Archive for the ‘Quotations’ Category

Quote of the Week: Jim Hamilton on Christ, the Apostles, and the Old Testament

May 16, 2008

This week, I received Southern Seminary‘s Spring issue of The Tie, their quarterly school magazine. The theme of this issue is “Understanding Scripture in Light of Christ.” It includes some excellent articles written by their faculty and other pastors. Dr. Jim Hamilton has contributed a very helpful article entitled, “New Testament: Christ Revealed,” in which he submits that Jesus “modeled the interpretation of the Old Testament pursued by the apostles and others who wrote the books of the New Testament” (11). In short, Jesus used the same method of interpretation as the Old Testament writers, the apostles learned from him, and taught the church to do the same. Hamilton concludes his article by exhorting the church to read and re-read their Bibles. In doing so, he is convinced (and here is the quote of the week) that

…the more we will see that the Old Testament is a messianic document, written from a messianic perspective in order to provoke and sustain messianic hope, and the New Testament claims that these hopes are fulfilled in Jesus and the church (11).

Excellent. To see a review he recently wrote concerning a similar issue click here.

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“Let Them Come Home”

April 27, 2008

My brother Brandon sent me a link to an article entitled “Let them Come Home,” published in the September 2007 edition of Decision Magazine. It is written by Abraham Piper, who rejected the faith at age 19 in order “to drink gallons of cheap sangria and sleep around”. Some time later, however, the Lord gloriously rescued him with an email and a reading of Romans 1-10. He writes,

“The best way I know to describe what happened to me that morning is that God made it possible for me to love Jesus. When He makes this possible and at the same time gives you a glimpse of the true wonder of Jesus, it is impossible to resist His call.”

Today the Lord is using him in mighty ways as the Web Content Manager for Desiring God Ministries. He often posts very helpful, Gospel-centered information on the Desiring God Blog as well. The reason I mention this article to you is because in it he also includes 12 very helpful ways one can minister to a prodigal child. I highly recommend reading the article, for as my brother mentioned to me, these biblical tips are valuable and helpful even if your own son is not rejecting the faith. Click here to view his article.

Edwards on God’s Happiness and the Creature’s Joy

April 11, 2008

In answering how the creature participates and enjoys God’s supreme and ultimate regard for his own glory, Jonathan Edwards wrote:

Another part of God’s fulness [sic] which he communicates is his happiness. This happiness consists in enjoying and rejoicing in himself; and so does also the creature’s happiness. It is a participation of what is in God; and God and his glory are the objective ground of it. The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God; by which also God is magnified and exalted. Joy, or the exulting of the heart in God’s glory, is one thing that belongs to praise. So that God is all in all, with respect to each part of that communication of the divine fulness [sic] which is made to the creature (The Works of Jonathan Edwards [Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004 reprint], 1:101).

Divine Election is…

April 2, 2008

In thumbing through some of my notes on Ephesians, I ran accross these seven points concerning the doctrine of unconditional election. They largely follow what John Piper lays out in his chapter, “The Pleasure of God in Election” in The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God (Oregon: Multnomah Press, 2000), 121-57. I find them quite helpful for the church and our understanding of this precious biblical teaching. I pray they are a blessing to you too.

Election is… 

  1. Biblical. God gave us His word as a revelation of who He is, and He longs for us to read it, that we might marvel at His grace, His glory, and His freedom.
  2. Humbling. Election is not based on how good we were, but simply upon the fact that God loved us and chose us in Jesus Christ for Himself.
  3. Effective. Because of divine election, people will be saved, and not merely made save-able. The cross not only purchased the Gospel going out to all peoples, but with it the faith people must have in the gospel in order to be saved.
  4. Personal. Election is not robotic, it is relational. God loves us, His church, personally, with a great electing love.
  5. Persevering. Not only does divine election guarantee the initial justification of those who believe the gospel, but it ensures that they will be kept by God to the end.
  6. Preserving. The doctrine of election keeps God, not human autonomy, at the center of the Gospel and the Church. That is, it preserves God-centeredness and defeats man-centeredness. 
  7. Triumphant. Election gives awesome hope for missions and evangelism. Apart from God’s electing grace, no human being would repent or respond to the missionary’s preaching. In other words, election ensures that some will meet the conditions of the Gospel: repentance of sin and faith in Christ. Therefore, preach!

George Bush on Joshua 2:11 & 13

March 26, 2008

There is an Old Testament scholar by the name of George Bush, whom I stumbled upon one day when I was reading through John Piper’s book The Justification of God. Thus, I too made reference to his commentary on Exodus (1852) in a paper I wrote. Over the past couple of days I have been browsing his commentary on Joshua (1852), which even bears a title including the aim of his scholarship, an aim which is missing from many works in the Christian academy: Notes, critical and practical, on the Book of Joshua: Designed as a General Help to Biblical Reading and Instruction. I find his work very insightful and nourishing. Here is a flavor of his comments on Joshua 2:11 and 13 after explaining Rahab’s confession and her demand for the Israelites to swear an oath with her even for the sake of her family:

“…It was at once an acknowledgement of the true God, and a condemnation of the false gods and idolatrous worship of her countrymen, and showed a supernatural influence of God upon her soul. He can cause the rays of truth to penetrate the thickest shades of that moral midnight which broods over the minds of the unenlightened heathen, though we have no evidence that he ever does this, except in connexion (sic) with some kind of external instrumentality” (37)

“…But a practical remark of more importance suggests itself in this connexion (sic). The same feelings which warn us to flee the coming wrath and make our own peace with God, will also incite us to do all in our power to promote the salvation of our families and kindred, by bringing them also within the bonds of the covenant. We shall feel that our work is but half done when our own souls are safe” (38).

Kidner On the Fall and Redemption

February 28, 2008

In a portion of my studies today I ran across this quotation in an Old Testament Survey book (by LaSor, Hubbard, and Bush [1982]). On page 81, they referred to Derek Kidner’s commentary on Genesis, writing these words:

So simple the act: “she took . . . and she ate”;
So drastic the results: humanity has lost the state of innocence forever;
So hard the undoing: God himself will taste poverty and death before “take and eat” become verbs of salvation.

I thought they would be sweet for your contemplation today on the work of Christ and his undoing of the effects of the Fall. Praise him!

Saint Augustine On General & Special Revelation

January 27, 2008

“There is sufficient clearness to enlighten the elect, and sufficient obscurity to humble them. There is sufficient obscurity to blind the reprobate, and sufficient clearness to condemn them, and make them inexcusable.”

Augustine II

These sentences, and others like them, not only teach me doctrine, but also encourage me to make every sentence count for Christ’s sake and the sake of the church.

John Owen On Stimulating Contemplation of the Glory of Christ

October 29, 2007

In his book, Meditations on the Glory of Christ [1684] (Ross-Shire: Christian Focus, 2004 reprint), John Owen gives several helpful (and needed) directions to his readers on how to stimulate contemplation on the glory of Jesus Christ. I found them important for the strengthening of the saints in the fight of faith and the constant war they must wage against worldliness, that damning relationship that slowly lures us away from what the Scriptures tell us is truly good, righteous, and true. I commend his pastoral guidance to you here, briefly:

  1. Do Not Waste Your Thoughts: “Let us get it fixed on our souls and in our minds, that this glory of Christ in the divine constitution of his person is the best, the most noble, useful, beneficial object that we can be conversant about in our thoughts, or cleave to in our affections” (78).
  2. Study the Scripture: “To behold [the glory of Christ], is not a work of fancy or imagination; it is not conversing with an image framed by the art of men without, or that of our own fancy within, but of faith exercised on divine revelations. …And we are in the best frame of duty, when the principal motive in our minds to contend earnestly for retaining the possession of the Scripture against all that would deprive us of it, or discourage us from daily diligent search into it, is this, that they would take from us the only glass in which we may behold the glory of Christ” (81, 84; italics mine).
  3. Be Disciplined in Meditation: “It is to be feared that there are some who profess religion with an appearance of strictness, who never separate themselves from all other occasions, to meditate on Christ and his glory; and yet, with a strange inconsistency of apprehensions, they will profess that they desire nothing more than to behold his glory in heaven forever. …It is impossible that he who never meditates with delight on the glory of Christ here in this world, who labours not to behold it by faith as it is revealed in the Scripture, should ever have any real gracious desire to behold it in heaven. They may love and desire the fruition of their own imaginations; they cannot do so of the glory of Christ, of which they are ignorant, and with which they are unacquainted” (85).
  4. Take Every Opportunity to think of Christ: “Let your occasional thoughts of Christ be many, and multiplied every day. …And a great rebuke it ought to be to us, when Christ has at any time in a day been long out of our minds” (85, 88).
  5. Admire, Adore, and Give Thanks: “The design of this discourse [Rev 5:9-13] is no more, but that when by faith we have attained a view of the glory of Christ, in our contemplations on his person, we should not pass it over as a notion of truth which we assent to, namely, that he is thus glorious in himself, but endeavour to affect our hearts with it, as that in which our own principal interest lies; in which it will be effectual to the transformation of our souls into his image” (90).

Air Conditioned Churches or Perseverance of the Saints?

August 2, 2007

“The number one reason why prayer malfunctions in the hands of believers is that they try to turn a wartime walkie-talkie into a domestic intercom. …what have millions of Christians done? They have stopped believing that we are in a war. No urgency, no watching, no vigilance, no strategic planning. Just easy peacetime and prosperity. And what did they do with the walkie-talkie? They tried to rig it up as an intercom in their cushy houses and cabins and boats and cars – not to call in fire power for conflict with a mortal enemy, but to ask the maid to bring another pillow to the den.”

After attending class today and listening to students give urgent prayer requests before the lecture, I realized how accurate John Piper’s illustration is. Two students offered requests, and I hope the obvious differences in them will awaken you as it did me. One (an American) asked that we pray for their church to have air conditioning so that they would not have to sit in the heat this Sunday. Another (a Korean) asked that we pray for the faith of the twenty-one remaining Korean missionaries kidnapped by the Taliban just recently. As the class prayed, I sat at my desk humbled, in tears, and in need of change, because my own prayer life looked more like the former instead of the latter.

We are at war. Our brothers and sisters need prayer, not for air conditioning, but for perseverance in the midst of persecution.

Another Word from Owen

July 28, 2007

John Owen’s The Glory of Christ continues to teach me how vital it is to live a Godward, Christ-savoring life. Every page thunders with magnificent truth about the Savior as Owen spills over what was wrought in his own communion with God. Moreover, he persistenly beckons his readers to behold Christ’s glory now, even doing so with a sense of urgency, always holding before them that not doing so only finds its end in eternal destruction. Below is another quote from him that I hope helps you to lay hold of the glory of Christ in the Gospel again on this day.

“No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter, who does not in some measure behold it by faith here in this world. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith for sight. Where the subject (the soul) is not previously seasoned with grace and faith, it is not capable of glory or vision. Nay, persons not disposed hereby to it cannot desire it, whatever they pretend; they only decieve their own souls in supposing that so they do. Most men will say with confidence, living and dying, that they desire to be with Christ, and to behold his glory; but they can give no reason why they should desire any such thing only they think it somewhat that is better than to be in that evil condition which otherwise they must be cast into for ever, when they can be here no more. If a man pretend himself to be enamoured with, or greatly to desire, what he never saw, nor was ever represented to him, he but dotes on his own imaginations. And the pretended desires of many to behold the glory of Christ in heaven, who have no view of it by faith whilst they are here in this world, are nothing but self-decieving imaginations” (The Glory of Christ [Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications, 2004], 45-46).

Are you truly beholding and savoring the glory of Christ by faith in this present age?