’s vicarious obedience. The truth expressed rests upon the recognition that the law of God has both penal sanctions and positive demands. It demands not only the full discharge of its precepts but also the infliction of penalty for all infractions and shortcomings. It is this twofold demand of the law of God which is taken into account when we speak of the active and passive obedience of Christ. Christ as the vicar of his people came under the curse and condemnation due to sin and he also fulfilled the law of God in all its positive requirements. In other words, he took care of the guilt of sin and perfectly fulfilled the demands of righteousness. He perfectly met both the penal and the preceptive requirements of God’s law. The passive obedience refers to the former and the active obedience to the latter. Christ’s obedience was vicarious in the bearing of the full judgment of God upon sin, and it was vicarious in the full discharge of the demands of righteousness. His obedience becomes the ground of the remission of sin and of actual justification.”

From John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied, pg. 21 & 22.

I got to finish Jonathan Edwards’ sermon The Excellency of Christ today. Edwards unpacks something of the “admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ”, and goes on to give us application to them.

Consider this juicy quote:

One design of God in the gospel is to bring us to make God the object of our undivided respect, that he may engross our regard [in] every way, that watever natural inclination there is in our souls, he may be the center of it; that God may be all in all.

You can read it for free here.

In case you missed it, or have already fogotten about it, Pastor Mike kind of shook up the whole world with his sermon on Romans 6:5-10. I was doing a little looking at Romans 6:7, and specifically at this whole “freed” vs. “justified” translation issue. This is critical because it really shapes our reading of the following verses and our understanding the relationship of our hearts to sin.

I started with the english translations and how they render this verse. The grossest offender that I saw was the NLT:

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

As opposed to the ESV (footnoted) translation:

For one who has died has been justified from sin.

Wycliffe got it right though:

For he that is dead [to sin], is justified from sin.

Also of interest is the Greek used here. Even if you don’t know anything about Greek, check out the parsed version at Zhubert.com, here. Just run your mouse over the terms to get the parsing and a definition. Of course the word is shaped by the context, but this isn’t an exegisis paper, we’re just perusing the Greek. 🙂

God is love. You’ve heard it a thousand times from individuals who really mean “my idea of love is god.” And if you’ve heard this statement used in this way, you’ve probably heard the same person question a view of God that allows for his wrath and justice.

The question is, are they exclusive (not the people – the atributes of God)? Can God be both loving and just? I suppose a further question could be raised: Can I even ask these questions? I have spoken with folks who say that beyond “God is love”, we can’t really define God if we remain biblical. (Nevermind every book in the Bible that ascribes or implies things about the Lord… but I digress.)

A while back I realized that we are given catagories besides love even in this verse with which to understand God. In fact, it is necessary in order to understand “God is love” that we think of him as holy. The context of “God is love” demands it.


Last night at study we discussed the crucifixion and resurrection narratives, as well as Jesus’ final discourse and themes from the entire gospel. In talking through the parables in chapter 25, I referenced this R.M. McCheyne poem that I love. I hope you are edified by it.

TEN virgins, clothed in white, The Bridegroom went to meet; Their lamps were burning bright To guide his welcome feet. Five if the band were wise -- Their lamps with oil filled high; The rest this care despise, And take their vessels dry. Long time the Lord abode - Down came the shades of night - The weary virgins nod, And then they sleep outright. At midnight came the cry Upon their startled ear - Behold the Bridegroom nigh, To light His steps appear. They trim their lamps; in vain The foolish virgins toil - Our lamps are out, O deign To give us of your oil! Not so - the wise ones cry - No oil have we to spare; But swiftly run and buy, That you the joy may share. They went to buy, when lo! The Bridegroom comes in state; Within those ready go, And shut the golden gate. The foolish virgins now Before the gateway crowd; With terror on their brow They knock and cry aloud:- "Lord open to our call - Hast Thou our names forgot?" Sadly the accents fall - "Depart, I know you not." Learn here, my child, how vain This world, with all its lies, Those who the kingdom gain Alone are truly wise. How vain the Christian name, If still you live in sin:- A lamp, and wick, and flame, No drop of oil within. Is your lamp filled, my child, With oil from Christ above? Has He your heart, so wild, Made soft and full of love? Then you are ready now With Christ to enter in; To see His holy brow, And bid farewell to sin. Sinners! Behold the gate Of Jesus open still; Come, ere it be too late, And enter if you will. The Saviour's gentle hand Knocks at your door to-day But vain his loud demand - You spurn His love away. So, at the Saviour's door You'll knock, with trembling heart The day of mercy o'er, Jesus will say - depart.

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13 (KJV)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13 (ESV)

“Hatred of sin as sin, not only as galling or disquieting, a sense of the love of Christ in the cross, lie at the bottom of all true spiritual mortification.” – John Owen from Mortification of Sin in Believers

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