Lord’s Resurrection Day I

2.) Q — Since then the resurrection is true what certainties do we who rightly believe receive from this doctrine of Christ?

A. — First, that God by the resurrection has again confirmed that He does not speak without keeping His Word. (1)

Secondly, the resurrection proves that the Lord Christ is indeed God, (2) which in turn confirms that the work of Christ on the cross was a payment for sin that truly saves all who rightly believe. (3)

Thirdly, the resurrection makes certain that we have closed with Christ do wear the righteousness of Christ, (4) and thus no longer remain in our sin, (5) since we too have been raised with Christ. (6)

Fourthly, now being clothed in the righteousness of Christ the resurrection power of God working within us (7) promises (8) and enables (9) us to live lives increasingly consistent with the righteousness given to us in Christ.

Fifthly, the resurrection of our Lord Christ is a certain promise that we who have embraced Christ will also resurrect in a like manner and so not remain captive to the grave. (10)

Finally, the resurrection proves that grace does not destroy nature but restores nature as in the resurrection we remain joined to our gender (11), our nation (12), and our bodies with all their earthly scars (13) and capacities (14).

(1) = John 2:19, Hebrews 6:18
(2) = Romans 1:4
(3) = I Corinthians 15:17
(4) = Romans 4:25
(5) = I Corinthians 15:17
(6) = Colossian 3:1
(7) = Ephesians 1:19-20
(8) = Romans 6:4
(9) = Romans 6;10-11
(10) = I Corinthians 15:20-21
(11) = John 20:26-27
(12) = Revelation 21:24, 26, 22:2
(13) = John 20:26-27
(14) = Luke 24:43

Garden & Resurrection

I.) Eden Ruined

The Scripture opens up in a Garden scene. We all know it. The garden of Eden. Man was placed here as God’s stewards to bring dominion to the garden by tending and keeping the garden. The garden was where God and man had fellowship. God would walk with man in the garden in the cool of the evening. The beauty of the garden matched the innocence of man.

Some scholars offer that Eden was a kind of base of operations from which Adam and Eve, operating as faithful to God, would push out the boundaries of the Eden garden so as to cover the whole earth. In other words, their mission was to turn the whole earth into the same garden that Eden was. Ths would be consistent with their calling to have dominion,

Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…”

However, as we know Adam, the Federal head of all humanity… the one who acted as the legal representative of all mankind turned from God’s face and so we learn from Genesis that Adam was tempted and in essence said, “Not thy will, but my will be done.” And with Adam’s fall, all mankind fell in and with him. In the choice to do his own will rather than God’s Adam was constituted a sinner and died spiritually and began to die physically.

In Romans 5, Scripture teaches that because of Adam’ sin we all die.

 “just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—”

Adam’s sin in the Garden was imputed to us … put to our account.

“Through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men,”

And so man’s fellowship, intimacy, and peace with God were fractured there in the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden, our Covenantal Representative said, “not thy will, but my will be done.”

But God had determined there would be other Gardens and another Adam, the last Adam … and further redemptive drama to be played out in Garden settings.

Jesus Christ is that last Adam… the representative covenantal head of a new humanity placed in a new creation; the Kingdom of God. As the last Adam, come to save His people, a garden setting once again takes center stage in their restoration. The last Adam comes to another garden called Gethsemane, which in Hebrew means “oil press.”

In this Garden, Jesus begins the active penalty stage of undoing what Adam had done in the garden of Eden. Here Christ is pressed down and squeezed.

Ill. — Description of 1st century Olive Press

With the Garden of Gethsemane, we could easily argue that we have,

II.) Eden Revisited

Each gospel writer records the pressure in Gethsemane, and Jesus himself referred to this great trauma when he spoke of his impending death in John 12:27: “Now my heart is troubled. What shall I say: ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”

 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 

Why was Jesus distressed?  We must understand that the death of Jesus Christ was unique. He may have been distressed at the horror of the content of the cup of God’s wrath which was extended for him or he may have begun to realize that for the first time that he would be separated from the Father.

Consider that in 2 Corinthians 5:21 St. Paul wrote, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,” and in Galatians 3:13 he wrote, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.”

Here in this Gethsemane garden, the God-Man, the last Adam, is facing what the first Adam faced in the garden of Eden. Would he embrace the Father’s fellowship or would he turn from the Father, like Adam, and embrace His own will?  Adam in the garden disobeyed God by eating of the tree. The last Adam, now in the garden is asked to mount the tree of death to pay the penalty for Adam’s sin. Here in the Gethsemane garden, the Eden is being replayed. Would the last Adam, who was always about the Father’s will, and who claimed that He only did what the Father does, now bow to the will of the Father and so become accounted as a curse in order to be imputed with the sin, misery, and guilt of all of Adam’s sin for all of God’s people?

In John 8:29 Jesus said, “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” In the Garden of Gethsemane, He now must choose to be alone, desolate, forsaken, and abandoned by all. He must choose to bear God’s curse.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, He knows He is to be forsaken especially of his Father, whose fellowship he cherished as the Son of God.

In the Gethsemane garden, Jesus considers the cup of God’s wrath and in His praying we see, and I say this with all the reverence I can muster … a Holy stutter.

All of this teaches the severity of what Adam did in the garden of Eden. We learn that story from the tenderest of ages and it becomes something of a familiar tale that we grow comfortable with. But the Garden of Gethsemane reminds us that the Garden of Eden was the greatest disaster in World History because Adam’s failure in the Garden of Eden required Christ’s agony … Christ’s sweating as great drops of blood… Christ’s heart being troubled, in order to reverse the curse. Because of the failure in Eden, He who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

And the active penalty phase of all that began as where the initial failure began. In a garden.

But we are not yet finished with Redemptive history and Gardens for in a few short days we have,

III.) Eden Re-established

We are not finished with the Garden motif yet though.

40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

A little later we learn from John’s Gospel (Ch. 20) that Mary mistook Jesus for the Gardener. Jesus speaks to Mary

  “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Garden and Gardeners. This time in the context of the Resurrection. Man fell in the context of a Garden. Man’s temptation was re-visited in the Garden of Gethsemane, and now Eden is re-established with the resurrection of Christ happening in a Garden.

Theologians labor to demonstrate that with the Resurrection Christ brought in the new creation.  The Old Testament supports this line of thought as it anticipated that the Messiah would,

  comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody. (Is. 51:3)

The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus (Is. 35:1)

The idea here is that Christ is indeed the Gardener who brings with His resurrection the new Creation…. the garden of God. All those who are found in Christ are themselves then part of that new garden creation,

 I Cor. 5:17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!

Christ resurrects in a garden setting. He has brought in the new creation which is described as a garden in the OT and He brings that in because He is the new creation… Christ is the garden of God.  In Him, we have been translated from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of God’s dear son.

We now share in His resurrection life.  We are reconciled. We are redeemed.  We are justified. We are regenerated. We have peace with God. We are more than conquerors. We are God’s dominion men who walk in terms of God’s law-word. We work again to make everything we touch… our families, our careers, our churches, our relationships, into gardens of God in order to beautify the glory of God which can never be increased in beauty.

With the work of Christ men who trust in Christ are once again put in the garden that they were removed from in the fall and forbidden from in the shadow covenant.

The Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane had been Gardens of defeat and despair but now with the resurrection of Christ, the garden takes on a new meaning. The garden is the place of life, it is the place where there is abundance, the place where there is hope. The place that is characteristic of the new creation.

And this is emphasized with our final glimpse this morning of the Garden motif in the context of Redemptive history.

IV.) Eden Restored

Rev. 22:22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

Some of your Bibles even subhead this section as “Eden Restored.”

While the book of Revelation can speak of the new heavens and new earth as a city there is also talk in Revelation of the Garden of God. Here in Revelation 22 the description sounds very garden-like. In Rev. 2:7 it is even more explicit

Rev. 2:7 — To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.’

Paradise Παράδεισος [Paradeisos] was originally a Persian word, denoting an enclosed garden, especially a royal park.

So, the new heavens and the new earth can be rightly described as a garden. And it is there that we will live the resurrection with the resurrected one. In that Garden, the nations will be healed, the curse will be obliterated, life will pulsate as the river flows, the curse we struggle with so mightly here will be gone and the presence of God will be our delight. We will still do the bidding of God. We will still be builders of Godly culture and social order, for in the aggregate that is what we were created to be. We will still keep and tend the Garden and this time without failure. Our resurrection will know no end.

And keeping garden will be our project.


Good Friday and Propitiation


“God put forward Christ as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” Romans 3:25

Liberals and Neo-orthodox have historically blanched at the idea of Christ’s sacrifice being a propitiation for the sin of the elect. … a means by which the turning away of God’s just wrath is accomplished.

Their objection is with the idea of an angry God who needs be appeased. The find in the idea of propitiation the idea of a volcano God who needs a fair virgin to be cast into the volcano before the volcano God can be satisfied. They are offended by this kind of God.

The Biblical Christian responds by noting that unlike the volcano God the God of the Bible is a God of justice who has promised that the soul that sinneth shall surely die. If God forsakes His opposition to sin … His anger against sin then God forsakes His attributes of Justice and Holiness. If God is not angry with and against both sin and sinner God is not God. Besides all this we have the explicit testimony of the Scripture that God is angry with the wicked every day and that God hates the wicked. Becuase of this God needs be propitiated and the Cross of Jesus Christ is where we find the propitiation of God that man could never provide.

The liberal and neo-orthodox still tend to see this as not only unbefitting of God but also as not fair. Some have even styled the Son providing propitiation as “Divine child abuse” by the Father. A few things are missed though.

1.) Jesus is not just some aimless wandering Jewish Rabbi that God seizes and throws on a cross. The Son came to do the will of the Father. The Father and the Son in eternity past covenanted to redeem a people. The Father agreed to send the son to do the work of Redemption and the Son agreed to do the work of Redemption so gaining the inheritance of a people by His own name.

2.) The Liberal and neo-orthodox are appalled at the anger of the Father but they miss that it is the love of the Father who sent the Son to be the appeasement (propitiation) for a people who without the work of the Son would never know the comfort of God’s love nor relief from the Father’s just anger.

3.) The liberal and neo-orthodox miss the fact that God’s anger is spilled out on God Himself as incarnated in the God-Man Jesus the Messiah. God loves us so much that He bears His own Just anger against us upon Himself there at and in the Cross. This is why we can say that we are saved by God, from God, for God to God, to God be the Glory.

4.) Of course, all this bears upon the reality that unless one closes with the Son, that is, unless one looks to the Son for safety and for mediation with and introduction unto the Father that person is eternally without hope and without God. God will not provide salvation for anyone who is not under the umbrella of the Son’s Cross Work because apart from Christ the Father’s wrath abides.

Unless Christ is a propitiation for our sins on that Good Friday Cross we are still in our sins. Expiation alone (the removal of sin) is not enough. God is a personal God who is personally angry with personal sinners. God must be propitiated or we of all men are to be pitied.

Those who reject propitiation, while doubtlessly well intended, are not Christian.

The Shape of Water — A Review

“The Shape of Water,” just won the Academy Award for best film of the year. Having viewed the film last night I found just one more Cultural Marxist attack on the norms and values of the Christendom norms that normed Western civilization in favor of the putative superiority of the alien, the stranger, and the other.

The storyline introduces us to a “wild creature that can’t be anything else.” The film informs us that the wild creature comes from the third world Amazon and was abducted from his previous god-like existence by the evil white man and was brought by force and ill-treatment in order to possibly advance science and to beat the Russians to the moon. Of course, the wild creature while wild is cast as morally superior to his captors, even if he does eat a housecat along the way.

We find in the narrative thus that the white man as the protagonist as embodied in evil white General, the bumbling white scientist, and the evil white project head. The only slightly favorable white straight male character is the Communist Russian scientist spy who works to help save the wild creature. Hence the film reinforces our modern Cultural Marxist narrative of the stupid and evil white man who oppresses everything he lays his hands on.

White women only fare slightly better. Except for the lead, which we will return to later, the three white women who have minuscule roles are cast in traditional female roles and are subtly mocked in the film. The film gives us the white wife of the chief villain who is mocked as the traditional white stay at home Mother of two who is subservient to her husband and whose only ability is the sex she provides for her husband and her ability to be at home with the children. In such a way patriarchy is also mocked in the film. A second bit white female role is of the secretary at work who likewise is portraying a traditional white female role of “our girl Friday.” The third bit white female role lead is that of a bitchy co-worker who is always complaining or casting demeaning insults at the lead mute female. There are the three white women bit-roles we are given in the film. White traditional women like white men take it on the chin in this Cultural Marxist film.

The leading lady of the film is a white female who while not beautiful is comely. She is cast as a white woman who is missing something (her voice) that only the wild creature from an exotic land can finally cure.  The supporting male role is filled by a middle-aged sodomite who aids the female lead in rescuing the wild creature from the grip of the evil white men. The supporting female role is played by a black female who is forever telling us about the deficiencies of her husband. Except for the wild creature, the Communist scientist spy, and the sodomite, males in the film are bumbling, or evil beings. More Cultural Marxist fare; straight non-Communist white men are evil while perverted wild males from other lands or sodomites or Communists are good.

I’m convinced the leading white lady is supposed to represent the every day western white woman who can only find her voice by throwing themselves sexually at the wild thing from an exotic land who heals her of her lost voice while imparting to her immortal life as living in his environment.  White women and poor misunderstood wild males from exotic lands can only save one another as they conspire to overcome the wicked white man by copulating. So, we have the Cultural Marxist film selling the idea that there is something lacking in comely white women that only the wild thing can heal while at the same time wild exotic things from other lands can only be rescued by white women. I would contend that this is an obvious push for White women to copulate with that which is wild and untamed (illegal or legal immigrants from other countries). Only then can white women find that which is lacking and be healed and only then can wild things from exotic lands find salvation.

It is not even subtle. All you European and American women the way to find your voice is by copulating with wild males from exotic countries who are totally other. The inter-species relationship in the film stands as a metaphor for white women who have no voice giving themselves to the wild things from exotic lands and so finding what is lacking in themselves and their whiteness. Only by the White women working in concert with minority women, and homosexual man can evil white men be defeated. In the film, the wild thing from an exotic land is always morally better, restorative and redemptive.  And all this cast as a romantic love story.

A few other ancillary observations regarding the film,

1.) The white male lead, who is cast as a detestable and hateable character makes a sexual advance on the leading white female. Of course, such an advance is crude, and as coming in the context of the white male lead being already married to a wife which the film shows filling her husband’s bedroom needs, what is being communicated is the hypocrisy of the patriarchal family. The film’s clear intent is to communicate to white women that wild things from exotic lands are superior to white men and that white men should be surrendered for wild things from exotic lands.

2.) The film uses the Christian Scriptures accounts of Samson and Ruth. The evil white man in the film casts himself as Samson bringing down the plot of the sodomite, Communist scientist spy, black female co-worker, and the mute white girl to release the wild thing from an exotic land. The film places the apartment of the mute girl over a theatre that is playing the film “Ruth.” Ruth, you will recall is the bible story of the woman who is thought to have left her Moabite people in order to be a foremother of the Messiah.

3.) This film is basically the film version cast as a Romantic love story of Theodore Adorno’s book “The Authoritarian Personality.” The patriarchal family in both the book and the film is cast as twisted and evil and the origin of much of what is wrong with Western civilization. To be trapped in this patriarchal family culture is to be mentally ill and so villainous.

4.) There may be even in the film an attempt to normalize bestiality as a sexual norm though I am convinced that the creature from the black lagoon is a stand-in not for sex with animals but as a stand-in for sex with wild things from exotic lands.

The film is an ideological Cultural Marxist attack on Christianity, White Males, patriarchy, Western Civilization, the whole idea of distinct nations, and normative sexuality cast as a Romance. In other words, typical Hollywood fare.




Seven Observations for Maundy Thursday

1.) Christ’s “mandate” is commemorated on Maundy Thursday—“maundy” being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means “command.” It was on the Thursday of Christ’s final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said these words to his disciples:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

The modern Church has fallen down here because they have cut the word “love” loose from its Biblical moorings. If God’s people are to love one another then that love must have content and the only place it can find definitional content is God’s law. The only way I can know if I am loving someone is if I act in concert with what God’s law requires of me in relation to others. Apart from that reality, we can only blaspheme Christ in our Maundy Thursday celebrations.

Even Christ’s love to us was of a nature that was defined by God’s law. God’s law required blood atonement. If Christ was to love His people as consistent with God’s law then He must offer Himself up for an atonement for their sin. Christ demonstrated His love for His people in a way that was defined by God’s law.

2.) 1When he had said this, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered.

On Maundy Thursday Christ overcame temptation in the garden. It was in a garden where the 1st Adam succumbed to the temptation to not be submissive to the Father’s will by taking of the fruit of the forbidden tree of life. In the Gethsemane garden, the last Adam overcomes the temptation to not be submissive to the Father’s will and yields to the Father’s will to mount the tree of death to be the fruit of life to the world.

The Scripture takes us from Garden to Garden. From the Garden of the Fall to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the Garden on that resurrection morning. The fate of man is ruined, restored, and resurrected in a garden.

3.) Only Dr. Luke records the sweating of Christ

“His sweat became like great drops of blood.”

Which Luke describes as agony. The Greek word for agony also is used for “fight” elsewhere. Medically this blood sweat is called “Hematidrosis” and is a rare medical condition. Those suffering from this condition find their capillary blood vessels which feed the sweat glands rupture thereby causing blood to exude from the pores. Such a condition is known to sometimes occur to those who are undergoing unusually significant psychological, emotional or physical stress.

Even here, we are reminded of Christ’s humanity. It is true that Jesus is very God of very God but Luke takes the time to remind us of his very real humanity on the cusp of the cross.

Some scholars believe that when Christ prays, “let this cup pass,” that the cup Jesus is asking to pass is a death that would come from the severe hematidrosis. Remember, Luke tells us that Jesus sweat became like great drops of blood.  Matthew mentions that Jesus was sorrowful even unto the point of death. These scholars suggest that Jesus is praying that He will not die before He goes to the cross.

The blood here is perhaps a prefiguring of the importance of the blood shed by Christ on the Cross for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. The blood in the garden. The blood from the scourging. The blood from the thorn crown pressed upon His brow. The blood from the nails in His feet and hands. The blood from the spear thrust in His side. Our Lord Christ goes from sweating blood to the oozing of blood. Our forgiveness is won from blood unto blood. Well, we can understand why Paul states that the church, (was) purchased with his own blood.

And why Peter can add that

it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot.

4.)  37 When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?

In Matthew and Mark’s Gethsemane account Jesus returns three times to find His three most intimate disciples asleep. Three times Peter denies Christ. Three times Jesus tells Peter to “feed my sheep.”

Were it not for Luke’s account, where an angel is sent to strengthen Christ in His praying we would conclude that the Gospel accounts are emphasizing Jesus aloneness and abandonment. This is a truth that is certainly emphasized later in the accounts of the Cross. Here in Gethsemane, we find our Lord bloodied, stressed, and exhausted and even His little inner circle cannot support him during this time. Perhaps this reminds us that God’s grace is sufficient even in those times when except for the presence of God we really are alone.

5.) 36 he said, “Abba, Father,* all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.

Mark finds our Lord addressing the Father as “Abba,” and is used only in the Gospels in this text. Interestingly enough, the word in the Jewish tradition had never been used to address God. The word is never used in the Gospel except for this one place. At the very moment when Jesus is headed to the Cross, at the moment the tender filial trust between Father and Son is expressed. “Abba” is a word that communicates warm affection and filial devotion.

We find here the harmony of purpose among the members of the Trinity.  In the covenant of Redemption, the members of the Trinity entered into covenant from eternity past for the redemption of fallen mankind. The Father sent the Son to be a sin offering. The Son agrees to go the way of a sin offering. The prize given and won is a people of His own choosing.

6.) Betrayed by a Kiss

His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.” 49 Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him.

In the near Eastern culture of the 1st century, a kiss was the traditional way to greet one another. That which was to be a sign of intimate friendship was the signal to betray one’s long-held “Rabbi.” It seems only appropriate that hell would betray heaven with a kiss.

7.) Whom are you looking for?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.” He said to them, “I AM.” Judas his betrayer was also with them. 6 When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground.7So he again asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.

John’s Gospel contains the great seven “I am” sayings of Jesus. It is a theme that John plays on. In chapter 8 of John Jesus says of himself, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Naturally enough, this claim of “I am” that runs through John in connection with Jesus is a claim of divinity since in the Old Testament God defines Himself as “I am that I am.”

Here the claim of “I am,” is a claim of dread and fear. They who have come to arrest God fall before His feet at the sound of His name. It is as if before the drama can be played out all the players have to realize their place.  The idea that man will arrest and arraign God is surreal to consider and yet in Jesus self-identifying as “I Am” that is exactly what we have.