“21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,26so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
27Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”
Paul, while in prison for preaching Christ crucified, wrote this for the Church in Philippi, “For to me, to live is Christ.” Then in v.22 explains what that means, “if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me;” His life was for the glory of God. He was living, and working to produce fruit. We know this to mean increasing the Kingdom of God by means of the gospel of Christ, the preaching of the word of God, and the teaching of the word of God. Paul had reason to want to depart this life. He says, “I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;” Consider from 2 Corinthians 11 how he was suffering for the gospel, and how even now he is imprisoned for it. “…in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches…” This was from Paul after being criticized over his Apostleship by the Jewish believers who were welcoming false apostles, but were opposed to Paul due in part to his lack of eloquence. Paul had suffered for his Lord. Jesus was His master, and he loved Him. For him to stay and work was fine, but you can truly understand why he would also want to be with his merciful God. Paul instructs the Church in Philippi to, “…conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…” in v. 25 and explains why in v. 26, “so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with on mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for the, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God…” As the Church today, we should also follow Paul’s instructions to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. In our testimony to the lost, as we live it out, If it be God’s will, they will also see that we have been, “granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,” If we suffer for Christ’s sake we will share in the suffering of our brother Paul as well as our Lord Christ Jesus, and all martyrs, to this age and beyond until the return of Christ. Maranatha!
you been waking up still exhausted, and forcing yourself forward
through the drudgery of your morning, and work day? Do you feel
despair, hopelessness, and futility? Have you ever thought to
yourself, while at the brink of tears, “I can’t do this anymore.
I can’t keep going to that place, it is killing me a bit each time
I go.” Are the only things that keep you going, the thoughts of
your obligations to your family, some moral code you learned as a
kid, or a, “someday I’ll retire.” Kind of attitude? You’re
not alone. All of us have been there, are there, or will be there in
the future. It is not uncommon to mankind for us to feel this way,
and have these thoughts. I’m not making excuses for them, just
explaining that it happens.
don’t like to hear it, but the reason we feel this way, and have
these thoughts is that we are responding sinfully to God’s
righteous judgment, and punishment of original sin. God told Adam
what his punishment would be in Genesis 3:17-19,
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of
your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you,
shall not eat from it’;
is the ground because of you;
toil you will eat of it
the days of your life.
“Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
will eat bread,
you return to the ground,
from it you were taken;
you are dust,
to dust you shall return.”
punishment that God righteously, and justly applied to Adam, also
applied to all his progeny. All mankind is under a curse due to sin,
but there is hope in the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the
transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of
God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to
the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who
sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression
resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose
from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the
transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more
those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of
righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to
all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted
justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s
disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the
obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came
in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased,
grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death,
even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
must be in Christ for this to apply. Simply put, we must be born
again, repent of our sins, and trust in Christ’s work on the cross
to justify us with God. When we have done that, we will have the
righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and we are in Christ. Jesus
told Nicodemus what it meant to be born again in John chapter 3,
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the
Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we
know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do
these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered
and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born
again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He
cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can
he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is
born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of
the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You
must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear
the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is
going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus
answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not
understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of
what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept
our testimony. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not
believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No
one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the
Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even
so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will
in Him have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world,
but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in
Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of
God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world,
and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds
were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does
not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But
he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may
be manifested as having been wrought in God.””
the Apostle explains what it looks like to be born again in 1 Peter
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia,
Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the
foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the
Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May
grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according
to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain
an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade
away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of
God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last
time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little
while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so
that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is
perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in
praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and
though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see
Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy
inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your
faith the salvation of your souls.
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that
would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to
know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was
indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories
to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving
themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to
you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit
sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix
your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the
revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be
conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15
but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all
your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to
each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your
stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable
things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited
from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb
unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was
foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in
these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers
in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your
faith and hope are in God.
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a
sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the
heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is
perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring
word of God. 24 For,
FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”
this is the word which was preached to you.”
to sin, we will survive by toiling, and in that toil is inherent
suffering. Daily survival for mankind, whether you are in a
technologically advanced society, or one where finding clean water is
a daily challenge, will not be easy, pleasant, or comfortable all of
the time. If it isn’t the physical struggles to survive against an
untamed environment, the elements, and wildlife, it is the often mind
crushing struggle against the busy, disconnected, overthought, modern
lifestyle. We have subdued parts of the Earth, and brought things
that make modern life easier physically. We have sewer systems,
agriculture, housing with heating and cooling, clean water, schools,
hospitals, light by night, and so on. These advances make life
easier physically, but our physical struggles are replaced with new
ones. It is impossible to escape the curse of the fall, but we are
commanded to strive against human suffering, and the challenges of
is easy for us, looking back, to see Adam’s sin, but do we see our
own? Can we see how our pride in possessions has caused us to
forsake God for idols? Can we see how our family can become an idol?
Can we see how our intellectual musings can be idolatrous? In our
hubris, and pride at what we have done in conquering the Earth, we
miss that we have left God behind, and become the gods of our own
small castles of sin and rebellion.
can be done? How can we be content in this life? There is hope for
our sinful responses to God’s justice. That hope is in Christ. If
we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, repented of our sins,
and trusted in the perfect atoning work of Christ, we will no longer
be subjects of the flesh, and the sin that is in it. We will become
servants, slaves of Jesus. He has given us the power to subject the
flesh to righteousness, for the glory of God.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the
things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set
your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When
Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed
with Him in glory.
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts
to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of
God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also
once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put
them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech
from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside
the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self
who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of
the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no
distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a
heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13
bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a
complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also
should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the
perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your
hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom
teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19
Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20
Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is
well-pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your
children, so that they will not lose heart.
Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not
with external service, as those who merely please men, but with
sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your
work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that
from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is
the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive
the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were
all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were
baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the
same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for
they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the
rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not
well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not
crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some
of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND
DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some
of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us
try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the
serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by
the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example,
and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the
ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed
that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as
is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be
tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will
provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men;
you judge what I say. 16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a
sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a
sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one bread, we who
are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Look
at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in
the altar? 19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols
is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I say that the
things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not
to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21 You
cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot
partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Or do we
provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?
All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things
are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own
good, but that of his neighbor. 25 Eat anything that is sold in the
meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; 26 FOR
THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS. 27 If one of the
unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set
before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. 28 But if
anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not
eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’
sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for
why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I partake
with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the
glory of God. 32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to
the church of God; 33 just as I also please all men in all things,
not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they
may be saved.”
only know work to be toil, but one day in eternity with Christ our
labor will be joyful. We will do His will only, and not sin. Sinful
temptations will be gone. Groaning under the curse of toil will be
over. For those who are in Christ, we will be with Christ forever.
What we do here, we must do to our best ability, and with the motive
of bringing glory to God, the one who made us, and who saves us. We
must labor for our own sustenance, and provide for our neighbors
deficiency. Not because government mandates it. That would be
unjust, but rather out of the new heart. With this in mind let us
subject the unredeemed fleshly complaints, to what we know about God,
and our hope in eternity with Christ. Let us live as though we are
already there, loving, forgiving, and working, all for the glory of
Psalms 103:1-2 (NASB Strong’s) Praise for the Lord’s Mercies. A Psalm of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul,And forget none of His benefits;
As David exhorts his soul to bless the Lord, we have to ask ourselves what it means to bless God. When we think of blessing a person often ideas of gifts or deeds to benefit them come to mind. What can one give to God, the Creator of all things, who knows all things perfectly? The error with that notion is that God is a man to be blessed as a man, but He is not as we all know. To bless the Lord means to speak well of Him. To extol His attributes. We can see in the following verses that is exactly what David does. He also exhorts the angels and all of creation to do so as well.
In verses 3-5 the psalmist asks five rhetorical questions to motivate the hearer (his soul) to recognize the Lord God. The answer to all five questions is obviously God.
Psalms 103:3-5 (NASB Strong’s) Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
God pardons his iniquities. God heals his diseases. God redeems his live from the pit. God crowns him with lovingkindness and compassion. God satisfies his years with good things so that his youth is renewed like the eagle.
In verses 6-19 we see the psalmist bless the Lord. He lists ways God is in His attributes, and how He is towards man, His creation in light of those attributes. You see when God blesses us, it is for our benefit. He doesn’t speak well of us to bless us. He involves us in relation to Him.
Psalms 103:6-19 (NASB Strong’s) The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
The closing verses not only exhorts the angels to bless God, but also all of creation, and is a restatement for conclusion of the exhortation at the beginning.
Psalms 103:20-22 (NASB Strong’s) Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul!
We should likewise bless the Lord from the depths of who we are in Him. Let us speak well of God in reverential awe of who He is, what He has done, and what He continues to do in space-time, and eternity.
This section is about how the materials of the tabernacle were typological representations of Christ.
Historically, we may admire the fruit of God’s grace working in the hearts of His redeemed so that they willingly offered the required materials. Their offering was so spontaneous and full (see 35:21-29) that we are told, “And they spake unto Moses, saying, the people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary, so the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much” (36:5-7). But behind the historical we are to look for the spiritual, and behold here a lovely type of the voluntariness and joy of the Lord Jesus, who freely and gladly became flesh, thus providing God with a perfect Sanctuary as He tabernacled among men! “And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver and brass; and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen; and goats, and rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers skins; and shittim wood; oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate” (v. 3-7). Each of these articles tells forth one of the manifold perfections of Christ. The gold, His Divine glory. The silver, the redemption which He wrought and bought for us. The brass, His capacity to endure the wrath of God against our sins. The blue, His heavenly origin. The purple, His royal majesty. The scarlet, His earthly glory in a coming day. The fine linen, His holiness made manifest by His righteous walk and ways. The goats’ hair, His atonement. The rams’ skins, His devotedness to God. The porpoise skins, His ability to protect His people. The shittim wood, His incorruptible humanity. The oil for the light, His Divine wisdom. The spices, His fragrance unto God. The precious stones, His priestly perfections. We do not now offer proofs for these definitions nor enlarge upon their blessedness, as, God willing, each one will come before us for fuller consideration in the articles to follow. With the above verses should be compared Exodus 38:24-31, where the Holy Spirit has given us the respective weights of the gold, silver and brass. Careful students have estimated there would be fully a ton and a quarter of gold, which at modern value would be worth upwards of one hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds, or eight hundred and sixty thousand dollars, but allowing for present day purchasing values, worth much more. Of silver there would be fully four tons and a quarter, and worth forty thousand pounds or two hundred thousand dollars. Of brass (more likely, copper) there was also over four tons. In addition, there were the textile fabrics, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen, besides goats’ hair, rams’ and badgers’ skins, and large quantities of shittim wood, the amounts of which are not recorded. Last, but not least, were the precious stones for the breastplate of the high priest. All of this indicates the great costliness of the Tabernacle. At modern values its materials would be worth at least a million pounds or five million dollars. How this, in type, told of God’s estimate of Christ; how it shows us the Father saying, This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!
We tend to compare human volition with that of God’s. I believe this is what causes so much confusion when it comes to understanding sovereign election, and man’s culpability. We hear comments like, “If God decides who gets saved, and who doesn’t, then it doesn’t matter what I do. We are just a bunch of mindless robots.” Now we know that we are not mindless robots, and our choices have consequences. We also know from scripture that God says we are culpable for our sins. We also should know, that we as finite, cursed, creatures, can’t know perfectly the attributes of God. We can only know them as much as we are made able to know them. That isn’t to say that our knowledge is insufficient for our spiritual needs, it is simply something we must acknowledge before moving on.
I’m not going to go into great detail in this article, as I do think the subject needs deeper, and more thorough treatment. I plan on writing a larger paper, or book on the topic later. I’m only going to use a few attributes in this example. Also, please keep in mind that even though there are attributes that were communicated to us in our creation by God, making us in His image, those attributes cannot be directly compared to them as found in God, as He is incomparable, having no analogous being.
God’s will is informed by His sovereignty, omniscience, and beneficence, to only name a few of His attributes. How do you think those qualities affect His determining compared to the enslaved, ignorant, malevolently informed wills of human beings? You see, the will of man cannot be rightly compared to that of God’s. In eternity past, when God created everything out of nothing, and determined all things, He did so with perfect rights, as owner/Creator. He did so with perfect knowledge of everything in all times and places, and even of all things not constrained by space-time. Finally, He did so with perfect goodness, love, and justice, these all being informed by all of His other perfections/attributes.
When man makes a decision it is informed by his enslaved nature. He is a slave to sin unless he has been born again. Then he is a slave to Christ Jesus. Those two facts make an eternity of differences. His will is also informed by his ignorance. Man can only consider what he reasons that he knows, when making a decision. If we consider this honestly, we would admit that compared to God’s omniscience our knowledge is incomparable. They belong in different categories. Our wills cannot operate independently apart from our sinful flesh, even when we are born again, due to our residence in the unredeemed flesh.
Since these two wills operate in different conditions, one being eternal/timeless, and the other being confined to finite, unfolding time, and space, the experience of these wills is very different. I can experience the situation that requires a response, the reasoning through the known options, make a decision, and experience the consequences of my decision as they unfold in my temporal, material, experience of life as a creature. This doesn’t in any way negate the reality of God’s volition in eternity past. I, as a result of God’s will in eternity past experience my life as He has determined it.
I know this seems impossible to people. We are stuck many times trying to compare things that are not in the same categories. By looking briefly at how different the two wills are, we should be able to accept that there is an aspect of ignorance in our reasoning due to our nature as creatures, that can’t justify fully how we can have a personal volition, and that God can determine all things, without there being a conflict. Our experiences as creatures are real. We are culpable for our sins. We do make choices in the construct in which we reside. Outside of that small, finite, dark, construct exists the full, luminescent, glorious truth of God. He is sovereign, omniscient, and good. We can trust those attributes as we experience the temporal, and eternal consummation of His will.
Romans 9:6-33 (NASB Strong’s) But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “ through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “AT this time I will come, and Sarah shall have A son.” And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate MY power in you, and that MY name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea,
“I will call those who were not MY people, ‘MY people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
“And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not MY people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” And just as Isaiah foretold,
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us A posterity,
WE would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written,
“Behold, I lay in Zion A stone of stumbling and A rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
I am giving away a hardcover edition of this Bible.
The Systematic Theology Study Bible from Crossway, is a different kind of Study Bible. It isn’t really accurate to call it a reference Bible, or a Study Bible. It is technically a study Bible in the sense that it has study aids in it, but it looks more like a reference Bible with a systematic theology book blended in with it.
For my conservative paedobaptist friends, you’ll notice the notes seem to be in favor of credobaptism. For my friends who don’t believe in God’s sovereign election, you’ll notice the notes don’t agree with you.
Some people would like it if a broad range of theologians worked on this Bible, but they didn’t 🙂 It was mostly Reformed Baptists, and conservative Presbyterians, from what I gathered reading the list of men involved with writing the theology articles.
J. I. Packer
The systematic theology seems to lean towards a general Reformed position, which is good, because… well, I think it is the right position lol. 🙂 I think any person who affirms the reformed position on soteriology will be appreciative of this Bible and the articles in it. It is broad in appeal to people who are reformed. It might not get all of your more nuanced secondary, or tertiary doctrines just the way you want them, but we will all be in accord over the treatment of the primary ones. I can definitely see the Reformed Baptist position reflected in the work.
There is basically a mini systematic theology book in the back of the Bible along with some other very useful features. Here is a list of features you’ll find;
“Double-column, paragraph format
Topical index of sidebars
400+ doctrinal summaries explaining core doctrines and connecting them to specific Bible passages
25+ longer articles on key theological topics
Lifetime guarantee on leather and TruTone editions
Packaging: J-Card (Hardcover); Box (Genuine Leather and TruTone)”
When we look at most study Bibles they either are one man’s theology, like the Ryrie, Scofield, and MacArthur, or they are a compilation of a wide range of theologies like the massive ESV, NIV, Thomas Nelson NKJV study Bibles. The last three are humongous study Bibles with a little bit of everything. The Systematic Theology Study Bible is a neat hybrid. It isn’t one man’s theology, or a broad, neither here nor there conglomeration of positions. (Excluding the ESV which does a great job.) It is from the reformed position. The theology is systematic, which means that it is harmonized. Verses are not put against verses. They are all contextually harmonious.
You’ll find book introductions and outlines before each book. You’ll also notice that the Bible looks a lot like a Cross Reference Bible. It seems to me that Crossway integrated their systematic theology features into the Bible very well. The articles are relevant to the scriptures they appear with, and are indexed in the back along with several theological articles.
This Crossway Bible was packaged well and delivered in a cardboard box. The Bible was in a two piece retail box. You should always keep the retail boxes for storing your Bibles in if you are swapping it out with another one to read for a while. The cover is black genuine leather with a perimeter groove.
The spine is decorated with the ESV logo at the top, then, “Systematic Theology Study Bible.” English Standard Version at the bottom, with Crossway’s logo hot stamped in gold colored foil.
The page edges are also gold gilt. There are yellow and black, head and tail bands, and one black ribbon marker.
The cover is joined to the text block via case binding. The spine is sewn for superior flexibility, and durability.
In the front of the Bible there is a presentation page, and some family records pages.
If you look at the copyright page, you’ll be pleased to see this edition was printed and bound in the United States.
The book introductions are well done. I found them to be informative, and concise, but not to a fault.
Cross references and footnotes, along with the systematic theology articles are found at the bottom of the page to save space. The text is laid out in a double column, paragraph format.
The main font is an easy to read 9 pt. Lexicon, and the features are an 8 pt. Gotham, printed crisply on 30 g.s.m. Apple Thin Opaque paper. The paper is smooth, and offers a decent contrast, and due to its color reduces eyestrain.
If you don’t already own one of these, you should get one. It is a times saver if you are intending to read a systematic theology book. You can kill two birds with one stone. It is available from Crossway, Amazon, or Christianbook for a very fair price.
Since you stuck around for the entire review, if you comment on this review, and ask to be in the running for the hardback copy of this Bible I will select a winner out of those who commented. Be sure to check back so I can get your mailing address. I will only mail this to an address in the U.S.