Now here is some of the best the world has to offer in the way of COUNSEL…in a comedic way, of course. Sadly, this is much of what so-called “Christian” counsel gravitates toward, in assuming that the believing-sinner (each of us) has only to appropriate the counsel (precept of God) in order to ‘make-it-all-happen’. Sounds like something out of Palestine, oh, about 3400 years ago:
Meredith Kline once wrote:
“Together the old and new covenant canons share in redemption’s eschatological movement with its pattern of renewal, of promise and Messianic fulfillment, the latter is the semi-eschatological and consummate stages….As polities for two different covenant orders, the Mosaic and the Messianic, the two covenantal canons stand over against one another, each in its own individual literary-legal unity and completeness.
William Dumbrell is said to have uttered:
“[T]he Sermon on the Mount is a ‘covenant recall to Israel’ which ‘recalled Israel to the covenant and had the reconstitution of scattered Israel in mind.'”
EXACTLY, and others have likewise concluded the same.
The Sermon on the Mount is not for the Church of Jesus Christ to assume as a direct ethical prescription. To miss the covenantal framework in which this passage is set, is to miss the heart of what Christ was declaring as the Last and Greatest Prophet of Israel. The majority view has long been one of assuming Christ is here conveying the ethical scheme the New Covenant Community would live and die by, when in reality it is the Scheme Christ himself would live and die under.
Unfortunately, this (the majority view) is nothing more than an abstract, a-covenantal reading of the text.
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).
Check out the two sermons I posted here on Romans 7…go to the top of right column.
A hearty thanks to Pastor Owen for both the helpful sermons and permitting me to post them here at Gospel Muse.
Elyse Fitzpatrick in an interview (re: Because He Loves Me): “Simply put, I think that this is the most important book I’ve written because I’m finally writing about the One who is preeminent, Jesus Christ. I feel like much of my life has been spent pursuing godliness and encouraging others to do so while leaving Jesus behind. Not that I didn’t love him, just that I didn’t see how relevant he is to everything in my daily life.
“I can’t imagine ever writing on anything else again because once you’ve reached the pinnacle of God’s work in the world, what else is there to say? I’ve spent a good part of a year confining my thinking and reading (when not being silly or reading fiction!) to one topic: God’s love for us in Christ, and it’s transformed my heart. I can see how it’s been so easy for me to gloss over God’s love and move on to my responsibility, and I can see how deeply wrong that is.
Shane Becker wrote: “The centrality of the Christ and His Gospel is the great truth and wellspring from which all other realities in the Christian life are derived including our obedience.”