Archive for November 21st, 2010

Calvinism is not first and foremost a theological system but rather a precise "gloriously God-centred and heart-engaging system of theology"

The formative principle of Calvinism is not what so many imagine – the doctrine of predestination – but the glory of the Lord God Almighty! So, the fundamental question posed in Calvinism is not “How can I be saved?”, but “How shall God be glorified?”

source: http://www.cambridgepres.org.uk/res/calvinism.html

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Spirit and Soul

One’s spirit and soul do not refer to different parts of a person but rather refer to a holistic person viewed in slightly different ways.

spirit’ refers to one’s God-orientated inner life as viewed in reference to relationships.

‘soul’ refers to one’s life (breath and faculties) as a living being within creation viewed in reference to the body.

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The flesh

The Flesh is that aspect of the old creation/age associated with our bodies (although not the body itself) that remains within us.

The desires and appetites of the flesh belong to the old age and seek to assert themselves in our body (in all its physical, mental and emotional aspects due to the body’s continued weakness).

When we receive our resurrection bodies, our bodies will be physical bodies generated by the Spirit and will no longer have unregenerate flesh.

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The perspective of the Old Testament prophets was that the old age would give way to the messianic age by a dramatic pouring out of the Spirit of God.


Prophetic view

(Click pictures to enlarge)

In the New Testament the perspective changes. With Jesus there is an in-breaking of the kingdom of God with regard to his ministry, death, resurrection and pouring out of God’s Spirit. However the old age continues. The new development in the New Testament is that there is in fact an overlapping of the ages until Jesus’ return. This gives rise to the now and not yet tension.

NT view

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James and OT

(Jas 1-5) James is full of OT prophetic and wisdom literature concepts and language.

(Jas 1:1) ‘Servant of God’ is OT prophet description. ‘twelve tribes in exile’ Jewish Christians or way of describing church in OT language?

(Jas 1) Language consistent with OT prophetic images – wave of sea, tossed by the wind ,double-minded, unstable, fade like flowers & grass.

(Jas 1:18) Election – of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

(Jas 1:18) Christians as first fruits links into the OT feast of first fruits.

(Jas 1:27) Religion that is pure same as OT – care for orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

(Jas 2) Condemns ‘the rich’ consistently with the OT prophets.

(Jas 2:5) Inheriting the kingdom is derived from the OT shadow of inheriting Canaan.

(Jas 2:8) Christians fulfill the royal law according to the OT, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

(Jas 2:9-11) Breaking the OT law at any point makes one a transgressor.

(Jas 2:20-26) The examples of Abraham and Rahab show that in the OT as now a person is "justified by works and not by faith alone".

(Jas 3:1-12) This section on the use of the tongue is similar to OT proverbs and wisdom literature.

(Jas 3:13-18) This section on wisdom is of a similar kind to the wisdom literature of the OT.

(Jas 4:4) "adulterous people … friendship with world is enmity with God" OT prophets likewise charge God’s people with adultery/idolatry.

(Jas 4:6) "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." C.f. Pro 3:34 i.e. another link between James and OT wisdom literature.

(Jas 4:8-9) Cleanse hands, purify hearts, double-minded. Be wretched, mourn, weep, laughter turn to mourning, joy to gloom. c.f. OT prophets

(Jas 4:13-16) We do not know God’s work of future providences. You are a mist that appears for a little time & vanishes" -very Ecclesiastes.

(Jas 5:1) OT prophetic language – Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.

(Jas 5:2) OT prophetic language – Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.

(Jas 5:3) OT prophetic language – gold & silver have corroded and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.

(Jas 5:4) OT prophets – kept back wages of the laborers by fraud and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts

(Jas 5:5) OT prophetic language – have lived on earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

(Jas 5:6) OT prophetic language – You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.

(Jas 5:10) As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the OT prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

(Jas 5:11) Job’s steadfastness, his happiness and the purpose the Lord brought about are to inspire patience in NT believers.

(Jas 5:11) Classic OT description of the Lord i.e. compassionate and merciful.

(Jas 5:12) Concern with keeping oaths and being truthful is a key OT prophetic concern.

(Jas 5:13) Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. c.f. OT Psalms.

(Jas 5:14) In the OT anointing with oil in the name of the Lord was a prophetic action.

(Jas 5:16-18) Elijah is an example of the power of a man of faith, a man like NT believers are.

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