Whose Commandments Are These? – The Ten Words and the New Covenant

Tom Schreiner: If most Christians were asked if they should keep the Ten Commandments, they would answer, “Of course!” Fundamentally, that answer is correct and reflects the wisdom of the ages, the wisdom that has been passed on from the early church to our own day. And yet the question is more complex than it appears at first glance. As the subtitle of this article implies, the Ten Commandments (literally the “Ten Words” in Hebrew) must be understood in light of the covenant in which they were given. The Ten Commandments must be read in context, and that means they must be read in a covenantal context. God’s Covenants with His People The Ten Commandments were given to Israel on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1–17), when Yahweh instituted a covenant with the people of Israel after delivering them from Egypt. These commands were repeated again in Deuteronomy 5 before they were about to enter the Promised Land. The Ten Words were given

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A Short Primer on New Covenant Theology Essentials

A. Blake White: The Story of Scripture can be summarized as “Creation to New Creation.” How God brings revelation, history, and humanity from creation to new creation is referred to by many as “Redemptive History.” One of the most complex yet rewarding pursuits in biblical studies is to understand the flow of Redemptive History. What is its structure? How does it progress and develop over time? How is one era related to another? Where do we find unity and continuity? Where do we encounter diversity and discontinuity? What has priority and permanence? What is temporal and passing away? These are not merely questions for the academic theologian. Since there is more material devoted specifically to this issue in the NT than to almost any other single issue, the Bible itself invites every believer to pursue this understanding of the big picture with all its theological and practical implications for life and faith. Currently there are three main systems of theology

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Do This and Remember

Guy Prentiss Waters: Sign of the Promise From Genesis to Revelation, there is a succession of covenants. There are basically two covenants in the Bible: the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. God made the covenant of works in the garden with Adam and, in Adam, with all his ordinary descendants. This covenant was conditioned upon Adam’s obedience. When our representative Adam disobeyed God, he plunged himself and all of us into sin and misery. The way to eschatological or eternal life by our obedience was forever closed off. Soon after Adam’s fall into sin, God introduced a second covenant into history, the covenant of grace. This covenant was conditioned upon the obedience of the second and last Adam, Jesus Christ. He pledged to obey where we failed to obey. Part of his obedience involved bearing the penalty due to us for our sin. On the basis of his obedience, those who trust in him are brought from

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Living as the New Covenant Temple

New Timothy Rucker: Temple language and activity saturate the New Testament, following in the footsteps of the Old Testament. Somewhat surprisingly, much of this temple imagery is not primarily concerned with Herod’s stunning Second Temple makeover, but rather, with the New Covenant Temple (NCT hereafter) that Jesus was building. NCT imagery was important for the New Testament authors and their community, and therefore, such imagery should also be enriching for the Church today. NEW COVENANT TEMPLE IMAGERY According to the New Testament’s NCT imagery, Jesus is the NCT (John 2:21), the cornerstone (Matt. 21:42, Eph. 2:20), and the high priest (Heb. 4:14, 10:21). The curtain is Jesus’ flesh (Heb. 10:20). Jesus is the atonement (1 Jn. 2:2, Rom. 3:25). The foundation for this new temple is made up of the apostles and the prophets (Eph. 2:20, Rev. 21:14). The pillars are James, Cephas, John, and the one who conquers (Gal. 2:9,Rev. 3:12). The saints are the living stones being indwelt

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Preaching the Ten Commandments

Ray Ortlund: When I preach through the Ten Commandments, each sermon has four points, because each commandment does four things at once. First, each of the Ten Commandments is revelation.  Each one gives us an insight into the character of God.  For example, what kind of amazing Person would say to us, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15)?  Only a just and generous Person who can be fully trusted, who would never rob us or defraud us, who would never lie or cheat, who would never hold out on us wrongly, who is not out for himself, who feels no need but only overflowing kindness.  This is Jesus. Secondly, each of the Ten Commandments is confrontation.  Each one gives us an insight into our own character.  What kind of people need to be told, “You shall not steal”?  People who will be unfair to one another without even realizing it.  We need to be alerted to our own unjust and

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The New Testament’s Multi-dimensional Fulfillment of the Old

My thanks to Dane Ortlund for this: Seems to me that while it need not be the main point of every NT book, nevertheless every NT book in some way fulfills the hope of the OT, though each from its own perspective. One former prof of mine used to say that the NT is a 27-volume commentary on the OT. Truth to that. Matthew fulfills the OT’s hope for a Messiah, a Christ, an anointed son of David who would save God’s people (1:21). Mark fulfills the OT’s hope for a coming Son of God who would inaugurate God’s kingdom (1:1, 14–15). Luke fulfills the OT’s longing for God to come and set right the world’s injustices—reversing rich and poor, oppressors and oppressed, satisfied and hungry, outsider and insider (19:10). John fulfills the OT’s longing for the tabernacle/temple to do decisively what it was always meant to do—unite God and man in restored fellowship (1:14; 2:21; 14:6). Acts fulfills the OT by

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An Observation about Israel in Ephesians 2:11-21 & 3:5, 6

Having recently expounded the book of Ephesians in Burma I found this article by John Hendryx really encouraging. The following passage really makes up the heart of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. Here he reveals a great mystery which was hidden in previous ages: “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ … So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the

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New Covenant: Priority of Indicative

D. Martin Lloyd-Jones once wrote: “[T]he Sermon on the Mount is a description of character and not a code of ethics or of morals. It is not to be regarded as a law- a kind of new ‘Ten Commandments’ or set of rules and regulations which are to be carried out by us-but rather as a description of what we Christians are meant to be” D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Vol.1, [IVP, 1966], 23. (HT: Matthew Morizio)

Jesus Christ: The True Israel

Jesus Christ: The True Israel By Dr. Kim Riddlebarger If we stand within the field of prophetic vision typical of Israel’s prophets after the exile and captivity, and with them we look to the future, what do we see? Israel’s prophets clearly anticipate a time when Israel will be restored to its former greatness. But will that restoration of the nation of Israel to its former glory mirror the days of the monarchy? Or does the monarchy itself point us to the monarch? Such a prophetic vision includes not only the nation, but the land of Canaan, the city of Jerusalem, the throne of David, as well as the temple in Jerusalem. Since the nation had been divided and the people were hauled off into captivity in Babylon some five centuries before the coming of Jesus, the magnificent temple destroyed and the priesthood gone, such prophetic expectation related to Israel’s future quite naturally spoke of a reversal of fortune and

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Horatius Bonar on the Cross

. My thanks to Tony Reinke for this. . The Shed Blood of Christ: The Foundation of Christianity. What is Christianity? Not metaphysics, not mysticism, not a compilation of guesses at truth. It is the history of the seed of the woman—that seed the Word made flesh—the Word made flesh, the revelation of the invisible Jehovah, the representative of the eternal God, the medium of communication between the Creator and the creature, between earth and heaven. And of this Christianity, what is the essential characteristic, the indispensable feature from first to last? Is it incarnation or blood-shedding? Is it the cradle or the cross? Is it the scene at Bethlehem or at Golgotha? Assuredly the latter! “Eh, Eli, lama sabachthani,” is no mere outcry of suffering nature, the cross is no mere scene of human martyrdom, and the great sepulchre is no mere Hebrew tomb. It is only through blood-shedding that conscience is purged; it is only at the cross

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Interview with Tom Schreiner

I can’t wait to get hold of Tom Schreiner’s new book, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ. Midlands Bible College and Divinity School recently interviewed Dr. Schreiner about the book. You can read the interview here, but here’s a sample that particularly interested me: Let’s consider two things that you focus upon in your book. The first is the theme of magnifying God and the second is the theme of salvation history. Taking the first of these, what do you mean when you say, “the New Testament is radically God-centred”? What I mean by that is that the New Testament’s ultimate aim is to lift us up into God’s presence so that the purpose of the New Testament is not merely intellectual but is doxological, that we will glorify, honour, and praise God for his saving work in Christ. I have 10 plus chapters on the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit but the majority focus on Jesus

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The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses

Justin Taylor posts: Vern Poythress’s book, The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, is now available online for free. Here is the table of contents: Part 1: Understanding the Different Aspects of the Law The Challenge of the Law of Moses The Tabernacle of Moses The Sacrifices, Prefiguring the Final Sacrifice of Christ The Priests and the People, General Principles for God’s Dwelling with Human Beings Prefiguring Union with Christ The Land of Palestine, the Promised Land The Law and Its Order The Purposes of the Tabernacle the Law, and the Promised Land: Pointing Forward to Christ The Punishments and Penalties of the Law Prefiguring the Destruction of Sin and Guilt through Christ Part 2: Understanding Specific Penalties of the Law The Principle of Penal Substitution Principles of Justice for the Modern State Just Penalties for Many Crimes Penalties for Sexual Crimes Deterrence and Rehabilitation A Critique of Prisons Our Responsibilities Toward Imperfect States Fulfillment of the Law

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“Moralistic preaching assumes that we’re really not helpless sinners”

“We’ve all heard sermons, especially from the Old Testament, on the faithfulness of Abraham, David’s “heart for God”, Joshua’s leadership…and we were encouraged to “dare to be a Daniel”. But the Bible is nothing like Aesop’s fables… you know, a story to illustrate a moral point. Abraham was, in many ways, a moral failure. Even his willingness to sacrifice Isaac wasn’t an example for us, but was an occasion for God to foreshadow Christ as the ram caught in the thicket so that Isaac, and the rest of us, could go free. Moses was God’s man, but wavered under the burden and was barred from leading God’s people into Canaan. Joshua is not a source for leadership principles, unless we’re planning on leading a campaign of destruction against idolatrous nations in order to establish righteousness in God’s holy land. Yet read in the light of the history of redemption, Joshua and his ministry point forward to Jesus and his person

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Nothing but the Blood – A Better Word!

“…you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”   Hebrews 12:22-24 A better word than the blood of Abel: Abel’s blood cried out from the ground to the Lord for justice and vengeance. The blood Jesus speaks for his people’s forgiveness, justification, healing, reconciliation, wholeness, holiness, cleansing, liberation, redemption, access and acceptance with God. I love this song by Matt Redman.

The Gospel is Trinitarian

“In order for us sinners to be saved, one must see God at one and the same time as the one judging our sin (the Father), the one making the payment of infinite value for our sin (the divine Son), and the one empowering and directing the incarnate – human – Son so that he lives and obeys the Father, going to the cross as the substitute for us (the Holy Spirit).” – Bruce Ware, Father, Son, & Holy Spirit (Wheaton, Il.: Crossway Books, 2001), 17. (HT: Of First Importance)

We are the Temple of the Living God!

Sam Storms  on 2 Corinthians 6:16b – 7:1 .  On the one hand, I don’t want to be guilty of unwarranted exaggeration. On the other, I’m hard-pressed to think of a more theologically important, spiritually encouraging, and eschatologically controversial statement than that of Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16b. “For we are the temple of the living God”! . The starting point for understanding this crucial concept is the Old Testament narrative in which we find the visible manifestation of the splendor of God among his people, the shekinah of God, his majestic and radiant glory without which the Israelites would have been left in the darkness that characterized the Gentile world. . Before Solomon’s temple, God revealed his glory in the tent or tabernacle which Moses constructed. It was there that God would come, dwell, and meet with his people. “Let them make me a sanctuary,” the Lord spoke to Moses, “that I may dwell in their midst” (Ex. 25:8).

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Packer Defines Evangelism

“How, then, should evangelism be defined? The New Testament answer is very simple. According to the New Testament, evangelism is just preaching the gospel, the evangel. It is a work of communication in which Christians make themselves mouth-pieces for God’s message of mercy to sinners. Anyone who faithfully delivers that message, under whatever circumstances, in a large meeting, in a small meeting, from a pulpit, or in a private conversation, is evangelizing. Since the divine message finds its climax in a plea from the Creator to a rebel world to turn and put faith in Christ, the delivering of it involves the summoning of one’s hearers to conversion. If you are not, in this sense, seeking to bring about conversions, you are not evangelizing; this we have seen already. But the way to tell whether in fact you are evangelizing is not to ask whether conversions are known to have resulted from your witness. It is to ask whether you

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Theology, beginning with the Gospel

M. Bird:  “We need to set out the gospel at the beginning of theology because… (1) our reception of the gospel is the point where we first experience the soteriological benefits of being in a redemptive relationship with God; (2) it brackets out perversions of the gospel caused by either a liberalism (a truncated social gospel) or a fundamentalism (gospel + works) which might otherwise infiltrate our theological thinking; (3) setting out the gospel insulates our further theological reflection from either a pietistic reductionism (e.g. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life) or from an equating the gospel with one particular doctrine (e.g. the gospel of justification, the gospel of the pre-tribulation rapture, the gospel of egalitarianism, etc); and (4) Paul’s epistle to the Romans (although most definitely not a systematic theology, it is still the most ‘systematic’ of Paul’s letters) itself starts with a statement of the gospel in Rom. 1.3-4. In this light, Romans

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What is the Gospel and Why is it Important?

This is an excellent piece from John Fonville. I especially appreciate the way the gospel is relevant to sanctification. Thanks John.   I was recently asked, “What is the Gospel and why is it important?” That is a great question and obviously one that is of the utmost importance. What the Gospel is not For many today the Gospel has come to be associated with “four spiritual laws” (Note, Laws!) or advice for your best life now. In some cases the gospel has been reduced to a set of marketing slogans on bumper stickers. We have all seen them, for example, “Want Heaven, Get Jesus,” “Jesus Rules, Do you live by them?,” “Need some good advice? It’s in the Bible!” The Gospel has become the quintessential, narcissistic tool, the “cure-all pill” for things like stress, personal fulfillment and happiness, child-rearing, diet-eating plans, social action, etc… The Gospel is not a set of rules to live by. The Gospel is not

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Martyn Lloyd-Jones: A Summary of Ephesians

Whilst in India recently, I expounded the book of Ephesians for the students at Himalayan Torchbearers Bible School. It was a great privilege. Adrian Warnock has posted this excellent summary of Ephesians by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Thanks Adrian! “. . . we can say of the first three chapters that the Apostle is reminding these Ephesians . . . who they are, what they are, and how they have become what they are. That is his theme. All the major doctrines of the Christian faith are to be found in these first three chapters . . . But the Apostle desires the Ephesians to understand above all else the privileges that belong to such a life . . . if we but realized the exalted character of what he calls our ‘high calling’, the whole situation would be transformed. He writes three chapters to bring them face to face with this teaching. Then, having done that, the Apostle begins to

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