Daily Archives: January 19, 2017

January 19, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_0610


Jan. 19, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of hedge-fund giant Bridgewater Associates, said the rise of populism threatens multinational corporations and is the biggest force in the world today. “Globalism is threatened. The multinational corporation is in jeopardy. Emerging countries are threatened.”

U.S. companies and government agencies suffered a record 1,093 data breaches last year, a 40 percent increase from 2015, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.

A report published in the journal Space Weather this week makes for sobering reading. In four scenarios envisaging the economic impact of a solar storm, the mildest triggers a daily loss to the U.S. economy of $6.2 billion, or 15 percent of daily output; the worst case sees a cost of $41.5 billion, wiping out every dollar the world’s largest economy generates each day.

Oil prices rose 20 percent in the month after OPEC agreed to cut output, reaching $54.06 a barrel in New York on Dec. 28. Since then, they’ve slipped almost 5 percent as traders, with one eye on rising U.S. shale production, await proof that OPEC and other producers will live up to their deal.

The future of television just got a little clearer. An hour after Comcast Corp. said its Esquire cable network will shut down, a sign of flagging interest in traditional pay TV, Netflix Inc. reported its biggest quarter ever, beating analysts’ estimates on new subscribers and validating its vision of a world where everyone watches TV online and on-demand.

Bank executives, speaking on condition of anonymity at events around the Swiss Davos ski resort, said they’re not counting on Trump to overturn Dodd-Frank. Instead, they expect the federal agencies that enforce the rules to ease up on them and support bankers’ efforts to limit how much capital and liquidity their companies need to pay bills or absorb losses in a crisis.

AP Top Stories

A high-rise building in Tehran engulfed by fire collapsed on Thursday, killing at least 30 firefighters and injuring some 75 people, state media reported.

Rescue workers were met with an eerie silence Thursday when they reached a four-star spa hotel struck by an avalanche in a mountainous earthquake-stricken region of central Italy. At least 30 people were missing, including at least two children, authorities said.

President-elect Donald Trump is known to have an itchy Twitter finger, and says he plans to continue his use of the social media platform after he takes the oath of office. But if it were up to the American people, Trump would cut it out.

The number of abortions performed in the United States has fallen to the lowest rate since 1974; the year after the Supreme Court legalized the practice in the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, according to a new study. Researchers there found that only 14.6 of every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 had abortions in 2014, marking a drop to half of the peak rate seen in the early 1980s. The total number of abortions performed in 2014 hovered around 926,000, showing a gradual, yet consistent, downward trend over the past two decades.

There’s a Florida company specializing in used military aircraft sales, and boy have they got a deal for you: 20 jet airplanes for less than $250,000. The 20 Fouga Magister trainers are sitting in Israel just waiting for someone of modest means who wants to start his or her private air force.

The Israeli army on Wednesday received new ballistic missile interceptors that significantly upgrade the Jewish state’s aerial defense systems in the face of “emerging threats”, the defense ministry said. The Arrow 3 interceptor, designed to shoot down missiles above the atmosphere, was handed to air force bases in Israel after successful testing by Israel and the United States at the end of 2015.

Oil and gas discoveries around the world dropped last year to their lowest since the 1940s after companies sharply cut back in their search for new resources amid falling oil prices.

A Pennsylvania mall that was foreclosed on after its owners failed to repay $143 million has been auctioned off for $100.

BBC

LGBT activists who aren’t happy about Mike Pence becoming US vice-president have staged a dance party protest outside his house.

Mexican authorities are to investigate allegations children battling cancer were given “distilled water” instead of chemotherapy.

The FBI is investigating a second wave of threats to Jewish facilities across the US in the last month. On Wednesday, 27 Jewish community centers in 17 US states reported receiving hoax bomb threats.

Al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate says a group linked to it carried out the suicide attack that killed at least 50 people in northern Mali.

Police in the Netherlands are contacting more than 20,000 people who they suspect had their data stolen by a rogue web developer.

So-called Islamic State (IS) lost almost a quarter of its territory in 2016, according to new analysis.

WND

From 2016 through 2018, Wells Fargo expects to close at least 484 branches.

After 35 years, a Kenosha church is welcoming back a pastor who was told to leave because he is gay. It’s part of an effort to reconcile the church’s past and move forward.

The Bible will play a central role in Friday’s inaugural festivities, with both president-elect Donald Trump and vice-president elect Mike Pence taking their oaths of office on the revered holy book. Trump will reportedly use two Bibles: the Abraham Lincoln Bible as well as a copy of the book that has belonged to him for more than 60 years, while Pence plans to use Ronald Reagan’s Bible to take his oath on a very specific Bible verse: 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”


Top News – 1/19/2017

CNN Devotes Entire Segment To Trump Assassination Fantasy
Hey, look, CNN isn’t saying they want Trump to be assassinated. They’ve just been doing a lot of thinking about what would happen if he was.

Austria to Tighten Anti-Migrant Border Controls
Austria aims to tighten border controls, in particular on its frontier with Slovakia following a rise in migrants trying to enter the country, the defence minister was quoted as saying Wednesday.

Populist Marine Le Pen Takes Lead in Polls as French Elections Approach
Thursday’s poll, conducted by CEVIPOF (Centre de Recherche de Sciences Po) in partnership with the French daily Le Monde, shows Le Pen of the populist National Front (FN) with between 25 and 26 percent of the vote, while the Socialist Party’s Benoît Hamon and Arnaud Montebourg (PS) received only 7% of voting intentions.

Mattis Approved by Senate Armed Services Committee to Be SecDef
Mattis sailed through the committee, which voted 26-1 for him to lead the Pentagon. Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) was the only member of the Senate panel to vote against the retired four-star general, who enjoys bipartisan support to head the Defense Department under President-elect Trump.

Britons overwhelmingly back May’s Brexit plan – and even Scots and Londoners want it
Earlier this week, Mrs May set out her 12-point strategy for cutting the UK’s ties with the EU, including an end to Britain’s membership of the bloc’s Single Market, new controls on EU immigration and negotiating a free trade deal with the remaining 27 member states.

Black leaders rip John Lewis over Trump feud
“Lewis is not a hero, and he’s not an icon,” Peterson told WND. “He participated in the civil rights movement 50 years ago; since that time, he has not done anything good for the country, and especially for black Americans.

Ma’ale Adumim annexation bill to advance after Trump inauguration
Legislation proposing to apply Israeli sovereignty on the settlement expected to go up to a vote at the ministerial committee for legislation as an opening shot of campaign to annex all Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Obama commutes sentence of unrepentant convicted terrorist
Obama has commuted the sentence of FALN terror leader Oscar Lopez Rivera, convicted of sedition and murder of 5 people.

Liberals are turning against the Jewish state
The inauguration of US President- elect Donald Trump will mark the first time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ever had a Republican to work with in the White House. Dismissing recent moves by Obama and the French as the “final palpitations of yesterday’s world,” Netanyahu told reporters, “Tomorrow will look a lot different, and tomorrow is very close.”

Trump To Immediately Sign As Many As 200 Executive Orders
President-elect Donald Trump will sign as many as 200 executive orders targeting a wide range of Obama administration policies, according to Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Web of investigations entangles Israel’s ‘King Bibi’
Benjamin Netanyahu has spent 30 years in public office, including 11 years as Israel’s prime minister, but this year his political future is being called into question as seldom before. Police say they have questioned Netanyahu twice since Jan. 2 at his official residence in Jerusalem in two separate criminal cases involving allegations of abuse of office.

Israel deploys ‘Star Wars’ missile killer system
Israel’s upgraded ballistic missile shield became operational on Wednesday, in a “Star Wars”-like extension of its capabilities to outer space where incoming missiles can be safely destroyed. The Defence Ministry said the U.S.-funded Arrow 3 system, jointly developed by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and U.S. firm Boeing Co., was handed over the Israeli Air Force.

Alaska volcano erupts again, sends ash cloud to 31,000 feet
An Alaska volcano active since mid-December has erupted again. Bogoslof Volcano in the Aleutian lslands erupted at 1:20 p.m. Wednesday and sent up an ash cloud estimated at 31,000 feet. The Alaska Volcano Observatory raised the aviation threat code to red, the highest level. Ash clouds higher than 20,000 feet are a threat to intercontinental jet aircraft…

Vaccines for three deadly viruses fast-tracked
Scientists have named three relatively little-known diseases they think could cause the next global health emergency. A coalition of governments and charities has committed $460m to speed up vaccine development for Mers, Lassa fever and Nipah virus. They are asking funders at the World Economic Forum Davos for another $500m.

Syria conflict: Russia and Turkey ‘in first joint air strikes on IS’
Russian and Turkish jets have carried out their first joint strikes on so-called Islamic State (IS) inside Syria, the Russian defence ministry says. IS was targeted in the suburbs of the town of al-Bab, Aleppo province, where Turkey suffered heavy casualties last month battling the group on the ground.

In second wave of bomb threats at least 30 US Jewish institutions targeted
Some 30 Jewish institutions in at least 17 states have received bomb threats, Jewish security officials said, in the second wave of such mass disruption in two weeks. Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Networks — an affiliate of the Jewish federations of North America, which advises Jewish groups and institutions on security — said 30 threats were called in Wednesday to Jewish community centers.

Trump UN envoy pick slams settlements resolution as ‘the ultimate low’
President- elect Donald Trump’s choice for ambassador to the UN vowed Wednesday a sharp pivot in US policy at the international body, questioning its bias against Israel… At her Senate confirmation hearing, Nikki Haley…slammed the Obama administration for allowing “mistreatment” of Israel in the halls of an organization with a long record of disproportionately targeting the Jewish state.

Analysis: Fear of a Beduin intifada in the Negev
Everyone who is well-versed in the goings-on in the Beduin community of the Negev over the years should not be surprised by the magnitude of the events that occurred during the demolition of homes in the village of Umm al-Hiran on Wednesday. …The Islamic Movement has succeeded in penetrating deep into the population, mainly taking advantage of deep frustrations…

Undocumented worker sues San Francisco for violating sanctuary law
An undocumented immigrant from El Salvador is suing San Francisco alleging police violated the city’s sanctuary city policy by turning him over to U.S. immigration authorities after he reported his car stolen.

North Korea may test-launch ICBM soon: South Korean media
North Korea may be preparing to test-launch a new, upgraded prototype of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), South Korean media reported on Thursday, citing military sources.

Trump hasn’t been sworn in yet, but Mexico is already reeling
Even before his swearing-in, Trump has already hurt the country’s economy by pressuring automakers to shift factories out of Mexico, threatening its most important manufacturing sector and status as a rising star in auto production. Amid an uncertain economic outlook, the peso has plunged to all-time lows against the U.S. dollar.

China says it’s ready to hit back if Trump starts a trade war
China is preparing to retaliate if US president-elect Donald Trump launches a trade war, a key US business lobby group warned on Wednesday.

CIA unveils new rules for collecting information on Americans
The Central Intelligence Agency on Wednesday unveiled revised rules for collecting, analyzing and storing information on American citizens, updating the rules for the information age and publishing them in full for the first time.

Virginia man convicted of 2006 slaying of family is executed
A man convicted of killing a family of four, slashing their throats and setting their home ablaze after they left their front door open while preparing for a New Year’s Day party in 2006, was executed Wednesday.

Trump to Take Oath on Lincoln Bible
“In his first inaugural address, President Lincoln appealed to the ‘better angels of our nature,’” said Presidential Inauguration Committee Chairman Tom Barrack. “As he takes the same oath of office 156 years later, President-elect Trump is humbled to place his hand on Bibles that hold special meaning both to his family and to our country.”


The Briefing 01-19-17

Why the Left fears Sec. of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, champion of parental choice in education

Canadian judge rules pro-life ad depicting unborn fetus too emotionally distressing

What are Christians to make of the report that the abortion rate is falling in the US?

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway will be first sitting White House official to address March for Life

The post The Briefing 01-19-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top Headlines – 1/19/2017

  • Yellen speech bolsters dollar after Trump’s mixed messages (Read More)
  • Draghi Set to Face Questions on ECB Bond Purchases (Read More)
  • Davos CEOs ‘go local’ on supply chain in Trump era (Read More)
  • Oil and Trump: Russians full of optimism (Read More)
  • Biggest Opposition Party Ready to Topple Swedish Government (Read More)
  • The Mortgage Market’s $1 Trillion Pocket of Worry (Read More)
  • Ex-VW CEO Winterkorn Deflects Blame for Diesel-Cheating Scandal (Read More)
  • George Soros, Mastercard to partner to aid migrants, refugees (Read More)
  • Don’t Assume Canada Will Rally With U.S., Poloz Warns Investors (Read More)
  • Mnuchin to Address IndyMac, Tax Policy at Senate Hearing (Read More)
  • On Davos sidelines, banks expecting three-year transition after Brexit (Read More)
  • Safran to Buy Zodiac for $10 Billion in All-French Aero Deal (Read More)
  • These Automakers Could be Trump’s Next Targets (Read More)
  • Exclusive: Pentagon, Lockheed near deal on $9 billion F-35 contract (Read More)
  • How Deutsche Bank Made Minus €367 Million Disappear (Read More)
  • Syria’s Assad hopes for ‘reconciliation’ deals from Astana talks (Read More)
  • How Well Does Running Vanguard Pay? (Read More)
  • GOP Governors Warn Lawmakers About Repeal of Affordable Care Act (Read More)
  • U.S exchanges rent helicopter, drape banner in pursuit of Snapchat IPO (Read More)
  • Netflix’s Global Growth Fuels Surge in Subscribers (Read More)

Israel deploys ‘Star Wars’ missile killer system

New defense system can hit targets outside the atmosphere

Obama says Israeli-palestinian status quo ‘unsustainable’ in last press conference

Obama suggests U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem could be ‘explosive’

Trump’s UN nominee to blast world body over Israel

Trump’s UN envoy pick says settlements could ‘hinder peace’

Ending year-long standoff, Brazil accepts new Israeli envoy

Syrian oppositionist says Palestinians are ‘living in paradise’

Israeli policeman and Bedouin killed during clashes over demolitions

Hundreds across country protest ‘bloodshed, home demolitions’

After Umm al-Hiran violence, Arab lawmakers propose 10-year demolition freeze

Gazans are fed up with Hamas

Israel’s Facebook bill may endanger democracy, company official implies

‘This is the World We Live in Now’: New Bomb Threats Against Jewish Community Centers Across US Raise Alarms

European interest in Israeli gas deepens

Egypt refers over 300 terror suspects to military prosecutor

Outgoing US envoy says UN needs to ‘push’ Iran on arms embargo

House bill would target Iran’s airline and test its nuclear deal

After 8 Years Of Unbroken War, Obama Hands Over Conflicts To Trump

Photos show ‘weaponised commercial drones’ in Iraq

Iraq has retaken east Mosul from Isis, says army general

Syria conflict: Russia and Turkey ‘in first joint air strikes on IS’

Istanbul nightclub suspect ‘received orders from IS’

Islamic State group ‘lost quarter of territory’ in 2016v

Refugees tortured and raped in squalid desert camps, arrest of Somali ‘sadist’ reveals

Al Qaeda says Mali bombing punishment for working with Francev

Dimon Says Euro Zone May Not Survive If Concerns Are Ignored

San Francisco sued by car-theft victim for allegedly violating its sanctuary city ordinance

Ukrainian president calls for global response to Russian threat

Russia Snaps, Accuses UK, Germany And France Of “Grossly Interfering” In The US Election

Russia extends Edward Snowden’s asylum to 2020

Julian Assange’s conditions for extradition to US ‘not met’, say lawyersv

Barack Obama says he is ‘confident justice has been served’ over Chelsea Manning in final press conference as president

Obama decision to free FALN terror group leader sparks outrage

CIA unveils new rules for collecting information on Americans

Obama calls voter fraud claims ‘fake news’

Fake Polls? How CNN And ABC Are Fudging The Numbers To Tank Trump’s Favorability

CNN Contributor: African-American Celebs Meeting With Trump Are ‘Mediocre Negroes’

Obama’s troubled legacy on race leaves room for black conservatives to rise under Donald Trump

In an epic final speech, Joe Biden warns that the progressive democratic world order is at risk of collapse

George H.W. Bush to Trump: Doctor says going to inauguration could ‘put me six feet under’

George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush both hospitalized, spokesman says

Price suggests states will lead on ObamaCare replacement, wants access for ‘everybody’

Trump Jobs Boom Continues Before Inauguration Day

Hyperinflation renders Venezuela a nation of broke millionaires

Robots will start delivering food to doorsteps in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., today

South Korea plans 1,000km/h, near-supersonic, ‘hyper-tube train’ that would leave maglev in the dust

Business leaders urge new thinking in age of artificial intelligence

Extreme space weather-induced blackouts could cost US more than $40 billion daily

Italy hit by four powerful earthquakes in four hours, bringing terror to region trying to recover from last year’s deadly tremors

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Amatignak Island, Alaska

Alaska volcano Bogoslof erupts again, sends ash cloud to 31,000 feet

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 17,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 12,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 11,500ft

Reports: Storm unleashes 80-mph gusts, flooding rain and heavy ice in northwestern US

Major flooding strikes Houston amid round of southern US severe weather

Spain: Late-week snow to bury mountains, bring rare coating to low elevations

59 below recorded in Interior as cold snap settles on Alaska

Earth breaks heat record for third sweltering year in a row

Scientists want to bring back extinct Caspian tiger

‘Three-parent’ baby born in Ukraine using new technique

Czech fugitive wanted for spreading HIV held in Thailand

Vaccines for three deadly viruses fast-tracked

Did Yeshua Make Peter The Pope?

Defrauding Millions: Bethel Church and Benny Hinn Together

The Rolland Baker Spectacle of False Teaching, Forced Laughter and Blasphemy!

Anointed NARcissism? Man Uses Selfie Stick During NAR Trump Prayer Event

What’s Behind the Seemingly Unrelenting Rise of Satanism?

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 09:31 AM PST

(Reported By Michael Snyder) Interest in Satan and Satanism has experienced a tremendous resurgence in recent years. At one time, satanists were generally feared and…

No Pro-Lifers Allowed at This Women’s March!

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 09:24 AM PST

A pro-life women’s group planning to participate in the Women’s March on Washington Saturday following Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump has been removed from the…
Daylight fireball explodes over Norway

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 09:12 AM PST

An impressive bright flash appeared above central Norway on January 15, 2017, and was observed from both western and eastern Norway. Eyewitnesses are asked to…

Nearly Two-Thirds of Primates Face Extinction…

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 09:07 AM PST

Our fellow primates are in trouble. In a study of unprecedented scope, a team of 31 primatologists has analyzed every known species of primate to…
DEVELOPING: British tanks sent through Channel Tunnel to prepare for war

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 09:01 AM PST

Tanks have been sent through the Channel Tunnel in a secret midnight training operation to prepare for war in Europe. Five vehicles in total were…
Facebook lifts RT page block after almost 24-hour blackout

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 08:58 AM PST

Facebook has restored RT’s ability to post content to its page on the social network, following an as yet unexplained blackout that lasted for some…

Fireball streaks across sky in Australia

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 07:51 AM PST

A meteorite burning across the ­Mallee sky last Friday night has spotters talking. Wollongong-based amateur astronomer David Finlay said the “massive” fireball was seen about…
Parents Sending Young Kids To Hypnotists On the Rise

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 07:47 AM PST

Hypnosis has taken on a new focus. More and more parents are now putting their kids under a hypnotic trance, but some say the practice…
Chelsea Handler Urges Resistance To “Teach the Predator-in-Chief a Lesson’

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 07:40 AM PST

Talk show host Chelsea Handler has vowed to fight what she called a “right-wing political assault” on Obamacare and abortion giant Planned Parenthood as President-elect…
Washington Preparing For Days of Civil Unrest

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 07:34 AM PST

Washington will turn into a virtual fortress ahead of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on Friday as the U.S. capital braces for more than a quarter-million…
Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 07:24 AM PST

(By J. Lee Grady) When President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in this Friday as our nation’s 45th president, he will stand in front of the…
Trump’s inaugural pastor getting blasted by onslaught of hate

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 07:12 AM PST

A Christian pastor who will be among the faith leaders at Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as the next president is being flooded with messages…
President Obama Praises Pro-LGBT Shift in Last Press Conference

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 07:06 AM PST

President Obama says America will not reverse the pro-LGBT shift that took place in the country during his presidency. On Wednesday he addressed the media…
Trump Ready To Undo Obama’s Executive Orders

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 07:01 AM PST

Like it or not, President Barack Obama hasn’t let a poor relationship with Congress stop him from almost single handedly pushing his agenda forward. “I’ve…
Neighbours call in exorcist after couple found ‘snarling like animals’…

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 06:58 AM PST

A young couple were caught on camera screaming and writhing around as their family claim they were possessed by demons. The 18-year-old lad and his…
Hyperinflation leaves Venezuela a nation of broke millionaires

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 05:39 PM PST

Venezuela may now be the country in the world with the most millionaires. There is, however, a caveat. That money isn’t worth much anywhere else…
Alaska volcano erupts again, sends ash cloud to 31,000 feet

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 05:19 PM PST

An Alaska volcano active since mid-December has erupted again. Bogoslof Volcano in the Aleutian lslands erupted at 1:20 p.m. Wednesday and sent up an ash…
Israel deploys ‘Star Wars’ missile killer system

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 05:14 PM PST

Israel’s upgraded ballistic missile shield became operational on Wednesday, in a “Star Wars”-like extension of its capabilities to outer space where incoming missiles can be…

Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


Do You Know Him?


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel In A Nutshell

Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl


What Is the Gospel?

This post is adapted from the tract “What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert.


A Message from God

What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore.

Why Is the Gospel Good News?

So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?

Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions:

  1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
  2. What is our problem?
  3. What is God’s solution to our problem?
  4. How can I be included in his solution?

Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.

  1. We are accountable to God.
  2. Our problem is our sin against him.
  3. God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ.
  4. We come to be included in that salvation by faith and repentance.

Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.

God

The first thing to know about the good news of Jesus is that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Everything starts from that point, so if you get that point wrong then everything else that follows will be wrong. Because God created everything—including us—he has the right to tell us how to live. You have to understand that in order to understand the good news about Jesus. To understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that God is also holy and righteous. He is determined never to ignore or tolerate sin. Including ours!

Mankind

When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, he intended for them to live under his righteous rule in perfect joy—obeying him and living in fellowship with him. When Adam disobeyed God, though, and ate the one fruit that God had told him not to eat, that fellowship with God was broken. Moreover, Adam and Eve had declared rebellion against God. They were denying his authority over their lives.

It’s not just Adam and Eve who are guilty of sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is the rejection of God himself and his authority over those to whom he gives life.

Once you understand sin in that light, you begin to understand why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s not just physical death, but spiritual death, a forceful separating of our sinful, rebellious selves from the presence of God forever. The Bible teaches that the final destiny for unbelieving sinners is eternal, active judgment in a place called “hell.”

But . . .

Jesus Christ

The word “Christ” means “anointed one,” referring to anointing a king with oil when he is crowned. So, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we’re saying that Jesus is a King!

When Jesus began his public ministry, he told the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus died on a cross, the awful weight of all our sins fell on his shoulders. The sentence of death God had pronounced against rebellious sinners struck. And Jesus died. For you and me!

But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus the Crucified is no longer dead. The Bible tells us that he rose from the grave. Jesus’s rising from the grave was God’s way of saying, “What Jesus claimed about who he is and what he came to do is true!”

Our Response

What does God expect us to do with the information that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s righteous wrath against our sins? He expects us to respond with repentance and faith.

To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.

Not only that, but we also turn to God in faith. Faith is reliance. It’s a promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from your sins. If God is ever to count us righteous, he’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who’s qualified to stand in as our substitute. And that’s what happens when a person is saved by Jesus: All our sins are credited to Jesus who took the punishment for them, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is then credited to us when we place our trust in what he has done for us! That’s what faith means—to rely on Jesus, to trust in him alone to stand in our place and win a righteous verdict from God!


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


Please take the time to watch this clip, so that you might understand the authentic Gospel


This is the Gospel:

Friend, God is holy. There is a God in heaven who has created you and me, and He is the authority over both of us. He is perfectly holy. “In Him is Light, and there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And the problem with that is that if we want to have fellowship with God, we have to be light and no darkness at all. And yet here’s the problem: we are darkness. We are sinful. We’ve all broken His law. We’ve all lied, stolen, we’ve all looked with lust, we’ve all been angry with our brothers in our hearts. We’ve all fallen short of the glorious standard of perfection that God requires (Rom 3:23). And there’s nothing we can do about it. No amount of works, no amount of contrition, no amount of bad feelings, no amount of church attendance, no amount of Bible reading, no amount of evangelism can earn forgiveness of our sins and the righteousness which God requires (Titus 3:5; cf. Isa 64:6).

And yet God is gracious, and He loves us, and as His creatures He wants to display His glory in us by rescuing us from that. And so He sent His Son—God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ—to be born as a helpless little baby (John 1:14; 3:16; Col 2:9). God of the universe, Sustainer of the universe, Himself being sustained in the womb of a teenage Hebrew girl, and upholding the world by the word of His power (Heb 1:3) while He is upheld by the nutrients from her own body! Unspeakable! And in great humility, He grows up with the growing pains of life in a fallen world, though He Himself never being with any sin—without sin entirely (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26). And He lives a perfectly righteous life. The way that you and I have failed to live before God—the way that we have failed in thought, word, and deed, and fallen short of God’s glory—Christ never did. Not even a thought. He loved God, His Father, perfectly. He always walked in perfect righteousness. He lived the life that you were commanded to live, that I was commanded to live, that we failed to live. He lived that perfect life that God is worthy of.

And not only did He live for us, He died for us. He went to the cross. Our sin demanded death. Our sin demanded eternal punishment. Our sin demanded wrath—just wrath exercised on us for eternity (Rom 6:23). But because of the infinite worth of Christ’s person, He was on that cross. And on that cross, God exercised upon Him the full fury of His own anger (Rom 3:24–26; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:10–14), that was rightly due to me and rightly due to you, and that you will experience if you don’t turn from your sin and trust in this Messiah. Christ was born, lived, died, and was raised (1 Cor 15:3–4). And He rose from the grave after being dead, demonstrating His victory over sin and death.

And now God promises that if you turn from your sin, if you repudiate all that you are and all that you were and all that you love, and you turn away from a life of pursuing sin—and if you repudiate not only your bad works but your good works, if you turn from trying to earn your salvation by all the good deeds that you might want to do as a moral person—if you turn away from all of that (Acts 17:30–31), and you trust in Christ alone for righteousness (Phil 3:7–8; cf. Rom 3:28; 10:4), God promises that He will forgive you. He will have treated Christ on the cross as if Christ lived your life. And He will then treat you, justly and legally and righteously, as if you lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And you can be saved to know the God you were created to love and enjoy. You can have the fullness of joy, the eternal pleasures that are at the Father’s right hand in heaven (Ps 16:11), and begin even now, because eternal life is to know God (John 17:3).

Friend, would you repent? Would you turn from your sin and trust in this perfect Savior to avail for you before God, to pay for your sin and to provide your righteousness?


A Gospel Presentation

God is Holy

The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created by God. And that God who has created everything has spoken to humanity in the Bible. And the Bible tells us that a fundamental characteristic of God is that He is holy. 1 John 1:5 says, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” That’s a way of saying that He’s entirely pure. God’s character is one of perfect moral uprightness. He is the essence of all that is good—so much so that, as the verse says, He can have absolutely no fellowship with “darkness”—no fellowship with that which is not perfectly holy, righteous, and pure.

God’s righteous character was expressed in the law He gave to Moses and the Israelites. You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments. They summarized the perfection of God’s character. These laws were directives for how people who were in a proper relationship with God must act.

We are Sinful

The problem is: all of us are sinful. We have all broken God’s law. All humanity has “gone astray like sheep, and each one of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve tried to live our lives without God, according to our own standards, in our own ways. Whether we’re drug addicts and murderers, or white collar, well-to-do, upstanding citizens, we do what we do because we want to do it, with no consideration for God and what He would have us to do. The Bible calls that sin. It is the missing of the mark, the falling short of God’s standard of righteousness.

And in your heart of hearts you know you’re a sinner. I don’t know anyone who would say that they are perfect, even by their own standards. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” And if God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all, then in order to have fellowship with Him, we’d need to be perfectly holy like Him. But we’re not. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are stained by the “darkness” of our sin. And this is a problem, because if darkness can’t dwell with light, and we’re darkness and God is light, we’re cut off from a relationship with Him. We become absolutely incapable of doing the very thing we were created and designed to do: to enjoy a relationship with our Creator.

There is a Penalty for Sin

But it’s not just that we and God can’t be friends. There’s a penalty to be paid for sin. The Bible tells us that that penalty is death, Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” But the death that Paul talks about there isn’t just physical death. It’s not like we pay for our sins by going out of existence. The death talked about in that verse is a spiritual death. This is hell: eternal conscious torment. Jesus Himself calls it “a furnace of fire,” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50).

The idea of hell grates against the sensibilities of modern people, because nobody thinks they’re really bad enough to deserve something like eternal torment. They might admit that they’re not the greatest of people, but surely they don’t deserve that. But their reasoning is skewed. The punishment for sin isn’t merely measured by the sin itself. In other words, while there are qualitative differences in the experience of divine punishment, murder, lust, and lying all receive the sentence of an eternity in hell. That’s because punishment for sin is measured by the One sinned against. All sin is fundamentally a sin against God, and He is infinitely holy. Therefore, sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. That’s why the punishment is so serious: because God is actually that righteous.

And so the bad news is that we’re sinful, separated from God, and doomed to spend eternity in hell. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t simply tell God we’re sorry and we won’t do it again. What would you say about a judge who let a guilty, convicted criminal go free because he was sorry and said he wouldn’t do it again? You’d call him an unjust judge. But God is a perfectly just, perfectly righteous Judge. God’s justice demands that sin be punished, and the only payment is eternal spiritual death.

God Became Man

But the Good News is: God saw the miserable condition of humanity, and took pity on us. He knew that there was no way we could ever earn our way back to Him. We could never pay for our sins. But just when man was absolutely hopeless, when we were all doomed to spend eternity in hell with no way to pay our penalty, God the Father sent His Son to the earth on a mission. He was miraculously born to a virgin. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit miraculously conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb. And so being conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was God. And being born to a human being, He was human. This is the greatest mystery in the universe. As finite human beings, we can’t entirely wrap our minds around this, but it’s true: Jesus was fully God and fully man.

He lived for 33 years on the earth. He grew up just like every other child. He became a carpenter like Joseph, His earthly father. The great difference, though, between Jesus and every other human being, was that He never sinned. Never once did He ever break God’s law. He always loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength in everything He did. He never sought satisfaction outside of the Father Himself. He never disobeyed His parents, He was never selfish, He never spoke sinful words. In a word, He lived the life that you and I should have lived, but failed to live. He lived a life totally worthy of God, a life that was purely “Light,” like we said before, with no darkness at all.

Jesus Paid the Penalty

And because He was perfectly righteous, He was fit to be the substitute for sinners. The Bible records for us that the Jews plotted to kill Jesus because He preached a message that was very different to the religious establishment of His day. It was against the Jewish law to put people to death, so they sought help from the Romans, who were the governing body in Israel. Because the governor, Pontius Pilate, feared that the people would riot if he didn’t give them what they wanted, he agreed to crucify Jesus.

At the same time, Scripture also tells us that God sent His Son to die this way. It was all part of God’s plan. God used the sinful desires of the Jews and the Romans to accomplish something for His own good purpose. On the cross, Jesus suffered for sins. But He didn’t suffer for His own sins. He had no sins. He lived an entirely perfect life. No, on the cross, God “caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

The verse right before that, Isaiah 53:5, says, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” What was happening on the cross was: God was carrying out the punishment against my sins—i.e., the pouring out of His wrath—on His innocent Son. Jesus voluntarily laid down His life in order to pay the penalty for sins. On the cross, God treated Jesus if He lived my life. And because I believe in Him, He treats me as if I lived Jesus’ life. See, because God is perfectly righteous, the only way to get to heaven is to be perfectly righteous. But because Jesus was perfectly righteous, and traded places with me on the cross, the perfect righteousness I need to go to heaven is His righteousness applied to my account.

After Jesus died, God miraculously raised Him from the dead three days later in order to show that He was satisfied with His sacrifice. Jesus was dead, but then He came back to life! It was a miracle. The Bible says God did this to “furnish proof to all men” that this message is true (Acts 17:30-31).


Law or Gospel — Which comes first?

Sometimes in life, the question is posed to us, “Which do you want first — the bad news or the good news?”

In response to this question, some choose to hear the good news first. It appears they desire to be thoroughly overwhelmed with the positive before getting their dose of the negative.

Others choose differently. They would rather hear the bad news first, get it out of the way, and put behind them their wonder and worry. Then, after processing the ramifications of the bad news, they hope to soothe the pain an end the conversation on a good note with positive vibes.

Well, Scripture does not offer us options. The Bible makes the choice for us, and it chooses to present the negative before the positive. The Bible declares bad news before declaring good news. It first presents the holy, wise, beneficial and condemning Law, then it publishes the “good tidings of great joy” or the Gospel. (Is. 60:1-2)

Understanding God’s Law

God’s Law was first presented in the opening chapters of Genesis. Some of it was stated; all of it was written upon man’s heart. Adam and Eve were to be entirely holy and obedient. They were to worship God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, all the time. Whether they ate, or drank, or whatsoever they did, they were do to it all for the glory of God. As image-bearers, they were to keep up God’s image. As men and women created in his likeness, they were to be like God. Vocationally, they were to enjoy and steward the garden and all God’s creatures. Relationally, they were to love one another and populate the planet. Ceremonially, they were to enjoy and glorify the Lord by walking with him in the cool of the day and never eating from the forbidden tree. These were some of their obligations, and as long as they performed perfectly they were guaranteed life in the family and kingdom of God.

However, things soon went from glorious to ghastly. Outside of them, they experienced the testing of God and the temptation of Satan. Within them they chose to question God’s truth, wisdom, and affection. Then, drawn away by their own lusts and enticed, they followed their internal sinful inclinations and externally ate of the forbidden fruit. Therefore, the holy, wise, and beneficial Law became a harsh taskmaster. It showed them the standard, showed them their guilt, and plagued their consciences. It encouraged them to hide, fear, and religiously self-medicate. It declared them wicked, separated from God, at enmity with God, and deserving of death, and it promised this for both them and their children. Yes, the Law of God promised to give them that which they deserved. It promised to pay them based upon performance, and this proved to be very, very bad news.

Understanding God’s Gospel

God, through the Law declared to Adam and Eve who they were, what they had done, and what they had justly earned — condemnation. Then God mercifully, graciously, and lovingly went to work. He performed on their behalf and promised them an eternity of undeserved blessings:

He predetermined to love his enemies.
He sought out his enemies while they hid from him in fear.
He called to the man and woman who vainly had self-medicated themselves.
He promised to rescue them and their children; they would be removed from Satan’s family.
He promised to do so by means of a special Son – one to come who would be fiercely bitten yet ultimately victorious.
He promised to damn the Evil One.
He then covered or clothed Adam and Eve by means of his ceremonial sacrifice.
He perfectly performed for and made promises to them who had performed so wickedly for him.
Friends, are we seeing the difference? The Law presents our duty to perfectly perform, and it only results in bad news. For there is none who keep all the Law, all the time, both internally and externally. However, the Gospel is not like the Law. The Gospel presents not our duty to perform for God, but it presents God’s performance and promise for us. Through the Law we lose our credentials to be a part of God’s family and enjoy his kingdom. Through the Gospel we gain credentials that cannot be earned or lost.

A Great Illustration

Perhaps nowhere is the distinction better seen between Law and Gospel than on Calvary’s cross. On that day, the Law had placed a criminal beside Jesus. There he was guilty, vile, dying, hopeless, and still hurling insults at the Son of God. He was getting that which he earned and deserved. He was being treated justly and fairly. His payment was based upon his performance, and he had hell to pay. The Law had nothing good to say to the thief on the cross. But then God went to work; Jesus granted the Law-breaking criminal complete pardon, intimate communion, and never-ending paradise. These blessings were not based upon any labors of his own, but only based upon the performance and promise of God. These blessings were not earned; they were a gift. A divine swap occurred. Jesus (The Law Keeping Man) received that which he did not deserve so that the thief (The Law Breaking Man) might also receive that which he did not deserve. And this is a fantastic picture of the Gospel. Communion with God that was lost by man seeking to keep the Law, was granted to man as a gift of God.

Responding to the Gospel

Therefore, how should we respond to the Gospel? While believing in divine sovereignty, what is our human responsibility?

Let us make the Gospel our Gospel. Along with the Apostle Paul let us call it “mine.” The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit offer this gift to you. They command you to receive it and enjoy it. If you find yourself with faith, willing to repent and receive, call out to Jesus in prayer right now. Call Jesus, “My Jesus.” Call Jesus’ righteousness, “My Righteousness.” Call Jesus’ Gospel, “My Gospel.” (Rom. 2:16; 2 Tim. 2:8) Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. As a matter of fact, if you draw near to God, it is only because he has already been drawing nearer to you.

Let us not water down the Gospel. This is always our tendency, to add human works to the sufficient work of Jesus Christ. Friends, re-read the letter to the Galatians. If we must perform, it is not Gospel. If we must labor, it is not Gospel. If it involves our works, it is not Gospel. If it is conditioned upon us in anyway, it is not Gospel. If it is a contract, it is not Gospel. If it can be lost, it is not Gospel. The Gospel represents the unilateral work of God on behalf of men. The Law ought never be divorced from the Gospel, but it must never be confused either.

Let us celebrate the Gospel. William Tyndall wrote of the Gospel, “It makes a man’s heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy.” It is the best of news. It means we can sabbath. It means we can boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence. It means we are seen as Christlike image-bearers. Give God the celebratory praise he deserves. He has labored perfectly on your behalf, give him reverent and radical praise and worship.

Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel. (Rom.1:16) Paul wrote, “Woe if I do not preach the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:16) He wrote, “How beautiful are the feet of those who spread the Good News.” Friends, just as Adam and Eve were to physically reproduce, we are to spiritually reproduce around the world. This is our mission. This is our great mission. This is our Great Commission. Let us be humble, for we cannot make someone believe. Let us be zealous, for God has a tendency to honor those who labor hard. And let us become flexibly relevant in order to better spread the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:22-23) As Gospel-lovers and Gospel-beneficiants, let us do that which is Lawful and bring in the Gospel-harvest.

Then, let us live Lawfully in accordance with the Gospel. Now that we have been saved from having to perform, let us perform. Yes, with Gospel-eyes, let us look at the Law and enjoy practicing that which is holy, wise, beneficial, and worshipful. Living in the power of the Gospel, let us enjoy becoming more and more like Jesus — the Author and Finisher of our Faith. And when we look at the Law, let us not get frustrated and despondent. Instead, let us glory in the Law, for there is the description of who we are in Christ today, and it also shows us all we will be in glory tomorrow when our old flesh is finally exterminated.

Bottom line, the Law shows us how to perform for God, but the Gospel shows us how God performs for us. This is radical. This is crazy. This is beautiful. This is truth.


Our Response

And now, God promises that…

  • if you acknowledge that you are a sinner—that you have broken His law,
  • and if you admit that there is no way that you could earn His favor and His forgiveness,
  • and if you purpose to turn away from your life of sin and commit your life to Him,
  • and if you trust in Jesus’ righteousness alone for your acceptance before this holy God,

…then He will have treated Jesus as if He lived your life, and will treat you as if you lived Jesus’ life. You will be saved from the penalty of your sin, and will be able to enjoy fellowship with God forever in heaven, and even fellowship with Him starting now.

In other words, if you believe that you’re a sinner and deserve God’s punishment because of your sin, but you also believe that God sent Jesus to endure that punishment in your place, and that His sacrifice is the only way you can be forgiven, then God promises that He will forgive you and you will be saved. You’ll know the God who created you.

Don’t Waste Your Life

God designed your soul. And He designed you so that, just as a car engine is designed to run on gasoline, you’re designed to run on Him. He is what life is about. All of the disappointments, discouragements, and uncertainties of your life find their resolution in Him. And all of the satisfactions, fun experiences, and joys of life find their consummation in Him. Everything good in our lives is like a trail of breadcrumbs that leads us to the feast of God Himself. And everything bad in our lives is a reminder that life lived apart from knowing God in Christ is not the way it was meant to be.

And I also don’t want to see you waste your life. God created us for the purpose of rightly knowing and worshiping Him. That’s the meaning of life. That’s where true happiness and satisfaction are found. When you don’t live your life for that purpose, you waste it. So many people go through life seeking that happiness, but never find it because they don’t know what life is really about. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to suffer God’s wrath eternally for your sin. I want to spend eternity in heaven worshiping God with you, praising Him for how gracious He was to forgive our sins because of Christ’s sacrifice.

Receive Forgiveness

So would you receive Christ? Would you acknowledge your sinfulness before God and admit you can’t do a thing about it? Would you turn from your sin, and seek to live your life in submission to Jesus Christ? Would you trust in Jesus alone for your righteousness before God? Would you join me in worshiping the God we were created to know?

Source


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints

Notice all the Scripture references!

It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).

The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).

In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 270.


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

January 19, 2017: Verse of the day

img_0609

The Soul Has Been Given to God

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, (12:1a)

Urge is from parakaleō, which has the basic meaning of calling alongside in order to help or give aid. It later came to connote exhorting, admonishing, or encouraging. In His Upper Room discourse, shortly before His betrayal and arrest, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Paraklētos, our divine Helper (also translated Comforter, Counselor, Advocate). He would be “another Helper,” who in this present life takes the place of the incarnate Lord (John 14:16; cf. v. 26; 15:26; 16:7).

Paul is speaking as a human helper or counselor to his Christian brethren in Rome. His admonition is a command that carries the full weight of his apostleship. It is not optional. Yet he also wanted to come alongside those brethren as a fellow believer, to lovingly encourage them to fulfill what already was the true inner desire and bent of their new hearts—to dedicate themselves without reservation to the Lord who had redeemed them. He reflects the same humble tenderness seen in his admonition to Philemon, to whom he wrote, “Though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do that which is proper, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you” (Philem. 8–9).

The gentle command [urge] that Paul proceeds to give can only be obeyed by brethren, by those who already belong to God’s family. No other offering is acceptable to God unless we have first offered Him our souls. For Christians, that first element of “a living and holy sacrifice” has already been presented to God.

The unregenerate person cannot give God his body, his mind, or his will, because He has not given God himself. Because he has no saving relationship to God, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14). Only the redeemed can present a living sacrifice to God, because only the redeemed have spiritual life. And only believers are priests who can come before God with an offering.

“For what will a man be profited,” Jesus said, “if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). The soul is the inner, invisible part of man that is the very essence of his being. Therefore, until a man’s soul belongs to God, nothing else matters or has any spiritual significance.

The loving generosity of the Macedonian churches was made possible and was acceptable to God and praised by Paul because the believers in those churches “first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God” (2 Cor. 8:5). Before anything else worthwhile and acceptable can be given to God, the self must be given to Him in saving faith toward Jesus Christ for regeneration.

Earlier in the epistle Paul has made clear that “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). No matter what his personal feelings might be, the unredeemed person cannot worship God, cannot make an acceptable offering to God, cannot please God in any way with any offering. That is analogous to what Paul meant when he said, “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3). If a person does not possess the love of God, all of his offerings, no matter how costly, are worthless to Him.

Because an unbeliever’s soul has not been offered to God, he cannot make any other sacrifice that is acceptable to Him. The unredeemed cannot present their bodies to God as living sacrifices because they have not presented themselves to God to receive spiritual life.

Therefore refers back to the glorious doxology just given in the previous four verses (11:33–36). It is because “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things,” that to Him belongs “the glory forever.” We can only glorify the Lord—we can only want to glorify the Lord—if we have been saved by the mercies of God.

As noted above, God already “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). The mercies of God of which Paul speaks here include the many gracious blessings, or grace gifts (cf. 11:29), that he has discussed in the first eleven chapters of Romans.

Perhaps the two most precious mercies of God are His love and His grace. In Christ, we are the “beloved of God” (Rom. 1:7; cf. Rom. 5:5; Rom. 8:35, Rom. 8:39), and, like the apostle, we all “have received grace” through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 1:6–7; Rom. 3:24; Rom. 5:2, Rom. 5:20–21; Rom. 6:15). The mercies of God are reflected in His power of salvation (Rom. 1:16) and in His great kindnesstoward those He saves (2:4; 11:22). His mercies in Christ bring us the forgiveness and propitiation of our sins (3:25; 4:7–8) and also freedom from them (6:18; 7:6). We have received reconciliation with Him (5:10), justification (2:13; 3:4; etc.) before Him, conformation to His Son (8:29), glorification (8:30) in His very likeness, eternal life (5:21; 6:22–23) in His very presence, and the resurrection of our bodies (8:11) to serve Him in His everlasting kingdom. We have received the mercies of divine sonship (8:14–17) and of the Holy Spirit—who personally indwells us (Rom. 8:9, 11), who intercedes for us (8:26), and through whom “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts” (5:5). In Christ we also have received the mercies of faith (mentioned thirty times in Romans 1–11), peace (1:7; 2:10; 5:1; 8:6), hope (5:2; 202, 4). God’s mercies include His shared righteousness (3:21–22; 4:6, 11, 13; 5:17, 19, 21; etc.) and even His shared glory (Rom. 2:10; 5:2; 8:18; 9:23) and honor (2:10; cf. 9:21). And, of course, the mercies of God include His sovereign mercy (9:15–16, 18; 11:30–32).

Such soul-saving mercies should motivate believers to complete dedication. The New Testament gives many warnings about God’s chastisement of unfaithful and disobedient believers. “The one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption” (Gal. 6:8), and “Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6). One day “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). But the most compelling motivation for faithful, obedient living should not be the threat of discipline or loss of reward but overflowing and unceasing gratitude for the marvelous mercies of God.

The Body Must Be Given to God

to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (12:1b)

The second and consequent element of presenting ourselves to God is that of offering Him our bodies. After it is implied that believers have given their souls to God through faith in Jesus Christ, they are specifically called to present their bodies to Him as a living and holy sacrifice.

In the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), paristēmi (to present) was often used as a technical term for a priest’s placing an offering on the altar. It therefore carried the general idea of surrendering or yielding up. As members of God’s present “holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5), Christians are here exhorted to perform what is essentially a priestly act of worship. Because the verb is in the imperative, the exhortation carries the weight of a command.

The first thing we are commanded to present to God is our bodies. Because our souls belong to God through salvation, He already has the inner man. But He also wants the outer man, in which the inner man dwells.

Our bodies, however, are more than physical shells that house our souls. They are also where our old, unredeemed humanness resides. In fact, our humanness is a part of our bodies, whereas our souls are not. Our bodies incorporate our humanness, our humanness incorporates our flesh, and our flesh incorporates our sin, as Romans 6 and 7 so clearly explain.

Our bodies therefore encompass not only our physical being but also the evil longings of our mind, emotions, and will. “For while we were in the flesh,” Paul informs us, “the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death” (Rom 7:5). Long after he was saved, however, the apostle confessed, “For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:22–23). In other words, the redeemed soul must reside in a body of flesh that is still the beachhead of sin, a place that can readily be given to unholy thoughts and longings. It is that powerful force within our “mortal bodies” that tempts and lures us to do evil. When they succumb to the impulses of the fleshly mind, our “mortal bodies” again become instruments of sin and unrighteousness.

It is a fearful thing to consider that, if we allow them to, our fallen and unredeemed bodies are still able to thwart the impulses of our redeemed and eternal souls. The body is still the center of sinful desires, emotional depression, and spiritual doubts. Paul gives insight into that sobering reality when he said, “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). In order to maintain a holy life and testimony and to minister effectively, even the great apostle had to exert himself strongly and continually in order to control the human and sinful part of himself that persistently wanted to rule and corrupt his life and his work for the Lord. In Romans 8, we learned that he had to kill the flesh. Paul also said that God had given him a “thorn,” or a stake, on which to impale his otherwise proud flesh (2 Cor. 12:7).

It is helpful to understand that dualistic Greek philosophy still dominated the Roman world in New Testament times. This pagan ideology considered the spirit, or soul, to be inherently good and the body to be inherently evil. And because the body was deemed worthless and would eventually die anyway, what was done to it or with it did not matter. For obvious reasons, that view opened the door to every sort of immorality. Tragically, many believers in the early church, who have many counterparts in the church today, found it easy to fall back into the immoral practices of their former lives, justifying their sin by the false and heretical idea that what the body did could not harm the soul and had no spiritual or eternal significance. Much as in our own day, because immorality was so pervasive, many Christians who did not themselves lead immoral lives became tolerant of sin in fellow believers, thinking it merely was the flesh doing what it naturally did, completely apart from the soul’s influence or responsibility.

Yet Paul clearly taught that the body can be controlled by the redeemed soul. He told the sinful Corinthians that the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body” (1 Cor. 6:11–13).

Scripture makes clear that God created the body as good (Genesis), and that, despite their continuing corruption by sin, the bodies of redeemed souls will also one day be redeemed and sanctified. Even now, our unredeemed bodies can and should be made slaves to the power of our redeemed souls.

As with our souls, the Lord created our bodies for Himself, and, in this life, He cannot work through us without in some way working through our bodies. If we speak for Him, it must be through our mouths. If we read His Word, it must be with our eyes (or hands for those who are blind). If we hear His Word it must be through our ears. If we go to do His work, we must use our feet, and if we help others in His name, it must be with our hands. And if we think for Him, it must be with our minds, which now reside in our bodies. There can be no sanctification, no holy living, apart from our bodies. That is why Paul prayed, “May the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).

It is because our bodies are yet unredeemed that they must be yielded continually to the Lord. It was also for that reason that Paul warned, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts” (Rom. 6:12). Paul then gave a positive admonition similar to the one found in our text (12:1), preceded by its negative counterpart: “Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:13). Under God’s control, our unredeemed bodies can and should become instruments of righteousness.

Paul rhetorically asked the believers at Corinth, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19). In other words, our unredeemed bodies are temporarily the home of God! It is because our bodies are still mortal and sinful that, “having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23). Our spiritual “citizenship is in heaven,” Paul explained to the Philippians, “from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20–21).

We cannot prevent the remnants of sin from persisting in our mortal bodies. But we are able, with the Lord’s power, to keep that sin from ruling our bodies. Since we are given a new, Spirit-indwelt nature through Christ, sin cannot reign in our souls. And it should not reign in our bodies (Rom. 8:11). Sin will not reign “if by the Spirit [we] are putting to death the deeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13; cf. 6:16). (For a complete discussion of Romans 6–8, see the Romans 1–8 volume in this commentary series.)

Paul admonishes us, by God’s mercies, to offer our imperfect but useful bodies to the Lord as a living and holy sacrifice. As noted above, Paul uses the language of the Old Testament ritual offerings in the Tabernacle and Temple, the language of the Levitical priesthood. According to the Law, a Jew would bring his offering of an animal to the priest, who would take it, slay it, and place it on the altar in behalf of the person who brought it.

But the sacrifices required by the Law are no longer of any effect, not even symbolic effect, because, “When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:11–12).

Sacrifices of dead animals are no longer acceptable to God. Because the Lamb of God was sacrificed in their place, the redeemed of the Lord are now to offer themselves, all that they are and have, as living sacrifices. The only acceptable worship under the New Covenant is the offering of oneself to God.

From the very beginning, God’s first and most important requirement for acceptable worship has been a faithful and obedient heart. It was because of his faith, not because of his material offering, that “Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain” (Heb. 11:4). It is because God’s first desire is for a faithful and obedient heart that Samuel rebuked King Saul for not completely destroying the Amalekites and their animals and for allowing the Israelites to sacrifice some of those animals to the Lord at Gilgal. The prophet said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22).

David, Saul’s successor to the throne, understood that truth. When confronted by the prophet Nathan concerning his adultery with Bathsheba, David did not offer an animal sacrifice but rather confessed, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17). David offered God his repentant heart as a living sacrifice—apart from outward, visible ceremony—and he was forgiven (2 Sam. 12:13).

A helpful illustration of the difference between a dead and a living sacrifice is the story of Abraham and Isaac. Isaac was the son of promise, the only heir through whom God’s covenant with Abraham could be fulfilled. He was miraculously conceived after Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was far past childbearing age. It could only be from Isaac that God’s chosen nation, whose citizens would be as numberless as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore (Gen. 15:5; 22:17), could descend. But when Isaac was a young man, probably in his late teens, God commanded Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you” (Gen. 22:2). Without question or hesitation, Abraham immediately began to obey. After reaching Moriah and having tied Isaac to the altar, Abraham was ready to plunge the knife into his beloved son’s heart.

Had he carried out that sacrifice, Isaac would have been a dead offering, just like the sheep and rams that later would be offered on the Temple altar by the priests of Israel. Abraham would have been a living sacrifice, as it were, saying to God in effect, “I will obey you even if it means that I will live without my son, without my heir, without the hope of your covenant promise being fulfilled.” But Isaac, the son of promise,would have been a dead sacrifice.

Hebrews 11:19 makes clear that Abraham was willing to slay Isaac because he was certain that God could raise him from the dead if necessary to keep His promise. Abraham was willing to commit absolutely everything to God and to trust Him, no matter how great the demand and how devastating the sacrifice, because God would be faithful.

God did not require either father or son to carry out the intended sacrifice. Both men already had offered the real sacrifice that God wanted—their willingness to give to Him everything they held dear.

The living sacrifice we are to offer to the Lord who died for us is the willingness to surrender to Him all our hopes, plans, and everything that is precious to us, all that is humanly important to us, all that we find fulfilling. Like Paul, we should in that sense “die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31), because for us “to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). For the sake of his Lord and for the sake of those to whom he ministered, the apostle later testified, “Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all” (Phil. 2:17).

Because Jesus Christ has already made the only dead sacrifice the New Covenant requires—the only sacrifice that has power to save men from eternal death—all that remains for worshipers today is the presentation of themselves as living sacrifices.

The story is told of a Chinese Christian who was moved with compassion when many of his countrymen were taken to work as coolies in South African mines. In order to be able to witness to his fellow Chinese, this prominent man sold himself to the mining company to work as a coolie for five years. He died there, still a slave, but not until he had won more than 200 men to Christ. He was a living sacrifice in the fullest sense.

In the mid-seventeenth century, a somewhat well-known Englishman was captured by Algerian pirates and made a slave. While a slave, he founded a church. When his brother arranged his release, he refused freedom, having vowed to remain a slave until he died in order to continue serving the church he had founded. Today a plaque in an Algerian church bears his name.

David Livingstone, the renowned and noble missionary to Africa, wrote in his journal,

People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward of healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?
… Away with such a word, such a view, and such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering or danger now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not talk when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us. (Livingstone’s Private Journal: 1851–53, ed.. I. Schapera [London: Chatto & Windus, 1960], pp. 108, 132)

Like Livingstone, Christians who offer a living sacrifice of themselves usually do not consider it to be a sacrifice. And it is not a sacrifice in the common sense of losing something valuable. The only things we entirely give up for God—to be removed and destroyed—are sin and sinful things, which only bring us injury and death. But when we offer God the living sacrifice of ourselves, He does not destroy what we give Him but refines it and purifies it, not only for His glory but for our present and eternal good.

Our living sacrifice also is to be holy. Hagios (holy) has the literal sense of being set apart for a special purpose. In secular and pagan Greek society the word carried no idea of moral or spiritual purity. The manmade gods were as sinful and degraded as the men who made them, and there simply was no need for a word that represented righteousness. Like the Hebrew scholars who translated the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint), Christianity sanctified the term, using it to describe God, godly people, and godly things.

Under the Old Covenant, a sacrificial animal was to be without spot or blemish. That physical purity symbolized the spiritual and moral purity that God required of the offerer himself. Like that worshiper who was to come to God with “clean hands and a pure heart” (Ps. 24:4), the offering of a Christian’s body not only should be a living but also a holy sacrifice.

Through Malachi, the Lord rebuked those who sacrificed animals that were blind and otherwise impaired. “When you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” (Mal. 1:8). Those people were willing to give a second-rate offering to the Lord that they would not think of presenting as a gift or tax payment to a government official. They feared men more than God.

Although we have been counted righteous and are being made righteous because of salvation in Jesus Christ, we are not yet perfected in righteousness. It is therefore the Lord’s purpose for His church to “sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:25–27). That was also Paul’s purpose for those to whom he ministered. “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy,” he told the Corinthian Christians; “for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin” (2 Cor. 11:2).

Sadly, like those in Malachi’s day, many people today are perfectly willing to give God second best, the leftovers that mean little to them—and mean even less to Him.

Only a living and holy sacrifice, the giving of ourselves and the giving of our best, is acceptable to God. Only in that way can we give Him our spiritual service of worship.

Logikos (spiritual) is the term from which we get logic and logical. Our offerings to God are certainly to be spiritual, but that is not what Paul is speaking about at this point. Logikos also can be translated reasonable, as in the King James Version. The apostle is saying that, in light of “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” and of His “unsearchable… judgments and unfathomable…ways”; and because “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:33, 36), including His immeasurable “mercies” that we already have received (12:1a), our only reasonable—and by implication, spiritual—service of worship is to present God with all that we are and all that we have.

Service of worship translates the single Greek word latreia, which refers to service of any kind, the context giving it the added meaning of worship. Like paristēmi and hagios (mentioned above), latreia was used in the Greek Old Testament to speak of worshiping God according to the prescribed Levitical ceremonies, and it became part of the priestly, sacrificial language. The priestly service was an integral part of Old Testament worship. The writer of Hebrews uses latreia to describe the “divine worship” (9:6 NASB), or “service of God” (KJV), per-formed by Old Testament priests.

True worship does not consist of elaborate and impressive prayers, intricate liturgy, stained-glass windows, lighted candles, flowing robes, incense, and classical sacred music. It does not require great talent, skill, or leadership ability. Many of those things can be a part of the outward forms of genuine worship, but they are acceptable to God only if the heart and mind of the worshiper is focused on Him. The only spiritual service of worship that honors and pleases God is the sincere, loving, thoughtful, and heartfelt devotion and praise of His children.

During a conference in which I was preaching on the difference between true and false believers, a man came to me with tears running down his cheeks, lamenting, “I believe I’m a sham Christian.” I replied, “Let me ask you something. What is the deepest desire of your heart? What weighs heaviest on your heart? What occupies your mind and thoughts more than anything else?” He answered, “My greatest desire is to give all I am and have to Jesus Christ.” I said, “Friend, that is not the desire of a sham Christian. That is the Spirit-prompted desire of a redeemed soul to become a living sacrifice.”

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

January 19, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

January 19

Known by Obedience

According to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith.

Romans 16:26

Did you know it’s not faith plus obedience that equals salvation, but obedient faith that equals salvation? True faith is verified in your obedience to God.

Because Jesus is Lord, He demands obedience. There is no faith without obedience. Paul said to the Roman Christians, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Rom. 1:8). And why was their faith spoken of throughout the world? Romans 16:19 explains: “Your obedience has become known to all.” In the beginning, it is your faith that is spread abroad, but in the end it is your obedience.

Faith that excludes obedience won’t save anyone. The delusion that it will causes many people to take the broad road that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13–14). That’s like building a religious super–structure on sand (Matt. 7:21–29).

Build your life in obedience to Christ. Then you’ll know that you belong to Him.[1]


January 19 Christ’s Gentle Example

“Walk … with all … gentleness.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

✧✧✧

Jesus is the greatest example of gentleness: He became angry when God the Father was dishonored, but not when He, the Son, was.

Jesus Christ is our supreme example of gentleness. Paul refers specifically to this in 2 Corinthians 10:1. Jesus Himself said, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29).

Jesus showed righteous indignation when it was proper. When He found the Temple filled with people selling exorbitantly priced sacrificial animals, He drove them out, pouring out their money and overturning tables (Matt. 21:12). He told them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den” (v. 13). Jesus later said to the scribes and Pharisees, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?” (23:33). He did not stand idly by while the Temple was defiled. He spoke out in judgment against hypocrites who dishonored God.

Even though Jesus became angry when God was maligned, He neither retaliated against nor condemned those who attacked Him. “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:21–23). When God’s Temple was defiled, Jesus cleaned it out. But when the temple of His body was defiled, enduring the agony of the cross, with mockers all around, all He said was, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). That’s supreme gentleness—total selflessness.

It’s so easy to strike back when someone criticizes or attacks us, but that’s not the way of the gentle Christian trying to walk worthy. The only time we should let the lion in us roar is when God’s honor is at stake. Jesus forgave those who crucified Him. How can we do any less to those who hurt us?

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: We all fall short of Christ’s example of gentleness. Pray that God would help you each day to reflect more and more the gentleness of Christ.

For Further Study: Read the account of Christ’s arrest and crucifixion in Matthew 26:47–27:50. Did He have the power to strike back (26:53)? ✧ Find all the instances you can in which Christ demonstrated His gentleness.[2]


JANUARY 19

WE BEGIN WITH GOD

By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

—Colossians 1:16-17

Now, I know that some have said about me: “That man is always talking about God!” I can only say in reply that if that is the only charge that anyone can properly bring against me, I will be quite a happy man. I know that I talk a lot about God—about the triune God, because I still believe in God. I believe in Him as God Almighty, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son and our Lord, and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

We do begin with God here, where all truth begins, for God is the one true and absolute reality. Back of all, and underneath and supporting all things, He girds the universe and holds it up and guides it.

God does that. That is the only explanation for the universe and the only explanation of human life, for as Creator He gives to human life its meaning and significance.

He is the sacred meaning that gives validity to all meaning. Exclude God from your thinking and you will find yourself with no sense of moral values—you will have no standard of right or wrong. EFE040

Lord, may I also talk “too much” about You. May I keep You first in everything I do, think or say today. Enable me by Your Spirit, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen. [3]


January 19

Why Jesus Rejected Sensationalism

“On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”—Matt. 4:7

The Lord Jesus had two good reasons for not participating in a worldly spectacle such as jumping from the temple roof. First, such sensationalism is captive to the laws of diminishing returns. To generate and hold people’s allegiance to Him merely by stunning signs, Jesus would have needed to produce greater and greater signs. People would never have been satisfied and would always have demanded just one more miracle, one additional showy event. Real faith would not have been certain; they would have been lovers of sensation more than God, which similarly could happen to any of us who don’t trust God’s already revealed will.

Second, and more important, for Jesus to participate in sensational signs would have demonstrated a profound mistrust in His heavenly Father and a presumptuous, faithless testing of God. But that’s what the devil wanted so that Jesus’ sin would shatter His claim to divinity and ruin humanity’s hope of salvation. Such an action would have questioned the Father’s providence and love—and the wisdom of His redemptive plan.

If our sinless Savior and Lord shunned sensationalism, we as imperfect men and women ought never to live recklessly or carelessly, expecting God to rescue us when we get into earthly trouble or spiritual peril.

ASK YOURSELF
Perhaps you don’t consider yourself a risk-taker. But looking honestly at your own life, do you spot some behaviors that are spiritually risky, actions that presume on the grace of God? In humble repentance today, surrender these things to the Lord. Receive, but don’t force, His great mercy.[4]

JANUARY 19

SALVATION’S PRICE

But without faith it is impossible to please him.

Hebrews 11:6

Too many Christian leaders, acting like enthusiastic promoters, are teaching that the essence of faith is this: “Come to Jesus—it will cost you nothing!”

The price has all been paid—“it will cost you nothing!”

Brethren, that is a dangerous half-truth. There is always a price connected with salvation and with discipleship.

God’s grace is free, no doubt about that. No one in the wide world can make any human payment toward the plan of salvation or the forgiveness of sins.

I take issue on Bible grounds with the statement that “everyone in the world has faith—all you have to do is turn your faith loose.”

That is truly a misconception of what the Bible teaches about men and God and faith. Actually, faith is a rare and wonderful plant that lives and grows only in the penitent soul.

The teaching that everyone has faith is simply a form of humanism in the guise of Christianity. I warn you that any faith that belongs to everybody is not the faith that saves. It is not that faith which is a gift of God to the broken and contrite heart!

 

Lord, I praise You for extending Your grace so freely to me. I repent of any sins I have committed, both knowingly and unknowingly. Help my faith in You to grow today.[5]


January 19 Embracing the Truth

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed . . .” (Eph. 1:13).

✧✧✧

The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him.

After stating salvation from God’s perspective in verse 12, Paul here states it from man’s perspective. Faith in Christ is your response to God’s elective purpose in your life. Those two truths—God’s initiative and man’s response—coexist throughout Scripture.

Paul rightly called the gospel “the message of truth” because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5) and purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6) and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), and they worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and obey the Word of truth (John 17:17).

Yet, as profound and powerful as God’s truth is, people have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed it for centuries. Some, like Pilate, cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away.

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “Jesus may be true for you, but that doesn’t mean He has to be true for me.” That view assumes that belief somehow determines truth. But just the opposite is the case. Truth determines the validity of one’s belief. Believing a lie doesn’t make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn’t make it a lie.

The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:3).

You will face today armed with the message of truth and empowered by the Spirit of truth. Truth is your protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Lost souls desperately need to hear that truth. Represent it well, and proclaim it with boldness.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord that by His Spirit He has enabled you to understand His truth (1 Cor. 2:14–16). ✧ Ask for wisdom and boldness to speak His truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 15:1–11 and Acts 17:30–31. ✧ What key elements of the gospel does Paul list? ✧ What is the relationship between Christ’s resurrection and God’s judgment on sinners?[6]


JANUARY 19

OBEDIENCE: THE FINAL TEST OF LOVE FOR CHRIST

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me…and I wilt love him, and will manifest myself to him.

JOHN 14:21

The final test of love is obedience, not sweet emotions, not willingness to sacrifice, not zeal, but obedience to the commandments of Christ!

Our Lord drew a line plain and tight for everyone to see. On one side He placed those who keep His commandments and said, “These love Me.” On the other side He put those who keep not His sayings, and said, “These love Me not.”

The commandments of Christ occupy in the New Testament a place of importance that they do not have in current evangelical thought. The idea that our relation to Christ is revealed by our attitude to His commandments is now considered legalistic by many influential Bible teachers, and the plain words of our Lord are rejected outright or interpreted in a manner to make them conform to religious theories ostensibly based upon the epistles of Paul.

The Christian cannot be certain of the reality and depth of his love until he comes face-to-face with the commandments of Christ and is forced to decide what to do about them. Then he will know!

I think we should turn for a while from finespun theological speculations about grace and faith and humbly read the New Testament with a mind to obey what we see there. Love for Christ is a love of willing, as well as a love of feeling, and it is psychologically impossible to love Him adequately unless we will to obey His words![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 30). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 27). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 31). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.