Tuesday’s Highlights From The Gospel Coalition Conference

Dr. Al Mohler on ALL the Old Testament Pointing to Christ
As Dr. Al Mohler opened the first of nine plenary sessions, I realized just how much I still have to learn! He spoke from John 5:31-47, and verse 39 hit the hardest. It’s the verse where Jesus says,

"You diligently study the Scriptures [referring specifically to the Old Testament] because you think that that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life" (emphasis added).

Jesus isn’t speaking to biblically illiterate people here; He’s speaking to the most serious students of Scripture, letting them know that they had missed the whole point. They didn’t see that ALL of Scripture points to Christ.

It’s so easy to teach moralism from the Old Testament. It’s not necessarily wrong to, as long as it doesn’t end there. Moralism can’t save; Jesus Christ alone can.

Pastor Tim Keller on Crossing Over from Death to Life
Pastor Tim Keller explained from Scripture how the Red Sea Crossing in Exodus 14 is a metaphor for the Gospel. The slavery the Israelites experienced in Egypt is like our layers of bondage. The only way “out” of our slavery is by grace.

Jesus says it so beautifully in John 5:24: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (emphasis added).

With every other religion, you’re in a process of building a bridge to God. With Christianity, bang!, it’s a status change that happens just like that. You’ve crossed over.

I love how Pastor Keller illustrated this. He said, "When the Israelites walked through the Red Sea with the wall of water on their right and left, a bunch walked through saying, 'I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die!' They all walked through with different qualities of faith, but they were all equally saved. You’re not saved because of the quality of your faith, but because of the Object of your faith." If you try to add something to your salvation, you’re just subtracting from it.

Pastor Keller then talked about why it’s possible for us to “get out.” After all, the Israelites were really no better than the Egyptians. So why didn’t the waters crash down on the Israelites? It was because the Israelites had a Mediator. We do, too—one who is fully God and fully man. Jesus is the reason you and I can cross over from death to life!

Does this mean we can do whatever we want from here on out? Of course not. Nobody who understands the grace of God will ever take sin lightly. The more you see the flood waters go over Jesus’ head, the more holy you will be. The more you understand your salvation has nothing to do with your behavior, the more holy you’ll be. All your salvation is in Him; you have nothing to contribute at all.

Thank You, Jesus, that Your blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)!

A Couple of Sketches from Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg gave a few sketches from the book of Ruth. His first sketch was titled “Three women on the road to somewhere. “In Ruth 1,” he said, “Naomi is urging the two girls to count the cost. They had to choose between Yahweh + Nothing in Bethlehem, or Everything – Yahweh in Moab. Ruth chose Yahweh. Have you? Have you turned your back on the substitute gods of the world? Have you been embraced by the lovingkindness of God?"

Alistair Begg’s second sketch was titled “The Name of the Man is Boaz.” He said, "As kinsman redeemer, Boaz has the right to take on all of Naomi and Ruth's needs and troubles, and to bear them as if they were his very own. This is a foreshadowing of Christ, who in Himself is the only One who has the right to take as His own all that spoils and ruins, all our loss, hurt, disaster, alienation, brokenness . . . all our sinful mess of things. He takes our diseases and bears them in Himself."

Until Tomorrow . . .
I could tell you more, but since we can both only process so much at a time, and as there’s lots more to come, I’ll wish you good night until tomorrow.

I’m heading back to my room with a greater desire to know the Word—even the obscure and hard-to-relate-to passages. Allistair Begg encouraged me with a quote by James Stewart who said, “Learning to preach Christ adequately from the Scriptures is the journey of a lifetime. No one knows how to preach. It is right that the task should humble us; wrong that it should paralyze us.”

How about you? Have you seen Christ more clearly in the Old Testament through these few thoughts and quotes? Is this a new concept to you? I’d love to hear from you.

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula Marsteller

Paula has served with Revive Our Hearts for thirteen years. She is the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. There's nothing she loves to share more than the gospel-centered truths that have so transformed her own life: what it means on a daily basis to be "dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus." Paula, Trevor, and their son, Iren, make their home in New York.

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