Daily Archives: May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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May 4, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Seven years of Republican promises to replace Obamacare will be kept alive or dealt a potential death blow Thursday in a dramatic House vote on an embattled health bill, with big political risks for President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan.

Puerto Rico’s decision to use a U.S. court to escape from its debts cast few ripples in the state and local bond market, where prices rose Wednesday. But the action — once inconceivable for a territory that didn’t have authority to file for bankruptcy — sets a precedent that could resonate with struggling states in the decades ahead.

A Venezuelan National Guard armored vehicle careened into a crowd of anti-government demonstrators in Caracas on a day of furious protests that left more than 300 people injured.

Federal Reserve officials remained on track to gradually tighten monetary policy after leaving interest rates unchanged and signaling they were not alarmed by recent U.S. economic weakness.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants to gut Obama-era net neutrality rules, but even he says the matter is best left to someone else: the lawmakers in Congress.

If Apple Inc. were a bond fund, it would dwarf the competition. The iPhone-maker has $148 billion of its record $257 billion cash pile invested in corporate debt alone, according to a company filing from Wednesday. That’s enough to buy all the assets in the world’s largest fixed-income mutual fund, the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund, which has about $145 billion of assets including company, government and mortgage bonds.

Oil dropped below $50 a barrel in London for the first time since late March on growing signs that OPEC’s production cuts are failing to clear a surplus of crude.

Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped more than forecast last week, consistent with a robust labor market, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. Jobless claims decreased by 19,000 to a three-week low of 238,000 (forecast was 248,000) in the week ended April 29.

U.S. worker productivity declined in the first quarter by the most in a year as growth in the world’s largest economy weakened, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The measure of employee output per hour decreased at a 0.6 percent annual rate (forecast was a 0.1 percent decline) after a revised 1.8 percent gain in the prior three months. Expenses per worker rose at a 3 percent pace (forecast was 2.7 percent increase) after a revised 1.3 percent gain.

The U.S. trade deficit was narrower than forecast in March as record exports of services partly cushioned a drop in merchandise shipments, Commerce Department data showed Thursday. The gap was little changed at $43.7 billion (forecast was $44.5 billion) from a revised $43.8 billion in February.

AP Top Stories

Three people were killed and several others sustained life-threatening injuries after a vehicle plowed into a crowd and crashed through a wall at an auto auction in Massachusetts on Wednesday morning.

Authorities urged residents to evacuate a small Missouri River town and halted traffic along a busy section of the Mississippi River near St. Louis on Wednesday, as relentless rain and an ominous forecast hovered over parts of the flood-soaked Midwest.

A top aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted Wednesday that U.S. commandos in northern Syria could be targeted by Turkish rockets if they continue to work with Kurdish fighters along the border with Turkey.

China on Wednesday urged all parties in the Korean standoff to stay calm and “stop irritating each other,” a day after North Korea said the United States was pushing the region to the brink of nuclear war.

Morgan Stanley, the largest U.S. brokerage by salesforce, said on Wednesday it is dropping mutual funds from Vanguard Group, the largest U.S. mutual fund firm.

BBC

The Duke of Edinburgh is retiring from royal duties this autumn, Buckingham Palace has announced. Prince Philip, who turns 96 in June, made the decision himself and the Queen supported him, a spokesman said.

Somalia’s security forces have shot dead a 31-year-old government minister after mistaking him for a militant Islamist, officials have said.

Zimbabwe is the most highly developed country in Africa after South Africa, President Robert Mugabe has said. He denied that the country was a fragile state. “We have over 14 universities and our literacy rate is over 90 [%] – the highest in Africa,” he said.

An Egyptian school drop-out is hoping to make history after spending three years painstakingly creating what he believes to be the world’s largest Koran. Saad Mohammed’s intricately decorated, hand-drawn scroll is 2,296ft – which means, when it is unrolled, it is almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building.

Syria’s government is continuing to make chemical weapons in violation of a 2013 deal to eliminate them, a Western intelligence agency has told the BBC. A document says chemical and biological munitions are produced at three main sites near Damascus and Hama.

WND

College students shelling out a hefty $36,000 a year in tuition at a private university in Indiana will soon study “strategies for resistance” to President Donald Trump. The fall semester class, titled “Trumpism & U.S. Democracy,” is being offered by Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order further weakening already-sparse enforcement of an IRS rule threatening the loss of tax-exempt status for religious organizations that endorse political candidates.

San Francisco voters approved Proposition N last fall to allow illegal immigrants to vote in the city’s future school board elections, and some believe it’s a problem that could soon “metastasize” to other school districts.

The Briefing 05-04-17

Noetic effects of the Fall and the naturalistic worldview’s failure to explain the limits of reason

The death of expertise or panic of the experts? Intellectual authority in America

The post The Briefing 05-04-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 5/4/2017

Trump to relax rules on political activity for religious institutions
Trump will sign the order, which promises to “protect and vigorously promote religious liberty.” He will also direct federal agencies to exempt some religious organizations, such as churches, charities and universities, from mandates under former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act that require employers to provide employees with health coverage for contraception.

North Korea and USA: News updates as Trump and Kim Jong-un stand on brink of nuclear war
North Korea continues to ramp up tensions with the US, with Kim Jong-un threatening to conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test. Donald Trump has warned that military action is a possibility, and has agreed to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin to solve the “very dangerous” situation.

As Kabbalist Identifies Kim Jong-Un as Gog and Magog, Rabbi Cautions Against Prophetic Speculation
As the conflict surrounding North Korea heats up and all eyes turn towards the armies amassing in Asia, a prominent kabbalist identified Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator, as the leader of the prophesied War of Gog u’Magog. Another respected rabbi agreed, but noted that such claims, rooted in the esoteric, needed to be understood in depth when considering current events. “He based his opinion on a prophecy in Isaiah, which referred to the war of Gog u’Magog beginning in the east, which the kabbalist interpreted to be Asia.”

Netanyahu: I hope Trump-Abbas meeting will bring about a change
‘I’m always ready for genuine peace,’ prime minister says in meeting with Romanian counterpart Sorin Grindeanu a day after the US president met with the Palestinian leader; ‘I heard President Abbas say that Palestinians teach their children peace. That’s unfortunately not true,’ Netanyahu adds.

Judge Roy Moore on SPLC: ‘They Hate God and They Hate Anything About God and Christianity’
Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is now running for U.S. Senate, said the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which protrays itself as an educational and legal advocacy group that fights “hate and bigotry,” is “probably the biggest hate group” in America and it particularly hates “God and Christianity.”

Greek Orthodox Bishop Calls on Turkey’s Erdogan to Convert or Face ‘Unending Hell’ With Muhammed
The Greek Orthodox bishop, Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, sent a lengthy letter to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he detailed some of the differences between Christianity and Islam and called on Erdogan to convert to Orthodoxy or face “eternal and unending” suffering in Hell, along with Muhammed and his followers.

Netanyahu Slashes UN Funding: “Israel Will Not Sit By While UN Denies Our Sovereignty”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning told his weekly cabinet meeting that Israel has retaliated for the unjust and hostile UNESCO vote on the status of Jerusalem by cutting $1 million from its annual contribution to the UN.

North Korea turns its hostility on Beijing
Tensions on the Korean peninsula are reaching an unprecedented boiling point, as North Korea’s leader threatens war with China, its strongest and most important ally, over its “nuclear betrayal.” China’s People’s Liberation Army is on its second-highest alert level – indicating it thinks a direct military threat is imminent.

‘Clinton Cash’ Author Sounds The Alarm Over Jared Kushner’s Partnership With George Soros
“Clinton Cash” author and Breitbart News editor Peter Schweizer said in a radio interview that Kushner’s ties to Soros — who funds a network of left-wing activists — as well as his billion-dollar loans, both of which he failed to include in his financial disclosure forms, present a “massive, massive problem” for the White House.

WAITING FOR THE STORM CLOUD
A CME that left the sun on April 30th has still not reached Earth. Forecasters raised the possibility of a glancing blow on May 3rd, but so far there is no sign of the advancing solar storm cloud. Either the CME missed or it might make a late arrival on May the 4th, sparking minor geomagnetic activity.

Donald Trump’s arm-twisting means healthcare legislation ‘will be passed’
Donald Trump could secure a major victory on Thursday after House Republican leaders claimed to have enough votes to pass a bill to roll back Obamacare. A vote will be held on Thursday in the House of Representatives to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act – Barack Obama’s signature healthcare legislation.

UK parliament panel: Israel’s politics diminish possibilities of peace
A new report penned by the British Parliament’s International Relations Committee harshly criticized Israel’s policies, apparently portraying the country and its leadership as those to blame for the current grim state of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. According to the Jewish Chronicle, the House of Lords report released Tuesday slammed certain Israeli actions, saying that the country’s settlements policy was illegal and that it made a two-state solution “increasingly impossible.”

Trump says he will launch new Middle East peace process
The US is launching a new diplomatic effort to reach a comprehensive peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday…Reminding Abbas that he signed the 1993 Oslo Accords in Washington – the first diplomatic framework for Israeli- Palestinian peace – Trump said he was impressed by the ability of Israeli and Palestinian security forces to work together, and that such cooperation gave him hope that he could finally broker the toughest deal of them all.

Dust storm chokes Beijing and northern China
A dust storm is choking a large swathe of northern China including the capital, Beijing, in yet another air quality crisis to affect the country. Official air quality readings have soared well above the recommended World Health Organization (WHO) limit. Authorities are advising residents to avoid outdoor activity and for children and elderly people to remain indoors.

Crucial House vote to be held on Obamacare repeal bill
The US House of Representatives will hold a vote on Thursday on a revised healthcare bill that Republicans hope will replace Obamacare. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the leadership in the party was confident it had secured enough votes for the bill to pass. It would then go to the Senate where it could face a more tricky passage.

President Obama’s team sought NSA intel on thousands of Americans during the 2016 election
During his final year in office, President Barack Obama’s team significantly expanded efforts to search National Security Agency intercepts for information about Americans, distributing thousands of intelligence reports…with the unredacted names of U.S. residents during the…2016 presidential election. The data, made available this week…provides the clearest evidence to date of how information accidentally collected by the NSA…was searched and disseminated after President Obama loosened privacy protections…

US opioid crisis at epidemic proportions
Many US communities are facing an epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse that is straining resources from police, to jails, to emergency medical personnel and treatment centers. West Virginia, a mountainous state of less than two million people, is among the hardest hit, given the economic hardship in an area once dominated by coal mining, but it shares much in common with other communities impacted by the crisis.

Israel officially in drought year
Israel Meteorological Service data indicate that the country has entered a drought year, showing that the annual rainfall stands at only about 71 percent of the cross-year average. Due to the worrying situation, the Water Authority is mulling over a plan to pump tens of millions of cubic meters of desalinated water into the Kinneret in order to prevent it from drying up.

Trump order to ease ban on political activity by churches
President Donald Trump will take executive action on Thursday to ease a ban on political activity by churches and other tax-exempt institutions as part of an order on religious liberties, a senior White House official said on Wednesday. Trump’s executive order to mark the National Day of Prayer will also mandate regulatory relief to religious employers that object to contraception, such as Little Sisters of the Poor, the official said in a briefing.

North Korea Threatens China With “Grave Consequences” Over “Betrayal”
“A string of absurd and reckless remarks are now heard from China every day only to render the present bad situation tenser… China had better ponder over the grave consequences…”

Is The World’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange Headed For A Mt. Gox-Style Collapse
Could Bitfinex, the Hong Kong-based second-largest in the world cryptocurrency exchange, be headed for a Mt. Gox-style collapse? It’s starting to look that way.

Chinese Commodities Crash Limit-Down As Wealth Management Product Issuance Collapses
It seems Kyle Bass’ warning was extremely timely. The deleveraging of China’s $4 trillion shadow banking system just accelerated massively as Bank Wealth Product Issuance crashes 15% month-over-month. With stocks and bonds already plunging, commodities joined the ugliness tonight with Dalian Iron Ore limit down (8%) at the open (not helped by tumbling auto demand).

US Commandos Set to Counter North Korean Nuclear Sites
U.S. special operations forces are set to conduct operations against North Korean nuclear, missile, and other weapons of mass destruction sites in any future conflict, the commander of Special Operations Command told Congress Tuesday.

Franklin Graham: Christians in America Are ‘Persecuted’ by LGBT Agenda
Evangelist Franklin Graham said Tuesday that Christians in America who oppose the LGBT agenda are being “persecuted” and singled out “over and over and over again” for acting in accordance with their biblical convictions on sexuality.

Trump Cabinet Members Attend Weekly Bible Study for ‘Maturity in Christ’
Capitol Ministries, a Washington D.C. based ministry seeking to “make disciples of Jesus Christ in the political arena throughout the world” seeks to help members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet and other politicians in the nation’s capital become more mature Christians through weekly Bible studies.


The ’51st U.S. State’ Declares Bankruptcy As Corporate Insiders Sell Stocks At The Fastest Rate Since The Last Financial Crisis

Puerto Rico has collapsed financially and has “filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection”.  When this was announced on Wednesday, it quickly made front page news all over the planet.  For decades, Puerto Rico has been considered to be the territory most likely to become “the 51st U.S. state”, and there have even been rumblings that we could soon see a renewed push for statehood.  But that is on the back burner for now, because at the moment Puerto Rico is dealing with a nightmarish financial crisis that is the result of an accelerating economic collapse.  Unfortunately, many Americans still don’t believe that what has happened to Puerto Rico could happen to us, even though signs of major economic trouble are emerging all around us. (Read More…)


The Hottest Thing at Church Today

According to a new study, what people want in a church is changing.  Blogger, author and book reviewer Tim Challies expresses his concern that pastors will give their congregants what they want but “they will do so not on the basis of biblical convictions, but on the basis of pragmatism.” In other words, pragmatism or “whatever works” to get people to come to church, will be what drives preachers to adopt what appears to be a hot new trend in the visible Church. Challies writes:

According to a new study by Gallup, the hottest thing at church today is not the worship and not the pastor. It’s not the smoke and lights and it’s not the hip and relevant youth programs. It’s not even the organic, fair trade coffee at the cafe. The hottest thing at church today is the preaching. Not only is it the preaching, but a very specific form of it—preaching based on the Bible. And just like that, decades of church growth bunkum is thrown under the bus. As Christianity Today says, “Despite a new wave of contemporary church buzzwords like relational, relevant, and intentional, people who show up on Sundays are looking for the same thing that has long anchored most services: preaching centered on the Bible.” Praise God.

View article →


Energy Drinks Worse for Your Heart Than Caffeine Alone

NBC News reports:

Drinking 32 ounces of energy drink is associated with potentially harmful changes in blood pressure and heart function that are beyond those seen with caffeine alone, according to a new study.

There are more than 500 energy drink products on the market, and their increased popularity is matched by a significant rise in energy drink-associated emergency department visits and deaths.

Manufacturers and fans of these products claim they are as safe as caffeine, but there is little evidence to support that claim.

View article →


Mid-Day Snapshot

May 4, 2017

Trump Seeks to Protect Religious Freedom

He will sign an executive order aimed at promoting religious liberty and undoing the damage Obama did.

The Foundation

“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the States.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: May 4

  • Trump faces major test as vote looms on healthcare (Read More)
  • Trump’s Threats to Break Up Banks Aren’t Scaring Wall Street Yet (Read More)
  • Trump to ease ban on political activity by churches (Read More)
  • Metals Extend Sell-Off on Mounting Concerns Over Demand in China (Read More)
  • Korean Stocks Hit Record Despite Scary Nuclear Rhetoric (Read More)
  • Why the Retail Crisis Could Be Coming to American Groceries (Read More)
  • UK’s Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, to retire from royal duties (Read More)
  • After North Korea criticism, China says wants to be good neighbor (Read More)
  • In French Election, Youth Reject Establishment in Search for Jobs Cure (Read More)
  • Poll Says Macron Wins Brutal French Debate With Le Pen (Read More)
  • France’s Macron accuses presidential rival Le Pen of spreading lies (Read More)
  • Tesla plugs older Model S as new buyers turn to Model 3 (Read More)
  • German domestic spy agency expects further cyber attacks before election (Read More)
  • Can Wal-Mart’s Expensive New E-Commerce Operation Compete With Amazon? (Read More)
  • U.S. needs to balance foreign alliances: Tillerson (Read More)
  • Google and Facebook’s Idealistic Futures Are Built on Ads (Read More)
  • Philippines’ Duterte says chat with Xi was at Trump’s request (Read More)
  • Google agrees to pay $334 million to settle Italy tax dispute (Read More)
  • In a Twist, Snow Is Keeping Natural Gas Prices Down in Texas (Read More)
  • Trump’s Plan to Isolate North Korea Faces Trouble—in the South (Read More)
  • United Air to face second congressional grilling at Senate hearing (Read More)
  • Shell Profit Soars as Oil Sector Bounces Back (Read More)
  • Viacom’s profit, revenue beat estimates (Read More)

Featured Blogs


Top Headlines – 5/4/2017

Trump says he will launch new Middle East peace process

Saying deal not as hard as thought, Trump tells Abbas: We will get peace done

Trump, Bullish on Mideast Peace, Will Need More Than Confidence

Full text of Trump-Abbas joint White House statements – US president hails ongoing partnership with the Palestinians

Trump’s welcome for Abbas is so warm he might have been hosting an Israeli leader

In Trump Abbas-meet, hope springs eternal as peace prospects run dry

Abbas to Trump: ‘It’s about time for Israel to end its occupation’

Trump, Abbas link renewed peace talks to countering Islamic State

Hamas rejects Abbas peace proposal outline to Trump

After Trump meet, Israeli right says Abbas doesn’t truly want peace

‘Valuable progress’ already made toward Mideast peace, Pence says

‘Former Israeli defense minister advised Trump on avoiding Obama’s mistakes’

Did Bannon reveal plan to move US Embassy to Jerusalem?

PM orders Israel to cut payments to UN over UNESCO’s ‘demented’ Jerusalem vote

French-Israeli settlers outraged over ‘Palestinian territories’ classification

Netanyahu denies he allowed Palestinian payments to prisoners

White House: Trump told Abbas to ‘resolve’ issue of PA terrorist payments

Police: Palestinian attempts to stab officer in Hebron, is shot

Justin Welby: Christians must unite with Jews to halt rise of antisemitism

Israelis warned to avoid Tunisia due to danger of attacks

New Zealand Reaches Out To Restore Ties With Israel

Netanyahu: I told Putin we either coordinate or clash

FBI rogue employee marries ISIS terrorist she investigated

To Freeze Syria War, Russia Proposes Setting Up ‘De-escalation Zones’

Syria war: Putin says ‘safe zones’ have international support

Iran Using U.S. Cash to Fund Unprecedented, Massive Military Buildup

Iran missile test fails from sub in Strait of Hormuz

North Korea is building mysterious artificial islands that would be perfect for missile launches

US tests intercontinental ballistic missile from California

North Korea says U.S. bomber flights push peninsula to brink of nuclear war

US Commandos Set to Counter North Korean Nuclear Sites

North Korea Says Latest Detained American Tried to Overthrow Government

North Korea threat: WH official says Kim could use nuclear weapons as ‘blackmail’

North Korea defector hails Trump’s tough stance on hostile country

As U.S. and China find common ground on North Korea, is Russia the wild card?

North Korean media issues rare criticism of China over nuclear warnings

North Korea Threatens China With “Grave Consequences” Over “Betrayal”

China urges citizens in N. Korea to return home

China clamps down on online news with new security rules

Venezuela violence flares as foes decry Maduro’s power shakeup

Puerto Rico files for biggest ever U.S. local government bankruptcy

Brexit: UK and EU at odds over size of ‘divorce bill’

Macron, Le Pen clash on terror, EU in heated final French debate

Lawsuit blames Google, Facebook, Twitter for San Bernardino terror attack

Massive phishing attack targets millions of Gmail users

FBI chief ‘nauseous’ at thought he swayed US election

Susan Rice won’t testify before Senate on Russia hacking, ‘unmasking’

Susan Rice is a liar. Now even the liberal media is starting to admit it

New Huma Abedin Emails Reveal 29 Previously Undisclosed Clinton Emails With Classified Information

Obama’s $400,000 speech could prompt Congress to go after his pension

Earthquakes leave climber stranded on Canada’s highest peak

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Karakenja, Tajikistan

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

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Pucallpa, Peru

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Kumukh, Russia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Camana, Peru

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Tajikistan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 11,000ft

Caribbean on Alert over Kick ’em Jenny Underwater Volcano

Volcano appears to be erupting into the Milky Way in this stunning photo

Antarctic Peninsula ice more stable than previously thought

DARPA Is Planning to Hack the Human Brain to Let Us “Upload” Skills

Zika fight: Bacteria-laden mosquitoes unleashed in Florida to combat virus

Experts warn of increases in tick-borne Powassan virus

Lyme disease experts say this could be a “particularly bad year”

US opioid crisis at epidemic proportions

Trump gains traction on healthcare bill, vote set for Thursday

Medica, the last insurer selling individual health policies in most of Iowa, likely to exit

Pence: Trump ‘Has Literally Filled This White House’ With Anti-Abortion Leaders

Franklin Graham: Christians in America Are ‘Persecuted’ by LGBT Agenda

Transspecies. It’s A Thing.

Exorcism preceded woman’s killing and decapitation, suspect says

Macon teen’s Facebook Live suicide attempt is stopped by deputies

Trump Cabinet Members Attend Weekly Bible Study for ‘Maturity in Christ’

White House aims for Thursday signing of religious liberty executive order

Did TBN ministers Paul, Jan Crouch cover up 13-year-old granddaughter’s rape allegation?

Tony Alamo, Apocalyptic Ministry Leader Convicted of Sex Abuse, Dies at 82

Bishop I.V. Hilliard Condemns ‘Appalling’ Arrest of Pastor’s Widow at Detroit World Outreach Church

Cult of Mary Going Pentecostal for Pentecost: Pope To Celebrate Catholic Charismania

Need Victory? Don’t Pray, Flaunt Your Riches – Prophet Anointed Andrew aka SEER1

Looking Back on the National Day of Prayer 2012

Exorcism preceded woman’s killing and decapitation, suspect says

Trump Cabinet Members Attend Weekly Bible Study for ‘Maturity in Christ’

Christian Student Told to Leave Class for Reading Bible Before Class Started

Unprecedented hailstorm hits northwestern Iranian city of Sanandaj

Posted: 04 May 2017 07:15 AM PDT

An unprecedented spring hailstorm has hit the northwestern Iranian city of Sanandaj, taking the residents by surprise. While hailstorms are common in Sanandaj in spring…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

John Piper Revels 5 Lessons for Children About Horrors of Hell and God’s Final Judgment

Posted: 04 May 2017 07:07 AM PDT

Evangelical theologian John Piper has told parents that they need to teach their children about the horrors of hell, as a way to show God’s…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warns of Russian ‘Checkmate’ in Arctic

Posted: 04 May 2017 07:00 AM PDT

The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard issued a stark warning on Wednesday that Russia was leagues ahead of Washington in the Arctic. And while…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Key Points of Prayer Today!

Posted: 04 May 2017 06:57 AM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) Today thousands of believers will unite in prayer and intercession for America in the Annual” National Day of Prayer” and I wanted…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Faces ‘Nationwide Drinking Water Crisis

Posted: 04 May 2017 06:03 AM PDT

Up to 77 million Americans were serviced in 2015 by unsafe drinking water systems, with 18 million people exposed to excessive levels of lead and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS Air Force intercepts Russian bombers, fighter jets off Alaska

Posted: 04 May 2017 05:57 AM PDT

Two Russian Bear bombers — escorted for the first time by a pair of Su-35 “Flanker” fighter jets — entered Alaska’s Air Defense Zone early Thursday…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Seven reasons we’re at more risk than ever of a global pandemic

Posted: 04 May 2017 05:43 AM PDT

It could take just one cough, one kiss, one touch or even one bite to change not only your life, but the lives of everyone…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Science Claims Time Travel is Possible

Posted: 04 May 2017 05:36 AM PDT

The past is the final frontier. Traveling back in time isn’t necessarily science fiction, according to a new paper published in Classical and Quantum Gravity….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nevada Senate Advances Bill to Allow Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ in State if Supreme Court Overturns Decision

Posted: 04 May 2017 05:26 AM PDT

The Nevada Senate has advanced a resolution that would place on the 2020 ballot the question of whether the state Constitution should be amended to remove…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Indianapolis Diocese Installs First-Ever Black Female Bishop in Episcopal Church History

Posted: 04 May 2017 05:07 AM PDT

The Episcopal Church has officially consecrated the first African-American woman to head a diocese in the mainline denomination’s history. The Right Reverend Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, who…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Thousands Are Speaking the Word of God over the US Capitol

Posted: 04 May 2017 04:30 AM PDT

The 28th Annual US Capitol Bible Reading Marathon is well underway, with around 1600 people flocking to DC this week for an opportunity to read…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Remembering the Right Hand of God!

Posted: 03 May 2017 06:20 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we will discuss why the psalmists reminds us how important it is to bring to our remembrance the mighty…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Corporate Insiders Sell Stocks At The Fastest Rate Since The Last Financial Crisis

Posted: 03 May 2017 05:51 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) Puerto Rico has collapsed financially and has “filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection”.  When this was announced on Wednesday, it…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Franklin Graham Claims Christians in America Are ‘Persecuted’ by LGBT Agenda

Posted: 03 May 2017 04:40 PM PDT

Evangelist Franklin Graham said Tuesday that Christians in America who oppose the LGBT agenda are being “persecuted” and singled out “over and over and over…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US and South Korean Warships Team Up in Pacific For Possible Confrontation With Kim Jong-Un

Posted: 03 May 2017 04:35 PM PDT

This is the moment US Navy warships teamed up with their South Korean counterparts in the Pacific to steam towards a confrontation with Kim Jong-un….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Museum of the Bible prepares for DC opening

Posted: 03 May 2017 04:30 PM PDT

The vast grove of museums stretching from the U.S. Capitol across the fringes of the National Mall is about to get a new addition, albeit…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Taxpayers ‘must fund compression underwear for transgender inmates’

Posted: 03 May 2017 04:23 PM PDT

A California judge has ordered that state prison officials must provide transgender inmates with compression underwear and jewelry if the inmate cannot afford to purchase…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Global Christians Unite for Luke 6:27 Mandate

Posted: 03 May 2017 04:18 PM PDT

How should Christians love their enemies and respond to the growing wave of genocide and persecution around the world? Over 600 Christian leaders from 130…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Puerto Rico Declares Bankruptcy

Posted: 03 May 2017 02:43 PM PDT

Puerto Rico’s leadership moved on Wednesday to place the island’s debt crisis into federal bankruptcy court, making it the largest United States government entity to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China clamps down on online news with new security rules…America Next?

Posted: 03 May 2017 02:31 PM PDT

China is tightening rules for online news as censors try to control a flood of information spread through instant-messaging apps, blogs and other media sources…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Purdue Professor Says Images of Aborted Babies Are ‘Child Pornography’

Posted: 03 May 2017 02:28 PM PDT

A professor at Purdue University argued that images of aborted babies constitute “child pornography” in a recent debate over abortion rights. Professor David Sanders, an…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

NYC Mandates Single-Stall Restrooms in All City Schools

Posted: 03 May 2017 11:47 AM PDT

Every New York City public school must install at least one single-stall restroom under a new policy announced by Chancellor Carmen Farina. Farina said Tuesday…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pastor Says Muslims in Middle East Have ‘Huge Thirst’ for Gospel

Posted: 03 May 2017 11:39 AM PDT

A pastor in the Middle East who daily risks his life to share the truth of Jesus Christ said he’s witnessed a “huge thirst” for…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Denmark Bans Christian ‘Hate Preacher’ Terry Jones

Posted: 03 May 2017 11:33 AM PDT

Denmark on Tuesday banned five Islamic clerics and an American evangelical Christian pastor from entering the country, calling them “hate preachers” who posed threats to public order. The move…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

MYSTERY – North Korean ghost ships filled with the Dead wash ashore in Japan

Posted: 03 May 2017 11:25 AM PDT

Emerging out of the mist, the hulking mass of a decaying vessel, its tattered North Korean flag fluttering in the breeze, silently floats toward the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Children removed from Maryland home after parents’ YouTube pranks

Posted: 03 May 2017 11:17 AM PDT

The Frederick County, Maryland, “DaddyOFive” couple criticized for making YouTube videos in which they appeared to prank their five children now have only three children…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Facebook Hiring 3,000 people to monitor live videos for violence

Posted: 03 May 2017 11:14 AM PDT

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social media giant will hire 3,000 employees to monitor what people stream through its Live feature, through which some…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Violent Sharia Law Spreading as World Ignores Radical Islamic Attacks on Believers

Posted: 03 May 2017 11:08 AM PDT

One Monday in early April, Shaher Saeed was driving south of the city of Arish in Egypt’s North Sinai when he came upon a group…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: ‘Active shooter’ reported at Texas’ North Lake College

Posted: 03 May 2017 10:37 AM PDT

Police are responding to an ‘active shooter’ at North Lake College just northwest of Dallas, authorities said late Wednesday morning on Twitter. The campus, in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iran attempts missile launch from submarine

Posted: 03 May 2017 10:34 AM PDT

Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a submarine in the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday but the test failed, two U.S. officials told…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
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May 4, 2017: Verse of the day

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2:44 endure forever. God’s kingdom ruled by Messiah is the final rule, never to be replaced. It has a millennial phase and an eternal future, but it is the same king who rules both.[1]


2:44 In the days of the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire, the kingdom of God is established through Christ (Matt. 3:2), especially through his resurrection (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:19–23).[2]


2:44 will never be destroyed The fifth and final kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is the kingdom God Himself will establish universally. This is the great hope for Daniel’s readers.

the kingdom will not be left for another nation While the Jews were exiled in Babylon, Jerusalem and Judah were left for others to inhabit. The kingdom of God would never be left desolate for others to occupy.[3]


2:44 those kings. The most natural interpretation is that the kings are the rulers of the four powers making up the image just described. The other possibility is that they are a sequence of several rulers of the fourth kingdom only.

a kingdom that shall never be destroyed. The eternal kingdom is the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ (Is. 9:7; Luke 1:33; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 11:15). This kingdom was inaugurated and preached at the first coming of Christ (Matt. 12:28; 24:14; Mark 1:15) but does not come in its fullness until His second coming. See theological note “The Kingdom of God” on p. 1823.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Da 2:44). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1590). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Da 2:44). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1468). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

May 4 – Chosen to Be Sent

“Having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these . . .” (Matt. 10:1–2).

✧✧✧

Every disciple must also be a discipler.

Have you ever met someone who constantly absorbs what the church has to offer, yet never seems to plug into a ministry where he can give to others? I’ve met many people like that. Some have attended church for many years, and have even taken evangelism and other special training classes. But they never quite feel qualified to minister to others or even to share their testimony. Eventually that has a crippling effect on their spiritual lives and on the life of the church in general.

When Jesus called the disciples to Himself, He did so in order to train them for ministry. We see this in Matthew 10:1–2. The Greek word translated “disciples” means “learners.” “Apostles” translates a Greek word meaning “to dispatch away from” or “to send.” In classical Greek it refers to a naval expedition dispatched to serve a foreign city or country. Disciples are learners; apostles are emissaries. Jesus called untrained disciples, but He dispatched trained apostles. That’s the normal training process.

In Matthew 28:19–20 Jesus says, “Go … and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Paul said to Timothy, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

As wonderful and important as it is to learn of Christ, you must never be content to be a disciple only. You must also be a discipler!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Memorize Matthew 28:18–20. If you aren’t currently discipling someone, ask the Lord for an opportunity to do so.

For Further Study: An important part of discipleship is spending time with Christ. One way to do that is to read through the Gospels on a regular basis. You might want to obtain a harmony of the Gospels to help in your study. Tell a friend of your plan so he or she can encourage you and hold you accountable.[1]


10:1 In the last verse of chapter 9, the Lord instructed His disciples to pray for more laborers. To make that request sincerely, believers must be willing to go themselves. So here we find the Lord calling His twelve disciples. He had previously chosen them, but now He calls them to a special evangelistic mission to the nation of Israel. With the call went authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal all kinds of diseases. The uniqueness of Jesus is seen here. Other men had performed miracles, but no other man ever conferred the power on others.[2]


1 He whose word (chs. 5–7) and deed (chs. 8–9) were characterized by authority now delegates something of that authority to twelve men. This is the first time Matthew has explicitly mentioned the Twelve (cf. v. 2; 11:1; 20:17; 26:14, 20, 47), who are introduced a little earlier in Mark (3:16–19). This commission appears to be the culmination of several previous steps (Jn 1:35–51; see comments at 4:18–22). Indeed, Matthew’s language suggests that the Twelve became a recognized group somewhat earlier. At the same time, this commission was a stage in the training and preparation of those who, after Pentecost, would lead the earliest thrust of the fledgling church. Twelve were chosen, probably on an analogy to the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. the council of twelve at Qumran, 1QS 8:1 ff.), and they point to the eschatological renewal of the people of God (see comments at 19:28–30).

The authority the Twelve received enabled them to heal and drive out “evil [akathartos, lit., ‘unclean,’ GK 176] spirits”—spirits in rebellion against God, hostile to man, and capable of inflicting mental, moral, and physical harm, directly or indirectly. This is the first time in Matthew that demons are so described, and only again at 12:43 (but see comments at 8:16). “Every kind of disease and sickness” is exactly the expression in 4:23; 9:35. The authority granted the Twelve is in sharp contrast to the charismatic “gifts [plural] of healing” at Corinth (1 Co 12:9, 28), which apparently were individually more restricted in what diseases each could cure.[3]


10:1 gave them authority. See note on 2Co 12:12. Jesus delegated His power and authority to the apostles to show clearly that He and His kingdom were sovereign over the physical and spiritual realms, the effects of sin, and the efforts of Satan. This was an unheard of display of power, never before seen in all redemptive history, to announce Messiah’s arrival and authenticate Him plus His apostles who preached His gospel. This power was a preview of the power Christ will exhibit in His earthly kingdom, when Satan will be bound (Rev 20) and the curse on physical life curtailed (Is 65:20–25).

10:2 the names of the twelve apostles. The 12 are always listed in a similar order (cf. Mk 3:16–19; Lk 6:13–16; Ac 1:13). Peter is always named first. The list contains 3 groups of 4. The 3 subgroups are always listed in the same order, and the first name in each subgroup is always the same, though there is some variation in the order within the subgroups—but Judas Iscariot is always named last. Peter … Andrew … James … John. The first subgroup of 4 are the most familiar to us. These two sets of brothers, all fishermen, represent an inner circle of disciples often seen closest to Jesus (see note on 17:1).[4]


10:1 Jesus calls the disciples to him as an initial answer to the prayer for the Lord to send workers (9:38). twelve. Probably reflective of the 12 tribes of Israel and symbolic of the continuity of God’s plan of salvation. The disciples will have authority … to heal every disease just as Jesus did (e.g., 4:23; 9:35).

10:2 Apostles (plural of Gk. apostolos; used only here in Matthew; see note on Rom. 1:1) describes those commissioned to be Jesus’ special representatives, while “disciples” (Matt. 10:1) was also used more broadly to refer to anyone who believed in Jesus. Peter heads all the lists of the Twelve (cf. Mark 3:16–19; Luke 6:13–16; Acts 1:13) and serves as their spokesman. Peter, along with James and John, made up Jesus’ inner circle.[5]


10:1 summoning his twelve disciples So far, Matthew has described the calling of only five disciples (Matt 4:18–22; 9:9). Jesus had many followers, but these were His leaders—those whom He commissioned to build His Church.

unclean spirits Refers to evil spirits or demons. According to Jewish purity laws, people inhabited by such spirits were unclean.

10:2 the twelve apostles Matthew initially refers to this group as disciples. Here, he calls them “apostles”—those who are sent out with the authority of the sender (Jesus).

No explicit reason is given here for the choice of 12 disciples, but it may have been in part to reflect the fact that there were twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew later presents the 12 disciples as Israel’s new leaders (19:28).[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 137). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1238). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[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. 276). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Mt 10:1–2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1839). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Mt 10:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

MAY 4 – LET NOTHING KEEP US FROM COMMUNION WITH GOD

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

MATTHEW 24:35

We being what we are and all things else being what they are, the most important and profitable study any of us can engage in is without question the study of theology.

That theology probably receives less attention than any other subject tells us nothing about its importance or lack of it. It indicates, rather, that men are still hiding from the presence of God among the trees of the garden and feel acutely uncomfortable when the matter of their relation to God is brought up!

They sense their deep alienation from God and only manage to live at peace with themselves by forgetting that they are not at peace with God.

It is precisely because God IS, and because man is made in His image and is accountable to Him, that theology is so critically important. Christian revelation alone has the answer to life’s unanswered questions about God and human destiny.

To let these authoritative answers lie neglected while we search everywhere else for answers and find none is, it seems to me, nothing less than folly!

Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to me. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. The secret of life is theological and the key to heaven, as well![1]


An Unprecedented Alteration

Heaven and earth will pass away, (24:35a)

Jesus says explicitly that both heaven and earth will pass away. That expression first appears in 5:18, where it is not primarily used as a prophecy but as an analogy to express the enduring quality of the Word of God. It is used similarly in this text. The universe will fail, but what Jesus has just said will not fail to come to complete fulfillment. That analogical use of this phrase does not, however, preclude a directly prophetic intent. It is clearly predicted in the Old and New Testaments that the universe will be dramatically affected in the divine judgment of God. But that event will occur a thousand years after the return of Christ, when heaven and earth as we now know them will cease to exist (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 21:1).

An Unchanging Authority

but My words shall not pass away. (24:35b)

Finally, Jesus declared, although the heaven and the earth will pass away, My words shall never pass away. On another occasion He said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law,” that is, His Word, “to fail” (Luke 16:17). It is not possible for the Word of God to be broken (John 10:35), including what Jesus says here about the end time. The psalmist established the same great truth when he wrote that Scripture is “clean, enduring forever” (Ps. 19:9). Whatever is touched by sin must pass away. The Word is untouched! It is like silver refined seven times in a furnace of fire-utterly pure (Ps. 12:6).[2]


24:35 To emphasize the unfailing character of His predictions, Jesus added that heaven and earth would pass away but His words would by no means pass away. In speaking of heaven passing away, He was referring to the stellar and atmospheric heavens—the blue firmament above us—not to that heaven which is the dwelling place of God (2 Cor. 12:2–4). The dissolution of the heaven and the earth is described in 2 Peter 3:10–13 and mentioned again in Revelation 20:11.[3]


35 The authority and eternal validity of Jesus’ words are nothing less than the authority and eternal validity of God’s words (Ps 119:89–90; Isa 40:6–8).[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 24:33–35). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1296). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 569). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAY 4 – A BIRTH FROM ABOVE

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

John 3:7

This may sound like heresy in some quarters, but I have come to this conclusion—that there are far too many among us who have thought that they accepted Christ, but nothing has come of it within their own lives and desires and habits!

This kind of philosophy in soul winning—the idea that it is “the easiest thing in the world to accept Jesus”—permits the man or woman to accept Christ by an impulse of the mind or of the emotions.

It allows us to gulp twice and sense an emotional feeling that has come over us, and then say, “I have accepted Christ.”

These are spiritual matters about which we must be legitimately honest and in which we must seek the discernment of the Holy Spirit. These are things about which we cannot afford to be wrong; to be wrong is still to be lost and far from God.

Let us never forget that the Word of God stresses the importance of conviction and concern and repentance when it comes to conversion, spiritual regeneration, being born from above by the Spirit of God!

Lord, I pray that new believers will become firmly discipled in the Word of God and that their lives will reflect the transformation from death to life.[1]


Although Jesus’ words were based on Old Testament revelation, they ran completely contrary to everything Nicodemus had been taught. For his entire life he had believed that salvation came through his own external merit. Now he found it exceedingly difficult to think otherwise. Aware of his astonishment, Jesus continued, “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ ” The verb translated must is a strong term; John used it elsewhere in his gospel to refer to the necessity of the crucifixion (3:14; 12:34), of John the Baptist’s inferiority to Christ (3:30), of the proper method of worshiping God (4:24), of Jesus carrying out His ministry (4:4; 9:4; 10:16), and of the necessity of the resurrection (20:9). It was absolutely necessary for Nicodemus to get over his astonishment at being so wrong about how one is accepted into God’s kingdom and seek to be born again if he was to enter. And he could never do so based on his own righteous works. [2]


3:7 Nicodemus was not to marvel at the teachings of the Lord Jesus. He must realize that one must be born again and understand the complete inability of human nature to remedy its own fallen condition. He must realize that in order to be a subject of God’s kingdom, a man must be holy, pure, and spiritual.[3]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (p. 106). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1478). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

May 4 – Jesus on God’s Love: To Be Like the Father

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.—Matt. 5:48

These words embody all the truths Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount—in fact, they are the apex of all He teaches in the gospels. The ultimate goal of our redemption and the sincere, strong yearning of God’s heart is for all who would trust in His Son to be like Him.

The word translated “perfect” essentially means arriving at an intended end or realizing a completion of something. The word elsewhere in the New Testament is often rendered “mature” (cf. 1 Cor. 2:6; 14:20; Eph. 4:13, etc.). But here Jesus clearly intended to convey the meaning of perfection, because He is presenting God as the ultimate, holy standard for being and doing. It is the criterion of absolute perfection.

In our own power, such supreme and divine perfection is completely impossible to attain. And if we wonder how our Savior can demand the impossible, we simply have to remember His later instruction, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). God always provides the means and the power to accomplish what He commands.

Simply because God’s righteousness is perfect, it is impossible in human strength to attain it. However, the impossible becomes possible for those of us who trust the Lord Jesus, because God gives to us the very righteousness of Christ.

ASK YOURSELF
Are you willing to believe God for the impossible—that you can actually be “wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil” (Rom. 16:19)? How could you cooperate with Him today in drawing closer to this noble goal?[1]

Be Like Your Heavenly Father

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (5:48)

The sum of all that Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount-in fact, the sum of all He teaches in Scripture-is in those words. The great purpose of salvation, the goal of the gospel, and the great yearning of the heart of God is for all men to become like Him.

Teleios (perfect) basically means to reach an intended end or a completion and is often translated “mature” (1 Cor. 2:6; 14:20; Eph. 4:13; etc.). But the meaning here is obviously that of perfection, because the heavenly Father is the standard. The “sons of [the] Father” (v. 45) are to be perfect, as [their] heavenly Father is perfect. That perfection is absolute perfection.

That perfection is also utterly impossible in man’s own power. To those who wonder how Jesus can demand the impossible, He later says, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). That which God demands, He provides the power to accomplish. Man’s own righteousness is possible, but is so imperfect that it is worthless; God’s righteousness is impossible for the very reason that it is perfect. But the impossible righteousness becomes possible for those who trust in Jesus Christ, because He gives them His righteousness.

That is precisely our Lord’s point in all these illustrations and in the whole sermon-to lead His audience to an overpowering sense of spiritual bankruptcy, to a “beatitude attitude” that shows them their need of a Savior, an enabler who alone can empower them to meet God’s standard of perfection.[2]


5:48 Jesus closes this section with the admonition: Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. The word perfect must be understood in the light of the context. It does not mean sinless or flawless. The previous verses explain that to be perfect means to love those who hate us, to pray for those who persecute us, and to show kindness to both friend and foe. Perfection here is that spiritual maturity which enables a Christian to imitate God in dispensing blessing to everybody without partiality.[3]


48 Some interpret this verse as the conclusion of the last antithesis (vv. 43–47; e.g., Allen, Hendriksen). In that case the perfection advocated is perfection in love. But “perfection” has far broader associations, and it is better to understand v. 48 as the conclusion to the antitheses.

The word teleios (“perfect,” GK 5455) usually reflects tāmîm (“perfect,” GK 9459) in the OT. It can refer to the soundness of sacrificial animals (Ex 12:5) or to thorough commitment to the Lord and therefore uprightness (Ge 6:9; Dt 18:13; 2 Sa 22:26). The Greek word can be rendered “mature” or “full-grown” (1 Co 14:20; Eph 4:13; Heb 5:14; 6:1). Many judge its force to be nonmoral here in v. 48, which becomes an exhortation to total commitment to God (e.g., Bonnard). But this makes for a fairly flat conclusion of the antitheses.

A better understanding of the verse does justice to the word teleios but also notes that the form of the verse is exactly like Leviticus 19:2, with “holy” displaced by “perfect,” possibly due to the influence of Deuteronomy 18:13 (where the NIV renders LXX teleios by “blameless”; cf. Gundry, Use of the Old Testament, 73–74). Nowhere is God directly and absolutely called “perfect” in the OT: he is perfect in knowledge (Job 37:16) or in his way (Ps 18:30), and a man’s name may be “Yahweh is perfect” (so yôtām [Jotham], Jdg 9:5; 2 Ki 15:32). But here for the first time perfection is predicated of God (cf. L. Sabourin, “Why Is God Called ‘Perfect’ in Matthew 5:48?” BZ 24 [1980]: 266–68).

In the light of the preceding verses (vv. 17–47), Jesus is saying that the true direction in which the law has always pointed is not toward mere judicial restraints, concessions arising out of the hardness of human hearts, still less casuistical perversions, nor even to the law of love (contra C. Dietzfelbinger, “Die Antithesen der Bergpredigt im Verständnis des Matthäus,” ZNW 70 [1979]: 1–15; see comments at 22:34–35). No, it pointed rather to all the perfection of God, exemplified by the authoritative interpretation of the law bound up in the preceding antitheses. This perfection Jesus’ disciples must emulate if they are truly followers of him who fulfills the Law and the Prophets (v. 17).

The Qumran community understood perfection in terms of perfect obedience, as measured exclusively by the teachings of their community (1QS 1:8–9, 13; 2:1–2; 4:22–23; 8:9–10). Jesus has transposed this to a higher key, not by reducing the obedience, but by making the standard the perfect heavenly Father. Ronald A. Ward (Royal Theology [London: MMS, 1964], 117–20) points out that in classical and Hellenistic usage teleios can have a static and a dynamic force, “the one appropriate to One Who does not develop, and the other suitable for men who can grow in grace” (p. 119, emphasis his): “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The gospel writers refer to God as Father only in contexts pertaining to the Messiah or to believers. He is not the Father of all men but the Father of Jesus and the Father of Jesus’ disciples (cf. H. F. D. Sparks, “The Doctrine of the Fatherhood of God in the Gospels,” in Studies in the Gospels [ed. D. E. Nineham; Oxford: Blackwell, 1955], 241–62). Just as in the OT it was the distinctive mark of Israel that they were set apart for God to reflect his character (Lev 19:2; cf. 11:44–45; 20:7, 26), so the messianic community carries on this distinctiveness (cf. 1 Pe 1:16) as the true locus of the people of God (cf. France, Jesus and the Old Testament, 61–62). This must not encourage us to conclude that Jesus teaches that unqualified perfection is already possible for his disciples. He teaches them to acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy (v. 3) and to pray “Forgive us our debts” (6:12). But the perfection of the Father, the true eschatological goal of the law, is what all disciples of Jesus pursue.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 133). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 349–350). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1223). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 194–195). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAY 4 – GOD’S HOLINESS

Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

—Exodus 15:11

They say that when Leonardo DaVinci painted his famous Last Supper he had little difficulty with any of it except the faces. Then he painted the faces in without too much trouble except one. He did not feel himself worthy to paint the face of Jesus. He held off and kept holding off, unwilling to approach it but knowing he must. Then in the impulsive carelessness of despair, he just painted it quickly and let it go. “There is no use,” he said. “I can’t paint Him.”

I feel very much the same way about explaining the holiness of God. I think that same sense of despair is on my heart. There isn’t any use for anybody to try to explain holiness. The greatest speakers on this subject can play their oratorical harps, but it sounds tinny and unreal, and when they are through you’ve listened to music but haven’t seen God.

I suppose the hardest thing about God to comprehend intellectually is His infinitude. But you can talk about the infinitude of God and not feel yourself a worm. But when you talk about the holiness of God, you have not only the problem of an intellectual grasp, but also a sense of personal vileness, which is almost too much to bear. AOG157-158

Make me that sensitive to Your holiness, O God, that I might indeed be aware of my vileness and fall before You in humility and confession. Amen. [1]


11 Strophe III: Part A: Exordium. The song now turns to the theological interpretation and significance of all that was done. Using the formula for incomparability—“Who is like you” (mî-kāmōkâ; cf. Pss 35:10; 71:19; 77:13; 89:6; 113:5; Mic 7:18; Labuschagne, 22, 66–77, 94–97)—Israel proclaims that God’s exclusive uniqueness had been demonstrated and “proven powerful by his [NIV, ‘majestic in’] holiness” (qōdeš) and his “awesome wonders” (nôrāʾ) or “miracles” (peleʾ; see Notes on 4:21). No other “gods” (ʾēlîm, whose reality is neither affirmed nor denied at this point; cf. 12:12) can do what the Lord had done. The defeat of the Egyptians is simultaneously a defeat of their gods—who are nothings and nonexistent in every sense![2]


15:11 In light of the events that have taken place, the rhetorical questions of this verse imply that there is no one among the gods of the nations like the Lord (see also 12:12; 20:3). In a similar song, Hannah proclaims the complementary answers to the questions of this verse: “There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God” (1 Sam. 2:2).[3]


15:11 Who is like you among the gods, Yahweh The Hebrew word used here for “gods” is elim—the plural of el. Elim is also used of the divine beings loyal to Yahweh—members of His council, the heavenly host (see Psa 89:6; compare Pss 82:1, 6; 29:1). This phrase indicates the absolute uniqueness of Yahweh among all other unseen divine beings.[4]


15:11 Who is like you. The comparison is rhetorical in this threefold presentation of God’s nature and power.[5]


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

[2] Kaiser, W. C., Jr. (2008). Exodus. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis–Leviticus (Revised Edition) (Vol. 1, p. 450). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 169). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ex 15:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 118). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

May 4 – Trials’ Lessons: Faith

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son.”

Hebrews 11:17

✧✧✧

The main reason God allows trials in the lives of Christians is to test the strength of their faith.

The memorable example in Genesis 22 of Abraham’s testing is perhaps the severest trial any human being has ever faced. When God told Abraham to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of Moriah (Gen. 22:1–2), Abraham no doubt was stunned. In terms of God’s nature, His plan of redemption, His promise to Abraham, and His love for Isaac, the entire concept was utterly inconceivable and unprecedented.

But in the face of all that, Abraham showed remarkable faith in dealing with this trial (Gen. 22:3–8). He did not second–guess God, as many of us would, but rather obeyed immediately (v. 3) and displayed the confidence that he and Isaac would return (v. 5) and that God would supply a lamb for the offering (v. 8). Then Abraham showed he was ready to obey completely. Genesis 22 tells us he “bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (vv. 9–10). What unbelievable faith, and what a dramatic moment when God spared Abraham from the full cost of obedience (vv. 11–12)! The story clearly shows us the nature of true faith (Gen. 15:6) and why Abraham was later called the father of the faithful (Rom. 4:11–12; Gal. 3:6–7).

As heirs to Abraham and his extraordinary trust in God, we can also endure the most difficult trials and pass tests of faith that seem unimaginably severe at the time. God might want us to offer our own loved ones to Him and let them go His way rather than tightly holding on to them for our own purposes. However, if we look to God as Abraham did (Heb. 11:17–19), we can be confident in any trial and know with certainty that our faith has passed the test.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that God would strengthen your faith even in the smallest of daily trials.

For Further Study: Read 2 Kings 20:1–11 and 2 Chronicles 32:24–31. What was at the heart of Hezekiah’s difficulties (2 Chron. 32:25)? ✧ Why did God test him (v. 31)?[1]


The Proof of Faith

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type. (11:17–19)

The proof of Abraham’s faith was his willingness to give back to God everything he had, including the son of promise, whom he had miraculously received because of his faith. After all the waiting and wondering, the son had been given by God. Then, before the son was grown, God asked for him back, and Abraham obeyed. Abraham knew that the covenant, which could only be fulfilled through Isaac, was unconditional. He knew, therefore, that God would do whatever was necessary, including raising Isaac from the dead, to keep His covenant. He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead. The thought of sacrificing Isaac must have grieved Abraham terribly, but he knew that he would have his son back. He knew that God would not, in fact could not, take his son away permanently, or else He would have to go back on His own word, which is impossible.

If Noah illustrates the duration of faith, Abraham shows the depth of faith. In tremendous, monumental faith Abraham brought Isaac to the top of Mt. Moriah and prepared to offer him to God. He believed in resurrection from the dead even before God revealed the doctrine. He had to believe in resurrection, because, if God allowed him to carry out the command to sacrifice Isaac, resurrection was the only way God could keep His promise.

As it turned out, because he did not actually die, Isaac became only a type of the resurrection. He was offered but he was not slain. God provided a substitute. It was the fact that Abraham offered up Isaac that proved his faith. The final standard of faith, its real proof, is willingness to sacrifice. “If anyone wishes to come after Me,” Jesus commands, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1).

When John Bunyan was in jail for preaching the gospel, he was deeply concerned about his family. He was particularly grieved about his little blind daughter, for whom he had a special love. He wrote, “I saw in this condition I was a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children. Yet, thought I, I must do it; I must do it. The dearest idol I have known, what err that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee.”

The patriarchs, therefore, held to the five great standards of faith: its pilgrimage, in separation from the world; its patience, in waiting for God to work; its power, in doing the impossible; its positiveness, in focusing on God’s eternal promise; and its proof, in obedient sacrifice.[2]


11:17 We now come to the greatest test of Abraham’s faith. God told him to offer up his only son, Isaac, upon the altar. With unhesitating obedience, Abraham set forth to offer to God the dearest treasure of his heart. Was he oblivious of the tremendous dilemma? God had promised him numberless progeny. Isaac was his only begotten son. Abraham was now 117 and Sarah was 108![3]


17 The NIV’s “was about to sacrifice” represents the Greek imperfect tense “was sacrificing,” which can have the sense of setting out to do what was not in fact completed. The tenses carefully reflect the OT story in which Abraham “offered” his son (perfect tense of the same verb) but was not allowed to go through with the sacrifice.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 335–336). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2197). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 161). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 4 – The Right Righteousness

Not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ.

Philippians 3:9

To know Jesus Christ is to have His righteousness, His holiness, and His virtue imputed to us, which makes us right before God.

Throughout his earlier life, the apostle Paul tried to attain salvation through strict adherence to the Law. But when he was confronted by the wondrous reality of Christ, he was ready to trade in all his self–righteous and external morals, good works, and religious rituals for the righteousness granted to him through faith in Christ. Paul was willing to lose the thin and fading robe of his reputation if he could only gain the splendid and incorruptible robe of the righteousness of Christ.

This is the greatest of all benefits because it secures our standing before God. It is God’s gift to the sinner, appropriated by faith in the perfect work of Christ, which satisfies God’s justice.[1]


Righteousness

not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, (3:9b)

Paul had spent his adult life futilely trying to obtain a righteousness of his own derived from keeping the Law. That righteousness—one of self-effort, external morality, religious ritual, and moral works, all produced by the flesh—had been a crushing, unbearable burden (cf. Matt. 23:4; Luke 11:46; Acts 15:10). Although Paul did his best, he fell far short of God’s standard (cf. Rom. 3:23), which no one can meet: “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:19–20; cf. Acts 13:39; Gal. 2:16; 3:10–13; 5:4; Eph. 2:8–9). He was like the rest of his countrymen who, “not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3).

In Romans 7:9–13, Paul expands on the awakening in his heart:

I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

Once, though devoted to the law of Judaism, he was living and thinking apart from the law of God. When he faced the true divine law, he saw himself as a sinner dead in sin and headed for eternal death. The law of Judaism gave him life, he thought. The law of God killed him. When he saw himself as utterly sinful, he renounced works of righteousness of his own doing and accepted the free gift of God’s righteousness by grace.

Paul gladly exchanged the burden of legalistic self-righteousness for the righteousness which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. Faith is the confident, continuous confession of total dependence on and trust in Jesus Christ for the necessary requirements to enter God’s kingdom. It involves more than mere intellectual assent to the truth of the gospel; saving faith includes trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and surrender to His lordship. It is on the basis of faith alone that righteousness … comes from God to repentant sinners.

Righteousness is right standing with God and acceptance by Him. That repentant sinners have their sin imputed to Christ and His righteousness imputed to them is the heart of the gospel. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul declared that God “made Him [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Paul gladly shed the threadbare robe of his own righteousness and stretched out his empty hands to receive the glorious royal robe of God’s righteousness in Christ. This doctrine is at the core of the gospel. On the cross, God judged Jesus as if He had personally committed every sin ever committed by every person who ever truly believed. When a sinner embraces Jesus as Lord and trusts only in His sacrifice for sin, God treats that sinner as if he lived Christ’s sinless life (cf. Isa. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).[2]


3:9 And be found in Him. Here again it sounds as if Paul was still trying to be found in Christ. The fact is that he is looking back to the tremendous decision which faced him before he was saved. Was he willing to abandon his own efforts to earn salvation, and simply trust in Christ? He had made his choice. He had abandoned all else in order to be found in Christ. The moment he believed on the Lord Jesus, he stood in a new position before God. No longer was he seen as a child of sinful Adam, but now he was seen in Christ, enjoying all the favor which the Lord Jesus enjoys before God the Father.

Likewise he had renounced the filthy rags of his own self-righteousness, which he had sought to win by keeping the law, and had chosen the righteousness of God which is bestowed on everyone who receives the Savior. Righteousness is here spoken of as a garment or covering. Man needs righteousness in order to stand before God in favor. But man cannot produce it. And so, in grace, God gives His own righteousness to those who receive His Son as Lord and Savior. “He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Again we would like to emphasize that verses 8 and 9 do not suggest that Paul had not yet received the righteousness of God. On the contrary, this became his possession when he was regenerated on the road to Damascus. But the present tense simply indicates that the results of that important event continued up to the present and that Paul still considered Christ to be worth far more than anything he had given up.[3]


9 Paul mentions his stellar Jewish heritage, privileges, and religious successes but then disavows them, because he now places his hope only in Christ. It is through Christ, and Christ alone, that he hopes to attain the resurrection, which is the fulfillment of the hope of Israel (Ac 23:6; 24:15; 26:6–7; 28:20). As Christ “was found” (heuriskō, GK 2351) in the form of a man (2:7), Paul hopes to be found (same Greek verb) in Christ at the day of the Lord, that he might be acquitted before God in the judgment. His Jewish privileges are found to be worthless in light of the revelation in Christ that the righteousness that counts with God does not derive from one’s heritage or obedience to the law. Paul’s succinct comments about righteousness in these verses show that the nuances of the debate were not at issue in Philippi (cf. deSilva, “No Confidence in the Flesh,” 43). He assumes that the Philippian Christians understand what he means, and we understand better what he means by reading Romans. A right relationship with God is based on being in Christ through faith. Right conduct derives only from serving God by the Spirit. Faith is the admission that one cannot earn God’s approval but can only accept it by grace as a gift.

The problem with righteousness based on the law is that it is a false righteousness founded on human performance, which will ultimately founder because the flesh can be taken over by the power of sin so that even the law—holy, righteous, and good as it is—can be co-opted by sin (Ro 7:5–11). Human righteousness always falls short (Dt 9:4–7), but it can delude one into thinking that one is “faultless” (Php 3:6). Ignorance (Ro 10:2) breeds arrogance and a refusal to submit humbly to God’s righteousness (Ro 10:3).

The phrase “faith in Christ” (lit., “the faith of Christ” [pistis Christou]) continues to spark debate among interpreters (cf. Ro 3:22, 26; Gal 2:16, 20). Some take it as a subjective genitive—“through Christ’s own faithfulness,” referring back to what Christ has done (2:6–11). It is argued that when a genitive follows the word pistis in the LXX, it is almost always a subjective genitive. This grammatical point is buttressed by Paul’s assertion in Romans 5:15 that grace comes through one man’s act of righteousness—Christ’s. Christ’s faithfulness to God secured the promises to Abraham for all who believe. If this view is correct, Paul would be contrasting his righteousness with Christ’s righteousness (cf. Ro 4:3). Being found in Christ makes it possible to share in Christ’s righteousness when one stands before God.

The traditional view interprets “faith of Christ” as an objective genitive, “faith in Christ.” Paul consistently uses the verbal form of faith (pisteuō, GK 4409) to refer to believers’ putting their trust in Christ. Christ is never the subject of a verb that connotes faithfulness, and Paul nowhere says unambiguously that salvation came through Christ’s faithfulness. He unambiguously ties salvation to the believer’s faith in Christ and emphasizes it in 1:29 and 2:17. In this context, the objective genitive seems to be the best option. The second clause, “the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith,” reiterates the first to reinforce the point. Paul contrasts “righteousness of my own,” which is based on his obedience to the law, with the righteousness that belongs to God, which is based on his faith in Christ. This righteousness is bestowed as a free gift. Paul no longer places his confidence in himself and his achievements but in Christ’s achievements for him.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 141). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2001). Philippians (pp. 237–238). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1973). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Garland, D. E. (2006). Philippians. In T. Longman III (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 241–242). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.