Monthly Archives: April 2010

Thought and Speech, Again

“Language is not an accident of human nature; else might it utterly perish like other arts and inventions of man. it is an essential element of man’s being, and one which distinguishes him from the brute” (Milton Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 71).

“Thought and speech are God’s gifts to creatures made in His image; these are intimately associated with Him and impossible apart from Him. it is highly significant that the first word was the Word: ‘And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ We may speak because God spoke. In him word and idea are indivisible” (A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 2).

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Gospel of Saint Matthew, Chapter 28:18-20).

Heart and Speech

The Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Good looks and smooth words don’t fool God. “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” Matthew 15:8. Do not be a hypocrite. If you want to be righteous, then draw near to God with both heart and speech.

God is omniscient (Psalm 139), he knows all and cannot be fooled. The Word made all things (John 1:2), he knows all and cannot be fooled. Wicked men are always trying to fool God, as well as their peers. Christians need to avoid being deceived by the smooth words of wicked men. Be like God, be holy and do not be deceived by false words. Do not be deceived into thinking that righteousness is merely eloquent speech. It require much, much more. Righteousness requires a renewed heart.

The Lord is Holy and is not fooled by wicked, smooth words, nor should the righteous. Therefore, consider the words of men carefully. Words are weighty and ought to be carefully considered. Words are weighty, so the righteous ought to use speech carefully. “The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth” Proverbs 10:20. The wicked do not consider the weight of their words; their hearts are of little worth. They do not understand that words and reality are intimately linked.

Consider the power of words. With words a Pastor declares that a man and woman have just been made “husband and wife”. That is powerful. The Pastor didn’t make them “husband and wife”, God did that. But what the Pastor is doing is declaring the truthfulness, that is, the objective fact of what has just occurred; he has declared that now they truly are “husband and wife,” whereas ten seconds ago they were not. This is what happens during Christian Baptism too. God saves you, not water and not the Pastor sprinkling it on your head. Your body was just baptized, that means something. Your wet, baptized body is an image, it is a picture. Pictures function like words in that they say something about reality. Your wet, baptized body is saying, “I’ve died with Christ, therefore, I will be raised with Christ and I will be saved from my sins…my body will not be abandoned to the grave because God grants eternal life to those who trust in him.”

God is not haphazard with words, nor should we be. Therefore, if you want to be righteous, then you should pray to God and ask him to transform your heart and speech. Heart and speech are not the sum of righteousness, however, it is helpful to think about them as grammar or building blocks for holy living.


Here is a solid Vern Poythress quote from an interview: “Inerrancy is spiritually important because of the long-term consequences of denying it. If we come to think that there are errors in the Bible, we then allow ourselves to sort between what we think is good and what we think is bad. It is always we who end up doing the sorting, and our personal judgments lord it over scripture. It ruins the Lordship of Christ over our lives, because then we secretly retain the power to reject anything that does not suit us.”

Homily: Gospel of Matthew

In his First Homily on the Gospel of Matthew, Chrysostom warns us that judgment will come down upon us if we neglect the Scriptures. Scripture has purpose and was given for a reason (God’s words are not haphazard), therefore, Chrysostom says, “Let us give strict heed unto the things that are written; and let us learn how the Old Law was given on the one hand, how on the other the New Covenant” (added emphasis).

Wisdom vs. Weapons of War

Ecclesiastes 9:18 – “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.”

It can be demonstrated with ease that one sinner destroys much good (David’s sinful census led to the death of 70,000 people, 1 Chronicles 21:14; Achan’s sin, his disobedience and greed, led not only to the military defeat of Israel at Ai but eventually to the destruction of himself and his family, Joshua 7). It is, however, not as easily demonstrated that wisdom is better than weapons of war. Post-Hiroshima it is easier to think that the way to get things done in this world is to do so with the aid of the latest and greatest weaponry.

Well, for starters, if you fight with weapons of war (the sword), you do not truly have protection, for it is well known that weapons of war can be brought against you too (Matthew 26:52). Pagan history is exactly this–an endless circle of self-glory seekers dropping bombs on one another.

Christian history revolutionized pagan history. Christianity changed the world when it listened to Lady Wisdom, who said “Fear God, not man”. Christians listened to Lady Wisdom, and as a result, they broke the cycle of pagan history with obedience to God; that is, by caring for orphans, widows, and everybody else with zero utility within the death-cycle of paganism (And who were those with no utility–they were infants, women, the elderly, the handicapped, the ill, etc).

God tells us that if you have wisdom, that is, if you love Lady Wisdom, then “she will keep you” and “she will guard you” (Proverbs 4:5-6). Guess what…the latest and greatest weaponry doesn’t stand a chance against Lady Wisdom.

And how do we know that Lady Wisdom will prevail? Because we’re told that the Kingdom of God has come, and that it is transforming the glory of this world into an even greater glory. As the fall-out of wisdom (not bombs) covers the land, peace shall pour forth from Mount Calvary and flow downhill to each of the four corners of the earth, and as a result the sucking child will play on the hole of the asp (Isaiah 11:8).

That is a really good reason for why Wisdom is better than weapons of war.

Do you want to break the pagan cycles of today? Then do so, by listening to Lady Wisdom–for she is better than the weapons of war. Listen to Lady Wisdom and obey God.

One Choice: Pagan Law or Christian Law

“The fact is that all law is “religious.” All law is based on some ultimate standard of morality and ethics. Every law-system is founded on the ultimate value of that system, and that ultimate value is the god of that system. The source of law for a society is the god of that society. This means that a theocracy is inescapable. All societies are theocracies. The difference is that a society that is not explicitly Christian is a theocracy of a false god. Thus, when God instructed the Israelites about going into the land of Canaan, He warned them not to adopt the law system of the pagans:

I am the LORD your God. You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the LORD your God. So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if He does them; I am the LORD
(Lev. 18:2-5).

“That is the only choice: pagan law or Christian law. God specifically forbids “pluralism.” God is not the least bit interested in sharing world dominion with Satan. God wants us to honor Him individually, in our families, in our churches, in our businesses, in our cultural pursuits of every kind, and in our statutes and judgments. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34). According to humanists, civilizations just “rise” and “fall,” by some naturalistic, evolutionary mechanism. But the Bible says that the key to the history of civilizations is judgment. God evaluates our response to His commands, and He answers back with curse and blessing. If a nation obeys Him, He blesses and prospers it (Deut. 28:1-14); if a nation disobeys Him, He curses and destroys it (Deut. 28:15-68). The history of Israel stands as a warning to all nations: for if God did it to them, He will surely do the same to the rest of us (Jer. 25:29)” (David Chilton, Paradise Restored).

Great Commission: World Begun Again

“The Great Commission to the Church does not end with simply witnessing to the nations. Christ’s command is that we disciple the nations—all the nations. The kingdoms of the world are to become the kingdoms of Christ. They are to be discipled, made obedient to the faith. This means that every aspect of life throughout the world is to be brought under the lordship of Jesus Christ: families, individuals, business, science, agriculture, the arts, law, education, economics, psychology, philosophy, and every other sphere of human activity. Nothing may be left out. Christ “must reign, until He has put all enemies under His feet” (1st Cor. 15:25). We have been given the responsibility of converting the entire world. . . .

“What would you say if you hired a worker, gave him detailed instructions, and all he did was to sit around wondering when the quitting bell will ring? Would you regard him as a faithful worker? Does God regard you as a faithful worker for His Kingdom? I repeat: the purpose of prophecy is ethical. It is God’s assurance that history is under His control, that He is working out His eternal purposes in every event, and that His original plan for His creation will be fulfilled. He has placed us into the great war for world history, with the absolute guarantee that we will win. Even if He has to make the whole universe stand still for us (Josh. 10:12-13), the day will last long enough for us to achieve victory. Time is on our side. The Kingdom has come, and the world has begun again. Now: Get to work” (David Chilton, Paradise Restored).

OT: Pre-Christian–Glorifies Christ

“…I would argue that the Old Testament functions within Christian scripture as a witness to Jesus Christ precisely in its pre-Christian form. The task of Old Testament theology is, therefore, not to Christianize the Old Testament by identifying it with the New Testament witness, but to hear its own theological testimony to the God of Israel whom the church confesses also to worship. Although Christians confess that God who revealed himself to Israel is the God and Father of Jesus Christ, it is still necessary to hear Israel’s witness in order to understand who the Father of Jesus Christ is. The coming of Jesus does not remove the function of the divine disclosure in the old covenant” (Brevard Childs, Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context, p. 9).

The Old Testament is exactly that, an Older Testament. God really did reveal himself to Israel (Heb. 1:1), and as Christians we should seek to understand that witness, for it too glorifies Christ, the Messiah (Acts 18:28).

In the past (in history), the Lord spoke through the prophets, he really did, and we should endeavor to understand the testimony of the prophets. And now the Lord speaks through Jesus Christ, he really does, and we should endeavor to understand the testimony of Jesus Christ. However, to affirm that Christ is the heart of the Scriptures does not mean that we should collapse the witness of prophets into the witness of Christ the Prophet. As Childs states, Jesus did not remove the function of the divine disclosure of the OT.

In the NT, Christ tells us that he fulfils the witness of the prophets. To fulfil does not mean to obliterate (Mat 5:17). And here is the rub: If you separate the OT from the NT or collapse the OT into the NT, then you are not taking the historical fact that God spoke to the prophets seriously, and when you do this you are attacking their witness. And since that very witness corresponds by figure to Heavenly events (Heb 8:5), in reality what you are doing is attacking Jesus Christ. (Leithart makes this very point: Knowledge of the Scriptures equips us to live in the world as it truly is, and I would go on to clarify that this knowledge includes knowledge of the Older Testament. So, knowledge of the Scriptures is knowledge of Christ; and that knowledge, which is grace from God, allows us to live in the world as it truly is. Christ truly is King, and when we do not attack him, that is, when we submit to him and bow our knees to him, then we are actually living in the world as it truly is. And not only living, but through prayer, the sacraments, worship, etc., we are also meaningfully participating in the world as it truly is.)

It is Easter. Please, do not be like the pagans and the hypocrites; please do not attack Christ. If you separate the OT and NT, then you are attacking Christ. If you collapse the OT into the NT, you are attacking Christ. You are not, however, attacking Christ if you hold the OT and NT in union, for their unity is in Christ.