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A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1:13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6)/ Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)/ 2015-02-12 A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(1) Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1;3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6) A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(1) Matthew 12:28, Matthew 13:40-43, Acts 1:3, Acts 28:31, Col. 1:13, Rev. 1:6 In this 500th anniversary year of the birth of John Calvin, we remember the work of the Genevan Reformer who permanently impacted the Protestant Reformation and Reformed theology. This can be seen especially in his teachings of the covenant. Calvin’s approach to the covenant makes a difference in the way one interprets the Scriptures and describes their unity in Christ’s saving work. In Calvin’s understanding of the covenant, we also discover a structure for developing the saving benefits of Christ as well as the Christian life and sacraments. Our study will engage Calvin’s covenantal hermeneutic as well as his covenant theology. Let us consider Calvin and the covenant with the specific backdrop of Dispensationalism, one of the important evangelical theologies of our day. Although dispensationalism was a system unknown to Calvin since it had not yet been formulated in his day, Calvin’s covenantal thought stands in distinction to dispensationalism and offers a ready critique to its leading ideas. Lecture One: A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic. In this first lecture, we will consider the following eight points: I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. Let us begin, then, by addressing the first of these eight points. I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. What makes dispensationalism to be Dispensationalism and what makes covenant theology to be covenant theology? When one reads his Bible, does the difference between these two approaches to interpreting the Bible matter? After all, people who read the Bible with a dispensational perspective believe in Jesus Christ. And people who hold to the covenant theological tradition do so as well. So this is not a debate about who is a Christian and who is not. It is a debate about the proper way to understand the Bible. So what makes Dispensationalism, dispensationalism? Dr. Charles Ryrie stated in Dispensationalism Today that the sine qua non of Dispensationalism is the distinction between the Church and Israel. Thus without the distinction between the Church and Israel, there is no Dispensationalism. Accordingly, the central idea of Dispensationalism is that there are two peoples of God: the Old Testament people of God called Israel, and the New Testament people of God called the Church. These two are entirely different. Dispensationalism declares that when Jesus came, He brought His kingdom to His Old Testament people but they rejected Him. Because they rejected Him they were set aside and God initiated an entirely different dispensation, the Church age. This age is a “great parenthesis”. The dispensation of the church is the age of grace after the Old Testament dispensation of Israel and the law. Then at the end of the church age, the church will be raptured out of the world before seven years of tribulation. God will return to His Old Testament plan for Israel. That plan is to bring the lapsed kingdom to a restored Israel. Thus the church is in the middle of God’s work with OT Israel and His work with the restored Israel after the rapture of the church. The kingdom in Dispensationalism therefore is futurethe premillennial kingdom. For dispensational theology, the kingdom has not come. It was rejected by Israel, and instead, Jesus planted His church. When the church is taken up, then the kingdom for Israel will come. Thus for Dispensationalism, the kingdom is future to be fulfilled in a literal thousand year kingdom as referenced in Revelation 20. Three foundational ideas of Dispensationalism, then, are: (1) there are two peoples of God, (2) the Church and Israel are to be kept distinct, and (3) the kingdom is for Israel and is primarily future. Covenant Theology takes a very different view of these three issues. How then does one define covenant theology? To begin, covenant theology teaches that there is only one people of God. This one people of God can be internally distinguished as the people who were looking forward to the Messiah to come from the people who are looking back at the fact that He’s come and is coming again. Nevertheless, these are one and same people of the Messiah. They are the true Israel of God. So whether we are speaking of the church, or of the Old Testament saint, they are part of the one people of God. Thus for Covenant Theology, the kingdom is not just totally future. The kingdom is already here even though there is much more yet to come. It is “already and not yet.” Covenant Theology declares that there is a kingdom that is already at work, and yet it is to come in far greater glory. This present and future kingdom has been brought to the one people of God, those who were looking forward to the first coming of the Messiah and those that are looking back at His having come and who is yet to come again a second time. Thus Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology are two different systems and two different ways of reading the Bible. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. Next, let us summarize the history of each. Dispensationalism is a recent development in the history of the church. It began in the late 1800s in Plymouth, England under the teaching of John Nelson Darby, who developed the leading ideas of the Dispensational system. Dispensationalism has been popularized through Bible colleges and Bible publications. It is now a theology known around the world. Covenant Theology, on the other hand, goes back to the ancient church. St. Augustine put it this way, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” This simple theological dictum well summarizes the heart of Covenant Theology. Augustine is saying that the whole Bible is about Jesus. Augustine’s point is that the whole Bible is about Jesus whether one reads the Old or the New Testament. Both Testaments are interrelated in the coming of Christ. Augustine’s and other early Christian biblical scholars’ recognition of the unity of the Bible in Christ came to its own in the Reformation. In 1534 only 17 years after Luther’s 95 Theses, Henry Bullinger wrote the first treatise on the covenant, entitled, “Of The One And Eternal Testament or Covenant of God.” Bullinger was a Swiss Reformer working at the beginning of the Reformation. Because the Reformed theologians went back to a direct exegetical study of the Bible, following the principle of as sola scriptura, they rediscovered the centrality of the covenant for understanding the Bible. Bullinger and Zwingli before him concluded that the covenant was the key idea to understanding the Bible. Covenant theology, then, is an idea that goes back to the ancient church with Augustine, and is one of the important insights of the theology of the Reformed tradition. If one identifies with the Presbyterian tradition, another name for the Reformed tradition, one will quickly recognize that covenantal teaching is foundational in the Westminster Standards. Following Zwingli and Bullinger, Calvin emphasized the covenant and joined them in teaching that the covenant is a key idea to understand the Bible’s theology and to show its great unity in Christ. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. What are some of the distinctives of covenant theology? First, let us speak of the formula of the covenant. A baker or a cook knows if one leaves something out of the recipe or formula, a disaster results. Leave out the baking powder and one might not have a good desert. A chemist has a formula that creates a certain chemical reaction. Similarly, there is a formula that describes the covenant. According to Calvin, it is, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” This phrase is encountered repeatedly in the Bible. A few examples include Genesis 17, Leviticus 26, Jeremiah 32, Ezekiel 36, 2 Corinthians 6, Hebrews 8 and Revelation 21. The formula of the covenant begins in the Old Testament, moves to the New Testament and carries forward into heaven in Biblical revelation. Notice that the formula of the covenant does not say, “I will be your God and you will be My peoples” in the plural. It says “I will be your God and you will be My people” in the singular. As it proceeds from the Old Testament to the New Testament to heaven, it manifests one people of God in relationship with God. It also reveals that the covenant is a relationship that God Himself initiates with man. This is seen in the divine “I”. The formula of the covenant does not say, “Let’s make a deal” or “Let’s make a bargain.” It begins with “I will be your God.” God takes the initiative. We call this monergism, mono-lateral salvation, sovereign grace, or Calvinism.. God takes the first step. He seeks us out. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk. 17:10). In the covenant, God takes the initiative and by His initiation we become His people. Consider three texts: Jeremiah 31:31, Genesis 15 and Genesis 17. Jerome of Bethlehem translated the Hebrew and Greek Bible into Latin creating what was been called the Vulgate translation which is still the official translation for the Roman Catholic Church. Jerome wanted to differentiate the books of Israel before the coming of Christ (Genesis to Malachi) from the books after the coming of Christ (Matthew to Revelation). He called the first the Old Testament and the second, the New Testament. To do so, he utilized Jeremiah 31 where it says, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. Jerome translated the Hebrew word berith, by the Latin word, testamentum which can mean either a covenant or a testament, as in a last will and testament. Berith literally means “to cut” something and thus by implication a covenant because a covenant was made by sacrifice. And so after Jerome, we have spoken of the Old Testament and the New Testament as the two great sections of the canon of Scripture. But the Hebrew word that used in Jeremiah 31 suggests that we should rather speak of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant rather the Old Testament and the New Testament. This would help us to realize how important the idea of covenant is. The point here is that the idea of the covenant helps to organize the entire Bible because the Bible is God’s covenant with His people. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. Now let’s take this a step further. Let’s consider how to read the Bible in a way that ties the Bible, Old and New Testament, into one book, that sees the Bible as a whole book for one people of God. How then do we make the Old Testament and the New Testament come together? Along with Calvin’s emphasis on the formula of the covenant, we find a basic interpretive principle that he presents to understand the history of salvation in the Bible. This says, “The covenant is always the same in substance but distinct in administration.” Substance means what something really is. Administration has the idea of how one governs something. For example, there’s an administration of a president that is followed by a different president who governs or administers in another way. This also holds in the administration of a family. For example, I have had a mother now for many years. When I was about two or three years old and learning to walk across the street my mother used to hold my hand and say, “Peter, you can’t run across the street now. You can only go when I let you go, and when you walk, you hold on to my hand. I don’t want you to get hurt in the traffic.” When I go home and see my Mom today, and when we cross the street I take hold of her arm and say, “Mom hold on to me. I don’t want you to fall down in traffic while we’re walking across the street.” We administer our love and concern for safety for each other differently now then when I was a child. Nevertheless, the love of our family is unchanged. The substance of family love is unchanged. The administration of family safety is quite different. In the same sort of way, the covenant is always the same in substance Christ’s saving love for His people while it is administered differently, as by sacrifice in the OT and by worship of the incarnate Christ in the NT. Calvin’s views of the continuity of the covenant can be presented as follows: A Summary of Calvin’s Arguments for the Spiritual Continuity of the Old and New Covenants They are the Same in Substance 1. Same Law and same Doctrine since Beginning of World 2. Christ is Mediator of the Covenants 3. Both have the Grace of Justification 4. Sacraments have Equal Significance in both 5. Both have the Word of God, which is to have Eternal Life 6. The Formula of the Covenant Common to both includes Eternal Life As we look at the Bible from Calvin’s perspective, the substance of the Bible is always Jesus the Messiah and His saving work. But the way that God explains what the Messiah was to do changed from the Old Testament to the New. In the Old Testament there were bloody sacrifices and there was a high priest and there was a tabernacle or temple. In the New Testament we don’t have those things. Things are administered differently now. Another helpful example is a building with its scaffolding. When a building is being built there are scaffolds set up around it. But when the building is complete, the scaffolds are taken down and removed since they are no longer needed. Thus the Old Testament administration of the covenant of grace was administered by animal sacrifices, rituals, dietary laws and high priests. All those things were the scaffolds used to bring the Messiah into the world. Now that He’s come, God administers His saving work differently and the Old Testament administration of the covenant has ended. Thus its visible signs and practices, its scaffolds, have been removed. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. Another way to speak of the substance of the covenant is to see it summarized in the formula of the covenant, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” That has always been the heart of the Bible even though God’s administration of His covenant changes through time. Another phrase to describe this dual emphasis of unchanging substance with differing administrations is to emphasize the continuity and discontinuity of the Old and New Testaments. Thus from a Presbyterian perspective, we baptize the children of believers in the New Testament because the children of believers in the Old Testament were circumcised. Circumcision and baptism are very different in administration, but they are the same in substance. They both declare that God is in covenant with His people. The way the sacrament was administered before Christ came was different than after Christ because the shedding of human or animal blood was pointing to Christ’s saving sacrifice that alone could truly take away the sin of the world. But now that Christ has come and shed His blood, we no longer have need to shed sacrificial blood. Similarly, the Passover became the Lord’s Supper. The change was needed because there is no longer any shedding of blood. Thus Christians do not slay the Passover lamb. Jesus has fulfilled that picture. The Passover was always pointing to Him, the substance of the covenant. The diversity of the covenant is in its form. The continuity of the Covenant is in Christ, the Passover Lamb. We continue to have the bread and the cup of Passover pointing us to the fact that God takes His wrath away from His people because His Son has shed His blood for us and that blood has been placed upon the lentil of our hearts so that we might be saved. Calvin enumerates five differences between the covenants. They relate only to the externals and not to the substance of the covenant. Calvin’s View of the Differences In Administration Between the Old and New Covenants Old Covenant Before Christ New Covenant After Christ 1. Material and Temporal Blessings represent spiritual blessings 1. Direct Meditation upon spiritual blessings 2. Images & Ceremonies as types of Christ 2. Full Revelation of Christ in His Incarnation 3. The OT Law is letter that kills 3. The NT Gospel is spirit that makes alive a. The OT Law in the narrow sense condemns because it is the demand of Law without the Holy Spirit’s Aid a. In the New Covenant the Law is written upon the heart by the Spirit in the Gospel and is accompanied by the forgiveness of sins b. The OT Law in the broad sense includes the Gospel by borrowing from it the Promises of Christ b. The Gospel of the New Covenant has been the experience of God’s Children since the beginning of the World 4. The Old Covenant was characterized by bondage and fear 4. The New Covenant is characterized by freedom and trust 5. The Old Covenant was limited to Israel 5. The New Covenant is extended to all nations So as we learn to think covenantally, we discover the interconnectedness of the formula of the covenant, the substance and administration of the covenant, and the continuity and discontinuity of the covenant. The substance of the covenant unites the whole Bible emphasizing the continuity of the covenant even though the administration of the covenant differs through history emphasizing the discontinuity of the covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. How do we understand the stories in the Bible and how do we understand our Christian lives? We must read the Bible as a history of salvation and not as a logically arranged systematic theology. God didn’t inspire a systematic theology of Jesus. He did not provide us with a Biblical book entitled, “The Doctrine of God” or “The Doctrine of the Church.” The Bible is a history of salvation. They Bible reveals the dramatic stories of what God did through redemptive history. The unfolding character of God’s story is a mystery until the whole story is done. Mysteries, surprises, twists and turns keep on coming as God’s organic plan is progressively unfolded. One of the great covenant teachers of the early twentieth century was Geerhardus Vos who taught at Princeton and impacted our professors at Westminster. He developed and emphasized the historic, organic unfolding of salvation in Scripture. What does “organic” mean? If someone plants a garden of flowers, he needs some seeds. When one looks at a seed, the seed already contains its blossom. But if one has never seen that seed before he would not be able to guess what it is. But because of the seed’s organic development, everything that the mature tree is to become is already present in its seed. And that’s the way the Bible is, right from its beginning. The whole story of the Bible is already present when God said, “He will crush his head and he will bruise his heel,” in Genesis 3:15. That is the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can go back and read it in light of the Gospel and realize that the Gospel was there all along. Initially, men did not understand that. It took the unfolding of the history of salvation until finally the wonderful resurrection and victory of Christ was clear. But it was always there because the whole Bible is about Christ. Consider Luke 24 where Jesus gives His first Bible study after His resurrection. Jesus speaks to two men on the road to Emmaus who were discussing the story of the crucifixion and the rumors that the tomb was empty. Luke 24:36ff says, While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. Now when Jesus refers “to everything that was written about Him in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms,” He was identifying the three main divisions of the Canon of the Old Testament. That was the way the Jews divided the books of the Old Testament. In essence He was saying, “It matters not which Old Testament book you read, if your mind has been opened by My Spirit, you will discover that it all speaks of me.” That is the way Jesus wants His people to read the Bible; to see that it is all about Him. The Bible is the dramatic story of the history of redemption that organically unfolds Jesus’ saving work. Thus covenant theology rejects the Dispensational notion that the OT is for the Jewish people of God and the NT is for the Gentile people of God. Instead, covenant theology teaches that the whole Bible is about Christ who came to save all of God’s people who by faith become the true Israel whether they are Jews or Gentiles. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. It’s at this point where one of the greatest differences arises between Dispensationalism and covenant theology. Dispensationalists say the many land promises that God gave to Israel are yet to be fulfilled. This they claim will occur when the church is raptured, and when after the seven year tribulation, the kingdom finally comes, then all the land promises to Israel will be literally fulfilled. Covenant Theology believes Dispensationalists are misreading the Bible when they interpret the Bible in that way. Consider here 2 Corinthians 1:18-20. The apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth about the truthfulness of his ministry. He says in 1:18, But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No” but in him it has always been “Yes.” The key verse is verse 20: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. What Paul is saying is that if one finds any promise in the Bible and if he interprets it without Christ, he’s misreading it. Every promise is “yes” and “amen” in Christ. If one does not read the Bible this way, it is as though Jesus becomes irrelevant to that promise. For Paul, then, every land promise and every other redemptive promise always finds its meaning in Christ. The point is that there is continuity and discontinuity in the covenant. The land promises are to be understood as though God had said, “I have redeemed you out of the world to be my people. Thus I’ve given you a heavenly land which is my true and ultimate promised land.” Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” And at the conclusion of Revelation, when we are in Heaven, we have God dwelling with us. Then God says, “I will be your God and you will be My people, in a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” That is why the writer of the Hebrews teaches in Hebrews 11 that Abraham was not looking for real estate in Palestine when he left early Ur. Instead, he was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. A covenant theologian can say “yes and amen” to that in Christ. Paul declares that that is how we are to read the Bible. If we don’t read the Bible in this way, we are misreading it. But Dispensationalism teaches that the Bible is to be read without seeing all of it promises fulfilled in the ultimate culmination of all things in Jesus Christ. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. The formula of the covenant reflects the substance of the covenant, while the administration of the covenant was different before Christ came than its administration after Christ came and ascended to heaven. Having ascended to the right Hand of the Father, He poured out His Holy Spirit on His people inaugurating His kingdom. God’s Kingdom began at Pentecost. The kingdom is now here even though it is still not yet here fully. The Kingdom is already but not yet. Chuck Colson illustrated this by the D-Day invasion. When the Marines hit Omaha beach and took the cliffs they did the impossible. Having accomplished this, they were confident that one day they would conquer the Third Reich. They already had won but they had not yet won. There was still a long battle yet ahead even though they had secured that victory by doing the impossible. The incarnation of Jesus Christ and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and its birth of the New Testament era of covenant life are the beginning of the kingdom. One day Satan’s “Third Reich” is going to fall and the whole kingdom will be come even though it has already begun and we as believers are part of it. Jesus Kingdom is already here. (See Matthew 12:28; 13:40-43; Acts 1:3; 28:31; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:6.) Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)(Pennsylvania Proclamation Presbyterian Church(미국 펜실베이니어 선포장로교회))
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:
A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1:3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1:13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6)/ Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)/ 2015-02-12 A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(칼빈의 언약적 성경해석과 언약신학으로부터 추론된 세대주의 비평)(2)/ Matthew 12:28(마12:28), Matthew 13:40-43(마13:40-43), Acts 1:3(행1;3), Acts 28:31(행28:31), Col. 1:13(골1;13), Rev. 1:6(계1:6) A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenantal Hermeneutic And Covenant Theology(2) Lecture II. A Critique Of Dispensationalism Derived From Calvin’s Covenant Theology As we saw in the first lecture, Calvin interprets the Bible in a covenantal and Christocentric manner. He is firmly committed to the organic unity of the history of redemption that is explained in its continuity and discontinuity by God’s covenantal revelation. The eight points that we addressed in our first lecture are: I. The Differences Between Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. II. The Differing Historical Origins Of Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology. III. Calvin’s Emphasis On The Unity Of The Bible Seen In The Formula of the Covenant. IV. Calvin’s Covenantal Dictum For Interpreting The Bible: The Covenant Is Always The Same In Substance, Yet It Is Distinct In Administration. V. While Christ Is The Heart Of The Bible There Is Continuity And Discontinuity In The Covenant. VI. God’s Promises Of Salvation In Christ Are Organically Present In The Old Testament: The Covenant Is The “DNA” Of The History Of Salvation. VII. Boundary Disputes: The Covenantal Interpretation And the Dispensational Interpretation of the Old Testament Land Promises. VIII. Covenant Theology Teaches That The Kingdom Is Not Just Future, It Is Already But Not Yet. Having seen Calvin’s covenantal hermeneutic and how its implications stand in contrast to the hermeneutics of Dispensationalism, let us now consider Calvin’s covenant theology that flows from his covenantal hermeneutic and see how it stands in critique of Dispensational theology. We will address the following six points in this second lecture: I. Covenant Theology Celebrates Christ’s Incarnation Because By Assuming Humanity, Christ Becomes The Covenant. II. The First Saving Benefit of the Covenant Of Grace Is Justification by Faith Alone. III. The Second Saving Benefit Of The Covenant Of Grace Is Sanctification By Faith and Obedience. IV. The Four-Fold Relationship Of Sanctification And Justification In Calvin’s Covenant Theology. V. The Different Ethical Tendencies Emerging From Covenantal Ethics And Dispensational Ethics. VI. The Corporate Character Of Calvin’s Covenant al Understanding Of Sacraments. Let us then look at the first of these six points. I. Covenant Theology Celebrates Christ’s Incarnation Because By Assuming Humanity, Christ Becomes The Covenant. Before Calvin began to write his theology, Heinrich Bullinger had already emphasized in his 1534 Of The One And Eternal Testament Or Covenant Of God that Christ Himself is the covenant due to His incarnation. Bullinger explains in his tenth section entitled, “Christ, the Seal and Living Confirmation of the Covenant”: What I am about to say of Christ the Lord is not the entire doctrine. Rather, it is that very point worthy of admiration due to His incarnation, namely, the eternal covenant of God with the race of men that covenant which He set forth and confirmed in an astonishing and living way. Indeed, when the true God assumed true humanity, immediately it [i.e., the covenant] was not treated with more words and arguments, rather, by this thing itself, that greatest mystery is attested to the whole world--that God admitted man into covenant and partnership. Further, He bound man to Himself by an indissoluble connection by the highest miracle of love, to be our God. Thus undoubtedly with Isaiah we too believe the name given to Christ (Isaiah 7:14). He is called Immanuel, just as if someone might say, “God with us.” Thus the Gospels review these innumerable miracles and great benefits of Christ with so many examples. By these indeed, Isaiah declared God to be kind, and therefore the Horn of Plenty, the Father, and Shaddai to the human race. To this name also the very death and resurrection of Christ are referred. They [i.e. the words that compose the name Immanuel] are indeed most certain testimonies of the divine mercy, justice, and restitution of life. By Christ, God Himself established and expounded for us all of Himself, before our eyes; blessing us and accepting us as cleansed by Christ, into partnership and the eternal kingdom. All of which John’s Gospel says embraced by the few but heavenly words, “In the beginning was the word, and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory; glory, I say, which was proper for the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Indeed of His fullness, we have received grace for grace. Because the law was given by Moses, grace and truth have appeared by Jesus Christ” (John 1:1, 14, 16, 17). You hear this highest truth, that mystery that God has become a man, that is, He has become entirely of us, He Himself dwells among us. You hear that He has begun to shine His power and glory to the world, not for any other plan than that He may draw us to Himself by most beautiful benefits in His love, who is the fullness of our God Shaddai. For Paul also says, “In Christ dwells all the fullness of God bodily, and you are in Him complete and perfect” (Colossians 2:9, 10). In this way, therefore, the Lord Jesus Himself confirmed and displayed the first part of the covenant. The very incarnation shows that God is God--Shaddai, the blessing and eternal happiness of the seed of Abraham. (My translation.) To get at what Bullinger is saying, let us suppose that God said, “I so want you to know that I am your God and that you are My people, that I will give you a proof that you cannot possibly forget or overlook it.” God’s proof of His covenantal commitment is seen in His becoming a man. By Jesus’ incarnation, the God-Man becomes the union of God and man, thus mirroring the very covenant itself. The formula of the covenant says, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” By the incarnation God declared, “Because I am your God and because you are My people, I your God am becoming a human person like you, to be with you.” Isaiah 7:14 says, “The virgin will conceive and have a Son and you will name Him Immanuel”. Immanuel means, “With us is God” or “God with us”. The name Immanuel is the covenant name, meaning that “God is with us”. Jesus as the incarnate Covenant Savior and Lord permanently unites God to His people by taking on unfallen human nature and becoming a man. Thus Jesus’ incarnation physically manifests the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be My people.” By the incarnation, God in Christ declares, I am with you and you are with Me. Calvin’s emphasis on Christ as the very covenant of God is seen in his extensive Christ-centered development of the covenant of grace’s saving benefits. Consider the following: Let us then set forth the covenant that he once established as eternal and never perishing. Its fulfillment, by which it is finally confirmed and ratified, is Christ. Who, then, dares to separate the Jews from Christ, since with them we hear, was made the covenant of the gospel, the sole foundation of which is Christ? ...the apostle contends that it ought to be terminated and abrogated, to give place to Christ, the Sponsor and Mediator of a better covenant;... This is the new covenant that God in Christ has made with us, that he will remember our sins no more. The intimate relationship of Christ and the covenant for Calvin can be seen by their repeated juxtaposition. The covenant not only contains Christ, but He is its foundation. The promise of both of the Old and New Covenants have Christ as their foundation. Since the New Covenant is from the beginning, the Old Covenant is Christian. Thus the Old Testament fathers had Christ. The law includes Christ. The Old Covenant’s end was Christ and eternal life. In fact, the Old Covenant was an empty show unless Christ’s death and resurrection are part of it. Thus the ark of the Covenant, the Old Testament ceremonies, and the progressive revelation of the Old Covenant all point to Christ. Christ’s advent ushers in the New Covenant that stands in continuity with the Old. The Redeemer’s coming does not invalidate the Old Covenant. Instead, He renews and continues it. He causes it to be new and eternal. By fulfilling and confirming the Old Covenant, Christ brought an eternal and never perishing covenant. Christ’s redemptive work is fully integrated with the covenant. Accordingly, Christ is the Mediator, the Sponsor, the Redeemer, and testator of the covenant. The blood of the covenant in Christ’s atonement or redemptive death for sin is what ratifies the covenant. Thus the covenant is ratified with Christ and His members. Christ’s resurrection, intercession, priesthood, and Kingdom, are associated with the covenant. Indeed, Christ is the one who confirms, seals and sanctions the covenant. Calvin also sees a relationship of Christ and the covenant in the application of redemption in such areas as faith, sonship, union with God and Christ, good works, and the Sacraments. Clearly, Christ and covenant is a major strand in Calvin’s golden chain of salvation. The commentaries also relate Christ and the covenant on numerous points. Calvin further develops his emphasis on Christ as the very covenant of God when he explains the inseparability of the covenant of grace’s saving benefits in the very same manner in which he explains the inseparability of these same saving benefits in Christ Himself. We will consider this below in section IV of this lecture. II. The First Saving Benefit of the Covenant Of Grace Is Justification by Faith Alone. As we have seen, the word for covenant in Hebrew is berith, meaning to cut. In this context, consider Genesis 15. Childless Abram wanted a son. So the Lord brought Abram out to view a clear starry night’ sky. The Lord promised Abram that his children would be as numerous as the stars. We read in Genesis 15:6, Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. We call this justification by faith. In fact, Paul uses this same text in his Epistle to the Romans to show that believers are justified by faith alone. Here God brings righteousness to Abram through faith by means of a covenant, a berith. To make this covenant sacrifice, Abram takes different kinds of animals and cuts them from the top of the head, through the nose, through the torso, all the way through the tail, and then the pieces are laid on the ground. This is indeed a berith, a cutting, a bloody sacrifice. This powerful image was an ancient custom by which one made a covenant. In making a covenant, one slew an animal and then walked between its parts and in essence promised, “If I don’t keep my promise, I will be just like the animals that we’ve just walked between.” To make a mortgage that way with your bank would be to sign it in blood! Here we see a promise joined with a sanction or punishment for disobedience. If the covenanter did not keep his word, he would be like the animal that was just slain. But the story doesn’t stop there. Next Abram watches the sun setting, he gets ready to enter into the covenant but instead he falls into a deep sleep. He is in effect paralyzed and he hears God speak. He sees a theophany, a manifestation of God. It is a smoking pot and a burning oven that alone passes through the middle of the animal parts, while Abram has no part in this covenant. The Lord in effect was saying, “Abram I alone establish the covenant. I alone can bring you righteousness. I alone can fulfill this promise. You cannot do it. But you will benefit by this covenant since you have been justified by faith.” Moreover, the Lord was also making a great promise. In effect He said, “If I don’t keep My promise, I will cease to exist.” But the Lord in essence was also saying even more: “So that you might be righteous, I will have to assume flesh and become the Lamb of God who is slain as a sacrifice for sinners to take away the sin of the world.” In this dramatic story of ancient covenant making by sacrifice, God alone guarantees the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be My people.” When one is justified by faith in Christ, he does absolutely nothing but receive Christ’s gift of His perfect righteousness before God. This righteousness is imputed to him by faith alone that he receives with a beggar’s hands of faith. Christians are in this covenant by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as seen in the Scriptures alone so that God alone receives the glory in our salvation. III. The Second Saving Benefit Of The Covenant Of Grace Is Sanctification By Faith and Obedience. But this is not where Abram’s story stops. We next turn to Genesis 17 where we find that the Lord makes a covenant with Abram by changing his name and giving him a new name. So Abram becomes Abraham. As this new name is given, another covenant is made that begins with the words, “Walk before me and be blameless.” In essence God says, “Remember you did not walk between the animal parts before, but were righteous by faith. But now you must walk before me and be blameless. In fact, you are going to have the covenant, the berith, cut in your own flesh. You are going to be the living sacrifice. Your very body is to be cut in the covenant of circumcision.” Thus it is no longer an animal, but Abram who is the covenant sacrifice. By extension, circumcision leads to the circumcision of the heart, the removing of the old nature. This is what Abraham is supposed to become as one who has been justified by faith. He is now to walk with God. This theologians have called sanctification. Those that are justified by faith are also those who are to learn to walk in holiness before God and become living sacrifices, as Paul called them in Romans 12:1-2. In covenant sacrifice, Abram was to give his body onto the Lord as a living sacrifice. Consider again Jeremiah 31. There God said He was going to make a new covenant with Israel, a new berith. It would not be like the covenant that He made with Israel where the law of God was written on tablets of stone and were broken because the people rebelled and worshiped the golden calf. This time God would write the law on Israel’s hearts, forgiving their sins. But notice that the new covenant presents a second great benefit. The first benefit of the covenant is forgiveness of sins which is called justification by faith. The second benefit of the covenant is sanctification in which the law of God is written on the hearts of God’s people so that they will live for Him. Thus the new covenant has two great blessings: justification and sanctification. Reflect again on the formula of the covenant: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” One can hear both the truths of justification and of sanctification in the formula of the covenant. Listen to the two emphases that the covenant formula can be given. The first emphasis says, I will be your God and you will be My people. Do you hear that wonderful promise? God says, “You are righteous through faith in Me. I’m giving you this.” This is the indicative or factual expression of the Covenant of Grace. Now let me read these same words again but accent them in a different way: I will be your God and you will be My people. Do you hear a different nuance in the same words? By emphasizing the words in this way, we move from the indicative to the imperative. In other words, what God has promised, He also demands. And what God demands, He also promises. God’s enabling us to keep His covenant is seen in the fact that He writes His law on our hearts. He has not only forgiven us, but now He also gives us the ability to become His people. This gracious gift is underscored by God’s revealed name in Genesis 17El Shaddai, the Almighty and All-Sufficient God. So justification and sanctification are the two great benefits of the covenant that come to us in God’s covenant of grace. And remember this formula of the covenant goes from Genesis all the way to Revelation and it’s the one people of God that participate in it. All too often Dispensational and evangelical theology separates sanctification from God’s saving grace. It is an expression of growth and maturity but not part of God’s redemptive plan. Covenant theology following Calvin’s emphasis on what he called the “duplex gratiae” or double graces declares that God saves His people by justifying and sanctifying them. IV. The Four-Fold Relationship Of Sanctification And Justification In Calvin’s Covenant Theology. These truths of the covenant must be taught to God’s people of all ages. Accordingly, we need an illustration that is useful for children and grown ups too. So allow me to offer such an illustration by asking you to look carefully at your hands. You have a right hand and a left hand. Your two hands will now stand for the two blessings of the New Covenant: sanctification, I will write my law on your hearts; justification, I will forgive your sins. Let your dominant hand be your justification hand. So if you are right handed, think of your right hand as your justification hand and your left hand as your sanctification hand. If you are left handed, let your left hand be your justification hand and your right hand be your sanctification hand. I want you to learn four important principles of the relationship of justification and sanctification from your two hands. These principles are: 1. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, must be distinguished. 2. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, are simultaneous given. 3. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, are inseparable. 4. Justification and sanctification, like your hands, must be logically ordered. Notice first that a person’s two hands are distinct. That is important to remember. If someone says, “Turn right,” and one turns left he will get into trouble or get lost. Early on, people learn to distinguish their right hands from their left. The point is this: justification and sanctification, the two benefits of the covenant, are distinct. We must distinguish them. The great mistake of Roman Catholicism is to say the way one is justified is by becoming sanctified. Catholicism teaches that if one does good works, God will declare such a one to be righteous. But that destroys justification by faith alone. In this illustration, that is to confuse one’s left hand with his right hand, or to identify his justification with his sanctification. But some evangelicals think of this in an opposite way from Roman Catholics. But still, they confuse their right and left hands, or confuse justification and sanctification. In this view, sometimes called, “easy-believism” one declares, “If I believe in Jesus that is how I become forgiven and holy. It doesn’t matter if I do anything else as long as I believe, because that’s all one needs before God.” This view teaches that one becomes sanctified by being justified. But that is to confuse one’s right hand with his left hand, or to identify one’s sanctification with his justification. This is the reverse of Catholicism, but like Catholicism, it confuses justification and sanctification. Calvin taught and the Reformed faith teaches that there are two great saving benefits of the covenant of grace, and we must never confuse them. We have two hands which are distinct and we must never confuse them. Notice secondly, that the two hands we have, were given to us simultaneously. Humans are born with a right and left hand that come simultaneously. So when God brings us the blessings of the New Covenant, He not only forgives our sins as a completed act and declares us to be righteous by clothing us in the righteousness of Christ, He also gives us the Holy Spirit to begin to make us holy. With this gift of the Holy Spirit, God starts the process of teaching us to become holy, to die to sin and to live to Christ. While the sanctification work of the Holy Spirit is a process that goes on and on, it starts at the same time as our forgiveness or justification in Christ. These two benefits of the covenant are simultaneous. Nevertheless, we must distinguish them for they are different. The third thing we need to realize about these two New Covenant blessings is that they are inseparable. No one decides to take off his left hand when in a hurry and says, “I don’t have time to mess with my left hand today”. If one’s left hand gets separated he uses his other hand to dial a doctor and pleads, “Could you reattach this hand? I don’t want them separated!” Nevertheless, there are people that spiritually speaking want to separate justification from sanctification. A libertine says, “I just want to be forgiven. I want a Jesus credit card so I can just do what I want and know I’m forgiven.” But one cannot do that. The puritans in essence used to say, “When you receive Jesus, you receive Him in all of His offices as prophet, priest, and king. Not just as a priest who gives you forgiveness and a sacrifice. But also as a king who rules over you and a prophet who teaches you His word. You cannot separate his offices.” The opposite of this is the legalist who says, “I don’t need to be forgiven, I will be good enough by my own moral reformation to please God.” This we would call a Pharisee. But the Pharisee is like the Libertine. The only difference is that they seek to cut off the opposite hand! But, the two hands of the covenant of grace are inseparable. Accordingly, Calvin assails those who claim only one benefit of the covenant at the expense of the other. Also, with the same effort these rascals, by canceling one section of it, tear apart God’s covenant, in which we see our salvation contained, and topple it from its foundation. Not only are they guilty of sacrilege in separating things till now joined.... Because Christ and the covenant are so intertwined, there are those who not only try to “tear apart God’s covenant” but who also attempt to “tear Christ in pieces”. Thirdly, he calls him our sanctification, by which he means, that we who are otherwise unholy by nature, are by his Spirit renewed unto holiness, that we may serve God. From this, also, we infer, that we cannot be justified freely through faith alone without at the same time living holily. For these fruits of grace are connected together, as it were, by an indissoluble tie, so that he who attempts to sever them does in a manner tear Christ in pieces. Let therefore the man who seeks to be justified through Christ, by God’s unmerited goodness, consider that this cannot be attained without his taking him at the same time for sanctification, or, in other words, being renewed to innocence and purity of life. Calvin repeatedly uses the image of tearing Christ in pieces to underscore the inseparableness of justification and sanctification. It is indeed true, that we are justified in Christ through the mercy of God alone; but it is equally true and certain, that all who are justified are called by the Lord, that they may live worthy of their vocation. Let then the faithful learn to embrace him, not only for justification, but also for sanctification, as he has been given to us for both these purposes, lest they rend him asunder by their mutilated faith. ...as Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable--namely, righteousness and sanctification. Whomever, therefore, God receives into grace, on them he at the same time bestows the spirit of adoption, by whose power he remakes them to his own image. But since the question concerns only righteousness and sanctification, let us dwell upon these. Although we may distinguish them, Christ contains both of them inseparably in himself. Do you wish, then to attain righteousness in Christ? You must first possess Christ; but you cannot possess him without being made partaker in his sanctification, because he cannot be divided into pieces [I Corinthians 1:13]. Since, therefore, it is solely by expending himself that the Lord gives us these benefits to enjoy, he bestows both of them at the same time, the one never without the other. Thus it is clear how true it is that we are justified not without works yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, sanctification is just as much included as righteousness. The covenant therefore helps to organize the benefits of salvation. The two covenantal benefits of justification and sanctification are distinct, yet they are inseparably related and simultaneously received in Christ. Thus Christ and the covenant are essentially identified since both are the source of these great redemptive benefits. This doctrine gives Calvin a two edged sword to wield against his theological opponents. The Romanist, who thought his works merited salvation, was confronted with the fact that good works without Christ’s righteousness were still impure. The Libertine, who thought that Christ’s death made him spiritually pure regardless of his personal life, was confronted with the inseparability of the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration and Christ’s righteousness. The three ideas from Calvin we have considered so far concerning the relationship of the two benefits of the covenant are: 1. Justification and Sanctification must be distinguished. 2. Justification and Sanctification are simultaneous given. 3. Justification and Sanctification are inseparable. Now let us consider the fourth idea of the relationship of justification and sanctification in Calvin: 4. Justification and Sanctification must be logically ordered. Or to put it in Calvin’s terms, what is subordinate is not contrary. The fourth point, then, that Calvin makes is that the two benefits of the covenant of grace are to be logically ordered. Or to put it another way, one benefit of the covenant is dominant and the other is subordinate. This too is like our two hands. If one is right handed, the right hand is the dominant hand over the left hand. The point that we must see here is that justification is always dominant over sanctification and sanctification is always dependent upon and subordinate to justification. So if one is right handed, it means his right hand, his justification hand, is the primary hand and the left hand, his sanctification hand, is dependent upon and subordinate to the right hand. Theologically speaking, this means that one can never say, “I know I’m forgiven because I’m doing so many good things.” This is to confuse the gospel. Instead, one must say, “Because I am forgiven and righteous in Christ, I can and will live for Him by the Holy Spirit.” Calvin compared justification to the foundation of a house, and he likened sanctification to the superstructure built upon that foundation. Thus the house of sanctification is always dependent upon the foundation of justification. Calvin actually uses an important dictum that comes from the medieval tradition, namely, “What is subordinate is not contrary.” What he meant in this context is that the righteousness of the believer’s obedience, which is real righteousness before God, does not present an alternate or contrary way of salvation. This is because sanctification is under or subordinate to the greater righteousness of Christ’s obedience in justification. Sanctification righteousness although graciously produced by the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the believer is nevertheless subordinate to Christ’s righteousness bestowed in justification. So sanctification is not a competing way of salvation for the believer since it is always inferior to the righteousness of Christ. Indeed, sanctification righteousness honors justification righteousness and by its very existence manifests the superior righteousness of Christ in justification. Accordingly, sanctification does not produce justification or have any role in justification’s work of forgiveness or of imputing the perfect righteousness of Christ. One must never depend on his own new obedience or sanctification. Instead, he must always depend upon Christ. To return to our analogy, the dependent hand of sanctification must always rely on the superior hand of justification that lays hold of Christ by faith. Thus Calvin’s covenant doctrine does not permit the law to be in opposition to the gospel after the blessings of the covenant are bestowed upon a believer. Justification and sanctification are necessary components of the divine benefits of salvation. They are bestowed “at the same time”. Yet a logical order exists between them which must not be overlooked. Since the “spirit” is added to the “letter” of the law, the believer has a true righteousness of obedience. But, It is a subordinate righteousness to the righteousness of Christ. Yet it is not a contrary righteousness. Calvin affirms this principle in his Antidote to the Council of Trent. We, indeed, willingly acknowledge, that believers ought to make daily increase in good works, and that the good works wherewith they are adorned by God, are sometimes distinguished by the name of righteousness. But since the whole value of works is derived from no other foundation than that of gratuitous acceptance, how absurd were it to make the former overthrow the latter! Why do they not remember what they learned when boys at school, that what is subordinate is not contrary? (Emphasis mine.) I say that it is owing to free imputation that we are considered righteous before God; I say that from this also another benefit proceeds, viz., that our works have the name of righteousness, though they are far from having the reality of righteousness. In short, I affirm, that not by our own merit but by faith alone, are both our persons and works justified; and the justification of works depends on the justification of the person, as the effect on the cause. Therefore, it is necessary that the righteousness of faith alone so precede in order, and be so preeminent in degree, that nothing can go before it or obscure it. In his The True Method of Giving Peace and Reforming the Church, Calvin again explains the subordination of the Christian’s works righteousness to the righteousness of faith. In order that ambiguities may be removed, it is necessary that the Righteousness which we obtain by faith, and which is freely bestowed upon us, should be placed in the highest rank, so that, as often as the conscience is brought before the tribunal of God, it alone may shine forth. In this way the righteousness of works, to whatever extent it may exist in us, being reduced to its own place, will never come, as it were, into conflict with the other; and certainly it is just, that as righteousness of works depends on righteousness of faith, it should be made subordinate to it, (Emphasis mine.) so as to leave the latter in full possession of the salvation of man. Thus for Calvin, the covenant is a powerful concept because it establishes that we are justified by faith alone, yet by a faith that is never alone, but is always accompanied by all of God’s saving graces. Thus the Gospel teaches us that Jesus is both Savior and Lord.” The indicative of our union with Christ is in justification (we are righteous) and the imperative of our union with Christ is in sanctification (we are to be righteous). As we have seen, both of these emphases are implied in the formula of the covenant. The following chart helps us to capture Calvin’s covenantal thought in terms of the two savings benefits of the covenant of grace. The Relationship of the Two Parts of the Covenant of Grace in Calvin’s Thought Justification Sanctification 1. Through the Covenant of Grace in Union with Christ 1. Through the Covenant of Grace in Union with Christ 2. Simultaneous with Sanctification 2. Simultaneous with justification 3. Inseparable from Sanctification 3. Inseparable from Justification 4. Distinguishable from Sanctification 4. Distinguishable from Justification 5. By Faith Alone in Christ 5. By Faith and Obedience to the Law through Enablement of the Holy Spirit 6. A Superior righteousness that is not contrary to Sanctification Righteousness 6. An Inferior Righteousness not contrary to Justification Righteousness 7. Faith Alone Justifies and is the Superior Cause of Salvation 7. But Faith is Never Alone in the Justified Person, so sanctification’s works are Inferior Causes of Salvation 8. Imputed Righteousness 8. Inherent Righteousness V. The Different Ethical Tendencies Emerging From Covenantal Ethics And Dispensational Ethics. What difference does the covenantal rather than the dispensational reading of the Bible really make in the Christian life? First, we should see that covenant theology declares that the kingdom of Christ has already begun and is not completely future. If one believes that the kingdom is yet to come but is not yet here, it is possible for the church to see itself as a group of people that should retreat from the world, to care mainly about themselves. The Church’s primary task then is to invite others to join them in their retreat from culture. This approach often asserts that the world is going to get worse and worse and there is nothing anyone can do about it. All one can hope for is for Jesus to come and rapture the Church out of this fallen world and only then everything will be right. Allow me here to give a personal experience. When I left Dallas Seminary in 1978 to go to Westminster Seminary, it was at the time of the first great oil crisis caused by the oil embargoes. I vividly remember being in those long lines of cars at the gas station. In Philadelphia I received word from friends in Dallas that the Seminary had decided to take out an ad in the local newspaper declaring that this was the last call for the rapture. It is clear that there have been a several more opportunities for Dispensational interpreters to call for the rapture! The best-selling Left Behind series hadn’t yet been written. This was when I realized I could no longer be a Dispensationalistnot if Dispensationalism focused on reading newspapers to figure out when Jesus would come. I began to understand that the question we should have been asking was, “How does one live for Christ if there’s no gasoline?” There is a different ethic created by Dispensationalism and by Covenant Theology. Dispensationalism asks one to live in light of the raptureno gasoline means the rapture is coming. Covenant Theology, however, asks one to reflect on what it means to be a Christian when one can no longer pump gas. Jesus taught in Matthew 5, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” He was not talking only to the Old Testament people of Israel. He was talking to Christians. In essence, He was saying: “You are to make a difference. You are to be salty salt that purifies a fallen world and you are to be radiant light that dispels the darkness of unbelief that surrounds the believer. You are to touch the world with what you believe and in what you do.” Covenant Theology declares that believers are to influence their cultures for Christ’s sake. Light shines and dispels darkness. Light makes its presence known. So the Christian is to be the light of the world wherever he goes, whether into a family, into a school, into a political party, into a university or into a business. He is to shine the light of the kingdom of Christ everywhere and make a difference. An adherent of covenant theology must understand that he is to demonstrate that the kingdom of Christ is present. The Christian should be able to say, “I will make a difference for His name wherever I ameverywhere I go, in everything I do, in everything I say.” That is the vision of the ethics of covenant theology, rather than looking to the future trying to ascertain the dates and times of Christ’s return. Covenant Theology accepts Jesus’ agnosticism about the time of His return. Our Lord taught us that, “No man knows the day or the hour or the time or the season that’s appointed by the Father.” Instead of figuring out the time of Christ’s return, one is to be occupied in service to Christ until He comes. We are to be busy in the world, seeking to reach the world for Christ’s sake. Christ’s Kingdom has irrupted or broken into the space and time of human existence. Thus Jesus taught that His gospel of the kingdom had to be preached in the entire world and only then would the end come. Thus believers are called to be missionaries and evangelists engaging our changing world with God’s unchanging Word so that his kingdom will make progress. VI. The Corporate Character Of Calvin’s Covenant al Understanding Of Sacraments. Finally, I will offer a few observations about the sacraments as they are differently viewed from the Dispensational perspective and from the vantage point of Covenant Theology. This vast topic could encompass the nature, meaning and practice of the sacraments in terms of the Eucharist, Baptism and Infant Baptism. But to state the matter simply, let us note that Dispensationalism tends to see the sacraments in a more individualistic sense, whereas Covenant Theology insists that the sacraments are to impact the entire community of God’s people. Dispensationalism’s individualistic tendency parallels its belief that the world will grow worse and worse. But as long as one believes in Christ as Savior, everything will ultimately be all right since the individual believer will go to heaven. In contrast, without diminishing the joyful hope of the individual’s salvation, covenant theology affirms with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Covenant Theology recognizes the corporate nature of God’s covenant promise, as seen in the intergenerational expression of the formula of the covenant from the Old Testament, “I will be your God and the God of your children after you” and “To a thousand generations of those that love me and keep my commandments.” On the basis of these Old Testament promises that are held to be still valid in the New Testament era, Calvin and covenant theology have affirmed the corporate character of the covenant as expressed especially in infant baptism. Calvin is so adamant that the covenant with the Jews continues into the New Covenant era that he asserts that to deny this is nothing less than blasphemy! For Calvin, such denial implies that Christ’s coming actually narrowed God’s grace rather than expanding it: Yet Scripture opens to us a still surer knowledge of the truth. Indeed, it is most evident that the covenant which the Lord once made with Abraham is no less in force today for Christians than it was of old for the Jewish people, and that this work relates no less to Christians than it then related to the Jews. Unless perhaps we think that Christ by his coming lessened or curtailed the grace of the Father--but this is nothing but execrable blasphemy! Accordingly, the children of the Jews also, because they had been made heirs of his covenant and distinguished from the children of the impious, were called a holy seed. For this same reason the children of Christians are considered holy; and even though born with only one believing parent, by the apostle’s testimony they differ from the unclean seed of idolaters. Now seeing that the Lord immediately after making the covenant with Abraham commanded it to be sealed in infants by an outward sacrament what excuse will Christians give for not testifying and sealing it in their children today? Children in the Old Testament and in the New are a holy seed by virtue of the same covenantal promise made by God with Abraham. Accordingly, infant baptism bears the same force of command as circumcision. Nor does Calvin accept the evasion that Abraham’s children in the Old Testament Covenant simply foreshadow believers in the New Covenant era. This cannot be, because God’s covenant established with Abraham includes the Christian believer and their children too. In the use of the term “children” they find this difference: those who had their origin from his seed were called children of Abraham under the Old Testament; now, those who imitate his faith are called by this name. They therefore say that that physical infancy which was engrafted into the fellowship of the covenant through circumcision foreshadowed the spiritual infants of the New Testament, who were regenerated to immortal life by God’s Word. In these words, indeed, we see a feeble spark of truth. But those fickle spirits gravely sin in seizing upon whatever first comes to hand where they ought to proceed further, and in stubbornly clinging to one word where they ought to compare many things together....We should, accordingly, aim at a better target, to which we are directed by the very sure guidance of Scripture. Therefore, the Lord promises Abraham that he will have offspring in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and at the same time assures him that he will be his God and the God of his descendants. All those who by faith receive Christ as author of the blessing are heirs of this promise, and are therefore called children of Abraham. Calvin’s point is that while there is an element of truth in the objection, it does not fully explain all of the salient Scriptural data. It is true that the offspring of Abraham’s flesh foreshadowed the future offspring of Abraham by faith. Yet this fact does not remove the promise that God made to Abraham’s physical offspring. God assured Abraham “that he will be his God and the God of his descendants.” Calvin’s response is not an either/or, but a both/and. The implication for the practice of baptism is that the offspring of Abraham are heirs of the promise, even those who became his offspring by faith. Thus the children of Abraham’s offspring by faith are also made full partakers of the promise, since they are now part of his family. The covenant with Abraham continues to operate in the New Covenant era. A criticism of Calvin’s argument for paedobaptism is that the only sign of the covenant was circumcision, and it has ceased. Therefore, the covenant of circumcision is of no value because its sign is abolished. Calvin’s retort is that the changing of the sign does not change the covenant. And let no one object against me that the Lord did not command that his covenant be confirmed by any other symbol than circumcision, which has long since been abolished. There is a ready answer that for the time of the Old Testament he instituted circumcision, to confirm his covenant, but that after circumcision was abolished, the same reason for confirming his covenant (which we have in common with the Jews) still holds good. Consequently, we must always diligently consider what is common to both, and what they have apart from us. The covenant is common, and the reason for confirming it is common. Only the manner of confirmation is different--what was circumcision for them was replaced for us by baptism. If it is true that there is no replacement for circumcision, then in Calvin’s mind, Christ’s coming actually obscured God’s grace rather than increasing it: Otherwise, if the testimony by which the Jews were assured of the salvation of their posterity is taken away from us, Christ’s coming would have the effect of making God’s grace more obscure and less attested for us than it had previously been for the Jews. Now, this cannot be said without grievously slandering Christ, through whom the Father’s infinite goodness was more clearly and liberally poured out upon the earth and declared to men than ever before. As covenantal theologians in the New Testament era, following in the covenantal hermeneutic of Calvin, we are to be concerned in our sacramental lives with the corporate character of the covenant community just as the people of the Old Testament era understood the corporate character of God’s covenantal promises to them. These covenantal promises are not merely individual, but they encompass the importance of the whole family and the coming generations as we personally and collectively grow in Christ. Conclusion: There are several other areas of covenantal thought in Calvin that could be pursued. But we shall conclude having seen that for Calvin, biblical interpretation, the saving benefits of Christ, Christian ethics and the Church’s sacramental life are all important expressions of God’s one and eternal saving covenant of grace revealed throughout the history of redemption from Old Testament to New Testament. Although Calvin never encountered Dispensationalism per se, his understanding of the covenant was directly opposed to the foundational premises of Dispensationalism. So with pun intended, in this New Testament dispensation of God’s one covenant of grace in Christ, which includes the 500th anniversary of Calvin, let us maintain the covenant as a central element in our biblical and theological labors. For as Calvin himself declared as he commented on Psalm 25:10, “We have no reason to be afraid that God will deceive us if we persevere in His covenant.” Pastor Dr. Peter Lillback(피터 릴백 박사 목사)(Pennsylvania Proclamation Presbyterian Church(미국 펜실베이니어 선포장로교회))
A Great High Priest(대제사장)/ Hebrews 5:1-10(히5:1-10)/ 2015-02-12
A Great High Priest(대제사장) Hebrews 5:1-10(히5:1-10) A Great High Priest Hebrews 5:1-10 Several years ago I was director of the Charles Wesley Heritage Centre in Bristol, England. While I was there a colleague of mine, a retired Methodist minister now in his nineties, gave me this white cassock as a present. He had acquired it when he was a chaplain in the Royal Air Force serving in what is now Malaysia. He wore it, he said, primarily because the heat in that part of the world made any other clerical garb almost unbearable. One Sunday he was asked to preach in a Presbyterian Church in Singapore. He wore this cassock for the service. After the service, one of the bigwigs in the colonial government at that time came up to him. This man was a Scotsman and a dyed-in-the-wool Presbyterian. The man said with a bit of a growl, “I prefer the black of the prophet to the white of the Priest.” The minister friend of mine sort of hemmed and hawed a bit and made some comment about the impracticality of wearing black robes due to the weather in those parts. Then it occurred to him what dressing like a prophet would really mean, and he said, “Well sir, if you are so concerned about proper prophetic attire, perhaps all preachers should mount the pulpit dressed as Elijah or John the Baptist were - in nothing but a camel loin cloth. “I suppose that might do for some,” replied the Scot, “but in you case, Church attendance is already low enough.” Priest or Prophet. Prophet or Priest. This story points to a tension which exists in Christianity, especially within Protestantism. How does the community of faith live out Christ’s Priestly and Prophetic roles? Protestantism for the most part has tended to focus primarily (as our Scottish burocrat indicated) on the prophetic ministry. The only Protestants to have retained the use of the word “priest” is the Anglican Communion. For most Protestants the ministry of the Word as it is exercised in the pulpit is central. The prophet’s job is to instruct us in the Word of God. The prophet’s job is to call us back to God’s standard. The prophet is to make known God’s plan that we may see where we fall short, holding up the mirror of God’s Word to our imperfections. He is the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” I remember when I was in seminary, when people first learned about the prophetic role of the minister, the students all thought that was what they wanted to be. Push the boundaries of the acceptable, be on the cutting edge, challenge sin, all for God. They usually conveniently forgot that most prophets end up dead. Most of us, when we come to church want our minds to be engaged. We want to be intellectually and spiritually challenged. But even for us Protestants, a little prophesy goes a long way. The priestly role is different. Once we have been awakened to our own spiritual lack. Once we recognize that we are “dead in our sins,” that “there is no health in us” it is the priestly function to bring us to new life and aid us in that life. The priest leads us through death to our old selves and resurrection to new life, the cleansing of baptism. The priest serves at table where real sustenance, bread and wine, are supplied for us to live this new life. The prophet calls to the dead, “Awaken!” The priest is there to encourage the living. The prophet shows us the Word of God. The priest helps us to live the Word of God. As Christians we need a Priest as much as a prophet. And we need both for the same reason, found in the first verse of our lesson. Sin. By sin I don’t mean that which blinds of to our true spiritual state - the sleep the prophet needs to awaken us from. Rather this is the sin that clings to us after we have heard the prophets warning. Being convicted of sin, knowing we are sinners, does not make it go away. Knowing what God wants is not the same as living it. Sin is not something that is talked about much in our society. These days, it is a bit like fish have a conversation about water. Part of the problem is that when we finally do talk about sin, we turn it into legalism. We think of it as breaking one of God’s rules - transgressing a known law of God. Now I am certainly not encouraging anyone to flaunt any of God’s laws. The laws God has laid down are a reflection of God’s mind and of God’s created order. However, we know from the scriptures that one can obey the “laws” and still sin. That was the Pharisees problem. That is why Jesus said in Luke 11:42, “but woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe the mint and rue and herbs of all kinds and neglect justice and the love of God. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.” Sin is not just about a certain set of rules. It is actually much bigger than that. The word “sin” if we translate the Greek word for it, means literally “missing the mark,” like when you shoot an arrow. Sin is not breaking a rule. Sin is “failing to reach the goal.” Sin is not finishing the race. Even if we have never competed in sports, we all know what it means to feel as though we are in a race. There is the race of our daily lives, lives which themselves seem to be made up of tiny little races. There is the race to catch the metro in the morning, the race to meet the next deadline, the race to get the sermon done for Sunday, the race to get the evening meal on the table, the race to get the kids bathed and in bed. The race to relax. There is the race to make something of our lives - the rat race as it is sometimes called. It is the race to reach the next rung of success in prestige, or finance, or love. There is the race for all those things that the world has to offer those who work hard and sacrifice. The race for the things we want - the things we think will make us happier. In this worldly race we are often discouraged. Our retirement balance is not where we thought it would be. Our kids are not turning out how we hoped. We often do not reach the goals we set for ourselves. We do not finish the race. Sin is the same concept. But sin is about not reaching the goal which God intends for us - a goal which will make us truly blessed, truly happy. This goal which God has for our lives is what we call the Word of God. Now, when we talk about the Word of God we are usually referring to the Scriptures. But as the Scriptures themselves tell us, the Word of God pre-exists the Scriptures. “In the beginning was the Word.” All things were made through the Word. Without the Word was nothing made that has been made. This Word of God is the created order of the universe. It is the logic behind it all. The Word is God’s whole, God’s complete, God’s perfect intention in creation. It is God’s plan for us and for our salvation. It is the Way we should live. It is the truth about existence. It is life. Our lives corresponding to God’s Word is the finish line in the race we call Christianity. And yet in this race we so easily stumble, so easily get turned around, so often are failing in our striving for the finish line. That is why in the Old Testament, the priest’s job was to intercede for God’s mercy, “to offer gifts and sacrifices.” He was supposed to get God’s forgiveness for the community for not reaching the goal God set out for them. And yet the problem was that the priest himself was (as it says in verse 3) not running the race very well either. He had to offer sacrifice for his own sin, his own failure to move toward the goal. It is the image of a group of runners all setting off on a race. They know the goal. They know where the finish line should be. They have been given some basic directions as to how to get there. Still they can’t follow the route. They run around in circles, tripping over each other and frequently collapsing from exhaustion. And it is clear to all, at this rate; they will never cross the finish line. The priest in this scenario is like the coach running along side and trying to encourage the other runners. Unfortunately he is just as confused, just as weak, just as incapable of reaching the end as the rest of the group. Therefore he shouts to the one who waits anxiously for the group at the finish line (the one who gave them directions to get there). He shouts out excuses hoping that he will get allowances for the fact this group is never going to get to the end. It is a pathetic scene. But we are no different from them. We have the same goal. The same struggle. The same finish line. What such a band of runners needs is a better coach, a new kind of priest. Like the old type of priest, they want someone who knows their needs - one who “to their weakness” is “no stranger.” Like the old type of priest they want someone gentle and encouraging. Like the old type of priest they want someone who is humble - someone not in it for the glory, but someone appointed by God for their sakes. Unlike the old type of priest they need a priest who really knows the Way. They need someone who has completed the race, someone who has crossed the finish line. Someone who can be of real help to the rest of us stumbling runners. Verse 7. “In the days of his flesh Jesus offered up prayers and supplication, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high Priest according to the order of Melchizedec.” Jesus is the new high priest. This Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is the Way. He is the Truth. He is the Life. So why does it say that he had to be “made perfect?” Jesus was born without sin and lived a sinless life. He never broke any of God’s rules. But the perfection the Scriptures are talking about is not avoiding breaking a rule. If this were the case, Jesus could be said to be perfect from the day he was born. I spoke about a different definition of sin earlier. Perfection is its polar opposite. Perfection is about hitting the mark. Perfection is about reaching the goal. It is about crossing the finish line. Perfection is submitting to God’s will for your life. It is living God’s way, God’s truth, God’s life all the way to the end. And it is not over till it is over. Jesus’ life was made perfect, whole, complete on the cross. After he had hung there in agony for our sakes, St. John writes, “Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the Scripture) ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘it is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” He had crossed the finish line. “And having been made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” He knows the way. He is the Way. He lives that he might be our priest to help us, as it says in Hebrews 12:1, “lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so easily and run with perseverance the race set out for us.” “He has been designated by God as a new kind of priest - a high priest according to the order of Melchizedec.” Some of you, I know, are asking yourselves, “Who the heck is Melchizedec?” Turn in your Bibles the book of Genesis, chapter 14. To set the scene, God has called Abraham (at this time known as Abram) to go to “a land that God would show him.” God has promised him possession of the land and that through this he would be blessed and be a blessing. Abram saw the land. (12:6) But as in our race, seeing what the end should be and possessing it are two very different things. There was a detour to Egypt during a terrible famine (12:10-20). There was strife among his fellow travelers (13:1-18). And there was war in the land. His nephew Lot was taken prisoner. When the war was over and Lot had been rescued, Abram was met by other kings in the Valley of Shaeveh (also known as the Kings Valley) (14:18). Here King Melchizedec of Salem (what is now Jerusalem) brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God most high. He blessed Abram and said, “Blessed by Abram by God most high, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God most high, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” The order of Melchizedec: An order far older than that of the Levitical priests, And order that is both Priest and King An order which offers bread and wine and a blessing. And the race continues. Derek Redmond was a runner. A very good runner - he was a member of the British Olympic team for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He was also a part of the 1988 team, but that year, only 90 seconds before the 400 meter race was to begin he had to withdraw because of an injured Achilles tendon. After five surgeries and four years, he had again qualified for the Olympic team and was in Barcelona at the starting line of the same 400 meter race, this time in the semi-finals. The gun went off and Redmond’s muscles sprang into action. He ran for only 100 meters. Suddenly, he crumpled to the ground. He had a torn hamstring. In excruciating pain, he knew he was not going to place in this race. There would be no medals. The paramedics ran on to the track, but he refused their help. Instead, he began to crawl toward the finish line. A man stood up in the stands. He made his way down to edge of the track and through those who stood on the sidelines. He walked out walked out to where the athlete struggled forward. He reached out a hand to help him, but the athlete pushed his hand away. Then he looked up and saw the face of his father. Derek Redmond’s father lifted his son’s arm over his shoulder and the two of them hobbled the remaining 300 meters to the finish line, to the cheers of the crowd. Making it across the finish line is not about relying on our own strength. Making it across the finish line is not about knowing all the rules. Making it across the finish line is not about never stumbling. Rather, making it across the finish line is about looking up as you crawl forward, taking outstretched hand of the one who has come out of the stands for you, has stooped down, will bear your weight on his shoulders, and walk with you across the finish line. A Great High Priest. Pastor Scott Kisker
A Holy Boldness(거룩한 용기)/ Psalms 27:(시27:)/ 2015-03-23
A Holy Boldness(거룩한 용기) Psalms 27:(시27:) I encourage you to open your Bible to Psalm 27. It’s a great Psalm. Ponder with me some of the incredible thoughts that the Psalmist wants to share with us. They are words of encouragement and words of hope, words of great confidence and great joy—the kind of words that speak to the heart that droops. We need these words because life is hard some of the time or most of the time—hopefully, not all of the time. This past week I had a friend who lost his daughter in a tragic accident. The week before, one of my dear friends lost his job and his income. My own daughter struggles with health problems. Life is precarious when security is threatened, when your witness and ministry is overwhelmed, when a relationship is compromised, when you feel intensely alone. I’m aware that some of you sitting in this room this morning are feeling some of those emotions. This is a special word to you today because life is such an insecure thing. Achievements vanish over night. Applause fades. Friends become foe. Sometimes we wonder if anyone really cares at all. That’s what drives me back again and again to Psalms—these are really songs of our lives. They encapsulate in so many ways every human emotion: songs of praise and songs of lament, songs of consolation, songs of encouragement, songs of celebration. In Psalm 27, the Psalmist has evidently been attacked by enemies (verse 2), is living under the threat of eminent war, (verse 3), excommunicated from the community of faith (verse 4), in trouble (verse 5), rejection (verse 9), his family disowns him (verse 10), and he is subject to slander (verse 12). Ironically, this is a song of hope—of cheerful comfort and joy—written long ago for such a day as ours. This was written for those who suffer, are sad and struggling. It begins with this incredible confidence exuding from the mouth of the Psalmist right from the beginning in verse 1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?” There is absolute certainty that seems to banish fear—no matter how great the threat happens to be. Will you notice on whom the Psalmist places his confidence? It’s not in himself. Rather, he says, “the Lord is these things to me. The Lord is my light and my salvation.” The Apostle John exuberantly writes, “in Him is life,” referring to Jesus, “and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4–5) The Lord is my light. The Lord is my salvation. Salvation finds us in the darkness but does not leave us there. The Psalmist is using light and salvation synonymously. Will you notice that he doesn’t say, “the Lord gives me light. The Lord gives me salvation.” This is what we might tend to think. He says, “the Lord is my light. The Lord is my salvation.” If the Lord is your light and your salvation, whom shall you fear? “The powers of darkness,” Paul says in writing to the Ephesians, “is that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities.” He uses this terminology: “against rulers and authorities” and “against the powers of this dark world.” Martin Luther wrote in his great hymn, A Mighty Fortress: And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim—we tremble not for him. His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him.” The Lord is my life and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Regardless of how big the problem, when David focused upon the greatness of God, he realized danger was insignificant. He placed his confidence in the real power of the omnipotent “I am,” the creator God, the redeemer God. The Lord is my strength and the stronghold of my life, a place of safety, a light to guide, a stronghold to protect. That’s pretty neat. What I suggest to you is that you are pretty well covered: life, guide and protection. So he says a second time, “the Lord is my life and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Even if life itself is threatened, this holy boldness propels him through life’s turbulent waters, no matter what may come. Look at verses 2 and 3: “When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.” I do not need to tell you that there are situations in life that are difficult. There are times we know when people can be mean-spirited. You know that there are circumstances that are grossly unfair. It seems the Psalmist is echoing that thought in verse 2, that his enemies at times want to destroy him completely. He also has that great confidence that says they are going to fall flat on their face. Do you have that confidence in Jesus Christ? The secret is to keep focused; keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Those who overcome are people who have their lives anchored in God. That’s easy to say and to appreciate, but sometimes it’s not so easy to live like that. I encourage you not to be so easily distracted by the cold shoulders, the criticism, the insults, the anger, and the hatred that you encounter from time to time. Remember that you are a child of the King. He is your light to guide you. He is your salvation to save you. He is your stronghold to protect you. Verse 4 is an incredible affirmation. It seems that the Psalmist craves only the protection and fellowship of God. His is not a divided loyalty, nor is he fragmented in his priorities. This is perhaps the most single-minded statement in the entire Bible. Mark it well. “One thing I ask of the Lord. This is what I seek…” One thing! If there is only one thing, then you will be rescued from all other kinds of distractions, from weakness, and from disappointment. What is the one thing? Yearning to experience more of the weightiness of God. The one thing is the desire to enjoy the constant presence of God for the rest of one’s life. With singleness of purpose, the priority within is to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek. “…to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in His temple.” This is the essence of worship: indeed, the essence of discipleship. It is important that we become preoccupied with God. Are you preoccupied with God? Does he consume every waking moment? When you have a moment to think, do you think of him? The Psalmist does. I’ve seen enough young people in love to know that is possible. I hear older folks saying it’s not possible to be consumed in love. If you have forgotten, go back and ask a young person in love, “Do you ever stop thinking about Joe or Jill?” “I can’t think of anything else. My life is complete. I’m in love!” Oh I remember those days. Some of us are still privileged to still feel that way. The Psalmist is in love with God. God consumes his every moment, his very being. Is that not our desire? “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze…and to seek.” Do not glimpses of Jesus Christ ravish your heart? Do you not find him altogether lovely? Do you not find in him one who is chief among 10,000? Does Jesus ravish your heart? John writes, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” To echo the words of the hymnist: Jesus is the sweetest name I know. He’s just the same as his lovely name. That’s the reason why I love him so. Jesus is the sweetest name I know. Now let us consider the context of the Psalm and the pain the Psalmist has to bear: the enemies that surround him, the war that surrounds him, the excommunication from the community of faith, the trouble, the rejection, the turning away by his own family, the slander that he has experienced. Of course one can trace painful circumstances several times in David’s life. I suspect he is in the wilderness, being pursued by Saul. You might expect in such painful circumstances that David would be self-absorbed. When trouble comes into your life, you tend to be self-absorbed. Yet, here is a picture of a man who set his heart on the pearl of greatness. He senses security in the presence of another. When trouble comes—and trouble will come—your heavenly Father will give you the best of shelter in the worst of danger. David understands that the foe may be all around him, but he is hidden. It’s an amazing concept. I wish we had the time to get into it even deeper. Let me tell you one quick story of Bishop James Hannington, a martyr to Jesus Christ. James Hannington was a Bishop in Eastern Equatorial Africa and an Englishman to boot! He wrote his last entry in his diary: “I felt they were coming upon me to murder me, but I sang Safe in the Arms of Jesus and laughed at the agony of my situation.” James Hannington knew that he was hidden in the bosom of Jesus Christ, who once said, “Don’t be afraid of those who can kill the body because that’s all they can do. If you must be afraid, be afraid of him whom can send your soul to hell.” It’s a great Psalm. By the time you get to verse 6 he says, “I will sing and make music to the Lord.” The Lord is my life and my salvation. Who is there to be afraid of? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Don’t be afraid. Pastor Alan J. Meenan
A House Built on Rock(반석 위에 세운 집)/ Matthew 7:24-27(마7:24-27)/ 2009-10-24
A House Built on Rock(반석 위에 세운 집) Matthew 7:24-27(마7:24-27) A House Built on Rock Matthew 7:24-27 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”(Matthew 7:24-27) Today we celebrate foundation day. Today’s holiday celebrate Korea’s proud and cherished 5,0000 year history. We pray God will make Korea and Young Nak stronger in Christ. It is a Christian virtue to pray for stronger Korean nation coupled with crowded churches. Currently Young Nak church is holding a church conference entitled Remnant 2500. The purpose of this conference is to attract 2,500 new converts to Christ by the end of this year. So let’s go out and do our part: become a witness for Christ to strengthen the foundation of this church. Witnessing about Christ to friends and close associates is similar to construction work. When we introduce Christ to a new convert, we are building new foundations. We teach about a new way of living. A new way of thinking. For the first time a new convert can experience real love, heart-felt joy, deep and inner peace, tender patience, radiating with kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are just a few of the important changes Christians experience when they adopt Christ in the center of their life. Evangelizing is similar to building up a house build on rock. Going out to witness will strengthen faith. Faith is the foundation of Christian life. If faith is acted upon, you see hearts and minds transformed. You see the power of Christ. Evangelists’ build on the experience of going out in the field will produce fruits. Confidence increases. Love sways decision to continue to go out every week. The Lord can do amazing things when you allow him to be your mouthpiece. Evangelizing both seamen and factory workers every week is the cornerstone of the purpose of this English ministry. We are finding and building up new lives in Christ. These last few months we have been amazed to see many fruits in this church developing and growing. I strongly believe the Holy Spirit is working in the lives of this congregation since we are becoming a community of prayer warriors. Our numbers seem to be increasing every week … just like the number of buildings under construction keeps increasing every year in Korea. I have always been amazed to see so many new buildings built in a short time in Korea. Everywhere you look, open spaces are filled up with new office buildings or apartments. The construction of a building from beginning to end seems to me overwhelmingly daunting. The amount of planning, from architect’s drawings to detailed construction plans, seemed endless. Step by step, a plan is made followed meticulously until it comes to completion. One of the most impressive things I learned about the construction of Young Nak Church at the beginning of the Korean War was not only that this church is held up by over 1,000 wooden piles driven down into the clay and swampy marsh, but also that was far more piles than anyone imagined would actually be necessary to hold up this building. The original builders were determined to have a strong foundation. Did you know that there are over 400 references in Scripture relating to building and construction, used as metaphors, examples, in parables? “Unless the Lord builds the house,” one Psalm says, “those who build it labor in vain.” There is a “time to build,” Ecclesiastes says. “We have a building from God,” Paul says, “a house not made with human hands.” The church was called “the household of God.” In our gospel lesson Jesus is completing his Sermon on the Mount, full of teaching about what it takes to build a sturdy, good life. And he tells the story of the wise man who built his house on rock, so that when the rains fell and the floods came, and the winds blew, it didn’t fall down. We are all involved, he is saying, in building our lives, stone by stone, brick by brick, board by board. Every experience we have, every good thing, every mistake, every wound we receive, all of that goes into the shaping of our souls. Some of us start off with a lot of help getting our foundations in place. But plenty of us get off to shaky starts ― bad advice, no support, a lot that we have to overcome. However we start, though, we build our lives day by day. We make decisions, stone by stone, board by board. Good things happen. Someone helps us pay for college, or helps us get a job. Or we make mistakes, make foolish choices, get involved with ungodly people. I remember a spiritual mentor saying something to me that changed the way I had looked at the wrong turns in my own life. God, he said, is frugal. God doesn’t waste anything in our lives. Even the wrong turns, the bad mistakes, the wounds we get hit with ― God finds ways for us to learn from them, to grow through them, and even to use that experience to teach us what we couldn’t have learned any other way. Sometimes people lay out plans for their lives they later wish they hadn’t. I have heard more people than I can count say to me in one form or another, “I wish I hadn’t been so obsessed with work.” When I was looking to buy my first home, I inquired why did the owners want to sale this beautiful home? The real estate agent told me, “The owners were experiencing a marriage crisis. Both husband and wife worked hard and constantly to built this home. Finally, when the home was finally finished, their marriage was on the brink.” Later the wife applied for a divorce. The house stood empty. At some point along the way we may discover that the building plan we have been working with will never get us what we really want. Are we laying the right foundation in our Christian life? Jesus tells the story about the man who built wisely, but he also talks about the unwise man who built his house on sand, and so when the rains came, and the rivers rose, his house was destroyed. “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” Do you remember the sense of disorientation so many felt after Hurricane Katrina? It felt as if the rains and winds and floods had come. Our “houses” were being attacked. Churches were also flooded with people looking for something firmer –something that would last forever. Where was the foundation that could hold against the storm? We have a foundation. “Christ is the cornerstone” of our building, Scripture says. There actually is a rock we can build on that cannot be shaken, and that rock is God, the Creator, and Christ, the one who comes to save and promises that none of us has to be lost. But it’s not enough just to know that. We have to build our lives on it. In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus says to turn the other cheek, to be the light of the world, to forgive, to be faithful in marriage, to refuse to give back violence for violence, and above all to trust. Trust that the Holy One knows every hair on your head. Trust that you cannot ever fall so far as to fall out of God’s hands. Build your life on that, and you will have a sure foundation. Let go of the past; it’s history. Don’t worry about the future; you have no control over it. Live right now. Trustingly, honestly, riskily, lovingly. And learning to live this way is like learning a craft, a craft such as, say, bricklaying. You don’t just walk out one day and skillfully shape and arrange and secure brick. It takes apprenticeship and practice and patience learning the skills. Being a great administrator, or basketball player, or dentist takes meticulous, painstaking learning and practice. And it needs to be a daily process of putting a God-consciousness into our days. The peace we experience by reading our bible and praying every day is something that we cannot get anywhere else in the world no matter how long we search for happiness ― a foundation for our lives, the rock that can sustain us for the rest of our days. When we commit our lives to glorifying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are saying that there is a Power greater than life itself who us, and will go forth as we build our life on a foundation made of rock. So let’s apply today’s sermon into our hearts. Here how: 1. Know we all need a firm foundation. But it takes time and energy to build it. 2. Learning the essential pieces of the faith so that you can lay down those foundations for our faith is essential. Trust God always- 100% of the time. Learn from the people in the bible who have found God trustworthy. 3. Learn to give and receive Christ’s love even if you hardly know who Christ is. How? A. Reading a book in the bible will help you experience God’s love. (I suggest staring with the easiest book in the bible first, Psalms). B. Read consistently. Make a goal of reading one or two chapters a day. There might be some verses which are unclear. Write them down. Come to church on Sunday. Ask someone who you trust to answer your question correctly. C. Never forget to pray every day. Prayer will deepen faith, listening to what God is saying, reaching out to someone else’s need ― all that is building a foundation, so that when the storms and winds and floods come, you’re ready. So when the storms come, and they will, isn’t that the attitude you would like to have ― would like to have ― a strong, sure foundation? Well, we can. Just build it, step-step, day-by-day, one brick at a time. Amen. Young Nak Church
A Letter From The Heaven(하늘나라에서 온 편지)/ Romans 8:38-39(롬8:38-39)/ 2015-02-12
A Letter From The Heaven(하늘나라에서 온 편지) Romans 8:38-39(롬8:38-39) A Letter From The Heaven Romans 8:38-39 If God were to send a letter to our church, what message would be contained in that letter? Over the past week, I prayed while wrestling with this question. Of course, I am not God—but I think that His letter will contain the following message for us. Reminding ourselves that over two-thirds of the New Testament is in fact letters sent to and from disciples, I would appreciate it if all of us take this letter, delivered to our church from the Heaven, as a ‘sermon’ for today. To my loving children of St. Luke, I hope you enjoyed the much-needed rain I sent to Killeen last week. I wanted to give you a break from constant 100-plus degree weather and perhaps start some crisp autumn weather down there. Give my regards to all the family members of St. Luke UMC. My heart fills with great pleasure in Heaven whenever I think of the St. Luke church. There are so many churches established in My name; yet, I reserve a special place in my heart for the St. Luke’s. It is because all of you work so hard for Me, with the purest and most enthusiastic of hearts. Among the countless great things you do for Me, I wanted to praise you on some very special things you do. I pay particular attention to your Friendly Dinner, where you provide dinner to your needy neighbors every Friday. I am enthralled whenever I see My daughters—despite being busy and fatigued with their daily work and families—work hard all day to prepare and serve the food that you give to your neighbors. As you well know, most of the people you serve on Friday evenings are homeless and jobless people, in much need of your help. You know that some of those people sleep under freeway overpasses? By helping them and extending a loving hand of support to them, you are doing truly precious work. As I have said in Matthew 25: 40, things you do for the smallest and the neediest of people are precisely the things that you do for Me. Remember that when you feed my needy, destitute children, you are indeed feeding Me. Also remember that your kindness will be repaid tenfold in Heaven. I also watch you as you conduct many great programs for the senior citizens every Tuesday. As one gets old, he or she increasingly feels lonely and sad. None of my creatures have the capacity to maintain their youth and health indefinitely. As years pass, one ages—more wrinkles and white hairs, while having less strength. I made humans that way. So for you young people, serve your elders well. As I told you in Ephesians, 6: 2-3, if you take good care of your father and mother, I will give you great blessings and long lasting lives. I want to thank my many sons and daughters who toil in anonymity, without much fanfare, recognition, self-praise or klieg lights. I get a great sense of reassurance and pleasure as I watch those who work in your kitchen, choir room, classrooms, and other places throughout your church. Those hidden workers will become the cornerstones of My church and prevent any and all outside forces from collapsing and destroying the House that I built (See Matthew 16: 18). The sight of all of you worshipping, praying, and sharing fellowship is truly a great sight for Me to see. I am happiest when I see your bright faces as you enter into My sanctuary, giving and treating each other with great love. I don’t know if you remember the song that I had David sing in Psalms 133: 1. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” I always want to see you love one another and treat each other with great respect. Bickering and arguing, to climb over one another, is not a good sight to see. Do you remember what I said in John 15: 12? “that you love one another as I have loved you.” Always keep in mind that when you love and serve one another, your church becomes a small heaven on earth. The spectacle that upsets Me the most when I look at Korean-American societies in the United States is the deep rifts within the community as people hate and fight one another. I know there are a lot of stresses and hardships living as an immigrant, and those factors probably contribute to the rifts and conflicts. But when those who claim to believe in Me use My name in vain to fight and bite one another, My heart gets deeply bruised and scarred. St. Luke’s has done a good job thus far, but make sure you stay as a united church, where all of you take good care of one another in harmony. Always remember my words in Matthew 5: 9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Never forget the fact that peacemakers, the conciliators, are My true sons and daughters. The one thing that pains Me when I think of St. Luke’s is the loss some of you recently suffered, as some of you lost a parent or a loved one. I know it must be hard and difficult to lose a parent or a beloved one. But do not grieve too much, for they are here with Me. As I created man out of earth, is it not a natural phenomenon for man to return to earth? The only differentiating factor is when a man returns to soil—and in the end, all of you will conclude your temporary stay down there and return to your genuine homeland up here. For those who sent your loved ones up here, receive My solemn condolences and comforts from Heaven. September 11th marked the one-year anniversary of the terror attacks in New York, and I remember this related story. There was a man—a good, faithful man—who worked in one of New York’s police precincts. His name was Mark, and he was on duty on the day that the Twin Towers collapsed. Weathering the falling debris from the towers, Mark was leading and guiding spectators to safety. That’s when a big object fell from the sky. When Mark looked up, he saw that the falling object was a person. He was soon shocked to find out that more people, determined not to be trapped in a burning, collapsing building, were jumping from the towers. Oblivious of the burning debris that were falling from the sky, Mark ran to the base of the Twin Towers. Do you know why? He wanted to tell something to the people who were plummeting to their deaths from the tower. To the falling people that had but a few seconds to live—before they hit the ground—Mark yelled the following phrases so that they could hear. “God loves you! Jesus loves you!” When I saw this from up here, you cannot imagine how much happy I was. That’s right! Even when good, innocent people were dying, I loved My sons and daughters. Terror, hate, violence, and death—none of these things could separate My heart from My loving children! I know that amongst you, the members of the St. Luke’s family, there are many that are sick. I know that one of My daughters have been afflicted with an incurable disease for past several decades. I also know that she toils on with great courage. What pains! But be strong and persevere. Do you know the pain that My Son felt when I crucified Him on the Cross? Your pains are nothing compared to what He had to suffer through. Remember that My Son Jesus suffers with you when you are afflicted with sickness, and when you feel pain. Have courage. Be strong. With my right hand, I will hold you tight. Adopting a slogan of “The Year of Saving Another Soul” for this year was truly a great idea. You picked my favorite thing. I am very content when many of you try to lead a lost soul to Me. When you come up here to be by My side in heaven, you will not be able to do two things. One is sinning, and the other is evangelizing. Between these two things, what would you rather be doing when you are called up to Me? Is it sinning? Or is it letting someone know that I exist so that you can save him or her from eternal death? When I look down from here, there are too many lost souls in Killeen. Too many people live like a squirrel on a spinning wheel, leading aimless, meaningless lives. My loving children of St. Luke’s, please help even one of them know My name so that they can lead a righteous life! I want to see you leading others to Me, so that they too can gain a path to salvation through Me. I heard that you will soon be selecting some new people for various positions within the church. Always remember that these positions are not for personal honor. It is an act of bearing the cross for Me. Please select those who are willing to make the time and material sacrifice and tireless efforts for Me. Do not bicker over the selection, lest some may fall into temptation. Becoming an elder or a deacon is not for personal glory, but a path to the Cross. One of my precious servants in India was named Sundar Singh (1889-1929). He was a Hindu by birth, but converted to have faith in Me. As a result, he was severely persecuted; when he became a Christian, his family, saying that he betrayed the family religion, tried to poison him. Because he believed in My Son Jesus, he was stoned countless number of times and imprisoned. He was even tied to a tree, to become a feast for the wild beasts of the plains. His persecutors once tried to kill him by pressure, wrapping his body in a wet sheet of animal skins and laying him out in the sun, where the pressure from drying and shrinking leather would produce enough pressure to kill him. I cannot explain through words the pains and sufferings he endured. I recall, with great pleasure, the words that My loving servant Singh left for Me. “From my many years of experience I can unhesitatingly say that the cross bears those who bear the cross.” Sundar Singh was right. If you willingly bear the cross that My Son carried, then I will support and buttress you. As your responsibilities within the church become greater, always keep in mind that you are bearing a heavier cross for Me! I wish to conclude my letter by telling you one more inspirational tale that I observed from Heaven. After a Confirmation ceremony at a church in the United States, one teacher gathered the students and families and asked one of the students a question. “George, what can separate you from the love of God?” George answered by reciting, with great conviction and confidence, the verses we read today in Romans 8: 38-39. “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When George brightly smiled after answering, his parents and family warmly smiled back at him. The teacher then asked Mary, Peter, Andrew, and Grace the same question, in turn. Each one of them answered smartly and clearly. It was obvious that each one of them completed the Confirmation education very successfully. Lastly, Rachel was left to answer the same question. She was a mentally retarded child, who suffered from Down’s Syndrome. She was less intelligent than the other children. When it came to be Rachel’s turn to answer, the teachers, parents, and other friends started being nervous and murmuring amongst themselves, concerned whether as to Rachel can recite back the two verses from Romans 8 like the other children. The teacher asked Rachel, “Rachel, what can separate you from God’s love?” Rachel, beaming calmly, answered, “Nothing!” In her mind, nothing could separate her from My love, the love of God. Do you know how elated and happy I felt when I heard her answer? “Nothing!” What can be a more precise, succinct and accurate answer? Like Rachel said, nothing could separate all of you from My love—nothing could keep Me from loving you! To my loving children of St. Luke’s, I implore you not to forget this one fact! As for the remaining days of the year 2002, may your great work and efforts bring forth beautiful, abundant fruits! Take care. From your loving Father
A Letter to Bill William D. Hyatt from Ray Stedman(William D. Hyatt에게 보낸 Ray Stedman의 편지)/ Acts 6:2-4(행6:2-4)/ 1990-12-29
A Letter to Bill William D. Hyatt from Ray Stedman(William D. Hyatt에게 보낸 Ray Stedman의 편지) Acts 6:2-4(행6:2-4) A Letter to William D. Hyatt from Ray Stedman December 29, 1990 Dear Bill, First, congratulations to you and Yvonne for 25 years together. It is always great to see couples demonstrating marriage fidelity in these days of quickie marriages and even quicker divorces! As you know, Hawaii is very important to Elaine and me as we began our marriage there 45 years ago last October! We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time there. I apologize for some delay in getting this letter back to you, but I was given a heavy assignment in writing by Intervarsity Press and was asked to get a manuscript back to them by Christmas. That meant writing-for 6-7 hours a day in the intervening time, hence my delay. It was encouraging to me, however, to note your concern for the [PBC] South eldership. You are quite right that some remedial action needs to be taken immediately to get the elders back on the track of biblical eldering. You ask: How do elders actually come to understand where the Lord of the church is leading it? The answer is basically threefold: 1. By accepting the fact that this is their primary role! This is the way they are to use their time. They cannot use the excuse that they have no time for the methods that make this possible, for this is their major responsibility, given by the Lord himself. Jesus is present at PBC South and is active in doing exactly what he said he would do: to open doors for ministering by the people, and close other doors (Cf. Rev 3:7-6). He has revealed to his apostles how he plans to make those open doors known---by speaking to and through elders (Titus 15, Acts 20:26-29). 2. Further, his instrument for making known his mind is the Word of God taught by the Spirit of God. Elders must be constantly studying the Word and discussing it together: It Is not enough to assume the knowledge they have gained in the past is sufficient. Light must spring forth from the Word continually. This studying is to be done individually, by twos and threes, and corporately at meetings of the elders together When various issues come before them they are to ask: what principles from Scripture bear upon this problem? If they haven’t time for this then they haven’t time to be elders at all, and ought to resign! To have the time for this they are to deliberately refuse to get involved in solving what you call “practical” problems, the nuts & bolts of running a church. This is clearly the point of Acts 6:2-4: decisions about maintenance problems, building expansions, painting, carpentering, organizing an office, etc., etc., must be passed along to deacons (both male and female) who are qualified by knowledge to deal with such matters If elders allow themselves to get tangled up with such they are being unfaithful to the task for which the Lord called them! Furthermore, what they learn in their studying, they are to teach to others---this is what Acts 6:4 calls “the ministry of the word” which elders are to give their attention to. This teaching is directed toward preparing others to be elders, or preparing them to teach in Sunday School or home Bible classes, or to minister from the pulpit, or in evangelistic outreaches. The elders are obviously to the local church what the apostles were to the church at large. They have the ministry of apostleship, carried on at a local level. 3. With this goes the ministry of prayer (Acts. 6:4 again). This, too, is an individual ministry and a collective one. Together they are to pray for wisdom in making decisions, for clarity in understanding Scripture, for harmony in their meetings and in the church, for healing for those who are sick, for vitality in worship, for courage to discipline biblically for power to be manifested in the ministry of the saints. Again, if they haven’t time for this then they haven’t time to be elders at all. They must not allow anyone to take this ministry of the word and prayer away from them for it is given to them by their Lord and it is to him they must give on account of their stewardship (Heb. 13:17). So I urge you to share this letter with the brothers there and take the steps which the Lord will indicate by bringing about unanimous agreement to remedy this faulty situation. The church will never be stronger than its leadership, but if the leadership is faithful the Lord will do great things among them. Give my loving greetings to all. Most Cordially. Pastor Ray C. Stedman
A Life of Her(그녀의 삶)/ Acts 9:36-43(행9:36-43)/ 2006-11-07
A Life of Her(그녀의 삶) Acts 9:36-43(행9:36-43) Dan Hurley was a famous performance writer, renowned for his 60-second scripts. He became famous in America for his ability to listen to the detailed life stories of people from all walks of life—from destitute people in Harlem to movie stars in Hollywood—and compress their biographies into scripts that could be read to an audience in 60 seconds. Dan Hurley wrote about 20,000 60-second biographical scripts; today, I would like to introduce two of them to you. Regarding Clement, a 40-year old man who lives in a dumpster located in a back alley in Brooklyn, New York, Hurley recorded the following script: I’m Really Satisfied with the Way I’m Living Now. Not Truly Happy. Just Content. Clement stated, “My dwelling—it’s a shelter and it’s not too bad. It has four walls, a ceiling and a floor. The only things it’s missing is a kitchen and a bathroom.” Clement, after divorcing his wife, settled in the dumpster and admitted that while he was not a drug addict or an alcoholic, adding that “the only vices that I have are cigarettes and a little marijuana.” He scrounged cans, bottles, and scrap metals to make a living; the surprising fact was that he was able to generate, through his “gathering,” an income of $800 to $900 per month. He was even able to save some money into his checking account. Clement was immensely proud of the fact that he was able to make his own living, without the help of government social or welfare programs or handouts from other people. Hurley wrote another 60-second biographical script that is worthy of our attention. A script titled “Honest Abe” succinctly delineates a life of a man as such: “Honest Abe. He’s a man of his word. As a CPA, he had to be honest. People depended on him. He was honest, too, when he promised to Margery 58 years ago that he would always love her and stand by her. They’ve been married that long, and they now have two children and three grandchildren. But he was never more honest than in one day six years ago, when his oldest daughter’s husband, Fred, was in the hospital and Abe went to see him. ‘You need a haircut,’ said Fred, joking. But Abe replied in utter seriousness: ‘I won’t get a haircut until you walk out of here.’ Fred never did walk out of there. He was carried out. He had died. And so Abe felt that he owed it to Fred to keep his word. That’s why he never cut his hair, why he has a long white ponytail—this conservative CPA.” If Hurley were to write a 60-second biography about your life to concisely illustrate your story to rest of the world, what would it be about? This morning, we witnessed a 60-second biography about a woman in the Book of Acts, chapter 9. Although short in length, today’s scripture lays out, in an impressionable manner, a story regarding one woman’s beautiful and precious life. Today, we will think about this woman, Dorcas. First, this was a woman who lived according to the meaning of her name. In verse 36, it is stated “At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas.” This woman’s name was Tabitha in Aramas—the language of the Jews at the time—and Dorcas in Greek. In both languages, her name meant ‘beautiful gazelle.’ Either her parents or some relative probably gave her this name; throughout her life, she lived according to her name, earning great respect and adoration from those around her. Our names often delineate our character and uniqueness to others. We became ‘Christians’ after we started believing in Jesus Christ. As the people who belong to Christ, we must live guilt and embarrassment-free lives. In 1917, during the height of World War I, one of the most cruel and vicious massacres in history of war took place. Islamic Turks, upon invading Armenia, killed and butchered over 750,000 people believed to be Christians. The Turks lined up people who they believed to be Christians—regardless of gender and age—in front of burial trenches and asked questions to these people, one at a time, with a rifle pointed at them at point-blank range. “Mohammed or Christ?” Although replying “Mohammed” may have spared them of their lives, countless people answered “Christ, only Christ!” on their way to valiant deaths. They were martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the name Jesus Christ—a truly holy name indeed. Second, how did Dorcas live that made her the object of affection for the multitudes of people? The latter half of verse 36 of today’s scripture states, Dorcas “was full of good works and charitable deeds, which she did.” She performed many acts of benevolence and altruism throughout her life. She especially helped those who were poor or in dire straits. In reading the second half of verse 39, we can see that Dorcas became famous for her sewing in Joppa. When Peter arrived in Joppa after hearing about the news of Dorcas’ death, the widows who had gathered around the body of Dorcas showed him the tunics and the garments that she had sewed while she was alive. The tunics and garments that Dorcas made displayed her diligence and virtuous character. Dorcas was famous in Joppa for her sewing, and her good and charitable deeds made others adore her. A woman named Bea Salazar, upon undergoing surgery for her back in 1990, had difficulties with mobility ever since. In a great depression, she painfully lived each day. Taking out her trash one day, Salazar happened to look upon a young boy who was scavenging for food in the trash bins. Feeling a great pity for the starving young child, Salazar took the boy into her home and made him a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Finishing off the sandwich in no time, the boy left her house and returned about 15 minutes later with six of his friends, asking “is it true that you’re giving away peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches?” Salazar learned that many parent of the neighborhood, worn down from hard labor, neglected to take care of their children and many of these children wandered the street like beggars. After learning this fact, Salazar contacted many churches in her community and started gathering volunteers and relief supplies. One person, greatly moved by Salazar’s efforts, donated an apartment. At this apartment, over 100 children started gathering daily. After 10 years, despite great financial hardship, 5 of the 100 children went on to study at community colleges. Salazar would confess later, “I never thought that making one peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich would grow into something that would affect so many lives—especially mine. There was a point when I stopped thinking about my own pain and started concentrating on somebody else’s. It’s true that when you help others, you help yourself.” To have our neighbors fondly remember our lives, let’s do good and generous deeds. Third, how did people respond when Dorcas, who led such a wonderful life, died? In verse 37, Dorcas dies from disease and her body was rested in the upper room. In verse 38, people sent two messengers to Peter, who was working in Lydda, and asked him to come, without delay, to Joppa. Lydda was a city that encompassed the region occupied today by Tel Aviv, the largest city in Israel, and city of Lod; Joppa is known today as Jaffa, located to the south of Tel Aviv. The people of Joppa loved Dorcas so much—and their desire to resurrect her so great—that they hurriedly sent for Peter, the leader of the early Christian church. When we die, and if people around us grieve and say “a precious person died…only if he could have lived a little longer….only if he could wake up this minute…” our lives could be considered successful. However, when we die, and our death elicits cynical and disdainful response from people, such as “well, he deserved it…after all the bad things that he did…” our lives would be those of disgrace and shame. The fact is, Peter went to Joppa from Lydda and resurrected Dorcas. The manner in which Peter resurrects Dorcas is very similar to the manner in which Jesus resurrects the twelve-year old daughter of a synagogue ruler Jairus (Luke 8: 40-42, 49-56). Just as Jesus took Peter, John, James, and the parents of the dead girl into the room, held the child’s hand, and resurrected the girl by commanding “arise,” Peter sends everyone else out of the room, kneels, prays, and resurrects Dorcas by saying “Tabitha, arise!” This was an event that showed the pervasive effect of Jesus’ work on Peter. The Disciple, after watching his Mentor, repeated the very same deed. Truly blessed are those who have a mentor whom they can emulate. We must become such disciples of Christ, able to follow and emulate the very acts of Christ. The dire prayers of the people of Joppa had been answered—their Dorcas was resurrected, able to sew as before and carry on with her work of charity and good deeds. As a result, in verse 42, “And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.” The fact that Dorcas was resurrected increased the number of people who started to believe in Christ. If our lives were to be explained in 60 seconds, how would it be summarized? The life of Dorcas was concise yet moving. The grief over her death was so great that it resulted in her resurrection. We all must try our best to live the blessed life that will leave everlasting impression, grief, and positive influence on others.
A Life that Makes Others Happy(다른 사람들을 행복하게 하는 삶)/ Philippians 4:4-8(빌4:4-8)/ Pastor Sou-Young Lee(이수영 목사)/ 2002-09-11
A Life that Makes Others Happy(다른 사람들을 행복하게 하는 삶) Philippians 4:4-8(빌4:4-8) A Life that Makes Others Happy Philippians 4:4-8 We often hear that there are three kinds of people. The first kind of people is those who are necessary in a society. The second kind of people is those who are neither necessary nor harmful in a society. The third kind of people is those who are to be perished in a society. We need to reflect on ourselves in what group are we classified. Of course, all the people will agree that they are to be classified in the first group and not to be classified in the third group. Jesus says us, “You are the salt of the earth” as well as “You are the light of the world.” We should understand these words as the commandment to be the people that are necessary for a society. We should not be such people that are neither required nor harmful. Needless to say, we should not be such people that need to be perished from this society. Then, what is the criteria of these three kinds of people? I think the most important criterion is, like the example of salt and light, instructiveness. That is, people can be classified by whether they are instructive for people and society or not. In other words, people can be classified by whether they can make others happy or not. Everyone wants to be happy and no one wants to be miserable. Therefore, there is no more precious thing than making others happy, especially as many people as possible. On the other hand, there will be no more detestable life than making others unhappy, especially making plenty of people unhappy. In fact, the most blessed are those who can make others pleasant and happy with their words and actions. When we have such reputations as “My mind becomes joyful whenever I see him” or “I become happy whenever I see her smile or laughing” from others, then we can judge that our life has been blessed and successful. On the contrary, our lives must have been failure if our words and actions have made others unpleasant, inflicted others, caused pains many others, and brought harms others. How miserable our lives will be if we have such reputations from others as “The guy? Out of luck!” “Don’t mention about the guy before me! He angers me!” “The best is not to contact with him!” “If he perish in silence, it’s the best help for us!” Why do we need to live such lives? Of course, in some cases, we can bring damages and pains to others even though we try to do good for others. However, there are some ill natured people who continually devise miserable matters for others, enjoy the misery of others, and regard them as their happiness. I believe that there is no more cursed life than such people in this world. The misery of such people is that they do not change their mind but to be more stubborn when some others tell them their wrong doings. We should reflect on ourselves whether we are not such kind of people in our community. Making others happy does not require great efforts, huge capital, much knowledge, or great preparation. It only requires little concern for, small understanding of, and warm mind for others. Small kindness, concessions, smiles, and devotion which emanates from them can make others happy. Holding the doors for a while with a smile for the following person, after you enter into the building, can make this society bright and hopeful. One praise of good doing can make people happy. One embracing with the recognition of hard work can blow away all the fatigue and agony and make a person very happy. Some days ago, I fully realized the usefulness of a dim candle light. The electricity was off for that night and nothing was possible until one family member who knew the location of a match return to home and lit a candle. The dark society of this world really requires us to be a small light. The following words of Jesus are really meaningful in these days: “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Today’s scripture answers to the question of “How can we make others happy?” At first, verse 4 of today’s scripture says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Those who rejoice at all times can make others happy. People who frown and grumble at all times cannot make others happy. However, to rejoice without any reason is not good. Only those who rejoice with unselfish reason can make others happy. If a person is pleased with a fortunate big income when others feel bad because of lost money, can the pleasure make others happy? Our pleasure should be founded on our Lord. Those who rejoice with the faith on Jesus Christ in thankful of the grace, even in similar or worse situation to others, can make others happy. This is the meaning of verse 4 which says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Verse 5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” The word “gentleness” is the most difficult word for Korean theologists to translate among the words in New Testament. It means “justice and something better than justice.” We may misunderstand “gentleness” as “the generosity that sacrifices justice.” But “gentleness” here means the wisdom and ability which do not sacrifice justice. Gentleness also does not allow justice to hurt the people. We can make others happy if we can forgive and love others without sacrificing justice. Although this is difficult task to do, it is required to christians. As it is required to all christians, bible says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Verse 6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Those who do not be anxious can make others happy and can make others feel relief. Those who illustrate all his worries before a person really make others tired, gruesome, and frustrated. If someone are to listen the grumble of others in this hard world, it will really deprive the listener’s happiness. On the contrary, those who are carefree before serious situation also make others uneasy and unhappy. We are not anxious not because we have no worries nor are we indiscreet. We are not anxious because we entrust all our worries to our God. This is the reason why Apostle Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything,” and “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Those who report everything to God, pray for the solution, and who are free from worry can make others happy. Verse 6 also says us to pray with “thanksgiving.” Prayer with thanksgiving has two meanings. First, it requires to thank the fact that we can pray God entrusting all our things. Second, it requires to pray with the faith that God will grant all our requests. When we pray in this manner, we can enjoy peace in our mind. This fact is illustrated by verse 7 which says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Such a peace of mind and thought has the power to make others happy. Verse 8 introduces many secrets that can make others happy. It says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” That is, it requires us to think and practice eagerly whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable. “What is true” here means to be truthful and to be a person that can be trusted. It makes us very happy to know or to have a person that is truthful and that can be trusted in all matters. Verse 8 says, “whatever is noble.” “Noble” here implies to be respectable, to be elegant, to be valuable, and to be earnest. Seeing a person who is respectable, elegant, and earnest in all matters at all time makes us happy. Verse 8 says, whatever is right. “Right” means keeping all the duties that should be observed in human relationships. Everyone who tries to have right relationship with God and keeps all the duties in human relations makes others happy. Verse 8 says, “whatever is pure.” Pure is translated as “chaste” in Korean bible. “Pure” here implies the trait which enables people to approach God, which reflects God, and which is enough to be used by God. Seeing a people who is pure and chaste make people happy. Verse 8 says, “whatever is lovely.” This implies the mind and character that can attract others’ mind. Seeing those who attract every others’ mind make people happy. Verse 8 says, “whatever is admirable.” Those who have good reputation in all matters also make others happy. Verse 8 also says, “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” This indicates all kinds of excellency and the matters that can be praised. If we eagerly think and practice whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, then we will be able to make others happy. These words are more precious for us because Apostle Paul wrote this letter in custody in jail to the saints of Philippians who were in danger of persecution. As the political, economic, social situation we are encountering now does not make us happy in these days, we all the more need to be the people that make others happy. Our church has the slogan “Let’s live as the children of light” in this year. Thus, all of we saints need to hear such praise as “You make this world livable,” or “Saemoonan Church is providing hope for this society!” Let us be the saints that make Saemoonan Church happy. Let us be the Saemoonan Church that make Korea happy. Through such efforts, I hope that the word “Saemoonanian” in a dictionary can be interpreted as “something that makes others happy” in sometime in the future. It will be the glory of God and it will be worthwhile events for us. Such word will be the evidence to our descendants on the fact that the saints of Saemoonan Church lived their life as the children of light in this world. “People that make others happy,” I hope this is not mere a dream. I hope it becomes the goal of our life and the principle of our practice within faith in this year. Pastor Sou-Young Lee(Saemoonan Church)(이수영 목사(새문안교회))
아브라함 언약의 신약적 해석/ How Should Christians Relate to the State of Israel?(그리스도인들은 이스라엘 나라와 어떻게 연관되어 있어야 하는가?)/ 신4:25-27/ Rich Nathan 목사/ 2007-11-17
아브라함 언약의 신약적 해석/ How Should Christians Relate to the State of Israel?(그리스도인들은 이스라엘 나라와 어떻게 연관되어 있어야 하는가?) 신4:25-27 (퇴임을 앞둔 아들 부시 대통령의 중동 방문에 맞추어, Rich Nathan 목사는 이 설교를 전했다고 합니다.) 1. 아브라함에게 약속된 언약의 땅은 다윗 때 이미 성취되었습니다. 창15:18-19절에, 팔레스틴 땅이 아브라함의 후손에게 주시기로 언약되었습니다. “그 날에 여호와께서 아브람으로 더불어 언약을 세워 가라사대 내가 이 땅을 애굽 강에서부터 그 큰 강 유브라데까지 네 자손에게 주노니...” 이 언약은 구약 성경에서 몇 군데 더 연수가 지나서도 재차 확인되어지는데, “내가 너의 지경을 홍해에서부터 블레셋 바다까지, 광야에서부터 하수까지 정하고 그 땅의 거민을 네 손에 붙이리니 네가 그들을 네 앞에서 쫓아낼 지라.”(출23:31) 이 구절을 액면 그대로 만약 믿는다면, 지금 이스라엘 영토는 더 넓어져야 합니다. 요르단과 시리아는 물론, 이라크 일부까지 포함되어집니다. 그러므로 팔레스타인 등 주변국가와 협상 따위는 할 필요조차 없다고 생각하는 사람도 있습니다. 그러나 그렇게 극단적으로 생각하면 안 됩니다. 그 ‘아브라함 언약’은, 그로부터 1천년 이후인 다윗과 솔로몬 왕 때 이미 성취되었기 때문입니다. “솔로몬이 유브라데 강에서부터 블레셋 땅과 애굽 지경까지의 열왕을 관할하였으며”(대하9:26) 2. TV 및 종말론 서적을 통해서, 극단적 입장이 여과 없이 전파되었습니다. 그런데 미국의 많은 미국 보수 기독교인들(유대인 아닌 미국인)이 아직도 ‘아브라함 언약’이 오늘날에도 여전히 유효하다고 믿고 있습니다. 그 이유는 TV설교자들 때문입니다. 이 주장은 존 해가이, 팻 로벗슨, 제리 폴웰 등이 유포하였으며, 달라스 신학교 또한 이 입장을 위하고 있습니다. 서적으로는, 팀 라헤이, 할 린드세이(Hal Lindsey), 마이크 에반스 등이 쓴 종말론 서적이 이 주장을 전파하고 있습니다. 오늘날 중동 문제가 위와 같은 구약 성경 몇 구절을 신봉함으로써 그 당위성이 주장되어질 수 있을까요? 물론 아닙니다. 아니라면, 그 이유는 무엇인가요? 아래 4가지입니다. 3. 중동 땅에 관한 ‘아브라함 언약’이 오늘날 적용될 수 없는 4가지 이유 (1) 유대인에게 땅을 주신 개념은 ‘소작권’이지, ‘소유권’이 아닙니다. 성경이 말하는 땅의 소유권 개념은 오직 하나님께만 있습니다. 하나님은 한 번도 유대인 등 사람에게 땅을 소유하라고 주신 적이 없습니다. “토지를 영영히 팔지 말 것은 토지는 다 내 것임이라. 너희는 나그네요 우거하는 자로서 나와 함께 있느니라.”(레25:23) 선물과 등기권리증은 다릅니다. 다시 말하면, 아브라함에게 주신 약속은 ‘선물’이지, ‘등기권리’가 아닙니다. 근본적으로 하나님은, 사람들에게 땅을 등기권리로 주시지 않습니다. 그들이 팔레스틴 땅을 받은 것은 하나님의 ‘선물’이었습니다. 그리고 선물은, 잘못하면 빼앗길 수도 있다는 사실을 또한 명심해야 합니다. 오늘 우리도 자녀, 건강, 재물 등을 하나님께 선물 받았습니다. 영원한 등기는 아닙니다. 그러나 우리가 잘못 관리하면, 하나님이 빼앗아 가십니다. 주전 6세기 경, 이스라엘이 그 선물로 받은 땅을 바벨론에 의해 빼앗겼습니다. 자기가 잘못해서 한 번 빼앗긴 선물에 대해, ‘영구 등기 권리’를 주장할 수는 없습니다. 우리가 자녀, 건강, 재물을 한 번 빼앗겼을 때, ‘영구 등기 권리’를 주장 할 수 없는 것과 같은 이치입니다. 오늘날 미국 크리스천들이, 하나님이 아브라함 자손들에게 주신 ‘선물’을 마치 ‘등기 권리증’처럼 이해하는 데서 문제가 발단되는 것입니다. (2) 불순종하면, 그 땅을 잃어버릴 것이라고 이미 약속하셨습니다. “너희는 이 모든 일로 스스로 더럽히지 말라. 내가 너희의 앞에서 쫓아내는 족속들이 이 모든 일로 인하여 더러워졌고...” “너희의 전에 있던 그 땅 거민이 이 모든 가증한 일을 행하였고, 그 땅도 더러워졌느니라.”(그래서 그 거민들을 쫓아내고, 이 땅을 너희에게 주었다.) “너희도 더럽히면 그 땅이 너희 있기 전 거민을 토함 같이 너희를 토할까 하노라”(너희도 더럽히면, 똑같이 쫓겨날 것이다)(레18:24-28) 신4:25-27도 똑같은 말씀입니다. “네가 그 땅에서 아들을 낳고 손자를 얻으며 오래 살 때에 만일 스스로 부패하여 무슨 형상의 우상이든지 조각하여 네 하나님 여호와 앞에 악을 행함으로 그의 노를 격발하면 내가 오늘날 천지를 불러 증거를 삼노니 너희가 요단을 건너가서 얻는 땅에서 속히 망할 것이라. 너희가 거기서 너희 날이 길지 못하고 전멸될 것이니라. 여호와께서 너희를 열국 중에 흩으실 것이요.”(신4:25-27) 불행하게도 이런 예언들이 그대로 성취되었습니다. 그래서 북왕국은 이스라엘은 주전 8세기에 망해서 앗수르에 포로로, 남왕국 유다는 주전 6세기에 망해서 바벨론에 포로로 잡혀갔습니다. 포로 70년 만에 팔레스틴으로 돌아온 후에도 잠깐 순종했으나, 예수님 시대에 이르러 회개하지 않고 계속 범죄 함으로써 주후 70년 경 로마에 망한 후에, 20세기까지 나라 없는 민족으로 유랑하였습니다. 여호와께서 말씀하시되 “이는 그들이 내가 그들의 앞에 세운 나의 법을 버리고 내 목소리를 청종치 아니하며 그대로 행치 아니하고 그 마음의 강퍅함을 따라 그 열조가 자기에게 가르친 바알들을 좇았음이라. 그러므로 만군의 여호와 이스라엘의 하나님 내가 말하노라. 보라 내가 그들 곧 이 백성에게 쑥을 먹이며 독한 물을 마시우고 그들과 그들의 조상이 알지 못하던 열국 중에 그들을 헤치고 진멸되기까지 그 뒤로 칼을 보내리라 하셨느니라.”(렘9:13-16) 나는 두렵습니다. 지금 현재 이스라엘 땅에 살고 있는 유대인들도 거의 대부분 예수님을 믿지 않으며, 세계에 흩어져 있는 유대인들 중에 무신론자도 매우 많습니다. 그러니 이런 저주가 또 다시 한 번 응할까, 그래서 또 다시 토해 내쳐지는 벌을 받을까봐 두려운 것입니다. 설교자는 유대계 미국 목사입니다. 오늘날 우리도 마찬가지입니다. 유대인 역사를 보면서 경고를 들어야 합니다. 이스라엘이 가나안 땅을 빼앗긴 것은 그들의 죄악 때문이었습니다. 오늘 우리도 예외 없이 마찬가지입니다. 계속 불순종하면 쫓겨나고 포로로 잡혀갑니다. 그러므로 바울은, “구약의 모든 일이 오늘 우리에게 거울과 경계로 기록되었으니 우리도 조심해야 한다.”(고전10:6-12)고 권고합니다. 고로 이스라엘 역사를, 바로 오늘 나에게 적용되는 교훈으로 들어야 합니다. 이스라엘이 회개하면, 그 땅은 회복될 것입니다. 그러나 불순종한 이스라엘이 포로를 그친 후에, 다시 돌아올 것이 예언되어 있습니다. “나 여호와가 이같이 말하노라. 바벨론에서 칠십 년이 차면 내가 너희를 권고하고 나의 선한 말을 너희에게 실행하여 너희를 이곳으로 돌아오게 하리라.” “나 여호와가 말하노라 너희를 향한 나의 생각은 내가 아나니 재앙이 아니라 곧 평안이요 너희 장래에 소망을 주려하는 생각이라. 너희는 내게 부르짖으며 와서 내게 기도하면 내가 너희를 들을 것이요 너희가 전심으로 나를 찾고 찾으면 나를 만나리라. 나 여호와가 말하노라. 내가 너희에게 만나지겠고 너희를 포로 된 중에서 다시 돌아오게 하되 내가 쫓아 보내었던 열방과 모든 곳에서 모아 사로잡혀 떠나게 하던 본 곳으로 돌아오게 하리라. 여호와의 말이니라 하셨느니라.”(렘29:10-14) 70년 동안 회개한 이스라엘은 고레스 왕 때 가나안에 다시 돌아오게 됩니다. “바사 왕 고레스 원년에 여호와께서 예레미야의 입으로 하신 말씀을 응하게 하시려고 바사 왕 고레스의 마음을 감동시키시매 저가 온 나라에 공포도 하고 조서도 내려 가로되, 바사 왕 고레스는 말하노니 하늘의 신 여호와께서 세상 만국으로 내게 주셨고 나를 명하여 유다 예루살렘에 전을 건축하라 하셨나니 너희 중에 무릇 그 백성 된 자는 다 올라갈지어다. 너희 하나님 여호와께서 함께하시기를 원하노라 하였더라.”(대하36:22-23) 이 말씀을 우리 삶에 적용시키면, “우리가 회개하면, 다시 회복된다.”는 것입니다. (3) 예수님과 사도 바울도 ‘땅’을 ‘하나님 나라’로 해석합니다. 구약은 그림자이고, 신약은 실체입니다. 예수님이 오심으로써, 그림자의 상당 부분이 드러났습니다. 예수님이 회복시키시기 원하는 땅은, 팔레스틴이 아니라, 하나님의 나라였습니다. 예수님과 바울은 구약의 제사를 회복시키려 하지 않으셨습니다. 당연히 제사 장소인 예루살렘 성전도 필요 없었습니다. 예수님과 바울은 ‘너희가 하나님의 성전’이라고 가르치셨습니다. 또한 ‘아브라함의 자손’은 누구입니까? 세례요한의 설교를 들어보십시오. “너희가 아브라함의 자손이라는 말을 하지 말라. 하나님이 이 돌들로 아브라함의 자손을 만들 것이다. 도끼가 나무뿌리에 놓였으니... (불순종하는 그 자손들은) 찍혀서...”(눅3:7-9) 사도 바울은 갈라디아서의 수신자 이방인들에게 이렇게 말했습니다. “너희가 다 믿음으로 말미암아 그리스도 예수 안에서 하나님의 아들이 되었으니 누구든지 그리스도와 합하여 세례를 받은 자는 그리스도로 옷 입었느니라. 너희는 유대인이나 헬라인이나 종이나 자주자나 남자나 여자 없이 다 그리스도 예수 안에서 하나이니라. 너희가 그리스도께 속한 자면 곧 아브라함의 자손이요 약속대로 유업을 이을 자니라.”(갈3:26-29) 오늘날 믿음을 가진 우리가, 바로 아브라함의 자손인 것입니다. 그것이 성경적인 가르침입니다. 혈통적 유대인이 아닙니다. (4) 아브라함에게 주신 유산inheritance(땅)은 하나님의 나라입니다. 아브라함이나 그 후손에게 세상의 후사가 되리라고 하신 언약은 “율법으로 말미암은 것이 아니요, 오직 믿음의 의로 말미암은 것이니라”(롬4:13). “Whose Promised Land: The Continuing Crisis Over Israel and Palestine” by Colin Chapman. 이 책을 읽어보십시오. 구약의 아브라함에게 약속된 유업의 개념은 오늘날 우리가 믿음으로 얻는 의요, 하나님의 나라를 뜻합니다. 창세기에 아브라함과 그 자손은 땅을 유산으로 받기로 약속받았습니다. 그 땅은 ‘하나님의 나라’요, 오늘날 우리가 ‘땅 끝까지 복음전해야 하는 세상’입니다. 앞서 오늘 믿음을 가진 우리가 아브라함의 자손이라고 그랬습니다. 그러면, 아브라함 언약, 즉 아브라함의 후손에게 약속된 ‘자손과 땅’이 있습니다. 그것을 신약적으로 풀면, ‘자손’은 “우리가 전도해야 할 사람들”이고, ‘땅’은 “하나님의 통치가 임하는 하나님의 나라”인 것입니다. 그러니까 크리스천은, 더 이상 구약적 개념에 매달려, 팔레스틴 땅을 ‘아브라함 언약’에 연관시켜 생각할 필요가 없습니다. 예수님은 믿음 있는 백부장을 칭찬하시면서 이렇게 말씀하셨습니다. “또 너희에게 이르노니 동서로부터 많은 사람이 이르러 아브라함과 이삭과 야곱과 함께 천국에 앉으려니와 나라의 본 자손들은 바깥 어두운 데 쫓겨나 거기서 울며 이를 갊이 있으리라”(마8:10-11). 그러므로 신약시대에 우리들은, 하나님 나라 중심으로 생각해야지, 1948년 이스라엘 독립에 대해 너무 많은 의미를 부여하면 안 됩니다. 그것을 ‘하나님 나라의 회복’이라고 보는 것은 무리입니다. 요지는, 신약 어디를 보더라도, 예수님, 바울, 베드로 사도가, 아브라함 언약을, 오늘 일부 사람들이 이해하는 방식으로 재확인, 재천명 해 주지 않고 있습니다. 이제 예수님을 믿는 사람은 누구나, 유대인이나 이방인이나 차별 없이 아브라함의 후손이 되었습니다. 우리는 구약을, 반드시 신약의 빛 아래서 읽어야 합니다. (We have to read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament.) 앞서 거론한 일부 TV설교자들이나, 종말론 저자들은 신약의 빛 아래서, 구약을 읽은 것이 아닙니다. 예수님과 바울이 가르친 것과 다른 방식으로, 그들은 가르쳤습니다. 그리고 대중들이 그것을 그대로 믿고 있습니다. 4. 오늘날 올바른 중동 땅의 개념 그렇다면, 유대인은 오늘날 팔레스틴 땅을 주장할 권리가 전혀 없습니까? 나는 그렇지 않다고 봅니다. 아브라함의 언약에 따라서가 아니라, 지금 차지한 정도의 땅은, 유대인들이 차지할 권리가 있다고 봅니다. 물론 모든 팔레스타인, 시리아, 요르단을 쫓아내자는 것은 아닙니다. 그들 속에, 유대인도 함께 동거할 수 있는 권리는 있다는 것입니다. 극렬 회교도들의 유대인들을 아예 몰아내어야 한다는 주장에 반대 입장입니다. 유엔의 가결에 의해, 유대인들이 팔레스틴에 정착한 것도 엄연한 권리로 인정되어져야 합니다. 2천 년 역사 동안 유대인들은 핍박 받아왔습니다. 비단 20세기 히틀러뿐만 아니었습니다. 그리고 그런 가해 책임이 독일, 프랑스, 러시아 등 모든 나라에 있습니다. 그러므로 지금이라도, 세계는 과거 박해를 속죄하고, 되풀이하지 않겠다는 마음에서라도 유대인들을 팔레스틴 땅에서 보호하는 것이 정당한 것입니다. 물론 팔레스타인 사람들도, 유대인과 똑같이 보호받아야 합니다. 유대인과 팔레스타인인들 모두가 국제사회로부터 보호되어져야 합니다. 설교자는 유대계 목회자이지만, 극렬 유대인들의 팔레스타인 핍박에 반대합니다. 최근 부시 대통령과 라이스 국무장관은 양국을 동시에 인정하려고 합니다. A two-state solution입니다. 다른 나라 수반들도 이 정책에 동의합니다. 복잡한 문제들이 얽혀있긴 하지만. 유대인이든지 팔레스타인이든지, 압박받는 모든 사람들은 보호받아야 하는 것이 성경의 가르침입니다. 양측은 상대의 아픔을 보다 더 깊이 이해하면서 서로 화해해 나가기를 바랍니다. Rich Nathan 목사