Suffering: The Path to Future Glorification

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:16-17 (ESV)

“[T]his glorious inheritance is attained only through suffering. Because we are one with Christ, we are his fellow heirs, assured of being “glorified with him.” But, at the same time, this oneness means that we must follow Christ’s own road to glory, “suffering with him” (cf. also Phil. 1:29; 3:10; 2 Cor. 1:5)… [T]he suffering Paul speaks of here refers to the daily anxieties, tensions, and persecutions that are the lot of those who follow the one who was “reckoned with the transgressors” (Luke 22:37). Paul makes clear that this suffering is the condition for the inheritance; we will be “glorified with” Christ (only) if we “suffer with him.” Participation in Christ’s glory can come only through participation in his suffering… the glory of the kingdom of God is attained only through participation in Christ, and belonging to Christ cannot but bring our participation in the sufferings of Christ. Just as, then, Christ has suffered and entered into his glory (1 Pet. 1:11), so Christians, “fellow heirs with Christ,” suffer during this present time in order to join Christ in glory.”
– Douglas Moo, Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 505-506.

“Suffering is the path to future glorification.”
– Thomas Schreiner, Romans (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 428

photo: Resclassic2

“The man Jesus Christ laid death in his grave”

Though the Earth cried out for blood
Satisfied her hunger was
Her billows calmed on raging seas
For the souls on men she craved

Sun and moon from balcony
Turned their head in disbelief
Their precious Love would taste the sting
Disfigured and disdained

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with the keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

So three days in darkness slept
The Morning Sun of righteousness
But rose to shame the throes of death
And over turn his rule

Now daughters and the sons of men
Would pay not their dues again
The debt of blood they owed was rent
When the day rolled a new

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke holding keys
To Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

He has cheated
Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all

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The Inheritance: Reality Through Union

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:16-17 (ESV)

“To say that believers are [only] heirs of God, however, leaves out a major motif in Paul’s thinking, for believers are also “fellow heirs with Christ.” This statement does not function as a corrective to the previous one but elucidates the means by which believers are heirs of God. The inheritance becomes a reality through union with Christ, the true seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). Those who are united with Christ share in the inheritance that he has gained for them.”
– Thomas Schriener, Romans (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 428.

“Paul is… reminding us that Christians inherit the blessings of God’s kingdom only through, and in, Christ. We, “the sons of God,” are such by virtue of our belonging to the Son of God; and we are heirs of God only by virtue of our union with the one who is the heir of all God’s promises (see Mark 12:1-2; Gal. 3:18-19; Heb. 1:2).”
– Douglas Moo, Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 505.

God: The Supreme Benefit of the Covenant

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:16-17 (ESV)

“Paul asserts that believers have inherited the promise of Abraham (Gal. 3:14, 29), and this promise is an astounding one, for Abraham is heir of the world (Rom. 4:13…). Here he says something even more stunning: believers are “heirs of God” himself. The wording suggests not merely that believers are heirs of what God has promised but of God himself. The supreme benefit of the covenant with Abraham is not inheriting the land but having God as one’s God (Gen. 17:7).”

– Thomas Schreiner, Romans (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 427-28.

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

– Civilla Martin

A reworking of this hymn by Audrey Assad.

photo: source

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“Divine love is love for the undeserving.”

“Paul’s meaning is that, in dying for us, Christ died for those who were helpless, ungodly, sinners, enemies. What Paul is here concerned to bring out is the fact that the divine love is love for the undeserving, love that is not the result of any worth in its objects but is self-caused and in its freedom itself confers worth upon them.”

– C.E.B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, Ed. J.A. Emerton, Vol. 1 (International Critical Commentary; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975), 264.

What is Total Depravity?

Total depravity means “that every sinner is totally destitute of that love to God which is the fundamental requirement of the law (Deut. 6:4f; Matt. 22:37); that he is supremely given to a preference of himself to God (2 Tim. 3:2-4); that he has an aversion to God which on occasion becomes active enmity to him (Rom. 8:7); that his every faculty is disordered and corrupted (Eph. 4:18); that he has no thought, feeling, or deed of which God can fully approve (Rom. 7:18); and that he has entered upon a line of constant progress in depravity from which he can in no wise turn away in his own strength (Rom. 7:18).”

– Henry C. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 191-192.

If God Came to Church

“On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to the pews. ”

– Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), 40.

photo: source

Learn Biblical Hebrew

Not sure about you, but if I ever endeavor to learn biblical Hebrew it is not going to be from a website named “eteacherbiblical.com”. Additionally, I would hope that whoever runs the advertising program for wherever it is that I may learn Hebrew from would realize that, in English, words like “courses,” “proficient,” “demo” and “lesson” are not supposed to be capitalized when used in the middle of a sentence.

And “eteacherbiblical.com”? For real? What the heck kind of a domain name is that?!

UPDATE: As was just pointed out to me, eteacherbiblical.com says that they are accredited by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which, I would assume, lends about as much credibility to eteacherbiblical.com as one could hope for. None the less, I still think the domain name is ridiculous.

God Helps the Helpless

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” – Romans 5:6

“Christ’s work was not according to the ‘God helps them that helps themselves’ of Poor Richard’s Almanac. He did not wait for us to start helping ourselves, but died for us when we were altogether helpless.”

– C.E.B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, Ed. J.A. Emerton, Vol. 1 (International Critical Commentary; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975), 263-64.

photo: source

The Supply Far Exceeds the Needs

“For the first time in my life I experienced what Abraham felt when he fell upon his face and laughed. I was riding home, very weary with a long week’s work, when there came to my mind this text – ‘My grace is sufficient for thee:’ but it came with the emphasis laid upon two words: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ My soul said, ‘Doubtless it is. Surely the grace of the infinite God is more than sufficient for such a mere insect as I am,’ and I laughed, and laughed again, to think how far the supply exceeded all my needs.”

– Charles Spurgeon, The Holy Spirit in Connection with Our Ministry in the second series of Lectures to My Students.

“While he lightly opposes us, he supplies invincible strength.”

“And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.” – Genesis 32:24

Commenting on this verse Calvin says, “in short, such is [God’s] apportioning of it is conflict, that, while he assails us with one hand, he defends us with the other; yea, inasmuch as he supplies us with more strength to resist than he employs in opposing us, we may truly and properly say, that he fights against us with his left hand, and for us with his right hand. For while he lightly opposes us, he supplies invincible strength whereby we overcome. It is true he remains at perfect unity with himself: but the double method in which he deals with us cannot be otherwise expressed, than that in striking us with a human rod, he does not put forth his full strength in the temptation; but that in granting the victory to our faith, he becomes in us stronger than the power by which he opposes us.”

photo: Ray Ortlund

No Human Will is Free

“Of the unregenerate it is said that Satan is working in them or energizing them (Eph. 2:2), while of the regenerate it is said that God is energizing them ‘both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ (Phil. 2:13). These two passages account for the whole of humanity and therefore determine the truth – important indeed – that no human will, in the absolute sense, is free.”

– Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Volume II (Dallas: Dallas Seminary Press, 1971), 195.

photo: marc falardeau

“The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.”

“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.”

– William Cowper

photo: source

I Cannot But Rejoice

“Sometimes a light surprises, the Christian while he sings,
It is the Lord Who rises, with healing in His wings;
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again,
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after the rain.

In holy contemplation, we sweetly then pursue,
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new;
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow, bring with it what it may.

Tomorrow can bring us nothing, but He will bear us through:
Who gives the lilies clothing, will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens, will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither, their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the fields should wither, nor flocks or herds be there,
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice;
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.”

– William Cowper

photo: apdk

No Need to Go Nuts

God, who has “established his throne in the heavens,” also crowns individuals with steadfast love (Psalm 103:19 and 5).

The One whose “kingdom rules over all” is the same One whose steadfast love is “from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:19 and 17).

God’s sovereign rule over everything is not exercised independent from his steadfast love. In fact, God is continually demonstrating his steadfast love in his sovereign rule.

photo: source

Celebrate the Incarnation

As an FYI, the lyrics to this well known Christmas hymn are absolutely fantastic.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Shine Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

photo: Mark Gstohl

A Lifelong Flame

“Many marriages built on emotional chemistry that ignore the importance of shared values do not last. After the flames of passion fade, they are left with a mate that doesn’t want what they want or value what they value.

For those who chose mates based on shared values and commitments, the chemistry is more than just a flare which quickly goes out. It is a spark which is fanned into a lifelong flame.”

– William M. Struthers, Wired for Intimacy (Downers Grove: IVP, 2009), 168,

photo: A Askew