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Christ in All of Scripture – Proverbs 31

 

Proverbs 31:25-30

“Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
‘Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”


The book of Proverbs concludes with a family scene both impressive and heartwarming. At the center of this ideal family is a strong woman of wide-ranging capabilities, fully involved in the challenges of life. The glowingly positive message here is that “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30). The word “praise” occurs three times in verses 28–31, setting an overall tone of encouragement in this home. The children rise up in respect and speak well of their mother (Prov. 31:28). The husband, never a faultfinder, gently praises her for her outstanding qualities (Prov. 31:8). This remarkable woman gives herself diligently to her family and her community (Prov. 31:10–27), and her family communicates how they admire her (Prov. 31:28–31). This wise family sees through the false glories that inevitably disappoint: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain” (Prov. 31:30). Their mother, who “has devoted herself to every good work” (1 Tim. 5:10), embodies the godly wisdom of her entire family.

Clearly, the life of wisdom is not just for Sunday, but for every aspect of life. It is not austere and grim, but attractive with a sincere enjoyment that flows from one human heart to another. Best of all, the life of wisdom will matter forever. When we are with the Lord in heaven above, we will find that our deeds will have followed us, transformed by his grace into eternal blessing (Rev. 14:13).

But “who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16). We are not. Even the “excellent wife” of Proverbs 31 is not sufficient in herself, but she “fears the Lord” (Prov. 31:30). Her ultimate regard is not for her beauty, goodness, or accomplishment, but for the One who provides for her every need and loved one (cf. Prov. 1:1–7). We are prepared by such an example to remember that God must make us sufficient for what we face and for what he requires. Ultimately, in Christ, he does so. What he commands, he also gives. Therefore, we may receive his counsels in the book of Proverbs with this wonderful assurance: “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

September 15, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,Gospel Transformation Bible,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:48 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – Romans 5:1–5

 

Romans 5:1-5

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”


Previous chapters have majored on the gospel (Rom. 1:16–17), our abject need for it (Rom. 1:18–3:20), and Christ’s centrality in it (Rom. 3:21–26). Justification—God’s reckoning or accounting of Christ’s righteousness to sinners—is through faith alone (Rom. 3:27–31). The only thing we contribute is our need. This is true for us who look back on Jesus’ coming, as it was true for Old Testament figures (like Abraham and David; ch. 4) who looked ahead to God’s fulfillment of his promises through his Son.

Now Paul begins to unpack what knowing Christ means in terms of daily life. He takes up sanctification, the work of God’s grace to set us free from sin and make us joyful servants of God’s righteousness (see Rom. 6:17–18). Believers in Christ have peace with God (Rom. 5:1), a state of grace and rejoicing (Rom. 5:2), and a way of living that is both sobering and satisfying.

It is sobering that trusting in Christ brings sufferings (Rom. 5:3; see also Rom. 8:17). But it is satisfying that those sufferings produce endurance, which produces proven character, which produces a confident hope in God’s enduring and eternal care (Rom. 5:3–5). God’s Spirit gives God’s love in abundance. This is the normal yet glorious life of gospel faith.


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

September 8, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,Gospel Transformation Bible,The Christian Life | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:24 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – John 21:15–19

 

John 21:15–19

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”


Jesus didn’t hurry the process of Peter’s restoration. The Savior asked three times for affirmation of the apostle’s love, reflecting Peter’s three denials during Christ’s passion. Gospel surgery is free, but not always easy. Grace produces redemptive pain, not punitive pain. But pain is still painful. Indeed, the gospel brings an end to all deadening worldly grief. But the gospel is the beginning of enlivening godly grief (2 Cor. 7:10–11). The law condemns, the gospel convicts; the law creates self-centered tears, the gospel creates God-centered tears.

“Do you love me more than these?” It would have been easier on Peter had Jesus asked him, “Do you promise not to fail me again?” But Jesus knew better than to ask that question, because, of course, Peter would fail again (e.g., Gal. 2:11–21). Jesus is more jealous for our love than zealous for our works. If he has our hearts, he’ll have everything else.


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

September 1, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:28 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – Nehemiah 9

 

Nehemiah 9

“Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, ‘Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.’”


Nehemiah chapter 9 is the longest recorded prayer in the Bible. It confesses before a faithful God the history of a faithless people.

As Christ’s followers we are grafted into this family (Gal. 3:7–9), and we can share in this prayer for mercy from our covenant-keeping God. The prayer unfolds history as God’s acts of grace and mercy—from creation (Neh. 9:6), to the Abrahamic covenant (Neh. 9:7–8), to the deliverance from Egypt (Neh. 9:9–11), to God’s wilderness provisions (including the law [Neh. 9:12–15]), to a kingdom in a rich land (Neh. 9:22–25). This outpouring of God’s faithfulness is interrupted by two sections which confess the people’s rebellion against him (Neh. 9:16–21, 26–31). But there are repeated appeals to a merciful God, “abounding in steadfast love” (Neh. 9:17; see also Ex. 34:6; Deut. 7:9). The focus is on God’s “covenant and steadfast love” (Neh. 9:32), ever the basis on which his people approach him.

Praise God. We can know and name the Christ in whom all the promises of God are “yes” and “Amen” (2 Cor. 1:20). The Old Testament people of God knew that God was full of grace and truth. We today see grace and truth itself embodied in Jesus Christ (John 1:14–18).


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

August 25, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Gospel Transformation Bible,The Christian Life | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:32 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – John 5:36–40

 

John 5:36–40

“But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”


The conflict intensifies between Jesus and the Jewish leaders—an antagonism that would eventually lead to his crucifixion. Why the enmity? It was not just because of Jesus’ Sabbath breaking, but because he made claims that gave him equal status with God—an affirmation we encountered in the first verse of John’s Gospel: “the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1). Only God can save us, and Jesus, God incarnate, is the second member of the Trinity.

Jesus claimed a unique filial relationship with God as Father, an assertion which in that culture gave him divine status and amounted to blasphemy in the eyes of the Jews (Jn. 5:18). But Jesus did not back down. He claimed the Father’s works as his own, including raising the dead—a boast he would prove by raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11), an act that not only created greater opposition from his religious antagonists but was also a preview of his own resurrection.

To honor Jesus is to honor the Father (Jn. 5:23). In fact, we too can know God as our Father if we honor Jesus—that is, if we believe on him (Jn. 1:12; 14:9). We pass from judgment to life because Jesus took our judgment on the cross (Jn. 5:22–24; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21). Our adoption is secured by Jesus’ propitiating (turning away, satisfying) God’s wrath.

According to Jesus, the only way we can derive life from the Scriptures is to see Jesus in the Scriptures, for all the Scriptures bear witness to him (Jn. 5:30–47; cf. Lk. 24:27, 44–47). The entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, is ultimately about Jesus. Throughout Scripture God is unfolding the grace that culminates in Christ (Jn. 5:39–40). The Bible is therefore not fundamentally about what we do for God but what God does for us.

The Jews, tragically, preferred receiving glory from one another rather than seeking the glory of God (Jn. 5:44). No sin or idolatry is more insidious and destructive than living for the approval of people (Prov. 29:25). In the gospel of grace, we are liberated from the need to be approved by people because in Jesus we have been approved by the only One whose approval matters and the only One whose approval satisfies.


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

July 28, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:28 am | 0 Comments »