Saturday, April 23, 2022

Once More unto the Mountaintop: Fresh Ruminations on Public Worship

This week, I was at a pastors' fellowship where this year's theme was heavenly mindedness. It was wonderful. The fellowship also has a very strong ordinary-means-ministry emphasis built into its DNA. Also wonderful. The pastor of the host church gives a talk on it each year that is superior in its annual variety and closeness of application to the talks of his predecessor. This year's talk was marvelous. So with this year's theme on heavenly mindedness and the perennial theme of the means of grace, it felt disconnected to have so many 'Episcoterian' (my term; excuse the shorthand) elements in the worship times. 

The day after I got back, our family worship time was in Exodus 19. It was a reminder that until Christ, the church could gather to God but not even touch the bottom of the mountain; just the one man could go up—and then throughout the Sinaitic administration only one man could ever go all the way in. But Hebrews 12 celebrates that with our risen, ascended, enthroned High Priest we go all the way to the top of the mountain and all the way in through the veil; hallelujah

The regulative principle is not only about making sure that we regard God as holy whenever we come near (cf. Lev 10:1–3); it's also about doing only those things that actually enter into the worship of heaven, only those things that are led by Christ from heaven, only those things that join the assembly of the firstborn, only those things through which we have confidence that the Spirit Himself is bringing us through the veil by the new and living way that is Jesus's flesh, with our bodies washed and consciences sprinkled.

Then last night, I had great fellowship with a brother whom the Lord has brought so far. From evanjelly to fundamentalist baptist, to 'reformed' baptist that was more refordamentalist, and then by Lutheryterian podcast to a church/place of that flavor. Knowing his journey, I understood why he had difficulty processing my views on simplicity and purity of public worship. I wrote him the next two paragraphs, which I've now modified slightly, which is what precipitated this blog post.

When you start to understand what worship is, where worship goes, who leads it, who are joined in it, and what specifically are the worship actions that participate in all that by the Spirit... the believer who understands these things embraces the regulative principle not as a boundary within which we do what we feel like is helpful or meaningful to us, but as a mission on which we hotly pursue in worship only those things that Christ Himself is leading from glory.

So when I talk about public worship, I'm coming from a different angle than just about anyone in "liturgical" circles. I believe in liturgy, but I think that Jesus actually has one (elements and forms though not necessarily sequence) and that to whatever extent we add that which is from man, to the same extent we disconnect ourselves from the worship of heaven and the true church through the ages and throughout history. Ironically, even true churches add things to try to create more connection across history and around the world; but, the very things they add end up taking away from the worship-unity that Jesus Himself had provided.

For further (better!) consideration, maybe take a listen to yesterday's family worship lesson or the "How God Wants to Be Worshiped" sermon series in which I tried to open these things from Scripture. And of course, others have done it better before me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Ps 30:12 — Eternal Praise Sweetens Temporary Grief

    To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
    O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Ps 30:12

If it was determined before time that our end would be to sing praise and give thanks to God for eternity, then nothing in time ought be able to rob us of our gladness—even if that gladness must be mixed with a momentary night of grief.

Ps 30:9 — Experiential Theology a Cure for Despair

    “What profit is there in my blood,
    When I go down to the pit?
    Will the dust praise You?
    Will it declare Your truth?
Ps 30:9

The theological knowledge of the end of our creation and redemption can sustain a man even in moments where he despairs of life. It is a means by which the Lord carries believers through the valley of the shadow of death. The theological must not be merely speculative but experiential.

Ps 30:4–5 — Heavenly Joy in the Midst of Earthly Weeping

    4      Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
            And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
    5      For His anger is but for a moment,
            His favor is for life;
            Weeping may endure for a night,
            But joy comes in the morning.
Ps 30:4–5

Even under that anger that is for a moment and that in that night when we endure weeping (v5), the believer who has the hope of joy mixed in with his grief is thereby enabled to sing praise and give thanks. He remembers Yahweh's Name; He does not have to wait for heaven to have it.

Ps 30:1–3 — "O Yahweh!" A Cry of Personal Intensity

    1      I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up,
            And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
    2      O LORD my God, I cried out to You,
            And You healed me.
    3      O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave;
            You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Ps 30:1–3

The triple "O Yahweh" is both intensely personal and personally intense. Personal, intense dealings with God are the right response of those whom God lifts up, and whom God allows to call Him our own, and whom God resurrects unto everlasting worship of Him. Indeed, personally and intensely is how He deals with us.

Ps 29:11 — How to Be Strong and Blessed

    The LORD will give strength to His people;
    The LORD will bless His people with peace.

Ps 29:11

As a conclusion to the rest of this Psalm, v11 drives home that it is Yahweh, Who gives strength and blessedness to believers, and He does so by means of His Word in public worship. 

Ps 29:1–9 — Glorious Worship Is Scripture-Saturated Worship

    1      Give  unto the LORD, O you mighty ones,
            Give unto the LORD glory and strength.
    2      Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;
            Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

    3      The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
            The God of glory thunders;
            The LORD is over many waters.
    4      The voice of the LORD is powerful;
            The voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

    5      The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars,
            Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
    6      He makes them also skip like a calf,
            Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
    7      The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire.

    8      The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
            The LORD shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
    9      The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth,
            And strips the forests bare;
            And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”
Ps 29:1–9

After noting that God Himself is the glory of worship, the Spirit pours forth a "flood" of verses showing how very much the Lord has chosen His Word (His voice!) as the great display of that glory in worship. Glorious worship is Scripture-saturated worship.

Ps 29:2 — God's Holiness Is Itself the True Beauty of Worship

    Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;
    Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Ps 29:2

The word 'beauty' has the sense of 'majesty'. God's holiness is itself the true beauty of the worship. God's glory (literally, "heaviness") is the weightiness of the worship. It is a misinterpretation bordering upon blasphemy to use this text and its parables to justify artistic adornments of the earthly circumstances of the worship of God.

Ps 28:7 — My Heart Trusted in Him, and I Am Helped

    The LORD is my strength and my shield;
    My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
    Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
    And with my song I will praise Him.
Ps 28:7

Yahweh's making the heart trust in Him is so much of a help that by this mechanism, one can come to greatly rejoice and to have heart and mouth opened with song of praise, even without a change in circumstances.

Ps 28:5 — Regard the Works of God's Hands

    Because they do not regard the works of the LORD,
    Nor the operation of His hands,
    He shall destroy them
    And not build them up.
Ps 28:5

The worst thing about the works of the wicked's hands against men (cf. v3–4) is that men are the work of God's hands. The worst thing about idolizing the creation is failing to see that it is a work of the Lord's hands. And the worst thing about failing to understand redemption correctly is that it is the work of the Lord's hands. God make us to regard the works of His hands!

Ps 28:3 — The Hardest Speech of All: the Silence of God

    1      To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me,
            Lest, if You are silent to me,
            I become like those who go down to the pit.
    2      Hear the voice of my supplications
            When I cry to You,
            When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
    3      Do not take me away with the wicked
            And with the workers of iniquity,
            Who speak peace to their neighbors,
            But evil is in their hearts.
Ps 28:1–3

The speech of those who are false in their hearts is a great trial. But the silence of God would be a greater trial still. Let believers supplicate Him that He be not silent.

Ps 27:13 — The Ultimate Hope of True Religion

    I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
    That I would see the goodness of the LORD
    In the land of the living.
Ps 27:13

Resurrection ("land of the living") unto beatific vision ("see the goodness of Yahweh") is the ultimate hope of true religion. Without it, there is no hope (cf. 1Cor 15). 

Ps 27:10 — Our Perfectly Faithful Caregiver

    When my father and my mother forsake me,
    Then the LORD will take care of me.
Ps 27:10

Literarily, being forsaken by father and mother functions in this verse as an unthinkable impossibility, with the implication of how much more devotedly loyal to us and our care is Yahweh. But in a wicked world, where the unthinkable is often the experienced, how much more we need and ought to nestle safely into His care!

Ps 27:8 — The Help of a God Who Commands Our Hearts

    When You said, “Seek My face,”
    My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”

Ps 27:8

What a help it is to have a God Who commands our hearts! When our hearts are not seeking His face, we may look to Him to command our hearts to do so.

Ps 27:6 — The Purpose of Deliverance

     And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
    Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
    I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
Ps 27:6

The purpose of deliverance (cf. v5) is to offer sacrifice not of blood but of our joyous shouting and singing and praising to Yahweh. Have I been delivered? Then let my soul serve the purpose of that deliverance!

Ps 27:4 — The One Thing

    One thing I have desired of the LORD,
    That will I seek:
    That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
    All the days of my life,
    To behold the beauty of the LORD,
    And to inquire in His temple.
Ps 27:4

"What is the one thing for which we ultimately exist?" It's a what question with a Whom answer. We exist for Him, specifically to behold Him and consider Him. And for this, He has created especially corporate worship (e.g. "house" and "temple"). Everything else is a means unto that end.

Ps 27:1 — An Inextinguishable Life

    The LORD is my light and my salvation;
    Whom shall I fear?
    The LORD is the strength of my life;
    Of whom shall I be afraid?

Ps 27:1. 

Yahweh is not just light unto my eyes but the light of my eyes, which is to say that He ismy very life. And if He is my life, then who can extinguish it?

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Why Don't We Keep the Day of Atonement (or other "forever" days)?

Someone in the congregation wrote:

Ok, I'm in Leviticus 16. It says this is a statute forever in verse 31 and in verse 34 it says this shall be an everlasting statute for you. Why don't we celebrate Yom Kippur? Is it because it says the priest shall make atonement for the people, the children of Israel for all their sins once a year? But Christ has already made atonement for us?

Since I often get such questions, I thought that my reply (below) might be helpful to others:

Good question. And praise God for giving you the good, Scripture wisdom to go straight to Christ Himself for resolving the answer.

(1) "forever" is the word "olam" which can mean anything from "a really long time" to "for everlasting eternity"

(2) The "for you" is specific to the administration under Moses that established the nation of Israel as a church at Sinai. The "you" in "everlasting statue for you" of v34 no longer exists. That way of constituting the church has been finally and fully rejected by God, Who has replaced the church as constituted in Moses with the church as constituted in Christ. This is one of the main points of the entire book of Hebrews, as well as important passages (Col 2:16–17 and other places) that explain why the ceremonial shadows from under Moses are not to be followed any longer. (important to remember here that although special Sabbaths from under Moses have been canceled with the cancellation of that church, the holiness of the Sabbath unto Yahweh was before the Mosaic administration and continues after it)

(3) More specific to the day of atonement itself, it is eternally/permanently fulfilled on the GREAT DAY of atonement. It was an annual ritual for consecration of earthly copies, but Jesus's atonement has consecrated the true and eternal worship of which those were a copy (Heb 7:11–10:18). 

Since the copies are gone, they also don't need to be consecrated annually with blood. No one can actually observe Yom Kippur, because there is no high priest, and there can be no more sacrifice. God took away these things. But the sacrifice, and the application of the blood in the Holy of Holies is the main essence of the day; without it, people observing it "in their hearts" or "in their homes" is utterly meaningless. 

And when they continue to do so today, they sin against Christ's High Priesthood, they sin against Christ's once-for-all sacrifice, they sin against the great commission which commands that the church now be constituted of many nations, they sin against the Lord's Day which is the only consecrated day in Christ's church, they sin against Heaven by participating in the rituals of the copy over/against the worship that connects with the reality. 

The only holy day is the day of Christ Himself, the Lord's Day. Christ Himself is clearly seen as Yahweh Himself by the fact that it is one and the same now to remember and keep consecrated the Lord's Day and to remember and keep Yahweh's holy day. To put it in language almost too crass: Yahweh Day was before all of the consecrated days of the church in its infancy, and continued with all the consecrated days of the church in its infancy (e.g. the Mosaic administration), but in part to show that Christ is Yahweh and not a mere man like Moses, the church is now to observe only Yahweh Day which is Jesus Day, i.e. THE LORD'S DAY. So, the keeping of the old days combines offense against Christ Himself with the horrible sin of violating the fourth commandment.

Many believers have some sort of sincerity in attempting an observance of the day of atonement. And when the temple still stood, the New Testament commanded patience with such (Rom 14:1–13). There is much less room for conscientious observance now that God Himself has literally, physically destroyed the possibility of such observance in 70 a.d., as He prophesied that He would in Heb 10:9. But we would still do well to maintain that spirit of patience as we help these observers out of a less-excusable ignorance and a wickedness that is a great offense against God and great harm to the believer. 

And much of the rest of the church have no stone to throw, since they observe things like advent, lent, "easter," etc. At least those who attempt to keep the day of atonement are keeping something that God had at one point commanded. It is good to maintain a spirit of patience with these manmade-day observers as well. But if there is a need for instruction for the former group, how much more need there is for instruction with this group!

Christ Himself is our Great High Priest.
Christ Himself offered His own blood, once for all for our atonement.
Christ Himself has consecrated the very worship of 
Heaven itself by that blood.
Christ Himself, from Heaven, leads an international (pan-national!) church
on the Day of Christ Himself.

These are the emphases to maintain in correcting this error. And you can see the great theme in all of them: Christ Himself! 

This is why the book that urges diligent attendance upon the Sabbath-keeping that remains, and the parts of the worship of that day's assembly, in which it participates with the assembly in glory... that entire book begins with one of the most exalted descriptions of CHRIST HIMSELF.

n.b. some relevant sections in our Confession

WCF 17.5–6
5. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come; which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the old testament.

6. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper: which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory, yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the new testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.

WCF 19.3
3. Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament.

WCF 21.7
7. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

What's Wrong with Reconstructionism?

Well, there's a reconstructionist preaching at a conference that is popular among the flock that I pastor, so I'm having to answer the question "what's wrong with reconstructionism?" more for a season.

There's much more to say than the following, but here's one of the primary answers: reconstructionism and dominionism miss that Jesus is the last and obedient Adam. Gen 1:28 has already come to fulfillment in Matt 28:18. 

Our duty is not to complete the taming of nature (which is impossible until the resurrection, Rom 8:19–23) or take over nations, but to declare the Lordship and Kingship of Christ and the terms (Matt 28:19) upon which He graciously takes (redeems!) subjects to Himself. 

It is the Mediatorial Kingship of Christ that fulfills the dominion mandate over all nations (cf. Ps 72) and all nature (cf. Ps 96, 98). Shall all kings submit to him? Absolutely! And we should declare His gospel and law to them (and, incidentally, to every creature, Mark 16:15). But if we encroach upon His own Mediatorial Kingship under the name of dominionism, we make the civil counterpart to the ceremonial error of encroaching upon His own Mediatorial Priesthood as the papists do.

One may reason that reconstructionism comes in different flavors, and that the one they are being exposed to is milder. If so, praise God for that. But why have someone tell you something, that many others have said well and are saying well, when ending up under him puts you at risk of turning aside into serious error.

Incidentally, the same conference features the man that gave this lady her platform, and he has never publicly repudiated her. Her books became progressively (pun intended) worse, she slandered those who criticized her teaching, and now she's preaching in public worship on the Lord's Day.

I've actually refrained from naming the conference or its host, because historically I love both. But if you happen to know what/when I'm talking about, and are going to attend, please do so with some discernment and some determination not to end up where I've expressed concern that you might.

It's a hard thing when your people want to read or sit under problematic teaching. The main thing, for sure, is so to disciple them through the ordinary means of grace that they develop their own discernment either not to attend or to attend and filter. But at what point do you begin to raise the alarm, and how strongly?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The Sort of God to Whom We Turn, When We Repent

Deuteronomy 33:26–29 shows the graciousness of our God and the glory of turning to Him. This blessing comes at the end of Israel's wickedness and wandering in the wilderness. When even such sinners as they were (and we are) turn to this LORD, we find Him to be One:
Who rides the heavens to help us
Who displays His excellency on the clouds
Who is our refuge
Who bears us up in everlasting arms
Who defends and avenges us

    26      “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
    Who rides the heavens to help you,
    And in His excellency on the clouds.
    27      The eternal God is your refuge,
    And underneath are the everlasting arms;
    He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
    And will say, ‘Destroy!’
    28      Then Israel shall dwell in safety,
    The fountain of Jacob alone,
    In a land of grain and new wine;
    His heavens shall also drop dew.
    29      Happy are you, O Israel!
    Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD,
    The shield of your help
    And the sword of your majesty!
    Your enemies shall submit to you,
    And you shall tread down their high places.”

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Why (in part) I Sincerely and Deeply Religiously Object to Current Sars-Cov-2 Vaccinations for Myself and My Family

N.B. this article presumes knowledge of and adherence to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Westminster Larger Catechism as accurate summations of Scripture teaching. Those who do not sincerely hold to every part of these cannot be expected to understand how and why my objections are sincerely and deeply held, but this ought not hinder them from respecting the religious sincerity and depth of my objections.

It is becoming apparent that I will need to be giving people the reasoning behind my deeply and sincerely held religious objection to the sars-cov-2 vaccines that are currently available in my country. And, if I am sincerely opposed to the vaccine itself, then I am all the more opposed to its being mandated for others, which actually makes it morally worse to receive it, since I am then complicit in this violation of the conscience of other believers. If the fifth commandment requires of superiors that they not demand that which violates the Scripture-informed conscience of their inferiors, then I also have a duty as an equal not to participate in or comply with such a demand. Thus, even if one is not convinced for himself of the sixth commandment violation, he may yet conclude that his brother's conscientious objection makes it a fifth commandment violation to participate in that which has been mandated.

As the reader can already see, there are myriad considerations for the morality of participating in mandated vaccination at all. The following are a few considerations that are specific to the question at hand. Especially in the third section, which introduces the violation of the sixth commandment with respect to one's own life and health, much more could be said about current approaches to researching, manufacturing, marketing, and administering vaccinations in general (not just with respect to sars-cov-2). However, this would get us into the weeds of what is really a different and unnecessary question than I am trying to answer here.

The biggest problem with sars-cov-2 vaccine mandates is that one can legitimately conclude that he is violating the sixth commandment by receiving the vaccine, regardless of which brand he receives.

One can legitimately conclude that he is violating the sixth commandment by receiving the vaccine, because babies were murdered for the research, development, testing, or production that brought us each of the vaccine variants available. As horrible as it truly is to differentiate between how murder-dependent a vaccine is, I give a little more information below. It was collected some months ago, but going back to lifesitenews, etc., to try to re-produce sources has proved difficult, likely due to "user error." I really never expected to share anything publicly, so this boils down to private notes.

BNT162b2 (Pfizer) used research dependent upon HEK-293. This is an old fetal cell line from a baby that was murdered 48 years ago. As far as I know, fetal cell lines were not used for development, testing, or production.

mRNA-1273 (Moderna) used various fetal cell lines both in development and in testing. The fact that the Moderna offering is much more effective than the Pfizer one presents a microcosm of the moral problem as a whole: is a greater reliance upon murder worth a greater effectiveness in medicinal therapy?

JNJ-78436735 (Johnson & Johnson) uses a cell line from a baby murdered 36 years ago in ongoing production.

One can legitimately conclude that he is violating the sixth commandment by receiving the vaccine, because current vaccinations increase the likelihood of becoming a super-spreader to others. This one takes a little more technical reading ability to understand, because it is based upon this study

Basically, current vaccinations trigger an immune response that produces primarily serum and secretory IgA antibodies. This helps the vaccinated person if he is infected, because he is likely to have a much milder case of the disease. However, this has not been correlated with increased mucosal IgM or IgG antibodies. 

So, the virus may replicate and be expressed in even greater quantities in a person who does not even feel ill. For the young (<60?) to prioritize increased mildness at the risk of becoming significantly more dangerous to others, and especially to the elderly, is significantly questionable from a sixth-commandment perspective.

One can legitimately conclude that he is violating the sixth commandment by receiving the vaccine, because of increased long-term risk to his own health and life. The Mayo Clinic tracking study recently published in Yale University's medRxiv periodical showed an overall effectiveness, from January through July, of 86% for Moderna and 76% for Pfizer. However, for just the month of July this was down to 76% for Moderna and 42%(!) for Pfizer, meaning that Jan–Jun was actually much higher, and the decline in effectiveness has been much more precipitous. 

Despite the cleverness of the new therapies, there is good reason why we have never vaccinated for the common cold, a substantial portion of which is caused by viruses similar to sars-cov-2 (albeit without the gain of function). The emerging data suggest that we are still not able to vaccinate for what is basically an augmented version of the common cold. This may be disappointing to some, but I don't see how it can be surprising.

Much has been made over the last few days of "official" FDA approval for Pfizer, but little has been made of the fact that it also requires findings of long-term and pregnancy studies in 2025 and 2027. This highlights that we thus far know very little about long-term effects, and even when those findings are in, it will not have been very "long-term." 

But it seems to me that there may be rather serious risk. I think that it is indisputable that auto-immune disease has increased significantly for the past thirty years during which I have been observant/aware of such things. It is unique/ingenious that rather than introducing a foreign body for itself to be attacked, these vaccines actually cause the body to produce that which the immune system then attacks. However, with auto-immune response an increasing threat to our health, I suspect that unnecessarily provoking it may have serious, unintended consequences. Besides this, there may be many other risks that just cannot be suspected, because we have not yet observed the outcome and cannot even begin to theorize about mechanism for that outcome. 

So, we have an unknown but possibly significant risk, which is greater for the young (who, on average, have a "longer-term" risk assessment to make), and a quickly decreasing benefit. As risk increases and benefit goes to zero, risk/benefit ratio goes to infinity. One might reason that benefit is not going to zero; but, taken with the two previous considerations of participating in the disregard of lives already taken, and possibly disregarding the lives of those who remain, it is questionable as to whether there is currently "benefit" at all.

In conclusion, another believer is not necessarily under obligation to reason as I have. Still, it's clear that there may be many biblically ethical reasons to be conscientiously against receiving any of the current vaccinations. The fetal murder consideration alone may be enough. And, if it is possible for another believer to have genuine conscientious objection, then I must be opposed to mandated vaccination.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Ordinary, Every-day Glory of Being a Covenantal Presbyterian

Believers, do you follow God's covenantal way of speaking in the Scriptures and dealing with His people through the ages, by praying and laboring in behalf of all those generations that will come from you?

My wife has an aunt who is into genealogy and just learned of another Hugenot family from which our children are descended. It would be interesting to trace our lineage to learn of the many godly ancestors whose prayers for their covenant progeny are being answered by His marvelous, redemptive grace in our lives. And it is marvelous to think of how those answers might continue to resound for many, increasingly-large generations to come.

Live a few faithful years in dependence upon Christ. Instill in them the faith by God's means and His Spirit's powerful application of it to them. Pray for your offspring. Be forgotten. God will not forget the prayers, the labors, or His promises to which you are responding.

And if you have no children, are you not yet participating in God's keeping of these promises to others? If they are kept only unto you is that faithfulness small? Even so, it is not only to you that they are kept. God's covenantal way of dealing includes within a congregation, whose families and children He responds to as you pray day by day, and whom also you strengthen as a body-part doing its share, by which share the rest of the body is being built up into Him (cf. Eph 4:11–16).