Monday, January 11, 2010
God’s Redemptive Decrees; prioritizing the biblical message
The introductory post explains the purposes, goals and scope of this blog. If you have not read it, I suggest you start there and then, look through the posts to get a feeling for where I have gone and where I am going. But, if you don’t have the time, feel free to read this post alone. The blog is meant to be a series however.
Any time one makes a declaration, to be consistent, the declaration must be true and cannot be altered by another or it is a waste of time to declare it. Since Jesus taught his followers a specific interpretation of the scripture, (Luke 24:27) it is incumbent on the follower of Jesus, to give preeminence to his interpretation of scripture. This gives scripture a top down interpretation. Therefore, if this is so, then, it is necessary to read all of the scripture from Genesis to Revelation before any interpretation is done. Then, you must take what Jesus and his apostles said and view the scripture from that perspective. In other words…the redemptive decrees take precedence. This lens or method of interpretation is called redemptive-historical hermeneutics.
If you look at Paul’s epistles as an example, in most he begins with redemptive decrees before going to what I would like to call reasonable service instructions. In every instance, the driver of the reasonable service instructions is the redemptive decrees.
A perfect example is Ephesians.
Eph 1:3-14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (4) just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (5) having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (6) to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (8) which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, (9) having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, (10) that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (11) In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (12) that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (13) In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
The above passage is one of the most declarative of all bible passages. It completely outlines God’s purpose in creation and redemption and, it can be seen that redemption was his first purpose in creation. I have underlined the passages that show this idea the most.
When Paul writes that God works all things according to the counsel of his will, he includes everything. We can see in this passage of Ephesians that redemption was the first purpose in creation. God had declared all of the above, before the foundation of the world. It was to be to the praise of the glory of his grace. Hmnn…the first consideration for creation was redemption and, it was to the praise of the glory of his grace. If that is the case…shouldn’t redemption be the driving paradigm? And, shouldn’t grace be the most important factor?
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