Daily Archives: February 25, 2018

February 25 Living in a Worthy Manner

“… so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (Col. 1:10).

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Your manner of life should be consistent with Christ’s.

In Colossians 1:9 Paul speaks of being controlled by the knowledge of God’s will. In verse 10 he speaks of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between those verses. When you are controlled by the knowledge of God’s will, you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

The Greek word translated “walk” means “to order one’s behavior.” It’s a common New Testament metaphor for one’s lifestyle. Paul made a similar plea to the Thessalonians: “so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12).

The thought of being worthy of the Lord might raise some eyebrows, because we usually relate worthiness to merit or something deserved. But that isn’t Paul’s point at all. The Greek word translated “worthy” in Colossians 1:10 speaks of something that weighs as much or carries the same value as something else. He isn’t saying we deserve Christ, but that our conduct should be consistent with His.

That is also Peter’s point in 1 Peter 2:21: “You have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” John said, “The one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). He added in 2 John 6, “Walk according to His commandments.” That’s how you demonstrate your love for Christ (John 14:15) and please Him in every respect.

As a word of encouragement, a worthy walk is not a walk of sinless perfection. That won’t happen until you are fully glorified. But each day you are growing in godliness as a result of the Spirit’s transforming work in you (2 Cor. 3:18). Be faithful to that process. Set your affections on Christ, look to His Word, and rejoice in the privilege of becoming more like Him today.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the power and guidance of His Spirit in your life. ✧ Be diligent to confess your sin when you stray from a worthy walk.

For Further Study: Read Ephesians 4:1–3 and Philippians 1:27–30. ✧ What specific attitudes are involved in a worthy walk? ✧ Does a worthy walk eliminate the possibility of suffering or persecution? Explain.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 68). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

FEBRUARY 25 THE EARLY DISCIPLES BURNED WITH AN INWARD FIRE

…In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

1 PETER 1:8

If there is any reality within the whole sphere of human experience that is by its very nature worthy to challenge the mind, charm the heart and bring the total life to a burning focus, it is the reality that revolves around the Person of Christ!

If He is who and what the Christian message declares Him to be, then the thought of Him should be the most stimulating to enter the human mind.

God dwells in a state of perpetual enthusiasm. He is delighted with all that is good and lovingly concerned about all that is wrong. No wonder the Spirit came at Pentecost as the sound of a rushing mighty wind and sat in tongues of fire on every forehead. In so doing, He was acting as one of the Persons of the blessed Godhead.

Whatever else happened at Pentecost, one thing that cannot be missed was the sudden upsurging of moral enthusiasm. Those first disciples burned with a steady, inward fire. They were enthusiastic to the point of complete abandon!

But what do we find in our day? We find the contradictory situation of noisy, headlong religious activity carried on without moral energy or spiritual fervor! In the churches it is hard to find a believer whose blood count is normal and whose temperature is up to standard. We look in vain among the professed followers of Christ for the flush and excitement of the soul in love with God.

The low level of moral enthusiasm among us may have a significance far deeper than we are willing to believe![1]


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

Idols in the Temple of God

Mike Riccardi’s latest installment of a piece we recently posted entitled Idolatry, Demons, and Ecumenism is over at The Cripplegate. Discover how believers are considered “unequal” to unbelievers. Riccardi points out that all false religions are demonic; thus, all other religions, including Roman Catholicism, are incompatible with Christianity. He writes:

A long time ago, in a land far, far away, I began a series on whom the faithful Christian minister may legitimately partner with in ministry. First, I briefly surveyed the history of the ecumenical movement in order to vividly illustrate the terrible consequence of disobedience to Scripture on this matter. …

Then, I oriented us to the key text that answers this question, 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, and considered the context in which it comes. Next, I considered the main prohibition of text itself, and explored what it means for Christians to not be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers.

In the latest installment in this series, I considered how the text outlines precisely how believers are “unequal” to unbelievers. I mentioned that there were five fundamental differences between believers and unbelievers that Paul enumerates, and we looked at the first four in that post. Believers and unbelievers are governed by different rules of life, are subjects of different kingdoms, are ruled by different kings, and are possessed of different worldviews. Today, I’m aiming to pick up where I left off by delving into that fifth fundamental difference, which is, simply, that we worship different Gods. Paul concludes his series of rhetorical questions in verse 16 by asking: “What agreement has the temple of God with idols?”

Idols and Demons

There is an absolute incompatibility between God and idols. And that is because all false religion is demonic. In 1 Corinthians, Paul has taught us that idols don’t really exist: “We know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one” (1 Cor 8:4); “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No!” (1 Cor 10:19). Idols are no true gods, because there’s only one true God: Yahweh, the Triune God of Scripture.

“But,” he goes on, “the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God” (1 Cor 10:20). The fact that idols don’t exist doesn’t mean that there is no spiritual component to idolatry. Scripture says the millions of false gods of the thousands of false religions in the world are actually demons. When Israel turned from the worship of Yahweh and committed idolatry by making sacrifices to the gods of the nations, Scripture says they sacrificed to demons: “They sacrificed to demons who were not God, to gods whom they have not known, new gods who came lately, whom your fathers did not dread” (Deut 32:17). And so Paul warns of those professing Christians who will abandon the faith and embrace false religion, saying, “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1).

This means that every false religion in the world is not just wrong; it is demonic. Every made-up idol—every false god of every false religion—isn’t just not true; it is a demon. It is energized and powered by the kingdom of darkness that is ruled by Satan himself. And so there simply cannot be any agreement between the worship of these demons and the worship of the one true and living God.

Our Jealous God

That’s why, from the very beginning of Israel’s history, God speaks so severely about idolatry. The first two of the Ten Commandments are devoted to this: “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God” (Exod 20:3–5).

And to the second generation Moses says, “You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for Yahweh your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of Yahweh your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth” (Deut 6:14).

God is jealous for His own glory. He will not share the worship that He rightly deserves with demons! “I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images” (Isa 42:8).

Ear-Tingling Calamity

How serious is God about there being no possibility of agreement between the temple of God and idols? Consider a couple of examples with me. Second Kings 21 chronicles the wickedness of King Manasseh, who is perhaps the most evil king in Judah’s history. And his wickedness consisted chiefly in his idolatry. Verse 3 says, “He rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.” This is high-handed idolatry perpetrated by the king of Israel.

But it gets worse. Verse 4 says, “He built altars in the house of Yahweh, of which Yahweh had said, ‘In Jerusalem I will put My name.’” And verse 7: “Then he set the carved image of the Asherah that he had made, in the house of which Yahweh said to David and to his son Solomon, ‘In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever.’” In 1 Kings 8, when the temple is finally completed under Solomon, the cloud of God’s glory had filled the temple, declaring to the people that Yahweh would take up residence with them and dwell among them in His temple. Solomon calls the temple “the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall be there’” (1 Kgs 8:29). This is where God’s special presence dwells with His people. This is where His holy name dwells. And in the courts of that holy place, Manasseh builds altars to Baal, and to the sun and the stars. He brings a wood carving of Asherah into the very temple of Yahweh.

Now, how seriously does God take this? “Behold, I am bringing such calamity on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle” (2 Kgs 21:12). Verse 13: “I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.” And then this unthinkable statement in verse 14: “I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they will become as plunder and spoil to all their enemies; because they have done evil in My sight, and have been provoking Me to anger since the day their fathers came from Egypt, even to this day.”

“I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance.” That ought to make every last one of us tremble. There is no greater insult, no greater blasphemy, than to bring idols of demons into the holy temple of God, and, in adulterous fashion, worship them rather than Him as it were right in front of His face.  View article →

Check out Berean Research’s White Paper on Discernment

Source: Idols in the Temple of God

Phil Johnson’s claim that Brown is dangerous proving true – Brown publicly defames John MacArthur.

Recently, Brown publicly defamed John MacArthur in an attempt to stir up controversy and he used this opportunity to encourage people to buy his new book, ‘Playing with Holy Fire’. Not only that, he mischaracterized charismatic writer J. Lee Grady. You can watch the entire video here:

Source: Michael Brown, Dr. Brown Responds to Phil Johnson’s Strange Fire Message (Part 1), YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4fumR7UP_4, Published February 15. (Accessed Feb 16, 2018.)

Michael Brown capitalises on his audience’s ignorance to mischaracterize people. It’s a common tactic that cults and false apostles and prophets in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) cult use to make them look right and everyone else wrong. To expose his deceit in the above video, we’ve tracked down the articles Brown refuses to source in his video:

  1. Phil Johnson, Sermon: ‘Is There a Baby in the Bathwater?’,
    Transcript: http://thecripplegate.com/strange-fire-is-there-a-baby-in-the-bathwater-phil-johnson/,
    Published October 17, 2013. (Accessed Feb 16, 2018.) [Archive]
  2. Lee Grady, What Happened…

View original post 1,734 more words

February 25, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Death of Christ

this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (2:23)

Peter’s emphatic use of the phrase this Man brings out the stark contrast between his hearers’ evaluation of Jesus and God’s. The very One whom God had honored as Messiah, they had rejected and crucified.

In this verse Peter answers an objection that would arise in the minds of his listeners. If Jesus was the Messiah, why was He a victim? Why did He not use His power to avoid the cross? Peter’s reply to this unspoken objection is that Jesus was no victim (John 10:17–18; 19:10–11); rather, He was delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.

Ekdotos (delivered up) appears only here in the New Testament. It describes those surrendered to their enemies, or betrayed. God gave His Son to be the Savior of the world, which entailed delivering Him to His enemies. By the design of God, Jesus was betrayed by Judas into the hands of the Jewish leaders, who handed Him over to the Romans for execution.

Predetermined is from horizō, from which we get our English word “horizon.” It means “to mark out with a boundary,” or “to determine.” Plan is from boulomai and refers to God’s will, design, or purpose. Taken together they indicate that Jesus Christ was delivered to death because God planned and ordained it (Acts 4:27–28; 13:27–29) from all eternity (2 Tim. 1:9; Rev. 13:8).

Foreknowledge translates prognōsis, an important and often misunderstood New Testament word. It means far more than knowing beforehand what will happen. Significantly, the word appears here in the instrumental dative case. That shows that it was the means by which Christ’s deliverance to His enemies took place. Yet, mere knowledge cannot perform such an act. Foreordination can act, however, and that is the New Testament meaning of prognōsis:

Proginoskein and prognōsis in the New Testament … do not denote simple intellectual foresight or prescience, the mere taking knowledge of something beforehand, but rather a selective knowledge which regards one with favor and makes one an object of love, and thus approaches the idea of foreordination, Acts 2:23 (comp. 4:28); Rom. 8:29; 11:2; 1 Peter 1:2. These passages simply lose their meaning, if the words be taken in the sense of simply taking knowledge of one in advance, for God foreknows all men in that sense. Even Arminians feel constrained to give the words a more determinative meaning, namely, to foreknow one with absolute assurance in a certain state or condition. This includes the absolute certainty of that future state, and for that very reason comes very close to the idea of predestination. (L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976], 112)

The idea that God saw in advance that Israel would reject and crucify Christ and worked that into His eternal plan is a implicit denial both of His sovereignty and omniscience (cf. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 68).

Peter strongly emphasizes the point that Jesus was delivered to death by God’s eternal plan. That being the case, His death in no way contradicted His messianic claims.

That Jesus Christ was delivered to death by God’s predetermined plan, however, does not absolve those who put Him to death of their guilt. Peter goes on to indict them because they nailed Jesus to a cross … and put Him to death. They were the instigators of Jesus’ execution, which by the hands of godless (literally, “lawless”) Romans was carried out.

God used evil men to accomplish His purpose, yet never violated their will or removed their culpability by doing so. Peter thus presents the total sovereignty of God alongside the complete responsibility of man. That apparently paradoxical truth is affirmed throughout Scripture and is illustrated in Luke 22:22. Speaking of His betrayer there, our Lord said, “The Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man through whom He is betrayed!” Men are responsible not for God’s plans but for their own sins.

The heinous sin of rejecting Jesus Christ was the blackest moment in Israel’s history. Far from casting doubt on His messianic credentials, however, that betrayal was part of God’s eternal plan. And though Peter does not develop the thought here, the Old Testament clearly teaches that Messiah had to die (cf. Ps. 22; Isa. 53). The death of Jesus Christ, no less than His life, confirmed that He was the Messiah.[1]


23 The death of Jesus is presented as resulting from the interplay of divine necessity and human freedom. Nowhere in the NT is the paradox of a Christian understanding of history put more sharply than in this earliest proclamation of the death of Jesus the Messiah: God’s purpose and foreknowledge stand as the necessary factors behind whatever happens; yet whatever happens occurs through the instrumentality of wicked men expressing their own human freedom. It is a paradox without ready solution. To deny it, however, is to go counter to the plain teaching of Scripture (both OT and NT) and to ignore the testimony of personal experience. “With the help of wicked men” points to the Roman authorities who carried out what had been instigated by the Jewish authorities. Gentiles are frequently referred to in Jewish writings as “wicked” (e.g., Jub. 23:23–24) and “lawless” (e.g., Pss. Sol. 17:11, 18; cf. 1 Co 9:21), either because of their actual sins or simply because they did not possess the Mosaic law.[2]


2:23 / But there was more to God’s purpose for Jesus than the working of miracles. It was his set purpose that Jesus should die. When Jesus himself had first broached this subject with the disciples, they met it with revulsion (Mark 8:31f.). To them it was unthinkable that the Messiah should die. But with new insight (see disc. on 1:2; cf. John 16:13; 1 Pet. 1:10–12) Peter now understood that Jesus had to be handed over to the Jewish authorities and by them to the Romans (the wicked men of this verse, that is “lawless men,” Gentiles as seen through Jewish eyes). Jews and Romans alike were serving God’s purpose, though they were no less answerable for what they had done—the paradox of free will and predestination that confronts us constantly in this book (cf., e.g., 3:18; 4:28; 13:27). Peter’s reference to their nailing him to the cross may be compared with other vivid descriptions by him of the crucifixion (5:30 and 10:39), surely the language of one who had witnessed Jesus’ sufferings and on whose mind they had left a lasting impression (cf. 1 Pet. 5:1).[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1994). Acts (Vol. 1, pp. 62–64). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Longenecker, R. N. (2007). Acts. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 745). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Williams, D. J. (2011). Acts (pp. 50–51). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

FEBRUARY 25 “NOW IT IS THE LORD”

In Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us…sanctification.

1 Corinthians 1:30

Is it possible to become so enamored of God’s good gifts that we fail to worship Him, the Giver?

Dr. Albert B. Simpson, the founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, invited to preach in a Bible conference in England, discovered on his arrival that he was to follow two other Bible teachers. All three had been given the same topic, “Sanctification.”

From the pulpit, the first speaker made clear his position that sanctification means eradication—the old carnal nature is removed. The second, a suppressionist, advised: “Sit on the lid and keep the old nature down!”

Dr. Simpson in his turn quietly told his audience that he could only present Jesus Christ Himself as God’s answer.

“Jesus Christ is your Sanctifier, your all and in all! God wants you to get your eyes away from the gifts. He wants your gaze to be on the Giver—Christ Himself,” he said.

This is a wonderful word for those who would worship rightly:

Once it was the blessing;

Now it is the Lord!

Father, this morning I praise You for Your holy presence in my life. Glorify Yourself through me today.[1]


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

February 25 The Meaning and Necessity of Spiritual Hunger

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.—Matt. 5:6

The “hunger and thirst” Jesus speaks of here are far more intense than even strong physical pangs for food and drink, which come when we miss several meals. All true followers of Christ have a continuing hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will regularly long for holiness. Jesus’ analogy shows us that righteousness is necessary for spiritual life just as food and water are necessary for physical life.

But sadly, most people are by nature starved for spiritual life. The tendency of such unbelievers is to turn toward their physical appetites and the world’s ways rather than toward spiritual life (cf. Prov. 26:11; 2 Peter 2:22). Apart from divine revelation and the Spirit’s promptings, these people don’t recognize their spiritual needs or know what will truly satisfy them.

Seeking satisfaction for our spiritual hunger only in God and His gracious provision identifies us as members of His kingdom. Such people sincerely want their sin to be replaced with virtue and their disobedience with obedience.

The first three beatitudes are essentially negative and require costly and painful personal sacrifice to accomplish, even with the help of God’s Spirit. This fourth one, however, is more positive, coming about when we possess the other three. When we have put aside self and our enslavement to sin and turned to the Lord, we will have a genuine, growing desire for righteousness. The true Christian desires to obey God, even though he or she still struggles with unredeemed humanness (cf. Rom. 8:23).

ASK YOURSELF

What spiritual hungers are growling the loudest in your heart right now? When you have sought to satisfy them in disobedience or in any way other than God intends, what has always been the result? How do you intend to see them fed now?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 64). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

February 25 Praise for Answers

Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:16–17

When God answers prayers about a particular situation, we have the privilege of being a part of His work and of praising Him for it. When we don’t participate through prayer, we miss the opportunity to give Him glory.

Suppose someone came to a prayer meeting and said, “I’ve had the most wonderful thing happen: the lady I’ve been witnessing to has opened her heart to Christ. She is now a believer and is here with us tonight. Thank you for praying for her these last few months.” The people present can praise the Lord, especially those who had been praying for this woman’s conversion.

But there would also be some who, while offering praise, would not have felt a sense of being involved because they had not prayed for the lady. You need to be in on what God is doing so you can offer heartfelt praise.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 68). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

February 25, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Do Not Be Insecure

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2:13–14)

Paul’s fifth exhortation to eliminate fear of the future is to understand the great doctrine of salvation. With a few words, the apostle sweeps the reader across the vastness of God’s redemptive plan to affirm the believer’s security in that plan. Again, Paul’s intent is not pedagogical but pastoral. Those who reject the truth that believers are eternally secure cannot look forward with confident hope to Christ’s coming. To believe that Christians living in unconfessed sin when the Lord returns will go to hell can only engender dread and fear—especially since sinless perfection in this life is unattainable (1 Kings 8:46; Ps. 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; 1 John 1:8, 10).

But the Thessalonians did not need to fear they had lost or could lose their salvation, because God’s choice of them is irrevocable. Salvation began with God’s loving choice in eternity past and will continue until glorification in the future (Rom. 8:29–30). Jesus emphatically declared the utter impossibility that any of God’s elect should ever be lost:

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.… This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:37, 39–40, 44)

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:27–29)

That glorious truth caused Paul to always give thanks to God for the Thessalonians, knowing that they were brethren beloved by the Lord. In contrast to the unredeemed, who refuse to love and obey the truth, are those who willingly do both; in contrast to those whom God judges are those He redeems; in contrast to those who believe Satan’s lies are those who believe God’s truth; in contrast to those who follow Antichrist are those who follow Christ.

God’s work of salvation began with His sovereign, uninfluenced, undeserved love. That love was the basis for His election of believers (Eph. 1:4–5). God’s electing love is not conditioned on any merit in its recipients, as Moses reminded Israel: “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples” (Deut. 7:7).

Flowing out of God’s predetermined love is His sovereign choice of believers, whom He has chosen … from the beginning for salvation. God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4); He “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Tim. 1:9). The redeemed are those whose names were “written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain” (Rev. 13:8; cf. 17:8). For that reason, the New Testament commonly refers to believers as the “elect” (Matt. 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20, 22, 27; Luke 18:7; Rom. 8:33) or the “chosen” (Matt. 22:14; Rom. 11:7; Col. 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1).

The doctrine of God’s sovereign, elective love has several practical benefits. It crushes human pride (Titus 3:5), since God gets all the credit for salvation. It exalts God (Ps. 115:1), as He receives praise for His love. It produces joy (1 Peter 1:1–2, 6, 8), as believers rejoice in their salvation. It grants unimaginable privileges (Eph. 1:3). It promotes holiness in the lives of the elect (Col. 3:12–13). Finally, and most relevant to Paul’s purpose in this passage, it provides security (Phil. 1:6).

God’s sovereign election of believers becomes operative in their lives through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. Sanctification is the work of the Spirit that sets believers apart from sin to righteousness (cf. Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Peter 1:2). This miracle starts at salvation and includes a total transformation, so that the believer is born again (John 3:3–8) and becomes a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15). The sanctification that begins at regeneration does not, of course, mean that believers do not sin (see the discussion above). But it does ensure that those set apart from sin to God will lead lives of progressive sanctification, of increasing holiness toward Christlikeness (John 17:17; Rom. 6:1–22; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 5:16–25; Phil. 3:12; Col. 3:9–20; 1 Thess. 4:3–4; 5:23; 1 Peter 1:14–16; 1 John 3:4–10).

The human factor in God’s sovereign, loving election and regeneration is faith in the truth. Salvation is “by grace … through faith” (Eph. 2:8). It is those who “believe in the Lord Jesus [who] will be saved” (Acts 16:31). To the Romans Paul wrote, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom. 10:9–10). The truth that salvation is by faith in the true gospel permeates the New Testament (e.g., Mark 1:15; John 1:12; 3:15–16, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; Acts 10:43; Rom. 1:16; 1 Tim. 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 John 5:1). The Spirit regenerates those who hear and believe the truth by granting them repentance (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25) and the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8–9).

The next element in God’s redemptive plan reaches back chronologically before the third. The apostle’s declaration It was for this He called you through our gospel refers, as always in the New Testament epistles, to God’s effectual call of believers to salvation (e.g., Rom. 1:6, 7; 1 Cor. 1:2, 9, 24, 26; Gal. 1:6; Eph. 4:1, 4). The gracious call of the Holy Spirit is irresistible (Rom. 8:30); the gospel is not merely words and facts but “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16).

All of those gospel realities lead to the ultimate goal of God’s redemptive plan—that believers may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1:10, 12). That firm statement of the security of salvation reveals that God loved, chose, called, and transformed believers for the purpose of eternally reflecting the glory of Christ to them and through them (cf. 1 John 3:1–2; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:42–49; Phil. 3:21). Since no purpose of His can be thwarted (Job 42:2), nothing can separate believers from His saving love (Rom. 8:35–39).

Based on this sovereign scheme, there was no need for the Thessalonians to be insecure about their salvation, anxious about the Lord’s return, or fearful that they were in the Day of Judgment of the ungodly. They, like all believers, were not destined for judgment but for glory, for “God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).[1]


14 God has fulfilled his foreordained purpose by calling the chosen to this salvation “through our gospel.” The good news of divine truth conveyed through Paul’s preaching was the means God used to call these Thessalonian converts at a particular time. What God purposed in eternity was carried out in history, so that the future might bring them a share in “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God’s design was to make them adopted ones who participate in Christ’s glory at the parousia (cf. 1:10, 12). As God’s purchased possessions, they will receive this matchless privilege. They do not earn it or in any other way acquire it for themselves. It is accomplished solely by God, as is everything else referred to in this context (vv. 13–14).[2]


Effectual calling (v. 14)

‘Election’ is an objective reality: it is God making a choice, and God’s will is what matters. Election is his sovereign act in eternity past. ‘Calling’ is a subjective reality: it is personal; we respond to it and we hear it. It comes when we hear the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit (Jonah 2:9; 2 Peter 1:10). When the elect hear the gospel, it is accompanied with God’s grace to bring them to conversion. Election says that we are chosen in Christ from before the beginning of the world (Eph. 1:4); effectual calling, therefore, is the grace and power of God irresistibly drawing sinners to Christ (Rom. 8:30).

These are not abstract ideas; rather, they are very glorious and practical. There are two types of call found in the New Testament: the universal call and the effectual call. The truth of the universal call was demonstrated when the Saviour said, ‘For many are called, but few are chosen’ (Matt. 22:14). The effectual call comprise six things:

  • a summons (to the elect sinner) into fellowship with Christ (1 Cor. 1:26–27)
  • a call out of darkness into God’s light, new nationhood and special sonship (1 Peter 2:9–10)
  • a call into eternal life (Heb. 3:1)
  • a call to the ‘fight of faith’ (1 Tim. 6:12)
  • a call to holiness (1 Thes. 4:7)
  • a call to glorification (1 Peter 5:10; Rev. 19:9).

This powerful calling is the first initiatory act in the ordo salutis; by it we are summoned to faith in Christ and to repentance of our sins.

Glorification (v. 14)

Glorification is the final link in the chain of salvation (Rom. 8:30). Paul sees it as something flowing from the other essential elements in salvation, saying, ‘He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (v. 14). When the gospel is preached, the call to come to Christ is given. This phrase ‘the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ’ reminds the Thesssalonians that, apart from Jesus Christ, there is no salvation and no eternal life. The church has no splendour or beauty other than in its union with Jesus Christ. With him as its King, it will share in the glory of heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7–9).[3]


2:14 / In verse 13 Paul spoke of God’s purpose—“he chose you.” In this verse he speaks of the execution of that purpose—he called you, where the aorist tense looks back to the time when the missionaries first visited Thessalonica and the call of God was heard in what they said (cf. 1 Thess. 4:7 for another aorist of this verb and 1 Thess. 2:12, 5:24 for the present tense). To this refers to the matter of the previous verse, which can be summed up as salvation “by grace … through faith” (Eph. 2:8). The means of that salvation (dia with the gen.), in terms of making it known to those for whom it was intended, was through our gospel, i.e., the gospel given to Paul and his companions to preach. It was, of course, “the gospel of our Lord Jesus” as far as its content was concerned, and in terms of its origin, the gospel of God (see disc. on 1 Thess. 1:5). Earlier, God’s objective in making his choice was “for salvation” (2:13). Here that same goal is in terms of “obtaining” the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (eis peripoiēsin doxēs; see disc. on 1 Thess. 5:9 and note for “obtaining” and 1 Thess. 2:12 for glory; for the titles Lord and Christ see note on 1 Thess. 1:1). In part, that glory was manifested (John 1:14, cf. also 2 Cor. 4:4, 6), but its complete unveiling awaits Christ’s return (2 Thess. 1:10). At his return, our own salvation will be complete; in Christ we are already God’s children, “but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2002). 1 & 2 Thessalonians (pp. 285–288). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Thomas, R. L. (2006). 2 Thessalonians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 476). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] McNaughton, I. (2008). Opening up 2 Thessalonians (pp. 56–58). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Williams, D. J. (2011). 1 and 2 Thessalonians (p. 135). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

FEBRUARY 25 A RIGHT CONCEPTION OF GOD

For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods…. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

—Psalm 95:3, 6

The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God….

A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.

It is my opinion that the Christian conception of God current in these middle years of the twentieth century is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God and actually to constitute for professed believers something amounting to a moral calamity. KOH001, 003

Lord, establish in me a proper conception of You, our great King, that I will have a strong foundation for my life of faith. Amen.[1]


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