Rags to Riches: How Jesus’s Incarnation Changes Us

John Calvin, in his massive work Institutes of the Christian Religion (translated by Henry Beveridge), describes the glorious exchange wrought by the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

I am guilty of not meditating on the wonders of the incarnation. The thought that God became man is simply astounding, and yet I do not think about it nearly enough. In my reading of Calvin’s Institutes, I came across this comparison of what we gained and what Jesus loss. It is a thought that draws my mind into deeper meditation and appreciation of Christ’s work in becoming man.

Calvin paints this exquisite picture,

This is the wondrous exchange made by his boundless goodness. Having become with us the Son of man, he has made us with himself sons of God. By his own descent to the earth he has prepared our ascent to heaven. Having received our mortality, he has bestowed on us his immortality. Having undertaken our weakness, he has made us strong in his strength. Having submitted to our poverty, he has transferred to us his riches. Having taken upon himself the burden of unrighteousness with which we were oppressed, he has clothed us with his righteousness. (896-897)

Christian, are you discouraged? Think about Jesus. I end with Paul’s thoughts, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21, ESV)

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Kevin DeYoung, in his book Crazy Busy, writes, “What is wrong—and heartbreakingly foolish and wonderfully avoidable—is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need.” (118)

That is how DeYoung ends his book. The chapter is, “The One Thing You Must Do.” I must admit, this is a danger for me personally. I am a driven individual. I like setting goals and achieving them. But I am constantly in danger of making Jesus a goal. “Oh, I read my Bible for the day!” is a dangerous statement to make. I need Jesus, moment by moment. I must meditate o His Word constantly. In times of particular busyness, it is paramount that I maintain daily time in Scripture reading and prayer.

I will be sharing a review of the book soon (if the Lord wills), but for now I wanted to leave you with this challenging thought.

May God give us this day our daily bread, and may we thoroughly feast on the Wondrous Word.

Guided By Gurnall: Part Five

Gurnall asks the question, “If God be with me by his mighty power to help me, why then is all this befallen me?” (37)

Gurnall, in his second response, delivers the following encouragement:

Christian, candidly interpret God’s dealings with thee….Now take heed of charging God foolishly, as if God were not what he promiseth; this were to give that to Satan which he is all this while gaping for. It is more becoming the dutiful disposition of a child, when he hath not presently what he writes for to his father, to say, My father is wiser than I. His wisdom will prompt him what and when to send to me, and his fatherly affections to me his child will neither suffer him to deny anything that is good, or slip the time that is seasonable. Christian, thy heavenly Father hath gracious ends that hold his hand at present, or else thou hadst ere this heard from him. (39)

What gloriously encouraging words! I am sure that we have all been at a point in our lives in which it seems as if heaven has been emptied of God’s presence. The pain can become so overwhelming that the internal screams seem to drown out any semblance of the comfort of God.

Perhaps we find ourselves in the same predicament as Job. Job says, “Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat!” (Job 23:3, ESV) He later declares, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him,  he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.” (Job 23:8-9, ESV)

God begins to speak to Job concerning His might, wisdom, and grandeur. (Job 38-41) God never offers the reasons why Job experienced the sufferings he endured. Many times, we are not privy to the reasons why God allows us to suffer. But before we begin to question God or doubt His goodness, let us heed Gurnall’s advice and trust our Heavenly Father.

Catch up on our series below:

Guided by Gurnall: Introduction

Guided by Gurnall: Part One

Guided by Gurnall: Part Two

Guided by Gurnall: Part Three

Guided by Gurnall: Part Four

Atonement and the New Perspective: A Review

Atonement and the New Perspective: The God of Israel, Covenant, and the Cross by Stephen Burnhope, published by Pickwick Publications, Eugene, OR: 2018; 245 pages

Who should read it?

Burnhope’s work is highly technical, so it may not be for the average reader. However, for the individual desiring a broad treatment of the main contributors to the discussion of the atonement, particularly from the evangelical perspective (see pages xiii-xv). Burnhope also works within a reformed worldview (though he does not clarify this in detail, see page ix), so it appeals to that audience as well.

Overall, the pastors who consider theology a vital component of their work would do well to read it. Though they may not agree with all of Burnhope’s conclusions (I myself do not), Burnhope presents an excellent overview of a variety of contributors to the discussion of atonement.

Physical Book

The book is laid out in a readable manner. The type and spacing provide ease on the eyes. The size of the text is perfect. It is not too large, nor is it too small. The footnote size is excellent as well. The book also includes a margin in which many notes can be marked. The binding allows it to lay flat, which enables easier study.

The Contents of the Book

Stephen Burnhope begins the book by discussing, at some length (xi-xxx), the atonement and the accompanying issues. By presenting an argument for a kaleidoscopic view, Burnhope attempts to broaden current scholarship’s understanding while not neglecting the Scriptures.

Chapter one covers the doctrine of the atonement (pages 1-53). Burnhope provides many materials, quotes, and questions on the past and present understanding of the atonement. He offers attention to the main contributors. I personally found this section very informative (I underlined on almost every page!).

Chapter two addresses the NPP concerning first century Judaism. This section requires a little more focus due to the broadness and unspecified descriptions of the NPP. As with his treatment of the atonement at large, Burnhope provides an airplane view of the main contributors of the NPP. Perhaps the most significant part of this chapter begins on 137 when Burnhope asks, “At what point, ten, can it be said that ‘everything changed’ and an identifiable ‘Christianity’ becomes separate and distinct from an identifiable ‘Judaism’?”

Chapter three focuses on the atonement in the NPP. This section, at least to me, is the hardest to read because of the technicality as well as the refocus. Dealing the election, the covenant, and supersessionist/non-supersessionist

The final chapter provides a way to maintain a conversation with the variety of atonement views. By emphasizing the atonement, sin and the reinterpretation of them all.

Concluding Thoughts

I do not agree with Burnhope’s conclusions, but I appreciate the peaceful nature and discussion I could have with Burnhope through his work. I also think pastors should read this because it covers a wide spectrum concerning atonement.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.