Have you read Psalm 103 lately?

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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.

Here is an excerpt from A.W. Pink’s commentary on Exodus.

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!

Incomparable Categories.

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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.”

The Systematic Theology Study Bible from Crossway, in E.S.V. Black Genuine Leather, and the Hardcover Edition.

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I am giving away a hardcover edition of this Bible.

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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.

Contributors:

  • Gregg Allison
  • Bruce Ashford
  • Gerald Bray
  • Bryan Chapell
  • Graham Cole
  • David Dockery
  • John Frame
  • Michael Horton
  • Kelly Kapic
  • Michael Kruger
  • Robert Letham
  • Donald Macleod
  • Chris Morgan
  • Stephen Nichols
  • J. I. Packer
  • Michael Reeves
  • Fred Sanders
  • Sam Storms
  • Scott Swain
  • Stephen Wellum
  • David Wells

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

  • Footnotes
  • Book intros
  • Topical index of sidebars
  • Cross-references
  • 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
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • 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.

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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.
DSCN6639 The cover is black genuine leather with a perimeter groove.  DSCN6641

DSCN6644 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.  DSCN6642

The page edges are also gold gilt.  There are yellow and black, head and tail bands, and one black ribbon marker.
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The cover is joined to the text block via case binding.  The spine is sewn for superior flexibility, and durability.

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In the front of the Bible there is a presentation page, and some family records pages.
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If you look at the copyright page, you’ll be pleased to see this edition was printed and bound in the United States.

DSCN6655 The book introductions are well done. I found them to be informative, and concise, but not to a fault. DSCN6662

DSCN6663 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. DSCN6664

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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.

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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.
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ISBN-13: 9781433553394

A Short Article on Christology.

 

  1. The Son always was.  His being never, not existed as the eternal Son, the second personage of the one triune God. The Son is not a created being.  He did not come into existence.  He has always been. (Eternality of the Son)
  2. Everything that exists, exists because it was brought into existence by the preincarnate Christ Jesus.  He was not diminished by creating.  He created everything out of nothing. (Ex nihilo)
  3. The Son needs nothing that He doesn’t already poses in the Godhead.  His being is not predicated on any other external sources, or origins. (Aseity of God)
  4. The incarnation was the joining of the nature of God with the nature of man, except the fallen nature that is a slave to sin.  This was accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit, forming a body inside Mary, for Christ Jesus.  The two natures were perfectly joined without mingling their essences in what is called by theologians the, “hypostatic union.”  This was necessary for Christ to be our stand in, substitute for the punishment of sin, and so that it could be accomplished.  A mere man would have died after tasting the slightest moment of the wrath of God, which he so justly deserves.  This is why Jesus had to be God.  Colossians 2:9, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,”  He had to be a man because God is eternal and immutable.  God does not die, nor does He change.  If Christ were solely God, He could not have died for our sins, nor could He have experienced the wrath of God. (Incarnation, Kenosis, Hypostatic Union, Penal Substitutionary Atonement, & Immutablity)
  5. Jesus never sinned.  He obeyed all of God’s will, because He is God.  He was, and is righteous. (Righteousness of Christ, God incarnate)
  6. Jesus not only took our place, and punishment, He was punished as if He had committed all of the sins that we are guilty of.
  7. Jesus is our righteousness.  If a person will repent from their sins, and believe in the work of Christ to atone for their sins on the cross, then His righteousness is imputed to them.  They are seen by God to possess the righteousness of the Son. (Imputed Righteousness)
  8. Jesus fulfills the prophecies of scripture in regards to Himself, the Messiah.
  9. The Bible is called the word of God.  In the Old and New Testaments we read that Word of God is also referred to as the second person of the Trinity, the eternal Son, the Christ Jesus. We also read that the Word was made flesh.  Jesus quotes His words from the Old Testament, in His rebukes and arguments, recorded in the New Testament.  All of the Bible is theopneustos, (θεόπνευστος) or God breathed.  It is the mind of Christ that we may know Him, by the illumining of the Spirit, according to the Father’s will.
  10. The Son condescended from the majesty of Heaven, to Earth and a joining of Himself in the man Jesus, at the incarnation.  He demonstrated humility by humbly uniting Himself at the incarnation in the form of man and becoming a servant. (Kenosis)
  11. Jesus, as the God/Man was truly tempted.  He was also assailed by Satan.  Satan through every temptation he could at Jesus to entice Him to sin.  Jesus did not sin.  Under all of that stress, He remained sinless. (Impeccability of Christ)
  12. Christ ultimately died, after He completely paid for all of the sin of those who would be saved.  He experienced death, and was buried. He is man.
  13. Christ was resurrected back to life.  He laid it down voluntarily, and picked it up again by His own power.  He is God.
  14. Christ ascended and was exalted.  He makes intercession for us now with the Father.  He functions as our one and only Priest.  That is why we have no human Priests. He is our one and only Prophet, who gave us the scriptures.  He is our King, who rules us.  We must submit to Him.
  15. Jesus will return to conquer the forces of satan once and for all.  He is a conquering warrior King who returns in glory.

This is just a short articl

The Reformation 500 Conference in Meridian, Idaho.

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I don’t know if you are aware of this, but little ol’ Meridian Idaho had a conference November 3rd, and 4th in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  We were blessed with presentations from Dr. Joel Beeke, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and accomplished Christian author, and Dr. Stephen Myers, Associate Professor of Historical Theology for the PhD program at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.

The Well Church in Boise did a wonderful job of organizing and putting it on.  The Valley Shepard Church of the Nazarene hosted the event in their facility.  I’ve never seen so many Reformed Theology people in one place.  It was very encouraging.  I thought there were only like five of us in the whole state.  From what I understand over 600 people registered for the conference.  It looked to me like most of them showed up.  Here is a picture of Dr. Beeke at the book table.
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Here is the crowd at the book tables.

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I met some folks, made some connections, and had a great time learning.  One of the people I met was Casey Ralls.  He attends the Well Church, and was recording the conference.  He also sent me a link to the Youtube playlist so all of you folks who couldn’t attend, could watch the conference on Youtube.  Isn’t that great?  Here is the link.