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Thomas Schreiner – God’s Sovereign Rule Seen in Acts

1 Aug

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God’s sovereign rule over all things does not mean that everything that occurs is intrinsically good. It was God’s plan that Jesus suffer and die for the sins of his people. A common theme is that believers must be prepared to suffer as well. The death of Stephen indicates that God’s plan is often worked out through the suffering of his own people. In Acts 12 Herod took action against the church and beheaded James the brother of John. Luke expresses no shock, recording the event abruptly and without detail. The death of James scarcely led to the conclusion that God is not in control, for Peter was released supernaturally, probably because of the church’s fervent prayers. Luke is not suggesting that the church failed to pray for James. He offers no explanation for the deliverance of Peter and the execution of James, proposing no neatly packaged answer for why some suffer and others are spared. God’s rule over the world does not lend itself to formulas by which evil can be easily explained. Given Luke’s worldview, he must have believed that God could have delivered James as well, and yet no reason for God’s actions are given. The rationale for much of what happens is obscured from human vision. Still, God’s control over all is conveyed powerfully by the conclusion of the story. The same Herod who executed James is struck dead by God when he fails to give God glory. God rules over the kings of the earth, and the evil that they inflict is under his hand, but God himself is untainted by evil.

~Thomas Schreiner~


New Testament Theology – Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2008) p. 141

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Thomas Schreiner – God is Our King of Glory and Love

25 Jul

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Focusing on God as King in the abstract apart from human beings does not do justice to the breadth found in the Scriptures. For the central message of Scripture also includes human being–the crown of creation–who are created in God’s image. Since God is King and Lord, it is his purpose and design that he be glorified in all things and by all people. Some have complained that such a God is narcissistic, but that objection misses the point. For God as King glorifies himself by giving himself to his human beings in love. God is honored as King when human beings receive and depend upon his love and experience his salvation. God’s glory and God’s love must not be placed into two separate compartments. Rather, God is glorified as Lord in his love for human beings. The sovereignty of God and his kingship take place in history, in the story recounted in the Scriptures, revealed supremely in the ministry and person of Jesus Christ.

~Thomas Schreiner~


The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2013) p. xii-xiv

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Thomas Schreiner – We Will Live Because Christ Lives

1 Apr

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The Spirit of the resurrected Jesus indwells his people. We have already seen that the indwelling Spirit signifies the gift of the new age, and here the gift of the Spirit is connected closely to the risen Christ, which is scarcely surprising since the Spirit is given when Christ is exalted. Two indications of the new age coalesce here: Christ’s resurrection and the gift of the Spirit. The arrival of the age of promise, however, does not mean that the era of evil has ceased. Even though Christ has been raised and has poured out his Spirit, Christians still die–the age of evil is defeated, but it still kills Christians in its last gasp. Yet, the indwelling Spirit of the resurrected Christ guarantees that believers will be raised on the last day. Death will not have the last word for believers; it represents the last painful but ultimately ineffective attack against Christians. Believers live in the interval between Christ’s resurrection and theirs with the sure confidence that they will live because Christ lives.

~Thomas Schreiner~


New Testament Theology – Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2008) p. 106

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Thomas Schreiner – The Resurrection of Jesus and the Overlap of the Ages

30 Mar

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The proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection in Acts–one of its most prominent themes–means nothing less than the arrival of the coming age of salvation. For Jews, resurrection could mean only one thing: the old age has passed away and the new has come. God’s promise to vindicate his people and restore Israel was no longer a word about the future; the threshold had been crossed with the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Incidentally, this suggests that Jesus is the true Israel (a theme that we will examine in due course). Still, the arrival of the resurrection and the new age contained a surprise inasmuch as the present evil age continued to exist and did not vanish immediately. The new and old ages coexist simultaneously now that Jesus has been raised form the dead. The new has come, but the old persists. The new certainly will triumph, but not without an interval in which death remains. Luke concentrates on the resurrection of Jesus in Acts because it is the emblem of the new age, the signature of God’s promises.

~Thomas Schreiner~


New Testament Theology – Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2008) p. 105

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Thomas Schreiner – The Spirit of Power

21 Mar

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The Spirit in Pauline theology is a Spirit of power. He transforms God’s people. We see this clearly in Paul’s letter-Spirit contrast that is noted on three different occasions (Rom. 2:29; 7:6; 2 Cor. 3:6). The letter-Spirit contrast should not be construed as a hermeneutical contrast but rather in terms of redemptive history. Transformation of human beings did not occur in the old era under the Mosaic law, but it has been effected by the power of the Spirit in the new age. The true Jew and true circumcision are the work of God’s Spirit, not the letter (Rom. 2:29). Here “the letter” refers to the OT law, and in context it almost certainly refers to the commands contained in the law (Rom. 2:17-29). The commands of the law, though good, do not provide human beings with the power to put them into practice. Mere possession of the law is useless if people do not keep it. Paul argues here that Gentiles are considered to be true Jews and enjoy the circumcision of the heart if they have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, unlike the law, grants people the ability to keep what the law commands (Rom. 2:26-27). The keeping of the law by Gentiles here is not merely hypothetical, for it is grounded in the transforming work of the Spirit.

~Thomas Schreiner~


New Testament Theology – Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2008) p. 481

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Thomas Schreiner – The Holy Spirit as Eschatological Herald

1 Mar

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The promised baptism of the Holy Spirit indicated the arrival of the new age (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16), fulfilling the promise of the Spirit predicted in the prophets. During his ministry Jesus was the bearer of the Spirit, but after his exaltation he would become the dispenser of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit in Jesus’ ministry and beyond must be interpreted against the backdrop of the Old Testament, where the gift of the Spirit heralds God’s eschatological work. We see here the trinitarian character of God’s saving work, for God sent Jesus into the world so that Jesus would baptize his followers with the Holy Spirit, thereby inaugurating the fulfillment of the promise that all nations would be blessed through Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3).

~Thomas Schreiner~


New Testament Theology – Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2008) p. 26

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Thomas Schreiner – Don’t Miss the Warp and Woof

25 Feb

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God’s purpose in all that he does is to bring honor to himself and to Jesus Christ. The NT is radically God-centered. We could say that the NT is about God magnifying himself in Christ through the Spirit. We could easily fail to see the supremacy of God and the centrality of Christ in the NT precisely because these themes are part of the warp and woof of the NT. Sometimes we fail to see what is most obvious, what is right before our eyes. The focus of God and Christ may be taken for granted, and we become interested in themes that are “new” to us, themes that we have not seen before. Any NT theology that does not focus on what God has done in Christ, however, fails to see what is fundamental to and pervasive in the text of Scripture.

~Thomas Schreiner~


New Testament Theology – Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2008) p. 13-14

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