Purified by the blood of Jesus

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Rom 3:23-26 (NIV)

“Our justification is not simply a matter of God’s pardoning our guilt; our need can be met only if righteousness, full and entire holiness of character, is credited to us. This is the amazing gift of grace. Christ’s law-keeping and perfect righteousness are made ours by faith in him. It is not simply that our whole guilt, even to every tiniest shortcoming in life’s moral examination, is overlooked; more than that – we pass 100%, we pass with perfect righteousness!” Bruce Milne, Know The Truth.

By the blood of Jesus there is no guilt, no shame and no condemnation.

 

Do you really hear.

I often think about ‘hearing’ and what it means to truly hear. The following paragraph is from this post here 

My favourite verse from the Psalms is from 116:1-2. I love the Lord for he heard my voice. Because he inclined his ear to me, I will love him the rest of my days.  

Often we equate hearing as being hearing what someone says and that is that. But I want to make the proposal that true hearing means more then just hearing what is said. Rather real hearing involves action. Within the framework of the Psalm, David says that he loves the Lord because God heard his voice. This means that God heard and acted on his behalf.

We also are called to be hearers of the world in which we live. We are called to act. We are called to serve. We are called to help. We are called to be part of the solution and not the problem. The question I would like to leave you with today is how well do you actually hear?

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What do you pray and how do you pray?

Every Christian I know believes that prayer is important. In one way or another, we all pray. I believe that even non Christians pray in times of hardship or heartache. The term, ‘Oh God!’ I believe is a heart cry to the almighty for help, even if it does seem blasphemous at the time.

I like to often write my prayers. It helps me to think about what I am praying, why I am praying and how I am praying. It helps me to think about my expectations and lifestyle, others and it helps me to draw closer to the God whom I love. This is my mornings devotion.

Father God, you have set me free from the power of sin. I ask that you help me to walk in your truth. Help me to live as I should in the power of your spirit. You have called me to a life of love. Help me to truly love in thought, word and deed.

Help me to be a listener, open my ears so that I may hear. Help me to see, so that I many not ignore. Help me to act, so that I may not pass by those in need. Help me to be aware of those who need to be heard, who need to be seen and those who need to be helped.

I ask that you help me to replicate your ways towards me. For you never stop listening. You never stop watching over me and you never pass me by.

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The Renaissance of Jesus

A collection of 15th and 16th Century Renaissance era paintings is currently on exhibition in Canberra. I dropped in today to have a look. 99.9% of the paintings have a Christian theme, with the majority depicting Jesus and/or Mary. One of the paintings shows the Circumcision of Jesus, topical as the 1 January is traditionally the feast day of his circumcision.

There is one room that is dedicated to paintings of Mary holding Jesus as a baby.  The sameness of the paintings to me seems to show that there was standard formula in depicting Madonna and Child.

The gallery blurb about the “Madonna and Child” room states:

One of most enduring images in Western art — a constant for more than a thousand years — is that of Mary with the baby Jesus. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the cult of the Virgin saw Mary cast as the Queen of Heaven, the personification of the Church, the Bride of Christ. She is regal, seated formally upon a throne, worshipped as an intermediary through whom humans seek salvation.

To me, the most striking painting is one depicting the Trinity. It caught me with it’s scale and detail.

The majority of the paintings of Jesus as an adult show him being crucified, in line with a ‘Man of Sorrows’ theme of the time it seems. Bizarrely, two of the paintings show John the Baptist as a adult visiting Jesus as a baby. A few others have various saints and art patrons of the day in scenes with Jesus – with artistic license anything is possible.

It is a pretty good show. It is a secular exhibition in a national gallery, but as I walked around and looked at the paintings I could sense the Holy Spirit, so something was happening there today.

Renaissance at the Nationa Gallery of Australia

 

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Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament – Contents

This is the second post in a review series on Christopher Wright’s Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament from IVP-Academic. You can read the author introduction here, and I will post my personal reflections on the book shortly.

I want to start by saying that I jumped over the preface for some reason in my initial reading. As I read through the book though, I started thinking: this sounds a lot like John Goldingay (a very good thing in my opinion). So, I looked at the preface to see if Wright mentioned him. Sure enough, I found this:

I came across John Goldingay’s articles on ‘The Old Testament and Christian Faith: Jesus and the Old Testament in Matthew 1–5’ in Themelios 8.1–2, (1982-83). They provided an excellent framework, first for that course, and then, with his kind permission, for the broad structure of this book …

Around the same time that I started reading Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, I had started listening to some of Goldingay’s lectures available on iTunesU, where he references Wright’s work. So, if you like Goldingay, you may like Wright’s book too, though it’s by no means a given. I think this relationship is probably strongest in chapter one.

Wright divides the book into five chapters that are somewhat topical, though interconnected. In chapter one, he deals with Jesus and his relationship to the Old Testament story. He provides an overview of the primary and secondary histories, which might prove invaluable to some readers as a brief summary of the Old Testament story (pp. 9-27).

In chapter two, he deals with Jesus and his relationship to the Old Testament promises. Here he speaks in a particular way about the covenants made in the Old Testament, specifically the covenants with Noah, Abraham, the Israelites at Sinai, and David.

In chapter three, he deals with Jesus’s Old Testament identity. Here he primarily covers what “Son of God” means in an Old Testament perspective. Again, this chapter will be helpful to a number of readers who may not realize that “son of God” is thoroughly Old Testament language and has much more depth to it than many modern readers of the New Testament may realize.

In chapter four, he deals with Christ’s mission as servant of the Lord along with the Church’s mission in light of Christ’s mission. Finally, in chapter five, he deals with Jesus’s Old Testament values and how Jesus upholds the values of the Law, the Prophets, and the later writings. These last two chapters provide the reader with a wealth of insights related to the application in a modern context.

In all of this, I must agree with the blurb from V. Philips Long on the back cover:

This book is not a mere survey of OT Messianic proof-texts lifted out of context, nor is it an attempt to ‘find Jesus’ on every page of the OT by fanciful interpretations. Rather, it shows how Jesus himself and the NT writers understood and explained his identity, mission and significance in light of the whole of Hebrew Scriptures.

Stay tuned for the final post in which I provide my personal reflections on the book.

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