Mind in Renewal

"Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed through the renewal of your mind" -Romans 12:2

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Archive for the ‘the Bible’ Category

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 25, 2009

Christmas. A time to sit back and take a break from the daily rush of life. I hope that during this day of rest, you take time to focus on who Christmas is truly about (Jesus Christ) and why He came (to live a perfect life, die for our sins, and rise again). May Christ’s peace be with you this Christmas:

Luke 2: 1-20:

The Birth of Jesus Christ

 1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them inthe inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

 8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

  15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Isaiah 53:3-5:

 3 He was despised and rejected by men,
       a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
       Like one from whom men hide their faces
       he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 4 Surely he took up our infirmities
       and carried our sorrows,
       yet we considered him stricken by God,
       smitten by him, and afflicted.

 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
       he was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
       and by his wounds we are healed.

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The Authority of the Bible

Posted by Daniel Edwards on November 10, 2009

I used this video last Wednesday at our Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting, provided by Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington:

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Antipsalm 23

Posted by Daniel Edwards on July 26, 2009

Over on the Boundless blog, David Powlison has posted an article entitled Sane Faith, Part 1. In it he writes the Antipsalm 23, or what Psalm 23 would look like if God were not in our lives. He writes:

I’m on my own.
No one looks out for me or protects me.
I experience a continual sense of need. Nothing’s quite right.
I’m always restless. I’m easily frustrated and often disappointed.
It’s a jungle — I feel overwhelmed. It’s a desert — I’m thirsty.
My soul feels broken, twisted, and stuck. I can’t fix myself.
I stumble down some dark paths.
Still, I insist: I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But life’s confusing. Why don’t things ever really work out?
I’m haunted by emptiness and futility — shadows of death.
I fear the big hurt and final loss.
Death is waiting for me at the end of every road,
but I’d rather not think about that.
I spend my life protecting myself. Bad things can happen.
I find no lasting comfort.xI’m alone … facing everything that could hurt me.
Are my friends really friends?
Other people use me for their own ends.
I can’t really trust anyone. No one has my back.
No one is really for me — except me.
And I’m so much all about ME, sometimes it’s sickening.
I belong to no one except myself.
My cup is never quite full enough. I’m left empty.
Disappointment follows me all the days of my life.
Will I just be obliterated into nothingness?
Will I be alone forever, homeless, free-falling into void?
Sartre said, “Hell is other people.”
I have to add, “Hell is also myself.”
It’s a living death,
and then I die.

Also, here’s the real Psalm 23:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

Posted in Random, the Bible | 1 Comment »

He Must Increase…

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 24, 2009

I have been studying the Gospel of John in my personal Bible studies recently, and this verse stuck out to me:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” -John 3:30

This little phrase was said by John the Baptist, who modeled his whole life after this idea. He never drew attention to himself, but always sought to draw attention and glory to Christ until his death at the hands of Herod.

What a glorious testimony to how each one of us should live our lives. Just like John, we should seek to give of ourselves so that Christ may be glorified in everything. We must increase our time and devotion to Christ, while decreasing the focus we put on ourselves.

O, how I long to be selflessly and totally consumed with the things of Christ. I want to consider all for His glory and not my own. So for me, this has become the theme verse of my life.

What are your thoughts?

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Isaiah 53:10-12

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 11, 2009

10But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
11As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

And here ends the song where it began- with Christ in glorified and His ransomed many forgiven of their sins and in awe of Him.
For these reasons, God was pleased to crush Him, not in the sense that God took pleasure in Jesus’ pain and suffering. But it was His will to do so, so that God might save sinners and glorify His Son. Notice that in the same verse that it says God is pleased to crush His Son, it also says that the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
The last two verses speak of what Christ earned in suffering, namely His glory as Savior and our salvation and peace between us and Our Father. Christ justified us by earning our justification. In doing this, He was numbered with the transgressors not only in His physical death by hanging between two thieves, but also in the fact that He was counted sin on our behalf and bore the sin of many (2 Corinthians 5:21).
And because of His sacrifice, willingly given and paying the full penalty of our sin, bearing God’s wrath and our judgment, He has earned for us our salvation. We can rejoice in the assurance that if we trust in Christ, our sins are forgiven and we will live with Him in glory forevermore. Please, understand the sacrifice that Jesus made for you and believe in these words, for they are the source of life.
Praise the Lord for what He has done. Hallelujah!

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Isaiah 53:7-9

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 10, 2009

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

Here we see that though Christ’s death was graphic as previously described and the most excruciating and undeserved pain that anyone has ever endured, Jesus never opened His mouth to defend Himself or complain. Trexton puts it this way: “Meekly and without protest the Servant accepts His sentence to death and suffers execution. Although innocent, He is given a felon’s grave.” Ultimately, Christ’s silence was not an admission of guilt, but instead a sign of His utter willingness.
However, Christ was vindicated in His burial. Because Joseph of Arimathea took Christ’s body, He was not buried with the criminals, but instead in with a rich man.
Also, in this passage we see another image that is used to represent Christ- that of the Passover Lamb. So, not only is He the Good Shepherd who looks after His sheep, but also the Sheep who is sacrificed for His people. In fact, this is the image we see at the end of time. Through His sacrifice, Christ achieved the glory of not only being Creator, but Savior as well (Revelation 5:11-13).
Interesting note, this was the portion that was being read by the Ethiopian Eunuch when Phillip shared the Gospel with Him (Acts 8:26-34)

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Isaiah 53:4-6

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 10, 2009

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

Here begins in earnest the description of Christ’s sacrfice. The first thing that we notice in these verses is that it is our sin that He died for. This passage makes it perfectly clear that He was without fault and that His death was not punishment for anything within Himself. Even so, when the onlookers saw Christ dying, many believed that it was well-deserved. After all, it is the crowd who killed Him. But He was not dying for His own sins, for He had none. Instead, He was pierced through for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.
We must never forget this significant truth, for this is the core of our faith, the hope of our salvation. If Christ had been dying for His sins or as a result of some sin, it would mean that He was a false Messiah and not worthy to be followed and His atonement would have done nothing for us.
And our need for a Messiah is explained in verse 6, All of us like sheep have gone astray. Geoffrey W. Grogan, commentating on this writes: “Like sheep, our going astray is willful and purposeless.” He also mentions that this image, that of the Good Shepherd is “probably a suggestion that this is an offense against love as well as holiness, for the Divine Shepherd is a tender loving image in the Bible.”
And yet, though we all sinned against God’s love as well as His holiness, it was an act of that same love in perfect accordance with God’s holiness that secured for us our salvation.

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Isaiah 53:1-3

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 8, 2009

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

In the beginning of this chapter, the prophecy switches to prophetic past tense which is the natural tense for those of us who now live after these events.

Who has believed… revealed implies that few would believe when Christ came. This was certainly fulfilled when Christ came and died. Israel did not recognize the arm of the Lord and for this reason He was despised and rejectd by men. But even though Christ was despised and rejected and misunderstood, God watched and guided every detail of Christ’s life as shown in 2a.

No stately form means that though Christ was and is the King Eternal, He did not come with any royal garb or emblem that showed Him to be a king. And though His way did not make sense to man, the Lord’s might was in this all the way.
Lastly, this section begins the description of Christ’s atoning death, which will be further discussed in the coming verses. For now, note that before His death, Christ was first despised by men and forsaken by them. But notice that these verses do not simply leave the blame on others, but is all inclusive in stating that we esteemed Him not. Christ’s blood is on all our hands and tomorrow we will see what this means for us.

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Isaiah 52:13-15

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 8, 2009

13 Behold, My servant will prosper,
He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.
14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people,
So His appearance was marred more than any man
And His form more than the sons of men.
15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations,
Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;
For what had not been told them they will see,
And what they had not heard they will understand.

First, I would just like to point out that this Servant Song can be best understood in the context of the entire book of Isaiah (and with the whole Bible, or course).
This song (a loose term, it’s not actually meant to be sung, necessarily) begins with the end in mind. When Christ returns, He will be before all people and high and lifted up and greatly exalted. This provides a sense of assurance for the latter verses in which we will be told the awful things that will befall this Servant (that is, Christ). It’s almost as if we’re being told, “Before you hear all the horrible things that are going to happen, you need to know that it will all turn out fine in the end. Actually, it will turn out better than fine. It will all work perfectly for the glory of My Son.”
The phrase marred more than any man refers to the great torture that Jesus endured. It was so extreme that Jesus would not even be recognized as human and the people would be greatly astonished.
We also see here in the midst of a clear prediction of the Jewish Messiah a glimpse of God’s unchanging heart for all people. For this reason, it says sprinkle many nations. Not only would the Jews receive forgiveness salvation, but people of all nations (Praise the Lord!). The term sprinkle refers to the priestly intercession that Christ would make on behalf of all who would accept the sacrifice that is going to be explained.
Essentially though, these three verses are more about the consequences of Christ’s suffering than the suffering itself. The suffering itself will be further explained in the coming verses.

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My Attempt at Exegesis

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 6, 2009

This week, leading up to Resurrection Sunday (Easter), I will be exegeting, or trying my best to interpret one of the Servant Song’s from Isaiah, the one of Isaiah 52:13-53:12. This is the clearest prophetic prediction and reference to Christ and it is full of the grace and love of God as well as His justice in punishing His Son for our sins. This is also one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. I will be splitting the 15 verses up into groups of three, so please bear with me as I attempt to explain this passage in my own words.

Thank you.

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