Daily Archives: April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Apr. 27, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump won’t immediately terminate U.S. participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement, the White House said, after he spoke with the leaders of Mexico and Canada about ways to renegotiate the accord.

The tax plan released Wednesday by top economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin provided much for multinational corporations to rejoice over — it calls for slashing the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent and applying a one-time, low rate to an estimated $2.6 trillion in offshore profits that have so far avoided U.S. taxes. The plan also calls for shifting to a territorial system for corporate taxes in which, going forward, most foreign profits would be exempt from U.S. levies. Currently, the U.S. taxes corporate income no matter where it’s earned.

Explosions hit a warehouse and fuel tanks near Damascus airport, the latest in a series of suspected Israeli attacks on Hezbollah positions in Syria, where the Iranian-backed militant group is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the six-year civil war.

Ivanka Trump is in discussions with the World Bank about setting up a fund that would pool resources from G-20 countries to support female entrepreneurs.

United Continental Holdings Inc. will pay as much as $10,000 to passengers who voluntarily give up their seats on oversold flights, one of 10 changes the airline is adopting after setting off worldwide outrage when a customer was dragged off a plane by security officers.

International banks are getting serious about moving staff to Frankfurt after last year’s Brexit vote spurred competition among European cities to lure jobs away from London.

Orders for durable goods rose 0.7 percent, less than forecast in March, as demand for automobiles, fabricated-metal products and machinery all declined, Commerce Department data showed Thursday.

Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits rose to a four-week high last week, interrupting a run of subdued firings, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. Jobless claims increased by 14,000 to 257,000 (forecast was 245,000) in the week ended April 22.

AP Top Stories

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts took issue on Wednesday with the Trump administration’s stance in an immigration case, saying it could make it too easy for the government to strip people of citizenship for lying about minor infractions.

The US Supreme Court took a narrow view Tuesday on the immunity from lawsuits enjoyed by Native American tribes, which are treated in some respects like sovereign states that cannot be sued in American courts.

Venezuela said on Wednesday it was withdrawing from the Organization of American States, deepening the diplomatic isolation of the socialist-run nation that is already out of step with Latin America’s steady shift to the right.

French intelligence services have scientific proof that the Syrian regime was responsible for a suspected chemical attack that killed 88 people, France’s foreign minister said Wednesday.

Arkansas plans to end its series of April executions by putting to death on Thursday an inmate convicted of murdering a cheerleader and who escaped from prison and killed two other people before being captured again.

The death of an American member of an international monitoring team in eastern Ukraine in a landmine blast, which also injured a Czech colleague, is the latest act of lethal violence putting enormous stress on the country’s fragile ceasefire.

An unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from California early Wednesday in a test of the weapon system that is part of the U.S. nuclear force.

Donald Trump is reportedly considering disbanding the US ninth circuit of appeals after court judges blocked two of his executive orders. Mr. Trump said he was “absolutely” considering proposals to break up the “outrageous” court.

Chicago hit a grim milestone Tuesday, with more than a thousand people shot in the Midwestern US city since the beginning of the year.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been delivering fantastic views of Saturn and its moons for many years now, and this year it will meet its ultimate fate: incineration in Saturn’s atmosphere.

President Trump is stepping up diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea, and military preparations are “underway” in the event that such action is necessary, a senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday.

BBC

A Russian spy ship has sunk off the Turkish coast after being breached in a collision with a freighter, with all its crew rescued, the Turkish coastal authority said.

An Illinois couple married for 69 years have died within an hour of each other.

WND

Responding to a demand by the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Pentagon will formally review the content of a counter-terrorism training program taught to Special Forces by a private contractor.

President Barack Obama considered being homosexual as a young man, according to a forthcoming biography of the president. The biography by David Garrow, “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama,” is set to come out on May 9.

Texas Republicans were poised Wednesday to take a big step toward banning “sanctuary cities” in their state, debating a bill through which police chiefs and sheriffs could even be jailed for not cooperating fully with federal immigration authorities.

Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has confessed it is dealing with a “four-digit number” of migrants with declared links to the Taliban, potentially endangering neighboring countries such as France.


The Briefing 04-27-17

The prophets of secularization miscalculated: Religious people have more children than secular people

ISIS, Cubs of the Caliphate, and the importance of capturing the hearts of our children with the truth

The post The Briefing 04-27-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top Headlines – 4/27/2017

Report: ISIS Militants Killed by Wild Boars in Northern Iraq
The group was planning to attack a band of local tribesmen who had fled from the ISIS-controlled town of Hawija, which the jihadists seized in mid-2014. Three militants were reportedly killed and five more were injured. Al-Assi said the group of eight likely disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area and apparently mauled the fighters. According to Al-Assi, the militants had summarily executed 25 people fleeing the Islamic State’s territory in the three days before the boar attack.

Trump ‘absolutely’ looking at breaking up 9th Circuit
“Absolutely, I have,” Trump said of considering 9th circuit breakup proposals during a far-ranging interview with the Washington Examiner at the White House on Wednesday. “There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It’s outrageous.”

UK Refuses to Apologize to Palestinians for 1917 Balfour Declaration
The United Kingdom has rejected a request by the Palestinians to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which helped pave the way for the founding of the state of Israel.

Amalek Fought Israel on Biblical Battlefield of Rephidim. Today, New Generation of Ancient Enemy Appears on Same Site
The violent, ongoing conflict between Egypt and the Islamic State currently raging in the Sinai is a reenactment of the Biblical confrontation between Israel and Amalek, even taking place on the same battlefield, pointed out a military analyst who has turned to the Bible to make sense of current events.

North Korea threat: Top admiral calls on more missile interceptors in Hawaii
Adm. Harry Harris told the House Armed Services Committee that Hawaii’s defenses were sufficient for now, but could one day be overwhelmed in an onslaught. “I don’t share your confidence that North Korea is not going to attack either South Korea, or Japan, or the United States … once they have the capability,” Harris said.

Mysterious spike in humpback whale deaths on Atlantic Coast
On Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Fisheries issued a press release, declaring an “unusual mortality event” when an abnormally high number of marine mammals were found dead for unknown reasons. There have been 62 such events designated since 1991, when the program was established.

Syria says Israeli missile strike near Damascus airport confirmed
Several Israeli missiles hit a Syrian military position southwest of Damascus airport at dawn on Thursday, Syrian state media said. The “Israeli aggression” resulted in explosions at the site and some material losses, it said, citing a military source. Earlier in the day, Syrian rebel and regional sources said the alleged Israeli strike hit an arms supply hub operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group near Damascus airport where regular supplies of weapons from Tehran are sent by commercial and military cargo planes.

IDF strikes Hamas target in Gaza in response to cross-border fire
IDF tank fire struck and destroyed a Hamas terror target in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday shortly after shots from the Palestinian enclave were fired at Israeli forces stationed near the border, the military said. “The IDF will continue to act with determination at all times to maintain the security of the State of Israel,” the IDF said in a statement on the cross-border exchange.

Palestinian Authority says it’s halting Gaza power payments to Israel
The Palestinian Authority informed Israel that it is stopping all payments for electricity that enters Gaza through 10 electrical lines, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said on Thursday. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has warned over the past two weeks that he will take “unprecedented measures,” if Hamas does not concede some of its control over Gaza to the PA.

Israeli defense minister warns of Iranian presence in Golan Heights
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman reiterated Israel’s position that it will “not allow the concentration of Iranian and Hezbollah forces on the Golan Heights” while in Moscow on Wednesday. Speaking with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov while in the Russian capital for the International Moscow Security Conference, Liberman expressed Israel’s concern over Iranian activity in Syria, stating that Tehran is using Syrian soil as a base to smuggle arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

South Africa’s nuclear deals unlawful, court rules
A South African court has annulled initial agreements the government reached with three countries to help it build nuclear power stations. The deals with Russia, the US and South Korea were unlawful, the court ruled. The government failed to hold public hearings and a parliamentary debate over its plans, it added.

North Korea: US vows sanctions and will activate Thaad system ‘within days’
The US says it plans to activate a missile defence system in South Korea “within days” and tighten economic sanctions against North Korea. The announcements from the Trump administration come amid rising fears about the North’s military advances. The Thaad system was originally not expected to be in use until late 2017. Many South Koreans oppose it, fearing they will become a target.

Brexit: Chancellor Merkel warns UK on scope of talks with EU
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says some British people have “illusions” about discussing the UK’s future ties with the EU at the same time as nailing down the UK’s Brexit terms. The future relationship can only be discussed once the exit issues – such as UK payments to the EU budget – are resolved, she told German MPs. On the sequence of the Brexit talks, she said “some people in the UK still have some illusions on that score”.

Trump ‘considering draft order to scrap Nafta’
The Trump administration has drafted an executive order that would withdraw the US from the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), US media say. It is unclear whether President Donald Trump will follow through and strike down the deal, which eliminated tariffs between the US, Mexico and Canada. In the election he vowed to withdraw from the 23-year-old pact, calling it a US job killer.

Hawaii threatened by North Korea now, U.S. commander tells Congress
The Pentagon needs to consider deploying new anti-ballistic missile systems and a defensive radar to Hawaii to protect against a growing threat from North Korea… “Kim Jong-Un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today, in my opinion,” Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee. “I have suggested that we consider putting interceptors in Hawaii that…defend (it) directly, and that we look at a defensive Hawaii radar.”

Trump’s promised tax plan is here, including lower tax rates and fewer deductionsPresident Donald Trump’s long-anticipated tax proposal was released today. U.S. National Economic Director Gary Cohn…said the President has focused on three things since he took office: job creation, economic growth, and “helping the low and middle income families…The White House proposal eliminates four tax brackets, leaving only three: 10%, 25%, and 35%. The administration has yet to disclose the earning parameters for the remaining brackets.

Chelsea Clinton Gets Another Award For Doing Nothing Special
Like her mother before her, Chelsea Clinton appears to be creating a cottage industry for herself in receiving random awards for her unparalleled contributions to society, scintillating takes on current events, and incredibly generous heart. Not content with just her Variety-sponsored “achievement award,” Chelsea on Tuesday night accepted the annual City Harvest Award for Commitment in fighting hunger in New York City.

Cashless society getting closer, survey finds
More than a third of Europeans and Americans would be happy to go without cash and rely on electronic forms of payment if they could, and at least 20 percent already pretty much do so, a study showed on Wednesday.

Senators Told North Korea Nuclear Threat Is Urgent
The Senate took part in a rare White House briefing on Wednesday to hear what senior leaders described as “an urgent national security threat” posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Why We Have A 2nd Amendment: Venezuela Plans To Give Firearms To Loyalists To Purge Growing Resistance
After enduring shortages of food and medicine for years, as well as a total collapse of their currency, the people of Venezuela have had enough. In the lead-up to last week’s massive protests, President Maduro issued an alarming proclamation that didn’t receive nearly enough press… He promised to expand the nation’s armed militia, and hand out firearms to as many as 400,000 loyalists.

Tillerson, Mattis, Coats Call North Korea “Urgent National Security Threat”, Prepared To Act
“North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat… The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies.”

Macron Booed, Jeered By Factory Workers In His Hometown After Le Pen “Ambush”
Chaotic scenes broke out during a visit by French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron to striking factory workers in his hometown of Amiens. Macron was greeted Wednesday with jeers, boos and chants in favour of his far-right rival Marine Le Pen as he made a chaotic visit to the factory in northern France.


Is God Going To ‘Bless’ A Government That Gives $500 Million A Year To Fund Planned Parenthood’s Abortion Holocaust?

More video has just been released which proves that Planned Parenthood has been selling off aborted baby parts to the highest bidder.  The crimes against humanity that Planned Parenthood is committing are off the charts, and yet nobody ever goes to jail, and the federal government keeps on giving them about half a billion dollars a year.  If the federal government did not give Planned Parenthood giant mountains of money every year, there are real doubts about whether it would be able to survive or not.  Planned Parenthood is the number one abortion provider in the United States, and the U.S. government is their number one financial supporter by a very, very wide margin.  So no matter how you want to look at the issue, the truth is that America’s abortion holocaust is being bankrolled by the U.S. government. (Read More…)


Have We Just Reached Peak Stock Market Absurdity?

Have you ever wondered how tech companies that have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars year after year can somehow be worth billions of dollars according to the stock market?  Because I run a website called “The Economic Collapse“, there are naysayers out there that take glee in mocking me by pointing out how well the stock market has been doing.  This week, the Dow is flirting with 21,000 and the Nasdaq crossed the 6,000 threshold for the first time ever.  But a lot of the “soaring stocks” that have been fueling this rally have been losing giant mountains of money every single year, and just like the first tech bubble this madness will eventually come to an end in a spectacular fiery crash in which investors will lose trillions of dollars. (Read More…)


The Deception Of Bruce Jenner And The Olympic Committee

According to Steve McConkey, president of 4 Winds Christian Athletics, Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner neglected to tell  Fox News host Tucker Carlson during an interview that hormones do not reverse the size of bone and muscles which gives male athletes a clear advantage over female athletes. “So a retired 6-10 NBA male player can play women’s basketball at the Olympics without a reduction in size, only a year of hormone therapy,” says McConkey.  Following is an excerpt of the interview from a piece he penned for Canada Free Press:

Carlson: “A transgender woman just won a major weightlifting title. Some people said, well, this is someone who has a massive physical advantage over the other entrants in that contest. It seemed like a real thing to me.”

Jenner: “The Olympic Committee is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to dealing with identifying transgender issues in competing. Back when I was competing in the 70s, all the women had saliva tests to make sure their in their DNA they were female. We had the East German women and the Soviet women and all that kind of stuff. Well, since then, there has been a lot of gender non-conforming. We don’t quite know where they fit into the athletic world. And the Olympic Committee has done 20 years of studies on issues of hormone levels of whether you need gender confirmation surgery, what can you do as a trans person to be able to compete as your authentic self. And they’ve come up with guidelines. If you meet those guidelines, you can compete. And obviously this woman did.”

Carlson: “Do you think it’s fair?”

Jenner: “Yes, I think it’s totally fair. If the Olympic Committee thinks it’s fair, I’m fine with it. Yes, because there’s no big advantage.”

View article →


Mid-Day Snapshot

Apr. 27, 2017

Who’s Up for Paying Lower Taxes?

How about just three brackets, and a higher standard deduction coupled with eliminating other deductions?

The Foundation

“[U]nequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species.” —James Madison (1792)

Prominent Trump Cabinet Members Meet for Weekly Prayer
Prominent Trump Cabinet Members Meet for Weekly Prayer
by Veronica Neffinger
Several prominent members of President Trump’s cabinet reportedly meet for prayer sessions every week.
Planned Parenthood Abortionist Caught Selling Fetal Tissue Again
Planned Parenthood Abortionist Caught Selling Fetal Tissue Again
by Amanda Casanova
The Planned Parenthood senior executive who was caught on video saying, “I want a Lamborghini” while discussing the sale of the body parts of aborted babies has been caught on video discussing the potential sale of aborted baby parts again.

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: April 27

  • Israel strikes Iran-supplied arms depot near Damascus airport (Read More)
  • ECB Keeps Policy Settings Unchanged Awaiting Political Clarity (Read More)
  • Lawmakers push one-week stopgap funding bill (Read More)
  • Key Moments From Trump’s First 100 Days (Read More)
  • Trump Makes Huge U-Turn on Pulling Out of Nafta (Read More)
  • Trump’s tax cut proposal shines light on MLPs (Read More)
  • United Says Litany of Failures Led to Flight Fiasco (Read More)
  • Trump’s plan to slash business taxes seen as ‘guidepost’ by congressional Republicans (Read More)
  • Trump’s Corporate Tax Rewrite Faces Major Obstacle: Its Cost (Read More)
  • Obamacare Customers Left Without Options as Insurers Bolt (Read More)
  • Venture-Capital Quandary: Too Much Money Chasing Too Few Ideas (Read More)
  • And Then There Was Hannity (Read More)
  • Deutsche Bank’s Return to Growth Delayed as Trading Trails (Read More)
  • Ford’s Profit Falls 35% (Read More)
  • Thai Prosecutors to Seek Arrest Warrant for Red Bull Heir (Read More)
  • Oil Shortage Feared by 2020 as Discoveries Fall to Low (Read More)
  • EU Determined to Limit Brexit Damage as Bloc Finalizes Position (Read More)
  • Fannie and Freddie, Back in the Black (Read More)
  • Ex-Congresswoman Accused of Living Large on Charity Funds (Read More)

Top Headlines – 4/27/2017

Trump to recognize entire Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during trip – report

Netanyahu: I won’t meet diplomats who engage with groups that slander Israel

Hamas Interior Ministry arrests Gazans for ‘spreading rumors’

World Bank: Gaza power cuts causing ‘humanitarian crisis’

PA tells Israel it will no longer pay for Gaza’s electricity

IDF troops come under fire near Gaza, respond with tank fire

Cyber attack aimed at over 120 Israeli targets thwarted

‘Huge’ blasts near Damascus airport blamed on Israeli strike

Intelligence minister appears to confirm Israeli strike on Syria

Report: Israel attacked Iranian arms depot near Damascus airport

Ivanka Trump Parts Ways With Her Father on Syrian Refugees

Trump gives Pentagon power to reset Iraq, Syria troop limits

Isis faces exodus of foreign fighters as its ‘caliphate’ crumbles

IS conflict: Iraqi force ‘retakes ancient city of Hatra’

ACLJ Urges New UN Secretary-General to Declare ISIS’ Atrocities on Christians a Genocide

‘It’s a war on Christians’: Egypt’s beleaguered Copts in sombre mood before papal visit

Over 1,000 People Are Detained in Raids in Turkey

US Navy fires warning flare at Iran vessel in Persian Gulf

UAE jails Iranian for 10 years for aiding nuclear program

Hard-line Iranian candidate says US should fear Iran

Ukraine, Belarus leaders mark Chernobyl anniversary

Rumors rife as gas restrictions in N. Korean capital drag on

Senators: Little learned during rare all-hands North Korea briefing

Senators Told North Korea Nuclear Threat Is Urgent

Trump team softens war talk, vows other pressure on N. Korea

North Korea’s weapons progress a top concern as US senators have rare briefing

North Korea’s Special Operations forces are numerous, mysterious and formidable

North Korea threat: Experts paint dark picture of what fallout of pre-emptive strike may look like

U.S. may need stronger defense against North Korea missiles – admiral

Pentagon Ramps Up Space Warfare Effort

Why We Have A 2nd Amendment: Venezuela Plans To Give Firearms To Loyalists To Purge Growing Resistance

Venezuela snubs regional powers as more die in unrest

Venezuela says it will split from OAS as unrest continues

White House readies order on withdrawing from NAFTA

Nafta Report Sends Peso Reeling

Trump administration launches effort to help crime victims whose assailants are here illegally

Trump slams sanctuary city ruling, says opponents are ‘judge shopping!’

Border wall talk leads top Mexican official to float American entry fee

Will GOP Fund Planned Parenthood But Not Border Wall?

Moderates balk at conservative-backed, revised health bill

UN warned Trump that ObamaCare repeal could violate international law

Cashless society getting closer, survey finds

Judges, mayors, actors: 100 days of Trump resistance

Trump and the media: a win-win reality show?

Trump faces conundrum with conservative media

Ann Coulter says she will not speak at Berkeley: ‘It’s a sad day for free speech’

FCC Chief Sets Up Clash With Call to Repeal Net Neutrality

China tried to hack group linked to controversial missile defense system, US cybersecurity firm says

New computers could delete thoughts without your knowledge, experts warn

Swedish Startup Uses AI to Figure Out What Dolphins Talk About

Amazon’s new AI gadget will watch you in your home – and also rate your clothes

Crime Fighting Robots May Be Coming to a Mall Near You

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Iquique, Chile

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Lambasa, Fiji

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Valparaiso, Chile

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge

Scottish earthquake tally hits 4,000

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 17,000ft

Mt Etna volcano in Italy erupts to 16,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

Sakurajima volcano in Japan erupts to 10,000ft

US may stay in Paris climate accord, with caveats

Humans alter Earth’s chemistry from beyond the grave

Video: Planned Parenthood exec who ‘wanted a Lamborghini’ caught haggling over baby body parts

“Basic Instinct” director Verhoeven to make film about lesbian nuns

UMC Announces ‘Special Session’ to Determine Church’s Homosexuality Stance

IRS raids televangelist Benny Hinn’s office in Grapevine

Gavin Finley – Pilgrims and Puritans

Feds raid televangelist Benny Hinn’s offices

Chris Rosebrough reviews Jurgen Matthesius’ ad hominem attack against ChurchWatch

Pastor Saeed Abedini Says He Doesn’t Want $200K at Center of Church Lawsuit, Blames Ex-Wife

A man tried to argue in federal court that dealing heroin is his religious right

Website aims to help women self-induce abortions using drugs

DEVELOPING: IRS and Postal Inspectors Raid Benny Hinn Ministries

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:40 AM PDT

Federal agents descended on the North Texas headquarters of television evangelist Benny Hinn and took boxes out of the offices. The search began about 9…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Arrest Made After Attempted Arson Attack at Trump International

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:36 AM PDT

A man was taken into custody Wednesday night after arson investigators found devices set to start two separate fires to Trump International. The suspected arsonist…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

“Evangelical” Porn Star Claims She Is Doing “God’s Work”

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:31 AM PDT

A Porn star has outraged churchgoers by declaring she is an Evangelical Christian who believes there’s nothing wrong with her work in the eyes of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Cryogenically frozen brains will be ‘woken up’ and transplanted in donor bodies within three years

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:26 AM PDT

People who have had their brains cryogenically frozen could be ‘woken up’ within three years, a pioneering Italian surgeon has claimed. Professor Sergio Canavero, Director…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

300 Year-Old River In Canada Vanishes In Just Four Days

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:19 AM PDT

The Earth is melting. The ice is melting. The glaciers are melting. But the stubborn human heart refuses to melt. In an unsettling illustration of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mexico and Canada leaders agree to renegotiate NAFTA…

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:10 AM PDT

Despite indications earlier Wednesday to the contrary, President Donald Trump agreed not to terminate the NAFTA treaty “at this time” in afternoon phone calls with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea Releases New Video Simulating Strike on White House

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:04 AM PDT

A North Korean propaganda outlet Thursday released an inflammatory video clip showing a simulated attack on the White House, declaring “the enemy to be destroyed…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China attempted to hack group linked to controversial missile defense system

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 05:59 AM PDT

A cybersecurity firm in the United States believes state-sponsored Chinese hackers were trying to infiltrate an organization with connections to a US-built missile system in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China to conduct drills and weapons tests in response to THAAD deployment

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 05:52 AM PDT

China will continue to stage live-fire drills and test new weapons to protect its national security, the Defense Ministry says. It comes after the deployment…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: Israeli Airstrike Strikes Damascus Airport

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 05:49 AM PDT

An Israeli strike on Thursday hit an arms supply hub operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group near Damascus airport where regular supplies of weapons from…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US War Fleet Now Within ‘Strike Range’ of North Korea

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 07:15 PM PDT

An “armada” of American warships – led by the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson – is now within range of the Hermit Kingdom. Donald…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Bill Would Force Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers in Hawaii to Advertise Abortion

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 07:07 PM PDT

Earlier this month, Hawaii’s house of representatives voted 41-10 in favor of a bill that would require the state’s pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortion…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Why the Enemy Appears as an Angel of Light

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 06:56 PM PDT

(By Michael Youssef) The very name Lucifer is taken from the word light or luciferous, which means “bringing light” or “illumination.” In Satan’s case, it is a false…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists grow a working human brain in the lab

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 06:46 PM PDT

Tiny human brains have been grown in a dish in what could herald a breakthrough in conditions like Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. The brain cells have formed…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Figure of Jesus’ appears above Colombian city wiped out by giant landslide

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 06:38 PM PDT

This is the amazing moment the ‘Figure of Jesus’ appeared in front of a crowd gathered to film the sunset over the city of Manizales…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US missile shield aims to cover sudden nuclear strike against Russia

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 06:29 PM PDT

The United States is pursuing global strategic domination through developing anti-ballistic missile systems capable of a sudden disarming strike against Russia and China, according to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: Military preparations ‘underway’ on North Korea

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 02:15 PM PDT

President Trump is stepping up diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea, and military preparations are “underway,” in the event such action is necessary, a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Only 20% Of Americans Read Entire Bible, Most Call It ‘Good Source of Morals’

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 12:59 PM PDT

Only 20 percent of Americans have read the Bible in its entirety, according to a new survey which also found that most Americans have positive…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea Claims 5 million youth “combat ready” and will “annihilate” US with nuclear bombs

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 12:42 PM PDT

North Korea‘s Youth League has vowed to use 5million children “equipped with nuclear bombs” to “mercilessly wipe out” the USA. A terrifying statement from the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FALLING AWAY: Famine of the Word of God in America Opening Floodgates of Immorality

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 12:36 PM PDT

(By Bob Smietana) Americans have a positive view of the Bible. And many say the Christian Scriptures are filled with moral lessons for today. However,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Commander warns America may need need stronger defense against North Korea missiles

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 12:28 PM PDT

The United States may need to strengthen its missile defenses, particularly in Hawaii, given the advancing threat from North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Concerns grow regarding North Korean’s miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 12:24 PM PDT

With all 100 U.S. senators invited to a rare briefing on White House grounds Wednesday on North Korea, it’s hard to overstate how concerned officials…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: White House weighs order on withdrawing from NAFTA…

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 11:58 AM PDT

The Trump administration is considering an executive order on withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA, according to two White House officials. A draft order has been…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: US Preparing to ‘EVACUATE 230,000 Americans from South Korea’

Posted: 26 Apr 2017 11:52 AM PDT

Donald Trump has demanded the evacuation of US citizens from South Korea as part of a drill named Courageous Channel, military sources have revealed. The operation,…

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
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April 27, 2017: Verse of the day

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3:13, 14 Moses anticipated questions from the children of Israel when he returned to them as the Lord’s spokesman, and he wanted to be able to tell them who sent him. It was at this point that God first revealed Himself as Jehovah, the great I AM. Jehovah (more precisely Yahweh) comes from the Hebrew verb “to be,” hāyāh. This sacred name is known as the tetragrammaton (“four letters”). English Jehovah comes from the Hebrew YHWH, with vowel markings supplied from Elohim and Adonai, other names of God. No one knows for sure the true pronunciation of YHWH because the ancient Hebrew spelling used no actual vowels in its alphabet. However, the pronunciation “Yahweh” is probably correct. The Jews consider YHWH too sacred to utter. The name proclaims God as self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, and sovereign. The fuller name I AM WHO I AM may mean I AM BECAUSE I AM or I WILL BE THAT I WILL BE.[1]


3:14 I Am WHO I AM. This name for God points to His self-existence and eternality; it denotes “I am the One who is/will be,” which is decidedly the best and most contextually suitable option from a number of theories about its meaning and etymological source. The significance in relation to “God of your fathers” is immediately discernible: He’s the same God throughout the ages! The consonants from the Heb. word Yhwh, combined with the vowels from the divine name Adonai (Master or Lord), gave rise to the name “Jehovah” in English. Since the name Yahweh was considered so sacred that it should not be pronounced, the Massoretes inserted the vowels from Adonai to remind themselves to pronounce it when reading instead of saying Yahweh. Technically, this combination of consonants is known as the “tetragrammaton.”[2]


3:14 I am who I am. In response to Moses’ question (“What is [your] name?” v. 13), God reveals his name to be “Yahweh” (corresponding to the four Hebrew consonants YHWH). The three occurrences of “I am” in v. 14 all represent forms of the Hebrew verb that means “to be” (Hb. hayah), and in each case are related to the divine name Yahweh (i.e., “the Lord”; see note on v. 15). The divine name Yahweh has suggested to scholars a range of likely nuances of meaning: (1) that God is self-existent and therefore not dependent on anything else for his own existence; (2) that God is the creator and sustainer of all that exists; (3) that God is immutable in his being and character and thus is not in the process of becoming something different from what he is (e.g., “the same yesterday and today and forever,” Heb. 13:8); and (4) that God is eternal in his existence. While each of these points is true of God, the main focus in this passage is on the Lord’s promise to be with Moses and his people. The word translated “I am” (Hb. ’ehyeh) can also be understood and translated as “I will be” (cf. ESV footnote). Given the context of Ex. 3:12 (“I will be with you”), the name of Yahweh (“the Lord”) is also a clear reminder of God’s promises to his people and of his help for them to fulfill their calling. In each of these cases, the personal name of God as revealed to Moses expresses something essential about the attributes and character of God.

3:14 The name “I am” anticipates the “I am” sayings of Jesus (see John 8:58), which show his deity.[3]


[1] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 91–92). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ex 3:14). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 149). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

April 27 – Are You Avoiding Persecution?

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” (Matt. 5:10).

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If you don’t experience persecution, people probably don’t know you’re a Christian.

I heard of a man who was fearful because he was starting a new job with a group of unbelievers whom he thought might give him a bad time if they found out he was a Christian. After his first day at work his wife asked him how he got along with them. “We got along just fine,” he said. “They never found out I’m a Christian.”

Silence is one way to avoid persecution. Some other ways are to approve of the world’s standards, laugh at its jokes, enjoy its entertainment, and smile when it mocks God. If you never confront sin or tell people that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, or if your behavior is so worldly no one can distinguish you from unbelievers, you will probably be accepted and won’t feel the heat of persecution.

But beware, for Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you. … Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory” (Luke 6:26; 9:26). The last thing anyone should want is for Christ to pronounce a curse on them or to be ashamed of them. That’s an enormous price to pay for popularity!

If you take a stand for Christ and manifest Beatitude attitudes, you will be in direct opposition to Satan and the evil world system. And eventually you will experience some form of persecution. That has been true from the very beginning of human history, when Abel was murdered by his brother Cain because Cain couldn’t tolerate his righteousness.

You should never fear persecution. God will grant you grace and will never test you beyond what He enables you to endure (1 Cor. 10:13). Nor should you ever compromise Biblical truth in order to avoid persecution. In Philippians 1:19 Paul says persecution is as much a gift of God as salvation itself. Both identify you as a true believer!

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Memorize 1 Peter 2:20–21. Ask God to continually grant you the grace to follow Christ’s example when difficulties come your way.

For Further Study: Read 2 Corinthians 11:23–33, noting the severe persecution Paul endured for Christ’s sake.[1]


The Persecution

Those who have been persecuted are the citizens of the kingdom, those who live out the previous seven beatitudes. To the degree that they fulfill the first seven they may experience the eighth.

“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Before writing those words Paul had just mentioned some of his own “persecutions, and suffering, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra” (v. 11). As one who lived the kingdom life he had been persecuted, and all others who live the kingdom life can expect similar treatment. What was true in ancient Israel is true today and will remain true until the Lord returns. “As at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also” (Gal. 4:29).

Imagine a man who accepted a new job in which he had to work with especially profane people. When at the end of the first day his wife asked him how he had managed, he said, “Terrific! They never guessed I was a Christian.” As long as people have no reason to believe that we are Christians, at least obedient and righteous Christians, we need not worry about persecution. But as we manifest the standards of Christ we will share the reproach of Christ. Those born only of the flesh will persecute those born of the Spirit.

To live for Christ is to live in opposition to Satan in his world and in his system. Christlikeness in us will produce the same results as Christlikeness did in the apostles, in the rest of the early church, and in believers throughout history. Christ living in His people today produces the same reaction from the world that Christ Himself produced when He lived on earth as a man.

Righteousness is confrontational, and even when it is not preached in so many words, it confronts wickedness by its very contrast. Abel did not preach to Cain, but Abel’s righteous life, typified by his proper sacrifice to the Lord, was a constant rebuke to his wicked brother-who in a rage finally slew him. When Moses chose to identify with his own despised Hebrew people rather than compromise himself in the pleasures of pagan Egyptian society, he paid a great price. But he considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (Heb. 11:26).

The Puritan writer Thomas Watson said of Christians: “Though they be never so meek, merciful, pure in heart, their piety will not shield them from sufferings. They must hang their harp on the willows and take the cross. The way to heaven is by way of thorns and blood. … Set it down as a maxim, if you will follow Christ you must see the swords and staves” (The Beatitudes [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1971], pp. 259–60).

Savonarola was one of the greatest reformers in the history of the church. In his powerful condemnation of personal sin and ecclesiastical corruption, that Italian preacher paved the way for the Protestant Reformation, which began a few years after his death. “His preaching was a voice of thunder,” writes one biographer, “and his denunciation of sin was so terrible that the people who listened to him went about the streets half-dazed, bewildered and speechless. His congregations were so often in tears that the whole building resounded with their sobs and their weeping.” But the people and the church could not long abide such a witness, and for preaching uncompromised righteousness Savonarola was convicted of “heresy,” he was hanged, and his body was burned.

Persecution is one of the surest and most tangible evidences of salvation. Persecution is not incidental to faithful Christian living but is certain evidence of it. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians by sending them Timothy, “so that no man may be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know” (1 Thess. 3:3–4). Suffering persecution is part of the normal Christian life (cf. Rom. 8:16–17). And if we never experience ridicule, criticism, or rejection because of our faith, we have reason to examine the genuineness of it. “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake,” Paul says, “not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me” (Phil. 1:29–30). Persecution for Christ’s sake is a sign of our own salvation just as it is a sign of damnation for those who do the persecuting (v. 28).

Whether Christians live in a relatively protected and tolerant society or whether they live under a godless, totalitarian regime, the world will find ways to persecute Christ’s church. To live a redeemed life to its fullest is to invite and to expect resentment and reaction from the world.

The fact that many professed believers are popular and praised by the world does not indicate that the world has raised its standards but that many who call themselves by Christ’s name have lowered theirs. As the time for Christ’s appearing grows closer we can expect opposition from the world to increase, not decrease. When Christians are not persecuted in some way by society it means that they are reflecting rather than confronting that society. And when we please the world we can be sure that we grieve the Lord (cf. James 4:4; 1 John 2:15–17).

When (hotan) can also mean whenever. The idea conveyed in the term is not that believers will be in a constant state of opposition, ridicule, or persecution, but that, whenever those things come to us because of our faith, we should not be surprised or resentful. Jesus was not constantly opposed and ridiculed, nor were the apostles. There were times of peace and even popularity. But every faithful believer will at times have some resistance and ridicule from the world, while others, for God’s own purposes, will endure more extreme suffering. But whenever and however affliction comes to the child of God, his heavenly Father will be there with him to encourage and to bless. Our responsibility is not to seek out persecution, but to be willing to endure whatever trouble our faithfulness to Jesus Christ may bring, and to see it as a confirmation of true salvation.

The way to avoid persecution is obvious and easy. To live like the world, or at least to “live and let live,” will cost us nothing. To mimic the world’s standards, or never to criticize them, will cost us nothing. To keep quiet about the gospel, especially the truth that apart from its saving power men remain in their sins and are destined for hell, will cost us nothing. To go along with the world, to laugh at its jokes, to enjoy its entertainment, to smile when it mocks God and takes His name in vain, and to be ashamed to take a stand for Christ will not bring persecution. Those are the habits of sham Christians.

Jesus does not take faithlessness lightly. “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). If we are ashamed of Christ, He will be ashamed of us. Christ also warned, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). To be popular with everyone is either to have compromised the faith or not to have true faith at all.

Though it was early in His ministry, by the time Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount He had already faced opposition. After He healed the man on the Sabbath, “the Pharisees went out and immediately began taking counsel with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him” (Mark 3:6). We learn from Luke that they were actually hoping Jesus would heal on the Sabbath “in order that they might find reason to accuse Him” (Luke 6:7). They already hated His teaching and wanted Him to commit an act serious enough to warrant His arrest.

Our Lord made it clear from His earliest teaching, and His opponents made it clear from their earliest reactions, that following Him was costly. Those who entered His kingdom would suffer for Him before they would reign with Him. That is the hard honesty that every preacher, evangelist, and witness of Christ should exemplify. We do the Lord no honor and those to whom we witness no benefit by hiding or minimizing the cost of following Him.

The cost of discipleship is billed to believers in many different ways. A Christian stonemason in Ephesus in Paul’s day might have been asked to help build a pagan temple or shrine. Because he could not do that in good conscience, his faith would cost him the work and possibly his job and career. A believer today might be expected to hedge on the quality of his work in order to increase company profits. To follow His conscience in obedience to the Lord could also cost his job or at least a promotion. A Christian housewife who refuses to listen to gossip or to laugh at the crude jokes of her neighbors may find herself ostracized. Some costs will be known in advance and some will surprise us. Some costs will be great and some will be slight. But by the Lord’s and the apostles’ repeated promises, faithfulness always has a cost, which true Christians are willing to pay (contrast Matt. 13:20–21).

The second-century Christian leader Tertullian was once approached by a man who said, “I have come to Christ, but I don’t know what to do. I have a job that I don’t think is consistent with what Scripture teaches. What can I do? I must live.” To that Tertullian replied, “Must you?” Loyalty to Christ is the Christian’s only true choice. To be prepared for kingdom life is to be prepared for loneliness, misunderstanding, ridicule, rejection, and unfair treatment of every sort.

In the early days of the church the price paid was often the ultimate. To choose Christ might mean choosing death by stoning, by being covered with pitch and used as a human torch for Nero, or by being wrapped in animal skins and thrown to vicious hunting dogs. To choose Christ could mean torture by any number of excessively cruel and painful ways. That was the very thing Christ had in mind when He identified His followers as those willing to bear their crosses. That has no reference to mystical devotion, but is a call to be ready to die, if need be, for the cause of the Lord (see Matt. 10:35–39; 16:24–25).

In resentment against the gospel the Romans invented charges against Christians, such as accusing them of being cannibals because in the Lord’s Supper they spoke of eating Jesus’ body and drinking His blood. They accused them of having sexual orgies at their love feasts and even of setting fire to Rome. They branded believers as revolutionaries because they called Jesus Lord and King and spoke of God’s destroying the earth by fire.

By the end of the first century, Rome had expanded almost to the outer limits of the known world, and unity became more and more of a problem. Because only the emperor personified the entire empire, the caesars came to be deified, and their worship was demanded as a unifying and cohesive influence. It became compulsory to give a verbal oath of allegiance to caesar once a year, for which a person would be given a verifying certificate, called a libellus. After publicly proclaiming, “Caesar is Lord,” the person was free to worship any other gods he chose. Because faithful Christians refused to declare such an allegiance to anyone but Christ, they were considered traitors-for which they suffered confiscation of property, loss of work, imprisonment, and often death. One Roman poet spoke of them as “the panting, huddling flock whose only crime was Christ.”

In the last beatitude Jesus speaks of three specific types of affliction endured for Christ’s sake: physical persecution, verbal insult, and false accusation.

Physical Persecution

First, Jesus says, we can expect physical persecution. Have been persecuted (v. 10), persecute (v. 11), and persecuted (v. 12) are from diōkō, which has the basic meaning of chasing, driving away, or pursuing. From that meaning developed the connotations of physical persecution, harassment, abuse, and other unjust treatment.

All of the other beatitudes have to do with inner qualities, attitudes, and spiritual character. The eighth beatitude speaks of external things that happen to believers, but the teaching behind these results also has to do with attitude. The believer who has the qualities required in the previous beatitudes will also have the quality of willingness to face persecution for the sake of righteousness. He will have the attitude of self-sacrifice for the sake of Christ. It is the lack of fear and shame and the presence of courage and boldness that says, “I will be in this world what Christ would have me be. I will say in this world what Christ will have me say. Whatever it costs, I will be and say those things.”

The Greek verb is a passive perfect participle, and could be translated “allow themselves to be persecuted.” The perfect form indicates continuousness, in this case a continuous willingness to endure persecution if it is the price of godly living. This beatitude speaks of a constant attitude of accepting whatever faithfulness to Christ may bring.

It is in the demands of this beatitude that many Christians break down in their obedience to the Lord, because here is where the genuineness of their response to the other beatitudes is most strongly tested. It is here where we are most tempted to compromise the righteousness we have hungered and thirsted for. It is here where we find it convenient to lower God’s standards to accommodate the world and thereby avoid conflicts and problems that we know obedience will bring.

But God does not want His gospel altered under pretense of its being less demanding, less righteous, or less truthful than it is. He does not want witnesses who lead the unsaved into thinking that the Christ life costs nothing. A synthetic gospel, a man-made seed, produces no real fruit.[2]


5:10 The next beatitude deals with those who are persecuted, not for their own wrongdoings, but for righteousness’ sake. The kingdom of heaven is promised to those believers who suffer for doing right. Their integrity condemns the ungodly world and brings out its hostility. People hate a righteous life because it exposes their own unrighteousness.[3]


10 It is no accident that Jesus should pass from peacemaking to persecution, for the world enjoys its cherished hates and prejudices so much that the peacemaker is not always welcome. Opposition is a normal mark of being a disciple of Jesus, as normal as hungering for righteousness or being merciful (see Jn 15:18–25; Ac 14:22; 2 Ti 3:12; 1 Pe 4:13–14; cf. the woe in Lk 6:26). Lachs (“Textual Observations,” 101–3) cannot believe Christians were ever persecuted because of righteousness; so he repoints an alleged underlying Hebrew text to read “because of the righteous One”—a reference to Jesus. But he underestimates how offensive genuine righteousness, “proper conduct before God” (Przybylski, Righteousness in Matthew, 99), really is (cf. Isa 51:7). The reward of these persecuted people is the same as the reward of the poor in spirit—namely, the kingdom of heaven, which terminates the inclusio (see comments at v. 3).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 130). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 220–224). 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 27 – ENOCH ESCAPED DEATH

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death…he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Hebrews 11:5

The Genesis record concerning Enoch should speak to us of our own troubled times—for that is the purpose of the Word of God. It should be our concern that we hear and that we obey!

The faith and deportment of the man Enoch compose a vivid picture—a powerful object lesson—to encourage every believer in his or her faith. There is only one conclusion to be drawn—Enoch was translated into the presence of God because of his faith, and thus he escaped death!

It is my strong conviction that Enoch’s experience of translation is a type, or preview, of the coming rapture of the Church, the Bride of Christ, described in the Scriptures.

It is evident that there was no funeral for Enoch. Perhaps members of his family did not fully understand his walk with God, but they could answer with the facts! “He is gone! We thought he was extreme in his beliefs but now he is gone, and we are still here in a troubled world!”

Lord, some days it is especially good to know that there will be an eternal reward for those who walk in close fellowship with You.[1]


The second hero of faith is Enoch. Whereas Abel exemplifies worshiping by faith—which must always come first—Enoch exemplifies walking by faith.

God never intended works as a way for men to come to Him. He intended works to be a result of salvation, not a way of salvation. At no time has man been able to approach God on the basis of works. Rather, God has always intended that works be a product of the salvation men receive when they approach Him on the basis of faith.

And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Gen. 5:21–24)

Here we see a new concept in the book of Genesis. Abel knew what it was to worship by faith, but he did not really understand the concept of walking with God. Revelation in Scripture is progressive. Abel received some revelation, and Enoch received more.

Adam and Eve had walked and talked with God in the Garden, but when they fell and were thrown out of the Garden, they ceased to walk with Him. The ultimate destiny of man is reinstituted with Enoch, who stands as an illustration for all men of what it is to be in fellowship with God. In Enoch the true destiny of man is again reached, as he experienced the fellowship with God that Adam and Eve had forfeited.

I believe Enoch’s faith included everything Abel’s included. Enoch had to have offered a sacrifice to God, symbolic of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, because sacrifice is the only way into God’s presence. He could not have walked with God unless he had first come to God, and a person cannot come to God apart from the shedding of blood. The principle has not changed from the days of Abel and Enoch until today.

Hebrews 11:5–6 shows us five features in Enoch’s life that were pleasing to God: he believed that God is; he sought God’s reward; he walked with God; he preached for God; and he entered into God’s presence.[2]


11:5 Sometime during his life Enoch must have received a promise from God that he would go to heaven without dying. Up to that time everyone had died—sooner or later. There was no record of anyone ever having been taken away without dying. But God promised and Enoch believed. It was the most sane, rational thing that Enoch could do; what is more reasonable than that the creature should believe his Creator?

And so it happened! Enoch walked with the invisible God for three hundred years (Gen. 5:21–24) and then he walked into eternity. Before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. The life of faith always pleases God; He loves to be trusted.[3]


5 Among the human ancestors listed before the flood, Enoch stands out as special. The very brief account of him (Ge 5:21–24) includes twice over the statement that he “walked with God,” an accolade he shares only with Noah (Ge 6:9). He is also distinguished by the relatively short span of his life (365 years compared with an average of some 900 before the flood), which is explained by the enigmatic phrase “he was not, for God took him,” the LXX version of which our author quotes: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away” (TNIV rightly puts these words in quotation marks). In Jewish tradition, this was taken to mean he bypassed death, as did Elijah (2 Ki 2:11) and (according to tradition, though not according to Dt 34:5–7) Moses. As one who was taken alive to heaven, Enoch became a significant figure in Jewish thought, and a rich variety of late Jewish apocalyptic material is presented as Enoch’s accounts of his visions. (There are three lengthy apocryphal “Books of Enoch,” the first of which consists of material probably originating between 200 BC and AD 100.) Our author explains this special privilege of Enoch by the fact that he is twice said to have “pleased God” (the LXX version of “walked with God”). In this case too, therefore, “faith” consists in a close relationship with God that linked earth with heaven in a single continuum.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 304–306). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2195–2196). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 150–151). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

APRIL 27 – CHRISTIAN COUPLES: HEIRS TOGETHER OF THE GRACE OF LIFE

…Giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life….

1 PETER 3:7

The Scriptures teach that the Christian husband and wife are heirs together of the grace of life—that they are one in Jesus Christ, their Saviour!

I suppose there are many Christian husbands whose prayers are not being answered and they can think up a lot of reasons. But the fact is that thoughtless husbands are simply big, overbearing clods when it comes to consideration of their wives.

If the husband would get himself straightened out in his own mind and spirit and live with his wife according to knowledge, and treat her with the chivalry that belongs to her as the weaker vessel, remembering that she is actually his sister in Christ, his prayers would be answered in spite of the devil and all of the other reasons that he gives.

A husband’s spiritual problems do not lie in the Kremlin nor in the Vatican but in the heart of the man himself—in his attitude and inability to resist the temptation to grumble and growl and dominate!

There is no place for that kind of male rulership in any Christian home. What the Bible calls for is proper and kindly recognition of the true relationships of understanding and love, and the acceptance of a spirit of cooperation between the husband and wife.[1]


The Husband’s Responsibility

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (3:7)

In the same way refers again to the duty of submission (2:13, 18; 3:1). This time it is the believing husband who submits to serve his wife. Husbands obey that duty by adhering to three basic responsibilities in caring for their wives’ needs: consideration, chivalry, and companionship.

consideration

live with your wives in an understanding way, (3:7a)

First, husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way, which means they must be considerate. Understanding speaks of being sensitive and considering the wife’s deepest physical and emotional needs. The word translated live (sunoikountes) means “dwelling together” and refers to living with someone in intimacy and cherishing them. Believing husbands must constantly nourish and cherish their wives in the bond of intimacy:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. (Eph. 5:25–28; cf. Prov. 5:18–19; 1 Cor. 7:3–5)

chivalry

as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; (3:7b)

A believing husband should also be chivalrous to his wife, realizing she is someone weaker, since she is a woman. Just as submission does not imply inherent inferiority for the ones who submit (see the discussion of verse 1 of this passage), so the word weaker does not mean the wife is intrinsically weaker in character or intellect than her husband. The word (rendered “weaker vessel” by the King James and New King James translators) also does not mean that women are spiritually inferior to men (cf. Gal. 3:28). It just means that women generally possess less physical strength than men. With that in mind, Christian husbands are the sacrificial providers and protectors of their wives (cf. 1 Sam. 1:4–5; Eph. 5:23, 25–26; Col. 3:19; 1 Tim. 5:8), whether or not the wives are believers.

companionship

and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (3:7c)

Third, the husband is to be a companion for his wife as a fellow heir sharing in the grace of life, which refers not to eternal life, but to the true and intimate friendship that belongs only to those who are possessors of God’s most blessed gift in this life—marriage. Peter labels marriage the grace of life because grace (charis) means “unmerited, undeserved favor” (cf. Rom. 1:5; 3:24; 5:15, 17; 12:3; 15:15; 2 Cor. 8:1; 9:8; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 2:7; 3:2, 7; 4:7; 4:29; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 4:16; James 4:6). Marriage is a divine providence given to man regardless of his attitude toward the Giver. Intimate companionship in marriage, the richest blessing of this life, was a foreign concept to the Greco-Roman culture of Peter’s day. Husbands were generally uninterested in friendship with their wives, expecting them to merely maintain the household and bear children. In contrast, the Christian husband is to cultivate all the richness God designed into the grace of marriage by showing honor to his wife in loving consideration, chivalry, and companionship. So that his prayers will not be hindered is the reward God promises to the loving, caring husband (cf. Ps. 66:18; Isa. 59:2; John 9:31; James 4:3). The prayers in view may be specifically for the salvation of an unbelieving wife, but nothing in the text limits it to that. The warning is clearly given that if a husband in Christ is not fulfilling his responsibilities toward his wife, God may not answer his prayers. No more serious divine threat could be given to a believer than that—the interruption of all the promises of prayers heard and answered (cf. John 14:13–14). That is severe, cutting off the divine blessing, which shows how critical is Christian husbands’ loving care of their partners in this grace of life.

The key to having a positive witness to an unsaved spouse is living an exemplary Christian life as a faithful, submissive spouse. That obedience pleases God and provides the testimony that honors Jesus Christ before the unsaved partner.[2]


As a Husband in Relation to His Wife (3:7)

Now the apostle turns to husbands and shows the corresponding duties they must fulfill. They should live considerately with their wives, showing love, courtesy, and understanding. They should bestow the tender regard on their wives that is appropriate for members of the weaker sex.

In this day of the women’s liberation movement, the Bible might seem out of step with the times in speaking of women as the weaker vessels. But it is a simple fact of life that the average woman is weaker than the man physically. Also, generally speaking, she does not have the same power to control her emotions and is more frequently guided by emotional reactions than by rational, logical thought. The handling of deep theological problems is not characteristically her forte. And, in general, she is more dependent than the man.

But the fact that a woman is weaker in some ways does not mean that she is inferior to man; the Bible never suggests this. Neither does it mean that she might not actually be stronger, or more competent in some areas. As a matter of fact, women are generally more devoted to Christ than men. And they usually are better able to bear prolonged pain and adversity.

A man’s attitude toward his wife should recognize the fact that she is a fellow heir of the grace of life. This refers to a marriage in which both are believers. Though weaker than the man in some ways, the woman enjoys equal standing before God and shares equally the gift of everlasting life. Also she is more than her husband’s equal in bringing new physical life into the world.

When there is discord, prayers are hindered. Bigg says: “The sighs of the injured wife come between the husband’s prayers and God’s hearing.” Also it is very difficult for a couple to pray together when something is disrupting their fellowship. For the peace and welfare of the home it is important for the husband and wife to observe a few basic rules:

  1. Maintain absolute honesty in order to have a basis of mutual confidence.
  2. Keep lines of communication open. There must be a constant readiness to talk things out. When steam is allowed to build up in the boiler, an explosion is inevitable. Talking things out includes the willingness for each to say, “I am sorry” and to forgive—perhaps indefinitely.
  3. Overlook minor faults and idiosyncrasies. Love covers a multitude of sins. Don’t demand perfection in others when you are unable to produce it in yourself.
  4. Strive for unity in finances. Avoid overspending, installment buying, and the lust to keep up with the Joneses.
  5. Remember that love is a commandment, not an uncontrollable emotion. Love means all that is included in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is courteous, for instance; it will keep you from criticizing or contradicting your partner in front of others. Love will keep you from quarreling in front of your children, which could undermine their security. In these and a hundred other ways, love creates a happy atmosphere in the home and rules out strife and separations.[3]

7 Following his exhortations to wives, the writer addresses husbands. Four requirements are noted. The first of the four is strikingly suggestive, with the text literally reading, “living together according to knowledge” (synoikountes kata gnōsin), hence, “being considerate.” In the context of day-to-day marital relations, this imperative is sweeping. Living with a woman “according to knowledge” stands in marked contrast to living with a woman out of “sheer thoughtlessness” (so Barclay, 223). Waltner, 99, encompasses the full range of female needs when he writes that this exhortation “constitutes a call to respect the full personhood of the woman in a marriage relationship.”

Second, husbands are to “treat [their wives] with respect as the weaker partner” (hōs asthenesterō skeuei tō gynaikeiō). How the woman is “weaker” is the subject of varied—and fancied—explanation by commentators. Whether asthenēs (“weak,” GK 822) has physical, psychological, or emotional application is debatable but beside the point. Marshall, 103–4, strikes a reasonable balance: husbands, cognizant of the wives’ situation, are to treat them with courtesy; given their station, they are more vulnerable. Christian faith has a revolutionary effect not only on the way men treat women but also on how they view them. What is incontestable about the plight of married women in the ancient world is that they possessed no authority and influence beside their husbands. Hence, Christian husbands are doubly sensitive to this “weakness,” consequently treating them with timē, “honor” (NIV, “respect”; GK 5507). This social reality also explains why the verb hypotassō (“submit,” GK 5718), appearing in 2:13; 2:18; 3:1 (and later in 3:22; 5:5), is not used in 3:7, since husbands already exercise a natural social authority over their wives. This authority, in the Petrine scheme, must be accompanied by deference and courtesy. Husbands are to honor rather than exploit, since exploitation likely is the norm.

Third, husbands are to keep in mind that their wives are “heirs with [them] of the gracious gift of life” (synklēronomois charitos zōēs). If indeed wives, in the social scheme of antiquity, were without rights and considered of inferior status, Christian faith elevated the status of women, so that in Christ male and female are coequal (1 Co 12:13; Gal 3:28). The full blessing, peace, and welfare that arise from Christian faith are shared by both husband and wife. They are partners in the riches and benefits of the gospel (similarly, 2 Pe 1:1). There exist equality and complementarity within the social scheme of things.

The fourth quality issues out of the prior three. A husband who is inattentive to his wife, failing to show her consideration, honor, and respect, finds that a barrier is erected between him and his God. For this reason, husbands are to be attentive to the needs of their wives, “so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” Advice of a similar nature is given by Paul to the Corinthians in the sphere of marital relations (cf. 1 Co 7:4–5). Harmony in the relationship is predicated on a principle enunciated by Jesus: if our relationships are not right, we are to “leave [the] gift there in front of the altar” (Mt 5:24; cf. also 18:15) until the block has been removed. This is all the more applicable in marital union and is likely the principal rationale for calling men “everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer” (1 Ti 2:8; cf. 1 Co 11:29).[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 181–183). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2268–2269). 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, pp. 328–329). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

April 27 – Jesus and Non-retaliation: Security

If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.—Matt. 5:40

Most people in New Testament times owned just one coat and likely just one or two shirts. Shirts were undergarments, and coats were outer garments that also served as blankets overnight. This kind of coat was important, what the Mosaic law required be returned to its owner “before the sun sets, for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body” (Ex. 22:26–27).

Jesus’ reference here is not to a theft, when someone wants to steal another’s garment, but to a legitimate lawsuit in a legal court. In those days the courts often mandated that fines or judgments be paid in clothing. The illustration is that a genuine follower of Christ will be willing to surrender even his most valuable coat to an adversary rather than cause offense or hard feelings. The judge could not require a specific coat in payment, but the person could voluntarily give it up.

Even if a settlement against us is fairly arrived at for a certain amount, we should be willing to pay more to demonstrate sincere regret for the wrong done and the pain inflicted on another. Most of us have probably never considered this option, but it shows the love of Christ and genuineness of our faith.

ASK YOURSELF
Notice again that this series of scenarios from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount consistently calls for more than the law demands. What does that tell you about the way we ’re supposed to respond in situations in which our personal integrity or the cause of Christ is being challenged?[1]

Security

And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. (5:40)

The shirt mentioned here was a type of tunic worn as an undergarment, and the coat was an outer garment that also served as a blanket at night. Most people of that day owned only one coat and probably only one or two shirts. It was the outer garment, the coat, that Mosaic law required be returned to its owner “before the sun sets, for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body” (Ex. 22:26–27).

Jesus is not speaking of a robbery, in which a person tries to steal your clothes, but of the legitimate claim of anyone who wants to sue you. When a person had no money or other possessions, the court often would require the fine or judgment be paid by clothing. The attitude of a kingdom citizen, one who is truly righteous, should be willingness to surrender even one’s coat, his extremely valuable outer garment, rather than cause offense or hard feelings with an adversary. The court could not demand the coat, but it could be voluntarily given to meet the requred debt. And that is precisely what Jesus says we should be willing to do.

If a legal judgment is fairly made against us for a certain amount, we should be willing to offer even more in order to show our regret for any wrong we did and to show that we are not bitter or resentful against the one who has sued us. In so doing we will show the love of Christ and that we are “sons of [our] Father who is in heaven” (v. 45). It is better even to be defrauded than to be resentful and spiteful. (Paul later instructs Christians regarding lawsuits in 1 Cor. 6:1–8, emphasizing a similar principle of willingness to forfeit one’s due rather than be vengeful.)[2]

40 Although under Mosaic law the outer cloak was an inalienable possession (Ex 22:26; Dt 24:13), Jesus’ disciples, if sued for their tunics (not equivalent to our underwear but to clothes worn under the “tunic” but customarily worn next to the skin), far from seeking satisfaction, will gladly part with what they may legally keep. Luke 6:29 says nothing about legal action but mentions the garments in reverse order. This has led some to think that Luke had violent robbery in mind because then the outer garment would be snatched off first. But perhaps the order is simply that in which the garments would normally be removed.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 126). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (p. 334). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] 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. 190). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

APRIL 27 – THAT’S JUST THE WAY GOD IS

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

—Jude 6

There are two ways to think about the grace of God: One is to look at yourself and see how sinful you were and say, “God’s grace must be vast—it must be huge as space to forgive such a sinner as I am.” That’s one way and that’s a good way—and probably that’s the most popular way.

But there’s another way to think of the grace of God. Think of it as the way God is—God being like God. And when God shows grace to a sinner He isn’t being dramatic; He’s acting like God. He’ll never act any other way but like God. On the other hand, when that man whom justice has condemned turns his back on the grace of God in Christ and refuses to allow himself to be rescued, then the time comes when God must judge the man. And when God judges the man He acts like Himself in judging the man. When God shows love to the human race He acts like Himself. When God shows judgment to “the angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 6), He acts like Himself.

Always God acts in conformity with the fullness of His own wholly perfect, symmetrical nature. AOG106

Father, I’m thankful that You always act like Yourself—with grace and justice. Your constancy produces great peace within me. Amen. [1]


the apostate angels

And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, (6)

The second example that Jude gave was that of apostate angels. The fact that these angels are not specifically identified indicates that Jude assumed his audience was already familiar with the details of their extraordinary defection.

Commentators have offered three main views as to the identity of these angels. Some argue that Jude’s reference is to an episode his readers knew nothing about. But that does not fit the larger context in which, as noted above, Jude reminded his readers of things they already knew (cf. v. 5). Thus one has to assume that Jude wrote of an Old Testament account that was generally familiar to his audience.

Others assert that Jude referred to the original fall of Satan (Isa. 14:12–15; Ezek. 28:12–17; cf. Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:7–10). That is a possible interpretation, but it fails to explain Jude’s mention of eternal bonds, which does not apply to the current status of Satan and demons. The apostle Peter correctly wrote that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8; cf. Job 1:6–7). Therefore it is unlikely that Jude is referring to Satan’s fall.

A third and most plausible viewpoint is that Jude referred to an extraordinarily heinous infraction by some of the fallen angels. That sin, recorded in the Old Testament (Gen. 6:1–4), was so severe that God placed the offending demons in chains to prevent them from committing such perversity ever again. (For more discussion of the sin committed by those angels, see the comments on 2 Peter 2:4 in chapter 6 of this volume and the lengthier section in John MacArthur, 1 Peter, MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 2004], 209–16.)

Peter said they sinned, whereas Jude described two closely related aspects of the fallen angels’ sin. First, they did not keep their own domain. Instead of staying in their own realm of authority given by God, they went outside it. Second, they abandoned their proper abode. With Lucifer they rebelled against their created role and place in heaven (cf. Isa. 14:12, nkjv). When God expelled them from heaven for that rebellion (cf. Rev. 12:4, 9), some continued their downward fall to the point of taking masculine human form and cohabitating with human women to produce a generation of demon-influenced, thoroughly corrupt children (cf. Gen. 6:11–13). God sent those particular apostate angels (demons) to a place under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Peter wrote that God “committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).[2]


6 The second example of rebellion and apostasy is the angels who sinned. All we know about them for certain is that they did not keep the domain that was assigned to them, they abandoned their own abode, and they are now restrained in everlasting chains under darkness for their final judgment.

It seems from Scripture that there have been at least two apostasies of angels. One was when Lucifer fell and presumably involved a host of other angelic beings in his rebellion. These fallen angels are not bound at the present time. The devil and his demons are actively promoting war against the Lord and His people.

The other apostasy of angels is the one referred to by Jude and also by Peter (2 Pet. 2:4). There is considerable difference of opinion among Bible students as to what event is referred to here. What we suggest is a personal viewpoint, not a dogmatic assertion of fact.

We believe that Jude is referring to what is recorded in Genesis 6:1–7. The sons of God left their proper estate as angelic beings, came down to the earth in human form, and married the daughters of men. This marital union was contrary to God’s order and an abomination to Him. There may be a suggestion in verse 4 that these unnatural marriages produced offspring of tremendous strength and wickedness. Whether or not this is true, it is clear that God was exceedingly displeased with the wickedness of man at this time and determined to destroy the earth with a flood.

There are three objections to this view: (1) The passage in Genesis does not mention angels, but only “sons of God.” (2) Angels are sexless. (3) Angels do not marry.

It is true that angels are not specifically mentioned but it is also true that the term “sons of God” does refer to angels in Semitic languages (see Job 1:6; 2:1).

There is no Bible statement that angels are sexless. Angels sometimes appeared on earth in human form, having human parts and appetites (Gen. 18:2, 22; compare 19:1, 3–5.

The Bible does not say that angels do not marry but only that in heaven they neither marry nor give in marriage (Matt. 22:30).

Whatever historical incident may lie behind verse 6, the important point is that these angels abandoned the sphere which God had marked out for them and are now in … chains and in darkness until the time when they will receive their final sentence to perdition.[3]


The Fallen Angels (6)

Commentary

6 The angels are said to have “abandoned” their heavenly home. (Note the prefix apo– in the participle apolipontas, denoting movement away.) They fell from a domain of divine liberty and light to imprisonment and darkness. Jude’s readers are to be mindful of the lesson of the angels: punishment is proportionate to privilege. In heavenly realms the angels were exposed to great light; now they are consigned to the gloom of darkness. Having chosen not to “keep” their unique and exalted status, they are consequently being “kept” in chains of darkness awaiting a fate—“the great Day”—which should cause humans to shudder. Like Israel of old, they departed from their “allotted” place. Apostasy in the Christian community has both earthly and heavenly antecedents.

Neither the OT nor the NT makes any explicit statements as to the fall of the rebellious angels. The NT implies at most that Satan, a fallen angel chief among many (cf. Eph 2:2), was hurled down (Lk 10:18; Jn 12:31; Rev 12:4, 7, 9, 10), yet it gives no clear time or explanation for the fall. Some hold Jesus’ words in Luke 10:18 to refer to an original fall; others interpret the statement to be a dramatic way of expressing Satan’s certain ruin (so G. Aulen, Christus Victor [New York: Macmillan, 1956], 111). Still others view the fall as coinciding with Jesus’ earthly ministry (so G. B. Caird, Principalities and Powers [Oxford: Clarendon, 1965], 31).

Virtually all commentary—past and present—has related Jude 6 (and 2 Pe 2:4) to Genesis 6:1–4 in some way or another. This interpretation of “the sons of God” (Ge 6:2), following the lead of Clement of Alexandria, is largely due to two reasons: (1) a mistaken linking of the angels in Jude 6 with Sodom and Gomorrah in v. 7 and (2) the association of demons with Genesis 6:1–4 that began to emerge in second-century BC Jewish interpretation. In 1 Enoch (second–first century BC?), for example, we find perhaps the most elaborate expansion of this connection between the angels’ fall and sexual promiscuity.

The sin of the angels, though veiled to humans, was very real. The point of Jude’s witness, however, is not the precise nature of their sin. Rather, the angels of v. 6, mentioned parenthetically, share something in common with Israel of v. 5 and the cities of the plain in v. 7, namely, a radical disobedience and total disenfranchisement. The reader must be careful to note what Jude, in his borrowing of apocalyptic motifs, stresses and what he omits. Contrary to the view of numerous commentators, there is nothing concerning angels in Genesis 6 that is mentioned in Jude; rather, the conceptualization of the angelic realm in Jude is simply an extension of that which emerged during the intertestamental era. The Jewish apocalypticist was inclined to assimilate pagan mythology into his conceptualization of the angelic world. Biblical writers, on the other hand, by nature were nonmythological, i.e., they wrote from a divine revelatory and prophetic posture, even when they utilized the apocalyptic literary mode for their own purposes.

Jude employs apocalyptic motifs without necessarily embracing Jewish apocalyptic theology. The central point of his illustration involving the angels is the fact that they were dispossessed, not how or specifically why they were dispossessed. This basic interpretive premise is confirmed by the grammar and syntax of v. 6. The issue at hand is apostasy, not fornication (see my Literary Strategy in the Epistle of Jude, 108–16). All three examples in Jude 5–7 underscore the fact of enduring loss. Any speculation as to the particular nature of the sins of the angels, intriguing as it may be, is of secondary importance. The point of Jude’s allusion to the angels is that they exercised their free will wrongly—to their own discredit.

Notes

6 While angels in the OT figure prominently in certain historical narratives, during and following Israel’s exile they acquire increasing importance and a more clearly defined function (e.g., Eze 9:2.; 40:3.; 43:6.; Da 3:28; 4:13; 6:22; 7:16; 8:13; 10:5–6.; 12:1; Zec 1:8; 2:1; 3:1 4:1; 5:5; 6:4). In Jewish intertestamental literature, the depiction of angels becomes far more systematic, with a particular number having their names and functions expressly stated, a prime example being 1 Enoch.

6 Corresponding typology to the fallen angels of Jude might well be drawn from several prophetic oracles in the OT—oracles serving as graphic illustrations of fall or ruin: Isaiah 14:5–23, a taunt against the king of Babylon; Isa 24:21–22, a symbolic representation of Yahweh’s judgment; and Ezekiel 28:1–19, a prophetic funeral dirge against the king of Tyre. The oracles in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 reflect, as in Jude, utter fall from glory. Significantly, several elements are present in all three sources: (1) there is a conspicuously abrupt transition from the earthly plane to the heavenly; (2) a correlation is made between the earthly and heavenly realms; and (3) the objects of condemnation all tumble from the heavens as “stars” (cf. v. 13). Falling from glory, whether it is an arrogant king or those to whom truth has been committed, has an extraordinary antecedent in the heavenly realm.

6 The imprisonment of spirits, undefined in the OT, is a prominent theme in Jewish apocalyptic literature (notably in 1 En.; 2 Bar.; Jub.) and surfaces in the book of Revelation. Within the apocalyptic tradition, a frequent pattern tends to emerge: (1) war erupts in heaven, often depicted in astral terms; followed by (2) a spilling over of this rebellion to earth; culminating in (3) ultimate vindication and punishment by the king of heaven (see P. D. Hanson, “Rebellion in Heaven, Azazel, and Euhemeristic Heroes in 1 Enoch 6–11,” JBL 96 [1977]: 208).[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2005). 2 Peter and Jude (pp. 164–165). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2341). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Charles, D. J. (2006). Jude. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 554–555). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

April 27 – The Resurrection: Motive for Service

“If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

1 Corinthians 15:32

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The truth of the Resurrection is an incentive for believers to persevere in service for Jesus Christ.

Certainly Paul’s statement in today’s verse is an extraordinary one, but it reiterates that the truth of Christ’s resurrection and the hope of believers’ resurrection are definite incentives for Christian service. It allows us to look more closely at what motivated Christians like Paul, and how we also should be motivated for service.

The apostle may have fought with literal wild animals at Ephesus. Or he may be speaking figuratively of the wild Ephesian mob that opposed him in Acts 19. But whatever the case, Paul knows that no mere human motives were compelling him to engage in such battles or continually risk his safety in other ways. He would not have put up with so many difficulties had his purposes and objectives been only temporal and worldly.

Paul and all Christians throughout history have been willing to labor under adversity, suffer, be persecuted, and continue diligently in the Lord’s service because they were convinced God’s kingdom extends beyond the frailties and limits of this life (Rom. 8:18). If our ministry on earth were an end in itself, then it would make sense to “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

However, you can praise God today that your life does not have to end simply with sensual pleasures and comforts. The hope and motivation in all your service for Christ can be identical to faith’s giants in Hebrews 11 who earnestly served, that they “might obtain a better resurrection” (v. 35).

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Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that God would use the truth of the Resurrection to motivate you toward more faithful service in a difficult area of ministry or in a ministry in which you have been inconsistent.

For Further Study: Memorize 1 Corinthians 15:58. What does the “therefore” refer to? Make this verse a constant reminder of the incentive you should have for serving the Lord.[1]


If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? What human motives could Paul have had for continually risking his safety and his life? We cannot be certain that Paul fought literal wild beasts at Ephesus, but it seems entirely possible that such was the case, and this interpretation is supported by tradition. It may be that Paul was speaking metaphorically of the wild crowd of Ephesians that was incited against him by the silversmith Demetrius (Acts 19:23–34). In any case, he was speaking of one of his many dangerous, life–threatening experiences.

Why would he have endured that, he was saying, and have continued to endure such things, if his only purpose and only hope was merely human and temporary? If we live only to die and remain dead, it makes more sense to say, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die—a direct quotation from Isaiah 22:13 that reflected the hopeless and hedonistic view of the backslidden Israelites. It also reflects the dismal futility repeatedly expressed in Ecclesiastes: “ ‘Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.’ What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?” (Eccles. 1:2–3).

The Greek historian Herodotus tells of an interesting custom of the Egyptians. “In social meetings among the rich, when the banquet was ended, a servant would often carry around among the guests a coffin, in which was a wooden image of a corpse carved and painted to resemble a dead person as nearly as possible. The servant would show it to each of the guests and would say; ‘Gaze here and drink and be merry, for when you die such you shall be.’ ”

If this life is all there is, why should the sensual not rule? Why not grab all we can, do all we can, live it up all we can? If we die only to remain dead, hedonism makes perfect sense.

What would not make sense is the godly self–sacrifice of those “who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, … wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground” (Heb. 11:33–34, 38). Their hope that “they might obtain a better resurrection” (v. 35) would have been futile and empty.

“Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, … for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). It was anticipation of the resurrection, of being raised to be again with His Father, that gave our Lord the motive [or dying on our behalf. He was willing to die for us because He knew He would be raised for us.[2]


15:32 The apostle now recalls the fierce persecution which he encountered at Ephesus. We do not believe that he was actually thrown into the arena with wild beasts, but rather that he is speaking here of wicked men as wild beasts. Actually, as a Roman citizen, Paul could not have been forced to fight with wild animals. We do not know to what incident he refers. However, the argument is clear that the apostle would have been foolish to engage in such dangerous warfare as he had if he were not assured of resurrection from the dead. Indeed it would have been much wiser for him to adopt the philosophy: “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’ ”

We sometimes hear Christians say that if this life were all, then they would still rather be Christians. But Paul disagrees with such an idea. If there were no resurrection, we would be better off to make the most of this life. We would live for food, clothing, and pleasure. This would be the only heaven we could look forward to. But since there is a resurrection, we dare not spend our lives for these things of passing interest. We must live for “then” and not for “now.”[3]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 428–429). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1807). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

April 27 – Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Hell

He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

Genesis 3:15

Since the beginning of time Satan and his cohorts have been at war with God. We see that cosmic conflict reflected many times in Scripture (e.g., Job 1; Daniel 10:13). After Satan’s apparent triumph in bringing about the Fall of mankind, God predicted his eventual destruction by the Messiah, who would triumph ultimately in spite of a seeming setback (Gen. 3:15).

As a result, Satan attempted to destroy the Messianic line by destroying God’s people. When that failed, he tried to slaughter the infant Messiah (Matt. 2:16–18). When that didn’t work, he attempted to corrupt the Messiah (Matt. 4:1–11). Failure in that attempt caused him to instigate mobs to kill Him. He even tried to make sure the Messiah couldn’t come forth from the tomb.

It’s been said that hell must have been in the midst of its carnival when Jesus arrived. They were probably celebrating the victory they had tried so hard to secure—but were abruptly disappointed.[1]


The First Messianic Prophecy

Genesis 3:15

“And I will put enmity

between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and hers;

he will crush your head,

and you will strike his heel.”

There is always something unexpected about Christmas, even when you have been expecting it for months. It is not just the presents, which you somehow anticipate anyway. It is the grace of God in sending his Son as our Savior. Grace is always unexpected. So whenever we capture even a small part of what Christmas means, the message of grace is somehow always there and surprises us.

We should not be surprised that this is the case, however, for all biblical references to the coming and birth of Jesus, including all the prophecies of his coming in the Old Testament, have this characteristic. This is particularly true of the first messianic prophecy, occurring as early in the Bible as chapter 3 of Genesis. It is unexpected because the scene in which it occurs is of judgment. Satan had tempted Eve to sin. She had believed Satan rather than God and then had sinned in eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which both she and Adam had been instructed not to eat from. Adam had also sinned in eating of the tree. Now God had come into the garden to call them to task for their sin and to mete out judgment. What fears they must have had! How terrified they must have been as they waited for a punishment perfectly suited to their crime! Do you remember that song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado in which the Lord High Executioner sings of his desire to have each punishment perfectly suit the crime? He sings:

My object all sublime

I shall achieve in time:

To make the punishment fit the crime,

the punishment fit the crime.

My favorite verse is the one about billiard players.

The billiard shark, whom anyone catches,

His doom’s extremely hard.

He’s made to dwell in a dungeon cell

In a spot that’s always barred.

And there he plays extravagant matches

In fitless finger stalls,

On a cloth untrue with a twisted cue

And elliptical billiard balls.

Well might we shudder as we think of a punishment suited to the greater crime of Adam and Eve in their unjustified and totally heinous sin against the Creator. But we find only a token judgment—pain upon the woman in childbirth, grief for the man in earning a living—and, wonder of all wonders, a promise of a deliverer to come.

This is the unexpected wonder of Christmas in its very first form: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen. 3:15).

God of Conflict

At first glance this verse does not seem particularly wonderful, for it is talking about a conflict that began between the devil and Eve and continues up to the time of Christ and beyond. The verse speaks of “enmity,” which means “ill will on one side or on both; hatred; especially mutual antagonism” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). It is hard to see how this can be good. But this enmity is good, and we should be alerted to this by the fact that it is God who creates it.

A person might ask how evil can be good or how God can be the author of enmity in any form. But the context readily explains this. We remember that Satan is a fallen angel whose original sin consisted in trying to replace God as the chief being in the universe and in trying to gather the worship of the creatures about himself rather than about God. His attempt proved unsuccessful. Now he had appeared on earth to attempt to do among the new race of human beings what he failed to do earlier. Undoubtedly, his temptation of Eve and Adam had in mind, first, seducing our parents away from the worship of God and, second, winning their allegiance and worship for himself. We know sadly that he succeeded in the first objective. He did break the fellowship of the man and the woman with God. But he did not succeed in his second objective, for God announces here that he is putting enmity between Lucifer and the woman.

It is significant that these words are spoken to Satan. For the new thing was not Satan’s hatred of Eve. Satan hated Eve from the moment of her creation, even when he was pretending to be her friend and confidant in tempting her to eat of the forbidden tree. The new thing was to be Eve’s (and Adam’s and all their true offspring’s) hatred of Satan as one aspect of God’s gracious preservation of and provision for the race.

What a blessing that was! We think many times of the love, joy, and happiness that the coming of Jesus Christ brought us, and we thank God rightly for those things. But we should not forget to thank him for a corresponding hatred of sin, sorrow at sin’s ways, and increasing misery when we find ourselves ensnared in sin’s tentacles. When we sin, we often find that we like the sin but want to escape sin’s consequences. We would like to destroy ourselves in comfort, like the addict destroying himself in the dreamlike stupor of debilitating drugs or booze. We would like to go to hell happy. But it is one aspect of grace that God does not allow that to happen. God makes sin miserable and sets up an antagonism between ourselves and Satan that modifies the hold of sin and makes it possible for us to hear God’s loving voice, even in our misery.

The Two Humanities

The enmity established by God was not only to be between the woman and Satan, however—that is, an enmity merely on the personal or individual level. It was also to be an enmity between her offspring and his. This could presumably mean between human beings and the demons, but it is unlikely that it does. For one thing, Satan does not really have offspring. He is not engendering little devils. The demons were created once by God, before their fall, and they are not now increasing in number. For another thing, the passage moves in the direction of one specific descendant of the woman, Jesus Christ, who shall defeat Satan. That is, it is moving from the general to the specific. In view of these facts, the verse probably refers to the godly descendants of the man and woman, influenced by God himself, and the ungodly descendants of the man and woman, influenced by Satan. Certainly, the Book of Genesis goes on to distinguish between the two humanities (chapters 4 and 5).

If this is so, this is a message for the godly in every age. There is a divinely created animosity between the people of God and those who are not his people, and it is for our good. It is to sharpen our will to serve God. One of Isaac Watts’s great hymns (“Am I a Soldier of the Cross”) asks:

Are there no foes for me to face?

Must I not stem the flood?

Is this vile world a friend of grace,

To help me on to God?

In the context of that hymn the answer is clearly no. Watts wants us to fight against the world for Christ’s sake, which we must certainly do. But there is also a sense in which the world is a “friend of grace,” for its animosity toward us pushes us to a greater measure of dependence on God.

There is also a more specific meaning to this verse. As the Book of Genesis unfolds we see God calling out Israel as a special nation through whom he would work, and we see the animosity of Satan (who heard and well understood this prophecy) directed particularly against the Jews. Here is the birth of anti-Semitism. It begins in Genesis and stretches all through history even to the end times described in the Book of Revelation. “A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne” (Rev. 12:1–5). In this passage the dragon is certainly Satan, the woman Israel, and her child the Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan’s strategy is to destroy Israel in order to destroy Christ. This is the reason for anti-Semitism, and also the reason why no Christian should ever have a part in it.

Christ Versus Satan

There is a third antagonism in these verses, more beneficial even than the others. The first two give us room for hope; they tell us that God has not abandoned us, that he has established a beneficial enmity between those who desire good and those who desire evil. This last enmity assures us, not only of hope, but also of victory. It is the antagonism between Jesus, as the specific and climactic seed of the woman, and Satan himself. It was to result in the bruising of Jesus but also in the crushing of Satan and his power.

Donald Grey Barnhouse traces the conflict like this:

When the Lord Jesus Christ was born Satan’s hatred came to white heat. We can see the hatred of Satan at every point in the earthly story of the life of our Lord. Joseph was moved to cast off Mary because he knew that she had not been his wife as yet and drew the natural conclusion that there was sin on her part. But the Lord manifested himself and Joseph accepted Mary because of this divine revelation. The child of promise, the seed of the woman, the branch of David, was born, the Eternal Word was made flesh. Satan moved Herod to kill all of the babies from two years old and under according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. But God had arranged escape in advance, and had brought gifts of gold to the family of the young child so that a flight into Egypt was made possible.

At twelve years of age he was left behind in Jerusalem among the followers of Satan and the enemies of God. The child was growing up before his Father as a tender plant and the heavenly care was about him.

As soon as our Lord was publicly manifested, Satan immediately confronted him and sought in the three temptations to turn him aside from the path laid down for him in the counsels with the Father. When he had been routed with the sword of the Word, Satan left the Lord, but returned again and again, both personally and through the religious leaders who had become veritable children of the devil, to destroy the Lord before he could come to the hour of the cross. It was Satan who stirred up the people of Nazareth to take Christ to the brow of the hill and thrust him to his death on the occasion of his first public sermon. He had announced the doctrine of salvation by grace apart from works on the basis of the sovereign will of God (Luke 4), and the heart of man rebelled against it and turned easily to the enemy who would exalt the flesh. “But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way.”

Again and again Satan played the old plot with different scenes and characters. Sometimes they picked up stones to stone him; they sent officers to arrest him; their leaders attempted to incite the people against him. Always the nerve of their action was paralyzed. Their desire was that of the carnal mind which is enmity against God. Now, for the first time in history, God was visibly before them as the object of their hatred. They were the sons of those who had killed the prophets, but they themselves would have killed their God. He described them fully in the parable of the tenants who killed the messengers and when the owner, last of all, sent his son, cried, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance” (Matt. 21:38). Always he escaped unhurt. He was master of every situation. He said, “No man taketh it [my life] from me; but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:18).

When human allies failed, Satan moved directly to kill the Son of God. On one occasion the Lord’s disciples were with him in a boat on the sea of Galilee. They were lifelong fishermen who were in their home waters. They had thought that there was not a wave that could be unfamiliar to them. But suddenly a storm of such fury broke out that even these hardened mariners were chilled with fright. They rushed to the Lord as he lay asleep in the boat and roused him with their cry of anguish, as they deemed themselves on the point of death, “Master, save us; we perish!” The gospel narrative states that the Lord arose at the call of the frightened disciples and “rebuked the wind.” Let the deniers of Scripture realize that if Satan were not behind the power of the storm, then the action of Christ must be compared with that of a child who, hurt by stumbling against a chair, begins to kick at the chair, crying out with petulance against it. But if we understand that Satan had raised that storm to kill the Lord Jesus, … we see the whole pattern of these attacks, and understand the force of the words addressed to the storm, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:35–41). The verb in Greek means “to muzzle,” and in ancient domestic life was sometimes addressed to a dog to silence him.

Finally, the prophecies were fulfilled and Satan bruised the heel of the Lord Jesus Christ and had his own head crushed in the bruising.

Two Victories

We know how the bruising of the Lord Jesus Christ took place. It happened at the cross as Satan finally succeeded, so it seemed, at striking back at God and silencing his meddling in human affairs forever. It was bruising with a vengeance. It included the hatred of the religious leaders, the mocking of the crowds, the beatings, eventually the crucifixion with its great agony. And yet, it was only a bruising, not a defeat, for on the third day after the crucifixion Jesus rose from the tomb triumphantly.

On the other hand, although Satan achieved what he believed to be a true victory, it proved to be a Pyrrhic victory, for his power over us was broken. I do not know precisely what Satan was thinking of as he finally achieved his goal of having Christ crucified, but I am sure he had at least forgotten this prophecy or else had dismissed it as applying to other times and circumstances. He failed to see how even his moment of triumph was to be turned to defeat in accord with this prophecy. John Gerstner declares, “Satan was majestically triumphant in this … battle. He had nailed Jesus to the cross. The prime object of all his striving through all the ages was achieved. But he failed. For the prophecy which had said that he would indeed bruise the seed of the woman had also said that his head would be crushed by Christ’s heel. Thus, while Satan was celebrating his triumph in battle over the Son of God, the full weight of the Atonement accomplished by the Crucifixion (which the devil had effected) came down on him, and he realized that all this time, so far from successfully battling against the Almighty, he had actually been carrying out the purposes of the all-wise God.”

Satan’s only true power—quite unlike his pretensions to power—comes from the character of God that declares that sin must be punished. Satan’s power consists in working within the laws of that character. He reasoned that if he could get the man and woman to sin, which he did, the wrath of God against sin must inevitably come down on them. God’s good designs would be thwarted. What Satan failed to see (and what no one ever did see clearly before the death of Christ) is how God could be both just and the justifier of the ungodly (Rom. 3:26). He failed to see how Jesus would take the place of sinners, bearing their punishment, and how he, Satan, would have his power broken in the process.

But now we do see it, if we will, for Christ’s was an open triumph. Paul says, “Christ … canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:13–15).

In view of this victory (and echoing the language of Jonathan Edwards), Gerstner calls Satan “the greatest blockhead the world has ever known.” He says, “The very fact that he is probably the most intelligent being ever created makes him the greatest blockhead, for he was supremely stupid to suppose that he could outthink the All-wise or overpower the Almighty.”

Although the victory has been won for us by the Lord Jesus Christ, there is nevertheless still another to be won by those who follow Jesus. It is a victory certain of being achieved, but it is still in the process of being achieved and will be achieved only as we who profess the name of Jesus actually draw close to him and fight in his power. Paul referred to this victory when he wrote to the Romans, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20). John referred to it in Revelation, saying, “They overcame him [the accuser of our brothers] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11).

Christ and Adam

Genesis 3:15

“And I will put enmity

between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and hers;

he will crush your head,

and you will strike his heel.”

In Romans 5:14 the first man, Adam, is called a “pattern” (niv) or “figure” (kjv) of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was to come. That statement encourages us to think of Adam and Christ together, both for similarities and contrasts, as Paul himself does in Romans 5 and in 1 Corinthians 15. Since Genesis 3:15 is the first text in the Bible in which Adam and Christ appear in proximity, it seems unwise to pass it without looking at this theme carefully.

The theme has figured prominently in Christian theology. Indeed, it is the basis of what is sometimes called “covenant” theology. According to this system, God established an agreement or covenant with Adam according to which he was to stand as the representative of the race of men and women who were to follow him. He was to stand before God on the basis of his obedience. If he continued in obedience, all who followed would also be established in obedience and would be blessed by God. If he fell, all who followed him would fall in his transgression, and sin and death would pass on to them because of Adam’s sin. We know what happened. Adam did fall, and we fell in Adam (cf. Rom. 5:12–21). On the other hand, God also established a covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ according to which he was to be representative of the great company of the redeemed. They would be joined to Christ, as all were once joined to Adam, and they—the redeemed—would be saved by Christ’s sacrifice.

To be sure, there are no explicit texts concerning the establishing of the covenant with Adam. There is very little written about Adam in the Bible at all. But there are many texts that speak of God’s covenant with Jesus (Isa. 53:10–12; Pss. 22:25–31; 40:6–8; cf. Heb. 10:8–10; 12:22–24; 13:20; John 6:37, etc.), and the explicit comparison of Christ and Adam in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 clearly establishes this doctrine. In most books of theology the first covenant is called a “covenant of works” and the second a “covenant of grace (or redemption).”

What Adam Did

With this theological background, we turn to the first Adam, our ancestor, and consider his covenant with God in two parts: first, what Adam did in breaking it, and, second, what the consequences of his transgression were.

It has been suggested by various commentators that in eating of the forbidden fruit Adam cast reproach upon “God’s love, God’s truth and God’s majesty.” We have already looked at these in one form or another in considering the nature and effects of the fall, but we look at them again now in order to contrast what Adam did when he sinned and what Christ did in obedience. It is clear how Adam cast reproach on God’s love. God had created him in his own blessed image and had placed him in a garden of earthly delights. Adam had every pleasure he could desire. He had rule over the animal world. Moreover, he had valuable work to do both in ruling and in studying and cataloging the animals. He had every incentive to continue in obedience to such a loving God. Yet when Satan came with the suggestion that perhaps God was not essentially good, that he was essentially prohibitive in withholding the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that had power to make one wise, “knowing good and evil,” Adam (as well as Eve) began to doubt God’s goodness and eventually repudiated his love by eating of the forbidden fruit.

Again, Adam cast reproach on God’s truth. God had said, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). God taught that blessing was by way of obedience. But Satan said, “You will not surely die. … For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4–5). Adam may not have been deceived, as the woman was, thinking that he could disobey God and escape the consequences of death. But he certainly felt that he could improve his condition by rebellion. In so thinking he slanderously called the God of all truth a liar.

Third, Adam cast reproach on God’s majesty by an attempt to throw off his authority. Arthur Pink writes wisely: “As the Creator, God possesses the inherent right to issue commands, and to demand from his creatures implicit obedience. It is his prerogative to act as Law-giver, Controller, Governor, and to define the limits of his subjects’ freedom. And in Eden he exercised his prerogative and expressed his will. But Adam imagined he had a better friend than God. He regarded him as austere and despotic, as One who begrudged him that which would promote his best interests. He felt that in being denied the fruit of this tree which was pleasant to the eyes and capable of making one wise God was acting arbitrarily, cruelly, so he determined to assert himself, claim his rights and throw off the restraint of the divine government. He substitutes the Devil’s word for God’s law: he puts his own desire before Jehovah’s command.”

What were the results of Adam’s disobedience? Paul spells it out in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, showing that sin and death entered the experience of all because of his transgression: “Sin entered the world through one man” (Rom. 5:12), “Many died by the trespass of the one man” (Rom. 5:15), “By the trespass of the one man, death reigned” (Rom. 5:17), “The result of one trespass was condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18), “Through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners” (Rom. 5:19), “In Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22). God passed judgment on all for Adam’s sin.

People have questioned why the sin of Adam should involve his posterity, even to our time. They have judged it wrong for God to hold unborn generations accountable for the sin of their first parent. But regardless of how we may choose to judge, it is evident from observation of our own lives as well as the history of those who have lived before us that this is precisely how God operated. When Adam sinned he died. He died in his relationship to God; his fellowship with God was broken, which he proved by hiding when God came looking for him in the garden. He died in respect to his own personality; he tried to shift the blame for his sin to Eve, his companion. In time, he and those who followed did things that were much worse. At last Adam died in body and returned to the dust from which he came. Each of these results of sin has passed on to us. Consequently, we see in the universal reign of death, even over infants who have not reached the point of being able to commit any personally guilty act, proof that we are all looked on by God as guilty and are judged for it.

We may recognize these things to be true and still resent them. We may consider God to be arbitrary and cruel in so acting. But before we make this judgment we must ask whether we would not choose to live in precisely the same condition in which Adam lived and fell, if the choice were offered to us (as, in fact, it may even have been offered to Adam). Would any of us have chosen to have it differently?

Charles Simeon of Cambridge, England, wrote about this more than a hundred years ago. “How deep and unsearchable are the ways of God! That ever our first parent should be constituted a federal head to his posterity, so that they should stand or fall in him, is in itself a stupendous mystery. And it may appear to have been an arbitrary appointment, injurious to the whole race of mankind. But we do not hesitate to say, that if the whole race of mankind had been created at once in precisely the same state and circumstances as Adam was, they would have been as willing to stand or fall in Adam, as to have their lot depend upon themselves; because they would have felt, that, whilst he possessed every advantage that they did, he had a strong inducement to steadfastness which they could not have felt, namely, the dependence of all his posterity upon his fidelity to God; and consequently, that their happiness would be more secure in his hands than in their own.”

Simeon then shows that if each human being were asked whether he should prefer to be judged in Adam or in himself, the thinking person would choose to be judged in Adam. For Adam faced but one temptation, and that so small as hardly to deserve the name. Besides, he was surrounded with every possible incentive to do good. We, by contrast, are beset by many temptations and certainly do not have the fullness of Adam’s incentives for obedience. None of us would fault God’s arrangements if only we could think clearly.

The Second Adam

Still, the fullness of God’s grace in dealing with Adam is not seen even in these matters. It is seen only when we turn to the person of Christ and see his victory on behalf of those who are joined to him by saving faith.

When we were studying the works of Adam, we saw how Adam terribly dishonored the love, truth, and majesty of God. How different is the case of the Lord Jesus Christ! Arthur Pink writes:

How [Jesus] vindicated the love of God! Adam harbored the wicked thought that God begrudged him that which was beneficial, and thereby questioned his goodness. But how the Lord Jesus has reversed that decision! In coming down to this earth to seek and to save that which was lost, he fully revealed the compassion of deity for humanity. In his sympathy for the afflicted, in his miracles of healing, in his tears over Jerusalem, in his unselfish and unwearied works of mercy, he has openly displayed the beneficence and benevolence of God. And what shall we say of his sufferings and death on the cross? In laying down his life for us, in dying upon the cross he unveiled the heart of the Father as nothing else could. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In the light of Calvary we can never more doubt the goodness and grace of God.

How Christ vindicated the truth of God! When tempted by Satan to doubt God’s goodness, question his truth and repudiate his majesty, he answered each time, “It is written.” When he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day it was to read out of the Holy Oracles. When selecting the twelve apostles he designedly chose Judas in order that the Scriptures “might be fulfilled.” When censuring his critics, he declared that by their traditions they made void “the Word of God.” In his last moments upon the cross, knowing that all things had been accomplished, in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled he said, “I thirst.” After he had risen from the dead and was journeying with the two disciples to Emmaus, he “expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” At every point, and in every detail of his life he honored and magnified God’s truth.

Finally, Christ completely vindicated the majesty of God. The creature had aspired to be equal with the Creator. Adam chafed against the governmental restraint which Jehovah had placed upon him. He despised God’s law, insulted his majesty, defied his authority. How different with our blessed Savior! Though he was the Lord of Glory and equal with God, yet he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant. O matchless grace! He condescended to be “made under the law,” and during the whole of his stay here upon earth he refused to assert his rights, and was ever subject to the Father. “Not my will” was his holy cry. Nay, more: “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Never was God’s law so magnified, never was God’s authority so honored, never were God’s government claims so illustriously upheld, as during the thirty-three years when his own Son tabernacled among men.

What was the result of this obedience? We have already seen the results of Adam’s disobedience. It was death for himself and all who followed him. In the case of Christ, God’s judgment is reversed. Adam brought death; Christ brings life. Adam brought condemnation; Christ brings justification. And all by the same principle—the principle of representation, the one for the many! “For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Jesus] the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).

Thus it is that, far from being an example of an arbitrary injustice on the part of God, the principle of the covenant is actually a means of grace. For it is only by considering all as condemned in the first Adam that God can also consider believers to be justified in the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s Grace

There is one thing more. Paul compares the effects of sin and grace and concludes that the effects of grace through the obedience of Christ are far greater than those of sin through Adam: “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Rom. 5:15). How is this possible, particularly since not all are saved? How are the effects of Christ’s work greater than the inheritance from Adam? One writer suggests the following:

  1. The work of Christ is superior to that of Adam in respect to time. When measured by time the effect of Adam’s disobedience is temporary so far as the redeemed are concerned, while the effect of Jesus’ victory is permanent. From the perspective of earth the reign of sin seems long. But the history of earth is but a small thing in the infinitely greater expanse of eternity, and the time is coming when we who are now far too prone to sin will be freed from it and will be made like Jesus.
  2. The effect of Christ’s work is superior to Adam’s. It is true that when Adam sinned, death came to Adam and through him to all men and women. But the power of death could be broken. This Christ did. He “has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). By contrast, Christ’s work cannot be undone, for Satan has no power to reclaim those who have been redeemed by Christ. They are Christ’s forever.
  3. The work of Jesus is superior to the work of Adam in that it will ultimately affect a far greater number of people. These are described as a “great assembly” (Ps. 22:25), “a great multitude that no one could count” (Rev. 7:9).

When we look about us we may well wonder how this can be true. It seems that the majority do not believe in Christ, and we even remember the words of our Lord, who said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13–14). It is probably the case that we just do not see the whole story. Christ’s words are undoubtedly true of adults living in this present age. But what of children? It is possible that those dying in infancy are reckoned among the elect. And what of the future reign of Christ on earth? It is possible that those born in that age may also be among the redeemed and may even be used by God to populate the universe with innumerable, godly offspring.

  1. The victory of the Lord Jesus Christ is greater than the disobedience of Adam in respect to the territory affected. Adam’s sin affected only this earth. Even though men and women may spread the contagion of their disobedience more widely through planetary travel, it is impossible that they can spread it far. On the other hand, the victory of Christ is to be celebrated throughout the universe.
  2. Finally, the victory of Jesus exceeds the work of Adam because Christ’s is the work of God and Adam’s is the work of a mere man. As men, we have such high opinions of ourselves that we imagine we can do just about anything. But actually we can do very little when measured by the activity of God. In salvation we can do nothing. By contrast, Christ does all that needs to be done, and what he has begun to perform he will certainly bring to completion (Phil. 1:6).

Apart from the story of the fall, little is told about Adam, as we noted earlier. But it is enough. We are told that he was created by God, placed in perfect surroundings, given a charge of obedience as representative of the race. We are told that he fell and that the effects of his fall passed on to all. We may summarize by saying that Adam was the first man and the first sinner and that we have been judged for his sin. (Lest we think too harshly of Adam, we are reminded that we would have done precisely what he did had we been in his place.) It is in Adam, way back at the beginning, that we learn the principle of the one standing for the many and see the means by which God has provided salvation through the second Adam.

Every one of us is in Adam. Some, by the grace of God, are also in Christ. Can you look to the cross of Christ and know that you are in him? You become “in him” by faith, by believing in what he has done and by committing yourself to him.

Grace Abounding

Genesis 3:15

“And I will put enmity

between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and hers;

he will crush your head,

and you will strike his heel.”

It is common to define grace as “God’s unmerited favor” or even “God’s provision for the undeserving.” But those definitions are almost too weak. They are weak because God’s grace is shown, not merely to those who do not deserve it, but to those who deserve precisely the opposite.

There is a sense in which everything God does is gracious, because none of us deserves anything. Adam deserved nothing even before his fall. The gift of life was gracious. So was God’s gift of the garden, of a wife, of meaningful work to do. But this is not the way the Bible usually speaks of God’s grace for the simple reason that the fullness of grace is seen only against the black backdrop of sin. In Adam’s case it is seen in God’s gentle dealing with him following the fall and in the promise of a deliverer to come. Later it is seen in God’s continuing care of the people of Israel in spite of their constant wandering from him. Above all, it is seen at the cross of Christ where, in spite of the sin of man in hounding the Lord Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion, God was nevertheless providing the basis by which all who call on the name of the Lord might be saved. Grace actually means that God has provided for us in every possible way, both physically and spiritually, in spite of the condemnation we deserve.

Then, too, there is the matter of the abundant or overflowing nature of grace, which may be stated as: believers gain more through the work of Christ than they lost in Adam. A poet wrote,

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,

Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!

Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured—

There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

The Bible says, “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:20–21).

The Life of God

Since Genesis 3:15 is the first verse in the Bible to speak about the grace of God in this sense and since it compares the great and total triumph of Christ to the lesser and ultimately ineffective blow of Satan against both Christ and Adam, it leads us to think about some of the great verses of the Bible that amplify on Genesis 3:15 by speaking of the fullness of Christ’s victory. These verses show why grace is abundant and why we have gained more in Christ, the second Adam, than we lost in the first Adam.

The first verse is Colossians 1:27, which says, “To them [that is, the saints] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” We know from the way Paul speaks elsewhere that he is referring here to the fact that those who have believed in Christ have been made alive in him so that the life of Christ himself may be said to be within them. In Galatians he writes, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Or again in Romans, “The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” (Rom. 8:11).

This has two important consequences. First, the divine life within us is eternal. It will not die. Second, the divine life will always strive after righteousness, for that is its nature. It will abhor sin. It will cleave to the good. It is on this basis that the apostle John appeals to the presence of righteousness within the life of a Christian as proof that he or she has been born of God. “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:4–6). “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). John does not mean that Christians never sin. That would be untrue, and John explicitly denies this conclusion (cf. 1 John 1:8). But he does mean that the new life of Christ within any true child of God will inevitably yearn after righteousness and lead the believer in that direction day by day throughout his or her life.

This is a great improvement over the case of Adam, for the natural life of Adam (even though without any moral flaw) did not apparently so lead. On the contrary, Adam chose rebellion and death. In granting us divine life, the grace of God in Christ has abounded.

Gift of Justification

The second text is Romans 5:16, which says, “The gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.” This verse is from that great passage in Romans (which we have looked at in the last chapter as well as this one) in which Paul is comparing the entrance of death into the world through Adam and the entry of eternal life through the work of Christ. It is making the chief comparison: sin and grace (the gift), condemnation and justification. But how is it that the grace of God in Christ to justification is greater than the working of sin in Adam to condemnation? Paul answers that the condemnation was based on just one sin. But justification is God’s answer, not only for that one, original sin, but for all the many sins committed down through the many ages since Adam by the many multitudes of God’s people.

Justification is a legal term, referring to the work of God in dealing with the most basic of all religious questions: How can a man or woman become right with God? We are not right with him in ourselves; this is what the doctrine of sin means. Sin means that we are in rebellion against God, and if we are against God we cannot be right with him. We are transgressors. Moreover, we are all transgressors, as Paul says elsewhere: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The doctrine of justification is the most important of all Christian doctrines because it tells how one who is in rebellion against God may become right with him. It says that we may be justified from all sin by the work of Christ alone received by faith, and not by our own works-righteousness.

Paul puts it like this: “All who believe … are justified freely by his [that is, God’s] grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:22–24); “a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law” (v. 28); “to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). These verses teach that justification is God’s work and that it flows from grace. As Paul says later on in the letter to the Romans, “It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?” (Rom. 8:33–34).

In God’s justification of the sinner there is an entirely unique factor that does not enter into any other case of justification. That unique factor is Christ’s atonement for our sin coupled to God’s provision for our need of a divine righteousness through him. In justification God declares that he has accepted the sacrifice of Christ as the payment of our debt to the divine justice and has imputed Christ’s righteousness to us in place of the sin. Because Christ’s atonement satisfied the justice of God in regard to all our sins, God’s grace clearly abounds in justification.

There is another way in which the grace of God in our justification exceeds the sinful work of Adam. When Adam fell, he fell from a position of innocence, which is a neutral position, to that of being a sinner. But the work of Christ does not merely restore us to a state of innocence but lifts us up and beyond that to make us people who know both good and evil but who choose the good. We can understand this as a scale. Imagine a scale running from plus 100 down through zero to minus 100. We may say that Adam started at zero and fell to minus 100. That is, he lost 100 points. The work of Christ may be portrayed as double that work, for he restores his people not merely to the zero point but to the plus 100, disposing of the many sins by a superabundance of righteousness.

Joint Heirs with Christ

The third text is Romans 8:17, which tells us that the redeemed are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” This is an improvement on Adam’s state, for at best Adam was merely God’s regent over an earthly paradise. We, by contrast, are to inherit all that is Christ’s and actually rule with him over creation (2 Tim. 2:12).

In law there is an important difference between being an heir and being a joint (or co-) heir. Suppose a certain man dies and leaves a $400,000 estate to his four children. If they are designated his heirs, the estate will be divided equally among them. Each will receive 25 percent or $100,000. But suppose the children are designated coheirs. In this case, the estate is not divided, and together they possess the $400,000. Each one can say, “I am worth $400,000.” In human affairs things are rarely done this way, because human beings have a hard time getting along, and children finding themselves in the position of those in our illustration would probably argue. But what does not work well in human affairs will work in divine affairs, because the coheirs of Christ will have the spirit of Christ and will always work together for the good of all.

What is our inheritance? It is all that is Christ’s. Donald Barnhouse writes,

Shall the King possess something and not share it with his bride? “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Does he have riches? Then “ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Does he have love and fellowship with the Father? In showing forth this portion of our inheritance it would be possible to cite the whole of his great high priestly prayer in the garden on the Mount of Olives the night before he died… .

There are three verses in the New Testament, each wonderful in its own right, which, when taken together give us a startling picture of our association with our Savior Lord. It was on the Mount of Olives that he prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). We know that he says that all his prayers are answered, but to Peter was given a special revelation concerning this particular prayer asking for glory. Speaking of the death and resurrection of our Lord, Peter writes, “Christ [was the] lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory” (1 Peter 1:19–21). Did you note those last words? God raised him from the dead and gave him glory—the glory that he had prayed for, particularly the night before he was crucified.

But what did he do with the glory which he received in the triumph of his resurrection? Go back to the Mount of Olives and listen to him pray, “And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them” (John 17:22).

How incalculably wonderful! Partakers of his glory! Fellow-heirs with his resurrection triumphs! We are become “the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:23).

Moreover, ours is an inheritance that can never depreciate in value or be lost. It is, as Peter said, “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). We know that Adam lost his inheritance through sin. But we cannot lose our inheritance because it is given on a different basis. Adam’s inheritance was based on a covenant of works. If he remained in obedience, the inheritance would be his. If he rebelled, it would be forfeited. Our inheritance is based on the covenant of grace, and since grace is neither earned nor deserved—it is based purely on the will of the unchangeable God—our inheritance is secure and certain.

Romans 8:17 says this in other language, arguing, “If we are children, then we are heirs.” We become children by the grace of God, for we are born “not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:13). Since our inheritance is based on our being children and since we become children not by our own will but by the will of God, nothing can alter it. In this the grace of God in Christ also abounds over the sin of Adam.

Exceeding Great Joy

Our fourth text is the benediction that ends the Book of Jude: “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (v. 24). This teaches that our joy in God, in the future and also now, is greater than the joy Adam had in God before his fall. Although Adam’s joy was great, he had nothing to compare his state of sinlessness to and therefore undoubtedly did not value it as much as the redeemed. Nor did it run the gamut of their experience. We know what it is to be lost and to be brought from that darkness into God’s marvelous light.

We see the principle illustrated even among the redeemed, for those who have been forgiven much, love much. Take the case of John Newton. Newton had been raised in a Christian home in England in his early years, but he became orphaned when he was seven and was sent to live with a non-Christian relative. There Christianity was mocked, and he was persecuted. At last, in order to escape the conditions in the home, Newton ran away to sea and became an apprentice in the British navy. Debauched and rebellious, at last he deserted and ran away to Africa. He tells in his own words that he went there for just one purpose: “that I might sin my fill.” In Africa Newton joined forces with a Portuguese slave trader in whose home he was cruelly treated. At times the slave trader went away on expeditions, and the young man was left in the charge of the slave trader’s African wife, the head of his harem. She hated all men and took her hatred out on Newton. He tells that she exercised such power in her husband’s absence that he was compelled to eat his food off the dusty floor like a dog.

At last the young Newton fled from this treatment and made his way to the coast where he lit a signal fire and was picked up by a slave ship on its way to England. The captain was disappointed that Newton had no ivory to sell, but because the young man knew something about navigation he was made a ship’s mate. He could not keep even this position. During the voyage he broke into the ship’s supply of rum and distributed it to the crew so that the crew became drunk. In a stupor Newton fell into the sea and was saved from drowning only when one of the officers speared him with a harpoon, leaving a fist-sized scar in his thigh.

Near the end of the voyage, as they were nearing Scotland, the ship on which Newton was riding encountered heavy winds. It was blown off course and began to sink. Newton was sent down into the hold with the slaves who were being transported and told to man the pumps. He was frightened to death, feeling sure that the ship would sink and he would drown. He worked the pumps for days, and as he worked he began to cry out to God from the hold of the ship. He began to remember verses he had been taught as a child. As he remembered them he was miraculously transformed. He was born again. He went on to become a great teacher of the Word of God in England. Of this storm William Cowper, the poet, wrote:

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.

Newton himself wrote many poems, among them:

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

In a believer’s ear!

It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,

And drives away his fear.

He wrote this classic.

Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come;

’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

And when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess within the vale

A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Than when we’ve first begun.

Newton was a great preacher of grace, and it is no wonder, for he had been lost and was found. He had been blind, but by the abounding grace of God in Christ he had come to see.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 132). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (pp. 199–219). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.