Romans 3

Having God's Word is valuable.  But our unfaithfulness to it only shows God's faithfulness more.
All have sinned, and can be justified only by the redemption Christ gained in His propitiating sacrifice, which showed God's justice against sin and mercy to those covered by it.
So there is no place to boast, since we are all justified by faith in this sacrifice, not by any law-work.

How this is about Jesus
His sacrifice was a
  • substitute - He died in our place
  • propitiation - He satisfied the wrath of God against our sin
  • demonstration - He publicly bore the curse and punishment of our sin, showing God's high standard of righteousness
  • redemption - His death made it possible to buy us back from bondage under sin to God's family

Value God's gifts to you, of Scripture, theology, church, family, education, employment, wisdom, etc.
But do not boast in these things as though they justified you.
We all stand guilty before God without excuse, if we do not have Christ's cross-covering.
Boast in nothing but the cross, for it is the only way to lift God's condemnation of you for your sin.

Romans 2

You Jews are just as guilty, as you look down your superior nose at those Gentile sinners.
God isn't partial to you, just because you are a Jew - you are under His wrath for your sins, too.
Having the law and being circumcised don't help you with this guilt.

How this is about Jesus / Application
The constant downfall of religious people is to look to morality or ritual for their justification, instead of looking to Jesus Christ.  Paul attacks this head on in this chapter.  Religious people are guilty before God, too.  Worshiping rightly and reading your Bible every day will not save you, apart from trusting Jesus Christ.

Romans 1

Paul, an apostle authorized to bring the Gospel of Christ Jesus, who is David's Son, and God's, by the resurrection.
I've wanted to see you and preach the Gospel to you, both Jew and Greek.
That Gospel is God's power to save you, by faith.
For the wrath of God is on the disobedient who suppress the truth and worship creatures instead of God.  God has given them up to the fruit of their wicked desires.

How this is about Jesus
He is divine (shown by resurrection) and human.
He is the core of the Gospel Paul sought to preach.
He is the righteousness of God revealed.
Only He has worshiped the Creator and kept from idolizing creatures.

We must heed the Gospel Paul writes out in Romans, for else we are under God's judgment & wrath.
God's Word clearly defines homosexual desires and practice as dishonorable, shameful and contrary to nature.

Depravity, but the Glass is Half Full / Back to Bible / Searching for a Pastor

Tim Lane fits an optimistic view with the truth of depravity fairly well.

David Murray reignites your Scripture reading.

Kevin DeYoung on church search committees.  Having been an applicant a couple times, I loved reading this advice to the committee!

All the Planned Parenthood Videos in one place, with summary of each

Here it is, thanks to the Federalist.

Good Theology Leads to Comfort

Tim Keller, pg. 151-152

"When I forget I am justified by faith alone - I give place to guilt and regret about the past.  I therefore live in bondage to idols of power and money that make me feel better about myself.

"When I forget I'm being sanctified through the presence of God's Holy Spirit - I give up on myself, stop trying to change.

"When I forget the hope of my future resurrection - I become afraid of aging and death.

"When I forget my adoption into the family of God - I become full of fears.  I don't pray with candor.  I lose my confidence.  I try to hide my faults from God and myself."

Page 159
"It is not right, says [John] Owen, to settle for mere mental assent to doctrines about Jesus, because that does not honor him.  There should be 'love, trust, delight, and longing after the full enjoyment of him.'"


Isaiah 37-38

King Hezekiah sends his officials to Isaiah for help from God.
Isaiah says not to worry about it.  The Assyrians will leave.
Sennacherib of Assyria writes King Hezekiah that he won't escape, even though he is leaving for now.  He lumps God in with other nations' gods.  Hezekiah shows God the letter in the temple and pleads for deliverance.  God destroys 185,000 Assyrian soldiers before they withdraw, and Sennacherib is assassinated by his sons.

Hezekiah gets sick, and the prognosis is terminal.  He prays to God to remember his faithfulness, and God gives him 15 more years.  His sign is that the shadow on the sundial reversed itself 10 steps.  He writes a poem telling of God afflicting and then saving him.

How this is about Jesus
37 - This is similar to the end of time, when the nations will gather against Jerusalem and be defeated en masse (Revelation 19:19-21).
38 - Jesus actually dies, unlike Hezekiah, and God resurrects Him based on His faithfulness.

Trust in the Lord when hard-pressed tests that faith.
We should feel free to show God, lay out before Him, the trials we endure that threaten to tarnish His name on earth.
Not many people have been told the year they will die.  Hezekiah knew.  How do we live, not knowing if this year will be our last?

Isaiah 34-36

34 - God has a day of vengeance coming against the nations who have hurt Israel.
35 - God will make rivers in the desert and His ransomed will return home on a highway of holiness.
36 - Assyria besieges Jerusalem and its commander intimidates the delegation and spectators on the wall, telling them not to trust God to deliver them.

How this is about Jesus
34 - He will subdue the nations to His rule (Revelation 19:15-16).
35 - He healed people, fulfilling this chapter (Matthew 11:4-6).
36 - The Rabshakeh is an anti-Christ, attacking God's people and drawing them away from relying on God.  Jesus protects and fights for God's people, drawing them to the Lord.

God has joy waiting for us, in the same place where we had such trials before.  We are walking roads of captivity or desert or sorrow now, but God will turn it into a highway of holiness to joy and laughter.

Isaiah 1-35 tell this story in poetry form.  Chapters 36-39 tell historically the travail and sorrow stage of this, and chapters 40-66 tell the restoration and end of the story in poetry again.

Isaiah 35:10
"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

Isaiah 32-33

The nobles will be in their place doing noble things again.
Your fields will be stripped bare until the Spirit comes on you again, bringing justice, righteousness and peace.

In the midst of much corruption, God will consume His enemies and restore His righteous ones.
He will give stability; they will see the king.  God will help and forgive them.

How this is about Jesus
A major theme of these chapters is the king and nobleman of Israel being restored to his place, and Jesus is our King of kings.
Our forgiveness comes by the cross of Christ.

American founders looked to 33:22 for the 3 branches of government they instituted.
We need to look to God and rely on Him in unstable times (33:6).

The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness & trust forever."
Isaiah 32:17


Isaiah 30-31

Don't make an alliance with Egypt - it won't work.
Trust Me, not their chariots.
A day of restoration comes, when your Teacher will show you the way.  The siege towers will fall and you will have food and drink again.
Egypt is frail flesh; God will protect Jerusalem as He sees fit.
Assyria will fall, but not by Egypt.

How this is about Jesus
He is the Teacher who comes in the flesh and shows us the way to walk.
He is the better Solomon who keeps from alliances with Egypt.
He laments over, and ultimately protects, Jerusalem when He comes.

We are tempted in every generation as the church to put our trust in political alliances, military might or our own smarts, to bring in God's Kingdom.  But it is not by might or power, but by God's Spirit that He will do it.

Isaiah 30:15
"In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
But you were unwilling."


Isaiah 28-29

Israel is drunk with disobedience and can't hear Me.
I have to teach them ABC's again.
They'll hear foreign languages in their country, as a judgment against them (Assyrian conquest).
I will lay  a precious foundation cornerstone in Zion to establish right so your sins will be swept away
I do this once, just like the farmer plows and plants once, then waits for growth.

Jerusalem will be beseiged, but her enemies turned back.
Israel draws near Me outwardly, but their hearts are far from Me.
As if the clay can resist the potter's will.
Yet I will restore and sanctify Israel.

How this is about Jesus
Jesus' work was a once-for-all-time cornerstone laying for us.
Jesus quotes 29:13, rebuking the Pharisees' hypocrisy.

28 - Sin makes us stupid over time, so that we can't even receive basic moral truth anymore.
29 - Don't think you can hide from God what you're doing against Him.

Unfinished Men // Scalia on Our Rogue SCOTUS

How do wives deal with imperfect husbands?

Antonin Scalia gave a speech recently excoriating his court's recent decisions.



Part 5 - Soteriology
Chapter 34 - Adoption

Some say the Puritans didn't write much about this, but they did.  Some called it our greatest blessing of salvation, or that adoption covers our whole salvation.  1 John 3:1 and Ephesians 1:5
Adoption isn't the same as regeneration - it is a new family status, not a new nature in regeneration.
Adoption isn't justification - it is the family setting of love, not the legal setting of law.
Adoption isn't sanctification - it is the status we have, not the actual being a good son or daughter.

Westminster gives the essential meaning:  adoption is an act of grace where God counts us as one of His children with the privileges that come with that: access to Him in prayer, our inheritance of salvation in heaven (1 Peter 1:4), and the Spirit dwelling in our hearts.

God transfers us from "Satan's enslaving family" to His own.  This isn't for a successor or for want of fellowship, but out of sheer and abundant grace.  "Love and communion with God lie at the heart of adoption" (544).

In adoption our relationships change.  We become children of God, strangers to the world, waiting for the future, pure in ourselves (1 John 3:3), and lovers of the family of God the church.

Other privileges that come with adoption:

  • removal from Satan's house of bondage
  • a new name, and called by God's name (Rev. 2:17)
  • made like God, as a child like his father (Phil. 1;29)
  • discipline, meant for good (Heb. 12:3-11)
  • comforting communion (Rom. 5:5)
  • liberty (Gal. 4:7)
  • provision of spiritual and physical things (Matt. 6:31-33)
  • angels to minister to us (Ps. 34:7; Heb. 1:14)
Responsibilities of adoption
  • Child-like reverence for God
  • Submission to His Fatherly discipline
  • Imitation of God
  • Love for the brethren
  • Contentment with God's providence
  • Gratitude for God's provisions
  • Relying on God instead of our own work
  • Diligence in using gifts and means He provides for our good
  • Rejoicing in His presence

Puritan Sanctification

Part 5 - Soteriology
Chapter 33 - The Puritans on Living in Christ

We do not come to Christ once in our lives only at our conversion, but every day.  We shouldn't rest on a decision years ago. Jesus "is concerned whether you are still coming to Him now" (525).  Union with Christ leads to a life of faith radically different from a life without faith.  We are sanctified.

This means we become like God in His holiness.  No part of our life is exempt.  It is a difficult struggle, called a battle and warfare in Scripture.  We put to death our sinful practices and begin patterns of holy and loving living.  We read the Word, pray, and partake of Word and sacrament at church.  We work in our careers and daily vocations, as called by God to it, "from conscience, not from covetousness" (534).  Being more holy leads to blessing here on earth, and fits us more for heaven.

"Faith is only as good as the object it beholds" (526).

"While we do not get a better Christ in the sacraments than we do in the Word, there are times when we get Christ better."  Robert Bruce, pg. 533.

Isaiah 26-27

26 - Judah will sing a song of joy, that God gives peace and prosperity to those who trust Him.  But for now, hide while God judges the nations.  The rulers will fall and not rise, but God's dead shall rise and live again.

27 - on that day, God will slay the dragon in the sea.  He will make Israel a fruitful vineyard again.
But Israel doesn't repent, so their atonement will be a destroyed city and a crushed altar.
But in the last day, God will blow the trumpet and gather His people back to worship Him.

How this is about Jesus
It is trust in Jesus that gives peace.  He is the prince of peace.
The dead shall rise in Christ, and at His voice.
He slayed the dragon at the cross.
He is the root and vine we need to abide in to bear fruit.
He prophesied Jerusalem's fall, described in Isaiah 27:9-11.

Trust naturally brings peace, but only if you are trusting a trustworthy Person.
God sees to it that strong, unbelieving nations are brought down, and that His people are purified through chastening.  Military and political calamities bring both of these about.

Isaiah 17-25

Damascus is doomed.  They will look for the God they have forgotten.
Cush will be left for birds of prey, and bring tribute to Yahweh.
Egypt's wise will be made stupid, her Nile made bare.
Egypt will come to the Lord and worship Him; Assyria, too.

20 - God has Isaiah go naked for 3 years as a warning that Egypt will be conquered and led away captive naked by Assyria.
21 - Babylon will also fall, and Moab and Arabia.
22 - When Jerusalem was besieged, it was decision time.  But she trusted her own plans instead of the Lord.  She feasted despairingly, instead of repenting.  The powerful steward Shebna presumes to cut a tomb from the rock, but God will throw him out and put someone else in his office.

23 - Tyre will fall and Egypt will lament it.  After 70 years Tyre will be restored.
24 - the whole earth will be judged, laid waste and desolate.  Terror will come and no one will escape
25 - I praise God for He subdues the strong and protects the poor.  He makes a feast on His mountain, taking away death and tears and Moab's oppression.

How this is about Jesus
He rides out on His horse with the sword in His mouth, striking the nations in judgment (Rev. 19:15).
He is the host of the feast God gives on His mountain (Matt. 26:17, 26).

Don't be intimidated by strong nations, or put trust in them.  They are to God like a storm against a wall - they won't do anything to Him or His plans at all.
22 - When hard times come, it is a point of decision: will I trust God or try to get through this myself?


Enduring and Believing to Glory

Part 9 - The Holy Spirit

Chapter 44 - Perseverance and Assurance

The new life the Spirit begins in us, He continues to eternity.  John 6:39-40; 10:27-29 show the future and present reality of this new life, and that no one can take people out of God's hand.  Romans 8 says nothing can separate us from God.  Phil. 1:6; Eph. 1:13-14 and 1 Pet. 1:5 are also important assertions of this truth.  Yet people do turn away from following Jesus (Matt. 7:21-23; 2 Cor. 11:15, 26; John 15:1-2, 6; Heb. 6:4-8).  If they were true believers before, it would deny the truth of the verses above.  No, perseverance is given those who possess faith, not to any who profess faith, while not having the real thing.

God wants us assured of our salvation, just as He wants us holy: we struggle to have it more or less in this life, and it won't be perfect until glory, but should strive for it now.
Westminster gives three grounds for our assurance:

  1. The objective promises of God found in Scripture for our salvation when we trust Christ.
  2. The inward evidence of change in us - not the removal of sin but fighting it &growing in grace.
  3. The testimony of the Spirit to us (Romans 8:16-17).

These three fit with our justification, sanctification, and adoption, and fit on Frame's tri-perspectival triangle in the normative, situational, and existential categories.

The confessions differ in relating assurance to faith.  Heidelberg stresses that assurance is inherent to faith.  If you trust Christ, by that very trust you are assured He will save.  Westminster takes a different approach: perfect assurance isn't inherent to faith - you can have faith without perfect assurance.  The main point: "If we believe in Christ we have assurance in our heart; but that assurance can be weakened by sin" (1007).

Chapter 45 - Glorification
We glorify God when we image His holiness and perfections in our lives.
It would seem we cannot add to God's glory since it is infinte, but God wants us to and we can.
In one sense, we have glory already (Psalm 8:5).  2 Cor. 3:18 connects the present glory with future glory.
Scripture talks much about our future glory, especially with resurrected bodies controlled by the Spirit.  Also, a crown awaits us (1 Peter 5:4).
When 2 Peter 1:4 says we become partakers of the divine nature, this doesn't mean metaphysically joining with God, blurring the Creator-creature distinction, but sharing ethcially in God's holiness and glory.
The purpose of redemption is our fellowship and glory with God in Christ.
We'll talk more about this in the last section on heaven.


Ephesians 5-6

Don't even talk about the perverse things the unbelievers do sexually.  Expose dark deeds for the wickedness it is.  Don't get drunk but be filled with the Spirit, building each other up and submitting to each other out of love, wives to husbands, husbands loving wives as Christ loved the church.

Children need to obey their parents, and parents may not provoke their children.
Slaves and employees should serve their bosses as if they are working for God, for they are.
Bosses may not threaten or otherwise bear down on their employees.
Fight against spiritual forces with God's whole armor, so you can stand in the end: with truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer.
Pray for me (Paul) in prison, too, to declare the Gospel clearly.
Tychicus who brings this letter will tell you how I'm doing.
Grace and peace to you in Christ.

How this is about Jesus
Jesus submitted to serve those beneath Him, just as husbands are to do with wives and children, as bosses do with employees.

We need to submit to our superiors (parents, employers, etc.) as to the Lord.
We are not fighting physical enemies, but spiritual ones, so use spiritual weapons.  One implication of this is that no person is your absolute enemy.  If you doubt it, just ask Ananias when faced with baptizing Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:13-14).

Ephesians 3-4

Paul has been made a minister to the Gentiles, who are now included in the church, unlike before.
He prays they may know the power and riches of God available to them, which is more than they can ask or imagine.

Maintain the unity of your faith together.  You've been given a gift by the Lord who descended to us and then ascended to heaven.  The gifts are people in roles to help the church grow into Christlikeness and maturity.  Stop living like the Gentiles in sin, and put on the new man of holiness instead.  Don't lie, steal, or talk sinfully, but be kind instead.

How this is about Jesus.
3 - He is the light to the Gentiles
4 - the gifts Jesus has for us, both now and I'm glory, are more than we realize.

There is plenty good to pursue (knowledge of gifts, kindness, etc.) without going back to sinful things.


Ephesians 1-2

Bless God who has blessed us.
The Father predestined us in love.
The Son redeemed us by His blood.
The Spirit sealed us with our inheritance in Christ.
I am thanking God for you, and praying you have wisdom by the Spirit to know the inheritance and power available to you.  It's the same power that raised and exalted Christ to God's right hand.

You were dead in sin, walking in evil ways.
But God made you alive and exalted you in Christ - by grace He saved us.
He brought you Gentiles near and into the building of His body by His blood.
You are members of His family, growing together as a temple fit for God to live in.

How this is about Jesus
It is by His blood that God's blessings come to us.
He is the cornerstone of the church, setting the pattern for how the church is put together.

We need to review just what God has done for us more often.  This is what Paul does first in most of his letters for the church.


The Puritans on Conversion

Part 5 - Soteriology
Chapter 32 - On Coming to Christ

Invitation to faith
The offer of Christ is to ALL.  Yes, the non-elect cannot choose Him, but we do not know who God will call to Himself.  So the invitation is well-meant and sincere. 

Impediments to faith
Neglecting Jesus as found in His Word, Church, and in prayer.
Reforming your life outwardly only.
Merely assenting to Gospel truth about Jesus, without an inward change being there.
Despairing of having sinned too much.
Too lazy or pre-occupied with other things.
Thinking that not being elect excludes you.
Not having heard the clear invitation.
Unbelief, the root of all these impediments.

Impetus for Coming to Christ
Accepting Christ is neither a simple outward act (praying a prayer or signing a card), nor are we beyond doing anything to know we are a Christian. We cannot come to Christ on our own power – we need God to draw us to Him (John 6:44). But when God effectually calls us to Him, the soul receives and trusts in Him. This isn’t just outward, or intellectual, or an act of the will alone. We reject ourselves as able to save, and rely on Christ as He is shown us in Scripture instead. Only through the Spirit does this happen (John 6:63).

John Owen on Justification

Part 5 - Soteriology
Chapter 31 - Justification

John Owen wrote a 400 page work on justification by faith alone in 1677.
Closely linked to God's glory, a key distinction is whether justification happens within and by us (the Roman view), or whether it is declared and given to us by imputation.  The object of our faith is Christ but also the Father who sent Him (pg 494; John 12:44).  Our faith doesn't earn justification, though it is required.

Rome says justification is twofold, first at your baptism, and second by good works in this life.  This always leaves open the possibility that your justification is not complete in this life, destroying assurance.

Justification rests on the imputation of Christ's work to us.  It is argued by some that this doctrine was not present in early Reformers until later scholastics like Owen.  But Calvin certainly comes close in his Institutes 2.17.5.  Our union with Christ makes imputation possible, and the death of Christ procured our union, justification, imputation, forgiveness, and more.

Imputation causes our justification, Owen said, opposing Richard Baxter who said it is our faith that brings about justification.  Baxter says God changed His requirement for us in the new covenant from keeping the law to trusting Christ.  But the moral law remains required for us and is met by Christ's imputation of it to us.

Any condescending grace present in the covenant of works before the fall wouldn't have led to our justification.  But in the covenant of grace, justification is all of grace, by faith alone apart from works.

Romans 5 highlights the imputation of righteousness to us by contrasting it with the imputation of Adams sin to humanity.

Isaiah 14-16

Israel will have relief when Babylon falls, and talk of it this way:
Your power is surely over.  You are as weak as we are.  You thought to ascend to heaven and be like God, but now you are in hell like us.

Assyria, Philistia, Moab will each be judged and fall as a nation.

How this is about Jesus
We "attach ourselves to the house of Jacob" (14:1) by joining with Christ the vine in whom we must abide to have life.

14:11-14 is usually considered as also referring to Satan's fall from heaven, for trying to be like God.
This is not a separate instance of evil.  Satan's pattern became ours.  As sons of the devil, we copy his pattern.  Each of us makes ourselves out to be God in our minds and hearts in some way.  And nations/empires do the same thing, getting a messiah complex about saving or conquering the world.


Isaiah 11-13

A branch will come from Jesse's stump, the Spirit of God will be on Him.
He will judge with righteousness, and bring peace in all creation.
He will be the rallying point and resting place of all the nations.
God will bring back His exiled people.

You will praise God for His salvation in that day with joy.

Babylon will be overthrown like Sodom by the Medes.

How this is about Jesus
He is the branch from Jesse, David's father.  The Spirit rests on Him at His baptism.
These three chapters are an excellent microcosm of redemptive history:
11 - Christ's coming, work and gathering of all nations at the end
12 - Our praise at Christ's work
13 - Christ's judging the nations

Our calling is to praise God with rejoicing, and to rally to Christ our banner.


Part 9 - The Holy Spirit
Chapter 43 - Sanctification

We emphasize so much that justification is NOT God making us holy, that we often underplay that God DOES make us holy.  There is no salvation without the objective and historical work of Christ, but this brings about a change WITHIN us.

Holiness means God is different and separate from us, because He is righteous and good and we are not.  Holiness for us is a fact (we are set apart by God) and a command (we are to be holy).

Sanctification is a continuing work, not a one time act.  Its beginning is called definitive sanctification.  In this sense we already have been sanctified, past tense, called to be saints (holy ones) and set apart as Christ's own.  We are re-oriented in mind and heart to serve the Lord.  Progressive sanctification is the ongoing process of rejecting sin.  Though it isn't gone completely (Matt. 6:12; 1 John 1:8, 10) we do reject it as a lifestyle and pattern.  We don't do this by letting go and letting God, but rather we have a spiritual battle to fight.  Paradoxically, the Spirit does it, but using our effort (Philippians 2:12-13).  We don't have to oppose these two, as if trying to obey means we don't trust the work of Christ on the cross.

How we are sanctified: Law, History, Experience
God calls us through Joshua (1:6-9), Jesus (Matt. 7:12) and Paul (Rom. 8:3-4) to obey all Scripture's commands.  The Law does not only threaten and drive us to Christ, as most Lutherans insist.  It also positively guides.

By reminding us of what God has done to save us, He sanctifies us (Exodus 20:1; Rom 6:1-4; Col. 3:1-4).  We look especially to the cross and our union with Christ.

 We are called to walk by, or keep in step with, the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).  We can follow His leading in the present, into holiness and away from sin.  We have the church, both members and leaders, to help us in our sanctification.

Active obedience and God's pleasure
Quietism is wrong - the view that we are mainly passive in our sanctification.  Just think about the cross, just get used to being justified.  No, we need to work out our salvation.  Beyond our justification, God is pleased or not with our obedience, and we should seek to please Him (Colossians 1:10).  It is good to remind ourselves of the gospel, but we are also called to simple obedience.

What to do with Sundays? / Responding to Persecution

1. On the best day of the week, with a few practical tips for how to do Sundays.

"Lord’s Day worship isn’t a burden to endure, but a joyful offering from God to receive. Christians don’t put aside their earthly cares each week to earn God’s favor, but to enjoy worshiping the God whose favor has already been granted in Jesus Christ.

"I feel free from time constraints and the stress of an agenda and the rush of running errands and being in 10 places all at one time. It’s a joy. Most of all, I enjoy that I have unhindered time with God and with my family—my wife and children and my brothers and sisters in Christ."

2. John MacArthur has helpful words for responding to persecution.  Not politics, not toning down the message, but blessing and loving enemies in word and deed while staying faithful.

Isaiah 9-10

Galilee won't have darkness, though, but great light.
Invaders' battle gear will be burned, because the kingdom will go to the Son born for the throne of David.  That kingdom will expand and conquer forever.

But Israel has rebelled and not returned to God, even when He afflicted them.  Instead they sought in their own strength to rebuild.  Every part of society - prophet, king, people, elder, guides - has led Israel away from God.

Lawmakers write oppression, judges keep justice from widows and orphans.
All that'll be left for you is to crouch or fall in the onslaught God brings.
Assyria is out to destroy Israel, and God will use them.  But their motive of destruction and pride God will judge.
Assyria is coming, but do not fear, for God will restore a remnant.

How this is about Jesus
He is the Son born to us, given the government of David to rule forever.
He comes to judge the living and the dead, but will keep a people safe for Himself.

Some American leaders quoted Isaiah 9:10 right after the 9/11 attacks, unaware of its context!
And the shoe fits.  The last half of chapter 9 describes us to a T.

A nation cannot maintain dominance for long without faithfulness to God.  Its moral weakness becomes economic and political weakness, and others press in and exploit it.

Isaiah 7-8

God tells Judah not to fear when Syria and Israel ally against them.  They will both fall soon.
God invites King Ahaz to ask for a sign of this, but he refuses with some religious excuse.
So God gives him a sign anyway: the virgin will have a child named Immanuel, and before he knows good from evil Israel and Syria will be gone.  Egypt and Assyria will come in and the land will be briers to hunt and pasture in, instead of cultivated farmland.

God has Isaiah name his son "quick to the spoil, hurry to the plunder."  Since Judah has refused God He will bring Assyria to conquer them.
Lots of trouble and disobedience and darkness is coming, but don't think it's all a conspiracy.  Take refuge in God, and keep teaching the Word of God.

How this is about Jesus
The famous Isaiah 7:14 prophecy of Immanuel is a microcosm of redemptive history.  Short term defeat for God's people (Judah by Israel in Isaiah's day, Israel by Rome in Jesus' day), but a remnant survives to spiritually overcome their conquerors (conversion of much of Roman Empire).

8 - In Hebrews 2:13, we see verse 17-18 applied to Jesus.  He stands before God with us, trusting God will save us.

7 - It's interesting God gives this assuring sign, when in the short term Israel DID conquer Judah (2 Chronicles 28).  God continues in His purpose to save His people, even when met with stubborn unbelief by the rulers of His people.  What a relief, as we see stubborn unbelief in our rulers today!

8 - when darkness and spiritual lost-ness increases in a culture, as it is today, verses 12-20 are especially important for Christians.  We take refuge in God, by returning to His Word.

Isaiah 8:16-17, 20
"Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching[p] among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.... To the teaching and to the testimony!"


Justification and Adoption

Part 9 - The Holy Spirit
Chapter 42 - Justification and Adoption

Justification and adoption deal with our guilt and punishment, which come from our sin.
In justifying us, God does the opposite of condemning us.  He declares us not guilty, giving us a new legal status before Him, of not only innocent but righteous.  This can only happen by God imputing Christ's righteousness to us, as Adam's sin was previously imputed to us (Rom 3:21-22).  The ground of our justification is not our faith, but Christ, both His death on the cross (passive obedience) and His sinless and righteous life (active obedience).  Faith is what receives God's grace, it doesn't earn it. Our good deeds are evidence of our real faith, but don't earn our justified status with God in any way.

Frame puts justification and adoption and sanctification on his triangle, where (1) the top point, the normative perspective, is our righteousness from our justification; (2) at the left point, the situational perspective, our punishment is lifted by our adoption; (3) and the right point, the situational perspective, is our holiness from our regeneration and sanctification.  While these three points are inseparable in a person (no one is justified who isn't also sanctified), we shouldn't confuse them either, which would lead to Roman errors confusing justification and sanctification.  But each point finds meaning for itself in the context of the other two points, as James 2:14-26 shows us.  Our justification is shown by our works/sanctification.

The new perspective advocated by N.T. Wright argues that justification in the New Testament was about criteria for church membership, not how we are right with God.  This doesn't work because the basic dictionary definition of righteousness is not membership criteria but standing before God.  The context where our righteousness is discussed in Scripture is our standing before God (Rom 1-5; Phil 3:9).

Norm Shepherd has argued that Jesus didn't have to earn salvation for us, and it's true He didn't have to rack up a certain number of points for God to accept Him.  But he did deserve his exaltation (worthy is the Lamb!).  Much of Shepherd's ideas come from rejecting the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, already discussed (briefly) above.

This relates to our punishment because the Genesis 3 curse came in the family context of childbearing and work.
God puts us in His family when we were sons of the devil. Jesus is uniquely God's Son, but the Spirit testifies to us that we are, too.  This makes believers brothers and sisters to each other.
The privileges of adoption are:

  • Maturity in our relationship to God.
  • Confidence in praying.
  • Discipline in the family of God (Heb 12:5-10)
  • New relationships with fellow believers
  • A future to look forward to of glory, perfect sanctification, victory,

Acts 20

Paul visits churches in Macedonia and Greece.  Another plot on his life emerges, and he heads for Jerusalem.  Representatives for several churches go with him.  At Troas, he talks until midnight and a young man falls asleep and falls out the window and dies on the spot.  But Paul restores him to life before leaving.  He wants to reach Jerusalem by Pentecost, so sends for the Ephesian elders to meet him halfway between the city and the port.  He exhorts them:

You know how I lived among you.  [Follow this example yourselves!]  Arrest awaits me in Jerusalem and I won't see you again.  So shepherd yourselves and the flock Jesus bought with His blood.  Wolves will sneak in to tear you apart and drag you away from the truth.  I commend you to God.

He prayed with them and left.

How this is about Jesus
The church Paul is tending is Christ's, bought with His blood.  Leaders need to take special care to be above reproach in their effort and integrity.

Church members should expect active oversight by their elders.
Elders need to teach and oversee, not only at assemblies, but in private visitation from house to house.

Acts 19

Paul comes to Ephesus and converts and baptizes 12 men who believed in John's baptism but hadn't heard of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  Paul stays there for 2 years! - even longer than his 18 months at Corinth just before this.  Paul works healing and exorcism miracles, and some Jews try to copy him and use his name, but the demon beats them up and they flee.  This brings many former sorcerers to the faith, and they have a magic-book burning party.

Paul determines to leave, but an idol maker starts a riot with his sales down from the spread of Christianity.  A mob shouts the greatness of Artemis/Diana in the city theater for hours.  Paul wants to go on stage and persuade them (!) but a town clerk mollifies the crowd and they disperse.

How this is about Jesus
He has power to convert hearts, control demons, and change the belief and politics of a city at the drop of a hat.
His name is not a magic charm to use for power, without faith.
He wants His people to persuade men He is their savior, as Paul did for 2 years.
His Lordship challenges the current idols of every culture.

When the unbelieving culture rises up in defiant opposition to Christ, it can be a time to lay low.
But persistent and urgent reasoning with people will pay off over time.


2 Chronicles 27-32

Uzziah's son Jotham was a good king, and grew strong with the Ammonites paying him tribute for several years.

Jotham's son Ahaz was a bad king who worshiped the Baals.
So God let Judah be defeated by Syria and Israel.  But He sent a prophet to restrain Israel when they went overboard in their subjugation of Judah.  Ahaz relied on the Baals and closed the temple during the crisis.

Ahaz's son Hezekiah restored temple worship in the first month of his reign.
Levites had to help sacrifice, because there weren't enough clean priests to do it.

They decide to celebrate the Passover a month late, to give time for the invitation to go out to all, and for the priests to purify themselves.  Most of Israel laughs at it, though some come.  Many people aren't ritually clean, but they decide to let them partake anyway, asking God to bless it.

With offerings from Israel revived, they have leftovers, so Hezekiah gets the priest and Levite families registered to make sure they are all supported well.

Assyria invades Judah.  Hezekiah gets the water supply redirected into the city before the seige starts.
The king sends a letter to intimidate Israel, not expecting to withstand him, as he has defeated so many other nations and gods.
God kills many Assyrians and they leave.
But Hezekiah got proud.  He got sick, and God healed him, but he remained proud.
God left him to himself to show what was in his heart, especially about the Babylonian envoys.

How this is about Jesus
Jesus directs us by His word and example to worship the Lord alone.
He sets up a new temple and new priests.

Do all you can to protect and help your people, and then trust God and stay humble.


Isaiah 5-6

My Beloved (God) planted a vineyard and did everything for it He could, but it only gave bad (wild) fruit.  So God will break it all down.
Woe to the wicked - those who:
- pile up real estate and fields.  The market will crash and they will be worthless.
- indulge in drink and food.  There will be famine and thirst instead.
- twist morality & justice as they reject the law and Word of God.  The nation will fall to an invader.

Isaiah has a vision of God the year King Uzziah dies.  He is overwhelmed with God's majesty, as His angels sing His holiness.  Isaiah cries out that he is undone, having seen the King.  But angels come and purify him and make him able to stand in God's council.  He seeks one to go prophesy to Israel, and Isaiah volunteers.  God tells him to tell Israel to keep on in their lack of sight and understanding, until they are desolate and only a tenth of the people are left.

How this is about Jesus
He comes as the ultimate prophet to convict Israel of her sin.  He also uses the vineyard picture.
Peter cries out that he is undone when he realizes who Jesus is, when He calms the storm.

As creatures of God planted in the world, we have an obligation to bear fruit for Him.
It is the sign of a heart alive to God that we are undone by a sense of His holiness.  Many people have no sense of this, but it is the first step toward repentance.

Isaiah 3-4

God will take away the leaders until there are only children and women to rule them.
You sin openly, especially the women in their wantonness.  So their finery will be taken, with the lives of the men.

But the remaining branch of God living on Zion will be glorious and holy.
God will cover and shelter her.

How this is about Jesus
One mark of God's judgment on a people is when their leaders fall or cannot rule well.
This happened to Israel in Jesus' day, when they crucified the Lord.
Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches.  This was not a new picture with Jesus, but He uses it from this passage and others in Jeremiah.

Often the gifts of God that we use to sin with, God will take away in judgment.
We are desperate today for godly leadership - we see signs of this in our emphasis on politics, for example.


Dealing with Idealism and Sex Offenders in the Church

Peter Leithart briefly points us Bonhoffer's thoughts on the dangers of idealism in Christian community.  It's true, I've seen it happen.

Apparently there's quite a dust up in Moscow, Idaho, where a repentant child molester has attended Pastor Doug Wilson's church for about 10 years.  There's a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking from a distance going on, on the internet apparently.  All I know about this situation is the letter from Wilson explaining his view of it all.  I found it very instructive, as a positive example of pastoral wisdom, on a number of points:
  1. How to handle this sin in the church, especially relating to the state, when the offender expresses repentance,
  2. That being gracious with people instead of absolutely judgmental can get you in trouble, if it's the wrong sin.
  3. How to be gracious with people you know still "struggle" with temptations they have confessed as wrong.  Are they under a cloud, and you warn people away from them?  Or do you make them welcome, while also protecting?  Do you assert that the offender has been "delivered" to deal with this, or face the harder and longer path of a lifetime of repentance and grace?
  4. How to avoid being hostile to the state's involvement when it is warranted.
  5. On the church not forbidding weddings, which it cannot do.
  6. The centrality of the Gospel of forgiveness and sin dealt with.
Tim Bayly gives an interesting response that doesn't castigate but also disagrees with Wilson's pastoral approach.  If you were the pastor, would you handle this a la Wilson or Bayly, or something else?  Under which leadership would you feel safer?  Is that the right question?  Under which leadership would you be most shepherded in Christ's path?

Isaiah 1-2

Israel has rebelled against Me.  My own children don't know Me.
Israel is desolate, and has become like Sodom.
Your sacrifices weary Me, as you keep doing evil and injustice.
You haven't maintained your righteousness, so I will come and restore you.
You will be ashamed of your sins.

In coming days, Israel will invite each other eagerly to go up and worship God and seek His Word.
But now they are full of sorcery & idols.  God has a day marked on His calendar when He will judge.

How this is about Jesus
1 - He came to His own, but they didn't receive Him
2 - He ascended to be crowned King on God's mountain, and when Israel gathers to worship God, they also worship the Lamb on His throne.

1 - If we don't repent and correct ourselves, God will come and do it.  It'll hurt us more, but He will sanctify His saints.
2 - How eager are you to gather for worship and to be taught by God in His Word?  There is a connection between this eagerness (or lack of it) and our ethical obedience and behavior.


Listen up drunkards of Israel, for the wine and grain will be taken away from you.
A nation is coming up against you, and your fields will be laid waste, so gather together and repent.

The army coming against you is dreadfully effective at destruction.
But gather and everyone repent, and God may have mercy.
He will restore the grain and wine and pour out His Spirit on Israel.

I will judge the nations for scattering Israel in exile, selling them as slaves for a pittance.
It'll be a time for fighting, and Yahweh will roar like a lion.
God dwells in Zion, so wine and milk will flow in Judah.  The nations that laid her waste for her shedding of innocent blood will be judged in turn, and God will dwell in Zion again.
And she shall have peace.

How this is about Jesus
He is the lion of the tribe of Judah, who roars and restores His people.  He comes to judge them, but also calls us to repent and promises restoration.
Peter quotes 2:32 in Acts 2, applying it to Jesus.  Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved (Acts 2:21ff).

There are decisive moments in the affairs of nations, when rulers decide to exploit or protect God's people.  God judges these decisions.
Every individual is called to repentance and promised restoration in the name of the Lord.


2 Corinthians 12-13

I can boast more: I was caught up to a vision in the highest heaven, hearing unutterable things.
To keep me from getting proud about this, God gave me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan.
I boast of my weaknesses instead, so the power of Christ is shown great.
I'm not inferior to these "super-apostles."  I did the signs of an apostle among you.
I'm coming again, not looking for your money, but for your love, as parents come to their children.
I'm not defending myself, but trying to build you up.  I'm afraid I'll find confusion and impurity when I come.

If the trouble-makers are still at it when I come, I won't spare them.
Examine yourselves.  I write strongly now, hoping I won't have to be severe when I come.
Restore, comfort and agree with one another.
The Triune God's grace, love and fellowship be with you.

The spiritual authority of apostles and elders in the church is more for building up than for tearing down.  Feeding and discipling is more the focus than admonishment, correction and discipline, though the latter are not absent, either.  We need strong words sometimes, to bring us up short in our sin and selfishness.  In all things, seek to build others up toward godliness.

2 Corinthians 9-11

Have your financial gift for the Judean church ready when I come.
Give the amount you decide, and can give cheerfully, but remember God will supply your needs and if you sow a little you only reap a little.  God gave us a HUGE gift in Christ.

We aren't ministering to you for selfish purposes, but are trying to get every thought of yours be centered upon Christ.  Some of you say I'm weak in person but strong by letter.  Well, we say and do the same thing, whether from a distance or in person.  We aren't trying to "take you over," but want the gospel of Christ to permeate you and beyond you, without commending ourselves.

I'm jealous for you, since I'm the one who brought you to Christ.  Now others teach you a different Gospel and you tolerate it!  Why?  Because they charged you, and I didn't?  They claim the same authority as me, even, but it isn't true.  This makes them deceitful like Satan.
Let me boast like them for a second: I'm a Hebrew, of Abraham, a better servant of Christ than they (this is crazy talk).  I've worked harder, been in jail more, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked three times, in danger from travel, from my own people and from Gentiles, exposed to the elements, without food and water, all while burdened with the care of the churches.  I barely escaped arrest in Damascus.

How this is about Jesus
9 - His self-sacrifice motivates all our giving.
10 - Our every thought needs to be brought captive to Christ
11 - He is the groom, and those who "set us up" with Him in a matchmaking way (lead us to Christ) have a special place in our lives.

2 Chronicles 25-26

Amaziah, son of Joash, takes the throne.  He's okay, but doesn't follow God completely.  He hires Israelite mercenaries to go subdue Edom, but a prophet tells him not to use Israelites.  So he sends them home, but let's them keep their money.  He defeats Edom, but winds up worshiping their idols.  A prophet confronts him about it, but he doesn't listen.  He challenges Israel to war; Israel tells him to stay home, but he doesn't listen and gets defeated and captured.  Israel plunders Jerusalem.

Uzziah, son of Amaziah, becomes king at 16 years old, for 52 years.  He defeats Philistines and subdues Arabians all the way to Egypt.  He built up the military and loved farming.  But his strength made him proud, and he entered the temple to offer incense, which was only for Aaron's descendants.  When he resisted the priests' confrontation, God struck him with leprosy until he died.

How this is about Jesus
All earthly rulers are imperfect and sinful, though some seek God more than others and some are more effective than others.  Amaziah's refusal to listen to God carried over to not listening to wisdom from others, like the king of Israel, and Jerusalem is torn down physically because of it.  Uzziah had good priorities in his role as king, supplying defense and nurturing natural resources, and so he was effective as king.  Jesus supplies His people what we need through the Spirit, and He also feeds us.

2 Chronicles 22-24

Ahaziah was king of Judah after his father Jehoram.  He went to visit the king of Israel, and was killed as Jehu killed all the house of Ahab there.  His mother Athaliah killed all his royal siblings to take the throne herself, but she missed Joash, hidden by a princess.

Jehoiada the priest conspires to set up Joash as king 6 years later.
They crown Joash, kill Athaliah, covenant with God, tear down Baal idols & put Joash on the throne.

Jehoiada gets wives for Joash, and later Joash decides to refurbish the temple, which was in disrepair from Athaliah's days.  The Levites drag their feet, either because there is no mechanism to collect the money at first, or because Jehoiada is against it, but it's finally done with the box dedicated to the "building fund."  When Jehoiada dies, Joash listens to his counselors and they worship other gods.  Jehoiada's son, Zechariah prophesies a rebuke to Joash, and Joash has him killed in the temple court.  Later, the Syrians invade and conquer Judah, leaving Joash wounded.  He is assassinated.

How this is about Jesus
When Jesus mentions Abel to Zechariah in Matthew 23:35, some think he is referring to this incident.  If so, what about Jesus saying, "Zechariah, son of Berechiah"?  The Zechariah from 2 Chronicles 24 is the son of Jehoiada.  It's possible it's still this guy, and Berechiah was another name for Jehoiada or his grandfather (that's less likely, though, given 2 Chron. 24:22).  But I think it more likely Jesus meant the minor prophet Zechariah.  The first verse of his book identifies him as the son of Berechiah.  We don't know how he died, but oral tradition might, and Jesus would certainly know.

High-powered national politics mixes with religious loyalty, then and now both.  Athaliah was a train-wreck, and Jehoiada used wisdom and decisive force to end her.  This shows the limitation of Romans 13 submission to the existing authorities.  Even if her coup was illegitimate at its source, it was 7 years later that Jehoiada acted.

Union with Jesus Christ

Part 5 - Soteriology
Chapter 30 - Union with Christ, Justification and Regeneration

The Puritans saw our union with Christ as the chief blessing from which all our blessing from God flows.  Calvin said this at the beginning of book 3 of his Institutes, too.

Our union is threefold, or can be said to happen at three different points of time: before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4), at the cross (Rom 6:3-11), and when we come to faith in Christ (Eph 2:5-6).  We're talking here mainly about the last one.

Where does union with Christ fit, when we talk about regeneration and justification?
In one sense, it is Christ's joining Himself to us that causes our regeneration by the Spirit.
In another sense, our faith (which happens as a result of regeneration) completes the union.
We are joined to Him first, then made clean.
Both justification and regeneration happen because of our union with Christ.  Justification is our relation to God; regeneration is the change in us.

Union with Christ also answers the objection, "How can someone else's righteousness become ours?"  Isn't that a legal fiction, as Rome says?  The answer is that it can't, when two different people are involved.  But since we are members and Christ is the head of the same body, this is legitimate.

This was a good, if technical, chapter.  At one point it is said that regeneration is the implantation of the soul into Christ" (487), which put me in mind of a birds and bees analogy.  Union happens first, then we are regenerated - fertilization and conception.  I'm sure that analogy breaks down somewhere!

The authors critique Bill Evans for saying the Puritans displace union with Christ for communion with Him.  I thought their rejection of him a bit harsh, though I haven't read Evans.  It seems the Puritans did FOCUS more on communion experientially than on the doctrine of union with Christ, and this may have been Evans' point, more than that they didn't think union important.


2 Chronicles 21 // Obadiah

Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, ruled next.  He followed Ahab's ways, marrying one of Ahab's daughters.  He killed all his siblings to secure his throne.  Edom revolted and Jehoram barely escapes them with his life.  Elijah writes him a letter rebuking him for leading Israel into idolatry like Ahab.  Philistines and Arabians plunder Jerusalem.  He dies gruesomely and dishonorably, and no one was sad to see him go.

Edom, you exalt yourselves, like you live high in the rocks.  But I'm bringing you down.
You gloated when Israel was plundered, so you'll be plundered.
As you rejoiced at Israel's burning, you'll be burned yourselves.
The remnant of Israel will possess Edom.

How this is about Jesus
Enemies of Christ mocked and despised Him on the cross, not realizing the work of God that was happening, and their own judgment coming.
Jesus warns of the gruesome and dishonorable death coming to Jerusalem if they don't repent, and it happens, just as Elijah warned of Jehoram's death and it happens.

If you find yourself opposing God's people out of self-interest, you'll be condemned and judged by God.

2 Corinthians 5-8

We have a more glorious body waiting for us in heaven.  We will be with the Lord when we leave this body behind in death.  So we aren't held back by earthly concerns, but persuade everyone of Gospel truth, compelled by Christ.  We see everyone through the new creation lens.  We are ambassadors to reconcile the world to God.  He has made this possible by counting our sin to Christ's account at the cross, so He can count Christ's righteousness to our account.

We appeal to you to come to the Lord and be saved.  We work to remove every obstacle to this appeal being effective among you.  We are much troubled and harrassed, but by the Spirit and patience and love continue our work.  You hinder it in the stingy credit you give us, while our heart is wide open to you.

Don't have close alliances with unbelievers, but rather separate to stay clean.

I was sad my letter grieved you, but also glad that it led to true repentance.
I'm glad my boasting to Titus about you, and confidence in you myself, has proven true.

The Macedonian churches have given generously to the Judean church relief fund.
Jesus gave generously of Himself, becoming poor for you to become rich.
I don't mean to impoverish you, but to even things out by your voluntary giving.
I commend to you Titus and the others coming with him to you with this letter.

How this is about Jesus
He compels us to testify of His saving grace and reconciliation.  Since He awaits us beyond death, there is nothing on earth that should slow us down from appealing to men to come to Him.
Knowing our sin grieves Him should turn us quickly from it, if we have taken Him as our Lord.
Jesus' giving is an example and the source of our own giving.

The Corinthians doubted Paul's good intentions, thinking he was a selfish, huckster of a televangelist.  Have hearts wide open to others, not cynical or suspecting others of malice.  This isn't a call to be naive, but to seek positive good for others, not avoiding them because you know they are totally depraved in heart.
Be hopeful in your dealings with others (1 Cor. 13:7).
General equality of standard of living should be a goal in the church and in our voluntary giving within the church.  NOT to be confused with state-enforced income equality!


Christ attacked in College // Godly Resistance to Same Sex Marriage Getting Smacked Down

How to maintain your faith in college, attacked in world religion, comparative religion classes?
Mike Kruger talks about this, having faced as a freshman Bart Ehrman, notorious for vociferous attacks against anti-orthodox Christianity.

Have you heard of the county clerk in Kentucky who is refusing to sign same sex marriage licenses, and refusing to resign?  She is a hero, says Doug Wilson, and I agree.

"If just ten governors treated Obergefell the same way Kim Davis is treating it, that entire unrighteous and despotic imposition would collapse and fall to the ground. And if they did so, they would not be sinning against the United States. Rather, they would be preventing the United States from sinning.

"I would rather have non-Christian clerks acting like non-Christian clerks than to have Christian clerks do it for them.

"Make the bad guys reveal themselves. Make them crack down on evangelical county clerks, while continuing to wink at sanctuary cities and local defiance of federal pot laws. Why do they apply their “It’s the law! Bow down!” standard so inconsistently? Well, mostly it is because evangelicals are sweet and naive enough to let them get away with it."

2 Chronicles 19-20

Jehoshaphat sends out judges and teachers again, with a charge to warn all the people away from sin as they judge.

Moabites and Ammonites gather to fight against Judah.  Jehoshaphat assembles the people and leads a prayer to God for help.  A prophet responds that God will fight for them.  When Jehoshaphat leads the army out in the morning, he sends the choir ahead, singing.  God causes the enemy to fight each other until they are destroyed, and Judah doesn't have to lift a finger except to take away the spoil.

Jehoshaphat doesn't learn his lesson about allying with unbelief.  He allies with Ahaziah, Ahab's son in a sailing expedition, and the ships are wrecked before getting to their first port.

How this is about Jesus
He went about to all the cities of Israel teaching in the synogogues.

Trust God to fight for us, as we sing His praise.


2 Chronicles 15-18

Spurred on by victory over Ethiopia and the prophet Azariah, Asa further reforms Judah, removing many idols, restoring the temple of Yahweh, and even deposing his mother for her idolatry.

Israel beseiges Judah, and Asa sends to Syria for help.  Syria attacks Israel, so Israel leaves Judah alone.  But the prophet rebukes Asa for relying on Syria instead of on God.  Asa throws the prophet in jail.  Later he goes lame in his feet.

Asa's son is Jehoshaphat.  He also tears down idols, but goes further and sends teachers with Levites to all the cities.  His army was strong, and surrounding nations brought him tribute.

Jehoshaphat allies with Ahab in marriage, and military against Syria.
He asks for a prophet of Yahweh to inquire about the battle.  Micaiah says it'll be disastrous.
Ahab puts Jehoshaphat in prominence as if he were Ahab, while Ahab himself goes in disguise as a soldier.  But it backfires, and Ahab is shot and dies, anyway.

How this is about Jesus
The king seeks to lead the people away from idols to the true God.

Avoid alliances with paganism that obscure your testimony to the Lord.