Daily Archives: April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Apr. 28, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump said a “major conflict” with North Korea was possible if diplomatic solutions fail, although Senator John McCain said the U.S. leader understood that military action was a last resort.

The U.S. economy expanded at the slowest pace in three years as weak auto sales and lower home-heating bills dragged down consumer spending, offsetting a pickup in investment led by housing and oil drilling. Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 0.7 percent annualized rate after advancing 2.1 percent in the prior quarter.

The State Department plans to cut 2,300 U.S. diplomats and civil servants — about 9 percent of the Americans in its workforce worldwide — as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presses ahead with his task of slashing the agency’s budget, according to people familiar with the matter.

In an interview Thursday with Bloomberg Television, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said there are spots along the border where a wall can’t be built because of the terrain. Still, the administration is committed to building a “physical barrier” as much as possible, he said.

Severe power cuts in the Gaza Strip are forcing a showdown between the two main Palestinian political groups, as the World Bank warns of a looming “humanitarian crisis” in the territory.

India will overtake Germany in 2022 as the world’s fourth-largest economy and push Britain out of the top five, based on analysis of growth projections by the International Monetary Fund. But the challenges the South Asian nation must surmount to get there are many.

House GOP leaders aren’t ready to hold a vote this week on their stalled health-care bill, despite intense pressure from the White House to deliver on a long-promised repeal of Obamacare.

AP Top Stories

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday that she’s troubled by former President Barack Obama’s accepting a $400,000 speaking fee from a Wall Street firm.

The White House has assured Democrats it will continue to fund a key portion of Obamacare, clearing the way for negotiations on a series of spending bills to avoid a government shutdown, according to two sources familiar with the decision.

The American Civil Liberties Union is condemning the threats that forced Ann Coulter to cancel her speech at the University of California, Berkeley. “The unacceptable threats of violence that have led to the ‘hecklers’ veto’ of Ann Coulter’s speech at Berkeley are inconsistent with free speech principles that protect us all from government overreach,” David Cole said.

US personnel were killed overnight in the Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan. The soldiers were killed while fighting Isis-Khorosan, the local affiliate of the terror group. This is the “same general area” – southern Nangarhar province – where the massive ordnance air blast, dubbed the “mother of all bombs” (MOAB) was dropped earlier this month.

Southwest Airlines plans to stop overbooking flights – an industry practice implicated in an ugly incident on a United Airlines flight that has damaged United’s reputation with the flying public.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that critics say could lead to the removal of decades’ worth of federal land protections. The order directs Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review the lands previously designated as monuments, and suggest changes. Critics say this will allow the Trump administration to roll back protections that prevent drilling, mining and logging on the public land.

Turning to diplomacy after flexing military muscle, the United States will urge the U.N. Security Council on Friday to increase economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, leaning on China in particular to turn the screws on its wayward ally.

Liberian health authorities are taking rapid precautionary steps after eight people died of a mystery illness, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, 10 months after the end of a catastrophic two-year Ebola virus outbreak.

Google will begin marking HTTP pages where users can enter data as “not secure” in its Google Chrome browser come October.

A Mexican man who once sought sanctuary from deportation in a Colorado church was detained by federal immigration agents Wednesday morning as he went to a warehouse to get tile to install on a job, his wife said Wednesday.

A dozen people have been found stuffed inside a closet-sized cell hidden behind a book shelf in a Philippine police station, triggering further alarm about abuse under President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs.

BBC

Female Islamic clerics in Indonesia have issued an unprecedented fatwa against child marriage. The fatwa, which is not legally binding but will be influential, was issued after a three-day congress of female clerics in the country. The clerics urged the government to raise the minimum legal age for women to marry to 18 from the current 16.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has sacked nearly 10,000 civil servants for having fake education certificates.

Brazilian cities went into partial shutdown on Friday as the country observed its first general strike in more than two decades.

Pope Francis is in Egypt on a visit aimed at improving Christian-Muslim dialogue, three weeks after bombings at two Coptic churches killed 45 people.

WND

Authorities in China’s Xinjiang region are prohibiting parents from giving children some Islamic names in the latest effort to dilute the influence of religion on life in the ethnic Uighur minority heartland. “Muhammad,” “Jihad” and “Islam” are among at least 29 names now banned in the heavily Muslim region.

A state legislator from Manhattan has introduced a bill that would nullify gun rights from those convicted of hate crimes, even those involving nonviolent, and misdemeanor offenses. If successful, New York would become the seventh state to implement such a law.


The Briefing 04-28-17

Abortion, the central sacrament of the secular left, is challenging the unity of the Democratic Party

Religion and the necessary foundation of morality: Will Democrats seek to “reclaim religious ground”?

Human hatcheries and the end of pregnancy? Artificial womb raises huge ethical questions

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall, and the cost of liberty

The post The Briefing 04-28-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 4/28/2017

Israel-Syria Border Heating Up Leads to Tensions With Iran And Russia
In the early hours of Thursday morning, missiles hit a weapons depot reported to hold missiles destined to be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

A False Sense of Security
Since the $40 billion program was prematurely declared operational in 2004, just three test intercepts have successfully killed a mock target in nine attempts, all highly scripted for success. If these tests were planned to fool U.S. defenses, as North Korea almost certainly would do, the success rate would be even lower.

World stocks pause near record highs
Concern about global trade and U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies kept appetite for risky assets in check on Friday, setting world stocks on the path to a sluggish end to what will still be their fifth straight month of gains.

President Trump’s Israel visit set for May 22
After much speculation surrounding the precise date, White House marks May 22 for President Trump’s first official visit to Israel, where he will stay for one night; Secretary of State Tillerson will accompany the president, along with UN Envoy Nikki Haley, a staunch Israel supporter, and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

US warns of possible conflict with North Korea
President Donald Trump says a major conflict with North Korea is possible though he would prefer a diplomatic solution; China warns of situation escalating or slipping out of control.

US Senate unanimously warns UN to stop ‘targeting Israel’
In a letter bearing the signatures of all 100 senators, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told that UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council, ‘devote time to unwarranted attacks against Israel’; senators urge world body to comply with expectations for reforms to stamp out habitual Israel-bashing, reminding that the US is the UN’s main financial contributor.

Netanyahu slams German FM for insulting victims of Holocaust
In unusually strong language, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel for lacking sensitivity toward the victims of the Holocaust and endangering the security of the Jewish state with his support of an anti-Israel NGO…”My basic principle is simple,” Netanyahu said, “I don’t welcome diplomats from other countries who visit Israel and at the same time meet with organizations that call our soldiers war criminals.”

US Senate unanimously signs letter asking UN to address anti-Israel bias
It’s not often that all 100 US senators agree on something, but the US Senate unanimously signed a letter on Thursday calling on United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to address the anti-Israel bias permeating the UN. The letter, which was released by the Washington Post, accuses the UN of using its “privileged platform to advance an anti-Israel agenda” and that the organization “is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel.”

Syrian opposition leader hails alleged Israeli strike on Hezbollah hub
The leader of a Syrian opposition faction on Thursday praised that day’s air strikes on a Hezbollah arms supply hub on the edge of Damascus International Airport as a “blessed” blow to Hezbollah by Israel. Fahad al-Masri, Paris-based head of the National Salvation Front in Syria, also called for stepped-up Israeli involvement in Syria in order to “crush” the presence of Hezbollah and other militias.

Russia slams alleged Israeli strike on Syria
The Kremlin condemned an alleged Israeli strike against Damascus International Airport on Thursday, urging Israel and other countries to avoid carrying out any action that could heighten tensions in the region. “We continue to consider that all countries need to refrain from any kind of actions that lead to an increase in tension in this already restive region and call for respect of the sovereignty of Syria,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Macedonia parliament stormed by protesters in Skopje
Protesters stormed into Macedonia’s parliament on Thursday after an ethnic Albanian was elected as speaker. A brawl broke out injuring at least 10 people, including the Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev, who was left with blood pouring down his face. The protesters, supporters of ex-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s VMRO party, are demanding new elections.

House delays Obamacare vote, denying Trump 100-day win
House Republican leaders on Thursday delayed a vote on their Obamacare repeal bill until next week at the earliest…Speaker Paul Ryan and his top lieutenants decided during a late-night huddle in the Capitol that they still do not have the votes to pass the stalled health-care legislation. At least 15 House Republicans remain solidly opposed to the bill, with another 20 leaning no or still undecided, according to GOP lawmakers and aides.

Pope Francis arrives in Cairo seeking to mend ties with Islam
Pope Francis arrives in Cairo on Friday hoping to mend ties with Islamic religious leaders just as Egypt’s ancient Christian community faces unprecedented pressure from Islamic State militants who have threatened to wipe it out. In an address to the Egyptian people this week, Francis spoke of his hope that his visit would help bring peace and encourage dialogue and reconciliation with the Islamic world.

Trump Calls Schumer’s Bluff: “If There’s A Shutdown, There’s A Shutdown… Democrats Would Be To Blame”
“We’ll see what happens. If there’s a shutdown, there’s a shutdown,”

Asylum Seekers Fleeing The U.S. For Canada May Find A Frigid Reception In Canadian Courts
“Abandoning a claim in the United States or coming to Canada after a negative decision in the United States, or failing to claim and remaining in the States for a long period of time – those are all big negatives. Big, big negatives.”

Sean Hannity Defends Fox News Co-President Bill Shine, Warns of ‘End of FNC as We Know It’
Sean Hannity took to Twitter Thursday to defend embattled Fox News co-president Bill Shine following a report that suggested Shine’s future with the network could be on unsteady ground.

Austrian Pres: All Women Must Wear Headscarves to Fight Islamophobia
Austria’s far-left president, Alexander Van der Bellen, has suggested that one day all women must wear headscarves to fight Islamophobia.

Obama administration dialed back counterproliferation efforts to secure Iran deal
The Obama administration prisoner exchange with Iran allegedly involved dropping prosecutions against more Iranian fugitives than previously known, including a top procurer of material with nuclear applications.

How Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast
… that climate-focused scene, and hundreds of others like it playing out at local news stations across the country, marks a major shift in the way Americans hear about climate change. The safe and familiar on-air meteorologist, with little notice by viewers, has become a public diplomat for global warming.


Krauthammer on Coulter at Berkeley: ‘Reaching a Situation Where’ ‘Fascist Gangs Can Shut Down Free Speech’

Breitbart has the video:

On Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” columnist Charles Krauthammer weighed in on the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s Berkeley speech by stating, “we’re reaching a situation where thugs are threatening violence. Basically, fascist gangs can shut down free speech.”

Krauthammer said, “[T]he danger here is, that we’re reaching a situation where thugs are threatening violence. Basically, fascist gangs can shut down free speech.”

View article →


Feds Search Headquarters of Televangelist Benny Hinn

Researcher Barry Bowen informs us that the Federal Government is showing a new willingness to investigate religious fraud, starting with Word of Faith prosperity preacher Benny Hinn. Here’s Bowen’s report:

For two straight days IRS investigators and postal inspectors have been carting away boxes of possible evidence of fraud from televangelist Benny Hinn’s headquarters in Grapevine, Texas.

Local Dallas media have pounced on the news story with reporters tweeting the latest sparse details.

Dallas Morning News: IRS investigators search televangelist Benny Hinn’s offices in Grapevine WFAA: IRS raids televangelist Benny Hinn’s office in Grapevine

Here are five points worth thinking about regarding the Hinn story.

The IRS is showing a new willingness to investigate religious financial fraud.

The IRS and other federal agencies rarely investigated religious fraud during the Obama administration. In fact, the last time a televangelist was prosecuted by the IRS occurred during George W. Bush’s presidency. Mac Hammond’s case was  thrown out by the courts in November 2008 and the Obama administration failed to adopt new guidelines for church audits or to investigate numerous allegations of fraud uncovered by religious watchdog Trinity Foundation.

View article →


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 →


Completely Alone And Utterly Depressed

Do you ever feel like you have been completely abandoned by the world?  Do you struggle with feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression?  If so, you are far from alone.  Thanks to technology Americans are more isolated than they have ever been before, and as you will see below, this is really starting to cause a major national crisis.  Humans were designed to be social creatures, and researchers have found that a lack of interaction with others can cause major mental, emotional and social problems.  Not only that, it can also lead to premature death.  We actually have a need to love others and to be loved by them, and if those needs are not met the consequences can be quite dramatic. (Read More…)


Mid-Day Snapshot

Apr. 28, 2017

Obama’s Lucrative Speech Fee Assailed by Leftists

The ex-president is being attacked by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, whose own reputations are tarnished.

The Foundation

“I should consider the speeches of Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus, as preeminent specimens of logic, taste and that sententious brevity which, using not a word to spare, leaves not a moment for inattention to the hearer. Amplification is the vice of modern oratory.” —Thomas Jefferson (1824)

April 27, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — The most glaring omission in Tucker Carlson’s interview of the human oddity known as Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner was the failure to seek comment on the transgender traitor by the name of Bradley/Chelsea Manning. This is the former U.S. Army analyst scheduled for release from prison next month because former President Barack Obama commuted his/her sentence for Russian-style espionage…. (more)

April 27, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The White House announced the outlines of an ambitious tax reform plan Wednesday that envisions deep cuts in the rates paid by American families and businesses – – and top aides warned naysayers against doubting President Trump’s ability to get it done…. (more)

April 27, 2017
ALICIA POWE — Just shy of President Trump’s 100th day in office, his administration unveiled tax reform Wednesday that is slated to be the “biggest tax cut” in American history, geared at job creation and putting more money in the pockets of middle-class Americans…. (more)

April 27, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The hard-line conservatives who helped sink Republicans’ first Obamacare repeal attempt reversed course Wednesday and officially endorsed the latest plan designed to slash costs for healthy Americans, giving congressional leaders a critical boost as they seek a do-over…. (more)

April 27, 2017
DAILY MAIL — Kim Jong-Un’s army readied for war as they fired rockets and torpedoes at mock enemy warships during North Korea’s ‘largest ever’ live-fire artillery drills on Tuesday. Hundreds of tanks were lined up along the eastern coastal town of Wonsan in a show of military strength to celebrate 85 years since the North Korean army was created…. (more)

April 27, 2017

BOB UNRUH — President Trump, whose attempts to crack down on foreigners entering the country illegally repeatedly have been derailed by activist federal judges favoring the lawbreakers, says he’s not dropping his latest attempt…. (more)


April 27, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump is “absolutely” looking at breaking up the “outrageous” 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which blocked his travel ban, he told the Washington Examiner Wednesday…. (more)

April 27, 2017

NEWSMAX — Science Guy Bill Nye and a panelist on his Netflix show discussed penalizing families for having “extra kids” because of their claimed effect on climate change…. (more)


April 27, 2017

WORLDNETDAILY — Bill Nye has built a lucrative career championing science. He’s cashing in on the nostalgia surrounding his old children’s show with a new show on Netflix, “Bill Nye Saves the World.” In theory, the show promotes a scientific worldview. But in practice, it’s promoting degenerate sexual behavior, claims gender exists along a “spectrum,” and spews out left-wing propaganda no Christian parent would ever let their child watch…. (more)


April 27, 2017
DAILY CALLER — 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. Garrow wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Martin Luther King Jr., and is a regular contributor to The New York Times and The Washington Post…. (more)

April 27, 2017
MARISA MARTIN — Jon McNaughton has been a “hidden man” in many respects. A conservative painter with extensive knowledge of his craft, he was far from being a household name – – until Sean Hannity introduced him to America in 2012…. (more)

April 27, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — While Hillary Clinton loyal aide Huma Abedin was reportedly sidelined in the final stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign as a result of Abedin’s husband’s child-porn scandal, she was potentially an even greater liability than known. It turns out Anthony Weiner wasn’t the only family member under investigation…. (more)

April 26, 2017
THE HILL — A majority of registered voters think it’s inappropriate that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are playing significant roles in the White House, according to a new survey…. (more)

April 26, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Congressional negotiators closed in on a spending deal Tuesday after President Trump backed off his demand for border wall funding, saying he doesn’t need an immediate infusion of cash for the project, clearing the way for Capitol Hill to hash out a bill that avoids an end-of-week government shutdown…. (more)


April 26, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump has not only made historic cuts in regulations in his first 100 days, but the costs of his handful of new rules are tiny compared to former President Barack Obama’s, a difference of $3.9 billion, according to a new analysis…. (more)

April 26, 2017
TIMOTHY P. CARNEY — Nearly 100 days into the Trump administration, the official position of the federal government is still that Uncle Sam can force private employers, against their conscience and their religious beliefs, to provide insurance coverage for all forms of contraception, including sterilization and morning-after drugs that can act as abortifacients…. (more)

April 26, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — The White House lashed out Tuesday night against the federal judge who blocked President Trump’s anti-sanctuary city executive order, and said sanctuaries like San Francisco have “the blood of dead Americans on their hands.” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the ruling by Judge William H. Orrick misconstrued U.S. immigration laws and undercuts Americans’ faith in government…. (more)


April 26, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous anti-Donald Trump dossier, acknowledges that a sensational charge his sources made about a tech company CEO and Democratic Party hacking is unverified…. (more)

April 26, 2017

FOX5 DC — Law enforcement officials, emergency managers and first responders will take part in a “full-scale exercise” Wednesday to help them prepare for possible terror attacks in the DC region. The planned drill will take place at six undisclosed locations around suburban Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District, though officials are not releasing specific details about where or exactly what will take place…. (more)


April 26, 2017
GREG COROMBOS — Despite U.S. government conclusions to the contrary, Iran is cheating on the 2015 nuclear deal and is actively weaponizing nukes, according to the group who uncovered Iran’s most recent nuclear ambitions in the first place…. (more)

April 26, 2017

ART MOORE — The Heritage Foundation vowed not to be “bullied or silenced” after an estimated 200 left-wing activists stormed the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters Tuesday morning, vowing to shut it down…. (more)


April 26, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The homicide rate may be rising in some U.S. cities, but slayings are still a localized phenomenon, with most U.S. counties not seeing a single homicide in 2014…. (more)

April 26, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump will travel to the Interior Department on Wednesday to sign an executive order to review the last two decades of presidential monument designations, with many of former President Barack Obama’s monuments expected to be scrutinized heavily…. (more)

April 26, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon: $5.34. Copy of Hillbilly Elegy (hardcover): $15.67 Designer jeans caked in fake dirt and mud: $425. The appearance of escaping a liberal bubble: priceless … at least that seems like the inspiration for Nordstrom’s new and much-maligned “dirty jeans.” And that’s a good thing. Seriously…. (more)


April 25, 2017

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


Featured Blogs


This ‘n’ That

  • Sounds like there was quite a show at Benny Hinn’s offices this week.
  • I hadn’t heard anything about this, but I simply cannot comprehend why anybody would think that producing such a horrific show would be a good idea.
  • Great thoughts on our weakness and God’s strength.
  • Well, Cedarville University is certainly blazing their own trail with this move.
  • Last week, I shared an article about abusive churches and noted that “spiritual abuse exists in all corners of Christianity, even those that are straight-laced.” I think this article is even more eye-opening than the one I shared last Friday.
  • I don’t know anything about this, but if I were in the area, I would want to attend.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable (or maybe it’s a weekly dose of fantastic). Thanks to reader Mike for this one!
  • I’m interested in reading this book. Looks like it’s another one to add to my wishlist!
  • This wolf got off too easy, but at least it’s something.
  • Sigh. Just because you call yourself a bishop doesn’t mean you are one.
  • Hmm. I’ll say this, science and scientific advancements are always fascinating, even if I’m not quite sure how I feel about them.
  • So…um…nobody is actually surprised by this, are they?
  • I’m always edified by Jerry Wragg’s teaching. Here he speaks about identifying your place in the Body:

Top Headlines – 4/28/2017

World Bank report: ‘Gaza faces financial crisis’

EU-Israel relations: Trojan horses, snakes, ladders and boycotts

UNESCO Draft Resolution Declaring Israeli Sovereignty Over Jerusalem ‘Illegal’ Draws Fire From Israel, Jewish Groups

Trump: Ask me in month about moving embassy to Jerusalem

Planning Said to Be Underway for Trump Visit to Israel in Late May as Jewish State Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Jerusalem Reunification

Israel, US eyeing Trump visit on May 22-23

Israel said pushing for massive East Jerusalem expansion as Trump visits

All 100 US senators to UN: End ‘unacceptable’ anti-Israel bias

Israel’s intelligence minister urges US to team up with Russia against Iran

Israeli defense minister warns of Iranian presence in Golan Heights

Iranian Cargo Planes Land in Damascus Hours Before ‘Israeli Strike’ on Airport

Israeli missile downs Syrian drone over Golan Heights

Assad in an interview before the attack in Damascus: ‘Israel is helping the rebels’

Israeli strikes inside Syria pick up tempo in proxy war

Russia condemns apparent Israeli strike on Syria

At UN, US calls for pressure on Russia to try to end Syria war

US envoy accuses Russia of allowing Syria to deny needed aid

How a protest over immigration policy stirred up memories of one grandmother’s journey to America, and a boatload of Jewish refugees who were turned away

Pope heads to Egypt to support Copts, heal Muslim rift

Balancing Act for Pope in Egypt: Outreach to Muslims, and Speaking Out for Christians

For the First Time, Russia Ranked Among Worst Violators of Religious Freedom

Russian intelligence ship sinks off Turkey’s Black Sea coast

US drone strike kills 7 in northwest Pakistan

Suspected Muslim insurgents in S. Thailand kill 4 soldiers

Trump complains Saudis not paying fair share for U.S. defense

A Saudi man has been sentenced to death after insulting the prophet Muhammad on Twitter

Far-Left Austrian President: All Women Must Wear Headscarves to Fight Islamophobia

UK anti-terror police foil knife attack near Parliament

Before North Korea had nuclear weapons, it had wild and often deadly plots

Putin Warns North Korea Situation Has ‘Seriously Deteriorated’

North Korean crisis ‘worst I’ve seen,’ top Navy officer warns

Poll: 53 percent favor military action to stop North Korea nukes program

Hawaii threatened by North Korea now, U.S. commander tells Congress

North Korea threat: Top admiral calls on more missile interceptors in Hawaii

Trump says ‘major, major’ conflict with North Korea possible, but seeks diplomacy

North Korea turns to Southeast Asian nations for support in battle with US to stop ‘nuclear holocaust’

Southeast Asian nations have expressed ‘grave concern’ over North Korea’s nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches

China warned N.Korea of sanctions after any nuclear test: Tillerson

China won’t confirm US claim of new pressure on North Korea

China to conduct live fire drills, test new weapons in response to THAAD

US Marines could deploy robots and ‘HyperSubs’ to storm future beaches

Trump agrees ‘not to terminate NAFTA at this time’

‘I was all set to terminate’: Inside Trump’s sudden shift on NAFTA

Trump’s NAFTA Reversal Confirms the Globalists Are in Charge – For Now

NYC to pay for lawyers for illegal immigrants

Trump eyes bid to split up 9th Circuit court amid sanctuary city, travel ban disputes

Trump Calls Schumer’s Bluff: “If There’s A Shutdown, There’s A Shutdown… Democrats Would Be To Blame”

Trump says he thought being president would be easier than his old life

Sean Hannity: Ann Coulter just the latest target of fascist media

Get ready for tech giants to start churning out fake news to ‘save’ net neutrality

UC Berkeley Gears Up For Violent Protests Over Coulter Speech Cancellation

Portland rose parade canceled after ‘antifascists’ threaten GOP marchers

Obama’s $400G Wall Street speech leaves liberal base stunned

Brexit: Chancellor Merkel warns of UK ‘illusions’ over talks with EU

U.S. drought reaches record low as rain reigns

Spacecraft survives unprecedented trip between Saturn, rings

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Little Sitkin Island, Alaska

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Hihifo, Tonga

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Little Sitkin Island, Alaska

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcan on Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

How Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast

How Team Trump plans to kill Obama’s Paris climate deal by declaring it a treaty

US probes unusual rise in humpback whale deaths

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

Elephant tranquilizer is the latest lethal addition to the heroin epidemic

Greg Bahnsen – Not All of Israel is Israel

Benny Hinn Ministries ‘Cooperating’ After Headquarters Search

Five points worth thinking about regarding the Hinn story

Leaving the NAR Church: Chrissy’s story

The Handmaid’s Tale and Its Flagrant Misrepresentation of the Christian Right

Photo of Seminary Professors Posing as Gangster Rappers Stirs Controversy

Porn star angers churchgoers by declaring she is an Evangelical Christian and God sees nothing wrong with her work

NOAA declares deaths of humpback whales along East Coast an ‘unusual mortality event’

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 06:34 AM PDT

NOAA Fisheries is declaring the recent deaths of 41 humpback whales from 2016 through present from Maine to North Carolina to be an unusual mortality…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Google Launches “Project Owl” to Eliminate “Fake News” From Search Engine

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 06:19 AM PDT

On Tuesday morning, Google announced some major changes meant to fight the fake news and hate speech that keep polluting its search results. The Google…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Intense Prophetic Dream Reveals Your Breakthrough Is at Hand

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 06:15 AM PDT

(By Joe Joe Dawson) Late on Easter night before I went to bed, I had a moment with the Lord. I just wasn’t praying, but…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Wisconsin university approves Israel boycott

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 06:12 AM PDT

The student government of the University of Wisconsin-Madison unanimously passed a divestment resolution targeting companies operating in many countries that included an amendment specifically about…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Meteor Seen Streaking Over South Florida

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 06:06 AM PDT

A fireball streaked across the sky overnight, according to multiple reports.  By 4 a.m. Wednesday, the American Meteor Society received nearly 50 reports about the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Last 2 Chapters of Revelation Reveal Important Intersection in End-Times Prophecy

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 05:57 AM PDT

(By Asher Intrater) Since John was the last writer of Scriptures, his writings contain a unique view of the whole spectrum of Scriptures from beginning…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Why So Many People Fall Victim to the Deception of the Hyper-grace Movement

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 05:37 AM PDT

(By Bert Farias) What some people call the hyper-grace message began as a result of a sort of revolt against religion and man-made rules. A…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christian Convert Cast Out by Muslim Family for Turning to Christ

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 05:34 AM PDT

A Sudanese woman who became a Christian while working in Indonesia was forced out of her Muslim family’s home and told to never return after…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Happy Days’ Actress Came to Christ Through ‘Facts of Life’ Friend

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 05:30 AM PDT

Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcom “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi,” died Saturday at age 56. She…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

APPLE self-driving car seen on road for first time…

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 05:25 AM PDT

t is no secret that Apple has been working furiously to develop self-driving car technology in a bid to compete with rivals including Google and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Kim Jong-Un ‘ready to send army of 500,000 women soldiers to the frontline’ if war erupts

Posted: 28 Apr 2017 05:17 AM PDT

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is ready throw up to 500,000 women soldiers to the front line if war breaks out. Battalions of female soldiers…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

tornadic storms kill 3 in Brazil and leave 150 homeless in Paraguay

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 07:10 PM PDT

Vicious tornadic storms swept across Brazil and Paraguay killing 3 and making 150 families homeless on April 26, 2017. There is really something going out-of-control…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

President Of Austria Says ‘All women’ could be asked to wear headscarves in ‘solidarity’ with Muslims

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 07:03 PM PDT

The president of Austria has raised quite a few eyebrows after stating that there may come a day when all women are asked to wear…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

PROPHECY WATCH: Cashless society getting closer to becoming reality!

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:59 PM PDT

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,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Could a North Korean Nuclear Strike Potentially Reach Seattle?

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:48 PM PDT

The world — and especially Seattle — are anxiously waiting for North Korea’s sixth nuclear test. More than a month after US and South Korean officials…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New website offers US women help to perform their own abortions

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:44 PM PDT

Fearful that Donald Trump’s presidency poses a once-in-a-generation threat to US reproductive rights, an international advocacy group this week is unveiling what is sure to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sean Hannity Warns of ‘End of Fox News as We Know It’

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:40 PM PDT

Sean Hannity took to Twitter Thursday to defend embattled Fox News co-president Bill Shine following a report that suggested Shine’s future with the network could be…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump says “major” conflict with North Korea possible, but seeks diplomacy

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 06:37 PM PDT

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Church of England Insists Children Must be Taught About Islam

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 01:41 PM PDT

Parents who have concerns about their children being taught about Islam should be banned from pulling them out of religious education (RE) lessons, according to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Where are the Bereans today?

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 01:33 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we will discuss the Bereans mentioned in the book of Acts and why we need these type of people…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Top Navy Officer Gives Chilling Warning About North Korean Crisis!

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 01:28 PM PDT

The senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific region told lawmakers Thursday that the North Korean crisis is the worst he’s seen…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mystery as US probes unusual rise in humpback whale deaths

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 01:21 PM PDT

Investigators are probing an unusually high number of humpback whale deaths since 2016 off the US Atlantic Coast, where many appear to have been killed…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

KINGS OF THE EAST? North Korea Turns to Southeast Asian Nations to Battle America

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 01:14 PM PDT

North Korea has appealed to Southeast Asian countries for support in its row with the United States to prevent what it warned could be a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: Patriot Missile Fired At Drone Entering Israeli Airspace From Syria

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 10:52 AM PDT

The IDF confirmed on Thursday that Israel fired a Patriot anti-ballistic missile at a target in the Golan Heights, Israel’s northern region bordering Syria. Israeli…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Father Placed in Prison for Homeschooling His Children

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 10:42 AM PDT

A homeschooling father who sought to give his children the best education available, by pulling them out of the politicized state schools in Cuba and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US pressure could force Britain to join anti-Assad airstrikes

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 10:34 AM PDT

EAD MOBritain could bomb the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad without first gaining the approval of MPs, says Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, adding it…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Putin Warns North Korea Situation Has ‘Seriously Deteriorated’

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 10:28 AM PDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program is deepening after the issue dominated talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Matthew 24 End-Times Realities Manifesting in This Nation

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 10:23 AM PDT

(Reported By Mission Network News) It’s been just over two months since the South Sudanese government declared famine conditions in parts of the country, according to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Anne Graham Lotz Warns “Christians Must Get Prepared for the Rapture

Posted: 27 Apr 2017 09:16 AM PDT

Evangelist and author Anne Graham Lotz has listed a number of key preparations Christians should make before the rapture. Lotz, who is the founder of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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


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The Fallacy of Uniformitarianism

Code: B170426

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the earliest days of the GTY Blog. As we recently culled through the ministry archives in preparation for a new blog series on God’s work of creation—which coincides with the broadcast of The Battle for the Beginning sermon series on “Grace to You”—we believed this post deserved further consideration.]

The hypothesis that the earth is billions of years old is rooted in the unbiblical premise that what is happening now is just what has always happened. This idea is known as uniformitarianism. It is the theory that natural and geological phenomena are for the most part the results of forces that have operated continuously, with uniformity, and without interruption, over billions and billions of years. Uniformitarians assume that the forces at work in nature are essentially fixed and constant. Scientists who hold this view explain nearly all geological phenomena in terms of processes that are still occurring. The uniformitarian sees sedimentary rock strata, for example, and assumes that the sediments that formed them resulted from the natural, slow settling of particles in water over several million years. A uniformitarian observes the Grand Canyon and assumes the natural flow of the Colorado River carved that immense chasm over many ages with a steady (though constantly decreasing) stream.

Uniformitarianism was first proposed around the beginning of the nineteenth century by two British geologists, James Hutton and his best–known disciple, Charles Lyell. Lyell’s work Principles of Geology was an explicit rejection of creation and flood–based explanations for geological formulations. Lyell insisted that all the features of earth’s geology must be explainable by natural, rather than supernatural, processes. He regarded all biblical or supernatural explanations as inherently unscientific and therefore false. In other words, he began with the presupposition that Scripture itself is untrue. And his work essentially canonized atheistic naturalism as the basis for “scientific” research.

As we have noted previously, naturalism itself is a religious belief. The conviction that nothing happens supernaturally is a tenet of faith, not a fact that can be verified by any scientific means. Indeed, an a priori rejection of everything supernatural involves a giant, irrational leap of faith. So the presuppositions of atheistic naturalism are actually no more “scientific” than the beliefs of biblical Christianity. That obvious fact seems to have escaped Lyell and many who have followed him.

Nonetheless, Lyell’s uniformitarian theory was enormously influential on other scientists of his age. (Darwin even took a copy of Lyell’s work with him when he sailed on the Beagle in 1831.) And from the first publication of Lyell’s work until today, the hypothesis that the earth is ages old has dominated secular science. The theory of evolution itself was the predictable and nearly immediate result of Lyell’s uniformitarian hypothesis.

Of course, modern scientists have expanded their estimates of the age of the earth beyond anything Lyell himself ever imagined. But the basic theory of uniformitarianism first emerged from Lyell’s antibiblical belief system.

The opposite of uniformitarianism is catastrophism, the view that dramatic geological changes have occurred in sudden, violent, or unusual events. A catastrophist observing sedimentary rock formations or large canyons is more likely (and more accurately) to interpret them as the result of massive flooding. Of course, this yields a much younger time frame for the development of earth’s geological features. (A sudden flood, for example, can produce a thick layer of sediment in a few hours. That means a large stratum of sedimentary rock, which a uniformitarian might assume took millions of years to form, could actually be the result of a single flash flood.) Catastrophism therefore poses a major challenge to the evolutionary timetable, eliminating the multiple billions of years demanded to make the evolutionary hypothesis work. And for that reason it is rejected out of hand by most evolutionists.

But a moment’s reflection will reveal that the fossil record is impossible to explain by any uniformitarian scheme. For a living creature to become fossilized (rather than to decay and turn to dust—Job 34:15), it must be buried immediately under a great weight of sediment. Apart from a catastrophic deluge on a scale unlike any observed in recent history, how can we explain the existence of massive fossil beds (such as the Karoo formation fossil field in Africa, which is thought to hold eight hundred billion vertebrate fossils)? Natural sedimentation over several ages cannot explain how so many fossils came to be concentrated in one place. And every inhabited continent contains large fossil beds where millions of fossilized species are found together in large concentrations, as if all these creatures were destroyed and buried together by massive flooding. Fossils of sea creatures are even found on many of the world’s highest mountain tops. How do uniformitarians explain such phenomena? The only way they can: They constantly increase their estimate of the age of the earth.

Scripture expressly condemns uniformitarianism in 2 Peter 3:4. Peter prophesied that this erroneous view would be adopted in the last days by scoffers—men walking after their own lusts—who imagine that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” The apostle Peter goes on to write, “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water” (2 Peter 3:5–6).

In other words, the plain teaching of Scripture is that this world’s history has not been one of uniform natural and geological processes from the beginning. But according to the Bible, there have been at least two global cataclysmic events: creation itself and a catastrophic worldwide flood in Noah’s time. These would sufficiently explain virtually all the geological and hydrological features of the earth as we know it.

In fact, large–scale catastrophic forces are the only really plausible explanation for some geological features. Not far from where I live is an area known as Vasquez Rocks. It has the appearance of a rugged moonscape (and is a familiar site in science–fiction films, where it is often employed as a setting for scenes depicting exotic planets). Its main features are massive shards of jagged rock strata, broken sharply and thrusting out of the ground to great heights. Whatever force stood those rocks on end was obviously sudden and violent, not slow and gradual. The entire region is filled with similar evidences of catastrophe. Not far away is the notorious San Andreas fault. There, where the roadway has been cut into the hillside, travelers may observe violently twisted rock strata. These features are mute evidence to extraordinary forces that have shaped the topography of Southern California—far exceeding the power of any known earthquake. Such phenomena are what we might expect, given the historicity of the biblical record. Scripture says, for example, that when the Flood began, “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up” (Genesis 7:11). No doubt the Flood was accompanied by volcanic activity, massive geological movements, and the shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates. Such a catastrophe would not only explain twisted and upthrust rock strata, but it would also easily explain why so many of the earth’s mountain ranges give evidence of having once been under the sea. Uniformitarians cannot agree on any feasible explanation for features like these.

A massive flood would also explain the formation of the Grand Canyon. In fact, it would be a better explanation of how the canyon came to be than any uniformitarian hypothesis. The features of the canyon itself (extremely deep gorges with level plateaus at the rims) suggest that it was formed by rapid erosion. A strikingly similar formation is Providence Canyon, near Lumpkin, Georgia—a spectacular canyon that covers more than eleven hundred acres. In the early 1800s the entire area was flat farmland. By the mid 1800s, farmers had completely cleared the area of trees and their root systems, leaving the area susceptible to erosion. In 1846, heavy rainfall began forming small gullies and crevices. These expanded with every successive rainfall. By the 1940s, nearby buildings and towns had to be moved to accommodate the growing canyon. Today the canyon comprises sixteen fingers, some more than one mile in length. At places the distance from the canyon floor to the rim is as high as a fifteen–story building. Today it is a scenic area, lush with trees and wildlife, often called “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon.” Its features are indistinguishable from canyons geologists claim took billions of years to form.

Douglas F. Kelly writes:

The uniformitarian assumption that millions of years of geological work (extrapolating from present, slow, natural processes) would be required to explain structures such as the American Grand Canyon for instance, is called into serious question by the explosion of Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington on the 18 of May 1980. Massive energy equivalent to 20 million tons of TNT destroyed 400 square kilometers of forest in six minutes, changing the face of the mountain and digging out depths of earth and rock, leaving formations not unlike parts of the larger Grand Canyon. Recent studies of the Mount St. Helens phenomenon indicate that if attempts were made to date these structures (which were formed in 1980) on the basis of uniformitarian theory, millions of years of formation time would be necessarily postulated. [1]

Christians who reinterpret the biblical text to try to accommodate the uniformitarians’ old–earth hypotheses do so unnecessarily. To imagine that the earth was formed by natural processes over billions and billions of years through slow and steady evolution is to deny the very essence of what Scripture teaches about the earth’s creation. It is to reject the clear account of God Himself that He created the earth and all its life in six days.

(Adapted from The Battle for the Beginning.)

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170426
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Barna Update | Media Habits in the Age of “Fake News”

The media world is rapidly changing, and traditional news organizations are struggling to find their footing. But what role does news media continue to play in informing the public? Which outlets are earning trust (and clicks)? And what do Americans make of “fake news?” Drawing from a number of Barna studies, we take a look at this complex media moment in history.

Read more

Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster”

Genesis 1:1

Code: B170428

How important are the first three chapters of Genesis—the creation and fall accounts? Does it matter if we allegorize the text to allow for billions of years rather than read it as a straightforward narrative? Does it matter if we allow for death prior to Adam’s fall? There are many—even in the Reformed camp—who argue that these are trivial issues in comparison to getting the gospel right. And while that may sound persuasive, it’s actually a misleading argument.

Driving a wedge between soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and our view of creation creates a dichotomy when there should be a dependency. The good news of the gospel is only good because of the bad news recorded in Genesis—that sin and death are intrusions on what was God’s glorious and perfect creation.

Moreover, if we are allowed to take subjective liberties with the first three chapters of the Bible, what’s stopping us from doing it elsewhere? And then there’s the question of biblical perspicuity—or clarity. Has God spoken clearly about the origins of the universe and man or has He spoken to us in metaphors that modern science can decipher? The stakes are infinitely high when it comes to God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture.

For that reason, Phil Johnson interviewed John MacArthur several years ago to discuss modern assaults on the veracity of the creation account in Genesis. In “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster,” they take aim at the supposedly Christian organization known as BioLogos.

“BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.” That’s their mission statement and it’s a clear agenda. In recent years they have labored tirelessly to bring Genesis into conformity with Darwinian evolution. They argue that the scientific data is simply too compelling to ignore and Scripture needs to fall into line.

In the interview, John doesn’t hold back in stating the seriousness of their crimes, and those of anyone else who dares to tamper with the plain meaning of Scripture:

Is there a more deadly, more devastating, a more destructive, a more ungodly act than to openly and purposely and publicly denounce the veracity of the Bible? Is there a worse crime? Is not that the crime of all crimes? Because if you can’t believe what the Bible says, all is lost. And if you think because you have a Ph.D. in microbiology that you are the judge of all the earth and you have a right to edit what God has revealed by His Holy Spirit, then we better run over to wherever you are and bow down, because we need to worship you since you’ve got it right and the writers of the Scriptures, though inspired by the Holy Spirit didn’t get it right. I mean, there is no more serious crime than that. That is the ultimate crime, is to attack the veracity of Holy Scripture at any point.

And listen, this is not because there are alternate readings of Genesis. Let’s get that straight. This is not because we have some kind of manuscript diversity of Genesis. This is not because we’ve got five different accounts of Genesis and they’re all over the place. No. The manuscripts that we have of Genesis are all in absolute agreement, uniformity. This is exactly what Moses wrote and said, “This is the Word of the Lord.” This is a firsthand, eyewitness account by the Creator Himself.

So I don’t know that there’s a more heinous crime than destroying people’s confidence in Scripture. And if you start tampering in Genesis 1 and 2, where can we trust this book?

We should never treat our interpretation of the biblical creation account as theological hair-splitting. In “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster,” John MacArthur and Phil Johnson show us that the inerrancy, authority, and clarity of Scripture is at stake. They show how the truth of the gospel stands or falls on the truth of Genesis. And they compel us to take up arms in the war against God’s truth.

Click here to listen to “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster.”

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170428
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to You

You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/about#copyright).

CultureWatch: Faith Versus Feelings

The Christian life is meant to be based on faith, not on feelings. Followers of Jesus are to seek to know and understand God and what he desires of us and then act upon that. Thus we are to use our minds to read and study God’s Word and use our wills to obey it.

How we feel about all this is of little consequence. Or should be of little consequence. Feelings come and go and are unreliable guides to truth and what is right. Sure, God created us with emotions and there is a place for them. But they should follow, and not lead.

Yet sadly there are millions of Christians who seem to base their entire Christian life on how they happen to feel at any given moment. The idea of living their lives in alignment with the Word of God and engaging in daily disciplines to become more Christlike seems to elude them.

emotion 5They just glide through life running on emotion. If they feel like praying, they might. If they feel like reading the Word, they might. If they feel like obeying, they might. If they feel like fellowshipping, they might. But their feelings basically determine how they go through life.

We all have seen blatant examples of this. We all have heard of so-called believers defending even clearly defined sinful activities because it “felt right” to them. How many nominal Christians for example engage in things like fornication because it ‘feels so good’ and ‘seems so right’?

I encountered another example of this the other day on the social media. One popular Christian writer whose books are becoming more and more heretical by the day had a film made of one of his earlier books. Christians are flocking to see the movie just as they did his book.

I saw one group of Christian women absolutely gushing over the film. There was zero rational and intellectual assessment or discussion of the film. Everything said about it was entirely on an emotional level: ‘It touched my heart.’ ‘It really moved me.’ ‘It made me feel so good.’

On and on they went like this, simply reporting on their emotional reaction to the film. There was not an ounce of theological or biblical interaction with the film. It was as if their brains turned to mush while watching the film. Or perhaps they simply checked their brains at the door before going in to the theatre.

Their biblical discernment seemed to be nonexistent. Their ability to think critically and offer a rational and biblical evaluation of the film (and book) seemed to be quite beyond them. Their only frame of assessment was how they reacted emotionally.

And because they emoted positively about the film, it was a real winner in their eyes. Why do I suspect that they might view everything else through the clouded lens of emotions? Why do I suspect that they would evaluate everything in terms of how they feel about it?

If a homosexual came along and offered a sob story about how he really wants to marry but he can’t because of our “discriminatory” and “unloving” laws, why do I suspect that these sorts of Christians would fully side with him, no questions asked?

Why do I suspect that if a threesome said they had a really neat, loving relationship and they too should be given full marital rights, these believers would support their cause and demand we change our laws to be more “compassionate” and “inclusive”?

Why do I suspect that if a Muslim came to their church and said he worships the same God and he would like to read the Koran and pray in Arabic in their congregation’s worship service, these Christians would find it a pretty cool idea and think it was “Christlike”?

My friends, the Christian life was never meant to be run on mere feelings. Knowing about God and his will and obediently following him are the basics of Christian discipleship. Knowing what is right and choosing that which is right is the heart of the Christian life.

It certainly is not mushy emotionalism and sappy sentimentalism. Christians should know better than to depend on their feelings. Yet we have plenty who are doing this very thing. And that is why so much of the church today is in such a wretched condition.

A Christian mind and biblical discernment have been replaced with emotion. Such believers emote their way through life, and if something feels good they will run with it, and if it feels bad they will reject it. That is simply a recipe for disaster.

Thankfully God’s choice servants throughout church history have known the dangers of all this, and have warned against it. Let me finish by simply offering a few of their wise words here on these matters:

“It is Christ who is to be exalted, not our feelings. We will know Him by obedience, not by emotions. Our love will be shown by obedience, not by how good we feel about God at a given moment. And love means following the commands of God. ‘Do you love Me?’ Jesus asked Peter. ‘Feed My lambs.’ He was not asking, ‘How do you feel about Me?’ for love is not a feeling. He was asking for action.” Elisabeth Elliot

“There is nothing so deluding as feelings. Christians cannot live by feelings. Let me further tell you that these feelings are the work of Satan, for they are not right feelings. What right have you to set up your feelings against the Word of Christ.” Charles Spurgeon

“Obedience means marching right on whether we feel like it or not. Many times we go against our feelings. Faith is one thing, feeling is another.” D.L. Moody

“Faith has nothing to do with feelings or with impressions, with improbabilities or with outward experiences. If we desire to couple such things with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God, because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.” George Mueller

“Sight is not faith, and hearing is not faith, neither is feeling faith; but believing when we neither see, hear, nor feel is faith; and everywhere the Bible tells us our salvation is to be by faith. Therefore we must believe before we feel, and often against our feelings, if we would honour God by our faith.” Hannah Whitall Smith

“Consecration is not the act of our feelings but of our will.” F.B. Meyer

And a final, longer quote from R. C. Sproul who calls these emotional believers “sensual Christians”:

Many of us have become sensuous Christians, living by our feelings rather than through our understanding of the Word of God. Sensuous Christians cannot be moved to service, prayer or study unless they “feel like it.” Their Christian life is only as effective as the intensity of present feelings. When they experience spiritual euphoria, they are a whirlwind of godly activity; when they are depressed, they are a spiritual incompetent. They constantly seek new and fresh spiritual experiences, and use them to determine the Word of God. Their “inner feelings” become the ultimate test of truth.
Sensuous Christians don’t need to study the Word of God because they already know the will of God by their feelings. They don’t want to know God; they want to experience him. Sensuous Christians equate “childlike faith” with ignorance. They think that when the Bible calls us to childlike faith, it means a faith without content, a faith without understanding. They don’t know the Bible says, “In evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20). They don’t realize that Paul tells us again and again, “My beloved brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (see, for example, Rom 11:25)
Sensuous Christians go their merry way until they encounter the pain of life that is not so merry – and they fold. They usually end up embracing a kind of “relational theology” (a curse on modern Christianity) where personal relationships and experience take precedence over the Word of God. If the Scripture calls us to action that may jeopardize a personal relationship, then the Scripture must be compromised. The highest law of sensuous Christians is that bad feelings must be avoided at all cost.

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IRS/Postal Service raid at the offices of Benny Hinn

Warren Throckmorton was one of the first to break this story. Read here:

IRS and Postal Service Agents On Scene at Benny Hinn’s Office (UPDATED with Photos, Video)(Cached)
April 26, 2017

Where in the World is Benny Hinn? (Cached)
April 27, 2017

After IRS Raid, Benny Hinn Ministries Claims Full Cooperation with Governmental Entities (Cached)
April 27, 2017


Two comments from Patheos stand out:

“IRS Criminal Investigation Divison and the US Postal Service. Truckloads of boxes will be retreived. This case will take a while to assemble and prosecute. The only way the feds would commit these kinds of resources is if there are tens of millions to be forfeited.

The postal service would have authority to enforce fraudulent inducements to donate via US mail. The diversion of funds from intended purpose to personal luxuries (inurement) is bound to be a key feature of this investigation[…]”

Source: Bacon_Crispy…

View original post 740 more words

April 28, 2017: Verse of the day

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11:1 Isaiah 11 is one of the greatest passages on the Millennium in either the OT or the NT. In one of the quick transitions, so frequent in the prophets, we are now carried forward to the Second Coming of Christ.

First we see the lineage of the Son of David, a Rod from the stem of Jesse, who was David’s father (1 Sam. 17:12).

Believer’s Bible Commentary

11:1 stem … roots. With the Babylonian captivity of 586 b.c., the Davidic dynasty appeared as decimated as the Assyrian army. A major difference between the two was the life remaining in the stump and roots of the Davidic line. That life was to manifest itself in new growth in the form of the Rod and Branch. Jesse. Jesse was David’s father through whose line the messianic king was to come (Ru 4:22; 1Sa 16:1, 12, 13). branch. This is a title for the Messiah (see 4:2).

MacArthur Study Bible

11:1 a shoot from the stump. After portraying the destruction of arrogant human evil as the felling of a vast forest (10:33–34), Isaiah presents the Messiah as a shoot or twig growing from a stump remaining after God’s judgment (cf. 4:2; 6:13; 53:2). Jesse. The father of David (cf. 1 Sam. 16:1–13; 2 Sam. 20:1). A greater David is prophesied (cf. Ezek. 34:23–24; Hos. 3:5). bear fruit. Unlike the human failure before him, especially King Ahaz, this son of Jesse bears the fruit of a new world.

11:1 The Messiah is from the line of Jesse, the father of David (1 Sam. 16:1). He is filled with the Spirit (Matt. 3:16; Luke 4:18), with wisdom (Col. 2:3), and with justice (Rev. 19:11).

ESV Study Bible

April 28 – Three Kinds of Persecution

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me” (Matt. 5:10–11).

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When you speak out for Christ, you can expect harassment, insults, and slander.

Jesus mentioned three broad categories of suffering that Christians will experience. The first is persecution. “Persecuted” (Matt. 5:10) and “persecute” (v. 11) both come from the same Greek root, meaning “to pursue” or “to chase away.” Over time it came to mean “to harass” or “to treat in an evil manner.” Verse 10 literally reads, “Blessed are those who have been allowing themselves to be persecuted.” You are blessed when people harass you for your Christian stance and you willingly accept it for the sake of your Lord.

The second form of suffering is “insults” (v. 11), which translates a Greek word that means “to reproach,” “to revile,” or “to heap insults upon.” It speaks of verbal abuse—attacking someone with vicious and mocking words. It is used in Matthew 27:44 of the mockery Christ endured at His crucifixion. It happened to Him, and it will happen to His followers as well.

The final category Jesus mentioned is slander—people telling lies about you. That’s perhaps the hardest form of suffering to endure because our effectiveness for the Lord is directly related to our personal purity and integrity. When someone’s trying to destroy the reputation you worked a lifetime to establish, that is a difficult trial indeed!

If you’re going through a time of suffering for righteousness’ sake, take heart—the Lord went through it too, and He understands how difficult it can be. He knows your heart and will minister His super-abounding grace to you. Rejoice that you are worthy of suffering for Him and that the Kingdom of Heaven is yours.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Pray for those who treat you unkindly, asking God to forgive them and to grant them His grace. ✧ Pray that you might always treat others with honesty and fairness.

For Further Study: Throughout history God Himself has endured much mocking and slander. Read 2 Peter 3:3–9, then answer these questions: ✧ What motivates mockers? ✧ What do they deny? ✧ Why doesn’t God judge them on the spot?[1]


Happy Are the Harassed

Of all the beatitudes, this last one seems the most contrary to human thinking and experience. The world does not associate happiness with humility, mourning over sin, gentleness, righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, or peacemaking holiness. Even less does it associate happiness with persecution.Of all the beatitudes, this last one seems the most contrary to human thinking and experience. The world does not associate happiness with humility, mourning over sin, gentleness, righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, or peacemaking holiness. Even less does it associate happiness with persecution.Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (5:10–12)

Some years ago a popular national magazine took a survey to determine the things that make people happy. According to the responses they received, happy people enjoy other people but are not self-sacrificing; they refuse to participate in any negative feelings or emotions; and they have a sense of accomplishment based on their own self-sufficiency.

The person described by those principles is completely contrary to the kind of person the Lord says will be authentically happy. Jesus says a blessed person is not one who is self-sufficient but one who recognizes his own emptiness and need, who comes to God as a beggar, knowing he has no resources in himself. He is not confident in his own ability but is very much aware of his own inability. Such a person, Jesus says, is not at all positive about himself but mourns over his own sinfulness and isolation from a holy God. To be genuinely content, a person must not be self-serving but self-sacrificing. He must be gentle, merciful, pure in heart, yearn for righteousness, and seek to make peace on God’s terms-even if those attitudes cause him to suffer.

The Lord’s opening thrust in the Sermon on the Mount climaxes with this great and sobering truth: those who faithfully live according to the first seven beatitudes are guaranteed at some point to experience the eighth. Those who live righteously will inevitably be persecuted for it. Godliness generates hostility and antagonism from the world. The crowning feature of the happy person is persecution! Kingdom people are rejected people. Holy people are singularly blessed, but they pay a price for it.

The last beatitude is really two in one, a single beatitude repeated and expanded. Blessed is mentioned twice (vv. 10, 11), but only one characteristic (persecuted) is given, although it is mentioned three times, and only one result (for theirs is the kingdom of heaven) is promised. Blessed apparently is repeated to emphasize the generous blessing given by God to those who are persecuted. “Double-blessed are those who are persecuted,” Jesus seems to be saying.

Three distinct aspects of kingdom faithfulness are spoken of in this beatitude: the persecution, the promise, and the posture.

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.

Verbal Insults

Second, Jesus promises that kingdom citizens are blessed … when men cast insults at them. Oneidizō carries the idea of reviling, upbraiding, or seriously insulting, and literally means to cast in one’s teeth. To cast insults is to throw abusive words in the face of an opponent, to mock viciously.

To be an obedient citizen of the kingdom is to court verbal abuse and reviling. As He stood before the Sanhedrin after His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was spat upon, beaten, and taunted with the words “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?” (Matt. 26:67–68). As He was being sentenced to crucifixion by Pilate, Jesus was again beaten, spit upon, and mocked, this time by the Roman soldiers (Mark 15:19–20).

Faithfulness to Christ may even cause friends and loved ones to say things that cut and hurt deeply. Several years ago I received a letter from a woman who told of a friend who had decided to divorce her husband for no just cause. The friend was a professed Christian, but when she was confronted with the truth that what she was doing was scripturally wrong, she became defensive and hostile. She was reminded of God’s love and grace, of His power to mend whatever problems she and her husband were having, and of the Bible’s standards for marriage and divorce. But she replied that she did not believe the Bible was really God’s Word but was simply a collection of men’s ideas about God that each person had to accept, reject, or interpret for himself. When her friend wanted to read some specific Bible passages to her, she refused to listen. She had made up her mind and would not give heed to Scripture or to reason. With hate in her eyes she accused the other woman of luring her into her house in order to ridicule and embarrass her, saying she could not possibly love her by questioning her right to get a divorce. As she left, she slammed the door behind her.

The woman who wrote the letter concluded by saying, “I love her, and it is with a heavy heart that I realize the extent of her rejection of Christ. Painful as this has been, I thank God. For the first time in my life I know what it is to be separate from the world.”

Paul told the Corinthian church, whose members had such a difficult time separating themselves from the world, “For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men” (1 Cor. 4:9). Paul drew the expression “become a spectacle” from the practice of Roman generals to parade their captives through the street of the city, making a spectacle of them as trophies of war who were doomed to die once the general had used them to serve his proud and arrogant purposes. That is the way the world is inclined to treat those who are faithful to Christ.

In a note of strong sarcasm to enforce his point, Paul continues, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor” (v. 10). Many in the Corinthian church suffered none of the ridicule and conflict the apostle suffered because they prized their standing before the world more than their standing before the Lord. In the world’s eyes they were prudent, strong, and distinguished-because they were still so much like the world.

God does not call His people to be sanctified celebrities, using their worldly reputations in a self-styled effort to bring Him glory, using their power to supplement His power and their wisdom to enhance His gospel. We can mark it down as a cardinal principle that to the extent the world embraces a Christian cause or person-or that a Christian cause or person embraces the world-to that extent that cause or person has compromised the gospel and scriptural standards.

If Paul had capitalized on his human credentials he could have drawn greater crowds and certainly have received greater welcome wherever he went. His credentials were impressive. “If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more,” he says. He was “circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee” (Phil. 3:4–5). He had been “caught up to the third heaven, … into Paradise” (2 Cor. 12:2, 4) and had spoken in tongues more than anyone else (1 Cor. 14:18). He had studied under the famous rabbi Gamaliel and was even a free-born Roman citizen (Acts 22:3, 29). But all those things the apostle “counted as loss for the sake of Christ, … but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7–8). He refused to use worldly means to try to achieve spiritual purposes, because he knew they would fail.

The marks of authenticity Paul carried as an apostle and minister of Jesus Christ were his credentials as a servant and a sufferer, “in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city; dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure” (2 Cor. 11:23–27).

The only thing of which he would boast was his weakness (12:5), and when he preached he was careful not to rely on “superiority of speech or of wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:1), which he could easily have done. “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,” he told the Corinthians. “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (vv. 2–5).

We live in a day when the church, more than ever before, is engaged in self-glorification and an attempt to gain worldly recognition that must be repulsive to God. When the church tries to use the things of the world to do the work of heaven, it only succeeds in hiding heaven from the world. And when the world is pleased with the church, we can be sure that God is not. We can be equally sure that when we are pleasing to God, we will not be pleasing to the system of Satan.

False Accusation

Third, faithfulness to Christ will bring enemies of the gospel to say all kinds of evil against [us] falsely. Whereas insults are abusive words said to our faces, these evil things are primarily abusive words said behind our backs.

Jesus’ critics said of Him, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners” (Matt. 11:19). If the world said that of the sinless Christ, what things can His followers expect to be called and accused of?

Slander behind our backs is harder to take partly because it is harder to defend against than direct accusation. It has opportunity to spread and be believed before we have a chance to correct it. Much harm to our reputations can be done even before we are aware someone has slandered us.

We cannot help regretting slander, but we should not grieve about it. We should count ourselves blessed, as our Lord assures us we shall be when the slander is on account of Me.

Arthur Pink comments that “it is a strong proof of human depravity that men’s curses and Christ’s blessings should meet on the same persons” (An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1950], p. 39). We have no surer evidence of the Lord’s blessing than to be cursed for His sake. It should not seriously bother us when men’s curses fall on the head that Christ has eternally blessed.

The central theme of the Beatitudes is righteousness. The first two have to do with recognizing our own unrighteousness, and the next five have to do with our seeking and reflecting righteousness. The last beatitude has to do with our suffering for the sake of righteousness. The same truth is expressed in the second part of the beatitude as on account of Me. Jesus is not speaking of every hardship, problem, or conflict believers may face, but those that the world brings on us because of our faithfulness to the Lord.

It is clear again that the hallmark of the blessed person is righteousness. Holy living is what provokes persecution of God’s people. Such persecution because of a righteous life is joyous. Peter identifies such experience as a happy honor.

And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 3:13–18)

With those words, the apostle extols the privilege of suffering for holiness, and thus of sharing in a small way in the same type of suffering Christ endured. In the next chapter, Peter emphasizes the same thing.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. … If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. … Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” (4:12–14, 16, 19)

When we are hated, maligned, or afflicted as Christians, the real animosity is not against us but against Christ. Satan’s great enemy is Christ, and he opposes us because we belong to Jesus Christ, because He is in us. When we are despised and attacked by the world, the real target is the righteousness for which we stand and which we exemplify. That is why it is easy to escape persecution. Whether under pagan Rome, atheistic Communism, or simply a worldly boss, it is usually easy to be accepted if we will denounce or compromise our beliefs and standards. The world will accept us if we are willing to put some distance between ourselves and the Lord’s righteousness.

In the closing days of His ministry Jesus repeatedly and plainly warned His disciples of that truth. “If the world hates you,” He said, “you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me” (John 15:18–21).

The world went along for thousands of years before it ever saw a perfect man. Until Christ came, every person, even God’s best, were sinful and flawed. All had feet of clay. To see God’s people fail and sin is often taken as an encouragement by the wicked. They point a finger and say, “He claims to be righteous and good, but look at what he did.” It is easy to feel smug and secure in one’s sinfulness when everyone else is also sinful and imperfect. But when Christ came, the world finally saw the perfect Man, and all excuse for smugness and self-confidence vanished. And instead of rejoicing in the sinless Man, sinful men resented the rebuke that His teaching and His life brought against them. They crucified Him for His very perfection, for His very righteousness.

Aristides the Just was banished from ancient Athens. When a stranger asked an Athenian why Aristides was voted out of citizenship he replied, “Because we became tired of his always being just.” A people who prided themselves in civility and justice chafed when something or someone was too just.

Because they refused to compromise the gospel either in their teaching or in their lives, most of the apostles suffered a martyr’s death. According to tradition, Andrew was fastened by cords to a cross in order to prolong and intensify his agony. We are told that Peter, by his own request, was crucified head down, because he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus. Paul presumably was beheaded by Nero. Though John escaped a violent death, he died in exile on Patmos.[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.

5:11 The final beatitude seems to be a repetition of the preceding one. However, there is one difference. In the previous verse, the subject was persecution because of righteousness; here it is persecution for Christ’s sake. The Lord knew that His disciples would be maltreated because of their association with, and loyalty to, Him. History has confirmed this: from the outset the world has persecuted, jailed, and killed followers of Jesus.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 131). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 219–229). Chicago: Moody Press.

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

APRIL 28 – A MAN SENT FROM GOD

Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:11

The Bible record is very plain when it assures us that John the Baptist was a man sent from God.

Our generation would probably decide that such a man ought to be downright proud of the fact that God had sent him. We would urge him to write a book. Seminary leaders would line up to schedule him as guest lecturer.

Actually, John the Baptist would never have fit into the contemporary religious scene in our day—never! He did not keep his suit pressed. He was not careful about choosing words that would not offend. He did not quote beautiful passages from the poets. The doctors of psychiatry would have quick advice for him: “John, you really need to get adjusted to the times and to society!”

Adjust. That is a modern word I have come to hate. It was never an expression used to speak about human beings until we forgot that man has a soul. Now we have weird guys with mental “screwdrivers” adjusting one person a little tighter and another a little looser. John needed no adjustment. He gladly stepped down so that all eyes could turn to Jesus, the Lamb of God!

Lord, I pray that my church and other evangelical churches will exhibit the courage and boldness of John the Baptist and point many people to Jesus Christ.[1]


Continuing His praise of John, Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist. To emphasize the unquestionable truthfulness of what He said, Jesus prefaced His words with verily (amēn), a term of strong affirmation often simply transliterated as “Amen.”

Born of women was a common ancient expression that simply referred to basic humanness, to identification with the human race (see Job 14:1; 15:14). Jesus’ point was that, as far as mankind is concerned, there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist. He was the greatest human being who had lived until that time. From an earthly perspective, John’s character and calling made him the greatest man yet born besides Jesus Himself. In superior qualities as a human being, John was unequalled.

Arisen is from egeirō, which means to rise up or to appear on the stage of history and was often used of prophets, both true and false (see, e.g., Matt. 24:11, 24). Not only as a human being but as a prophet, no one had arisen to equal John, because he was sent on the very threshold of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus.

But lest the people misunderstand the nature of John’s greatness, Jesus added, yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Although he was a spiritual giant among men, John’s unique greatness was in his role in human history, not in his spiritual inheritance, in which he would be equal to every believer. Therefore, the least in the kingdom of heaven, the spiritual dimension, is greater than he, that is, than anyone in the human dimension, including John.[2]


11:11 The statement that “he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” proves that Jesus was speaking of John’s privilege, not his character. A person who is least in the kingdom of heaven does not necessarily have a better character than John, but he does have greater privilege. To be a citizen of the kingdom is greater than to announce its arrival. John’s privilege was great in preparing the way for the Lord, but he did not live to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom.[3]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 11:9). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1243). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

APRIL 28 – HAPPINESS: YOUR WHOLE AMBITION TO BE LIKE JESUS

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

ROMANS 12:2

The assumption that human beings are born “to be happy” is scarcely questioned by anyone in today’s society and the effect of this modern hedonism is felt also among the people of God.

The Christian gospel is too often presented as a means toward happiness, to peace of mind or security. There are even those who use the Bible to “relax” them, as if it were a drug.

How far wrong all this is will be discovered easily by the simple act of reading the New Testament through once, with meditation. There the emphasis is not upon happiness but upon holiness. God is more concerned with the state of people’s hearts than with the state of their feelings.

Undoubtedly the will of God brings final happiness to those who obey, but the most important matter is not how happy we are but how holy!

The childish clamor after happiness can become a real snare. One may easily deceive himself by cultivating a religious joy without a correspondingly righteous life. For those who take this whole thing seriously I have a suggestion: Go to God and have an understanding. Tell Him that it is your desire to be holy at any cost and then ask Him never to give you more happiness than holiness! Be assured that in the end you will be as happy as you are holy; but for the time being let your whole ambition be to serve God and be Christlike![1]


The Mind Must Be Given to God

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, (12:2a)

The third element of our priestly self-sacrifice is that of offering Him our minds.

It is in the mind that our new nature and our old humanness are intermixed. It is in the mind that we make choices as to whether we will express our new nature in holiness or allow our fleshly humanness to act in unholiness.

Be conformed is from suschēmatizō, which refers to an outward expression that does not reflect what is within. It is used of masquerading, or putting on an act, specifically by following a prescribed pattern or scheme (schēma). It also carries the idea of being transitory, impermanent, and unstable. The negative (not) makes the verb prohibitive. The verb itself is passive and imperative, the passive indicating that conformation is something we allow to be done to us, the imperative indicating a command, not a suggestion.

Paul’s gentle but firm command is that we are not to allow ourselves to be conformed to this world. We are not to masquerade as a worldly person, for whatever the reason. J. B. Phillips translates this phrase as “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.” We must not pattern ourselves or allow ourselves to be patterned after the spirit of the age. We must not become victims of the world. We are to stop allowing ourselves to be fashioned after the present evil age in which we live.

New Testament scholar Kenneth Wuest paraphrased this clause: “Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world, an expression which does not come from, nor is representative of what you are in your inner being as a regenerated child of God” (Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955], 1:206–7).

World translates aiōn, which is better rendered “age,” referring to the present sinful age, the world system now dominated by Satan, “the god of this world (aiōn)” (2 Cor. 4:4). World here represents the sum of the demonic-human philosophy of life. It corresponds to the German zeitgeist (the spirit of the age) and has been well described as “that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale” (G. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973], pp. 217–18).

It is not uncommon for unbelievers to mask themselves as Christians. Unfortunately, it also is not uncommon for Christians to wear the world’s masks. They want to enjoy the world’s entertainment, the world’s fashions, the world’s vocabulary, the world’s music, and many of the world’s attitudes—even when those things clearly do not conform to the standards of God’s Word. That sort of living is wholly unacceptable to God.

The world is an instrument of Satan, and his ungodly influence is pandemic. This is seen in the prideful spirit of rebellion, lies, error, and in the rapid spread of false religions—especially those that promote self and come under the broad umbrella of “New Age.” “We know that we are of God,” John wrote nearly two thousand years ago, “and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). It clearly still does.

Instead, Paul goes on to say, you should rather be transformed. The Greek verb (metamorphoō) connotes change in outward appearance and is the term from which we get the English metamorphosis. Matthew used the word in describing Jesus’ transfiguration. When “He was transfigured [metamorphōtheē] before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matt. 17:2), Christ’s inner divine nature and glory were, for a brief time and to a limited degree, manifested outwardly. Our inner redeemed nature also is to be manifested outwardly, but as completely and continually as possible, in our daily living.

Like the preceding verb (be conformed), be transformed is a passive imperative. Positively, we are commanded to allow ourselves to be changed outwardly into conformity to our redeemed inner natures. “We all,” Paul assured the Corinthians believers, “with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Although we are to aspire to this outward change, it can be accomplished only by the Holy Spirit working in us, by our being “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

The Holy Spirit achieves this transformation by the renewing of the mind, an essential and repeated New Testament theme. The outward transformation is effected by an inner change in the mind, and the Spirit’s means of transforming our minds is the Word. David testified, “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:11). God’s own Word is the instrument His own Holy Spirit uses to renew our minds, which, in turn, He uses to transform our living.

Paul repeatedly emphasized that truth in his letter to Colossae. As he proclaimed Christ, he was “admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28). By receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, we “have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (3:10). Consequently, we are to “let the word of Christ richly dwell within [us], with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in [our] hearts to God” (3:16).

The transformed and renewed mind is the mind saturated with and controlled by the Word of God. It is the mind that spends as little time as possible even with the necessary things of earthly living and as much time as possible with the things of God. It is the mind that is set “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). Whether good or bad, when anything happens in our lives, our immediate, almost reflexive response should be biblical. During His incarnation, Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations by hurling Scripture back into His adversary’s face (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). Only the mind that is constantly being renewed by God’s Spirit working through God’s Word is pleasing to God. Only such a mind is able to make our lives “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual service of worship.”

The Will Must Be Given to God

that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (12:2b)

An implied fourth element of presenting ourselves to God as a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice is that of offering Him our wills, of allowing His Spirit through His Word to conform our wills to the will of God.

The Greek construction makes that you may prove a purpose/ result phrase. That is to say, when a believer’s mind is transformed, his thinking ability, moral reasoning, and spiritual understanding are able to properly assess everything, and to accept only what conforms to the will of God. Our lives can prove what the will of God is only by doing those things that are good and acceptable and perfect to Him.

In using euarestos (acceptable), Paul again borrows from Old Testament sacrificial language to describe the kind of holy living that God approves, a “living sacrifice” that is morally and spiritually spotless and without blemish.

Perfect carries the idea of being complete, of something’s being everything it should be. Our wills should desire only what God desires and lead us to do only what He wants us to do in the way He wants us to do it—according to His will and by His power. Our imperfect wills must always be subject to His perfect will.

A transformed mind produces a transformed will, by which we become eager and able, with the Spirit’s help, to lay aside our own plans and to trustingly accept God’s, no matter what the cost. This continued yielding involves the strong desire to know God better and to comprehend and follow His purpose for our lives.

The divine transformation of our minds and wills must be constant. Because we are still continuously tempted through our remaining humanness, our minds and wills must be continuously transformed through God’s Word and by God’s Spirit.

The product of a transformed mind is a life that does the things God has declared to be righteous, fitting, and complete. That is the goal of the supreme act of spiritual worship, and sets the stage for what Paul speaks of next—the ministry of our spiritual gifts.[2]


12:2 Secondly, Paul urges us not to be conformed to this world, or as Phillips paraphrases it: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” When we come to the kingdom of God, we should abandon the thought-patterns and lifestyles of the world.

The world (literally age) as used here means the society or system that man has built in order to make himself happy without God. It is a kingdom that is antagonistic to God. The god and prince of this world is Satan (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). All unconverted people are his subjects. He seeks to attract and hold people through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:16). The world has its own politics, art, music, religion, amusements, thought-patterns, and lifestyles, and it seeks to get everyone to conform to its culture and customs. It hates nonconformists—like Christ and His followers.

Christ died to deliver us from this world. The world is crucified to us, and we are crucified to the world. It would be absolute disloyalty to the Lord for believers to love the world. Anyone who loves the world is an enemy of God.

Believers are not of the world any more than Christ is of the world. However, they are sent into the world to testify that its works are evil and that salvation is available to all who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should not only be separated from the world; we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind, which means that we should think the way God thinks, as revealed in the Bible. Then we can experience the direct guidance of God in our lives. And we will find that, instead of being distasteful and hard, His will is good and acceptable and perfect.

Here, then, are three keys for knowing God’s will. The first is a yielded body, the second a separated life, and the third a transformed mind.[3]


2 The dedicated life is also the transformed life. Whereas v. 1 has called for a decisive commitment, v. 2 deals with the maintenance of that commitment. The stress provided by the present tenses in this verse points to the necessity of continual vigilance, lest the original decision be vitiated or weakened. The threat to Christians comes from “this world,” whose ways and thoughts are so prevalent and powerful. Paul here uses aiōn (GK 172), essentially a time word meaning “age,” but it has much common ground with kosmos (GK 3180), the more usual term for “world.” Christians have been delivered from this “present evil age” (Gal 1:4), which has Satan for its god (2 Co 4:4). They live by the powers of the age to come (Heb 6:5), but their heavenly calling includes residence among sinful people in this world, where they are to show forth the praises of him who called them out of darkness into God’s wonderful light (1 Pe 2:9). They are in the world for witness but not for conformity to that which is a passing phenomenon (1 Co 7:31).

The positive call is complementary to the negative call. That is, with the command to avoid conformity to the pattern of this world comes the command to “be transformed.” (The striking verb is metamorphoō [GK 3565], used of the transfiguration of Jesus [Mk 9:2 par.] and applied to the Christian in 2 Co 3:18.) The two processes are viewed as going on all the time, as the present tenses indicate—a continual renunciation and renewal. Our pattern here is Jesus, who refused conformity to Satan’s solicitations in the temptation but was transformed to the doing of the will of God and to acceptance of the path that led to Calvary. As the mission of Jesus can be summarized in the affirmation that he had come to do the Father’s will (Jn 6:38), so too the service of Christians can be reduced to this simple description. They are in the present age to “live a new life” (6:4), to “live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1 Th 2:12), to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Eph 4:1). But they must “test” what is in accord with the will of God, refusing the norms of conduct employed by the sinful world and reaffirming for themselves the spiritual norms befitting the redeemed. Only from Christ do the redeemed “finally obtain the criteria for that which in the world can be called good, well-pleasing, and perfect” (Stuhlmacher, 189).

Crucial to the process of being transformed is “the renewing of your mind” (tē anakainōsei tou noos, GK 363, 3808)—which seems to indicate the necessity of setting one’s mind on the theological truths of the faith—to the basis of one’s original commitment, reaffirming its necessity and legitimacy in the light of God’s grace. It is by means of this use of the mind that transformation and renewal take place. In this activity, the working of the Holy Spirit should no doubt be recognized (cf. Tit 3:5, where the Holy Spirit is the agent of renewal). It appears from the context that the believer is not viewed as ignorant of the will of God but as needing to avoid blurring its outline by failure to renew the mind continually (cf. Eph 5:8–10). Dedication leads to discernment, and discernment to delight in God’s will. That there is an intimate connection between certifying the will of God and making oneself a living sacrifice is indicated by the use of “pleasing” in each case (cf. Php 4:18; Heb 13:16). For the Christian, the will of God is “good” (agathon, GK 19), “pleasing” (euareston, GK 2298), and “perfect” (teleion, GK 5455).[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Ro 12:2). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1728–1729). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 183–184). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

April 28 – Jesus and Non-retaliation: Liberty

Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.—Matt. 5:41

The concept of liberty is much cherished in the United States and other democratic nations. The Declaration of Independence famously speaks of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Patrick Henry of Virginia used the bold oratory, “Give me liberty or give me death!” These sentiments were derived from biblical principles, although sometimes altered from those ancient origins.

God’s intention from the beginning was for mankind created in His image to live in perfect liberty, both spiritually and physically. But the Fall ruined this ideal and introduced such corrupt concepts as slavery and subjugation to totalitarian governments. Democratic governments have tried, although imperfectly, to protect the liberty of their citizens—sometimes even extending such freedoms to foreign visitors and immigrants. However, civil liberties should not supersede our duties to righteousness or our obligations to display a faithful witness.

Jesus here makes the analogy between surrendered liberties and the Roman law that could force civilians to carry a soldier’s pack for a mile. Except for facing them in battle, Roman troops were not as despised by their opponents as when those people were obligated to carry the troops’ packs or other equipment.

Yet our Lord teaches that we should be willing to go the extra mile for someone else—even at the expense of our cherished liberty. In so doing, we are worthy ambassadors for Christ, realizing that in Him we have an eternal liberty that can never be taken.

ASK YOURSELF
Who in your life regularly asks you to go the second mile for them? What is your usual response to their demand for your time and energy? How do you strike the balance between being sacrificial and maintaining boundaries that help you protect other godly priorities?[1]

Liberty

And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. (5:41)

The third right the Lord indicates kingdom citizens are to be willing to sacrifice is that of liberty. God’s original intention was for everyone made in His image to live in freedom. Human bondage and slavery are consequences of the Fall and have no part in God’s original plan for His creation. The best of human governments have always tried to protect the freedom of their citizens, and sometimes even of foreigners. In light of God’s will and proper human justice, men have the right to certain freedoms. But like all other rights, freedom is not to be cherished and protected at the expense of righteousness or even of faithful witness.

Roman law gave a soldier the right to force a civilian to carry his pack for a milion, a Roman mile, which was slightly shorter than our modern mile. The law, designed to relieve the soldier, not only caused great inconvenience to civilians but was made even more despicable by the fact that the oppressed were made to carry the equipment and weapons of their oppressors. Outside of combat the Roman soldier was probably never more hated than when he forced someone to carry his pack.

Yet even so despised a burden should be carried willingly, Jesus says-not only willingly but with magnanimity. When we are forced to go one mile, we should willingly go two. When we are robbed of some of our cherished liberty, we should surrender even more of it rather than retaliate. In so doing we are obedient to our Lord and testify to His righteousness, knowing that in Him we have a dearer freedom that the world cannot take from us.[2]


41 The third example refers to the Roman practice of commandeering civilians to carry the luggage of military personnel a prescribed distance, one Roman “mile.” (On the verb angareuō (“commandeer,” GK 30; NIV, “force”), see W. Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek [Oxford: Clarendon, 1889], 37–38.) Impressment, like a lawsuit, evokes outrage, but the attitude of Jesus’ disciples under such circumstances must not be spiteful or vengeful but helpful—willing to go a second mile (exemplars of the Western text say “two more [miles],” making a total of three!). This illustration is also implicitly anti-Zealot.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 127). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 334–335). 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 28 – NEAR TO EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

—1 Kings 8:27

I want to explain briefly what omnipresence is and then show what it means in human experience. That God is omnipresent is of course believed by all churches who believe in the Bible. I am not introducing anything new. Omnipresence means that God is all-present. God is close to (for that is what the word means—“close to, near to, here”) everywhere. He is near to everything and everyone. He is here; He is next to you wherever you may be. And if you send up the furious question, “Oh God, where art Thou?” the answer comes back, “I am where you are; I am here; I am next to you; I am close to everywhere.” That’s what the Bible says….

We talk about God being close to us or about the problem of God being far away. We don’t think right because we think geographically or astronomically; we think in light-years or meters or inches or miles or leagues. We’re thinking of Him as dwelling in space, which He does not. Rather He contains space so that space is in God. There is never any problem about God being anywhere, for the fact is, as the texts say, God is everywhere. AOG118, 120

Lord, help me to take this truth out of the realm of theological concept and to realize the practical implication, today, of Your being right here with me. Amen. [1]


8:27 heaven … cannot contain You. Solomon confessed that even though the Lord had chosen to dwell among His people in the cloud at the temple, He far transcended containment by anything in all creation.[2]


8:27–30 will God indeed dwell on the earth? Though God will dwell in the temple (vv. 10, 13; cf. note on 1 Sam. 4:3–4), it is not to be thought of as the only place where God is, but as a special place where his name is, a place toward which his eyes are open (1 Kings 8:29; cf. Isa. 66:1–3). The hearing of prayer is done in heaven (1 Kings 8:30), which is (if anywhere is) the dwelling place of God. Even then, however, God cannot be limited to any one place; he cannot, strictly speaking, dwell in even the highest heaven (v. 27). He cannot be confined by space.[3]


8:27–30 Although Solomon realized that no temple on earth was adequate to contain the great God, yet he asked that the Lord might recognize this temple and that when he or any of the people of Israel addressed God there, He might hear and forgive.[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. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Ki 8:27). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 611). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 364). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

April 28 – The Resurrection: Motive for Sanctification

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ Become sober–minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

1 Corinthians 15:33–34

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Trusting in the fact of Christ’s resurrection and looking forward to our own rising from the dead ought to stimulate us toward sanctification.

Like any essential teaching of Scripture, the doctrine of the Resurrection can be studied and discussed from an academic standpoint only. When that happens, we usually acquire a factual understanding of the topic and perhaps some appreciation of how the doctrine supports our faith—but that’s as far as we go.

However, our studies on the Resurrection have already taught us some of the implications this Bible truth ought to have for our conduct. The hope of the Resurrection can give everyone an incentive to be saved and believers an incentive for service. This hope also provides a third incentive: the motivation toward sanctification.

The apostle Paul knew that those in the Corinthian church were being exposed to the heretical theology that there is no real resurrection from the dead. This false teaching was having a bad influence on the Corinthians’ behavior. That’s why Paul tells them in today’s verse, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” It is impossible to be around evil people and not be contaminated both by their ideas and their habits. The apostle goes on to urge those believers who hoped in a resurrection to be a positive influence on others and lead them to the truth.

This glimpse at the situation in Corinth proves that sound doctrine matters and does affect how people live. We see all around us today what results when there is no belief in a resurrection. People become short–sighted and live as they please because ultimately nothing keeps them accountable. This is all the more reason for us to hold firm to the truth of the Resurrection, live in its hope, and proclaim it to others.

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Suggestions for Prayer: How is the pursuit of holiness coming in your life? Pray that the Lord would increase your diligence and help you especially in an area of weakness.

For Further Study: Read 1 Peter 1. List all the verses that refer to God’s plan for Christ’s death and resurrection. ✧ How does the existence of such a divine plan strengthen your hope? ✧ Write a theme sentence for the chapter.[1]


An Incentive for Sanctification

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober–minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. (15:33–34)

The third incentive the hope of resurrection gives is for sanctification. Looking forward to resurrection should lead to more godly living and spiritual maturity. Verses 32 and 33 are closely related. Denying the resurrection destroys the incentives both for service and for sanctification. Why then bother serving the Lord or serving others in His name, and why bother to be holy and pure?

Paul warned the Corinthians that they should not be deceived about the danger of bad company. Homilia (company) basically means an association of people, but also can have the connotation of a lecture or sermon. It seems possible, therefore, that the Corinthians were both listening to some wrong teaching and associating with some evil people. Whether the teaching was in formal messages or not, it was bad and corrupting.

People who think wrongly invariably behave wrongly. Wrong behavior comes from wrong thinking, from wrong beliefs and wrong standards. It is impossible to associate regularly with wicked people without being contaminated both by their ideas and by their habits. The context implies that the bad company was teaching the heretical theology that there is no resurrection of the dead, and that bad theology had corrupted good morals.

Just as hoping in the resurrection is an incentive to obedience and holiness, so disbelief of it is an incentive to disobedience and immorality. As Paul has just pointed out, if there is no resurrection, we might as well eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. If death is the end, what great difference does it make what we do?

Some in the Corinthian congregation had no knowledge of God, and therefore no knowledge of His truth. Their bad theology was leading to bad behavior, especially because they denied the resurrection.

The Greek historian Thucydides reported that when a deadly plague came to Athens, “People committed every shameful crime and eagerly snatched at every lustful pleasure.” They believed life was short and there was no resurrection, so they would have to pay no price for their vice. The Roman poet Horace wrote, “Tell them to bring wine and perfume and the too short–lived blossoms of the lovely rose while circumstance and age and the black threads of the three sisters fate still allow us to do so.” Another Roman poet, Catullus, penned the lines: “Let’s live my Lesbia and let’s love, and lets value the tales of austere old men at a single half penny. Suns can set and then return again, but for us when once our brief light sets there is but one perpetual night through which we must sleep.”

Without the prospect of a resurrection, and of the accountability it brings, there is no incentive for doing anything but what we feel like doing here and now. If behavior has no reward or condemnation, it is uncontrollable.

Become sober–minded as you ought, and stop sinning, Paul pleads in the imperative. “Those of you who believe in the resurrection know better, and you should be leading those who do not believe in the resurrection into a true knowledge of God, rather than allowing their heresy and their immorality to mislead and corrupt you.” The apostle spoke this to [their] shame. They had the truth, but they did not fully believe it and therefore did not fully follow it. He commands them to cease the sin they were involved in.

What tremendous power the resurrection has, and what wonderful hope it gives! Jesus rose from the dead; He is alive; and we also shall live because one day He will raise us up to be with Him eternally. What greater incentive, what greater motive, could we have for coming to Him, for serving Him, and for living for Him?[2]


15:33 The Corinthians should not be deceived on this score. Evil company corrupts good habits. Paul is referring to the false teachers who had come into the church at Corinth, denying the resurrection. The Christians should realize that it is impossible to associate with evil people or evil teachings without being corrupted by them. Evil doctrine inevitably has an effect on one’s life. False teachings do not lead to holiness.

15:34 The Corinthians should awake to righteousness and not sin. They should not be deluded by these evil teachings. Some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. This verse is commonly interpreted to mean that there are still men and women who have never heard the gospel story, and that Christians should be ashamed of their failure to evangelize the world. However, while this may be true, we believe that the primary meaning of the passage is that there were men in the fellowship at Corinth who did not have the knowledge of God. They were not true believers, but wolves in sheep’s clothing, false teachers who had crept in unawares. It was to the shame of the Corinthians that these men were allowed to take their place with the Christians and to teach these wicked doctrines. The carelessness which let ungodly people enter the assembly resulted in lowering the congregation’s whole moral tone, thus preparing an opening for the intrusion of all kinds of error.[3]


33–34 Paul ends this section with a warning, presumably to those in Corinth who were under the influence of the heretical doctrine of the resurrection. The maxim “bad company corrupts good character” (which can be traced to the Greek poet Menander but was probably a common proverb in Greco-Roman society) reflects essentially the same concern as contemporary sayings about peer pressure, where going along with the crowd can lead an otherwise good person into bad behavior.

Apparently there were some in Corinth who were doing precisely this—being caught up in the “wine, women, and song” philosophy of those who believed there were no consequences for immoral behavior since there was no resurrection of the dead. Such people had no true knowledge of God (in spite of the claim of some in Corinth to be so wise; cf. the “wisdom” section of 1:18–2:16; also 3:18; 8:1–2). As a result, they were being easily led into sinning. In writing this, Paul was intending to shame his readers to whom this applied (see comments on the “honor-shame” culture at 4:14; 11:7–10; 14:35). What he wanted them to do was to sober up and come to their senses.

It appears that the thinking reflected here is similar to what Paul dealt with in 6:12–20. There, too, I argued that part of the problem was a lack of belief in the resurrection of the body. One can even argue that 15:1–35 is an expansion of these earlier verses. So why would Paul not have coupled together these two sections? As noted in the introduction (pp. 251–52), I suggest that Paul probably wrote this letter over a period of time (perhaps a couple of months). After all, he seems to go back and forth between his responses to their written questions to him and things he keeps hearing about as visitors come to him in Ephesus. Rather than start the letter over again when he hears something new about a problem he has already touched on (or do a “cut and paste,” as we do today on computers), Paul simply wrote his sections as the issues came to him. When the letter was finally read, the connections would be clear to the Corinthians.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 429–430). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1808). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 400). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

April 28 – Illustrating Salvation

[God] waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

1 Peter 3:20

Genesis 6:9 through 8:22 tells how Noah and his family were delivered through the Flood. They were the only people who believed God’s warning of the coming worldwide catastrophe. As a result, all mankind was drowned in judgment, except them.

Noah preached the righteousness of God for the hundred and twenty years it took him to build the ark. The size of a modern ocean liner (Gen. 6:15), it was sure to attract attention. But it must have been discouraging to build that ark and preach its meaning for over a century, yet have only your immediate family believe.

Noah’s tremendous effort was spent on building a vessel he would spend only a year using, but those eight people were safe from God’s judgment when it came. The ark served as their shelter from the encompassing judgment of God. What a graphic illustration of salvation![1]


The biblical account of when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, before sending the Flood, Peter saw as an analogy for the triumphant salvation provided through Jesus Christ. God was patient with the corrupt world, as Genesis 6:3 states: “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” During that 120-year grace period Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) who announced judgment but also offered the way of deliverance. The members of Noah’s family were the only eight persons on earth to heed the divine warning and escape the coming catastrophe of a worldwide flood. Hence only Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives were brought safely through the water while the rest of mankind was drowned in God’s act of judgment (Gen. 6:9–8:22).

During the grace period, people witnessed the construction of the ark by Noah and his sons. While its purpose was to rescue Noah and his family from the Flood, the ark also was a vivid object lesson to unbelievers of God’s impending judgment on the world. The lack of responsiveness to the “sermon of the ark” reveals the profound wickedness in Noah’s day: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).[2]


Next Peter refers to Noah. For 120 years this faithful preacher warned that God was going to destroy the world with water. His thanks was scorn and rejection. But God vindicated him by saving him and his family through the flood.

Then there is the problem, “If we are right, why are there so few of us?” Peter answers: “There was a time when only eight people in the world were right and all the rest were wrong!” Characteristically in the world’s history the majority has not been right. True believers are usually a small remnant, so one’s faith should not falter because of the small number of the saved. There were only eight believers in Noah’s day; there are millions today.

At the end of verse 20, we read that a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. It is not that they were saved by water; they were saved through the water. Water was not the savior, but the judgment through which God brought them safely.

To properly understand this statement and the verse that follows, we must see the typical meaning of the ark and of the flood. The ark is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. The flood of water depicts the judgment of God. The ark was the only way of salvation. When the flood came, only those who were inside were saved; all those on the outside perished. So Christ is the only way of salvation; those who are in Christ are as saved as God Himself can make them. Those on the outside could not be more lost.

The water was not the means of salvation, for all who were in the water drowned. The ark was the place of refuge. The ark went through the water of judgment; it took the full brunt of the storm. Not a drop of water reached those inside the ark. So Christ bore the fury of God’s judgment against our sins. For those who are in Him there is no judgment (John 5:24).

The ark had water beneath it, and water coming down on top of it, and water all around it. But it bore its believing occupants through the water to safety in a renewed creation. So those who trust the Savior are brought safely through a scene of death and desolation to resurrection ground and a new life.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 133). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 216–217). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2273). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.