Category: Contending

Tim Ward – An Introduction to the Bible

When we say that the Bible is ‘the Word of God’, what we are actually claiming about it? It is to answer this question, which is both theological and also deeply practical and vital, that the branch of theology called ‘the doctrine of Scripture’ has been developed. Thinking biblically The best place to start is with what the Bible says about itself, and about how God uses language. From the very beginning, God shows himself to be a God who speaks. More than that, it is by means of his words that he acts. Thus in Genesis ch.1 for God to say “Let there be light”, and for God to create light, are one and the same thing. This fundamental characteristic of God continues through the Bible. The primary means by which God establishes a relationship with humanity is through his covenant (see for example Gen. chs. 15 & 17). A covenant is at heart a promise, and a promise simply cannot meaningfully be made without speaking. That God has chosen to relate to us in this way leads to a significant fact: when we encounter the words which God speaks, we are encountering God-in-action. Thus when Abraham (in fact still as Abram) hears the words of God’s promise and trusts them (Gen. 12.1-9), he thereby encounters God and enters into a relationship with him. Right through the Old...

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Thomas Watson – Christ’s Humiliation In His Incarnation

‘Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.’ I Tim 3: I6. Q-xxvii: WHEREIN DID CHRIST’S HUMILIATION CONSIST? A: In his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his incarnation, his taking flesh, and being born. It was real flesh that Christ took; not the image of a body (as the Manichees erroneously held), but a true body; therefore he is said to be ‘made of a woman.’ Gal 4: 4. As bread is made of wheat, and wine is made of the grape; so Christ is made of a woman: his body was part of the flesh and substance of the virgin. This is a glorious mystery, ‘God manifest in the flesh.’ In the creation, man was made in God’s image; in the incarnation God was made in man’s image. How came Christ to be made flesh? It was by his Father’s special designation. ‘God sent forth his Son, made of a woman.’ Gal 4: 4. God the Father in a special manner appointed Christ to be incarnate; which shows how needful a call is to any business of weight and importance: to act without a call, is to act without a blessing. Christ would not be incarnate, and...

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J. C. Ryle – Faith and Assurance

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2 Tim 4:7-8) AN assured hope, such as Paul expresses in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, is a true and Scriptural thing. I would lay it down fully and broadly, that a true Christian, a converted man, may reach that comfortable degree of faith in Christ, that in general he shall feel entirely confident as to the pardon and safety of his soul, — shall seldom be troubled with doubts, — seldom be distracted with hesitation, — seldom be distressed by anxious questionings, — and, in short, though vexed by many an inward conflict with sin, shall look forward to death without trembling, and to judgment without dismay. The vast majority of the worldly oppose the doctrine of assurance. That they cannot receive it is certainly no marvel. But there are also some true believers who reject assurance, or shrink from it as a doctrine fraught with danger. They think it borders on presumption. They seem to think it a proper humility never to be confident, and to live in a certain degree of doubt. This is to...

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