In a previous blog, I discussed how the increasing automation of jobs and services will lead to a loss of the desire and design to be productive as humans, created in the image of God. Guardian has an article out that speaks to this, but how it will lead to two ultimate ends: the elusive utopia I spoke of in the previous blog (and showed how it really won’t be that at all), or a new form of serfdom. I would argue that either way there is a loss of humanity in removing the role of working as being a fulfillment of one of our designs as humans. Nevertheless, here’s the article:
“And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” (Genesis 17:7 ESV)
“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’” (Acts 2:38-39 ESV)
Before you can delve into the particulars of infant baptism, there are many assumptions and presuppositions that must be dealt with that inform why and how we make our decision in regard to this. One of these particulars is how we, as the New Covenant church, relate to Abraham. In addition, how does Abraham relate to Moses? And how do both relate to the cross and the church? There are many other aspects to each of these and more points to cover, but these seem to be the heart of the matter.
“The Gospel does not abrogate God’s law, but it makes men love it with all of their hearts.” – J. Gresham Machen
If Jesus is (right now) and was (during His earthly ministry) a perfect lover of the law of God, a lover of the commandments of God (and He is, as He is the One who gave the law to Moses on the mountain, since it is a very reflection of His character and nature), just as the same love of God’s laws and rules is laid out in multiple places in the Psalms, but very clearly and repeatedly in Psalm 119, for example; and if Jesus is speaking to the churches in the early church in the beginning of Revelation banning them from “sexual immorality,” because it does indeed displease Him; does it not follow that just because a particular sin or issue isn’t spoken of directly in the words of Jesus, recorded in the gospels, that there is enough evidence to surmise that yes, indeed, Jesus was opposed to every form of sexuality that doesn’t conform to the pattern instated in the very beginning, man and woman in covenant marriage, in Genesis, re-iterated by none other than Jesus Himself?
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1
“Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4
“Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually. They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s and under their lips is the venom of asps.” Psalm 140:1-3
“The venom of asps is under their lips.” Romans 3:13
Over the course of doing lay ministry work, there are two things guys seem to primarily struggle with… and the other is anger (guess the first one?). In reading this text from Psalm 140 today, I was struck by a thought I’ve had recently about anger and aggression (something I’m tempted to frequently and must be on the look out for): how 1) anger so often stems from fear and anxiety, which stems from a lack of trust in God’s loving promises, but also 2) how that animal-like response of rage that some are more prone to than others can be stoked into flame by taking in violence, its exaltation and letting it dwell there. And our culture is full of it. We are welcoming violence into our hearts and it is shaping us. Even if we’re not taking in violent content and images, just go read some social media comment threads. It’s enough for me sometimes.
“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.” – Hebrews 10:1
“When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will.’ He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” – Hebrews 10:8-10
One of the problems when dealing with defining who the proper recipients are in baptism is the very definition of baptism itself. The standard “on the street” definition in Baptist circles, which is the predominant view in evangelical churches, is “the outward sign of an inward reality.” And this makes great sense to people who aren’t familiar with the Reformed perspective on baptism (which is drastically different from the Roman Catholic Church in which the Reformed view denies baptismal regeneration).
The law, religious piety and practice have fallen on hard times these days in the church. The modern day status quo stance of many professing evangelicals seems to be something of, “I’m free in Jesus to do what makes me happy while not hurting anyone else and to follow the way of Jesus as he outlined in the Sermon on the Mount,” etc. etc. This may be the kind of stance red-letter-only Christians tend to possess. However there’s a big problem with this.