I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught. Avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and, by smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (Romans 16.17-20)
“Behold the Lamb of God.” The force of this call was deeply significant, when viewed in the light of its setting. The Pharisees were looking for a prophet, and they desired a king who should deliver them from the Roman yoke. But, they had no yearnings for a Savior-Priest. The questions asked of John betrayed the hearts of those who put them. They appeared to be in doubt as to whether or not the Baptist was the long-promised Messiah, so they asked him, “Art thou Elijah? Art thou that prophet?” But, be it noted, no enquiry was made as to whether he was the one who should deliver them “from the present wrath to come.” One would have naturally expected these priests and Levites to have asked about the sacrifice, but no. Apparently, they had no sense of sin. It was under these circumstances that the forerunner of Christ announced Him as “the Lamb of God,” not as “the Word of God,” not as “the Christ of God,” but as “the Lamb.” It was the Spirit of God presenting the Lord Jesus to Israel in the very office and character in which they stood in deepest need of Him. They would have welcomed Him on the throne, but they must first accept Him on the altar. And, is it any different today? Christ as an Elijah – a social reformer – will be tolerated. And Christ as a prophet, as a teacher of ethics, will receive respect. But, what the world needs, first and foremost, is the Christ of the cross, where the Lamb of God offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin.
From: Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One by Arthur W. Pink; reprint; “Ministry Resources Library” series (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1975), p. 58. Comment on John 1.29. Pink’s exposition of the Gospel of John was originally published in his monthly magazine, Studies in the Scriptures, from 1922 to 1927.
Soon after his return, he applied to the Presbytery of St. Andrews to be admitted to his examination preparatory to his obtaining a license as a preacher of the gospel. Some difficulties were raised against its being received. He had not completed his nineteenth year, whereas presbyteries were not wont to take students under probationary trials till they had attained the age of twenty-one. It happily occurred that one of his friends in the presbytery fell upon the old statute of the church, which ordains “that none be admitted to the ministry before they be twenty-five years of age, except such as, for rare and singular qualities, shall be judged by the General and Provisional Assembly to be meet and worthy thereof.” Under cover of the last clause of this statute and translating its more dignified phraseology into terms of commoner use, his friend pleaded for Mr. Chalmers’s reception as “a lad o’ pregnant pairts.” The plea was admitted and, after the usual formalities, he was licensed as a preacher of the gospel on [Wednesday,] July 31, 1799. It was one of the tales of his earlier life which he was in the habit, in later years, of playfully repeating, that such a title had been so early given to him and such a dispensation as to age had been granted.
From: Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Chalmers, D.D., LL.D by William Hanna; 4 volumes (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1850-1852), 1:43-44. Hanna was Chalmers’s son-in-law.
It is, then, in the activity of the economic Trinity, alone, that we may learn something of the activity of the ontological Trinity, for we believe that the pattern of co-activity between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the economic Trinity is, through the communion of the Spirit, a real reflection of the pattern of the co-activity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the ontological Trinity. It is, indeed, more than a reflection of it, for it is grounded in it, is altogether inseparable from it, and actually flows from it. While not everything that took place in the historical economy can be read back into eternity, the intrinsic oneness between the co-activity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the economic Trinity and their co-activity in the ontological Trinity are, soteriologically and epistemologically, absolutely essential.
We cannot say, precisely, what the Father does and what the Spirit does in distinction from what Christ has done and continues to do for us. Nevertheless, we cannot but say that both the Father and the Spirit participated in ways appropriate to their distinctive natures and properties in the birth of Jesus, in His servant ministry as Son of Man, in His atoning sacrifice on the cross for sin, in His triumphant resurrection, in His ascension to the Father, in His heavenly intercession for us, and His rule over all things at God’s right hand. And so, we cannot but hold that the Father and the Spirit continue to participate in the saving work of God’s love and will participate, with Christ, in the consummation of all things at the final judgment and resurrection. We can also say, in the light of the incarnation that, as the Word made flesh, the Word, by whom all things were made that were made, Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose for His creation, that it is in Jesus Christ Himself that all things in heaven and earth are reconciled, and that the whole created universe consists in Him as its head.
From: The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being, Three Persons by Thomas F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996), pp. 198-199.
If you say, “Merry Christmas!,” in a crowd of strangers, there’s always the chance that some busybody with a worldview more delicate than a Faberge egg might decree that you’ve oppressed them by making a declaration associated with Christianity. Look, if you’re belief in a different religion, or lack of belief, is so delicate that it can’t withstand a greeting marking a holiday you don’t celebrate, then I think life is too hard for you. Stay in bed…Life is tough. Wear a cup. – Jim Geraghty, a writer associated with National Review magazine, in a recent “Morning Jolt” internet column.
What he said…
The perverseness of ingratitude and faithlessness is nowhere more strikingly illustrated than in the history of the Israelites in the wilderness. The goodness of God, who had raised up a great leader for them and had brought them safely out of the misery and bondage of Egypt, never failed them. Yet, over and over again, they rebelled against Him and behaved as though He were their enemy instead of their deliverer. In the quotation from Psalm 95, reference is made to one disgraceful instance of their hard-hearted perversity, namely, the “rebellion” which took place “on the day of testing.” The allusion is to the occasion, described in Exodus 17.1ff., when the people grumbled against God and were close to insurrection at Rephidim because they were without water. Their need was supplied by the water which gushed forth after Moses had struck the rock with his rod. But he called the place “Massah,” which means “testing,” and “Meribah,” which means “embitterment” or the rebelliousness which results from it, “because they put the Lord to the test by saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’” Some commentators (for example, Delitzsch, Westcott) see, here, a reference not only to this one incident, but also to the similar event described in Numbers 20.1ff. But, even allowing for the closeness of the similarity, the psalmist’s terminology points to the earlier rather than the later occasion which, however, recalled “the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel contended with the Lord” (Numbers 20.13). A comparable but more general complaint is made in another psalm, where we read: “How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! They tested Him again and again, and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not keep in mind His power” (Psalm 78.40ff.). The single shameful incident recollected in the passage cited by our author was characteristic, indeed symptomatic, of their whole attitude of deep-rooted rebellion and unbelief.
From: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews by Philip Edgcumbe Hughes (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977), p. 142. Comment on Hebrews 3.7-11.
Philip Edgcumbe Hughes (1915-1990) was a well-known New Testament scholar and commentator.
Do not leave your Bible, as some do, at church, and hear nothing of it all week long. Bring it home and let it dwell with you. Do not let the Word be as a wayfaring man that tarries with you for a night, and is gone. Let it be an inhabitant, one that accompanies you to bed and board and with whom you converse continually as your familiar and intimate friend. Have you not found the Bible to be so bountiful a guest, to pay you so liberally for its board, that you always give it a hearty welcome and would not part with it for the whole world? – George Swinnock (1627-1673)