Covenant?

Covenant is an important concept in understanding the bible. Karl Barth said it was crucial in grasping the biblical narrative. James and Thomas Torrance from Scotland, provided some excellent teaching regarding a biblical covenant of grace, not being a legal covenant, rather like a business contract. No. Covenant is not a Contract.

Geoff Bingham’s book on Covenant adds a lot of good insight into the mix.

314web.jpg

Commonly known are the Covenants made with Noah, Abraham, Israel, David and the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus. However, is there a Universal Covenant for the human race?  Peter said that God is ‘a faithful Creator’. Paul taught that he is the God, who in Christ Jesus reveals most fully, his plan to redeem creation (Romans 8).

How does the Covenant God ‘set out’ with Creation?

Geoff Bingham wrote, in “Love’s Most Glorious Covenant”, that if there is a covenant with creation, then:

“it would mean that human beings are human beings and have covenant in common long before they are Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and animists. They are of one common stock5 before they are Chinese, Japanese, French, German and British. Behind their cultural laws and taboos they have a common morality which springs from Creation and not from second thoughts about everything. We know we will never unravel the complexities of race, culture and religion but there can be much coming together—if we will—on the basis of our common created humanity.”

Regarding a universal covenant he said:

“I am suggesting in this important Preface that we need to open our eyes, refresh our thinking and alert ourselves to the fact of this Covenant of Creation. We may have had a foreshortened perspective of history and so of God, Man and Creation. We may have missed much that pertains to hope—the kind of hope which would make much sense of past history and of the history that is moving towards a universal climax. If so, it is possible that our study of God’s Covenant of Creation may not only supply hitherto missing pieces of a puzzle, but understanding that Covenant may show us history is, in fact, not a puzzle to be solved. The humble in spirit are not baffled by the mystery of God. They live in that mystery and know what is what.”

Reading the book is a task well worth the effort.

 

Click here – Download for free: 314_gloriouscovenant

314web.jpg

 

Posted in Covenant, Creation, Love of God | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ACC- Completed Work – Uniting Church

Jesus and the Gospel

For Uniting Church ACC Conference August 2016. A study paper by Trevor Faggotter.

Basis of Union-Completed Work-A4-TRF

“The Uniting Church acknowledges that the Church is able to live and endure through the changes of history only because her Lord comes, addresses and deals with people in and through the news of his completed work. Christ who is present when he is preached among people is the Word of God who acquits the guilty, who gives life to the dead and who brings into being what otherwise could not exist. Through human witness in word and action, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ reaches out to command people’s attention and awaken their faith; he calls them into the fellowship of his sufferings, to be disciples of a crucified Lord; in his own strange way he constitutes, rules and renews them as his Church” (Paragraph 4, The Basis of Union).

 

Posted in Uniting Church in Australia | Leave a comment

Prophets and Prophecy

Amos, the farmer-come-prophet, once said: Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). Prophets spoke from God. And God revealed the plan.

Pontius Pilate was a prefect of Judaea, answerable to Rome. As Jesus stood before this politically insecure leader, he said: For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Jesus lived the truth, and spoke the truth, and bore witness to the Truth. Pilate’s response revealed that he really knew only politics—manipulation of people—as he asked ‘What is Truth?’ Likewise, many people today have lost any real anchor when it comes to knowing, doing and being part of ‘truth’. Politics is not ‘the way’. Prophecy is. And it involves speaking up, and living out the truth.

The Christian church has a prophetic role: to share in the truth what God is doing for, and saying to the world. God’s plan for creation, and for the future is essential to all to know. The church’s witness to the truth of God’s way and will is a ‘prophetic’ word. It liberates, and evokes reaction.

In Acts 21 we hear of the ministry of prophecy. It was given to Philip’s 4 daughters and Agabus. It is also present with Paul as an apostle. There are components of prophecy:

  1. the office of a prophet,
  2. the charisma of prophecy,
  3. the general prophetic utterance of the Christian community, and
  4. the general use of the prophetic deposit (Scripture and the Gospel)

Without prophetic vision—or prophecy—people run wild, but blessed are those who follow God’s teachings. (Proverbs 29:18 – God’s Word). All nations, the church and local community urgently need to find ‘the Way’. Prophecy is crucial. Filled with the Spirit—the church can and should sing, speak, live and meet in a prophetic manner. This component is vital for humanity today.

Lord Jesus Christ, may our worship, service and words bear witness to your plan, foretelling and forth-telling.

Is Prophecy for Today?

Download a free book: 089_IsProphecyForToday

Posted in Geoffrey Bingham, Prophecy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ecclesiastes—confronting the cynic and the secularist

Ecclesiastes: The Wisdom of Koheleth “click” for free PDF download

A different style of commentary, with a depth of insight, Geoff Bingham always brings.

The preacher, Koheleth, so often repeats: ‘Vanity of vanities! All is vanity’. Negativity is wearisome. So, why bother with Ecclesiastes?

Cynicism, pessimism, and nihilism are common in Australia, even at times within the Christian community. Such attitudes are often understandable, but seem to me to be detrimental to society.

Christianity has been pushed into a handy box called ‘religion’. Many are cynical about it. Christians can push away ‘the world’, too, dismissing good things, daily events and interests as ‘secular’. Both actions suppress the truth (Romans 1:18)

If we can help ourselves, and other people to see life with fresh eyes, and enable us and them to be alert and responsive to negativity as it arises—perhaps, community life can be blessed and others can come to know Jesus Christ, more fully too.

Many readers are surprised to learn that Ecclesiastes is not the work of a cynic. Nor is it someone merely smashing of idols, like an angry iconoclast. The Taliban do that. Rather it is one who has reflected seriously upon life, and has found the key to it. He is now writing, probing, to bring about a life-changing confrontation, in the hearts and lives of those who will hear him. Unfortunately notes like the Scofield Bible say this is merely a ‘natural man’. It is in the canon of Scripture which means its inspired (2Tim. 3:16).

Many box God out of their lives. Others, claiming to give God first place, can actually box daily reality and human events out of their lives under the guise of becoming more spiritual. Note: Someone has called the book: ‘The Confessions of a Workaholic’.

BREATH OF BREATH

Vanity of Vanities, is not ‘meaningless, meaningless’. It is based on a Hebrew word ‘havel’ meaning a mist that goes; a vapour; a gust of wind; it is best read as: ‘Breath of breath: everything is fleeting’. Life is passing. Something that is fleeting is still something. While Life is Fleeting, it filled with purpose, when the Key to life is understood, namely knowing God in the midst of everything, and recognizing his part in it. Then, learning to live in the moment that is given. There is a time to keep, and a time to throw away (Ecclesiastes 3:6). A wise person keeps in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). And moves with, and not against the fleeting seasons.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, [i.e. transient, fleeting], but what is unseen is eternal. (2Corinthians 4:18)

The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble (Proverbs 16:4)

Posted in Bible Books, Geoffrey Bingham | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Marriage

292_ProfoundMystery

Marriage

Marriage

Marriage

In Mark 10:5—9 Jesus taught that marriage has its origins in creation, and it is to be between one man and one woman, in a one-flesh union – to the exclusion of all others, for life (until one partner dies).

“This is a profound mystery–but I am applying it to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32)

It appears that both the Marriage of Christ to the Church, and of a man to a woman, was viewed by the Apostle Paul as ‘The Profound Mystery’.

Posted in Homosexuality, Marriage, Sexuality | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Grace

204scan

GreatGloriousGrace

One of the key points about grace is this: ‘When man was created he had no need of grace’.  This point is made on page 16 of this book, Great and Glorious Grace. It is more helpful at this point, than the theology of Karl Barth, who said of the created relationship between creature and creature, that it ‘is no less grace than their creation and that of plants’ (CD III.1.207).  No, argues Geoff, creation is not an act of grace, rather ‘Grace Comes to Man in the Stream of History’ and that grace appears in the person of Jesus Christ, and is integral to his ministry of suffering and death upon a bloody cross, and his resurrection too, of course.

This book shows how grace has to do with everything. It is easy to read and will help most people, if they persist and let its words enlarge the heart and mind and joy of life, in knowing God, the God of all grace.

part of page 16…

Creation not 'of grace'

Posted in Christ's Cross, Creation, Grace, Romans | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Day of the Spirit

The word ‘spirit’ receives widespread usage today.  It is often a bit of a ‘catch-all’ word. Like ‘the spirit of Anzac’ or ‘the Olympic spirit’. In the bible it is the uniqueness of the ‘Holy Spirit’ that confronts us.  Jesus said it was essential to be “born” of the Spirit to have any clue of what he was, …as we say ‘banging on about!’ Haha.

Here is a very good (free) descriptive book about that Spirit.

044web

You can download this book at the end of this blog-post.

One of the most important aspects of human life, is to know the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit interprets to us, the meaning of the cross of Jesus, and his resurrection.

The Spirit’s activity, while eternal, can be seen, through faith, as it relates to:

(1) history, and creation; the Spirit is a crucial member of the Triune Godhead,

(2) the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, and

(3) the ongoing ministry of Jesus, seen from the book of Acts ….and well beyond.

Since the Day of Pentecost we have been living in the era of the Spirit.

Jesus is Living; his ministry comes personally to the lives of all Christian people today, and in the global community—indeed over all creation (Genesis 1, Romans 8).

To read Acts 2, and Genesis 1, and to consider the works of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, and to be filled anew with the Spirit of God,  is to become newly aware of and availing ourselves of, this indispensable matter in the life of every human being.

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit and renew the whole creation! (For that is the great plan).

Download a free copy of this magnificent book, with one click:

044DayofSpirit  * Free Download

 

Posted in Holy Spirit | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment