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Scott Oliphint – In Adam or In Christ

12 Jun
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Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary Philadelphia

Every person on the face of the earth is defined, in part, by his relationship to a covenant head. That is, there are two, and only two, positions that are possible for humanity, and only one of which can be actual for each person at a given time. A person is either, by nature (after the fall into sin), in Adam, in which case he is opposed to and in rebellion against God, or he is in Christ, in which case by grace a person is not guilty before God but is an heir of eternal life. This is the covenantal status of humanity, and it assumes, in each case, a relationship to God. It assumes as well the ongoing battle against evil in which God is making his enemies a footstool for Christ’s feet.

~Scott Oliphint~


Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2013) p. 32

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G.K. Beale – The Reality of Our Resurrection With Christ

11 Jun
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Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary.

Paul’s affirmation of believers’ possession of “eternal life” (Romans 6:22–23) is likely an already—not yet reality. Hence, saints are not merely like resurrected beings; rather, they actually have begun to experience the end-time resurrection that Christ experienced because they are identified with him by faith. Although Paul can use the language of being in “the likeness of His resurrection” (supplying the ellipsis in 6:5b), he does not mean this in some purely metaphorical way, contrary to what some scholars contend. That he intends to refer to literal resurrection is apparent from observing that he parallels it with being in “the likeness of his death” in 6:5a, which refers to real identification with his death, such that “our old man was crucified with Him” (6:6) and believers have really “died” (6:7–8). Paul does not refer to identification with Christ’s death in a metaphorical manner. So likewise believers are in the “likeness” of Christ’s resurrection because they actually have begun to be identified with it and participate in it. Of course, they are not fully identified with Christ’s resurrection, since he has experienced full physical resurrection life and those identified with him have experienced only inaugurated resurrection life on the spiritual level. Nevertheless, this inauguration is the beginning of true resurrection existence and is not metaphorical only because it is spiritual (as I explained in chap. 5 with respect to John 5:25–29). If saints are only like Christ’s resurrection, then Paul’s exhortation to them to live as resurrected beings is emptied of its force: if Christians have begun to be end-time resurrected creatures, then they have resurrection power not to “let sin reign in [their mortal bodies] … but present [themselves] to God as those alive from the dead” (6:12–13).


~G.K. Beale~


A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic; 2011) p. 250-51.

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John Piper – What Christianity Is

10 Apr

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Christianity is not the conclusion at the end of a syllogism. It is a meeting with God. It is a living supernatural power, called the Holy Spirit, moving into our hearts, shedding abroad the love of God experientially…

So Christianity, While not being merely the conclusion at the end of an argument is neither an experience at the end of a needle… Christianity is a supernatural experience of the Holy Spirit mediating the love of God to you through a historical person who did a historical act, namely, dying and rising to bear your sin…

To become a Christian is not to draw a conclusion at the end of a syllogism and sign a card that you think it is good logic. That makes nobody a Christian. To be a Christian is as the syllogism unfolds the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the heart so that in the truth of the gospel being presented… as the gospel is unfolded and the historical events of Jesus embodying the love of God are pointed to the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of your heart and you see them as glorious, true, beautiful. You see God in Christ and He stands forth in those historical facts mediated along the news of the gospel into your mind and then down into your heart as the Holy Spirit pours out the love of God as your eyes are opened by the Spirit to see the love of God as the most precious treasure in all the world. That’s how you got saved.

~John Piper~




Sermons from John Piper (1990–1999): Romans 5:3-8 – God Demonstrates His Love Toward Us (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 1999).

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J.I. Packer – Union With Christ

1 Apr


Is there more to Christianity than practicing morality and supporting a church? Many think not, but there is. Christianity is a new life, consisting of new relationships with God, men, and things; and it all springs from one source—a unique link between the Christian and his Master, Jesus Christ.

The New Testament makes this quite clear, but talks of the link itself in language that is startling and hard to pin down. Union with Christ is affirmed in terms that sound too strong to be true. Thus, Paul says that “Christ … is our life” (Colossians 3:4), and “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV); and he speaks of Christians doing and experiencing literally everything in Christ, and of baptized persons as having put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). So, too, Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you … I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:4ff.). What sort of link can it be that prompts such statements?

~J.I. Packer~




Growing in Christ (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books 1994) p. 119.

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D.A. Carson – Prayer for Power

15 Jan

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:14-19

To put the matter simply, Paul wants us to have the power to grasp the love of God in Christ Jesus, to the end that we might be mature. To be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” is simply a Pauline way of saying “to be all that God wants you to be,” or “to be spiritually mature.” A similar expression is found in the next chapter of this epistle, where Paul tells us how various people in the church are to serve “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (4:12–13). God himself, Christ himself, is the standard. God elsewhere says, “Be perfect, for I am perfect,” and “Be holy, for I am holy”; now he says here, in effect, “Be mature, be complete, as I am mature, complete.”

Do you see the stunning implication? Paul assumes that we cannot be as spiritually mature as we ought to be unless we receive power from God to enable us to grasp the limitless dimensions of the love of Christ. We may think we are peculiarly mature Christians because of our theology, our education, our years of experience, our traditions; but Paul knows better. He knows we cannot be as mature as we ought to be until we “know this love that surpasses knowledge.” That is why he prays as he does: he wants us to grow in our grasp of Christ’s love so that we will become mature, “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

~D. A. Carson~


A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992), 196.

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G.K. Beale – Resurrection: Now and Then

14 Jan

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Those who identify with Jesus in this life begin to experience true, literal resurrection on the spiritual level, which guarantees resurrection on the physical level at the end of the age, which will be a consummate return from the exile of death and the effects of the old, sinful world.

~G.K. Beale~


A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic; 2011) p. 248.

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David Wells – Consider Your End And Your Companion

25 Nov

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The goal of Christ’s redemption was that we might know God, love him, serve him, enjoy him, and glorify him forever. This is, indeed, our chief end. It was for this end that Christ came, was incarnate, died in our place, and was raised for our justification. It was that we might know God. Once, we were part of that world which “did not know God” (1 Cor. 1:21). But now we “have come to know God” (Gal. 4:9). We “know him who is from the beginning” (1 John 2:13) because we know “the love of Christ,” and the aim of redemption is that we “may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). And this knowledge of God, this experience of his goodness, is what our experience in life has sometimes diminished. That is why it must constantly be renewed.

This is our goal in life, that we might be God-centered in our thoughts and God-fearing in our hearts, as J. I. Packer put it. We are to be God-honoring in all that we do. And how is that going to happen if we never consider, or consider only fleetingly, or irregularly, the end toward which we travel, and the one who also walks with us through life on the way to this end?

~David Wells~




God In The Whirlwind: How the Holy-love Of God Reorients Our World (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2014), 16

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