Jesus the Passover Lamb: A Study in Biblical Theology

lamb of god

“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7

Travel back in time with me for a moment. We’re likely in Bethany by the Jordan River the day after John the Baptist baptized hundreds of people (likely Jewish), who had placed their trust in the coming Messiah (John 1:28). All of a sudden, John the Baptist sees this man walking by and proclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

As Gentiles, the phrase would’ve seemed confusing to us. We probably would’ve asked why John identifies a man as being the Lamb of God. But for Jews, this bold statement would’ve turned heads and shocked many. We often forget the context behind certain phrases in Scripture, but what John the Baptist proclaims is profound. John likely identified Christ as the “Lamb of God” [Passover Lamb] because he knew that he is the fulfillment of Exodus 12 and Isaiah 53. Not only does John the Baptist see this fulfillment, but also the Apostles. In fact, Paul clearly identifies Jesus as the “Passover Lamb” (1 Cor. 5:7). I will present to you the three most important blessings we see in Scripture of Christ being our Passover Lamb.

 

The Lamb Delivers His People from the Bondage of Sin (Exodus 12)

The first blessing is that Jesus delivers his people from the bondage of sin. Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary James M. Hamilton Jr. describes typology as when “the biblical authors [draw] attention to people, events, and institutions where the divine author [God] has caused actual resemblance. To examine biblical typology is to examine the orchestration of the sovereign God.”

The physical Passover Lamb in Exodus 12 points to Christ as the Lamb of God, the physical sacrifice in our place. The requirement that the lamb must be unblemished points to Christ being perfect in every way. Ultimately, the result of Israel being delivered from slavery to Egypt points to the day when Christ delivered his people from the bondage of sin for all eternity on the cross.

 

The Lamb Atones for Sin (Isaiah 53)

The next blessing is that as our perfect sacrifice, Jesus atones for sin. Some of the most powerful verses in the Bible come from Isaiah 53, which describes the Deliverer as the Suffering Servant, the one who would take on sin and impute his righteousness to his people. 

Consider Isaiah 53:4-5:

Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

Christ was brought to death like a lamb brought to the slaughter, yet he didn’t resist (Isaiah 53:7). All of this he did to atone for our sin. For those of you that may not understand what atonement means, I’ll give you a helpful way of understanding the term. Basically, atonement means “at-one”ment with God. This means Jesus reconciles us to God by shedding his blood on the cross. Isaiah 53:12c, which says, “Yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors,” portrays this image of Christ bearing our sins as the sacrifice in our place, and the one who reconciles us to God.

 

The Lamb Blesses His People with Worship (Revelation 5)

The final blessing is that in his sacrificial death on the cross, his resurrection and exaltation, he blesses his people with worship for all eternity. I would imagine that there were a few Jews who wept tears of joy in hearing the Baptizer announce Jesus as the Lamb of God; they personally and intimately knew what that meant. They knew that John just announced their Deliverer has come. He heralded that the One who would be the sacrifice in our place has entered into the story of redemption. Our hope in redemption, however, would’ve all been lost if Christ is not risen.

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. – 1 Cor. 15:19

The glorious plan of redemption finds its rest in the resurrected and exalted Lamb, whom Revelation 5 describes as the One who receives all “power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12). By his blood he has ransomed a people for himself “from every tribe and language and people and nation,” and this beautiful people he has made “kingdom and priests to our God” to reign with him and worship him for all eternity (Rev. 5:9-10). Ransomed people of the Lamb of God, let us worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

The Justification Catechism

The Justification Catechism

Have you ever wanted to go deeper in knowing what the Scriptures teach, but didn’t know where to start? Maybe reading academic books or even popular books was too much for you. Throughout the history of Christianity, the main way an orthodox understanding of the Scriptures was taught was through catechisms. Catechisms aren’t an exclusively Roman Catholic thing. Every Protestant church formulated a catechism in order to help their parishioners gain a simple, yet sufficient, understanding of the basic tenets of the Christian religion, such as who God is, who we are, who Jesus is, and how we can be saved. Catechisms are simply a group of questions and answers, typically logically structured, that answers these basic questions, especially through the lens of a specific tradition. 

 

The Justification Catechism

The most important question that one can have answered is “what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Every true Christian tradition is united upon the answer.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. – Acts 16:31

Although this seems pretty straightforward to the common eye, many believe that one has to do more than merely trust Christ in order to be saved. This is what divides Protestants from other Christian traditions. We believe we are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. In order for Protestant Christians to remain orthodox in this conclusion, I have formulated a catechism exclusively on the doctrine of justification. This catechism is based upon the structure of the book of Romans. In order for a catechism, which is not the Word of God, to be good and useful, it must teach the Word of God. It is my hope that this catechism represents the Scriptures truly and prayer that it is useful to you.

I. Of God and Man

Who is God?

God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7).

Who am I?

We are made in the image of God and have been endowed with the faculty of reason and the will in order to know and obey Him (Genesis 1:26-27, Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24).

 

II. Of the Law and Sin

What must I do to have eternal life with God?

We must obey His law (Luke 10:26-28, Matthew 18:16-17, Romans 2:6-13, Galatians 3:12). 

What does His law require of me?

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27, Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18).

How much do I have to obey the law in order to have eternal life?

God requires perfect obedience to His law in thought, word, and deed in order to be justified (Luke 10:26-28, Matthew 19:21, Romans 2:16).

What does it mean to be justified?

To be justified is to be declared righteous by God. (Romans 2:13)

What does it mean to be righteous?

To be righteous means that you are a doer of God’s law (Romans 2:13).

Is there anyone who is righteous?

No, none is righteous, not one (Romans 3:10, Ephesians 2:1-3, Genesis 6:5).

Can anyone be justified by being a doer of the law?

No, because we are all under sin to the extent that that sin corrupts every work we perform, so we cannot be truly doers of the law (Romans 3:9-20, 8:7-8). 

What is sin?

Sin is the corrupted condition of our hearts which results in corrupted works due to the fall (Matthew 15:18-19).

What does sin deserve?

Sin deserves the eternal wrath of God (Romans 2:5, 8-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

What is the purpose of the law if it cannot justify us?

The purpose of the law is to reveal our sin and our need for salvation (Romans 3:20).

 

III. Of Faith and Justification

Is there another way to be righteous before God? What must I do to be saved?

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. – Acts 16:31

Why am I righteous and justified before God by faith?

Not that there is anything worthy about you that makes you righteous, but it is the object of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 2:1, John 8:29, Psalm 24:3-10).

What did Jesus do so that I may be righteous before God?

He died for your sins, exhausting the wrath of God, thereby saving you from eternal death and condemnation (Romans 3:25, 1 John 2:2, Colossians 2:14). Moreover, He lived to be your righteousness by loving God and His neighbor perfectly, thereby giving you eternal life and justification (Romans 5:19).

What does it mean to be justified by faith?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches that “justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone” (Romans 3:24, Galatians 2:16).

What is faith? 

Faith rests and receives Christ, as our Savior and redeemer of our sins (Romans 3:25, 4:5, John 3:16). 

Must I change my life and do good works in order to be justified by faith?

No, for the Scriptures teach that we are justified through faith alone and not works. So, rest and receive the finished work of Christ (Romans 4:5).

 

IV. Of Christ and Justification

What does it mean when the Scriptures say that Christ was raised for our justification? What is the significance of the resurrection for my justification?

As you have learned, only the righteous deserve eternal life. Jesus, being righteous, is justly declared righteous by His resurrection from the dead. You, being unrighteous, are justly declared righteous by faith, which unites you to the person of Christ. God’s judgment upon Christ becomes His judgment upon you through faith in Christ (Romans 1:2-4, 1 Timothy 3:16, Romans 4:24-25). 

But how does God judge as me as He judges Christ? 

Before the foundation of the world, God decreed that Christ would be the representative of all who would believe in Him (John 17:1-4). 

Is this idea of a representative found anywhere else in Scripture?

Yes, for Adam is the representative of all the human race (Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:45).

What did Adam do for the human race?

Adam, by his sin of eating of the tree that God forbade him to eat, plunged the whole world into sin, condemnation, death, so that when God sees us, He sees us as those who have eaten from the tree and deserve condemnation (Genesis 2:17, Romans 5:12-14, 19).

Isn’t it unfair to be blamed for another’s sins?

Not if this was the agreement beforehand.

What is this agreement beforehand that was established in the garden?

The agreement established in the garden is known as the covenant of works, wherein God promises to Adam eternal life and communion with Him in an indestructible body if Adam obeys the commands to be fruitful and multiply across the face of the earth and to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eternal life and communion with God are impossible by nature (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:16-17, Job 41:11, Luke 17:10).

What is the relationship between Adam and Christ?

Adam represents all of humanity; Christ represents all who believe. Through Adam came sin, death, condemnation, and wrath. Through Christ comes righteousness, life, justification, and peace (Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45-49)

 

V. Of the Practical Benefits of Justification

What is the result of justification by faith?

The result of justification by faith is that you have peace with God (Romans 5:1).

What is peace with God?

Peace with God may be summed up in the Benediction when it says, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

Will not my sins end my peace with God?

By no means! If He loved you and saved you while you were yet ungodly, He will love now. Moreover, nothing can we do can undo the work of Christ (Romans 5:6-11). 

Do my good works strengthen my justification?

By no means! For Christ has already been perfect in thought, word, and deed for you as your representative.

How does God see me?

When God sees you, He sees Jesus. When God sees you, He proclaims, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” Through our faith, we are His children (Matthew 3:17).

Will not believing in justification by grace alone through faith alone make me unwilling to strive for holiness?

Whereas true believers have abused this doctrine, their lack of holiness was due to their own misunderstanding. Justification breaks the very power of sin, which is the law, and allows us to obey freely since we are no longer under condemnation and the obligation to obey God’s law to have eternal life. We obey God because He loves us and our love for Him will grow to the degree that we believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15:56, Romans 6:14, 7:1-6, Titus 2:11-12, 1 John 4:19, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

 

Only Jesus: What It Really Means To Be Saved (A Review)

In 1988, John MacArthur published The Gospel According to Jesus, which was one of the most controversial books in conservative evangelicalism when it hit the bookstores. Phil Johnson, one of MacArthur’s closest friends and partners in ministry, compiled some of MacArthur’s key points and published Only Jesus in March of 2020. Like its predecessor, Only Jesus confronts the “easy believism” that dominates many Christian circles today. MacArthur emphasizes that the Christian life is that of surrendering to Christ as Lord and Savior, and in doing so allowing Him to govern our lives according to Scripture.

 

Key Scripture Passage

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:26-27

The Aim of this Book

The aim of this book is to gain “a thorough and proper understanding” of the fullness of the gospel in a concise study (p. 8). Specifically, MacArthur examines the statements made by Jesusthe Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2)that indicate He is the only way to salvation (John 14:6).

 

Structure

Introduction: Come and Die—In order to follow Jesus, we must die to ourselves daily and serve Him (Jn. 12:24-26).

1) Master and Slaves—“Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8); no matter what, Christ is our Master.

2) What is the Gospel Message?—“Jesus is both Savior and Lord (Luke 2:11)” (p. 26); repent and be saved by grace through faith in Him alone.

3) You Must Be Born Again—“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

4) In Spirit and in Truth—True, authentic worship that is “in spirit and in truth” flows from the heart seeking to know God and be known by Him (Jn. 4:23; 17:3).

5) Good News for Sinners— “Christ’s call to salvation and discipleship is extended only to desperate sinners who realize their need and desire transformation” (pp. 84-85).

6) To Seek and Save the Lost—In dining with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners, He lived out His message of hope to the lost: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt. 9:13).

7) Repentance—When Jesus calls someone to repentance, He’s calling them to continually turn away from sin and turn to Him for salvation.

8) Faith—Faith is humbly coming to Christ as you are , and trusting Him to not leave you as you are.

9) Justification—This is when God imputes Christ’s righteousness to believing sinners, forgives them of all unrighteousness, declares them to be righteous in His sight, and delivers them from His just condemnation (p. 136).

10) The Cost of Discipleship—Even though the cost of following Jesus is high, the reward possesses an eternal weight of glory that makes the calling worth it.

11) The Cross—The work of redemption was finished on the cross when Jesus made perfect atonement for sin by His blood.

Highlights

One of the things I like about MacArthur is that he explains issues and doctrines in a clear and concise way. He doesn’t get off track or become too confusing for readers, especially those studying the gospel for the first time. Another notable highlight is MacArthur’s straightforward attitude. This is often lacking in not only church ministry but also in the world. This is what MacArthur says about the call to discipleship:

The call to Christian discipleship explicitly demands just that kind of dedication. It is full commitment, with nothing knowingly or deliberately held back. No one can come to Christ on any other terms. Those who think they can simply affirm a list of gospel facts and continue to live any way they please should examine themselves to see if they are really in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5) – p. 149

MacArthur’s clear and candid writing style makes him unique in the realm of writing and ministry. He rarely shys away from controversial issues, and it shows in his writing. 

 

Shortcomings

Personally, I love deep theological studies. Intense doctrinal studies intrigue and captivate me. I would imagine many of you enjoy deeper studies as well. If you’re looking for a deeper study into soteriology, Only Jesus is not the book for that. It’s an excellent book for a foundational understanding of the Gospel or for group study, but not for deeply studying the doctrines of election or atonement, for example.

 

Why this Book Should Be in Your Library

I firmly believe this book should be in your library with copious amounts of underlines, highlights, or notes in the text because this book contains several excellent statements that are concise and understandable. This would also be a great book for a simple refresher on the gospel. Group study of this book would also be excellent. While you’re reading this book, examine yourself to see whether your life of pursuing Christ is rooted firmly in the teachings of Scripture and is clearly evident among your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Here is the link to the book on Grace to You website: https://www.gty.org/store/books/451189/only-jesus

I graciously received this copy for free from Grace to You.

The Glorious Return of Christ: The Doctrine of the Millennium

For several decades, scholars from all different evangelical convictions debate the meaning of the Millennium described in Revelation 20. In one of the last passages of Scripture, Christ is seen seizing “the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were ended” (Rev. 20:2-3). During this time, Christ and his faithful people reign on earth for a thousand years; “blessed and holy is the one who shares” in this glorious time in God’s providence! “They will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). After this period, Satan and his army are released and rebel against Christ; however, he puts Satan and his army to an end abruptly by throwing them “into the lake of fire and sulfur . . . and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10). After this, Christ pronounces judgment on everyone “according to what they had done” for him (Rev. 20:12). As Matthew 25:31-46 describes, Christ will judge according to who trusted him as Lord and Savior, first on the basis of being justified by grace through faith in him alone, then by both their words and deeds. Those who reject Christ will suffer in hell for all eternity, but those who submit to him will rejoice in him forever.

Many scholars and evangelicals disagree on when and how these things will take place. Sadly, discussions of eschatological doctrines such as the Millennium tend to generate more heat rather than light. In this article, my hope and encouragement is that I not only clearly explain each position but also encourage you with the Gospel-centered meaning behind the doctrine of the Millennium.

Premillennialism

The first view on the Millennium is Premillennialism. Biblical historians have traced this view as far back as the writings of the Early Church. Premillennialism understands Revelation 20 as a literal prophecy of Christ’s return and how he defeats Satan. Christ literally rules for 1,000 years with his people. He rules with righteousness and justice that no nation on earth has ever witnessed; he is the Perfect Ruler. After this 1,000-year reign, Satan and his foes are literally released from their imprisonment, and they have one last opportunity to rebel against the Lord and deceive people into their cause. Does this mean that this is a contradictory view? To answer the theological quandary, Premillennialists suggest Satan is released for two reasons, one being for the purpose of awaiting Christ’s judgment and another being to show that salvation does not come by political legislation but rather by being born again by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, 

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. – John 3:3

Amillennialism

The second proposed view of Revelation 20 is Amillennialism. The most well-known theologian to propose this view is Augustine of Hippo. Many of the Reformers also strongly stood by this understanding in eschatology. Those who interpret from an Amillennial perspective argue that Revelation 20 is symbolically describing Christ’s rule and reign over the cosmos already taking place because he rose victorious over Satan, death, and the forces of evil. As Christ reigns and advances his Kingdom, Satan reels back in retreat. It’s only a matter of time until he sees his day of judgment.

Postmillennialism

The third popular view of Revelation 20 is Postmillennialism. Many of the Puritans, such as John Owen, advocated this interpretation of prophecy. Postmillennialism suggest rather than Christ returning to establish the 1,000 years of peace on earth, Christ has commanded the Church to establish global peace on earth. Once Christianity has brought lasting peace for 1,000 years, Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. They interpret Revelation 20 as a battle between God’s people and those who are in allegiance with the forces of evil. Because of Christ’s victory on the cross, God’s people must advance victoriously.

Unified Statements on Christ’s Return

It’s easy for Christians to simply choose a position without knowing other positions in eschatology. It’s also easy to become defensive when we discover we disagree with other brothers and sisters in Christ over his return. To avoid unnecessary disagreements, it’s important to lovingly disagree on the secondary details, but firmly resolve to agree in the fundamental teachings surrounding the Millennium. Here are some foundational statements in eschatology:

  1. The victory forever belongs to God (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57; Revelation 5:9-10, 12).
  2. Christ has already established his Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven with his First Coming (Matthew 4:17). 
  3. The consummation of the Kingdom is yet to come (John 18:36).
  4. Because Christ has already accomplished his work in triumphing over death, he’s already enthroned as the King of kings (Psalm 110:1; Matthew 28:18).
  5. He is returning in glory to rule for a definite and distinct period on earth in God’s providence (Matthew 25:31-46).
  6. God’s people cannot sit back idle; we’re called to advance his Kingdom no matter the cost (Matthew 28:19-20).
  7. Christ’s return means judgment and eternal damnation for the unbelieving, and rejoicing and eternal life for the believing (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

With these basic truths in eschatology, all of God’s people can live peaceably and agreeably for the sake of the Gospel. May we “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” as we await the return of our Glorious King (1 Corinthians 15:58)!

The Providence of God

Almost a month ago, John Piper, who is Chancellor Emeritus of Bethlehem College and Seminary and Pastor Emeritus of Bethlehem Baptist Church, published a major volume titled Providence. Before Providence was published, very few books comprehensively examined God’s providence. No wonder, the doctrine of the providence of God is a difficult doctrine to confine to 752 pages. Even though the Bible never specifically mentions the word providence, we cannot help but see the providence of God from eternally before Genesis 1:1 to eternally beyond Revelation 22:21. In this article, my goal is to discuss God’s providence in a manner that is both applicable and biblically sound.

Pillars of Providence

The first pillar in God’s providence is that He is sovereign over all things.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together – Colossians. 1:16-17

There is no rogue nation; nothing is out of His governance.

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. – Psalms 103:19

God governs in accordance “to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand” (Dan. 4:35). One concern that people have with God being sovereign over all things is that it makes Him look as if He is a tyrannical dictator rather than a loving God. To address this concern, one thing to keep in mind is that God is in and of Himself good; there is no wickedness in Him (Ex. 34:6; 1 Chr. 16:34; Ps. 145:9). Another consideration is that because God is the Author of life, He therefore has authority over all of life. We can trust His governance because God acts based on His goodness, which ought to be a blessed assurance to us in our lack of righteousness. Additionally, I think the next two pillars help alleviate the previous concern.

The second pillar is that He preserves His people and His creation. One example of God’s preservation is the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The Messiah is to be from the line of David, of the tribe of Judah, and we see throughout the Old Testament how God set the stage for this promise to be fulfilled within the New Testament (Gen. 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:13, 16). Additionally, the biographical account of Daniel’s experiences is a great display of God’s preservation. God delivered Daniel from the lion’s den, preserving his life for the glory of God and for His good. The Psalms also beautifully illustrate God preserving His people and His creation with great care and diligence, one of them being Psalm 23. As the Good Shepherd, God preserves His flock in both “the paths of righteousness” and “the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:3-4). We have no reason to fear and every reason to trust Him.

The third essential pillar in understanding the providence of God is that He is going to provide what’s needed for His plan of redemption. Provision is a major sub-theme that runs throughout Scripture. When Abraham was about to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, God provided the ram in the thicket in Isaac’s place. When there was a famine in the land and Jacob’s sons sought refuge, God provided his son Joseph as the means by which the nation Israel is preserved. Over 400 years later, God provided the Passover Lamb so that the nation of Israel would be delivered from Egyptian bondage. God then provided the Promised Land for Israel to inhabit and build their nation. God also provided Israel’s greatest king in David, who is of the tribe of Judah. Despite the major divide, downfall and exile of Israel, God provided the way in returning His chosen people from Babylonian captivity.

Providence Displayed in Jesus

It’s no coincidence that I’m writing this article in close proximity to Jesus’ Passion week. God’s redemptive act of providing His Son is the pinnacle of providence. In our own strength, we cannot provide ourselves with the ability to save ourselves from the penalty we deserve on behalf of sin: death. Only God could provide the perfect and sufficient sacrifice needed to atone for sin. Only God could orchestrate this majestic plan perfectly to triumph over sin and death. Only God could redeem a people for himself from every tribe, tongue, and nation for his glory and for our good (Rev. 5:9).We rejoice in the blessing of the Son bearing our iniquity. We praise Him for living what is said in the Psalms,

Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart – Psalms 40:7-8

The Gospel of Jesus is the ultimate display of God’s providence.

Promise for Today

We often divorce God’s providential acts in Scripture from our everyday lives. We think that the mighty acts of old do not personally impact us in the ordinary lives that we live in today’s times. My encouragement to you is that the God who orchestrates all things according to the counsel of His will personally and graciously calls you to be a partaker in His providential plan. He is still working all things to the end, when Jesus returns to consummate all things to Himself and decisively and finally defeat all the forces of evil.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ – Philippians 1:6

Finding The Creator in Science

Can a wise person say that there is no Creator? Can a wise person say that there is no science? Or, can a wise person say that both science and a Creator exist?

As I sat in my biology class hearing my professor go on about evolution and the lack of creation, I asked myself those questions. How do I believe in God and love science without that becoming an oxymoron in and of itself?

Science and Epistemology

Scientists often claim to have the ultimate truth in life. If someone is a scientist or a researcher, their words are taken as fact. However, when looking at understanding truth, no one field of study is enough, but instead you need to look at multiple fields of study to attempt to understand what is true and what is untrue. The social sciences, humanities and sciences all have different takes on what part of the truth they focus on. Science focuses on empirical truth and emphasizes the importance of knowledge. This all comes down to epistemology, which is essentially the study of knowledge. Within epistemology, various theories attempt to explain the reality of truth. Paul G. Hiebert in his book, The Missiological Implications of an Epistemological Shift, points towards the theory of critical realists to explain God and science. He says:

It is possible, therefore, to look for complementarity between theology and science, as long as they share the same worldview. This requires a theistic science that accepts the existence of God and seeks to examine the order in the universe he has created.

Science is a field of study just like mathematics or history, of which all point towards God in different ways. When it comes to science, the question is: Where is God in science? God is everywhere in science if you look with your eyes open. Science is filled with miracles. Every pump of our hearts that sends out two thousand gallons per day is a miracle. Every single one of our thirty trillion cells each working properly is a miracle. Every one of the twenty million billion neural information passed on per second is a miracle. These miracles along with the others necessary to create at the beginning of the world show startling depth. These miracles show that there is someone in control. The God of Christianity comes down to save us and cares about every single nerve cell of our human existence.

Many scientists against God would point towards the truth of various theories like evolution. They say that there is no chance for there to be a Creator for multiple reasons. These are the three most common.

Evolving Populations

First of all, evolutionists say that there is no need for God since populations are constantly evolving and would not have necessarily needed God to create them. Here, the issue is that evolution can be divided into two parts: microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution says that evolution exists within different populations. For example, dog breeds can evolve into a new kind of breed. Alternatively, macroevolution says that evolution creates new populations, such as the idea that humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor.
Some scientists argue here that since many creatures have similar DNA or structures, like chimpanzees and humans, then macroevolution must be true. However, it is not impossible to understand why when considering God. When looking at these similarities, called analogous characters, we can clearly observe the theme of life. This shows that there is the same Author and the same Creator for everything. God is a God of order whose work has many core themes.

Many of the principles of evolution are really the principles of microevolution and are logical and true. Populations change slightly over time due to environmental pressures. Evidently, God made creatures adaptable. Macroevolution, however, takes microevolution far beyond its limits and tries to explain a world without God. Science cannot prove or disprove God. Since science only deals with empirical truth, it is an epidemiological issue, not absolute truth.

Junk Creation

Secondly, many scientists argue that since so many parts of our bodies are “useless” and since many creatures end up being extinct, it is not possible to have a Creator who is careless in this way. They question why there would be “mistakes” found in the work of a perfect Creator.

There are two parts to the answer to this question. The first is that not everything that is considered “junk” is junk. Science still grows daily in learning this objective fact. I love the idea that we should not tear down walls before we know what they are for. We do not know what we do not know. In science, we should not think that parts of ourselves are useless simply because we do not know what the use is. Science is always about growing in understanding. There are many examples of this, but I challenged my professor with the appendix example. For years, scientists said that the appendix was unnecessary only to later find out that it played a unique role in our bodies. Therefore, it is clear that science has to grow more in understanding before dismissing structures as “junk”.

Additionally, there is another part to this answer. One very important part of the history of the world came right after Creation. The Fall. Extinction, imperfection, sickness and death are all now common due to the Fall when sin entered and corrupted the world. Our bodies are imperfect although they were designed perfectly. There may be parts of our bodies that are in a way “useless”. It is very possible that sin reaches that far inside of us. When addressing worldview, this does not matter. The complexity and beauty of Creation cannot be doubted. There is a Creator who indeed created the world beautiful and perfect at one time. The world still holds traces of that as Calvin writes in his Institutes,

His [God’s] first appearance in visible apparel was at the creation of the world, when he displayed those glories which are still conspicuous on every side.

Old Earth

Lastly, one big argument between creationists and evolutionists has to do with the age of the earth. This goes to Genesis 1 and has even become a matter of dispute between different theologians on the way to interpret the passage. No matter if you believe in the young or old Earth theory, I do not think that the age of the earth can prove or disprove God. All of these scientific theories need to continue to be researched and thought about, but none of them can be powerful enough to disprove the existence of a Creator.

Relying on God’s Truth

At the end of the day, it is possible for there to be a God who created the world and for science to still be held as true in many senses. If God and science or anything else seem to be in conflict, why should the latter be chosen?
The real question is who or what is your god? The answer is often science in today’s world. In debating those with a different worldview than us, we do not need to prove God. We need to represent Him. When God is loved for who He is, He will shine a light on the truth in every area of our lives. Slowly but surely He will reveal truth whether it be personal weaknesses, beliefs in evolution or involvement in groups that oppose him.

Ascended to Heaven in Glory

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” – Psalm 110:1

When studying theology, there are certain doctrines in Scripture that seem to not receive as much attention as they deserve. I think the ascension is one of those doctrines. So often Christians focus on what Christ did and what Christ is going to do, but neglect what Christ is currently doing (Peter Orr, Exalted Above the Heavens: The Risen and Ascended Christ, NSBT, (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019, 1). Patrick Schreiner, Associate Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, precisely states the issue: the often overlooked doctrine of the ascension “is a key moment in the good-news story and a crucial hinge for Christ’s threefold work as prophet, priest, and king” (Patrick Schreiner, The Ascension of Christ: Recovering a Neglected Doctrine, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press), 2020, xv). In this article, I hope to briefly discuss each part of Christ’s office, the consummation of each part in Christ, and our hope and assurance that rests in Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King.

Christ Our Ascended Prophet, Priest, and King

This may seem confusing, but Christ didn’t resign from his office as Prophet when he ascended into glory after his death and resurrection. In fact, the opposite resulted from his ascension; his influence as Prophet increased. This is because when he ascended into glory to the “exalted [position] at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit,” Christ poured out upon his people the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which marks the birth of the Church (Acts 3:33). Through the work of the Holy Spirit Christ empowers his people to spread the message of the Gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation.

One of the major themes of the book of Hebrews is Christ rightfully assuming the role of being the Great High Priest of the New Covenant. Since Christ willingly offered himself as a “single offering” to sanctify his people for all time, he rightfully took his office as our Great High Priest (Heb 10:10, 14). In doing so, he “obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the [Old Covenant]” (Heb. 8:6). The sufficiency of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and eternal priesthood gives his people every reason to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22).

The most recognized office of Christ is that he is the Risen King, who sits at the right hand of the Father. Fully pleased with the work of his Son, God the Father “has given” to Christ “dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14). What’s unique about the kingship of Jesus in respect to the other offices is that “the other offices flow from kingship and this office encompasses the others” (Schreiner, The Ascension of Christ, 76). It is by Christ’s authority that his servants are commissioned to advance his marvelous Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

King David, one of the members of the Messianic lineage, prophetically writes Psalm 110 to describe the majesty and ministry of the Ascended Messiah:

The LORD [Yahweh] says to my Lord [Adonai]:
“Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The LORD sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments; from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

In reading this psalm, David highlights all three offices of the Messiah: verses 1-2 and 5-7 highlight the kingship of the Messiah; verse 3 highlights the prophetic influence of the Messiah; and verse 4 highlights the priesthood of the Messiah. In biblical history, the kings of Israel and Judah could temporarily partake in prophetic and priestly roles; however, all three offices permanently, peacefully, and harmoniously rest on Christ because he is worthy and righteous to assume all three offices.

Our Hope and Assurance in the Ascended Christ

My prayer is that you are encouraged by the truth that Christ is our Prophet, Priest, and King. He empowers his people through the Holy Spirit to proclaim the excellencies that are in Christ alone. The message of repentance and faith Christ preached is the same message his faithful ones joyfully proclaim. His empowered people have the joy of having infinite and eternal access to the Great High Priest who (1) is the perfect “mediator of a new covenant” according to the single, final offering made “to bear the sins of many” through perfect atonement; and (2) is fully able “to sympathize with our weaknesses,” who indeed “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15; 9:15, 28). Christ rules over his people as King of kings and Lord of lords; “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to [him]” (Matt 28:18). He is the King of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:28). Therefore, “let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace [from Christ our Great Prophet, Priest, and King] to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

The Distinction Between the Law and the Gospel

From the confessional Reformed perspective, the Law-Gospel distinction is not a paradigm we impose onto the Scriptures, but something we find within redemptive history, namely through covenant. Every person who has ever lived has either been condemned by the representation of Adam or justified by the representation of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:18). When we think about representation, we think about our federal government, where we elect people to represent us. If they make good decisions, we prosper; if they make bad decisions, we suffer. Representation is the essence of covenant theology since the Latin word covenant literally is foedus. Therefore, it is proper for us to explore the nature of Adam’s covenant and Christ’s covenant.

Law-Gospel Distinction as the Structure of the Bible

In the beginning, God made the “Covenant of Works” with Adam. A covenant is a divinely sanctioned commitment which is designed to bring man beyond what was capable of him by nature. Adam was incapable by nature as a man to obey and somehow force the Almighty God into a debt to reward him. However, in the Covenant of Works, God condescends to Adam to promise him and his offspring an eternal, glorified life with Himself upon the basis of perfect obedience and threatens eternal death and separation from the blessing of God (Genesis 2:16-17). This covenant is based upon works (i.e. the Law). This is not “legalism” because God created Adam with the ability to fulfill this covenant. However, Adam did not fulfill his covenantal commitment and the sanctions fell upon Him and the whole world. (Romans 5:12). Adam’s sin was imputed to the whole world as if we have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We therefore fall short along with Adam in attaining glorified life with God (Romans 3:23).

However there is light, for in the darkness of the broken Covenant of Works, comes the dawn of the Covenant of Grace. After Adam and Eve sin, even before God pronounces a single word of judgement to them, He announces the Gospel in seed form for the first time. He pronounces judgement upon the serpent that contains promise for sinful mankind,

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. – Genesis 3:15

What makes this promise the first revelation of the Covenant of Grace? Whereas God said to us in the Covenant of Works “You will” (Genesis 2:17), God says to us in the Covenant of Grace “I will.” The Covenant of Works is about what we must do for God to fulfill our commitment to Him, while the Covenant of Grace is about what God will do for us to fulfill His commitment to us, which He purposed before the creation of the world (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2). In other words, this covenant is based upon the grace of God, not our own works. This involves God sending a new Adam in the line of Eve to rescue us from Adam’s sin and do what the first Adam could not. This new Adam we know as our Lord Jesus Christ who has imputed His righteousness to us and has given us eternal life as a free gift (Romans 5:17), not because of what we have done or who we are.

The apostle Paul even sees a parallel between the Covenant of Works and Mosaic Covenant in the clearest affirmation of the Law-Gospel distinction in the New Testament:

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. – Galatians 3:10-14

There are multiple ways the Mosaic Covenant echoes the Covenant of Works. In verse 10, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26 to show that the Mosaic Covenant threatens a curse for disobedience to the terms of the covenant. This curse involves being exiled from the land of Israel, where God’s presence resided in the temple in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 28:63-64). This echoes Eden because Adam and Eve were exiled from the presence of God in the garden (the prototypical temple) for their disobedience (Genesis 3:24). Here also we see that the primary function of the Law after Adam is to reveal our sin and that it is foolish to attempt to be justified by works (Romans 3:20). In verses 11-12, we see Paul distinguishing the two ways of righteousness and life: through works or through faith in the grace of God. Paul even says the law is not of faith.

The Law and the Gospel are of two different substances, works and grace respectively. In the Mosaic Covenant, the land of Israel was to be blessed with temporal life, safety from enemies, and glorification among the nations upon the basis of the Israelites’ obedience to God’s Law, which was to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 18:5, Deuteronomy 28:1-7). This was to make Israel look forward to a New Jerusalem, eternal life, safety from Satan and fallen angels, and glory with the nations in the new heaven and new earth which their fathers looked forward to (Hebrews 11:13-16, Revelation 21:1-4). This glorified life with God would not be gained by works but by faith in the true Israel of God, Christ Jesus (Matthew 2:15, Romans 10:6-8, Deuteronomy 30:11-16) who redeems us from the Law’s curse by taking the curse for us and giving us the blessing of eternal life.

Law as a Covenant vs. Law as a Rule of Life

Hence, we see why Martin Luther had an aversion to those who think Christ’s grace made it possible to be justified in part by works as He writes,

But advocates of the Pope and sectarian spirits don’t hold this doctrine. They turn everything inside out. From Christ, they make a Moses, and from Moses, a Christ… The adversaries are so diabolical and perverse that they merge together law and grace. Thus, they create this monstrous monstrosity by transforming Christ into Moses!

What’s wrong with making Christ a new Moses? Ultimately, the problem is the confusion between the Law as a covenant and the Law as a rule of life. Remember our definition of a covenant. A covenant is designed to extend man’s blessings beyond what he was naturally capable of obtaining on his own. The law of God is written on our hearts by nature (Romans 2:14-15). The Law of God is present no matter if there are any covenants, or which covenant we are under, for we are creatures of God, who is our Creator in whom we have the obligation to obey. However, we could not obey God enough to earn eternal life because we are creatures who cannot put God under a debt that He must repay us (Job 41:11). So God made the Covenant of Works with Adam to bring him to eternal life. Adam failed, but Christ succeeded as our representative so we are no longer under the Covenant of Works. However, the Law still remains.
In Romans, Paul talks about how the Law could never justify a sinner (3:20) and that “Christ is the end of the law” (10:4) Yet Paul still commands us to obey the Law, to love God and our neighbors (13:10). The difference is that we don’t obey the Law to get eternal life, but rather obey from an overflow of gladness in receiving eternal life in Christ. As Paul says, we have freedom from the bondage of the Law’s demands and threats (Galatians 5:1). Our obedience can no longer justify us and our disobedience can no longer condemn us. Yet we use that freedom not to sin, but to serve the Lord “without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him in all our days” (Luke 1:74-75). We don’t obey the Law because we are afraid of God as our judge who punishes disobedience, but because God is our Father through the Lord Jesus who loves us and cares for us (Galatians 4:4-5) by grace alone apart from our love for Him or for our neighbors. Now God our Father instructs His children with His Law as a rule of life.

Summarizing the Law-Gospel Distinction

In short, the Law says, “Do!” The Gospel says, “Done!”. The Law requires perfect obedience for eternal life. The Gospel gives you the perfect obedience of Christ and eternal life as a free gift. The Law announces a curse on all who disobey. The Gospel announces the redemption from the curse on all who believe. The Law shows us that we are ungodly. The Gospel shows us that Christ died for the ungodly. The Law requires you to love God and give yourself for Him. The Gospel tells you that God loves you and has given Himself for you. The Law says, “Do this and live.” The Gospel says, “Do this because you live.” The Law says, “Obey or God will cast you away forever.” The Gospel says, “Obey, because God is your Father for the sake of Christ who will hold you forever.”

God the Self-Sufficient One

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8

Think about your needs for a moment. In order to survive, every single person needs food, water, sunlight, and oxygen. Without these basic needs, mankind will perish. On the contrary, God doesn’t need these basic resources for life. In fact, he doesn’t need anything! Acts 17:24-25 explains,“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” Because he doesn’t have a beginning like we do, he is self-sufficient.

Discussing the Self-Sufficiency of God

The exact word used to describe God’s self-sufficiency is his “aseity.” Herman Bavinck, a Dutch Reformed theologian of the late 1800s and early 1900s, defines this term by saying that God “is whatever he is by his own self or of his own self” (Bavinck, The Doctrine of God, 144). God is independent of his creation because he is eternal, whereas all of creation depends on him because he “created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Bruce Ware, a professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, rightfully comments that Genesis 1:1 describes “the eternal existence of God that transcends the entire created and contingent order.” The idea of God having a beginning is never a consideration according to the biblical authors. The Hebrew term for deity (el) automatically makes a “qualitative distinction” between God and his creation, meaning that “God exists eternally by his own will and nature, and his existence is of such a quality as to contain intrinsically every quality in infinite measure” (Ware, God’s Greater Glory, 46-48). When we examine the doctrine of God’s aseity, we must conclude that everything in creation descends from God’s supreme position and absolute authority which is sustained within himself; his position is never under duress. Our God isn’t a “needy” God who is in a frenzied panic if we don’t give him glory, but rather he is the self-sufficient One who, in himself, has all that he needs. He doesn’t need our devotion nor our attention to find sufficient satisfaction. This amplifies his grace all the more. Because of his own infinitely abundant desire, he graciously calls us to himself. What a gift! THIS gives us every reason to worship Him!

How God’s Self-Sufficiency Impacts Our Lives

There is a growing misconception within Christian circles that God needs his people to do his work. This becomes especially prevalent within missionary circles and within the work of evangelism. A.W. Tozer, a well-known twentieth-century theologian, addresses this issue well:

We commonly represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world, but . . . [the] God who worketh all things surely needs no help and no helpers. Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God. An effective speaker can easily excite pity in his listeners, not only for the heathen but for the God who has tried so hard and so long to save them and has failed for want of support. I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of . . . A God who must be defended is one who can help us only while someone is helping Him. We may count upon Him only if He wins in the cosmic seesaw battle between right and wrong. Such a God could not command the respect of intelligent men; He could only excite their pity . . . It is morally imperative that we purge from our minds all ignoble concepts of the Deity and let Him be the God in our minds that He is in His universe. The Christian religion has to do with God and man, but its focal point is God, not man . . . That God exists for himself and man for the glory of God is the emphatic teaching of the Bible. The high honor of God is first in heaven as it must yet be in earth.

As Christians, the doctrine of God’s self-sufficiency should be a comfort to us rather than a detriment to our missions and evangelism. Even though we should worry over lost souls and pray vehemently for them that they repent and trust in Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 5:19-20), we can come to the sweet conclusion that God has called us to be partakers in his efforts by giving us the holy calling of evangelism and missions voluntarily, not out of necessity. He graciously allows our participation in these efforts as means to bring further glory to himself. Christ made the way for us to do so with love and zeal for the Gospel, which means that our anxieties and care can rest in and on Him who bore our sins to fulfill God’s plan of redemption (Matthew 11:29-30; 1 Peter 5:7). God is victorious whether a soul is won for Christ or not. The victory ultimately came through the Cross.

We’re called to rest in his self-sufficiency each and every day; he strengthens us, helps us, and upholds us with his “righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). We can truly find comfort in the truth that he is in control, because he has the power and the authority over the circumstances of life for his glory, his delight, and for our good. We can emphatically pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), while resting in God’s aseity. Because God has everything he needs in himself, we can trust in the All-Sufficient One who gives us what we need. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

Divine Inspiration: What it Means and Why it Matters

All Scripture is breathed out by God – 2 Timothy 3:16

When reading a book, it’s important to know who wrote it. Specifically, you should learn about the author’s beliefs, credentials, their other notable works, and their influences. Even though authors may possess many positive traits, they will always possess negative traits because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If an author possessed only positive traits, that would make them the perfect author, but “none [are] righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). When we consider this reality on the quest for the perfect author and the perfect book in a fallen world, we must ask, “Is there any book that is perfect? Is there any author that is perfect?” As Christians, we can confidently answer, “Yes! The Bible is perfect because God is perfect!” This exclamation comes from the understanding of “divine inspiration.” In this article, I would like to briefly unpack that term and why it matters for those who delight in God’s Word.

What Does “Divine Inspiration” Mean?

According to renowned theologian Wayne Grudem, “divine inspiration” means that all words in Scripture are “God’s own words.” Another dilemma arises from this statement: “How could God bring forth his Divine Word through sinful, fallen men?” While not denying—as Grudem phrases it—the “completely human volition or personality in the writing of Scripture,” we must acknowledge that “the ultimate source of [every writer’s words in Scripture] was never a man’s decision about what he wanted to write, but rather the Holy Spirit’s action in the [writer’s] life . . . This indicates a belief that all of [Scripture is] ‘from God.’” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 75) In other words, God sovereignly brought forth his inspired, inerrant Word in spite of man’s sinful nature. This can be seen throughout the Old Testament when the prophets would precede their prophecies with the statement, “Thus says the LORD” (Isaiah 49:7-8). New Testament passages such as 1 Thessalonians 2:13 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 also give sufficient evidence for divine inspiration. According to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, God’s purpose in giving us his inspired Word through the prophets and the apostles is “to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.”

Why Does This Matter?

So why did God choose to reveal himself through his inspired Word? Some may ask, “Why does it matter that it’s inspired? Wouldn’t it be acceptable if there were errors in Scripture?” The answer to this is simple: because God is holy and has providentially revealed himself through the Bible, the Bible must be holy like he is holy. If the Bible were to have errors and were not plenarily inspired, then it gives a false testimony of God, who is holy. That’s why on many traditional Bibles the words “Holy Bible” are printed on the spine, because it’s a glorious testimony of the Holy God who wrote Scripture. It’s also important that Scripture is inspired by God because it reveals his plan of salvation for his people: by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, making perfect atonement on behalf of his people. If Scripture isn’t inerrant, then the Gospel message it contains wouldn’t be sufficiently inspired by God. If the Gospel message of the death and resurrection of Christ isn’t fully inspired by God according to his Word, “we are of all people most to be pitied” because of our belief in the Gospel and our allegiance to Christ. Thankfully, we have full assurance in the Gospel because God is holy and he has revealed the good news in his inspired, holy Word.

Delighting in God’s Inspired Word

Now that we examined what it means to proclaim God’s Word is divinely inspired and why it matters for his people, I will briefly discuss how we can delight in God’s inspired Word. God himself uses his Word to pierce the stone-cold hearts of men to convict them of their sin, which causes them to repent and turn to the living God, causing regeneration to happen by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; Hebrews 4:12). With a new heart of flesh, soft and responsive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, the Word of God gives the new follower the direction and the principles needed in living a life sanctified unto God. Sanctification comes when we meditate on God’s righteousness and holiness according to his Word. Psalm 119:1-16 beautifully illustrates this diligence to love the Lord by following his Word. Based on the delight described in Psalm 119:1-16, the Word is the greatest treasure to those who place their hope in Christ and follow him daily and diligently as Lord and Savior. As seen in other places in Scripture, God brought forth his Word for many reasons: for his people to glorify him in teaching, preaching, worship, discipleship, correction, evangelism, among other ministries of the Word (Romans 10:13-15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:2-3, 5). God has also used his inspired Word to shame the wise because the Gospel hope that it contains is foolishness to them, but “to [those] who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). God’s life-giving Word is also our comfort in times of affliction. When we feel troubled, stressed, afraid, downcast, or any other emotion, God has given us his wonderful Word. In it, we find counsel for our troubles, medicine for our wounds, and hope in our sorrow. Charles Spurgeon, the beloved Prince of Preachers, said it well:

May God, in His infinite mercy, when you read your Bibles, pour into your souls the illuminating rays of the Sun of Righteousness, by the agency of the ever-adorable Spirit; then you will read to your profit. [Be Bible-readers; Be Bible-searchers.] – (Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons vol 1: The Bible, pp. 34, 44)