Shared from Desiring God.
- Topic: The Covenants
We end the week talking about covenants. Yes, covenants. We need to. In the words of one recent book on the topic, “the covenants are not the central theme of Scripture. Instead, the covenants form the backbone of the Bible’s metanarrative and thus it is essential to ‘put them together’ correctly in order to discern accurately the whole counsel of God.” Those words are from Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum (see Kingdom, 21; God’s Kingdom, 17).
Covenants are a sort of skeletal structure, and we must put them together rightly. To explain covenants and how they work, I called Dr. Don Carson. On occasional Fridays I call him up as part of our relationship with our friends at The Gospel Coalition. Carson is the co-founder and president of The Gospel Coalition, and also the editor of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, which is the study Bible version of what we’re doing in these occasional Friday podcasts.
So what is a covenant, and how do they hold our Bibles together? Here’s Don Carson to explain.
Christians know, of course, that the Bible is made up of two testaments and they may wonder from time to time where the word testament comes from. It comes from two passages in the New Testament, one in Hebrews and one in Galatians where actually the word is properly rendered covenant. It would be easier, it would be more accurate to speak of the Bible as having two covenants: the old covenant and new covenant. Of course, we have inherited the term testament, so we will continue to speak of the Bible having two testaments, but the notion of covenant shapes an awful lot of how the Bible is put together rather than testament.
Again, we should begin in Genesis 1–3 in the garden of Eden. The word covenant isn’t used there. But one of the striking things that we have already seen part of about Genesis 1–3 is that those chapters lay a kind of seed bed of notions that are developed in much richer detail farther on in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t talk of God as King in those chapters. But he is clearly reigning. The Bible doesn’t talk about the church in those chapters, but there is the beginning of his own elect, covenant people. The Bible doesn’t really talk about blood sacrifice in those chapters, but nevertheless, the covering that God provides for Adam and Eve depends on the death of an animal. The Bible doesn’t talk about the Trinity, yet you have these strange expressions like, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26).
Read the rest here.
Welcome to the year 2017! My hope and prayer for all of us is that we devote time in our busy lives learning more about our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ through His Word. It’s like getting to know someone we enjoy spending time with. The more time we dedicate to discovering what makes them who they are, the closer we get to them.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne,
high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings:
with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out,
and the house was filled with smoke.
I am taking a short break from blogging and will be back the second week of January. I hope you all enjoy a wonderfully blessed and JOYFUL Christmas and a happy new year!
Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior!
He alone is the Reason for our ultimate JOY!
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And behold,an angel of the Lord stood before them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid, for behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy
which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the sign to you:
You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths,
lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
to God who alone is wise,
be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
—1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)
After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
“Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!
For true and righteous are His judgments,
because He has judged the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her fornication;
and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.”
Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!”
—Revelation 19:1-3 (NKJV)
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
—John 1:14 (NKJV)
We talk a lot about the Incarnation as Christmas draws near. Incarnation is a Latin word that means “taking flesh.” God “took flesh” and became the human Jesus. We say that so glibly. But the idea is so impossible.
God became flesh? It’s like accepting that a battleship can fit into a bathtub. A skyscraper can fit into a dollhouse. A field of wheat can fit into a cereal box. More than that, it’s like making blue paint out of blue sky. We can’t fathom such things. In the same way, we can’t imagine the God of the universe becoming a baby.
It’s so odd. After all, the whole point was that God wanted to rescue us. But a baby can’t rescue anyone; babies need rescuing themselves. Maybe because God couldn’t make Himself greater to impress us, He made Himself smaller to attract us.
And the Christmas story is attractive. In all history there is nothing like it. If you stroll through cities around the world, you will see imposing monuments to outstanding men and women. But have you ever seen a statute of a famous person as an infant? You never see George Washington portrayed in a stroller. It would be silly.
But it’s not silly to honor the Lord of the universe as a baby, because this child signifies the Incarnation. That God took on flesh is amazing and incredible, like an oil well fitting into an oilcan, or a mountain squeezing into a molehill. God became flesh-Wow!
To help you think about what an amazing act the Incarnation is, make a list of all the qualities Jesus gave up or limited to become a baby. For example, He who is the Light of the World chose to dwell in a dark womb for nine months. You’ll be amazed at just what Jesus’ choice meant for Him — and for you.
Emmanuel, God with us, words seem impossibly small and unwieldy to try to express the immensity of Your love for me, and the gratitude I feel. Help me to live today in a way that would honor the sacrifices You have made for me.
Taken from More Precious Than Silver. Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.
This is a great devotional by Dr. David Jeremiah.
N.Not So Familiar Christmas
Scripture: Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
and shall call His name Immanuel.
The virgin birth of Christ makes possible His sinlessness. This is one of the most wondrous and marvelous aspects of Jesus of Nazareth. He’s the only person in history who lived righteously on earth – a full life of eating and drinking and socializing and working and talking and sleeping, yet totally free from the taint of sin. There was no moral failure in His dealings, and He was untainted by evil. He was pure and perfect to the depths of His being, and He maintained that purity every moment of His life.
Because our Lord was conceived in the womb of a virgin who had been overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, He was holy and pure, uncontaminated by the blood disease of sin that has infected every other man and woman on the globe. It is a mystery, but it is marvelous; and it’s vitally important. Jesus could not have died for our sins had He not Himself been sinless.
Today take a moment to praise God for providing us such a Savior and for giving us such an amazing story.
Revelation 1:1 – 5:14
Now the Lord is the Spirit;
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with unveiled face,
beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from glory to glory,
just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
—2 Corinthians 3:17-18
By Peter M. Lord
Lord Jesus, you are the key,
the master key
the master key to life.
You are the key that unlocks doors
unlocks the door into the Father’s presence
unlocks the doors of opportunity
unlocks the doors of relationships.
You are the key that locks doors
you lock the doors of hell for me
you lock the doors of death for me
you lock the doors of protection for me.
Lord, Jesus, you said
“I give you the
keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
You gave us
You are the key to everything in the kingdom.
You are the key that locks up and unlocks.
Lord Jesus, with you
we want to shut doors —
and they open.
Lord Jesus, with you
we want to open doors —
and they shut.
Lord Jesus, with you
we are safe.
for unlocking doors we cannot open.
for locking doors we cannot lock.
for being the key.
for giving us
Taken from Hearing God, by Peter Lord. Copyright © 1988. Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.