I Have Seen The Lord Almighty

A Sermon Pastor Paul Alexander preached on Isaiah 6:1-13, at REDEEMING GRACE FELLOWSHIP PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in Owensville, August 7, 2016

I will introduce my message this morning by quoting a Godly Bible scholar, Dr. George Beasley-Murray. In His commentary on the Gospel of John He emphasizes the massive influence of the RESURRECTION OF JESUS over ALL of scripture.  Beasley-Murray emphatically insists “…in John the lifting up of the Son of Man on his cross reaches to the throne of heaven; and as the shadow of the cross marks the entire story of Jesus, so the glory of the Resurrection event suffuses every hour of his ministry, and even reaches back to the morning of creation.  The eschatological glory for which creation was made was brought to actuality in the deeds and words of Jesus.” Continue reading

The Splendor of His Majesty

A Sermon based on Isaiah 2: 5-22, Preached July 10, 2016

In his commentary on the Gospel of John, Dr. G. R. Beasley-Murray, has made an important statement about the way the Resurrection of Jesus affects the rest of the Bible.  I use it here to show how the Resurrection affects the whole of scripture including this particular text in Isaiah, Murray’s words: Continue reading

Born into the Millenium

Letters to Our Dear Children #6

Dear Junia, Charysse, DeAnn and Greg,

            Our family vacation in the summer of 1973 is one of our favorite memories!

            Because I had been invited that summer to speak at a Bible camp in North Dakota, we decided to use the trip to the camp as a launching pad for a visit to the fabled national parks in Alberta, Canada, and northern Wyoming.  So after a week at camp, we set sail in our badly overloaded old station wagon for Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Continue reading

Born into Covenant Nurture

Letters to Our Dear Children #5

Dear Junia, Charysse, DeAnn and Greg,

Perhaps our favorite family excursion when you were children was swimming in Guntersville Lake.  The lake was about a forty-mile drive from our house in Huntsville, Alabama, and we went there with a picnic lunch nearly every Monday during the summer months.  We were gleefully unaware of the alleged vermin filling our “ole’ swimmin’ hole” and enjoyed many hours of rompin’ in the surf.  (And, incidentally, those vermin never made us sick, well, not very sick anyway.) Continue reading

Born into the Fall

Letters to Our Dear Children #4

Dear Junia, Charysse, DeAnn and Greg,

I remember a somewhat unhappy incident that occurred in our family a little more than 50 years ago.  Our neighbor across the street was in some distress and had asked for my help.  Two of my little girls followed me out of the house and I asked the five-year-old to hold onto the two-year-old so that she would not follow me into the street.  When I came back across the street a few minutes later I found the five-year-old crying at the top of her lungs while holding tightly to the two-year-old. Continue reading

Born into Covenant Relationships

Letters to Our Dear Children #3Communion

Dear Junia, Charysse, DeAnn and Greg,

I believe that all four of you will remember that family worship at our house was often a rollicking-frolicking good time.  We worshiped God together as a joyful celebration, not as a legalistic duty.  We would, for instance, sing scripture songs like “I May Never March in the Infantry” and the four of you would march from the living room through the dining room and kitchen back into the living room.

We often read straight through the Bible but skipped chapters that were beyond your maturity level.  We liked to memorize both scripture and catechisms during devotions, but we tried to make that a part of our celebration rather than a heavy-duty obligation.

Your mother and I were convinced that all children are born into a worshiping relationship before the God of the Bible.  Worshiping Him is a key part of the fundamental joy of being born in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26-28).  Mom and I believed that God had created us as parents so that we could lead you into this joyful, basic relationship with God.  As scripture teaches we were “prophets, priests and kings” serving you gladly in those offices which God gave us as your parents.

Our study of scripture persuaded us that God gave us three of these basic Covenantal relationships with Himself.  These three relationships are first revealed in the second chapter of Genesis.  They are three basic relationships with God that give beauty, meaning and purpose to our lives.  They are (1) Worship, (2) Work, and (3) Wedlock. Notice those three “W’s”.  I discovered that helpful “3 W” way of outlining our Covenant relationships in a book titled Genesis 1-4 by Dr. C.  John Collins.1

God’s infinite love for us is marvelously displayed in these three Covenantal relationships. God is actively loving us throughout our lives, meeting all our needs through these relationships which He has established with us and for us.  It is so very important to see that God did this right at the time of our creation in His image.  My fear is that some make the serious mistake of thinking God did not start loving us until Jesus came and redeemed us through His death and resurrection.

As important as the redeeming work of Jesus is, we should see that God has always loved us and has always been providing for our needs since the moment He created us. He has always been “our Father, who art in heaven”.  He has always loved us supremely, and that began wonderfully when He established us in those three amazing Covenantal relationships.  The redeeming work of Christ simply restores us to those relationships.  Studying them in their original Biblical setting is a helpful reminder of the beautiful shape God gave to our lives through those Covenantal relationships.

So, let’s review them briefly as God first gave them to us.  Hopefully the diagram above may help you visualize God’s great plan for us.  His three-relationship plan is designed to lead us into ever deepening delight in God Himself and in His fabulous purposes for our lives and our world.

With this diagram, I am also giving  you a brief survey of those three Covenantal relationships in our Reflexions below.

With all our Love,

Mom and Dad Alexander




God’s completion of creation called for a Celebration – a day of celebrative rest. Though Adam is not even mentioned in this text, it is unthinkable that God would have ignored him and left Adam out of His life on this 7th Day, the first day after God had created him.  We are fully justified in assuming that this God who “is love” (I John 4:8 and 16) would have, in effect, taken Adam by the hand on this seventh day and led him into the awesome joy of keeping the Sabbath holy with Him.

Though the full meaning of this wonderful reality is only implied in this passage, later scripture such as Exodus 20:11-18 and the whole 23rd chapter of Leviticus make this implication abundantly clear: On the first full day of his life, Adam is drawn into celebration of Sabbath life and joy right alongside God Himself.  This is an absolutely remarkable reality.  Clearly, at this point, Adam is already in Covenantal Communion with God!  That means that God’s love for Adam and Adam’s love for God are the key dynamics in their relationship with one another.

This is a wonder of absolutely immense proportions. For a mere creature to live in loving Communion with God is the highest privilege imaginable.  God had lifted this creature made of dirt into the heavenly realms!  From creation onward Adam was able to enjoy the eternal glory of God.  What a wonder of God’s infinite love!

Surely we should see this as an important part of God’s plan, impressing Adam/Mankind with the grand reality that COVENANTAL COMMUNION WITH GOD was the very foundation on which his whole life would be built.  This is an important measure of God’s love for mankind.  For God Himself is recognizing man as the primary object of His love and therefore a central figure in the whole of Creation.2

(2) WORK: Genesis 2:15 & 19-20: COVENANTAL RELATIONSHIP #2


In this passage of scripture, we see God assigning Adam his key task – DOMINION over the earth.  Because Adam lives in COMMUNION WITH GOD, he can be trusted to exercise DOMINION FOR GOD.  In his book Far as the Curse Is Found, Dr. Michael Williams repeatedly refers to mankind as God’s “steward”.3  Williams also frequently uses the word “Priest” (pages 113, 138, etc.) to describe the role God has given mankind in relation to the world.4  As God’s designated Steward, he is more than a farmer.  He is a Priest mediating the glory and majesty of God to every creature and to every part of the world, making our world into a Temple filled with the awesome presence of God.

With these considerations in mind it becomes clear to us that mankind’s DOMINION task is the logical extension of the COMMUNION WITH GOD dynamic at work in the heart and life of Adam/Mankind.   The Garden of Eden would have been the perfect work environment.  Collins remarks, “such work under such conditions must have been sheer delight for the man!”.5  Adam’s work of naming the animals and cultivating the garden would be a great pleasure to him – something like an extension of the Sabbath, a different kind of celebration, but still a celebration.  We might say that Adam moved from CELEBRATIVE REST to CELEBRATIVE WORK.  Life without sin was a continuous celebration of the pure joy of living in the presence of God and finding pleasure in doing the will of this high and holy Being, the living God.  Sabbath set the tone and Work extended the celebration into every day of Adam’s week.

Living, as WE do in this period after the moral disaster of Adam’s Fall into sin, we tend to paint work with a tar brush, seeing it only in terms of the frustration and drudgery that characterize work since the Fall.  This was not God’s original idea of work.  God intended Adam’s work to be the means of beautifying Eden first and then to continue what we might call the “Edenizing” process throughout the world.  God’s command to “have dominion, vs 26” and “subdue the earth” in vs 28 was not limited to Eden, but extended to the whole world which could become God’s Temple under the sinless Adam.



                        The marriage of Adam and Eve is a fitting climax to chapter 2 of Genesis. It may even be seen as the climax of God’s entire work of Creation.  As the first chapter rises to a kind of preparatory climax in the creation of man in God’s image, so the second chapter rises even higher to a full climax in the uniting of Adam and Eve in marriage.  Though the word “covenant” is not used here, the Bible identifies marriage as a covenantal relationship in a text like Malachi 2:14, rebuking a man for forsaking his marriage partner because she is “the wife of your marriage covenant.”  We are pleased to recognize, therefore that Adam and Eve were joined in that beautiful covenantal relationship which we call marriage and that God Himself presided over this grand event. There can be no question that the marriage of the man and the woman was a part of God’s original plan.

Covenantal Marriage between Man and Woman was necessary to complete the “Covenantal Relationships Plan” evident in Genesis 2.  We should see “marriage love” as a unique creation of God.  This love establishes a bond between the genders and personalities of man and woman that goes beyond human ability to define.  It is another one of the mysterious wonders that God has created for us to celebrate with joy, though there is no way we can fully understand it.

As wonderful and mysterious as marriage love is, moreover, we should see it as a cornerstone of all human society.  Families are the building blocks in all human culture.  It is the quality of love that exists in Biblical marriage that gives grace to our relationships in all of civil society – schools, governments, industry, science, art, music, and athletics, all our endeavors that include human relationships. This God-created wonder of “marriage love” then reaches out from the family and embraces the whole world, creating in turn all the tenderness, gentle care and thoughtfulness that characterizes Godly people and ennobles all human life.

In a beautiful and powerful way, “marriage love” speaks to us two other remarkable realities which God reveals to us in scripture.  First, marriage love reflects the love within the Trinity, and second, marriage love is prophetic of the love we will experience throughout eternity.  I plan to speak of these two grand realities in my next letter.

Feel free to comment on the diagram I am giving you above.  I am always open to improvements and I enjoy your responses.

  1. Collins, C.  John. Genesis 1-4. Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. 2006, Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
  2. By drawing mankind into His Sabbath, God is distinguishing man from everything else He created, crowning man with this key Covenantal Relationship.  For fuller treatment of this important truth, I heartily recommend the reading of chapter 12 of Creation and Change, page 237, Dr. Douglas Kelly’s excellent study of the “incomparable significance of the Sabbath day.”
  3. Page 60, Williams, Michael D. Far as the Curse Is Found, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2005.
  4. Ibid., pages 113, 138, etc.
  5. Op. cit. page 138.




Proclaiming Jesus Lord of History

(Sermon preached April 10, 2016)

We have been watching a TV commercial recently that features a man walking across the top of a skyscraper.  While he walks, he is most appropriately describing the dangers of this life, while he is himself doing a very dangerous thing – walking toward the edge of the skyscraper roof!  Then, just as you were expecting he steps off the roof and begins falling to the street below.

Of course he has a parachute strapped to his back and lands safely.

In this text, Jesus is doing something like that TV ad man.  Not walking across the roof of a skyscraper but walking right into the Pharisee-Sadducee-High priest DEATH TRAP! DEATH as certain as falling from a skyscraper, His crucifixion absolutely inevitable!

KEY!   Jesus wants His disciples to see Him do this! Important for them to see it happen!

  • To see Him tried by the High Priests and Pilate!
  • To see Him horribly abused and then Crucified!
  • Finally to see Him Risen from the dead, and











                             JESUS BECAME LORD OF HISTORY WHILE


Jesus is saying to the Apostles, “Listen to the Holy Spirit after I ascend to the throne”

Vs 13 “He will guide you into all truth” THE TRUTH OF HIS LORDSHP!

  • The Holy Spirit was doing this in Apostles whole time Jesus with them before his ascension to Glory, Slowly, Step by Step raising them into this WONDER!
  • Then at Pentecost, they were BAPTIZED INTO THE HOLY SPIRIT, which means
  • Among other things, that The Wonder of His Majestic LORDSHIP

      Absolutely overwhelmed them, Captivated them   – Beauty, Power, Joy,

HELD THEM SPELL-BOUND for the rest of their lives

  • Filling their hearts with His lordship, shaped them into Lordship under Jesus.


  • Jesus was at war with Pharisees, Sadducees, Priests and Pilate.

A War that had been raging throughout O.T., still going on in N.T.

  • JUDAIZERS/Pharisees/Sadduccees/Priests seemed to win this war by Crucifying Jesus!

WRONG!  They played into His hands. He was controlling them/history

  • Judaism had unwittingly sided with the Roman/Greek consensus.  Thesecular

Humanistic consenus against the only true God revealed in scripture.

HEART BEAT OF SCRIPTURE: “There is a powerful philosophy pulsating through  Scripture, intent on the enthronement of the Messiah.”


  • An Accomplished fact at Pentecost – MAN on God’s Throne
  • Then amplified through all Epistles to Revelation.
  • Specific at Philippians 2:9-11 HIS OWN WAY!!!! Bob Dylan, Mike Joyce
  • WAR STILL RAGES: – Modern form of war: Do you know the word “Enlightenment   You should!  If you don’t even know the name of your enemy – can’t fight him. “Islamic Extremists”.
  • Enlightenment is the name of that key group of Agnostic/Atheistic intellectuals who began to rise in the late 17th, early 18th century.
  • DISTINGUISHED  themselves by attacking the authority of the Bible and setting themselves up as the new ruling authorities over all of life – religion included.
  • MEN LIKE: Voltaire and Rousseau in France, David Hume in Scotland. Later joined by the churchman Immanuel Kantin the German church And then Friederich Hegel in the Philosophical world


  • They are the intellectually elite of our world today   And I do mean WORLD – Every nation is suffering under theirrule
  • With few exceptions, our Governments and our Universities are led by these  People who deserve the name ANTI-CHRIST – all of them!

I am going to quote just one of them who earned his place among them by his truly brilliant expressions of their VIEWS OF LIFE.  Not new name. Both I and your Pastor Curtis have quoted these very lines (sometimes abbreviations thereof).

Bertrand Russell Quote: 1872-1970

“That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought  and feeling, can preserve an individual beyond the grave; that all the labor of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.

          Only within the scaffold of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”  (page 17, SET FORTH YOUR CASE, Pinnock) 



  • Having become LORD OF HISTORY in the fullest sense!  He is now qualified to make you and me subordinate Lords of History – Eph 2:6 (He)raised us up and seated us with Him in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus
  •   This wonderful fact is then assumed throughout the rest of New TestamenT.  By his Amazing Grace we are now restored to the position we lost in the Fall.

EXAMPLES? Maybe Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders?

  • TRUE EXAMPLE: Maggie Gobran, Doctor’s wife, successful business woman until 35  Visited garbage slum, saw something moving under garbage- baby boy, rescued him. This Coptic Christian woman captured by little boy – began giving her life to slum kids.  Visited them frequently , began washing their feet, gave them shoes, clothes,  
  • Organized: STEPHEN’S CHILDREN – schools, orphanages, medical clinics – Cairo first, then other Egyptian cities, now spreading to nearby nations, 1,000’s of kids
  •  Next: to the world, Read P. 234, ff.

I submit MAMA Maggie as my nominee, Mother Teresa, William Franklin Graham, Host of humble Bible believing people I have met in many nations.  


            Holy Spirit magnifies Jesus as LORD OF HISTORY!!

  • Apostles and Epistles Maximizing Jesus for us: Spell-binding discovery in the upper room, ultimate confession of Thomas  “My LORD and MY GOD!”
  • Historic Declaration in Phil 2:6 ff
  • So did he become Lord of History in order to make us Lords of History
  • Book of Revelation: Our grand discovery of His infinite glory
  1. Awesome picture Rev. 1:12-16
  2. Rising glory to Rev. 22

Quote from T. F. Torrance, frequently quoted by our Dr. Douglas Kelly. Prof, RTS, Charlotte NC.

 “The Church must learn to take into its mouth the Good News of the resurrection and new creation, for that must be its primary note, one of limitless joy and thanksgiving.  That’s how the Church began its mission at Pentecost where the dominant emphasis in all its preaching was the resurrection of the crucified Christ and the astounding fact that because of Christ the Spirit of God Himself was poured out upon men.  They knew that the Last Times had overtaken them and that they were caught up in the onward and outward thrust of the resurrection of Christ toward the new creation in which all nations and peoples and all times would be brought to share. (105, Space, Time and Resurrection)

  1. Torrance is pointing toward the Savior’s “March to Conquest” beginning with the formation of the – Creeds: Nicene 325 – Chalcedon 451- Basic science of life

Creating the kind of Freedom that enabled the Reformation, Puritanism,

    -Missionary advancement that enabled cultural advancements in the WEST.

            -Victory NOW becoming evident in Middle East and India

                   – 1,000’s coming to Christ, enabling “scientific DOMINION”

                        Minds no longer under the bondage of witchcraft/magic, Creating  –                                     Einsteins, (referred to “The Religious spirit in Science”, said “you                                                must have faith to discover anything”.

  • Present Technology an “attendant wonder” of Christ Science

Maybe a better word “DERIVATIVE” wonder of “Christ Science”           

Progressive discovery of Jesus Christ first by Apostles

            Then by Creedal scholars

                        Then Reformation Leaders

                                    Puritan Pastor-scholars

 liberated mankind to become LORDS of every field of science

            Every variety of Art

                        Every type of Music

                                    Every branch of Law and Government


“Take heart, I have overcome the world”

 Once the blessed christ of glory was veiled off from human view

But through suffering, death and sorrow he has rent that veil in two

O behold the man of sorrows,

O behold him in plain view,

Lo, he comes, the mighty conqueror

Since he rent the veil in two.



Letters to Our Dear Children # 2


 The Wonder of “Persons” and “the Covenant”

Dear Junia, Charysse, DeAnn and Greg,

“Persons” are like snowflakes: every one of them is unique!

That was one of the amazing things your mother and I discovered after each of you were born.  Because you were born first, Junia, you were able to fix yourself in our minds as the exact image of what a baby is supposed to be.

What a remarkable surprise awaited us when you came along, Charysse! Of course there were many things about you that were just like your sister, but you were also remarkably different from Junia.

Then you came along, DeAnn, and finally you, Greg.  Similarities in all of you, yes, indeed!  But differences that made you so unique that we were at one and the same time, challenged, bewildered, and charmed.

Only God could do such a thing!  Only God could have made you so much alike and at the same time so fabulously unique.  That God made you in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27, 5:2) was plainly demonstrated to us by this very uniqueness.  It seems that the infinitely varied glory of God must be demonstrated in this unique way in every child that is ever born: snowflakes – personalities! Magnificent!

And we haven’t said it all when we talk about the “image of God” in every person.  We also need to recognize the beautiful significance of the “Covenant.” Since our discovery of the “Covenant” under Dr. Buswell’s instruction at Covenant Theological Seminary, I have become deeply convinced that the “Covenant” is as foundational to the nature of mankind as the “image of God.” I am further convinced that by creating us in His image, God received us into a Covenant relationship with Himself.  Though the word covenant is not used in the early chapters of Genesis, our covenantal relationships with God are clearly implied from the very beginning.

This is particularly clear in Genesis 2:15-17.  The phrase “covenant of life” is used to interpret this passage both in our Westminster Shorter Catechism 12 and Larger Catechism 20.  This reflects the broad consensus of Biblical scholarship, that though the word covenant is not used in this passage, the idea of covenant is clearly present.  We may conclude with delight that God created us “in His image” and entered into a “covenant of life” with us at the same moment.

So how do these grand scriptural truths apply to the four of you?

This is an intriguing question.  It cannot be answered with any simple formula, but it is important to make an attempt.  We must begin by noting that for each of you to be “created in the image of God” and for each of you at the same time to be “in covenant relationship with God” is a sheer wonder.  What a magnificent potential this creates for each of you!  We may be confident that God is intent upon developing each of you within these awesome parameters set by His image in you and His covenant with you.  And this is wonderfully true for all those who belong to the family of God.

These were themes that frequently got into my preaching from many different texts.  Mother and I often engaged you in conversations about these fabulous Biblical ideas while you were growing up in our home.  I have to confess that I frequently felt like a stumbling babbler when I was trying to preach and I suspect that our conversations about these grand Biblical truths were not all that compelling.   Yet our gracious Lord worked in us and in you to accomplish the grand purposes of His Kingdom through our family.  God is working in the same way in your own families and in the families of many of your church friends.  We can enrich and bless each other by frequently considering such truths together in the body of Christ.  Then we simply continue living self-consciously in this “image of God” identity and “covenant relationship with God” reality.  On the basis of solid scriptural teaching, we treasure these magnificent truths about ourselves and rejoice in the privilege of living according to such great Revelations from God.

There is so much more to say, but I will leave it for our next letters.

With all our Love,

Mom and Dad Alexander


Would it be helpful for us to define the covenant at this point?

I am inspired to make the attempt by a letter I received from an old friend, who was questioning the meaning of this Biblical word.

Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, Dr. Michael D. Williams prefers to stay with what he calls a “rough description”1 of the concept rather than a more exact definition.  Williams is right to complain that it is most difficult to accurately define such a broad and grand Biblical concept.  He supports his objection by quoting Dr. O. Palmer Robertson’s remark, “Asking for a definition of ‘covenant’ is something like asking for a definition of ‘mother’”2.

I must differ with Dr. Williams.  Difficult as it is to define the covenant, I believe there is value in making the attempt.  So did O. Palmer Robertson in spite of the quotation above. After that appropriate quote, Robertson straightway proceeded to give a definition of the covenant on page 15 of the book cited by Williams.  Here is Robertson’s definition:

A Covenant Is a Bond in Blood, Sovereignly Administered

            I like Robertson’s definition and have occasionally used it in my teaching.  It goes beyond the “covenant of life” idea drawn from Genesis 2:15-17 by including the “bond of blood” feature that was only necessary after Genesis 3 and the Fall. I think it is important to include in our definition the full sweep of the Covenant based both on this Genesis 2 text and then on that multiplicity of scriptures that describe the Covenant throughout the rest of the Bible.  I hope this is not too ambitious.  Write me back if I need to work more at clarifying this point.  It is MOST important to me.   Here is my fuller definition:

The Covenant of Grace Is God’s Promise to Fallen Man to Restore Him (Us)                     To Glory Through the Redemptrive Acts of Our Lord Jesus Christ

This definition is very important to me because so much of what I will say in future “LETTERS” will reference the Covenant as well as the “image of God”.  It is a strong conviction in my heart that the Covenant is a fundamental reality of human life.  The Covenant is just as real as our flesh and blood.  It is a dynamic at work in our lives through our direct and continuous relationship with God.

If we do not understand this, we become hopelessly lost in the vast sea of human speculation about what we are and where we are going.  If we understand the Covenant and follow God’s leading through the Covenant, life unfolds before us like a blooming flower, revealing all the beauty and glory of God’s great love for us and His magnificent provision for all our needs all the way into Heaven.


  1. Williams, Michael D., Far as the Curse Is Found (Zondervan, 2005), 45
  2. Robertson, O. Palmer, The Christ of the Covenants (Grand Rapids: Baker), 1980, 3

Letters to Our*1 Dear Children #1 God’s Gift of Persons

Dear Junia, Charysse, DeAnn and Greg,

Your Mother and I see the four of you as wonderful gifts of God to us.  We have loved each of you from the moment we knew that you were on the way to our house.  What an amazing thing it is for a baby to be born!  For a new person to come into a family!  Only God can do this wonderful thing.  And of all the remarkable things that God does in this world, this has to rank up there right near the top.

Greg, when your first baby was born, Mom and I had the high privilege of being there at the hospital with you and Rachel in Carollton, Georgia. I will never forget the expression on your face when you saw baby Gabrielle for the first time.  I forget the exact words you used, but you said something like, “Daddy, this is a real person!” It wasn’t so much the words you said as it was the unforgettable way you spoke them, all aglow with the pure delight of this grandest of grand occasions.

I believe we should recognize two wonderful things that happen at the same time whenever a baby is born.

First, is simply the arrival of the baby, that “real person”.  The natural process which God uses to bring this new little “personal” being into our world is absolutely phenomenal.  Eve got it right when she remarked at the birth of her first son, “With the help of the Lord, I have brought forth a man”, Genesis 4:1. 2.

We make a bad mistake if we read these simple words as if they were rather boring and common-place.  Simple words they are, indeed, but there is every reason to hear in them the sheer wonder that Eve must have felt.  She was the first person in history to experience the natural but awesome process of conception, gestation and birth.  She had to be amazed, astounded, and delighted all at once.

Like other women after her who would bear children, Eve may have experienced excruciating pain and may have wondered whether she would live through the ordeal.  Then, when she saw that amazing little creature outside her body, heard him cry and felt him move, a great torrent of joy and thanksgiving to God must have filled her whole being.  Yes, those words she speaks are simple, but they were surely filled with a towering reverence and thanksgiving for the God who had helped her bring forth a man.

This was the first wonderful thing that happened to Adam and Eve, the birth of their baby. Another “real person” entered their home, forever changing their lives by bringing them into the world of parenthood with all of its delights and challenges. There is so much more to say here, but for the moment I will hurry on to that second wonderful gift of God.

Second, God gave us the gift of love for all four of you. We did not generate that love in our own hearts. Because we are sinners, God had to work a miracle in our sinful hearts so that we could love you. That love which God gave us for you is magnificent beyond words. This gift of God is the key to our raising you.  Through this amazing gift, God enabled us to nurture and bless you in all the joys of living before God as His dear children.

Not that we did this perfectly!  The sin that remains in our nature made us stumble and err seriously many times.  We had to apologize often.  But God’s love for us, His great grace at work in our hearts, overcame our sin sufficiently to enable us to guide you to Godly maturity.  A wonderful result of His work both in us and in you is that we have become good friends. I believe that we are “best friends”, and that is one of the greatest blessings that parents could ever hope for.

How sad that so few parents today recognize the wonderful blessing this gift of God can be in their homes. Because of our fall into sin, parents can refuse to receive this great gift of God, His gift of love for their own children.  We see the unhappy results everywhere.  Parents do not live in a reverent and loving relationship with God, so it is impossible for them to live in a loving relationship with their own children. Fierce quarreling and hatred seems to characterize the lives of so many married couples and their whole families.  Parents abuse each other and their children, so that even murdering their own children has become increasingly common. The murderous act of inexcusable abortion has resulted in approximately 55,000,000 infant deaths in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade decision in 1974. This kind of abortion is now legal in most of the world.

In a future letter I will try to speak helpfully to these great sorrows so common in families today. I will mention the problem here, just to underline for all of us the great importance of receiving from God His wonderful gift of love for our children.

Now I want to tell you how our gracious Lord led your Mother and me to receive this wonderful gift from God. We see this as a “special providence” of God which He worked in our hearts.  This is the era of history when God works such miracles in the hearts of those who believe in Christ as Savior.

It happened this way:

We fell in love with each other during my second year in Faith seminary near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The next summer in August, 1956, we were married in Sandstone, Minnesota, Mom’s hometown. We then moved to Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, arriving in that city with $8 in our pockets, a car payment coming due and no place to live.

We both got jobs, found an apartment, eked out a bare living (like many of our fellow students), and I began to study at the seminary.   That is where it happened!!

I discovered the love of God in a special way in what the Bible calls: THE COVENANT!

Dr. J. Oliver Buswell was the teacher who led me, along with other students, into this discovery.  “The Covenant” was just one of many subjects we learned under his able instruction from scripture. His teaching had the special value, moreover, of demonstrating that The Covenant is a central theme that binds the entire Bible and all of life together. The Covenant certainly included that gift of loving our children, but it was presented as far more than that.

I began to see The Covenant as a grand and glorious exercise of God’s love for the whole world. It was God’s means of saving lost people and then building them up in His own image.  It was God’s love at work in believers to hold them in His redemptive embrace, enabling us to love God “with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds,”…“and our neighbor as ourselves”.  The Covenant is beautifully summarized in the so-called “golden text” of the Bible, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

It was a great pleasure for me to bring Dr. Buswell’s teaching home with me. Your Mother and I had many valuable discussions on the Covenant and began to regard it as one of the keys to our life in the Lord. We also found these truths to be pervasive in the seminary. Because Mom had frequent contacts with the family of Professor Bill Sanderson, she became quite impressed by the way he and his wife were using Covenant teachings to train their children in the love of God.  We began to observe this beautiful kind of family life in other seminary leaders and other Christians in our church world.

I will conclude this initial letter by reminding you that our lives were profoundly and wonderfully changed, first, by your births into our family and second by our discovery of God’s Covenant love for us.

We pray daily that God will continue to work His wonders of grace in your hearts and lives.  And we rejoice daily in the evidence we see in you and your families that God is answering our prayers.

With all our love,

Mom and Dad Alexander

*1. Take note: I am changing the pronoun “My” to “Our” in this title.  My introductory letter proposed: “Letters to My Dear Children”.  I prefer that to be: “Letters to Our Dear Children”.

*2. Commentators on this first verse of Genesis 4 have frequently speculated on a variety of meanings that might be given to Cain’s birth here.  I stand with those who give the simplest explanation, that Eve is remarking with delight that a baby boy has been born.


      While the four of you were still living at our house, I started using a diagram in my Sunday evening preaching that you may remember.  I am still using that diagram in an effort to graphically portray the Covenant at work in Jesus.  Before I explain it, however, I want to mention a side trip I took during my own high school and college years.

During those high school years I became quite interested in Edgar Allen Poe, a writer whose message stood out in sharp contrast to “the Covenant” truth that I learned under Dr. Buswell.  I believe it will be helpful for us to see the Covenant from that contrasting perspective, Poe’s perspective.

To be perfectly honest I became genuinely fascinated with both the poetry and the short stories of Poe. His mastery of the English language was amazing to me, but it was his preoccupation with the morose aspects of death and dying that truly captivated me.  I got so interested in his “The Raven” that I memorized part of it. Then I found his “The Fall of the House of Usher” to be an unforgettable adventure into the macabre.  In college I memorized my own abbreviated version of his “The Black Cat” and occasionally recited it at Halloween parties.

Why all this interest in this sadly unchristian author?

My interest in Poe took a somewhat psychological/spiritual turn.  Throughout his life the poor man suffered one disappointment and sorrow after another. Through all this pain he never seemed to have meaningful contact with the gospel of Jesus Christ or the church.  The joy of living under the care of a loving God, therefore, never touched his brief life (1809-1849). To the contrary his fascination with the morose, the terrifying, and the downright horrible got such a grip on the man that the brighter side of life never occurred to him as a subject worthy of his literary efforts.

Here I want to make my own private and abrupt observation.

Edgar Allen Poe desperately needed to discover the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave!

Poe’s life and writing might have been so different if this grand reality of the gospel had come into his life.  If he had heard good preaching of this gospel truth or had been befriended by a Christian brother or sister who had given him clear witness of it, things could have been different.

Permit me an observation about our own present historical situation.

A sad reality of our present culture is that Poe’s dark, unhappy writing seems to be prophetic of much that is happening in the artistic, the literary and the film-making world today.  The highly gifted artists who are leading in these important ventures today reflect a kind of “Poeism”.  Like Poe, they desperately need a clear view of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus. Through that grand miracle they could witness the whole gospel of our Lord Jesus, transforming both their lives and their art.

This is the point that I hope we will see in our consideration of the Covenant.  The Covenant is God’s means of leading us into the gospel, into the forgiveness of our sins, into a grand view of Jesus rising triumphantly from the grave in order to create a new world.  That is the climax of the Covenant. I want to give a fuller definition of the Covenant in the next letter, but for the moment it is sufficient to see the Covenant as a promise of God’s love for us. It is a promise of His love which comes to glorious climax in the Savior’s redeeming work on our behalf.

On the next page, I am giving you that diagram I mentioned above. It is based on II Corinthians 4:6. Here I am using the “face of Christ” as a figure of speech for five redeeming acts of Jesus.  The first four are His (1) Crucifixion, (2) Resurrection, (3) Ascension, and (4) Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church.  Number (5) is His promised Second Coming.   I call these five things “the face of Christ” because we recognize Christ in them.  These five redeeming acts are His face “shining” the glory of God into our lives.  By faith we receive God’s Covenant love for us through these loving acts of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Do I need to clarify that?  Drop me a note if you think I need to say more.  Meanwhile, I will doubtless say more myself, because the truth I am trying to demonstrate in this picture is so central to my thinking and teaching even today.