Daily Archives: December 5, 2017

December 5: God’s Final Revelation

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1–2).

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Jesus not only brought but in fact was God’s full and final revelation.

A Samaritan woman declared, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us” (John 4:25). The expectation of that day, even among the Samaritans, was that Messiah would unfold the full and final revelation of God. The Holy Spirit, through the writer of Hebrews, affirms that to be true: “God … in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1–2).

The Old Testament had given divine revelation in bits and pieces. Every piece was true, yet incomplete. But when Jesus came, the whole picture became clear; and though rejected by His own people, He was, in fact, the fulfillment of the messianic hope they had cherished for so many centuries.

The Old Testament age of promise ended when Jesus arrived. He is God’s final word: “As many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20).

God fully expressed Himself in His Son. That’s why John said, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. … No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:14, 18). Paul added that in Christ “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).

The practical implications of that truth are staggering. Since Christ is the fullness of divine revelation, you need nothing more. In Him you have been made “complete” (Col. 2:10) and have been granted “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). His Word is sufficient, needing no additions or amendments.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to teach you how to rely more fully on your resources in Christ.

For Further Study: Read John 1:1–18 as a reminder of the fullness of God’s revelation in His Son.[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 352). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 5: GOD WAS NEVER THE AUTHOR OF DISORDER

For by him all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

COLOSSIANS 1:16, 17

Everywhere I look in the created world I see God—and my soul is delighted!

I look into a dry, old book that looks like a telephone directory gone mad—we call it a lexicon—and I find that in the New Testament the word “world” means “an orderly arranged system, highly decorative, which is tended, cared for and provided for.”

Anyone who knows God, even slightly, would expect God to make an orderly world because God Himself is the essence of order. God was never the author of disorder—whether it be in society, in the home, or in the mind or body of man.

I have noticed that some people let themselves go to seed in a number of ways, thinking it makes them more spiritual—but I disagree. I think it is proper to comb your hair, if you have any! I do not think it is a mark of deep inward spirituality for a man to forget that a soiled shirt is easily cleaned and that baggy trousers were originally meant to have an orderly crease. God is not grieved when His Christian children take a little time every day for neatness and cleanness.

Neither do I think that our Lord is grieved by a service of worship in which we know what we are going to sing and what we are going to preach—because God is a God of order![1]

 

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

December 5, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

A last-minute change that U.S. senators made to their tax bill before passing it early Saturday morning would result in higher-than-intended taxes for technology firms and other corporations, tax experts said.

FEMA has informed employees who’ve worked extra hours battling a record wave of natural disasters in 2017 that they may have to pay back some of their overtime.

A senior United Nations official will begin a four-day trip to North Korea on Tuesday for talks with Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and other officials, a week after the isolated regime launched its most powerful missile to date.

The likelihood of a government shutdown before year’s end is increasing after Senate negotiations stalled over plans to provide deportation protection for 800,000 young undocumented immigrants.

The Syrian conflict is likely to drag on and could reignite into full-scale civil war as long as President Bashar al-Assad remains in power, despite efforts by Russia to paint the conflict as winding down, according to White House officials.

Machine learning, with its prowess in producing insights from data, is poised to have a hand in 99 percent of investing, CEO says.

Crisis-wracked Venezuela has become fertile ground for what’s known as gold farming. People spend hours a day playing dated online games such as Tibia and RuneScape to acquire virtual gold, game points or special characters that they can sell to other players for real money or crypto-currencies such as bitcoin. The practice, which has previously cropped up in other basket-case economies such as North Korea’s, has become so popular with Venezuelans that they’re now spreading inflation inside the virtual worlds.

Boom Technology Inc., seeking to build a supersonic jet for passenger travel, got a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines Co. as the U.S. startup aims to revive ultra-fast travel that ended more than a decade back with the Concorde.

AP Top Stories

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday declared communist rebels “terrorists”, his spokesman said, weeks after cancelling peace talks with groups waging one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case Tuesday that asks whether a baker in Colorado can legally ignore his state’s nondiscrimination law by refusing, on religious grounds, to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Former U.S. Representative Corrine Brown of Florida was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison for her role in helping raise more than $800,000 for a bogus charity that was used as a slush fund, federal court officials said.

An explosives-laden bus blew up Tuesday in a predominantly pro-government neighborhood of the central Syrian city of Homs that has been repeatedly targeted, killing eight people.

Officials in Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC) confirmed to Reuters that the former Yemeni president and party leader has been killed outside Sanaa, in what sources in the Houthi group said was an RPG and gun attack.

The United States has quit negotiations on a voluntary pact to deal with migration because the global approach to the issue was “simply not compatible with U.S. sovereignty,” said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Turkey has detained 17 suspects in an investigation into a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who was once a close ally of the government but is now testifying against officials as a star witness in a high profile US case, state media said on Tuesday.

The U.S. Embassy to Russia said it would restart some visa services in U.S. consulates which it had previously canceled due to diplomatic expulsions that had left it short-staffed.

The 9,800 ft., Indonesian Mount Agung on Bali Island, a so-called strato-volcano capable of very violent eruptions – has recorded a sharp rise in activity that has raised worries about a repeat of a 1963 eruption that killed more than 1,000 people.

China has staged military drills near North Korea in a defiant warning to Washington and Seoul that it will uphold a “balance of power”, a military expert said, amid ongoing US-South Korean war games.

U.S. student loan debt now equals the size of the $1.3 trillion U.S. high-yield corporate bond market, presenting investors with a whole different range of risks.

BBC

Hundreds of members of the Honduran riot police force known as Cobras refused to carry out orders to enforce a night-time curfew on Monday. About 200 Cobras gathered at the police headquarters and announced they were no longer willing to confront protesters, arguing that it amounted to “taking sides” in the political battle between Mr. Nasralla and President Hernández.

Amazon has made its long-awaited entry into Australia, in a move that could have ramifications for the country’s A$300bn retail sector.

The Swiss government has announced that it will return $320m of the money allegedly stolen by Nigeria’s late military ruler Sani Abacha.

The “peace diamond,” a giant 709-carat diamond unearthed in Sierra Leone has sold at auction in New York for $6.5m.

WND

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday passed six resolutions described by a watchdog group as “anti-Israel,” marking 70 years since the world body’s partition plan carved Mandate Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state that never came to be.


 The Briefing — Tuesday, December 5, 2017

1) Stakes are high as Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop case

AP (Kaitlyn Schallhorn) –
Supreme Court to decide Colorado gay wedding cake case: A timeline of events

Washington Post (George Will) –
A cake is food, not speech. But why bully the baker?

2) Media coverage of Masterpiece case insists what case is not about

New York Times (Editors) –
Their Cake Was Not a First Amendment Issue

New York Times (Steve Sanders) –
Even the Bernini of Buttercream Has to Serve Gay Couples

New York Times (John Corvino) –
Drawing a Line in the ‘Gay Wedding Cake’ Case

New York Times (Jennifer Finney Boylan) –
The Masterpiece Cakeshop Case Is Not About Religious Freedom

3) A new right not found in the text of the Constitution and two rights that are

New York Times (Adam Liptak) –
Cake Is His ‘Art.’ So Can He Deny One to a Gay Couple?

4) Debate among biologists about animals and morality goes right down to mollusks

Boston Globe (Mark Peters) –
It’s only human to see our own sins in animals


News – 12/5/2017

Iran asks Muslims to disrupt Israeli ties in region
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged Muslims on Tuesday to disrupt what he called a plot by unnamed countries in the region to build ties with Israel. He gave no more details on the states. But an Israeli cabinet minister said last month that his government had had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia linked to their common concerns over Tehran.

Turkey’s Erdogan threatens cutting ties with Israel over Jerusalem issue
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Turkey could go as far as breaking off diplomatic ties with Israel if the United States formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move he said would be a “red line” for Muslims. Erdogan is the latest in a string of regional leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Hussein to warn of negative implications of the move.

US officials warn Trump not to call Jerusalem Israel’s capital
The possibility that US President Donald Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has stirred opposition from US and foreign officials who fear it could unleash violence. Such a decision, which US officials have said has not been finalized, would violate decades of US policy not to take a stance on the fate of Jerusalem on the grounds that this was an issue Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate and decide.

Saudi Arabia hopes US will not recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel
Saudi Arabia has expressed hope the United States would not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and warned such a decision would have serious implications, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday. “The recognition will have very serious implications and will be provocative to all Muslims’ feelings,” SPA said, quoting an unnamed official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

North Korea crisis: UN political chief in rare visit to Pyongyang
The United Nations political affairs chief begins a rare four-day visit to Pyongyang on Tuesday. The trip by Jeffrey Feltman is the first by a senior UN official in six years. North Korea had extended an invitation to the UN in September to visit for a “policy dialogue”.

After Push on Taxes, Republicans Line Up Welfare Revamp Next
As Republicans near the finish line on a long-sought tax overhaul, President Donald Trump has committed them to taking up a welfare-revamp fight next. Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he is interested in kick-starting a debate around means-tested social programs, with allies seeing significant political rewards from taking up the issue even without a clear-cut goal.

Trump dramatically SHRINKS Bears Ears National Monument and slashes another by half in the name of ‘states’ rights’ as he says ‘public lands will once again be for public use’
President Donald Trump unveiled a plan Monday in Utah to dramatically scale back two national monuments – calling it an important move for ‘states’ rights.’ ‘Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They’re wrong,’ he said in the cavernous Utah Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City.

UN warns of drug-resistant germ risk brewing in nature
The UN warned Tuesday of a ticking time bomb of drug-resistant germs brewing in the natural environment, aided by humans dumping antibiotics and chemicals into the water and soil. If this continues, people will be at an even higher risk of contracting diseases, incurable by existing antibiotics, from swimming in the sea or other seemingly innocuous activities, a report warned.

Explosive wildfire in Southern California forces thousands to evacuate
A wind-whipped wildfire exploded early Tuesday in Southern California, forcing more than 27,000 people to evacuate and causing at least one death. Ventura County Fire officials said “The Thomas Fire” broke out Monday evening east of Santa Paula, located about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The fire has grown to 31,000 acres has destroyed 150 structures, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. “The prospects for containment are not good,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said at a news conference.

More Anti-Trump Messages Reportedly Sent By Members Of Mueller’s Team: “A Lot More Is Going To Come Out”
Days after it emerged that former Special Counsel investigator Peter Strzok was fired from Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe in August for sending anti-Trump text messages to his mistress while the two were working together on the Clinton email investigation, Sara Carter of Circa told a Fox News panel that there are more anti-Trump messages sent by Mueller’s team floating around. I think a lot more is going to come out. In fact, I know a lot more is going to come out based on the sources I’ve spoken to.

South Korea, U.S. kick off large-scale air exercise amid North Korean warnings
South Korea and the United States launched large-scale joint aerial drills on Monday, officials said, a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced missile as part of a weapons programme that has raised global tensions.

As Israel Faces Dangerous Drought, Chief Rabbi Calls on Jews and Christians to Pray for Rain
The month of Kislev has come and Israel hasn’t yet been blessed with rains, therefore I call upon the public, first to be compassionate with one another, and then to begin adding the special prayer for rain that is said when there’s a drought,” the rabbi said in an official statement.

‘Better to have a united Jerusalem than be loved by Turkey’
Chairman of Jewish Home party not impressed by Turkish president’s threat to cut diplomatic ties with Israel over US recognition of J’lem. Education Minister and Chairman of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett pushed back Tuesday against the statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whereby American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would lead to a severing of diplomatic ties between Turkey and the Jewish State.

Dermer: War on northern border could be just ‘weeks’ away
The chances of war on Israel’s northern border could be “weeks” away, according to Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer. In an interview on Monday with Politico touching on a wide range of issues, Dermer said that the chances of a military conflict taking place in the near future between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group were “higher than people think because of Iran’s continued push through the region.”

Iran asks Muslims to disrupt Israeli ties in region
Hassan Rouhani urged Muslims on Tuesday to disrupt what he called a plot by unnamed countries in the region to build ties with Israel. He gave no more details on the states. But an Israeli cabinet minister said last month that his government had had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia linked to their common concerns over Tehran.

Ten Commandments Suit Dismissed
A federal district court entered a judgment in favor of Liberty Counsel’s client, Levy County, dismissing a lawsuit brought by a national atheist group claiming that the Ten Commandments monument next to the Levy County courthouse violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Report: ‘Paranoid’ White House Staff Worry They’re Being Recorded
“Paranoia is enveloping the White House” as staffers worry their colleagues are wearing wires for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Russia” investigation, according to a Monday report in Politico.

UNREAL: Organization Creates Suicide-Machine, Governments Will Use This For Genocide …
An organization called Exit International…has created a suicide-machine using 3D printing technology, reports Zero Hedge. “Sarco” is a capsule which the person can step into and, with the proper access code and push of a button, will lock and fill with euthanasia liquid, induce a minutes-long euphoric passage into death. The capsule detaches as a coffin – suicide has never been so casual or easy.

CHAOS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Video shows Iranian-backed Houthi rebels firing a MISSILE at Abu Dhabi NUCLEAR reactor
YEMEN’s Houthi rebels appear to have fired a missile toward a nuclear reactor in Abu Dhabi amid World War 3 fears.

Victory: Supreme Court Rules Trump Travel Ban to Go Into Full Effect
In a massive victory for President Trump, the Supreme Court has ruled that the White House’s travel ban on individuals from terror linked countries will go into full effect.

Obama Holdover Officially Under Investigation For Pay-To-Play Model
An Obama-era appointee within the Department of Defense is now under investigation after he allegedly helped rig government contracts for personal benefit… and one of the recipients of the “pay-to-play” scheme is apparently a close personal friend of the Clinton family.

Red Cross Enforcing PC Tyranny: Demands Branches Remove Crucifixes To Be More Secular
The once respected Red Cross is enforcing PC tyranny by demanding that branches remove crucifixes to be more secular. After receiving a communication telling them to remove crucifixes from the walls of their branches, volunteers were outraged and disappointed in the charity’s move to become more secular which they interpret as an attack on Christianity. Let’s be honest – they are doing this because they do not want to offend Muslims.

British Police Warn Bumping Into Someone ‘Under the Mistletoe’ Without Consent ‘Is Rape’
British police have been subjected to widespread derision after appearing to suggest that bumping into someone under the mistletoe without consent is rape.

Syria accuses Israel of strike on army base reportedly used by Iranians near Damascus
Arab media reports say Israel attacked a military facility south of Damascus • Base believed to have been earmarked for Iranian troops, local militias loyal to them • Reports of casualties inconsistent • Reports not corroborated by any Israeli source.

PROPHECY IN MOTION: Thousands of Chinese elite troops head to Syria to combat Muslim terrorists they view as a threat
…Beijing is deploying to Syria thousands of members of two elite People Liberation Army units to combat extremist Islamic Uighurs fighting in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, Those units are the Chinese Navy’s Night Tigers and the Shenyang Region’s Siberian Tigers.

3,108 Since Oct. 1: Refugee Admissions Drop 83%, As Trump Withdraws From UN Migration Compact
Fourteen months after the Obama administration backed a push at the U.N. for global responsibility-sharing for refugees and migrants, the Trump administration has pulled out of the initiative.

Soros Army in Alabama to Register Convicted Felons to Vote Against Roy Moore
An organization partnered with a George Soros-financed group and led by a radical leftist who is the half-brother of the infamous controversial Rev. Al Sharpton has been diligently working over the past few weeks to register convicted felons across Alabama.

December 5, 2017
Alan Keyes challenges believers inclined to trust ‘wisdom’ of the world
ALAN KEYES — “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God….we are proclaiming Christ crucified – – to the Jews a scandal, to the nations folly, but to the ones who are themselves called…Christ, the power and wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24)… (more)

December 5, 2017

NEWSMAX — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by allowing his latest travel ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries to go into full effect even as legal challenges continue in lower courts…. (more)


December 5, 2017
NEWSMAX — Peter Strzok, the FBI agent removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe for sending text messages critical of President Donald Trump and praising Hillary Clinton also had a role in the Clinton email probe…. (more)

December 5, 2017
SUSAN FERRECHIO — The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday will begin writing a resolution holding top FBI officials in contempt of Congress after the agency missed a Monday deadline to turn over key evidence the committee has been seeking for months…. (more)

December 5, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Republicans searching for their next major task after tax reform may have found their answer, and it’s not infrastructure. Over the past few weeks, President Trump has been talking up reform of anti-poverty programs, and House leaders have begun preliminary talks with his administration on what they could accomplish through a welfare overhaul, aides say. The White House, meanwhile, is preparing an administrative reordering of the welfare system regardless of whether congressional Republicans act…. (more)

December 4, 2017
NEWSMAX — Alabama Republican candidate for the Senate Roy Moore leads his Democratic challenger Doug Jones 49 percent to 43 percent among likely voters who say they expect to vote in the Dec. 12 special election, according to a CBS News poll, CBS News reported Sunday…. (more)

December 4, 2017
NEWSMAX — The GOP tax bill authorizes drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has been closed to oil exploration since 1980 because of concerns of the impact on wildlife and the ecosystems, CNN reports…. (more)

December 4, 2017

NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump has urged Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to run for re-election in Utah, causing some to speculate the president wants to block former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney from seeking election for the seat, Politico reported Sunday…. (more)


December 4, 2017
ROBERT KNIGHT — One of the biggest challenges facing the president in draining the Washington Swamp is ferreting out the activists who continue to pursue a progressive agenda in federal agencies. Richard C. Pilger has headed the Election Crimes Branch in the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Justice Department since 2010. Appointed by former Attorney General Eric Holder, Mr. Pilger is in charge of prosecuting public corruption cases, and specifically “voter fraud and campaign financing offenses.”… (more)

December 2, 2017

CNN — ABC News announced Saturday that it has suspended investigative reporter Brian Ross for four weeks without pay after Ross was forced to correct a bombshell on-air report about Michael Flynn…. (more)


December 2, 2017
BYRON YORK — House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has issued an angry demand to the FBI and Department of Justice to explain why they kept the committee in the dark over the reason Special Counsel Robert Mueller kicked a key supervising FBI agent off the Trump-Russia investigation…. (more)

December 2, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump said Saturday that he fired Michael Flynn for lying – – the same lies to which the former national security advisor pleaded guilty. “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”… (more)

December 2, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — On the heels of comparing President Trump to cult murderer Charles Manson two weeks ago, the latest edition characterizes him in a headline as “basically a hate group all by himself under FBI definition.”… (more)

December 2, 2017
BREITBART — Walmart is selling “Antifa” clothing that “will [allow you to] express yourself inside the opposition to the ideology, organizations, governments and people from the far right (fascism).” The mega-retailer is offering at least 13 different sweatshirts “made in Mexico of 100% COTTON for all-day comfort” promoting the group whose activities were “formally classified” by the Obama Administration “as domestic terrorist violence” as early as April 2016, according to Politico, despite the group’s efforts to downplay this determination…. (more)

December 2, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — You can find conservative policy centers like the Family Research Council on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map,” but not the violent left-wing extremist group antifa. Why not? Antifa’s radical activists are known for beating up those they view as “fascists,” but according to SPLC president Richard Cohen, antifa doesn’t actually espouse hate…. (more)

December 2, 2017
BREITBART — The Trump administration is ending yet another of Michelle Obama’s hated, overly strict school lunch rules by bringing chocolate milk back to school lunch menus. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday announced a new rule set to take effect on July 1 after the period of public comment. The new rule relaxes sodium limits and Obama’s whole-grain requirements. The rule will also allow milk with one percent fat back on the menu, ABC News reported…. (more)

December 2, 2017
CHERYL K. CHUMLEY — The egregious jury finding of innocence for Jose Ines Garcia Zarate in the killing of Kate Steinle is one of the biggest travesties of justice in recent memory. Garcia Zarate, at the very least, should’ve been found guilty of manslaughter. But he wasn’t. Jurors found him innocent of manslaughter, assault and murder, and guilty only of illegal gun possession…. (more)

December 2, 2017

NEWSMAX — US Senate Republicans passed landmark tax reform early Saturday, a critical step toward delivering a monumental legislative victory for President Donald Trump in his first year in office…. (more)


December 2, 2017
NEWSMAX — The Republican’s tax overhaul package could lead to as much as $150 billion per year being cut from federal programs such as farm subsidies, student loans, and support for crime victims, according to Politico…. (more)

December 2, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The Trump administration moved Friday to claim custody of the illegal immigrant who killed Kate Steinle, saying he violated the terms of his probation and should be sent back to federal prison. The move is aimed at taking Jose Inez Garcia Zarate away from California officials, after a jury in that state acquitted him Thursday of murder and manslaughter charges stemming from the Steinle killing…. (more)

December 2, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Conservative author and lawyer Ben Shapiro says a San Francisco jury’s decision to acquit an illegal immigrant of murder for the 2015 death of Kate Steinle encapsulates why voters put President Trump in the White House. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was deported five times before the July 1, 2015, shooting death of Ms. Steinle on a San Francisco pier. Mr. Shapiro, a Harvard Law School graduate, told Fox News after Thursday verdict that it is inexplicable how Mr. Zarate escaped involuntary manslaughter charges after firing the weapon that killed Ms. Steinle…. (more)

December 2, 2017

NEWSMAX — Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday called on the Senate to pass “Kate’s law” after an illegal immigrant was acquitted Thursday for fatally shooting Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier with her father in 2015…. (more)


December 2, 2017

ART MOORE — It’s significant that Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty Friday to the “process crime” of lying to FBI agents rather than to a conspiracy of collusion, contends a former assistant U.S. attorney…. (more)


December 2, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Law enforcement’s failures in preparation, communication, and command-and-control created a perfect storm that contributed to the chaos surrounding the August 12 “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the results of an independent investigation released Friday…. (more)

December 1, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — The words “national reckoning” are appearing with some regularity in media reports about various sex scandal cases. It’s almost as if there is an unseen hand in the media orchestrating or coordinating in advance the presidential race in 2020, a year already being labeled “The Year of the Woman.” It’s designed to create an opportunity for California Democratic Party Senator and staunch feminist, Kamala Harris, to run as a presidential candidate. In this culmination of the “national reckoning,” she’s ready to take on the male power structure and break the glass ceiling. Where Hillary failed, Harris will succeed…. (more)
Mike Pence: ‘President Trump is a Believer and So am I’
Vice President Mike Pence recently spoke about the role of faith in the Trump administration, and stated that “President Trump is a believer and so am I.”

Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 5, 2017

Deep State Obstruction

Fidelity? Integrity? Those words are in the FBI’s seal, but both are seriously in question.

The Foundation

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” —Thomas Jefferson (1798)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: December 5

  • Clash Over Young Immigrants Hangs Over Year-End Budget Talks (Read More)
  • Businesses Lobby for Breaks After Last-Minute Tax Changes (Read More)
  • Senate Bill ‘Bombshell’ Could Raise Taxes on Tech (Read More)
  • Europe sucked into sell-off, sterling suffers Brexit blues (Read More)
  • After Tax Overhaul, GOP Will Pivot to Revamping Welfare (Read More)
  • Exiled son of slain Yemen ex-leader calls for revenge (Read More)
  • How AI Will Invade Every Corner of Wall Street (Read More)
  • Does Anything Back This $814 Million Cryptocurrency?  (Read More)
  • Want That House? You’d Better Pay in Cash (Read More)
  • Can This 107-Year-Old Steelmaker Be Brought Back to Life?  (Read More)
  • iPhone market share slips in October-quarter: research firm (Read More)
  • Nissan’s Self-Driving Taxis Will Hit the Road in March (Read More)
  • Supporters free ex-Georgian leader Saakashvili from Ukrainian police amid chaotic scenes (Read More)
  • GM puts an e-commerce marketplace in the dashboard (Read More)
  • Ford Attempts a U-Turn in China (Read More)
  • House Panel Questions Podesta on Trump Dossier Links (Read More)
  • Cineworld Agrees to Buy Regal in $3.6 Billion Theater Deal (Read More)
  • CVS Chief’s Path From Corner Pharmacy to Health-Care Giant (Read More)

Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique

Before we get to Christianity Today’s story, you should know that Ravi Zacharias does not hold a doctorate in anything (we reported on this here). He has honorary doctorates. An honorary doctorate is not the same thing as an earned Ph.D.  Zacharias has not written a dissertation nor has he passed an oral defense. He has a […]

The post Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique appeared first on Berean Research.


What is Heresy? Is Arminianism Heresy, Part I

Pulpit & Pen News examines what the meaning of heresy is. Included in this piece is a list of specified, defined heresies. Some of the examples given are: Antinomianism, Arianism, Modalism, Montanism, Pelagianism, Sabellianism, and the Galatian Heresy (works righteousness).  All are prominent heresies.  Because the visible Church is infested with heresy, believers must do […]

The post What is Heresy? Is Arminianism Heresy, Part I appeared first on Berean Research.


The Antidote to Anemic Worship

In far too many churches, the Bible is nearly silent, chides Albert Mohler, president of Baptist Theological Seminary. “The public reading of Scripture has been dropped from many services and the sermon has been sidelined, reduced to a brief devotional appended to the music.” We are in the age of entertainment, says Mohler.  And there […]

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Who’s the founder and leader of the NAR cult?

In a piece over at Churchwatch Central titled  “Why Wagner WAS the Leader of the NAR (Part 4): Generals International interview in 2000 reveals the truth” they examine the late C. Peter Wagner’s claim that the NAR has no leader.  Back in 2011 I expressed my concern (here) over former governor of Texas Rick Perry’s […]

The post Who’s the founder and leader of the NAR cult? appeared first on Berean Research.


3 Reasons Every Christian Needs to Use the Creeds

What is the best way to instruct ourselves and our children? According to Timothy W. Massaro the best way is to familiarize ourselves with the creeds (statement of faith) of the early church. “Worshipping God, and understanding what was necessary for our salvation, drove our church fathers to write down why salvation had to look […]

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Another Man’s Done Gone: David Platt and Beth Moore

There’s trouble brewing over David Platt retweeting a video of SBC “Godmother” Beth Moore’s endorsement of the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.  Many consider David Platt a “great Bible teacher” and a truth teller while Moore. who is an idol to a large number of Christian women, is a really bad Bible teacher, even a false teacher who should […]

The post Another Man’s Done Gone: David Platt and Beth Moore appeared first on Berean Research.


Headlines – 12/5/2017

No decision on embassy move to Jerusalem before deadline – White House

Trump missing embassy waiver deadline by a few days is no big deal, experts say

US embassies said to gird for protests over Trump Jerusalem moves

Defense minister unmoved by threats of violence over Jerusalem recognition

Lieberman: Trump has ‘historic opportunity to rectify injustice’ with Jerusalem recognition

Jerusalem mayor, outside White House, pleads with Trump to move the embassy

Saudi Arabia warns of Jerusalem embassy impact as Trump delays announcement

Europe rattled Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

French president supposedly urges Trump not to act on Jerusalem. Trump heard something different.

Ex-Israeli ambassadors urge Trump’s envoy: U.S. must not unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as capital

Turkey says recognizing Jerusalem as capital would cause catastrophe

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is ‘naked aggression,’ Islamic nations warn Trump

Muslim nations call for summit if Trump recognizes Jerusalem

‘Kiss of death’ to two-state solution if Jerusalem declared Israel capital: PLO envoy

Mum on peace plan, Kushner leaves everyone guessing, or scratching heads

Hamas Demands PA Prime Minister Resign, as Palestinian Unity Deal Crumbles

Israel-Europe Gas Pipeline Deal to Be Signed This Week

Israel And U.S. Hide Names Of Companies Supporting Israeli Settlements

Islamic Jihad still planning to avenge deaths of members killed in tunnel

Syrian media says Israel struck near Damascus for second time in days

Israel Strikes Assad Regime Military Target in Syria, Foreign Media Reports

Report: Israel attacks military research center in Syria

Satellite shows aftermath of alleged Israeli strike on Iranian base in Syria

5 rockets launched from Sinai, but siren may have malfunctioned – IDF

UK foreign aid money ‘diverted to extremists’ in Syria

Iraqi Kurds still love US despite its opposition to Kurdish independence, says Kurdish leader

Russia provides air cover for Kurdish militia in Syria

UN, France to hold international meeting to support Lebanon

Yemen’s Ex-President Killed as Mayhem Convulses Capital

US Supreme Court allows full enforcement of Trump travel ban

A bold new legal defense for Trump: Presidents cannot obstruct justice

Mueller’s Credibility Problem – The special counsel is stonewalling Congress and protecting the FBI

Mueller to invite criticism by revealing taxpayers’ tab for Russia investigation

Pelosi slammed by GOP for calling tax bill ‘Armageddon’

Dow hits record as investors bet on tax cuts

Could Israel Become a Hub for Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrency?

11th Hour Upset to Brexit Deal Complicates Life for Theresa May

UN political affairs chief to visit North Korea this week

‘We’re Getting Close to a Military Conflict’ With North Korea, Sen. Graham Says

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Naisano Dua, Indonesia

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 33,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 24,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Albania sends in military rescue as heavy rains trigger huge floods

Flu-pocalypse? 2017 flu season could be worse, vaccine not as effective, expert warns

Health experts: This year’s flu vaccine only 10% effective

Same-Sex Couples Don’t Get the Same Marriage Benefits as Heterosexuals in Texas

In wake of Weinstein, men wonder if hugging women still OK

Red Cross Demands Branches Remove Crucifixes to Be More Secular

Design (But Not Design) Is the New Unifying Principle of Biology

Mike Ratliff – Godly Discernment is Rooted in Christian Maturity

On Discerning Ravi Zacharias: It’s time to say what needs to be said
This blogger raised questions about Zacharias over 1 year ago

Kent Hovinds adulterous 2nd marriage ends as wife as seeks divorce 

Lou Engle obsessing over Franklin Hall and Latter Rain cult

Are Humans on the Verge of an Evolutionary Leap?

Catholics to Pray Rosary On the Border to Shield U.S. From Terrorism

Drowned city of the Caesars was Roman empire’s wine-soaked party town of luxury and wickedness

Russia-China bond market advancing “dollarless” financial system

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 04:07 PM PST

Russia-China bond market advancing “dollarless” financial systemThe Moscow stock exchange will soon issue nearly $1 billion-worth of yuan-denominated bonds. It could become the start of a new financial system not based on the US dollar, analysts say. Russia will issue the 6 billion yuan (about $900 million) bonds with a five-year maturity in December or January. The Central Bank says it is testing the water for future investments. “Such steps will make it possible to remove the dollar from mutual settlements and use only yuan and rubles (mostly yuan for the moment)

in the mid-term, if more specialists from the Russian financial sector work in this direction,” Gleb Zadoya, Head of Analytics at Analitika Online told RT. Russian bonds in yuan could be interesting for the Chinese, as China has trillions of dollars of excessive liquidity, as well as hundreds of thousands of new investors who are interested in trying new markets, the analyst said. For Russia, facing a new round of US sanctions aimed at its bond market, it is a great opportunity to get closer to China, according to Zadoya. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Israel Strikes Near Damascus Again! Second Strike In Days

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 03:41 PM PST

DEVELOPING: Israel Strikes Near Damascus Again! Second Strike In DaysSyrian state media on Monday said Israel had fired missiles at a Syrian military facility in the Damascus countryside, adding that Syrian air defense systems had intercepted three of the missiles. “Our air defenses are confronting an Israeli missile attack on one of our sites in the Damascus suburbs and three of the targets were downed,” state news agency SANA said, adding the attacks happened at 11:30 p.m. Monday.

A witness told Reuters late on Monday three strong explosions were heard from the direction of Jamraya, west of Damascus. Another witness said thick smoke could be seen rising over the area.
Jamraya contains a military research facility which was hit by what was believed to have been an Israeli attack in 2013. Israel in the past has targeted positions of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group inside Syria where the Iran-backed group is heavily involved in fighting alongside the Syrian army. READ MORE

The Enemy’s Attempt to Render the Word of God Powerless!

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 02:06 PM PST

The Enemy’s Attempt to Render the Word of God Powerless!(By Ricky Scaparo) In this message, we will show you how Satan is attempting to strip the Word of God of its power to save, deliver and transform the souls of the lost! For the entire message watch the video below:

Supreme Court allows President Trump’s travel ban to go fully into effect

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 01:55 PM PST

Supreme Court allows President Trump’s travel ban to go fully into effectThe Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.  The justices, with two dissenting votes, said Monday that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts. The action suggests the high court could uphold the latest version of the ban that Trump announced in September. The ban applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts

had said people from those nations with a claim of a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would have left the lower court orders in place. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week. READ MORE

 

Red Cross Demands Branches Remove Crucifixes to Be More Secular

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 01:44 PM PST

Red Cross Demands Branches Remove Crucifixes to Be More SecularVolunteers have criticised the Red Cross charity after receiving a communication telling them to remove crucifixes from the walls of their branches as the organization looks to become more secular.
The Belgian branches of the international aid organization received an email from the Provincial Committee of the Red Cross in Liège to remove all crucifixes. André Rouffart, president of the Red Crossin Verviers, said: “We were asked to respect the principles of the Red Cross”, and not to distinguish between race or religious belief 7sur7 reports.  Mr. Rouffart said there had been pushback from volunteers and other members on the issue but downplayed the issue, saying: “I think it’s a storm in a teacup.” Several volunteers spoke to Belgian broadcaster RTL and expressed hostility to the move, with one saying:  READ MORE
Drumbeats Of Ezekiel 38 – Israel Bombs Iranian Base In Syria

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 11:22 AM PST

Drumbeats Of Ezekiel 38 – Israel Bombs Iranian Base In SyriaIsrael’s air force has bombed a military target thought to be an Iranian military base outside Damascus, Syria December 2. The hit was reported by Arab media outlets. An arms depot was destroyed in the strike, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.  Iran is a staunch ally of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and provided him with military and financial assistance during the long Syrian civil war.

Arabic media reported the target was an Iranian military base 9 miles south of Damascus and just 30 miles from the Israeli border that was revealed by the BBC three weeks ago. It is the first time reports have emerged of Iran establishing a permanent base in Syria. “At half past midnight [2230 GMT Friday], the Israeli enemy fired several surface-to-surface missiles at a military position in Damascus province,” Syria’s state SANA news agency reported, according to The Times of Israel. READ MORE

 

Salvation Army Worker Shot Dead With Bible in Hand, Preaching the Gospel to His Killer in Ohio

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 11:09 AM PST

Salvation Army Worker Shot Dead With Bible in Hand, Preaching the Gospel to His Killer in OhioA 21-year-old Salvation Army worker in Cleveland, Ohio, was shot dead in the head Saturday morning with his Bible in hand, while preaching the Gospel.  Those who knew Jared Plesec say that he was devoted to his faith, and lived to teach others about God.  “Jared was an employee (youth worker) and church member of The Salvation Army Temple Corps Community Center in Collinwood. Jared died as he lived, sharing God’s love.

Jared passed away in full Salvation Army uniform with his Bible in hand leaving home on his day off to volunteer at The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle,” The Salvation Army said in a statement, as reported by WKYC.com.  “In the past two days, hundreds of individuals, mostly youth, have flocked to The Salvation Army in Collinwood to pay tribute to Jared’s life. They all had one thing in common, Jared loved them, he cared for them and he changed their lives. READ MORE

Human Ken Doll having 60th surgery even if it KILLS him…

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 10:47 AM PST

Human Ken Doll having 60th surgery even if it KILLS him…‘Human Ken Doll’ Rodrigo Alves has vowed to go ahead with his 60th operation, which will see him having his RIBS cut from his body, even if it kills him.  The Brazilian-born star, 34, who has so far spent $400,000 on plastic surgery, will travel to LA to undergo his latest procedure which he claims will make him thinner.  Rodrigo has opted for the controversial rib removal after being told he cannot have any more liposuction – after having the fat-sucking surgery on 20 different occasions. The larger-than-life

character has had 59 body modification procedures to alter his appearance, and over 100 aesthetic enhancements. And despite his family revealing to The Sun Online last month that they fear he could die on the operating table, Rodrigo remains defiant. He said: “I will keep going. There is no such thing as plastic surgery killing you. READ MORE

Number of Kids in Foster Care in America Rises for Fourth Consecutive Year

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 06:11 AM PST

Number of Kids in Foster Care in America Rises for Fourth Consecutive YearA new U.S. government report has found that the tragic rise of children in foster care has continued for a fourth consecutive year — and the likely reason for the uptick is heartbreaking.   The Administration for Children and Families, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, found that the number of kids in foster care in fiscal year 2016 was 437,500, up from 427,400 the previous year. Meanwhile, adoptions from foster care increased from 54,000 to 57,000 during the same timeframe.

So, the key question is “why?” The report found that the biggest increase when it came to the reasons why kids were removed from the home was in the drug abuse category. Overall, 92,000 kids were removed from their home due to drug use by at least one parent in fiscal year 2016; this proportion increased from 32 percent to 34 percent between 2015 and 2016. Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary for the ACF, expressed worries over this trend on Wednesday. READ MORE

Venezuela to create digital currency amid financing crisis…

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 05:57 AM PST

Venezuela to create digital currency amid financing crisis…Venezuela is creating a digital currency to combat a financial blockade by the United States, President Nicolas Maduro announced Sunday.  The Petro will be backed by Venezuela’s oil and gas reserves and its gold and diamond holdings, the president said in his weekly television program. “This is going to allow us to move toward new forms of international financing for the country’s economic and social development,” the president said. The government also announced the creation of a “blockchain

observatory” — a software platform for buying and selling virtual currency. Although the president did not offer many details, analysts such as Henkel Garcia see the possibility of success as limited. “You can build it, but trust, acceptance and use is what will determine the cryptocurrency’s success. For me, it will be quite limited. The bolivar is is also backed by reserves and has no strength,” Garcia, director of consultancy Econometrica.  READ MORE

World’s Longest-Lasting Rainbow Seen Over Taiwan for 9 Hours

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 05:44 AM PST

World’s Longest-Lasting Rainbow Seen Over Taiwan for 9 HoursA rainbow appeared in the sky above Taiwan’s capital Taipei this week and lasted for nine hours to become the longest-lasting rainbow in history, two scientists have claimed.  The rainbow appeared at 6:57 a.m. local time and was seen until 3:55 p.m. on Thursday, say Chou Kun-hsuan and Liu Ching-huang, both professors in the Department of Atmospheric Science of Chinese Culture University in Taipei city, according to Taiwan News.

The previous longest-lasting rainbow was seen for six hours in Wetherby in Yorkshire, U.K. on March 14, 1994.  The scientists said the rainbow lasted for such a long time because a monsoon was effecting northern Taiwan, Brinkwire.com.  “This was a gift from the sky,” professor Chou was quoted as saying. “I was shaking when I observed a six-hour rainbow, but this was a miracle [to me], being able to capture a rainbow with such long duration. READ MORE

Children, Entire Evangelical Families Being Arrested in Eritrea Simply for Praying

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 05:39 AM PST

Children, Entire Evangelical Families Being Arrested in Eritrea Simply for PrayingEntire evangelical Christian families, including children, are reportedly being arrested in new persecution tactics being used by Eritrean officials, human rights activists have said.  “Since May of this year, nearly 200 Christians have been arrested. The interesting thing about this — they have shifted tactics … Instead of just raiding church services or Bible studies, now the government is going to the homes of Christians, and they’re arresting the whole family,” Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs USA told Mission Network News.

“Even children have been put under arrest if they’re part of a Christian family.” Nettleton explained that the children are taken into custody when their parents are arrested, and said that 16 students were taken by officials in November, simply for praying. “Even as bad as it was, this seems like even a step further in the persecution of Christians — to arrest even children who are involved in Christian activities,” Nettleton added. READ MORE

UN Passes Six New Anti-Israel Resolutions

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 07:30 PM PST

UN Passes Six New Anti-Israel ResolutionsThe United Nations General Assembly passed six new Arab-sponsored resolutions condemning Israel on Thursday, including a resolution erasing all Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and another condemning Israel’s presence in the Golan Heights.  By contrast, in this year’s session there will be a total of six condemnatory resolutions for the rest of the world combined — with one each on Syria, North Korea, Iran, Crimea, Myanmar, as well as one criticizing the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

The Jerusalem resolution, passed by a vote of  151 votes in favor to 6 against with 9 abstentions, “reiterated that any actions by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and void.” The resolution referred to Jerusalem and its holy sites exclusively in Arabic, noting the Muslim significance. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) passed almost identical resolutions in 2015 and 2016.  READ MORE

 

US families urged to evacuate military bases near Seoul amid fears of War

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 07:10 PM PST

US families urged to evacuate military bases near Seoul amid fears of WarFamilies of US military should leave South Korea because war between America and Pyongyang is “getting close”, according to a senior US Senator and ex-Air Force Colonel.  Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has warned that the rising tensions between the the US and Kim Jong-un’s corrupt regime means preparations for war need to be taken.  The member of the Senate Armed Services Committee

warned the US was “running out of time” to prepare itself for war when speaking on CBS yesterday. He said: “I want the Pentagon to stop sending dependents and I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea. “We’re getting close to a military conflict because North Korea is marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that can not only get to America, but deliver the weapon. READ MORE

Lester Sumrall’s 7 Troubling Prophecies Over America

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 06:56 PM PST

Lester Sumrall’s 7 Troubling Prophecies Over AmericaLester Sumrall went home to be with the Lord in 1996, but his legacy continues—and his God-breathed prophetic words are still alive.  In a 1987 video capture, Sumrall, whose spiritual father was Smith Wigglesworth, shares seven prophetic insights God revealed to his heart earlier in his walk with the Lord. I wish they weren’t accurate, but it seems he heard rightly. You can watch the video to see all the warnings. I’m going to focus on just one of them. “I said, ‘God, I don’t understand this at all.’ He said,

‘You’re going to see it and here are seven things to watch.’ And God gave me seven things to observe. Number one was, America will depart from its historic faith. Now at that time, the Supreme Court hadn’t done any of those strange things, such as permission to kill unborn babies and giving such rights to homosexuals. See, none of that happened.” None of those things had happened when the Lord first spoke to Sumrall but many things have happened since. The man of God received these revelations before Roe v. Wade, before the Supreme Court decision to sanction homosexual marriages and before the growing persecution of Christians in America. READ MORE


What is The Gospel?


Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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The Doctrine of Conversion (Teaching Outline)

Reformed Baptist Blog

ConversionNote: As I have noted in the past two posts (here and here), back in 2015 I posted a a teaching outline entitled The Doctrine of Conversion: Understanding Faith and Repentance, and this three part series is basically an expansion and reworking of that outline. Again, however, rather than take the old one down, I thought I would simply post these others and allow the blog’s readers the option of choosing which approach they find most helpful.

Introduction

Over the past couple of weeks we have examined the Biblical teaching concerning saving faith and repentance, which is to say that we have been talking about the doctrine of conversion. We will finish our brief study of this doctrine with this post.

We get the name for this doctrine from the Latin term conversio, which has led to the English terms used to translate a…

View original post 3,694 more words

Scare Quote Explosion: ‘Pastor’ Perry Noble’s ‘Church’ Launch ‘Sermon’ a Total Mess

Pulpit & Pen News has the latest on the Perry Noble saga. The “spiritually unqualified” disgraced pastor “took to Facebook for the ‘digital launch’ of his ‘church,’ Second Chance ‘Church.’” P&P posted the video of the event and reviews Noble’s sermon:

Perry Noble was known for primarily three things, prior to self-destructing in his personal life due to alcoholism and bad marital decisions (and now divorce). He was known for (1) being the pastor of a mega-church, NewSpring, (2) playing Highway to Hell for Easter worship , (3) for his theology that was sooooo bad it earned a rebuke from his denomination.

When Noble refused to go away and later announced the beginning of a new church plant, it forced the hand of his former church to formally denounce him as spiritually unqualified (Noble agreed with them, but continued anyway). Even still, mega-pastors like Steven Furtick have continued to embrace him, along with a legion of online followers.

View article →

Source: Scare Quote Explosion: ‘Pastor’ Perry Noble’s ‘Church’ Launch ‘Sermon’ a Total Mess

Selfishness

Let me tell you the story of Narcissus. He was an arrogant, proud man, totally obsessed with himself and his looks. He took no interest in others and didn’t receive or give love to anyone. To cut a short story even shorter, he was subjected to a curse that made him fall in love with his own reflection. He kept on looking at his reflection in the water and deeply desired it. One day he saw his reflection in a well, so he jumped in and drowned.

Pretty dark isn’t it?

However, we are all in deep danger of missing out on life and destroying ourselves with self-obsession. The scariest thing of all, is that we are totally unaware of the danger we are in.

The reason for our selfishness

We have fallen for a lie that says the way to life, fulfilment and joy is to look after yourself, seek your own welfare, do whatever it takes to protect your own comfort, use all your time and money on yourself. This is not a new lie, we can trace it all the way back to Eden. Satan convinced Adam and Eve to be more concerned about their own pleasure and increased wisdom than trusting and following God. In 2 Corinthians 5:15 Paul defines sin as ‘living for ourselves’. We are all guilty.

So how do we live for God and others? How do we stop living for ourselves?

The remedy for our selfishness

We first need to realise the paradoxical promise of selflessness. The lie tells us that life is found by self-preservation. However, Jesus tells us that life is found in self-denial, ‘Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’ (Matt 10:39).

Why is this the case? Remember how we are designed? We have been made in God’s image. We were created to glorify God, to worship him, live for him and serve others. That means that the way we flourish and are most satisfied is when we put God and others before ourselves. If we put ourselves first, we are going against our very nature. Selfishness leads to death, not life. Selfishness ultimately leads to despair, emptiness and being miserable. If we put God and others before ourselves, we’re going to experience life in its fullness – life as it’s meant to be! As a fish is made for the sea, so we are made to live for God and others.

Secondly, we need to see and feel the selflessness of our Saviour. Philippians 2 shows us how Jesus put his self-interest to one side in order to serve us. He put our needs before his own. He left the comfort, safety and glory of heaven, for the humiliation, weakness and shame of the cross. And he did that for you. When we grasp the wonder of that, it must transform our hearts.

A Christian had just put on his slippers and dressing gown, and was just about to put his feet up in front of a warm, log fire. The rain was pouring and the wind was howling outside. Just as his favourite TV program was about to start, there was a loud knock on the door. As tempting as it was to ignore, he opened it and felt the cold air rush in. Standing, soaking outside was a member from his church, ‘My car has broken down, could you run me down to the train station please?’ His answer? ‘If my Saviour could come all the way from heaven for me, I can go all the way to the station for you!’

When we grasp the depth of selflessness of our Saviour for us, it will transform our hearts to live joyful, liberating lives of selfless abandon, to the glory of God!

Source: Selfishness

December 5, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

17 In conclusion the psalmist prays for God’s beneficence and asks that his “beauty” (i.e., “favor”; cf. 27:4) may rest on his people. The Lord’s acceptance of his own assures a certain permanence of their work. Life under the sun may be vain. The person under God’s judgment can accomplish no ultimate good. But the godly and wise pray that the Lord will accept their work and “establish” (kône, GK 3922) it as having value (cf. Dt 2:7; 14:29: 16:15). Frail, limited, and sinful as people are, the love of God can transform what is weak to his own glory. Robert Alter, 128–29, senses the climactic conclusion as he writes, “The special force of the reiteration of this verb (kônān) at the end of Psalm 90 must be felt as a reversal of the imagery of withering grass, sighs, things burnt up by God’s wrath, and … humanity flooded or engulfed by sleep.”[1]


90:17 Finally, the intercessor asks the Lord to look in favor on His chosen earthly people and to make them fruitful in all their endeavors: “Yes, establish the work of our hands.”[2]


90:17 the favor of the Lord. The Lord’s favor implies His delight and approval. confirm the work of our hands. By God’s mercy and grace, one’s life can have value, significance, and meaning (cf. 1Co 15:58).[3]


90:17 Despite the reality of death, Christ’s resurrection guarantees victory and demonstrates that work has eternal meaning (1 Cor. 15:58).[4]


90:17 establish for us the work of our hands This could refer generally to obedience and faithfulness to God (the wisdom described in Ps 90:12). More specifically, if Moses is the psalmist (see v. title and note), the work described here may be defined by passages like Deut 6:1–15, and describe Israel’s faithfulness to the covenant while in the promised land.[5]


90:17 the favor of the Lord our God. In the midst of life in the wilderness, only the blessing of God’s own presence can give meaning and joy.

establish the work of our hands. Wanderers in the wilderness may leave no monuments, but God can give eternal significance to the deeds of hands that serve Him.[6]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 695–696). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 689). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 90:17). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1054). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 90:17). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 818). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

December 5: LET THE DAY DAWN

The path of the just…shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Proverbs 4:18

The Bible tells us that when a person becomes a Christian, it is as though the sun has come up and the day has dawned. Then his experience along the path should be like the glowing light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day!

This brings us to a question: If all Christians are alike in standing and state, why did Jesus point out three distinctions in the Christian life—“some thirty, some sixty and some a hundredfold” (Matthew 13:23)?

If we are all alike and have all “arrived” at the same place and state, why did the Apostle Paul tell the Philippian Christians—“I have suffered the loss of all things, that I may know Him and if by any means, I might attain unto that superior resurrection” (see 3:7–11)?

I am of the opinion that we cannot experience that which we have not believed. I still think we must instruct and urge men and women, toiling along in average and common Christian ways, to move forward and claim spiritual victory they have not yet known.

Lord, thank You for Your Spirit’s ever-present encouragement, teaching and guidance as I attempt to grow more like You each day of my Christian life.[1][1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 5: Measuring Progress: Revealing and Concealing

For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.—Matt. 13:12

Just prior to this statement, Jesus told the disciples the twofold reason for His using parables: “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted” (Matt. 13:11). To believers, parables reveal kingdom truth; to unbelievers, they conceal it.

Those to whom God has sovereignly given eternal life through Christ are the true citizens of His kingdom. Of such persons Jesus says, “to him more shall be given.” Believers receive additional light of truth as they grow in obedience and maturity in the Lord. As believers remain faithful, God reveals more and more light until they “have an abundance.”

In contrast, false citizens of the kingdom, because of their unbelief, have whatever amount of divine truth that is nearby concealed from them. Thousands heard Jesus’ teachings (including the parables) and saw His miracles, but most did not recognize Him as Messiah or receive Him as Lord and Savior. Because such unbelievers refuse God’s light as it shines on them, He conceals it from them and they drift further into spiritual darkness.

All people are either progressing or regressing spiritually—there is no such thing as remaining static. The longer that believers serve Christ, the more He reveals His truth and power to them. And the longer unbelievers reject what little knowledge they may have of the gospel, the less of God’s truth they will understand. It’s vitally important to be on the right side of the revealing/concealing equation.

ASK YOURSELF

When have you experienced the exponential blessing of seeing your small amount of knowledge and insight transformed into increasing quantities? What does this tell you about the value of even small strides in study and learning?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 348). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 5: Seeing the Reality of a Transformed Life

Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

Acts 28:30–31

Today’s verse shows that while Paul was under house arrest “in his own rented house,” he continued to minister. In spite of the circumstances, Paul continued to do what he had been called to do.

You may find yourself thinking, I can’t go and preach the gospel. I can’t be an evangelist, or a Bible teacher. I’m stuck with my job. But it doesn’t matter whether you’re chained to a desk, an assembly line, a classroom, a car, or a sales position—they all provide opportunities for you to further the gospel. The worse your confinement, the greater the opportunity for a godly life to shine.

People often tell me how hard it is to witness where they work. My response is that it is generally harder to witness under ideal conditions than in a more difficult situation. That’s because in difficult situations the reality of a transformed life is more apparent, and that can’t help but be attractive to those who haven’t experienced it.[1][1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 366). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 5, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

9  We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
10  As your name, O God,
so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11  Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments!

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 48:9–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


48:10 to the ends of the earth God’s praise is not limited to Zion. Like His name, Yahweh, it extends to the ends of the earth[1]

The reaction of “praise” (v. 10) is a positive response in contrast to the dread that fell on the nations. To the ends of the earth, the praise of God is heard from the lips of the godly. They declare his “righteousness,” i.e., the victorious and glorious rule of Yahweh in which his people share the benefits. The rule of God is symbolized by the “right hand,” which includes power, justice, righteousness, and love (see Reflections, p. 271, The Perfections of Yahweh). He rules in giving deliverance to his own people and by avenging himself on their enemies![2]


The godly “meditate” on God’s mighty acts (v. 9). Their meditation was more than a devotional reading. They took comfort in, rejoiced in, and made offerings in gratitude to the revelation of God’s perfections. It was a God-given visual aid encouraging them to imagine and to reflect on the long history of God’s involvement with Israel and of the evidences of his “unfailing love” (ḥesed).

The reaction of “praise” (v. 10) is a positive response in contrast to the dread that fell on the nations. To the ends of the earth, the praise of God is heard from the lips of the godly. They declare his “righteousness,” i.e., the victorious and glorious rule of Yahweh in which his people share the benefits. The rule of God is symbolized by the “right hand,” which includes power, justice, righteousness, and love (see Reflections, p. 271, The Perfections of Yahweh). He rules in giving deliverance to his own people and by avenging himself on their enemies!

“Rejoicing” goes from Mount Zion throughout Judah (v. 11). The people rejoice in the “judgments” of God, i.e., the ways in which he establishes his kingdom by bringing defeat and subjugation to the opposing forces (cf. 97:8; Ex 15:1–18).[3]


48:9–11 So they lift their hearts in praise to God. They have had abundant reason to meditate on the lovingkindness of the Lord as they went up to the temple with their thank-offerings. They reflect that wherever God’s name is known in the earth, there He is praised as the One whose right hand is filled with righteous victory. They call on Jerusalem to celebrate and on the lesser cities of Judah to be glad.[4]


48:9–11 The Lord’s Presence Brings Joy to His People. The people assembled for worship reflect on how God has displayed his steadfast love, not simply in personal deliverance and forgiveness but in preserving them as his people, whom he called so that his praise might reach to the ends of the earth, i.e., so that the Gentiles would come to know him. Such reflections on God’s judgments, which display his righteousness (i.e., covenant faithfulness), should lead the daughters (i.e., towns and villages) of Judah to rejoice.[5]


[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 48:10). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 418). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 625). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 996). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

December 5: ADMIRING AWE AND SINCERE HUMILITY

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

—1 Peter 5:6

Those of us who have been blessed within our own beings would not join in any crusade to “follow your feelings.” On the other hand, if there is no feeling at all in our hearts, then we are dead! …

Real worship is, among other things, a feeling about the Lord our God. It is in our hearts. And we must be willing to express it in an appropriate manner.

We can express our worship to God in many ways. But if we love the Lord and are led by His Holy Spirit, our worship will always bring a delighted sense of admiring awe and a sincere humility on our part.

The proud and lofty man or woman cannot worship God any more acceptably than can the proud devil himself. There must be humility in the heart of the person who would worship God in spirit and in truth. WHT084

Lord, I bring to You a heart filled with adoration and humility. Accept my worship as something that brings joy to You. Amen. [1]

 

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

December 5: Christ Remained God

“Although He existed in the form of God, [Christ] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself.”

Philippians 2:6–7

✧✧✧

Christ emptied Himself without ever surrendering His deity.

Note the contrast in Philippians 2 between verses 6 and 7: Christ didn’t think equality something to be grasped but instead emptied Himself. Paul used the contrasting connective “but” to show that being equal with God didn’t lead Christ to fill Himself up but instead to empty Himself.

The Greek verb translated “emptied” (kenoo) is where we get the theological term kenosis—the doctrine of Christ’s self–emptying as part of His incarnation. The verb expresses Christ’s self–renunciation, His refusal to cling to His advantages and privileges as God.

What did Christ empty Himself of? Certainly not His deity. He coexists with the Father and the Spirit. For Him to become less than God would mean the Trinity would cease to exist. Christ could not become less than who He truly is.

Professor Paul Enns, in his Moody Handbook of Theology, explains the emptying of Christ this way: “The emptying was not a subtraction but an addition. The four following phrases (Phil. 2:7–8) explain the emptying: ‘(a) taking the form of a bond–servant, and (b) being made in the likeness of men. And (c) being found in appearance as a man, (d) He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.’ The ‘emptying’ of Christ was taking on an additional nature, a human nature with its limitations. His deity was never surrendered.” Christ didn’t exchange deity for humanity; He retained His divine nature.

In his hymn “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” Charles Wesley correctly presented the truths of Christ’s deity when he wrote:

Veiled in flesh the God–head see;

Hail th’ incarnate Deity,

Pleased as man with men to dwell,

Jesus, our Emmanuel.

May those words be the song of your heart as well.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for emptying Himself for your sake.

For Further Study: Read 2 Corinthians 8:9. Why did Christ become “poor”? ✧ Look at Romans 8:3. Why did God send “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh”?[1]

 

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

December 4: Daily Help

If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”—1 John 2:1.

WHAT words of tenderness, what sentences of persuasion, will the anointed use when he stands up to plead for me! “Jesus Christ the righteous.” This is not only his character, but his plea. It is his character, and if the Righteous One be my advocate, then my cause is good, or he would not have espoused it. It is his plea, for he meets the charge of unrighteousness against me by the plea that He is righteous. He declares himself my substitute, and puts his obedience to my account. My soul, thou hast a friend well fitted to be thine advocate; he cannot but succeed; leave thyself entirely in his hands.[1][1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 342). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 4, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

Happy Are the Holy

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (5:8)

Here is one of those passages of Scripture whose depths are immeasurable and whose breadth is impossible to encompass. This incredible statement of Jesus is among the greatest utterances in all of the Bible.

The subject of holiness, of purity of heart, can be traced from Genesis to Revelation. The theme is infinitely vast and touches on virtually every other biblical truth. It is impossible to exhaust its meaning or significance, and the discussion in this chapter is nothing more than introductory.

The Context

The Historical Context

As discussed in some detail in earlier chapters, when Jesus began His earthly ministry, Israel was in desperate condition-politically, economically, and spiritually. For hundreds of years, with only brief respites, she had been under the oppression of foreign conquerors. The country had limited freedom to develop its economy, and a large part of income and profit was paid to Rome in taxes. Those were problems that every person saw and felt.

The less obvious problem, however, was by far the worst. For longer than she had suffered political and economic oppression, Israel had suffered spiritual weakness and faithlessness. Yet that problem was not recognized by many Jews. Jewish leaders thought their religion was in fine shape, and believed the Messiah would soon solve the political and economic problems. But when He came, His only concern was for the spiritual problem, the problem of their hearts.

At the time of Christ the most influential religious force in Judaism was the Pharisees. They were the chief managers and promoters of the pervasive legalistic and ritualistic system that dominated Jewish society. Over the centuries various rabbis had interpreted and reinterpreted the Jewish Scriptures, especially the law, until those interpretations-known as the traditions of the elders-became more authoritative than Scripture itself. The essence of the traditions was a system of dos and don’ts that gradually expanded to cover almost every aspect of Jewish life.

To conscientious and honest Jews it had become obvious that total observance of all the religious requirements was impossible. Because they could not keep all of the law, they doubtlessly developed terrible feelings of guilt, frustration, and anxiety Their religion was their life, but they could not fulfill everything their religion demanded. Consequently, some of the religious leaders devised the idea that, if a person could perfectly keep just a few of the laws, God would understand. When even that proved impossible, some narrowed the requirement to one law perfectly kept.

That idea may have been in the mind of the lawyer who tested Jesus with the question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Matt. 22:36). Perhaps he wanted to see which of the many hundreds of laws Jesus believed was the single most important one to keep-the one that would satisfy God even if a person failed to keep the others.

This oppressive and confusing religious system probably contributed to the initial popularity of John the Baptist. He was radically different from the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and priests, and it was obvious that he did not bother to observe most of the religious traditions. He was a breath of fresh air in a stifling, never-ending system of demands and prohibitions. Perhaps in this prophet’s teaching they would find some relief. They did not want another rabbi with another law, but someone who could show them how to be forgiven for those laws they had already broken. They wanted to know the real way of salvation, the real way to please God, the true way of peace and relief from sin. They knew that the Scriptures taught of One who would come not simply to demand but to redeem, not to add to their burdens but to help carry them, not to increase their guilt but to remove it. No doubt it was such expectations as those that caused many people to think John the Baptist might be the Messiah.

The people knew from Ezekiel that someday God was going to come and sprinkle their souls with water, cleanse them from their sin, and replace their hearts of stone with hearts of flesh (Ezek. 36:25–26). They knew the testimony of David, who cried out, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!” (Ps. 32:1–2). They knew of those truths, and they longed to experience the reality of them.

Nicodemus was one such person. He was a Pharisee and “a ruler of the Jews,” that is, a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court. We are not told specifically what his intentions were in coming to Jesus, because his first words were not a question but a testimony. The fact that he came at night suggests he was ashamed of being seen with Jesus. But there is no reason to doubt the sincerity of his words, which showed unusual spiritual insight: “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2). Nicodemus knew that, whatever else Jesus might be, He was a teacher truly sent from God.

Though he does not state it, the question that was on his mind is implied both from his testimony and from Jesus’ reply. The Lord knew Nicodemus’s mind, and He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3). Nicodemus wanted to know how to please God, to be forgiven. “How can I be made righteous?” he wondered. “How can I be redeemed and become a child of God? How can I become part of God’s kingdom?” Had he not had a deep, compelling desire to know God’s will, he would not have risked coming to Jesus even at night. Nicodemus was honest enough to admit his sinfulness. He was a Pharisee, a teacher of the law, and a ruler in the Sanhedrin; but he knew in his heart that all of that did not make him right with God.

After Jesus had fed the great multitude near the Sea of Galilee, some of the people who had seen the miracle asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28). The same question troubled them that had troubled Nicodemus: “How can a person get right with God? What must we do to truly please Him?” Like Nicodemus, they had been through all the ceremonies and rituals. They had attended the feasts and offered the required sacrifices. They had tried to keep the law and the traditions. But they knew that something was missing-something crucial that they did not know of, much less had experienced.

Luke tells of another lawyer who asked Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). He asked the question to test Jesus (v. 25a), and after Jesus gave an answer the man tried “justify himself” (v. 29). But despite his insincerity, he had asked the right question, the question that was on the minds of many Jews who were sincere.

A rich ruler asked Jesus the same question: “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18). This man apparently asked sincerely, but he was unwilling to pay the cost. He wanted to keep the wealth of this life more than he wanted to gain the wealth of eternal life, and he went away “very sad” (v. 23). He knew he needed something more than outward obedience to the law, at which he had been diligent since childhood (v. 21). He knew that, with all his devotion and effort to please God, he had no assurance of possessing eternal life. He was seeking the kingdom, but he was not seeking it first (Matt. 6:33).

Others were asking, “What must I be to belong to the kingdom of God? What is the standard for eternal life?” All of those people, at various levels of understanding and sincerity, knew that they had not found what they sought. Many knew that they had not kept even a single law perfectly. If honest, they became more and more convinced that they could not keep even a single law perfectly, and that they were powerless to please God.

It was to answer that need that Jesus came to earth. It was to answer that need that He gave the Beatitudes. He shows simply and directly how sinful man can be made fight with holy God.

The Literary Context

At first glance this beatitude seems out of place, inserted indiscriminately into an otherwise orderly development of truths. Because of its supreme importance, a more strategic place-either at the beginning as the foundation, or at the end as the culmination-might seem more appropriate.

But the sixth beatitude, like every part of God’s Word, is in the right place. It is part of the beautiful and marvelous sequence of truths that are here laid out according to the mind of God. It is the climax of the Beatitudes, the central truth to which the previous five lead and from which the following two flow.

The Meaning

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (5:8)

The word blessed implies the condition of well-being that results from salvation, the status of one who has a right relation to God. Being accepted by Him is a matter of internal transformation.

Heart translates kardia, from which we get cardiac and similar terms. Throughout Scripture, as well as in many languages and cultures throughout the world, the heart is used metaphorically to represent the inner person, the seat of motives and attitudes, the center of personality. But in Scripture it represents much more than emotion, feelings. It also includes the thinking process and particularly the will. In Proverbs we are told, “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7, KJV). Jesus asked a group of scribes, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?” (Matt. 9:4; cf. Mark 2:8; 7:21). The heart is the control center of mind and will as well as emotion.

In total contrast to the outward, superficial, and hypocritical religion of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said that it is in the inner man, in the core of his very being, that God requires purity. That was not a new truth, but an old one long forgotten amidst ceremony and tradition. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life,” the writer of Proverbs had counseled (Prov. 4:23). The problem that caused God to destroy the earth in the Flood was a heart problem. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).

David acknowledged before the Lord, “Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom”; and then he prayed “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:6, 10). Asaph wrote, “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart!” (Ps. 73:1). Jeremiah declared, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds” (Jer. 17:9–10). Evil ways and deeds begin in the heart and mind, which are here used synonymously. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man” (Matt. 15:19).

God has always been concerned above all else with the inside of man, with the condition of his heart. When the Lord called Saul to be Israel’s first king, “God changed his heart” (1 Sam. 10:9). Until then Saul had been handsome, athletic, and not much more. But the new king soon began to revert to his old heart patterns. He chose to disobey God and to trust in himself. Among other things, he presumed to take for himself the priestly role of offering sacrifice (13:9) and refused to destroy all of the Amalekites and their possessions as God had commanded (15:3–19). Consequently, the Lord took the kingdom from Saul and gave it to David (15:23, 28). Saul’s actions were wrong because his heart rebelled, and it is by our hearts that the Lord judges us (16:7). It was said of David’s leadership over Israel, “He shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands” (Ps. 78:72).

God took the kingdom from Saul because he refused to live by the new heart God had given him. He gave the kingdom to David because David was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). David pleased God’s heart because God pleased David’s heart. “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart,” he sang (Ps. 9:1). His deepest desire was, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14). He prayed, “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart” (Ps. 26:2). When God told David, “Seek My face,” David’s heart replied, “Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek” (Ps. 27:8).

Once when David was fleeing from Saul he went to Gath, a Philistine city, for help. When he realized that his life was also in danger there, he “acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard” (1 Sam. 21:13). Thinking him to be mad, the Philistines let him go, and he went to hide in the cave of Adullum. He came to his senses and realized how foolish and unfaithful he had been to trust the Philistines for help instead of the Lord. It was there that he wrote Psalm 57, in which he declared, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast” (v. 7). He rededicated his heart, his innermost being, single-mindedly to God. David often failed, but his heart was fixed on God. The evidence of his true-hearted commitment to God is found in all the first 175 verses of Psalm 119. The fact that his flesh sometimes overruled his heart is the final admission of verse 176: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant.”

Pure translates katharos, a form of the word from which we get catharsis. The basic meaning is to make pure by cleansing from dirt, filth, and contamination. Catharsis is a term used in psychology and counseling for a cleansing of the mind or emotions. The Greek word is related to the Latin castus, from which we get chaste. The related word chasten refers to discipline given in order to cleanse from wrong behavior.

The Greek term was often used of metals that had been refined until all impurities were removed, leaving only the pure metal. In that sense, purity means unmixed, unalloyed, unadulterated. Applied to the heart, the idea is that of pure motive-of single-mindedness, undivided devotion, spiritual integrity, and true righteousness.

Double-mindedness has always been one of the great plagues of the church. We want to serve the Lord and follow the world at the same time. But that, says Jesus, is impossible. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). James puts the same truth in another way: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). He then gives the solution to the problem: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (v. 8).

Christians have the right heart motive concerning God. Even though we often fail to be single-minded, it is our deep desire to be so. We confess with Paul, “For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. … I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. … So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (Rom. 7:15, 21, 25). Paul’s deepest spiritual desires were pure, although the sin dwelling in his flesh sometimes overrode those desires.

Those who truly belong to God will be motivated to purity. Psalm 119 is the classic illustration of that longing, and Romans 7:15–25 is the Pauline counterpart. The deepest desire of the redeemed is for holiness, even when sin halts the fulfillment of that desire.

Purity of heart is more than sincerity. A motive can be sincere, yet lead to worthless and sinful things. The pagan priests who opposed Elijah demonstrated great sincerity when they lacerated their bodies in order to induce Baal to send fire down to consume their sacrifices (1 Kings 18:28). But their sincerity did not produce the desired results, and it did not enable them to see the wrongness of their paganism-because their sincere trust was in that very paganism. Sincere devotees walk on nails to prove their spiritual power. Others crawl on their knees for hundreds of yards, bleeding and grimacing in pain, to show their devotion to a saint or a shrine. Yet their sincere devotion is sincerely wrong and is completely worthless before God.

The scribes and Pharisees believed they could please God by such superficial practices as tithing “mint and dill and cummin”; but they “neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness” (Matt. 23:23). They were meticulously careful about what they did outwardly but paid no attention to what they were inwardly. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Jesus told them, “For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (vv. 25–26).

Even genuinely good deeds that do not come from a genuinely good heart are of no spiritual value. Thomas Watson said, “Morality can drown a man as fast as vice,” and, “A vessel may sink with gold or with dung.” Though we may be extremely religious and constantly engaged in doing good things, we cannot please God unless our hearts are right with Him.

The ultimate standard for purity of heart is perfection of heart. In the same sermon in which He gave the Beatitudes Jesus said, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). One hundred percent purity is God’s standard for the heart.

Man’s tendency is to set the opposite standard. We are inclined to judge ourselves by the worst instead of the best. The Pharisee who prayed in the Temple, thanking God that he was not like other men, considered himself to be righteous simply because he was not a swindler, an adulterer, or a tax-gatherer (Luke 18:11). We are all tempted to feel better about ourselves when we see someone doing a terrible thing that we have never done. The “good” person looks down on the one who seems to be less good than himself, and that person looks down on those worse than he is. Carried to its extreme, that spiral of judgment would go down and down until it reached the most rotten person on earth-and that last person, the worst on earth, would be the standard by which the rest of the world judged itself!

God’s standard for men, however, is Himself. They cannot be fully pleasing to God until they are pure as He is pure, until they are holy as He is holy and perfect as He is perfect. Only those who are pure in heart may enter the kingdom. “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?” David asks, “and who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Ps. 24:3–4).

It is impurity of heart that separates man from God. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear” (Isa. 59:1–2). And just as impurity of heart separates men from God, only purity of heart through Jesus Christ will reconcile men to God.

Basically there are but two kinds of religion-the religion of human achievement and the religion of divine accomplishment. There are many variations of the first kind, which includes every religion but biblical Christianity. Within the religions of human accomplishment are two basic approaches: head religion, which trusts in creeds and religious knowledge, and hand religion, which trusts in good deeds.

The only true religion, however, is heart religion, which is based on God’s implanted purity. By faith in what God has done through His Son, Jesus Christ, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). When God imputes His righteousness to us He imputes His purity to us.

As we look at Scripture we discover six kinds of purity. One may be called primal purity, the kind that exists only in God. That purity is as essential to God as light is to the sun or wetness is to water.

Another form of purity is created purity, the purity that existed in God’s creation before it was corrupted by the Fall. God created the angels in purity and He created man in purity. Tragically, some of the angels and all of mankind fell from that purity.

A third kind of purity is positional purity, the purity we are given the moment we trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. When we trust in Him, God imputes to us Christ’s own purity, Christ’s own righteousness. “To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5; cf. Gal. 2:16). From that day the Father sees us just as He sees the Son, perfectly righteous and without blemish (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:14).

Fourth, imputed purity is not just a statement without substance; with imputed purity God grants actual purity in the new nature of the believer (Rom. 6:4–5; 8:5–11; Col. 3:9–10; 2 Pet. 1:3). In other words, there is no justification without sanctification. Every believer is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Paul affirms that when a believer sins, it is not caused by the pure new self, but by sin in the flesh (Rom. 7:17, 19–22, 25).

Fifth, there is practical purity. This, of course, is the hard part, the part that does require our supreme effort. Only God possesses or can possess primal purity. Only God can bestow created purity, ultimate purity, positional purity, and actual purity. But practical purity, though it too comes from God, demands our participation in a way that the other kinds of purity do not. That is why Paul implores, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). It is why Peter pleads, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’ ” (1 Pet. 1:14–16).

We are not saved just for future heavenly purity but also for present earthly purity. At best it will be gold mixed with iron and clay, a white garment with some black threads. But God wants us now to be as pure as we can be. If purity does not characterize our living, we either do not belong to Christ, or we are disobedient to Him. We will have temptations, but God will always provide a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). We will fall into sin, but “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).

Finally, for believers there will also one day be ultimate purity, the perfected purity that God’s redeemed people will experience when they are glorified in His presence. All sins will be totally and permanently washed away, and “we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).

The Way to Holiness

Throughout the history of the church people have suggested various ways to achieve spiritual purity and holiness. Some have suggested monasticism, getting away from the normal cares and distractions of the world and devoting oneself entirely to meditation and prayer. Others claim that holiness is a second work of grace, by which God miraculously eradicates not only sins but the sin nature, allowing a sinless earthly life from that point onward. But neither Scripture nor experience supports either of those views. The problem of sin is not primarily the world around us but the worldliness within us, which we cannot escape by living in isolation from other people.

But God always provides for what He demands, and He has provided ways for us to live purely. First, we must realize that we are unable to live a single holy moment without the Lord’s guidance and power. “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’?” (Prov. 20:9), the obvious answer to which is “No one.” The Ethiopian cannot change his skin or the leopard its spots (Jer. 13:23). Cleansing begins with a recognition of weakness. Weakness then reaches out for the strength of God.

Second, we must stay in God’s Word. It is impossible to stay in God’s will apart from His Word. Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).

Third, it is essential to be controlled by and walking in the will and way of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:16 says it clearly: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

Fourth, we must pray. We cannot stay in God’s will or understand and obey His Word unless we stay near Him. “With all prayer and petition” we are to “pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18; cf. Luke 18:1; 1 Thess. 5:17). With David we cry, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Ps. 51:10).

The Result of Holiness

The great blessing of those who are pure in heart is that they shall see God. The Greek is in the future indicative tense and the middle voice, and a more literal translation is, “They shall be continuously seeing God for themselves.” It is only they (the emphatic autos), the pure in heart, who shall see God. Intimate knowledge of and fellowship with God is reserved for the pure.

When our hearts are purified at salvation we begin to live in the presence of God. We begin to see and to comprehend Him with our new spiritual eyes. Like Moses, who saw God’s glory and asked to see more (Ex. 33:18), the one who is purified by Jesus Christ sees again and again the glory of God.

To see God was the greatest hope of Old Testament saints. Like Moses, David wanted to see more of God. “As the deer pants for the water brooks,” he said, “so my soul pants for Thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1). Job rejoiced when he was able to say, “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees Thee” (Job 42:5).

Purity of heart cleanses the eyes of the soul so that God becomes visible. One sign of an impure heart is ignorance, because sin obscures the truth (John 3:19–20). Evil and ignorance come in a package. Other signs of an impure heart are self-centeredness (Rev. 3:17), pleasure in sin (2 Tim. 3:4), unbelief (Heb. 3:12), and hatred of purity (Mic. 3:2). Those who belong to God exchange all of those things for integrity and purity.

  1. F. Bullard wrote,

When I in righteousness at last

Thy glorious face shall see;

When all the weary night has passed,

And I awake with Thee,

To view the glories that abide,

Then and only then will I be satisfied.

(Cited in William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Matthew [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973], p. 278)[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 198–208). Chicago: Moody Press.

December 4: Put Off, Put On

Jeremiah 6:1–7:29; Colossians 3:1–17; Proverbs 12:1–28

We often hear that being a good Christian means not doing bad stuff. This statement is true—but not exhaustive. In Colossians 3, Paul says, “Therefore put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustful passion, evil desire, and greediness, which is idolatry” (Col 3:5). He then lists other inappropriate behaviors: “anger, rage, wickedness, slander, abusive language” (Col 3:8). And he also lists new behaviors we need to “put on,” like “affection, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience” (Col 3:12).

From this we can gather that, as Christians, our lives should look different. But is there more to this command than certain behaviors?

We’re not supposed to put on new behaviors simply so that we can have polished, admirable lives. Colossians 3 opens with a statement: “Therefore, if you have been raised together with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is” (Col 3:1). Believers identify with Christ—just like we’ve died with Him, we’ve also been raised with Him. He is life for us. And one day, we will be reunited with Him, and we’ll reflect Him perfectly.

All of Paul’s teaching rests on this truth. And all of our actions should reflect this new life we have in Christ. We shouldn’t continue in the old behaviors that used to be common to us (Col 3:7). We are changing into His likeness. “You have taken off the old man together with his deeds, and have put on the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created him” (Col 3:9–10).

Avoiding certain behaviors is part of being a Christian, but it’s hardly just that. It’s about a new life built completely on the foundation of Christ’s life-giving work. We should forgive one another because He forgave us (Col 3:13). We should love each other and strive for unity because He loved us and united us to Him (Col 3:14). We should strive for peace with one another because Christ has conquered chaos (Col 3:15). The message of Christ and our new life in Him should help us encourage and challenge each other as believers (Col 3:16).

Does your life reflect this new life? How can you turn from simply avoiding bad behavior to seeking new life in Him?

Rebecca Van Noord[1][1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.