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Blessed Is the Nation Whose God Is the Lord

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! Psalm 33:12 Have you ever seen this picture? The first time I saw it was as a painting hanging on a wall in one of the buildings where my kids go to school.  At the center of this image is an American flag, as a boat full of what we can probably safely presume to be American patriots are proudly waving their flag in the name of God.  And so Psalm 33:12 is identifying America as that nation whose God is Yahweh, the nation that God uniquely established.  As millions of students in classrooms throughout the United States have been taught to recite daily over the years (myself included), we are: one nation, under God . But does this application square with the context of Psalm 33 and, more widely, the rest of the Scriptural witness? My assertion is that it does not and simply cannot ultimately be about America, or any earthly nation for that matter. Let's look at the context of Psalm 33 first.

Two Kingdoms, Two Judgments - part 2

Note: This is the second of a two-part series.  You can read part one here . Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ Matthew 20:15 [28] So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. [29] For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. [30] And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:28–30 In part one of this series, I offered a non-traditional interpretation of the parable of the minas in Luke 19 by walking through the entire chapter in the wider context of the gospel according to Luke. In this second installment, I plan to demonstrate that the parallel account—the parable of the talents—in Matthew 25 should be interpreted through the same framework based on the context of the entire chapter and the wider context of the gospel

Two Kingdoms, Two Judgments - part 1

Note: This is the first of a two-part series.  You can read part two here . [24] And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ [25] And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ [26] ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’ Luke 19:24–27 I recently finished going through Luke's gospel afresh for advent this year.  And, upon this reading, the Holy Spirit was impressing on me the inescapable socioeconomic implications of the gospel as a thread that—more than any of the other three gospel accounts—Luke in particular highlights throughout the gospel account in his name. A few passages in Luke's text opened up to me like never before.  And what I'd like to do in this post is walk through Luke 19 in particular, offe

Is Christ's Cross about God's Wrath? - part 2

Note: This is the second of a two-part series.  You can read part one  here .    Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:7 In part 1 of this series , I raised the issue of how the wrath of God relates to the cross of Jesus Christ.  I suggested that, contrary to popular evangelical tradition, perhaps the cross of Jesus Christ is actually not purposed to satisfy the wrath of God. What I intend to do in this post is to be less suggestive and more assertive .  I want to  assert that the cross of Jesus Christ was never intended to satisfy the wrath of God. Rather, from the very beginning, it would be more accurate to say that the cross of Jesus Christ was intended to absorb the wrath of Satan (Revelation 12:12), God's adversary, and in so doing, to destroy (Hebrews 2:14, 1 John 3:8) that ancient serpent. In building any New Testament theology of the cross, we must understan

Retribution: How We Got Here

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:38–42 NOTE: The following is a re-publish of an entire post written by Santo Calarco on Facebook in a series of posts he did on rethinking Isaiah 53 .  This was the final post of that series in the form of an epilogue of sorts.  I think the contents are so important that I want to capture the whole post here and not just a link to it in case the Facebook post somehow ever gets lost. When, how and why did the idea of retribution re-enter the church in the West? It really began to rear its head towards the 4th Century. Before we look at this let