Something totally new, not the ‘old raised to perfection’

The Portuguese-language Ave Maria Bible has a strange expression in its Doctrinal Index, in the entry on the word “covenant”. It briefly discusses the covenant with Israel, with a short list of various covenants made with Adam, Noah, and Abraham. There is a single sentence (how strange!) about Christ’s covenant, which mentions the covenant with Israel:

“Jesus Christ at the last supper and in the sacrifice of the cross raises this covenant to perfection, conferring on man true righteousness and divine adoption, Matthew 26.28; Romans 3.21ff.”

Let’s hear what the Lord Jesus himself said. Continue reading “Something totally new, not the ‘old raised to perfection’”

The Cross of Christ

Note: My in-laws, George and Joy Jensen, are moving back to Tanzania to continue their work after an eight year stint in the states. Hours before beginning their trek to Tanzania, George preached to the saints in Marlow, Oklahoma. He spoke on the cross. I’d like to share some of his thoughts, as I remember them, with you.

Simplicity

Details can be helpful, but often the most powerful stories are the succinct ones. We often try to expand upon the descriptions of events in scripture, to our detriment. The Holy Spirit is perfect, and the words he used to communicate with us are wholly sufficient.

Note this simple phrase in all four gospel accounts: “crucified him” (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33; John 19:18). While Deity chose to give us many details of what mankind did to our Savior leading up to and after the crucifixion, the silence here is striking. The next time you read the accounts of the cross, linger on those two words. The next time you speak about the cross, allow those two words to hang in the air for a moment. They (we) “crucified him.” Continue reading “The Cross of Christ”

Even the blood of wild animals

“Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth” (Leviticus 17:13).

Many years ago I took a course on meat preparation and was introduced to “Kosher” meats. That is the term used of meats approved for eating by Orthodox Judaism. At that time at least the processing of Kosher meat not only meant to select only “clean” animals as sources of food, but also the complete removal of all blood from the carcass. As I recall the lessons, Orthodox Jews only ate beef or mutton that had been de-veined. Simply bleeding the carcass out was not sufficient – the veins themselves had to be removed. Since the hind quarters of a cow (steer) could not be feasibly de-veined, those who required Kosher meat could only eat the front quarters (shoulders). Think of all the wasted T-bone steaks! Continue reading “Even the blood of wild animals”

Ingrate!

Parents who wanted their children to have what they were deprived of often discover it growing among the toys and privileges.

Christians who help the poor sometimes see it in the scowls at the same time the hand is extended.

Friends who share the amazing gift of God’s grace with their loved ones see it in the face of those who find salvation a small thing. Continue reading “Ingrate!”

Unity in the Lord’s Supper

Sometimes we get the idea that God’s people should never have problems, that they should always get along, and that there will always be harmony. Anyone who thinks this cannot have read Paul’s letters to God’s people at Corinth. It is hard to imagine a group of Christians who could have so many problems including not getting along!

But they were still God’s people! In the opening verses, Paul referred to them as “the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2 NET). Just because they had problems did not negate who they were in Christ. Continue reading “Unity in the Lord’s Supper”

Keeping the memory alive

“Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the Lord your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the Lord will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 16:1-3 ESV).

“What makes this night different from all other nights?” With this question, asked by a child, the modern Jewish observance of Passover begins. During the evening the events of the Exodus are related to all who are present and there is a feast containing many rituals that are based on what happened when God “passed over” the Israelites when they were freed from slavery in Egypt. Continue reading “Keeping the memory alive”

The need to remember

“And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.’ So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did” (Numbers 9:1-5 ESV).

God did not want the Israelites to forget what had happened to free them from Egyptian slavery. He gave them an anniversary to observe each year called “Passover.” This was to remind them that God had “passed over” their houses and that they had been freed from slavery that night. Continue reading “The need to remember”

Remember

“And when he had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24).

If we could put God and man in one, stark contrast, it might be this; God remembers, and humans forget. Continue reading “Remember”

The promises and their impact

Decades have passed since I made some promises to a young lady in two different languages. Those promises announced my marital commitment and intended faithfulness to my young bride. At that time, I slipped a tangible symbol of my vows upon her finger to remind her of what I had promised.

God has also made some promises and provided us with a tangible reminder of them. However, he has offered the greatest promises ever – promises offering hope, identity, peace and holiness. Furthermore, unlike us, God is always faithful to his promises. We can know and rest assured God will deliver. Continue reading “The promises and their impact”

The smell of a phone conversation

This article was translated from the Portuguese and some points reflect Brazilian law and society.

I dislike talking on the phone, a trait no doubt inherited from my dad, since he avoided it at all costs. But last week The Missus was busy when the phone rang, so I answered it.

“Is this the phone number of the church?” a feminine voice asked.

“My name is Randal, and I’m a Christian, can I help you?” Continue reading “The smell of a phone conversation”