Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 at 10:10 PM

Quotes from Luther

Shamelessly ripped from the latest pyromaniacs post.
It is a sin and shame not to know our own book or to understand the speech and words of our God; it is a still greater sin and loss that we do not study languages, especially in these days when God is offering and giving us men and books and every facility and inducement to this study, and desires his Bible to be an open book. O how happy the dear fathers would have been if they had our opportunity to study the languages and come thus prepared to the Holy Scriptures! What great toil and effort it cost them to gather up a few crumbs, while we with half the labor— yes, almost without any labor at all—can acquire the whole loaf! O how their effort puts our indolence to shame.
And from the 95 Theses

1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent," He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one's heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006 at 8:01 PM

A note of encouragement

I received this via email from Ryan and got permission to repost it here. I found it encouraging, convicting, edifying, all those tasty morsels that make life in Christ just so sweet.
HOW DO WE SPEND OUR TIME?

This is an issue that has been close to my heart. Let me tell you my story - I became a Christian about 4 years ago and I was a pretty normal (that's debatable), athletic, young man just living my life. Then, January of this year, I was diagnosed with Leukemia. My first stay in the hospital was 38 days; I then completed 5 more months of intense chemotherapy. There were times in my treatment that I wasn't sure if I was going to live and I spent a lot of time in my hospital room contemplating death. As I faced the reality of my feeble mortality I looked at my life and felt ashamed that shortly I might be standing before the creator of the universe knowing that I had squandered a lot of my time in selfish pursuits. Some of these were unsanctified but not necessarily sinful pursuits of enjoyment, comfort and fun but I served myself in leisure instead of the Lord in diligence. It goes without saying that it is still a struggle for me not to do the same but God, in His grace, continues to teach me that all we need is found only in Him (2 Peter 1:3).

It is both a glorious and convicting Truth that believers are judged not in the sense of sin, for our sin was taken by Christ on the cross (Romans 8:1, Colossians 2:13,14), but we are judged according to how we spend our time on earth. When speaking to believers Paul says:

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." - 2 Corinthians 5:10

How would the Lord have judged my life?

While I was in chemotherapy treatment, fatigue and pain became familiar to me. There were times that simply brushing my teeth seemed a mountain too tall to scale. I say all of this not for pity sake but so I can say, "What a precious gift from God!" The predestined plan of our Lord is perfect in every way (Isaiah 55:9). The Lord planned that I would suffer and it was for my good (Romans 8:28); through suffering He has grown and stretched my faith. What a grace of God that he would even teach me! I have offended and disregarded Him and yet I have been able to sit in His school and learn of His grace because of faith in Jesus Christ. He has proven to me the time that God gives us on this earth is an amazing grace; every moment. Well here I stand, almost done with my radiation therapy, about to begin 2 years of maintenance chemotherapy and, if it is the Lord's will, I will live out my life in relatively good health.

Why could I not believe these Truths before I faced death? How could I have been so blind? If the Lord truly does give us every second by His sovereign plan, and He does, then why should we waste one second on anything except the glory of God?

If you are convicted, know that the Lord teaches and guides His faithful servants for it is only by the Spirit's empowerment that we can walk in His ways (Galatians 5:16,22-26). God will put us under these Truths and grow us thereby (1 Peter 2:1,2). I know this to be True because the word of God says so and subsequently, I have experienced it. I must remind myself that no growth in my life, including any obedience, comes from my own doing but from God Himself (Ephesians 2:9,10) and I shamefully confess that I take what the Lord has given me and twist it for my own fleshly desires. All believers will see areas of growth (John 15) and if you are like me, you have thought higher of yourself at times because of it. I even sinfully boast about it. What a joke! Heaven forbid that we should boast in anything except the Cross!

"God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." - 1 Corinthians 1:28-31

Brothers and Sisters, I would never pray that any would be put through the furnace of affliction but I do pray that the Lord would teach all of His saints the true joys of serving His name. Take some time to contemplate this Scripture:

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." - 2 Corinthians 5:20

An ambassador is a top-ranking diplomatic official. We have all, in a sense, been ambassadors before. Growing up, my family would go to a friends house and my parents would always remind my brother and me to, "Be polite, say 'thanks you' and mind your manners." This is because I was an ambassador of our family. I represented our family values to our friends and hosts. How much more should we be concerned about representing the all-powerful, all-knowing, creator of the universe? The Gospel, the good news, of Jesus Christ has been entrusted to us and we are commanded to go to the nations and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). God has made His people a light unto the world and we are to let that light shine before men so that they may see our good works and Glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). Oh, beloved, we take that yoke so lightly.

I was studying through 1 Timothy and was convicted by 6:11. "... you man of God ...pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness." (NASB) Think about the command of a Christian to be godly. What is being godly but 'being like God'. Consider this: How we live our lives is a direct reflection of how we view God. That Truth really stings; cuts really deep into our flesh. We just denigrate the name of the Lord when we sin. Will you pursue godliness for His glory? Then repent and learn from God through His Word!

Do not be discouraged through all this, for as sinful as we are, He remembers our sin no more! Past, present and future; all sin is removed from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Where sin increases, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20).

"Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." – Romans 8:1

We obey the Lord out of a love for Him, not simply out of duty (John 14:15). Believers have been forgiven an awesome, unimaginable debt. Christ has paid it for us, how can we not live for Him. We, as believers in Christ Jesus, have passed from death to life. We have been made alive! Rejoice and be glad!

"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" - Romans 6:1,2

Serve the Lord with vigor (1 Timothy 4:15). Strive in all you do to serve the Lord and understand that it is God working powerfully in you as you labor (Philippians 2:12,13; Colossians 1:29).

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." - 1 Peter 5:6-11

The very words of Almighty God are recorded for us in the Bible. They are right there. From Genesis to Revelation God reveals Himself in order to bring His people to Him for His glory. Do you view the Bible properly as the very heart and words of the Lord (2 Timothy 3:16,17)? You must! Be students of the Word, like newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:1,2). The word of God is perfect converting the soul, rejoicing the heart, bringing wisdom, and enduring forever (19:7-9). If you want to prosper and be successful then meditate in the Law of the Lord, the Bible, and do all that is commanded (Joshua 1:8). A mighty fortress is our God (Psalm 18:2; 32:2,3)!

May the Truths of Scripture bless you through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In His grace,

Ryan

Romans 8:31-39

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at 6:39 PM

Stop dating (your idea of) the church

He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even thoguh his intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial... the man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God and himself accordingly.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together

Guilty as charged. Reflections on the retreat on Contentment in Christ to come.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 9:04 PM

Reading Deeply

Some various quotes as well:

David Jones (Sermon on Genesis 1:26-28 10/24/06) on the call of man to have dominion:
"Genesis begins with a garden, Revelation ends with a city."
Centurion on the call to become all in order to win all,
If we, as men, are going to love them, we can't love them by being more like them. We have to love them by being more like Christ.
H.C. Ross in the comments section of a post on a related topic,
"If Jesus told you to be SQUARE for him, would you do it? Would you wear average-looking clothes and have an average-looking hairstyle for Him, if He asked you to? Would you submit to your parents and teachers, even if you believed they were wrong, if Jesus asked you to? Would you go to a traditional church and submit to the elders there, and sing 'How Great Thou Art' and 'The Old Rugged Cross' and other 'outdated' songs every week, for Jesus' sake? Would you put up with an antiquated worship style out of love for your brothers and sisters in Christ above the age of 50, if He asked you to? Are you willing to be UNCOOL for Jesus?"

Show me a young man or woman who's willing to do that for the Lord's sake, and I'll show you someone who's got the Holy Spirit.
Vincent Cheung discusses the Hitler Ad Hominem, and how often people use the "what about Hitler?" question far too much, and that can backfire if they say, "so what about Hitler then?" Guilty as charged.

Dan Phillips asks, "what if you don't feel anything?" and gives an excellent answer. I don't think his criticisms of Piper are entirely on the mark, but I share his sentiment and what it's directed against.

Challies has an interesting discussion on "redefining arminianism." I really didn't care too much for the post itself, but the discussion in the comments was lively and informative.

Between Two Worlds posts a compilation post with links to all of Phil Johnson's posts discussing his interaction with the Lordship debate. This is worth reading.

Bookwise, I'm chewing Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, which is fascinating. A sequel (in a sense) upon her previous book (How Now Shall We Live?), dealing with worldviews and what Christianity has to offer, Total Truth. Not just some of the picture, but all of it. Good stuff.

I'm also (re)reading Eugene Peterson's A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. He gets a lot of things right in this book. An enjoyable read though I'm not a big fan of "The Message" which he uses as his main translation. But it doesn't detract from his main point, which is that the Christian walk is a long obedience in the same direction.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006 at 1:38 PM

Defending the Faith

"The gospel is like a caged lion. It does not need to be defended, it just needs to be let out of its cage." - Charles Spurgeon

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Monday, October 23, 2006 at 4:55 PM

More on free will

free -

2 a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself b : determined by the choice of the actor or performer <free actions> c : made, done, or given voluntarily or spontaneously

God, above all beings, has free will. It is a will constrained only by Himself and His character. Nothing can stay God's hand apart from His own purposes.

Isaiah 46
8"Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, 'My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,'
11calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
In contrast, we, being under God's purposes and decrees cannot claim free in any sense that God has:

James 4
13Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- 14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."16As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
(As a side note, can someone explain to me how v. 17 ties in with the previous 4? 17So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.)

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Sunday, October 22, 2006 at 12:45 PM

A particular joy

This past week, especially Thursday and Friday, I has been filled with a particular joy. Some things certainly were happening, but certainly not out of the ordinary. I guess God has just given me an acute sense of peace and joy. I've been so tremendously encouraged and blessed by all that's happening around me, miracles (not like platform levitating, but like hearts of stone to hearts of flesh type), songs, late night conversations, ping pong games, and growing friendships with people in my dorm.

Some more specific things:

A late night discussion with a brother in Christ moved from the future to schoolwork to girls to confession, God's grace and mercy, and prayer.

Hearing about and noticing people getting raised from the dead. Discovering a desire that comes wholly from God for His glory and majesty and living that out through conversations, questions, the reading of books, and a faith that leads to works.

Having the opportunity to sing "Thy mercy, my God" in my voice class and having the song stuck in my head all weekend long. Extended meditation on the mercy of God has reminded me over and over again of how great the Father's love.

Today (the Lord's day), the speaker gave what I thought was probably the best sermon I've heard him preach. Grounded in the text, driving specific points home and not avoiding difficult issues that people may raise, making a call for discipleship and spiritual war, even a few quick greek references! Hammering home the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what that means. Such a delight.

Receiving an email from a friend in the ministry which read in part, "I was talking with Pastor xxxx and xxxxxxx, and they have been thinking that we have need of a co-worker with the youth. Let me know if you would be interested in applying." whoa!

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 3:02 PM

The Sufficiency of Scripture

Sometimes people use the argument that “you're not ____ so you can't speak on this issue because you don't understand.” This comes up when we discuss abortion, this comes up when we discuss marriage, when we discuss complementarianism, when we discuss submission to parents, to the authorities, divorce, tithing, so on.

The underlying assumption behind all of these things is that one cannot claim authority unless one has experienced it. Pretty sensible right? You don't want someone who is a statistics major telling a surgeon how to operate. Of course that surgeon should only listen to other surgeons, as they've done the research and so on.

Unfortunately, the issue isn't like that when we discuss some of the topics referenced above. Why? Because the person speaking isn't speaking on their own authority, saying that “I know about this” but instead the person is speaking on God's authority. “This is what God says.” Of course, those speaking up should always keep in mind the command not to use the Lord's name in vain. When invoking God's authority, one better be sure that God's authority is correctly being invoked. But when a Christian has done his research, looked at the relevant Bible passages, and is able to answer objections, then when they speak on the topic, they speak as a mouthpiece for God.

A person doesn't need to be married in order to counsel married couples. A person doesn't need to be working in order to counsel working young adults. Doesn't need to be female in order to take a stance on abortion. A person need only to know the Word of God and how it applies, as it speaks to all such situations.

Job 32

6And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said:

"I am young in years,
and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
to declare my opinion to you.
7I said, 'Let days speak,
and many years teach wisdom.'
8But it is the spirit in man,
the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
9It is not the old[a] who are wise,
nor the aged who understand what is right.
10Therefore I say, 'Listen to me;
let me also declare my opinion.'

It is the breath of the Almighty that makes him understand. It is not experience automatically gained through age (though sometimes it is through age that God grants wisdom), but the grace of God.

When we prize experience on topics that Scripture addresses (and Scripture addresses a lot ), we are using “you don't know” to excuse our own sins or the sins of others. But God does know and God is not silent. We who have been given the Holy Scriptures also do know, and we cannot be silent.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006 at 11:42 AM

The blood of Christ wasn't enough

Ok, that was a gimmick, meant to catch your attention. Everyone got their stones set?

Alright. Let me make my point.

Sometimes Christians speak of the blood of Christ as if it were some superhuman substance. That if we looked at it we would see like the cure to cancer, 99 strands of DNA, and all sorts of miraculous things. That somehow this blood, the hemoglobin of God, is what saves us.

But, this blood isn't enough to save us, at least the literal "blood" isn't enough. The Bible never speaks of the blood of Christ as if it were supernatural and all powerful. Rather, because Christ is fully human, his blood is just like yours and mine, except untainted by sin. It may be an exceptional specimen, but it's certainly completely human, and it saves as much as my blood or your blood. Which is, none at all.

But what the Bible talks about when it speaks of the "blood of Christ" saving us is the "life of Christ" saving us. It's using the term "blood" as a "literary metonymy" a part to represent the whole. The blood of Christ represents not just the spilled blood from His wounds, but His entire life poured out for us. His perfect, sinless life, going up as the unique son of God, given as a substitute, bearing God's wrath in our place. That is what saves us from our death. There isn't some supernatural power in the physical blood of Christ, but it's the power in the life of Christ.

We speak of the "cross" in the same way. It's not the piece of wood that saves us, but Christ's death and resurrection.

So when we say "nothing but the blood of Jesus," it's necessary to prevent people from getting the wrong idea by clarifying sometimes (not all the time), that "it's nothing but the life and death of Jesus" is the meaning of that phrase.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain


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Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 7:59 PM

I guess I do believe in free* will

For the most part, I'm not a big fan of using the terminology of "free will" in a discussion on the sovereignty of God, even from a Calvinist "compatibilist free will" position, simply because it seems like an equivocation of terms. Someone who affirms "free will" in the Arminian/libertarian manner means a "freedom from God," but someone using it from a Calvinist perspective either means "freedom from other people" or "a freedom from the power of sin."

It just seems like a "bait and switch" tactic. A Calvinist doesn't affirm "freedom from God" in any meaningful sense (namely, that there are decisions made out side of God's eternal decree and sovereign control), yet still claims to affirm "free will." I think many people who disagree with the Calvinistic position rightfully say that this sort of freedom isn't any freedom at all (in the sense being debated).

Though I do affirm the 5 points of Calvinism, I don't like the term "compatibilist free will."

That said, the referal to "free will" refering to a "freedom from sin" seems entirely appropriate outside of a debate/discussion on the sovereignty of God vs. free will. Romans 6 is an excellent passage of Scripture supporting the idea of "free will" as "free from the bondage from sin."

Romans 6

16Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
Paul, having walked through an entire argument about how all people are under the condemnation of sin, steps us through the way of righteousness which is found through faith in Christ Jesus. In chapter 6 he refutes an objection that such a person who has been saved by grace should continue sinning so that God's grace may be demonstrated even more.

"Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" he asks, and then he responds, "By no means!" and he continues with the argument to talking about how we act as slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness, and that we have been set free from sin by God. This is freedom, a freedom from this bondage of sin. No longer does it control us, no longer do we call sin our master, but we call God our master. (The question of sanctification is important as well, but not dealt with in this passage as much as Romans 7)

This is free will as Scripture demonstrates, not a freedom from God's decrees, but a freedom from the power of sin. And that's what God, in His grace, has done for us through the cross of Jesus Christ.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 12:32 AM

Come, Ye Sinners

1. Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power.
He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

2. Come ye needy, come, and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

3. Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry 'til you're better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

4. Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you, this He gives you,
'Tis the Spirit's rising beam.

5. Lo! The Incarnate God, ascended;
Pleads the merit of His blood.
Venture on Him; venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus, none but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good.

©1980, Darwin Jordan Music.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006 at 12:31 AM

A two-classed society

Part 3 of a dialogue started here and continued here. I think this is going to be my last word on this topic. Shane is always welcome to have the last word.

Shane writes:

I checked out Deut 14:1 and while it shares 2 roots in common, the phrase differs in that it has an additional word in the middle. The two phrases are not comparable. The comparable phraseologies all fall in Job, which most scholars suggest is actually a work that predates Moses. As the two oldest writings in the Bible (the Tanakh and Job), they would share usage.

Job is a different genre (or more appropriately, mixture of genres), from a different period, written by a possibly different author. Even if I conceed the predating of Job's experience, the time of writing predating Moses is on tenuous grounds. I have not come across any allusions of Moses to Job at all. Do you have one in mind apart from this case?

Your blanket dismissal of the similarity of the phrase "sons of the Lord your God" to "sons of God" is rather unconvincing. By then the word "son" carried strong connotations of heir, seed, and of the same family. Look at the continual reference to "sons of Israel" in the first 5 books. Israel had passed away years ago, yet they were all still refered to as "sons of Israel." The phrase, "sons of God" would carry the same sort of relationship connotation.

So then the question becomes, what is the case for Moses' use of the phrase to mean "sons of Seth", when it doesn't even make logical sense to declare that the only God-followers were descended from him? Why not other sons and daughters of Adam? And again, what makes the daughters of men (actually Adam) equated with Cain? Both of these contestations require a logical leap based on conjecture, while to discount my view, you maintain that despite the ancient usage of the phrase in Job, which Moses would have been aware of, Moses actually meant something else.

I simply maintain that Moses means the same relationship with the phrase "sons of God" as he does when he uses the similar phrase, "sons of Israel." I deny that Job's usage has anything other than a tangental impact on how we should interpret Moses. Once again, James and Paul used different definitions of righteousness, we don't force one meaning into the other, we reach each text on its own grounds. I will deal with the concept of two people of God below. I am willing to say that it may not have started with Seth, but Seth is simply set off in contrast to Cain. We could instead say "Adam" as the first son of God, but that confuses where Cain fit into the story (as he clearly does not fit in as a "son of God").

Lastly, the angel view does appear to be corroborated with 1 Peter and Jude. How would you explain those NT references with the Sethite view? It renders them incomprehensible.

I'm not too sure what you mean by 1 Peter corroborating the angel view. Are you saying that the "spirits in prison" (1 Peter 3:18-22) are angels? You would have to do some exegesis here to support that. I would suggest that the "spirits in prison" is built off of the previous verse, which refers to us having put to death the flesh and become alive in the spirit. In contrast, the gospel was preached to those who had not done so, the rebellious people of the time who had not put to death the flesh and thus had spirits that were in prison.

Jude doesn't pose any threat to this specific interpretation of the phrase referring to the sons of Seth, all it says is that there were angels that left their positions. We don't even necessarily have to understand them as committing sexual immorality, but only that the cities did so, just like Sodom and Gomorrah. (Jude 5-7)

Certainly not "incomprehensible" by any stretch of the imagination!

Finally, in a previous comment, Shane writes:

What it really comes down to is that this dichotomy requires that all humans fall into one group or the other. It doesn't hold water though because of one verse: Genesis 5:4. Adam had other sons and daughters. Are they of Seth or Cain? Neither. So how can we say that all these lines were mandated to be separate? The first time Scripture clearly sets people apart like you want to do is not until Abraham.

Why does it matter that Adam has other sons and daughters? The focus of the text is clearly upon two lines of people, Seth and Cain, fulfilling the eternal battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, which is where I would say that mankind is first seperated into two classes. Birth was not the determining factor, but the sovereign act of God was. For some He decreed that Satan and death would reign in their lives, for others that His righteousness through His Son would.

We see this distinction immediately with Cain's opposition of Abel. Abel pleases God, Cain does not. Cain murders Abel. Cain is then cursed from the ground. From Cain comes Enoch, then through him down we get Lamech, who institutes polygamy and in an act of sinful pride, declares that he doesn't need God's protection! God had protected Cain sevenfold, but Lamech declares that his revenge will be seventy-sevenfold. (Genesis 4)

Genesis 5 then begins the focus on the other line. God, being a God who doesn't name people randomly, brings about a marked similarity between the names of the two groups of people. Enoch from the line of Seth is righteous and walks with God. Lamech shows up and instead of declaring that he doesn't need God, he fathers Noah and lives 777 years (a possible sign of blessing?). Noah was righteous.

Now we come to Genesis 6. One of the lines disappears and the other is continued in Noah. One is wiped from the map and the other is saved through water.

So what do we see? God's line of people include (but is not limited to) the line of Noah. The line of descendants from Cain is clearly marked off in contrast to the line of descendants from Seth. Yet, even of the line of Seth, only a few are saved, the rest perish because of their wickedness and evil thoughts as just punishment for their sins. What were some of those sins? Intermarriage with the line of Cain, the daughters of man. The sons of God, deemed "family" with God's people, intermarried with the seed of the serpent, the daughters of man.

That's all I have to say on this matter. Shane, if you like, you may have the last word.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006 at 2:29 PM

Rethinking Memory Verses: Proverbs 3:5-6

Proverbs 3
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
I was reading through proverbs 3 today and just realized the context to some of my favorite verses. The trap of these verses is to take a fatalistic view of things. "Oh, God is going to take care of it anyways, he'll make straight my paths, as long as I pray about it." Not to say that everyone does this, but it was a tendency that I saw in myself.

Here's the context:
1My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.

3Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4So you will find favor and good success[a]
in the sight of God and man.

5Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8It will be healing to your flesh[b]
and refreshment[c] to your bones.

If I were paraphrase it, I would say the crux of the text was this:
Son, obey the Lord, fear His commandments, seek Him first in all that you do. They will bless you tremendously. Don't think that you can do it on your own, or that you have a better way to do things. Do things God's way and you will find true success.
The emphasis is over and over upon obedience. Acknowledging the Lord isn't just praying about different decisions and saying, "well, God is going to take care of it," but it's seeking to live out one's live in obedience to the commandments that have been laid down by the Lord. It is when we do this that the Lord will make straight our paths, will bring long life, healing, and refreshment to our bones. It's not the prayer that acknowledges God, it's the life lived out in obedience to Him that acknowledges Him.

Yet another reminder of how important it is to now just memorize isolated verses, but entire passages. Gotta get cracking Mickey =p

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Monday, October 02, 2006 at 5:02 PM

Sons of God

In response to my previous post on the Nephilim and "sons of God" I received two comments disagreeing with what I wrote. I wasn't intending to respond since I didn't have anything else to add, but I came across a passage today that seems to settle it.

One claim echoed in both comments was that the phrase, "sons of God" is only used in the OT to refer to angels. I don't think this is sustainable when we actually do our homework rather than saying something simply because other people said it.

There are three questionable references in Job. Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7. The reference in ch. 38 refers to a time when the earth was created, so I am willing to conceed that in the book of Job, the phrase "sons of God" most likely refers to angels (as is no other class of beings).

Yet, that doesn't conclusively prove that the phrase "sons of God" always means "angels." I could easily give the example of James and Paul's usage of "justified" to demonstrate that it is possible that two different authors may use two different meanings for the same word.

Since the reference to "sons of God" is used in Moses, we should look to Moses and his usage first to determine the meaning of the phrase "sons of God." Doing a search on Biblegateway, I was able to find two references: Deuteronomy 14:1 and Deuteronomy 32:8

Deuteronomy 14
1"You are the sons of the LORD your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. 2For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 32
8When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders[a] of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.[b]
9But the LORD's portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted heritage.
Now, I will conceed that "God" in Deuteronomy 32:8 is footnoted saying that the Masoretic Text reads "Israel" so I'm willing to say that it is possible that it doesn't include the phrase "sons of God" but it is clear that Deuteronomy 14:1 refers to the people of Israel. It preceeds commands from God about preserving the purity of the nation and obedience in various forms. Which is exactly what Vos is claiming the children of Seth failed to do in marrying the daughters of Cain.

I still am firmly convinced that the "sons of God" refer to the children of Seth and the "daughters of men" refer to the daughters of Cain. Their intermarriage was displeasing to God's eyes because it resulted in sin and disobedience, people rejecting their Lord and seeking evil. This brought about God's just wrath and punishment through the flood.

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