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Does Matthew 17 Require Self-Mutilation?

Ligonier:

The Lord is not telling us literally to maim ourselves. After all, the Apostle Paul condemned “asceticism and severity to the body” (Col. 2:23). But our Lord’s point is this: we must resolve that, whatever the personal cost, we will follow the upward call of God in Christ (Phil. 3:14).

Read more: http://theaquilareport.com/cut-off-hand-tear-eye/

The Division of the Old Testament Law

Tom Hicks, Founders Ministries:

Are believers in Christ required to obey any part of Old Testament law? Both Dispensationalists and proponents of New Covenant Theology, or Progressive Covenantalism, as one version of it has come to be called, simply say “no.” In their view, the laws of the Old Testament are fulfilled and abrogated in Christ. Believers are only required to obey the “law of Christ,” which is taught in the commands of the New Testament alone. That’s a simple hermeneutic that draws a sharp line between the testaments and tells believers they don’t have to obey any Old Testament law. One of the major problems with this perspective is that New Testament authors seem to assume the authority of the Old Testament in matters of certain kinds of law. Another problem is that in spite of objections to the contrary, the Old Testament doesn’t treat all of its laws the same way either. We often hear that “the Law” is a unit, that all of it is moral, and that if any of it is abrogated, then all of it must be. While the issues involved in this dispute among sincere brothers in Christ certainly require more than a simple blog post, I offer the following short critique of those views which teach that Old Testament law is monolithic and without any divisions.

Read more: http://founders.org/2016/04/23/the-division-of-old-testament-law/

Affectionate Reverence

But what is this fear of the Lord?  It is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law.

— Charles Bridges

Source: https://christianquote.com/fear-of-god-2/

Either Gross Ignorance or Malignant Opposition

John Murray, “Law and Grace:”

It is symptomatic of a pattern of thought current in many evangelical circles that the idea of keeping the commandments of God is not consonant with the liberty and spontaneity of the Christian man, that keeping the law has its affinities with legalism and with the principle of works rather than with the principle of grace. It is strange indeed that this kind of antipathy to the notion of keeping commandments should be entertained by any believer who is a serious student of the New Testament. Did not our Lord say, ‘If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments’ (John 14:15)? And did he not say, ‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love’ (John 15:10)? It was John who recorded these sayings of our Lord and it was he, of all the disciples, who was mindful of the Lord’s teaching and example regarding iove, and reproduces that teaching so conspicuously in his first Epistle. We catch something of the tenderness of his entreaty when he writes, ‘Little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and truth’ (I John 3:18), ‘Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God” (I John 4:7). But the message oi John has escaped us if we have failed to note John’s emphasis upon the keeping of the commandments of God. ‘And by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, I know him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps his word, in him verily the iove of God is made perfect’ (I John 2:3-5). ‘Beloved, if our heart does not condemn, we have confidence toward God, and whatsoever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are well-pleasing in his sight . . . And he who keeps his commandments abides in him and he in him’ (I John 3:21, 22, 24). ‘For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments’ (I John 5:3). If we are surprised to find this virtual identification of love to God and the keeping of his commandments, it is because we have overlooked the words of our Lord himself which John had remembered and learned well: ‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love’ (John 15:10) and ‘He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me’ (John 14:21). To say the very least, the witness of our Lord and the testimony of John are to the effect that there is indispensable complementation; love will be operative in the keeping of God’s commandments. It is only myopia that prevents us from seeing this, and when there is a persistent animosity to the notion of keeping commandments the only conclusion is that there is either gross ignorance or malignant opposition to the testimony of Jesus.

~originally a part of  the Payton Lectures delivered by Professor Murray in March of 1955 at Fuller Theological Seminary. The entire lecture series was expanded and reprinted by Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1957 in book form with the title, Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics by John Murray.

Read more of what John Murray has to say on how the law and the gospel interrelate here: http://www.the-highway.com/lawgrace.html

He Descended Into Hell?

A little note on what this line in the Apostle’s Creed historically meant:

NaphtaliPress/Chris Coldwell:

On descended into hell, the Westminster divines add this note: “i.e. Continued in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day.” The also say “And albeit the substance of the doctrine comprised in that Abridgment commonly called, The Apostles’ Creed, be fully set forth in each of the Catechisms, so as there is no necessity of inserting the Creed itself, yet it is here annexed, not as though it were composed by the Apostles, or ought to be esteemed Canonical Scripture, as the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer (much less a Prayer, as ignorant people have been apt to make both it and the Decalogue), but because it is a brief sum of the Christian faith, agreeable to the Word of God, and anciently received in the Churches of Christ.”

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/apostles-creed-he-descended-into-hell.16619/, Comment 3

Visit the thread to read more about the meaning of this line.

Yet They Are Acceptable

Child's drawing A

Robert Traill (The Lord’s Prayer, John 17:24), Works 2:247-248:

All men owe all service unto God; all true Christians are in heart devoted to his service; and the best Christians mind it most, and perform it best: but when they review their performances, they see them so faulty, and short of what they ought to be, that they see more reason to mourn over the iniquity of their holy things than to glory in their holy things. Yet notwithstanding all the failings in the sincere obedience of a true believer (and he alone is the man in whom sincerity is, and by whom any act of sincere obedience can be performed), yet are they acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:5. Their fruits of righteousness (though far from being fully ripe and perfect) are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God, Phil. 1:11.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/the-sincere-obedience-of-a-true-believer.91700/, Comment 1

Joy and Depression

Rev. Matthew Winzer:

Helianthus annuus inflorescenceHuman personality is not designed to function as a disembodied spirit but as a physical entity in a physical world. Our present physicality is tied to the earth. There are pleasant and painful feelings associated with it. That is a fact. It cannot in and of itself be judged as Christian or non Christian any more than other physical feelings of pain and pleasure. We personally feel a certain way with respect to the world and our physical condition in it. For some people those feelings can be quite painful, and the way man deals with pain is by suppression/depression. That is our natural response. The pain gets too much to deal with so we suppress it. In reality, that is all depression is, but it can also be complicated by numerous physical and psychological factors.

The joy of a believer is of a different kind. It is a deep-seated satisfaction which does not rely on physical conditions in the world or feeling related to the body or even to a specific mental state. It is joy in God, in the contemplation of reconciliation with God, in the present communion which is shared with Him, in the future prospect of being partaker of His glory. It is commanded. It is something which can be “reckoned” even when there is no outward stimulus for it, but only what is contrary to it. It can, then, exist side by side with those other emotions. One can hope against hope, live by the evidence of things not seen. If that is so, it should not be measured or judged by a comparison with these other emotions. It is a joy unspeakable and full of glory, which means it cannot be bound by the limitations of other human feelings. The presence of depression does not indicate the absence of Christian joy.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/crying-out-emotionalism.72966/, Comment 13