The God who calls

Therefore the strongest argument that can be opposed to the previous one is to be found in the fact that God made a distinction between Isaac and Ishmael and between Jacob and Esau, who were born in the same way of Abraham and Isaac. Nevertheless, Ishmael, no matter how much he desires it, cannot be the heir. No, the seed of the promise, which has the call and, over and above the first birth, has the second and regeneration, is given the preference. But this is the source of perpetual war from the beginning of the world to the end, not about trivialities but about that glorious title “church,” the people of God, the kingdom of heaven, and eternal life. Thus today we are at variance with the church of the pope, which wants to be the people of God and to have possession of the kingdom and the priesthood. They boast that they alone are the church of God which acknowledges God as the Father and worships Him properly. They condemn and persecute us as heretics and the church of the devil. This is what it means that the infants are at variance before they were born; for from the beginning there is a twofold church in the world, just as the seed is twofold: the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, which contend and are at variance with each other because of the title “church.” Paul certainly handed down an exceedingly clear and powerful dialectic when he pointed out the difference between the birth and the call. Where there is the birth alone, there is condemnation; for, as John says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6) and “not of blood, etc.” (John 1:13). Paul says something else. “Because of His call she was told,” he writes (Rom. 9:11-12); that is, the Word of God and the promise are necessary. Over and above the creature, he who wants to rule and be a son of God must hear Him, not as the God who creates but as the God who calls.

Luther, Martin (1966-01-01). Luther’s Works, Vol. 4: Genesis Chapters 21–25 (Kindle Locations 6816-6830). Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

Calvin on the Law

Calvin’s Institutes, Book Second –Chapter 7

Section 1.

From the whole course of the observations now made, we may infer, that the Law was not superadded about four hundred years after the death of Abraham in order that it might lead the chosen people away from Christ, but, on the contrary, to keep them in suspense until his advent; to inflame their desire, and confirm their expectation, that they might not become dispirited by the long delay. By the Law, I understand not only the Ten Commandments, which contain a complete rule of life, but the whole system of religion delivered by the hand of Moses. Moses was not appointed as a Lawgiver, to do away with the blessing promised to the race of Abraham; nay, we see that he is constantly reminding the Jews of the free covenant which had been made with their fathers, and of which they were heirs; as if he had been sent for the purpose of renewing it. This is most clearly manifested by the ceremonies. For what could be more vain or frivolous than for men to reconcile themselves to God, by offering him the foul odour produced by burning the fat of beasts? or to wipe away their own impurities by be sprinkling themselves with water or blood? In short, the whole legal worship (if considered by itself apart from the types and shadows of corresponding truth) is a mere mockery. Wherefore, both in Stephen’s address, (Acts 7: 44,) and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, great weight is justly given to the passage in which God says to Moses, “Look that thou make them after the pattern which was showed thee in the mount,” (Exod. 25: 40.) Continue reading “Calvin on the Law”

Genesis

A.    Name – The word Genesis comes from the Greek word meaning “beginning” or “generation.” The word “genesis” is translated “generation” in Matt. 1:1. Genesis contains 10 references to the “generations of…” (2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12: 25:19; 36:1; 36:9; 37:2)

B.    Purpose – The Bible is the story of God’s Son. It is a story told through the stories of many sons; sons of promise and blessing that foreshadow Jesus and stories of fallen sons at enmity with God that are antithetical to Jesus. Genesis is the story of beginnings, recounting the creation, kingship and fall of Adam and subsequently, all mankind (1-3). Genesis focuses on the warring families that resulted from God’s promise of enmity, salvation and seed in Gen 3:15 (4-10). Many sons are born who are believed to be the promised heir, but they all fall short. In the midst of this war, the family of Abraham is chosen specifically to bear the covenant relationship and responsibility on earth to restore man to his rightful place. This family’s story is recounted in the largest portion of Genesis (11-52). Joseph rises to rule the known world. Genesis ends with Joseph’s death while the restoration of mankind remains unfulfilled. Abraham’s descendants never enter the Promised Land but instead are living in Egypt at the close of Genesis. When would the true heir come? When will the bondage of sin and death be defeated? Continue reading “Genesis”

The Story of God’s Son

In the Beginning the Triune God created the heavens and the earth as His kingdom. God created His first son Adam from the dust of the earth with the mission to protect and cultivate His garden-home and rule over all the other creatures. God gave Adam a wife as a helpmate to cultivate and fill the earth with faithful children.

Adam failed to protect his wife and his garden-home by disobeying God. Adam worshiped and believed the lies of the dragon and ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that God had commanded Adam not to eat. Through Adam’s disobedience, sin and death entered the world God had made. Adam was cast from his garden-home, his wife’s labor was increased, the ground would no longer produce fruit without toil and estrangement consumed Adam and his relationships. Within this just judgment of Adam, God cursed the dragon and gave a promise that another Son would come and crush the head of the dragon. God decreed the two warring families would come from the wife of Adam; the sons of God and the sons of the dragon. These warring families are the context of the promised heir, the true Son of God who would restore the Creation and Glory of God in His kingdom.

Continue reading “The Story of God’s Son”