15 March 2021
Following the sharing on the claim of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scripture, the following article by the late J.I. Packer throws further light on this subject:-
“The thing that all the New Testament books are consciously about is the work of God in Christ. New Testament teaching is kerygmatic, in the sense of being, first to last, exposition and application of the gospel of redeeming love. The doctrine of the church belongs as part of this exposition.
This reflects ultimately the God-centredness of the Bible. If we view the Bible from the standpoint of its narrative, as a drama, we have to acknowledge the Triune God as author, producer and chief performer. Or if we see the Bible as a message, “God’s Word written,” we have to recognise God Himself as its source, subject and actual speaker. The Bible is about God – the Creator redeeming. And when it shows us the church, the substance of what it is showing us is God’s work of redemption – particularly, what older divines called the applying of redemption.
To study the Christian life – calling, justification, sanctification conflict, preservation, glorification – is to study the applying of redemption to individuals. To study the church – its nature, notes, life, ministry, sacraments – is to study the same subject in its corporate aspect. The doctrine of the church is part of the doctrine of grace. Had Paul been asked the theme of his “church epistles” Colossians and Ephesians – or, for that matter, Romans and Galatians, which have as good a claim to be called “church epistles” – he would certainly have said: the grace of God in Christ.
Church should be defined as the family community of those redeemed, called and united to God – in other words, the church is defined in terms of the gospel, and its nature and life should be analyzed in entire correlation to the work of God in grace….”
We see the centrality of Christ in the gospel; we see the redeeming love of the Triune God in operation and acting in grace; the initiative comes from the Triune God. God the Father chose us before the creation of the world to redeem us; Jesus the Son executed the saving work of God as the Redeemer when He took our penalty on the cross and the Holy Spirit applied this reality into our lives by His regeneration and His uniting us with Christ in union with Him. It is indeed the work of the Triune God in grace which “gives birth” to the Christian as individuals and the church as a corporate body. God’s promise of this redemption is fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah who is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scripture who inaugurated the new covenant and brings about the kingdom of God, the sovereign rule of God such that indeed “He shall be our God and we shall be His people”.