A Resurrection Harvest

On the first day of the week we worship because Christ rose from the dead. His resurrection, though only something that happened once, is also just the first of many in a different way. He will not rise from the dead again, but because He did many more will after Him.

Paul told the Corinthians,

in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:20–23, ESV)

On the first day of the week we remember the firstfruits. Firstfruits is one Greek word, ἀπαρχή, a word that refers to the initial sacrifice, the beginning that represented more. Paul also called Jesus the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18), the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).

We are an army of new men. Supernatural life was breathed into us. We have hope not only in this life but in the life to come. We are no people to be pitied, we are a people purchased and raised and promised the glory of an imperishable body. Jesus is the firstfruits and we are the rest of the resurrection harvest.

July 22nd, 2014 | TOPIC: liturgy | TAGGED: communion, resurrection

Know, Reckon, and Yield

Christians on earth are being sanctified and we are not done. We are still sinful enough that we can sin in how we fight sin, as well as how we don’t. God commands us to think about certain salvation realities and, if we don’t, then we disobey Him even though our definition of salvation doctrines may be on the mark.

Paul reminded the Romans of the gospel truth “that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God” (Romans 6:9–10, ESV). Those are objective, unchangeable truths whether we believe them or not.

For those who do believe these truths about Christ, our reality is changed. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3–4, ESV).

What should we do when sin seems so strong? Instead of “Stop. Drop. And Roll” we ought to Know. Reckon. And Yield.

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing” (Romans 6:6, ESV). “So you also must consider (reckon) yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11, ESV). And then “Do not present (yield) your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness” (Romans 6:13, ESV).

Know the gospel realities about Christ and what that means for those in Him. Reckon it so: you are alive to God in Him. Then yield to righteousness as those who have been brought from death to life. “It is finished” changes how we fight. If you’ve been fighting wrong, or not at all, that is sin. If you haven’t been knowing, reckoning, and yielding, then the appropriate thing to do would be to know, reckon, and yield now.

July 21st, 2014 | TOPIC: liturgy | TAGGED: confession, sanctification

A Church for Exiles ⇒

Carl Trueman on “why Reformed Christianity provides the best basis for faith today”:

Reformed Christianity is best equipped to help us in our exile. That faith was forged on the European continent in the lives and writings of such men as Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin. It found its finest expression in the Anglophone world in the great Scottish Presbyterians and English Puritans of the seventeenth century. It possesses the intellectual rigor necessary for teaching and defending the faith in a hostile environment. It has a strong tradition of reflecting in depth upon the difference between that which is essential and that which, though good, is inessential and thus dispensable. It has a historical identity rooted in the wider theological teachings of the Church. It has deep resources for thinking clearly about the relationship of Church and state.

July 17th, 2014 | TOPIC: scraps | TAGGED: Calvinism, culture, liturgy, Psalms, link