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The Story Of The Bible Is A Relational Story (via St Helen’s Bishopsgate Blog)

A post on the St. Helen’s Bishopsgate blog makes the point that the key story of the Bible is about relationships.
Christianity is not acceptance of an intellectual proposition, it is the experience of a relationship that God adopts humans into through his son, Jesus.
From the post:

…the Bible is a love story.
But not in the Hollywood romance sense. It does not have the tired structure of teenage infatuation sprinkled with high school tableaus cohering to a plastic pop-music soundtrack. But this love story spans the gritty depths of all that that word encapsulates. It shows love for what it is, the definition to which we hold all other claims of love.
And one of the most beautiful pictures we are given of this love is that God has adopted us into His family. Which is not at odds with the transfer of legal status in justification, or the positional healing of reconciliation, but it exemplifies them relationally, in the radical truth of our adoption.
That God, in the gospel brings us into His family, in the most intimate sense of that word; that He comes to earth bearing an invitation to become children of God (John 1); transferred from slaves to sons (Romans 8); and Jesus “for whom and through whom all things exist” is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2).
Which brings a certain apex to this love story, and flows out in all sorts of wonderful ways.
Firstly, it cuts right across any religious points scoring with God, because He is our Father, and we can’t become any ‘more’ His children. So we don’t have days when we are more Christian or less Christians, because we are His sons and daughters; that is just our reality now.
It means that we walk through our days and life with the solid confidence of an entirely new identity, brought into the heart of God’s relationships. We are able to speak to Him at any moment as Father, as Dad. We can bring Him our joys and confusions and complaints and know that He hears and cares and is doing what’s best for us.
It also means that the work of Jesus for us does not just sneak us in the back door to some banquet, but that along with Jesus we have been made heirs of a heavenly inheritance. Entering heaven is now like walking into the family home. In a way that seems sort of bigger than is possible, and almost too significant to say out loud, our relationship to God as Father is the same as Jesus’ relationship with the Father. We are Jesus’ siblings, members of the one family, and together we are waiting for our brother to return.

Read the whole piece here.


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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 27

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 27

Chapter 17 – Of The Perseverance of the Saints
I. They whom God has accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
II. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which arises also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
III. Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalise others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.


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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 20

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 20

Chapter 12 – Of Adoption
I. All those that are justified, God vouchsafes, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption: by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; have his name put upon them; receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the throne of grace with boldness; are enabled to cry, Abba, Father; are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation.


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Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 20

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 20

Q & A 74
Q What is adoption?
A Adoption is an act of the free grace of God,1 in and for his only Son Jesus Christ,2 whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children,3 have his name put upon them,4 the Spirit of his Son given to them,5 are under his fatherly care and dispensations,6 admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.*7

*1 1 John 3:1.
*2 Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:4-5.
*3 John 1:12.
*4 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 3:12.
*5 Galatians 4:6.
*6 Psalm 103:13; Proverbs 14:26; Matthew 6:32.
*7 Hebrews 6:12; Romans 8:17.


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 22

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 22

Q & A 37
Q What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness,1 and do immediately pass into glory;2 and their bodies, being still united in Christ,3 do rest in their graves, till the resurrection.4

Q & A 38
Q What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory,5 shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,6 and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God7 to all eternity.8

*1 Hebrews 12:23.
*2 Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8; Philippians 1:23.
*3 1 Thessalonians 4:14.
*4 Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15.
*5 1 Corinthians 15:42-43
*6 Matthew 25:33-34, 46
*7 Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2.
*8 Psalm 16:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:17.


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 18

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 18

Q & A 32
Q What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.*1

*1. Romans 8:30; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 1:5.


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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 27

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 27

Chapter 17 – Of The Perseverance of the Saints
I. They whom God has accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
II. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which arises also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
III. Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalise others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.