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John Frame – The King of the Ages

9 Nov

Geerhardus Vos formulated Jesus’ view of the kingdom as follows:

To him the kingdom exists there, where not merely God is supreme, for that is true at all times and under all circumstances, but where God supernaturally carries through his supremacy against all opposing powers and brings men to the willing recognition of the same.

On this definition, the kingdom is dynamic, indeed dramatic. It is a world-historical movement, following the fall of Adam, in which God works to defeat Satan and bring human beings to acknowledge Christ as Lord. It is, preeminently, the history of salvation.

God could have remedied the fall in an instant, sending his Son in an accelerated time frame, bringing him to death, resurrection, ascension, and triumphal return in a matter of seconds. Or he might have accomplished this work in a matter of decades, allowing for a somewhat more normal kind of historical development. But instead he determined a process spread over millennia. He spent centuries narrowing the messianic line to a chosen family, bringing them into the Land of Promise, ordaining the birth of his Son in the “fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4), accomplishing redemption in thirty-three years, and sending his disciples on a journey of several thousand years at least to bring this good news to all the nations.

Why he chose to stretch out the drama of salvation over so long a time is a mystery. The length of this time is related to other mysteries of Scripture, such as the problem of evil. We would not cry, “How long, O Lord?” (Pss. 6:3; 13:1; 80:4; 90:13; Hab. 1:2; Zech. 1:12; Rev. 6:10), if God had determined to complete his purposes in an instant, and the sting of pain and suffering would be much less if God were to abbreviate his story to a few decades. But God’s decision is clear: that the history of redemption will take millennia, leaving space for dramatic movements, ups and downs, twists and turns, longings and astonishments. Salvation is to be a great epic, not a short story. God will glorify himself, not by measuring his kingdom in time spans appropriate to human kings, but by revealing himself as “King of the ages” (Rev. 15:3 NIV).

~John Frame~


Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, New Jersey; P&R Publishing; 2013) p. 87-88

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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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