There is not a change in subject matter between Romans 5 and 6

Reagan wallProtestant readers have been trained to look at gradual shifts or slight slopes as if they were divided into totally different areas. They see walls that aren’t there.

Perhaps I am over-generalizing, but this is certainly true of the way they treat Romans 5 to 6. The non-inspired chapter division is reinforced by an imagined theological compartmentalization. Supposedly Romans 5.11ff i “about imputation” and Romans 6.1ff is “about sanctification.”

But they are plainly both about dominion, both being under it and also being given it.

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17 ESV).

so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21 ESV).

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin (Romans 6:6-7 ESV).

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions (Romans 6:12 ESV).

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14 ESV)

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life (Romans 6:16-22 ESV).

The two Adams (Adam and Jesus) in Romans 5 remind us of the original Adam who was both given dominion and told to take dominion. His authority came precisely from his status as God’s servant and son. Adam did not take dominion but put himself under the dominion of sin and death. But now that Jesus has suffered death and been exalted with dominion, we can now again serve God and be liberated from Sin, having new authority.

Note that Romans 6.7 says that we have been “justified from sin,” meaning, as the ESV translates, that we have been “set free” from sin. But this is quite similar to the context of Romans 5 and shows that the “justification of life” has at least the connotation of “liberation to life.”

And this thread goes longer in both directions. Paul’s statement that we were once “slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness,” is a call back to Romans 1.18ff and the story of how sin led to more sin.

Going the other direction: it is not for nothing that Paul says “we are more than conqueror” in the midst of death (Romans 8.37). Just as Jesus died to reign, so do we. And even previous to that:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:18-23 ESV).

Being a child of God is a royal status and Paul reference to our resurrection as adoption reminds us that we, in Christ, are inheriting the dominion promised us.

Romans is consistent throughout that we are no longer slaves but sons because Jesus submitted to death in order to be Lord of the Living and the Dead.

Romans 5.11 through chapter six is no exception; it reiterates the theme and applies it to our lives.

Tear down this wall.

Jeff Meyers on the Mistake of Miracles and Deity

It has been awhile since I have posted. While I hope to fix that soon, please enjoy this post from another site:

Let me briefly address a mistake that continues to be perpetuated and it sounds so right because it is popularly repeated over and over again in apologetics and evangelism books, tracts, and sermons.

The mistake is to think that the miracles that Jesus did proves that he was divine. That the clearest, most compelling evidence of the divinity of Jesus was when he did miraculous works of power. No. Read the Bible carefully. In the Scriptures it is human prophets who do these kinds of things. Moses was not God, but he performed great signs and wonders. He was a mighty prophet. And Moses discovered, too, that the magicians of Egypt could imitate these acts. Jesus himself knew and the author of Acts relates that other people were able to perform exorcisms and what not. Similar miracles were done by Elijah and Elisha, but they were not God. God did “extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul” (Acts 19:11). But Paul was not God.

Haven’t you every thought it odd that the epistles of Paul and Peter and John make no mention of the miracles of Jesus as a proof of his divinity? Rather, Peter says, “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him” (Acts 2:22).

Read the rest: Jeff Meyers: Jesus Reveals God’s True Character.

  Jeff Meyers about the Incarnation

The Good News is not that God made some external determination to forgive man, superficially exercised his divine will, waved a disinterested wand and sprinkled some salvation dust across the human race. What he did was penetrate the very depths of humanity’s being and life, to restore the distorted and corrupt condition of man’s actual human existence. In his innermost being as the Son he genuinely united himself to human, finite, creaturely existence. We call that the incarnation.

God himself bore our infirmities and sins and the whole inheritance of judgment that lay against us—God himself, not merely in some extrinsic, detached way. He personally bore all of this.

Incidentally, it is important to not evade this point by denying that Jesus assumed our fallen, mortal human nature. The Greek culture where the Gospel was preached held to the apathy or passionlessness of the divine nature. In order to avoid the revolutionary doctrine of God presented in the Scriptures, the heresy of aphthartodocetism was invented. The error here is to say that Jesus took to himself a flawless human nature, one that was not affected by the curse. God himself didn’t really suffer, he only appeared to do so. Jesus’ mind and body were not subject to sickness, weakness, and the liabilities of our mortal existence. That, of course, frees God from any contact with the yuckiness of mortal human existence as we experience it.

Read the rest: Jeff Meyers: The Heresy with the Really Cool Name.

Christianity and the coming pansexual regime: basic points

  1. The Bible prohibits homosexual conduct and warns people to flee the temptations that lead to it.
  2. Christians who say otherwise are ignorant and deceived, or lying.
  3. As the coming pansexual regime increases pressure on Christians, there will be an increase in deceivers and deceived. It is basic economics. When Jerusalem looks suicidal, then thirty pieces of silver look more attractive. (So I guess the Bible does have something to say about men kissing each other!)
  4. The prohibition on homosexuality cannot be waved away by a hipster gesture toward prohibitions on “shell fish” or the permissibility of polygamy at some times in Biblical history. Monogamy is the ideal from Genesis to Revelation and homosexual conduct is condemned for Jews and Gentiles in the Hebrew Scriptures, and for Christians in the Greek Scriptures–temporary ritual laws don’t make that any less clear to any literate person who cares about the truth.
  5. Marriage is between a man and a woman. People who were homosexual have married before and still legally can. They typically have cooperated in finding homosexual partners for each other. What has never happened, is that homosexual persons have married partners of their own sex. This has never happened because it is impossible, like a four-sided triangle. You can call a piece of paper a “marriage license” but that is just a fiction. The state can no more “legalize gay marriage” than it can legalize unicorns.
  6. The state did not create marriage. Marriage existed before the state. What it is doing now, in trying to pass off new “marriages” is comparable to what the state has done with money. It found a working form of social cooperation and debased it.
  7. “Homosexual marriage” is war on human society. It is a rejection of any “libertarian” truce between people who engage in homosexual conduct and people who do not approve of homosexual conduct. It is a demand for censorship, and the outlawing of religions that don’t serve the coming pansexual regime.
  8. It is unclear if the pansexual left is a drive toward the Totalitarian State, or a tool of it. The recent Western Classics on totalitarian dystopias have all shown the State degrading and obliterating the family. Recent push back by the Pansexual Left (like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmade Tale) have not been as convincing. So I don’t know if the Totalitarian State is a byproduct of and necessary to protect the Pansexual Left, or if the desires of the Pansexual Left are being used by the sake of the Totalitarian state for the purpose of consolidating power. Not sure how much it matters.
  9. When one looks at the complete lack of sexual fidelity expected in these so-called “marriages,” it becomes clear that the new pressures of the Pansexual Left is simply following up on past victories. No fault divorce means the state has ceased to recognize marriage at all. We’ve had nothing more than societal custom and church government preserving marriage for quite some time.

via Christianity and the coming pansexual regime: basic points | Christendom Unbound.

Jacob done right and doing right by Jacob

As you may or may not know, in my opinion, rehabilitating Jacob is really important to getting a better grasp of the message of the Bible. See for example:

WHAT DOES GOD NAME HIS PEOPLE? Genesis 32 (vv. 22-32) | “once more, with feeling”.

Also, Mike Mason at the SAET blog has begun a series on Jacob that I comment to you. So far there are three entries:

The most slandered man in Christendom

“Jacob was a _____ man”

“Thus, Jacob swindled his brother…”

Jacob is not supposed to be a negative example. And, in my opinion, a church culture that judges him will tend to be attracted to self-righteousness and elitism. I have no idea which is cause and which effect.

But we should stop being “friends” to Jacob on the level of the ones that tried to “comfort” Job.


Jeffrey Meyers on the Decaloge and the Community

The “political” or “civil use” of the Decalogue often gets little or no attention these days. But every polis needs a legal code that will shape the way people live in relation to one another; and the ten commandments have an inexorably social dimension. Yahweh gave the Ten Words to an amorphous Israel gathered at the foot of Mt. Sinai. It was to be the charter for their new culture, foundational words that would mold and shape them into a peaceful, productive society. The Decalogue is not given simply to guide individuals in their religious, private piety. They are about how the community is called to live together in marriages, families, cities, and larger communities

Read the rest: Jeff Meyers: Usus Politicus.

Jeff Meyers is the Senior Pastor of Providence Reformed Presbyterians Church (PCA).

Jeff Meyers: The Widow’s Mite

Jeffrey J. Meyers, Pastor of Providence Reformed PCA:

I see that the Gospel reading in the lectionary this week is Mark 12: 38-44. I’m preaching through the 10 commandments, so I won’t be commenting on this passage on Sunday. But I would like to give a different perspective on this passage than what is normally heard.

It should be carefully noted that the 2 synoptic Gospels that include the account of the destitute widow dropping her little gift into the offering box at the temple have it sandwiched between 1) Jesus’ warning about the scribes “who devour widows’ houses,” and 2) his indignant prophesy that Israel’s temple/house will be destroyed (Mark 12:38–13:2; Luke 20:45–21:9). These three blocks of texts are inexorably connected.

Read the rest: Jeff Meyers: The Widow’s Mite.

Jeff Meyers on the Third Word (coming soon)

“Third word” refers to the third of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not bear the name of YHWH your god in vain, the YHWH will not hold him guiltless who bears his name in vain.” The Ten Commandments are referred to as the “Ten Words” (Exodus 34.28).

I should probably do videos in order starting with the First Commandment. But recently I heard Pastor Jeff Meyers’ sermon on the Third Commandment, and hope it will be made public.

When/If it becomes available, I’ll link it. I will probably be doing a video soon, whether it becomes public or not.