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New Horizons

April, 2007: Resurrection Obedience

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Resurrection Obedience

Christianity is an event-centered religion. It begins with the triumphant announcement of who God is and what he has done for us in history. It is unlike the Eastern religions, which merely follow the teachings of a so-called enlightened figure, or postmodernism, which reduces religion to a set of subjective ideals. In neither of these approaches are God's redeeming acts in history the center that holds the rest together. Christianity, on the other hand, centers upon a God who has not only revealed his person and will, but has done so in the supernatural events that are truly worthy of the term awesome.

Our God speaks and acts to reveal himself. In Scripture, the Resurrection is the centerpiece of his revelation and the centerpiece of his redemptive acts in human history. As Paul notes, without it we are a bunch of pitiful fools (1 Cor. 15:19). The Resurrection is often considered in connection with Christ's redeeming work—and rightly so, as there would be no salvation without it. But in this article we will consider the significance of the Resurrection in a slightly different connection, relating it to Christian obedience. The Resurrection is indispensable for our justification, and it is also indispensable for our sanctification. Read more

Dead and Buried ... the End?

The first shovelful of dirt skitters across the wood, making a dull sound on the lid of the coffin. The pile of freshly dug earth awaits the workers who will come to cover it. Mourners look down into the hole and then walk away. What do you say at that moment? Buried. Dead and buried. The end.

For family and friends, the finality of that image may remain imprinted in memories. Burial seems to be the closing testimony to death's permanence. Men fear and seek to hide from death. Job's friend, Bildad, calls death "the king of terrors" (Job 18:14). Not much has changed. A Christ-denying world can only see death as a cruel joke, or avoid thinking about it, or accept it with a weary sorrow. There is still a rush to hide the dead from sight. The world is filled with graves and tombs and the ashes of funeral pyres. Some graves are gaping trenches into which hundreds of bodies are pushed. Others are only shallow depressions with just enough dirt to hide the sight and smell of death. Death, burial ... the end. Read more

Helps for Worship #17: Assurance of Pardon

"If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them." (John 20:23)

One of the great errors of the Church of Rome is to teach that the priest has the actual power to forgive sins, that is, to grant "absolution." Only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:7; Luke 5:21), and he can do that only because of the forgiveness secured in the blood of Jesus Christ, the glorious sacrifice for sin (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Jesus spoke the words of John 20:23 to the apostles, but nowhere in the New Testament do they do anything other than declare that the sins of those who repent and believe in Christ will be forgiven (e.g., Acts 2:38; 13:38; 26:18). Hence, we say that the church's authority is not magisterial and legislative, but only "ministerial and declarative." The church declares what God says in his Word. Read more

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