N.T. Wright – Chapter 2 – Creation and Covenant

We realize a central theme in Paul’s writings in N.T. Wrights’s second chapter entitled – Creation & Covenant. Paul, himself a Jew, was evangelizing to a largely Jewish community.  In order to communicate effectively, Paul incorporates the concept of Creation and Covenant which was acknowledged in Jewish tradition as the heart of their faith.  As the chosen people of God, the Jewish people believed that their relationship with Him existed in the context of the themes of creation and the covenant with Him.

Paul utilizes the Psalms and the book of Genesis to guide his writings to the ultimate understanding that Christ is the point at which creation and covenant come to fulfillment. Specifically, in the Psalms, Paul points to our Lord, the Messiah promised, as the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  Which is to say, Christ “pre-existed” before creation.  God the Son exists as part of God the Father’s covenantal plan for us. God the Father sent his Son to be the bridge between the man (creation) and his promise of salvation (covenant) to us.

  • Note: T. Wright did not suggest or paint the picture of “Christ the Bridge” in his writings – but I do believe his wording suggests such a notion.  I could be wrong, but when reading this chapter that is the image that came to mind.

Understanding that Christ was the bridge between creation and the covenant suggest that a bridge was needed in the first place.  The problem of creation was sin and death perpetrated by Adam- the first man.  Continuing in human antiquity the chosen people themselves became part of the problem and not “agents of the solution” for they did not submit to the God’s covenantal plan for them.

N.T. Wrights suggests that the ultimate sin of man is the sin of idolatry. The worship of that which is not the living God. In my own understanding of sin, I have different outlook.  I have often believed that all sin can be pointed to the sin of selfishness. We take in account on our own personal will when committing the sin of selfishness. The will of God does not come into play when one is selfish.  N.T. Wright’s insights maybe more to the point.  All sin points to where we have gone against the will of God thus empowering another entity other than God –  the definition of Idolatry.

            – The above begs a question:  Was Christ, who had a human nature (along  with divine) the first man to fully commit to the will of God? Ok, that’s probably more of a statement than a question!

As stated, Paul merged the Old Testament writings, accepted by the Jewish community, with the person and life of Christ.  Essentially crafting his message to the understanding that Christ was/ is:  The Word made Flesh.  Christ was the very point at which creation and covenant come about – how they are linked and become fulfilled.

            Covenant and Creation was the title of this chapter.  I wonder if a sub title could have been: Christ – The Source and the Summit?

The Structured Ministry of the Church in the Pastoral Epistles.

   The Structured Ministry of the Church in the Pastoral Epistles by Jesus Burgos.

 

              Here I read how Paul instruct Titus and Timothy of their duties on how to run the church, their responsibility on protecting the gospel and more. Paul call Titus and Timothy not only children in the faith but consider his delegates or vicars in the churches of Crete and Ephesus. Now Paul instructing to Titus and Timothy are meant to guide them, his successor, in a caring ministry for these Christian communities. Titus and Timothy as they do the work of evangelist and laying of the hands to others they will be good ministers of Christ. Now some of Paul instructions to Titus and Timothy are as follows: Preaching, Guarding the Deposit of faith, Exercise of Authority, Common Prayer. From among the members of the churches of Crete and Ephesus, Titus and Timothy are to choose those who qualify to function as administrative in the community.

       Now reading on page 591 is where it hit home how picking out a deacon and what criteria needs to be meet:

             1 Tim 3:8-13 deacons are to be serious, not double-tongued, not addicted to much drink, not greedy for sordid gain, holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. They should also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons, if they are blameless. Similar, women (are to be) serious, not slanderers, (but) temperate (and) faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husband of one wife, (who) manage well their children and their households. For those who serve well as deacons attain good standing for themselves and much confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

               All of this is still being done even today in age, we have our Pope, (Vatican), Bishops, Cardinals, Monsignor, Priest, Monks or Hermit, deacons, nuns, and all plays a roll I thinks on what Paul instructed to Titus and Timothy in one way or another and I for one can see the Holy spirit at work here and having a structure as such gives me a great sense of peace to know and trust those who are appointed by Christ to govern what we have today the Catholic Church.