David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Tag: interpretation

MP3 Sermons on Romans 9 – John Piper

If you really want to dive deep into the implications and ramifications of God’s grace and mercy to us in Christ, you really need to take the time to listen to this series of sermons on Romans 9 by John Piper. It is unfortunate these passages get skimmed over, ignored or nuanced to such a great degree there is nothing left but hollow theology. There is gold here if you will spend the time with it. Romans 9 answers these questions (though Romans 10-11 continues the answers as well):

  1. “If God has made such great promises to us in Christ that will NEVER fail (as explained in Romans 8), why is it that a majority of Israel rejected Christ, the only One who could save them?”
  2. “If all of Israel is not saved, and God’s promises have failed them, what are we to make of the promises of God given to us in Romans 8?”
  3. “Is God required to show mercy to everyone?”
  4. “Is God free to show mercy to whom He pleases?”
  5. “Is God bound by what the creature does or doesn’t do, or is He free to do as He pleases, to His own glory and for His own purposes?”
  6. “From where did our faith come from?”

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The Soap Opera of the Old Testament

When we read Scripture and particularly the Old Testament, it is so easy to automatically view those heroes of the faith, those glowing golden embossed characters we have all read about as kids as if they did no wrong. Sadly, a lot of times, we carry those portrayals with us into adulthood. Sure they made “mistakes,” the thinking goes, but they are people who kept their act together 99% of the time and are worthy of imitation as a result. And unfortunately, this is where we think the teaching stops.

The natural result of this thinking and its resultant teaching is that the historical characters of the Scriptures merely become our models for how to live, people we should imitate in faith and good works. Now of course, to a certain extent that is true. Yet, is that all there is to these narratives? I thought the Bible was a book about God and His works? Does this not apply to every square inch of Scripture including every single narrative?

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Instructions For How to Live? Or Promises of Redemption?

Is the Old Testament just a bunch of stories and instruction for what we should and shouldn’t do? Or is it one big story compiled of smaller stories, that all make up an unfolding drama of redemption from Genesis to Revelation, in which God reveals hints and pictures that all point to the grand climax of this story: the perfect, law-fulling life, sacrificial death and hope filled resurrection, ascension and return of Christ? I would argue the latter. For instance, the writer of Hebrews says of Moses:

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. – Hebrews 11:24-26

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