Monday, December 26, 2005

The nativity: "an act of sovereign mercy"

"There is a perceptible intent to fit the new things into the organism of the Old Testament History of Redemption. The nativity is connected with the house of God’s servant David, as was spoken by the holy prophets, [Lk. 1.69, 70]; it is the fulfilment of the oath sworn to Abraham, [vs. 73]; the prophecy of which it is the culmination extends from the beginning of the world, [vs. 70].

"In David, Abraham, the Creation, the dominating epochs of the Old Testament are seized upon; the chronological nexus is, as it were, the exponent of the one­ness of the divine work through the ages and of the divine purpose from the outset to lead up to the Messiah.

"The new procedure to be ushered in is throughout described as bearing a redemptive character. This is accomplished, first of all, by giving it, both in the objective announcement by God and in the subjective apprehension of those addressed, the background of a state of sin and unworthiness, and the corresponding signature of grace and salvation. God’s unique dealing with His people at this point is recog­nized as an act of sovereign mercy...There is no trace of the view that anything well-deserving has evoked this visitation of God, least of all anything resembling faithful observance of the law.

".... The source of all blessedness is sought in the berith (the covenant; crb), which is but another way of saying that it flows from the free promise of God. God fulfills what He promised to the fathers (the patriarchs) [Lk. 1.54, 55, 72, 73]." -- Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, pp. 306,307


Bhedr said...

We know that the gift is regeneration because of the Child and His work and that repentence and faith are gifts of Him.

Do you believe the same call of repentence in the OT should be given in the New?

Dad Bresson said...

This is a tough one to answer “briefly.” Just a couple notes. The Prophets seriously gave out the "call to repentance" as the oracles of God. Most were given as a call to Israel as a "nation". (2 Chron. 7:14) But we see a call beyond the scope of Israel when God sent Jonah to Nineveh in Babylon. Then we also see the individual "call" to repentance as well eg: Nathan before David..."you are the 'man'". In the N.T. we see the call to repentance to the audience of Peter. Individuals responded. There was also a call to Israel. “Christ came unto his own and his own received him not.” And the cry of true compassion in Matt. 23:27. But the main thrust of corporate repentance in the N.T. seems to be to the wayward churches, within the body of Christ. I guess my response would be N.T. or O.T. repentance is repentance and there is always a call to repentance to the sinner(s).

Bhedr said...

Thanks Chad Dad,

Thanks for your response as sometimes Chad doesn't have time and leaves me hanging. Therefore he is a hanging Chad:-)

God has taken me to the woodshed on this one the last few months as I once made light of repentence in the belief that since regeneration gives birth to this then one need simply ask for the gift convincing men through intellectual persuasion. I have since seen the folly of it as the heart has to be prepared for reception and Jesus said not to cast pearls to swine.

A fool will take the gift and rend it without understanding. At least the idea of the gift; and in his so doing he will pervert it with carnal understanding.

The heart must be broken by the law with the understanding of the souls violation of the love of Christ. Proverbs calls the man to turn at reproof.

Peter called men to repent and receive.

Chad's work has been helpful to me as well.

Breuss Wane said...

The call to repentance is different in the New Covenant in relation to the *Who* of repentance. Repentance is now tied to submission to Christ (Acts 2:38).

Bhedr said...

Amen on the Who!

Bhedr said...

I believe the Law of God along with the Holy Spirit grinds the fool and reveals to him his lost condition, so much so that he joyfully runs to the cross and submits himself to Christ believing that he can lay all of his sin upon the Lamb of God.

It is after that and only after that that we must quickly accept the Love of God and that we are now divorced from the Law.

In the past I underestimated the Law in bringing the knowledge of Sin by believing that only the Holy Spirit was needed to bring man to his need. The Holy Spirit takes the Law and awakens man to his need; therefore I couldn't fully see my need as I resisted this truth. I do see it now though and have fled to the cross and away from my sin. Much of the folly of my tongue was rebuked by almighty God. I could not see my foolishness, but the law made me aware of it as well as the Spirit of God and now I know I am saved.

Therefore I truly believe that the work of Ray Comfort is a good ministry. Perhaps in some areas he takes it to far, but so did the Puritans; however, the pre-liminary work of the Law that the Puritans emphasised has been cast to the side in evangelism today and I don't think that is a good thing.

"Satan, the God of all dissension, stirreth up daily new sects, and last of all, which of all other I should never have foreseen or once suspected, he hath raised up a sect as such as teach...that men should not be terrified by the Law, but gently exhorted by the preaching of the grace of Christ."
-Martin Luther