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Tuesday
Jan182011

Called According to Paul: Romans 1:1-7

I’ve had a very busy day and a Christian education committee meeting this evening. I planned to get the Theological Term up, but my plan ain’t happening. We’ll be making do with a repost of an old post in the Called According to Paul series.  An explanation of this series of posts can be found here. You’ll find other posts in this series here.

Not Herman Ridderbos.

In this post, we’re inspecting the introductory or greeting paragraph from Paul’s letter to the Romans. The word “called” is used three times—once referring to Paul himself, and twice referring to other believers.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
Verse 1

In the first verse, Paul says that he has been called to be an apostle. He said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 1, one of the passages examined previously. Used like this, the word call carries the meaning of a summons or appointment, a significance made stronger by the phrase that follows: “set apart for the gospel of God.” This call is an appointment to a particular office or role that sets Paul apart among the followers of Christ.

Verse 6
Paul says here that the Gentile people to whom God has called him in order for him to “bring about the obedience of faith” (or to bring to a transforming faith in the gospel) includes the specific believers in Rome that he is writing this letter to. They are the ones “who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” This calling is a summons into the group of people who belongs to Christ. (In I Corinthians 1:9 the idea was similar.)

Verse 7
There’s a close association between being loved by God and being called by him. This calling springs from God’s love for particular people. It is because they are loved by God that they are called to be saints. This a calling to something: They are called to be saints (or to be holy). And this is yet another call that sets people apart.
Once again, I’ll ask what you see that I missed. What can you see in this passage about the meaning of the word called when it is used by Paul in regards to the call of God? 
Monday
Jan172011

A Catechism for Girls and Boys

Part I: Questions about God, Man, and Sin

17. Q. Of what were our first parents made?
      A. God made the body of Adam out of the ground, and formed Eve from the body of Adam.

(Click through to read scriptural proofs.)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan172011

The Unity of Truth

Biblical Christianity refuses to separate historical fact from spiritual meaning. Its core claim is that the living God has acted in history, especially in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Other religions tell people what they must do to achieve salvation, or become holy, or reach Nirvana, or connect with the divine. The burden of obligation is on the individual to perform the right ceremonies or perfect the right rituals. The Christian gospel is unique because it is the narrative of what God has done in history to accomplish salvation.

Liberal theologians typically give up the historical claims of Christianity for what they say is some deeper spiritual or ethical core. But if you strip away the history, there is no core left. If God has not acted in history to accomplish salvation, then there is no “good news” to tell…. As Paul told first-century audiences, if Jesus was not resurrected from the dead, if the tomb was not empty, then the Christian faith is based on a lie and is worthless (1 Cor. 15:17). He even urged his listeners to confirm the claim by seeking out the five hundred eyewitnesses who had seen the risen Christ. Paul was using a legal term, which means he was treating the resurrection like any other event that  could be tested for its veracity. The central claim of Christianity was a stubborn historical fact, which was open to empirical investigation and knowable by ordinary means of historical verification.

The apostles were treating the resurrection in a way akin to what scientists today call a crucial experiment—an event that confirms or disconfirms an entire theory (or an entire theology). In their minds, historical facts and spiritual truths must cohere. Facts and faith must agree. Truth is a unity.

—Nancy Pearcey in Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning.

Sunday
Jan162011

Sunday's Hymn

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

—John Bowring

 

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.

Saturday
Jan152011

Round the Sphere Again: Origins

Not So Illogical
Where did the term near miss (two aircraft avoiding a mid-air collision) come from (World Wide Words)?

If you love words and especially word trivia, you’ll want to subscribe to the World Wide Words feed so you don’t miss any of the featured “new words, word histories, the background to words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech” that are posted there.

Not All European
“[H]ow well do you know your favorite cheeses’ backgrounds? In this quiz, we’ll give you a cheese, and you’ll tell us where it originated” (mental_floss Blog). I scored 7/10.