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1992 Issue 4

Being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ. (I Cor. 9:21)

It is of the first importance in the interests both of doctrinal and of practical religion, to determine precisely the believer's relation to the divine law. On the one hand stands the legalist, insisting that we can be saved only by the closeness of our own personal obedience. When pressed with the testimony of Scripture, as, for example, "therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin;" (Romans 3:20) or this testimony: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2: 8.) Or this testimony: "For Christ is the end of law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4) when pressed with testimonies of this sort, he retreats but a single step, affirming that the grace, which in the Scriptures stands opposed to works, consists simply in bringing in a new and modified law - a law so far retrenched and diminished in its demands as to come within the enfeebled abilities of the sinner, and in which the terms of acceptance are a sincere though an imperfect obedience. Or, as it is sometimes expressed, faith and repentance, viewed simply as acts of the creature, are accepted by God in lieu of the comprehensive obedience which was originally enjoined-a theory, which, whilst it professes to honor the grace of the Gospel, still retains the legal principle without abatement.

Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.

According to evangelical, Bible-believing postmillennialism, fallen man is utterly incapable of entering or advancing the kingdom of God in his own effort, wisdom, or accomplishment. God's kingdom comes not by human work, but by the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ (cf. Colossians 1:13-14) and according to the gracious power of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said to Nicodemus: "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

The ABCs of Assurance by John Gerstner.

In twenty-six short chapters Dr.John Gerstner covers a variety of Biblical passages dealing with the assurance of salvation. Each of the chapters begins with a consecutive letter of the alphabet and deals with a specific passage of Scripture.

Theology for Everyman John H. Gerstner.

Writing in his readable style, Dr. Gerstner surveys basic areas of theology. Chapter subjects include God's providence, sin, Jesus Christ, the atonement, justification, sanctification, assurance, the church, the future and the way. Each chapter is brief but full of content.

Old Testament passages regarding this feast are found in: Psalm 81:3,4; Leviticus 23:23-25; and Numbers 29:1-6. A study of these reveals the following:

1) The feast was held on tire first day of the seventh month (Tishri). Trumpets marked the beginning of the fall festival season, and the beginning of the end of the harvest and liturgical religious year. This day, however, also began the civil year in Israel; it was later called Rosh Hashanah (New Years). It prefigured the fiftieth year of Jubilee with the blowing of trumpets.

2) Trumpets was a day of rest,sacrifice, and worship, when Israel was gathered before Jehovah, looking to Him for covenant blessings. The people came together repentantly, in preparation for the corning Day of Atonement (10th of month) and Feast of Tabernacles (15th-22nd of month). This can he seen in Joel's prophecy, where the trumpet alarm of 2:1 preceded the mourning of 2:11-15. Thus, the Jews were reminded of God's judgments as well as His blessings.

As we move into chapter 5 of Zechariah, we detect a sharp change of tone from what we had previously experienced. Heretofore, Zechariah's message had been one of great consolation. Though cast often in mysterious visionary form, the revelation through Zechariah has been decidedly one of comfort. The Jews were reminded that by God's grace, they had been delivered from captivity back to the Promised land. They were being encouraged by God's affirmation on of the promise of the rebuilding of the Temple and the restoring of Jerusalem, despite the opposition of the pagan world (Zech. 1-2); In addition, they learned of God's promised restoration of the priesthood and government (Zech. 3-4).

Nevertheless, the message God granted Zechariah did not end with, Zechariah 4. In chapter 5 God reveals something of judgment and woe. But upon whom? And for what reason?

"Doc" was in his fifties when I met him. He was a very likeable guy with a most intriguing array of life experiences. He had graduated from the University of Chicago, served as a Captain in the Army Airborne, and at one time, had even made false teeth for a living. He had a definite ability in the sphere of art. Not only could he make false teeth, but he could engrave as well. Of course, the Treasury Department didn't appreciate his talents when they discovered a trunk load of homemade $20 bills! That added one more experience to his most unusual life - prison.

Doc knew just about everything. If he hadn't done it himself, he knew firsthand someone who had. This was not just idle talk either. He really had been around. Consequently, he always showed us better ways to mine coal.