Daily Archives: January 31, 2018

January 31 Complementing Christ

God exalted Christ “and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22–23).

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The church was designed to complement Christ.

Here Paul uses a graphic analogy to illustrate the relationship of Christ to the church: He is the head; believers are His Body. Paul elaborates that we’re to hold “fast to the head [Christ], from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Col. 2:19; cf. Eph. 4:15–16).

Just as the head controls the human body, so Christ governs His Body, the church (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–31). By His Spirit and His Word He supplies all the resources the church needs to function to His glory. In that way He guarantees that His purposes will be fulfilled.

The church is in fact “the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). The implication is that the incomprehensible, all-sufficient, all-powerful, and utterly supreme Christ is in a sense incomplete—not in His nature, but in the degree to which His glory is seen in the world.

A synonym for “fulness” is “complement.” The church was designed to complement Christ. He is the One who “fills all in all”—the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9) and the giver of truth and grace (John 1:14). Yet He chooses to reveal His glory in and through the church. Therefore, until the church is fully glorified, Christ will not be fully complemented.

Does your life complement Christ? Do you “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10)? Do you “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)? You have every spiritual resource to do so, so don’t let anything hold you back (Heb. 12:1–2).

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Read Psalm 139:23–24 and pray with David that God will search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder you from complementing Christ today.

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 12:1–30. ✧ What spiritual gifts are mentioned in this passage? ✧ How does Paul deal with the misconception that some gifts are more important than others (see vv. 14–30)? ✧ As a member of Christ’s Body, you are gifted by the Spirit to minister to others. Are you doing so?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 43). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

JANUARY 31 TEACH THE BIBLE WITH HIGH MORAL OBLIGATION

…Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

ROMANS 6:13

Much that passes for New Testament Christianity is little more than objective truth sweetened with song, and made palatable by religious entertainment.

I take the risk of being misunderstood when I say that probably no other portion of the Scriptures can compare with the Pauline Epistles when it comes to making artificial saints. Peter warned that the unlearned and unstable would wrest Paul’s writings to their own destruction, and we have only to visit the average Bible conference and listen to a few lectures to know what he meant!

The ominous thing is that the Pauline doctrines may be taught with complete faithfulness to the letter of the text without making the hearers one whit better. The teacher may and often does so teach the truth as to leave the hearers without a sense of moral obligation.

One reason for the divorce between truth and life may be lack of the Spirit’s illumination. Another surely is the teacher’s unwillingness to get himself into trouble. Any man with fair pulpit gifts can get on with the average congregation if he just “feeds” them and lets them alone. Give them plenty of objective truth and never hint that they are wrong and should be set right, and they will be content!

But the man who preaches truth and applies it to the lives of his hearers will feel the nails and the thorns. He will lead a hard life—but a glorious one![1]


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

January 31, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Donald Trump reached across the aisle in his first State of the Union address, offering to work with Democrats on infrastructure, criminal justice and drug prices after a divisive first year in office. But those overtures in Tuesday’s speech fell flat with his opponents, who found little reason to warm to his vision for 2018.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order to keep open the prison at the U.S. military’s Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba, the White House announced.

Zimbabwe’s government will allow white farmers to apply for 99-year leases on land, rescinding a policy implemented under former President Robert Mugabe that limited them to five-year contracts.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said the country is pushing ahead with plans for the first sale of its cryptocurrency next month, and developing plans for its use with a national ID card held by at least 15 million Venezuelans.

Total U.S. employee compensation rose 0.6% q/q in the fourth quarter and matched the biggest 12-month gain since 2008, as private-sector pay picked up, Labor Department figures showed Wednesday.

It’s no secret Jeff Bezos has been looking to crack health care. But no one expected him to pull in Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon, too. News Tuesday that Bezos’s Amazon.com Inc., Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., led by Dimon, plan to join forces to change how health care is provided to their combined 1 million U.S. employees sent shock waves through the health-care industry.

America may never recover its glory as a manufacturing powerhouse, but the Brooklyn Navy Yard is doing what it can, transforming itself from a 20th-century warship builder to a 21st-century high-tech hub. Now it’s about to unveil a $2.5 billion building plan that would more than quadruple its current workforce.

On Tuesday, during a routine earnings call, Harley-Davidson Inc. announced it will produce an all-electric motorcycle. It’s an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months.’ The announcement accompanied news of additional job cuts and a plant closure at the Milwaukee-based company.

AP Top Stories

A strong magnitude 6.1 earthquake rattled Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday, including the capital cities of both countries, killing a young girl and injuring 15 others, officials said.

Pakistan disclosed Tuesday it recently extradited 27 suspected Taliban and Haqqani militants to Afghanistan as part of an effort to stop insurgents from using Pakistani soil for cross-border terrorist activities, information Islamabad kept confidential until now. The disclosure comes amid growing accusations the Afghan Taliban and its allied Haqqani network of militants used Pakistani soil for plotting recent bombings in Kabul that killed and wounded hundreds of people.

Weeks of confusion and inconsistencies from immigration officials ended on Monday after authorities deported a Palestinian man who had been living in the U.S. for nearly 40 years.

A Warsaw governor took steps Wednesday to prevent a far-right protest outside the Israeli Embassy by banning traffic in the area, citing security concerns.

The delivery of oil and oil products to North Korea should not be reduced, Moscow’s ambassador to Pyongyang was cited as saying by RIA news agency on Wednesday, adding that a total end to deliveries would be interpreted by North Korea as an act of war.

The director of the CIA says he is worried that North Korea could have a nuclear missile capable of striking the US “in a matter of a handful of months”.

More than $50 million worth of gold bars, coins and dust that’s been described as the greatest lost treasure in U.S. history is about to make its public debut in California after sitting at the bottom of the ocean for more than 150 years. The 3,100 gold coins, 45 gold bars and more than 80 pounds of gold dust recovered from the wreckage of the S.S. Central America steamship are now sitting in a makeshift laboratory just south of Los Angeles.

BBC

Taliban fighters, whom US-led forces spent billions of dollars trying to defeat, are now openly active in 70% of Afghanistan, a BBC study has found.

Pope Francis is sending the Vatican’s top expert on sexual abuse to Chile to investigate accusations that a bishop covered up for an abusive priest.

The Foreign Office has sold its British embassy in Bangkok for £420m, the biggest property sale in its history. Money raised will be used to renovate other embassies around the world. British diplomats in Thailand’s capital city will move to a modern tower block in 2019, which has been leased for the next 15 years.

A court in Istanbul has ordered the release of the head of human rights group Amnesty International in Turkey, who was detained last June. Taner Kilic had been charged with membership of a terrorist organization, an accusation the London-based group had described as “baseless”.

Yemeni separatists have taken almost full control of the southern port city of Aden after days of fighting with government forces, residents said.

WND

Twenty-four members of the Council of Europe have signed a document demanding Turkey release an American Christian pastor who has been imprisoned without charges for more than a year.

Attending a Super Bowl game is a rare treat for most fans, and you can bet that there will be plenty of sick people in the stands who just didn’t want to miss out on the action. With that in mind, health officials are urging any Super Bowl travelers to get a flu shot in advance of the big game. Attendees should wash their hands as often as possible and not rely on hand sanitizer alone to keep them healthy, as most sanitizing sprays and gels are inadequate to combat this particular virus.


The Briefing — Wednesday, January 31, 2018

1) On the most important of all political stages President Trump strikes a different note, even as there are few surprises

 

2) New debates about homeschooling take on a new urgency

The Week (Damon Linker) –
The sickening danger of home-schooling

American Conservative (Rod Dreher) –
Homeschooling & Bullying

AP (Carolyn Thompson) –
Case of shackled kids revives home-school regulation debate

3) As Murphy Brown returns we have to ask, “Will she even be interesting today?”

Washington Post (Travis Andrews) –
‘Murphy Brown’ is returning to television again with Candice Bergen


Panic Grips U.S. Financial Markets As The Dow Falls 362 Points – Worst Drop In More Than A Year

It isn’t going to be a surprise when U.S. stock prices fall 50, 60 or 70 percent from where they are today.  The only real surprise is that it took this long for it to happen.  Even after falling 362 points on Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average is still ridiculously high.  In fact, the only two times in our entire history when stocks have been this overvalued were right before the stock market crash of 1929 and right before the dotcom bubble burst.  Not even before the financial crisis of 2008 were stock valuations as absurd as they are right now. (Read More…)


News – 1/31/2018

Trump is getting ready to dump the PLO
President Trump and America’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley – virtually within hours of each other – have laid the groundwork for Jordan to replace the PLO as Israel’s negotiating partner under President Bush’s 2003 Roadmap – endorsed by the United Nations, European Union, and Russia – and Bush’s 2004 Congress-endorsed commitments to Israel.

Greenblatt: Trump won’t force an agreement on Israel
“I want to take this opportunity to cut through the noise,” he said. “Our approach is rooted in the belief that instead of working to impose a solution from the outside, we must give the parties space to make their own decisions about their future. Our approach is also guided by the belief that instead of laying the blame for the conflict at the feet of one party or the other, we must focus on unlocking new areas of cooperation that benefit both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Top U.S. diplomat warns Iran against missile proliferation, destabilizing region
US Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield warned against Iran’s growing regional interventions in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and cautioned that the US would not stand idly by all the while. Iran will not escape punishment if it continues advancing the production of sophisticated missile technology in the region, US Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield said on Wednesday.

Paris officials investigate suspected anti-Semitic attack on schoolboy
An eight-year-old boy wearing a Jewish skullcap, or kippa, has been attacked in a suburb of the French capital, Paris, in what officials suspect is the latest case of anti-Semitic violence. Two teenage suspects, who fled the scene, did not shout any insults or steal anything from the boy, who also wore a traditional Jewish belt. President Emmanuel Macron has condemned it as “an attack on the republic”.

Anguished Germany raises anti-Semitism alarm
German leaders are increasingly alarmed about a resurgence of anti-Semitism 73 years after the Holocaust, stemming from an emboldened far right and an influx of refugees from countries hostile to Israel. Germany is marking the 1945 liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz with solemn ceremonies, but also warnings of the need for stronger vigilance.

House Intel Committee Shocks the World, Votes to Release Controversial FISA Memo, Heads to Roll
President Trump and his party just made a move. And not simply any move: a monumental, history-changing, power move. If you’ve been paying attention to the news the past couple of weeks, you know the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign has been under full swing and is gaining momentum. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, we are about to find out the truth. The House Intelligence committee has voted in favor of releasing the memo, much to the relief of those who have been pushing for the truth on this matter. It’s being reported that this memo will radically shake the foundation of the FBI and result in numerous firings—and possibly even criminal charges.

Trump rocks America in 1st State of the Union
“Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success,” President Trump said. “We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America’s soul, and the steel in America’s spine.

Trump renews aid threat against countries opposing Jerusalem decision
Trump will seek to draw a distinction between foreign nations aligned with his administration and those that are not. US President Donald Trump called on Congress Tuesday night to pass legislation that would undergird his threat against countries which vote against his policies at the UN, following a scathing referendum there last month on his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In his first State of the Union address, Trump took note that his December 6 decision on Jerusalem to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv has previously earned bipartisan support from lawmakers.

A Chinese Cardinal Met With The Pope And Came Out Accusing The Vatican Of Selling Out The Chinese Church
The former Bishop of Hong Kong accused the Vatican of “selling out” the church in China after holding a private audience with Pope Francis. Cardinal Joseph Zen asserted that the Vatican was betraying the Chinese church and strengthening the communist party’s control over it by requesting that two bishops of China’s underground church step down and be replaced by Chinese government approved bishops, according to Catholic Herald. Zen published an open letter to Facebook, saying that while Francis’ response to the situation during their private audience on Jan. 12 comforted him, he still believed that the Vatican was “selling out” the Chinese church.

EU urges US not to go it alone with Mideast peace efforts
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said at a launch of an emergency meeting of an international committee coordinating Palestinian development aid that “nothing without the United States, nothing with the United States alone.” The meeting is the first of its kind since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking with an international consensus that the holy city’s status should be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

6.1 magnitude earthquake strikes Afghanistan; tremors felt across North India, one child killed in Pakistan
A powerful 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Afghanistan, Pakistan, eastern Uzbekistan and several parts of India around noon on Wednesday.

Persistent dryness ‘worrisome’ for Southern California as drought, water supply shortage issues loom
Unlike the winter of 2016-2017, this season is turning out quite dry for Southern California and the majority of the southwestern United States. While a seemingly endless string of warm, dry days may make travel and outdoor plans a breeze, this dry spell is threatening to become a prolonged drought.

Swine flu, bird flu hit North Korea and South Korea days before Winter Olympics kickoff
Super flu outbreaks are ravaging the Korean Peninsula less than two weeks before the Winter Olympics — leaving North Korea scrambling to treat more than 81,000 people infected with swine flu as the South kills off nearly 1 million chickens to contain the bird flu on its side of the border.

Flu Vaccine Bombshell: 630% More “Aerosolized Flu Virus Particles” Emitted By People Who Received Flu Shots, Flu Vaccines Actually SPREAD The Flu
A bombshell new scientific study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) finds that people who receive flu shots emit 630% more flu virus particles into the air, compared to non-vaccinated individuals.

Jim Caviezel: New ‘Passion of the Christ’ to be ‘biggest film in history’
Jim Caviezel, who stunned the world with his portrayal of Jesus in the 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” is now confirming he’s on board with director Mel Gibson for a sequel, and predicts it will be “the biggest film in history.” “There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” the 49-year-old actor told USA Today. “It’s great. Stay tuned.”

Health Experts Tell Zuckerberg to Delete New Messenger App for Kids
…“Younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts. They are not old enough to navigate the complexities of online relationships, which often lead to misunderstandings and conflicts even among more mature users,” the letter states. “They also do not have a fully developed understanding of privacy, including what’s appropriate to share with others and who has access to their conversations, pictures, and videos.”

Shocking New Twilight Zone Predicts Trump Assassination!
Episode One: The Big Event

Since 2015 Nuclear Deal, Iran Fired 23 Missiles – And International Community Did NOTHING According to a report obtained by Fox News, Iran has fired some 23 missiles since signing the nuclear deal in 2015, with as many as 16 of them nuclear-capable.

Europe orders the British press NOT to reveal when terrorists are Muslims, in crackdown on freedom of speech
European human rights chiefs have told the British press it must not report when terrorists are Muslim. The recommendations came as part of a list of 23 meddling demands to Theresa May’s government on how to run the media in an alarming threat to freedom speech.

Muslim US soldier “obsessed” with bloody jihad videos, watched them for hours daily, laughed and insulted the victims
This is more of the poison fruit of the Obama administration’s refusal to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism was Islamic. The U.S. government was desperate to have Muslims to prove that this was not a war on Islam. Those Muslim soldiers were golden boys who could get away with anything. Whoever is responsible for this treatment of Ikaika Kang should be court-martialed and disgraced, but won’t be.

DOMINATION OF THE SKIES: Israeli Air Force Ranked Mightiest in the World
The Israeli Defense Forces is the strongest military in the Middle East in spite of its relatively small size, according to a new ranking by Business Insider. The Israeli Air Force was ranked as not only the best air force in the Middle East, but in the entire world.

#Releasing the Memo Will Unleash Extreme Deep State Revenge Upon America
The release of the memo regarding illegal FISA issued spy warrants on Candidate Trump and his staff should send Deep State servants to prison including Obama and Clinton. Now that the memo is being released, how far will the DOJ go in bringing the guilty to justice? How far will the Deep State go in diverting attention away from the memo?

Trump: ‘We Don’t Want to Talk to the Taliban. We’re Going to Finish What We Have to Finish’
President Trump said Monday he opposes talks with the Taliban, signaling an apparent departure from U.S. Afghanistan policy in the aftermath of two deadly terrorist attacks in Kabul.

CBO Claims: A Late-Term Abortion Saves Feds $7,000
The federal government saves an average of about $7,000 for each unborn child 20 weeks or more into pregnancy it allows a doctor to terminate in his or her mother’s womb, according to a cold-blooded “estimate” published by the Congressional Budget Office.

The Return Of Sumptuary Laws? Dutch Cops To ‘Undress’ Youths Wearing “Clothes Deemed Too Expensive For Them”
The Independent reports that police in the Dutch city of Rotterdam have launched a new pilot program which will see them confiscating expensive clothing and jewellery from young people if they look too poor to own them.

US, Turkish Troops Headed For Military Showdown In Syria 
Two days after we reported  that Turkey valiantly demanded that US forces vacate military bases in the Syrian district of Manbij, when Turkey’s foreign minister Melet Cavusoglu also said that Ankara is calling upon the US to cease any and all support to Syrian Kurdish forces and militias, not surprisingly the US refused, and on Monday a top American general said that US troops will not pull out from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, rebuffing Ankara demands to withdraw from the city and risking a potential confrontation between the two NATO allies.

Mid-Day Snapshot

Jan. 31, 2018

SOTU: WE Make America Great Again

Trump highlighted first-year accomplishments while broadly appealing to all Americans to move forward together.

The Foundation

“We are not to consider ourselves, while here, as at church or school, to listen to the harangues of speculative piety; we are here to talk of the political interests committed to our charge.” —Fisher Ames (1789)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: January 31

  • As Yellen Hands Off at the Fed, Whither Her Go-Slow Approach? (Read More)
  • ‘This is our American moment,’ Trump urges cooperation (Read More)
  • President Tries Taking On a New Role: Optimist (Read More)
  • Trump’s Olive Branch to Democrats Cut Short by Divisive Tone of Speech (Read More)
  • Signs of Old Age Abound in a Bull Market Closing In on History (Read More)
  • Japan’s Fujifilm to take over Xerox in $6.1 billion deal, create joint venture (Read More)
  • Bitcoin Is Having Its Worst Month in Three Years (Read More)
  • For Bezos, Buffett and Dimon, a Health Push Years in the Making (Read More)
  • Rival Employers Dread Possible Arrival of Amazon HQ2 in Their Town (Read More
  • For Bezos, Buffett and Dimon, a Health Push Years in the Making (Read More)
  • One Indicator Says Bond Rout Going Too Fast for Stocks to Escape (Read More)
  • Skywatchers in western North America will see moon turn red in rare eclipse (Read More)
  • Immigration Fight Shifts From Trump’s Wall to Family Green Cards (Read More)
  • Bond Selloff Sends Ripples Through Corporate Debt Market (Read More)
  • Facebook Really Wants You to Come Back (Read More)
  • Boeing says to deliver more planes in 2018 (Read More)
  • Judge Dan Polster Is Singlehandedly Trying to Solve the Opioid Crisis (Read More)

Headlines – 1/31/2018

US may reject UN’s granting of Palestinian refugee status to descendants

Trump reportedly considering declaration against special ‘Palestinian refugee status,’ complete cut in funding to UNRWA

Trump asks Congress to cut aid to US ‘enemies’ who opposed Jerusalem recognition

Trump’s Statements on Jerusalem Triggered Cyberattacks on Israel, Says Former Israeli Cyber Chief

Rivlin: The Holocaust is not only a Jewish issue

US delegation flees Bethlehem as Palestinian protesters storm workshop over Trump’s Jerusalem move

PM condemns Irish bill banning Israeli West Bank goods

Ireland delays vote on bill outlawing settlement goods

PA donor countries to hold meeting on Gaza crisis in Brussels

UN envoy: Gaza on verge of ‘total systems collapse’

Hamas ‘founding father’ responsible for alliance with Iran dies weeks after ‘accidental’ self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Iran hackers reportedly tried to phish Israeli nuclear scientists

Fmr. Israeli Defense Minister: Iran is most prominent threat to global stability

‘We’ll stop Iran in Lebanon like we stopped it in Syria’

Lebanon should be wary of becoming Iran’s pawn, IDF official says

Iran rejects Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning to leave Syria

IDF chief warns of possible calm before storm on northern frontier

Following heated accusations, Iran says U.S. navy has pacified behavior in Gulf

Trump’s SOTU address: I stand with ‘courageous struggle’ of Iranian protesters

Russia’s Syrian peace conference teeters on farce

ISIS Is Weakened, but Iraq Election Could Unravel Hard-Won Stability

The Broken Promises Of Iraq’s Oil

Turkey’s Erdogan wages a dangerous war on many fronts

Saudi Arabia says it has seized over $100 billion in corruption purge

A clear view of enemy lines, but no end in sight to Yemen’s war

Taliban threaten 70% of Afghanistan

US lawmakers blast Trump decision to hold off on Russia sanctions

Putin says US sanctions list targets all Russians

CIA chief says China ‘as big a threat to US’ as Russia

North Korea backs off military exercises as Trump puts ‘maximum pressure’ on Kim Jong Un

Trump: North Korea’s ‘reckless pursuit’ of nuclear weapons could soon threaten the US

CNN Sends Out Multiple Push Alerts About Firing Of Person Who Sent Out False Hawaii Missile Alert

Trump Vows a Muscular America to Confront a World of Enemies

Trump talks unity, sows division in State of the Union

Schumer: Trump should thank Obama in State of the Union speech for Healthy Economy

US stocks fall for second consecutive day

Dow drops 363 points in rare market slump

Leaked forecast of economic woe inflames ‘Brexit’ debate in Britain

Jeff Bezos and Amazon are buying everything in sight

Is Missouri ready for 700 mph hyperloop commutes?

What is the blood moon prophecy? Conspiracy theories abound ahead of Super Blue Blood Moon

Super blue blood moon reminds us that despite chaos on Earth, the heavens are still operating like clockwork

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Afghanistan, tremors felt in North India

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Sangiang, Indonesia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Acari, Peru

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Adak, Alaska

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Shizunai, Japan

California overdue for a major earthquake

Strong earthquake swarm in Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 34,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Seine hits peak in flood-hit Paris; 1,500 evacuated

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 13,000ft

Mayon volcano in the Philippines erupts to 13,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 11,000ft

Ebeko volcano on the Kuril Islands erupts to 10,000ft

Trump Tells Puerto Ricans “We Are With You” as FEMA Ends Food and Water Distribution after Hurricane Maria

As Cape Town Water Crisis Deepens, Scientists Prepare for “Day Zero”

Dams that supply Cape Town fall further as water crisis looms

As Cape Town’s drought bites, designers are experimenting with food grown using sea water

Social media steps in to ease Cape Town water crisis

Amazon, Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway partner up to disrupt health care

Health officials worry that the Super Bowl may become one giant flu festival

Pope to send envoy to investigate Chile sex abuse claims

Three European Alliances Warn Evangelical-Catholic Unity Is Going Too Far

Mike Ratliff – To be light in this present darkness

Senior Hillsong Pastor acknowledges Brian & Bobbie Houston’s NAR Apostleship

Todd White got God to Electrocute People in a Baptismal for Him

Clayton Jennings, Serial Womanizer, Leaves Religion in Latest Album

Left Behind Word Doc Template for January 31st, 2018

Community Outraged at Indiana Church Sign Reading ‘Stop Sexual Harassment, Wear Clothes’

Mother Sues Teachers for Allegedly Assigning Islamic Propaganda to Seventh Grade Students

Clergy gather to bless one of the only U.S. clinics offering late-term abortions

RUMORS OF WAR: Is There A War Brewing Between Israel And Lebanon?

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 07:31 PM PST

RUMORS OF WAR: Is There A War Brewing Between Israel And Lebanon?Lebanon was warned recently by Israeli spokesperson and Israel Defense Force Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis that war could break out between the two countries if Iran continues its development of precision missiles within Lebanon. Manelis blames the Lebanese government and the “blind eye” of some in the international community who have stood by and watched as Hezbollah, the political and

militant arm of the Shiite Islamist political party based in Lebanon, has built an arsenal within the country. “Lebanon has become – both by its own actions and omissions and by a blind eye from many members of the international community – one large missile factory,” Manelis wrote. He went on to add that Iran is no longer just funding Hezbollah in Iran’s quest to destroy Israel but rather Iran is “now here.” READ MORE

Some speculate that Supermoons may spark ‘Biblical year’ with the return of Christ

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 06:52 PM PST

Some speculate that Supermoons may spark ‘Biblical year’ with the return of ChristATTENTION: The following report does not reflect the personal views or opinions of ETH

This year could be biblical according to Christians because two supermoons may spark the second coming of Jesus Christ. Christians believe the upcoming super blue blood moon which will dazzle the skies tomorrow, January 31, along with the supermoon that kicked off the year on January 1, are signs from God that 2018 will be a ‘biblical’ year, as it also marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of Israel.

Believers in Jesus Christ and God cite Israel as the Holy Land. In March 1948, Israel was declared as an independent nation following the Second World War. Christian conspiracy theorists are now saying the events are lining up in what could prove to be a biblical year. Website Unsealed writes: “If the Great American Eclipse was the darkened sun piece of the puzzle, perhaps this blood moon is the missing piece, which could mean the Day of the LORD begins soon, perhaps even this year. READ MORE

Market Jitters As The Dow Falls 362 Points – Worst Drop In More Than A Year

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 06:45 PM PST

Market Jitters As The Dow Falls 362 Points – Worst Drop In More Than A YearIt isn’t going to be a surprise when U.S. stock prices fall 50, 60 or 70 percent from where they are today. The only real surprise is that it took this long for it to happen. Even after falling 362 points on Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average is still ridiculously high. In fact, the only two times in our entire history when stocks have been this overvalued were right before the stock market crash of 1929 and right before the dotcom bubble burst. Not even before the financial crisis of 2008 were stock valuations as absurd as they are right now.  At one point on Tuesday, the Dow had declined by more than 400 points, and we have not seen this sort of panic in the stock market in a very long time.

In fact, we have to go all the way back to June 24, 2016 to find the last time that the Dow fell by at least this much. The Dow has dropped by triple digits on back to back days for the first time since last April, and a lot of analysts are wondering what is coming next. Of course most in the financial community have been waiting for some sort of a decline, because even mainstream analysts are openly admitting that what we have been witnessing is “not sustainable”… “We’ve had a unilateral move higher [in stocks] to start things off and people are realizing this is not sustainable,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR. “You’re also seeing some cracks in the global story with interest rates rising.” FULL REPORT

 

Jim Caviezel Claims New ‘Passion of the Christ’ Sequel to be ‘biggest film in history’

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 06:24 PM PST

Jim Caviezel Claims New ‘Passion of the Christ’ Sequel to be ‘biggest film in history’Jim Caviezel, who stunned the world with his portrayal of Jesus in the 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” is now confirming he’s on board with director Mel Gibson for a sequel, and predicts it will be “the biggest film in history.” “There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” the 49-year-old actor told USA Today. “It’s great. Stay tuned.” Both Gibson and Caviezel have not said much about the story focusing on the resurrection of Christ,

but the star indicated he’s encouraged by the direction the project is taking. “I won’t tell you how he’s going to go about it,” Caviezel said of Gibson. “But I’ll tell you this much, the film he’s going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”  The original “Passion of the Christ” followed the last 12 hours of Christ’s life. The movie brought in more than $611 million worldwide on a $30 million budget, and remains the highest-grossing R-rated film ever in North America with $370.8 million. READ MORE

 

Top scientist who claims human-chimp hybrids were born in Florida says we could soon crossbreed with all great apes

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 06:17 PM PST

Top scientist who claims human-chimp hybrids were born in Florida says we could soon crossbreed with all great apesA top evolutionary psychologist believes humans could soon crossbreed with all great apes to create hybrid “hurillas” and “hurangs”. Gorgon Gallup’s bombshell claim comes after he alluded to a human-chimpanzee hybrid born in a Florida lab 100 years ago, before doctors killed the “humanzee”. The scientist, who teaches biopsychology at the University of Albany in New York, insists crossbreeding is not limited just chimpanzees.

He said: “All of the available evidence – fossil, paleontological and biochemical – including DNA itself, suggests that humans can also breed with gorillas and orangutans. “Humans and all three of the great apes species are all descended from a single common ape-like ancestry. “I’ve also coined what would be the appropriate terms to refer to human-gorilla hybrids and human-orangutan hybrids which would be a ‘hurilla’ and a ‘hurang’.” READ MORE

Mysterious 8.5-mile pyramid’ discovered at bottom of the ocean

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 01:05 PM PST

Mysterious 8.5-mile pyramid’ discovered at bottom of the oceanCould this bizarre object, described as a giant ancient pyramid and found at the bottom of the sea, be a clue to the site of the mythological City of Atlantis? The structure, estimated as being between 3.5 and 11 miles across, was spotted on Google Earth in the Pacific Ocean just west of Mexico. A video about the discovery uploaded to YouTube has drawn vast speculation about what it could be, including an ancient sunken city, a bizarre UFO, or even an alien base.

The “discovery” was made by Argentinian Marcelo Igazusta. He says in a video about the find it is an alien UFO left underwater. The video commentary described it has being “an intense light in the Pacific Ocean” of 3.5 miles in length, with a shape similar to a plane. Scott C Waring, an alien conspiracy theorist, said: “It is a perfect pyramid that measures over 8.5 miles across one side of its base. Thats a conservative estimate, it could be up to 11 miles across.” READ MORE

Police Identified 2nd ‘person of interest’ days after Vegas shooting…

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 12:53 PM PST

Police Identified 2nd ‘person of interest’ days after Vegas shooting…A judge on Tuesday unsealed nearly 300 pages of search warrant records, including one document that publicly identified for the first time an additional “person of interest” in the Oct. 1 massacre on the Las Vegas Strip. “Until the investigation can rule otherwise, Marilou Danley and Douglas Haig have become persons of interest who may have conspired with Stephen Paddock to commit Murder with a Deadly Weapon,” according to the Metropolitan Police Department document, which was prepared in October.

Danley was Paddock’s girlfriend and initially was named as a person of interest in the investigation. Haig, whose name had not been previously released, could not be reached for immediate comment Tuesday. When contacted by phone Tuesday about the newly released name, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said only, “If you’ve got it, publish it.” He said he could not comment on a federal case. READ MORE

Pentagon Warns Of China and Russia Soon Capable of Destroying U.S. Satellites

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 10:35 AM PST

Pentagon Warns Of China and Russia Soon Capable of Destroying U.S. SatellitesChina and Russia are developing anti-satellite missiles and other weapons and will soon be capable of damaging or destroying all U.S. satellites in low-earth orbit, according to the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. The Joint Staff intelligence directorate, known as J-2, issued the warning in a recent report on the growing threat of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons from those states, according to officials familiar with the assessment.

The report concludes that “China and Russia will be capable of severely disrupting or destroying U.S. satellites in low-earth orbit” in the next several years, said the officials. The capability to attack low-earth orbit satellites could be in place by 2020, the officials said. A Joint Staff spokesman declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing internal reports. The J-2 report echoes a similar but less specific warning from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in May. READ MORE

Florida Female Student Who Identifies as Male Sues to Use Boys’ Restroom, Locker Room at School

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 10:12 AM PST

Florida Female Student Who Identifies as Male Sues to Use Boys’ Restroom, Locker Room at SchoolA female student in Florida who identifies as a male has filed a lawsuit along with her parents in an effort to obtain access to the boys’ restroom and locker room facilities. The 15-year-old, who is only being identified as John Doe in the legal challenge, has suffered from gender dysphoria since she was in the second grade. According to the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a “gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between

one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning.” The youth’s parents had her named changed to a boy’s name during the third grade, and she began presenting herself as male. She also underwent hormone replacement therapy in middle school and had chest reconstruction surgery last year. Throughout her schooling in Volusia County, the student has requested to use the boys’ restroom and locker room, and has been directed to use the single occupancy restrooms as a compromise. READ MORE

Lab-bred mosquitoes to fly near Miami to help combat Zika virus

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 10:01 AM PST

Lab-bred mosquitoes to fly near Miami to help combat Zika virusThousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes will be flying near Miami to test a new way to suppress insect populations that carry Zika and other viruses. According to a statement from the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate, the first mosquitoes will be released in the city of South Miami. The test is in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division.

MosquitoMate infects male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria. Any offspring produced when the lab-bred mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes won’t survive to adulthood. Male mosquitoes don’t bite, and Wolbachia isn’t harmful to humans. READ MORE

Life expectancy in the United States keeps dropping

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 06:35 AM PST

Life expectancy in the United States keeps droppingLife expectancy in the United States has dropped again following last year’s decline, which marked the first downturn in more than two decades. On average, Americans can now expect to live 78.6 years, a statistically significant drop of 0.1 year, according to a report on 2016 data published Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. Women can now expect to live a full five years longer than men: 81.1 years vs. 76.1 years. The last time the agency recorded a multiyear drop was in 1962 and 1963. “I still don’t think you can call it a trend,

because you really need more than two data points to call something a trend,” said Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “But it’s certainly concerning to see this two years in a row.” Anderson said he is particularly concerned about drug overdose deaths, most of which are opioid-related. “We have data for almost half of 2017 at this point. It’s still quite provisional, but it suggests that we’re in for another increase” in drug-related deaths, he said. READ MORE

Mysterious orange cave crocodiles mutating into a new species

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 06:28 AM PST

Mysterious orange cave crocodiles mutating into a new speciesA group of mysterious orange cave crocodiles who live in complete darkness in Africa may be mutating into a new species. Researchers discovered the 1.5-metre-long (5 ft) reptiles in 2008 in a remote cave in Gabon, western Africa, where they fed only on bats and crickets. Experts first thought they were a type of African dwarf crocodile, but new research shows they could be an entirely separate species.

Scientists led by the Institute of Research for Development in Marseille found about 30 specimens in the cave, including 10 orange crocodiles. They suspect more crocodiles remain hidden in the depths of the cave’s system of rooms, which are filled with water. The team said new genetic tests show the isolated group may be branching off from their African dwarf cousins. READ MORE

 

First snow in 50 years leaves southern Morocco paralyzed

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 06:15 AM PST

First snow in 50 years leaves southern Morocco paralyzedFollowing unprecedented road conditions across Morocco on January 20, 2018, when 5 000 km (3 100 miles) of roads were closed due to what authorities described as ‘exceptional’ snowfall, heavy snow arrived to the country’s southern regions on January 29, for the first time in 50 years. To address the unprecedented road conditions earlier this month, the Moroccan Ministry of Equipment, Transport, and Logistics mobilized 117 snow plows, acknowledging that the blockages disproportionally affected rural areas and promising huge investment in rural roads.

The minister also made a public reminder that, before getting behind the wheel, Moroccans can use the application “MaRoute” to access the most recent information about the state of the roads across the country, the Morocco World News reported. As if that wasn’t enough, an unusually heavy snowfall started affecting Morocco’s southern regions on January 29, after several decades of extremely dry weather. The snowfall is currently affecting Ouarzazate (gateway to the Sahara Desert), Taroudant and even Zagora, which hasn’t experienced snowfall since 1968. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Major volcano cluster in Japan, Eruption Imminent, Warning raised to highest level

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 05:59 AM PST

DEVELOPING: Major volcano cluster in Japan, Eruption Imminent, Warning raised to highest levelA major cluster of volcanoes in Japan could be set to erupt after officials raised the warning to the highest level. The country’s meteorological agency lifted the warning on Zao, a series of volcanoes in northern Japan whose highest point is 1,841 meters (6,040 ft). It comes a week after another volcanic eruption in Japan killed one man and left dozens of others injured at a tourist ski resort. The Zao warning increased from two from one, meaning that people should avoid going near the crater. “There is a possibility of a small-scale eruption,” the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a statement.

The agency said small earth movements were detected on Tuesday, along with a slight bulging of the ground in one area. It also warned of the possibility that volcanic rocks could be thrown as far as a mile in any eruption. The announcement came a week after a member of Japan’s military was struck and killed when rocks from the sudden eruption of the Kusatsu-Shirane volcano which rained down on skiers at a mountain resort in central Japan. READ MORE

Atheist Group Forces New Mexico College to Remove Crosses Displayed on Campus

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 05:50 AM PST

Atheist Group Forces New Mexico College to Remove Crosses Displayed on CampusA junior college in New Mexico has been forced by the nation’s largest atheist legal group to remove several Christian crosses that were previously displayed throughout the public school campus. New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs has taken down a number of crosses that were either hung up or displayed in several areas throughout the campus after the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the college’s President Kelvin Sharp earlier this month.

The letter was written by FFRF legal fellow Christopher line and sent on Jan. 18. “It is our understanding that New Mexico Junior College has numerous crosses on display. We understand that there is a cross in the main reception area of the Ben Alexander Student Center that sits on the counter and faces the public,” the letter reads. “We also understand that several offices, including the cashier’s office, contain crosses that are easily visible to anyone visiting or passing by these offices.” READ MORE

US chief warns of North Korea missile launch in days as Kim uses Winter Olympics as cover

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 05:43 AM PST

US chief warns of North Korea missile launch in days as Kim uses Winter Olympics as coverUS Army General Jack Keane has claimed the sporting event could be used as a disguise for the test launch of one of the dictator’s deadly ICBM rockets.  North Korea had seemingly relaxed World War 3 tensions by engaging in diplomatic talks with its neighbors in the South and agreeing to send athletes to the winter games across the border. But General Keane has urged people to remember the danger the hermit nation and its despot leader continue to pose.

The US Army veteran said: “I think if he does something, it’ll likely be another missile test.” Gen Keane added he was “speculating” about “one of the things” Kim Jong-un “could do”. He added: “I think he is getting out of this what he wanted. “He uses negotiations to promote goodwill, and it’s obviously not going to work, trying to drive a wedge between South Korea, the United States and Japan, which is not going to happen here. READ MORE

 

Ford developing AI-driven police car to catch speeding drivers

Posted: 30 Jan 2018 05:38 AM PST

Ford developing AI-driven police car to catch speeding driversCar company Ford is developing an Artificial Intelligence-driven police vehicle to catch law-breaking motorists. The US automotive firm revealed its plans to revolutionize how the roads are policed used state-of-the-art technology.  The automation cop car will be designed to snare drivers going too fast; will be used as a surveillance device and will even be able to issue tickets to people. The AI police car will be fitted with cameras,

wireless communication sensors and is designed to go out an about on its own or with a human inside. And it can even be linked to other police vehicles so it can call for back-up in an emergency situation. A patent for the design released by Ford states: “An autonomous police vehicle may enforce traffic laws by identifying violators, pulling over the offending vehicle, capturing an image of the license plate of the offending vehicle… determining whether to issue a warning or a ticket. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Netanyahu warns Putin: ‘We’ll act in Lebanon if necessary’

Posted: 29 Jan 2018 08:27 PM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: Netanyahu warns Putin: ‘We’ll act in Lebanon if necessary’Israel will act to prevent the transfer of precision missiles to Lebanese soil if forced to, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, following a meeting earlier with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.  “I just finished in-depth and good talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I told him that Israel views two developments with utmost gravity: First is Iran’s efforts to establish a military presence

in Syria and second is Iran’s attempt to manufacture—in Lebanon—precision weapons against the State of Israel,” he told journalists at the conclusion of the meeting, the first since their last last tête-à-tête in August 2017. “I made it clear to him that we will not agree to either one of these developments and will act according to need,” Netanyahu added. On the subject of Iranian ambitions to entrench its military forces in Syria, Netanayhu told Putin he would take action if such a reality ever materialized. READ MORE

Rescuing your Bloodline from Captivity

Posted: 29 Jan 2018 08:16 PM PST

Rescuing your Bloodline from Captivity(By Ricky Scaparo) In this message, we will continue our series on “Lessons from the Life of Abraham” and discuss how Abraham heard of the captivity of Lot and how he did not turn a blind eye but went into the enemy’s camp to take back what the Devil stole! What are we doing about our bloodline held in captivity to the enemy?

‘Radioactive’ mutant fish with horns produced by Russian nuclear rocket tests

Posted: 29 Jan 2018 04:42 PM PST

‘Radioactive’ mutant fish with horns produced by Russian nuclear rocket testsA terrifying mutant fish believed to have been contaminated by radiation from space rocket tests has been caught by fishermen in Russia. Alexey Volkov, 25, was left reeling when he caught two sinister “underwater dragons” with a frightening faces, sharp teeth and multiple horns. The angler, who caught the bizarre pike from Siberia’s River Irtysh was bemused by the apparently mutated creatures. Volkov

has no idea why the pike, which was pulled from the river last autumn, sprouted monstrous horns on the tops of their heads. But one theory put forward by locals suggests radioactive debris from space rockets launched at Baikonur Cosmodrome in neighboring Kazakhstan could be to blame. “I was impressed with the catch,” said Volkov, from Tara, a small town in Omsk Oblast, Russia “The fish were 14kg and 7kg. “They had horns bent back towards their tail. READ MORE

Couple contracts parasites walking barefoot on Caribbean beach

Posted: 29 Jan 2018 04:26 PM PST

Couple contracts parasites walking barefoot on Caribbean beachA young Canadian couple who recently returned from the Dominican Republic is warning those who are planning to travel “somewhere tropical” about the risks of walking barefoot in the sand after coming home with “incredibly itchy” feet — which turned out to be parasites. Katie Stephens, 22, of Ontario, told CTV News that while staying at the IFA Villas Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana, she and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Eddie Zytner, “found that we were scratching our feet quite a bit.”

She told the news station the two had heard about sand fleas and “kind of assumed it was that at first.” After returning home on Jan. 18, Zytner noticed his feet had become very swollen and small bumps had developed on his toes. Stephens wrote on Facebook that the couple “simply thought it was just bug bites and it became worse as each day passed.” Two doctors were stumped by what was causing the swelling, but Zytner said a third doctor recognized the condition, as he had recently seen a similar case from a tourist who traveled to Thailand. 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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Is Your Importance Valid? Two Things You Must Identify with to Have Importance in the Kingdom

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” – Matthew 16:24-27

My wife and I used to live in the Washington DC area and we noticed it is a city where many people desire to be important. Stretch limousines, impressive titles, photos on the front page, fashionable clothes, powerful connections, and wealth, are all marks of importance in the capital of the United States. Importance is usually an estimation of significance based on a position of power, the things we own, the work we do, and the people we are associated with. It all comes down to what or who we are identified with, our personal identification.

The question that we need to answer is whether our importance is valid or not. Do we have the right kind of personal identification that makes a person important? People lose their power, get laid off from their jobs, contract debilitating illnesses, their wealth deteriorates, and people die. Importance in this world is so temporary.

How can you have truly substantial and unending importance? It all comes down to your personal identification. When Jesus knew that His time on Earth was coming to an end, He taught Peter and the other disciples about how to have true importance, not in this world, but in the Kingdom. He taught them that to truly have importance in the Kingdom, you must identify with His sovereignty and suffering.

Sovereignty

By the time of the events in Matthew chapter 16, there had been a growing movement of resistance to Jesus through the Pharisees and Sadducees. The chapter begins with them asking Jesus to give them a sign from Heaven that He is the Messiah, the One who will reign over Israel and the world. In fact, back in chapter 11, John the Baptist had asked him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” And He pointed to His messianic miracles as the signs. These Pharisees and Sadducees had seen these same signs. And now they were asking for a sign from Heaven? As if He hadn’t given them enough already. Jesus replied that no other sign was going to be given to them except the sign of Jonah. The sign of being in the earth for three days. It was the sign of resurrection that would be given to them.

Then Jesus departed from them to speak to His disciples. Jesus was preparing to turn toward Jerusalem and the cross.  He wanted to hear the disciples’ affirm their faith in Him, to make explicit His purpose to die on the cross and rise again, and to explain the requirements and rewards of discipleship. Matthew 16:15-17 says, “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’  Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’”

Before the disciples could identify with Jesus’ sovereignty, they had to receive revelation about Jesus. Peter’s response showed that He had received this revelation, and He affirmed its truth.  By his statement Peter identified with Jesus as the Messiah, the Divine Son of God, who has the sole right to rule Israel and the world.

Suffering

Jesus knew that to properly identify with His sovereignty, people must also identify with His divine suffering. Jesus was willing to go through awful suffering with His eyes on glory. Hebrews 12:2 says, “…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus is already enjoying glory, but He will manifest it to the world when He comes back to earth “in His glory” to reign “on the throne of His glory” (Matt 25:31).  However, first there had to be the suffering of crucifixion to pay for our sins (Luke 24:46).

To take up your cross (Matt 16:24) means to identify with Jesus’ suffering. Give up on your selfish desires to save your life in this world, to save your sense of self-importance. Taking up your cross doesn’t mean putting up with the normal aches and pains of this life. Taking up the cross is publicly identifying with Christ’s death and resurrection. It is living with a willingness to suffer rejection, pain, and death at the hands of the world while following Christ to his ultimate Kingdom glory.

For those who identify with His suffering, Jesus gives a promise. You will receive a recompense. We’re not talking about works righteousness, but He will repay everyone according to his deeds. Christ will more than replenish what we have given up. He will more than give back what we give up to follow him unto Kingdom glory. Those who follow Jesus will find real life in His glorious Kingdom reigning forever and ever with Him.

Psalm 146:3 says, “Don’t put your trust in princes, nor the son of man in whom there is no help.” Believers, we need a desire to follow Christ to His Kingdom glory. As we meditate about our Lord’s death and glory, may we renew our commitment to Him. Because only by identifying with Jesus in His sovereignty and suffering, will we be truly important people.

The post Is Your Importance Valid? Two Things You Must Identify with to Have Importance in the Kingdom appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

January 31 Wednesday: Martin Luther’s Psalm

By James Boice on Jan 31, 2018 12:00 am

Yesterday we said that God’s city has two points of reference. The first is to the earthly city of Jerusalem, and the second is to the safety of God’s people throughout history, culminating in the new Jerusalem, which is a symbol of heaven.

Read more…

January 31, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Reasons for Worship

For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.” (1:48b–55)

Three reasons or motives for Mary’s praise emerge from her magnificent hymn.

Mary was motivated first because the Mighty One had done great things for her (cf. 1:30–35)—things so staggering and wonderful that all succeeding generations would count her blessed. To be the mother of the Messiah was an honor greater than any bestowed on any woman before or since. And, as noted above, the reality that she, an unworthy sinner, saved only by God’s grace could also bear the Son of God prompted her worship. That the One whose name is holy would condescend to save wretched sinners will be the theme of believers’ worship throughout eternity (cf. Rev. 5:9).

Mary’s praise went beyond herself to embrace all that God would do for others in the future. Once again demonstrating her familiarity with the Old Testament, she quoted Psalm 103:17: “And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him.” She praised God for the common salvation (cf. Jude 3) offered to all who fear Him—the saved, who are filled with a deep, reverent regard for the person and will of God and are committed to glorifying Him.

The final section of Mary’s hymn recounts what God had done for His people in the past (cf. the seven aorist tense verbs in vv. 51–54). Consistent with Jewish worship, which not only recited God’s attributes, but also recounted His mighty deeds, Mary praised Him for what He had done for Israel. As she did so, she noted first that God had scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. Perhaps she had in mind Pharaoh’s arrogance (Ex. 5:2) and God’s subsequent destruction of his army and deliverance of His people (Ex. 15:1–21). Mary may also have been thinking of Nebuchadnezzar, who “when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him” (Dan. 5:20). Afterwards the thoroughly chastened king acknowledged that the Lord “is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Dan. 4:37). God had also brought down rulers from their thrones (perhaps a reference to the Canaanite rulers defeated by Joshua; [e.g., Josh. 10:23–26; cf. Job 34:24; Ps. 107:40; Ezek. 21:25–26]), and exalted those who were humble (cf. 14:11; 18:14; Gen. 45:26; 1 Sam. 2:6–8; Job 5:11; Pss. 78:70–71; 113:7–8). In His mercy and grace, God filled the hungry with good things (cf. Pss. 34:10; 107:8–9; 146:7); in judgment He sent away the rich empty-handed (cf. 6:24; 18:24–25).

Mary’s overview of Israel’s history reveals that God repeatedly overturned the normal order, illustrating the truth He expressed in Isaiah 55:8–9: “ ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ ” Throughout the nation’s history, He gave help to Israel His servant (cf. 1:71; Pss. 98:3; 106:10) because of His mercy (v. 72; Isa. 63:9; Jer. 31:20; 33:25–26; Ezek. 39:25).

Mary viewed all of redemptive history as the outworking of the covenant which He spoke to the fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever (Gen. 12:1–3; Ex. 2:24; Lev. 26:42; 2 Kings 13:23; 1 Chron. 16:14–16; Ps. 105:9; Acts 3:25). The salvation promised in that covenant would be clarified in the new covenant (Jer. 31:31–34) and would be ratified through the death of the very Child she carried in her womb. For it is only through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ that all the sins of the redeemed—past, present, and future—are atoned for (Matt. 20:28; John 10:15; Rom. 3:24–26; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; 5:2; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 7:27; 9:26, 28; 10:12; 1 Peter 1:18–19; 2:24; 3:18; Rev. 1:5). That covenant reality forms a fitting conclusion to Mary’s hymn of praise.[1]


49 Mary is in awe of the “Mighty One,” whose great power has been exercised in her life. The word “great” (megala, GK 3489) recalls “glorifies” (megalynei, GK 3486) in v. 46. God’s “name” is, according to the common ancient meaning, his whole reputation or character.[2]


1:46–49. Mary’s faith displayed itself in praise. In a song resembling Hannah’s in 1 Samuel 2, Mary praised God for his great acts for her. Her praise included two actions: giving glory to God and rejoicing in the presence and actions of God. The Lord had looked down on Mary with loving care. He saw the low economic and social state in which she lived. Such a state would be short-lived. God had placed her in a state of blessing. Because of her son, humiliation would disappear. From now on throughout all history people would recognize who she was and the state of blessing she occupied. She did nothing to earn or deserve this. The almighty God had caused it with his mighty acts. So praise him. Call him holy. See him as the transcendent God so uniquely pure and separated from sinful humans.[3]


49, 50. Because the Mighty One has done great things for me:

Holy is his name.

And his mercy extends from generation to generation

To those who fear him.

In the spirit of Ps. 71:19 Mary reflects on the great things God, here understandably called “the Mighty One,” had done for her. Had he not lifted her from her humble state and bestowed on her the highest honor conceivable, namely, to be the mother of the Messiah, as far as his human nature was concerned? Had he not performed within her the miracle of parthenogenesis, conception without penetration of a passive female cell by an active male cell? How marvelous God’s power!

But not only does Mary’s Magnificat extol God’s power. His mercy—call it “steadfast love” or even “lovingkindness” if you prefer—also elicits her praise. Using the phraseology of Ps. 103:17 she exclaims, “And his mercy extends from generation to generation to those that fear him.”

As indicated earlier, here Mary’s song ascends from the individual to the general, from what she herself had experienced to what was ever in store for one set of contemporaries after another throughout the course of history, being constantly repeated as the centuries roll along. Cf. Ps. 89:2; 90:2; Isa. 34:17.

Note, however, the qualifications: “to those that fear him,” that is, to those who in heart and mind are filled with reverent regard for God; for the genuinely devout, the truly pious people.

Not as if the Lord had completely withdrawn his kindness from men in general. Study Gen. 17:20; 39:5; Ps. 36:6; 145:9, 15, 16; Matt. 5:42; Mark 8:2; Luke 6:35, 36; Acts 14:16, 17; Rom. 2:4; and 1 Tim. 4:10. Can anyone read the precious passage about God’s tenderness toward the Ninevites, toward their little ones and even toward their cattle (Jonah 4:10, 11), without being overcome with emotion?

The denial of the manifestation of God’s goodness to men in general—call it “common grace” if you wish, or invent a better name for it—is an extreme position. Yet, we must be careful not to endorse the opposite extreme. The present passage is only one among many that stress the favor of God bestowed not on everybody but on his people, on them, on them alone. Note: “his mercy … to those that fear him.” See also Deut. 7:9; Ps. 25:10; 103:18; Isa. 55:3, 6; 57:15; Matt. 5:1–12; John 10:11, 15, 28; 11:25, 26. In fact, so very numerous are these limiting passages that it would be useless to try to cite them all. Mary, then, is thinking of the marvelous and never failing kindness which God is constantly causing to be felt and experienced by all needy ones who stand in awe of him and love him.

What is perhaps somewhat surprising is the fact that between these two statements about God, the first stressing his power, the second his mercy, stands the declaration “Holy is his name.” At first glance these words may seem to be “out of context.” One asks, perhaps, “But why did Mary insert this reference to God’s holiness or sinlessness? What has that to do with the matter with reference to which she is lifting up her voice in sincere, eloquent, and enthusiastic praise?”

Some are of the opinion that in this connection Mary was thinking about her conception; and that, in view of the fact that so often among men sin is connected with bringing about conception, she is saying that in her case conception had been brought about by God’s holy power, “utterly separated from the sin and sinfulness of man.”

But is not this interpretation of God’s holiness too narrow? It should be borne in mind that Mary was a Jewess, instructed from childhood in the Jewish religion. Accordingly, her words and phrases must be understood in the light of the Old Testament. When this is done it soon becomes evident that her exclamation “Holy is his name”—that is, “Holy is God as he has revealed himself”—is definitely in place. To the Jew the adjective qādōshbasically meant separate, set apart, exalted. To ascribe “holiness” to God meant to describe him as being lifted infinitely high above all creatures, hence also above all creaturely weaknesses including sin. “Holiness, when ascribed to God, was not considered to be an attribute to be co-ordinated with the other attributes” (H. Bavinck). Perhaps the best way in which to gain a true idea of the basic meaning of the word holy as ascribed to God in the Old Testament would be to read and reread Isa. 6:1–5. Another helpful approach would be to sing that touching refrain, based on Ps. 148:

Let them praises give Jehovah,

For his name alone is high,

And his glory is exalted,

And his glory is exalted,

And his glory is exalted,

Far above the earth and sky.

Trinity Hymnal, Philadelphia, 1961, No. 105.

Read also Isa. 57:15.

Applying all this to the Magnificat, we must conclude that Mary was so deeply impressed with the “great things” God had done for her, and to which she had just now referred (in the immediately preceding line of verse 49) that she cried out, “Holy [that is, infinitely exalted] is his name.” And was it not also very natural that, reflecting on her own experience, she would apply this “holiness” or “incomparable greatness” of God not only to his power (the great things he did for me) but now also to his mercy? Hence, “Holy is his name, and his mercy,” etc. When she reflected on the manner in which she had conceived, would not God’s power stand out? When she thought of the honor God had bestowed on her, would not his mercy or tender compassion immediately occur to her? And since both of these qualities were marvelous in the highest degree, was it not after all very logical for Mary to express this fact by thus combining the two?[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2009). Luke 1–5 (pp. 81–83). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 66). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke (Vol. 3, pp. 12–13). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, pp. 104–106). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

JANUARY 31 A DIVINE VOICE CALLS

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Genesis 3:9

There is a divine voice that continues to call. It is the voice of the Creator God, and it is entreating us. Just as the shepherd went everywhere searching for his sheep, just as the woman in the parable went everywhere searching for her coin, so there is a divine search with many variations of the voice that entreats us, calling us back.

If we were not lost, there would be no Father’s voice calling us to return, calling us back. So, I say again that we have not been given up.

Think of the Genesis account: Adam fleeing from the face of God, hiding among the trees of the garden. It was then that the sound of God’s gentle voice was heard, saying “[Adam,] where are you?”

I would remind you that His seeking voice has never died out. The echo of that voice is sounding throughout the widening years. It has never ceased to echo and reecho from peak to peak, from generation to generation, from race to race, and continent to continent, and off to islands and back to the continent again. Throughout all of man’s years, “Adam, where are you?” has been the faithful call.

I pray earnestly, O God, that I may not be found among those with hardened hearts, no longer able to hear Your voice. Please speak to me today…I’m listening.[1]


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

January 31 Jesus Summons Peter and Andrew

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother.—Matt. 4:18a

When Jesus called His first disciples, such as Peter and Andrew, He was gathering together the original group of evangelists to help fulfill His Great Commission. The Lord had the sovereign prerogative to carry out the Great Commission by Himself, but that was not His plan. Instead, He wanted to have partners in ministry. His plan was to use disciples to make other disciples. Jesus would teach them other things and mandate other responsibilities, but His first call to the disciples was for them to be “fishers of men.”

Jesus’ decision to select twelve apostles follows the pattern God established many centuries earlier. The Father always chose His most significant partners in ministry, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all the prophets. He chose Israel as an entire nation of ministry partners—“a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). So it is no wonder that Christ told the disciples, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain” (John 15:16; cf. 6:70; 13:18; Rom. 16:5).

Our Lord commands that all His followers be evangelistic fishermen. The command “follow Me” in the Greek literally means “come here.” The original text also has the term “after,” which indicates the place we must come to: “Your place is following after Me!” This is His chosen place and posture for you.

ASK YOURSELF

If we truly knew the gravity of this, we would never get over our amazement that the God of the universe has chosen to live in relationship with us. What goes missing from your life when you forget that you have been personally called by God to your kingdom tasks and priorities?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 39). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 31 Eager for Service

So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

Romans 1:15

Are you happy and eager to fulfill the responsibility God has committed to your care? As you can tell from today’s verse, that was Paul’s attitude. He was consumed with doing the work of the ministry. His personal life was never the issue. Life had only one purpose for him, and that was doing the will of God. He was always eager to preach.

Paul was like a racehorse in the gate or a sprinter in the blocks—waiting to gain the victory. God had to hold him back once in a while because he was so ready to go. Are you as eager? Is that the kind of service you render, or does someone have to prod you along with all their might just to get you involved? If your service to Christ comes from your whole heart, then you will be eager.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 42). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 31, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Negative Proof from the Old Testament

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” (3:10–12)

The Judaizers also strongly advocated the necessity of keeping the Mosaic Law in order to be saved. But here again, simply the sequence of Old Testament events should have shown them the foolishness of that belief. Abraham not only was declared righteous about 14 years before he was commanded to be circumcised, but more than 500 years before God revealed His law to Moses at Sinai. Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and countless other Hebrew believers lived and died long before the written law was given by God.

Just as the Judaizers and their Galatian victims should have known that justification is by faith and not circumcision, they should also have known it is not by the Law. Therefore after showing what faith can do, Paul now shows what works cannot do. As in verses 6–9, his argument is based on the Old Testament.

In his defense before King Agrippa in Caesarea, Paul states the scriptural foundation of all his preaching and teaching: “Having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22–23).

The ancient rabbis were so absolutely convinced that salvation could only be earned through keeping the law that they tried to prove God had somehow revealed His law even to the patriarchs and other saints who lived before Moses and that those people found favor with Him because they kept His law. Because they could not bring themselves to consider limiting the supremacy of the law, the rabbis sought instead to reconstruct history and the clear teaching of God’s Word.

But Paul turns the tables on them again. “Don’t you realize,” he says, “that as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse?” That question would have utterly perplexed the Judaizers, who would have responded vehemently, “We know no such thing. How can you speak such foolishness?” “Have you forgotten Deuteronomy, the last book of the Law?” Paul asks, in effect; “for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them’ ” (see Deut. 27:26). A curse is a divine judgment that brings the sentence of condemnation.

The apostle’s emphasis in the quotation was on the requirement to abide by all things. In other words, the fact that those who trust in the works of the Law are obligated to keep all things in the law, without exception, places them inevitably under a curse, because no one had the ability to abide by everything the divine and perfect law of God demands. Paul confessed his inability to keep the law even as a devout Pharisee. He testified that “this commandment which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me” (Rom. 7:10). Even as a believer he said, “I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (Rom. 7:25) If men proudly insist on living by the law, it will curse them, not save them, because they cannot possibly live up to it.

The legalistic Jews had “a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:2–4). Consequently, they unwittingly placed themselves under God’s wrath rather than His blessing, because they could not live up to His law and they would not submit to His grace.

Paul reminds his readers again of more teaching concerning God’s way of justification: Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith,” quoting this time from Habakkuk 2:4. The passage from Deuteronomy proves justification cannot be by the Law, and the passage from Habakkuk proves it must be by faith. The ways of law and faith are mutually exclusive. To live by law is to live by self-effort and leads inevitably to failure, condemnation, and death. To live by faith is to respond to God’s grace and leads to justification and eternal life.

Quoting another Old Testament text (Lev. 18:5), Paul again turns Scripture against the Judaizers by showing them that salvation by works and salvation by believing are mutually exclusive: However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” God’s written law itself marks the danger of trying to live up to its standard, which is perfection. If you are relying on works of the law as your means of salvation, then you have to live by them perfectly.

Pointing up that same truth in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus destroyed the very foundation of legalistic Judaism. Because God’s standard is perfection, He said; “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). And He had already made clear that God’s standard of perfection is inner virtue and perfection, not simply outwardly respectable behavior. To those who piously asserted they had never committed murder, He said, “Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell” (Matt. 5:22). And to those who claimed they had never committed adultery, He said, “Everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (v. 28).

Whether consulting the texts in Deuteronomy, Habakkuk, or Leviticus, the message is the same: perfection allows no exceptions, no failure of the smallest sort. To break the law in one place is to break it all, “for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). No wonder the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write that “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Rom. 3:20, KJV).

A ship that is moored to a dock by a chain is only as secure as the weakest link in that chain. If a severe storm comes and causes even one link to break, the entire ship breaks away. So it is for those who try to come to God by their own perfection. They will be lost and forever wrecked.[1]


The Old Cursed Cross

Galatians 3:10–14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Gal. 3:13)

Imagine the scene: An entire nation gathers on the sides of two mountains to worship. Half the people stand on one mountainside, half on the other. They worship responsively, alternating their praise. First one group cries out to God, and then the other, with every man, woman, and child shouting in unison.

This was the scene when the people of God crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land. According to the command of Moses, six tribes stood on Mount Gerizim and six on Mount Ebal to form an antiphonal choir. Rather than singing in harmony, they recited a litany of blessings and curses. The tribes on Mount Gerizim blessed the people of God, while the tribes on Mount Ebal cursed them.

What curses they were! “Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image” (Deut. 27:15). “Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother” (Deut. 27:16). “Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow” (Deut. 27:19). “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deut. 27:26). The Levites recited a dozen curses in all, and after each one, all the people said, “Amen!”

The Problem with the Law

The apostle Paul knew these curses well. He had read them in the book of Deuteronomy, of course, but he had also heard them recited on five memorable occasions. Five times Paul was punished by the Jews for preaching the gospel, and each time he received the standard punishment: “forty lashes minus one” (2 Cor. 11:24). The synagogue manuals of that time required someone to read out the curses of the law while the prisoner was being whipped. Thus as Paul received the final stripe on his back, he may well have heard the very words that he later quoted to the Galatians: “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal. 3:10).

This verse pronounces God’s solemn judgment against sinful humanity. God’s standard is perfect. He requires nothing less than total obedience to the entire law. God’s perfect law is for everyone, for Jew and Gentile alike. Some recent commentators argue that Paul was referring to the disobedience of Israel as a nation, and not to the sin of individuals. However, in the context of Deuteronomy, God’s curse clearly falls on individuals who fail to keep the law. Others suggest that these verses refer only to the Jews, but this is to overlook the fact that everyone is obligated to obey God. God’s law is not just for Jews as Jews; it is for human beings as human beings.

Not only must we keep God’s law, but we must also continue to keep it. God requires consistent, constant obedience to his revealed will. Furthermore, the law must be kept in its entirety. Everyone must continue to do everything written in God’s law, down to the last detail.

The Scripture refers here to God’s moral law, and not merely to the rituals that separate Jews from Gentiles, as the New Perspective on Paul and the law would have it. This makes a critical difference to our interpretation of Galatians, and indeed to our whole understanding of the gospel. The New Perspective maintains that when Paul wrote about abiding by all things written in the book of the law, he did not have the whole Old Testament law in mind. What he meant instead were the ceremonial regulations that marked Israelites off from Gentiles, such as circumcision and the rules for table fellowship, not the moral code that people might use to justify their righteousness before God.

  1. P. Sanders first articulated this view in his book Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People. According to Sanders, Paul did not mean to emphasize the word “all,” but merely employed it as part of Deuteronomy 27:26, which he wished to cite for polemical reasons. But as Andrew Das points out in his critique of Sanders and others who hold this view, “all” is central to the meaning of that Old Testament verse, which concludes an extended condemnation of every possible violation of God’s law, and of those who break it. The word “all” is equally central to Paul’s argument. As Das explains, “Deuteronomy 27:26 is cited in Galatians 3:10 to provide a reason why those relying on the works of the law are under a curse: the law demanded that all its precepts be obeyed.”

At stake in the recent dispute over this verse is Paul’s purpose in writing Galatians and, by extension, his understanding of the doctrine of justification. Is Paul only concerned to challenge Jewish Christians not to refuse table fellowship with Gentile Christians, as the New Perspective maintains? Or, in keeping with the classic Protestant understanding of Paul and the law, is he more fundamentally concerned with the way in which sinners might hope to have a saving relationship with a righteous God?

In citing Deuteronomy 27:26, Paul supplies the answer. This verse wraps up an exhaustive catalog of the demands that God makes in his law (nearly all of which fall under the category of moral law) and his curse on anyone who violates any one of these demands. When Paul writes, “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse” (Gal. 3:10 niv), he is defending the doctrine of justification through faith alone, insisting that no one can be accepted by God through the law unless it is kept in all its perfection. As it is written, “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (James 2:10; cf. Heb. 2:2).

The punishment for failing to keep God’s perfect standard is God’s righteous curse. Every lawbreaker is subject to divine condemnation. “What does every sin deserve?” asks the Westminster Shorter Catechism. The answer is, “Every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come” (Q. & A. 84).

This means that we ourselves are under the same curse that was shouted down from Mount Ebal. There is a hidden premise in Galatians 3:10, a premise so obvious that it remains unspoken: We are lawbreakers. We are sinners living in rebellion against God. To quote again from the Shorter Catechism, “No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed” (A. 82). This is the doctrine of total depravity: not that we are as sinful as we can possibly be, but that we are all sinful all the way through. There is no part of us—body, soul, or spirit; mind, heart, or will—that is not corrupt.

The doctrine of depravity is taught everywhere in Scripture: “There is no one who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46); “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isa. 53:6); “None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10); “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). What the Bible says about human nature is confirmed by human history, which is a sordid tale of war and woe. It is confirmed by our neighbors, by the lies of our co-workers and the self-centeredness of the people on our street. It is confirmed by the petty disagreements within our families and even our churches. But the doctrine of total depravity writes its most compelling proof on our own hearts. Your own guilty conscience ought to be enough to convince you that you are unworthy of God. Do you ever stretch the truth? Do you ever take something that doesn’t exactly belong to you? Do you ever speak an unkind word? If so, then God’s law condemns you as an accursed liar, thief, and murderer.

If it is true that everyone, without exception, is condemned by the curse of the law, then why would anyone ever try to base salvation on keeping the law? This is Paul’s point. Everyone who depends on the law is under a curse because the law curses everyone who breaks it, which everyone does. Ironically, by advocating obedience to the law the Judaizers were not escaping God’s curse but actually incurring it!

The apostle refers specifically to “all who rely on works of the law” (Gal. 3:10). It is the same phrase he used back in chapter 2 when he contrasted those who are “justified by works of the law” with those who are “justified by faith” (Gal. 2:16). Those who “rely on works of the law” are people who want to be accepted on their own merits. They expect God to justify them because they do the right things. But this is a legalistic perversion of the law. Anyone who tries to be justified by working the law is attempting the impossible. God did not give us the law to make us good. Part of the law’s purpose, in fact, is to show us how bad we really are. Therefore, it is completely hopeless to get right with God by keeping the law; “the law is a matter of performance, but a performance that is beyond human possibility.” If justification did come by the law, we could not be justified, because we cannot keep the law. The Puritan William Perkins explained it like this: “If we could fulfill the law, we might be justified by the law: but no man can be justified by the law, or by works: therefore no man can fulfill the law.”6

The problem with the law, then, is not the law; the problem with the law is our sin. Since we cannot keep the law, the law cannot bless us. All it can do is curse us, placing us under the condemnation of divine wrath.

The Principle of the Law

If the law cannot bless us, then how can we receive God’s blessing? This is the question Paul has been wrestling with throughout this letter. How do I stand in right relationship with God? How can God accept me? What must I do to gain his favor? In a word, how can I be justified?

There are two possibilities: Either I am justified by works of the law or I am justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul’s answer, of course, is that justification comes only by faith and not by works. He has stated this before, but here he repeats it: “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ But the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them’ ” (Gal. 3:11–12). Justification cannot come by works of the law; it must come by faith.

Faith and works operate according to different principles. They are two entirely different ways to live: by believing and by doing. If we live by faith, we trust God to justify us through Jesus Christ. As Paul preached on another occasion, “by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38–39). On the other hand, if we live by works, we count on our own contribution to make us fully acceptable to God. But we cannot have it both ways. Believing and doing are mutually exclusive. Either we trust God to justify us through faith or we try to justify ourselves by works.

Faith and works, then, are like a man who has one foot on the dock and one foot in his boat. As the boat starts to pull away from the dock, he will have to make a choice, or else end up in the water. As Calvin explained, they are two contrary ways to live: “The law justifies him who fulfils all its commands, whereas faith justifies those who are destitute of the merit of works and rely on Christ alone. To be justified by our own merit and by the grace of another are irreconcilable.”

Paul illustrates these two life-principles from the Old Testament. In verse 11 he quotes from the prophet Habakkuk: “The righteous shall live by faith.” To quote the entire verse: “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4). This must have been an important verse to Paul, since it also shows up as the theme verse of Romans (Rom. 1:17).

In their original context, Habakkuk’s words condemned the pride of the Babylonians who conquered Jerusalem. The prophet accused them of proud self-confidence. They were “not right in relation to God: instead of trusting in him they held aloof in a spirit of self-sufficiency, trusting in themselves.” But this is not how God wants his people to live. He wants them to live by faith. They are the justified ones, the ones who have been declared righteous by God. Now they must live by faith, as Abraham did. Instead of trusting in themselves, they must trust God. Faith must characterize their relationship with God from beginning to end.

This verse from Habakkuk had a tremendous influence on the life of Martin Luther. Luther encountered it in the monastery at Erfurt, although at first he was uncertain what it meant. Later he went through a dark period of illness and depression during which he imagined that he was under the wrath of God. Lying on a bed in Italy, and fearing that he was soon to die, Luther found himself repeating the words over and over again: “The righteous will live by his faith. The righteous will live by his faith.”

Not long after he recovered, Luther went on to Rome, where he visited the church of St. John Lateran. The pope had promised an indulgence forgiving the sins of any pilgrim who mounted its staircase, which was alleged to have come from the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate. Believing that the steps were stained with blood of Christ, pilgrims mounted the stairs on their knees, pausing frequently to pray and kiss the holy staircase.

The story continues in the words of Luther’s son, from a manuscript preserved in the library of Rudolstadt: “As he repeated his prayers on the Lateran staircase, the words of the prophet Habakkuk came suddenly to his mind: ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Thereupon he ceased his prayers, returned to Wittenberg, and took this as the chief foundation of all his doctrine.” Luther no longer believed that there was anything he could do to gain favor with God, and he began to live by faith in God’s Son. As Luther himself later said, “Before those words broke upon my mind I hated God and was angry with him.… But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood those words—‘The just shall live by faith!’ ‘The just shall live by faith!’—then I felt born again like a new man; I entered through the open doors into the very Paradise of God.”

Martin Luther rightly understood that the works of the law cannot justify the way faith can. The law is a different way of living entirely, and it operates according to a completely different principle. To illustrate the life-principle of the law, Paul quoted from the book of Leviticus: “The one who does them shall live by them” (Gal. 3:12). To quote the original passage in its entirety: “You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord” (Lev. 18:4–5).

The law, as found in Leviticus and elsewhere, operates on a different basis from faith. The only blessings it has to offer are for those who keep it. As far as justification is concerned, the law is not for believers; it is only for doers. Therefore, the law is based on works. Thomas Schreiner offers this paraphrase to explain what Paul means: “Salvation by works of the law is contrary to faith, for salvation by works of law means that the one who does the law will live by his obedience.” This is the principle of the law: Just do it. If you do the law, you will be legally righteous, and you will live.

This implies that the law could save us if we could keep it. The trouble is—and this takes us back to the problem with the law in verse 10—that no one can keep it. If we could keep the law, we would be justified by the law; but we can’t, so we won’t. The principle of the law is living by doing; the problem with the law is that we cannot live up to it.

This is well illustrated by the Christian man who went out to dinner with a friend. While they were waiting for their meal, they began to talk about spiritual things. The man’s friend happened to mention that he had not sinned for twenty years. It was such an outrageous boast that the Christian man hardly knew what to say. While he was trying to think of a reply, the waitress arrived with their food, and in her carelessness, she managed to dump the entire meal on his friend’s lap. Immediately the man’s friend began to curse the waitress. When the commotion finally died down, the Christian man said, “Well, I guess your streak is over!”

There are two ways to be justified. One is by works of the law. But this is doomed to fail because no one can continue to do everything written in the law, not even a man who says he hasn’t sinned in twenty years. The other way to be justified is by faith, which alone can make a sinner righteous before God. Martin Luther explained God’s true way of justifying sinners like this: “If you wish to placate Me, do not offer Me your works and merits. But believe in Jesus Christ, My only Son, who was born, who suffered, who was crucified, and who died for your sins. Then I will accept you and pronounce you righteous.”

The Penalty of the Law

Luther rightly understood that only Christ can justify a sinner, and only through his cross. The apostle Paul explained it to the Galatians like this: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ ” (Gal. 3:13).

This verse is a reminder of the penalty first mentioned in verse 10. The penalty of the law is the wrath of God. God’s law pronounces a curse on everyone who fails to keep it—a curse, remember, that we are all under. Therefore, if we are to be saved, the curse must be removed. And this is what Christ was doing on the cross: redeeming his people from the law’s accursed penalty.

The word “redemption” comes from the marketplace. It refers to the payment of a price, as it sometimes does today. For example, the coupon on the top of a cereal box can be “redeemed” for a prize. In Paul’s world, the word “redeemed” was most often used at the slave market, where it referred to the purchase price for a slave. Sometimes a friend or a relative would buy a slave back from captivity and set him free. The slave would thus be liberated through the payment of a ransom.

Ordinarily, a ransom price is paid by the highest bidder. In the case of the redemption of God’s children, bound in slavery to sin, the price was the highest ransom of all. In the triumphant words of an ancient hymn by Venantius Honorius Fortunatus (530–609): “The royal banners forward go, / The cross shows forth redemption’s flow. / Where He, by whom our flesh was made, / Our ransom in His flesh has paid.” We have been redeemed by the very lifeblood of Jesus Christ.

When the New Testament speaks of the redemption of sinners, it customarily emphasizes redemption’s costly price: “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28); “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18–19).

In order to pay this priceless ransom, Jesus had to endure God’s curse. To understand what this means, it helps to know the Old Testament law for the execution of a criminal: “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance” (Deut. 21:22–23). The point of hanging a criminal in this way was to expose his capital crime to public shame. Hoisting his body onto a tree demonstrated that he was under God’s curse. But he was not to be left on the tree overnight, for this would be an offense to God.

God’s people took these regulations seriously. When Joshua defeated five Canaanite kings at Makkedah, he had their corpses displayed on five trees and taken down at sunset (Josh. 10:26). The same thing was done with seven sons of Saul at Gibeah (2 Sam. 21:6). Remember, too, that the Jewish leaders wanted to be sure to get Jesus down from the cross before sundown (John 19:31), so as not to desecrate the Sabbath. To hang on a tree was the ultimate curse.

Imagine, then, how offensive Christianity was to the Jews, because at the very heart of its message was a man hanging on a tree! The apostolic message was about a man who was so cursed by God that he was crucified. Yet rather than concealing this fact, the apostles drew attention to it. When Peter preached to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, he said, “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree” (Acts 5:30). Peter used the same word in his first letter: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). Or again, when Paul spoke in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch, he described how Jesus was taken down “from the tree” (Acts 13:29).

The apostles almost went out of their way to call the cross a “tree.” At the same time, they claimed that the crucified Jesus was also the Christ. To the Jews, this was absolute blasphemy: a cursed Messiah on a cursed cross. No wonder the cross was such a stumbling block to them! To put it in the most shocking and yet perhaps the most accurate way, the apostolic message was about a God-damned Messiah.

Jewish hostility to this idea is documented in several ancient texts. Writing in the second century, Justin (c. 100–165) recounts a conversation with Trypho the Jew, who refused to believe that God’s Messiah could die on a tree. He said, “But whether Christ should be so shamefully crucified, this we are in doubt about. For whosoever is crucified is said in the law to be accursed, so that I am exceedingly incredulous on this point.” Another writer from the same period, Aristo of Pella, recorded a similar dispute between a Christian and a Jew concerning the crucifixion. When he realized what the Christian was claiming, the Jew, whose name was Papiscus, dismissed Jesus entirely, saying, “The execration of God is he that is hanged.”13 What could be more blasphemous than an alleged Messiah nailed to an accursed tree?

Perhaps Paul himself struggled with this question. He knew that Jesus was Lord when he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. But what could account for Christ’s death on the cross? It seemed to be a real dilemma. How could the only man who ever continued to do everything written in the book of the law be subjected to its curse? Either through his study of the Scriptures or by direct revelation, Paul was given this amazing resolution: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). “The language here is startling, almost shocking,” wrote A. W. F. Blunt. “We should not have dared to use it. Yet Paul means every word of it.”

Paul meant every word because he understood what Christ was doing on the cross. His death was a substitution; he was crucified in our place. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “[God] made him to be sin who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). And when he took our sins upon himself, Christ also had to bear God’s curse, becoming “a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). The death penalty for breaking the law was executed on Jesus Christ. He was condemned by the very curses that were once shouted from Mount Ebal.

The law’s accursed penalty did not apply to Jesus personally because he never broke the law, but God imputed our sins to his Son. Martin Luther’s explanation is worth quoting at length:

The whole emphasis is on the phrase “for us.” For Christ is innocent so far as His own Person is concerned; therefore He should not have been hanged from the tree. But because, according to the Law, every thief should have been hanged, therefore, according to the Law of Moses, Christ Himself should have been hanged; for He bore the person of a sinner and a thief—and not of one but of all sinners and thieves. For we are sinners and thieves, and therefore we are worthy of death and eternal damnation. But Christ took all our sins upon Himself, and for them He died on the cross.…

He is not acting in His own Person now. Now He is not the Son of God, born of the Virgin. But He is a sinner, who has and bears the sin of Paul, the former blasphemer, persecutor, and assaulter; of Peter, who denied Christ; of David, who was an adulterer and a murderer, and who caused the Gentiles to blaspheme the name of the Lord. In short, He has and bears all the sins of all men in His body—not in the sense that He has committed them but in the sense that He took these sins, committed by us, upon His own body, in order to make satisfaction for them with His own blood.

When Christ took our sins upon himself he was accursed, not for his own sins, but for ours. The curse we deserved was legally transferred from us to him. Luther described this as the “fortunate exchange” in which we trade our sin and the curse it deserves for Christ’s righteousness: “So long as sin, death, and the curse remain in us, sin damns us, death kills us, and the curse curses us; but when these things are transferred to Christ, what is ours becomes His and what is His becomes ours. Let us learn, therefore, in every temptation to transfer sin, death, the curse, and all the evils that oppress us from ourselves to Christ, and, on the other hand, to transfer righteousness, life, and blessing from Him to us.”

Now perhaps we can begin to understand the meaning of Christ’s cry of dereliction from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). When he hung on the tree, God the Son was accursed by God the Father. The law’s curse is God’s curse because the law is God’s law. Thus, Christ became an object of divine reprobation, cursed both by God and by his law.

In that old cursed cross we see the wrath of God against the sin of humanity. The cross is a public demonstration for all time of his condemnation. Having seen the God-man on the cursed tree, who can doubt the sinfulness of sin or the wrath of God?

Yet in the same cursed cross we see more clearly than anywhere else the power of divine grace. God endured God’s own curse to save us from our sins. This is expressed beautifully in the words of the old American folk hymn:

What wondrous love is this,

O my soul, O my soul,

What wondrous love is this,

O my soul!

What wondrous love is this,

that caused the Lord of bliss

To bear the dreadful curse

for my soul, for my soul,

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

The Promise of the Gospel

The love of Christ is wondrous. He was crucified to remove the curse. Since we are no longer subject to the death penalty of the law, we can receive the promise of the gospel, “that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14).

Here Paul summarizes everything he has been saying in this chapter. He reminds us of the blessing given to Abraham: a right standing with God. He reminds us that this blessing is for all the nations of the Gentiles. He reminds us that God’s blessing includes receiving the Holy Spirit, with all his gifts and graces.

All these blessings could never come by works of the law. They come only “in Christ Jesus.” This is the doctrine of union with Christ—that all of God’s blessings come to us when we get into Jesus Christ. And the way to get into Jesus is by faith. All of God’s blessings come only through faith in the cross of Christ. Through the old cursed cross the nations of the world receive forgiveness for their sins. Through the old cursed cross we are accepted by God’s justifying grace. Through the old cursed cross we receive the promised Holy Spirit.

We receive all these things by faith in the crucified Christ. Faith deserves to have the last word because it is the last word in Galatians 3:14. What was a curse for Christ becomes a blessing to us by faith.[2]


11 This juxtaposition continues as Paul writes, “Clearly no one is justified before God by law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ ” Paralleling the thought of v. 10, Paul reiterates the fact that no one is justified by the law. Paul’s scriptural argument, then, essentially continues along the lines of the preceding verses: “righteousness” is the domain of faith, while “curse” is the stronghold of law.

There is a measure of textual confusion with Paul’s quote of Habakkuk 2:4 in v. 11. The Hebrew text reads “the righteous will live by his faith,” while one text of the LXX reads “the righteous will live by my [God’s] faithfulness,” and another reads “my righteous one will live by faith.” Paul’s omission of the possessive pronoun “my,” however, would not have affected his argument in any case. Bruce, 162, has observed, “The faith by which one becomes righteous in God’s sight is faith in God, believing acceptance of his promise, as Abraham showed.”

Paul’s use of Habakkuk is probably his appropriation of an early Christian expression of faith. The early church would have used this “word of faith” as a vehicle to remind one another of the basis of life in Christ (cf. Longenecker, 119). The point Paul seems to be making with this quotation is that one who is “within this faith” shall live (ek pisteōs, “from within this faith”). In other words, Paul “strips faithfulness to its core of faith in God” (Fung, 144–45), thus expressing the validity of Habakkuk’s message as applied to his Galatian converts. Essentially, Paul is simply again emphasizing his previous point that the one who would emulate Abraham and share in his blessing is the one who exercises faith in God’s promise and integrity.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Galatians (pp. 76–78). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Ryken, P. G. (2005). Galatians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 106–118). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Rapa, R. K. (2008). Galatians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 595). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

JANUARY 31 TO PUSH INTO THE PRESENCE

When he came down from the mount… Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

—Exodus 34:29

Such worship as Faber knew (and he is but one of a great company which no man can number) can never come from a mere doctrinal knowledge of God. Hearts that are “fit to break” with love for the Godhead are those who have been in the Presence and have looked with opened eye upon the majesty of Deity. Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known to nor understood by common men. They habitually spoke with spiritual authority. They had been in the presence of God and they reported what they saw there.

They were prophets, not scribes, for the scribe tells us what he has read, and the prophet tells what he has seen. The distinction is not an imaginary one. Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are overrun today with orthodox scribes, but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the wonder that is God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God. POG040-041

Take me into the Presence, Lord, that I might tell others what I have seen and be a prophet for today, not merely another scribe. Amen.[1]


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

January 31 What Matters Most

“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

Ephesians 4:1

✧✧✧

Compared to walking worthy of Christ, nothing else is really important.

Let’s review what Paul has taught us from Ephesians 4:1–6. God has chosen and called us to be part of His family, and He expects us to act like His children. He wants us to walk worthy of Christ and be unified.

To follow God’s will in this, we must, with His help, deal with our sin and develop godly virtues. Our lives must first be marked by “all humility” (v. 2). We become humble when we see ourselves as unworthy sinners and see the greatness of God and Christ. Pride will always be a temptation, but we can resist it if we remember that we have nothing to be proud about; every good thing we have is from God. He alone deserves the glory; we can take no credit.

Humility produces “gentleness,” which is power under control. Gentle people willingly submit to God and others. They may become angry over what dishonors God, but they are forgiving to those who hurt them.

“Patience” flows from gentleness. A patient person endures negative circumstances, copes with difficult people, and accepts God’s plan for everything.

We must “love” others with a forbearing love. Christian love is selfless, and forbearance keeps us from gossiping about the failures of others and causes us to love our enemies.

“Unity” (v. 3) is the goal of the worthy walk, and only diligent believers who pursue these virtues of the worthy walk will contribute to such unity. Because we have one Body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Father, we should behave as a unified people. Then we will have the effective testimony God wants for us.

Only one thing really matters from the moment you become a Christian until the day you see Jesus—that you walk worthy of Him. What you own, what you know, and what you do for a living are not all that important.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to give you the resolve to walk worthy every day.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 11 and perhaps some related Old Testament passages, and note what was representative of the main characters’ walks with the Lord.[1]


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

January 30 Daily Help

GOD’S Holy Spirit and man’s sin cannot live together peaceably; they may both be in the same heart, but they cannot both reign there, nor can they both be quiet there; for “the Spirit lusteth against the flesh, and the flesh lusteth against the Spirit;” they cannot rest, but there will be a perpetual warring in the soul, so that the Christian will have to cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But in due time: the Spirit will drive out all sin, and will present us blameless before the throne of His Majesty with exceeding great joy.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 34). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 30, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Word of Life Is Communicable

and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, (1:2b–3a)

For John, that which was manifested to him—the Word of Life—became the basis for his proclamation of truth. His privileged life in the presence of the Lord Christ was not a private experience to elevate him above others who were not so blessed, as if he were somehow one of God’s “favorite sons.” Rather, his privilege became the platform for his responsibility and mandate, as an apostle and eyewitness, to bear witness (testify) of the truth (John 20:30–31; 21:24; cf. 1:41–42; 2 Cor. 5:14–15) and proclaim the gift of eternal life in Him (cf. Ps. 145:11–12; 1 Cor. 2:2; 9:16) to those, including his readers, who had never seen Jesus. Because of his widespread reputation as one who had been with Jesus as an apostle (cf. John 1:14, 16–18, 37–51), John was a true and credible witness (John 19:35–37). Other New Testament books written by apostles or their associates also present eyewitness accounts of Jesus and the truth of the gospel. The other Gospels do that (cf. Luke 1:1–4), as does the book of Acts (cf. 1:1–3) and the epistles (e.g., 2 Peter 1:16–21).

The apostle John knew that the matter of communicating the Word of Life was not an option but a command. The content of the message was not to be hoarded but its unchanging truth declared far and wide. Commenting on this passage, John R. W. Stott provided this key perspective:

The historical manifestation of the Eternal Life was proclaimed, not monopolized. The revelation was given to the few for the many. They were to dispense it to the world.… He [Christ] not only manifested Himself to the disciples to qualify them as eyewitnesses, but gave them an authoritative commission as apostles to preach the gospel. The author [John] insists that he possess these necessary credentials. Possessing them, he is very bold. Having heard, seen and touched the Lord Jesus, he bears witness to Him. Having received a commission, he proclaims the gospel with authority, for the Christian message is neither a philosophical speculation, nor a tentative suggestion, nor a modest contribution to religious thought, but a dogmatic affirmation by those whose experience and commission qualified them to make it. (The Epistles of John, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964], 61, 62–63, emphases in original)

The Word of Life Is Relational

so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1:3b)

John proclaimed the Word of Life so that (hina, “in order that”) all believers would realize they have fellowship (an authentic partnership) with Jesus Christ and fellow believers (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:42, 44–47; 1 Cor. 12:26–27; Eph. 4:1–3; Heb. 10:25; 12:22–24). The word rendered fellowship, the familiar Greek term koinonia, signifies a mutual participation in a common cause or shared life (cf. Gal. 2:9; 6:6; 1 Tim. 6:18; Titus 1:4; Philem. 6; 1 Peter 4:13; Jude 3). It is far more than a mere partnership of those who have the same beliefs and are thus drawn together. Rather, it is the mutual life and love of those who are one in spirit (1 Cor. 6:17; cf. Eph. 5:30–32).

The aim of gospel preaching is to produce faith that rests in Christ (John 6:29; Acts 20:21). Those who believe savingly in Jesus enter into a genuine union with the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote,

God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor. 1:9; cf. Gal. 2:20)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Cor. 13:14; cf. John 17:21)

Even sinning Christians who lose the joy of their fellowship with God never lose the reality of that eternal life from Him (1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Cor. 13:14; Phil. 2:1; Heb. 12:10), given them through their union with Christ (Rom. 6:3–5; Eph. 2:5; Col. 3:2). Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24; cf. Eph. 5:26; Titus 3:5). The new birth produces new life, so that believers are regenerated into everlasting fellowship with the triune God (cf. John 3:5–8).[1]


3 It is clear that John wishes to create a sense of solidarity with the reader at the beginning of the letter by differentiating between two groups—“us” and “them.” The boundary between the two groups is the message (“word,” v. 1) that John proclaims. Only those who accept John’s teaching that Life manifested itself in the human Jesus “may have fellowship with us.” As noted in the introduction, there has been considerable debate over the identity of the “we” in 1:1–4. These verses include eleven first-person-plural verbs (“we do x”) and seven occurrences of the pronoun hēmeis (“we/us”). Some scholars interpret “we” here to be the entire Johannine community or a group of orthodox teachers within the community, making these verses a rallying cry to defend the “corporate tradition” against the Antichrists (see Introduction). This view does not, however, adequately account for fact that the pronoun “you” (hymeis) is also used four times in these verses to distinguish the reader from the author. Since “1 John is probably not a missionary tract for unbelievers but a communication with those who belong to the church” (R. A. Culpepper, The Gospel and the Letters of John [Nashville: Abingdon, 1998], 255), “we” (the author) and “you” (the audience) must be co-members of the Christian community who are different in some way. The point of difference seems to be that “we” have heard, seen, touched, and witnessed Jesus, while “you” have not. “We” must therefore refer to the collective group of witnesses to the life of Jesus, of whom John claims to be a member. This witness puts John in a special category with those whose testimony cannot be refuted, a status the Antichrists do not enjoy. Only those Christians among “you” who accept John’s witness may remain in fellowship with him.

3a The Greek word koinōnia (GK 3126) is translated “fellowship” in the NIV. While the English word “fellowship” is used to describe everything from a deep friendship to a potluck dinner, koinōnia refers to a bond of partnership in a common enterprise or experience. Luke uses this term to refer to the sharing of possessions in the early church (Ac 2:44; 4:30), and Paul speaks of the koinōnia he enjoys with the Philippians due to their common commitment to the gospel (Php 1:5). To have koinōnia with someone means to share a sense of community with that person. Brown, 170, therefore refers to koinōnia as “both the dynamic esprit de corps that brings people together and the togetherness that is produced by that spirit.” John hopes that his audience will be united with him on the basis of their common faith in Jesus.

3b The second half of 1:3 elevates the basic distinction between “us” and “them” to absolute terms with ultimate consequences. John’s word gives him fellowship “with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ”; logically, those who refuse to accept John’s witness put themselves out of fellowship with Christ and God and therefore render themselves ineligible for eternal life. Ironically, the Antichrists, by focusing too much on their present experience of Christ through the Spirit and rejecting John’s witness about Jesus’ past, have placed themselves out of fellowship with God.[2]


1:3 / Verse 3 summarizes what has been said in vv. 1–2 and then moves on to a new affirmation. The author (and the apostolic community he represents, hence the we) proclaims this message about the Word of life, in order that those who hear it might join “the circle of salvation,” i.e., those who have fellowship with God (which, according to John 17:3, is eternal life). It is essential to be in fellowship with the author, because the author is in fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. The Elder’s opponents, the secessionists—those who have left the community (2:19) and are antichrists (2:18), false prophets (4:1), deceivers (2 John 7), and liars (2:22)—are not in fellowship with the author, and they no longer have either the Father or the Son (2 John 9; cf. 2:22–24). They are outside the “circle of salvation.” It is evident here that fellowship (koinōnia) is not simply a matter of love and hospitality (though for the Elder it is also that), but is primarily a matter of eternal life and death.[3]


1:3. John proclaimed what he knew about Jesus so that you also may have fellowship with us. Since John made it clear in 2:12–14 that the readers of this letter were already believers, he was not referring to the fellowship with other Christians that begins at salvation. Rather, he was referring to the ongoing fellowship of people who are already believers. They needed to be sure of who Jesus was and of their salvation. If they doubted their salvation, their fellowship with the Father and Son would be limited. If Christians are not in fellowship with God, they cannot be in full fellowship with other devout Christians. Christian-with-Christian fellowship is rooted in fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. Apparently, the false teachers had called into question the salvation of the readers, so John was reaffirming their faith.[4]


3. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

These are the points John communicates:

  • Emphasis

After the parenthetical comment, John resumes the thought of the first verse and repeats from the second verse the verb proclaim. John emphasizes proclaiming the message which he and the other apostles had received from the Lord. He builds his argument by repeating clauses from verse 1. But note that he reverses the verbs, for he says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard” (italics added). Also, this is the third time that he uses the verb to see. What is John saying?

By reiterating the same verbs, John seems to warn the readers against false doctrines that deny the human nature, physical appearance, and bodily resurrection of Jesus. John testifies that he has seen Jesus and has heard his voice. John wants his readers to know the core of the apostolic message: “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has appeared in human flesh.” As an eyewitness and earwitness, John is able to testify to the veracity of this message and proclaim what he has seen and heard.

  • Purpose

John states the purpose of his letter in this verse. Says he, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.” He states a parallel purpose near the end of his letter: “I write these things to you … so that you may know that you have eternal life” (5:13). The purpose is to invite the readers to the fellowship of the apostles who are eyewitnesses of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus.

The invitation serves two ends. First, John seeks to shield the readers from the doctrinal attacks of false teachers and to strengthen them spiritually within the fellowship of the apostles and disciples. When people have fellowship, they share their mutual gifts, goals, and goods (compare Acts 4:32–37). The apostles shared their spiritual gifts with members of the church. And second, John invites the readers of his epistle to join the eyewitnesses in their fellowship “with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

  • Focus

In the last part of verse 3, John reveals the focal point of his introduction: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This focus is significant, because in his epistle the name Christ is the official title of Jesus. Except for one instance (1:7), John always uses the combination Jesus Christ (rather than the terms Jesus or Christ) or the clause that Jesus is the Christ. He wants his readers to know that the human Jesus is indeed the heavenly Messiah, that is, the Christ.

John also considers the name Son significant. In his first epistle this is a key word. John emphasizes the basic confession of the church: “Jesus is the Son of God.” Throughout his epistle he mentions the fellowship of the believer with the Father and the Son (1:7), the redeeming work of the Son (1:7; 4:10), the mission of the Son (3:8), God’s testimony about the Son (5:9), the gift of the Son in terms of eternal life (5:11, 13), and last, the coming of the Son (5:20). Especially in chapter 5, John explains the significance of the word Son.[5]


1:3 The apostles did not keep this wonderful news as a secret, and neither should we. They realized that the basis of all fellowship is found here and so they declared it freely and fully. All who receive the testimony of the apostles have fellowship with the Father, with His Son Jesus Christ, and also with the apostles and all other believers. How wonderful that guilty sinners should ever be brought into fellowship with God the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ! And yet, that is the very truth which we have here.

His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus and Christ are one and the same Person, and that Person is the Son of God. Jesus is the name given to Him at birth, and therefore speaks of His perfect humanity. Christ is the name that speaks of Him as God’s Anointed One, the Messiah. Therefore, in the name Jesus Christ, we have a witness to His humanity and to His deity. Jesus Christ is very God of very God and very Man of very Man.[6]


3 Once again John speaks of what we have seen and heard. We should not overlook his emphasis on being an eyewitness nor the fact that this is linked with proclaim to you. It is impossible to make good sense of this if we think of we as meaning ‘we Christians’. It must mean only those believers who actually saw Jesus in the flesh. These proclaim what they saw to the rest of the church. Something of John’s aim follows: so that you also may have fellowship with us. He immediately goes on to speak of our fellowship as with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. The basic idea in fellowship (Gk. koinōnia) is that of possessing something in common, i.e. of partnership or sharing. It is often used of business affairs (cf. Lk. 5:10). Christian fellowship means sharing the common life in Christ through the Holy Spirit. It binds believers to one another, but the important thing is that it binds them also to God. We should not miss the fact that the fellowship is ongoing. The apostles had fellowship with Christ and thus with God. Then they brought others to believe and thus brought them into the same fellowship (a process which carries on to this day). The fellowship in question is fellowshipwith the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, early in the letter Jesus Christ is linked closely with the Father. One of John’s strong emphases is on the high place of Christ and he loses no time in bringing it forward.[7]


1:3. The objective John had in mind in writing about these significant realities was that you, the readers, may have fellowship with us, the apostles. Since he later, in 2:12–14, made it perfectly clear that he regarded the readers as genuine Christians, his goal was obviously not their conversions. It is an interpretive mistake of considerable moment to treat the term “fellowship” as though it meant little more than “to be a Christian.” The readers were already saved, but they needed this letter if they were to enjoy real fellowship with the apostolic circle to which the author belonged. In the final analysis that apostolic fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

Probably the false teachers denied that the readers possessed eternal life (see comments on 2:25; 5:13). If so, and if the readers would begin to doubt God’s guarantees on that point, their fellowship with the Father and the Son would be in jeopardy. This, of course, is not the same as saying that their salvation would be in jeopardy. As believers they could never lose the gift of life which God had given them (cf. John 4:14; 6:32, 37–40), but their fellowship depended on walking in the light (1 John 1:7). The danger to the readers was that they might be allured into darkness by the siren song of the antichrists. How seductive their godless appeal was emerges in this letter. John’s aim, therefore, was to furnish his readership with a necessary reaffirmation of the basic truths of their faith so that their fellowship with God would be sustained.[8]


That we may have fellowship (v. 3). This word fellowship is an important one in the vocabulary of a Christian. It simply means “to have in common.” As sinners, men have nothing in common with the holy God. But God in His grace sent Christ to have something in common with men. Christ took on Himself a human body and became a man. Then He went to the cross and took on that body the sins of the world (1 Peter 2:24). Because He paid the price for our sins, the way is open for God to forgive us and take us into His family. When we trust Christ, we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). The term translated “partakers” in Peter’s epistle is from the same Greek root that is translated “fellowship” in 1 John 1:3.

What a thrilling miracle! Jesus Christ took on Himself the nature of man that by faith we may receive the very nature of God!

A famous British writer was leaving Liverpool by ship. He noticed that the other passengers were waving to friends on the dock. He rushed down to the dock and stopped a little boy. “Would you wave to me if I paid you?” he asked the lad, and of course the boy agreed. The writer rushed back on board and leaned over the rail, glad for someone to wave to. And sure enough, there was the boy waving back to him!

A foolish story? Perhaps—but it reminds us that man hates loneliness. All of us want to be wanted. The life that is real helps to solve the basic problem of loneliness, for Christians have genuine fellowship with God and with one another. Jesus promised, “Lo, I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20). In his letter, John explains the secret of fellowship with God and with other Christians. This is the first purpose John mentions for the writing of his letter—the sharing of his experience of eternal life.[9]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 17–19). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 427–428). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Johnson, T. F. (2011). 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 26–27). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, p. 156). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 237–238). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2309). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Morris, L. L. (1994). 1 John. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1399). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[8] Walvoord, J. F., & Zuck, R. B., Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 883–884). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[9] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 476–477). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

January 30: Difficult Definitions

Genesis 47–48; Hebrews 11; Ecclesiastes 12:1–8

As an editor, I love definitions. The field of lexicography can be complex, but when a definition is finally solidified, there’s comfort to be found. It becomes something stable. This is also the reason I love the book of Hebrews: the author is keen on definitions, clarifying terminology, and using analogies to prove his points.

“Now faith is the realization of what is hoped for, the proof of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). In this succinct definition, I have perspective on the essence of faith. There is no room for doubt or error. The hope referred to is Jesus. And the proof is in an assurance that even though we cannot see Him, we have confidence in His work both presently and in the future.

The author goes on to say, “For by this [faith] the people of old were approved [by God]. By faith we understand the worlds were created by the word of God, in order that what is seen did not come into existence from what is visible.… By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to a place that he was going to receive for an inheritance, and he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb 11:2–3, 8).

Abraham, whose story is an exemplar of actions reflecting faith, shows us that belief is about hoping in God’s work in Christ. And in acting on that which He has promised but we are yet to see. That’s lexicography we can all depend upon.

How does this definition of faith (or belief) change your perspective on living a life that is faithful to Christ?

John D. Barry[1]


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