« Home | New Attitude Day #1...Joshua Harris »

New Attitude Day #2-Session 2 by Mark Dever

The first session this morning was Mark Dever. His seemingly impossible goal was, in one hour, to show us God's redemptive plain throughout the entire bible-from Genesis to Revelation.

He began with a brief summary of what people have thought about the bible in the past. For example, Voltaire said that "the bible would vanish within 100 years." He said this 200 years ago. A dictionary of the USSR back in the 80's said the definition of the bible was "a collection of different legends, mutually contradictory, issued over the years by various churches."
Many however, do respect the bible. However, it is more often bought than read. He then set out beginning with a small background of the books of the Old Testament.

The OT is made up of 60 books by 30 authors over a span of 1500 years. Martin Luther said that "The bible is alive. It speaks to me. It has feet, it runs after me. It has hands, it lays hold of me." Throughout history, there have been examples of people who have said that portions of the bible are untrue, but most evangelicals today would say that they believe the book in its entirety is truth. However, Dever says that we do basically the same thing by ignoring large parts of the bible. We study the New Testament typically and only look to the OT for pretty stories and just memorize a couple of Psalms and Proverbs to pull out of our pocket as needed. The OT is vital. God's revelation of Himself in Christ is definitely revealed in the NT. But the OT forms the setting, the context, for the coming of the Christ.

The OT sets up a Particular History. There are 3 categories of books. Law (Genesis through Esther), the Writings (Job through Song of Solomon), and the Prophets (Isaiah through Malachi). The Law is the narrative of the history of the Israelites and can further be broken down into the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) and then the history (Joshua through Esther). The Writings are the experiences and are more personal which is why it is often easy for us to turn to them when in need of an encouraging word. The Prophets are more of God's commentary on the story of His people spoken through the prophets.

The OT is full of God's Passion for His Holiness. God's righteousness is clear in the OT. Often, people say that the God of the OT is mostly an unjust and angry God. This is wrong in so many ways. The OT puts atonement in the context of a relationship (Mark says that atonement is actually an Anglo-Saxon word that actually means "act one ment" or reconciliation.) Atonement is an expression of God's commitment to His own Holiness. God is angry, angry at the destruction of His creation. Do I get angry when someone sins against me? Yes. But that is NOTHING compared to God's anger over someone's sins against Him because His holiness is NOTHING compared to mine. Atonement is linked with sacrifice as the way God will assuage His wrath, His way of establishing reconciliation. Sacrifices were present in the OT in the lives of Cain and Abel before the laws were ever recorded. It seems to be something that is innately within us to satisfy Him. Sacrifices are brought by those who are grateful and not guilty, those who are instructed, not ignorant. God was using sacrifice to establish this concept in our minds-our need for a sacrifice of blood that is without blemish. The sacrifices were never the point. It was for us to see that we could never do it on our own. Annual sacrifices were to show that we were in a continual state of sin. There was no perfect and final animal sacrifice.

The OT is a Promise of Hope. Exodus 34:6-7 says:
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."
How can this promise be true? How can God both forgive and punish? How can those be characteristics within the same God? The answers lie within the NT. God has an unwavering commitment to oppose and punish sin. His patience and loving forbearance in dealing with those whom He created who then made themselves His enemies by disobeying His commandments is evident through Scriptures. The hope lies not in Israel's history or their sacrificial system. The system taught, it did not save. The sacrifices offered affected the forgiveness of no one. The promise of the Messiah is where their hope therein lay.

The New Testament tells the story of Christ. It answers the promises made in the OT. Even though Adam and Eve rebelled, God would not let it thwart His plan. Dever used a quote by John Stott. Stott says something along the lines that a man who loves his wife also loves all her pictures and letters because they are her letters and images for him to love and cherish. But the man would be a fool to love the pictures and letters more then the wife herself. In the same way, we are to love Scripture because it is the portrait of Christ. But we would be fools to love the word more than we love the Savior. The bible is to show us Christ so that we may the focus of our hopes and the fulfillment of all our longings in Him.

The NT tells the story of the covenant people. We are to be pictures of what God's character is like. When we celebrate communion, we remember Christ's purpose. The New Covenant in His blood. So how does God forgive the sins of His covenant people and yet still punish the guilty? In Christ. This is how God can be both loving and holy at the same time. In Revelation 5, John hears of a Lion. When he looked, the Lion had become the slain lamb. This is how God can forgive and punish. We are the new covenant people who have become genuinely holy, not by the blood of a bull but by the blood of the Lion-Lamb. I am evidence that God keeps His promises. Revelation 22:4 says "They will see His face." This is the climax of the bible. The immediacy and satisfaction of faith no longer but instead the seeing and savoring of the Christ. Christ's resurrection was the first-fruit-the more important and yet first of many resurrections. All our hope is in His resurrection but because he has rise, so too can we.
All the promises made by God in the OT are kept by God in the NT.

Dever then asked what our disappointments in Christ were. What job or school or dating relationship are we longing for and upset over our lack of having. He told us to study them and meditate upon them. The ruins of our own cherished plans are often the first steps in HIS sovereign plan for our lives. God allows His children to experience disappointment time and time again so that we may turn to our only hope-Christ.

Dever ended with a quote from the Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis.

“And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

Our job is to do what Adam and Eve did not do. To believe God’s word and to trust in His plans. We are not yet what we will one day be.

Links to this post

Create a Link


  • I'm Jenn Romanski
  • From Gainesville, Florida, United States
  • I exist to see the Renown of the LORD spread unto the ends of the earth. Everything is just means to do that through
My profile