When we talk about the work of Christ we can talk about Christ securing us, or Christ redeeming us, or Christ paying the debt so we can be righteous. However, is the work of Christ complete enough to save us until the end? How do we know that we will partake of Christ’s work making Christ’s work our work?
The apostle Paul exhorts us to walk in the Spirit as people who have moved from death to life in Christ. He also exhorts us to walk in light of our baptism moving us from death to life in Christ. Is Paul teaching that as one receives baptism that one necessarily receives the Holy Spirit? Why would Paul use such strong language regarding baptism?
We know that the ministering priesthood of Israel has come to completion because of Christ’s priestly work. Malachi rebukes the priests in Israel, and so what value can Malachi’s warning for the priests have for us today?
Isaiah the prophet is called into the most holies of places. You would think that he would be overjoyed to encounter the full holies of our Lord, but he is overwhelmed by his placement in the true temple. Why is Isaiah so upset and concerned? This is a prophet set apart unto the Lord and so what does he have to worry about? What is the Lord ultimately going to do to set aside this man’s fears, but at the same time equip this man to come into HIs holy presence?
Job has made a passionate speech about someone taking his case to the heavenly courts. He is done with the counselors for they are not taking his case seriously. Bildad has heard these words and he responds to Job. Will this man, who is most likely a grandson of Abraham, respond with the promises of the Gospel? Will they come together and realize that maybe the Lord’s purpose is bigger than their understanding?
The story of Job opens with a man who is righteous, fears God, and turns from evil. This is a man who lives out the wisdom of the gospel as he even sacrifices a burn offering in case one of his children cursed God in their heart. This is a man who is worthy of blessing and a man who deserve blessing from the hand of God. So, what sort of wisdom is being communicated to us when Job receives the exact opposite of what he deserves? What is the driving force of Job’s suffering? Does Job really love God because of who God is or does Job love God because of what God can do for Job?
This is the first part of our consideration of Jacob blessing his grandsons. The family of God has not performed so well in terms of morality. There are a lot of discrepancies within this family in terms of their calling before the Lord. The rivalry between Cain and Abel is repeated, there is outright immorality, the Lord strikes dead some of the covenant children because of their wickedness, and Jacob fails to consistently lead the family in a Godly direction. What do we do with this? What are God’s people beginning to realize about the Lord’s Sabbath?
The reality is that we desire to make the Lord’s standard something that will comply to our standard. It is not an easy thing to realize that we are a sinful people in need of the Lord’s redemption. His redemption has to cleanse us from the core of our being so that we see the fruit of His power. So, how are these fruits manifested? What figures in covenant history have demonstrated a life ordered by the principles of the Lord?
The law of God is one of those difficult things to address. On the one hand we can go down the road of being self righteous where we reduce the meaning of the law down to a few outward things that are easy to keep. We can also become a people who dismiss the seriousness of wanting to conform to the law. We can claim that this law is not binding. We can also go to a place where we claim that our works are needed for our entrance into heaven. So, when James exhorts us to be doers of the law what can he possibly mean? How can we be a doer of the law without minimizing Christ’s one time completed work?
James tells us that we are to be joyful in the midst of our suffering. What kind of system of belief is Christianity? Is it possible to find joy in the midst of suffering? Is this something that is optional where maybe we find joy 10 percent of the time and the rest of the time we claim an injustice? What does James mean and how can we possibly have a perspective of “joy” in the midst of suffering?