Daily Archives: May 28, 2017

May 27-28, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 05/27/2017

Piers Morgan Stirs Controversy for Asking ‘Non-Binary’ Couple If He Could Identify as Black Woman, Elephant   May 21, 2017 06:02 am

LONDON — Talk show host Piers Morgan is under fire for asking a couple who say they identify neither as male or female if he could identify as a black woman or an elephant. “Can I be an elephant? Can I literally say I’m now an elephant and do I get afforded elephant rights?” he inquired on Friday’s broadcast of “Good Morning Britain.” “Can I go to London…

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Christian Astrophysicist Discovers New Planet Size of Seven Earths Using Kepler Spacecraft Data   May 20, 2017 01:55 pm

DALLAS, Texas — Using data from the Kepler spacecraft, a Christian astrophysicist in Texas has discovered a new planet the size of seven Earths orbiting the star KPLR 7826659. Lisle Dr. Jason Lisle, the director of physical sciences at the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research, made the announcement on May 4 after analyzing a measurable drop in the…

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Judge Finds No Recourse for Mother Whose Son Obtained Hormone Treatments Without Parental Consent   May 24, 2017 08:17 pm

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A federal judge has dismissed a mother’s lawsuit seeking recourse after her parental rights over her son were expropriated and she had been kept in the dark about the provision of hormonal treatments to assist with the teen’s desire to “transition” into a girl. While he agreed that the teen was not legally emancipated absent a court order,…

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Students Demand Apology Over Superintendent’s Christian Speech, Prayer at Graduation   May 21, 2017 06:01 am

Photo Credit: Willard High School/Facebook SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A small group of students from a public high school in Missouri are demanding an apology from their district superintendent for incorporating Christian themes into his graduation speech and leading those gathered in a prayer. According to reports, in addition to offering general encouragement,…

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Legal Group Pushes Back After School District Stops Student Attendance of Off-Site Voluntary Bible Class   May 22, 2017 02:39 pm

FREMONT, Mich. — A legal group representing a church in Michigan is pushing back after a school district recently decided to no longer allow students to leave school during lunchtime for off-site voluntary religious instruction. The law office of Rickard, Denney, Garno & Associates, which is allied with the religious liberties organization Alliance Defending…

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Identification of Child Porn Site Creator Results in 900 Arrests Worldwide, Over 300 Children Rescued   May 25, 2017 12:48 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The identification and arrest of a child pornography site creator has resulted in nearly 900 arrests worldwide and over 300 children rescued, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has announced. Steven Chase, 58, the operator of the now defunct site “Playpen,” was sentenced to 30 years behind bars earlier this month in a Charlotte…

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Following Vatican Visit, Melania Trump Spokeswoman Confirms First Lady Is Catholic   May 26, 2017 12:53 pm

Photo Credit: Melania Trump/Twitter (Washington Post) — After she met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday, first lady Melania Trump confirmed a little-known fact about her faith: She is Catholic. And she described the visit with the leader of the Catholic Church as “one I’ll never forget.” While President Trump referenced his Presbyterian…

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New Undercover Video Captures Crowd Chuckling as Abortionist Tells of Eyeball That ‘Fell Down Into My Lap’   May 26, 2017 12:19 pm

A new undercover video released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) features clips of various Planned Parenthood officials and other abortion advocates making nonchalant statements about the abortion process, including that the baby’s eyeballs fell into their lap or that they had to tear off a leg to avoid technically performing a partial-birth abortion. The…

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Four Iowa Planned Parenthood Locations Closing After State Cuts Funding to Abortion Facilities   May 22, 2017 06:07 pm

Photo Credit: All Nite Images DES MOINES, Iowa — Four Planned Parenthood locations in Iowa will close next month following a newly-passed budget bill that strips state and federal funding from abortion providers. The organization announced on Thursday that it would close its Sioux City, Bettendorf, Burlington and Keokuk offices, leaving eight Planned…

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Texas Governor Signs ‘Sermon Safeguard Bill’ Preventing Government From Probing Preaching   May 24, 2017 01:12 pm

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The governor of Texas has signed into law a bill that prevents the government from subpoenaing copies of sermons or questioning pastors about the content of their messages. “Texas law now will be your strength and your sword and your shield,” Gov. Greg Abbott declared during a ceremony at Grace Church of the Woodlands. “You will be…

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MAY 27, 2017

“[Jihadis] kill us any way possible. They run us down in our streets. They gun down or blow up our children enjoying the innocence of young life. They stab and hack and behead. We weep. Flowers pile up at the scenes of the carnage. Songs are sung. The Islamism apologists leap into action. We are warned not to draw any broad conclusions. Politicians tell us there is little that can be done. What they mean is there is little that they have the courage to do.” —Gary Bauer

Top News – 5/27-28/2017

New Evidence of Battle for Second Temple Matches Ancient Account of Josephus
“Josephus’ descriptions of the battle in the lower city come face-to-face for the first time with evidence that was revealed in the field in a clear and chilling manner,” said Stanton and Hagbi the directors of the excavation. “Stone ballista balls fired by catapults used to bombard Jerusalem during the Roman siege of the city, were discovered in the excavations. Arrowheads, used by the Jewish rebels in the hard-fought battles agains the Roman legionnaires were found exactly as described by Josephus.

Netanyahu’s Cabinet Moves Meeting to Ancient Tunnels Beneath Western Wall
Prtime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Sunday conducted its weekly meeting inside the Western Wall (Kotel) tunnels in honor of Jerusalem Day and the celebration of the liberation of eastern Jerusalem and the Old City. Among other topics, the ministers will debate the construction of an elevator and underground passages from the Jewish Quarter to the Kotel plaza. A cable car will also be discussed.

Trump tells ‘confidants’ U.S. will leave Paris climate deal: Axios
U.S. President Donald Trump has told “confidants,” including the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave a landmark international agreement on climate change, Axios news outlet reported on Saturday, citing three sources with direct knowledge. On Saturday, Trump said in a Twitter post he would make a decision on whether to support the Paris climate deal next week.

Abbas rejects Trump’s peace proposal

According to Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom, Abbas rejected Trump’s offer of a regional plan which would first entail normalizing relations with Israel’s neighbors and only afterwards discussing a Palestinian state.

A CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on May 27th. At first, for several hours, the seemingly weak impact barely disturbed our planet’s magnetic environment. Then the storms began. As Earth passed through the CME’s wake, energetic particles poured through a crack in Earth’s magnetosphere, sparking strong G3-class geomagnetic storms and bright auroras.

Comey Lied: FBI Illegally Shared Raw Intel on Americans
Flying in direct contradiction to his final congressional testimony under oath as the Director of the FBI, newly declassified top secret U.S. Intelligence memos have revealed that when James Comey told lawmakers that his agency only used sensitive espionage data gathered about Americans without a warrant “when it was lawfully collected, carefully overseen and checked,” he may have been lying.

Israel preparing partial evacuation in case of conflict with Lebanon
A senior Israeli military official told The Media Line that Israel has prepared a partial evacuation plan for areas close to the border with Lebanon in case of a renewed round of fighting with pro-Iranian Hezbollah guerrillas. He confirmed media reports that Hezbollah has more than 100,000 rockets that can cover all of Israel, but said “90 percent” of them are short-range rockets, with a range of about 28 miles.

Norway slams PA for glorifying terrorists with its money
Norway on Friday condemned the Palestinian Authority’s naming of a woman’s center in the West Bank after a female terrorist who took part in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre that killed 37 people. Oslo also asked the PA to repay money it provided for the center. The move came just three days after US President Donald Trump, standing alongside PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, said that peace “can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded or rewarded.”

Sri Lanka floods: Residents afraid as more rain forecast
Sri Lankans recovering from devastating floods are bracing themselves for more rain as emergency teams rush to deliver aid. Floodwaters receded on Sunday but many villages were still inundated. At least 146 people have been killed and nearly 500,000 displaced in the flooding and mudslides triggered by heavy rains on Friday.

Climate change: Trump keeps world waiting on Paris deal
Donald Trump has said he will decide whether to pull out of a key climate change deal in the next week, having apparently shrugged off pressure from US allies in recent days. The US president tweeted he would make his “final decision” on the Paris accord after his return to Washington. Mr Trump left the G7 summit in Sicily on Saturday without reaffirming his commitment to the accord, unlike the other six world leaders in attendance.

Bodies of civilians dumped near Philippines city besieged by Islamists
Bodies of what appeared to be executed civilians were found in a ravine outside a besieged Philippine city on Sunday as a six-day occupation by Islamist rebels fending off a military onslaught took a more sinister turn. The eight dead, most of them shot in the head and some with hands tied behind their backs, were laborers who were stopped by Islamic State-linked militants on the outskirts of Marawi City while trying to flee clashes, according to police.

Report reveals number of jihadists in UK
Intelligence officers have said they have identified 23,000 jihadist extremists living in the United Kingdom, according to a report by the Times of London on Saturday. Of the 23,000 radical jihadists identified in the United Kingdom, the intelligence sources said about 3,000 are believed to pose a “threat” and are currently being investigated or actively monitored.

Submarines dismantled in Puget Sound are symbols of nation’s defense dilemma
Even the ambitious goals of the Trump administration for a larger Navy are running up against budget and industry constraints. Nowhere is that as true as with the “Silent Service,” submarines.

Dollar General Accounts For 80% Of All New Store Openings In The US
Of the 1,041 stores expected set to open in 2017, 80%, or 810, belong to the one retail chain that focuses almost exclusively on America’s poortest, i.e., Dollar General.

The Golden Conspiracy
“Is there gold price manipulation going on? Absolutely. There’s no question about it. That’s not just an opinion… Now, where is the manipulation coming from? There are a number of suspects but you need look no further than China. “

Iran’s Shockingly Honest Reaction To Trump’s Visit To Saudi Arabia
“We have seen it all before. The Saudis are spending billions on arms which they don’t have the capacity to absorb…The Shah, too, spent billions of dollars buying arms from America, he too had capacity problems. We had 65,000 Americans in Iran, most of them in the armed forces. But then came the revolution and the weapons were used against him and his regime.”

Czech parliament asks government to recognize Jerusalem
The lower chamber of the Czech parliament calls on government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, stop funding ‘anti-Israel’ UNESCO.

Judge tries to stop you from watching this video
A federal judge in California, appointed under the pro-abortion agenda of Barack Obama, was infuriated that a newly released undercover video revealed abortionists at the top level of the U.S. industry joking about “eyeballs in laps” and other horrific incidents, and has censored the news media’s delivery of that information to the American public.

Congress needs to impeach this judge!
…Here’s the astonishing record of William Horsley Orrick III. It almost goes without saying he was a Barack Obama appointee. But he may have bought that appointment by raising $200,000 for the Obama campaign and personally donating $30,000 to committees supporting the campaign. After those lavish donations, in 2013, Orrick was appointed by Obama and confirmed by the Senate to the same seat his father, Judge William Orrick Jr., held from 1974 to 2003. In other words, it was his turn to inherit this lifetime job.

Major Demographic Shifts Indicate Israel Will Soon Redivide Into 12 Tribes
As Israel’s population increases, manifesting God’s promise to Abraham, the scales are tipping and very soon the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. Not only does this in itself fulfill prophecy, it will bring about the conditions that Jewish law states are the prophesied Third Inheritance of Israel, creating a new, end-of-days reality in the Holy Land.

Judicial Watch Sues for Records on Obama White House Unmasking Trump Associates
Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department (DOJ) and the National Security Agency (NSA) for information about Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s communications concerning alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 election, the hacking of DNC computers, and the “unmasking” (identification by name) of any Trump campaign or transition team personnel as part of U.S. intelligence gathering activities.

Libya turmoil: Rival armed groups clash in capital, Tripoli
Libyan militia groups opposed to the UN-backed government have launched a series of attacks on loyalist forces in the capital, Tripoli. At least 28 people were killed and about 130 injured, officials said. Explosions were heard across the city and witnesses said residential areas in the south had been shelled.

Afghanistan war: At least 13 dead in Khost bombing
At least 13 people have been killed in a suicide car bombing in the eastern Afghan city of Khost, officials say. At least two children were among the wounded, the information ministry said. The attacker targeted police vehicles in the centre of Khost. So far no group has claimed responsibility although the Taliban and the group known as Islamic State will be the main suspects.

Kashmir conflict: Top militant Sabzar Bhat killed, police say
A leading commander with the banned Hizbul Mujahideen militant group in Indian-administered Kashmir has been shot dead along with other suspected militants, the security forces say. They say that Sabzar Bhat was killed when police raided a hideout. His death will be regarded as a triumph by the Indian security forces but has already led to a wave of protests.

Trump foreign tour: G7 leaders turn attention to Africa
Leaders of the G7 group of rich nations have begun the last day of their summit with talks on the migrant crisis. Leaders from Tunisia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Niger and Nigeria have taken part in the discussions in Taormina, Sicily. Italy chose to host the G7 there to draw attention to Africa and the risks to migrants crossing to Europe. US President Donald Trump is said to oppose a statement highlighting the benefits of migration. He also opposes language on trade and climate change.

Chinese Jets Intercept U.S. Navy Plane, Pentagon Says
The Pentagon said two Chinese jet fighters unsafely intercepted a U.S. naval surveillance plane over the South China Sea in the second such incident around China’s shores in a week. Cmdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement that the two Chinese J-10 fighters intercepted a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft in international airspace on Wednesday. He didn’t provide the exact location.

Iraqi forces launch operation to seize last Islamic State enclave in Mosul
Iraqi armed forces launched an operation on Saturday to capture the last Islamic State-held enclave in Mosul, according to a military statement. The fall of the city would effectively mark the end of Iraqi half of the “caliphate” declared nearly three years ago by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which also covers parts of Syria.

Putin and Erdogan want deeper strategic partnership: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan confirmed in a phone call their mutual desire for a deepening of the strategic partnership between their two countries, the Kremlin said on Saturday. The Kremlin said the two leaders discussed agreements previously made about removing economic restrictions between Russia and Turkey, as well as questions relating to the TurkStream and Akkuyu energy projects.

2 dead in stabbing after intervening when man yelled anti-Muslim slurs at women, police say
Police say two people died and another was hurt in a stabbing on a Northeast Portland light-rail train after a man yelled racial slurs at two young women, one of whom was wearing a hijab. The suspect is in custody, police said in a statement. His name has not yet been released.

Hillary Clinton: “The Right Is Afraid Of Me Because I Don’t Die”
“…these guys on the other side are not just interested in my losing, they want to keep coming after me. What are they so afraid of? Me, to some extent. Because I don’t die, despite their best efforts. But what [really drives them] is what I represent…”

Obama Speaks on Global Warming, Then Spews CO2 With Private Jet, 13-Car Motorcade Hypocrisy of radical environmentalists knows no bounds…

Egyptian Warplanes Bomb Terrorist Camps In Libya After Attack On Coptic Christians
Hours after gunmen opened fire on a convoy of vehicles carrying Coptic Christian worshippers to a desert monastery in Egypt, killing 28, the Egyptian warplanes carried out six bombing strikes targeting camps near Derna in Libya where Cairo believes militants responsible for the deadly attack were traine

Obama Holdover Colluded With Unions To Pressure Congress
An Obama administration appointee with deep ties to labor unions promoted a grassroots campaign to reverse the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate funding for the federal regulatory board he sits on.

Trump urged to appoint special prosecutor on Obama’s spying
…former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy suggests President Trump should flip the script on his inquisitors in three bold moves that would turn Democrats from hunters into the hunted: Appoint a special counsel to investigate political spying, including unmasking and leaks to the media. Have Congress hold hearings on whether the Obama Justice Department colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Have Congress hold hearings on collusion between the Clinton Foundation and Russia.

Best Buds Mueller and Comey Target Trump
The Washington Post, a mouthpiece for Obama holdovers in the CIA and other agencies, reports that “sources” say a current White House official is under investigation as “a significant person of interest” in Russia-gate, but that the sources “would not further identify the official.”

Obama Goes From Sulking to Skulking
German chancellor Angela Merkel and the trash tabloid headlines supermarket shoppers read while waiting to cash out have much in common: Both are unwilling to let former President Barack Obama go and live in a fantasy world where he’s still president.

Liberals Focus on ‘Islamophobia’ While Egyptian Orthodox Are Killed

According to Edmund Kozak of LifeZette, 28 Egyptian Orthodox were murdered in Egypt’s Minya province in the latest string of attacks on Egypt’s Coptic community. “Earlier this month, a Christian man was shot to death by ISIS members in Arish, Egypt,” reports Kozak. “In April, more than 45 people were killed and over 130 injured when bombs exploded at two Coptic churches in Egypt. In December of last year, another church bombing killed nearly 30 people and injured nearly 50 others.” Now to Kozak’s story:

The latest assault came the very day following an appeal from the Knights of Columbus for donations to aid Iraq’s persecuted Christian community. Iraq’s Christian community has been devastated by ISIS. The country’s Christian population — which was estimated to number 1.5 million in 2003 — now stands at around 200,0000, according to the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil.

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Are Christian Ministries ‘Hate Groups’ for Believing the Bible?

“Are groups who declare homosexual behavior and transgenderism sinful (based on the clear teaching of Scripture) “hate groups?” asks Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis. “Well, The Eliminate Hate Campaign (EHC), a new coalition in America made up of liberal, LGBTQ organizations, certainly thinks so. They’ve formed to “label socially conservative organizations that oppose transgender rights as hate groups” and “to draw attention to groups it sees as extreme and hateful against . . . LGBT people.”

So watch out, Christian, because you’re being targeted.  Here’s Ken’s piece:

“Hate Group”—An Arbitrary Designation

Of course, this immediately raises the question, “Who gets to decide what is extreme, hateful, or a hate group?” The EHC has arbitrarily made itself the authority by saying that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a hate group.

This ignores the obvious fact that many liberals and liberal organizations frequently spew hateful, demeaning, profanity-laced language toward those who disagree with them. (Just view some of the comments on my Facebook and Twitter, and you’ll quickly see what I mean!) Why are they not considered hate groups? It’s arbitrary to designate groups that stand against sinful behavior as “hate groups,” and it’s based on nothing but the coalition’s own values and beliefs. Ultimately it’s a symptom of the spiritual battle raging around us, because those who are “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1) do all they can to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

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George Soros Spends $80M To Launch New Anti-Trump Network Staffed By Former ACORN Employees

A new $80 million anti-Trump network is being led by an organization whose top funder is liberal billionaire George Soros and which employs former members of the controversial and now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the 1950’s, if you were in Hollywood and associated with known Communist or Marxist groups, you would have been blacklisted and possibly banned for life from ever working again. In 2017, Communist, Socialist and Marxist groups form the main core of the Democratic Party, lavishly funded by billionaire George Soros. Their mission? To tear down the administration of President Trump, create open borders, foment terrorist attacks, set police cars on fire and bring about chaos to gum the system. 

The Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund, the 501(c)(4) sister organization of the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a New York-based nonprofit that receives the bulk of its funding from George Soros, announced at their spring gala Tuesday that they will be heading up the new $80 million anti-Trump network that will span 32 states and have 48 local partners, CNN reported.

The network will seek to mobilize new voters and fight voter identification laws. It will also focus on gerrymandering and automatic voter registration programs with an eye on the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.

The Center For Popular Democracy could easily be called the New People’s Workers Party:

Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, backed the new effort.

“This national network, led by working class people of color and immigrants, will supply the power and the fight we need to resist the Trump administration’s all-out assault on American values,” Ellison told CNN. “I look forward to standing with CPD Action’s leaders in the streets and in Congress to win real progressive change.”

The Center for Popular Democracy, which was founded in 2012, consists of old chapters of ACORN, the community-organizing group that was forced to close after being stripped of its federal funds following controversy in 2010.

Andrew Friedman, a co-executive director at the Center for Popular Democracy, co-founded Make the Road New York, a Latino immigrant group that has worked alongside CPD on a number of anti-Trump campaigns. Friedman serves on the board of Make the Road New York (MRNY) and Make the Road Action Fund, which are closely linked to CPD and contain many overlapping staffers.

Others in leadership roles at CPD have come directly from ACORN.

Brian Kettenring, the other co-executive director of the CPD, was an organizer for ACORN from 1995 to 2010. Steve Kest, a senior advisor at CPD, worked for ACORN for 35 years and served as its national executive director.

Christina Livingston, a board member of CPD, is the executive director of the Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment. Livingston previously organized for ACORN out of Los Angeles.

Billionaire George Soros linked to anti-Trump protests:

Steve Dooley, the director of partnerships at CPD, began his career at ACORN in D.C. Dooley later directed ACORN’s offices in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Greg Basta, the director of sustainability initiatives at CPD, worked as the statewide canvass director for the New York ACORN for five years.

Basta was a founding staff member of New York Communities for Change (NYCC), an ACORN offshoot that was founded in 2010.

The groups, which have combined to receive millions in funding from George Soros, funnel money to each other.

From 2012 to 2014, New York Communities for Change provided $81,700 to the Center for Popular Democracy, according to the group’s Form 990s up to 2014, the last available year. NYCC also passed $358,533 to the Make the Road New York Action Fund during this time.

The Center for Popular Democracy gave New York Communities for Change $406,667 between 2012 and 2014. CPD additionally gave Make the Road New York $173,955. CPD’s Action Fund added another $100,000 to New York Communities for Change.

George Soros creating an atmosphere where someone will take a shot at bringing down the president:

The Center for Popular Democracy did not respond to inquiries on the new $80 million anti-Trump network. New York Communities for Change and Make the Road New York also did not return requests for comment.

CPD and MRNY have been extremely active in the anti-Trump arena, using protests and pressure campaigns.

The two groups recently “partnered” on a “Corporate Backers of Hate” campaign that targeted JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Boeing, Disney, IMB, Uber, Blackrock, and Blackstone, corporations they say could profit from President Trump’s policies.

The “mass lobbying” campaign consists of directly pressuring higher ups at each company through emails and has been called “unprecedented” by corporate responsibility experts.

Make the Road was also reported to have organized the “spontaneous” protests at New York’s JFK Airport following Trump’s Muslim travel ban. However, it was later discovered that the protests had been planned since the day after the presidential election.

Uber, which had continued to pick up passengers from the airport during the event, found themselves in the center of the #DeleteUber pressure campaign following the protests. The CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, later stepped down from Trump’s advisory council.

The group is also behind the #GrabYourWallet campaign, which targets retailers for carrying Trump family products. Nordstrom ultimately pulled Ivanka Trump’s products, although the store had claimed they had dropped her brand due to declining sales.

The Center for Popular Democracy’s new multi-million dollar network falls in line with a number of major liberal groups who have reorganized to fight back against voter laws following Donald Trump’s victory.

Demos, a New York City-based progressive public policy group chaired by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D., Mass.) daughter, has been assisting unions in pushing back against election lawsuits in number of states after counties had failed to properly maintain their voter rolls. Demos received hundreds of thousands in funding from Soros’ groups.

Marc Elias, Hillary Clinton’s former top campaign lawyer, recently joined the board of Priorities USA Action, a major Democratic super PAC that received $9.5 million from Soros during the 2016 election cycle.

Elias was tapped as the group shifts its focus on pushing back against state-level Republican efforts on voting laws. Every Citizen Counts, a nonprofit founded by Clinton allies focused on mobilizing African American and Latino voters, was absorbed into Priorities USA.

Elias will spearhead challenges against state voting laws from the organization’s nonprofit arm, which is building a national database to be a “one-stop inventory of restrictive voting measures” that they will share with other progressive groups.

Elias previously engaged in a multi-state effort to overturn voter ID laws leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The challenges were backed by millions of dollars from Soros.

Soros has a goal of enlarging the electorate by 10 million voters by 2018, the Washington Free Beacon discovered after a trove of hacked Soros documents were released last year by DC Leaks. The plan to grow the electorate by millions of voters and combating “suppression” was listed as a top priority in a 220-page guide from his Open Society Foundations.

“The Open Society Foundations supports efforts to encourage wider participation in U.S. elections, and opposes measures used to try to suppress voter participation,” a spokesman from the Open Society Foundations told the Free Beacon at the time. source

Islamic State Urges ‘All Out War’ on West for Ramadan: ‘Attack Them in Their Homes’

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), in its annual call for violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, has urged jihadists and sympathizers to wage an “all-out war” in the West, stressing the targeting of noncombatants.

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Why is Trump’s Defense Department celebrating Ramadan?

So why should America celebrate an intolerant religion? You should ask the Pentagon this question, because, unlike the State Department, it is celebrating Ramadan. This is the very same Pentagon that recently decided to allow American soldiers to wear hijabs. The policy started under Obama but continues under Trump.

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Shame, Guilt, and Fear: What 1,000 Americans Avoid Most

“What’s our biggest cultural fear? Shame,” he said. “What’s surprising is not that personal freedom, ambition, and doing the right thing are valued by Americans. It’s that risk to our reputation is what matters most.”

Many Americans are more worried about their reputation than their conscience.

They worry less about guilt and fear and more about avoiding shame, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Shame has become particularly powerful in American culture in the internet age, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. A single mistake or embarrassing moment posted on social media can ruin a person’s life.

“What’s our biggest cultural fear? Shame,” he said. “What’s surprising is not that personal freedom, ambition, and doing the right thing are valued by Americans. It’s that risk to our reputation is what matters most.”

Mixed motivations

Shaming has been a part of American life since the days of The Scarlet Letter. Set among the Puritans, the novel tells the story of Hester Prynne, a young mother forced to wear a scarlet “A” after committing adultery, considered a crime at the time. But Americans gave up on public shaming of criminals in the 1830s, according to journalist Jon Ronson, author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

Since then, Americans have been more concerned about issues like guilt over wrongdoing, said McConnell. That’s shaped how churches have presented their faith to the public, he said.

LifeWay Research wanted to know if guilt is still a major issue for Americans. That might affect how Christians talk about their faith, said McConnell, since Christianity also addresses needs such as shame and fear.

“We wanted to know: Are churches addressing the issues Americans care about most?”

Researchers asked 1,000 Americans three questions to discover their feelings about fear, shame, guilt, and other issues.

  • Which of these feelings do you seek to avoid the most?
  • Which of these desires is strongest in your life?
  • Which of these directions do you value the most?

Overall, 38 percent of Americans say they avoid shame the most, while 31 percent say guilt and 30 percent say fear.

Education and age play a role in which feelings Americans avoid. Those with graduate degrees (44%) are more likely to avoid shame than those with high school diplomas or less (34%). Americans ages 25 to 34 avoid guilt (37%) more than those 55 and older (27%). Middle-aged Americans—those 35 to 54— are the most likely age group to worry about shame (44%).

Nones—those who claim no religious identity—avoid guilt (35%) more than those who are religious (30%). Those who are religious avoid shame (39%) more than nones (33%). Those from non-Christian faiths are most likely to avoid shame (48%).

When it comes to what Americans with evangelical beliefs avoid most, 34 percent say guilt, 34 percent say fear, and 32 percent say shame. For Americans worshiping at least once a month, 37 percent say shame, 32 percent say fear, and 31 percent say guilt. (The findings were not significantly different from non-evangelicals or non-worshipers.)

McConnell wonders whether Americans see shame as a bigger threat to their reputation or self-worth than guilt.

“Guilt says, ‘I deserve to be punished,’” he said. “But shame says, ‘I am worthless.’”

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Read another article on this topic: Americans want to avoid shame, make their loved ones proud

After 20 Years Of Unchecked Muslim Immigration, The UK Is Now Home To 23,000+ Islamic Terrorists

UK Intelligence officers have identified 23,000 Islamic terrorists living in Britain as potential terrorist attackers, it emerged yesterday

“I don’t think you can overstate the importance that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism will have to the rest of the world in the century ahead-especially if, as seems possible, its most fanatical elements get their hands on nuclear and chemical weapons and the means to deliver them against their enemies.”Ronald Reagan

The scale of the challenge facing the police and security services was disclosed by Whitehall sources after criticism that multiple opportunities to stop the Manchester bomber had been missed.

About 3,000 people from the total group are judged to pose a threat and are under investigation or active monitoring in 500 operations being run by police and intelligence services. The 20,000 others have featured in previous inquiries and are categorised as posing a “residual risk”.

The real state of Europe that the fake news media keeps hidden from you:

This video is filled with disturbing images and will shatter your illusions that Muslim are just like every other migrant group of people. They’re not, and after you watch this video, you will never be able to indulge yourself in that fantasy ever again.

Europe is now reaping the bitter harvest of unchecked Muslim immigration

Under the delusion of multiculturalism, European states have allowed millions of Muslim migrants to live within their borders, but with assimilating into the culture of their host countries. The recent Ramadan bombing of innocents at the Manchester Arena had Britons picking the flesh of the victims out of their hair, you would think that would have been a massive wakeup call for them, right? Wrong. Watch this:

England at this very moment, Memorial Day weekend in the United States, is cowering in fear and hiding behind teddy bear and votive candle memorials of their recent dead at the hands of Islamic terrorists. They make bold but false declarations like “we stand united against hate”, but the sad reality is that the UK and Europe are not united. They are falling apart in white knuckled fear.

And until the day comes when the various heads of state summon up the nerve to utter the words “Islamic terrorism”, they will never, ever find a way to defeat it.

Patriots To Sponsor LGBT ‘Gay Bowl’

According to Touchdown Wire:

The stick to sports crowd usually targets players or media personalities. Now they may have to say it to an entire organization. This weekend the Patriots announced they will sponsor the 2017 Gay Bowl, which is a national championship flag football built with teams from the LGBT community. This is a statement of inclusion by the Patriots, but won’t get to the level of other social stands such as Colin Kaepernick.

The NFL hasn’t been at the forefront of social causes like the NBA. The NFL said it didn’t support the bathroom law in North Carolina, but didn’t move its owners’ meetings there. They only threatened to move it. The NBA, in contrast, cancelled an All-Star Game there. NFL players have dealt with backlash over their protests bringing attention to issues of race. NBA players have worn “I Can’t Breate” shirts and have addressed race equality movements multiple times.

View article →

Top Headlines – 5/27-28/2017

Thousands rally for peace in Tel Aviv amid renewed US efforts

‘Two states, One hope’ – peace demonstration held in Rabin Square

WHO passes on anti-Israel resolution, UK, US oppose it

Czech parliament asks government to recognize Jerusalem

Norway fuming after aid money used by PA to honor Coastal Road Massacre terrorist

Tel Aviv City Hall lit with Egypt flag in solidarity with Copt terror victims

Putin and Erdogan want deeper strategic partnership: Kremlin

Turkish military says kills 13 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

Iraq Mosul offensive: Civilians ‘in grave danger’ – UN

Bin Laden’s son steps into father’s shoes as al-Qaeda attempts a comeback

Libyan Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia says it is dissolving

Philippine military: Muslim militants kill 16 civilians in fight for southern city

Manchester attack: Terror threat level reduced as streets evacuated in Moss Side police raids

ADL condemns ‘brutal’ Oregon killings by anti-Muslim attacker

All clear given at Newark airport terminal after suspicious package found

Anti-India protests hit Kashmir after top rebel is killed

Tillerson declines to host Ramadan event at State Department, breaking with decades of tradition

Report: Iran ready for talks ‘toward peace’ with Arab states

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Saudi Arabia ‘cow milked’ by US

By backing Saudi Arabia’s vision of the Middle East, Trump may be sowing the seeds of conflict

Trump at conclusion of first foreign trip: ‘I think we hit a home run’

Back home after foreign trip, Trump faces slew of challenges

New Kushner-Russia Story Stokes Concern of West Wing Leakers

Kushner back channel with Russia ‘involved Syria’

US National Security Adviser ‘not concerned’ with Kushner, Russia back-channel allegations

Russian bank owners sue BuzzFeed over Trump dossier publication

How Team Obama tried to hack the election

Suit against Hillary Clinton over Benghazi deaths and emails is dismissed

Hillary Clinton: “The Right Is Afraid Of Me Because I Don’t Die”

British Airways outage creates London travel chaos; power issue blamed

US officials: Chinese jets intercept US surveillance plane

Stoking tensions, N. Korea test launches ‘new’ weapon system

Strong earthquake in Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Adak, Alaska

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Golmarmara, Turkey

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kavieng, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Chernabura Island, Alaska

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 22,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 13,000ft

Trump declines to join world leaders at G-7 in affirming Paris climate accord

Merkel Mad: Donald Trump Declines to Endorse Paris Climate Agreement

Trump promises climate decision next week after G7 stalemate

German kindergartens must report parents for refusing vaccine advice under new law

India bans sale of cows for slaughter, a move designed to appease conservative Hindus

Pope: More Christian martyrs today than in ancient times

Taking Trump’s peace push seriously, Netanyahu said looking to broaden coalition

‘Netanyahu should have told the truth’ – Justice Minister says PM missed his opportunity to tell US President 2 state solution is a fantasy, change paradigms of negotiations

78% of Israelis say peace not possible, split if PM serious to make deal

Former PLO negotiator calls to shut Palestinian Authority

UN warns of ‘walking into another Gaza crisis with eyes wide open’

UN: Gaza electricity crisis could lead to violence

Clashes as hundreds of Palestinian protest across West Bank, Gaza

Trump uses Ramadan message to urge end to violence

Trump wishes Muslims ‘a joyful Ramadan’

Israel to ease access for Palestinians during Ramadan

Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike over after deal reached

Israel’s eyes in the sky gather intel in a shifting Middle East

Hezbollah-affiliated radio denies Israeli attack in Syria

UN body said to bury positive report on Israel under Syrian pressure

Britain, US oppose UN health body’s resolution singling out Israel

Journalist’s Footage Shows Iraqi Forces Torturing Civilians, ABC Report Says

Egypt: At least 28 dead as gunmen fire on bus carrying Coptic Christians

Egyptian warplanes bomb targets in Libya after attack on Christians, as al-Sisi asks Trump to head fight against terrorism

Trump on Egypt attack: ‘Bloodletting of Christians must end’

Arab world condemns Egyptian terrorist massacre ‘trying to ignite civil war’

Afghan official says 18 killed in suicide car bomb attack

British politician wants death penalty for suicide bombers

Isis calls on supporters to wage ‘all-out war’ on West during Ramadan with new terror attacks

G7 leaders agree steps to tackle terrorism after Manchester bombing

Jeremy Corbyn: the war on terror is simply not working

DHS chief: If you knew what I knew about terror, you’d ‘never leave the house’

NC billboard supporting Trump travel ban ignites controversy with 9/11 reference

Chinese jets come within several hundred feet of US plane over South China Sea

Top U.S. Diplomat Warns China to Do More to Curtail North Korea

US plans test of defense system to shoot down an ICBM

Boehner Says Apart From Foreign Policy, Trump Has Been ‘A Complete Disaster’

Jared Kushner reportedly sought secret communications with Moscow

FBI probing attempted hack of Trump Organization, officials say

Huckabee: Leakers working against the safety of Americans

White House may appoint legal team to monitor Trump tweets

Secret court rebukes NSA for 5-year illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens

Chipotle says hackers hit most restaurants in data breach

NASA Sun Observatory Sees Partial Solar Eclipse in Space

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Acajutla, El Salvador

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Port-Olry, Vanuatu

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Puerto Chacabuco, Chile

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 40,000ft

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

Trump ‘evolving’ on climate action, pressured by Europeans

Sri Lanka landslides, floods death toll rises to 91; over 100 missing

‘Panic’ in Bangladesh factories as workers collapse in heatwave

Three die in raging Siberia wildfires in Russia

Start of summer brings warnings about diarrhea and brain-eating amoeba

Ebola outbreak in Central Africa, officials scramble to control virus’ spread

Texas set to embrace new abortion restrictions

First gentleman of Luxembourg joined partners of NATO leaders, marking a huge moment for the LGBTQ community

Muslim man sues Little Caesars for $100M over pork on pizza

Christian Pastor Says Many Indonesians Are Realizing Islam Is False, Finding Christ

Tillerson declines to host Ramadan reception

Posted: 27 May 2017 08:27 PM PDT

In an apparent break with a nearly two-decades-long bipartisan tradition, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined to host an event commemorating the Muslim holy…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

These 8 Habits Activate Holy Spirit’s Power in Your Life

Posted: 27 May 2017 07:54 PM PDT

(By Ken Malone) Faith—Shed the victim mentality and believe God for a miracle. Speaking God’s word over you and your family will unlock the resources…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists create designer viruses that send ‘killer cells’ to fight tumor

Posted: 27 May 2017 07:38 PM PDT

A team of Swiss scientists have created artificial viruses that stimulate the immune system which in turn activates and sends a “powerful army” of so-called…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

California Farmer Fined $2.8 Million for Plowing His Own Field

Posted: 27 May 2017 07:31 PM PDT

The California farmer who became the poster child for EPA reform under President Donald Trump is being fined $2.8 million by state and federal regulators…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hallmark Offering Cards to Celebrate ‘Gender Transitions’

Posted: 27 May 2017 07:27 PM PDT

The popular greeting card company Hallmark is selling cards to affirm those who identify as “transgender” and to celebrate those who are undergoing gender “transitions,” the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea Satellites ‘In Ideal Position’ For EMP Attack…

Posted: 27 May 2017 07:22 PM PDT

There are growing concerns among US politicians that the North Koreans have the capability to launch a devastating EMP attack that would wipe out the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheists Send Trump a Major Message Via Full-Page NY Times Ad

Posted: 27 May 2017 12:35 PM PDT

Atheist activists took out a full-page ad in Thursday’s New York Times to send a pointed message to U.S. President Donald Trump: “Mr. President, we are…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ben & Jerry’s Bans ‘Same-Flavor Scoops’ in Australian Same-Sex Marriage Push

Posted: 27 May 2017 12:30 PM PDT

Declaring “love comes in all flavors,” Ben & Jerry’s said Thursday it’s banning its Australian customers from buying two scoops of the same flavor of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

79-foot blue whale carcass washes up on Bolinas beach in CA

Posted: 27 May 2017 12:26 PM PDT

A 79-foot blue whale washed up on Agate Beach in Bolinas on Friday morning. The cause of death remains unknown. Scientists from the Marin Mammal…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UK Home to 23,000 Jihadists

Posted: 27 May 2017 12:23 PM PDT

Intelligence officers have identified 23,000 jihadist extremists living in Britain as potential terrorist attackers, it emerged yesterday. The scale of the challenge facing the police…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RAF fighter jets scrambled to Scotland as Russian aircraft approach UK airspace

Posted: 27 May 2017 06:38 AM PDT

RAF fighter jets were scrambled to the north of Scotland this morning after Russian aircraft entered UK airspace, the MOD has confirmed.  Royal Air Force…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Juno Spacecraft Captures First Incredible Images of Jupiter

Posted: 27 May 2017 06:29 AM PDT

Nasa’s Juno spacecraft has captured the first close-up images of Jupiter.  The Guardian reports the $1.1 billion probe went into orbit last July on a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Church Pastor among dead in Central African Republic

Posted: 27 May 2017 06:21 AM PDT

A church leader was among those killed in the recent outbreak of violence in the Central African Republic, it has emerged. Baptist pastor Ange-Apoléon Ngakolada,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christianity growing In Indonesia as many are converting to Christ!

Posted: 27 May 2017 06:15 AM PDT

Christianity is growing in Indonesia, according to a Baptist pastor from Jakarta. But at the same time, the influence of radical Islam is also being felt,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Israeli Education Minister Warns ‘We will not divide the land with our enemies’

Posted: 27 May 2017 06:05 AM PDT

Speaking at the traditional central Jerusalem Day celebration at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) responded Wednesday night to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Deadly wildfire burns down hundreds of homes in Siberia – State of emergency declared

Posted: 27 May 2017 06:00 AM PDT

Three people have been killed and hundred of homes burned down as Russia declares a state of emergency in the Krasnoyarsk region after an apocalyptical…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Hackers Cripple British Airways

Posted: 27 May 2017 05:50 AM PDT

British Airways canceled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airports until 6pm after their computer systems were brought down across the entire world. Angry passengers on social…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Three men charged over ‘terror plot to detonate a car bomb’ in London

Posted: 26 May 2017 07:06 PM PDT

Three men appeared in court charged over an alleged “mass murder” plot to detonate a car bomb in central London. The suspected scheme, said to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

1/3 of U.S. Honeybee Colonies Died Last Year

Posted: 26 May 2017 07:01 PM PDT

America’s beekeepers watched as a third of the country’s honeybee colonies were lost over the last year, part of a decade-long die-off experts said may…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Minnesota Muslim released despite possession of grenade and bomb materials found

Posted: 26 May 2017 04:33 PM PDT

The Manchester suicide bomber was reported to authorities repeatedly over a period of five years, as British citizens pointed out his radical activities. Nothing was…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Egypt strikes ‘terrorist camps’ in Libya in response to attack on Coptic Christians

Posted: 26 May 2017 04:26 PM PDT

Egyptian fighter jets have struck militant camps following the deadly attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians, President Abdel Fattah Sisi has announced. The strikes were carried…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Muslim man sues Little Caesars for $100M over pork on pizza

Posted: 26 May 2017 04:21 PM PDT

A Muslim man is suing Little Caesars for $100 million in Michigan, claiming he was served pepperoni made with pork, which is a food prohibited…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Witchcraft Rising? The Strange Reason Witches Are Coming Out of Hiding

Posted: 26 May 2017 04:16 PM PDT

(Reported By Dan Gainor) Writers become oddly specialized in topics the more they write. Usually, that’s a mixture of your own interests and stories you…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nuclear nightmare worse than Fukushima could hit US because of ignored risks

Posted: 26 May 2017 12:15 PM PDT

The US has underestimated the risks to its nuclear safety as a single nuclear fuel fire could lead to fallout “much greater than Fukushima,” according…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sleep deprivation can cause brain to start ‘eating’ itself

Posted: 26 May 2017 12:11 PM PDT

A lack of sleep can cause parts of the brain’s synapses to be ‘eaten’ by other brain cells, according to a new study by researchers at…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iceland slowly being torn apart by constant earthquakes…

Posted: 26 May 2017 12:06 PM PDT

In an average week Iceland’s national monitoring seismic network detects around 500 earthquakes. If one of the volcanoes is hit by an earthquake swarm this…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Machete-Wielding Clown Terrorizes Drivers Along California Highway…

Posted: 26 May 2017 12:01 PM PDT

Just when you thought this was over, the creepy clowns are back!  A clown, dressed in a colorful blue suit, was spotted standing along Highway 101…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Chinese jets come within several hundred feet of US plane over South China Sea

Posted: 26 May 2017 11:56 AM PDT

Two Chinese J-10 fighter jets came within several hundred feet of a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion over the South China Sea on Thursday local time,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Plans First Test Of ICBM Intercept as Tensions Rise with North Korea

Posted: 26 May 2017 11:52 AM PDT

Preparing for North Korea’s growing threat, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What is The Gospel?

Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:


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 28, 2017: Verse of the day


1:5 one day. God established the pattern of creation in 7 days which constituted a complete week. “Day” can refer to: 1) the light portion of a 24 hour period (1:5, 14); 2) an extended period of time (2:4); or 3) the 24 hour period which basically refers to a full rotation of the earth on its axis, called evening and morning. This cannot mean an age, but only a day, reckoned by the Jews from sunset to sunset (vv. 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). “Day” with numerical adjectives in Hebrew always refers to a 24 hour period. Comparing the order of the week in Ex 20:8–11 with the creation week confirms this understanding of the time element. Such a cycle of light and dark means that the earth was rotating on its axis, so that there was a source of light on one side of the earth, though the sun was not yet created (v. 16).[1]

1:5 called. God shows He is ruler of the cosmos by naming its spheres (17:5; cf. Num. 32:38; 2 Kin. 23:34; 24:17). By His creative commands and designations, God gave existence and meaning to everything according to His eternal counsel. For God Himself there are no mysteries, and all creation has coherence and meaning within His will. For man, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the all-wise God (Prov. 1:7).

first day. This presentation of the creation week enables God’s covenant people to imitate the Creator in their weekly pattern of work and rest (Ex. 20:11; 31:13, 17).

Reformed scholars have proposed several interpretations of the creative “day.” Some view these as literal, sequential, 24-hour days. This interpretation usually entails the view that the earth is relatively “young” (c. 10,000 years old or less). Other scholars, noting that the Hebrew word for “day” (yom) can refer to periods of time (e.g., 2:4), have proposed the “day-age theory,” that the creative “days” refer to extended ages or epochs of time. Still others suggest that literal, 24-hour days are intended, but that these days were separated by extended periods of time. Finally, some scholars argue that the “days” of creation constitute a literary framework (vv. 3–31 note) designed to teach that God alone is the creator of an orderly universe, and to call upon human beings made in the image of the creator God to reflect God’s creative activity in their own pattern of labor (2:2; Ex. 31:17). This “framework hypothesis” views the days of creation as God’s gracious accommodation to the limitations of human knowledge—an expression of the infinite Creator’s work in terms understandable to finite and frail human beings. This last group of scholars observes that the universe gives the appearance of great antiquity, that the phrase “morning and evening” seems inconsistent with the “day-age” theory, and that the notion of intervening ages between isolated 24-hour days is not apparent from the text.[2]

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

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 7). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

May 28 – Jesus Purposely Selects a Traitor (Judas Iscariot)

The twelve apostles included “Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:4).


God works all things together for His purposes.

At one time the little town of Kerioth was a relatively obscure Judean town, but all that changed when it produced the most hated man who ever lived—Judas Iscariot.

The first mention of Judas is here in Matthew’s list of disciples. We have no record of his call, but we know Jesus did call him along with the others, and even gave him authority to minister in miraculous ways (Matt. 10:1). His first name, Judas, is despised today, but it was a common name in the days of Christ. It is the Greek form of Judah—the land of God’s people. Iscariot literally means, “a man from the town of Kerioth.”

People commonly ask why Jesus would select such a man to be His disciple. Didn’t He know how things would turn out? Yes, He did, and that’s precisely why He chose him. The Old Testament said the Messiah would be betrayed by a familiar friend for thirty pieces of silver, and Jesus knew Judas was that man (John 17:12).

Some people feel sorry for Judas, thinking he was simply misguided or used as some kind of pawn in a supernatural drama over which he had no control. But Judas did what he did by choice. Repeatedly Jesus gave him chances to repent, but he refused. Finally Satan used him in a diabolical attempt to destroy Jesus and to thwart God’s plan of salvation. The Devil’s attempt failed, however, because God can use even a Judas to accomplish His purposes.

Undoubtedly there are people in your life who wish you harm. Don’t be discouraged. They are as much a part of God’s plan for you as those who treat you kindly. You must reach out to them just as Jesus reached out to Judas. God knows what He’s doing. Trust Him, and rejoice as you see His purposes accomplished even through your enemies.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His sovereign control over every circumstance and for the promise that His purposes will never be thwarted.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 26:14–50 and 27:1–10. ✧ How did Jesus reveal that it was Judas who would betray Him? ✧ What reaction did Judas have when he heard that Jesus had been condemned?[1]

The Master’s Men—Part 6: Judas

and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. (10:4b)

Among the twelve apostles, one stands out against the backdrop of the others as a lonely, tragic misfit, the epitome of human disaster. He is the vilest, most wicked man in Scripture. In the lists of apostles he is always named last and, with the exception of Acts 1:13, is always identified as Jesus’ betrayer. For 2,000 years the name Judas Iscariot has been a byword for treachery.

Forty verses in the New Testament mention the betrayal of Jesus, and each of them is a reminder of Judas’s incredible sin. After the description of his death and his replacement among the twelve in Acts 1, his name is never again mentioned in Scripture. In Dante’s Inferno Judas occupies the lowest level of hell, which he shares with Lucifer, Satan himself.

His Name

Judas was a common name in New Testament times and was a second name for one of the other apostles, Thaddaeus. It is a personalized form of Judah, the southern kingdom during the Jewish monarchy and the Roman province of Judea during the time of Christ. Some scholars believe the name means “Yahweh (or Jehovah) leads,” and others believe it refers to one who is the object of praise. With either meaning, it was a tragic misnomer in the case of Judas Iscariot. No human being has ever been less directed by the Lord or less worthy of praise.

Iscariot means “man of Kerioth,” a small town in Judea, about twenty-three miles south of Jerusalem and some seven miles from Hebron. Judas is the only apostle whose name includes a geographical identification, possibly because he was the only Judean among the twelve. All the others, including Jesus, were from Galilee in the north. Judean Jews generally felt superior to the Jews of Galilee; and although Judas himself was from a rural village, he probably did not fit well into the apostolic band.

His Call

Judas is always listed among the twelve apostles, but his specific call is not recorded in the gospels. He first appears in Matthew’s listing, with no indication as to where or how Jesus called him. Obviously he was attracted to Jesus, and he stayed with Him until the end of His ministry, far past the time when many of the other false disciples had left Him (see John 6:66).

There is no evidence that Judas ever had a spiritual interest in Jesus. It is likely that, from the beginning, he expected Jesus to become a powerful religious and political leader and wanted to use the association with Him for selfish reasons. He recognized Jesus’ obvious miracle-working power as well as His great influence over the multitudes. But he was not interested in the coming of the kingdom for Christ’s sake, or even for the sake of his fellow Jews, but only for the sake of whatever personal gain he might derive from being in the Messiah’s inner circle of leadership. Although he was motivated totally by selfishness, he nevertheless followed the Lord in a half-hearted way-until he was finally convinced that Jesus’ plans for the kingdom were diametrically opposed to his own.

Christ chose Judas intentionally and specifically, “for Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him” (John 6:64). Although the disciples did not at the time understand what He meant, Jesus alluded to His betrayal a year or more before it occurred. “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Jesus told them soon after the false disciples at Capernaum turned away from Him. John explains that “He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him” (vv. 70–71).

David predicted Christ’s betrayal a thousand years before the fact. “Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread,” he wrote, “has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:9; cf. 55:12–15, 20–21). Although that passage primarily referred to David, its greater significance applied to Jesus Christ, as He Himself declared (John 13:18).

Zechariah even predicted the exact price of betrayal. “And I said to them, ‘If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!’ So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.’ So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord” (Zech. 11:12–13). At the Lord’s command, the prophet had shepherded the Lord’s people (vv. 4–11), and the wages they paid Zechariah represented the “magnificent price” at which their descendants would value the Messiah Himself.

In His high priestly prayer, Jesus said to His Father, speaking of the twelve, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12). Luther translated “son of perdition” as “lost child,” that is, a child whose nature and intention is to be continually wayward and lost. Jesus lost none of the twelve except the one who was confirmed in his sin and refused to be saved. He chose Judas in order to fulfill Scripture, knowing that Judas would reject that choice.

At the Last Supper Jesus said, “Behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” (Luke 22:21–22). Although our finite human minds cannot understand it, God had predetermined the betrayal, though, at the same time, Judas was held fully responsible for it, because it was by his own choice.

In Judas’s rejection of Christ there is the same apparent paradox of divine sovereignty and human will that exists in the process of salvation. Although a person must receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior with an act of his will (John 1:12; 3:16; Rom. 1:16), every believer who does so was chosen to be saved even before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; cf. Acts 13:48). In the same way, Judas had the opportunity to accept or reject Christ in regard to salvation, although Christ planned from the beginning for the disbelief and rejection that would characterize this disciple. Those seemingly conflicting truths-just as others found in Scripture-are resolved only in the mind of God. The Bible is clear that Jesus extended to Judas the opportunity for salvation to the extent that his unbelief was his own choice and fault (cf. Matt. 23:37; John 5:40). Judas chose to reject and betray Christ. That is why Christ did not label him as a victim of sovereign decree but “a devil” (John 6:70) and made clear that he did what he did not because God made him do it but rather Satan (John 13:27).

God also predetermined Judas’s successor among the twelve from the beginning. Just before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit led Peter to explain to the apostles who remained, “It is therefore necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us-begnning with the baptism of John, until the day that He was taken up from us-one of these should become a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:21–22). Out of the disciples who met that qualification, the eleven then chose “two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, ‘Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two Thou hast chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (vv. 23–26). Both God’s sovereign, predetermined choice and the human choice of the apostles were involved in the selection of Matthias.

A few days later, on the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the crowd in Jerusalem, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (2:22–23). God sovereignly predetermined Jesus’ crucifixion, but the unbelieving Jews were responsible for sending Him to the cross. It was God’s predetermined will to send His Son to die, and it was rebellious man’s determined will to put Him to death.

His Character

Judas’s outward personality must have been commendable or at least acceptable. Before the actual betrayal, none of the other disciples accused Judas of any wrongdoing or criticized him for any deficiency. When after three years of training them Jesus predicted that one of the twelve would betray Him, the other eleven had no idea who it might be. At first, “being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ ” (Matt. 26:22). Then “they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.” But they soon lost sight of the betrayal and began to discuss not who was the worst among them but rather “which one of them was regarded to be greatest” (Luke 22:23–24). In any case, Judas was no more suspect than any of the others. In answer to John’s question “Lord, who is it?” Jesus replied, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him” (John 13:25–26). Jesus then gave the morsel to Judas, saying, “What you do, do quickly.” Still the others had no idea the traitor was Judas. “No one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him,” that is, to Judas (vv. 27–28).

Because he was never suspected by the other disciples, Judas must have been a remarkable hypocrite. He had even been selected treasurer of the group and was perfectly trusted (John 13:29). It is probable that, like most of the other disciples, he had led a respectable, religious life before Jesus called him. Perhaps he had not been an extortioner and traitor to his own people like Matthew or a hot-blooded revolutionary and possible assassin like Simon the Zealot, although his coming from Kerioth of Judea might have obscured his background to the other disciples, who were Galileans.

Judas apparently guarded what he said. His only recorded words were spoken near the end of Jesus’ ministry, when he objected to Mary’s anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment. “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?” he asked (John 12:5). “Now he said this,” John explains, “not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it” (v. 6). Under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, John was given that insight which he recorded when writing the gospel decades later; but at the time of the incident he had no awareness of Judas’s ulterior motive.

Judas was no more naturally sinful than any other person ever born. He was made of the same stuff as the other apostles, with no less common goodness and no more innate sinfulness. But the same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay, and Judas’s choice not to trust in Jesus became more and more hardened and fixed as he continued to resist the Lord’s love and Word.

Judas was probably one of the youngest disciples and likely an outwardly devout and patriotic Jew Though not as radical as Simon the Zealot, he was anxious for the Roman yoke to be thrown off and expected Jesus to usher in the messianic kingdom that would accomplish that. Rome would be overthrown, and God’s people would be reestablished in peace and prosperity.

But Judas was first of all a materialist, as his stealing bears witness. He wanted the earthly benefits of a restored Jewish kingdom but had no interest in personal righteousness or regeneration. He was perfectly satisfied with himself and came to Jesus solely for material advantage, not for spiritual blessing. Jesus gave him every opportunity to renounce his self-life and seek God’s forgiveness and salvation, but Judas refused. The Lord gave the parables of the unjust sinward and the wedding garments, but Judas did not apply the truths to himself. The Lord taught much about the dangers of greed and love of money and even warned the twelve that one of them was a devil, but Judas would not listen. He did not argue with Christ, as Peter and some of the others did and, in fact, probably openly acted as if he agreed with Him. But the response of his heart was continual rejection. Jesus chose Judas because the betrayal was in God’s plan and was prophesied in the Old Testament; yet Jesus gave Judas every opportunity not to fulfill that prophecy.

Judas was in the third group of four disciples-with James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot-indicating he was among the disciples who were least intimate with Jesus. It is likely he was on the fringe even of his own subgroup, participating no more than necessary, and that from the sidelines. It is doubtful he was close to any of the others. He was thought to be honest, but he developed no close friendships or intimate relationships. He was a loner.

In the Orient, a host would always offer an honored guest the first sop, which consisted of a morsel of bread dipped in a syrup-like mixture of fruit and nuts. At the Last Supper Jesus offered the first sop to Judas. Yet at the very moment the Lord extended special honor to Judas, “Satan then entered into him” (John 13:27). To the very end Jesus loved Judas, but he would have none of what He offered him.

His Progressive Rejection

Judas did not begin his discipleship intending to betray Jesus. He was in full sympathy with what he thought was Jesus’ purpose and plan and was ready to support Him. After each miracle Judas may have expected Jesus to announce His kingship and begin a campaign against Rome, whose vast army, great as it was, would have been no match for Jesus’ supernatural power. Judas kept hanging on and hanging on, expecting Jesus to fulfill his dreams of defeating the despised oppressor. Like a gambler who thinks every loss puts him that much closer to winning, Judas perhaps thought that every failure of Jesus to use His power against Rome brought that ultimate and inevitable goal a bit closer.

For three years Judas hoped, and at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem he must have thought the time had finally come. Obviously, Judas reasoned, Jesus had been building up to a grand climax, waiting for the crowds to fully recognize His messiahship and His right to the throne of David. He would ascend His throne by popular demand, and the Lion of Judah would at Last expel and destroy the eagle of Rome.

But when Jesus rejected the crowd’s crown and instead began to teach even more earnestly about His imminent arrest and death, it was Judas’s hopes and expectations that were expelled and destroyed. He was devastated that Jesus could build up to such a perfect opportunity and intentionally let it slip through His hands. He must have thought Jesus mad to willingly allow Himself to be mistreated and even killed, when with one word He could destroy any opponent. Now he knew beyond doubt that, whatever Jesus intended to do, it had no relationship to his own motives and plans.

Judas started at the same place as the other disciples. But they trusted in Jesus and were saved, and as they surrendered more and more to His control, they grew away from their old ways. They, too, were sinful, worldly, selfish, unloving, and materialistic. But they submitted to Jesus, and He changed them. Judas, however, never advanced beyond crass materialism. He refused to trust Jesus anti more and more resisted His lordship. Eventually he was confirmed in his own way to the point that he permanently closed the door to God’s grace. Like Faust, he irretrievably sold his soul to the devil.

When Jesus turned His back on the crown offered by the multitude, Judas turned his back on Jesus. He could no longer restrain his vile, wretched motives for self-glory and gain. He had given a glimpse of his true self when he showed more concern for the money “wasted” on perfume to anoint Jesus than concern for the Lord’s imminent arrest and death, which the disciples by now knew awaited Him in Jerusalem (John 1l:16).

Judas’s fascination with Jesus had turned first to disappointment and finally to hatred. He had never loved Jesus but only sought to use Him. He had never loved his fellow disciples but rather stole for himself from what small resources they had. Now he turned completely against them.

On the last night Jesus was together with the disciples, He washed their feet with His own hands, to teach them humility and service. As He began He said, “You are clean, but not all of you,” referring to Judas (John 13:10–11). After the object lesson He gave another warning that Judas could have heeded: “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me’ ” (John 13:18). Jesus grieved over Judas, being unwilling that even this vile man should perish (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9). As the time for the betrayal came closer, Jesus “became troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me’ ” (v. 21). He did not grieve over the loss of His own life, which He willingly laid down. He grieved over the spiritual death of Judas and, it seems, made one last appeal before it became forever too late. He knew Judas’s unbelief, greed, ingratitude, treachery, duplicity, hypocrisy, and hatred. Still He loved him. The death He was about to die was as much for Judas’s sin as for the sins of any person ever born, and it was for Judas that the Lord grieved as only He can grieve. He lamented over Judas in the same way He had lamented over Jerusalem: “How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37).

Throughout church history, in the name of love and compassion, some people have tried to attribute a good motive to Judas’s betrayal or at least to minimize its evil. But such an attempt flies in the face of Scripture, including Jesus’ own specific words. The Lord called Judas a devil and the son of perdition. To make Judas appear better than that is to make God a liar. Every unsaved person is under Satan’s control and serves Satan’s will. But when Judas accepted the morsel from Jesus’ hands without repentance or regret, Satan took possession of him in a way that is frightening to contemplate (John 13:27).

His Betrayal

Judas did not betray Jesus in a sudden fit of anger. We are not told when the idea first came to him, but apparently the incident of Mary’s anointing Jesus with the perfume prompted him to pursue it. It was right after this that “one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said, ‘What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?’ ” After accepting the thirty pieces of silver, “from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him” (Matt. 26:14–16). Luke adds that he sought “a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the multitude” (22:6). Judas was a coward, and at that time he assumed the crowds who acclaimed Jesus during the triumphal entry would remain loyal to Him. He wanted no one to know of his treachery, certainly not a hostile multitude. Like the chief priests and scribes who paid him, he was “afraid of the people” (Luke 22:2).

It is difficult to determine the equivalent modern buying power of the thirty pieces of silver Judas received, especially since the specific silver coin is not identified. But at the most generous reckoning, it was a trifling sum for betraying any person to his death, much less the Son of God. The relatively small amount suggests that, in his greed and hatred, Judas was willing to settle for any price. It also suggests the disdain the chief priests and scribes had for Judas. Their hatred for Jesus was public and well known; but Judas was one of Jesus’ disciples and friends, and the Jewish leaders doubtlessly had contempt for his treachery even though they used it to their own ends. The small price further suggests the low value all of them placed on Jesus’ life.

So that His enemies could recognize Jesus in the darkness of Gethsemane, Judas “had given them a signal, saying, ‘Whomever I shall kiss, He is the one’ ” (Mark 14:44). His contempt for Jesus was such that he used that cherished mark of love and friendship as his sign of betrayal.

Judas not only profaned the Passover by receiving blood money but he also profaned Gethsemane, the private place of worship and solace that He knew Jesus loved. “Judas then, having received the Roman cohort, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons” (John 18:3). Unaware that Jesus knew of his wicked plan, Judas thought to deceive Him by the kiss, reigning love and loyalty. But Jesus already knew the soldiers were coming and “went forth, and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ ” (v. 4). When they said, “Jesus the Nazarene,” He replied, “I am He” (v. 5). As if to reinforce his hateful determination to betray Jesus, Judas proceeded to kiss Him, although it was no longer necessary to identify Him. His supreme act of hypocrisy was to pretend love for Jesus while giving Him over to His enemies. The Greek text of Matthew 26:49 uses an intensive form that suggests Judas kissed Jesus fervently and repeatedly. Yet even in face of this diabolical sham, Jesus called Judas “friend” as He told him, “Do what you have come for” (v. 50). Jesus’ love extended even beyond Judas’s point of no return.

The degree of Judas’s betrayal was unique but not its nature. Through Ezekiel, God rebuked His people for profaning Him “for handfuls of barley and fragments of bread” (Ezek. 13:19), and through Amos He charged them with selling “the righteous for money and the needy for a pair of sandals” (Amos 2:6). Still today men and women will sell out the Lord for whatever they think is worth more.

It may not be for silver,

It may not be for gold;

But yet by tens of thousands,

The Prince of life is sold.

Sold for a godless friendship;

Sold for a selfish aim;

Sold for a fleeting trifle;

Sold for an empty name.

Sold in the mart of science;

Sold in the seat of power.

Sold at the shrine of fortune;

Sold in pleasure’s hour.

Sold for your awful bargain,

None but God’s eye can see.

Ponder my soul the question,

How shall He be sold by thee?

Sold, O God. What a moment

Stilled his conscience’s voice?

Sold, unto weeping angels

Record the fatal choice.

Sold, but the price accepted

To a living coal shall turn;

With the pangs of a late repentance

Deep in a soul to burn.

(Author unknown. Cited in Herbert Lockyer, All the Apostles of the Bible [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972], p. 110.)

Judas sold Jesus for greed. He was malicious, vengeful, ambitious, and hateful of everything good and righteous. But above all, he was avaricious.

No man could be more like the devil than a perverted apostle. And for the same reason, every false teacher who holds the name of Christ stands in special guilt and is worthy of special disdain.

His Death

“When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin,” James says, “and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:15). Judas’s sin caused him to sell out Christ, his fellow apostles, and his own soul. When Jesus had been found guilty by the mock trial in the Sanhedrin and was turned over to Pilate, Judas “felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’ ” (Matt. 27:3–4). But remorse is not repentance. Judas regretted what he had done and recognized something of its horrible sinfulness. But he did not have a change of mind, and he did not ask God to change his heart. He knew he could not undo the damage he had done, but he tried to mollify his conscience by returning the money he had been paid for his wickedness. Because he lived only on the material level, he somehow thought he could resolve his problem by the physical act of giving back the blood money. Then his unforgiven heart turned from vengeance against Christ to vengeance against himself, and he “went away and hanged himself” (v. 5). That did not end the misery of his conscience, however, for his guilt and anguish will last through all eternity.

Apparently Judas failed in his hanging attempt, and Luke reports the consummation of his death. It may have been that the branch to which the rope was tied broke and he fell over a precipice or down a hill, “and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:18).

Although they had no compunction about making false charges against Jesus and of unlawfully condemning Him to death, the chief priests’ consciences would not let them put the thirty pieces of silver back into the Temple treasury after Judas threw the money at their feet, “since it is the price of blood” (Matt. 27:6). In perfect fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy (Zech. 11:12–13), “they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day” (Matt. 27:7–8).

God overruled the wickedness of Jesus’ betrayer and executioners and used it to fulfill His own Word. Even those who bitterly opposed the Lord’s will found themselves unwittingly fulfilling His Word.

Lessons Learned from the Life of Judas

Even wickedness and tragedy can teach valuable lessons, and there is great profit from studying the life of Judas. First of all he is the world’s greatest example of lost opportunity. Judas was among the original twelve men Jesus called to be His apostles, His gospel ambassadors to the world. He lived and talked and ministered with Jesus for three years, hearing God’s Word from the mouth of His own Son and seeing God’s power manifested as never before on earth. No human being has every heard a more complete and perfect declaration of the gospel or seen more perfect obedience to it. Judas heard the perfect gospel and saw the perfect life. To none of the apostles did Jesus give more specific warning about sin-and more repeated opportunity to repent of it and to believe-than He did to Judas. Yet Judas turned his back on grace incarnate.

Today many people have heard the gospel clearly and seen genuine though imperfect examples of its transforming power. Yet they, too, reject it and, like Judas, choose instead to stay in the way that leads to destruction.

Second, Judas’s life provides the world’s greatest example of wasted privilege. He lusted for temporary material possessions and riches when he could have inherited the universe forever. It is a tragically foolish bargain to exchange the riches of God’s kingdom for the pittances the world can offer.

Third, Judas’s life serves as the clearest illustration of love of money being the root of all kinds of evil (see 1 Tim. 6:10). In the unbelievable extreme of greed, he loved money so much that he sold the Son of God for a trifling amount of it.

Fourth, Judas’s life is the supreme object in history of the forbearing, patient love of God. Only God could have known the utter evil of Judas’s heart from the beginning and yet never have withdrawn His offer of grace. At the Last Supper Christ presented Judas the dipped morsel as a gesture of love and honor; and even as He was being betrayed by the kiss, He called Judas “friend.”

The life of Judas provided an essential qualification in preparing Christ for His high priestly role. Judas’s betrayal brought great anguish to Jesus’ heart, and through that and other such torment the Son of God was perfected through His suffering (Heb. 2:10). Christ can understand and sympathize with our suffenngs partly because Judas helped make Christ’s own suffering complete.

Judas was the consummate hypocrite of all time, the supreme illustration of an ungodly life that hides behind Christ while he serves Satan.

Someone has well said,

Still as of old,

Man by himself is priced.

For thirty pieces of silver

Judas sold himself, not Christ.

(Author unknown)[2]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 161). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 10:4). Chicago: Moody Press.


…Be filled with the Spirit.


When we think of the Person of the Holy Spirit, we should think of Him as gracious, loving, kind and gentle—just like our Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

When the Scripture says, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,” it is telling us that He loves us so much that when we insult Him, He is grieved; when we ignore Him, He is grieved; when we resist Him, He is grieved; and when we doubt Him, He is grieved.

Thankfully, we can please Him by obeying and believing. When we please Him, He responds to us just like a pleased father or loving mother responds. He responds to us because He loves us!

Think of the tragedy and the woe of this hour—that we neglect the most important One who could possibly be in our midst! He is the Holy Spirit of God—yet many are guilty of ignoring and neglecting Him!

Let me assure you that this is the most important thing in the world—that this blessed Holy Spirit is waiting now and can be present with you this minute. Jesus, in His body, is at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, interceding for us. He will be there until He comes again.

But He said He would send another Comforter, the Holy Ghost, His Spirit. We cannot be all that we ought to be for God if we do not believe the Comforter, the Holy Spirit has been sent to be to us all that Jesus would be if He were here now![1]

5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation. In our North American culture, such a command seems almost shocking and unnecessary, since total abstinence is the rule among so many Christians. But we must remember that the Bible was written for believers in all cultures, and in many countries wine is still a fairly common beverage on the table. The Scriptures do not condemn the use of wine, but they do condemn its abuse. The use of wine as a medicine is recommended (Prov. 31:6; 1 Tim. 5:23). The Lord Jesus made wine for use as a beverage at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1–11).

But the use of wine becomes abuse under the following circumstances and is then forbidden:

  1. When it leads to excess (Prov. 23:29–35).
  2. When it becomes habit-forming (1 Cor. 6:12b).
  3. When it offends the weak conscience of another believer (Rom. 14:13; 1 Cor. 8:9).
  4. When it hurts a Christian’s testimony in the community and is therefore not to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
  5. When there is any doubt in the Christian’s mind about it (Rom. 14:23).

Paul’s recommended alternative to being drunk with wine is being filled with the Spirit. This connection too may startle us at first, but when we compare and contrast the two states, we see why the apostle links them in this way.

First, there are certain similarities:

  1. In both conditions, the person is under a power outside himself. In one case it is the power of intoxicating liquor (sometimes called “spirits”); in the other case it is the power of the Spirit.
  2. In both conditions, the person is fervent. On the Day of Pentecost, the fervency produced by the Spirit was mistaken for that produced by new wine (Acts 2:13).
  3. In both conditions, the person’s walk is affected—his physical walk in the case of drunkenness and his moral behavior in the other instance.

But there are two ways in which the two conditions present sharp contrasts:

  1. In the case of drunkenness, there is dissipation and debauchery. The Spirit’s filling never produces these.
  2. In the case of drunkenness, there is loss of self-control. But the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Gal. 5:23). A believer who is filled with the Spirit is never transported outside himself where he can no longer control his actions; the spirit of a prophet is always subject to the prophet (1 Cor. 14:32).

Sometimes in the Bible, the filling with the Spirit seems to be presented as a sovereign gift of God. For instance, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). In such a case, the person receives it without any prior conditions to be met. It is not something for which he works or prays; the Lord gives it as He pleases. Here in Ephesians 5:18 the believer is commanded to be filled with the Spirit. It involves action on his part. He must meet certain conditions. It is not automatic but the result of obedience.

For this reason the Spirit’s filling should be distinguished from certain other of His ministries. It is not the same as any of the following functions:

  1. The baptism by the Holy Spirit. This is the work of the Spirit which incorporates the believer in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
  2. The indwelling. By this ministry the Comforter takes up His residence in the body of the Christian and empowers him for holiness, worship, and service (John 14:16).
  3. The anointing. The Spirit Himself is the anointing who teaches the child of God the things of the Lord (1 John 2:27).
  4. The earnest and the seal. We have already seen that the Holy Spirit as the earnest guarantees the inheritance for the saint, and as the seal He guarantees the saint for the inheritance (Eph. 1:13, 14).

These are some of the ministries of the Spirit which are realized in a person the moment he is saved. Everyone who is in Christ automatically has the baptism, the indwelling, the anointing, the earnest, and the seal.

But the filling is different. It is not a once-for-all crisis experience in the life of a disciple; rather it is a continuous process. The literal translation of the command is “Be being filled with the Spirit.” It may begin as a crisis experience, but it must continue thereafter as a moment-by-moment process. Today’s filling will not do for tomorrow. And certainly it is a state greatly to be desired. In fact, it is the ideal condition of the believer on earth. It means that the Holy Spirit is having His way relatively ungrieved in the life of the Christian, and that the believer is therefore fulfilling his role in the plan of God for that time.

How then can a believer be filled with the Spirit? The Apostle Paul does not tell us here in Ephesians; he merely commands us to be filled. But from other parts of the word, we know that in order to be filled with the Spirit we must:

  1. Confess and put away all known sin in our lives (1 John 1:5–9). It is obvious that such a holy Person cannot work freely in a life where sin is condoned.
  2. Yield ourselves completely to His control (Rom. 12:1, 2). This involves the surrender of our will, our intellect, our body, our time, our talents, and our treasures. Every area of life must be thrown open to His dominion.
  3. Let the word of Christ dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16). This involves reading the word, studying it, and obeying it. When the word of Christ dwells in us richly, the same results follow (Col. 3:16) as follow the filling of the Spirit (Eph. 5:19).
  4. Finally, we must be emptied of self (Gal. 2:20). To be filled with a new ingredient a cup must first be emptied of the old. To be filled with Him, we must first be emptied of us.

An unknown author writes:

Just as you have left the whole burden of your sin, and have rested on the finished work of Christ, so leave the whole burden of your life and service, and rest upon the present inworking of the Holy Spirit. Give yourself up, morning by morning, to be led by the Holy Spirit and go forth praising and at rest, leaving Him to manage you and your day. Cultivate the habit all through the day, of joyfully depending upon and obeying Him, expecting Him to guide, to enlighten, to reprove, to teach, to use, and to do in and with you what He wills. Count upon His working as a fact, altogether apart from sight or feeling. Only let us believe in and obey the Holy Spirit as the Ruler of our lives, and cease from the burden of trying to manage ourselves; then shall the fruit of the Spirit appear in us as He wills to the glory of God.

Does a person know it when he is filled with the Spirit? Actually, the closer we are to the Lord, the more we are conscious of our own complete unworthiness and sinfulness (Isa. 6:1–5). In His presence, we find nothing in ourselves to be proud of (Luke 5:8). We are not aware of any spiritual superiority over others, any sense of “having arrived.” The believer who is filled with the Spirit is occupied with Christ and not with self.

At the same time, he may have a realization that God is working in and through his life. He sees things happen in a supernatural way. Circumstances click miraculously. Lives are touched for God. Events move according to a divine timetable. Even forces of nature are on his side; they seem chained to the chariot wheels of the Lord. He sees all this; he realizes that God is working for and through him; and yet he feels strangely detached from it all as far as taking any credit is concerned. In his inmost being, he realizes it is all of the Lord.[2]

  1. And do not get drunk on wine, which is associated with unrestrained living, but be filled with the Spirit. There are times when exhilaration of heart and mind is entirely proper. Scripture makes mention of shouting for joy (Ps. 5:11; 32:11; 35:27; etc.), fulness of joy (Ps. 16:11), good tidings of great joy (Luke 2:10), joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). Exhilaration is wrong, however, when the method of inducing it is wrong. Thus it is improper to seek excitement from the excessive use of wine. It is the abuse of wine that is forbidden, not the use (1 Tim. 5:23). That such abuse was a real danger in the early church, as it certainly is also today, appears from such restrictions as the following: “The overseer therefore must be above reproach … not (one who lingers) beside (his) wine” (1 Tim. 3:3; cf. Titus 1:7); “Deacons similarly (must be) dignified, not … addicted to much wine” (1 Tim. 3:8); and “Urge aged women similarly (to be) reverent in demeanor … not enslaved to much wine” (Titus 2:3).

Intoxication is not the effective remedy for the cares and worries of this life. The so-called “uplift” it provides is not real. It is the devil’s poor substitute for the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” which God provides. Satan is ever substituting the bad for the good. Has he not been called “the ape of God”? Getting drunk on wine is “associated with unrestrained living” or “dissolute behavior,” “recklessness” (Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4). It marks the person who, if he so continues, cannot be saved. But he need not so continue. The prodigal son of the unforgettable parable lived recklessly (an adverb cognate with the noun recklessness or unrestrained living occurring here in Eph. 5:18). Extravagance and lack of self-control were combined in his behavior, just as in all likelihood they are combined in the meaning of the word “unrestrained living” used in this passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Nevertheless, there was salvation for him when he repented. Let anyone who may read this take courage (Isa. 1:18; Ezek. 33:11; 1 John 1:9).

The real remedy for sinful inebriation is pointed out by Paul. The Ephesians are urged to seek a higher, far better, source of exhilaration. Instead of getting drunk let them be filled. Instead of getting drunk on wine let them be filled with the Spirit. Note the double contrast. Although it is true that the apostle makes use of a word, namely, pneúma, which in the translation should at times be spelled with, at other times without, a capital letter (hence “Spirit” or “spirit”), it should be capitalized in this instance, as is often the case. Paul was undoubtedly thinking of the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Evidence in support of this view: a. the expression “filled with” or “full of” the pneúma, when the reference is to the Holy Spirit, is very common in Scripture (Luke 1:15, 41, 67; 4:1; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3; 7:55; 9:17; 13:9); and b. the very contrast here in 5:18 between getting drunk on wine and being filled with the pneúma occurs also, though in a slightly different form, in Acts 2:4, 13, where the reference can only be to the Holy Spirit.

By the ancients, moreover, an overdose of wine was often used not only to rid oneself of care and to gain a sense of mirth but also to induce communion with the gods and, by means of this communion, to receive ecstatic knowledge, not otherwise obtainable. Such foolishness, often associated with Dionysiac orgies, is by the apostle contrasted with the serene ecstasy and sweet fellowship with Christ which he himself was experiencing in the Spirit when he wrote this letter to the Ephesians (see on 1:3; 3:20). What he is saying therefore is this: getting drunk on wine leads to nothing better than debauchery, will not place you in possession of worthwhile pleasure, usable knowledge, and perfect contentment. It will not help you but hurt you. It leaves a bad taste and produces no end of woe (cf. Prov. 23:29–32). On the other hand, being filled with the Spirit will enrich you with the precious treasures of lasting joy, deep insight, and inner satisfaction. It will sharpen your faculties for the perception of the divine will. Note the immediate context, verse 17. So, “do not get drunk on wine, but be filled with the Spirit.”

Being thus filled with the Spirit believers will not only be enlightened and joyful but will also give jubilant expression to their refreshing knowledge of the will of God. They will reveal their discoveries and their feelings of gratitude.[3]

The Command

but be filled with the Spirit, (5:18b)

Although Paul was not present when the Holy Spirit manifested Himself so powerfully at Pentecost, he must have had that event in mind as he wrote be filled with the Spirit. Pentecost obviously occurred while he was still an unbeliever and before he began persecuting the church. But without Pentecost he and other unbelievers would have had no reason to persecute the church, because it would have been too weak and powerless to threaten Satan’s domain. It was there that the other apostles heard the heavenly “noise like a violent, rushing wind,” saw “tongues as of fire distributing themselves” and resting “each one of them,” and were “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:2–4). It was also there that some of the crowd accused the apostles of being “full of sweet wine” (v. 13), probably expecting them to break out into the typical frenzied antics of mystical pagan worship.

Though others (such as Moses, Ex. 31:3; 35:31) had been filled with the Spirit for special purposes, it was at Pentecost that all believers in the church were first filled with the Holy Spirit. Every promise that Jesus gave to His disciples on the last night He was with them was fulfilled in some sense by the coming the Holy Spirit on that day. In fact, it was the coming of the Holy Spirit that made real all the promises of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you” (John 14:16–17). The Holy Spirit’s permanently indwelling all believers—rather than only being with some of them, as was true before Pentecost—is one of the great dispensational truths of the New Testament. In the new age, the church age, the Spirit of God would not be just be alongside His people but in them all (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). It is this residence of the Holy Spirit in believers that makes possible the fulfillment of all Jesus’ other promises to His people, and in Ephesians 1:13 He is called “the Holy Spirit of promise.”

The Holy Spirit is our divine pledge and security that Jesus’ promises are fulfilled (2 Cor. 5:5). Among many other things, He guarantees and gives assurance that we will have a heavenly dwelling place in the Father’s house (John 14:2–3); that we will do greater works, not in kind but in extent, even than He did (14:12; cf. Matt. 28:18–20; Acts 1:8); that whatever we ask in His name he will do (John 14:13–14); that we will have Christ’s own peace (14:27); that the fullness of His joy will be in us (15:11). The Holy Spirit assures us that Jesus Christ and the Father are one (14:20); that we are indeed God’s children (Rom. 8:16); that he will intercede for us, making our prayers effective (Rom. 8:26); and that He will bear fruit in our lives (Gal. 5:22–23).

But the work of the Holy Spirit in us and on our behalf can be appropriated only as He fills us. Every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and has the potential of receiving the fulfillment of all Christ’s promises to those who belong to Him. But no Christian will have those promises fulfilled who is not under the full control of the Holy Spirit. We have just claim to all Christ’s promises the moment we believe in Him, but we cannot have their fulfillment until we allow His Spirit to fill us and control us. Unless we know what it is to be directed by the Holy Spirit, we will never know the bliss of the assurance of heaven, or the joy of effective work for the Lord, of having our prayers answered constantly, or of indulging in the fullness of God’s own love, joy, and peace within us.

The Meaning of Being Filled

Before we look specifically at what the filling of the Spirit is, we should clarify some of the things it is not. First, being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a dramatic, esoteric experience of suddenly being energized and spiritualized into a permanent state of advanced spirituality by a second act of blessing subsequent to salvation. Nor is it some temporary “zap” that results in ecstatic speech or unearthly visions.

Second, being filled with the Spirit is not the notion at the other extreme—simply stoically trying to do what God wants us to do, with the Holy Spirit’s blessing but basically in our own power. It is not an act of the flesh which has God’s approval.

Third, being filled is not the same as possessing, or being indwelt by, the Holy Spirit, because He indwell-s every believer at the moment of salvation. As Paul plainly states in the book of Romans, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (8:9; cf. John 7:38–39). A person who does not have the Holy Spirit does not have Christ. Even to the immature, worldly Corinthian believers, Paul said, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, … and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). Unlike believers before Pentecost, on whom the Holy Spirit would come temporarily (Judg. 13:25; 16:20; 1 Sam. 16:14; Ps. 51:11), all Christians are permanently indwelt by the Spirit.

Fourth, being filled with the Spirit does not describe a process of progressively receiving Him by degrees or in doses. Every Christian not only possesses the Holy Spirit but possesses Him in His fullness. God does not parcel out the Spirit, as if He could somehow be divided into various segments or parts. “He gives the Spirit without measure,” Jesus said (John 3:34).

Fifth, it is also clear from 1 Corinthians 12:13 that the filling with the Spirit is not the same as the baptism of the Spirit, because every believer has been baptized with and received the Spirit. Although its results are experienced and enjoyed, baptism by and reception of the Spirit are not realities we can feel, and are certainly not experiences reserved only for specially–blessed believers. This miracle is a spiritual reality—whether realized or not—that occurs in every believer the moment he becomes a Christian and is placed by Christ into His Body by the Holy Spirit, who then takes up residence in that life.

Paul did not accuse the Corinthians of being immature and sinful because they did not yet have the Holy Spirit or the baptism in the Body and then exhort them to seek the Spirit in order to remedy the situation. Rather he reminded them that each one of them already possessed the Holy Spirit. Earlier in the letter he had pleaded with them to “flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (6:18–19). They were not sinning because of the Holy Spirit’s absence but in spite of the Holy Spirit’s presence. Even when a Christian sins he is still indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and it is that very fact that makes his sin even worse. When a Christian grieves the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) or quenches the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19), he grieves or quenches the Spirit who resides within himself.

Finally, the filling with Spirit is not the same as being sealed, or secured, by Him. That is an accomplished fact (see on 1:13). Nowhere are believers commanded or exhorted to be indwelt, baptized, or sealed by the Holy Spirit. The only command is to be filled.

Be filled translates the present passive imperative of plēroō, and is more literally rendered as “be being kept filled.” It is a command that includes the idea of conscious continuation. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not an option for believers but a mandate. No Christian can fulfill God’s will for his life apart from being filled with His Spirit. If we do not obey this command, we cannot obey any other—simply because we cannot do any of God’s will apart from God’s Spirit. Outside of the command for unbelievers to trust in Christ for salvation, there is no more practical and necessary command in Scripture than the one for believers to be filled with the Spirit.

Commands such as this one remind us of the fact that believers are subject to divine authority and are called to obedience as the most basic element of Christian living. In some Christian circles, the manner of living, and even the actual teaching, reflects the notion that just being in the kingdom is all that really matters. Anything one might do in obedience to the Lord after that is considered to be simply a kind of spiritual “extra credit.” Some would say that in Christ there is safety from hell, and that even if all works are burned up and no rewards are given, one will still go to heaven. Even the most obscure corner of heaven will still be heaven, it is argued, and all believers will live there in eternal bliss.

That sort of thinking is totally out of harmony with the teaching of the New Testament. It comes from spiritual hardness of heart and tends to produce a life that is careless and indifferent, and often immoral and idolatrous. The person with such an unscriptural attitude toward the things of God is either walking in direct opposition to the Spirit or else does not possess the Spirit at all—in which case he is not a Christian. Submission to the will of God, to Christ’s lordship, and to the guiding of the Spirit is an essential, not an optional, part of saving faith. A new, untaught believer will understand little of the full implications of such obedience, but the spiritual orientation of his new nature in Christ will bring the desire for submission to God’s Word and God’s Spirit. A person who does not have that desire has no legitimate claim on salvation.

To resist the filling and control of the Holy Spirit is flagrant disobedience, and to deny or minimize its importance is to stand rebelliously against the clear teaching of God’s own Word. Every Christian falls short of God’s standards and will sometimes fall into sin and indifference. But he cannot be continually content in such a state, because the experience of sin and indifference will be in a constant struggle with his new nature (see Rom. 7:14–25). He knows they cannot be justified or in any way reconciled with God’s will.

As we learn from Paul’s dealing with the Christians at Corinth, it is possible that for a time a believer may become and even remain carnal, or fleshly, to some extent (1 Cor. 3:1), but that will never be a true believer’s basic orientation. The terms carnal or fleshly are most often used in the New Testament of unbelievers. “The mind set on the flesh is death,” Paul said, “but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Rom. 8:6–7). A person whose mind is regularly set on the things of the flesh cannot be a Christian, because a Christian is “not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwell-s in [him]” (v. 9). A professed Christian who continually longs for the things of the world and the flesh needs to examine his heart carefully to see whether his carnality is that described in 1 Corinthians 3:1–3 or in Romans 8:6–8 (cf. 1 John 2:15–17; James 4:4).

Although every Christian is indwelt, baptized, and sealed by the Spirit, unless he is also filled with the Spirit, he will live in spiritual weakness, retardation, frustration and defeat.

The continuous aspect of being filled (“be being kept filled”) involves day–by–day, moment–by–moment submission to the Spirit’s control. The passive aspect indicates that it is not something we do but that we allow to be done in us. The filling is entirely the work of the Spirit Himself, but He works only through our willing submission. The present aspect of the command indicates that we cannot rely on a past filling nor live in expectation of future filling. We can rejoice in past fillings and hope for future fillings, but we can live only in present filling.

The mark of a good marriage relationship is not the love and devotion the husband and wife have had in the past—as meaningful and lovely as that may have been—nor is it the love and devotion they hope to have in the future. The strength of their marriage is in the love and devotion they have for each other in the present.

Plēroō connotes more than filling something up, as when someone pours water in a glass up the rim. The term was used in three additional senses that have great significance for Paul’s use of it here. First, it was often used of the wind filling a sail and thereby carrying the ship along. To be filled with the Spirit is to be moved along in our Christian life by God Himself, by the same dynamic by which the writers of Scripture were “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).

Second, plēroō carries the idea of permeation, and was used of salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor and preserve it. God wants His Holy Spirit to so permeate the lives of His children that everything they think, say, and do will reflect His divine presence.

Third, plēroō has the connotation of total control. The person who is filled with sorrow (see John 16:6) is no longer under his own control but is totally under the control of that emotion. In the same way, someone who is filled with fear (Luke 5:26), anger (Luke 6:11), faith (Acts 6:5), or even Satan (Acts 5:3) is no longer under his own control but under the total control of that which dominates him. To be filled in this sense is to be totally dominated and controlled, and it is the most important sense for believers. As we have already seen, to be filled with the Spirit is not to have Him somehow progressively added to our life until we are full of Him. It is to be under His total domination and control. This is in direct contrast to the uncontrolled drunkenness and dissipation in the worship of Dionysius that was alluded to in the first half of the verse.

We see the controlling work of the Holy Spirit even in Jesus’ life while He ministered in the flesh. The Holy Spirit led Him “into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt. 4:1). We learn from the parallel passage in Luke that it was Jesus’ being “full of the Holy Spirit” that prepared Him to be “led about by the Spirit in the wilderness” (4:1). The account in Mark uses an even stronger term, saying that “the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness” (1:12). It was not that Jesus resisted or had to be coerced, because His greatest joy was to do His Father’s will (John 4:34), but that He submitted Himself entirely to the Spirit’s control. Because He was full of the Spirit He was controlled by the Spirit.

The Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit can be compared to a glove. Until it is filled by a hand, a glove is powerless and useless. It is designed to do work, but it can do no work by itself. It works only as the hand controls and uses it. The glove’s only work is the hand’s work. It does not ask the hand to give it an assignment and then try to complete the assignment without the hand. Nor does it gloat or brag about what it is used to do, because it knows the hand deserves all the credit. A Christian can accomplish no more without being filled with the Holy Spirit than a glove can accomplish without being filled with a hand. Anything he manages to do is but wood, hay, and straw that amounts to nothing and will eventually be burned up (1 Cor. 3:12–15). Functioning in the flesh produces absolutely nothing of spiritual value.

When the church at Jerusalem wanted men to free the apostles for the more important work of prayer and ministering the Word, they chose men such as Stephen, who was “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:4–5). Because Stephen continued in the fullness of the Spirit, “he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,” even as he was about to be stoned to death (Acts 7:55). Being filled with the Spirit detaches us from the desires, the standards, the objectives, the fears, and the very system of this world and gives us a vision of God that comes in no other way. Being filled with the Spirit makes everything else of secondary importance, and often of no importance at all.

Although Peter was first filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost along with all the other disciples, some while later he spoke to the assembled Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and it is again said that he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8).

Before God could use Saul, who later became Paul, as apostle to the Gentiles, He had Ananias lay his hands on Saul’s head and tell him, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17). Without the yieldedness that allowed the filling of the Spirit, Paul would have been of no more use to the Lord than were the worldly members at Corinth among whom he would later minister.

When the church at Jerusalem needed a man to help with the ministry to Gentiles in Antioch, “they sent Barnabas … for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:22, 24). We read that Paul was “filled with the Holy Spirit” as he confronted the deceitful magician named Elymas (Acts 13:9), and that “the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” while being ridiculed and persecuted (13:52).

The concern we often hear about recapturing the dedication, zeal, love, and power of the early church is commendable. But we cannot have the early church’s spiritual power simply by trying to copy its methods of operation. We can experience those believers’ spiritual power only when we are surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s control as they were. It was not their methodology but their Spirit–filled lives that empowered believers to turn the world upside down in the first century (Acts 17:6).

The Means of Being Filled

God commands nothing for which He does not provide the means to obey. And if God commands something of us, we do not need to pray for it, because it is obviously His will and intent for us to do it. It is God’s deepest desire that each of His children be filled with His Spirit. We only need to discover the resources He has provided to carry out that obedience.

To be filled with the Spirit involves confession of sin, surrender of will, intellect, body, time, talent, possessions, and desires. It requires the death of selfishness and the slaying of self–will. When we die to self, the Lord fills with His Spirit. The principle stated by John the Baptist applies to the Spirit as well as to Christ: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Paul’s command to the Colossians, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,” was followed by a series of subsequent and dependent commands (Col. 3:16–25) that exactly paralleled those Paul gave in Ephesians 5:19–33 as being results of the filling of the Spirit. In both cases we see that singing, giving thanks, and submissiveness follow being filled with the Spirit and letting the word of Christ dwell in us. It is therefore easy to conclude that the filling of the Spirit is not an esoteric, mystical experience bestowed on the spiritual elite through some secret formula or other such means. It is simply taking the Word of Christ (Scripture) and letting it indwell and infuse every part of our being. To be filled with God’s Spirit is to be filled with His Word. And as we are filled with God’s Word, it controls our thinking and action, and we thereby come more and more under the Spirit’s control. As Charles Spurgeon said, the Christian’s blood should be “bibline,” bleeding Scripture wherever he may be pricked or cut.

Peter’s strength lay in his always seeking to be near Jesus. When Jesus walked down a road, Peter was with Him. When He went up to the mountain or out in a boat, Peter went with Him. Peter got into trouble only when he got away from His Lord. When he stayed near the Lord, he did the miraculous, said the miraculous, and had miraculous courage.

When Peter saw Jesus standing on the water some distance from the boat, he stepped out on the water himself when Jesus said, “Come!” and found himself walking on the water just like the Lord—until his attention turned from Jesus to himself and his circumstances (Matt. 14:27–31). On another occasion, when Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter immediately “answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven’ ” (Matt. 16:15–17). Because his mind and spirit were centered on Christ, Peter was used by God to make that great testimony to Jesus’ messiahship and divine sonship. A short while later, however, Peter pitted his own understanding against the Lord’s, and discovered that he then spoke for Satan rather than for God (16:22–23).

When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, they drew back and fell to the ground when Jesus identified Himself as the One they were seeking. Perhaps taking courage from that reaction, Peter took out his sword and cut off the right ear of Malchus, a slave of the high priest, and probably would have continued fighting to the death had not Jesus restrained him (John 18:3–11; cf. Luke 22:47–51). When he was near the Lord, he feared no one. But when a short while later he found himself separated from the Lord, he did not have the courage even to admit knowing Jesus (John 18:15–27).

After the ascended Lord sent His Holy Spirit to indwell and fill His disciples as He had promised, Peter found himself again able to say and do the miraculous and to have miraculous courage. He had the courage to fearlessly proclaim His risen Lord in the place where, a few months earlier, He had been arrested, beaten, and crucified—and found his message miraculously empowered and blessed, with some three thousand coming to salvation from that one sermon (Acts 2:14–41). When the lame man near the Temple asked Peter and John for alms, Peter replied, “ ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!’ And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened” (Acts 3:1–7). When he was arrested by the Sanhedrin and questioned about the healing, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and proclaimed that he had healed by the power of Jesus Christ, whom they had crucified. Because they could not deny the miracle and were afraid of the many people who glorified God because of it, the Jewish leaders simply commanded Peter and John to no longer preach in Jesus’ name. Peter responded, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:1–22).

To be filled with the Spirit is to live in the consciousness of the personal presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, as if we were standing next to Him, and to let His mind dominate our life. It is to fill ourselves with God’s Word, so that His thoughts will be our thoughts, His standards our standards, His work our work, and His will our will. As we yield to the truth of Christ, the Holy Spirit will lead us to say, do, and be what God wants us to say, do, and be. “We all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Christ consciousness leads to Christ likeness.

Perhaps the best analogy of moment–by–moment yielding to the Holy Spirit’s control is the figure of walking, the figure Paul introduced in Ephesians 4:1. Walking involves moving one step at a time, and can be done in no other way. Being filled with the Spirit is walking thought by thought, decision by decision, act by act under the Spirit’s control. The Spirit–filled life yields every step to the Spirit of God. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:16–17). Our flesh is the beachhead of sin, the yet unredeemed part of our humanness that is exposed to and inclined toward sin. Even as Christians, as new creatures in Christ, our spiritual and moral Achilles’ heel is the flesh, the remnant of the old self that seeks to drag us down from behavior consistent with our heavenly citizenship. Paul spoke of it as “a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:23). The only way to override that residual sinfulness, our evil desires, and the temptations of Satan is to function in the Spirit.

Not to be filled with the Spirit is to fall back into “the deeds of the flesh … which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and things like these” (Gal. 5:19–21). We do not have to consciously choose to do the deeds of the flesh. If we are not living under the control of God’s Word and Spirit, the deeds of the flesh are the only things we can do, because the flesh is the only resource we have in ourselves.

The sole defense against the negative power of temptation, sin, and Satan is the positive power of the Holy Spirit. We have no power over those evils, and to try to combat them in our own strength is to try to walk on water by our own power. We win spiritual victories only when God’s Holy Spirit does battle for us.

But when we surrender to the control of God’s Spirit, we find Him producing amazing things in us, things which are entirely of His doing. Paul calls these marvelous blessings the fruit of the Spirit, and they are: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control” (Gal. 5:22–23). The person who is Spirit–controlled and who bears the Spirit’s fruit is the person who belongs to Christ and who has “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit,” Paul continued, “let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:24–25). To walk in the Spirit is to fulfill the ultimate potential and capacity of our life on earth as God’s children.[4]

18 The NIV doesn’t translate the connective kai, which may have an emphatic function here—“Indeed.” Paul transitions from the general appeal to know God’s will to the specific instruction. It includes another contrasting negative and positive, following the contrasts in vv. 15 and 17 and reminiscent of the “put off” and “put on” of the previous section (starting at 4:22). In fact, this is the final imperative in the series of “do not … but.” Christians are not to be inebriated, a universal and consistent prohibition in the Bible; drunkenness is taboo. We cannot be certain why Paul isolates this particular sin here after he has focused on many others in the previous section. The contrast to Spirit-control probably supplies the key rather than any suggestion that Paul knew of pervasive alcoholism or that mystery religion practices were influencing his readers. Paul describes drunkenness with a word that might refer to something as simply “wasteful” or “purposeless,” but in the biblical usage asōtia (GK 861) conveys very negative meanings—“reckless abandon, debauchery, dissipation, profligacy” (BDAG, 148; cf. Tit 1:6; 1 Pe 4:4). Drunkenness represents a uniformly abhorrent, ungodly lifestyle. The Christian alternative is a life characterized by the filling of the Spirit.

As with Paul’s more common “in Christ,” only with difficulty can we arbitrate between the locative and instrumental senses here of “with the Spirit.” The Spirit is either the “content” or the “means” by which they should be continually filled. The grammar of the verb “be filled” (plērousthe, GK 4444) is present tense, imperative mood, passive voice—suggesting that Christians allow some “agent” to keep filling them with some “entity.” Does Paul intend that the readers allow God (the agent) to fill them with the Holy Spirit (the content)? This is the popular conception. Or is the Spirit the means by which the believers are to be filled with some other “content”? If the latter, then what might the content be? The immediate context suggests “the Lord’s will” (v. 17), i.e., wisdom in contrast to foolishness. But elsewhere in the letter Paul used “filling” language when he prayed that his readers might be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (3:19) and might “[attain] to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (4:13). More likely then, they need to allow God’s Spirit to transform their lives to be like God and like Christ. They must resist the culture and its values, their former selves, and certainly drunkenness—which Paul selected to epitomize their former non-Christian lifestyle. The Spirit is the instrument who fills believers with God and Christ, precisely because he builds the church into the temple in which God dwells (2:22). Since as Christians they are sealed by the Spirit (1:13; 4:30), Paul emphasizes that through the Spirit they become full of God. In other words, “Put yourselves in the place where God’s Spirit can keep filling you with all that God wishes you to have and to be.”

We would probably not think to make a point by contrasting drunkenness with the filling of the Spirit, though Schnackenburg, 236, points to a “long tradition for such a comparison.” What does Paul intend? Perhaps it is this: as excessive wine “directs” a person’s conduct into debauched behavior, so the divine Spirit can direct us to the godly conduct that fulfills God’s will. In effect, Paul urges his readers to allow God’s Spirit continually to direct their behavior; this is the path of wise living. The next section on worship suggests another possible connection. Drunkenness that led to ecstatic behaviors played a role in the mystery religions; Spirit-filling leads to truly God-honoring worship.[5]

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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1944–1946). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, pp. 238–240). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 246–254). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] 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. 143–144). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity… Surely every man walketh in a vain shew.

Psalm 39:5–6

Brethren, I am not ashamed of this world God created—I am only ashamed of man’s sin!

If you could take all of man’s sin out of this world, there would be nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to be afraid of.

Our apologies must be for humanity—and for our sins. I keep repeating that we have no business making excuses for God.

It is popular now to talk about Christ being a guest here. I dare to tell people that they should stop patronizing Jesus Christ!

He is not the guest here—He is the Host!

We have apologists who write books and give lectures—apologizing for the person of Christ, trying to “explain” to our generation that the Bible does not really mean “exactly” what it says. But God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and thus we know where we stand, believing that all things were made by Him and “without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

Lord, in my own personal life I relinquish control to Your Spirit within me. Slay my vanity, Lord.[1]

39:4–6Lord, how long is this nightmare going to last? Tell me how much time I have left, and when it is going to run out. At best the span of my life is only about the width of my palm; compared to Your eternity, my lifetime isn’t worth mentioning. All of us humans are as unsubstantial as a vapor. We go through life like phantoms. We rush around in frenzied activity—but what does it all amount to after all? We spend our lives scrimping and saving, and leave it all behind to be enjoyed by ingrates or fools or strangers![2]

Prayer for Divine Illumination (39:4–6)


4 Unable to resolve his problem, the psalmist turns to the Lord for instruction. The purpose of knowing life’s end is not that he may plan for every day of his life. He does not ask to know all that will happen but only what is the purpose of life. In the greater awareness of the brevity of life, he hopes that the Lord will guide him in an understanding and acceptance of this brevity. Notice the threefold mention of the brevity of life: “my life’s end,” “the number of my days,” and “how fleeting is my life” (cf. Ps 90; Job 11:7–9; Ecc 2:3).

Prayer is God’s means of instruction. In the quietness of prayer, the psalmist returns to the revealed insights pertaining to his life and to life in general. Because the question was personal, his first insight is personal. But the sage in him is not content until he has generalized it to be applicable to humankind.

5 Contrary to his feelings of self-worth, the psalmist reminds himself that his life is brief. He compares it to a “handbreadth,” one of the smallest units of measurement in ancient Israel. It is equivalent to “a couple of inches.” In Jeremiah 52:21, the measurement is given in terms of “four fingers thick.” In his heart he feels that his life span is like a mile, but in reality the Lord has made him to live for only a brief time.

In a more general way, the psalmist speaks of people who feel themselves established (see Notes). Even when it seems that people are strong and self-assured, from God’s perspective they are little more than a “breath.”

6 This last observation leads the psalmist to a more general and less ambiguous statement: human beings’ existence and future are filled with uncertainties. This sounds like the message of Ecclesiastes, and it is! A human is “a mere phantom.” In other words, human importance is dwarfed in comparison with God. People’s busying about may give them status and wealth, but even in their accomplishments they share the fate of all. Humans are mortal and cannot control their affairs after their death. Their inability to control, know, and project themselves outside the sphere of human limitations characterizes their fragile existence (cf. Lk 12:13–21; Jas 4:13–17).[3]

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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 609). 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. 360). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 28 – The Plea for Forgiveness

And forgive us our debts.—Matt. 6:12a

God will not forgive our sins if we do not confess them. John makes that condition clear when he declares, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Confession simply means we agree with God that our sins are evil and defiling and we do not want them to taint our walk with Christ.

Our sinful pride makes it difficult to confess sin, but it is the only way to the free and joyful Christian life (cf. Prov. 28:13). John Stott said, “One of the surest antidotes to the process of moral hardening is the disciplined practice of uncovering our sins of thought and outlook as well as word and deed and the repentant forsaking of the same.”

We must never take God’s promise of forgiveness as a license for sin or as an excuse to presume on His grace. Instead we must view forgiveness as an aid to our sanctification and be constantly thankful to the Lord for His loving forgiveness.

Your prayer ought to coincide with the Puritan one: “Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, and the exceeding wonder of grace. I am guilty but pardoned. I am lost but saved. I am wandering but found. I am sinning but cleansed. Give me perpetual brokenheartedness. Keep me always clinging to Thy cross.”

How can one walk in an awareness of his own wretchedness while also living in the confidence of Christ’s righteousness and salvation? Actually, it is only by realizing our great need for Him that we can enjoy the grace that overwhelms our sin. Seek this biblical balance in your own life.[1]

6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. This does not refer to judicial forgiveness from the penalty of sin (that forgiveness is obtained by faith in the Son of God). Rather this refers to the parental forgiveness that is necessary if fellowship with our Father is to be maintained. If believers are unwilling to forgive those who wrong them, how can they expect to be in fellowship with their Father who has freely forgiven them for their wrongdoings?[2]

12. And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. In connection with this petition, which sounds so simple, a few questions are in order:

  1. What is the difference between “debts” (verse 12) and “trespasses” (verses 14, 15)?

Answer: see on verse 14.

  1. Why should we pray for forgiveness, since we no longer sin?

Answer: We do, indeed, sin daily. See p. 317.

  1. Granted that we sin, why must we still daily pray for forgiveness, since through Christ’s atonement we are already cleansed (justified) from every sin?

Answer: It is true that the basis of our daily forgiveness has been established once for all by means of Christ’s atonement. Nothing need be and nothing can be added to that. But this total, objective cleansing needs daily application for the simple reason that we sin every day. A father may have bequeathed a large inheritance to his son. It now very definitely belongs to the son. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the latter is immediately allowed to withdraw the entire huge amount from the bank and spend it all within one week. Very wisely the father included a stipulation limiting the withdrawal privilege to a certain generous amount each month. So also when a person receives the grace of regeneration, this does not mean that all of that which Christ merited for him is immediately experienced by him. If it were, would it not overwhelm and crush his capacities? Rather, “He [God] giveth and giveth and giveth again.” See also John 13:10.

The prayer for forgiveness implies that the supplicant recognizes that there is no other method by which his debt can be wiped out. It is, therefore, a plea for grace.

However, a totally different difficulty arises in connection with “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” This certainly cannot mean that our forgiving disposition earns God’s pardon. The forgiveness of our debts is based not on our merits—how could we have any?—but on Christ’s, applied to us. Consequently, from our point of view, forgiveness is based on God’s unmerited (not merited by us) favor, that is, on divine grace (Eph. 1:7), compassion (Matt. 18:27), and mercy (Luke 18:13). Nevertheless, our own forgiving disposition is very important. In fact, without it we ourselves cannot be forgiven. For us it is the indispensable condition of receiving the forgiveness of sins. That fact is stated clearly in verses 14 and 15, which, together with 18:21–35, is the best and simplest explanation of 6:12 one could ask for. It is with this as it is with salvation in general. We are not saved on the basis of our faith, as if faith had earning power. We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8). Yet faith must be present if we are to be saved (hence, “by grace through faith”). Faith and one of its manifestations, namely, the disposition to forgive, are conditions that must be met and exercised if salvation and its component, pardon, are to be received. We must believe, we must forgive. God does not do these things for us. Nevertheless, it is God who plants in our hearts the seed of faith and of the forgiving disposition. Moreover, the power to believe and the power to forgive are from God. At every step—beginning, middle, and end, all along the way—God is both present and active. “With fear and trembling continue to work out your own salvation; for it is God who is working in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12, 13). See also N.T.C. on Eph. 2:8 and on Phil. 2:12, 13. It is exactly as Greijdanus observes, in commenting on the parallel passage, Luke 11:4 (“And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive every one indebted to us”). He writes, “In spite of for, this clause does not indicate the ground upon which God bestows forgiveness, but that which must be complied with for us to enjoy God’s forgiveness of our own sins.”

To be genuine, this forgiveness that we ourselves bestow upon our fellow men must be given gladly, generously, and with finality; not in the spirit of, “I’ll forgive, but I’m telling you that I’ll never forget.” Lord’s Day 51 of the Heidelberg Catechism gives a correct, succinct, and beautiful explanation of the fifth petition: “Be pleased, for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us, miserable sinners, any of our transgressions, nor the evil which always cleaves to us; as we also find this witness of thy grace in us that it is our full purpose heartily to forgive our neighbor.”

A possible objection to the explanation given must be briefly answered: “Does not this mean, then, that our act of kindness toward the one who has injured us precedes Christ’s act of kindness toward us?”

Answer. In the circle of salvation the beginning is always with God, never with us. See 1 John 4:19; cf. John 13:15; Eph. 4:32; and 1 Peter 2:21. Nevertheless, the forgiving love of Christ not only precedes but also accompanies and even follows the love with which we love him and the neighbor.

Our sincere purpose to forgive those who have injured us, and thus also our experience of the pardoning love and grace of God in Christ, can be enhanced by the following considerations:

Extend forgiveness to others, for

  1. God so commands. Vengeance belongs to him, not to us (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19).
  2. We should follow the example Christ himself has given us (Luke 23:34; John 13:12–15; Eph. 4:32; 5:1, 2; Col. 3:13).
  3. We cannot be forgiven unless we forgive, as has been shown.
  4. The man who injured us needs our sympathy and love. We owe him this love (Rom. 13:8).
  5. Harboring a grudge and planning revenge is not only wicked but also foolish, for it deprives us of the strength we need to do effective work. We should have the forward look (Phil. 2:13).
  6. Forgiving others will impart peace of heart and mind to us, the peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7, 9).
  7. Thus, thus alone, will God be glorified, which should be our aim in all we do (1 Cor. 10:31).

The fourth petition is linked to the fifth, and the fifth to the sixth, by the conjunction and. All three represent human needs, and are closely connected. The connection between the fourth and fifth has already been indicated. Very close is also the relation between the fifth and the sixth, and this in at least the following respect: we are in need not only of forgiveness of past sins, but also of God’s protecting care so that in the future we may not fall into the clutches of Satan.

Between “And lead us not into temptation” and “deliver us from the evil one” there is no conjunction and. On the contrary, the conjunction but shows that the petition simply continues, the negative request being balanced by the positive in one petition. These two are, as it were, the two sides of the same coin. Accordingly, I am in agreement with all those who accept six, not seven, petitions.[3]

God’s Pardon

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (6:12)

Opheilēma (debts) is one of five New Testament Greek terms for sin. Hamartia is the most common and carries the root idea of missing the mark. Sin misses the mark of God’s standard of righteousness. Paraptōma, often rendered “trespass,” is the sin of slipping or falling, and results more from carelessness than from intentional disobedience. Parabasis refers to stepping across the line, going beyond the limits prescribed by God, and is often translated “transgression.” This sin is more conscious and intentional than hamartia and paraptoma. Anomia means lawlessness, and is a still more intentional and flagrant sin. It is direct and open rebellion against God and His ways.

The noun opheilēma is used only a few times in the New Testament, but its verb form is found often. Of the some thirty times it is used in its verb form, twenty-five times it refers to moral or spiritual debts. Sin is a moral and spiritual debt to God that must be paid. In his account of this prayer, Luke uses hamartia (“sins”; Luke 11:4), clearly indicating that the reference is to sin, not to a financial debt. Matthew probably used debts because it corresponded to the most common Aramaic term (ḥôbā˒) for sin used by Jews of that day, which also represented moral or spiritual debt to God.

The Problem

Sin is that which separates man from God, and is therefore man’s greatest enemy and greatest problem. Sin dominates the mind and heart of man. It has contaminated every human being and is the degenerative power that makes man susceptible to disease, illness, and every conceivable form of evil and unhappiness, temporal and eternal. The ultimate effects of sin are death and damnation, and the present effects are misery, dissatisfaction, and guilt. Sin is the common denominator of every crime, every theft, lie, murder, immorality, sickness, pain, and sorrow of mankind. It is also the moral and spiritual disease for which man has no cure. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jer. 13:23). The natural man does not want his sin cured, because he loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19).

Those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ have received God’s pardon for sin and are saved from eternal hell. And since, as we have seen, this prayer is given to believers, the debts referred to here are those incurred by Christians when they sin. Immeasurably more important than our need for daily bread is our need for continual forgiveness of sin.

Arthur Pink writes in An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1974), pp. 163–64:

As it is contrary to the holiness of God, sin is a defilement, a dishonor, and a reproach to us as it is a violation of His law. It is a crime, and as to the guilt which we contact thereby, it is a debt. As creatures we owe a debt of obedience unto our maker and governor, and through failure to render the same on account of our rank disobedience, we have incurred a debt of punishment; and it is for this that we implore a divine pardon.

The Provision

Because man’s greatest problem is sin, his greatest need is forgiveness-and that is what God provides. Though we have been forgiven the ultimate penalty of sin, as Christians we need God’s constant forgiveness for the sins we continue to commit. We are to pray, therefore, forgive us. Forgiveness is the central theme of this entire passage (vv. 9–15), being mentioned six times in eight verses. Everything leads to or issues from forgiveness.

Believers have experienced once-for-all God’s judicial forgiveness, which they received the moment Christ was trusted as Savior. We are no longer condemned, no longer under judgment, no longer destined for hell (Rom. 8:1). The eternal Judge has declared us pardoned, justified, righteous. No one, human or satanic, can condemn or bring any “charge against God’s elect” (Rom. 8:33–34).

But because we still fall into sin, we frequently require God’s gracious forgiveness, His forgiveness not now as Judge but as Father. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” John warns believers. But, he goes on to assure us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8–9).

During the Last Supper, Jesus began washing the disciples’ feet as a demonstration of the humble, serving spirit they should have as His followers. At first Peter refused, but when Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me,” Peter went to the other extreme, wanting to be bathed all over. Jesus replied, “ ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’ For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean’ ” (John 13:5–11).

Jesus’ act of footwashing was therefore more than an example of humility; it was also a picture of the forgiveness God gives in His repeated cleansing of those who are already saved. Dirt on the feet symbolizes the daily surface contamination from sin that we experience as we walk through life. It does not, and cannot, make us entirely dirty, because we have been permanently cleansed from that. The positional purging of salvation that occurs at regeneration needs no repetition, but the practical purging is needed every day, because every day we fall short of God’s perfect holiness.

As Judge, God is eager to forgive sinners, and as Father He is even more eager to keep on forgiving His children. Hundreds of years before Christ, Nehemiah wrote, “Thou art a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness” (Neh. 9:17). As vast and pervasive as the sin of man is, God forgiveness is more vast and greater. Where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds even more (Rom. 5:20).

The Plea

Asking forgiveness implies confession. Feet that are not presented to Christ cannot be washed by Him. Sin that is not confessed cannot be forgiven. That is the condition John makes plain in the text just quoted above: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). To confess means basically to agree with, and when we confess our sins we agree with God about them that they are wicked, evil, defiling, and have no part in those who belong to Him.

It is difficult to confess sins, and both Satan and our prideful nature fight against it. But it is the only way to the free and joyful life. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Prov. 28:13). John Stott says, “One of the surest antidotes to the process of moral hardening is the disciplined practice of uncovering our sins of thought and outlook, as well as of word and of deed, and the repentant forsaking of them” (Confess Your Sins [Waco, Tex.: Word, 1974], p. 19).

The true Christian does not see God’s promise of forgiveness as a license to sin, a way to abuse His love and presume on His grace. Rather he sees God’s gracious forgiveness as the means of spiritual growth and sanctification and continually gives thanks to God for His great love and willingness to forgive and forgive and forgive. It is also important to realize that confessing sin gives God the glory when He chastens the disobedient Christian because it removes any complaint that God is unfair when He disciplines.

A Puritan saint of many generations ago prayed, “Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, and the exceeding wonder of grace.” At another time he prayed, “I am guilty but pardoned. I am lost but saved. I am wandering but found. I am sinning but cleansed. Give me perpetual broken-heartedness. Keep me always clinging to Thy cross” (Arthur Bennett, ed., The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1975], pp. 76, 83).

The Prerequisite

Jesus gives the prerequisite for receiving forgiveness in the words, as we also have forgiven our debtors. The principle is simple but sobering: if we have forgiven, we will be forgiven; if we have not forgiven, we will not be forgiven.

We are to forgive because it is the character of righteousness, and therefore of the faithful Christian life, to forgive. Citizens of God’s kingdom are blessed and receive mercy because they themselves are merciful (Matt. 5:7). They love even their enemies because they have the nature of the loving heavenly Father within them (5:44–45, 48). Forgiveness is the mark of a truly regenerate heart. Still we fail to be consistent with that mark and need constant exhortation because of the strength of sinful flesh (Rom. 7:14–25).

We are also to be motivated to forgive because of Christp’s example. “Be kind to one another,” Paul says, “tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). John tells us, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

Because it reflects God’s own gracious forgiveness, the forgiving of another person’s sin expresses the highest virtue of man. “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression” (Prov. 19:11).

Forgiving others also frees the conscience of guilt. Unforgiveness not only stands as a barrier to God’s forgiveness but also interferes with peace of mind, happiness, satisfaction, and even the proper functioning of the body.

Forgiving others is of great benefit to the whole congregation of believers. Probably few things have so short-circuited the power of the church as unresolved conflicts among its members. “If I regard wickedness in my heart,” the psalmist warns himself and every believer, “the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66:18). The Holy Spirit cannot work freely among those who carry grudges and harbor resentment (see Matt. 5:23–24; 1 Cor. 1:10–13; 3:1–9).

Forgiving others also delivers us from God’s discipline. Where there is an unforgiving spirit, there is sin; and where there is sin, there will be chastening (Heb. 12:5–13). Unrepented sins in the church at Corinth caused many believers to be weak, sick, and even to die (1 Cor. 11:30).

But the most important reason for being forgiving is that it brings God’s forgiveness to the believer. That truth is so important that Jesus reinforces it after the close of the prayer (vv. 14–15). Nothing in the Christian life is more important than forgiveness-our forgiveness of others and God’s forgiveness of us.

In the matter of forgiveness, God deals with us as we deal with others. We are to forgive others as freely and graciously as God forgives us. The Puritan writer Thomas Manton said, “There is none so tender to others as they which have received mercy themselves, for they know how gently God hath dealt with them.”[4]

12 The first three petitions stand independently from one another. The last three, however, are linked in Greek by “ands,” almost as if to say that life sustained by food is not enough. We also need forgiveness of sin and deliverance from temptation.

In Matthew, what we ask to be forgiven for is ta opheilēmata hēmōn (“our debts,” GK 4052); in Luke, it is our “sins.” Hill notes that the crucial word to opheilēma (“debt”) “means a literal ‘debt’ in the LXX and NT, except at this point.” And on this basis, S. T. Lachs (“On Matthew 6.12,” NovT 17 [1975]: 6–8) argues that in Matthew this petition of the Lord’s Prayer is not really dealing with sins but with loans in the sixth year, one year before the Jubilee. But the linguistic evidence can be read differently. The word opheilēma is rather rare in biblical Greek. It occurs only four times in the LXX (Dt 24:10 [2x]; 1 Esd 3:20; 1 Macc 15:8); and in Deuteronomy 24:10, where it occurs twice, it renders two different Hebrew words. In the NT, it appears only here and in Romans 4:4. On this basis it would be as accurate to say the word always means “sin” in the NT except at Romans 4:4 as to say it always means “debt” except at Matthew 6:12.

More important, the Aramaic word ḥôbā (“debt”) is often used (e.g., in the Targums) to mean “sin” or “transgression.” Deissmann (Bible Studies, 225) notes an instance of the cognate verb hamartian opheilō (lit., “I owe sin”). Probably Matthew has provided a literal rendering of the Aramaic Jesus most commonly used in preaching; and even Luke (Lk 11:4) uses the cognate participle in the second line, panti opheilonti hēmin (“everyone who sins against us”). There is therefore no reason to take “debts” to mean anything other than “sins,” here conceived as something owed God (whether sins of commission or omission).

Some have taken the second clause to mean that our forgiveness is the real cause of God’s forgiveness, i.e., that God’s forgiveness must be earned by our own. The problem is often judged more serious in Matthew than Luke, because the latter has the present “we forgive,” the former the aorist (not perfect, as many commentators assume) aphēkamen (“we have forgiven”; GK 918). Many follow the suggestion of Jeremias (Prayers of Jesus, 92–93), who says that Matthew has awkwardly rendered an Aramaic perfectum praesens (a “present perfect”): he renders the clause “as we also herewith forgive our debtors.”

The real solution is best expounded by C. F. D. Moule (“ ‘… As we forgive …’: a Note on the Distinction between Deserts and Capacity in the Understanding of Forgiveness,” in Donum Gentilicium [ed. E. Bammel et al.; Oxford: Clarendon 1978], 68–77), who, in addition to detailing the most important relevant Jewish literature, rightly insists on distinguishing “between, on the one hand, earning or meriting forgiveness, and, on the other hand, adopting an attitude which makes forgiveness possible—the distinction, that is, between deserts and capacity.… Real repentance, as contrasted with a merely self-regarding remorse, is certainly a sine qua non of receiving forgiveness—an indispensable condition” (pp. 71–72). “Once our eyes have been opened to see the enormity of our offense against God, the injuries which others have done to us appear by comparison extremely trifling. If, on the other hand, we have an exaggerated view of the offenses of others, it proves that we have minimized our own” (Stott, Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 149–50; see comments at 5:5, 7; 18:23–35).[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 157). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1224). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 334–336). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 391–395). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] 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. 206–207). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

—James 1:17

Now for God to alter or change at all, to be different from Himself, one of three things has to take place:

1) God must go from better to worse, or

2) He must go from worse to better, or

3) He must change from one kind of being to another.

Now that’s so plain that anybody can follow it; there’s nothing profound about that. (Occasionally somebody will say I preach over their head. All I can say is, they must have their head awfully low!) Isn’t it reasonable to assume that if anything changes it has to change from better to worse, from worse to better or from one kind of thing to another? …

Therefore, if God is to change, then God either has to get better or worse or different. But God can’t go from better to worse, because God is a holy God. Because God is eternal holiness, He can never be any less holy than He is now. And of course, He never can be any more holy than He is now, because He is perfect just as He is. There will never be a change in God—no change is necessary! AOGII092-093

There is a wonderful stability in this truth, Lord. Thank You for Your unchangeable perfection. Amen. [1]

1:16, 17 It is not unusual for people who fall into sin to blame God instead of themselves. They say, in effect, to their Creator, “Why have you made me this way?” But this is a form of self-deception. Only good gifts come from God. In fact, He is the source of every good and every perfect gift.

James describes God as the Father of lights. In the Bible the word Father sometimes has the meaning of Creator or Source (see Job 38:28). Therefore God is the Creator or Source of lights. But what is meant by lights? Certainly it includes the heavenly bodies—the sun, moon, and stars (Gen. 1:14–18; Ps. 136:7). But God is also the Source of all spiritual light as well. So we should think of Him as the Source of every form of light in the universe. With whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. God is unlike the heavenly bodies He has created. They are undergoing constant changes. He never does. Perhaps James is thinking not only of the declining brilliance of the sun and stars, but also of their changing relation to the earth as our planet rotates. Variableness characterizes the sun, moon, and stars. The expression shadow of turning may mean shadow caused by turning. This could have reference to the shadows cast on earth by the rotation of the earth around the sun. Or it could refer to eclipses. A solar eclipse, for instance, is produced when the moon’s shadow falls on the earth. With God it is quite different; there is no variableness in Him, or shadow caused by turning. And His gifts are as perfect as Himself. Therefore it is unthinkable that He would ever entice man to sin. Temptation comes from man’s own evil nature.

Let us test our faith on the subject of unholy temptations. Do we encourage evil thoughts to linger in our minds, or do we expel them quickly? When we sin, do we say that we couldn’t help it? Do we blame God when we are tempted to sin?[2]

  1. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James is a pastor who fully understands the hearts of those who live scattered abroad far from home and former possessions. He knows that their lot is difficult, and that they have begun to direct their complaints to God. As a trained leader he counsels them by addressing them as “dear brothers,” and he warns them not to be deceived. He wants them to consider the person and the characteristics of God.

The readers ought to know that God does not send his children sorrow and grief to drive them from him. He gives them adversities so that they may come to him and rely fully on him. God has absolutely nothing in common with evil, for he abhors that which is not holy. Therefore, the readers ought not to think that God instigates evil. Never!

Yet, some Christians who are tested and tried lose perspective and question the providence of God. If God is almighty, why does he not prevent tragedy and calamity? Man can multiply the verbal and nonverbal accusations directed to God, but he ought not to do so. Instead he should direct attention to what God gives and who God is. In our study, then, let us note:

  • God’s goodness

God is goodness personified; he is the fountain of all that is good, for goodness originates with him. God gives by creating heaven and earth; God gives by sending his Son; God gives by pouring out his Spirit. The gifts God makes available to his people are good and perfect—every one of them. They include spiritual and material gifts.

All things come to us out of God’s hand, for we receive both prosperity and adversity from him. God gives his people trials and tests that at times come in the form of calamity. Says the prophet Amos to the people of Israel, “When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?” (3:6).

God is fully in control of every situation and knows what is best for his children. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11; compare Luke 11:13).

  • God’s character

James moves from speaking about the gifts to speaking about the giver, that is, about God himself. Good and perfect gifts come down from heaven, “from the Father of the heavenly lights.” The writer encourages the reader to look up to the sky where he will see the brilliant light of the sun by day, the reflective light of the moon by night, and the twinkling stars. God is the creator of these heavenly lightbearers; he himself is nothing but light. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Therefore, darkness cannot exist in the presence of God. In this light, God displays his holiness, goodness, love, integrity, and unchangeableness.

Note that James calls God the “Father” of lights and uses this figure of speech to illustrate God’s absolute stability. God “does not change like shifting shadows.” The being, nature, and characteristics of God are unchangeable (Mal. 3:6). As the earth, sun, moon, and stars move in their ordained courses, we observe the interplay of light and darkness, day and night, the longest and the shortest day of the year, the waning and the waxing of the moon, eclipses, and the movements of the planets. Nature is subject to variation and change. Not so with God! He is the Father of the heavenly lights, who is always light and does not change. He has an abiding interest in his children.[3]

The Nature of God

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (1:17)

Finally, James declares that God is not responsible for our temptations to sin because, as he has already made clear (v. 13), His own nature is incompatible with the nature of sin. Because God is wholly righteous and just, by definition He can have no part in sin, in any way or to any degree.

What comes from God is not sin, but only every good thing given and every perfect gift. The perfect, flawless, holy goodness of God results in His doing and giving only what reflects His perfect holiness and truth. His works reflect His character. Negatively, James is saying that, from temptation to execution, God has absolutely no responsibility for sin. Positively, he is saying that God has complete responsibility for every good thing, and that every perfect gift that exists has come down from above.

The Father of lights was an ancient Jewish title for God, referring to Him as Creator, as the great Giver of light, in the form of the sun, moon, and stars (cf. Gen. 1:14–19). Unlike those sources of light, which, magnificent as they are, can nevertheless vary and will eventually fade, God’s character, power, wisdom, and love have no variation or shifting shadow. Through Malachi the Lord declares, “I, the Lord, do not change” (Mal. 3:6); through John, we are told that “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5); and through the writer of Hebrews we are assured that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The celestial bodies God created have various phases of movement and rotation, changing from hour to hour and varying in intensity and shadow. God, however, is changeless.

Our Lord promises:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matt. 7:7–11)

Even more than those things—infinitely more than those things—He promises that our heavenly Father will give us His own Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).

The implication of this passage is this: When we, as God’s children, are so abundantly and continually showered with the most gracious, valuable, and satisfying blessings our heavenly Father can bestow, why should anything evil have the slightest attraction to us? [4]

17 The contrast between the insidious nature of evil desire and the picture James now paints of God’s nature could not be more stark. As in 1:5, James portrays God as a generous giver—a giver of “every good and perfect gift” (NIV). The author crafts the sentence in Greek poetically (pasa dosis agathē … pan dōrēma teleion), and the NASB maintains the balance of the wording better than the NIV with “every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift.” Commentators point out that James may have adapted a common proverb, something along the lines of “every gift is good and every present perfect,” roughly equivalent in meaning to “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” (Davids, 86). Whether the wording is his own or not, James’s confession is clear: God’s gifts are good, not evil. Whereas temptation—an evil force that leads to sin and death—has its source in human lust, good gifts have God as their source.

These good and perfect gifts “come down from the Father of lights.” James has in mind here the heavenly bodies—sun, moon, and stars—and they are seen as part of God’s good creation (Ge 1:14–18). Further, he tells us that, unlike these heavenly bodies he has created, God’s character does not involve “variation or shifting shadow” (NASB). These words are used only here in the NT, but in the literature of the period they could be used in astrological discussions. The first word means “change,” or, as the NASB presents it, “variation.” The second was used as a technical term in astronomy for the movement, or change of position, of the heavenly bodies and can be translated “turning.” So the “shadow” is caused by the movement, or turning, of the heavenly lights. In both Greek and Jewish literature the heavenly bodies represent the always changing nature of existence. Yet God’s nature is different. He does not shift and move with reference to issues of good or evil; rather, he is immovable in that sense (Dibelius, 102; Johnson 196–97).[5]

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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2221–2222). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 52–53). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 54–57). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 223–224). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 28 – Joy in Spite of Death

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Philippians 1:21


In addition to Scripture, God has given us more than adequate spiritual resources to meet suffering and death.

Wall Street, the name synonymous with the American stock market and financial investing, is a place where confidence can rise and fall with great force and unpredictability, right along with the rising or sinking level of stock prices. Prices always seem to even out, but who can be certain about how they will behave in the future?

The apostle Paul’s spiritual confidence was not based on the changeableness of financial markets but on truths that are stable and reliable. Yesterday we saw his confidence in God’s Word, and today we’ll look at three more reasons Paul could confront death confidently.

First, Paul had confidence in the prayers of other believers. But it was not a presumptuous confidence because he believed in asking others to pray (see Rom. 15:30). Paul was convinced that “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).

Second, Paul was confident that the Holy Spirit would supply all necessary resources to sustain him through any suffering, even death. All Christians can have that same confidence: “The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26).

Third, Paul had the utmost confidence in Christ’s promises. The apostle was sure that God had called him to a specific ministry (Acts 26:16) and that if he was faithful, he would never suffer shame (Mark 8:38). Jesus never abandons His sheep, no matter how bleak and frustrating their circumstances seem (John 10:27–28).

Our verse from Philippians summarizes Paul’s confidence and joy in spite of possible death. As long as he was serving Jesus Christ, he’d just as soon die because death frees the believer from the burdens of earth and lets him glorify Christ in eternity. We can rely on the same promises and provisions as Paul did and have his kind of joy. Jesus “is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:8).


Suggestions for Prayer: Confess any ways in which you have a misplaced confidence. ✧ Ask the Lord to reinforce in your heart a Pauline confidence that rejoices no matter what.

For Further Study: Read Romans 8, and list as many spiritual resources and reasons for rejoicing as you can from the chapter.[1]

1:21 Here, in a nutshell, is Paul’s philosophy of life. He did not live for money, fame, or pleasure. The object of his life was to love, worship, and serve the Lord Jesus. He wanted his life to be like the life of Christ. He wanted the Savior to live out His life through him.

And to die is gain. To die is to be with Christ and to be like Him forever. It is to serve Him with unsinning heart and with feet that will never stray. We do not ordinarily think of death as one of our gains. Sad to say, the outlook today seems to be that “to live is earthly gain, and to die would be the end of gain.” But, says Jowett: “To the Apostle Paul, death was not a darksome passageway, where all our treasures rot away in a swift corruption; it was a place of gracious transition, ‘a covered way that leadeth into light.’ ”[2]

  1. There is no sharp division between verses 20 and 21. They should stand together. Paul says that he knows that in his person Christ will be magnified, For to me to live (is) Christ, and to die (is) gain. Were this not true, Christ would not be magnified in him.

What Paul means by saying, “For to me to live is Christ,” may be learned from the familiar lines of the well-known hymn by Will L. Thompson:

“Jesus is all the world to me,

My life, my joy, my all;

He is my strength from day to day,

Without him I would fall.

When I am sad to him I go,

No other one can cheer me so;

When I am sad he makes me glad,

He’s my friend.”

And the stanzas which follow.

When the apostle says so emphatically “to me” placing this word at the very beginning of the sentence, he is giving a personal testimony and is at the same time drawing a contrast between himself and those to whom he has just been referring and who, no doubt, are still very much in his mind; namely, preachers “who proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition,” Paul, then, in contrast with them, is not self-centered but Christ-centered. He is concerned with the honor and glory of his wonderful Redeemer.

To determine even more exactly just what the apostle has in mind when he says. “to live (is) Christ,” parallel Pauline passages must be consulted. It means: to derive one’s strength from Christ (Phil. 4:13), to have the mind, the humble disposition of Christ (Phil. 2:5–11), to know Christ with the knowledge of Christian experience (Phil. 3:8), to be covered by Christ’s righteousness (Phil. 3:9), to rejoice in Christ (Phil. 3:1; 4:4), to live for Christ, that is, for his glory (2 Cor. 5:15), to rest one’s faith on Christ and to love him in return for his love (Gal. 2:20)

“And to die (is) gain.” Dying physically means gain for Paul. It will mean that he will actually be with Christ (see verse 23), “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). But gain for Paul can never be dissociated from gain for the cause of Christ, for the one objective in which Paul rejoices most is that in his person Christ may be magnified. Death will be a distinct gain because it will be the gateway to clearer knowledge, more wholehearted service, more exuberant joy, more rapturous adoration, all of these brought to a focus in Christ. Surely, if even now Christ is magnified in Paul’s person, he will be thus magnified even more on the other side of death. Cf. 1 Cor. 13:12. Death is gain because it brings more of Christ to Paul, and more of Paul to Christ.[3]

whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (1:20b–21)

Paul was not certain what God’s plan was for him, whether he would continue to serve and exalt Him through his life and ministry or through the final exaltation of death. Either way, the Lord’s will would be done; His plan would be fully accomplished.

To the elders from Ephesus, who met him on the beach near Miletus, Paul declared unequivocally, “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). A short while later he said to the believers in Caesarea who were distressed by Agabus’s prophecy of Paul’s impending arrest: “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). He reminded the believers in Rome that “not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Rom. 14:7–9). Whether he lived or died, the apostle could say now as he would to Timothy a few years later: “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:6–7). Either way, he would be victorious and Christ would be exalted.

The Greek phrase rendered to live is Christ and to die is gain contains no verb. It literally reads “to live Christ, to die gain.” Paul knew that living is Christ, because he would continue to serve Him while he lived. He also knew that dying would be gain because then he would be in God’s presence, able to worship and serve Him in holy perfection (cf. v. 23). Paul fully understood that wealth, power, influence, possessions, prestige, social standing, good health, business or professional success, and all other such things are transitory. Many acknowledge that truth, but not many live as if it is true. Few can say with Paul’s utter sincerity to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

The apostle’s very being was wrapped up in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He trusted, loved, served, witnessed for, and in every way was devoted to and dependent on Him. His only hope, his only purpose, his only reason to live was Christ. He traveled for Christ, preached for Christ, and was persecuted and imprisoned for Christ. Ultimately, he would die for Christ. But even death, by God’s marvelous grace, was ultimately for Paul’s eternal gain.[4]

21 The statement “to live is Christ” is not some pious cliché. Since Paul always carries in his body “the death of Jesus” and is always being “given over to death for Jesus’ sake” (2 Co 4:10–11), living entails continuing to participate in Christ’s sufferings (Php 3:10; see Col 1:24). It means obeying God, humbling himself, and giving his life for others as Christ obeyed, humbled himself, and gave his life for others.

“To die is gain” is a figure of speech whose meaning changed over the course of time (M. E. Boring, K. Berger, and C. Colpe, eds., Hellenistic Commentary to the New Testament [Nashville: Abingdon, 1995], 479). It could mean that death is an escape hatch from troubles in this life. It becomes a gain because it means one is free from all care: “It is better to die once than to suffer every day” (Aeschylus, Prom. 747–51; Sophocles, Ant. 463–64). Plato (Apol. 40) understands death to be a “dreamless sleep” in which “time seems no longer than one night.” Tobit (3:6 NRSV), who became blind and impoverished while in exile in Nineveh after courageously burying an executed fellow Jew, laments to God:

So now deal with me as you will;

command my spirit to be taken from me,

so that I may be released from the face of the earth and become dust.

For it is better for me to die than to live,

because I have had to listen to undeserved insults,

and great is the sorrow within me.

Command, O Lord, that I be released from this distress;

release me to go to the eternal home,

and do not, O Lord, turn your face away from me.

For it is better for me to die

than to see so much distress in my life

and to listen to insults.

By contrast, Paul uses the verb kerdainein (GK 3045; “gain”) in 3:8 to refer to gaining Christ, which involves having righteousness from God, knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection, sharing his sufferings, being conformed to his death, and attaining the resurrection of the dead. The gain of death would put to rest what he most feared—being disqualified (Craddock, 29).

Paul does not have a “death wish” and does not regard earthly life to be insignificant in comparison to the heavenly realm. Life on earth presents the opportunity for “fruitful labor.” His dilemma is created by the extraordinary value he places on his service to Christ and the church (Lincoln, 103–4). Life in the flesh (“living in the body”), with all of its weaknesses and temptations, is not a lamentable condition for Paul but presents a continued opportunity for him to labor fruitfully in the cause of Christ (Ro 1:13).[5]

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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1963). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Philippians (Vol. 5, pp. 75–76). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2001). Philippians (pp. 76–77). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Garland, D. E. (2006). Philippians. In T. Longman III (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 204). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 28 – Our Home

Our citizenship is in heaven.

Philippians 3:20

Christians are not citizens of this world. The Greek word for “citizenship” in today’s verse refers to a colony of foreigners. In a secular source, it is used to describe a capital city that kept the names of its citizens on a register. Indeed, we are registered citizens of another place—heaven. Our names are there, our Father is there, our brothers and sisters are there, and our inheritance is there—it is our home.

The Israelites taken into the Babylonian Captivity give us a historical parallel to the contemporary church. Their home was still the Promised Land even though they lived for so many years in a foreign company. But when it came time to return, many had become so entrenched into the Babylonian culture that they didn’t want to leave. When the Lord says it’s time to go to heaven, we fight it as if it were the worst thing imaginable because this world has become everything to us. That’s why we must always be reminded that our citizenship is in heaven.[1]

3:20 The apostle now contrasts the heavenly-minded attitude of the true believer.

At the time the Epistle was written, Philippi was a colony of Rome (Acts 16:12). The Philippians were citizens of Rome, enjoying its protection and privileges. But they were also citizens of their local government. Against this backdrop, the apostle reminds the believers that their citizenship is in heaven. Moffat translates it: “But we are a colony of heaven.”

This does not mean that Christians are not also citizens of earthly countries. Other Scriptures clearly teach that we are to be subject to governments because they are ordained by God (Rom. 13:1–7). Indeed, believers should be obedient to the government in all matters not expressly forbidden by the Lord. The Philippians owed allegiance to the local magistrates, and also to the Emperor in Rome. So believers have responsibilities to earthly governments, but their first loyalty is to the Lord in heaven.

Not only are we citizens of heaven, but we also eagerly wait for the Savior from heaven! Eagerly wait for is strong language (in the original) to express the earnest expectation of something believed to be imminent. It means literally to thrust forward the head and neck as in anxious expectation of hearing or seeing something.[2]

The underlying motivation for pursuing Christlikeness is the hope of the return of Jesus Christ. Since Christ is in heaven, those who love Him must be preoccupied with heaven, longing for Christ to return and take them to be with Him (1 Thess. 4:17).

Paul had little interest in the comforts and pleasures of this world, as the following passages indicate:

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4:8–10)

In everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things. (2 Cor. 6:4–10)

Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? (2 Cor. 11:23–29)

This view led him to the conviction that made him write, “I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (1:23).

It is consistent for believers to have a heavenly focus, because our citizenship is in heaven. Politeuma (citizenship) appears only here in the New Testament, though Paul used the related verb in 1:27. It refers to the place where one has official status, the commonwealth where one’s name is recorded on the register of citizens. Though believers live in this world, they are citizens of heaven. They are members of Christ’s kingdom, which is not of this world (John 18:36). Their names are recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20; cf. Phil. 4:3; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 13:8; 21:27); their Savior is there (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16); their fellow saints are there (Heb. 12:23); their inheritance is there (1 Peter 1:4); their reward is there (Matt. 5:12); and their treasure is there (Matt. 6:20).

Though they do not yet live in heaven, believers live in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6); they experience to some degree the heavenly life here on earth. They have the life of God within them, are under the rule of heaven’s King, and live for heaven’s cause.

Paul’s reference to citizenship may have been especially meaningful to the Philippians, since Philippi was a Roman colony. The Philippians were Roman citizens, though obviously living outside of Rome, just as believers are citizens of heaven living on earth.[3]

20 The recurrence of rare words in 3:20; 4:1; and 4:3 (appearing first in 1:27) marks 1:27–4:3 as a unit. The verbs in 1:27, politeuomai (“conduct yourselves [as citizens],” GK 4488; 1:27), stēkō (“stand firm,” GK 5112), and synathleō (“contending as one,” GK 5254), reappear in the same order: politeuma (nominal form, “citizenship,” GK 4487; 3:20), stēkō (“stand firm”; 4:1), and synathleō (“contended at my side”; 4:3). Paul also weaves the vocabulary from 2:6–11 into these verses and draws on that passage’s elevated style (Lincoln, 88–89), which suggests that he reaches the climax of his argument in this entire section (1:27–4:3).

Since we “eagerly await a Savior from [heaven]” (cf. 1 Th 1:10; 4:16; 5:23), that must be where the Christian’s Lord is now, and the Lord’s presence there is the reason why the Christian’s commonwealth is in heaven. By using the metaphor of a civic body, Paul reminds the Philippians that they are an outpost on earth of God’s kingdom in heaven. The metaphor evokes at least four points of comparison:

(1) Since Philippi was an outpost of Caesar’s empire, he leaves them to draw the contrasts. Caesar is not the savior, as imperial propaganda would want people to believe, but Jesus is. Paul may deliberately allude to popular names of Nero—“Lord” and “Savior”—to make the point that Caesar is not Lord.

(2) The metaphor evokes the rights and privileges of citizenship. Philippian Christians who may have been granted the honor of Roman citizenship will need to recognize that their heavenly citizenship is infinitely greater and to evaluate their status in the same way that Paul evaluated his status as a Jew. The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than any in the kingdom of Rome. If they are dual citizens, their allegiance to the Lord of heaven is to outweigh all other commitments. If they are not legal citizens of any earthly city, then they should know that they are full citizens of a heavenly commonwealth, with all its perquisite rights and privileges. In this body of citizens, all members share full and equal rights.

(3) In Greek thought, a citizen should submerge his own interests and profit to that of the city. Paul’s metaphor reminds Christians that as citizens of heaven they should subordinate their self-interest to the welfare of the community to the point of self-sacrifice.

(4) Roman colonies were set up as “miniatures” of Rome (Gellius, Attic Nights 16.13.9) to foster the majesty of Roman culture, religion, and values. The Christian commonwealth has a different constitution and different laws, and Christians are to exemplify the values of the heavenly realm. Christ’s resurrection establishes a new city (polis) and an alternative political jurisdiction that challenges the values and the methods of the empire. The empire tyrannizes, enslaves, and crucifies its subjects. Christians are not to imitate the crucifiers but the crucified one. They are to accept suffering rather than to inflict it. If one is conformed to the kings of this world, one is conformed to a way of death; if one is conformed to Christ, one is conformed to a way that brings life.

In a world of conflicting powers, Christians await the Savior’s return to rescue them from death-dealing powers. They are not to place their trust in Caesar to protect them from enemy hordes and death through his military power but in God’s power to raise the dead and destroy death. Christ was obedient to death but now reigns with all power (2:6–11) and will come to effect the rescue and vindication of those who belong to him, as God effected the same for him (Lincoln, 107). Christians must wait patiently and faithfully for his return.[4]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 165). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1976–1977). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2001). Philippians (pp. 259–261). Chicago: Moody Press.

[4] Garland, D. E. (2006). Philippians. In T. Longman III (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 248). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.