Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Scripture for the Day

From my reading this morning:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'"
1 Peter 1:13-16

The logic is, to set one's hope on the grace of Jesus Christ is logically connected with preparing for action. This hope of future grace is also connected with not setting one's hope in the passions of past ignorance. That is, to have hope in Christ is not to have hope in worldly desires. Finally, this hope purposes to result in holiness according to the standard of God's holiness.

We see that hope for obedience is grounded in the hope of grace from Christ. Obedience consists of not being driven by worldly passion, but 'to be holy'. And our clue to what holiness is seems to be answered by the context: love for the brethren (1:22), putting away of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander (2:1). Furthermore, the oposite of holiness is again said to be "the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul." (2:11)

The point is holiness is primarily an internal war, and one that is won by setting one's hope on Jesus Christ. Future grace is all over the new testament...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quotable: After Virtue

As much as I love Piper (quite a bit), and as big a difference as he has had in my life (probably as much or more than anyone), this is the biggest potential weakness I can see to the application of Christian Hedonism.
On the one hand Kant rejects the view that the test of a proposed maxim is whether obedience to it would in the end lead to the happiness of a rational being. Kant has no doubt that all men do indeed desire happiness; and he has no doubt that the highest good conceivable is that of the individual's moral perfection crowned by the happiness which it merits. But he nonetheless believes that our conception of happiness is too vague and shifting to provide a moral guide.

After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre

It's not a weakness that cannot be overcome; but it is vitally important to instruct people that happiness is not our moral guide, the revealed will of God is and we trust that will bring us happiness ultimately.

(As a postscript, it really is not a weakness in what Piper says, but in how he is interpreted.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Hate Fake Fires

There's really nothing interesting or romantic about sitting in front of a gas fireplace. No smells, no crackling...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Unexplained Justice

For those who interpret the 'suffering servant' of Isaiah (53) as referring to Israel, another meaning emerges for the suffering of Israel. It is not punishment for their sins but rather atonement for the sins of others. The justness of such a vicarious suffering remains unexplained in the Bible.

"Reward and Punishment," The Encyclopedia of Judaism, Geoffrey Wigoder ed.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Expository Exaltation

It has to be true that the height of deception with regard to bad exegetical work is to make God look diminished. Yell or whisper, with a manuscript or post its. But don't you dare make God look small. If you missed this, you've missed the meaning of the passage.