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All articles in category Biblical/theological

Article

May 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Growing older: From one degree of glory to another

A middle-aged man looks in the mirror, puts on a bright orange wig to cover his bald head and suddenly he’s young again – allegedly! But why does he do it? If you see him in the street, it’s obvious it’s a wig! The colour doesn’t match his eyebrows or stubble and you can clearly see the join. And yet, somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind, he’s still in his thirties or forties. He may not look young, but he still feels young — or at least feels younger than he looks. So by using a wig it provides him with an illusion...

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Article

April 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Christ’s resurrection and our justification

How is the resurrection of Christ linked to the idea of justification in the New Testament? To answer this question, we must first explore the use and meaning of the term ‘justification’ in the New Testament. Confusion about this has provoked some of the fiercest controversies in the history of the church. The Protestant Reformation itself was fought over the issue of justification. In all its complications, the unreconciled and unreconcilable difference in the debate came down to the question of whether our justification before God is grounded in the infusion of Christ’s righteousness into us, by which we become inherently righteous; or in the...

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Article

April 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

A glorious resurrection

The Christian believer’s hope of life after death is highlighted by a comment attributed to John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States (from 1825 to 1829) and a leading opponent of slavery. A friend once asked him when he was an old man, ‘How is John Quincy Adams today?’ His reply was, ‘I am doing very fine sir, but the building in which I live is getting rather tottery. I fear I must soon have to vacate it. I expect, however, to move into a new one some day’. John Quincy Adams’ remark was biblical. Death is not the cessation of existence, but...

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Article

March 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

Exalted Prince and Saviour

The apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesian church would know: ‘What is the exceeding greatness of [God’s] power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come’ (1:19-21). The power that saves a soul is the same power that raised Jesus from death. Paul’s reasoning is as follows. In order to understand the ‘exceeding greatness of his...

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Article

February 2018
Articles > Biblical/theological

The ministry of angels

In one of his poems, John Milton said: ‘Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth, unseen both when they wake and when they sleep’. The teaching about angels is one of the intriguing things of biblical faith. It is mysterious. Yet it is clear from the Bible that there are a finite number of created spirits, evil (fallen) and elect (holy). It seems they are not so limited in movement as human beings. There is ‘behind-the-scenes’ activity of both unfallen angels and demons, including Satan their chief (Ephesians 6:12). References to them are found all over the Bible. Sometimes they take visible form; for example,...

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Article

August 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

The heavenly session of the ascended Lord Jesus Christ (2)

Christ’s priestly work in heaven is unique. At his Father’s side, he is perpetually applying the shed blood of his sacrifice on behalf of his people. We have already noticed that Jesus Christ’s once-and-for-all, single act of propitiatory sacrifice need never be repeated (see previous article in ET, July 2017). It was perfect and is accepted by the Father, so we conclude that masses and prayers to the ‘saints’ are useless, in the face of Christ’s perfect sacrifice and unique intercessory ministry in heaven. Personal confession of sin is to be made to the ascended and seated High Priest of the church, Jesus Christ, only (Matthew...

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Article

July 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

The heavenly session of the Lord Jesus Christ (1)

The heavenly session of the risen, ascended Jesus Christ is often neglected, even when thoughts of his glory are considered. However, this subject is relevant to prayer and essential to the spiritual joy and peace of all God’s people. J. C. Ryle noted, ‘If we are Christians, we shall find it essential to our comfort in religion to have clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession. Christ lives, and therefore our faith shall not fail. He is at the right hand of God’. Jesus Christ’s saving work is made clear in Romans 8:34: ‘Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and...

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Article

July 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

Federal Vision

Justification by faith, where vile sinners are counted as righteous before God for the sake of Christ, is often polluted by the waters of moralism. Martin Luther is said to have described this justification as ‘the article by which the church stands or falls’. It was this that brought him to faith in Christ, as he read through Paul’s epistle to the Romans, while still a monk. Since the Reformation, countless sermons and books have been preached and written in defence of this pivotal doctrine, and Reformed and evangelical churches throughout the West continue to do battle for it. Auburn Avenue One fairly recent theological...

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Article

June 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

Preaching Christ

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul the apostle was a man of determination. Before he was converted, he was a fiery zealot for the law of Moses and persecuted those who did not agree with him. After he met Jesus, this passionate disposition was turned to winning people to Christianity. He was a great preacher, not because of natural eloquence, but because of his message. He preached Jesus. Jesus was the centre of every message — Jesus and his saving work were not negotiable. If we look at the above Scripture text...

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Article

May 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘How old is God?’

After finishing a school assembly recently, a few of the children came up to ask some questions. Two, independently of each other, asked the same one: ‘How old is God?’ How do you answer that in a couple of minutes! It’s not the first time I’ve been asked that by a child. Many years ago, I can recall a real smart little ‘cookie’ I taught getting exasperated with me and saying, ‘But Mr Woolley, God has to have begun somewhere. He cannot always have been alive!’ I think poor Kate thought I had lost the plot when I said God was outside time. How do...

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Article

May 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

Total depravity – the great equaliser

I often feel that I have a ridiculously boring testimony. I can’t count the number of times I have sat through courses, seminars and Bible studies and have heard the value of a good testimony in evangelising the lost. And like any long-time believer, I have heard some incredible ones. I have heard about women who were prostitutes giving their lives to the Lord and becoming active in ministry to women. I have met men who were drug dealers, living lives that would cause the most hardened of us to pale, but who were convicted of their sin and, through God’s grace, were saved. Compared...

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Article

May 2017
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’

Colossians 1:26-27 speaks of: ‘The mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is, Christ in you, the hope of glory’. Paul was particularly keen for his readers to become fully acquainted with this tremendous truth. It has an enormous impact on those individuals who accept and rejoice in it. I was brought up in Roman Catholicism and regret deeply that so many pious people, whom I knew then, including some exceptionally kind Roman Catholic...

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