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Archive for December, 2009

Love and happiness

“To love God wholeheartedly, we must be convinced that our only happiness is in Him alone.  We cannot believe this until we renounce all other efforts at happiness.  If we look to God to supply half our happiness, we can only love Him with half our hearts.”

 

Source: William Law ‘A Practical Treatise Upon Christian Perfection’ (1726)

“A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.”

Source: Jonathon Edwards ‘A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections.’ (1746)

 

“We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.”

Source: A.W. Tozer ‘That Incredible Christian’ Chapter 13 (1964)

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One of the greatest expressions of love …

“One of the greatest expressions of love is simply to notice people and to pay attention to them.”

— Richard Foster

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Calvin’s three uses of the Law:

  1. to be a mirror reflecting to us both the perfect righteousness of God and our own sinfulness and shortcomings.
  2. the “civil use” is to restrain evil.
  3. to guide the regenerate into the good works.

Check out: http://rachaelfischer.blogspot.com/2009/12/three-purposes-of-law.html

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Circumcision

Circumcision signified fundamentally

the removal of defilement or uncleanness

in order that one might participate in the covenant blessings.

Exod. 6:12, 6:30; Lev. 19:23; 26:41; Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4; 6:10; 9:25.

Why circumcision?

1. associated with sexual organ of reproduction

as a sign of God’s covenant promise to make Israel’s seed to be fruitful (many descendants).

2. the cutting off of flesh

as a symbolic oath in covenant-making. That is, cutting-off a part as a sign of being cut-off from the people of God if covenant is broken. Compare with John 15 gardener ‘cuts-clean’ or ‘cuts-off’

3. removal of foreskin

symbolic significance relates to the removal of a barrier (closing/covering) to fruitfulness.

Also used of:

“uncircumcised fruit” Leviticus 19:23

“uncircumcised lips” Exodus 6:12,30

“uncircumcised ears” Jeremiah 6:10

“uncircumcised hearts” Leviticus 26:41

Note: something uncircumcised is “closed in”. Thus uncircumcised ears hear imperfectly, uncircumcised lips open and speak with difficulty and uncircumcised hearts are closed so as to be unable to understand.

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By undergoing circumcision, Christ acknowledged himself to be the slave of the law abolished by him, but the shadow of the ceremony was applied to his own body, that it might shortly afterwards come to an end. For though the abrogation of it depends on the death and resurrection of Christ, yet it was a sort of prelude to it, that the Son of God submitted to be circumcised.

 

Source: Calvin on Luke 2:21

 

Perhaps similar to how Jesus undergoing baptism is to fulfil all righteousness. Jesus’ baptism, like his circumcision, relates to both his identification with sinful people and to his death on the cross.

 

Perhaps not enough is made of the significance of Jesus’ circumcision as it relates to both his identification with sinners and his work on the cross.

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The Many Ways of Destroying the Church

D.A. Carson:

The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful.  Raw factionalism will do it.  Rank heresy will do it.  Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it–admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively over the long haul.  Building the church with superficial ‘conversions’ and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it.  Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembling of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God.  Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism–all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church.  And to do so is dangerous: ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:17).  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

– D.A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 83-84.

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Your sin is going to find you out. Your sin wants to find you out. I love how J.R.R. Tolkien displays this in The Lord of the Rings, how the ring puts the ringbearer under its spell but at the same time it wants nothing more than to captivate and expose and destroy him. Its beauty and desire is really a means to enslave and expose. And all sin is like this. It promises what it can never truly deliver. It offers the desires of the heart but delivers the most tragic and unexpected results.

Do not give yourself over to sin. Sin is a cruel, cruel master. Like that ring it will draw you in and like that ring it will chew you up and spit you out.

(source: http://www.challies.com/archives/christian-living/lessons-from-tiger.php)

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