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Round the Sphere Again: Romans 3:21-26

Some call it “the center of the whole bible.” I’d be inclined to agree.

This week’s featured arc at BibleArc is of this passage. From a note included:

In putting Christ forth as a propitiation, God acts for the sake of his glory, i.e., he actively demonstrates inviolable allegiance to the honor of his name in order that his inexorable love of his own glory may not be weakened, i.e., in order that he might remain and be righteous.

D. A. Carson (For the Love of God) gives us a few of what he considers to be  “the more important conclusions to be drawn” from this passage. He says something similar to the note quoted above:

…God offers up Christ not only to justify ungodly sinners such as ourselves, who have faith in Jesus, but also to maintain his own justice, to be just, in the face of all the sins ever committed.


Theological Term of the Week

the gospel
The good news of what God accomplished through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • From scripture:
    Now I would remind you, brothers,  of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…. (I Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV)
  • The Canons of Dordt, The Second Main Point of Doctrine:

    Article 1: The Punishment Which God’s Justice Requires

    God is not only supremely merciful, but also supremely just. His justice requires (as he has revealed himself in the Word) that the sins we have committed against his infinite majesty be punished with both temporal and eternal punishments, of soul as well as body. We cannot escape these punishments unless satisfaction is given to God’s justice.

    Article 2: The Satisfaction Made by Christ

    Since, however, we ourselves cannot give this satisfaction or deliver ourselves from God’s anger, God in his boundless mercy has given us as a guarantee his only begotten Son, who was made to be sin and a curse for us, in our place, on the cross, in order that he might give satisfaction for us.

    Article 3: The Infinite Value of Christ’s Death

    This death of God’s Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.

    Article 4: Reasons for This Infinite Value

    This death is of such great value and worth for the reason that the person who suffered it is—as was necessary to be our Savior—not only a true and perfectly holy man, but also the only begotten Son of God, of the same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Another reason is that this death was accompanied by the experience of God’s anger and curse, which we by our sins had fully deserved.

    Article 5: The Mandate to Proclaim the Gospel to All

    Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the gospel.

  • From Charles Spurgeon in the sermon For Whom Is the Gospel Meant?, explaining the sanctifying influence of he gospel:

    When this Truth of God enters the soul, it breeds zealots, martyrs, confessors, missionaries, saints. If any Christians are in earnest and full of love to God and man, they are those who know what Grace has done for them. If any remain faithful under reproaches, joyful under losses and crosses—they are those who are conscious of their indebtedness to Divine Love. If any delight in God while they live and rest in Him as they die—they are the men who know that they are justified by faith in Jesus Christ who justifies the ungodly.

    All glory be to the Lord who lifts the beggar from the dunghill and sets him among princes, even the princes of His people! He takes the very cast-offs of the world and adopts them into His family and makes them heirs of God by Jesus Christ! The Lord grant us all to know the power of the Gospel upon our sinful selves! The Lord endear to us the name,work and Person of the Sinner’s Friend! May we never forget the hole of the pit from where we were drawn, nor the hand which rescued us, nor the undeserved kindness which moved that hand! From now on let us have more and more to say of Infinite Grace. “Free Grace and dying love.” Well does the old song say, “Ring those charming bells.” Free Grace and dying love—the sinner’s windows of hope! Our hearts exult in the very words! Glory be unto You, O Lord Jesus, ever full of compassion. Amen.

Learn more:

  1. What Is the Gospel?
  2. Brian Schwertley: The Good News of the Salvation of Jesus Christ: A Gospel Primer
  3. Jeffrey C. Nesbitt: A Gospel Summary
  4. D. A. Carson: What Is the Gospel?—Revisited (pdf)
  5. Southern Seminary:What Is the Gospel?

    What is the Gospel? from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

  6. John Piper: What Is the Gospel? (video)
  7. D. A. Carson: What Is the Gospel? (mp3 download)
  8. Phil Johnson: The Heart of the Gospel (mp3 download)

Related terms:

Related posts at this blog:

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.


Round the Sphere Again: Following Up

On Complementarianism
There’s one more post in Thabiti Anyabwile’s series: I’m a Complementarian, But… Women Should Pray in Public:

[I]t seems clear to me that women prayed in the public gatherings of the early church.  As the disciples waited for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit before Pentecost, they “were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14).  Presumably as the Lord added thousands of women to the ranks of the disciples (Acts 2:41), these women were among those devoting themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42).  During times requiring fervent intercession, the disciples gathered and prayed together with women–even in the home of a woman (Acts 12:12).  The book of Acts generally depicts the female disciples devoting themselves to prayer along with the rest of the church.

On Annihilationism
Annihilationists argue that eternal punishment would not be just deserts for sin that’s not eternal, but is that a good argument?

In the first place, the amount of time spent in wrongdoing is often irrelevant in determining the sentence. As I write these words, police in London are looking for thugs who attacked a forty-five year old man in broad daylight, almost severed his arm with a billhook, pummelled him with a baseball bat and sprayed hydrochloric acid in his face. The assault was all over in less than a minute; would sixty seconds in jail be an appropriate sentence? As William Hendriksen says, ‘It is not necessarily the duration of the crime that fixes the duration of the punishment…What is decisive is the nature of the crime.’

John Blanchard, in Six Arguments Against Annihilationism, quoted by John Samson. Read the article for five more reasons why the argument that eternal punishment is unjust doesn’t work.

Update 1: On Evangelism
J. Mack Stiles, author of Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel, quoted right here on this blog last week, posts at The Gospel Coalition Blog, answering the question What If I’m Not a Gifted Evangelist?

Update 2: On Adoption
(Oh, how I wish I could call this section On Adoptionism so that the section headings were parallel.) February’s free audiobook from Christian Audio is Adopted for Life by Russell Moore. You’ll find links to other Adopted for Life resources there, too.

I reviewed the book Adopted for Life a year or so ago.


A Catechism for Girls and Boys

Part I: Questions about God, Man, and Sin

19. Q. Have you a soul as well as a body?
      A. Yes. I have a soul that can never die.

(Click through to read scriptural proofs.)

Click to read more ...


Good Riddance

I’m celebrating the end of January. After January, we’re on the upside of winter: three months down and three months to go. Our shortest day, back on December 21, was just over 5 1/2 hours long; today was nearly eight. That’s a difference in daylight that we can see.

I used to look forward to the cold, dark days of January. It was a good time for relaxing by the fire and working on a big jigsaw puzzle. But I’ve developed an allergy to pine, the only firewood available, so relaxing by a warm fire is out.

I did start to put together a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a Van Gogh painting. I made it half way through before the cat pushed a puzzle piece onto the floor for the pup to chew, and by chew, I mean he made it into something that looks like a piece of used chewing gum. Now I can’t decide whether to go ahead and finish the puzzle or not. I only put a puzzle together so that when it’s finished I can spend a few days rubbing my hands across it’s perfectly put together pieces. This one ain’t gonna work for that.

Today there was a wild wind. Youngest son took the dogs on a short walk and came back with his cheeks burning. But tomorrow, the first day of February, will be several degrees above freezing.

It’s too bad the passage of time does nothing for a chewed puzzle piece.