“Wherever you read LORD in your English Old Testament as the name of God remember it is his special personal name…” by Graeme Goldsworthy

“Exodus begins with the story of Moses’ birth, preservation and preparation for his mission. These events are not only favourite subjects in Bible teaching programmes for children but are also frequently mishandled. The story of Moses in the rushes must be related to the declared purpose of God in Exodus 2: 23-25, which shows us that Moses is to be the mediator of God’s acts in fulfilling the covenant promises made to the patriarchs. Notice the stress given to the identification of the God who sends Moses to be Israel’s leader. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 2: 24, 3: 6, 13, 15 and 16, 4: 5, 6:2-5).

That the God of Israel is the God who is faithful to the covenant with Abraham is a fact now associated with the personal name of God. In most English versions of the Bible this holy name is translated LORD. Wherever you read LORD in your English Old Testament as the name of God remember it is his special personal name, and not merely a title – it expresses the character of God which has been revealed in his acts to redeem his people. The act and the knowledge of the name are frequently related: I will take you for my people.., and you shall know that I am Jehovah (the LORD) your God (Exodus 6: 7, compare 7: 5).”

-Graeme Goldsworthy Gospel and Kingdom

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“Every man is born outside the garden; every man is born an active rebel…” by Graeme Goldsworthy

“The judgement involves firstly the disruption of the relationship between man and God. This is most clearly seen in the ejection of man from the Garden. Secondly there is the disruption of the relationship between man and woman, as the perfect harmony of male and female gives way to rivalry and accusation (Genesis 3: 12, 16). Thirdly there is a disruption of the relationship of man to his environment as the physical creation is no longer seen to be under the dominion of man (Genesis 3: 17-19). The word ‘disruption’ is not intended to detract from the seriousness of the sentence of death. Man outside the Kingdom is not merely under the sentence of death, but he is dead. The real meaning of death lies in the separation of man from the willing relationship of the Kingdom. Autonomous man is God-denying and therefore life-denying as well. Fallen man is dead spiritually. Outside of Eden there is no return. Man has made his choice to be a rebel and he is bound by his decision. Nor is there any free choice for the posterity of Adam. Adam’s fall from the Garden Kingdom is a fall of the whole human race. Every man is born outside the garden; every man is born an active rebel asserting autonomy and independence of the God of life. Human history and Scripture will show that man’s death state means that he infallibly chooses to hate God, for that is his ‘outside Eden’ nature. It is no longer a question of freedom to choose right or wrong, for man is free now only to be what he is- a sinner who hates God (cf. Romans 3: 9-18, 8: 6-8). Man has become a slave to sin- a slavery that is death.”

-Graeme Goldsworthy Gospel and Kingdom

Creation, God’s Sovereignty, and His Word by Graeme Goldsworthy

“The creation story must never be regarded merely as a sort of biblical ‘once-upon-a-time’. The fact that God is Creator and that man is his creature establishes at the outset the basis for understanding the Kingdom of God. When we speak of the sovereignty of God, we use a word which means his kingship, a kingship which is absolute and uncompromised. The creature is ruled and belongs, as a creature, within the sphere of God’s perfect rule. In making all things by the power of his word (II Peter 3: 5), God shows the right he has as Creator to rule all things. The only perfect existence for the creature is that which is found within the framework of the rule of God.

The creatorship of God tells us that all reality is God’s reality; all truth is God’s truth. Nothing exists except by the will and word of God. One could write whole books on the implication of creation for a Christian approach to education, politics, economics, family life, moral values, or scientific research. If we believe in God as Creator, we may not divide the world into spiritual and secular. The fact that all reality depends upon the creative word of God means that the word of God must judge the ideas of men about truth and error, not the other way round. Thus the Christian doctrine of the authority of Scripture has its roots in the Creation. The famous comment about the Bible’s authority made by the nineteenth century preacher C.H. Spurgeon (‘Defend the Bible? I’d as soon defend a lion!’) is wellknown and appropriate. But we also need to be reminded of the relationship of God’s word to the reasoning of man the creature about what is true- one does not take a pocket flashlight and shine it on the sun to see if the sun is real! The truth of God’s word cannot be subject to the puny light of man’s self-centred reason. God’s word created what is and must interpret what is.”

-Graeme Goldsworthy Gospel and Kingdom

“The danger in the ‘character study’ approach” to Bible Study by Graeme Goldsworthy

“The danger in the ‘character study’ approach is that it so easily leads to the use of the Old Testament characters and events as mere illustrations of New Testament truths, while at the same time giving the appearance of being a correct exposition of the meaning of the Word of God. But if the real substance is drawn from the New Testament, and it alone, we may well ask what is the point of applying ourselves to the Old Testament; why we may not just as well use non-biblical material to illustrate the New Testament. To make this criticism is not to deny the value of Old Testament narrative in illustrating New Testament principles; but we should not assume that such an approach uncovers the primary meaning of the text.

To press this point even – it should be recognized that the ‘character study’ approach is frequently used in a way that implies quite wrongly that the reader today may identify with the character in question. But we must reckon with both the historical and theological uniqueness of the characters and events if we are not to misapply them. Is it in fact true that if God took care of baby Moses, God will take care of me? Such application simply assumes that what applied to the unique figure of Moses in a unique situation applies to all of us, and presumably all the time. But why should our children be privileged to identify with Moses rather than with other Hebrew children at the time who may not have escaped Pharaoh’s wrath? The theological significance of Moses and of his preservation is all but ignored in this case.

With whom may the Christian identify in the narrative of David and Goliath- with the soldiers of Israel or with David? (Certainly not with Goliath!) But, someone will say, there is a lesson for us in both the soldiers and in David. The former show us the Christian who lacks faith, and the latter exemplifies the man who truly trusts God and overcomes against great odds (never mind the ingenious bit with the stones!). To a point this is true; the soldiers are afraid and David is a man who trusts God. But is that all? It certainly is not all when we read the narrative in its context, for then we find that there is something unique about David which cannot apply to us. David is the one who, immediately prior to the Goliath episode (I Samuel 17), is shown to be God’s anointed king. He receives the Spirit of God to do mighty deeds for the saving of Israel, according to the patmm of saviours already established in the book of Judges. So when it comes to his slaying of Goliath it is as the unique anointed one of God that he wins the battle.

The application of this truth to the believer is somewhat different from a simple identification of the believer with David. Rather we should identify with the ordinary people of God, the soldiers, who stand and watch the battle fought on their behalf. The same point may be made about the lives of all the biblical characters who have some distinct office bestowed on them by God. If their achievement is that of any godly man the lesson is clear, but if it is the achievement of a prophet, a judge or the messianic king, then to that extent it no more applies to the people of God in general than does the unique work of Jesus as the Christ.”

-Graeme Goldsworthy Gospel and Kingdom

“The Chief End of Man” by J.I. Packer

“…previously, as they now see, man had been central in their universe, and God had been on the circumference. They had thought of Him as a Spectator of events in His world, rather than as their Author. They had assumed that the controlling factor in every situation was man’s handling of it rather than God’s plan for it, and they had looked upon the happiness of human beings as the most interesting and important thing in creation, for God no less than for themselves. But now they see that this man-centered outlook was sinful and un-biblical; they see that, from one standpoint, the whole purpose of the Bible is to overthrow it, and that books like Deuteronomy and Isaiah and John’s Gospel and Romans smash it to smithereens in almost every chapter; and they realize that henceforth God must be central in their thoughts and concerns, just as He is central in reality in His own world. Now they feel the force of the famous first answer in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and (by so doing, and in so doing,) enjoy him forever.’ Now they see that the way to find the happiness that God promises is not to seek it as an end in itself, but to forget oneself in the daily preoccupation of seeking God’s glory and doing His will and proving His power through the ups and downs and stresses and strains of everyday life. They see that it is the glory and praise of God that must absorb them henceforth, for time and for eternity. They see that the whole purpose of their existence is that with heart and life they should worship and exalt God. In every situation, therefore, their one question is: what will make most for God’s glory? What should I do in order that in these circumstances God may be magnified?”
-J.I. Packer Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

“Assurance of Salvation in the Johannine Epistles” by D.A. Carson

“The Johannine Epistles make an important contribution to the doctrine of assurance (see 1 John 5:13). If other New Testament writings make it clear that the objective grounds of our confidence  before God are in Christ and his death and resurrection on our behalf, such that Christian assurance is not much more than a concomitant of genuine faith, these epistles insist that a distinction must be made between genuine and spurious faith. Spurious faith does not have the right to assurance before God; genuine faith can be authenticated not only by the validity of its object (in this case, the belief that Jesus is Christ come in the flesh) but also by the transformation it effects in the individual: genuine Christians learn to love one another and obey the truth. Christian assurance is not, for John, an abstract good; it is intimately tied to a continuing and transforming relationship with the covenant God, who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ.”
-D.A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo  An Introduction to the New Testament

Ordo Salutis by Sinclair Ferguson

“At the end of the day we cannot divide faith and repentance chronologically. The true Christian believes penitently, and he repents believingly. For this reason, in the New Testament either term may be used when both dimensions are implied; and the order in which they are used may vary. But in the order of nature , in terms of the inner logic of the gospel and the way its ‘grammar’ functions, repentance can never be said to precede faith. It cannot take place outside of the context of faith.”
-Sinclair Ferguson The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters