Showing posts with label Blessing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blessing. Show all posts

Sunday, October 16, 2022

A Shared Inheritance

In a previous post, “Representative Men”, we saw that we are either represented by Adam and what he did in Eden (sin) and what he in consequence became (a sinner), or by Christ and what he passed through in his death and resurrection. In the sequel, “Beyond Condemnation”, we saw how the gospel makes provision for us in him.

We should never consider ourselves apart from Christ.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Olive Tree in Romans

Significant numbers of Christians over the years have had difficulty understanding the image of the olive tree the apostle Paul uses in Romans 11. If you doubt this, consult any combination of online commentaries. You’ll quickly see interpretations differ wildly.

For those who wonder why something like this matters enough to merit an entire blog post, bear in the mind that Romans 11 speaks of the future place in God’s purposes of his earthly people, the nation of Israel. An increasing number of Christians are convinced all God’s promises to Israel are fully realized in the Church, and that the “Israel” of which the Old Testament speaks is actually … well … us.

How you understand the olive tree is all tied up in that.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

When Our Number Is Up

“Then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed.”

The book of Hebrews tells us that when Jacob rallied his strength to bless Joseph’s children, it was an act of faith; and not only an act of faith, but one worthy of mention alongside Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac, the crossing of the Red Sea and the fall of the walls of Jericho.

I’m not quite sure how to picture this scene, but it is the last act of a very old man who has come a very long way with God. At the beginning of chapter 48, Israel summons his strength and sits up on his deathbed to give his benediction. Probably he swings his legs down to the floor, sitting on the edge of the bed. When he finishes, at the end of chapter 49, he pulls his legs back into bed and breathes his last.

Job done. Quite the way to go, when you think about it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Blessing and Judgment

“Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.”

“Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

One day, fellow Christian, you and I will be gathered together to hear what will happen to us in days to come. What will your reward be for the things done in the body and your service rendered to Christ? What will be my role in the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ and in the New Jerusalem for eternity?

These are not irrelevant questions. Eternity is not some giant golf course.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Inadvertent Agents of Blessing

A little over 600 years prior to sending his Son into the world, God began to make obvious preparations for his next step in reconciling a fallen world to himself through Jesus Christ.

These weren’t God’s first steps in his program of salvation, of course, and for the most part they were not seen as movements forward at all by those who played a part in them, but they are obvious to us in hindsight, looking back over the centuries.

After all, how would the gospel have spread so effectively throughout Europe and Asia in the first century if there had been no Judean Captivity?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Transgression and Blessing

Perfect? No. But completely restored.
Can my sin be a source of blessing?

That’s not a trick question. There’s no “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” coming, don’t worry.

But it’s a legitimate consideration. A while ago, I exchanged emails with a brother in Christ who was deeply afflicted with guilt over things he had done after coming to know the Lord, and concerned that, given the magnitude of his transgressions, even deeply-felt regret, confession and a changed manner of life might not be acceptable to God.

Obviously good may come from repentance, but you wonder if any good can possibly come from the sin that (eventually) produced it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Paying Attention

God, to the prophet Balaam:

“You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

Now check out when this statement is made. It’s at the tail end of almost 40 years of what must have seemed like absolutely pointless wandering, basically filling in time. It’s made about a people who had just spent years watching their parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts die in the wilderness for their disobedience.

Blessed, huh?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

That Wacky Old Testament (2)

As a teenager I spent a fair bit of time at the home of a friend whose father grew up in WW2 England.

Back in 1940, the Germans did their best to cut off the English food supply. Submarines patrolled the English Channel and the Atlantic, sinking boats destined for the U.K. Less than a quarter of the millions of tons of food usually imported into England actually made it to its destination.

Rationing was introduced to make sure everyone got their share of what was available.

Monday, October 12, 2015

That Was Then, This Is Now

Sometimes Wikipedia has a gem or two.

The translators of our Bibles tell us that the thing for which Esau traded his birthright to his brother Jacob was a bowl of lentil soup. The King James that I grew up with reads “a mess of pottage”, and I still get a kick from that now-anachronistic and quirky turn of phrase.

Oddly, there is even a Wikipedia entry for “mess of pottage” that nails the concept perfectly:

“A mess of pottage is something immediately attractive but of little value taken foolishly and carelessly in exchange for something more distant and perhaps less tangible but immensely more valuable.”

Those followers of Christ who look primarily for blessing in this world are making the same sort of trade Esau did.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Circumstantial Evidence

You found and got approved for just the right apartment even though you weren’t exactly qualified. You were admitted to the internship program you really wanted. That girl you have your heart set on seems to be showing the character qualities you were hoping to find.

You prayed about all these things. Must be the Lord, right?


Monday, May 19, 2014

Eden: Beginning of the Family Line

We’ve touched on the fact that God’s character is more clearly seen in the Eden story in Genesis than anywhere else in the Bible with the exception of Calvary. In Genesis 1, we read that God created male and female. Immediately following, we ask this: what is the very first thing they experience that Scripture records immediately following?

It’s there in the first line of verse 28. He blessed them. God blessed them.

The initial experience mankind had of the creator God was that He is and was by nature foremost to be known as a God who blesses. The highest priority he had for us, there in moment one, was blessing — and for us to come to know Him as a blesser.

The New Testament puts the same priority on it: “He who comes to God must believe that he is” — that makes good sense — “and that he is a rewarder” — that he is a blesser — “of those who seek Him”.

God wants to be known as a blesser, and here he blesses man and woman first.

In what way did He bless them? It’s manifold, of course — the blessing of life, the blessing of companionship with each other and fellowship with Him, the blessing of the surrounding beauty of creation and so on and so forth. But it’s interesting also to note not what all the implied blessings of Eden were but rather what the first expressed blessing of Eden was. The first recorded blessing is … what?