CHRIST: The Unity/Disunity of Old and New Covenants

* NCT on Continuity *

OC/NC continuity exists in the Person of Jesus.  He’s in the OC shadows and then comes forth in NC glory (Col.2.17; Heb.8.5; 10.1; 2Cor.3.10).  ALL of Scripture is the revelation of Jesus (Lk.24.27; Acts3.22; Jn.5.46).

* NCT on Discontinuity *

ALL prior covenantal form/function is transformed (reformed – Heb.9.10; 7.12; Jer.31.31-34) in the Person of Jesus, who is the New Covenant himself (Isa.42.6; 49.6,8; Zec.9.11; Lk.22.20; Heb.13.20).

* NCT on OC Law *

1)      Provoked sin/Promised life

2)     Represented Adam

3)     Prefigured Christ (then)

4)     Incarnate in Christ (now)

* NCT on CT *

1)      CT emphasis = continuity of covenants

2)     NCT emphasis =  FULFILLMENT in Christ!

* NCT on God’s one eternal purpose *

1)      Fulfilled in Jesus (Eph.3.11)

2)     Fully revealed thru Jesus (Eph.1.9-10)

Jesus is our covenant and our law, just as he is our union and our righteousness.

YOU: As Lord or Savior?

A FEW OF MY THOUGHTS, FROM A CONVERSATION OVER ON FACEBOOK:

“It seems to be the case though, that, what we have here is a classic alcoholic husband and rescuing wife, both who are enslaved within a system (mindset/heart-disposition) whose components complement each other all too well.

One typical configuration, of enslavement, is seen in the husband’s combined mis-use of alcohol mixed with a ruling and enslaving love of pleasure.   An escapist pursuit of:

1) a false hope from the pains and frustrations of life;

2) playing the angry and self-righteous judge of his wife’s clinging and dependent ways;

3) the self-crucifying of his periodic remorse;

4) a trust in man which seeks personal validation through acceptance by his bar companions; etc.

Then we have the reciprocal pattern in the wife’s rescuing behavior, a combination of:

1) playing the martyred savior of her husband and family;

2) playing the proud and self-righteous judge of her husband’s iniquity;

3) a trust in man which overvalues the opinions of her friends;

4) a fear of man which generates an inordinate desire for a male’s love and affection as crucial to her survival; etc.

The internal enslavement of both (and consequent behavior, thoughts, and emotions) makes sense within their system of identity. The enslavement of soul is sometimes modeled, taught, and encouraged by the other person(s) involved:

1) her nagging and his anger mirror and magnify each other;

2) his bar buddies and her girl friends reinforce their respective self-righteousness and self-pity.

The outworking of enslavement is sometimes reactive and sometimes compensatory to the other person:

1) he reacts to her nagging with drinking, and

2) she reacts to his drinking by trying to rescue and to change him.

Sadly, the children are swept up in this, later playing either the master (like the husband) and/or the messiah/martyr (like the wife). It gets real ugly when a person grows up playing out both roles! Either way, the ‘once-child-now-adult’ is having to face the crisis they were born with:

1) who they ultimately are; and

2) who they were nurtured by (who their parents, etc. were).

Yet, even those with the best of parents can/do readily find themselves caught up in the same mess, and in this case the parents aren’t even part of the blame, nor is anyone else with whom they interact, necessarily. Why? Because they (like all people!) are born (nature) with an identity crisis. Left to themselves, each and every person has the same fundamental problem: an inherent identity crisis (= alienation from One greater then themselves).

Too often what we receive from others, particularly as adults, is nothing more than a “negative-feedback loop.” Meaning, we are likely seeing a reflection of our own folly even if it comes back at us as an opposite behavior/disposition.

As we push they pull, and vice versa.

[Note: the core principles here are gleaned from an article about idolatry by David Powlison.]

Left behind…for a godly purpose

Devon Berry faithfully preached:   

“…though the incarnate Christ has physically departed this earth, he has left behind physical evidence, in fact, he has left behind his body, for the good and comfort of believers and for the proclamation of his glory to unbelievers… You are in this together. You are who Christ has left all humanity with as physical evidence that he was here! To love and serve your fellow believer is to do nothing less than show Christ to the world in a way that makes God the Father look magnificent and glorious!  …Do you want to bring him glory? Then sacrificially serve and love your fellow believer.  …May we be ever-conscious of what is temporal and what is eternal – and then live as people who realize that this world is not our home.”

 

 

 

 

 

Gospel and Church Health

Steve Mathewson has written:  

“The point is, then, that the gospel is never something we outgrow. It’s at the core of Christian living. It’s at the core of what God is doing to save us – including the past, present, and future aspects of this great salvation. The answer to our struggles with greed, immorality, legalism, jealousy, hatred, and selfish ambition is the gospel… Whatever challenges or problems we are facing in our churches, the solution takes us back to the gospel.”

Our Confession

Lee Irons said:    “To exalt the Reformed confessions is to downplay the primary New Testament confession that “Jesus is Lord.” I’m not a Reformed person who happens to be a Christian. I’m a blood-bought Christian who happens to believe in the Reformed understanding of the gospel. And I do not view myself as a superior Christian for having this belief. It is only by the grace of God that I understand what I do of the grace of God, and even then I betray it all too often in my practice.

Holding the Truth in Charity

Lee Irons said:  “Another point — it is true that the majority of evangelicals in the U.S. are ill-taught, doctrinally confused, and engage in a variety of questionable practices. The teaching from evangelical pulpits across America tends to confuse cult and culture, has a moralistic bent, and often strays into the realm of heresy. Most evangelicals would not be able to explain the gospel clearly and accurately if asked. So identifying as an evangelical runs the risk of sending the message that we support and identify with this mess. But rather than viewing evangelicals as part of a big mess “out there” that we want nothing to do with, charity dictates that we should view them as immature brothers and sisters in Christ who need to be lovingly taught and encouraged to be consistent with the evangelical faith that they claim to profess.”

 

Faith, A Regulative-Principle

Christian Cryder:  “If Justification By Faith is the heart of the gospel, and Sanctification By Faith is its lifeblood, then Worship by Faith explains the reality of our fellowship with God.  …[O]ur churches will die when we fail to understand the gospel – that we are justified by faith, sanctified by faith, and that our worship is made pleasing in faith.”

Which Jesus…

Doug:  On any given Sunday, in any church across the US, the Jesus that you hear about may not be the real Jesus. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. You see, our culture is awash with all kinds of religions that distort Christ and His Gospel. How can I make such a statement?

Read more…

 

MY THOUGHTS…

To say exactly what’s happening (?)…I can’t.  But, it seems as in other eras of the church’s history there is something of a *cross-roads* before us.  Meaning, as the “church” has a real degree of apostasy in its midst, simultaneously there is found an ever deepening and abounding delight in the Person and Work of Christ Jesus.  It’s interesting when we find both of these in the same congregation, like the one you attend perhaps.

We know that judgment begins at the house of the Lord.  We also understand that God gives the wicked over to their own cravings.  In the meantime, there are those to whom the Lord provides an ever increasing clarity of His face in Jesus Christ.

At one and the same time…we face frustrations (being anxious for the churches) and delight in His exaltation (being awestruck with His glory).

Christ our Colossus

Been reading through Colossians this evening and took a moment or two to kind of outline the Christological thread of the Text.  This is what I skimmed off the top…

 

Colossians 1, 2 & 3:

 

1.5-6) It is this Gospel, of God’s grace, that grows us in the Way fruitful.

1.15)  It is by this Gospel, we behold the Image of the Invisible God, and are changed.

1.19)  It is in Christ, the Second Adam, the God-Man, that, God’s Image fully dwells. 

1.22)  It is in Christ, we are reconciled into a state of holiness and blamelessness, irreproachableness.

1.23)  It is by faith in Christ, we continue stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the Gospel.

1.27)  It is Christ in you, that, this Gospel makes known.

1.28)  It is Christ we proclaim, for in knowing Him we are matured in Him.

2.2)    It is in Christ proclaimed, we come to a full assurance of understanding.

2.3)    It is in Christ, that God stores such treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

2.4)    It is Christ, we must know, so that, we may not be deluded by ‘very plausible’ arguments.

2.5)    It is Christ, upon whom our faith must fasten firmly.

2.6)    It is in this Christ, THE Lord, who’s revealed in the Gospel, we must walk believingly.

2.7)    It is in Christ, we must be rooted and growing up in, established in a faith in Him.

2.8)    It is in Christ, our minds must be taken captive.

2.9)    It is in Christ, we encounter the Godhood of God.

2.10)  It is in Christ, we are full-filled.

2.11)  It is in Christ, we have a spiritual circumcision, by His having been both physically and spiritually cut-off!

2.12)  It is with Christ, we have suffered a baptismal-death.

2.12)  It is with Christ, we have raised by ‘faith in God’s powerful working’ in resurrecting Christ.

2.13)  It is with Christ, we are made alive, having no sin counted against us.

2.15)  It is Christ, who disarmed(s) the power of sin and death.

2.16)  It is in Christ, we have an “identity” that is lifted far above shadowy religious rites.

2.17)  It is Christ, who is the substance (object) of our faith and practice.

2.19)  It is Christ, who we cling upon by faith, and thereby nourished and knit together, growing up by God. 

2.20)  It is in Christ, we have died to the world, and will keep dying to the world (which includes our sin-flesh).

2.23)  It is in Christ, we find true religion and God’s regulating us, avoiding flesh-exalting ritualism.

3.1)    It is Christ, with whom we are raised, and in whom we seek and find the Kingdom.

3.3)    It is in Christ, we are hidden in God, being dead to what’s less.

3.4)    It is Christ, who is our life, now and forever.

3.5)    It is Christ, who enables us to die, again and again to idolatry (the root-sin), by our beholding Him.

3.9)    It is Christ, who puts the old-man (Adamic) into context, with all his fleshly practices and faithless purposes.

3.10)  It is Christ, the New-man, the Image of the Creator, who renews us by beholding (knowing) Him.

3.11)  It is Christ, who is ALL, and by Whom all temporal social barriers are destroyed.

3.12)  It is in Christ, God chooses, sets-apart, and loves us; and produces the fruit of the Spirit.

3.13)  It is in Christ, that, we obtain and exemplify the forgiveness of God.

3.14)  It is in Christ, crucified, that, we find God’s love fully demonstrated and unleashed, and the Source of our love-bond.

3.15)  It is in Christ, we have peace with God and any hope of peace with one another.

3.16)  It is Christ, the Word incarnate, that becomes the Source and Content of our conversation with one another.

3.17)  It is in Christ, we have access to the Father; and by Whom, all we do or say is sanctified.

3.18-23)  It is on Christ, THE Lord, a household is rightly founded upon and found heartily working unto. 

3.24)  It is Christ, who is (and will give) our Inheritance and Reward.

3.25)  It is Christ, who is (and will bring) Justice.

 

Amen!

 

Gospel: reveling in it together

Paul’s words to the church at Rome are engaging:

 

“For I long to [share with] you…some spiritual gift to strengthen you– that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.  So I am eager to [share] the gospel [with] you…for it is the power of God for salvation to [us both].”

(Rom.1.11-12 & 15-16 [paraphrased])

Blood: thicker than creed

Ian Hamilton: “Augustine  remarked … ‘Remember, we are washed in the same blood.’  …Sadly, some give the impression (and more than the impression) that if you are not wholly committed to the Westminster Confession of Faith, you are deeply suspect. I would guess that an incipient sectarianism is more widespread in our circles than we would imagine.”

Gospel as Dividing Line

[S]tanding firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27b).

DeWaay:

“My thesis is that Biblically defined unity is a gospel-centered unity that always works toward the unity of the faith. Biblically defined unity is never a unity centered about the corporate vision of the new religious marketing agents.

“Paul had unity with the Philippians because of their common commitment to the gospel. This was not so with some other churches such as the one in Galatia.

“The gospel will divide churches as well if they are not based on the gospel itself. The false unity of corporate vision to create growth through adding religious consumers to the organization will create a “church” that would be divided by the gospel if it were preached there. Those who promote pure gospel preaching are the friends of Christian unity.

GOSPEL UNIFIES

Q. Unity in the body of Christ, based upon ecclesial creed/confession?

A. Only insofar as we maintain our stance upon the Gospel.

Extra-biblical ecclesial creeds, confessions, or catechisms will not in themselves: a) give birth to, nor b) sustain the life of, a given body of believers. The degree in which this goes unrealized may well be the degree we will prove sectarian.

Our union with Christ (He who is the Good News) is the sole means of our essential union with one another. Confessions, etc. may prove useful tools only as they are consciously utilized in subservience to the Cross of Christ. This is a perpetual challenge to the body of Christ.

So there is a unified apostolic gospel, and the
church does not totter on a fractured foundation.”

J. Piper

doctrinal necessity for unity

Chad Bresson makes some crucial points concerning both the Doctrinal and Communal interest of the Body of Christ:

A) [A]s they [the church] apply the “word of life” to their situation… they are applying Christ himself to the situation. Sound doctrine, first and foremost, is a Person, not an academic exercise. Sound doctrine is not first and foremost a body of thought and practice that is used to defend the truth. Sound doctrine is first and foremost a Person who is Truth Incarnate.

B) Doctrinal and behavioral decline can only be answered by holding fast to Christ and His Word in corporate unity with those who are in fellowship with Him.

C) The gospel and its unfolding in redemptive revelation, this entire body of truth – grounded in and centered on Christ — is eternal life for our souls.

D) In summary, John’s answer to the doctrinal decline and threat of irrelevance around him is to Proclaim Christ. The Proclamation is Christ. The Proclamation is life. If we do not feed either our people or those who are seeking Christ, we do not give them or offer them life. Christ is not just merely a data point in a sermon or an evangelism presentation (i.e. Jesus died for your sins). Christ *is* the presentation.

E) The point of this is that there is danger of eclipsing Christ when we contextualize the gospel with pragmatism and synergism.

For the whole story, goto: http://breusswane.blogspot.com/

[The above is an abbreviation by me ~mjm]