TWO LAWS – Letter and Spirit

The Law of Moses… (Rom.10:5)
– was perfect
– was perfectly (completely) revealing
– was perfectly (completely) revealing God’s righteousness
– was perfectly (completely) revealing man’s unrighteousness
– was powerless in completing the task of breathing God’s righteousness into man. (Rom.10:3-4,8)

Here’s to life under the Law of the Spirt
– the in-breathed life of God by the Spirit (Rom.10:8)
– the out-worked life of God by the Spirit (Rom.10:10)
– the Spirit of holiness (Rom.1:4)
– the Spirit that circumcises the heart (Rom.2:29)
– the Spirit poured into our heart (Rom.5:5)
– the Spirit who allows for service in the ‘new way’ (Rom.7:6)
– the Spirit who is Life (Rom.8:2)
– the Spirit who enables us to walk not according to the Flesh (Rom.8:4)
– the Spirit who enables minds to be set no on the Flesh (Rom.8:5)
– the Spirit who enables minds to be set on life and peace (Rom.8:6)
– the Spirit who indwells as life (Rom.8:9)
– the Spirit who is a life of righteousness (Rom.8:10)
– the Spirit who puts to death the deeds of the Flesh (Rom.8:13)
– the Spirit who leads the sons of God (Rom.8:14)
– the Spirit of adoption in the Father (Rom.8:15)
– the Spirit who bears witness that we are children of God (Rom.8:16)
– the Spirit who bears the firstfruits of Christ (Rom.8:23)
– the Spirit who helps us with our weakness (Rom.8:26)
– the Spirit who knows our hearts and intercedes (Rom.8:27)
– the Spirit who is our righteousness and peace and joy (Rom.14:17)
– the Spirit who is our power that we may abound in hope (Rom.15:13)
– the Spirit who alone sanctifies making our priestly service acceptable (Rom.15:16)
– the Spirit who is Love that enables us to strive together with one another in prayer (Rom.15:30).

MILLENNIUM: An Eschatological View

My Eschatological View of the Millennium – by John Dunn

In the OT Scriptures, the vision of the Day of the Lord is often presented as a singular cosmic event, in which Messiah both saves his people and issues cataclysmic destruction upon the wicked. However, the mystery of the New Covenant Age is that Messiah’s coming is fulfilled in two parts. He came the first time in lowliness and servanthood to die on a cross, to save. The second time he will come as a consuming fire to judge and destroy the wicked.

In this way, the Day of the Lord can be understood as an eschatological Age. It has begun in salvation (Messiah’s Incarnation), is presently coming (by the Spirit), and will be finally consummated at Christ’s visible return in fiery judgment. We are living in the age of the Day of the Lord, which is “as a thousand years”, as Peter confirms:

“But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the DAY of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. (2 Pet. 3:7-8, see also Ps 90:4)

In this way, I believe the “thousand years” in Revelation 20 is referring to the eschatological age of the Day of the Lord in which we are presently living, an indeterminable period which is “as a thousand years”, and in which the elect are being saved and the ungodly are presently storing up wrath for themselves for the Day of wrath. (Rom 2:4-5)

Jesus himself indicated as much in Luke 4:17-21 when he proclaimed that he had fulfilled Isaiah 61:1-2. But he immediately closed the scroll and sat down in mid-verse, precisely before finishing the rest of verse 2, “ and the Day of vengeance of our God.” The proclamation of the Good News and the Day of vengeance are intimately united in the same eschatological event known as the Day of the Lord. But Jesus indicated here that the vengeance was yet to come. The Day of the Lord has come in Messiah’s full salvation. But the Day of the Lord’s final vengeance is yet future.

ABIDE: In Christ

“Every now and then we need to get back to the basics and reflect on our relationship to Jesus Christ and what a tremendous blessing it is for God’s saints to know God. My own ambition is to discover Christ throughout all of God’s Word and not just in the Gospels. I want to be fully conformed to His image. I want to know Him more intimately. In this study I want to reflect on how blessed you and I are “in Christ.””

Read more here: Blessed in Christ

Abide in Christ


– 2Cor.3.3-4

“…you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.”

Meaning: Preaching Christ faithfully, inscribes the Spirit upon the heart of the believer. We can be confident that the gospel of Christ works in this way among his people.

FAITH: To Live By

Romans 4:20-21 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, (21) fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

How lovely. This is the faith (confidence) the justified LIVE by. God can give us a strong faith (thru the word of Christ, by the Spirit) in God, that He can deliver on His promises (which flow from Christ, the Amen!). This is the faith that glorifies God. This is the faith wherein we are sanctified.

ALERT: Eyes fixed/Ears opened!

My response to a conversation held elsewhere (Might as well face it you’re addicted to Law):

Thank you for the response…I truly appreciate the concern with the imperatives, and trust that you understand that NT imperatives are not the OT Law. For, we have died to the Law and are married to another, Christ, that we might might bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Rom 7:4) who brings us along in the way of Christ — not back to the external code (Rom 7:6) — in order that the *righteous requirement* of the Law might be fulfilled in us, again, by the Spirit (Rom 8:4).

Indeed, what I’ve said “sounds spiritual” because it is biblical, Christian. Our focus is solely upon Christ (The Indicative) and such focus is the sole means whereby the Holy Spirit produces fruit (the imperatives). With eyes fixed upon Jesus our ears are opened to the calling of the Holy Spirit, who works in us the works of God.

We are called to rest upon Christ who is our Rest. To behold and live. This is the way of the New Covenant, which is Christ himself, our Covenant (Isaiah 42:649:82Cor 3:1-18).

The NC imperatives are altogether Christological, not Law, no less commands but more than mere commands. They depict for us the likeness of Christ, both for and in us. They define what the Spirit of Christ is doing in us who believe this is how God works.

2Cor 4:6-7 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

We are not missing the call to action, but grasp the New Covenant cause of action…the effectual and finished work of Jesus Christ. Imperatives that become unhinged from this Gospel-context end up as Law-like things doing what the Law does best (Rom 7.7-25)…inciting the Flesh to do works that have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power (2Tim 3:5).

The Spirit of God has been given us, not as a spirit of fear (as to how well we are performing), but as the Spirit of power and love and self-control (2Tim 1:7). This is how the Gospel has come to those who hear it rightly, not only as a word, but as an effectual work of God that will cause us to delight in loving God and neighbor (1Thes 1:5). Against such, there is no external code in force (Gal 5:23), but the Rule of the Spirit inwardly (Ezek. 36:25-27).

Beholding is becoming.

LIFE: Gospel-given?

Question: Where should the emphasis be…Gospel-given or Gospel-driven?

Concern: Gospel-driven may be a disguise for gospel+drive (self-effort).  The focus ends up on US, rather than upon the person and work of Christ, the beginning, middle and end of the ‘new life’.

Gospel-given speaks of our being given the Holy Spirit as a result of Christ’s finished work, fulfilling all things.  The Gospel itself (Christ’s person/work) gives us all things.  ‘New life’ is given only by genuine faith in his having given his life and taken it up again.  ‘Growth’ is given only to those who continue believing this is how it works.

We end up living by some kind of works-righteous-law when we miss the Gospel as the continuing source of LIFE, whereby the Holy Spirit works.

FREE BOOK: The Fourth Stream

Learn of the doctrine of “Christ the Covenant” that has served to bring together New Covenant Theology advocates whose roots were located in various and diverse theological backgrounds such as Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.

This is a free digital publication published by our own ESS. All we ask of you is that you would read it carefully and freely share with others by providing the following link. Fourth Stream.pdf

IMPERATIVES: Descriptive of Christ for/in Us

As for the imperatives of the New Covenant being imperatives in the life of the Believer, I get that…BUT…theologically, they are first and foremost and forever descriptive of Christ himself and the life of the Holy Spirit in us.  In others words, they aren’t external codes that I merely strive to live by in order to become more Christ-like, but an internal reality of the Spirit’s presence, manifest in a measure He’s pleased to grant (30, 60 or 100 fold).

RESOLUTION: Yours or His?

Is the essence of your take-on-Scripture that it is about your resolution: the act of determining to do better?  Or, is the essence of your take-on-Scripture that it is about God’s resolution: His sharpening our eyes to His both determining and fulfilling all things in Christ?

It could easily be the former and that would be quite natural, in keeping with the Flesh.  As for the latter, this would be in keeping with the Spirit, in accord with the Gospel, the New Covenant.

The Spirit gives and interprets His word, so that we might understand how God has resolved to deal with our sin and open our eyes to see,  increasingly with higher resolution, His righteousness in the face of Christ in all of Scripture.  Christ as both the Promise and Fulfillment of all Scripture!

The Spirit’s single means to opening our eyes, giving us the high-def resolution, is all of Scripture being read through the lens of the New Covenant (the Gospel).  If we miss this means, that, the Spirit gives in-sight by/thru the New Covenant, which is Jesus himself (Isa.42.6; 49.8; Mt.26.28; Lk.22.20; 1Cor.11.25; Heb.13.20; ), we miss the Big Picture made up of the many pixels.  We end up missing the Picture for the pixels.  We end up with the low-def resolution, seeing things as if they were essentially about our “being resolved” (a pixel).

CENTER: On self?

Unfortunately, the Liberal worldview is just one manifestation of our not being ‘grown-up’ about things (i.e., family, friends, foes, work, play, rest, etc.).  In other words, what’s wrong with Liberalism is wrong with all of us!  We need to grow-up and be comfortable doing so, especially when those around us act/think like children.

Let’s remember that all our efforts are in vain, unless Christ builds himself (likeness) in us, otherwise we’ll be found pretending to be grown-up.

DRIVEN: By what?

Video of interest:

Truly, I respect and appreciate where these three brothers are coming from on the whole, however, they demonstrate quite well the concern raised in a few of my previous posts (actually the last, third, and fourth to last posts).  More about that in a moment.

Again, there’s much here to be appreciated.  They do a fine job in this video and the other ones they’ve posted at Vimeo.  There’s a great deal of clarity on what the-Gospel-proper is and isn’t, striving to keep the root distinct from the fruit.  And yet, the concern is with comments regarding the “moral law” and its relationship to the Gospel.

There’s this assumption that’s made, what some would describe as a “third use” of the Law.  That, the Gospel itself calls us (believers) to “keep the Law.”  Beginning right around the 4:27 mark, the discussion takes an interesting turn.  The idea of “balance” is espoused, that the Bible puts forth the Gospel but then gives us commands (Law) so that we can see what the fruit of the Gospel looks like.  This conversation goes further to say that, the commands don’t change, the moral law of God doesn’t change…but now because of the Gospel, you now have the Holy Spirit in you and empowering you to now live like Jesus was living…but God’s law is unchanging.  The Law  remains the tracks that the Gospel now pushes us along.  Preach the commands, but also the Gospel so that by it people can obey the commands.

All of us either do now or have once accepted such notions as soundly biblical, but this thinking implies the following faulty conclusions:
  1. The Gospel is not a proclamation: of Jesus having fulfilled the Law, that we might be ruled by His Holy Spirit, with eyes fastened on the person and work of Christ, not on our performance, but in confidence that God is the promise keeper in making a people for his name’s sake, again through their beholding Christ’s glory revealed in the Gospel, New Covenant, by faith.
  2. But, the Gospel ends up being a new means to an old scheme, Law-keeping.
  3. Lastly, in effect, we’re being told that we must not hold too closely to notions like: Christ is the end of the Law; that the Law has been abolished; that the Spirit is supplied by faith and not works of the Law, or by a works-of-the-Law focus; that as those who are of the free woman (Jerusalem above) and not the slave woman (present Jerusalem; Sinai) we walk by faith (seeing Christ’s righteousness) not sight (seeing our righteousness); or, only faith working through love (a love that is revealed on the cross, and manifest by the Holy Spirit) counts for anything.
       What’s missing?  The understanding that Christ’s fulfilling the Law in/by himself for us, brings the code-function of the Law in the life of God’s people to an end.  The Law once functioned (as code) among God’s people as a means whereby they maintained a place in the Land, under the protection of the Lord.  What’s also missing is that the Law continues to function as a revelation of Jesus Christ, formerly as a shadowy revealing of God, but now as a substantive revealing of God when the Law is read in light of the Gospel, and thereby we see the face of Jesus Christ.  We see his face most clearly in the Gospel, New Covenant, and because of that are able to make out the Face in what was once mystery and shadowy, Old Covenant, The Law.  A face, that we behold, and are changed by in doing so, not by our doing in order to be changed.
       What are we left with then, that we might be conformed to His image?  The Holy Spirit!  Not a “moral Law” but an abiding Ruler of/in the heart, again the Holy Spirit.  This is God’s promise fulfilled in/thru Jesus, that the Spirit would one day be given, on account of what Christ has done for us, that Christ’s image might be manifest by His Spirit in us, making us to glorify Him and seek the good of our neighbor.  This is the New Covenant, new context.
       In short, the Christ-event changed everything; yes, even the role of the law-code with it’s demands; and yes, even us, who are now children of the Jerusalem above, the free woman, who are free in the Spirit unto God and neighbor.
       The Gospel changes everything…the whole context, vertically and horizontally, internally and externally, temporally and eternally.

GOSPEL-DRIVEN: Which gear?

There’s a fair amount of talk these days about being Gospel-Driven, and some of it is to be appreciated.  My question is: “In what “gear” are we driven BY the Gospel?”  It seems as if too much of what’s said is in “first gear,” not getting deeper than critical application to justification and sanctification.   Aren’t there more gears than this or do we see it as just a Forward & Reverse setup?

The Christian needs to know not only how the Gospel applies to them, but to the WHOLE counsel of God.  It’s not only our holiness but our entire hermeneutic, homiletic, etc. that needs to be shaped (driven) by the Gospel, Christ-event.  Otherwise, these things are essentially other than Christian, being rooted in/driven by something other than Christ, his Spirit and counsel.

How deep is the Gospel-driven into you?  We will only be as Gospel-driven FOR the Gospel as we are Gospel-driven BY the Gospel.

Is some of this “gospel-driven” stuff just idle-talk?  If so, the phrase will tend to wear-out with using.

CENTER: Of the Gospel?

The notion of Gospel-centered-ness can tend to be a mere abstraction, if we’re not careful.  Careful enough to grasp the Gospel’s center.

What is the Gospel’s center…focal point (person)?  You?  Me? Neighbor? Church? Culture?

How we answer this is critical, otherwise we end up with a gospel that centers on something other, which is another Gospel.  And if that ends up being the case, we end up with something other than Gospel-centered perspective on faith and life.

Friend, the Gospel is not about you and me.  Sorry, it’s true.  The Gospel is about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, come in the flesh, in perfect righteousness, in a willful propitious death, having risen from the dead, and ascended unto the Throne of God.  This is THE Good News!

It’s a proclamation about one Person that’s made all the difference, for those who believe he’s done just that.  Otherwise, the so-called gospel we hold onto is about something/someone else, leaving us to ourselves to work things out for ourselves.

GOSPEL: Up or Down?

  1. Many of us see the Law for the mountain it really is.  Some of us see the Gospel as a climb that it really isn’t.
  2. The Law is a mount like Sinai, which we could never climb.  The Gospel is not the backside of the Law (Sinai), a more gradual slope we climb.
  3. The Gospel is God having come down to us in Christ Jesus,  not another way of making our way up to God.
  4. Beware of those who get the Law right, but turn the Gospel upside-down, by turning it into another Law.

SLIPPING: Need Chains?

Where the Gospel “seems” to lose traction – failing to “improve” our lives – we are apt to apply the chains of the Law in some form.

However, the believer’s traction, in whatever degree God causes it, is never apart from the Gospel itself.  In our beholding the person and work of Christ, the treads of the Gospel grip upon our lives, causing our minds and hearts to genuinely love God and neighbor.

The treads of the Spirit leave the marks of the Gospel.  So, let’s hang those Law-chains where they belong…upon the Cross.