Friday, 24 October 2014

Systematic Theology, Chapter 28

Resurrection and Ascension

Jesus resurrection was not the same as Lazurus, in the sense that his resurrected body would never again taste decay or death.  He was the first fruits of a new kind of life, in which the body was made able to live eternally.

His body was human in the sense that he could touch, be touched, eat, etc.   Yet he could also appear and disappear quite suddenly.

Could it be, as Murray Harris suggests, that Jesus' resurrection body could go between physical and immaterial at will?  One minute he is flesh and blood, another minute walking through walls?

Scripture does not require this, and does not expressly say so, so we are walking a tight line if we make this conclusion ourselves.   The main point of scripture seems much more focused on how the resurrection body and Christ's later return are of a physical body.

Furthermore, the "new Jerusalem," is often focused on as a place for real physical bodies to be, not just spirits and angels.  What God made in the beginning, physical bodies, was very good, and we should not think necessarily that heaven and the new Jerusalem will be "body-less."

What significance does this have to us?  Paul says that the power by which God raised Christ from the dead is the same power at work within us.  "you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."

Christ's resurrection insures our justification, and also that we will receive a perfect resurrection body.

The resurrection of Christ gives us also a future hope, and encourages us to live with this heavenly reward as our goal, continuing steadfastly in the Lord's work.

As Jesus ascended to heaven in his physical resurrection body, we can affirm that he went to a "place."   "...In my father's house there are many rooms," etc.   We cannot say where heaven is, but we can see indications that heaven is a place in the space-time universe.

Christ sits at the right hand of God in heaven, showing his dramatic completion of redeptive work, and also an indication that he has authority over the universe.

What a glorious Christ we serve. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wayne Grudems systematic theology, Chapter 27

The Atonement.

Did Christ really need to die?

Atonement: the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation.

God's love and justice made it necessary for the atonement to happen.  God loves us and wanted to spare us his wrath, but his justice requires that somebody pay the penalty.

The fact that God wants to save us at all shows a great mercy on his part. He was not so merciful to the rebellious angels, for example.

Jesus life and words show that his death as a propitiation was absolutely necessary.  Christ obediently obeyed the law in our place, and suffered for us to take the penalty due to us.

Man does not just need a moral neutrality (i.e. the slate has been wiped clean by Christ's suffering), but also a righteousness, which comes through faith in Christ's obedience to perfectly follow the law.  Together this gives us entrance to heaven through faith.

Jesus suffered in four different ways:
1. Physical pain and death
2. The pain of bearing sin (all that he hated most deeply (sin) was poured out fully upon him.)
3. Abandonment (my God my God, why have you forsaken me?)
4. Bearing the wrath of God.  God put forward Christ as a propitiation, which is, "a sacrifice that bears God's wrath to the end and in so doing changes God's wrath towards us into favor."  wow.

God the father inflicted the penalty knowingly on his beloved son.
It was not an eternal suffering in penalty, but a complete payment was made by Jesus.  (If we had to pay the penalty for our sins, it would be eternal, but Jesus could pay completely by his perfect life and death on the cross).

Four terms can show how Christs death met the four needs we have as sinners.
1. we deserve to die as penalty for sin
2. we deserve to bear God's wrath against sin
3. we are separated from God by our sins
4. we are in bondage to sin and to the kingdom of Satan.

Christ's death responds to these needs in the four following ways:
sacrifice, propitiation, reconciliation, redemption.

Some other views throughout history:
1. Ransom to Satan theory.  (Christ's death was to redeem us from Satan who rules over us).
2. Moral Influence theory. God was not paying any penalty, but rather showing a loving example through his death on the cross.
3. Example theory. Christ's death is just a nice example for us...
4. Governmental theory. God demands payment, but since he is omnipotent, Jesus payment didnt cover our sins but rather showed that God's payment was paid.

Did Christ descend into hell? The apostles creed says yes, the Bible says....,

As the apostles creed was formed, this phrase originally meant, "was buried or descended in the grave."

1 Peter 3 speaks of how Christ went and preached to the spirits in prison...  This is not a "second chance for redemption for those who have already died, but rather an encouragement for us to witness boldly to those who are hostile around us.

Does this passage mean that Christ spoke to demonic spirits/fallen angels, or to proclaim release to Old Testament saints?  Probably not.

A more satisfying explanation is that the spirit of Christ was speaking through Noah during the time of the building of the ark to seek unbeliever's repentance.

Wayne Grudem even suggests that this phrase should be removed from the apostles creed.

Did Jesus die for the entire human race, or only for the "elect?"   Non-reformed  people say that Christ's atonement must be available to all, and if it was limited, then the gospel is limited.

Reformed people say that if Christ truly died for all, then all should be cleansed and go to heaven.  We dont know who the elect are, but God did, and many passages point out that Christ died for "his sheep," etc.   This is also called limited atonement, or particular redemption.

A non-reformed view speaks often of Bible verses that point out Jesus dying for the whole world.

Both sides agree:
1.  Not all will be saved.
2. A free offer of the gospel can be made to every person ever born.  All agree that Christ's death is of infinite merit.

Let's be careful to respect our brothers and sisters who take each side, and strive to share the gospel to all and all alike!




Ordering food over the internet? This past week we tried "matsmart.se" to buy discount food.  Interesting idea, and here are...