High Dive Heart: Vintage

Any song about Dylan, Hendrix, Woodstock, vinyl records, paper books, and FM radio has to be worth a listen.

Sonic Graffiti

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The Salvation of the Christians: The Cross, Part 2 (Paul and the Faithfulness of God)

Bible and crossNow, in Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God 4), N. T. Wright attempts to explain why the early church saw Jesus as God while not denying monotheism — a tricky bit of theology if ever there was one — but a critically important one.

It was a matter of [the First Century Jews] pondering the promises of the One God whose identity, as Bauckham has rightly stressed, was made clear in the scriptures, and wondering what it would look like when he returned to Zion, when he came back to judge the world and rescue his people, when he did again what he had done at the Exodus.

Not for nothing had Jesus chosen Passover as the moment for his decisive action, and his decisive Passion. It was then a matter of Jesus’ followers coming to believe that in him, and supremely in his death and resurrection—the resurrection, of course, revealing that the death was itself to be radically re-evaluated—Israel’s God had done what he had long promised. He had returned to be king. He had ‘visited’ his people and ‘redeemed’ them. He had returned to dwell in the midst of his people. Jesus had done what God had said he and he alone would do. … Continue reading

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Indelible Grace: From the Depths of Woe (Psalm 130)

A masterpiece.

Joy Beyond the Sorrow: Indelible Grace VI

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The Salvation of the Christians: The Cross, Part 1 (What Changes with Christianity?)

Bible and crossSo, remarkably, we find that the Christian covenant is very much made up of the Abrahamic covenant. Reckoning faith as righteousness (Gen 15:16). Blessing the nations (Gen 18:18). Producing justice and righteousness within those in covenant relationship (Gen 18:19).

If you’ll recall the lesson taught here some time ago, God’s blood oath with Abraham also speaks to the Christian covenant. God symbolically promised to pay, with his own life, the price for the sins of Abraham (and his descendants) in blood (Gen 15).

It’s not all there, but a lot of it’s there.

Then in the Law of Moses, we find the promise of Deu 30:6 for God to circumcise the hearts of his people, a promise that the prophets later explained would be fulfilled through the outpouring of the Spirit.

So what was “new” in the new covenant? Why is the covenant of Christ better than the covenants that preceded? After all, the theme of Hebrews is the superiority of Christ and his covenant. Continue reading

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I Am They: We Are Yours

I Am They

You can’t take away
What the world didn’t give
We were made for more
We were made for more

At the end of the day,
This will remain:
Forever we are yours
Forever we are yours

Marvelous. Could be a good congregational song. With shaped note and all.

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The Salvation of the Jews: The Constancy of the Salvation of the Jews

jewish_starA few days ago, long-time reader Price asked me about the nature of Jewish salvation before the cross.

You pointed out that forgiveness of sin was already available under the Law … and included scriptural support which one can’t really argue with … so is John the Baptist just stating the obvious? That if one repents, forgiveness is available under the present Law? If that is the case, then the sins that are forgiven are a one time forgiveness … not a continual product of grace provided for in the new covenant at the cross … Is that correct ?

I answered in the comments, but I thought the question merited consideration as a main post. Here’s my answer from the comment, edited —

I think it’s kind of in layers.

One layer is that the Jews were always saved by faith — to the extent any one was saved at all. “Faith” includes faithfulness includes repentance. Being penitent is essential to having faith at all. That’s the individual layer. And God saves individuals.

But God also deals with Israel as a nation, and John the Baptist was calling the entire nation to repent because God was granting repentance to the Jews — as a nation — to end the Exile and bring the Kingdom. Continue reading

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Windows 10 and Logos

windows10So I was bored the other night. Too tired to do serious theology but not in the mood for summer TV. So I decided to upgrade my Windows 8.1 operating system to Windows 10.

I had this little icon Windows had installed offering a free upgrade, but it didn’t work. It was too soon in the opinion of the powers that be in Redmond.  But there’s a workaround. You go to Windows Media Center and click on the download button. That’s pretty much it.

Be sure you’ve backed up your important files recently. Then click the button — and you can keep on watching YouTube or reading my blog while it installs.

For someone upgrading from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, it’s free and it doesn’t ask a bunch of questions. I wasn’t even asked for my 500,000-digit activation code. You need a 4GB thumbdrive if you want to be able to install Windows 10 on other computers without having to re-download. Continue reading

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The Salvation of the Jews: David, Bathsheba & Jesus

jewish_starOne of the most remarkable (true) stories in all of Scripture is the story of David and Bathsheba. I assume the readers are familiar with it. If not, it’s a good read and found in 2 Sam 11-12. Go read it.

Now, under the Law of Moses, sacrifices only worked (to the extent they worked at all) for unintentional sin. For example,

(Lev 4:27-28 ESV) “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the LORD’s commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt,  28 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed.”

Intentional sins — sins committed with a high hand — resulted in being cut off from Israel — Continue reading

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Gracie Schram: Curious Heart

I’m probably the last person on the planet to know this. Grace Schram, now 17 or so, released her first album at age 10 to raise over $30,000 for Africa and Haiti. She is now a professional, produced by the same guy who produced the Civil Wars. Impressive work from a teenager.

Curious Heart

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Racial Diversity in American Churches

The Pew Research Center has recently posted a graph showing the racial diversity of various American denominations.


Continue reading

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