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Christ in All of Scripture – Ephesians 2:4-7

 

 

Ephesians 2:4-7

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”


The heart of the gospel pumps bright red in the first two words of verse 4. In verses 1–3 we see that mankind was dead, disobedient, demonic, and destined for destruction. We were prodigals, scoundrels, vile, impure, unholy, treacherous, lecherous, self-absorbed, self-exalting, out-and-out rebels. That’s the bad news. And then this good news: “But God!” We were dead, but God made us alive in Christ. We were not strugglers in need of a helping hand or sinking swimmers in need of a raft; we were stone-cold dead—spiritually lifeless, without a religious pulse, without anything to please God. But he loves the loveless, gives life to the lifeless, and is merciful to those deserving no mercy.


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.

 

March 10, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Biblical Studies,ESV,Gospel Transformation Bible,GTB,Life & Doctrine,New Testament,The Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Bible Q&A – Why Are There Two Testaments in the Bible?

In this series, Dr. Dane Ortlund, Senior Vice President for Bible Publishing at Crossway, answers readers’ questions about the Bible. If you have a question for Dane, simply leave it as a comment at the bottom of this post.


Q: Why are there two testaments in the Bible?

“. . . on whom the end of the ages has come.” – 1 Corinthians 10:11

Why are there two Testaments in the Bible? In short: Because the end of history took place in the middle of history, dividing all of human time into two basic eras. The structure of the Bible reflects this reality. The Old Testament is the book about the first era. The New Testament is the book about the second era.

Understanding Where We Are in the Story

We tend to think about human history like a long novel with a beginning and an end. God started it all, and one day he’ll end it all. And at some point along the way Jesus showed up and told people how to be sure they were on the right side on that final day.

That’s true enough, so far as it goes. But consider what the New Testament actually says about where we are in human history.

Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled” (Mark 1:15). Paul said that we are those “on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Peter said that the Messiah has now been “made manifest in the last times” (1 Peter 1:20). John said “it is the last hour” (1 John 2:8, 18). What in the world does all this mean?

It means the new age that the Old Testament prophets spoke of, and which every human heart longs for, has arrived.

It means that salvation through the gospel answers not only a what question (you are now forgiven) and a who question (you are now a child of God) but also a when question (you are now living in the new creation).

Old Testament Fulfillments

Sound audacious? Look at it this way. What were the major things the Old Testament people of God were longing for? What did they envision “the end” looking like?

From the perspective of the Old Testament, a cluster of world-shaking events would take place in the final days:

  • Messiah would come
  • God’s enemies would be defeated
  • the Fall in Eden would be undone
  • sin would be judged
  • the nations would stream to Jerusalem
  • the dead would be raised
  • God’s people would be vindicated over their enemies
  • God’s latter-day kingdom would be ushered in

From the vantage point of the New Testament, every one of these expectations has been fulfilled.

  • Messiah has come (Romans 1:3–4).
  • God’s enemies were decisively “triumphed over”—not on a battlefield, but on a cross
    (Colossians 2:13–14).
  • A second Adam has succeeded where the first Adam failed—in being tempted by Satan, for example (Luke 3:38–4:13). Or consider that the second Adam’s exorcisms (driving demons out of people) were a middle-of-time accomplishing of what Adam failed to do (driving Satan out of Eden).
  • Sin was judged once and for all, at the cross. The cross was the end-time judgment on sin, all funneled down onto one man (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).
  • The Gentiles are now flooding in as never before (Romans 15:8–27).
  • In Christ, the dead have been raised. Paul says believers have been “raised with Christ”
    (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1; cf. Romans 6:4).
  • God’s people have been vindicated in their justification (Romans 5:1). The declaration of “innocent” anticipated at the end of time has been announced in the present based on a middle-of-history event.
  • And finally, as Jesus himself said, the kingdom is here (Mark 1:15; cf. Acts 20:25; 28:31; Romans 14:17). We are now in the last days (Hebrews 1:2).

Objection!

Objection: Then why is my life filled with so much pain and despair and sorrow and darkness? I certainly don’t feel, you might say, swept up in this glorious new age.

Answer: Because the old age has continued steamrolling right alongside the new.

The reason that most days we roll out of bed and do not feel like we’re living in the new age is that we’re not only living in the new age but also in the old one. Christians today live in the overlap of the ages.  Our fundamental identity now resides in the new age—this is who we now are. It’s what defines us. But sin and weakness and sadness clings.

The End Is Here

All this is why there are two Testaments. The Old Testament is the story of the creation of the world, the inbreaking of sin and evil and darkness, and the beginning of God’s plan to get us back to Eden again. The New Testament tells us that plan has been decisively put into action, through a baby in a manger.

This child would grow up and eventually be rejected and killed. But he went through death and out the other side, being given a body that ate fish (John 21:9–12) and could be touched
(John 20:27), but which could walk through walls (John 20:26) and was often unrecognizable (John 20:14).

And when believers look at that resurrected Christ, we see our future.  Jesus as resurrected is the “firstfruits,” the first instance of the kind of human all believers will one day be
(1 Corinthians 15:20–23). In him, the future has dawned in the present. And when sinners are united to him, we begin to experience that future now. That’s the message of the New Testament.

The fundamental question, the question beneath every other question, the one that defines your existence above all else, is: What age do you belong to?


Dane C. Ortlund (PhD, Wheaton College) is Senior Vice President for Bible Publishing at Crossway. He is the author of several books, including Edwards on the Christian Life: Alive to the Beauty of God (August 2014), and serves as an editor for the Knowing the Bible study series. He lives with his wife, Stacey, and their four kids in Wheaton.

Do you have a question about the Bible? Leave it as a comment and we’ll try to answer it in a future post!

 

Christ in All of Scripture – 1 Kings 3:5-14

 

 

1 Kings 3:5-14

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”


Without a doubt, this is one of the most remarkable passages in all of the Old Testament. The tale of Aladdin’s lamp pales in comparison! Here, the true and living God, the Creator of heaven and earth, stoops down and offers Solomon anything that his heart might have desired.

Solomon’s request for wisdom was certainly admirable, but it is even more important to note that he understood that the wisdom he needed to navigate life was from God. Apart from God’s provision, a blessed life would be unknowable —a point consistently reiterated in the wisdom literature of both the Old and New Testaments (cf. Prov. 2:6; James 1:5). Solomon’s request for wisdom embodied the important kingdom ethic that Jesus would later set before his disciples: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). And so it was. Solomon’s request was kingdom-centered, and God added to it (1 Kings 3:13–14).

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this account is Solomon’s description of what motivated his request for wisdom: the “steadfast love” of the Lord (twice in1 Kings 3:6). Solomon’s humble request for wisdom was grounded in the reality that he had already received the greatest treasure in life—the steadfast love of his covenant Lord. Those who seek first the kingdom of God are those who first realize that they have been made members of that kingdom by God’s grace. The same steadfast love of the Lord that Solomon experienced some three thousand years ago has been made ours, all through the work of the human embodiment of this steadfast love: Jesus Christ.


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.

 

March 3, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Biblical Studies,ESV,Gospel Transformation Bible,GTB,Life & Doctrine,Old Testament,The Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:30 am | 1 Comment »

New ESV Devotional Bible for Teens

ESV Header

Looking for ways to encourage a teen in your life to study and apply the Bible for themselves?

The God Girl Bible and God Guy Bible, now available in the ESV translation, are devotional Bibles geared especially for teens (or some preteens). Hayley and Michael DiMarco, authors of several bestselling books for young men and women, have packed these Bibles with great devotionals and book introductions alongside the Bible text. Both editions also include special prayers, a subject index, reading plans, a glossary of key words, and character profiles of men and women in the Bible.

The content and study materials are beautifully designed and will be attractive to a younger audience; but most importantly, they teach that the Bible is the foundation for all of life, encouraging a love for God’s Word and a desire to know him better.

The God Girl Bible and God Guy Bible are both available in a hardcover or TrueTone option:

God Girl - Flat - TT Purple

God Girl.HC.34676

God Guy - Flat - TT Brown.535697

GodGuy.HC.534713

 


Watch the ESV God Guy Bible video.

Download a PDF sampler of the interior:

ESV God Girl Bible
ESV God Guy Bible

 

February 27, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,Editions,ESV,ESVBible.org,News & Announcements,The Bible,Video | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – Psalm 1

 

 

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.


This psalm could be seen as introducing key concerns of the whole Bible, since it describes the two fundamental classes of mankind—sinners and righteous. It also addresses concepts ultimately revealed in the perfectly blessed man, Jesus Christ, who stands at the crossroads of two ways (Ps.1:1; Matt. 7:13). He is anticipated in the first word of this psalm because “blessing” in Scripture references the redemptive presence of God. That presence was perfectly realized when Mary was called “blessed . . . among women,” because Jesus, “God with us,” had finally been conceived in her (Luke 1:42).

The “righteous” man is blessed when he consciously lives in the presence of the Word, which we, on this side of the cross, know would become flesh and would cause his “law” to be written on our hearts for our instruction (Ps. 1:2; John 20:31; 1 Cor. 10:11). Thus the believer’s life is blessed by the presence and care of Christ, bearing eternally significant fruit by being grafted into the “tree of life” (Ps. 1:3; Rev. 2:7; 22:2).

On the other hand, those who follow the broad way that “leads to destruction” become hollow persons whose lives count for nothing beyond the grave, and who perish at the judgment day (Ps. 1:5; Matt. 25:41–46). But even in the Old Testament context of this psalm, what separates the righteous from the wicked is not ultimately good works but the grace of the Lord, who “knows” the righteous (Ps. 1:6; Matt. 7:23).


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.

 

February 24, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Biblical Studies,ESV,Gospel Transformation Bible,GTB,Life & Doctrine,Old Testament,The Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »