3/13/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Correct views or warm Righteousness? (1)

Correct views or warm Righteousness? (1)

I want to work with some questions concerning the importance of “correct views”. Must we choose between correct views and a life of warm righteousness? If a person has correct theological views but chooses to live unrighteously most of us would know where he is before God. If a person lives a life of warm generosity and uprightness should we say his theological views don’t matter before God?

Recently I’ve been reading quite a bit from an old writer called John Watson who laid great stress on character and righteous behaviour and he does such a good job that at times I’m tempted to think that doctrine is close to irrelevant. I need no convincing that correct doctrine if it’s combined with a self-chosen lousy lifestyle is more of a judgment than a blessing (see that in Romans 2:1-3:19).

If I had had to be away and needed someone to watch over my Ethel while I was gone I’d have to know that the one in whose care I’d leave her was someone of character as well as competence. I’d look for patience, compassion, gentleness and strength. I wouldn’t ask if they were amillennial or premillennial; I wouldn’t ask if they practiced a faith-baptism for the remission of sins or infant baptism; I wouldn’t inquire if they believed Jesus rose bodily from the dead or what their view of the atonement was. I wouldn’t even care if they were atheist or theist. In such a situation I would regard correct theology as irrelevant if I knew they had depth of character and would commit to taking care of my Ethel. I didn’t quiz the surgeons, cardiologists, GPs or anyone else on their theological positions when I agreed to them working to bring Ethel through a score of life-threatening experiences.

In short, there are times and circumstances in which theological convictions are completely irrelevant. They’re certainly no substitute for genuineness of character and a virtuous heart whether that virtue and moral fineness is found in a Christian, Buddhist or atheist.  

So what are we to do? Dismiss theological truth entirely and insist that warm moral uprightness is everything?

If we say, “That depends on which theological truth we choose to dismiss” we seem to be saying that some theological truth must be maintained along with a virtuous life. Is that the case?

All biblical and theological truth is surely meant to fully equip us to live so as to glorify God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) so we’re not to isolate it from life—that’s obvious enough. Theological convictions can be worthless if they don’t transform the inner world in some foundational way but are we right if we dismiss them as irrelevant? All right, it’s better to have theological truth along with a virtuous life but, in the end, is it a virtuous life that is indispensable—is theological correctness dispensable fine-tuning?

To put it bluntly: In regard to the care of my loved ones theological differences would mean nothing. What difference does it make to your relationship with God if you’re a Buddhist, a Jew or a Christian so long as your life is warm and decent and generous? If the answer is that it makes no difference at all then it isn’t only NT ordinances (like Baptism and Holy Communion) that become dispensable—more critical by far, foundational truths such as “Jesus is Lord” become dispensable.

The temptation to sideline truth is real and powerful. How often have I been mocked by a critic with a text from Jesus? “What do you more than others?” he wanted to know of his followers. He didn’t but he could as well have asked, “Why don’t you do as much as others?” Of uncovenanted people Paul asked (Romans 2:26-29 along with 2:14-15); “If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?” Here we have uncovenanted people (that is, people outside the Jewish covenantal Torah) living better than those who were children of the covenant.

[This ought to put an end to the claim that only the elect can live in warm righteousness that pleases God!]

Yes! But does the fact that some Gentiles outlived some Jews give us grounds for dismissing God-revealed truth to his covenant people as irrelevant to their standing before God? Because some non-Christians live better than some Christians, does that mean the truth of God revealed in and as Jesus Christ is dispensable? [To be continued, God enabling.]

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.
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I have to think about this post from Jim. At the outset, I am not sure that I agree with what he says. Something bothers me about it. Perhaps it is the way it is phrased... like I said- will have to think about this one...
Gary

From Mark Copeland... The Promises Of God's New Covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

              The Promises Of God's New Covenant (8:7-13)

INTRODUCTION

1. Up to this point, the focus of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" has 
   been on Christ...
   a. His superiority to prophets, angels, Moses
   b. The superiority of His priesthood to the Levitical priesthood

2. With the transition in He 8:1-6, the focus shifts to the New 
   Covenant...
   a. A new covenant in which Jesus has already been described as:
      1) The "surety" (guarantor) - He 7:22
      2) The "Mediator" (one who intervenes) - He 8:6
   b. In both passages, this covenant was described as a "better" 
      covenant

3. Better than what?  Better in what way?  In Hebrews 8, we learn the 
   answer...
   a. Better than the "first covenant" - cf. He 8:7
   b. Better because of the "promises" contained in it - cf. He 8:6

[In this study, "The Promises Of God's New Covenant", we shall examine
our text (He 8:7-13) to ascertain how the New Covenant is better, 
especially with regard to its promises.

Let's begin by noticing...]

I. GOD'S PROMISE OF A NEW COVENANT (7-9,13)

   A. THE FIRST COVENANT WAS NOT FAULTLESS... (7)
      1. Otherwise, there would have been no need for a second covenant
      2. We have already seen concerning the first covenant that...
         a. The Levitical priesthood could not bring perfection - He 7:
            11
         b. The Law made nothing perfect, and was therefore annulled 
            due to its weakness and unprofitableness - He 7:18-19
      3. This inadequacy has special reference to the sacrifices of the
         first covenant...
         a. They could not make those who approach perfect - He 10:1-3
         b. The blood of animals offered by the priests could not take
            away sins - He 10:4,11

   B. THE PEOPLE OF THE FIRST COVENANT WERE ALSO AT FAULT... (8-9)
      1. God found fault because they did not continue in His covenant 
         - cf. Jer 11:7-10
      2. For this reason He disregarded them, allowing them to be taken
         away by their enemies - cf. Jer 11:11-14
      -- Even so, He did not leave them without some hope, for through
         the prophet Jeremiah He made a promise...

   C. GOD PROMISED A NEW COVENANT... (8-9)
      1. Promised in Jer 31:31-34
      2. In which God would make a "new covenant" with Israel and Judah
      2. A covenant different than the one made at Mt. Sinai (how, we
         shall see in a moment)

   D. THE NEW COVENANT HAS MADE THE FIRST "OBSOLETE"... (13)
      1. By even calling the promised covenant "new", God made the
         first covenant obsolete
         a. The old covenant actually continued on for about 500 years
            after Jeremiah
         b. But with the promise of the new, attention would be taken
            away from the old covenant and directed toward the new one
            that was coming!
      2. Its obsolescence was especially seen in the days of the Hebrew
         writer...
         a. It was "becoming obsolete and growing old"
            1) The death of Jesus rendered the sacrifices of the first
               covenant unnecessary
            2) Before long, the temple itself would be destroyed, and
               along with it, the last vestiges of the Levitical 
               priesthood
         b. Truly, it was "ready to vanish away"

[So God promised a "new covenant" to replace the "old covenant"; and 
Jesus is the "Mediator" of this covenant, which is "a better covenant".
Better in what way?

Better because it "was established on better promises".  Let's now 
consider some of...]

II. GOD'S PROMISES INVOLVING THE NEW COVENANT (10-12)

   A. IT WILL BE INWARD AND SPIRITUAL... (10)
      1. "I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their 
         hearts"
      2. The first covenant had its laws written on tablets of stone; 
         the new covenant is one that requires God's laws be written in
         our hearts
      3. It is not enough to have God's Word in our hands, on our 
         coffee tables, etc.
         a. We must plant God's Word into our hearts - cf. Jm 1:21
         b. For only then can we truly be born again by the 
            incorruptible seed, the word of God - 1Pe 1:22-23
      -- Are you living up to intent of the New Covenant, or are you
         little different than those under the first covenant, who had
         the Word, but not on their hearts?

   B. IT WILL PROVIDE A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD... (10)
      1. "I will be their God, and they shall be My people"
      2. The actual terms of this promise is really nothing new - cf. 
         Exo 6:7; Lev 26:12
      3. But in each successive "age", its promise is filled with fresh
         meaning; for example...
         a. In "this age", we enjoy a closer relationship with God 
            - cf. 2Co 6:16-18; 1Pe 2:9-10
         b. But even more so, in the "age to come", which is in 
            eternity - cf. Re 21:1-7
      -- Are you utilizing the blessings whereby you can have a closer
         relationship with God?

   C. IT WILL BE WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE LORD... (11)
      1. "None of them shall teach...saying, 'Know the Lord', for all
         shall know Me..."
      2. The New Covenant will be with people who have already come to
         know the Lord
         a. Unlike the first covenant, in which people entered it at 
            birth; as they grew up, they needed to be taught about the 
            Lord
         b. In the new covenant, one must come to know the Lord before
            they can enter the covenant
      3. So it is that one must believe in Jesus before they can enter
         into a covenant relationship with their Lord through baptism 
         - cf. Ac 8:36-38
      -- Does not this feature of the New Covenant preclude the 
         practice of infant baptism?

   D. IT WILL PROVIDE TRUE FORGIVENESS FOR SIN... (12)
      1. "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their
         sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more"
      2. Here is the ultimate basis of the blessing previously 
         described; by virtue of the forgiveness of sins can we truly 
         be God's people, and He our God!
      3. Thus the New Covenant provides what the first covenant could 
         not:  true forgiveness of sins! - cf. He 10:1-4,11

CONCLUSION

1. Such are "The Promises Of God's New Covenant"...
   a. As foretold through the prophet Jeremiah
   b. Now fulfilled through the coming of Jesus and His death on the 
      cross
   -- By virtue of "better promises", Christ is truly the Mediator of a
      "better covenant"!

3. But there is more to be said about why the New Covenant is a better
   covenant...
   a. It also has a better sanctuary
   b. It also has a better sacrifice
   -- But consideration of these things will be saved for later

At this point it might be appropriate to ask:

   Have you truly entered into a covenant relationship with the Lord?

The entrance terms of this New Covenant are simple:  They involve faith
in Christ and a confession of that faith (Ro 10:9,10), along with 
repentance of sins and baptism into Christ (Ac 2:36-39). 

The promised blessings of the New Covenant await any and all who are 
willing to so respond to the gospel of Christ!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading March 13





Bible Reading 

March 13

The World English Bible



Mar. 13
Exodus 23

Exo 23:1 "You shall not spread a false report. Don't join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness.
Exo 23:2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; neither shall you testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice;
Exo 23:3 neither shall you favor a poor man in his cause.
Exo 23:4 "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.
Exo 23:5 If you see the donkey of him who hates you fallen down under his burden, don't leave him, you shall surely help him with it.
Exo 23:6 "You shall not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
Exo 23:7 "Keep far from a false charge, and don't kill the innocent and righteous: for I will not justify the wicked.
Exo 23:8 "You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds those who have sight and perverts the words of the righteous.
Exo 23:9 "You shall not oppress an alien, for you know the heart of an alien, seeing you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Exo 23:10 "For six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in its increase,
Exo 23:11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the animal of the field shall eat. In like manner you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive grove.
Exo 23:12 "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the alien may be refreshed.
Exo 23:13 "Be careful to do all things that I have said to you; and don't invoke the name of other gods, neither let them be heard out of your mouth.
Exo 23:14 "You shall observe a feast to me three times a year.
Exo 23:15 You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib (for in it you came out from Egypt), and no one shall appear before me empty.
Exo 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you sow in the field: and the feast of harvest, at the end of the year, when you gather in your labors out of the field.
Exo 23:17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh.
Exo 23:18 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, neither shall the fat of my feast remain all night until the morning.
Exo 23:19 The first of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of Yahweh your God. "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.
Exo 23:20 "Behold, I send an angel before you, to keep you by the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.
Exo 23:21 Pay attention to him, and listen to his voice. Don't provoke him, for he will not pardon your disobedience, for my name is in him.
Exo 23:22 But if you indeed listen to his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries.
Exo 23:23 For my angel shall go before you, and bring you in to the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I will cut them off.
Exo 23:24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor follow their practices, but you shall utterly overthrow them and demolish their pillars.
Exo 23:25 You shall serve Yahweh your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from your midst.
Exo 23:26 No one will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days.
Exo 23:27 I will send my terror before you, and will confuse all the people to whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
Exo 23:28 I will send the hornet before you, which will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before you.
Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the animals of the field multiply against you.
Exo 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and inherit the land.
Exo 23:31 I will set your border from the Red Sea even to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.
Exo 23:32 You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me, for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you."
 
Mar. 13, 14
Mark 9

Mar 9:1 He said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see the Kingdom of God come with power."
Mar 9:2 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed into another form in front of them.
Mar 9:3 His clothing became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
Mar 9:4 Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking with Jesus.
Mar 9:5 Peter answered Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let's make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
Mar 9:6 For he didn't know what to say, for they were very afraid.
Mar 9:7 A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Mar 9:8 Suddenly looking around, they saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only.
Mar 9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he commanded them that they should tell no one what things they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Mar 9:10 They kept this saying to themselves, questioning what the "rising from the dead" meant.
Mar 9:11 They asked him, saying, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
Mar 9:12 He said to them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and restores all things. How is it written about the Son of Man, that he should suffer many things and be despised?
Mar 9:13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they have also done to him whatever they wanted to, even as it is written about him."
Mar 9:14 Coming to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and scribes questioning them.
Mar 9:15 Immediately all the multitude, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and running to him greeted him.
Mar 9:16 He asked the scribes, "What are you asking them?"
Mar 9:17 One of the multitude answered, "Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit;
Mar 9:18 and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren't able."
Mar 9:19 He answered him, "Unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me."
Mar 9:20 They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth.
Mar 9:21 He asked his father, "How long has it been since this has come to him?" He said, "From childhood.
Mar 9:22 Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us."
Mar 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
Mar 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, "I believe. Help my unbelief!"
Mar 9:25 When Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!"
Mar 9:26 Having cried out, and convulsed greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead; so much that most of them said, "He is dead."
Mar 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.
Mar 9:28 When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we cast it out?"
Mar 9:29 He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting."
Mar 9:30 They went out from there, and passed through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know it.
Mar 9:31 For he was teaching his disciples, and said to them, "The Son of Man is being handed over to the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, on the third day he will rise again."
Mar 9:32 But they didn't understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Mar 9:33 He came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?"
Mar 9:34 But they were silent, for they had disputed one with another on the way about who was the greatest.
Mar 9:35 He sat down, and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all."
Mar 9:36 He took a little child, and set him in the midst of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,
Mar 9:37 "Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, doesn't receive me, but him who sent me."
Mar 9:38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone who doesn't follow us casting out demons in your name; and we forbade him, because he doesn't follow us."
Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, "Don't forbid him, for there is no one who will do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.
Mar 9:40 For whoever is not against us is on our side.
Mar 9:41 For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ's, most certainly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward.
Mar 9:42 Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck.
Mar 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire,
Mar 9:44 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna, into the fire that will never be quenched-
Mar 9:46 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:47 If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire,
Mar 9:48 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:49 For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
Mar 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."




From Gary... A MASTERPIECE OF....


You are someone special because God made you, Jesus died for you and God's Holy Spirit intercedes with the Father for you. You are special!!!  Although each one of the boxes in the graphic above could have a paragraph devoted to it (probably, much, much more than that), I would just like to make a few brief comments concerning the top one...

Ephesians, Chapter 2
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

Strongs dictionary # 4161: poiema
whence Eng., "poem," denotes "that which is made" (from poieo, "to do, make"), Rom. 1:20, "the things that are made;" Eph. 2:10, "(His) workmanship."

I really like the idea that we are "living poems".  Our lives flow with beauty and elegance that is a reflection of God's physical creation as well as HIS Spiritual creation within us through HIS word. Our poem has a purpose- good works, and that designed by the Almighty for HIS OWN PURPOSES. And we should do (walk in) them.   You know, I never really thought of God as a master poet before and I bet that his works don't even need to rhyme- they probably sound wonderful anyway!!!