Jesus, the Son of God

On August 24, 2010, in Culture, Reformed Theology, Religion, Theology, by marc

I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to read during lunch at work, and I’ve chosen R.C. Sproul’s new commentary on the Gospel of John (part of his St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary series published by Crossway) as the book I’ll be reading.  Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1, which deals with the prologue of the book (verses 1-18), and specifically addresses Jesus’ claim of divinity:

John by RC Sproul

RC Sproul - St. Andrews's Commentary on John

Sometimes Jesus stated his origins very explicitly.  For instance, He said on one occasion, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).  Likewise, in a discussion about the Jewish patriarch Abraham, Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58).  The Jews immediately picked up stones to put him to death because they understood His message–Jesus was equating Himself with God, who had revealed Himself to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex. 3:14).  Again, when He told a paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven, He then healed the man so that, in His words, those who were there would “know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” (Matt. 9:6).  These were not statements of humility.  They were statements by which Jesus openly declared that He had come from heaven. John’s prologue was intended to accomplish much the same goal–before John gave us his record of the earthly visitation of Jesus, he told us where Jesus was from.

Just a reminder that there is no way to claim that Jesus never saw himself as God.  The reality is that Jesus was either who he said he was, or he was a madman.  I believe the former with all my heart.

We Have No Excuse

On April 6, 2010, in Culture, Reformed Theology, Religion, Theology, by marc

RC Sproul, writing in his commentary on Romans:

RC Sproul - RomansObviously, Freud was not on the Sea of Galilee when the storm arose and threatened to capsize the boat in which Jesus and his disciples were sitting. The disciples were afraid. Jesus was asleep, and so they went to him and shook him awake, and they said, “‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:38-39). There was not a zephyr in the air. You would think the disciples’ gratitude would have led them to say, “Thank you, Jesus, for removing the cause of our fear.” Instead, they became very much afraid. Their fears were intensified, and they said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (v. 41). They were dealing with something transcendent.

Paul outlines the dreadful consequences that fall on a race of people who live by refusing to acknowledge what they know to be true about the character of God.  The result is a futile mind, a blackened heart, and a life of radical corruption.  People are exposed to God’s displeasure so that their only hope is the gospel of his dear Son.

What we see in the disciples is xenophobia, fear of the stranger.  The holiness of Christ was made manifest in that boat, and suddenly the disciples’ fear escalated.  This is where Freud mised the point.  If people are going to invent religion to protect them from the fear of nature, why would they invent a god who is more terrifying than nature itself?  Why would they invent a holy god?  Fallen creatures, when they make idols, do not make holy idols.  We prefer the unholy, the profane, the secular – a god we can control.

Here in Romans the apostle brings us to the place where we have no excuse, where ignorance cannot be claimed, because God has so manifested himself to every creature that every last one of us knows that God exists and that he deserves our honor and thanks and is not to be traded in or swapped for the creature.

Bible Reading – Why We Fail

On March 26, 2010, in Culture, Religion, Theology, by marc

We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy. — R.C. Sproul

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The New Year’s Update

On January 11, 2010, in Culture, General, History, Politics, Religion, Theology, by marc

So of late, I’ve been noodling around with a bunch of different books, as usual.  My primary concentration has been on Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, which was one of my Christmas gifts, and has been a great read so far.  I’d say I’m just over 1/3 of the way in, and North Korea is as utterly screwed up as I’d imagined it to be.  Aside from which, who would have thought that a guy like Kim Il-Sung (or Kim Jong-Il, for that matter) would be able to build a cult of personality so powerful that young women would consider it an honor to strip naked and be a component of a “living bed” for said totalitarian monsters.

Yeah, that’s… just wrong.  But it apparently happens.  (I long for some nutjob apologist for the regime to come along and leave a DPRK-style denunciation of me in the comments.)

In other news, I managed to snag a relatively cheap copy of Volume III of James Montgomery Boice’s commentaries on Romans (in the hardcover to match my copies of Volumes I, II, and IV).  Thank you, Amazon Marketplace.  I also picked up a copy of RC Sproul’s 1 volume commentary on Romans, and I’m hoping to get his commentary on John ASAP.  And I’ve made a goal of reading through the Bible from cover to cover this year, and I’m doing so using my new pseudo-leatherbound copy of the NIV Stewardship Study Bible from Zondervan, which was edited by a friend of mine.  As of now, I’m just past the giving of the law in Exodus.

After some wheeling and dealing, I managed to scrape together the cash for a copy of NT Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God, which is – according to reviews – 700+ pages of glorious apologetics in defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  That should also keep me occupied for a while.

So happy new year to all; I’ll keep you posted as I make progress.