August 27, 2009

Romans 9:5: Christ is God over all blessed forever!

I did a little study of Romans 9:5 concerning the Deity of Christ tonight. I looked up the Strong's numbers with the Greek on my e-Sword program, then wrote down my own translation from what I could understand.

Here is my English translation from the Greek (literal word for word and in the original order): Romans 9:5:

Whose the fathers and from whom the Christ (Anointed) the according flesh the is over all God blessed into the forever. Amen.

There is an important phrase in this verse referring to Christ as God. However, because ancient Greek had no punctuation marks, there are different possible ways to arrange the word order and punctuation when translating in English. I tried to reword/organize the last half of this verse in these three different ways (emphasized):

1. "To whom are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all God blessed forever. Amen." (Where the last phrase is not as specific. Is Christ over all God, or over all God-blessed? Or is it both?)

2. "To whom are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen." (This wording more accurately ascribes Deity to Christ, calling Him "God over all.")

3. "To whom are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, the blessed God forever. Amen." (This phrase fits with the Jewish tradition of blessing God whenever speaking His name.)

In either case, Romans 9:5 contains a crystal clear declaration that Jesus Christ is in fact God Almighty, and at the same time human.

Here are some popular translations (emphasis added):
KJV: Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

NKJV: of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

ESV: To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

NLT: Their ancestors were great people of God, and Christ himself was a Jew as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

NIV: Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

NASB: whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. (Note: most translations above list this wording used in the NASB as an alternative, either one works in the Greek)

RVR1960: de quienes son los patriarcas, y de los cuales, según la carne, vino Cristo, el cual es Dios sobre todas las cosas, bendito por los siglos. Amén.

LBLA: de quienes son los patriarcas, y de quienes, según la carne, procede el Cristo, el cual está sobre todas las cosas, Dios bendito por los siglos. Amén.

Amazing verse! Use it whenever you encounter someone who tries to say that Jesus Christ is not God, or that Christ is not equal with the Father. Clearly, we have an infinite, unfathomable, yet intensely personal God, who has sent His Son into the world in human flesh, that we might be reborn in His resurrection image and likeness. Truly God is amazing!

August 21, 2009

Grace Abounding: Resources and Evangelism 1

From Artwork
In this Grace Abounding post, let me first say that God's grace truly is amazing and abounds even to the lowest of His chosen creatures. I love reading Psalm 113, because in it, God is humbling Himself to help the nobodies and the poor and the ashamed women, and He is giving them a wonderful inheritance, all because He wanted to--all because of His grace!

• If you or anyone you know is suffering right now, then I recommend reading as many Grace Gems as you have time for.

Pyromaniacs blog has had some wonderfully challenging posts and reposts all during this past week, on Biblical evangelism. This blog is truly educational when it comes to thinking Biblically and accurately.

• Some brief, and a few humorous observations between Atheism and Christianity are given in this post on the Contemporary Calvinist.

• And finally, please pray for more Biblical, grace and Christ centered evangelism both in our own country and around the world. Since persecution is so wide-spread now, we also have a great need for accurate Biblical doctrine, and focused prayer for all persecuted saints.

Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ and are waiting eagerly for His return. Come Lord Jesus, our King and Savior! Amen.

From Artwork

August 16, 2009

John Piper: Understanding the Bible Brings Great Joy

God’s Word, Good Exposition, Great Joy, Much Strength

August 16, 2009 | By: John Piper | Category: Commentary

Here’s another reason I am joyfully committed to expository exultation, that is, preaching.

Look at this amazing statement of what biblical exposition is like when it’s done well—in the power of God’s Spirit and riveted on biblical texts.

Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people.... [T]he Levites helped the people to understand the Law.... They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.... And all the people went their make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. (Nehemiah 8:5-8,12)

First, there was a reader of the word of God. Then there were those who explained the words. Then there was true understanding in the minds of the people. Then there was great rejoicing “because they hand understood the words.”

It is astonishing to me how many pastors apparently don’t believe in pursuing the joy of their people in this way. Evidently they think it doesn’t work. I’m sure there are many reasons for this abandonment of biblical exposition.

But I simply want to wave the flag and say: There was joy then. And there is joy today when God’s people see real, divine meaning in texts that they had not seen before.

If you want to see a strong church, keep in mind that it is no accident that in this very context the writer says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

What joy? The joy of verse 12: “All the people went their make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.”

God’s truth followed by faithful, Spirit-anointed exposition, leads to great joy, which is the strength of God’s people. So give the sense, brothers. Give the sense!

(From the desiringGod blog)

August 12, 2009

Grace and Great Men

Who are the 3 most prolific writers of the Bible?

They are:
1) Moses
2) David
3) Paul

All three of these men were murderers.

When the Bible represents its heroes, it represents them as they are, without hiding their severe and serious faults.

They are real men, not make believe. They were also great heroes and have influenced the entire world with their writings more than any other writers who have ever lived.

We can learn from these guys what a real man of God is made of--the grace of God.

"Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 Amplified).

Grace Gems: I Have All I Need

A weak, defenseless and foolish creature!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"The Lord is my shepherd--I have everything I need." Psalm 23:1

"The Lord is my shepherd!" What condescension is this--that the Infinite Lord assumes the office and character of aShepherd towards His people! It should be the subject of grateful admiration, that the great God allows Himself to be compared to anything which will set forth His great love and care for His own people! 

David had himself been a keeper of sheep, and understood both the needs of the sheep, and the many cares of a shepherd. He compares himself to a weak, defenseless and foolish creature--and he takes God to be his Provider, Preserver, Director, and, indeed, his everything!

No man has a right to consider himself the Lord's sheep--unless his nature has been renewed; for the Scriptural description of unconverted men does not picture them assheep--but as wolves or goats! A sheep is personal property--not a wild animal. Its owner sets great value on it, and frequently it is bought with a great price. It is well to know, as certainly as David did--that we belong to the Lord!

There is a noble tone of confidence in this sentence. There is no "if", nor "but", nor even an "I hope so". David says, "The Lord IS my shepherd." We must cultivate the spirit of assured dependence upon our heavenly Father.

The sweetest word of the whole verse, is that monosyllable, "MY". He does not say, "The Lord is the shepherd of the world at large," but "The Lord is MY shepherd!" He is a MY Shepherd to no one else--He cares for me, watches over me, and preserves me! The words are in the present tense. Whatever the believer's situation--he is constantly under the pastoral care of Jehovah Himself!

The next words are an encouraging inference from the first statement, "I have everything I need." I might lack otherwise--but when the Lord is my Shepherd--He isable to supply my needs--and He is certainly willing to do so, for His heart is full of love towards His people! 

I shall not lack for temporal things. Does He not feed the ravens, and cause the lilies to grow? How, then, can He leave His childrento starve? 

I shall not lack for spiritual things, I know that His grace will be sufficient for all my needs. Resting in Him--He will say to me, "As your days--so shall your strength be!"

I may not possess all that I wish for--but "I have everything I need." Others, far wealthier and wiser than I, may lack--but "I have everything I need." "The young lions may lack, and suffer hunger--but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any goodthing." 

Come what may, if famine should devastate the land, or calamity destroy the city, "I have everything I need!" Old age with its feebleness shall not bring me any lack; and even death with its gloom--shall not find me destitute. I shall have all good things and abound; not because I have a large store of money in the bank, nor because I have skill and wit to sustain myself--but because "The Lord is my shepherd!" 

The wicked always lack--but the righteous never! An unsaved person's heart is far from satisfaction--but a gracious heart dwells in the "palace of contentment!"

Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Grace Audio Treasures (choice AUDIO sermons)

Sovereign Grace Treasures (choice PRINTED books)

August 11, 2009

Why is Grace so great?

Grace chooses the least worthy of honor 
and bestows upon them so many benefits
that the One who chose and blessed them
is seen as gloriously lovely and praiseworthy.
(Psalm 103:1-5; Ephesians 1:3-7; 2:5-9; 1 Corinthians 1:26)

Grace reveals the face of the most Lovely
in the midst of trials to the most unlovely,
then makes them into that same lovely image.
(2 Corinthians 1:9; 3:18; 1 John 3:1-2)

But what is greatest about grace
is the joy of knowing and being known 
by the glorious One who gave it.
(John 1:18; 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:7)

August 7, 2009

Grace Gems: Spurgeon on Grace for the Young

Today's Puritan Audio Devotional:
"Altogether lovely!"
The preciousness of Christ

~  ~  ~  ~

Some of the advantages ofearly piety

(Charles Spurgeon)

I will just mention some of the advantages of early piety

To be a believer in God early in life--is to be saved from a thousand regrets! Such a man shall never have to say that he carries in his bones--the sins of his youth. The Christian young man will not fall into the common sins of other young men, and injure his bodily health by excesses.

He will likely marry a Christian woman--and so have a holy companion in his journey towards Heaven. 

Early piety helps us to formfriendships for the rest of life which will prove helpful--and saves us from those which are harmful. He will select as his associates,  the godly from the church--and not the rogues from the tavern. They will be his helpers in virtue--and not his tempters to vice. Depend upon it--a great deal depends upon whom we choose for our companions early in life. If we start in bad company--it is very hard to break away from it. 

The man brought to Christ early in life has this further advantage--that he is helped to form holy habits--and is saved from being the slave of sinful ones. Habits soon become second nature; to form new ones is hard work; but those formed in youth-- usually
 remain to old age. 

Moreover, I notice that very frequently, those who are brought to Christ while young, grow in grace more rapidly and readily than others do. They have not so much tounlearn--and they have not such aheavy weight of old sinful memoriesto carry. The scars and bleeding sores which come from havingspent years in the service of the devil--are missed by those whom the Lord brings into His church early, before they have wandered far into the sinful pleasures of this evil world.

I cannot commend early piety too highly. How attractive it is! Grace looks loveliest in youth! That which would not be noticed in the grown-up man--strikes at once the most careless observer, when seen in a child. Grace in a child has a convincing force--the infidel drops his weapon and admires. A word spoken by a child abides in the memory, and its artless accents touch the heart. Where the minister's sermon fails--the child's prayer may gain the victory!

We have posted Spurgeon's superb sermon, "Early Piety--Eminent Piety". Must reading for parents and those who teach children!

Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Grace Audio Treasures (choice AUDIO sermons)

Sovereign Grace Treasures (choice PRINTED books)

August 5, 2009

Grace and Vengeance in Psalm 94

As I read Psalm 94 today, I realized quickly from the first verse, that this Psalm is all about asking God to take vengeance on those who are persecuting the righteous people in the land.

We don't always realize it naturally, but such a Psalm is written for our instruction and encouragement, so that through it we would have hope (Romans 15:4).

How might such a Psalm offer hope? Or how does it administer grace to its readers?

Simple... by calling our attention to the One True Living God who can be trusted to bring about justice for the oppressed and innocent who have been murdered. God's grace can be trusted in times of great injustice and persecution, because He will avenge.

In the midst of horrible injustice, the Psalmist said, "If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, "My foot has slipped," Your lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul." (Psalm 94:17,18,19 NAS).

When we hope and delight in the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10), we can rest assured that justice will one day be meeted out to all the oppressors, and God will raise the dead in Christ Jesus to eternal righteousness forever! Amen!

Psalm 94 ESV

O Lord, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the sojourner,
and murder the fatherless;
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

Understand, O dullest of the people!
Fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?
He who teaches man knowledge—
the Lord—knows the thoughts of man,
that they are but a breath.

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
to give him rest from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
 for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
those who frame injustice by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will bring back on them their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will wipe them out.

August 3, 2009

Why Paul Wrote with Tears

In the second letter Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, he explained why his previous letter was written out of so much heartache:

For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.
(2 Corinthians 2:4 NAS)