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Ephesians identity new testament Paul

Bringing Down the Fence

In the last post we considered the division that existed between the Jewish people and the Gentiles, ie everyone else, in the time of Jesus. A ‘fence’ between them had been erected that protected the Jews from ethical decay, forbidding intermarriage, cultural appropriation or even eating with Gentiles. According to Williamson Jews saw Gentiles as ‘less than human’ and in response gentiles regarded Jews with suspicion. (1)

This division might not be considered important today. However, it is unquestionable that the recent political events have created significant divides between people in the UK. The reasons might be different, but the divides are just are real and painful as ever. (2)

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Ephesians new testament

That Dividing Wall

As a child I soon learnt that I had a rare, somewhat deliberating condition. This aliment, because that’s how this condition seemed to me, often left me feeling like a ‘side dish’ as the kids say today. There seemed to be a code, that the other males fell seamlessly inline with. Despite my best efforts to learn and use this code, I was always several steps behind. It seemed all the other boys effortlessly received regular updates regarding this code, and that these updates were easily understood and incorporated into that most cruel of environments, the primary school playground. I was constantly out of date, never really deciphering what the others were on about. It is only in later life that I have self-diagnosed my condition, and as is often the case with knowledge, came a certain level of understanding.

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Devotional Ephesians new testament Paul salvation

A Different Way of Seeing?

In this post we look in a little detail at what it means to be dead – no not like that. How did Christ make us alive according to Paul? We also see that a cabbage has much to teach us of the Divine Realm. But we begin with The Essenes.

The Essenes, authors of the ‘dead sea scrolls’ wrote that as a member of their sect you were “raised from the worms of the dead”. The language seems somewhat overstated to us. Paul however, embraced it. We can see similar thoughts as he kicks of Chapter two.

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Devotional Ephesians new testament Paul

Bullet Points for Paul

Ever found yourself floundering as you read Paul’s letters? Do you wonder if you’re missing something? Do you start reading a chapter full of determination, and then find yourself at verse 5 thinking about if you’ve fed the dog with little idea of what you have just read? If you are someone who finds Paul easy then good for you! This post is not for you, but rather for those, like me, who have a somewhat more difficult relationship with Paul.

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Devotional new testament

Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Part 3

Previously in the first two verses we marveled (!) at how Wesley and Whitfield were able to paint such a cornucopia of theological goodness in so few words. We considered the barrage of triggers that were thrown at the singer by phrases such as ‘joyful all ye nations rise’ and ‘pleased as man with man to dwell’. Unsurprisingly verse three doesn’t disappoint as another volley of Christology is planted in the consciousness, setting free the ‘white horses of imagination’ to kick up their heels and gallop joyously. Such is the power of the poetry and biblical allusion.

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Devotional new testament

Hark the Herald – part 2

In the first part of this mini- series on Hark The Herald Angels Sing I got excited about verse 1, where the writers of this awesome carol describe the manifestation into our physical realm of the angelic realm and God’s presence. Celebrating the day of Jesus’ birth leads to the final restoration of the nations into their God-ordained place of perfection. Wow. But for now…. nothing is eternal. Everything we experience is subject to decay.

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Devotional new testament

Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Hark The Herald Angels sing is a fantastic romp through some truly inspiring theology. It is too good to be only sung at Christmas – its going to feature at my funeral. The more mystically minded Christians speak about the participation with God as being like swimming in the sea. You can paddle in the shadows or go in further until you are surrounded. Either way you are participating in the experience and being of the sea, yet there remains a vast body of which you know nothing stretching out beyond.

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atonement new testament Patristics salvation

Irenaeus and two Early Atonement Theories

At long last it is time to launch into one of the theories of the atonement, or more correctly one of the early church Father’s writings about atonement. In study group one of these went down very easily, and the other required a bit more wrestling. I could see that their horizons were being opened up – which is exactly what happened to me when I first heard these ideas too. On reflection though, as I look back, it seems to me that I was being in introduced to ‘a half remembered tune’ playing ‘softly in my mind.’ [1] … See what you think!

The very early church certainly proclaimed the cross, yet seemed to not spill much ink explaining how it provided salvation[2]. Sure, the New Testament (which they didn’t have then of course) mentions various metaphors as we have seen. From the second century Irenaeus (130-202) and others began to think of cross in terms of conflict with the powers of the day. This goes beyond the ‘Jesus is Lord’ vs ‘Caesar is Lord’ that we might think we understand, off into the spiritual, cosmic realm.

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new testament

Three Points from 2 Peter 2

Three different questions were raised with me after the talk I gave on 2 Peter 2 at Brig. I thought I’d quickly respond to them here.

I do appreciate the conversations and the feedback so feel free to keep the conversation going if you’re interested.

What were those ‘Celestial Beings?’

In 2Peter2:10, speaking of false teachers, Peter writes ‘Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings’

I mentioned how there was a lot of debate about the word/phrase translated ‘celestial beings’ – a better translation of it seems to be ‘glories’ – so the question is what does Peter mean by the glories. I spoke about two possible translations – ‘dignitaries’ in the sense of those in authority and ‘angels’ (note there is no reference to good or bad angels). A third option was mentioned to me, which I did come across i my reading – that of it being the ‘apostles’ – so the false teachers were abusing the apostles – the glories. Whilst indeed this is in the commentaries that I read, it didn’t seem that popular – but it is interesting option.

Am I A Heretic?