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Showing posts from August, 2009

God is for us!

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The understanding that God is Trinity, tells us not only who God is, but also what God does. The good news is that God, who is relational love in his being, is relationally loving in his doing. Thus to know God as Trinity is to know the God who as love, and in love, saves us. To know God as Trinity is to know that God is for us!
This stunning truth is revealed in the person of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God who as one of us, is God with us and for us. This vital point is made well by Martin Davis in a recent post on his blog. Martin (pictured right) provides a careful analysis of the development of thought concerning God within Western Christianity - a development that, sadly, lost much understanding concerning God's triune being and relating. Thanks Martin for your contributions to this conversation.

Speaking of Life: trinitarian theology

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Click here to view a Speaking of Life program with Dr. Joseph Tkach (pictured left) that helpfully summarizes the trinitarian theology discussed in this blog.

For a listing of other Speaking of Life programs, click here.

The gift of faith - to whom and when?

A reader of this blog submitted the following question:
Since salvation in Jesus comes through faith and this faith is God's gift, why does it seem that God is not giving this gift to everyone at this time?
Here is my reply:
I agree that the faith needed for salvation is, like salvation itself, God's gift - it's all of grace! Moreover, I understand from Scripture that this faith unto salvation is not our own - rather it is our sharing in the faith of the God-man Jesus who believes on our behalf, and shares his saving faith with us (see the KJV translation of Gal. 2:20, which rightly translates "faith in Jesus Christ" as "faith of Jesus Christ"). It is the faith of Jesus, the vicarious (representative - substitute) human, that unites humankind to God.
Both Calvinism and Arminianism (two dominant evangelical Protestant theologies) assert that the faith that leads to salvation is, indeed, God's gift and thus not to be viewed as a meritorious work of o…

I. Howard Marshall on penal substitution

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Among contemporary evangelical (including trinitarian) theologians, much (often heated) discussion continues concerning whether or not the idea of "penal substitution" is a valid way to characterize the atonement. Some sweep it aside as hopelessly flawed. Others assert its validity even if they object to certain ideas attached to its use.

An influential theologian in the second camp is I. Howard Marshall (at left), who argues for penal substitution, but against certain biblically indefensible ideas that have come to be attached to the concept.
In "The Theology of the Atonement" (click here to download), Marshall does a good job of surveying the issue from the perspectives of the Bible and contemporary theological literature. He places the issue in a trinitarian context without sweeping it aside. See what you think of his viewpoints. I think it would have been helpful if he had said more about the incarnation (Jesus' vicarious humanity), and the NT metaphor of…

Sanctification and glorification

Warren Wilson sent the Surprising God Blog the following questions: I've recently read some articles on the Internet that said that since Jesus had a fallen human nature but was able to completely avoid sin through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we who also have the Spirit should be able to become completely sin free in this life. That seems to overstate things to me and ignores that Jesus' situation and ours is not exactly the same. Am I correct in that? Also, I've never seen anything written about the question of whether Jesus continues to have a fallen human nature in heaven? In other words, what effect does glorification have on fallen human nature? Are we doomed to continue to have fallen human nature for eternity, even after we're glorified? Thanks Warren for your questions. I agree that the human nature assumed by the Son of God through his incarnation in the person of Jesus is the *fallen* nature we all have. By taking on our nature, Jesus redeemed us as …