Daily Archives: April 25, 2017

April 25, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Apr. 25, 2017 |

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U.S. President Donald Trump intensified a trade dispute with Canada, slapping tariffs of up to 24 percent on imported softwood lumber in a move that drew swift criticism from the Canadian government, which vowed to sue if needed.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat seeking re-election this year, plans to expand the city’s free all-day pre-kindergarten program to include 3-year-old children.

North Sea oil is flooding into Asia like never before thanks to the most competitive crude prices in seven years. OPEC’s own output cuts are partly to blame.

The U.S. and North Korea both showed off their military prowess on Tuesday as nations in the region stepped up diplomatic talks to defuse a brewing crisis over Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program. The nuclear-powered USS Michigan, one of four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines capable of launching cruise missiles, arrived at the South Korean port of Busan. South Korea’s navy said it had no plans for a joint military drill with the submarine.

Flight testing of Lockheed Martin’, F-35, the Pentagon’s costliest program, will take about a year to complete and require at least $1 billion more than planned, Congress’s watchdog agency said.

President Donald Trump may be willing to wait until September or possibly next year to secure federal funding for his controversial border wall, a shift that could make it possible for Congress to finish work on spending legislation in time to avoid a government shutdown.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities accelerated in the year through February for a fifth month, while nationwide property values also picked up, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data reported Tuesday. 20-city property values index climbed 5.9 percent from February 2016 (forecast was 5.8 percent), the fastest since July 2014, after increasing 5.7 percent in the year through January.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma said society should prepare for decades of pain as the internet disrupts the economy. The world must change education systems and establish how to work with robots to help soften the blow caused by automation and the internet economy.

Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at a record rate as they try to cope with the rapid acceleration of online shopping. In a little over three months, 14 chains have announced they will seek court protection, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, almost surpassing all of 2016.

AP Top Stories

A jury in Las Vegas has deadlocked on federal charges against four men in an armed standoff that stopped government agents from rounding up cattle near Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch in 2014. The judge declared a mistrial Monday after jurors couldn’t reach verdicts on charges against Richard Lovelien, Scott Drexler, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart. Earlier, the same jury convicted two others in the standoff.

More than three months after the Senate Intelligence Committee launched its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election – including allegations of collusion by associates of President Trump – the panel has made little progress and is increasingly stymied by partisan divisions that are jeopardizing the future of the inquiry, according to multiple sources involved in the probe.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis landed in Kabul on Monday, becoming the sixth Pentagon chief to land in the capital to check in on America’s longest war. He arrives as the Trump administration weighs its next move in the seemingly endless conflict that continues to claim American lives and cost billions of dollars a year, with no clear end in sight.

Barack Obama has reportedly agreed to speak at a Wall Street conference for almost half a million dollars. Mr. Obama’s reported speech fee is nearly twice as much as Hillary Clinton has charged private companies for similar style events.

The public prosecutor’s office in the New York borough of Brooklyn will change the way it deals with minor infractions by undocumented immigrants to lessen their risk of expulsion under the Trump administration, it said Monday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received a royal welcome from King Salman as he landed Sunday in Saudi Arabia for a visit to boost ties after months of tension.

Several mummies and more than 1,000 figurines have been discovered at an ancient cemetery located at Luxor in Egypt, archaeologists reported.

Israel indicted an 18-year-old American-Israeli Jew on Monday for a wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in the United States that stoked fears of a rising wave of anti-Semitism and threatening a Delaware state senator.

Militants in Iraq ambushed a convoy of off-duty soldiers near a town in the country’s sprawling western desert, killing at least 10 and wounding 20, officials said on Monday.

An American monitor with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe died after a mission patrol vehicle hit a landmine in the Russian-backed separatist east, eliciting sharp words towards Moscow from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday.

Huge swaths of Antarctica are awash in draining meltwater during the summer months, the first-ever continent-wide survey of meltwater shows.

BBC

A US submarine has arrived in South Korea, amid worries of another North Korean missile or nuclear test.

The state of Arkansas has executed two prisoners on death row after the US Supreme Court rejected their last-minute appeals.

WND

North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military as a U.S. submarine docked in South Korea in a show of force amid growing concern over the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

Fox News host Sean Hannity late Monday blasted “liberal fascists” who he said are attempting to “silence” conservative voices.


The Briefing 04-25-17

Siege warfare and the Syrian civil war: Why the Christian understanding of Just War Theory matters

Shouldn’t we just ban the bomb? Nuclear weapons and the problem of sin and knowledge

Canadian military tackles the soul-destroying question of when to shoot a child soldier

The post The Briefing 04-25-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 4/25/2017

German Weapons Giant Plans to Arm Ankara With New Turkish Panzer Factory
Germany’s largest supplier of military technology, Rheinmetall, is in talks with the Turkish authorities about building an arms factory in Turkey that will produce Panzers and other equipment for the Turkish army, the German newspaper Die Zeit reports.

Chile earthquake: 7.1 tremor strikes off coast near capital Santiago
A major earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck off the west coast of Chile on Monday, rocking the capital Santiago and briefly causing alarm along the Pacific Coast but not producing any serious damage.

With eyes on Washington, Cairo and Riyadh warm up ties, looks to cooperate
Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia share a sense of satisfaction with the advent of the Trump administration, which they see as reversing Obama policies that harmed them.

Entire U.S. Senate to go to White House for North Korea briefing
Top Trump administration officials will hold a rare briefing on Wednesday at the White House for the entire U.S. Senate on the situation in North Korea. All 100 senators have been asked to the White House for the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday.

Shocking Bible Code Matrix Contains The Exact Day And Year That David Rockefeller Would Die
“Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” For Rockefeller, death caught up with him before he ever got to see the fulfillment of his New World Order dream.

Is Israel planning to strike more Lebanese sites in next Hezbollah war?
The IDF Military Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek hinted strongly on Tuesday that he will approve a wider range of Lebanese targets than were approved in the 2006 Lebanon War in the event of a new war with Hezbollah. Speaking at a Ramat Gan conference of military Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers from as many as 20 countries around the world, Afek said that “Hezbollah’s integration into state institutions raises questions of state responsibility.”

German foreign minister calls Netanyahu ultimatum ‘regrettable’
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Tuesday it would be “regrettable” if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off a meeting between the two, as he threatened to do if the foreign minister met groups that have testified against Israel abroad. Gabriel, who has described Israel as an apartheid state, said it would be a “remarkable event, to put it mildly,” if Netanyahu canceled their planned talks, arguing it was normal to talk to civil society representatives.

Israeli Sharia court system appoints first-ever female judge
Israel’s Sharia Courts appointed on Tuesday Ana Hatib as their first-ever female judge. The historic decision was made by the judges selection committee headed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who hailed Hatib’s appointment as “great news for the Arab woman and Arab society.” The Sharia Courts in Israel handle personal status law issues like marriage and divorce for Muslim-Israelis and have functioned on an uninterrupted basis since Ottoman times, including when Israel was established in 1948.

Princeton campus plastered with antisemitic, racist fliers
Fliers with anti-Semitic, racist and anti-immigrant messages were posted on the campus of Princeton University. The fliers were discovered in at least four areas of the campus on Thursday, the Daily Princetonian student newspaper reported, including on the door to the main entrance of the campus Center for Jewish Life.

North Korea tensions: US submarine arrives in South Korea
A US submarine has arrived in South Korea, amid worries of another North Korean missile or nuclear test. The missile-armed USS Michigan is set to join an incoming group of warships led by aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. North Korea is celebrating its army’s 85th founding anniversary on Tuesday. It marked the event with a large-scale firing drill, South Korea said.

US imposes ‘sweeping’ Syria sanctions over ‘chemical’ attack
The US has imposed “sweeping” sanctions on officials in a Syrian government agency in response to a suspected chemical attack earlier this month. The treasury department ordered a freeze on all assets in the US of 271 employees of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC). The US believes it made the nerve agent that killed more than 80 people in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Potential government shutdown looms for Trump’s 100th day
President Donald Trump and lawmakers have begun negotiations on a spending bill. If no deal is reached, the government would shut down this Saturday, which is also the President’s 100th day in office. Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch joined Dana Loesch on “Dana” Monday to discuss the implications. Welch believed any shut down would end in a matter of hours, stating “This is how Congress functions now.”

DOJ Has Sent a Letter to 10 ‘Sanctuary Cities’ in Possible Violation of Immigration Law
…Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed he sent a letter to 10 cities functioning as so-called “sanctuary cities,” which may be in violation of federal law. Sessions warned a failure to respond to those letters could result in those cities losing their federal funding.

DNC Chair Calls for Abortion Rights Litmus Test for Democrats
The little tent of the Democratic Party just got smaller, as DNC chairman Tom Perez has called for all Democrats to walk in lockstep with Planned Parenthood on the question of abortion rights, effectively ruling out the possibility of “pro-life Democrats.” “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

Chile rocked by 7.1-magnitude quake; no major damage reported
A major earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck off the west coast of Chile on Monday, rocking the capital Santiago and briefly causing alarm along the Pacific Coast but not producing any serious damage.

Obama To Receive $400,000 Speaking Fee At Cantor Fitzgerald Conference
Shortly after Barack Obama delivered his first (free) speech today since leaving the White House in Chicago before an audience of community organizers and other fans, Fox News’ Charlie Gasparino reports that in what may be his first paid speaking arrangement, Obama will be paid $400,000 to speak at Cantor Fitzgerald’s healthcare conference this September, setting the benchmark for how much an hour of the former president’s time will cost going forward.

Trump To Order Corporate Tax Rate Cut To 15%, Loading Up To $2 Trillion In Extra Debt
Trump has ordered his White House aides to accelerate his tax plan, the WSJ writes, “slashing the corporate rate to 15% and prioritizing cuts in tax rates over an attempt to not increase the deficit” which means that without an offsetting source of revenue, Trump is about to unleash up to $2 trillion in extra debt, a proposal which will face fierce pushback from conservatives as it appears to be a continuation of the status quo under the Obama administration, and may well be DOA.

Washington D.C. To Hold Massive “Complex Coordinated Terror Attack” Drill
On April 26, we’ll go one step further and stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties.  However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.

After First Hundred Days Media Ignores Trump Decreased US Debt by $100B Since Inauguration  
USA Today is reporting that the government may shut down by this coming Friday if Congress does not provide President Trump with a bill to keep it going….Under President Obama, the US debt grew by more than $560 billion which was an increase of more than 5% in his first 3 months in office…

OBAMA’S DEAD POOL LIST: Are These Deaths “Coincidental” Or Death By Association
Obama’s ‘Dead Pool’ list … These findings are based on fact, you decide if it’s coincidence, or death by association.

Flashback: Obama’s CIA Ordered to Hack Marine Le Pen and Other French Presidential Candidates
Wikileaks released documents in February that show Obama’s CIA sent out orders to hack Marine Le Pen and other presidential candidates in France.


April 25, 2017
SIENA HOEFLING — When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly used chemical weapons against his own people, U.S. President Donald Trump answered with punitive missiles. Assad violated previous agreements, said Trump, and the United States had a security interest “to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”… (more)


April 24, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — An anti-Donald Trump “dossier” created by a former British spy and financed by Democratic-linked money has significant detractors: the people accused of crimes in a supposed Trump-Russia conspiracy. Three men – – Mr. Trump’s attorney, a campaign volunteer and a tech company CEO – – have publicly said that the parts about them in the dossier are fiction…. (more)

April 24, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A new Washington Post poll that declares President Trump as “the least popular president in modern times,” waits until the second to last paragraph to reveal another tidbit: He’d still beat Hillary Rodham Clinton if the election were held today and in the popular vote, not just Electoral College…. (more)


April 24, 2017
CHELSEA SCHILLING — Americans of all political stripes have a new daytime TV obsession, and their favorite, “wildly entertaining” show stars none other than White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Spicer, known for his scrappy encounters with members of the mainstream media, regularly calls out the press for what he sees as their inaccurate and biased reporting…. (more)

April 24, 2017
PAUL BREMMER — Border fences may keep the enemy out, but what do you do when the enemy is already inside your gates? That is the situation America faces…. (more)

April 24, 2017
DETROIT FREE PRESS — It was the summer of 1990. Mariya Taher was 7 years old, vacationing in India with her family, when one day her mother took her to a run-down apartment building without explaining why. She remembers climbing some stairs, opening a door and seeing older women in a room. There was laughter, and the place seemed cheerful…. (more)

April 24, 2017
PAUL BREMMER — House Speaker Paul Ryan’s approval rating has sunk to a low of 29 percent, lower than President Trump’s and lower than those of John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich at the same point during their first full terms as speaker…. (more)

April 23, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump used Earth Day on Saturday as a platform to deliver a message that wove a commitment to protecting the environment with support for American workers, The Hill reported Saturday… (more)


April 23, 2017
NEWSMAX — Bill Nye Saturday slammed President Donald Trump’s Twitter post on Earth Day, saying that “he’s being strongly influenced by the fossil-fuel industry – – and he’s not seeing the big picture.”… (more)

April 23, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Take the Women’s March on Washington, slash its attendance, throw in Bill Nye “the science guy,” and you have the formula for Saturday’s March for Science, the latest in this year’s series of anti-Trump protests…. (more)


April 23, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — Angry student mobs shutting down free speech on U.S. college campuses are behaving like “terrorists,” charges war hero Lt. Col. Allen West…. (more)

April 23, 2017
GEORGE WILL — In his first annual message to Congress, John Quincy Adams, among the most experienced and intellectually formidable presidents, warned leaders against giving the impression that “we are palsied by the will of our constituents.” In this regard, if in no other, the 45th president resembles the sixth…. (more)

April 23, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — We had to tell the judge. It was the middle of our terrorism trial in 1995, and the Blind Sheikh’s lawyer was trying to elicit hearsay from a witness – – some innocent-sounding remark the witness had heard the “emir of jihad” make. I bolted out of my seat to object. At the sidebar, I made the Evidence 101 point that if the Blind Sheikh wanted his words placed before the jury, he would need to take the stand and testify…. (more)


April 23, 2017
DETROIT NEWS — Federal agents arrested a second doctor and his wife Friday in a widening conspiracy involving female genital mutilation and members of a Muslim sect…. (more)

April 23, 2017
SELF.COM — In the nearly two years since Caitlyn Jenner first went public with her gender identity, she’s been upfront with her struggles as a transgender role model and advocated for transgender students. In her new book, The Secrets of My New Life (out April 25), she opens up about undergoing gender-affirming surgery, Radar Online reports. However, experts say it’s important to remember that what transgender individuals – or any individuals – do or don’t do with their bodies isn’t anyone else’s business but their own…. (more)


April 23, 2017
NEW YORK TIMES — They looked like Afghan Army soldiers returning from the front lines, carrying the bodies of wounded comrades as part of the ruse. Dressed in military uniforms, a squad of 10 Taliban militants drove in two army Ford Ranger trucks past seven checkpoints. They arrived inside northern Afghanistan’s largest military installation just as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unarmed soldiers were emerging from Friday Prayers and preparing for lunch…. (more)

April 22, 2017
CLIF KINCAID — Since MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is still preoccupied with the supposed influence of Russia on President Donald Trump and the American political process, we suggest that the publication of a new book called Communism for Kids by MIT Press is worthy of her attention. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution, this book offers a glimpse into an uprising that was global in scope and which has not only destroyed the moral fiber of Russia, but has also done enormous damage to America…. (more)

April 22, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stole a line from congressional Republicans in his call for America to “repeal or replace” the Iran Deal…. (more)


April 22, 2017
NEWSMAX — Justice Neil Gorsuch took his first major action on the U.S. Supreme Court by casting the deciding vote to let Arkansas begin executing a group of death-row inmates…. (more)

April 22, 2017
RICH LOWRY — Donald Trump’s saber rattling may or may not deter Kim Jong-un, but it’s had an effect south of the border. In the first few months of this year, illegal border crossings have dropped precipitously. It is an early proof of concept that yes, it is possible to secure the border, and a victory, even if a provisional and incomplete one, for President Trump’s enforcement agenda…. (more)

April 22, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump met at the White House Friday with an Egyptian-American woman whose freedom he had personally worked to secure after she had been imprisoned in Egypt for nearly three years. Mr. Trump greeted Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian who holds U.S. citizenship, in the Oval Office shortly after her return to the U.S. on a military flight from Cairo…. (more)

April 22, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The March for Science has landed under the microscope amid mounting criticism over its left-of-center political agenda, prompting fears that the event could do more harm to the image of scientific research than good. Organizers of the Saturday protest, which is being held in Washington, D.C., along with 600 satellite marches across the nation and worldwide, insist the march is political but nonpartisan. Not everyone is buying it…. (more)


April 20, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — As my colleague Roger Aronoff reports, the media are livid that President Donald Trump is dismantling former President Barack Obama’s “climate change” legacy of deindustrialization and federal government control of energy resources. Meanwhile, factions of the U.S. Catholic Church and some Protestants are brainwashing church members into accepting the non-Christian idea that religious faith involves a belief in an Earth Spirit…. (more)

April 20, 2017
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — Shortly after the 2008 election, President Obama’s soon-to-be chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, infamously declared, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” He elaborated: “What I mean by that [is] it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”… (more)

April 20, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — It would be hard for biased, negative news coverage of President Trump to get any worse. “As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, he has received by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming American president, with the broadcast networks punishing him with coverage that has been 89 percent negative,” wrote Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella, both analysts for Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog…. (more)

Mark Levin: Bombshell Report on Iran Deal is Infuriating

Mark Levin highlights the treasonous acts of Barack Hussein Obama

In Obama’s hidden Iran deal giveaway,” Josh Meyer reports that when President Obama released Iranian-born prisoners to secure Iranian support for his administration’s infamous nuclear deal, he portrayed the released prisoners as simple “civilians.” “In reality,” Meyer writes, “some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security.”

View Article & Access Audio


Here’s What Can Hurt Us Even More Than Smoking

According to LifeZette:

It is no secret that Americans have an obesity problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than one third of U.S. adults — or 36.5 percent of us — are classified as obese.

Now a new study has found that obesity is responsible for shortening the lifespan of humans more than smoking.

A team of researchers from Cleveland Clinic and New York University School of Medicine found that obesity led to “as much as 47 percent more life-years lost than tobacco,” noted Science Daily — “and tobacco caused similar life-years lost as high blood pressure.”

View article →


Mid-Day Snapshot

Apr. 25, 2017

Nine ‘Sanctuary’ Jurisdictions Face Defunding

Trump and Sessions are serious about the Rule of Law when it comes to immigration. These cities should take note.

The Foundation

“Government implies the power of making laws. It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience.” —Alexander Hamilton (1787)


Todays’s BIG NINE News Brief from Against Crony Capitalism (4-25-2017)

World stock markets hit record highs as Macron relief rally continues (The Guardian)

Trump’s ‘big, beautiful wall’ collides with Congress (Yahoo News)

White House ‘confident’ of averting shutdown as Trump shows flexibility on wall (Washington Post)

100 days of Democratic rage (Politico)

Big Mac Makeover Helps McDonald’s Overcome Restaurant Slump (Bloomberg)

Washington worries Trump tax plan will be light on details (The Washington Examiner)

Venezuela Shuts Down with National Sit-In Protest (PanAm Post)

Asia Times: UN Report Reveals How North Korea Sources Missile Technology (Washington Free Beacon)

Found: ‘Extraneous Golf Ball Materials’ in Frozen Hash Browns (Atlas Obscura)


Top Headlines – 4/25/2017

IDF chief at Auschwitz vows to fight enemies ‘bent on Israel’s destruction’

Blasting Le Pen, Rivlin calls for ‘war’ on new kind of Holocaust denial

Israeli president: Le Pen’s Holocaust denial ‘disturbing’

European Jewish leaders call Le Pen ‘dangerous’

Trump Pledges ‘Never Again’ On Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day

European nations not returning Jewish properties taken during Holocaust era

‘US antisemitic incidents jump 86% at start of 2017’

German Jews fear growing Muslim anti-Semitism

Netanyahu threatens to boycott German minister if he meets rights groups

PM’s ultimatum to Germany causes ‘serious harm’ to ties, Herzog warns

White House ‘plans to boost aid to PA – while cutting it everywhere else’

Why Is the US Still Funding Palestinian Terrorism?

Saudi official calls settlements ‘illegal’ and ‘obstacle to peace’

Ashkelon hacker officially charged: 2,000 threats to Jewish centers around the world

Trump said bidding to defeat new anti-Israel UNESCO resolution

UNESCO head calls Temple Mount ‘holiest place in Judaism’

‘Ancient civilizations’ team up to protect heritage from terrorism

Mattis in Afghanistan to discuss war needs

Bomb attack hits US base in eastern Afghanistan

Yemen aid summit seeks to pull nation from brink

US imposes ‘sweeping’ Syria sanctions over ‘chemical’ attack

Al-Qaida leader tells fighters to prepare for long Syria war

Sources in the Syrian army: ‘Russia and Iran are ready to deploy ground forces into Syria’

Iranians freed in Obama’s nuclear deal posed national security threat, says report

Trump says it’s ‘possible’ US will quit Iran deal

UN Security Council must ready new sanctions on North Korea

Trump discusses North Korea tensions with Asian leaders

Entire Senate being called to White House for North Korea briefing

Haley won’t rule out strike vs North Korea for nuke testing

N.Korea conducts large-scale artillery drills on anniversary

Chinese media warn N. Korea against nuke test

In call to Trump, Chinese leader urges restraint over NKorea

North Korea warns of all-out war over US provocations

North Korea threatens to sink US aircraft carrier

Japanese Ships Join US Carrier En Route to Korean Peninsula

Japanese demand for nuclear shelters, purifiers surges as North Korea tension mounts

International Criminal Court filing accuses Philippines’ Duterte of carrying out ‘national bloodbath’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he would eat a terrorist’s liver

Radioactive material stolen in Mexico, search on – officials

Twenty Signs the Third World War has Already Begun

Washington D.C. To Hold Massive “Complex Coordinated Terror Attack” Drill

Jewish, Muslim & EU leaders urge the French not to vote Le Pen

French Presidential Runoff Heralds New Political Era

France Braces for Runoff Between Nationalism and Globalism

Russia-linked hackers reportedly targeted Macron campaign

Wikileaks Exposes CIA Involvement In French 2012 Presidential Election

Trump team turns on WikiLeaks, but Julian Assange remains out of reach

Trump’s push to fund wall may be delayed as government shutdown looms

Illegal immigrants coached on how to avoid deportation

Amid Venezuela unrest, experts worry that criminals will acquire military’s weapons

BART takeover robbery: 40 to 60 teens swarm train, rob weekend riders

The Shadowy Extremist Group Behind the Anti-Trump Riots

Trump To Order Corporate Tax Rate Cut To 15%, Loading Up To $2 Trillion In Extra Debt

Wikipedia founder to fight fake news with new Wikitribune site

Will the high-tech cities of the future be utterly lonely?

Broadband, Wi-Fi More Important Than Clean Underwear for Apartment Dwellers, Survey Finds

Eerie tech promises to copy anyone’s voice from just 1 minute of audio

John McAfee: What if Artificial Intelligence Hacks Itself?

Amazon Forms Team to Focus on Driverless Technology

Scientists Can Blind A Self-Driving Car From Seeing Pedestrians

‘Get to Mars during my first term’: Donald Trump talks to Nasa astronauts in livestream

Chile rocked by 7.1-magnitude quake; no major damage reported

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Valparaiso, Chile

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Modayag, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Valparaiso, Chile

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Valparaiso, Chile

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Merizo Village, Guam

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kaliandak, Indonesia

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 18,500ft

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 11,000ft

Record-breaking climate events all over the world are being shaped by global warming, scientists find

China Doubts U.S. Climate Pledge as Trump Mulls Paris Withdrawal

Amid global donor fatigue, UN asks new billions for famine relief

Mass starvation looms on the horizon, but robots may come to the rescue

Minnesota measles outbreak grows to 20 cases

New York Times scraps ‘female genital mutilation’ for being ‘culturally loaded’ term

Tom Perez draws rebuke from Pelosi after declaring Dems can’t be pro-life

Swedish midwife to take abortion beliefs fight to higher European Court

Men removing condoms during sex in disturbing online trend ‘stealthing’

Lesbian Methodist bishop faces challenge to her election

Trevaris Tutt – Christian censorship won’t sanctify

Robert Morris’ Gateway Church confirms it will cut staff by 10-15 percent

TBN to Receive $304M From Sale of Chicago Station WWTO in FCC Auction

Uganda – Pastor burns thousands of Bibles at church for ‘misleading’ his congregation

Lesbian Teacher in Tampa Forces Students to Remove Cross Necklaces

Woman Who Identifies as Man Sues Catholic Hospital for Disallowing Uterus Removal at Facility

5 Reasons Why Trust in Fox News Has Eroded Over the Past Year

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 08:13 AM PDT

(Reported By Josh. M. Shepherd) “How the mighty have fallen!” The biblical lament has particular relevance this week, as Bill O’Reilly—trusted by millions of Americans…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russian Senator Warns UK risks being ‘wiped off the map with nuclear counterstrike’

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 08:07 AM PDT

The UK, which recently said it could launch a preemptive nuclear strike “in the most extreme circumstances,” runs the risk of being “wiped off the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mysterious Noise Heard Across the Globe for Nearly a Decade – Still No Explanation

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 06:46 AM PDT

A mysterious and unexplainable noise has been heard and reported across the globe for nearly a decade now and to this day no one can…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China bans certain Islamic names in Muslim-dominated region of Xinjiang

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 06:31 AM PDT

Chinese authorities have released a list of some common Muslim names used in Xinjiang region that are forbidden to use for newborns from now on,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nordstrom Charging $425 for Fake-Mud Jeans and people are buying them!

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 06:27 AM PDT

Fashion retailer Nordstrom is selling a pair of $425 jeans that allegedly show “you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.” The “Barracuda Straight Leg…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Government Preparing to Block Churches With Fewer Than 6000 Members

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 06:11 AM PDT

Ethiopia’s northern Tigray State is considering adopting a new law that would restrict Christian activities to within official church compounds, rendering illegal the activities of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

False ‘Gospel’ Claims Judas Was Crucified, Not Jesus

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 06:07 AM PDT

The emergence of a new “Gospel” has some questioning the authenticity of Christianity. The account, allegedly written by the apostle Barnabas, claims that Judas was crucified…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

San Diego schools criticized for effort against Islamophobia

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:56 AM PDT

One of the nation’s largest school districts has launched a campaign against Islamophobia, drawing praise and criticism. The San Diego Unified School District’s multiyear plan…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Reports Indicating President Trump Will Increase Aid to Palestinian Authority

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:51 AM PDT

The Trump administration is preparing major cuts in U.S. foreign aid across the world, but plans to increase aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Haaretz…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Germany’s Speech Police Target Truth, Spawning Cold War Flashbacks

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:45 AM PDT

The Stasi Museum in Berlin is a monument to the ultimate surveillance society. It is housed in the old Stasi headquarters. The Stasi were the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

America Is Unraveling And We Must Return to ‘In God We Trust’

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:39 AM PDT

Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz has warned that the United States is “disintegrating into anger, anarchy, division” because of its “rejection of God.” The daughter of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iran Violating Nuclear Deal with Secret Development Near ‘Off-Limits’ Parchin Site

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:35 AM PDT

On Friday, members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) presented satellite imagery and intelligence, said to be provided by informants working covertly…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Japan warns citizens only have 10 mins to prepare for missile…

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:30 AM PDT

North Korea might be talking about building missiles that can reach the United States, but Kim Jong Un’s regime already has lots of missiles that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea carries out massive live-fire drills…

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:26 AM PDT

North Korea staged what appears to be the largest firing drill on Tuesday to mark the 85th founding anniversary of its military, a government source…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Woman Takes Drastic Measures to Transform Herself into “Real-Life Barbie”

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:23 AM PDT

A woman has revealed how she has spent more than £25,000 transforming herself from a goth to a human Barbie. Ophelia Vanity, 30, from Los…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Woman Who Identifies as Man Sues Catholic Hospital for Disallowing Uterus Removal at Facility

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 07:29 PM PDT

A California woman who identifies as a man has filed a lawsuit against a Catholic hospital and its parent company for prohibiting her surgeon from performing…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WAR DRUMS: USS Michigan Nuclear Sub Heads to South Korea

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 07:19 PM PDT

The USS Michigan — a guided-missile submarine — is expected to make a visible port call in South Korea on Tuesday, according to a US…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korean Media Issues Threat to ‘Wipe Out’ US

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 07:07 PM PDT

An official North Korean website warned Monday that Pyongyang will “wipe out” the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula, the latest…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China Now Urging Restraint From America Over Tensions with North Korea

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 06:57 PM PDT

As the world braces for a possible North Korean nuclear test, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday urged restraint in a call to President Donald…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Evangelicals and Pentecostals Are More Likely Than Other Christians to Be Persecuted

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 06:46 PM PDT

Evangelicals and Pentecostal Christians are most at risk among persecuted Christians in part because of their zeal to evangelize, a new study shows. Key findings…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Top US military commander accuses Russia of arming Taliban

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 06:18 PM PDT

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said that Washington “will confront Russia” after a top US military commander claimed Moscow is “sending weapons” to the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Washington D.C. To Hold Massive “Coordinated Terror Attack” Drill This Wednesday

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 06:07 PM PDT

April 26th is shaping up to be a busy day. As we reported on Friday, that’s when Operation Gotham Shield, an exercise involving FEMA, Homeland…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: Powerful Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Strikes Chile

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 05:49 PM PDT

Following a series of moderate to strong earthquakes on Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, 2017, a powerful M6.9 earthquake hit the region at…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump Cabinet Members Praying and Studying the Bible Together

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 01:46 PM PDT

Members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet are gathering for prayer weekly. Vice President Mike Pence and eight cabinet secretaries sponsor the sessions, which occur weekly…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Entire Senate called to White House for North Korea briefing

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 01:39 PM PDT

The entire U.S. Senate has been invited to the White House for a briefing Wednesday on the North Korea situation, amid escalating tensions over the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What This Rabbi Predicted 22 Years Ago About Korea’s Role In the End-Time Will Shock You

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 01:24 PM PDT

North Korea has only recently emerged as a major threat to the Western world, but a noted kabbalist predicted 22 years ago that the rogue…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Strange and New Aurora Phenomenon Fascinates Scientists

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 01:15 PM PDT

Meet “Steve,” a strange, new aurora feature discovered by citizen scientists and verified by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Swarm satellites. Eric Donovan, a researcher at University…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

GREAT DECEPTION – UFO Sightings Increasing Worldwide

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 01:04 PM PDT

Why have sightings of unidentified flying objects around the nation more than tripled since 2001? Why is July the busiest month for U.F.O. sightings? Why…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

40 to 60 Juveniles Swarm Train and Rob Passengers

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 01:00 PM PDT

A recent string of robberies on BART trains took a frightening turn when dozens of juveniles swarmed an Oakland station over the weekend and commandeered…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Bruce Jenner Threatens Republicans Over LGBT Rights

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 12:50 PM PDT

Bruce Jenner might be a Republican, but the transgender icon is certainly moving leftward on the political spectrum. In clips from a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Anglican Revolt as Church of England Softens on Homosexuality

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 12:39 PM PDT

Conservative African and Asian Anglican church leaders are reportedly ready to put forth their own bishop in the Church of England in defiance of Archbishop…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pastor Confronted by Satanist Outside Planned Parenthood Facility

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 12:32 PM PDT

A group of pro-life Christians gathered outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Arizona recently only to be met by a cowbell wielding Planned Parenthood ‘escort’…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christian Baker Not Backing Down After Gov’t Punishes Him for Refusing to Make Gay Wedding Cake

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 12:27 PM PDT

Amid the religious liberty cases increasingly heading to the courts, there’s one prominent legal battle that could potentially have some sweeping ramifications: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Feds Conduct Large Scale Ebola Drills

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 12:23 PM PDT

Donald Trump railed against President Barack Obama’s decision to bring patients with Ebola to the United States for treatment in 2014. Now that Trump is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

God’s Perfect Method for Shredding Your Idols

Posted: 24 Apr 2017 10:45 AM PDT

(By Eric Tokajer) Just imagine if you were the bride at a wedding, and the groom went to a private room to discuss the details…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


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April 25, 2017: Verse of the day

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Hope Is Fulfilled by Christlikeness

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (3:2)

Heaven is attractive for believers because there they will not only see the Lord Jesus Christ, but will become like Him. Concerning that dramatic and eternal change, the apostle Paul wrote:

Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Cor. 15:49–53)

Even though all who exercise saving faith in the person and work of Christ now … are children of God (cf. Rom. 8:14–18), it has not appeared as yet what they will be when they experience what Paul called “the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (8:21). It is then that “the Lord Jesus Christ … 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; cf. cf. Ps. 73:24; Rom. 9:23; 1 Cor. 15:42–49; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Thess. 2:14; 2 Tim. 2:10). As a result, believers will be like Him, because they will see Him just as He is. God has promised to bring about such a climactic transformation because “those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). That transformation will make the redeemed perfectly holy and righteous, with a pure capacity to worship and glorify God in a totally satisfying, joyful, undiminished fashion forever (cf. Rev. 5:11–14).

It has been rightly said that imitation is the highest form of praise, and this transformation will be a supreme tribute to Jesus Christ—that He is the Chief One, the prototokos, among many who are made like Him. Those whom the Father has elected to salvation through the Son will be made like the Son, conformed to the image of Christ. He will be the first among His elect and redeemed humanity who will join with the holy angels to praise and glorify His name, reflect His goodness, and proclaim His greatness, as they worship Him endlessly.[1]


3:2 However, understood or not, now we are children of God, and this is the guarantee of future glory. It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we do know that when Christ is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. This does not mean that we will be physically like Jesus in heaven. The Lord Jesus will have His own definite appearance, and will bear the scars of Calvary throughout eternity. Each of us, we believe, will have his own distinct features and will be recognizable as such. The Bible does not teach that everyone will look alike in heaven. However, we will be morally like the Lord Jesus Christ. We will be free from the possibility of defilement, sin, sickness, sorrow, and death.

And how will this marvelous transformation be accomplished? The answer is that one look at Christ will bring it to pass. For we shall see Him as He is. Here in life, the process of becoming like Christ is going on, as we behold Him by faith in the word of God. But then the process will be absolutely complete when we see Him as He is: for to see Him is to be like Him.[2]


2 Many commentators have been struck by the language here, for at first glance it seems more Pauline than Johannine. Paul frequently speaks of the believer’s transformation at the second coming (1 Co 13:12; 15:35–53; Php 3:20–21; 1 Th 4:13–17), but the fourth gospel stresses that Christians have already been reborn to eternal life (Jn 1:13; 3:3–8; 5:24–26; 6:53–57; 14:23). Indeed, the Johannine Jesus has almost nothing to say about his return except that he will come to his disciples in the form of the Paraclete (cf. Jn 14:18–23 with Mk 13 and Mt 24–25). Rensberger, 89, therefore concludes that 1 John 3:2 is “closer to non-Johannine forms of early Christian eschatology” than to the fourth gospel (cf. Barker, 330–31; Marshall, 171–73; Johnson, 68). Going a step further, Stott, 119, attempts to harmonize John’s position with Paul’s, positing a threefold sequence of events: “he will appear; we shall see him as he really is; we shall be like him.” But the order of the two slogans at 3:2 suggests that John has not shifted from the realized eschatology of the fourth gospel. Contra Stott’s outline, John actually says that believers “shall be like him” before referring to their vision of Jesus. Believers will not be like Jesus because they will see him; rather, believers will see Jesus because they have been like him. As God’s children, true Christians are already “like him,” and Christ’s appearing will only confirm this established fact. Rather than shifting from the “realized eschatology” of the fourth gospel, then, 3:2 asserts that the second coming will only clarify what believers already know to be true about God and themselves.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 116–117). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2316). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 458–459). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

April 25 – Messengers of Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

✧✧✧

You are a messenger of peace!

When Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” He was referring to a special group of people whom God called to restore the peace that was forfeited because of sin. They may not be politicians, statesmen, diplomats, kings, presidents, or Nobel prize winners, but they hold the key to true and lasting peace.

As a Christian, you are among that select group of peacemakers. As such you have two primary responsibilities. The first is to help others make peace with God. There is no greater privilege. The best way to do that is to preach the gospel of peace with clarity, so people understand their alienation from God and seek reconciliation. Romans 10:15 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!” The early church preached peace through Christ, and that is your privilege as well.

Your second responsibility is to help reconcile believers to one another. That’s a very important issue to God. He won’t accept worship from those who are at odds with each other. They must first deal with the conflict (Matt. 5:23–24). That is especially true within a family. Peter warned husbands to treat their wives properly so their prayers wouldn’t be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

Peacemakers don’t avoid spiritual conflicts. Rather, they speak the truth in love and allow the Spirit to minister through them to bring reconciliation. If you see someone who is alienated from God, you are to present him or her with the gospel of peace. If you see two Christians fighting, you are to do everything you can to help them resolve their differences in a righteous manner.

Of course, to be an effective peacemaker you must maintain your own peace with God. Sin in your life will disrupt peace and will prevent you from dispensing God’s peace to others. Therefore continually guard your heart and confess your sin so God can use you as His peacemaker.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Pray for those close to you who don’t know Christ. Take every opportunity to tell them of God’s peace.

For Further Study: Read 2 Corinthians 5:17–21. ✧ How did Paul describe the ministry of reconciliation? ✧ What was Christ’s role in reconciling man to God?[1]


Happy Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (5:9)

The God of peace (Rom. 15:33; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9) has emphasized that cherished but elusive reality by making peace one of the dominant ideas of His Word. Scripture contains four hundred direct references to peace, and many more indirect ones. The Bible opens with peace in the Garden of Eden and closes with peace in eternity. The spiritual history of mankind can be charted based on the theme of peace. Although the peace on earth in the garden was interrupted when man sinned, at the cross Jesus Christ made peace a reality again, and He becomes the peace of all who place their faith in Him. Peace can now reign in the hearts of those who are His. Someday He will come as Prince of Peace and establish a worldwide kingdom of peace, which will eventuate in ultimate peace, the eternal age of peace.

But one of the most obvious facts of history and of human experience is that peace does not characterize man’s earthly existence. There is no peace now for two reasons: the opposition of Satan and the disobedience of man. The fall of the angels and the fall of man established a world without peace. Satan and man are engaged with the God of peace in a battle for sovereignty.

The scarcity of peace has prompted someone to suggest that “peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone stops to reload.” In 1968 a major newspaper reported that there had been to that date 14,553 known wars since thirty-six years before Christ. Since 1945 there have been some seventy or so wars and nearly two hundred internationally significant outbreaks of violence. Since 1958 nearly one hundred nations have been involved in some form of armed conflict.

Some historians have claimed that the United States has had two generations of peace-one from 1815 to 1846 and the other from 1865 to 1898. But that claim can only be made if you exclude the Indian wars, during which our land was bathed in Indian blood.

With all the avowed and well-intentioned efforts for peace in modern times, few people would claim that the world or any significant part of it is more peaceful now than a hundred years ago. We do not have economic peace, religious peace, racial peace, social peace, family peace, or personal peace. There seems to be no end of marches, sit-ins, rallies, protests, demonstrations, riots, and wars. Disagreement and conflict are the order of the day. No day has had more need of peace than our own.

Nor does the world honor peace as much by its standards and actions as it does by its words. In almost every age of history the greatest heroes have been the greatest warriors. The world lauds the powerful and often exalts the destructive. The model man is not meek but macho. The model hero is not self-giving but self-seeking, not generous but selfish, not gentle but cruel, not submissive but aggressive, not meek but proud.

The popular philosophy of the world, bolstered by the teaching of many psychologists and counselors, is to put self first. But when self is first, peace is last. Self precipitates strife, division, hatred, resentment, and war. It is the great ally of sin and the great enemy of righteousness and, consequently, of peace.

The seventh beatitude calls God’s people to be peacemakers. He has called us to a special mission to help restore the peace lost at the Fall.

The peace of which Christ speaks in this beatitude, and about which the rest of Scripture speaks, is unlike that which the world knows and strives for. God’s peace has nothing to do with politics, armies and navies, forums of nations, or even councils of churches. It has nothing to do with statesmanship, no matter how great, or with arbitration, compromise, negotiated truces, or treaties. God’s peace, the peace of which the Bible speaks, never evades issues; it knows nothing of peace at any price. It does not gloss or hide, rationalize or excuse. It confronts problems and seeks to solve them, and after the problems are solved it builds a bridge between those who were separated by the problems. It often brings its own struggle, pain, hardship, and anguish, because such are often the price of healing. It is not a peace that will be brought by kings, presidents, prime ministers, diplomats, or international humanitarians. It is the inner personal peace that only He can give to the soul of man and that only His children can exemplify.

Four important realities about God’s peace are revealed: its meaning, its Maker, its messengers, and its merit.

The Meaning of Peace: Righteousness and Truth

The essential fact to comprehend is that the peace about which Jesus speaks is more than the absence of conflict and strife; it is the presence of righteousness. Only righteousness can produce the relationship that brings two parties together. Men can stop fighting without righteousness, but they cannot live peaceably without righteousness. Righteousness not only puts an end to harm, but it administers the healing of love.

God’s peace not only stops war but replaces it with the righteousness that brings harmony and true well-being. Peace is a creative, aggressive force for goodness. The Jewish greeting shalom wishes “peace” and expresses the desire that the one who is greeted will have all the righteousness and goodness God can give. The deepest meaning of the term is “God’s highest good to you.”

The most that man’s peace can offer is a truce, the temporary cessation of hostilities. But whether on an international scale or an individual scale, a truce is seldom more than a cold war. Until disagreements and hatreds are resolved, the conflicts merely go underground-where they tend to fester, grow, and break out again. God’s peace, however, not only stops the hostilities but settles the issues and brings the parties together in mutual love and harmony.

James confirms the nature of God’s peace when he writes, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable” (James 3:17). God’s way to peace is through purity. Peace cannot be attained at the expense of righteousness. Two people cannot be at peace until they recognize and resolve the wrong attitudes and actions that caused the conflict between them, and then bring themselves to God for cleansing. Peace that ignores the cleansing that brings purity is not God’s peace.

The writer of Hebrews links peace with purity when he instructs believers to “pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Peace cannot be divorced from holiness. “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other” is the beautiful expression of the psalmist (Ps. 85:10). Biblically speaking, then, where there is true peace there is righteousness, holiness, and purity. Trying to bring harmony by compromising righteousness forfeits both.

Jesus’ saying “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34) seems to be the antithesis of the seventh beatitude. His meaning, however, was that the peace He came to bring is not peace at any price. There will be opposition before there is harmony; there will be strife before there is peace. To be peacemakers on God’s terms requires being peacemakers on the terms of truth and righteousness-to which the world is in fierce opposition. When believers bring truth to bear on a world that loves falsehood, there will be strife. When believers set God’s standards of righteousness before a world that loves wickedness, there is an inevitable potential for conflict. Yet that is the only way.

Until unrighteousness is changed to righteousness there cannot be godly peace. And the process of resolution is difficult and costly. Truth will produce anger before it produces happiness; righteousness will produce antagonism before it produces harmony. The gospel brings bad feelings before it can bring good feelings. A person who does not first mourn over his own sin will never be satisfied with God’s righteousness. The sword that Christ brings is the sword of His Word, which is the sword of truth and righteousness. Like the surgeon’s scalpel, it must cut before it heals, because peace cannot come where sin remains.

The great enemy of peace is sin. Sin separates men from God and causes disharmony and enmity with Him. And men’s lack of harmony with God causes their lack of harmony with each other. The world is filled with strife and war because it is filled with sin. Peace does not rule the world because the enemy of peace rules the world. Jeremiah tells us that “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick [or wicked]” (Jer. 17:9). Peace cannot reign where wickedness reigns. Wicked hearts cannot produce a peaceful society. “ ‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord” (Isa. 48:22).

To talk of peace without talking of repentance of sin is to talk foolishly and vainly. The corrupt religious leaders of ancient Israel proclaimed, “Peace, peace,” but there was no peace, because they and the rest of the people were not “ashamed of the abominations they had done” (Jer. 8:11–12).

“From within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23). Sinful men cannot create peace, either within themselves or among themselves. Sin can produce nothing but strife and conflict. “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing,” James says. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:16–18).

Regardless of what the circumstances might be, where there is conflict it is because of sin. If you separate the conflicting parties from each other but do not separate them from sin, at best you will succeed only in making a truce. Peacemaking cannot come by circumventing sin, because sin is the source of every conflict.

The bad news of the gospel comes before the good news. Until a person confronts his sin, it makes no sense to offer him a Savior. Until a person faces his false notions, it makes no sense to offer him the truth. Until a person acknowledges his enmity with God, it makes no sense to offer him peace with God.

Believers cannot avoid facing truth, or avoid facing others with the truth, for the sake of harmony. If someone is in serious error about a part of God’s truth, he cannot have a right, peaceful relationship with others until the error is confronted and corrected. Jesus never evaded the issue of wrong doctrine or behavior. He treated the Samaritan woman from Sychar with great love and compassion, but He did not hesitate to confront her godless life. First He confronted her with her immoral living: “You have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband” (John 4:18). Then He corrected her false ideas about worship: “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:21–22).

The person who is not willing to disrupt and disturb in God’s name cannot be a peacemaker. To come to terms on anything less than God’s truth and righteousness is to settle for a truce-which confirms sinners in their sin and may leave them even further from the kingdom. Those who in the name of love or kindness or compassion try to witness by appeasement and compromise of God’s Word will find that their witness leads away from Him, not to Him. God’s peacemakers will not let a sleeping dog lie if it is opposed to God’s truth; they will not protect the status quo if it is ungodly and unrighteous. They are not willing to make peace at any price. God’s peace comes only in God’s way. Being a peacemaker is essentially the result of a holy life and the call to others to embrace the gospel of holiness.

The Maker of Peace: God

Men are without peace because they are without God, the source of peace. Both the Old and New Testaments are replete with statements of God’s being the God of peace (Lev. 26:6; 1 Kings 2:33; Ps. 29:11; Isa. 9:6; Ezek. 34:25; Rom. 15:33; 1 Cor. 14:33; 2 Thess. 3:16). Since the Fall, the only peace that men have known is the peace they have received as the gift of God. Christ’s coming to earth was the peace of God coming to earth, because only Jesus Christ could remove sin, the great barrier to peace. “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:13–14).

I once read the story of a couple at a divorce hearing who were arguing back and forth before the judge, accusing each other and refusing to take any blame themselves. Their little four-year-old boy was terribly distressed and confused. Not knowing what else to do, he took his father’s hand and his mother’s hand and kept tugging until he finally pulled the hands of his parents together.

In an infinitely greater way, Christ brings back together God and man, reconciling and bringing peace. “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:19–20).

How could the cross bring peace? At the cross all of man’s hatred and anger was vented against God. On the cross the Son of God was mocked, cursed, spit upon, pierced, reviled, and killed. Jesus’ disciples fled in fear, the sky flashed lightning, the earth shook violently, and the veil of the Temple was torn in two. Yet through that violence God brought peace. God’s greatest righteousness confronted man’s greatest wickedness, and righteousness won. And because righteousness won, peace was won.

In his book Peace Child (Glendale, Calif.: Regal, 1979), Don Richardson tells of his long struggle to bring the gospel to the cannibalistic, headhunting Sawi tribe of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Try as he would, he could not find a way to make the people understand the gospel message, especially the significance of Christ’s atoning death on the cross.

Sawi villages were constantly fighting among themselves, and because treachery, revenge, and murder were highly honored there seemed no hope of peace. The tribe, however, had a legendary custom that if one village gave a baby boy to another village, peace would prevail between the two villages as long as the child lived. The baby was called a “peace child.”

The missionary seized on that story as an analogy of the reconciling work of Christ. Christ, he said, is God’s divine Peace Child that He has offered to man, and because Christ lives eternally His peace will never end. That analogy was the key that unlocked the gospel for the Sawis. In a miraculous working of the Holy Spirit many of them believed in Christ, and a strong, evangelistic church soon developed-and peace came to the Sawis.

If the Father is the source of peace, and the Son is the manifestation of that peace, then the Holy Spirit is the agent of that peace. One of the most beautiful fruits the Holy Spirit gives to those in whom He resides is the fruit of peace (Gal. 5:22). The God of peace sent the Prince of Peace who sends the Spirit of peace to give the fruit of peace. No wonder the Trinity is called Yahweh Shalom, “The Lord is Peace” (Judg. 6:24).

The God of peace intends peace for His world, and the world that He created in peace He will one day restore to peace. The Prince of Peace will establish His kingdom of peace, for a thousand years on earth and for all eternity in heaven. “ ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’ ” (Jer. 29:11). Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The one who does not belong to God through Jesus Christ can neither have peace nor be a peacemaker. God can work peace through us only if He has worked peace in us.

Some of the earth’s most violent weather occurs on the seas. But the deeper one goes the more serene and tranquil the water becomes. Oceanographers report that the deepest parts of the sea are absolutely still. When those areas are dredged they produce remnants of plant and animal life that have remained undisturbed for thousands of years.

That is a picture of the Christian’s peace. The world around him, including his own circumstances, may be in great turmoil and strife, but in his deepest being he has peace that passes understanding. Those who are in the best of circumstances but without God can never find peace, but those in the worst of circumstances but with God need never lack peace.

The Messengers of Peace: Believers

The messengers of peace are believers in Jesus Christ. Only they can be peacemakers. Only those who belong to the Maker of peace can be messengers of peace. Paul tells us that “God has called us to peace” (1 Cor. 7:15) and that “now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18). The ministry of reconciliation is the ministry of peacemaking. Those whom God has called to peace He also calls to make peace. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us” (2 Cor. 5:19–20).

At least four things characterize a peacemaker. First, he is one who himself has made peace with God. The gospel is all about peace. Before we came to Christ we were at war with God. No matter what we may consciously have thought about God, our hearts were against Him. It was “while we were enemies” of God that “we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10). When we received Christ as Savior and He imputed His righteousness to us, our battle with God ended, and our peace with God began. Because he has made peace with God he can enjoy the peace of God (Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15). And because he has been given God’s peace he is called to share God’s peace. He is to have his very feet shod with “the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15).

Because peace is always corrupted by sin, the peacemaking believer must be a holy believer, a believer whose life is continually cleansed by the Holy Spirit. Sin breaks our fellowship with God, and when fellowship with Him is broken, peace is broken. The disobedient, self-indulgent Christian is not suited to be an ambassador of peace.

Second, a peacemaker leads others to make peace with God. Christians are not an elite corps of those who have spiritually arrived and who look down on the rest of the world. They are a body of sinners cleansed by Jesus Christ and commissioned to carry His gospel of cleansing to the rest of the world.

The Pharisees were the embodiment of what peacemakers are not. They were smug, proud, complacent, and determined to have their own ways and defend their own rights. They had scant interest in making peace with Rome, with the Samaritans, or even with fellow Jews who did not follow their own party line. Consequently they created strife wherever they went. They cooperated with others only when it was to their own advantage, as they did with the Sadducees in opposing Jesus.

The peacemaking spirit is the opposite of that. It is built on humility, sorrow over its own sin, gentleness, hunger for righteousness, mercy, and purity of heart. G. Campbell Morgan commented that peacemaking is the propagated character of the man who, exemplifying all the rest of the beatitudes, thereby brings peace wherever he comes.

The peacemaker is a beggar who has been fed and who is called to help feed others. Having been brought to God, he is to bring others to God. The purpose of the church is to preach “peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36). To preach Christ is to promote peace. To bring a person to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is the most peacemaking act a human being can perform. It is beyond what any diplomat or statesman can accomplish.

Third, a peacemaker helps others make peace with others. The moment a person comes to Christ he becomes at peace with God and with the church and becomes himself a peacemaker in the world. A peacemaker builds bridges between men and God and also between men and other men. The second kind of bridge building must begin, of course, between ourselves and others. Jesus said that if we are bringing a gift to God and a brother has something against us, we are to leave our gift at the altar and be reconciled to that brother before we offer the gift to God (Matt. 5:23–24). As far as it is possible, Paul says, “so far as it depends on [us],” we are to “be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18). We are even to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, “in order that [we] may be sons of [our] Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45).

By definition a bridge cannot be one-sided. It must extend between two sides or it can never function. Once built, it continues to need support on both sides or it will collapse. So in any relationship our first responsibility is to see that our own side has a solid base. But we also have a responsibility to help the one on the other side build his base well. Both sides must be built on righteousness and truth or the bridge will not stand. God’s peacemakers must first be righteous themselves, and then must be active in helping others become righteous.

The first step in that bridge-building process is often to rebuke others about their sin, which is the supreme barrier to peace. “If your brother sins,” Jesus says, “go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church” (Matt. 18:15–17). That is a difficult thing to do, but obeying that command is no more optional than obeying any of the Lord’s other commands. The fact that taking such action often stirs up controversy and resentment is no excuse for not doing it. If we do so in the way and in the spirit the Lord teaches, the consequences are His responsibility. Not to do so does not preserve peace but through disobedience establishes a truce with sin.

Obviously there is the possibility of a price to pay, but any sacrifice is small in order to obey God. Often confrontation will bring more turmoil instead of less-misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and resentment. But the only way to peace is the way of righteousness. Sin that is not dealt with is sin that will disrupt and destroy peace. Just as any price is worth paying to obey God, any price is worth paying to be rid of sin. “If your right eye makes you stumble,” Jesus said, “tear it out, and throw it from you; … And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matt. 5:29–30). If we are unwilling to help others confront their sin, we will be unable to help them find peace.

Fourth, a peacemaker endeavors to find a point of agreement. God’s truth and righteousness must never be compromised or weakened, but there is hardly a person so ungodly, immoral, rebellious, pagan, or indifferent that we have absolutely no point of agreement with him. Wrong theology, wrong standards, wrong beliefs, and wrong attitudes must be faced and dealt with, but they are not usually the best places to start the process of witnessing or peacemaking.

God’s people are to contend without being contentious, to disagree without being disagreeable, and to confront without being abusive. The peacemaker speaks the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). To start with love is to start toward peace. We begin peacemaking by starting with whatever peaceful point of agreement we can find. Peace helps beget peace. The peacemaker always gives others the benefit of the doubt. He never assumes they will resist the gospel or reject his testimony. When he does meet opposition, he tries to be patient with other people’s blindness and stubbornness just as he knows the Lord was, and continues to be, patient with his own blindness and stubbornness.

God’s most effective peacemakers are often the simplest and least noticed people. They do not try to attract attention to themselves. They seldom win headlines or prizes for their peacemaking, because, by its very nature, true peacemaking is unobtrusive and prefers to go unnoticed. Because they bring righteousness and truth wherever they go, peacemakers are frequently accused of being troublemakers and disturbers of the peace-as Ahab accused Elijah of being (1 Kings 18:17) and the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of being (Luke 23:2, 5). But God knows their hearts, and He honors their work because they are working for His peace in His power. God’s peacemakers are never unfruitful or unrewarded. This is a mark of a true kingdom citizen: he not only hungers for righteousness and holiness in his own life but has a passionate desire to see those virtues in the lives of others.

The Merit Of Peace: Eternal Sonship In The Kingdom

The merit, or result, of peacemaking is eternal blessing as God’s children in God’s kingdom. Peacemakers shall be called sons of God.

Most of us are thankful for our heritage, our ancestors, our parents, and our family name. It is especially gratifying to have been influenced by godly grandparents and to have been raised by godly parents. But the greatest human heritage cannot match the believer’s heritage in Jesus Christ, because we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). Nothing compares to being a child of God.

Both huios and teknon are used in the New Testament to speak of believers’ relationship to God. Teknon (child) is a term of tender affection and endearment as well as of relationship (see John 1:12; Eph. 5:8; 1 Pet. 1:14; etc.). Sons, however, is from huios, which expresses the dignity and honor of the relationship of a child to his parents. As God’s peacemakers we are promised the glorious blessing of eternal sonship in His eternal kingdom.

Peacemaking is a hallmark of God’s children. A person who is not a peacemaker either is not a Christian or is a disobedient Christian. The person who is continually disruptive, divisive, and quarrelsome has good reason to doubt his relationship to God altogether. God’s sons-that is, all of His children, both male and female-are peacemakers. Only God determines who His children are, and He has determined that they are the humble, the penitent over sin, the gentle, the seekers of righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers.

Shall be called is in a continuous future passive tense. Throughout eternity peacemakers will go by the name “children of God.” The passive form indicates that all heaven will call peacemakers sons of God, because God Himself has declared them to be His children.

Jacob loved Benjamin so much that his whole life came to be bound up in the life of that son (Gen. 44:30). Any parent worthy of the name loves his children more than his own life, and immeasurably more than all of his possessions together. God loves His children today as He loved Israel of old, as “the apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8; cf. Ps. 17:8). The Hebrew expression “apple of the eye” referred to the cornea, the most exposed and sensitive part of the eye, the part we are the most careful to protect. That is what God’s children are to Him: those whom He is most sensitive about and most desires to protect. To attack God’s children is to poke a finger in God’s eye. Offense against Christians is offense against God, because they are His very own children.

God puts the tears of His children in a bottle (Ps. 56:8), a figure reflecting the Hebrew custom of placing into a bottle the tears shed over a loved one. God cares for us so much that He stores up His remembrances of our sorrows and afflictions. God’s children matter greatly to Him, and it is no little thing that we can call Him Father.

God’s peacemakers will not always have peace in the world. As Jesus makes clear by the last beatitude, persecution follows peacemaking. In Christ we have forsaken the false peace of the world, and consequently we often will not have peace with the world. But as God’s children we may always have peace even while we are in the world-the peace of God, which the world cannot give and the world cannot take away.[2]


5:9 A blessing is pronounced on the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God. Notice that the Lord is not speaking about people with a peaceful disposition or those who love peace. He is referring to those who actively intervene to make peace. The natural approach is to watch strife from the sidelines. The divine approach is to take positive action toward creating peace, even if it means taking abuse and invective.

Peacemakers are called sons of God. This is not how they become sons of God—that can only happen by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior (John 1:12). By making peace, believers manifest themselves as sons of God, and God will one day acknowledge them as people who bear the family likeness.[3]


9 Jesus’ concern in this beatitude is not with the peaceful but with the peacemakers. Peace is of constant concern in both Testaments (e.g., Pr 15:1; Isa 52:7; Lk 24:36; Ro 10:15; 12:18; 1 Co 7:15; Eph 2:11–22; Heb 12:14; 1 Pe 3:11). But as some of these and other passages show, the making of peace can itself have messianic overtones. The Promised Son is called the “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6); and Isaiah 52:7—“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ ”—linking as it does peace, salvation, and God’s reign, was interpreted messianically in the Judaism of Jesus’ day.

Jesus does not limit the peacemaking to only one kind, and neither will his disciples. In the light of the gospel, Jesus himself is the supreme peacemaker, making peace between God and man, and man and man. Our peacemaking will include the promulgation of that gospel. It must also extend to seeking all kinds of reconciliation. Instead of delighting in division, bitterness, strife, or some petty “divide and conquer” mentality, disciples of Jesus delight to make peace wherever possible. Making peace is not appeasement. The true model is God’s costly peacemaking (Eph 2:15–17; Col 1:20). Those who undertake this work are acknowledged as God’s sons. In the OT, Israel has the title “sons” (Dt 14:1; Hos 1:10; cf. Pss. Sol. 17:30; Wis 2:13–18). Now it belongs to the heirs of the kingdom, who, meek and poor in spirit, loving righteousness yet merciful, are especially equipped for peacemaking and so reflect something of their heavenly Father’s character. “There is no more godlike work to be done in this world than peacemaking” (Broadus). This beatitude must have been shocking to Zealots when Jesus preached it, when political passions were inflamed (Morison).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 128). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 209–218). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1217). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 165). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

APRIL 25 – “AS I WAS, SO I WILL BE”

As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

Joshua 1:5

For all things, God is the great Antecedent!

Because He is, we are and everything else is.

We cannot think rightly of God until we begin to think of Him as always being there—and being there first!

Joshua had this to learn. He had been so long the servant of God’s servant Moses, and had with such assurance received God’s word at his mouth, that Moses and the God of Moses had become blended in his thinking, so blended that he could hardly separate the two thoughts. By association they always appeared together in his mind.

Now Moses is dead and lest the young Joshua be struck down with despair, God spoke to assure him: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee!”

Moses was dead, but the God of Moses still lived! Nothing had changed and nothing had been lost, for nothing of God dies when a man of God dies.

“As I was—so I will be.” Only the Eternal God could say this!

 

Almighty God, I pray today for Christian leaders and pastors in foreign lands who need to be reminded that You are the Eternal God who faithfully stands with them in all their challenges.[1]


1:5 The promise of divine power for Joshua’s task.[2]


1:5 will I be with you; I will not fail See Josh 1:17; compare Exod 3:12.[3]


1:5 God’s great promise to Moses I will be with you (Ex. 3:12) is now given to Joshua (1:9; 3:7). Of special comfort to Joshua would have been the fact that God would be with him in the same way He had been with Moses. Joshua had been present during the many demonstrations of God’s presence in Moses’ life and would have known how significant this promise was.[4]


1:5. As Joshua faced the tremendous task of conquering Canaan, he needed a fresh word of encouragement. From personal observation Joshua knew that the Canaanites and others were vigorous people who lived in strongly fortified cities (cf. Num. 13:28–29). Frequent battles kept their warriors in trim fighting condition. And for the most part the land was mountainous, a fact that would make war maneuvers most difficult. But when God gives a command He often accompanies it with a promise, so He assured Joshua a lifetime of continuous victory over his enemies, based on His unfailing presence and help. The words I will never leave you (cf. Josh. 1:9) may be rendered, “I will not drop or abandon you.” God never walks out on His promises.[5]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jos 1:5). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jos 1:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 274). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Campbell, D. K. (1985). Joshua. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 328). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

APRIL 25 – THE PREACHER: SERVANT OF THE LORD AND THE PEOPLE

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God….

1 CORINTHIANS 3:18, 19

Men who are called to be servants of God in the ministry must constantly guard against thinking of themselves as belonging to a “privileged” class.

Our so-called Christian society tends to increase this danger by granting the clergy discounts and other courtesies, and the church itself helps a bad job along by bestowing upon men of God various sonorous honorifics which are either comical or awe-inspiring, depending upon how you look at it.

Seeing whose name he bears, the unconscious acceptance of belonging to a privileged class is particularly incongruous for the minister. Christ came to give, to serve, to sacrifice and to die, and said to His disciples, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” The preacher is a servant of the Lord and of the people. He is in great moral peril when he forgets this. Remember, the clergyman meets religious people almost exclusively. People are on their guard when they are with him. They tend to talk over their own heads and to be for the time the kind of persons they think he wants them to be rather than the kind of persons they are in fact!

This creates a world of unreality where no one is quite himself, but the preacher has lived in it so long that he accepts it as real—and never knows the difference![1]


The Proper View of Ourselves

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” (3:18–20)

Much division in the church would be eliminated if individuals were not so impressed with their own wisdom. A person who thinks that he is wise in this age—that is, wise in contemporary human wisdom—does nothing but deceive himself. Anyone who is so self–deceived ought to become foolish (mōros), that is, identify with those who recognize that human wisdom, including our own, is mere foolishness (mōria) without God. Those two Greek terms are from the same root from which we get moron. Human wisdom is moronic in the Lord’s sight, before God. Unity in the church can never come without recognizing human wisdom to be what God declares it to be: foolish. And unity can never come without Christians becoming foolish in the world’s eyes by conforming to God’s wisdom.

The human wisdom that is foolish is in the area of spiritual truth. Paul is not talking about such things as business, mathematics, science, or mechanics. We can be quite knowledgeable about those things without any special enlightenment from God. Where human wisdom becomes foolish and useless is in matters concerning God, salvation, and spiritual truth. Human wisdom has no way of discovering and understanding divine things.

Even Christians, therefore, do not have a right to their own opinions about the things God has revealed. When Christians start expressing and following their own ideas about the gospel, the church, and Christian living, the saints cannot help becoming divided. Christians are no wiser in their flesh than are unbelievers. The first step in a Christian’s becoming truly wise is to recognize that his own human wisdom is foolishness, a reflection of the wisdom of this world, which is foolishness before God. It is the product of intellectual pride and is the enemy of God’s revelation.

The church must create an atmosphere in which the Word of God is honored and submitted to, in which human opinion is never used to judge or qualify revelation. As far as the things of God are concerned, Christians must be totally under the teaching of Scripture and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Only then can we be open to God’s wisdom and truly become wise. Common commitment to the Word of God is the basic unifier.

Where the Word of God is not set up as the supreme authority, division is inevitable. Such happens even in evangelical churches, when pastors and other leaders begin substituting their own ideas for the truths of Scripture. The substitution is seldom intentional, but it will always happen when the Bible is neglected. A Bible that is not studied carefully cannot be followed carefully. And where it is not followed there will be division, because there will be no common ground for beliefs and practices. When the truth of Scripture is not the sole authority, men’s varied opinions become the authority.

Some people are not satisfied unless they can express their opinion on virtually everything. Some are not happy unless they take the opposite side from the majority. Intellectual pride cannot be content to listen and admire; it must always speak up and criticize. By its very nature, it must always try to win out in an issue. It cannot stand opposition or contradiction. It must justify itself at any cost and is exclusive. It looks down its nose at all who disagree.

Pride is always at the heart of human wisdom, the wisdom of this world, which is foolishness before God. It is difficult to teach a person who thinks he knows everything. The Roman rhetorician Quintilian said of some of his students, “They would doubtlessly have become excellent scholars if they had not been so fully persuaded of their own scholarship.” A well–known Arab proverb goes: “He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is simple. Teach him.”

If a congregation were to have ten men with doctorates who were only nominal in their commitment to the Lord and to His Word, and ten other men who had only finished high school but who were completely sold out to the Lord and steeped in His Word, it should not be hard to decide which ten were most qualified to lead the church. By God’s standards it would be no contest. Having members who are highly talented and trained can be of considerable help to a church, but only if those who possess such abilities are submitted to the truths and standards of Scripture. Christ will rule and unify His church if He is given pure channels committed to His Word through whom to mediate that rule.

When believers look to psychology alone, instead of to God’s Word, for answers to personal or marital or moral problems, spiritual disaster results. When Christian businessmen look to popular methods of expediency alone, rather than to the principles of Scripture, to determine business ethics, their spiritual life and testimony are undermined. In science and technology men have made great advances, for which we should be glad and from which we can profit. But in regard to the things of God and His plan and will for men, human ideas and understanding stand completely empty and helpless.

The liberal Bible scholars and theologians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were brilliant men, highly learned in many areas. They often disagreed with one another on doctrines and interpretations, but the one belief in which they were unanimous was that the Bible was essentially a human book. Because they considered it to be primarily human, though perhaps influenced by divine guidance of some sort, they felt perfectly free to reject or modify whatever part of Scripture did not fit their own understanding. Because they did not believe that writing had been developed by Moses’ time, they concluded that he could not have written the Pentateuch. Because they did not believe in supernatural predictions, they did not believe that the man Daniel could possibly have written the book of Daniel, which tells of events hundreds of years after he lived. When Scripture reported that God said or did something that was contrary to their self–invented view of God, they denied that He said or did it. In the name of intellectualism they decimated God’s Word, leaving only that which suited their personal biases. They also decimated a great part of His church, causing unimaginable confusion, doubt, unbelief, and spiritual division. The legacy of those men is still polluting seminaries, colleges, and churches throughout the world.

The person who elevates his own wisdom will always have a low view of Scripture. But the more important truth is that God knows the value of that person’s own wisdom. It is foolishness, stupid, totally unreliable and useless. Eventually God will trip up those who oppose His Word. He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness. Like Haman, they hang on their own gallows (Esther 7:7–10). Their cunning plans turn to condemn them as God catches them in their own trap. He knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.

Human philosophy is totally inadequate to bring men to God, to show them how to be saved or how to live. It will always become entrapped in its own schemes, and entrap those who trust in it. The one who trusts in human understanding does not have the right understanding of himself. He does not see that his spiritual opinions, ideas, and reasonings are useless (mataios), vain and empty.

The proper view of ourselves, the godly and true view, is that apart from divine truth we are fools with empty thoughts. Recognizing this truth opens the door to true wisdom and closes the door to division.[2]


3:18 In Christian service, as in all of Christian life, there is always the danger of self-deception. Perhaps some of those who came to Corinth as teachers posed as men of extreme wisdom. Any who have an exalted view of their own worldly wisdom must learn that they must become fools in the eyes of the world in order to become wise in God’s estimation. Godet helpfully paraphrases at this point:

If any individual whatever, Corinthian or other, while preaching the gospel in your assemblies assumes the part of a wise man and reputation of a profound thinker, let him assure himself that he will not attain true wisdom until he has passed through a crisis in which that wisdom of his with which he is puffed up will perish and after which only he will receive the wisdom which is from above.

3:19 The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. Man by searching could never find out God, neither would human wisdom ever have devised a plan of salvation by which God would become Man in order to die for guilty, vile, rebel sinners. Job 5:13 is quoted in verse 19 to show that God triumphs over the supposed wisdom of men to work out His own purposes. Man with all his learning cannot thwart the plans of the Lord; instead, God often shows them that in spite of their worldly wisdom, they are utterly poor and powerless.[3]


18 Paul begins this section by issuing a command: “Do not deceive yourselves” (lit., as in the NASB, “Let no man deceive himself”). By phrasing this verb in an imperative and by using the Greek word for “oneself” (heautou, GK 1571), the apostle places any blame for being swept along with the wisdom of the world not on abstract circumstances but on an individual’s choice. No one can stand before God and claim that he or she was inadvertently swept along in the fast-flowing current of false wisdom. Rather, one chooses to follow either “the wisdom of this world” (v. 19) or the wisdom of God. And each person must accept the consequences of the choice made.

Obviously, this section draws heavily on what Paul wrote in ch. 1 about “wisdom” (sophia, GK 5053) and “foolishness” (mōria, GK 3702; the only other four uses of this word in the NT are in 1:18, 21, 23; 2:14; see comments there). The apostle maintains that if anyone thinks he or she is “wise by the standards of this age [aiōn, GK 172],” that person “should become a ‘fool.’ ” To “become a ‘fool’ ” means to accept the foolishness of God, i.e., to believe with all one’s heart the message of the cross. Behind the use of “this age” lies the two-age analysis that was discussed in the context of 2:6–8 (see comments there). Believers belong to the new age of God, not to the present age of this world. Our goals and values should be shaped not by the worldly standards around us but by the coming age that has impinged on the present.

19a Note that when Paul says “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight,” he is reversing what he said in 1:25—“the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.” In other words, the apostle is setting up two sets of total opposites of wisdom and foolishness: Whatever the world considers wise, God calls foolish; and whatever God calls wise (especially his grand plan of salvation through Christ crucified and risen again), the world calls foolish. There is no middle ground; there is no third choice; there is no planting one foot firmly in the present age and one foot in the age to come. As Jesus himself pointed out, no one can serve two masters (Mt 6:24). When confronted with the gospel, all human beings face an either-or choice.

19b–20 Paul backs up what he has been saying by quoting two texts from the OT: Job 5:13 and Psalm 94:11. Although the first text is a quotation from Eliphaz (and is the only direct quote from Job in the NT), the sentiment Paul expresses—namely, that God knows what is going on in the world and that no one (here labeled “the wise”) can hide from God the shenanigans he or she is doing—is part of the common framework for all the characters in Job; in fact, it is a common theme in many places of the OT (cf., e.g., Ps 139). The quotation from Psalm 94:11 says essentially the same thing, namely, that God knows the thoughts of every person (though Paul substitutes “the wise” for “man” in Ps 94) and that apart from him, human thoughts are futile.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 87–90). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1756). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 287–288). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

April 25 – A Perspective on Non-retaliation

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, do not resist an evil person.—Matt. 5:38–39a

Christians are to “resist the devil” (James 4:7; cf. 1 Peter 5:9) and all that his evil world system stands for (Matt. 6:13; Rom. 12:9; 1 Thess. 5:22). This proves that, although Jesus refuted the Jewish leaders’ wrong teaching that people should take revenge in personal matters, our Lord did not teach that His followers simply had to tolerate all sorts of sinful misconduct and evil.

The resistance of evil and wrong, if done properly, will occur within the church. Jesus’ instruction on church discipline concludes with this command: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matt. 18:17; cf. 1 Tim. 5:20). A sinning member who rejects one-on-one reproof as well as reproof from two or three others and from the entire church must be excluded from the fellowship. Concerning unrepentant immorality in the church, Paul instructed—quoting the Old Testament—“Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:13).

In contrast to this, Jesus clarifies that His followers must not resist or take vengeance regarding supposed harm done to them personally. Such retaliation has no place in society at large, much less among Christians. Paul later wrote, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone” (Rom. 12:17; cf. v. 19). Instead, God calls us to overcome others’ bad treatment of us by doing good to them (Rom. 12:21).

ASK YOURSELF
What are the main reasons for this kind of rebuke and discipline? What are its goals and objectives? When do circumstances become necessary to perform it?[1]

The Principle of Mosaic Law

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” (5:38)

This quotation is taken directly from the Old Testament (Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21) and reflects the principle of lex talionis, one of the most ancient law codes. Simply put, it required that punishment exactly match the crime. The same idea is carried in the expressions tit for tat and quid pro quo. The earliest record of lex talionis is in the Code of Hammurabi, the great Babylonian king who lived a hundred or so years before Moses. It is likely, however, that the principle was in wide use long before that time.

In the Pentateuch an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth are part of longer lists that include “hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise” (see Ex. 21:24–25) and “fracture for fracture” (Lev. 24:20). In both the law of Moses and the Code of Hammurabi the principle of punishment to match the crime had two basic purposes. The first was to curtail further crime. When a person is punished for his wrongdoing, “the rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you” (Deut. 19:20). The second purpose was to prevent excessive punishment based on personal vengeance and angry retaliation of the type of which Lamech boasted: “For I have killed a man for wounding me; and a boy for striking me; if Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold” (Gen. 4:23–24). Punishment was to match, but not exceed, the harm done by the offense itself.

It is of the utmost significance that each of the three Pentateuch accounts that prescribe the eye for an eye principle has to do with the civil justice system. Exodus 21–23 deals entirely with God’s provision for Israel’s civil law, as do the similar teachings in Leviticus 24 and Deuteronomy 19. Punishment was sometimes carried out by the victim, but the trial and sentencing were always the responsibility of duly appointed judges or of a large, representative body of citizens (see Ex. 21:22; Deut. 19:18; Lev. 24:14–16).

The law of an eye for an eye was a just law, because it matched punishment to offense. It was a merciful law, because it limited the innate propensity of the human heart to seek retribution beyond what an offense deserved. It was also a beneficent law, because it protected society by restraining wrongdoing.

Selfish overreaction is the natural response of sinful human nature. We are tempted to get more than just even. Anger and resentment demand the sort of retaliation Lamech glorified. Human vengeance is never satisfied with justice; it wants a pound of flesh for an ounce of offense. That is one reason why God restricts vengeance to Himself. “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution” (Deut. 32:35; cf. Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30).

God’s command for the individual has always been, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink” (Prov. 25:21; cf. Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:20). No individual has the right to say, “Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work” (Prov. 24:29). In no instance did the Old Testament allow an individual to take the law into his own hands and apply it personally.

The Perversion of Rabbinic Tradition

Yet that is exactly what rabbinic tradition had done. Each man was permitted, in effect, to become his own judge, jury, and executioner. God’s law was turned to individual license, and civil justice was perverted to personal vengeance. Instead of properly acknowedging the law of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth as a limit on punishment, they conveniently used it as a mandate for vengeance-as it has often been wrongly viewed throughout history.

What God gave as a restriction on civil courts,Jewish tradition had turned into personal license for revenge. In still another way, the self-centered and self-asserted “righteousness” of the scribes and Pharisees had made a shambles of God’s holy law.

The Perspective of Divine Truth

But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. (5:39–42)

In the command do not resist him who is evil Jesus rebuts the Pharisees’ misinterpretation and forbids retaliation in personal relationships. He does not teach, as many have claimed, that no stand is to be taken against evil and that it should simply be allowed to take its course. Jesus and the apostles continually opposed evil with every means and resource. Jesus resisted the profaning of God’s Temple by making a scourge of cords and physically driving out the sacrifice sellers and moneychangers (Matt. 21:12; John 2:15). We are to “resist the devil” (James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9) and all the evil that he stands for and inspires (Matt. 6:13; Rom. 12:9; 1 Thess. 5:22; 2 Tim. 4:18).

A proper resisting of evil includes resisting it in the church. When Peter compromised with the Judaizers, Paul “opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” (Gal. 2:11). When there is immorality in the congregation, God says, “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:13; cf. Deut. 13:5). Jesus said that a believer who sins should first be reproved in private, and then before two or three other church members if he does not repent. “And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer” (Matt. 18:15–17). Paul echoes Jesus’ teaching when he says that those in the church who continue in sin should be rebuked “in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning” (1 Tim. 5:20).

That the principle of nonresistance does not apply to governmental authorities is clear from many passages in the New Testament. Civil government “is a minister of God to you for good,” Paul says. “But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil” (Rom. 13:4). Peter commands, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right” (1 Pet. 2:13–14).

For the sake of God’s righteousness, as well as for the sake of human justice, believers are obligated not only to uphold the law themselves but to insist that others do so as well. To report crime is an act of compassion, righteousness, and godly obedience as well as an act of civil responsibility. To belittle, excuse, or hide the wrongdoing of others is not an act of love but an act of wickedness, because it undermines civil justice and divine righteousness.

As long as the natural human heart exists, evil will have to be restrained by law. Our crime-wrecked society would do well to reexamine-and reapply-biblical law. When God is forsaken, His righteous standards are forsaken, and His law is forsaken. Antinomianism, the doing away with law, is as much an enemy of the gospel as legalism and works righteousness. The Old and New Testaments are never at odds in regard to law and grace, justice and mercy. The Old Testament teaches nothing of a righteous and just God apart from a merciful and loving God, and the New Testament teaches nothing of a merciful and loving God apart from a righteous and just God. The revelation of God is unchanging in regard to moral law.

When the church stopped preaching God’s righteousness, justice, and eternal punishment of the lost, it stopped preaching the fullness of the gospel, and both society and the church have suffered greatly for it. And when the church stopped holding its own members accountable to God’s standards and stopped disciplining its own ranks, a great deal of its moral influence on society was sacrificed. One of the legacies of theological liberalism is civil as well as religious lawlessness.

Not to restrain evil is neither just nor kind. It fails to protect the innocent and has the effect of encouraging the wicked in their evil. Proper restraint of evil, however, not only is just but is beneficent as well.

Arthur Pink says,

Magistrates and judges were never ordained by God for the purpose of reforming reprobates or pampering degenerates, but to be His instruments for preserving law and order by being a terror to evil. As Romans chapter 13 says, they are to be “a revenger to execute wrath on him that doeth evil.”…Conscience has become comatose. The requirements of justice are stifled; maudlin concepts now prevail. As eternal punishment was repudiated-either tacitly or in many cases openly-ecclesiastical punishments are shelved. Churches refuse to enforce sanctions and wink at flagrant offenses. The inevitable outcome has been the breakdown of discipline in the home and the creation of ‘public opinion,’ which is mawkish and spineless. School teachers are intimidated by foolish parents and children so that the rising generation are more and more allowed to have their own way without fear of consequences. And if some judge has the courage of his convictions, and sentences a brute for maiming an old woman, there is an outcry against the judge. (An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1974], p. 112–13)

To lower God’s standard of justice is to lower God’s standard of righteousness-which Jesus came to fulfill and clarify, not to obviate or deminish.

Anthistēmi (resist) means to setontext against or oppose, and in this context obviously refers to harm done to. It personally by someone who is evil. Jesus is speaking of personall for our resentment, spite, and vengeance own is the same truth taught by Paulfor he said, “Never pay back eviten, evil to anyone. … Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the the wrath of God, for it is writeven ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Rom. 12:17, 19). Vengeful retaliation has no place in society at large, and even less place among those who belong to Christ. We are caledd to overcome someone’s evil toward us by doing good to them (Rom. 12:21).

After establishing the basic principle in Matthew 5:39a, in verses 39b-42 Jesus picks out four basic human rights that He uses to illustrate the principle of nonretaliation: dignity, security, liberty, and proper[2]


5:38 The law said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). This was both a command to punish and a limitation on punishment—the penalty must not exceed the crime. However, according to the OT, authority for punishment was vested in the government, not in the individual.

5:39–41 Jesus went beyond the law to a higher righteousness by abolishing retaliation altogether. He showed His disciples that, whereas revenge was once legally permissible, now non-resistance was graciously possible. Jesus instructed His followers to offer no resistance to an evil person.[3]


38 The OT prescription (Ex 21:24; Lev 24:19–20; Dt 19:21) was not given to foster vengeance; the law explicitly forbade that (Lev 19:18). Rather, it was given, as the OT context shows, to provide the nation’s judicial system with a ready formula of punishment, not least because it would decisively terminate vendettas. On occasion, payment in money or some other commodity was exacted instead (e.g., Ex 21:26–27), and in Jesus’ day the courts seldom imposed lex talionis. The trouble is that a law designed to limit retaliation and punish fairly could be appealed to as justification for vindictiveness. But it will not do to argue that Jesus is doing nothing more than combating a personal as opposed to a judicial use of the lex talionis, since in that case the examples would necessarily run differently: e.g., if someone strikes you, don’t strike back but let the judiciary administer the just return slap. The argument runs in deeper channels.

39 Jesus’ disciple is not to resist “an evil person” (tō ponērō [GK 4505] could not easily be taken to refer here to the devil or to evil in the abstract). In the context of the lex talionis, the most natural way of understanding the resistance is “do not resist in a court of law.” This interpretation is required in the second example (v. 40). As in vv. 33–37, therefore, Jesus’ teaching formally contradicts the OT law. But in the context of vv. 17–20, what Jesus is saying is reasonably clear: the OT, including the lex talionis, points forward to Jesus and his teaching. But like the OT laws permitting divorce, enacted because of the hardness of men’s hearts (19:3–12), the lex talionis was instituted to curb evil because of the hardness of men’s hearts. “God gives by concession a legal regulation as a dam against the river of violence which flows from man’s evil heart” (Piper, “Love Your Enemies,” 90).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 124). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 329–332). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1222). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 189). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

APRIL 25 – EVERYBODY RECEIVES GRACE

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

—Isaiah 64:6

Everybody receives in some degree God’s grace: the lowest woman in the world; the most sinful, bloody man in the world; Judas; Hitler. If it hadn’t been that God was gracious, they would have been cut off and slain, along with you and me and all the rest. I wonder if there’s much difference in us sinners after all.

When a woman sweeps up a house, some of the dirt is black, some is gray, some is light-colored, but it is all dirt, and it all goes before the broom. And when God looks at humanity He sees some that are morally light-colored, some that are morally dark, some that are morally speckled, but it is all dirt, and it all goes before the moral broom.

So the grace of God is operated toward everybody. But the saving grace of God is different. When the grace of God becomes operative through faith in Jesus Christ then there is the new birth. But the grace of God nevertheless holds back any judgment that would come until God in His kindness has given everyone a chance to repent. AOG102-103

Lord, each one of Your children has sinned and deserves to be swept away. Thank You for Your saving grace that reaches out to all of us in our sinfulness. Amen. [1]


64:6, 7 They confess to personal uncleanness, and admit that their best deeds (righteousnesses) are like filthy rags. No wonder that they are fading leaves, driven away by the wind of their own iniquities. There is spiritual deadness in Israel. Intercessors are nowhere to be found, because Jehovah has abandoned them to the consequences of their sins.[2]


64:6 unclean … filthy garment. As in 53:6, the prophet included himself among those confessing their utter unworthiness to be in God’s presence. Isaiah employed the imagery of menstrual cloths used during a woman’s period to picture uncleanness (cf. Lv 15:19–24). This is true of the best behavior of unbelievers (cf. Php 3:5–8).[3]


64:6 all have become like the unclean Someone who was unclean was forbidden from entering the temple for sacrifice or worship. See note on 35:8; note on 52:1.

deeds of justice like a menstrual cloth An acknowledgement of their false piety (see 58:2 and note).[4]


64:6 unclean. Unfit to be in God’s presence (Lev. 13:45, 46; Hag. 2:13, 14).

polluted garment. Under the old covenant, garments stained by menstruation are defiled, as is anything else that comes into contact with a flow of life-fluids from the body (30:22 note; Lev. 15:19; Ezek. 36:17; cf. Phil. 4:7, 8). Since God is the Lord of life, nothing associated with a diminishment of life can enter His presence. Our problem is not merely our sinful acts but the fact that even our very best works are defiled before Him.

We all fade like a leaf. We are transitory mortals, while the Lord endures forever (40:7, 8). Like the wicked in Ps. 1, we are easily blown away in the wind.[5]


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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 988). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 64:6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 64:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1244). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

April 25 – The Resurrection: So What?

“If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

1 Corinthians 15:19

✧✧✧

Without Christ’s resurrection, our individual Christian lives would be pathetic exercises in futility.

In ancient times the strongest swimmer among the sailors on a ship was called the archegos, a Greek word that means “front–runner” or “pioneer.” If as the ship approached shore, it got caught in waves so strong that a safe landing was doubtful, the archegos would fasten one end of a long rope to the ship, tie the other end around himself, jump into the water, and guide the ship to land. Once on land, he would secure the rope to a rock or tree. Then the other passengers could disembark and use the rope as a safety tether to reach the shore.

Jesus is our archegos. If He didn’t overcome death and make a way possible for us to do the same, we would have nothing more to look forward to than life on earth, which would leave us with no brighter hope than the typical unbeliever (Rom. 6:23).

The archegos illustration shows us once again the crucial importance of Christ’s rising from the grave. Without the Resurrection, Christianity loses its doctrinal strength, as we saw in yesterday’s study. Furthermore, the Christian life would become futile and pathetic if we could not point to the truth of the Resurrection. If our Lord were still in the tomb, He could not help us regarding eternity or our earthly ministry. We would have nothing to justify our efforts in Bible study, preaching, teaching, witnessing, or any activity of Christian service.

However, God the Father did raise “Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:24–25). Because Christ lives, we too shall live (John 14:19). This great certainty should give us all the confidence and motivation we’ll ever want or need as we serve our Lord and risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Based on the reality of the Resurrection, ask God today to give you fresh incentive to be His faithful servant.

For Further Study: Read Luke 24:1–12. What immediate effect did knowledge of Jesus’ resurrection have on Mary Magdalene and the other women? ✧ How did their reaction differ from most of the disciples’?[1]


Christians Would Be the Most Pitiable People on Earth

In light of the other consequences, the last is rather obvious. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only [and we have; ei with the indicative] we are of all men most to be pitied. Without the resurrection, and the salvation and blessings it brings, Christianity would be pointless and pitiable. Without the resurrection we would have no Savior, no forgiveness, no gospel, no meaningful faith, no life, and no hope of any of those things.

To have hoped in Christ in this life only would be to teach, preach, suffer, sacrifice, and work entirely for nothing. If Christ is still dead, then He not only cannot help us in regard to the life to come but He cannot help us now If He cannot grant us eternal life, He cannot improve our earthly life. If He is not alive, where would be our source of peace, joy, or satisfaction now. The Christian life would be a mockery, a charade, a tragic joke.

A Christian has no Savior but Christ, no Redeemer but Christ, no Lord but Christ. Therefore if Christ was not raised, He is not alive, and our Christian life is lifeless. We would have nothing to justify our faith, our Bible study, our preaching or witnessing, our service for Him or our worship of Him, and nothing to justify our hope either for this life or the next. We would deserve nothing but the compassion reserved for fools.

But we are not to be pitied, for Paul immediately continues, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (15:20).[2]


15:19 If Christ is not risen, then living believers are in as wretched a condition as those who have died. They, too, have been deceived. They are of all men the most pitiable. Paul is here doubtless thinking of the sorrows, sufferings, trials, and persecutions to which Christians are exposed. To undergo such afflictions for a false cause would be pathetic indeed.[3]


19 The essence of hope is that it looks forward to the future, and the ultimate future that believers anticipate is a new heaven and a new earth, and glorified bodies like Christ’s glorified body (Php 3:21). It is a hope that reaches beyond life as we know it now. Thus Paul says here, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” Why so? Most likely because we are living a lie! We have a hope that will turn out to be a false hope, and that on which we set the entire focus of our lives will come to nothing. That would indeed be very sad![4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 413–414). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1805). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 395). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

April 25 – Staying Alive

But made alive in the spirit.

1 Peter 3:18, nasb

Today’s verse makes a specific reference to the life of Jesus’ spirit—it does not refer to the Holy Spirit. The apostle Peter is contrasting what happened to the flesh (or body) of Jesus with what happened to His spirit. His spirit was alive but His flesh was dead.

Some think “made alive in the spirit” refers to Christ’s physical resurrection, but that would necessitate a statement like, “He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the flesh.” The resurrection was a spiritual and physical occurrence. Thus Peter’s point has to be that though Christ was physically dead, His spirit was still alive.

On the cross, Christ’s spirit experienced brief separation from God. He said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). The separation ended quickly, however, for shortly after our Lord’s lament, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). Then, His spirit was no longer separated from God; it was committed to the Father.[1]


Some critics have disputed Christ’s resurrection from the dead by claiming He never died in the first place. According to such skeptical reasoning, He merely fainted into a semi-coma on the cross, was revived in the coolness of the tomb, unwrapped Himself, and walked out. But the phrase having been put to death in the flesh leaves no doubt that on the cross Jesus’ physical life ceased. To hasten the deaths of the two thieves at Calvary crucified on either side of Christ, the Roman executioners broke their legs (John 19:31–32). (Crucifixion victims postponed their deaths as long as possible by pushing themselves up on their legs, which allowed them to gasp for another breath.) However, the soldiers did not bother to break Christ’s legs because they could see He was already dead. Confirming that reality, one of them pierced His side with a spear, causing blood and water to flow out, a physiological sign He was certainly dead (19:33–37).

The phrase made alive in the spirit is a reference to Jesus’ eternal inner person. The Greek text omits the definite article, which suggests Peter was not referring to the Holy Spirit, but that the Lord was spiritually alive, contrasting the condition of Christ’s flesh (body) with that of His spirit. His eternal spirit has always been alive, although His earthly body was then dead; but three days later His body was resurrected in a transformed and eternal state.

Some interpreters think the aforementioned phrase describes Jesus’ resurrection. But if the apostle had intended to make such a reference he would have used an expression such as, “He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the flesh.” The resurrection was not merely a spiritual reality—it was physical (cf. Luke 24:39; John 20:20, 27). Thus Peter’s point here must be that though Jesus’ body was dead, He remained alive in His spirit (cf. Luke 23:46).

Although Christ is the One who is eternal life itself (1 John 5:20), He did experience a kind of spiritual death—defined not as cessation of existence but an experience of separation from God. While on the cross, Jesus was fully conscious as He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). That utterance reflected His temporary and humanly incomprehensible sense of alienation from the Father while God’s full wrath and the burden of sinners’ iniquities were placed on Him and judged (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:10–13; Heb. 9:28). For that brief time, Christ’s experience paralleled the condition of unbelievers who live, paradoxically, in spiritual death (separation from God) in this life and face divine judgment in physical death (cf. Dan. 12:2; Matt. 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43–48; John 3:36; Rev. 20:15). In His death for sin and resurrection to eternal glory, Christ conquered death; however, unregenerate sinners die their own deaths for their unrepented sins and go to eternal shame and punishment.[2]


3:18 The rest of chapter 3 presents Christ as the classic example of One who suffered for righteousness’ sake, and reminds us that for Him, suffering was the pathway to glory.

Notice the six features of His sufferings: (1) They were expiatory, that is, they freed believing sinners from the punishment of their sins. (2) They were eternally effectual. He died once for all and settled the sin question. The work of redemption was completed. (3) They were substitutionary. The just died for the unjust. “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6b). (4) They were reconciling. Through His death we have been brought to God. The sin which caused alienation has been removed. (5) They were violent. His death was by execution. (6) Finally, they were climaxed by resurrection. He was raised from the dead on the third day. The expression made alive by the Spirit means that His resurrection was through the power of the Holy Spirit.[3]


18 Immediately preceding this verse, the writer stresses the Christian response to persecution. Believers are thus to look to their Lord: “For Christ suffered …” (NIV, “died”; paschō,GK 4248, used twelve times in 1 Peter, roughly one-third of all its occurrences in the NT). This suffering, moreover, was vicarious, for the sins of others; it was substitutionary atonement—“the righteous for the unrighteous,” unique and once-for-all (hapax, GK 562) in character (Heb 7:27; 9:28; 10:11–12; cf. Jude 5). This was done, writes Peter, “to bring [prosagō, GK 4642] you to God.” Accessibility to the divine throne, where Peter ends in this parenthetical insertion (3:22), is of critical importance to the readers psychologically if they are enduring considerable hardship in the present cultural context.

That Christ was “put to death [thanatoō, GK 2506] in the body” establishes immediate and crucial identification with the readers. Both share a common existential experience (lit.) “in the flesh”: both suffer. But this is not the end; the story progresses. While Christ was put to death in the flesh, on the one hand, he was also and subsequently “made alive by the Spirit” (zōopoieō pneumati). This flesh-Spirit contrast serves several purposes. At one level, it counters any divorce or dichotomizing of the two that would have typified Hellenistic thinking (cf. 1 Jn 4:2). The scandal of the early church’s preaching was its Christology: Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine (cf. Col 1:19). At another level, it reminds the audience that, while “the body is weak,” indeed, the Spirit is willing (cf. Mt 26:41). The same Spirit who sanctifies (1:2), grants revelation (1:11), makes us holy (1:15–16), and raised Jesus from the dead (3:18) also quickens the believer. The Spirit helps us transcend our earthly limitations.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 130). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 208–209). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2271–2272). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 338). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.