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REDEEMER Reformed Presbyterian CHURCH

UNPROFITABLE SERVANT

So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do." - Luke 17:10

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Perspective on Paul
Dear Congregation,
This past evening the women had a challenging Bible study concerning sticking close to the Lord and the plain, perspicuous (clear) teaching of His Word, through following sound doctrine (2 Timothy).  One of the examples that was brought up, an example of unsound doctrine, was a modern modification of the doctrine of justification by faith, in what is called the "New Perspective" on Paul.  This perspective is found in some of the presbyteries of the PCA and includes the idea that justification, which is classically seen from the New Testament to be "counted or regarded right with God", is instead primarily a social phenomenon as one is included in the covenant people.  This includes a strong emphasis on baptism as entry into the covenant people.    From this new perspective point of view, baptism is so important since it is by baptism that the Gentiles and Jews were united in a common experience of God's covenant.  This new perspective on Paul downplays and de-emphasizes the once and for all reality of being accounted righteous in the sight of God by faith in shed blood of Christ. This summary is an over simplification of a deep subject, but for more details concerning the theological dangers of the "new perspective" on Paul see the PCA  study paper, http://www.pcahistory.org/pca/07-fvreport.pdf )

Here is scriptural support for the traditional Reformation doctrine of justification by faith.

Rom 3:21  But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 
Rom 3:22  even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 
Rom 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 
Rom 3:24  being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 
Rom 3:25  whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 
Rom 3:26  to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 

"In Christ Jesus" (verse 24), through faith in Christ and His shed blood (verses 24, 25), we are made right with God through the application of his loving redemption (verse 24) to our lives by the free grace of God, without compulsion upon God, and not dependent upon works performed by us (verse 24). 

Interestingly, while the women were mentioning the New Perspective on Paul in their Bible study, the men were grappling with the strong beginning of the book of Nahum, a book in which the judgment of God on sin is paramount:  

Nahum 1:3, The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked.

The women were discussing deviations from sound doctrine, and the men were discussing our profound need for justification, being made right with God through the cross.  Why do we need that justification?  Because the LORD will not at all "acquit the wicked".   Since he will not acquit the wicked, we need to be made right with God, accounted righteous by God's work, in the provision and application of atonement through His Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit.   This being made right with God, happens when the Holy Spirit applies to our heart the substitutionary atonement earned for us by Christ at the cross. 

God's great love motivated it, and fulfilled it.  We'll be examining that love in action at the cross this Palm Sunday !!  

Consider inviting friends.  Then remember the Easter Breakfast at 9:30 on April 4.  A great time to celebrate the resurrection.  These wonderful deeds of God deserve CELEBRATION !!  The choir will sing Palm Sunday and on Easter.

Our community needs Jesus !   They need his justifying love, and sanctifying Spirit. 
8:09 am edt          Comments


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Redeemer Reformed Presbyterian Church
548 Luzerne Road * Queensbury * NY * 12804 * 518-798-9794