Two opposite ways to "delight in the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11)

Those of you who have been following my journey know that I keep on stumbling into Biblical passages that talk about the "fear of the Lord." It actually started this summer with a sermon I preached in the Dominican Republic on the fear of the Lord in Isaiah 6, even though the phrase didn't actually appear in the text. Then, in the fall, I came across Acts 9:31: "Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, [the church] increased in numbers." Then I encountered Psalm 19:2: … [Read more...]

Romans 4: Believing promises, obeying contracts, and retribution

One of the struggles I have with the word "covenant" is that it seems to be used to describe two entities which are quite different: God's unconditional, unilateral promise to Abraham and the elaborate set of rules and practices given to the Israelites in the Torah. In Romans 4, Paul pits these two "covenants" against each other in order to radically redefine what it means to be God's people. Paul argues that God's people are more essentially those who share the faith of Abraham than those who … [Read more...]

Becoming the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:17-21)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be … [Read more...]

Joseph: A Different Kind of Righteous

Sermon for Advent, 12/18/2010 Text: Matthew 1:12-25Joseph was a righteous man. The word “righteous” has gotten a bad rap in our day, because righteous and self-righteous have come to mean the same thing. Our world has reduced morality to a set of either-ors. Either you stand up for what’s right and you’re a merciless judge of others, or you’re an easy-going person who doesn’t have any moral convictions. Either you see the world in black and white terms that anybody ought to understand or you se … [Read more...]


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