Justin Taylor: Spiritual adoption is a big deal for the practical theology of J. I. Packer. In Knowing God J. I. Packer writes: If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. He says that if he were to focus the New Testament message in three words, he would choose adoption through propitiation. “I do not expect,” he writes, “ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.” How would Packer summarize the whole of New Testament teaching? a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. He summarizes the whole of New Testament religion as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father.
Justin Taylor: Gregg Allison, professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, provides the following definition of the church his book, Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, Foundations of Evangelical Theology, ed. John Feinberg (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 29–30. [Bullets, brackets, italics, and formatting are mine.] The church is: the people of God who have been saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and have been incorporated into his body through baptism with the Holy Spirit. It consists of two interrelated elements:  The universal church is the fellowship of all Christians that extends from the day of Pentecost until the second coming, incorporating both the deceased believers who are presently in heaven and the living believers from all over the world. This universal church becomes manifested in local churches characterized by seven attributes: [Origin and Orientation] doxological oriented to the glory of God logocentric centered on the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ, and the inspired Word of God, Scripture
Justin Taylor: Critique—done well—is a gift to the one being criticized. (“Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” Prov. 27:6a). We should welcome the opportunity to have our thinking corrected and clarified. We see in a mirror dimly and we know only in part (1 Cor. 13:12), but God has gifted the church with teachers who often see things more clearly than we do at present. In God’s providence and through the gift of common grace he may also use unbelievers to critique our views, showing our logical mistakes or lack of clarity. Critique done poorly—whether through overstatement, misunderstanding, caricature—is a losing proposition for all. It undermines the credibility of the critic and deprives the one being criticized from the opportunity to improve his or her position. It’s impossible in a blog post to set forth a comprehensive methodology of critique—if such a thing can even be done. But there are at least three exhortations worth remembering about criticism: (1) understand before
Justin Taylor: The New Testament distinguishes between “the last day” (that is, the coming day of salvation and wrath; see 1 Thess. 5:1-11) and the “last days” (the period of time we are now in, between Christ’s death/resurrection/ascension and his second appearing). In addition to “last days,” this present-day category can also be called “the last time/s” (Jude 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:20) or “the last hour” (1 John 2:18). So when asked if you think we are living in the last days, you can assure the questioner that we are: we are living in between the two comings of Christ. But we do not know—indeed, cannot know—the day or the hour of the last day itself (cf. Matt. 24:36). You can see the references for last days/times/hour below: “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (1
Justin Taylor: I was recently able to sit down with David Wells to talk about his new book, God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World (Crossway, 2014). We talk about why this is the hardest book he has ever written, how it is different from what he’s written before, and why he spends so much of his time working with orphans in Africa.
Kevin DeYoung’s much anticipated book A Hole in our Holiness is released this month. Here’s a recent interview about the book with Justin Taylor. The Hole in Our Holiness from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.
Justin Taylor: Finally Revealed: Definitive Proof that the “Last Days” Are Upon Us In the New Testament there is a distinction between “the last day” (that is, the coming day of salvation and wrath; see 1 Thess. 5:1-11) and the “last days” (the period of time we are now in, between Christ’s death/resurrection/ascension and his second appearing). In addition to “last days” this present-day category can also be called “the last time/s” (Jude 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:20) or “the last hour” (1 John 2:18). You can see the references below: “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you. . . .” (1 Pet. 1:20) “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for
From Justin Taylor: 1. God is near me to help me. Philippians 4:5-6: “The Lord is at hand; [therefore] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 2. God cares for me. 1 Peter 5:7: “. . . casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 3. My Father in heaven knows all my needs and will supply all my needs. Matthew 6:31-33: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 4. God values me more than birds and grass, which he richly provides for and adorns; how much more will he provide for all my needs! Matthew 6:26-30: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither
Justin Taylor reasons (along with the Apostle Paul!): How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? —Romans 10:14-15 Break it down into simple theo-logical propositions and it looks like this: No one can call upon Jesus if he doesn’t believe in Jesus. No one can believe Jesus or believe in Jesus if he hasn’t heard Jesus or heard of Jesus. No one can hear Jesus or hear of Jesus if no one preaches Jesus to him. No one can preach Jesus to the unreached unless he is sent. One implication: if you care about people hearing the gospel, believing in Jesus, and calling upon his name—especially where he is not yet named (Rom. 15:20)—then you cannot be indifferent to the twin tasks of “going and telling” and/or “supporting and sending.” “And [Jesus] said to
Justin Taylor writes: The Gospel Coalition has posted my answer for a recent “TGC Asks” regarding the nature of heavenly rewards and whether the prospect of receiving them should motivate our actions now. In its most general sense, “reward” (Greek, misthos) is the appropriate consequence or consummation of a course of action. Sometimes it is rendered as “wages” (Matt. 20:8;Luke 10:7; John 4:36). Negatively, Judas’s blood money is called “the reward of his wickedness” (Acts 1:18). Positively, “reward” (which is always in the singular in the NT) refers to entering eternal life. And the greatest joy of heaven will be seeing God face to face (Rev. 22:4). Every believer longs for the day when “we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2), when we shall “enter into the joy of [our] master” (Matt. 25:21, 23). “They shall see God” (Matt. 5:8) and “your reward is great in heaven” (Matt. 5:12) are ultimately referring to the same thing.