Daily Archives: May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


May 8, 2017 |


North Korea has detained another American citizen accused of committing unspecified hostile acts against the country.

Emmanuel Macron pledged to heal France’s rifts after his victory over Marine Le Pen in the presidential election, saying that he’ll work to address the concerns that were exposed during one of the most divisive campaigns of recent history.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that the victory in the French presidential election of a staunch defender of the European Union is why she needs an “equally strong mandate” to be able to fight Britain’s corner in Brexit talks.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the leader of timber-rich British Columbia that he would consider her request to ban thermal coal shipments in retaliation for new U.S. tariffs on softwood slumber.

As China’s economy matures, its migrant worker force is also aging, staying closer to home, and increasingly working in stores and restaurants rather than on assembly lines.

AP Top Stories

German police on Sunday evacuated 50,000 people from the northern city of Hanover in one of the country’s largest post-war operations to defuse World War II era bombs.

At least 29 final year primary school pupils were killed in a bus crash in northern Tanzania on Saturday, along with two teachers and the driver, the school’s director said.

Dressed in white and chanting “Liberty!”, tens of thousands of women opposed to Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro marched on Saturday, proffering roses to security forces who blocked their way.

Iran sees $55 per barrel as a suitable price for crude oil, and believes that OPEC and non-OPEC producers are likely to extend output curbs to support prices, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett took on the Republican Obamacare repeal bill that was passed by the House this week and called it “a huge tax cut” for the rich.

Activity at a volcano near Guatemala’s capital went back to normal on Saturday, officials said, a day after 300 people were evacuated as it spat hot ash high into the air.

Archaeologists and conservation experts met in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the safe transportation of King Tutankhamun’s throne, chests and bed from the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo to a new one being built on the other side of the Egyptian capital.

A 47-year-old woman was caught Tuesday trying to smuggle heroin strapped to her butt into the United States from Mexico. According to the agents, the three pounds of heroin she was carrying were worth more than $45,000.

Israeli ministers approved a controversial bill on Sunday that would define the country as the “national home of the Jewish people” while downgrading Arabic as an official language, officials and reports said.

Boko Haram militants have released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200 whom they kidnapped from the northeastern town of Chibok three years ago in exchange for prisoners. Around 270 girls were kidnapped in April 2014 by the Islamist militant group, which has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than two million during a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria.

China will further tighten its internet regulations with a pledge on Sunday to strengthen controls over search engines and online news portals, the latest step in President Xi Jinping’s push to maintain strict Communist Party control over content.

Ismail Haniyeh, the new leader of Hamas, made his first public appearance in the new role on Monday, visiting a solidarity tent in his native Gaza for hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

An 85-year-old ex-Gurkha who was attempting to reclaim his title as the world’s oldest person to summit Mount Everest died of altitude sickness, the expedition organizer said Sunday.

A Southwest Airlines captain rewarded his one millionth passenger this month on a flight from Denver to Pittsburgh. Captain John Ritchie, who has been working for the airline for 21 years, told InsideEdition.com that he has been counting the number of passengers on his aircrafts since he first started working for the airline.


More than one million children have fled South Sudan because of escalating conflict, the United Nations said.

Rebel fighters and their families have begun leaving a besieged area of the Syrian capital Damascus, under a new evacuation deal with the government. Up to 1,500 people were expected to leave the Barzeh district

One in five Australians has suffered image-based abuse, according to the nation’s most comprehensive study on “revenge porn”. The national survey of more than 4,200 people found that men and women were equally likely to be targeted.


A program to be rolled out at Emory University this fall pledges to pay “100% of demonstrated financial need for undergraduate Undocumented Students (with or without DACA) who are admitted as first-year, first-degree-seeking students,” campus officials state online.

Despite the drastic financial blowback Target Corporation has been weathering since announcing its plan last year to allow men to enter women’s bathroom facilities, the retail giant is continuing full-speed ahead in its pursuit of LGBT social activism, all in the name of “inclusivity.”

The wastelands around Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant are about to begin their transformation into a large-scale solar power farm, capable of generating half the energy that Chernobyl did.

The Briefing 05-08-17

France’s new President-elect, Emmanuel Macron, and the role of religion in politics

When we read the news, are we aware of who or what is presented with sympathy?

The post The Briefing 05-08-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.

Top News – 5/8/2017

Ancient Tablet Proving Existence of Tower of Babel Deciphered After 100 Years
An ancient tablet believed to depict the Biblical Tower of Babel has been deciphered 100 years after its discovery and may represent the first-ever image of the real Tower when it stood in Babylon during Biblical times. The amazing tale of the tablet is told in a series produced by the Smithsonian. For scholars, the tablet offers proof that the Tower of Babel wasn’t just a work of fiction, the series argues, but “an actual building from antiquity.”

Wi-Fi holography can be used to “spy” on entire rooms and buildings
Researchers at the Technical University of Munich have come up with a process that creates a holographic image of a space from the microwave radiation of a Wi-Fi signal bouncing off people and objects. The scientists say their method could be used in automated industrial settings, to track objects moving through a facility, for example.

Emmanuel Macron’s unlikely path to the French presidency
But in a once-unimaginable scenario, Emmanuel Macron — at 39, the boy wonder of an aging political establishment — won the French presidency Sunday with a tidal wave of popular support. He will soon be France’s youngest head of state since ­Napoleon Bonaparte….

ISIS’ Afghanistan Chief Eliminated by Special Forces
Abdul Hasib, leader of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, responsible for bold attacks that spooked the local security establishment, was killed by US special forces in April, according to a statement by President Ashraf Ghani Sunday.

On May the 4th (Star Wars Day), unstable magnetic fields in the sun’s atmosphere shifted and hurled a CME into space. The cloud’s velocity was relatively low, and it might take 6 whole days to cross the sun-Earth divide. NOAA forecasters expect the “Star Wars Day CME” to arrive on May 10th…

Russia puts Europe on alert as Putin’s warships enter waters after US destroyer swoops
THREE Russian warships have challenged Nato by entering Latvia’s exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea, according to armed forces officials in Riga.

We’ve Just Witnessed What Can Happen When the Globalists Work Together
Emmanuel Macron has won the second round of the French presidential Elections and secured his position as the new leader of France. But this was not a victory solely for him, this was a concerted effort of the world’s Globalist leaders to further their agenda at the expense of the voting public.

Jewish Trump confidant: US president has convinced Abbas to make concessions
US President Donald Trump has succeeded in persuading Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to make the kind of concessions that will enable the diplomatic process to move forward…

Putin and Abbas to meet next Thursday
two men will discuss the results of the Arab League summit in Amman, with special attention paid to the Palestinian issue and the struggle against terrorism, as well as Abbas’s meeting this past week with U.S. President Donald Trump. Russia has expressed an interest in mediating Israel-PA peace talks which have been frozen since 2014.

Belgian Region Outlaws Kosher Slaughter
The Parliament of the Wallonia Region of Belgium outlawed kosher slaughter on Friday, passing a law banning all slaughter without stunning, for animals and fowl. Kosher slaughtering forbids stunning before slaughtering. This is also a requirement for Halal Muslim slaughtering.

Netanyahu Declares Support for Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts
Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed his support for the American leader’s push for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Netanyahu tosses Hamas policy paper on Israel into waste bin
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday symbolically tossed into a bin a Hamas policy paper published last week that set out an apparent softening of the Palestinian Islamist group’s stance toward Israel. In a document issued last Monday, Hamas said it was dropping its longstanding call for Israel’s destruction, but said it still rejected the Jewish state’s right to exist and continued to back “armed struggle” against it.

Top US general to arrive in Israel
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army General Joseph Dunford is set to arrive in Israel on Monday evening as a guest of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, a source in the Defense Ministry confirmed on Sunday. It will be Dunford’s third visit to Israel as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and fourth meeting with Eisenkot, who he awarded the Legion of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious service” in August 2016.

Emmanuel Macron: French president-elect to fight ‘forces of division’
Emmanuel Macron has vowed to fight “the forces of division that undermine France” after easily winning the run-off election for the French presidency. The centrist candidate, 39, defeated the far right’s Marine Le Pen, winning 66.1% of the vote to her 33.9%. Acknowledging his victory, Mr Macron told supporters he wanted to ensure Le Pen voters “no longer have a reason to vote for an extremist position”.

Canada floods: Montreal declares state of emergency
A state of emergency has been declared in the Canadian city of Montreal due to flooding caused by torrential rains and melting snow. The measure was declared on Sunday afternoon and will remain in place for 48 hours, city officials said. Across the province of Quebec, in Canada’s east, nearly 1,900 homes have already been flooded across 126 towns and cities, authorities say.

Religious liberty order disappoints some conservatives
Some conservatives are frustrated by President Trump’s new religious liberty order, saying it is dramatically scaled back from what they were expecting and doesn’t enact the protections he promised during the campaign…eligious conservatives hoped the order would resolve a number of issues they say conflict with their faiths, including LGBT anti-discrimination protections and ObamaCare regulations on contraception in employer-provided insurance.

Chinese-North Korean Venture Shows How Much Sanctions Can Miss
For most of the past decade, a Chinese state-owned company had a joint venture with a North Korean company under sanctions for involvement in Pyongyang’s atomic-weapons program, Chinese corporate and government records show. China’s Limac Corp. and North Korea’s Ryonbong General Corp. set up a joint venture in 2008 to mine tantalum, niobium and zirconium, minerals that are useful in making phones and computers but also nuclear reactors and missiles.

Remedial ISIS Tutorial Steers Jihadists Toward Heavier, Deadlier Truck Attacks
The Islamic State just published a remedial step-by-step pictorial for lone jihadists on how to use a heavy vehicle to kill, walking would-be terrorists through how to acquire a vehicle and which targets to strike. ISIS’ monthly Rumiyah magazine, which publishes online in 10 languages including English, last covered vehicle attacks in their November issue “Just Terror Tactics”…

Iran minister warns Saudi Arabia after ‘battle’ comments
Iran will hit back at most of Saudi Arabia with the exception of Islam’s holiest places if the kingdom does anything “ignorant”, Tehran’s defense minister was quoted as saying on Sunday after a Saudi prince threatened to move the “battle” to Iran. “If the Saudis do anything ignorant, we will leave no area untouched except Mecca and Medina,” Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying.

Iran warns will hit militant ‘safe havens’ inside Pakistan
The head of the Iranian armed forces warned Islamabad on Monday that Tehran would hit bases inside Pakistan if the government does not confront Sunni militants who carry out cross-border attacks. Ten Iranian border guards were killed by militants last month. Iran said Jaish al Adl, a Sunni militant group, had shot the guards with long-range guns, fired from inside Pakistan.

Texas governor signs into law bill to punish ‘sanctuary cities’
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed into law on Sunday a measure to punish “sanctuary cities,” despite a plea from police chiefs of the state’s biggest cities to halt the bill they said would hinder their ability to fight crime. The Texas measure comes as Republican U.S. President Donald Trump has made combating illegal immigration a priority.

Outrage After Dartmouth Appoints Israel Boycotter as Head of Faculty
The pro-Israel community at Dartmouth College is reeling following a decision by school leadership to appoint as their new head of faculty a leading supporter of the movement to boycott Israel and Jewish academics.

As China-North Korea ties cool, Russia looks to benefit
Moscow may be looking to take advantage of the nuclear standoff between Pyongyang and the international community. As cracks deepen in the decades-old friendship between China and North Korea amid increasing U.S. pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin stands ready to fill Beijing’s shoes.

House to Probe Whether Obama Undermined U.S. National Security to Finalize Iran Deal
13 Republican senators have demanded answers about whether the Obama administration jeopardized U.S. national security.

Trump Should Pull Out of Obama’s Unilaterally Created Paris Climate Change Treaty
On April 22, 2016, the United States and 170 other countries signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which seeks “to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.”

Exposing The Renewable Fuels Con
You can’t just sell gas anymore. Most people don’t realize it, but what they’re pumping into their car’s tank isn’t actually gasoline, properly speaking. It’s gasoline mixed with ethanol alcohol – the ratio currently set at 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gas (E10). “Diesel” often isn’t exactly diesel, either…

Columnist who defended NRA quits after being suspended
A conservative columnist who was suspended by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after she defended the National Rifle Association from comparisons to ISIS fired back with her resignation and a series of targeted tweets.

North Korea detains second US professor working at Pyongyang university
North Korea has detained a US citizen on suspicion of “hostile acts” against the regime, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday.

Humanism Recognized as a Religion by US Government

It is no secret that humanists are aggressively pushing their secular humanist religion on children. Supposedly humanists are “fighting for kids not to be taught religious beliefs,” says Ken Ham. “In reality, they have brainwashed the nation’s leaders into passing legislation to protect the teaching of the secular humanist religion to America’s children.” Ham reports what atheists are up to in a piece over at Answers in Genesis. He writes:

The Department of Defense recently updated its list of recognized religions from just over 100 to 221—including a formal recognition of humanism as religion. This move reportedly

means servicemen and women who are adherents of small faith groups are now guaranteed the same rights, privileges and protections granted to their peers who are members of larger faith groups.

Apparently the new designation “was lauded by humanist organizations, which have been pushing for full recognition, including their own chaplains, for 10 years.” The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is “ready with ‘chaplain outreach’ to help train military chaplains in humanist beliefs and needs.” Of course, a humanist cannot offer any real hope to anyone. They really have no message except that this life is all there is and that the only hope is in humanity (which the Bible describes as desperately wicked and full of sin [Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23], a fact that is easily seen now and throughout history).

View article →

Robert Jeffress: Trump ‘Most Faith-Friendly President’ Ever, Ended 60-Year War on Religious Liberty

Dallas megachurch pastor and one of Donald Trump’s most loyal evangelical supporters Robert Jeffress believes that the executive order signed by the president last Thursday marks the end of the United States government’s “war on religious liberty.”

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Apocalypse Soon: Scientific And Religious Leaders Both Agree That Cataclysmic Disasters And Mass Death Are In Humanity’s Future

Are we on the verge of the worst times in all of human history? We live at a moment when prominent leaders in the scientific world and in the religious world are both urgently warning that humanity could soon be facing a nightmarish apocalyptic future. Weather patterns are rapidly changing, the crust of our planet is becoming increasing unstable, “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics threaten to completely render our best medical treatments obsolete, the number of global terror attacks continues to rise year after year, and thanks to weapons of mass destruction humanity now has the capability of completely destroying itself several times over. They often disagree about why it will happen, but an increasing number of scientific and religious leaders have come to the exact same conclusion that the future of humanity is very bleak. (Read More…)

Former Reagan Administration Official Is Warning Of A Financial Collapse Some Time ‘Between August And November’

If a former Reagan administration official is correct, we are likely to see the next major financial collapse by the end of 2017.  According to Wikipedia, David Stockman “is an author, former businessman and U.S. politician who served as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985) under President Ronald Reagan.”  He has been frequently interviewed by mainstream news outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg and PBS, and he is a highly respected voice in the financial community.  Like other analysts, Stockman believes that the U.S. economy is in dire shape, and he told Greg Hunter during a recent interview that he is convinced that the S&P 500 could soon crash “by 40% or even more”… (Read More…)

Mid-Day Snapshot

May 8, 2017

ObamaCare’s Failure Is Trump’s Fault?

The architect of ObamaCare blames its failure on Trump, while Obama boasts of how courageous Democrats were.

The Foundation

“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: May 8

  • A kinder, gentler Trump for third healthcare try (Read More)
  • Senate Moves Obamacare Repeal to Slow Lane After House Squeaker (Read More)
  • 14 Players to Watch in Senate Health-Care Overhaul (Read More)
  • Futures flat ahead of jobs report; IBM drops (Read More)
  • Oil Stems Losses in Volatile Trading (Read More)
  • Uber faces criminal probe over software used to evade authorities (Read More)
  • Saudi Arabia says Trump visit to enhance cooperation in fighting extremism (Read More)
  • Merkel’s Party Rebound Faces First Test in German State Vote (Read More)
  • Macron stretches lead as French presidential campaign enters final day (Read More)
  • U.S. Jet Fighters Flex Muscle Amid Russia Tensions (Read More)
  • OPEC Runs Out of Options to Boost Oil Price (Read More)
  • Influence of English is fading, says EU chief (Read More)
  • With maiden jet flight, China enters dog-fight with Boeing, Airbus (Read More)
  • One of Venezuela’s Biggest Investors Would Welcome Regime Change (Read More)
  • Clashes erupt on Pakistan-Afghan frontier killing ‘several’: Pakistan (Read More)
  • These Owners Have Won Big—and Often—at the Kentucky Derby (Read More)
  • New York City Cafe Says Starbucks Stole Its Unicorn Drink (Read More)
  • Iraqi forces gain foothold in northwest Mosul after surprise new push (Read More)
  • Turkish court rejects Wikipedia’s appeal over website’s blocking (Read More)

Top Headlines – 5/8/2017

Trump should just stay home: Expecting an unstable person like the US president to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is like expecting a compulsive gambler to serve as a guide for level-headed behavior

Israeli ministers approve controversial Jewish State bill

Israel moves to downgrade status of Arabic language

Netanyahu tosses Hamas policy paper on Israel into waste bin

‘The UN is no longer the Palestinians’ playground’

Israel Releases Footage of Palestinian Hunger Strike Leader Barghouti Eating in His Prison Cell

Palestinians say video of hunger-strike leader Barghouti eating is fake

Attempted stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Terrorist neutralized.

Jordan, US launch major military exercises

‘US must recognize Israeli sovereignty on the Golan’

Syria safe zones hit by clashes on first day

Islamic State mounts fierce resistance on new Mosul front

The U.S. military is targeting Islamic State’s virtual caliphate by hunting & killing its online operatives one-by-one

Remedial ISIS Tutorial Steers Jihadists Toward Heavier, Deadlier Truck Attacks

Pentagon says IS in Afghanistan leader killed in April raid

Iran minister warns Saudi Arabia after ‘battle’ comments: Tasnim

Macron wins French presidency, to sighs of relief in Europe

Asian shares show relief over French moderate Macron’s win

Macron to Take Time Reforming Economy in Divided France

Paris main mosque says Macron election gives hope to French Muslims

Saying ‘anti-Semitism defeated,’ Israelis fete Macron victory

Pro-EU Emmanuel Macron becomes France’s youngest president

50,000 evacuated in Germany over unexploded WWII bombs

North Korea’s ‘Hostage Diplomacy’: Kim Uses Detained Americans as Leverage

North Korea detains another American over alleged hostile acts

China to further tighten its internet controls

Trump travel ban back in U.S. courts next week as battles stretch on

Trump’s Wall Faces a Barrier in Texas: Landowner Lawsuits

Gov. Greg Abbott signs ‘sanctuary cities’ ban into law on Facebook Live

The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked

UK super-rich got richer despite Brexit: rich list

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Meulaboh, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Neiafu, Tonga

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 18,000ft

Sangeang Api volcano in Indonesia erupts to 17,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 13,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 10,000ft

Trail of damage as Cyclone Donna skirts Vanuatu

This week may bring earliest tropical depression on record in the eastern Pacific Ocean

Major river flooding to persist in central US this week

City of Montreal declares state of emergency from flooding

Another Arctic ice panic over as world temperatures plummet

Fire continues to scorch Georgia wildlife refuge; residents evacuated

Ticks spreading rare virus much worse than Lyme Disease

ObamaCare cost spike is Trump’s fault, ACA architect Gruber says

‘Newsweek’ Writer: I Hope GOP Sees Family Members Die After ObamaCare Repeal

Communist-ruled Cuba hosts first transgender Mass

Catholic school hit for canceling LGBT play for 5-year-olds

Religious liberty order disappoints some conservatives

Prophecy mongers hail “Great Sign” and “End of Days” for sure . . . Again?!?

Todd White’s enthusiasm – a little truth and a lot of error

How much should “associations” factor into my assessment of whether a teacher is false or not?

The strange life and demise of Tony Alamo

Former followers react to Alamo’s death

Word of Faith Fellowship – Allegations of kidnapping, abuse at area church

Smithsonian Channel Spotlights Stone Tablet Believed to Confirm Biblical Tower of Babel

Elderly Ex-Vicar ‘Marries’ Male Model 54 Years Younger, Wants Church of England to ‘Move On’ With the Times

Suspected IS Radicals Shoot to Death Christian Barber, as Slaughter in Egypt Continues

Public Prayer in America Facing Serious Threats

Posted: 08 May 2017 06:59 AM PDT

(By Rachel Alexander) “Maybe,” says Liberty Council’s Jeremy Dys, “we will get through this year without receiving reports of city leaders going to their national…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea Warns of ‘Invincible Army’ and will turn America into a “Sea of Fire”

Posted: 08 May 2017 06:47 AM PDT

North Korea has claimed it has an invincible army and has warned it is waiting for an order to wage what it calls a final…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ominous Iran-North Korea Report Emerges Just Days After Pastor’s Warning

Posted: 08 May 2017 06:36 AM PDT

A concerning news report emerged just days after Pastor Greg Laurie, founder of the popular Harvest Crusades and senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

1,500-Year-Old Torah Discovered—Proves Matthew 5:18

Posted: 08 May 2017 06:31 AM PDT

In addition to the Torah, many other historical artifacts belonging to the Hellenistic and Seljuq periods, including statues, stone rubbings, jewelry, and coins were recovered….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

How False Prophets Deceive the Masses

Posted: 08 May 2017 06:28 AM PDT

(By Michael Youssef) There is an underhanded way to sell products called the bait-and-switch method. Here is how it works: A retailer entices a person…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russia puts Europe on alert as Putin’s warships enter waters after US destroyer swoops

Posted: 08 May 2017 06:16 AM PDT

Three Russian warships have challenged Nato by entering Latvia’s exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea, according to armed forces officials in Riga. The corvettes…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Expert Warns North Korea Prepping EMP Weapon Aimed At U.S. Homefront

Posted: 08 May 2017 06:12 AM PDT

While the international community and news media focus on North Korean missile tests and the country’s nuclear program, one expert warned on Sunday that North…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Canadian Forces dispatch 400 troops to help with Quebec floods

Posted: 07 May 2017 07:56 PM PDT

More than 400 soldiers headed to various regions of Quebec on Saturday to help cope with the heavy flooding caused by unrelenting rain in Central…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

LIVE Prayer Session

Posted: 07 May 2017 07:51 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we take the time to pray for many of our Church Family LIVE from our Facebook Page. We hope…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: China Must Be Prepared to Topple Kim Jong-Un or America Will!

Posted: 07 May 2017 07:46 PM PDT

China must be prepared to destabilize North Korea and unseat Kim Jong-un – or face the consequences of American intervention, a former US foreign policy…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

50 Lawmakers Push for ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ Birthplace Designation on US Passports

Posted: 07 May 2017 07:37 PM PDT

Dozens of members of Congress signed a letter urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to reverse the longstanding U.S. policy of not allowing Americans to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

ISIS leader in Afghanistan killed as 50 US special forces and 40 Afghan commandos storm compound

Posted: 07 May 2017 07:26 PM PDT

The head of Islamic State in Afghanistan has been killed – according to an Afghan government statement. Abdul Hasib was killed in a raid in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ Explores the Fallout of a “Godless Rapture”

Posted: 07 May 2017 06:39 PM PDT

A few years ago, a close friend of mine—a youth minister on his way home from a mission trip—died in a tragic car accident. His…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Many Leading Scientists Now Warning Of Coming Apocalypse

Posted: 07 May 2017 06:35 PM PDT

While apocalyptic beliefs about the end of the world have, historically, been the subject of religious speculation, they are increasingly common among some of the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Former Reagan Administration Official Is Warning Of A Financial Collapse Some Time ‘Between August And November’

Posted: 07 May 2017 06:29 PM PDT

ATTENTION: The following report does not reflect the views or opinions of End Time Headlines (Reported By Michael Snyder) If a former Reagan administration official…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Texas governor signs bill targeting sanctuary cities

Posted: 07 May 2017 06:24 PM PDT

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Sunday prohibiting the state’s cities and counties from enacting so-called “sanctuary” laws that prevent local law enforcement officers…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

ABC, CBS, NBC join CNN in censoring Trump Ad

Posted: 07 May 2017 03:00 PM PDT

The Donald Trump campaign Friday announced that ABC, CBS and NBC has joined CNN in a campaign to censor its 100-day ad, “setting a chilling…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, Becomes France’s Youngest President Ever Elected

Posted: 07 May 2017 02:52 PM PDT

The pro-EU politician Emmanuel Macron was tonight elected as France’s youngest ever president with a projected landslide of 65.5 per cent. Macron, 39, beat far-right…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

LGBT Canadians are Furious After Catholic School Cancels LGBT Play for 5-Year-Olds

Posted: 07 May 2017 02:49 PM PDT

(Reported By Todd Starnes) LGBT Canadians are furious after a Catholic school district canceled performances of a play about gender identity – meant for children…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Actor Who Played Jesus in ‘Passion of the Christ’ Reveals He Was ‘Struck By Lightning’ During Sermon on the Mount Filming

Posted: 07 May 2017 01:06 PM PDT

Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” has revealed that he was struck by lightning while filming…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Smithsonian Channel Spotlights Stone Tablet Believed to Confirm Biblical Tower of Babel

Posted: 07 May 2017 01:01 PM PDT

The first episode of the new season of the Smithsonian Channel’s “Secrets” series spotlights a stone tablet discovered in Babylon more than 100 years ago…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sonic boom rocks Florida as secret Air Force X-37B spaceship lands after 2-year mission…

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:58 PM PDT

The landing of an unmanned military space plane at Kennedy Space Center Sunday morning concluded an almost two-year mission in orbit, according to the U.S….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FALLING AWAY: Cuba Hosts First “Transgender Mass”

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:52 PM PDT

For decades belonging to a religion and being anything but heterosexual was stigmatized in Communist-ruled, macho Cuba, making the Mass held by three transgender pastors…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea threatens to Nuke the White House (Again)

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:49 PM PDT

North Korea has threatened to nuke the White House and reduce it to ashes as Kim Jong-un’s regime bragged the days of the US are now “over”….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Another US citizen detained in North Korea

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:37 PM PDT

North Korea has detained a US citizen on suspicion of acts against the Pyongyang regime, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday. A State…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Texas students may be required to pass citizenship test to graduate

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:33 PM PDT

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would require high school students to pass a civics test in order to graduate. House Bill 1776 would replace…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ellen DeGeneres Says Trump “Not Welcome On My Show”

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:30 PM PDT

Daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres says President Donald Trump is not welcome on her show. In an interview with Today host Matt Lauer Thursday,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Blue Whale’ Suicide Game Becomes Latest Teen Craze

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:26 PM PDT

Authorities in the U.K. are warning parents to be extra watchful of their teens following the release of the online game craze “Blue Whale Challenge,”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

ALL IN YOUR HEAD – Scientists Now Claiming “Religious Beliefs” Linked to Traumatic Brain Injuries

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:22 PM PDT

A traumatic brain injury could end up making people more extreme in their religious beliefs, according to new research. Scientists from Northwestern University in Illinois…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Speculations on Biblical End Times Rise Amid Nuclear War Fears and Natural Disasters

Posted: 07 May 2017 12:18 PM PDT

With the likelihood of a major military conflict—if not a nuclear World War 3—involving North Korea and the United States looming larger by the day,…

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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:


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!


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.”


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).


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.


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.


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.”


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?

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May 8, 2017: Verse of the day


Proof of His Divine Love

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (14:28–3)

The fourth proof of Jesus’ deity was His demonstration of divine love. Although Mark and John report Jesus’ walking on the water, only Matthew tells of this incident concerning Peter.

Peter’s if did not reflect doubt that it was actually his Lord, because going out onto the water to join an unidentified ghost was the last thing Peter would have done. He was naturally impetuous and brash, and more than once his overconfidence got him into trouble-including trouble with the Lord But it would have taken more than brashness for this life-long fisherman to have ventured out on the water without benefit or a boat, because no one on board better knew the dangers of Galilee storms than Peter. He had probably been thrown into the water at times by high winds or waves and had seen others experience the same trauma. He was no fool, and it is highly unlikely that impetuosity would have so easily overridden his reason and instinctive caution.

It seems much more probable that Peter was overjoyed to see Jesus and that his supreme concern was to be safely with Him. Mere impetuosity might have caused him to jump out of the boat, expecting Jesus somehow to come to his rescue. But he knew better, and he therefore asked the Lord, Command me to come to You on the water. He knew Jesus had the power to enable him to walk on the water, but he did not presume to attempt the feat without His express instruction. Peter’s request was an act of affection built on confident faith. He did not ask to walk on water for the sake of doing something spectacular, but because it was the way to get to Jesus.

Peter did many things for which he can be faulted. But he is sometimes faulted for things that reflect love, courage, and faith as much as brashness or cowardice. For instance, although he denied the Lord while in the courtyard during Jesus’ trial, he was nevertheless there, as close to Him as he could get. The rest of the disciples were nowhere to be found. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter’s suggestion was unwise but it was prompted by sincere devotion: “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Matt. 17:4). He genuinely loved Jesus and sincerely wanted to serve and please Him. Peter did not resist Jesus’ washing his feet because of pride, but because, in his deep humility, he could not conceive of His Lord washing the feet of anyone so unworthy. And when Jesus explained the significance of what He was doing, Peter said, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head” (John 13:9).

Peter was continually in the Lord’s shadow and footsteps. By reading between the lines of the gospel accounts it is not difficult to imagine that Peter sometimes followed so closely behind Jesus that he bumped into Him when He stopped Peter sensed in Jesus’ presence a wonderful safety and comfort, and that is where Peter now wanted to be. It was safer to be with Jesus on the water than to be without Him in the boat.

Peter’s love for Jesus was imperfect and weak, but it was real. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, and each time Peter responded affirmatively Jesus did not contradict Peter’s answer but reminded him of his obligation to care for his Master’s sheep and warned him of the great cost his love would demand (John 21:15–18). Tradition has it that when Peter was about to be crucified, he requested being put on the cross upside down, not feeling worthy to die in the same way as his Lord.

Jesus’ telling Peter to come confirms the disciple’s right motive. Jesus never invites, much less commands, a person to do anything sinful. Nor is He ever a party to pride or presumption. With the greatest of compassion, Jesus told Peter to come, highly pleased that he wanted to be with his Lord.

As much as anything else, it was Peter’s great love for Christ that made him the leader of the disciples. He appears to have been the closest to Christ, and is always named first in lists of the twelve. Just as the Lord never rejects weak faith, but accepts it and builds on it, He also never rejects weak and imperfect love. With great patience and care He takes the love of His children and, through trials and hardships as well as successes and victories, builds that love into greater conformity to His own love.

Jesus’ telling Peter, “Come!” was an act of love John declared, “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.” In fact, he goes on to say, “God is love” (1 John 4:16; cf. v. 8). It is God’s nature to be loving, just as it is water’s nature to be wet and the sun’s to be bright and hot. He loves his own with an infinite, uninfiuenced, unqualified, unchanging, unending, and perfect love.

Christians most perfectly reflect their heavenly Father when they are loving, especially to each other. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’# and hates his brother, he is a liar,” John continues to explain; “for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).

Although Peter was sincere, he did not comprehend the reality or the extremity of what he was asking to do. From the relative safety of the boat the feat did not seem so terrifying; but once Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus, the situation appeared radically different. Peter temporarily took His eyes off the Lord and, seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” His faith was enough to get him out of the boat, but it was not enough to carry him across the water.

Faith is strengthened by its being taken to extremities it has never faced before. Such strengthening is basic to Christian growth and maturity. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial,” James says; “for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). The Lord takes us as far as our faith will go, and when it ends we begin to sink. It is then that we call out to Him and He again demonstrates His faithfulness and His power, and our faith learns to extend that much further. As we trust God in the faith we have, we discover its limitations; but we also discover what it can yet become.

When Peter was beginning to sink, he was probably fully clothed and would have had great difficulty swimming through the high waves. And in his fright he could think of nothing but drowning. But as soon as he cried out … “Lord, save me,” he was safe, because immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him.

When Jesus rebuked him, saying, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? Peter must have wondered at the question. The reason for his doubt seemed obvious. He was bone weary from rowing most of the night, scared to death by the storm and then by what he thought was a ghost, and now it seemed he was about to drown before he could reach the Lord. He had never been in such a situation before, and it may be that his actually walking a few feet on the water added to his shock.

But Peter’s weak faith was better than no faith; and, as in the courtyard when he denied the Lord, at least he was there and not holding back like the rest. He at least started toward Jesus, and when he faltered, the Lord took him the rest of the way.

Jesus had been interceding for Peter and the others while He was on the mountain, and now He came directly to their aid in the midst of the storm. The Lord goes before us and He goes with us. When we get frustrated, anxious, bewildered, and frightened, Satan tempts us to wonder why God allows such things to happen to his children. And if we keep our attention on those things we will begin to sink just as surely as Peter did. But if we cry out to the Lord for help, He will come to our rescue just as surely as He did to Peter’s.

Peter would one day write, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6–7).[1]

14:28 When Peter heard the well-known, well-loved voice, his affection and enthusiasm bubbled over. “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Rather than magnify Peter’s “if” as a sign of small faith, we should see his bold request as a mark of great trust. Peter sensed that Jesus’ commands are His enablements, that He gives strength for whatever He orders.

14:29–33 As soon as Jesus said, “Come,” … Peter jumped out of the boat and began walking toward Him. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to do the impossible; but the minute he became occupied with the strong wind, he began to sink. Frantically he cried, “Lord, save me!” The Lord took him by the hand, gently rebuked his little faith, and brought him to the boat. As soon as Jesus went on board, the wind ceased. A worship meeting took place in the boat with the disciples saying to Jesus, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

The Christian life, like walking on water, is humanly impossible. It can only be lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. As long as we look away from every other object to Jesus only (Heb. 12:2), we can experience a supernatural life. But the minute we become occupied with ourselves or our circumstances, we begin to sink. Then we must cry to Christ for restoration and divine enablement.[2]

29–31 How far Peter got is unclear (see Notes, v. 29), but at Jesus’ command he walked on the water (the plural “waters” in Greek may be in imitation of Hebrew, which uses “water” only in the plural; cf. Mk 9:22; Jn 3:23). But his outlook changed: when he saw the wind (synecdoche for the storm), he began to sink (v. 30). It was not that he lost faith in himself (so Schniewind), but that his faith in Jesus, strong enough to get him out of the boat and walking on the water, was not strong enough to stand up to the storm. Therefore, Jesus calls him a man “of little faith” (v. 31; see comments at 6:30; 8:26; esp. at 17:20); and his rhetorical question—“Why [see Notes] did you doubt?”—helps both Peter and the reader recognize that doubts and fears quickly disappear before a strict inquiry into their cause. Thus Peter in this pericope is both a good example and a bad example (cf. Brown et al., Peter in the New Testament, 83). His cry for help is natural, not a liturgical creation—Did not liturgy have to choose some formulas on which to build?—and Jesus’ rescuing him is akin to God’s salvation in the OT (Pss 18:16; 69:1–3; 144:7).[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 14:26–28). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1262). 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, pp. 393–394). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 8 – Building a Leader: The Right Experiences (Peter)

The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).


Your present experiences contribute to your future leadership ability.

Stan Carder is a dear brother in Christ and one of the pastors on our church staff. Before coming to Grace Church he pastored a church in Montana. While there, he was riding one night in a truck that was involved in a very serious accident. Stan suffered a broken neck and other major injuries. As a result he underwent months of arduous and painful therapy.

That was one of the most difficult periods in Stan’s life, and yet God used it for a specific purpose. Today, as pastor of our special-ministries department, Stan ministers to more than five hundred physically and mentally handicapped people. God needed a man with unique qualifications to show love to a group of very special people. He chose Stan and allowed him the necessary experiences to fit him for the task.

God doesn’t always permit such serious situations, but He does lead each of us into life-changing experiences that heighten our effectiveness in ministry.

Peter had many such experiences. In Matthew 16:15–16, for example, God gave him special revelation about the deity of Christ. In Acts 10 God sent him to preach the gospel to Gentiles—something unheard of at the time because Jewish people resisted any interaction with Gentiles. Perhaps the most tragic experience of Peter’s life was his denial of Christ. But even that only increased his love for Christ and his appreciation of God’s grace. After His resurrection, Christ forgave him and restored him to ministry (John 21:15–19).

Peter’s many experiences helped prepare him for the key role he was to play in the early church. Similarly, your experiences help prepare you for future ministry. So seek to discern God’s hand in your circumstances, and rejoice at the prospect of becoming a more effective Christian.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for both the good and bad experiences you have, knowing that each of them is important to your spiritual growth (cf. James 1:2–4).

For Further Study: Read Acts 10, noting what Peter learned from his experience. ✧ What vision did Peter have? ✧ What was the point of the vision?[1]

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).[2]

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.[3]

10:2 apostles. The Gk. word apostolos designates an authorized representative or emissary whose word has the authority of the sender (cf. 2 Cor. 8:23, where it is translated “messengers,” and 2 Cor. 1:1 note). Here the Twelve receive authority to do exactly what Jesus has been doing (vv. 7, 8).[4]

10:2 In the early church an “apostle” (apostolos, Gk.) is a representative of the authority of the risen Lord. The term describes the function of the Twelve (cf. Mark 3:14–19; Luke 6:13–16; John 1:40–49) who are sent out by Jesus. The Twelve made up the body of authoritative leaders in the church. James, the brother of Jesus (Gal. 1:19), Silvanus (1 Thess. 1:1), Andronicus and Junia (Rom. 16:7), Barnabas and Paul (Acts 14:4, 14), and others are designated “apostles,” though not in the same technical sense that the Twelve are. Peter specifies that an apostle must be an eyewitness of Jesus’ life and activity from the time of His baptism to the resurrection/ascension (Acts 1:22).[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 141). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

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

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

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1687). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

[5] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Mt 10:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.


…Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the LORD.


Those who are active in Christian service must beware of two opposite pitfalls: the elation that comes with success on the one hand, or the discouragement that comes with failure, on the other.

These may be considered by some as trivial, but the history of the Christian ministry will not support this conclusion. They are critically dangerous and should be guarded against with great care.

The disciples returned to Christ with brimming enthusiasm, saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name,” and He quickly reminded them of another being who had allowed success to go to his head.

“I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven,” He said. “In this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

The second of these twin dangers need not be labored. Every minister of the gospel knows how hard it is to stay spiritual when his work appears to be fruitless. Yet he is required to rejoice in God as certainly when he is having a bad year as when he is seeing great success, and to lean heavily upon Paul’s assurance that “your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”[1]

The Great Exhortation

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (15:58)

If we really believe and if we are truly thankful that our resurrection is sure, that we will be transformed from the perishable, dishonorable, weak, natural, mortal, and earthy to the imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual, immortal, and heavenly—we should therefore prove our assurance and our thankfulness by being steadfast, immovable [negative] and always abounding [positive] in the work of the Lord.

Hedraios (steadfast) literally refers to being seated, and therefore to being settled and firmly situated. Ametakinētos (immovable) carries the same basic idea but with more intensity. It denotes being totally immobile and motionless. Obviously Paul is talking about our being moved away from God’s will, not to our being moved within it. Within His will we are to be always abounding in the work of the Lord. But we should not move a hairbreadth away from His will, continually being careful not to be “tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).

Gordon Clark gives a helpful paraphrase of this verse: “Therefore we should mortify emotion, be steadfast, unchangeable, not erratic and scatterbrained, easily discouraged, and should multiply our good works in the knowledge that the Lord will make them profitable.”

If our confident hope in the resurrection wavers, we are sure to abandon ourselves to the ways and standards of the world. If there are no eternal ramifications or consequences of what we do in this life, the motivation for self-less service and holy living is gone.

On the other hand, when our hope in the resurrection is clear and certain we will have great motivation to be abounding in the work of the Lord. Perisseuō (abounding) carries the idea of exceeding the requirements, of overflowing or overdoing. In Ephesians 1:7–8 the word is used of God’s lavishing on us “the riches of His grace.” Because God has so abundantly overdone Himself for us who deserve nothing from Him, we should determine to overdo ourselves (if that were possible) in service to Him, to whom we owe everything.

What a word Paul gives to the countless Christians who work and pray and give and suffer as little as they can! How can we be satisfied with the trivial, insignificant, short–lived things of the world? How can we “take it easy” when so many around us are dead spiritually and so many fellow believers are in need of edification, encouragement, and help of every sort? When can a Christian say, “I’ve served my time, I’ve done my part; let others do the work now”?

Reasonable rest is important and necessary. But if we err, Paul is saying, it should be on the side of doing more work for the Lord, not less. Leisure and relaxation are two great modern idols, to which many Christians seem quite willing to bow down. In proper proportion recreation and diversions can help restore our energy and increase our effectiveness. But they also can easily become ends in themselves, demanding more and more of our attention, concern, time, and energy. More than one believer has relaxed and hobbled himself completely out of the work of the Lord.

Some of God’s most faithful and fruitful saints have lived to old age and been active and productive in His service to the end. Many others, however, have seen their lives shortened for the very reason that they were abounding, overflowing and untiring, in service to Christ. Henry Martyn, the British missionary to India and Persia, determined “to burn out for God,” which he did before he was thirty–five. David Brainerd, one of the earliest missionaries to American Indians, died before he was thirty. We know very little of Epaphroditus, except that he was a “brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier” of Paul’s who “came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life” (Phil. 2:25, 30). He became so lost in godly service that he literally became sick unto death because of it.

Until the Lord returns there are souls to reach and ministries of every sort to be accomplished. Every Christian should work uncompromisingly as the Lord has gifted and leads. Our money, time, energy, talents, gifts, bodies, minds, and spirits should be invested in nothing that does not in some way contribute to the work of the Lord. Our praise and thanksgiving must be given hands and feet. James tells us, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Our work for the Lord, if it is truly for Him and done in His power, cannot fail to accomplish what He wants accomplished. Every good work believers do in this life has eternal benefits that the Lord Himself guarantees. “Behold, I am coming quickly,” Jesus says, “and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). We have God’s own promise that our toil [labor to the point of exhaustion] is not in vain in the Lord.[2]

Concluding Appeal in Light of the Resurrection (15:58)

In view, then, of the certainty of the resurrection and the fact that faith in Christ is not in vain, the Apostle Paul exhorts his beloved brethren to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that their labor is not in vain in the Lord. The truth of resurrection changes everything. It provides hope and steadfastness, and enables us to go on in the face of overwhelming and difficult circumstances.[3]

58 Paul concludes this triumphant chapter with a moral message—one that all of us ought to apply to our lives daily. Earlier he had shown how lack of belief in the doctrine of the resurrection led to the Epicurean lifestyle of finding pleasure in eating and drinking and in immoral behavior (see comments at vv. 33–34). The converse is that belief in the resurrection leads to a “purpose-driven life” of service for the Lord. We know that our service for him will not be in vain because we are on the winning side in the battle of life. Though we all struggle at times, the battle against sin and Satan is worthwhile because in the end, they will be defeated.

Paul’s use of “in vain” (kenos, GK 3031) picks up his use of that adjective in v. 14, where he indicated that if Christ has not been raised, then Paul’s preaching is in vain and our faith is in vain. But because of the resurrection of Christ and the assurance of our future final victory over death, life even with all its difficulties is never in vain.

It is no wonder, then, that Paul encourages believers to “stand firm” and “let nothing move [them].” He began this section on the resurrection by reminding the Corinthians that they had stood firm in the apostolic doctrine preached to them about the death and resurrection of Christ; now he closes with an exhortation to remain firm in that knowledge and to let it shape their everyday lives. May it do so for us as well![4]

An Exhortation


  1. So then, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

The exhortation has little to do with the immediately preceding verses on the victory the believers share with Jesus Christ. It is an entreaty that arises from the entire chapter if not the whole epistle. The last instructions and final greetings aside, Paul has come to the end of his epistle and now admonishes his readers to do the work of the Lord.

  1. “So then, my dear brothers.” The first two words introduce a concluding statement. Paul frequently uses this expression in his epistles. For the last time in this letter he addresses the recipients in a personal manner by calling them “dear brothers [and sisters].” At two other places, Paul addresses the readers as “my dear children” (4:14) and “my dear friends” (10:14). Each time he speaks to the Corinthians as a father to his children. He remains the spiritual father of the Corinthians, who through the preaching of the gospel are his offspring (4:15). Paul is their pastor who loves them despite the numerous difficulties in the church.
  2. “Be steadfast, immovable.” Paul commends the believers for their steadfastness and exhorts them to continue their dedication to the Lord (compare Col. 1:23). Amid the onslaught of diverse teaching in a pagan culture, he urges them to remain firm in the Lord and not to waver. Paul tells the Corinthians to be immovable. This last word is a compound that signifies an inability to move from their spiritual moorings. Paul is not talking about retaining the status quo in the church. He wants the people to grow in their love for the Lord and to communicate this in their deeds.
  3. “Always abounding in the work of the Lord.” After telling his readers not to be moved in any way, Paul encourages them to excel in the Lord’s work. To express constancy and emphasis he adds the word always which, in the original, he places last in the clause for emphasis. What is the work of the Lord? The work entails preaching and teaching Christ’s gospel, applying the contents of Scripture to our lives, edifying one another, and loving our neighbor as ourselves (compare 16:10). It consists of an earnest desire to keep God’s commandments and to do so out of gratitude for our salvation provided through his Son. As his love extends to us without measure, so our selfless deeds are done for him without measure.
  4. “Knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” The faithful Corinthians have a sure knowledge that the deeds done out of love and thankfulness to God will not be forgotten (see Heb. 6:10). The word labor is often used by Paul in a missionary setting and means working with his own hands for his own support (4:12) “and for activity in the Christian community as a whole.” Such labor given freely in service to the Lord is never in vain because the Lord himself blesses his servants (Matt. 19:29).[5]

15:58 Concluding instructions

The consequence of all this discussion is the command to stand firm and not to move away from the rock of the bodily resurrection of God’s people. What they must not do now in that body, which is to be resurrected, is to be led away into sin (33–34a). Rather, they are always to be given fully to the work of the Lord, which in part means helping those who are ignorant of God (34b). This is the lifetime call to the ordinary Christian. That work will not be worthless and will mean that they will receive the Lord’s reward for the good done in the body at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Those who die in the Lord are pronounced blessed indeed, for they cease from their work in the Lord and their good works follow on behind them (Rev. 14:13). In contemporary Christianity there is a danger of investing the term ‘eternal life’ with the Greek pagan notion of the immortality of the soul, and of regarding the present moments of the Christian life as providing opportunities for personal advancement and aggrandizement.[6]

15:58 The Corinthians were to continue steadfast in the work of Christ, specifically because of the Resurrection. your labor is not in vain: All the work that we do for Christ will be rewarded (2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 22:12).[7]

15:58. Paul’s doctrinal declarations led to practical directives and this chapter’s conclusion was no exception. The Corinthians were urged to stand firm in the apostles’ teaching (v. 2), unmoved by the denials of false teachers (cf. Eph. 4:14). This certainty, especially concerning the Resurrection, provided an impetus to faithful service (cf. 1 Cor. 3:8; Gal. 6:9) since labor in the resurrected Lord is not futile (kenos, “empty”; cf. 1 Cor. 15:10, 14, 17, 30–32).[8]

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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 446–448). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1811). 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. 405). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, pp. 587–588). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] Winter, B. (1994). 1 Corinthians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1185). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1488). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[8] Lowery, D. K. (1985). 1 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 546). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.


For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

Ephesians 2:10

We ought to be fully aware that in the Body of Christ we are not interested in the production of “cookie cutter” Christians.

This is a word of caution in the matter of Christian experience—there is no pattern or formula for identical Christian experiences. It is actually a tragic thing for believers to try to be exactly like each other in their Christian faith and life.

I have probably been overly cautious about testifying to my own experiences because I do not want anyone to be tempted to try to copy anything the Lord has done for me.

God has given each of us an individual temperament and distinct characteristics. Therefore it is the office of the Holy Spirit to work out as He will the details of Christian experience. They will vary with personality.

Of this we may be sure: Whenever a person truly meets God in faith and commitment to the gospel, he will have a consciousness and a sharp awareness of the details of that spiritual transaction!

Lord, help me to be a faithful steward of the gifts You have given me to use in the church.[1]

Salvation Is unto Good Works

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (2:10)

Although they have no part in gaining salvation, good works have a great deal to do with living out salvation. No good works can produce salvation, but many good works are produced by salvation.

“By this is My Father glorified,” Jesus said, “that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8). Good works do not bring discipleship, but they prove it is genuine. When God’s people do good deeds they bear fruit for His kingdom and bring glory to His name.

The Bible has much to say about works. It speaks of the works of the law, which are good but cannot save a person (Gal. 2:16). It speaks of dead works (Heb. 6:1) and of works, or deeds, of darkness and of the flesh, all of which are inherently evil (Rom. 13:12; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 5:11). All of those works are done in man’s own strength and have nothing to do with salvation.

Before we can do any good work for the Lord, He has to do His good work in us. By God’s grace, made effective through our faith, we become His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. God has ordained that we then live lives of good works, works done in His power and for His glory.

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (John 15:1–8)

The same power that created us in Christ Jesus empowers us to do the good works for which He has redeemed us. These are the verifiers of true salvation. Righteous attitudes and righteous acts proceed from the transformed life now living in the heavenlies. To the Corinthians Paul said there was in them “an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8). To Timothy he instructed that the believer is “equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). Christ died to bring to Himself a people “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). Even this is the work of God, as Paul says: While you “work out your salvation … it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12–13).

Paul’s primary message here is still to believers, many of whom had experienced salvation years earlier. He is not showing them how to be saved, but how they were saved, in order to convince them that the power that saved them is the same power that keeps them. Just as they already had been given everything necessary for salvation, they also had been given everything necessary for faithfully living the saved life. The greatest proof of a Christian’s divine empowerment is his own salvation and the resulting good works that God produces in and through him (cf. John 15). These good works are expected because God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them, and that is why James says faith is illegitimate if works are not present (James 2:17–26).

It is from poiēma (workmanship) that we get poem, a piece of literary workmanship. Before time began, God designed us to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). Paul could therefore say to the Philippians, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (1:6).

The story is often told of the rowdy, disruptive young boy in a Sunday school class who continually frustrated his teacher. One morning the teacher asked him, “Why do you act like that? Don’t you know who made you?” To which the boy replied, “God did, but He ain’t through with me yet.”

All of us are still imperfect, uncut diamonds being finished by the divine Master Craftsman. He is not finished with us yet, but His work will not cease until He has made us into the perfect likeness of His Son (1 John 3:2).

A famous actor was once the guest of honor at a social gathering where he received many requests to recite favorite excerpts from various literary works. An old preacher who happened to be there asked the actor to recite the Twenty–third Psalm. The actor agreed on the condition that the preacher would also recite it. The actor’s recitation was beautifully intoned with great dramatic emphasis, for which he received lengthy applause. The preacher’s voice was rough and broken from many years of preaching, and his diction was anything but polished. But when he finished there was not a dry eye in the room. When someone asked the actor what made the difference, he replied, “I know the psalm, but he knows the Shepherd.”

Salvation does not come from knowing about the truth of Jesus Christ but from intimately knowing Christ Himself. This coming alive can be accomplished by the power of God because of His love and mercy.[2]

2:10 The result of salvation is that we are His workmanship—the handiwork of God, not of ourselves. A born-again believer is a masterpiece of God. When we think of the raw materials He has to work with, His achievement is all the more remarkable. Indeed, this masterpiece is nothing less than a new creation through union with Christ, for “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

And the object of this new creation is found in the phrase, for good works. While it is true that we are not saved by good works, it is equally true that we are saved for good works. Good works are not the root but the fruit. We do not work in order to be saved, but because we are saved.

This is the aspect of the truth that is emphasized in James 2:14–26. When James says that “faith without works is dead,” he does not mean we are saved by faith plus works, but by the kind of faith that results in a life of good works. Works prove the reality of our faith. Paul heartily agrees: we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.

God’s order then is this:

Faith → Salvation → Good Works → Reward Faith leads to salvation. Salvation results in good works. Good works will be rewarded by Him.

But the question arises: What kind of good works am I expected to do? Paul answers, Good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. In other words, God has a blueprint for every life. Before our conversion He mapped out a spiritual career for us. Our responsibility is to find His will for us and then obey it. We do not have to work out a plan for our lives, but only accept the plan which He has drawn up for us. This delivers us from fret and frenzy, and insures that our lives will be of maximum glory to Him, of most blessing to others, and of greatest reward to ourselves.

In order to find out the good works He has planned for our individual lives, we should: (1) confess and forsake sin as soon as we are conscious of it in our lives; (2) be continually and unconditionally yielded to Him; (3) study the word of God to discern His will, and then do whatever He tells us to do; (4) spend time in prayer each day; (5) seize opportunities of service as they arise; (6) cultivate the fellowship and counsel of other Christians. God prepares us for good works. He prepares good works for us to perform. Then He rewards us when we perform them. Such is His grace![3]

10 Paul supplies a reason why all boasting is ruled out (and perhaps why he can say salvation is God’s doing alone). He describes saved people as God’s “workmanship” (most versions), “masterpiece” (NLT), or “work of art” (NJB). The Greek poiēma (GK 4473) describes a work of creation (cf. BDAG, 842). In its one other use in the NT, Paul speaks of the literal creation of the universe—the things God made that reveal himself (Ro 1:20). The word does occur in the OT with reference to God’s ongoing creative works (Pss 64:9; 92:4; 143:5; Isa 29:16). In saving people, God performs an act of creation (cf. 4:24—“created to be like God”). In other words, Christians are God’s projects or, better to say, “works in process,” and as he works in them they can do deeds that Paul describes as “good.”

The preposition epi marks the purpose of this act of creation: “for” (NASB) or “to do” (NIV) good works. BDAG, 365–66, cites two of the eighteen meanings as “marker of purpose, goal, result, to, for” or “marker of object or purpose.” All good works that we do derive from our being created “in Christ Jesus,” i.e., in corporate solidarity in him. Part of God’s overarching plan secures works that are truly good. In the memorable words of T. W. Manson, “Works are a requisite of faith, not a prerequisite.” God transforms people on the inside to accomplish good works, with the result that they walk, i.e., live, in them. God arranged ahead of time (Paul uses the verb proetoimazō, “to prepare beforehand,” GK 4602) how it would work, and then he implemented his plan. God enables his people to do good. Doing good features elsewhere in Paul’s characterization of believers (Ro 2:7; 13:3; 2 Co 9:8; Col 1:10).

Paul contends not that God predetermined every specific good action performed by every Christian, but that he predetermined to refashion Christians so they can do what pleases him. I take the dative relative pronoun “which” (hois) as a true dative, not a direct object that was attracted to the dative case of its antecedent “works.” Paul says, in essence, that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, for which God prepared [us] that we should walk in them.” The “us” is naturally supplied from the context. God has accomplished the preparation that enables his people to perform good works. Our good works owe to God’s work in us, not to our own efforts to be good.[4]

God’s Workmanship

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Since the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century those who follow in the steps of Martin Luther have been strong to assert that justification is by grace through faith and not by human works. But does this mean that works no longer have any place in Christianity? Does this doctrine of justification by grace—Luther’s doctrine—actually lead to bad conduct?

Here is the place where sound Protestant and Roman Catholic theology part company. Many Roman Catholics insist that justification is by the grace of God through faith. (Ephesians 2:8 says so.) But they answer questions about the relationship between faith and works differently than Protestants do. Catholic theology says that works enter into justification in the sense that God justifies us in part by producing good works in us, so that we are justified by faith plus those works. Sound Protestant theology also insists on works, but it says that works follow justification as a consequence and evidence of it.

Catholic theology says: “Faith plus works equal justification.”

Protestants reply: “Faith equals justification plus works.”

Of course, there is an unsound Protestant theology that eliminates the necessity of works altogether, maintaining that a person can be saved and show no evidence of his spiritual regeneration. But this must be rejected.

Good Works

This subject comes before us in the last sentence of the first great paragraph of Ephesians 2, which we have been studying: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (v. 10).

More than one commentator has pointed out that there is a striking repetition of the word “works” in verses 9 and 10. The first mention of works is negative. It tells us in no uncertain terms that we are not saved “by works,” by anything we did or can do. It was all God’s work of grace in us, so we have no reason to boast, no grounds for feeling a sense of accomplishment. This verse utterly repudiates the idea that works contribute in any measure to our justification. Grace and works are mutually exclusive possibilities. Either we are saved by God’s grace alone or we are trying unsuccessfully to save ourselves by our own works. There are no other possibilities. However, no sooner has Paul rejected the role of works in justification than he immediately brings it in again, saying that God has created us precisely “to do good works.” This is stated in such strong language—“works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”—that we are correct in saying that if there are no works, the person involved is not justified.

Failure of Good Works

Before we talk about the necessity of works that flow out of a believer through Christ and because of the believer’s spiritual union with him, it is necessary to look at the works human beings are capable of apart from Christ and see that there is no hope in them. This is because God’s standard can be nothing less than perfection, and even at our best no amount of good works adds up to that requirement.

Donald Grey Barnhouse illustrated our failure by reference to an old-fashioned scale—the kind in which grocers used to measure out sugar, salt, and other dry foods. A pound weight was put on one side of the scale. The sugar was poured out on the other side until the arms balanced. Barnhouse compared the pound weight to God’s righteousness, the standard which his own holy nature demands. That pound of righteousness is placed on one side of the scale, and we are invited to place our “good works” on the other.

The worst elements of society come first—thieves, perverts, murderers, sinners of all kinds. They are not without any human goodness. They have perhaps one or two ounces. But their works do not balance the scale. These people are set aside and thus pass under God’s just condemnation.

Next come ordinary folks, people like us. They are better than the “great” sinners. They have perhaps eight ounces of human goodness. That makes them four times as good as the ones who came first. But their goodness, great as it seems to be, does not balance the scale.

Finally, the morally “great” come forward. They are not perfect; their very “greatness” causes them to recognize that fact. But they have twelve or thirteen ounces of good works, and they present them. Will those twelve or thirteen ounces balance God’s scale? Not if the pound of righteousness is on the other side! The scale won’t balance for them any more than it does for the average folks or great sinners. Therefore, they too are set aside and fall under God’s wrath—unless another way of salvation can be found.

“But just here God comes with his message of free salvation. Note well, he does not change his standards one whit. The pound of perfection still stands opposite the empty scales. No one has been able to move the balance. But now God is going to move it for us. …

“Since Christ was the Infinite God, he could die for any number of finite creatures. He could take the eternal punishment of an infinite multitude and expiate it in the hour of his death—so that the weight of our sin was counted over upon him, and all of God’s righteousness is now available through him. Now God comes to us with the great invitation, ‘I want you to be in heaven with me. I love you. It does not make any difference on what plane of life has been your abode.’ You stand there on the empty scales with nothing but your few ounces to put in and with no possibility of getting anything more. But God says, ‘I love you; I came to die for you. Look to Calvary. Do you see Christ hanging there? It was for you. Look to the empty tomb. Do you see that he has been raised from the dead? It is the proof,’ says God, ‘that I am forever satisfied with what Christ did there on the cross, and I will take that for your side of the scales, if you will throw away all confidence in your own few ounces.’ And thus we come to Christ. … We take that righteousness of God and go boldly or tremblingly to the scales and put it over against all the perfection God has demanded and that he must demand. The balance immediately is made. We stand before God justified, for since the scales are tipped, God can never have anything against me forever.”

A person who will trust that perfect righteousness of Christ, rather than his or her own righteousness is justified. A person who continues to cling to good works in any degree is not justified. Thus, salvation is “by grace … through faith” alone, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:8.

Necessity of Good Works

Ah, but if that is so, can a person rightly insist on the necessity of works at all? The key word, of course, is “necessity.” We can see that good works are by very definition a good thing. We can argue that a Christian will be happier doing good works than not doing them. We can even speak of a certain obligation to do good works. Most people would have no trouble saying that. But how is it that sound Protestant theology insists on the presence of good works as a necessary consequence and evidence of justification? How can we say that if works are not present, a person is not saved?

The answer is that justification, though it aptly describes one important aspect of what it means to be saved, is not the whole of salvation. God justifies, but that is not the only thing he does. He also regenerates. And there is no justification without regeneration, just as there is no regeneration without justification.

Regeneration is the theological term for what Jesus was talking about when he told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). He was telling him that he needed to have a new start as a result of the life of God being placed within him. It is what Paul was talking about in Ephesians 2, as he described how God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (v. 5). It is even what Paul is talking about in our text, for he does not merely say that God commands us to do good works or even urges us to do them. He says rather that God “created us in Christ Jesus to do good works,” adding that these were specifically “prepared in advance for us to do.” Clearly, if a person has been created by God specifically to do good works, he will do those good works—even though they have nothing to do with how he was saved in the first place.

In my opinion, this is one of the most neglected (yet most essential) teachings in the evangelical church today. At the beginning of this study I contrasted sound Protestant theology with traditional Roman Catholic theology, showing how Protestants teach “faith equals justification plus works”—the view I have just been expounding—while Catholics teach “faith plus works equal justification.” Clearly Catholic theology is wrong. But what are we to say of a theology that has no place for works at all? What are we to say of a teaching that extols justification divorced from sanctification, forgiveness without a corresponding change in life? What would Jesus himself think of such theology? Yet such teaching prevails among Evangelicals today.

When we study Christ’s teachings it does not take long to discover that he was not slow to insist on changed behavior. It is true that he taught that salvation would be by his work on the cross. He said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). This is perfectly consistent with the doctrine of faith-justification.

But Jesus also said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

He said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? … The one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete” (Luke 6:46, 49).

He told the Jews of his day, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).

Moreover, as I am sure you can see even from this short selection of Christ’s sayings, it is not only a matter of our demonstrating a genuinely changed behavior and doing good works if we are truly justified. Our good works must also exceed the good works of others. After all, the Christian’s good works flow from the character of God within the Christian. Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). This means, “Unless you who call yourselves Christians, who profess to be justified by faith alone and therefore confess that you have nothing whatever to contribute to your own justification—unless you nevertheless conduct yourselves in a way which is utterly superior to the conduct of the very best people who are hoping to save themselves by their works, you will not enter God’s kingdom. You are not Christians in the first place.”

John H. Gerstner has called this, rightly, I think, “a built-in apologetic.” No one but God could think up a religion like this.

“Whenever you find a person who puts a premium on morality and really specializes in conduct and expects to make it on his record, you invariably find him supposing that he can justify himself by his works. On the other hand, if you find a person who revels in grace, who knows the futility of trying to make it on his own and simply cannot say enough about the blood of Jesus and salvation full and free, he has a built-in tendency to have nothing to do with works in any form. When you get a person who really puts a premium on morality, he almost inevitably falls into the pit of self-salvation. And, on the other hand, when a person sees the principle of grace, he has a built-in temptation to go antinomian. But the Christian religion, while it preaches pure grace, unadulterated grace with no meritorious contribution from us whatever, at the same time requires of us the loftiest conceivable conduct. …

“You cannot for one solitary moment say anything other than ‘Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.’ We are justified by faith alone. But we are not justified by a faith that is alone. Therefore, if you really cling to that cross, if you really do what you say you do, you will be abounding in the works of the Lord and will be living out an exceptional pattern of behavior.”

God Who Works

I know this sounds confusing and even contradictory. But the problem vanishes as soon as we realize that the good works Christians are called upon to do (and must do) are themselves the result of God’s prior working in them. That is why in Ephesians 2:10 Paul prefaces his demand for good works by the statement “For we are God’s workmanship.” It is why, in a similar vein in the very next book of the Bible, he says, “My dear friends, … continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:12–13).

In Ephesians 2:10 Paul calls this work of God a new creation, saying that “we are … created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Beyond any doubt, Paul has a contrast in mind here between our new creation in Christ and our old creation in Adam, just as he does in Romans 5:12–21. When God made the first man, he made him perfectly furnished to do all good works. But Adam fell, as we know. And since that time, from God’s perspective even the best of the good works of Adam and his posterity have been bad “good works.”

But now God recreates those men and women whom he is joining to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is bringing into existence something that did not exist before and which now has new and exciting possibilities. Before, the one who was without Christ was, to use St. Augustine’s phrasing, non posse non peccare (“not able not to sin”). Now he is posse non peccare (“able not to sin”) and able to do good works.

In this spiritual re-creation God gives us a new set of senses. Before, we saw with our eyes physically, but we were spiritually blind. Now we see with spiritual eyes, and everything seems new.

Before, we were spiritually deaf. The word of God was spoken, but it made no sense to us. Or if it did, we resented that word and resisted it. Now we have been given ears to hear, and we hear and respond to Jesus’ teaching.

Before, our thinking was darkened. We called the good, bad; and we called the bad, good. Indeed, we reveled in the bad, and we could not understand what was wrong when the supposed “good times” turned out to be bad times and we were left feeling miserable. The things of God’s Spirit were “foolishness” to us (1 Cor. 2:14). Now our thinking has been changed; we evaluate things differently, and our minds are being renewed day by day (Rom. 12:1–2).

Before, our hearts were hard. We hated God; we did not even care very much for others. Now our hearts are softened. God appears altogether lovely, and what he loves we love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Because our hearts have been remade we now give food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, homes to the strangers, clothes to the naked, care to the sick, and comfort to those who are in prison—as Jesus said we must do, if we are to sit with him in glory.

In my study I have a book by a great surgeon, Dr. Paul Brand, who is Chief of the Rehabilitation Branch of the United States Public Health Service Hospital in Carville, Louisiana, a man who has distinguished himself by pioneering research on the care of leprosy. The book is called Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. In it Dr. Brand examines the intricate mechanisms of the human body, and marvels at the greatness of a God who can create such wonders. He talks about the body’s cells, bones, skin, and complexities of motion. As I read that book I am amazed at man as the pinnacle of God’s great and varied creation. But as I marvel, I am aware of a creation that surpasses even that of the human body. It is the re-creation of a man or woman who before was spiritually dead, utterly incapable of doing any good thing that could satisfy God, but who now, as the result of God’s working, is able to do truly good “good works.”[5]

Works in relation to our salvation

(1) Rejected

As a basis for salvation, a ground upon which we can plead, works are rejected. “Not the labors of my hands can fulfil thy law’s demands.” In this connection it must be remembered that the apostle is not thinking exclusively or even mainly of works in fulfilment of the Mosaic law, by means of which the Jew, unconverted to Christ, sought to justify himself. Surely, also by such “works of the law” “no flesh will be justified in his sight” (Rom. 3:20; cf. Gal. 2:16). But in view of the fact that Paul was addressing an audience consisting mostly of Christians from the Gentile world it is clear that he wishes to emphasize that God rejects every work of man, be he Gentile, Jew, or believer in his moments of spiritual eclipse, every work on which any man bases his hope for salvation. If, then, salvation is completely from God, “who spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32), every ground of boasting in self is excluded (Rom. 3:27; 4:5; 1 Cor. 1:31). When the Lord comes in his glory, those at his left hand will do all the boasting (Matt. 25:44; cf. 7:22); those at his right hand will be unable even to recall their good deeds (Matt. 25:37–39).

Now all boasting is excluded,

Unearned bliss is now my own.

I, in God thus safely rooted,

Boast in sovereign grace alone.

Long before my mother bore me,

E’en before God’s mighty hand

Out of naught made sea and land,

His electing love watched o’er me.

God is love, O angel-voice,

Tongues of men, make him your choice.

(2) Confected

Paul continues: for his handiwork are we, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand … Fact is that though good works are non-meritorious, yet they are so important that God created us in order that we should perform them. We are his handiwork: that which he made, his product (cf. Ps. 100:3). To him we owe our entire spiritual as well as physical existence. Our very birth as believers is from God (John 3:3, 5). We are created “in Christ Jesus” (see on 1:1, 3, 4), for apart from him we are nothing and can accomplish nothing (John 15:5; cf. 1 Cor. 4:7). As “men in Christ,” believers constitute a new creation, as the apostle had said previously (2 Cor. 5:17): “Wherefore if any man is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old things are passed away; behold they are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). Believers were “made alive together with Christ” (see above on verse 5; and below on 4:24; also Gal. 6:15).

Now along with creating us God also prepared good works. He did this first by giving us his Son, our great Enabler, in whom good works find their most glorious expression (Luke 24:19; Acts 2:22). Not only does Christ enable us to perform good works but he is also our Example in good works (John 13:14, 15; 1 Peter 2:21). God did this secondly by giving us faith in his Son. Faith is God’s gift (verse 8). Now in planting the seed of faith in our hearts, and causing it to sprout and with great care tending it, making it grow, etc., God also in that sense prepared for us good works, for good works are the fruit of faith. Living faith, moreover, implies a renewed mind, a grateful heart, and a surrendered will. Out of such ingredients, all of them God-given, God confects or compounds good works. Thus, summarizing, we can say that by giving us his Son and by imparting to us faith in that Son God prepared beforehand our good works. When Christ through his Spirit dwells in the hearts of believers, his gifts and graces are bestowed upon them, so that they, too, bear fruits, such as “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22, 23).

(3) Expected

Paul concludes this paragraph by adding: that we should walk in them. Though good works are a divine preparation, they are at the same time a human responsibility. These two must never be separated. If salvation can be illustrated by the figure of a flourishing tree, then good works are symbolized not by its roots nor even by its trunk but by its fruit. Jesus requires of us fruit, more fruit, much fruit (John 15:2, 5, 8). He said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, with me abiding in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” To bear much fruit and to walk in good works is the same thing. When a certain occupation has the love of a man’s heart, he is “walking” in it. Note: walk in them, no longer in “trespasses and sins” (verses 1, 2).

(4) Perfected

Combining (2) and (3) we see that by walking in good works we have entered into the sphere of God’s own activity. Hence, we know that though our own efforts may often disappoint us, so that we are ashamed even of our good works, victory will arrive at last; not fully, to be sure, in the present life but in the next. Moral and spiritual perfection is our goal even here, but will be our portion in the life hereafter, for we are confident of this very thing that he who began a good work in us will carry it to completion (Phil. 1:6). Cf. Eph. 1:4; 3:19; 4:12, 13.

This doctrine of good works, when accepted by faith, deprives man of every reason for boasting in self but also takes away from him every ground for despair. It glorifies God.[6]

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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 62–63). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1919). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 70–71). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 69–74). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, pp. 123–125). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

May 8 – Principles of Giving: Part 2

When you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.—Matt. 6:3–4

Continuing from yesterday’s list of scriptural giving principles, four more come to mind. First, financial giving correlates to spiritual blessings. God will not entrust things of greater value to those who are not faithful with lesser things. Jesus asks, “If you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Luke 16:11). Men have dropped out of the ministry because they couldn’t handle their finances, and others remain but see little fruit because God won’t commit souls to them if they can’t manage material things, including their giving.

Second, believers must personally decide their giving. True giving will flow from a righteous heart, not artificially imposed percentages. “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7; cf. 8:1–2; Phil. 4:15–18).

Third, Christians must give toward the needs of others. The early Jerusalem church did not hesitate to share its resources (Acts 2:44–45), and years later Paul took a collection from Gentile churches to help meet the continued needs of believers in Jerusalem.

Finally, genuine giving demonstrates the love of Christ, not adherence to the law. The New Testament does not specify required amounts or percentages (such as the tithe) for our giving. The amount we give, which ought to be as generous as possible, will derive from our heartfelt love and our knowledge of others’ needs.

How do you go about deciding the amounts you give? Are you satisfied that you’re being obedient to the Lord in this? Remember, giving is not supposed to be a source of guilt but rather a fount of blessing and gratitude. Are you experiencing a high level of peace about your giving decisions?[1]

The Practice and Reward of True Giving

But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (6:3–4)

To not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing was possibly a proverbial expression that simply referred to doing something spontaneously, with no special effort or show. The right hand was considered the primary hand of action, and in a normal day’s work the right hand would do many things as a matter of course that would not involve the left hand. Giving to help those in need should be a normal activity of the Christian, and he should do it as simply, directly, and discreetly as possible.

The most satisfying giving, and the giving that God blesses, is that which is done and forgotten. It is done in love out of response to a need, and when the need is met the giver goes on about his business, not waiting for or wanting recognition. What has been done should even be a secret to our left hand, not to mention to other people. Whether the person we help is grateful or ungrateful should not matter as far as our own purpose is concerned. If he is ungrateful, we are sorry for his sake, not our own.

It is said that there was a special, out-of-the-way place in the Temple where shy, humble Jews could leave their gifts without being noticed. Another place nearby was provided for the shy poor, who did not want to be seen asking for help. Here they would come and take what they needed. The name of the place was the Chamber of the Silent. People gave and people were helped, but no one knew the identities of either group. (Cf. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 2 [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972], p. 387; Joachim Jeremias,Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969], p. 133; and William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, 2 vols. [rev. ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 1:171, 188.)

Matthew 6:3 has often been interpreted to mean that all good works are to be done in absolute secrecy. But true righteousness cannot be kept entirely secret, and should not be. “How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times!” (Ps. 106:3). Isaiah says, “Yet they seek Me day by day, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that has done righteousness, and has not forsaken the ordinance of their God” (Isa. 58:2). John tells us, “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29).

Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus had specifically commanded, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). The question is not whether or not our good works should be seen by others, but whether they are done for that end. When they are done “in such a way” that attention and glory are focused on our “Father who is in heaven” rather than on ourselves, God is pleased. But if they are done to be noticed by men (6:1), they are done self-righteously and hypocritically and are rejected by God. The difference is in purpose and motivation. When what we do is done in the right spirit and for the right purpose, it will almost inevitably be done in the right way.

The teachings of Matthew 5:16 and 6:1 are often thought to conflict with each other because it is not recognized that they relate to different sins. The discrepancy is only imaginary. In the first passage Jesus is dealing with cowardice, whereas in the second He is dealing with hypocrisy. A. B. Bruce gives the helpful explanation, “We are to show when tempted to hide and hide when tempted to show.”

Never in the history of the church have Christians been so bombarded with appeals to give money, many of them to legitimate and worthwhile causes. Knowing how and where to give is sometimes extremely difficult. Christians are to give regularly and systematically to the work of their local church. “On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:2). But we are also called to give directly to those in need when we have opportunity and ability. Both the Old and New Testaments make it clear that willing, generous giving has always characterized the faithful people of God.

God does not need our gifts, because He is entirely sufficient in Himself. The need is on our part and on the part of those we serve in His name. Paul told the Philippian church, “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account” (Phil. 4:17).

Giving is described in the Old Testament as a part of God’s cycle of blessing. “The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25). As we give, God blesses, and when God blesses us we give again out of what He has given. “You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the Lord your God blesses you” (Deut. 16:10). We are to give freely out of what God has given freely.

The cycle applies not only to material giving but to every form of giving that is done sincerely to honor God and to meet need. The way of God’s people has always been the way of giving.

From Scripture we learn of at least seven principles to guide us in nonhypocritical giving. First, giving from the heart is investing with God. “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). Paul echoes Jesus’ words: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6).

Second, genuine giving is to be sacrificial. David refused to give to the Lord that which cost him nothing (2 Sam. 24:24). Generosity is not measured by the size of the gift itself, but by its size in comparison to what is possessed. The widow who gave “two small copper coins” to the Temple treasury gave more than all the “many rich people [who] were putting in large sums” because “they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41–44).

Third, responsibility for giving has no relationship to how much a person has. A person who is not generous when he is poor will not be generous if he becomes rich. He might then give a larger amount, but he will not give a larger proportion. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10). It is extremely important to teach children to give generously to the Lord with whatever small amounts of money they get, because the attitudes and patterns they develop as children are likely to be the ones they follow when they are grown. Giving is not a matter of how much money one has but of how much love and care is in the heart.

Fourth, material giving correlates to spiritual blessings. To those who are not faithful with mundane things such as money and other possessions, the Lord will not entrust things that are of far greater value. “If therefore you have not been faithful in the use ofunrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:11–12).

Many young men have dropped out of seminary because they could not handle money, and the Lord did not want them in His ministry. Others have begun in the ministry but later dropped out for the same reason. Still others remain in the ministry but produce little fruit because God will not commit the care of eternal souls to them when they cannot even manage their own finances. Spiritual influences and effectiveness have a lot to do with how well finances are handled.

Fifth, giving is to be personally determined. “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Righteous giving is done from a righteous and generous heart, not from legalistic percentages or quotas. The Macedonian Christians gave abundantly out of their deep financial poverty because spiritually they were rich in love (2 Cor. 8:1–2). The Philippian believers gave out of the spontaneous generosity of their hearts, not because they felt compelled (Phil. 4:15–18).

Sixth, we are to give in response to need. The early Christians in Jerusalem shared their resources without reservation. Many of their fellow believers had become destitute when they trusted in Christ and were ostracized from their families and lost employment because of their faith. Years later Paul collected money from the Galatian churches to help meet the great needs that continued to exist among the saints in Jerusalem and that had been intensified by famine.

There have always been charlatans who manufacture needs and play on the sympathy of others. And there have always been professional beggars, who are able to work but would rather not. A Christian has no responsibility to support such people and should take reasonable care to determine if and when real need exists before giving his money. “If anyone will not work,” Paul says, “neither let him eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). Encouraging indolence weakens the character of the one who is indolent and also wastes the Lord’s money. But where real need does exist, our obligation to help meet it also exists.

Seventh, giving demonstrates love, not law. The New Testament contains no commands for specified amounts or percentages of giving. The percentage we give will be determined by the love of our own hearts and the needs of others.

All of the previous principles point to the obligation to give generously because we are investing in God’s work, because we are willing to sacrifice for Him who sacrificed Himself for us, because it has no bearing on how much we have, because we want spiritual riches more than financial riches, because we have personally determined to give, because we want to meet as much need as we can, and because our love compels us to give.

As in every area of righteousness, the key is the heart, the inner attitude that motivates what we say and do. Public righteousness is not to be rejected, but it is to be done in the spirit of humility, love, and sincerity. “For we are [God’s] workmanship,” Paul reminds us, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Also as in every area of righteousness, Jesus Himself is our supreme and perfect example. He preached His messages in public, He performed His miracles of healing, compassion, and power over nature in public. Yet He continually focused attention on His heavenly Father, whose will alone He came to do (John 5:30; cf. 4:34; 6:38). Even though He was one with the Father, while He lived on earth as a man Jesus did not seek His own glory but that of His Father (John 8:49–50).

When we give our alms … in secret, lovingly, unpretentiously, and with no thought for recognition or appreciation, our Father who sees in secret will repay us. The principle is this: if we remember, God will forget; but if we forget, God will remember. Our purpose should be to meet every need we are able to meet and leave the bookkeeping to God, realizing that “we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10).

God will not miss giving a single reward. “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). The Lord knows our hearts, our attitudes, and our motives, and every reward that is due us will be given.

It is God’s perfect plan and will to give rewards to those who faithfully trust and obey Him. And it is not unspiritual to expect and anticipate those rewards, if we do so in a spirit of humility and gratitude-knowing that God’s rewards manifest His grace to the undeserving. We can meet His merciful requirements for rewards, but we can never truly earn them.

The greatest reward a believer can have is the knowledge that he has pleased his Lord. Our motive for looking forward to His rewards should be the anticipation of casting them as an offering at His feet, even as the twenty-four elders one day “will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power’ ” (Rev. 4:10–11).[2]

6:3, 4 When a follower of Christ does a charitable deed, it is to be done in secret. It should be so secret that Jesus told His disciples: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Jesus uses this graphic figure of speech to show that our charitable deed should be for the Father, and not to gain notoriety for the giver.

This passage should not be pressed to prohibit any gift that might be seen by others, since it is virtually impossible to make all one’s contributions strictly anonymous. It simply condemns the blatant display of giving.[3]

3–4 The way to avoid hypocrisy is not to cease giving but to do so with such secrecy that we scarcely know what we have given. Jesus’ disciples must themselves be so given to God (cf. 2 Co 8:5) that their giving is prompted by obeying God and having compassion on others. Then their Father, who sees what is done in secret (Heb 4:13), will reward them. The verb “to reward” (apodidomai, GK 625), with God as subject, here and in vv. 6, 18, is different from that used in v. 2. Bonnard rightly notes it has a sense of “pay back,” and this is compatible with “reward” (see comments at 5:12). “Openly” (KJV), here and in vv. 6, 18, is a late gloss designed to complete the antithetic parallelism with “secretly” or “in secret.” Jesus does not discuss the locale and nature of the reward, but we will not be far from the NT evidence if we understand it to be “both in time and in eternity, both in character and in felicity” (Broadus).[4]

3. But when you give to charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. The two hands almost always act in unison. Together they often lift, carry, and catch things. They are together in work and in play. They can therefore be viewed as being thoroughly acquainted with each other. Whatever the one does, the other knows. Symbolically speaking therefore, for the left hand not to know what the right hand is doing means total lack of acquaintance, utter ignorance. And since the hands are part of the person, the expression probably refers to the fact that as much as possible a person must keep his voluntary contribution a secret not only to others but even to himself; that is, he should forget about it, instead of saying in his heart, “What a good man, woman, boy, girl, am I!” This explanation receives support from 25:37–39, where the righteous are represented as being totally unaware of their own past benevolent deeds. Continued: 4. that your deeds of charity may be (performed) in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. It is God who keeps the account. Nothing escapes him (Gen. 16:13; Ps. 139; Heb. 4:13; cf. John 21:17). It is he who on the judgment day will grant the reward (Matt. 25:34–36) to the surprised well-doers. And are there not anticipatory rewards even now, such as a good conscience and rejoicing along with the recipients?

As far as grammar is concerned, the correct Greek text can also be rendered, “… and your Father, the seeing One, will reward you in secret.” Objections to this construction: a. After the introduction, which refers to hypocrites who do their best to have men admire their good works, and in which Jesus admonishes his hearers that these works must not be advertised but must be kept as secret as possible, we rather look for a statement to the effect that unadvertised deeds will, nevertheless, be seen and rewarded, namely, by “your Father who sees in secret.” The sudden introduction of the Father as “the seeing One,” without modifier, would make little sense here. b. Scripture everywhere proclaims that all of men’s words, actions, etc., including what occurred in secret, will become public (Eccl. 12:14; Matt. 5:3–12; 10:26, 27; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 12:2, 3; Rom. 2:16; 1 Cor. 3:13; 14:25; Rev. 20:12, 13). The idea that deeds of kindness toward the poor, done in secret, will remain secret forever, even the reward being bestowed in secret, clashes with this prevailing teaching.[5]

6:1–4. Jesus first spoke of the Pharisees’ almsgiving. Righteousness is not primarily a matter between a person and others, but between a person and God. So one’s acts should not be demonstrated before others for then his reward should come from them (vv. 1–2). The Pharisees made a great show of their giving to the needy … in the synagogues and on the streets, thinking they were thus proving how righteous they were. But the Lord said that in giving one should not even let his left hand know what his right hand is doing, that is, it should be so secret that the giver readily forgets what he gave. In this way he demonstrates true righteousness before God and not before people, so God in turn will reward him. One cannot be rewarded, as the Pharisees expected, by both man and God.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 137). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 356–360). 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, p. 198). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, p. 321). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 32). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.


One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

—Psalm 27:4

What does perfection mean? According to Webster, perfection means “the highest possible degree of excellence.” That which is perfect lacks nothing it should have and has nothing it should not have. Perfection is fullness and completeness. Something that is perfect is not lacking in anything and doesn’t have anything it shouldn’t have….

When we apply perfection to God, we mean that He has unqualified fullness and completeness of whatever He has. He has unqualified plenitude of power. He also has unqualified fullness of wisdom. He has unqualified knowledge. He has unqualified holiness.

When I say that a man is a perfect singer, I qualify that in my mind. I think, Well, he does the best a person can. But when I say that God is holy, I do not qualify it. I mean it fully and completely. God is what He is and that’s it. God’s power and being, His wisdom and knowledge, His holiness and goodness, His justice and mercy, His love and grace—all of these and more of the attributes of God—are in shining, full, uncreated perfection. They are called the beauty of the Lord our God. AOG182-183, 186

Lord, Your beauty is overwhelming in its perfection, and I wonder why we would ever want to look at anything else! Amen. [1]

27:4 Poor Peter tried to defend his Master by cutting off the ear of the high priest’s slave. But Jesus replied to Peter, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” His one desire was to dwell with God, and since the pathway to glory led first to the cross, He was prepared to endure its suffering and shame. His language was:

One thing I have desired of the Lord,

That will I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in His temple.

There is something indomitable about “one-thing” people. They know what they want and are determined to get it. Nothing can stand in their way.[2]

4 Boldness of faith is not naive belief. The external difficulties are insignificant in comparison with the psalmist’s deep desire to experience more fully the presence of God. In God’s presence fear is banished. The longing for God’s temple expresses the intensity of the psalmist’s seeking after God himself (cf. Mt 6:33). The enjoyment of God’s presence assures the evident goodness and love of God (cf. 23:6).

The psalmist desires to dwell in the temple of God for the rest of his life (cf. 15:1; 23:4–6). The temple was the visible expression of God’s presence and was sought after by the godly. While sitting in God’s temple, he planned to “gaze” on the Lord’s beauty and to “seek” (inquire after) him in his temple. In the act of gazing on the Lord’s beauty, the psalmist submits himself fully to experience the beneficent fellowship with God. God’s “beauty” is an expression of his goodness to his people (cf. 16:11; 90:17). When Moses saw his glory, the Lord revealed his perfections of love and compassion (Ex 34:5–6). The “beauty” of the Lord is his favor toward his own (cf. 90:17; 135:3; see C. S. Lewis’s intriguing essay “The Fair Beauty of the Lord” [Reflections on the Psalms, 44–53]; Reflections, p. 931, The Ark of the Covenant and the Temple).

In the experience of God’s presence, the psalmist also intends to “seek” him (cf. 73:17). Little consensus exists on the meaning of the verb “seek” (see A. A. Anderson, 1:222–23). Was the psalmist seeking him as in the day of trouble, or does the word have a more technical sense? It is probable that he was looking for a divine word or action that would satisfy the longing in his heart (cf. v. 8). The desire for God’s presence arose out of a need. The psalmist is not an escapist, for he wants to hang on to God until he is fully assured of his glorious presence.[3]

27:4. David further expressed his confidence in the Lord by his longing to dwell in His house. He would love to abide there all his life, to enjoy His beauty and to seek Him there in the temple. (Hêḵāl does not refer here to Solomon’s temple since it was not yet built. The Heb. word means a magnificent structure, such as the tabernacle; cf. vv. 5–6; 5:7; 1 Sam. 1:9; 3:3; the temple, 2 Kings 24:13; or a palace, Pss. 45:15; 144:12; Dan. 1:4.)[4]

27:4 One thing. The primary issue in David’s life was to live in God’s presence and by His purpose (cf. Pss 15:1; 23:6; cf. Paul’s “one thing” in Php 3:13).[5]

27:4 David, the author of this psalm, could have called the tabernacle a “house” (Josh. 6:24; 1 Sam. 1:7; 3:15) and a temple (1 Sam. 1:9; 3:3). On dwell in the house of the Lord, see Ps. 23:6. God’s beauty is what the faithful yearn to gaze upon (i.e., to behold with admiration and affection) as they seek him in worship.

27:4 Enjoyment of fellowship with God in his presence anticipates the joy of knowing God through Christ (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:3; Rev. 22:4). Christ opens the way into the heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 10:19–22).[6]

27:4 the house of Yahweh The psalmist wants to dwell in the temple, Yahweh’s dwelling place. He is essentially saying he wants to remain in Yahweh’s presence, as a place of joy (Psa 16:11; 21:6).

consider The Hebrew word used here, baqar, means “to examine” or “to scrutinize.” Here it may describe a prayerful search for Yahweh’s will or a meditative reflection.[7]

27:4 One thing I have desired: This puts God’s will first in my life. See Phil. 3:13, 14 for a similar desire expressed by Paul. The perfect heart is unified with a single desire: God and His fullness. inquire in His temple: Direct communion with God.[8]

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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 586). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 283). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 814). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 27:4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 970). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 27:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[8] The Open Bible: New King James Version. (1998). (electronic ed., Ps 27:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 8 – Is Perfection Possible?

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.

1 John 1:8

The false doctrine of perfectionism teaches that there is some point following conversion when the believer’s sin nature is eradicated. But according to today’s verse and especially in the apostle Paul’s treatment of the subject in Philippians 3:12–16, perfection in this life is only a goal, not an achievement. We must pursue it, but we’ll never attain it while on earth.

Paul denied perfectionism by calling us to pursue a prize that can be fully obtained only in heaven. He confessed that he himself had not reached perfection—and he wrote to the Philippians nearly thirty years after his conversion! He was perhaps the most committed Christian who ever lived. If after thirty years he wasn’t perfect, certainly none of us should claim to be.[1]

Those in Deception

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1:8)

A second group of false professors claimed to have no sin. This position was prouder than the stance of those in the first category who ignored their sin (cf. Jer. 17:9). Any so-called Christians who claim to have reached a higher spiritual plane, where sin no longer exists in their lives, completely misunderstand their condition and the Spirit’s work of progressive sanctification.

Again, any who ignore the existence of sin give clear evidence that the truth is not in them. The Bible plainly teaches the principle of human depravity. In Romans 3:10–23 Paul wrote:

“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. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 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. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (cf. Gen. 8:21; 2 Chron. 6:36; Ps. 51:5; Jer. 13:23; Rom. 8:7–8; 1 Cor. 2:14; Titus 3:3)

Jesus Christ was the only human being who could ever claim to be without sin (Heb. 4:15). All who make such an outlandish claim are only fooling themselves. It is not until believers are glorified in heaven that their sanctification process will be complete (Rom. 8:19, 23), and then they will be without sin.[2]

1:8 Then again, fellowship with God requires that we acknowledge the truth concerning ourselves. For instance, to deny that we have a sinful nature means self-deception and untruthfulness. Notice that John makes a distinction between sin (v. 8) and sins (v. 9). Sin refers to our corrupt, evil nature. Sins refers to evils that we have done. Actually what we are is a lot worse than anything we have ever done. But, praise the Lord, Christ died for our sin and our sins.

Conversion does not mean the eradication of the sin nature. Rather it means the implanting of the new, divine nature, with power to live victoriously over indwelling sin.[3]

1:8 Not only did the false teachers walk in darkness (i.e., sin; v. 6) but went so far as to deny totally the existence of a sin nature in their lives. If someone never admits to being a sinner, salvation cannot result (see Mt 19:16–22 for the account of the young man who refused to recognize his sin). Not only did the false teachers make false claims to fellowship and disregard sin (v. 6), they are also characterized by deceit regarding sinlessness (Ecc 7:20; Ro 3:23).[4]

1:8 have no sin. See note on 3:9–10. we deceive ourselves. The devil (3:8) or the world (2:15) may contribute to human straying, but in the end each individual bears responsibility for his or her own sin. Some sin remains in every Christian’s life (“have,” present tense), even that of the elderly apostle John (“we”).[5]

1:8 we do not have sin Every person should admit to themselves and God that they are sinful (compare Rom 3:23). John’s opponents apparently claimed that they did not sin and therefore did not need to be cleansed.

For John, the position of his opponents is the ultimate form of self-deception, since it prevents a person from accepting the truth of their sinful nature (see 1 John 2:10–14). By contrast, true believers are defined in terms of their admission of sinfulness and need for Christ’s sacrifice (see v. 9).[6]

1:8 The second false claim (v. 6) is that we have no sin. The idea would be that our sin nature is completely gone. To say this is to deceive ourselves (2 Chr. 6:36; John 9:41). The fact that we are not conscious of sin does not mean we are without it. It is so easy to cover over sin (Prov. 28:13). We will not deceive others; they usually see us clearly. Our problem is not seeing ourselves for who we really are. Every Christian can identify with David because he is a prime example of the believer who committed great sin but failed to see his sinfulness. He tried to carry on as the Lord’s anointed one without the Lord’s blessing. When Nathan the prophet confronted him, he was indignant at the man who took and killed the other man’s sheep, yet could not see himself in Nathan’s story (2 Sam. 11; 12). The truth is God’s revelation, which says just the opposite. To have no sin is to have no need of a Savior, which would make the coming of Jesus unnecessary.[7]

1:8. But when a believer is experiencing true fellowship with God he may then be tempted to think or say that he is, at that moment at least, free from sin. John warned against this self-deluding conception. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (cf. v. 6; 2:4). If Christians understand the truth that God’s Word teaches about the depravity of the human heart, they know that just because they are not conscious of failure does not mean that they are free from it. If the truth is “in” them as a controlling, motivating influence, this kind of self-deception will not take place. Whether someone claims to be “without sin” for a brief period of time or claims it as a permanent attainment, the claim is false.[8]

8. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Once more John states the negative and the positive in two successive verses that express conditions. Also the last verse (v. 10) is a conditional statement, which John puts in the form of a negative conclusion.

(a) Denial Another claim made by opponents of the Christian faith, perhaps the so-called Gnostics, is that they have advanced to a stage beyond sinfulness. They say that they have achieved their goal: perfection.

John listens to these people who assert that they are without sin. But when he quotes their claim, he includes himself and the readers. He puts the assertion in a conditional sentence and says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Anyone who has no need to pray the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer—“Forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4)—because he thinks that he has no sin deceives himself. King Solomon wisely observed (Prov. 28:13):

He who conceals his sins does not prosper,

but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

The choice of words is significant: John says, “we have no sin.” He does not write, “we do not sin.” The noun sin describes the cause and the consequence of an act of disobedience; as a verb, the word describes the act itself.

In the days of the apostle John, Greek philosophers taught a separation between body and spirit. The spirit is free, they said, but the body is matter that eventually dies. That is, if the body sinned, the spirit would be blameless. Sin, then, cannot affect the spirit. The First Epistle of John provides insufficient information to conclude that John was actively opposing Greek thinking. Scripture, however, teaches the universality of sin by saying that in the human race “there is no one who does good, not even one” (Ps. 14:3; 53:3; Rom. 3:12; also see Eccl. 7:20).

If we say that we have no sin, we are misleading ourselves. Moreover, the truth of God’s Word is not in us. In our spiritual blindness, we go contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture. And God judges us by the words we have spoken, for our own words condemn us.[9]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 145). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 29–30). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2310). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Jn 1:8). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2430). 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 (1 Jn 1:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1706). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[8] Walvoord, J. F., & Zuck, R. B., Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 885). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[9] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 245–246). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.