Daily Archives: March 6, 2018

March 6 Praying with Fervency

“I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Dan. 9:3).


The more you understand God’s holiness, the more you’ll recognize your own sinfulness.

People view prayer differently. For some it is a last resort after all human options have been exhausted: “All I can do now is pray for you!” Others liken it to a spiritual spare tire—something used only in the event of an emergency. Many who should thrive on prayer have been lulled into complacency by an affluent and godless society.

Daniel, however, saw prayer as an opportunity to express the passion and fervency of his heart to the God he loved and served. In Daniel 9:3 he says, “I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him.” That implies he set apart a specific time to devote to thoughtful, earnest, and fervent prayer. That is further supported by the way he prepared himself through fasting and donning sackcloth and ashes—symbols of humility and deep contrition over sin.

It might seem unusual for a man of Daniel’s spiritual stature to be overwhelmed by his sense of sin, but the closer one draws to God, the more aware he is of his sinfulness. We see that in Paul, who called himself the “foremost” of all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That might seem like a ridiculous statement to us, but Paul saw sin for what it was. So did Daniel.

The title “Lord God” in verse 3 emphasizes God’s sovereign rule over all things. Daniel knew that God had permitted the Babylonian Captivity and that He alone could deliver His people from it. Consequently, Daniel gave the Lord his undivided attention as he prayed and sought mercy for himself and his people.

Daniel’s fervency is a rebuke to much of the flippancy we hear in prayer today. It was profound because it was generated by God’s Word and grounded in His will.

James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (kjv). Be like Daniel—a righteous person who prays fervently with great effect.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to give you a greater sense of fervency in prayer. ✧ Be sensitive to any sin that might be hindering your prayers.

For Further Study: Read Luke 11:5–13. ✧ What parable did Jesus tell to illustrate the benefits of humble, persistent prayer? ✧ How did Jesus contrast earthly fathers with their Heavenly Father?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 78). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


…To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one LORD Jesus Christ, by whom are all things….


I do not mind telling you that I have always found Jesus Christ beckoning to me throughout the Scriptures. I am convinced that it was God’s design that we should find the divine Creator, Redeemer and Lord whenever we search the Scriptures.

The Son of God is described by almost every fair and worthy name in the creation. He is called the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings. He is called the Star that shone on Jacob. He is described as coming forth with His bride, clear as the moon. His Presence is likened unto the rain coming down upon the earth, bringing beauty and fruitfulness. He is pictured as the great sea and as the towering rock. He is likened to the strong cedars. A figure is used of Him as of a great eagle, going literally over the earth.

Where the person of Jesus Christ does not stand out tall and beautiful and commanding, as a pine tree against the sky, you will find Him behind the lattice, but stretching forth His hand. If He does not appear as the sun shining in His strength, He may be discerned in the reviving by the promised gentle rains.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was that One divinely commissioned to set forth the mystery and the majesty and the wonder and the glory of the Godhead throughout the universe. It is more than an accident that both the Old and New Testaments comb heaven and earth for figures of speech or simile to set forth the wonder and glory of God![1]

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

March 6, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump signaled that he’s open to talks with North Korea after Kim Jong Un’s regime told South Korean envoys that he is willing to consider giving up its nuclear weapons.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to extend a sweeping government overhaul that would give the Communist Party greater control over everything from financial services to manufacturing to entertainment in the world’s second-largest economy.

The European Union is preparing punitive tariffs on iconic U.S. brands produced in key Republican constituencies, raising political pressure on President Donald Trump to ditch his plan for taxing steel imports.

Vladimir Putin earned a rare rebuke on Monday from U.S. President Donald Trump, who called him “irresponsible” for showing off the weapons in a speech to Russia’s Federal Assembly last week that was laced with anti-American rhetoric ahead of March 18 presidential election.

Canada has the most to lose among Nafta partners if Donald Trump presses ahead with plans to slap steel and aluminum tariffs on his neighbors.

After the suspected poisoning of a Russian dissident over the weekend in western England, Britain says it’s considering tougher sanctions and perhaps a boycott of the soccer World Cup if the Kremlin is found to have played a role in the incident.

The Range Rover SV Coupe displayed Tuesday at the Geneva Auto Show is a two-door SUV that costs $295,000 and will be limited to 999 units made. Land Rover is calling it the world’s first full-size luxury SUV Coupe.

Traders and miners aren’t the only ones cashing in on the cryptocurrency boom. Digital-asset exchanges are emerging as one of the biggest winners with the top 10 generating as much $3 million in fees a day, or heading for more than $1 billion per year.

AP Top Stories

In response to a deadly Florida school shooting last month, the state’s Senate narrowly passed a bill Monday that would create new restrictions on rifle sales and allow some teachers to carry guns in schools.

A futuristic, ring-shaped hotel is currently being built above the Arctic Circle in Norway, designed to offer guests sweeping views of their stunning surroundings — glacier, and fjord included. When the Svart hotel opens in 2021, it will become what developers call “the world’s first energy positive hotel concept” built near the Arctic Circle. Along with consuming 85 percent less energy than a traditional hotel, it will also be self-sustaining and generate its own electricity.

A Russian military transport plane crashed in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 32 people on board, an incident that sharply raises the death toll from the Kremlin’s Syria operation.

Air strikes by Russia and a U.S.-led coalition killed civilians in Syria on a large scale last year, while the Assad government carried out unlawful chemical weapon attacks in rebel-held eastern Ghouta, U.N. war crimes investigators said on Tuesday.

A volcano in southern Japan that appeared in a James Bond film had its biggest eruption in years Tuesday, shooting smoke and ash thousands of feet into the sky and grounding dozens of flights at a nearby airport, officials said.

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Bin Salman arrived in Egypt on Sunday to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on his first public trip abroad since he became crown prince last year and purged the kingdom’s political and economic elite.

Nearly 500 protesters showed up to Michigan State University to rally against a speaking event for Richard Spencer, an avowed white supremacist.

A South Korean governor who was seen as a leading presidential contender resigned Tuesday after his secretary publicly accused him of raping her, making him the highest-profile South Korean man taken down by the #MeToo movement.

NASA just recently announced a new study based on 25 years of data from its satellites that suggests global sea level rises are speeding up. According to the agency, if the rate continues, sea levels could rise by 26 inches by the end of the 21st century.

Cambodia is considering the development of its own national cryptocurrency after being inspired by the launch of the Venezuelan Petro in February.

A senior Cuban official on Monday condemned Washington’s decision to make the withdrawal of 60 percent of the U.S. Embassy staff permanent in response to mysterious ailments affecting American diplomats.

SpaceX carried out the 50th launch of its signature Falcon 9 rocket early Tuesday, a swift ascent to a milestone which many aerospace giant’s take far longer to attain.


Medics in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area of Syria say they have been treating people with breathing problems after a suspected chlorine attack.

France plans to fix the legal age of sexual consent as 15, meaning sex with someone younger than that would be considered rape.

Police in Rwanda have arrested six pastors they accuse of being the “masterminds” behind a plot to defy a government order closing churches.


Skeptics are standing athwart the transgender movement, yelling stop, as a new study shows sex-reassignment surgeries are on the rise. The number of procedures, including the removal and construction of external genitalia, increased nearly fourfold from 2000 to 2014.

Wealthy people looking to fund new ventures are turning to their Rolexes and art collections as collateral for quick and easy loans from high-end pawn shops.

The Briefing — Tuesday, March 6, 2018

1) Election results in Italy send clear moral signal at the expense of the European political establishment

Wall Street Journal (Editors) –
The Italian Indecision

2) Why we better be careful about assuming it makes sense to jail those who offend us politically

Wall Street Journal (Mike Chase) –
Lock Her Up! Lock Him Up! They Could Lock You Up

3) Why a morally-sane society must consider all the ways in which we can protect our children

New York Times (David Leonhardt) –
Letting Teenagers Live

4) As fake video is on the rise, the task of separating truth from lie is increasingly complicated

New York Times (Kevin Roose) –
Here Come the Fake Videos, Too

News – 3/6/2018

With UN Exhibit, Israel Shows ‘3,000 Years of History Cannot be Denied’
The exhibit—a joint effort by the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, and the Israeli Mission to the United Nations—follows a series of resolutions passed by the international governing body denying Jewish ties to the city. Ambassadors, diplomats and senior U.N. officials have all been invited to view the exhibit, which presents authentic archaeological findings unearthed in Israel alongside replicas of other historical items that serve to illustrate the connection between the Jewish people and Israel’s capital.

House bill would codify U.S.-Israel MOU into law
Bipartisan bill would codify into law a 2016 memorandum of understanding guaranteeing Israel $38 billion in defense assistance. The bill was authored by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the chairwoman of the Middle East subcommittee, and Ted Deutch (D-FL), its ranking Democrat. Their senior positions in their respective House caucuses means the bill has a high chance of passage

3/5/18 Pizzagate Update
Kevin Halligen, the DC-based private investigator that linked John and Tony Podesta to three-year-old (now 14) Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in Portugal in 2007, was found dead in a pool of blood in his Surrey, England, mansion.

Increasing readiness, IDF extends training period for combat soldiers
For the first time since the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, the IDF will be increasing the length of training for combat soldiers from 13 to 17 consecutive weeks. “We need to look ahead and be ready,” said Brig.- Gen. Oded Basiok, the commander of the 162nd Division whose Givati and Nahal Brigade troops have been the first to start training under the new program implemented last week.

U.N. obstructs Israeli-Palestinian peace, US Ambassador Haley says
The United Nations discourages peace between Israelis and Palestinians by perpetuating an “illusion” that the existence of the Jewish state has caused the region’s conflicts, Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the UN, said on Monday. Speaking before the American Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference in Washington, Haley told the crowd that Israel “is not going away.” Realization of that at the UN is the key to ending Israel’s isolation there.

Peace ‘requires compromise,’ Pence says at AIPAC
A comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will require compromise from both sides, US Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday night. Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference— which he called the most “influential” Israel lobby in Washington— Pence said that administration officials were working to prepare Trump’s peace plan.

Kim Jong-un to meet S Korea leader at April summit
The leaders of North and South Korea are due to meet at a summit of the two countries next month, Seoul’s envoy has said after a rare trip to Pyongyang. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also said he was willing to talk to the US about getting rid of nuclear weapons, he said. There have been previous programmes to freeze nuclear weapons, but the North has failed to keep to its commitments.

Russian spy: Sergei Skripal collapsed alongside daughter
The woman found slumped on a shopping centre bench alongside a former Russian agent convicted of spying for Britain is his daughter, it has emerged. Yulia Skripal, in her 30s, and father Sergei, 66, are critically ill in hospital after being found unconscious in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Sunday. UK police are trying to find out what “unknown substance” harmed the pair.

The tyranny of algorithms is part of our lives: soon they could rate everything we do
For the past couple of years a big story about the future of China has been the focus of both fascination and horror. It is all about what the authorities in Beijing call “social credit”, and the kind of surveillance that is now within governments’ grasp… According to the documents, what is being developed will “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step”.

Democrats Have Direct Ties To Farrakhan
At least seven House Democrats are known to have direct ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite and racist who has called Jews “satanic” and said white people “deserve to die.”

Red Alert! Japan Preparing for War with China
The Japanese military only accounts for 1% of the country’s GDP. However, Japan is moving into war mode. Who are they preparing for? The answer is simple, they are preparing to fight China. Japan has taken the unprecedented move, in the modern era, of putting missile batteries  on the Island of Okinawa to counter a potential Chinese threat. The entire storyis contained in the following video.

Facebook Survey: ‘Should We Allow Men to Ask Children for Sexual Photos’
Facebook has apologized for a recent user survey which asked if pedophiles should be allowed to request sexual images from children on the social media platform.

Huge Waves Slam Into Puerto Rico, Force Evacuations
Waves nearly 30 feet (9 meters) high from a U.S. winter storm slammed into Puerto Rico on Monday, forcing authorities to evacuate dozens of families and close roads and schools across the U.S. territory.

FASCISM IN ACTION: Here is the Tech Giant Purge List of Prominent Conservative Websites
Tech Giants Google and Facebook are currently purging conservative content from Facebook and YouTube — They are hiding conservative stories on Google — They are shadow-banning conservative news on all social media.

Islamic Teacher Brainwashes Students To Launch Massive Terror Attacks In London
A British supporter of Islamic State was found guilty on Friday of trying to recruit children he was teaching into an“army” of jihadists to help carry out a wave of attacks across London.

Papua New Guinea earthquake: Island declares state of emergency after landslides kill 31 and bury whole towns
Papua New Guinea has declared a state of emergency across its remote and rugged highlands, after a deadly earthquake flattened provincial towns and buried hamlets under landslides, killing at least 31 people.

Saying ‘God Bless You’ When Someone Sneezes is Islamophobic, According to Librarians at a Massachusetts College
In the latest absurd news to come from liberal college campuses, a group of librarians at Simmons College in Boston have declared that saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes is Islamophobic.

Dick’s Now Purging Pro-Gun, Patriotic Merchandise
Dick’s Sporting Goods is moving beyond banning the sale of ‘assault rifles,’ ordering stores to purge items promoting the Second Amendment, patriotism and gun culture as well, according to employees.

Lawsuit claims 100,000 non-citizens illegally registered to vote in PA
More than 100,000 noncitizens are registered to vote in Pennsylvania alone, according to testimony submitted Monday in a lawsuit demanding the state come clean about the extent of its problems.

South Africa is running out of water, yet they rejected Israel’s help with their catastrophic problem because they hate the Jewish State
Water consumption is calculated daily in Capetown, as they are living in dire drought mode since their reservoir system has officially dried up. After three years of no rain, the country is on the verge of a water system shutdown, which would require residents to individually line up at town hall in order to receive their rationed water portion of 25 liters per day.

What Do You Think Would Have Happened To America If Hillary Clinton Had Won The Election?
As I travel up and down Idaho’s first congressional district, I frequently talk with voters about how we almost lost everything in November 2016.  When I ask what a Hillary Clinton presidency would have meant for this country, almost every single time I get a response like “it would have been over” or “we would have been finished”.

Just Like Vegas, Authorities are Hiding the Surveillance Footage of Parkland Shooting
In the weeks since the tragic shooting occurred in Parkland, Florida, we have learned that cops cowered outside instead of helping, the police and FBI were all warned on multiple occasions that the alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, told people he was going to shoot up the school, nearly two dozen people reported Cruz for death threats  and first responders were told to stand down. Now, we are finding out that the surveillance footage from the school — which the public has a right to see — is being deliberately kept secret by the Broward county sheriff — which many say is illegal.

RenewAmerica Newsletter

March 6, 2018
ALAN KEYES — “I went from VERY successful businessman, to top TV star…to president of the United States (on my first try),” Mr. Trump said, referring to his “Apprentice” TV show and his real-estate empire. “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius…and a very stable genius at that!” (“Trump…says he’s a very ‘stable genius'”)… (more)

March 6, 2018
BRYAN FISCHER — For the left, it’s all about the children. At least, that’s what they want you to think. But my assessment is that they simply use children to shamelessly advance their regressive agenda. They try to bludgeon us into silence by accusing us of hating children if we disagree with them…. (more)

March 5, 2018

BLOOMBERG — The jokes were mostly on Donald Trump on Saturday as he spent the evening with a few hundred of his least favorite people – – the Washington press corps – – at its annual Gridiron Dinner. The president, though, as the guest of honor, got the last laugh, and even thanked the media…. (more)

March 5, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The security clearance process has tied the Trump administration in knots – – and that is exactly what the bureaucrats running the White House personnel security office intended, said a lawyer who has been battling the office. The problem is a small group of career bureaucrats holed up in the Old Executive Office Building who turned security reviews into quicksand to ensnare President Trump’s team, said Sean M. Bigley, a federal security clearance lawyer who represents several senior administration officials caught up in the process…. (more)

March 4, 2018
ROBERT KNIGHT — One of the most memorable lines in the 1991 Bill Murray comedy “What about Bob?” was spoken by child actor Charlie Korsmo. As his frustrated father, an insufferably egotistic shrink played by Richard Dreyfuss, fails to get the kid, Siggy, to dive off a lakeside dock, the boy lurches away, blurting out, “With all the horror in the world, what difference does it make?”… (more)

March 4, 2018
YAHOO NEWS — The Florida Senate rejected a proposal to ban assault weapons, and voted for a measure to arm some teachers, weeks after 17 people were killed in the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. An amendment that would have banned assault weapons attached to a wider bill failed on Saturday in a largely party-line vote, in response to the Feb. 14 killing of 14 students and three faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Parkland…. (more)

March 4, 2018
NEWSMAX — Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who wrote the book claiming to have a “Conscience of a Conservative,” has rejected GOP President Donald Trump and refused to run again for the Senate, but reportedly admitted he keeps in touch with liberal former President Barack Obama…. (more)

March 4, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Two pieces of evidence that have come together prove anti-Trump dossier writer Christopher Steele was the key source for a Yahoo News story that the FBI cited to support its wiretap application. Identifying the source of that September 2016 article on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page has taken on added importance in recent weeks…. (more)

March 4, 2018

SATIRE — Here’s a spoof of Mitt Romney’s unreleased video that captured his first thoughts when he decided to run for the Senate from Utah……. (more)

March 3, 2018
Asks Sessions to respond to questions about whether protocols have changed

WORLDNETDAILY — The FBI’s decision to use the unverified “dossier” about President Trump in a top-secret spy court that authorized surveillance on the Trump campaign may have been a crime, according to a letter obtained by Fox News…. (more)

March 3, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — One of the stories for which the New York Times won a coveted George Polk Award was a Russia-Trump report that was repudiated by former FBI Director James Comey. The Times won the award on Feb. 20 for 12 stories it submitted on Donald Trump and his associates ties to Russia, according to a list provided by Polk to The Washington Times…. (more)

March 3, 2018
NEWSMAX — Former CIA Director John Brennan on Friday had harsh words for President Donald Trump, calling the president “unstable, inept, inexperienced, and also unethical,” The Hill reported…. (more)

March 3, 2018
BOB UNRUH — The far-left and terror-linked activists at the Southern Poverty Law Center have been handed a huge loss in their attempt to silence a state judge who dared to speak out in favor of traditional marriage. This week a federal court in Alabama issued a preliminary injunction allowing Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker to speak out on issues current under review in the state’s court system…. (more)

March 3, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — YouTube has tapped the Southern Poverty Law Center to help it police objectionable content, the Daily Caller reported this week. What a disaster. YouTube couldn’t have chosen a worse or less trustworthy partner…. (more)

March 3, 2018
BOB UNRUH — The Senate has confirmed Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee to be deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget. It’s true there are hundreds of such nominees in any presidential administration…. (more)

March 3, 2018
Hearing lawsuit by abortion provider against pro-life investigator

BOB UNRUH — The Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals has ordered Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation to formally respond to a petition asking the court to order the judge in a lawsuit they filed against a pro-life undercover videographer to step down because of his advocacy for the abortion groups…. (more)

March 3, 2018
WESLEY PRUDEN — The $64,000 question in Washington, still a lively speculation well into the second year of the Trump era, is whether Donald Trump with a little self-discipline could have accomplished more than he has, or whether a disciplined Donald could accomplish anything at all…. (more)

March 3, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — The Broward County Sheriff’s Office oversaw a training session led by one of its deputies to teach mosque-goers how to carry a concealed weapon. Sheriff Scott Israel officially oversaw the side job of Deputy Nezar Hamze, a Muslim American, as regional operations director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), according to documents obtained by National Review from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Israel had a representative sign for him on the form that gave Hamze permission to work for CAIR…. (more)

March 3, 2018
PAUL BEDARD — The more Americans hear liberal Hollywood actors lecturing them on gun control the more they support the Second Amendment, according to a pre-Oscars poll. Zogby Analytics found that when movie stars, who often have their own gun-toting security protecting them, slam access to guns, support for guns increases…. (more)

March 1, 2018
CLIFF KINCAID — Conservative activist Eugene Delgaudio tells a story of meeting Donald J. Trump and confronting him about his liberal past. Trump assured Delgaudio he has repudiated his past. But the old Trump was on display on Wednesday, when President Trump embraced Democratic Party gun control measures and insulted Republicans as tools of the NRA…. (more)

February 28, 2018
‘Will the mainstream media finally cover it?’
BOB UNRUH — Finally! Here’s proof that a campaign colluded with a foreign entity in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. Officials for the Democratic presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, who was defeated by Hillary Clinton, apparently with the help of the Democratic National Committee, have paid a $14,500 civil penalty for accepting illegal foreign help…. (more)

February 28, 2018
BYRON YORK — Republicans from President Trump down often declare that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. So far, Democrats have not been able to prove otherwise. But the most compelling piece of evidence cited by the president’s opponents is the June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., some key Trump campaign aides, and a group of Russians who came promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Much remains unknown about that meeting…. (more)

February 28, 2018

NEWSMAX — Thirteen Republican members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department…. (more)

February 28, 2018

FOX NEWS — White House communications director Hope Hicks, one of the president’s longest and most loyal advisers dating back to the beginning of his presidential campaign, said Wednesday she is resigning from the administration to explore new opportunities. “There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump,” Hicks said in a statement. “I wish the president and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.”… (more)

February 28, 2018
‘How many other government officials did this?’

BOB UNRUH — A prominent Washington watchdog is asking just how many Obama administration officials hid behind fake names while they worked for the U.S. government, after discovering that Loretta Lynch sometimes wasn’t Loretta Lynch – – for email purposes – – while she was attorney general. She was Elizabeth Carlisle…. (more)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Mar. 6, 2018

Hollywood’s Self-Inflicted Ratings Deflation Continues

With all the political hypocrisy, it’s no wonder Academy Awards viewership numbers dropped to a record low.

The Foundation

“In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will now and then peek out and show itself.” —Benjamin Franklin (1771)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: March 6

  • Stocks Rise as Trump Tariff Plan Faces Opposition (Read More)
  • North Korea Floats Scrapping Nukes, Opening Door to U.S. Talks (Read More)
  • Tariff Plan Creates Rift in the GOP (Read More)
  • Florida state Senate votes against arming most classroom teachers (Read More)
  • U.S. primaries start with Democratic push in Texas (Read More)
  • Stock Bulls in Trump Country Are Freaking Out Their Brokers (Read More)
  • Trump Facing ‘Dow Vigilantes’ in Stock Market Verdict on Tariffs (Read More)
  • Megabanks Get One Big Win in Senate Rollback Bill (Read More)
  • Fights erupt, 12 arrested ahead of white nationalist’s speech in Michigan (Read More)
  • Uber Spent $10.7 Billion in Nine Years. Does It Have Enough to Show for It? (Read More)
  • A Frenchman Demands $1.5 Million After Sexting His Assistant (Read More)
  • Kobe Steel CEO to Resign Over False-Data Scandal (Read More)
  • SpaceX Puts Satellite in Orbit as Florida Sleeps (Read More)
  • Does America Really Need Another Light Beer? Corona Thinks So (Read More)
  • OPEC Beware: Asia Favoring U.S. Shale Oil (Read More)
  • CVS Readies $44 Billion Bond Sale (Read More)
  • New Powers Come With Pressure for Europe’s Central Bank (Read More)

Headlines – 3/6/2018

Trump Meets Netanyahu: ‘If Palestinians Don’t Return to Table, There Won’t Be Peace’

Is Trump the last hope for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord?

Trump’s peace plan – If true, the devil will be wrapped around the details

Any 2-state peace plan rewards Palestinian Arab terror

Haley to AIPAC: Our push to end UN anti-Israel bias is really a demand for peace

Haley: Israel getting ‘bullied’ by the UN

Abbas: Trump’s plan was coordinated with Israel

Netanyahu: I’ve not been presented with US peace plan yet

‘AIPAC falsely claims Israel supports two-state option,’ right says

Netanyahu says he told Trump Israel doesn’t want to rule over the Palestinians

In AIPAC debut, Gabbay slams settlements, touts demilitarized Palestinian state

Israeli ministers address pro-settler event on AIPAC sidelines: ‘Israel can’t survive’ without settlements

Trump says he could come to Jerusalem in May for embassy opening

Palestinians pan Guatemala’s ‘dangerous and provocative’ embassy move

Top Netanyahu ex-adviser said poised to turn new state’s witness in Bezeq probe

Rivlin urges dialogue to defuse coalition crisis over draft law

Netanyahu: No reason to head to early elections over draft law

Liberman blasts ultra-Orthodox draft bills as ‘parody’

Jewish Home ministers accuse Netanyahu of manufacturing ‘fake’ coalition crisis

Netanyahu: Saudi Arabia now allowing Air India to fly across territory to Israel

Air India denies getting approval for flights to Israel over Saudi Arabia

General: Gaza conditions won’t improve until Hamas returns captive Israelis

Gaza on the brink of explosion, Hamas warns

Mike Pence at AIPAC: We’ll support Israel if it’s attacked by Iran – ‘dangerous provocations won’t go unchecked’

Pence at AIPAC vows Iran nuke deal to end ‘immediately’ if not fixed

Collapse of Iran nuclear deal would be ‘great loss’, IAEA tells Trump

Iran says its missiles pose no threat to any country, are defensive

Iran’s foreign minister accuses Europe of appeasing Trump

Bennett warns against Arab countries becoming nuclear

Saudi, Egypt agree to develop lands in southern Sinai for mega-city project

Egypt president’s opponent organizes rally, no one shows up

Egypt’s crackdown on media sparks conservative backlash

Syria war: Aid enters Eastern Ghouta despite air strikes

ISIS Suspects Planning to Attack U.S. Embassy Arrested And More ‘Terrorists’ Killed in Turkey

ISIS Focuses on U.S. Embassy Attacks, Kidnappings of Westerners

‘The time for reconciliation is over’: South Africa votes to confiscate white-owned land

North Korea leader wants to advance Korea ties, makes agreement with South

Report: Moscow says US trying to interfere in Russian election

‘Death penalty’ for anyone interfering in Russian election, Moscow lawmaker warns

Fear, confusion over integrity of U.S. election systems at all-time high ahead of midterms

Ex-Trump Campaign Aide Vows To Fight Mueller Subpoena In TV Tirades

Ex-Trump aide backs off defiant vow to avoid Russia probe subpoena

Argentina ex-leader Kirchner to be tried over bombing cover-up in 1994 terror attack on Jewish center that killed 85

Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor: TSA put me through “demeaning” body search

Passengers restrain woman ranting ‘I am God’ trying to open cabin door mid-flight

NRA Memberships Surge in Wake of Anti-NRA Protests, ‘Media Bias’

Jewish students march for their lives to advance stricter gun control laws

Israeli tech can unlock any phone

Seriously? Facebook Flags Christian Satire Site as ‘Fake News’

Facebook says asking users about condoning pedophilia ‘was a mistake’

AI reconstructs whatever you see just by reading a brain scan

The tyranny of algorithms is part of our lives: soon they could rate everything we do

Tech is turning millennials into a generation of hunchbacks

Flippy the Burger Flipping Robot Is Now Cooking at the CaliBurger Fast Food Chain

Republicans ‘extremely worried’ by Trump’s metal tariffs plan

U.S. Will Be the World’s Largest Oil Producer by 2023, Says IEA

Drones are helping restore power in Puerto Rico

China’s Tiangong-1 space station will crash to Earth within weeks

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kiunga, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Mendi, Papua New Guinea

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 12,500ft

Kirishimayama volcano on Japan erupts to 12,000ft

Tropical cyclone Dumazile triggers flooding in Madagascar

Heavy rainfall leads to extreme flooding in Queensland, Australia

UK on alert for flooding as rain and snowmelt trigger rising rivers

Northeast braces for 2nd storm in a week as other countries endure extreme weather

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ApostasyWatch Headlines Tuesday 3-6-17

Beware of Rabbi Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Robert Truelove – Why Most Evangelical Women Are Worthless

The Apostle Mary Magdalene — More Christo-Feminist Madness

Anne Graham Lotz Uses Numerology & Omen Interpretation to Liken Her Father to Moses

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Church Gives Away Five Cars at Grand Opening

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Hillsong music video displays creepy ghosts and bloody rain.

Pulpit & Pen’s News Division comments on the new Hillsong music clip ‘P.E.A.C.E.’ – P&P are ‘not sure exactly what ghosts and wiggling seductively in a bloodstorm has to do either with the song lyrics or Christianity’.

As bizarre as some of them can be, even Charismatics have found the new Hillsong music video to be bizarre. Charisma Mag described it as “trippy” and “featuring ghosts” and a “rainstorm of blood.” The lyrics to their new song, P.E.A.C.E., are – as they usually are – generic and meaningless, with only the vaguest reference to any Scripture. It is not however the doctrine-deaf lyrics of Hillsong that have people scratching their heads, but their odd and unsettling music video for the song.

You can watch it below.

In our post, Why Hillsong Music is Dangerous for Your Church, we explained that the doctrinally shallow and theologically deceptive mega church is…

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The Battle Every Christian Wages

Civil war is devastating.

Millions of refugees have fled their homes to escape it. Families, many of them Christian, have been surrounded by death and destruction for years [1]. Missile attacks come by surprise as terrorists target helpless villages. Local men, women, and children have no resources or weapons with which to fight back—

And after years of continuous assault, they are defeated, weary, and without hope. Christians in these war-torn regions are often forced to choose between corrupt dictators and violent rebel forces as new regimes are often just as wicked as the ones being overthrown.

For those of us living in Western societies, civil war is distant and seems unreal. Yet another war is being waged—the unseen spiritual battle for our souls, a cosmic conflict that’s more real than we may think.

Cosmic Conflict

Dr. Tony Evans describes our battle like this: “Spiritual warfare is the cosmic conflict waged in the invisible, spiritual realm but simultaneously fleshed out in the visible, physical realm…the root of the war is something you cannot see, but the effects of the war are clearly seen and felt.” [2]

The Bible describes the battle this way:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Some spiritual battles are physical. While we can’t claim that every challenge we face is an attack from Satan, some of his attacks cause seasons of illness or conflict. They did for Job who suffered great loss at Satan’s hand. Paul, too, was never relieved of his physical “thorn…in the flesh,” which he recognized as an ongoing attack by Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Other spiritual battles are fought in our minds. Satan tries to tempt us (1 Corinthians 7:5), outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:11), and present us with ideas, arguments, and explanations that are contrary to what God says (10:5). If you suffer from a heavy spirit of oppression and condemnation, you may be buying into a lie that God is not who he says he is and that you are not who God says you are. If so, you may be experiencing a spiritual battle.

How Spiritual Warfare Is Different

Though spiritual warfare is as real as the civil war faced by refugees, the Christian spiritual battle is different in a few important ways.

We are not to be taken by surprise.

The families in towns under attack never know what to expect. Terrorists target groups of Christians without warning, and families are often taken by surprise.

But we should not be caught off-guard when we face spiritual battles:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13, NIV)

Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. (1 John 3:13)

We’re not to drift through our days and months and years as though no battle is being fought. God prepares us for the battle by warning us that it’s coming.

We are not without resources.

Unlike villagers under attack, we have divine resources. Our weapons are much more powerful than any weapon used against us:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil….Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:11, 13)

Dr. Tony Evans has a wonderful illustration for this reality:

Not long ago I was walking in New York City when it began to rain. I had seen the weather report, so I had my umbrella ready. Several other people must have seen the report as well because they had their umbrellas too. But a good number of people didn’t have umbrellas, causing them to rush around, looking for some place to find cover. Needless to say, they became miserable as the cold rain drenched them. Being underneath an umbrella doesn’t stop the rain—it simply stops the rain from stopping you. The umbrella doesn’t still the storm. What the umbrella does is change the way in which the storm affects you. Standing firm in the armor of God doesn’t stop the spiritual warfare from raging. It stops it from defeating you.

We too can stand firm in the storm when we put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, gospel shoes, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation.

We hope in a trustworthy Commander.

We read stories of those who have fled their homes with nothing more than they could carry, only to find themselves rejected and living in squalor. No one defends them. Many have lost hope that life will ever get better.

Though we find ourselves in the midst of spiritual battles, we have a hope and a future because of Jesus Christ:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)

Our commander is trustworthy; the battle is won.

[God] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in [Jesus Christ]. (Colossians 2:15)

Though Satan and his army fight against God’s people, in Christ, God has the ultimate victory. The battle for our souls was waged at the cross, and when Christ resurrected, the battle was won—though we won’t see its final consummation until Jesus comes again to claim his people and do away with Satan once and for all (see Revelation 20 and 21).

All the sickness, conflict, and hardship that comes our way—every weapon used against us—becomes a “light momentary affliction” when we see it in light of the “eternal glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17), all because Jesus died for us.

Victorious in Christ

Imagine watching a suspenseful movie where you already know the good guys win. Or imagine facing a conflict at work where you already know the boss has your back and is going to defend you no matter what.

Now consider how you might respond to pain, heartbreak, conflict, and struggles if you grasped how God already knows the battles ahead and has secured the outcome.

  • Would you approach your daily conversations differently if you didn’t allow spiritual battles to take you by surprise? What about your battle against sin?
  • Would you be intentional about prayer and guard your thought-life if you trusted that God’s weapons were powerful enough to break down destructive patterns of thinking and other sins?

Will you allow the truth of God’s sovereignty and the hope of Christ’s resurrection to give you strength that far surpasses the struggles of today?

[1] World Vision, “Syrian refugee crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help” https://www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/syrian-refugee-crisis-facts [2] Evans, T. (2011). Victory in Spiritual Warfare: Outfitting Yourself for the Battle. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 14. [3] ibid., 149.
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Why Teenagers Are Becoming ‘Trans-curious’

(Joe Carter – The Gospel Coalition) “How is it possible young people are 329 percent more likely than adults to identify as transgender? How is it possible there are almost exactly as many teenagers who identify as transgender as there are adult men and women who identify as gay and lesbian? The only reasonable answer: the phenomenon is a social contagion driven by peers and pop culture, psychologists and pediatricians.”

The Story: A new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics finds many more teens than previously thought say they are transgender or identify themselves using other nontraditional gender terms.

The Background: In the United States, an estimated 0.6 percent of adults identify as transgender. Previous studies estimated the number was slightly higher for teens aged 13 to 17—0.7 percent.

But according to CBS News, this latest study estimates that nearly 3 percent of teens are transgender or gender nonconforming, meaning they don’t always self-identify as the sex they were assigned at birth. That includes kids who refer to themselves using neutral pronouns like “them” instead of “he” or “she.”

If these new estimates are correct, it means that young people are 329 percent more likely than adults to identify as transgender, and that there are almost as many transgender teens as there are adult men and women who identify as gay and lesbian.

What It Means: In Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1774 novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, the protagonist describes suicide as a heroic act and, as Matteo Savin says, “proof of the strength of human being, who, oppressed by life unhappiness, is eventually able to perform a last titanic action, just like people rising up against a tyrant.” In the novel, Werther kills himself, and in popular legend, this story led to an epidemic of suicides across Europe. In several countries, the novel was banned to prevent spreading its destructive influence.

Whether suicides increased in the 18th century because of Young Werther is debatable. But what is not in dispute is the Werther effect—that suicide is a social contagion, and than an increase in suicides tends to follow media coverage of suicides or is inspired by reading about suicides.

Copycat suicides are but one form of the phenomenon social science researchers have labeled social contagions—the thesis that attitudes, beliefs, and behavior can spread through populations as if they were somehow infectious. “Simple exposure sometimes appears to be a sufficient condition for social transmission to occur,” research psychologist Paul Marsden says. “This is the social contagion thesis; that sociocultural phenomena can spread through, and leap between, populations more like outbreaks of measles or chicken pox than through a process of rational choice.”

When we see a rapid increase in anomalous behaviors that were once limited to a small part of the population, it is likely due to social contagion. A prime example is the rise of bisexuality, especially among women. From 2006 to 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted surveys of Americans age 18 to 44 about the types of sexual experiences they have had, whether they are attracted to the same or opposite sex, and whether they identify as being straight, gay/lesbian or bisexual.  View article →   Disclaimer

Source: Why Teenagers Are Becoming ‘Trans-curious’

March 6, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. 13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Sa 13:12–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

13:13 The word translated fools is related to the word translated disgraceful thing in v. 12. he will not withhold me from you: While the Law forbade incestuous marriage (Lev. 18:11), this regulation may not always have been strictly observed. It is also possible that Tamar made this suggestion as a way of escaping her immediate danger, with no real thought to the possibility of marriage.[1]

13:12, 13 this disgraceful thing! Lit. “a wicked thing.” Tamar appealed to Amnon with 4 reasons that he should not rape her. First, it was an utterly deplored act in Israel because it violated the law of God (see Lv 18:11) and Tamar knew that such action could bring disharmony and bloodshed to the king’s family, as it did. my reproach. Second, as a fornicator, Tamar would be scorned as an object of reproach. Even though resistant to the evil crime perpetuated against her, Tamar would bear the stigma of one defiled. like one of the fools in Israel. Third, Amnon would be regarded by the people as a wicked fool, a God-rejecting man without principles who offended ordinary standards of morality, thereby jeopardizing Amnon’s right to the throne. the king … will not withhold me from you. Fourth, Tamar appealed to Amnon to fulfill his physical desire for her through marriage. She surely knew that such a marriage between half siblings was not allowed by the Mosaic law (Lv 18:9, 11; 20:17; Dt 27:22), but in the desperation of the moment, Tamar was seeking to escape the immediate situation.[2]

13:12–13such a thing is not done in Israel. Intercourse between brother and sister, even half brother and half sister, was forbidden in Lev. 18:9, and the stress on the outrageousness makes it seem likely that this prohibition was accepted at the time of David. he will not withhold me from you. Perhaps Tamar is saying that David would be willing to bend the rules, or perhaps she is just trying to escape.[3]

13:13my disgrace Tamar would be forever shamed and stigmatized by this act (compare Lev 21:14).

he will not withhold me It is not likely that their marriage would be allowed because it would be considered incest (Lev 20:17; Deut 27:22). She may be desperate for any way out of this situation and is saying whatever she needs to in order to convince Amnon to let her leave.[4]

13:13 he will not withold me from you. It is uncertain whether David would have allowed such a marriage (see Lev. 18:9, 11; 20:17; Deut. 27:22), or whether Tamar is simply trying every possible argument.[5]

13:13 Tamar also insisted the crime would shame both her and her brother. Tamar then suggested that Amnon speak to the king about marrying her first. Her suggestion, however, may have been a means to escape the situation; it is unlikely David would have granted Amnon’s request in violation of the Mosaic law (Lv 18:11; 20:17).[6]

[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 407). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (2 Sa 13:12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (pp. 562–563). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Sa 13:13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 444). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[6] Beyer, B. E. (2017). 2 Samuel. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 478). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


As he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled.

Acts 24:25

We who rejoice in the blessings that have come to us through the Savior need to bear in mind that the gospel is not good news only!

The message of the cross is good news indeed for the penitent, but to those who obey not the gospel, it carries an overtone of warning.

The Spirit’s ministry to the impenitent world is to tell of sin and righteousness and judgment. For sinners who want to cease being willful sinners and become obedient children of God, the gospel message is one of unqualified peace, but it is by its very nature also an arbiter of the future destinies of man.

Actually, the message of the gospel may be received in either of two ways: in word only without power, or in word with power.

The truth received in power shifts the bases of life from Adam to Christ—a new and different Spirit enters the personality and makes the believing man new in every department of his being!

Loving Father, thank You that You are a patient and loving God. I pray again for those in my community and around the world who do not know You. Will Your Spirit convict many of them today?[1]

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

40 Days to the Cross: Week Three – Tuesday

Confession: Psalm 38:10–15

My heart throbs violently, my strength leaves me;

and the light of my eyes, that also is not with me.

My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,

and my relatives stand afar off.

Those who seek my life lay snares as well,

and those intent on my harm speak threats.

They also plot deceit all day.

But as for me, like the deaf I cannot hear,

and I am like the mute who cannot open his mouth.

And so I am like a man who hears not,

and in whose mouth there are no retorts.

Rather for you I wait, O Yahweh.

You will answer, O Lord my God.

Reading: Mark 12:13–17

And they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to him so that they could catch him unawares in a statement. And when they came, they said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and you do not care what anyone thinks, because you do not regard the opinion of people but teach the way of God in truth. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” But because he knew their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius so that I can look at it!” So they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” And they said to him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to God the things of God!” And they were utterly amazed at him.


See their craftiness. They do not say, “Tell us what is good, what is expedient, what is lawful?” but, “What do you think?” They looked to this one object: to betray Him and to set Him at enmity with the rulers. And Mark declaring this—and more plainly discovering their self-will and their murderous disposition—affirms them to have said, “Should we pay [Caesar], or should we not?” (Mark 12:15 nrsv) They were breathing anger and travailing with a plot against Him, yet they feigned respect.

What did He say? “Why are you putting me to the test?” (Matt 22:18 nrsv). He talks with them with more than usual severity. Because their wickedness was now complete and manifest, He cuts deeper. He confounds and silences them by publishing their secret thoughts and making their intent clear to all.

He did these things to repulse their wickedness so that they might not suffer hurt in attempting the same things again. And yet their words were full of respect, for they both called Him Master, and bore witness to His truth and said He was no respecter of persons. Jesus, being God, was not deceived by these things. They also ought to have realized that the rebuke was not the result of conjecture, but a sign of His knowing their secret thoughts.

—John Chrysostom

Homilies of St. John Chrysostom


God knows all of your secret thoughts. What areas of your life do you need to give over to Him? How can you turn your worship back to Him in these areas?[1]

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 6 Significance of the Heart

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

Throughout Scripture the heart is used metaphorically to represent the inner person, the seat of motives and attitudes, the center of personality. But in Scripture it also includes the thinking process, particularly the will. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (kjv). The heart is the control center of the mind and will, as well as emotion.

Jesus said that it is in the inner person, in the core of our very being, that God requires purity. This was not a new truth but an old one long forgotten in ceremony and tradition. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life,” counseled the writer of Proverbs 4:23.

God has always been concerned above all else with the condition of a person’s heart. When the Lord called Saul to be Israel’s first king, “God changed his heart” (1 Sam. 10:9). Until then Saul had been handsome and athletic, but not much more. Soon the new king began to revert to his old heart patterns. He refused to live by the new heart God had given him.

Consequently, the Lord took the kingdom from Saul and gave it to David because David was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). David’s deepest desire was, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14). May that be your desire as well.


What are some things you’ve learned about your heart over the years? What motivates it to action? How trustworthy is it? Where does it usually like to lead you? When do its passions most vividly fire into flame? How inclined is it to purity?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 74). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

March 6 Called to Suffer

For to this [suffering] you were called.

1 Peter 2:21

Though today’s verse seems to point out that we are called to suffer, it actually refers back to the last part of verse 20, which says, “When you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.” When Christians endure suffering with patience, it pleases God.

That shouldn’t surprise us. Earlier in this chapter of First Peter, the apostle Peter states that Christians “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (v. 9). Our dark world resents and is often hostile toward those who represent the Lord Jesus Christ. That resentment and hostility may be felt at certain times and places more than others, but it is always there to some extent as a part of the privilege of being His own.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 79). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

March 6, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Angelic Messengers

While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (24:4–7)

The women were standing in or just outside the tomb, shocked and perplexed because the body of Jesus was gone. Suddenly, they went from being puzzled to being terrified. As they stood there in the light of dawn trying to figure out what could have happened to the corpse, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing. Matthew (28:2) and John (20:12) identify them as angels, appearing in human form (cf. Gen. 18:2; 19:1–5; Dan. 10:16). Although there were two of them (perhaps as witnesses; cf. Deut. 19:15), only one spoke. Similarly, although there were two demon-possessed men at Gerasa (Matt. 8:28), only one spoke (Mark 5:2, 7; Luke 8:27–28), and while there were two blind men healed on the road near Jericho (Matt. 20:30), Mark (10:46) and Luke (18:35) mention only the one who spoke. Their dazzling clothing (cf. Matt. 17:2; Acts 1:10; Rev. 19:14) identified them as divine messengers. Understandably, the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground (cf. Luke 1:12; 2:9; Dan. 8:15–18; 10:9; Matt. 28:2–4; Acts 10:3–4; Rev. 22:8).

In a mild rebuke the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One, the one who is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25), the one over whom death no longer is master (Rom. 6:9), the one who was dead, but now is alive forevermore (Rev. 1:18) among the dead?” This angelic question is the first announcement that Jesus was alive. The angels went on to say, “He is not here, but He has risen” (lit., “been raised”; the Greek verb is in the passive voice [cf. Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 34, 37; Rom. 4:24–25; 6:4, 9; 7:4; 8:11, 34; 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:4, 12–20; 2 Cor. 4:14; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:10; 1 Peter 1:21]). “Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Matt. 16:21; 17:22–23; 20:17–19; 26:2; 27:63). Since Jesus had predicted His resurrection, they should have been expecting it. But they obviously did not, since they brought spices with which to anoint His dead body.[1]

4–5 Here (v. 4), as elsewhere (e.g., 1:29, 66; 2:19), Luke describes someone pondering a remarkable event. Luke speaks of “two men” rather than “an angel” (Mt 28:2) or “a young man” (Mk 16:5). For a writer to focus on just one person when another is also present is not unusual. (Both Mark and Luke single out one of the blind men at Jericho; see Mk 10:46; Lk 18:35; cf. Mt 20:30.) Luke’s mention of two men at the tomb seems consistent with his other references to witnesses to Jesus (cf. Simeon and Anna, 2:25–38; and esp. 24:48; cf. also the prominence of witnesses in Acts). Two witnesses are the minimum number for validation (Dt 17:6; 19:15; cf. E. G. Bode, The First Easter Morning [Rome: Biblical Institute, 1970], 60).

That Luke understands that the two “men” were angels is evident from what he says of them in v. 23. Moreover, he describes their clothes as “gleaming like lightning” (astraptousē, GK 848, v. 4)—terminology he applies to Jesus’ clothes at his transfiguration (9:29; cf. Ac 1:10, “two men dressed in white”). Luke alone tells us that not only were the women frightened (v. 5), but also that in their fear they bowed their faces to the ground. The response of fear in the presence of supernatural visitation occurs elsewhere in Luke (e.g., 1:12, 29 [though in Mary’s case not at the angel but at his message]; 2:9; 9:34).

The question “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” is important for two reasons: (1) “the living” (ton zōnta; only in Luke) stresses the factual aspect of the resurrection Luke also refers to in Acts 2:24—“it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him”; (2) more important, this entire question may be an allusion to Isaiah 8:19. While this has been noted by some (e.g., Bock, 2:1891), it is the wider context that is important for Luke. In Luke 2:34, the mention of “the falling and rising of many in Israel” is already an allusion to Isaiah 8:14–15. The significant Messianic promises in Isaiah 9:1–7 also resurface in the Lukan prologue (Lk 1:33, 79; 2:11). In the mind of Luke, Isaiah 8–9 points to the reversal of Israel’s fate when the expected Savior appears. In the reply of the two men (angels) here, one can therefore see the significance of the salvific event that had taken place as the OT promises are now fulfilled in the empty tomb.

6 What Luke gives us here is not in the other gospels: The angels show the meaning of the empty tomb by repeating the essence of the three passion predictions (9:22, 43–45; 18:31–33; cf. parallel passages in Matthew and Mark). They begin with the words “remember how he told you,” which imply that what the women should have understood earlier, the resurrection has now clarified. The third prediction (18:31–33) was followed by Luke’s statement that the saying was obscure, hidden from them (18:34; cf. 24:16). The resurrection is the time for revelation and understanding (see comments at v. 8 below).

Some believe the reference to “Galilee” is an alteration of the saying in Matthew 28:7 and Mark 16:7. There Galilee is the place where Jesus would later meet with the disciples; here it is where Jesus had given his passion predictions. Luke obviously centers attention on Jesus’ appearances in the vicinity of Jerusalem, the city of destiny in this gospel (e.g., 9:51; 13:32–35). His selective focus on Jerusalem is not, however, a major disagreement with the other Synoptics; nor does his different use of the word “Galilee” contradict theirs.[2]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2014). Luke 18–24 (pp. 410–411). Chicago, IL: 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, pp. 341–342). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

—Psalm 19:1

Consider why we think like we do in today’s society. We are participants in a new age—a scientific age, an atomic age, a space age. We have been conditioned by our sciences. No longer have we any great sense of wonder or appreciation for what God continues to do in His creation. Amid our complex engineering and technological accomplishments, it is difficult for us to look out on God’s world as we should.

As believers in God and in His plan for mankind, we must not yield to the philosophies that surround us. We have a God-given message to proclaim to our generation: The world was made by Almighty God. It bears the stamp of deity upon it and within it.

An architect leaves his stamp upon the great buildings he has designed. A notable artist leaves his mark and personality on his paintings. The same principle applies to the visible and invisible worlds. JMI050

Great Creator, Your stamp is so evident, yet I so often credit Your work to less noble sources. I bow in wonder and in worship before my Creator God. Amen.[1]

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

March 6 Cleansing Our Hands and Hearts

“Cleanse your hands … and purify your hearts.”

James 4:8


Clean hands and a pure heart will always characterize the humble.

Hands represent our behavior, the pattern of our outward actions. Scripture uses that symbol when it encourages people to abandon their sinful behavior: “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you, yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of bloodshed” (Isa. 1:15).

Today’s verse uses “hands” in reference to the Jewish ceremonial requirements. The priests were required to wash their hands before they entered the presence of God in the tabernacle and temple (Ex. 30:19–21). Therefore, a call to have clean hands was not just a strange figure of speech for James’s audience. As Jews, they would know that a person needed to go through a cleansing process and have a clean life if he wanted to be close to the Lord.

This cleansing process, however, includes more than correcting the outward behavior and lifestyle represented by the hands. The inward dimension of the heart must also be involved, which is why James 4:8 says, “Purify your hearts.” The heart is what’s inside a person—his thoughts, motives, and desires—the essence of his being. The apostle James is telling anyone who would be genuinely humble and want to be right with God that he must deal with his real self, the heart that is so corrupted and deceived by sin. The humble sinner will hear and obey words such as Ezekiel’s: “Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!” (Ezek. 18:31).

Clean hands and a pure heart are essential traits for anyone who would be counted among the humble. If you have not submitted yourself to God, you won’t have these traits, and you need to heed James’s commands. If you are one of the humble, you will want to maintain a close relationship with the Lord. For you, therefore, it is crucial to remember what the apostle John promises in 1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that all your thoughts and actions today would be pure and pleasing to the Lord.

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 55. What does it say about the transformed heart and life? ✧ Commit verses 6–7 to memory.[1]

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

March 5 Daily Help

BEHOLD the unpillared arch of heaven; see how it stretches its gigantic span; and yet it falleth not, though it is unpropped and unbuttressed. “He hangeth the world upon nothing.” What chain is it that bindeth up the stars, and keepeth them from falling? A Christian should be a second exhibition of God’s universe; his faith should be an unpillared confidence, resting on the past, and on the eternity to come, as the sure groundwork of its arch. His faith should be like the world, it should hang on nothing but the promise of God, needing nothing to uphold him but the right hand of his Father.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 68). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

March 5, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

Election by Christ

But you are a chosen race, (2:9a)

To underscore the contrasting eternal destinies of unbelievers and believers, Peter began this verse with a strong adversative, but. Unlike unbelievers who, because of their rejection of Christ, are destined for eternal destruction, believers are a chosen race. They are a spiritual people elect by God Himself.

The apostle again drew his terminology from an Old Testament passage:

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 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, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Deut. 7:6–9)

He identifies those who believe in Christ as chosen, just as God had chosen Israel for a special purpose within His redemptive plan (cf. Isa. 43:21). As discussed in chapter 1 of this volume, it is crucial for Christians to understand that their salvation is based on the sovereign, electing purposes of God. Scripture explicitly and implicitly makes that unmistakable (John 15:16; Acts 13:48; Rom. 9:13–16; 11:5; 1 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 1:3–5; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13–14; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2:10; Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:15); and election is the great privilege from which all other spiritual privileges derive.

Scripture suggests at least five superlatives related to God’s sovereign choice to save certain sinners. First, election is absolutely the solitary decision of God, thus it is the most pride-crushing truth in God’s Word. It devastates humans’ pride since nothing in their salvation derives from any merit in them—it is all of God (cf. Jonah 2:9; John 1:12–13; Eph. 2:8–9). Second, because election is totally by divine grace, it is the most God exalting doctrine (cf. Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:6–7; 2:7; 2 Thess. 2:13). Third, election is the most holiness-promoting doctrine. Because God set His love on believers before the world began, they should be consumed with gratitude and a passion to obey Him no matter what (cf. Deut. 11:13; Josh. 24:24; Rom. 6:17; 7:25). Fourth, because God’s election is eternal and unchangeable, it is the most strength-giving doctrine in the Bible. Therefore it affords believers genuine peace no matter what circumstances they face (cf. Ps. 85:8; John 14:27; 1 Cor. 14:33; Eph. 2:14–15; Col. 1:20; 3:15; 2 Thess. 3:16). Finally, election is the most joy-producing spiritual privilege because it is the surest hope believers have in the midst of a sinful world (cf. 1:21; Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:5, 23; 1 Thess. 5:8; Heb. 7:19).

Dominion with Christ

a royal priesthood, (2:9b)

Peter employed a remarkable symbol when he combined in one metaphor references to royalty and the priesthood. The concept of a royal priesthood comes from Exodus 19:6, where God through Moses told Israel, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The sad fact is, however, that Israel forfeited her privilege of priestly dominion because of her apostasy and rejection of the Messiah (cf. John 12:37–48; Rom. 10:16–21; 11:7–10; Heb. 3:16–19). But all those who believe in Jesus as Messiah and trust in Him alone for salvation receive the privilege of becoming royal priests (Rev. 5:10).

Two primary elements constitute the image of the royal priesthood. First, the priests serve the King by having access to His holy presence, into which they come offering spiritual sacrifices to Him (see the previous chapter of this volume), and second, the priests rule with the King in His kingdom.

Basileion (royal) generally describes a royal residence or palace (cf. Luke 7:25), but it can also refer to a sovereignty or monarchy. Peter used the term here to convey the general idea of royalty. The spiritual house he mentioned in verse 5 turns out to be a royal house, the dominion of a royal family. Believers are a ruling priesthood, literally “a royal house of priests.” The apostle John wrote, “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6; cf. Luke 22:29–30; Rev. 3:21).

The only one who can establish such a royal house is Jesus Christ. He is both King (Isa. 9:7; Zech. 9:9; Matt. 2:2; Luke 1:33; John 1:49; 12:12–15; 18:36–37; 19:19; Rev. 19:16) and Priest (Ps. 110:4; Heb. 4:15). The writer of Hebrews sets forth the uniqueness of Christ’s royal priesthood:

For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of Him, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb. 7:14–17; cf. Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:6; 6:20)

Melchizedek was the Old Testament model for the royal priest (Gen. 14:18–20) and he foreshadowed Christ, the ultimate and perfect royal priest. Like Melchizedek, He did not inherit the priesthood through the priestly line; rather God appointed Him as the sinless royal priest who transcended the Levitical system (Heb. 3:1–2; 5:4–5; 7:11, 14, 16; 8:1–2, 6), fulfilled the old covenant law (Ps. 40:7–8; Matt. 5:17–18; Heb. 10:11–14), and offered Himself as the new covenant sacrifice for sin (Matt. 20:28; John 1:29; Heb. 2:17; 7:27; 9:25–26; 10:12). Because salvation unites believers with Christ, they too become royal priests.

Christians’ privilege to rule with Christ includes some practical implications:

Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? (1 Cor. 6:1–4)

Since believers will rule with Christ in His kingdom, they must be sufficiently qualified—without secular assistance or oversight—to settle relatively small earthly disputes between themselves. Paul further said they will have dominion over those heavenly realms God assigns to them. No one, not even an angel, can stand between them and God.

All this is cause for unleashing a doxology. As believers contemplate all their spiritual privileges, from union with Christ to security in Him to dominion with Him, they ought to be transported into unbounded praise and worship. Anything less betrays sinful indifference to these great privileges.

Spiritual Privileges—Part 3: Separation to Christ, Possession by Christ, Illumination in Christ, Compassion from Christ, and Proclamation of Christ

(1 Peter 2:9c–10)

a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (2:9c–10)

The Gospel narratives repeatedly emphasize the cost of following Jesus Christ. In Luke 9:23–26, Jesus declared to all who would be His disciples,

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (cf. Matt. 5:19–20; 7:13–14, 21; John 6:53–58, 60)

The regenerate understand there are sacrifices and costs involved in living the Christian life. Jesus gave two analogies of discipleship that illustrate the necessity of assessing the cost:

Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. (Luke 14:27–33)

Various other passages in the epistles also emphasize the cost of discipleship (5:8–9; Rom. 12:1–2; 1 Cor. 9:24–27; Eph. 6:10–18; Phil. 3:7–14; 1 Tim. 6:11–12; 2 Tim. 2:1–10; Heb. 12:1–2, 7–11; James 1:21–25; 1 John 2:15–17; cf. Rom. 13:11–14; Gal. 6:1–2; Eph. 5:15–21).

However in 2:4–10 the apostle Peter looks not at the cost and duty of following Christ but at the rich kaleidoscope of spiritual privileges He gives to those who have embraced that cost. Peter holds the jewels of redemption to the light of God’s grace and reveals wonderful patterns of spiritual blessings that belong to all who are in Christ. The theme of spiritual privilege, from union with Christ to dominion with him, is a familiar New Testament emphasis. In Romans 9:22 Paul wrote that God wanted to demonstrate His wrath and display His power, thus He patiently endured the vessels of wrath (unbelievers). Verse 23 then explains the reason for God’s approach: “He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory.” God wanted to pour out on believers the riches of His glory (2 Cor. 4:6; cf. Eph. 1:12; Phil. 2:11), all the privileges that accompany salvation. Such spiritual riches are promised both now and in the future (cf. Rom. 11:12; Eph. 1:7–8; 2:7; 3:8, 16; Phil. 4:19).

As Peter concluded his survey of the glories of believers’ spiritual privileges, he listed five additional advantages Christians possess: separation to Christ, possession by Christ, illumination in Christ, compassion from Christ, and proclamation of Christ.

Separation to Christ

a holy nation (2:9c)

As noted in previous chapters of this volume, Peter continued to refer to the Old Testament in support of the privileges God has granted believers. Here he alludes to Exodus 19:6 (“you shall be to Me … a holy nation”) when he declares that believers are separated to Christ as a holy nation. The word nation translates ethnos, which means “people,” as an ethnic group (Luke 7:5; 23:2; John 11:48, 50–52; Acts 2:5; 10:22; Rev. 5:9). Holy (hagios) means “separate” or “set apart.” It was common in the Old Testament to call God’s covenant people a holy nation (cf. Lev. 19:2; 20:26; Deut. 7:6; Isa. 62:12). However, because of sin and unbelief Israel forfeited (Deut. 4:27; 28:64; Ezek. 16:59; Hos. 9:17; Zech. 7:14; Rom. 11:17, 20) her great privilege (Gen. 12:2–3; Deut. 33:29; Rom. 3:1–2; 9:4–5) of being God’s unique people. But what was a tragedy for Israel became a blessing for believing Gentiles (cf. Rom. 9–11). Israel will not enjoy again the privilege of being God’s holy people until the nation finally turns in faith to the Messiah (cf. Ezek. 36:25–31; Rom. 11:24, 26).

God sets apart believers primarily to have a relationship with Him, and service to Him flows out of that relationship. Various Scripture references indicate that at the new birth believers are set apart to God from the condemnation of sin and the world (cf. Ps. 4:3; Rom. 6:4–6; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 5:17; 6:17; 2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 2:11). Years earlier at the Jerusalem Council, Peter said this:

Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. (Acts 15:7–9; cf. Heb. 10:10, 14)

Thus sanctification (cleansing from sin) is inherently bound up in salvation (cf. 1 Cor. 1:30). And sanctification entails two important aspects: Christians’ position before God and their progressive, practical pattern of holy living. That is why earlier in his letter Peter could pronounce his readers holy (1:1–2) and yet in 1:16 urge them to be holy. In the positional aspect of sanctification, God recognizes believers as separated from the penalty of sin, but in the progressive and practical aspect of sanctification, He through the Holy Spirit assists them in living more and more holy lives, thus working out the reality of their position in their conduct (cf. Rom. 6:4; 8:1–2; Gal. 5:16–23; Eph. 4:20–24; Phil. 2:12–13; 1 Thess. 4:3).

The Acts narrative in several places reinforces the truth that sanctification is inseparable from justification. Paul told the Ephesian elders, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). The apostle identified the saved by the phrase “all those who are sanctified.” Likewise in his defense before Agrippa, Paul rehearsed part of what God had told him at his conversion on the Damascus Road, that He was sending him to the Gentiles “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). There again “sanctified” was used to describe all those whom God had forgiven and given heavenly inheritance.

Positional sanctification makes Christians a holy nation before God because His own righteousness is imputed to them. And practically, they are progressing in holiness by the work of the Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).

Possession by Christ

a people for God’s own possession, (2:9d)

At Sinai God promised the Israelites, “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall by My own possession among all the peoples” (Ex. 19:5; cf. Deut. 7:6–7; 14:2; 26:18; Mal. 3:17). Again, that foreshadowed the truth of Peter’s statement that Christians are now a people for God’s own possession.

The Greek term rendered possession (peripoiēsis) means “to purchase,” “to acquire for a price” (cf. Eph. 1:14). Believers belong to God because He bought them at the ultimate price (1:18–19; cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; Heb. 13:12; Rev. 5:9). As Paul reminded Titus, that price was “Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us [Christians] to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession” (Titus 2:13–14; cf. Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:20).

God sovereignly elected all who believe, and by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross paid the price to redeem them (2:24; 3:18; Rom. 3:25–26; 5:8–11; Col. 1:20–22; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 John 4:10), and the Holy Spirit brought them to new life through conviction of sin and faith in the Savior. Therefore all believers belong to the God who redeemed them.

One of the stanzas of George Wade Robinson’s nineteenth-century gospel song, “I Am His and He Is Mine,” expresses this privilege well:

His forever, only His—Who the Lord and me shall part? Ah, with what a rest of bliss Christ can fill the loving heart! Heav’n and earth may fade and flee, first-born light in gloom decline, but while God and I shall be, I am His and He is mine.

Illumination in Christ

who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (2:9f)

Throughout history, the unregenerate world has faced two kinds of darkness: intellectual and moral. Intellectual darkness is ignorance—the inability to see and know the truth, whereas moral darkness is immorality—the inability to see and do what is right (Ps. 58:3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7–8; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 4:17–19). The darkness Peter refers to here is the second type—the sinful state of unbelievers who are trapped in the spiritual darkness of Satan (Eph. 2:1–2; 2 Tim. 2:25–26; 1 John 5:19), the prince of darkness. Such moral darkness is pervasive in its scope and profound in its depth (Ps. 143:2; Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9–12). Unbelievers are children born in the darkness. They not only walk in the darkness, they love the darkness. According to Jesus,

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (John 3:19–20)

However, Peter reminded his readers that Christ had sovereignly, powerfully, and effectually called them out of darkness. Almost always in the epistles when kaleō (called) or the related words klēsis and klētos appear they indicate God’s effectual call to salvation (e.g., 1:15; 2:21; 5:10; Rom. 1:6–7; 8:28, 30; 9:24; 1 Cor. 1:9, 24; Gal. 1:6, 15; Eph. 4:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Peter 1:3; Jude 1). That saving call is a recurring theme, close to the apostle’s heart in this letter (cf. 1:1, 15; 2:21; 3:9; 5:10).

The positive side of Christ’s calling sinners out of darkness is that they are also thereby called into His marvelous light. Paul expressed this spiritual privilege to the Colossians: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). When believers receive Christ’s light, He illuminates their minds so they can discern the truth, and He changes their souls so they are able to apply it (cf. Ps. 119:105, 130; 1 Cor. 2:15–16; 2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Peter 1:19). They receive both the intellectual light of God’s truth and the righteous desires to obey it, neither of which they had before conversion.

Compassion from Christ

for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (2:10)

Peter drew an analogy from the prophet Hosea when he introduced the next spiritual privilege for believers, compassion from Christ:

Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.” When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.” Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and in the place where it is said to them, “You are not My people,” it will be said to them, “You are the sons of the living God.” (Hos. 1:6–10)

According to that passage, there was coming a time when the Jews would no longer receive God’s compassion. This was directly fulfilled in the judgment that came on the Northern Kingdom at the hands of the Assyrians (722 b.c.). But there will also be a future time (v. 10), during the Millennium, when He will have compassion on “the sons of Israel” and Judah in saving uncounted numbers of them (cf. Isa. 61:4–6; Jer. 16:14–15; Ezek. 37:20–22; Rom. 11:26–27).

In principle, Peter applied to the church—particularly to its Gentile members—the prophet’s words concerning the Jews (cf. Hos. 2:23; Rom. 9:22–26). As unbelievers, the Gentiles knew no compassion from Christ—they once were not a people. But now they had become the people of God, because they had received His mercy. Mercy is synonymous with compassion and essentially involves God’s sympathy with sinners’ misery and His withholding from them the just punishment for their sins.

Scripture discusses two kinds of divine mercy. First there is God’s general mercy (cf. Ps. 145:9; Lam. 3:22), which is evident in His providential to all creation (Pss. 36:7; 65:9–13; Matt. 5:44–45; Acts 14:14–17; 17:23–28; cf. Rom. 1:20). Common mercy displays God’s patient pity and forbearing compassion toward sinners (3:20; Pss. 86:15; 103:8; 2 Peter 3:9; cf. Luke 13:6–9) because He had every right, in view of their sin, to destroy them all. Instead, at the present time He mercifully chooses not to unleash all the disastrous consequences that humanity’s sinfulness deserves (cf. Gen. 9:8–11). But eventually God’s general mercy will expire and people will feel the full consequences of sin (Matt. 24:4–22; Rev. 6:7–8; 8:7–9:19; 14:14–19; 16:1–21; 18:1–24; 19:17–21; 20:7–15; cf. Gen. 6:3; Isa. 27:11; Jer. 44:22).

Second, there is the divine, saving mercy displayed toward the elect, which is the mercy Peter referred to. They receive not only God’s common mercy in this life, but also His saving mercy for the life to come (Dan. 7:18; John 14:2; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 2:7; 7:16–17; 21:1–7). The elect, although no more inherently deserving than anyone else, receive God’s forgiveness for their sins and His deliverance from eternal condemnation—all according to His sovereign and loving purposes (Rom. 8:28–30; Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2; cf. Ps. 65:4; Rom. 9:15–16; James 2:5).

Christ’s compassion, or mercy, for believers is a spiritual privilege that beggars language (cf. Pss. 57:10; 59:16–17; 103:11; 136:1–9). It rescues believers from judgment in hell and grants them an eternal inheritance in heaven (1:4; Ps. 37:18; Acts 20:32; 26:18; Eph. 1:11, 14, 18; Col. 1:12; 3:24; Heb. 9:15), which is why Paul called God “the Father of mercies” (2 Cor. 1:3; cf. Rom. 9:23; Titus 3:5). The words of one writer appropriately express how all Christians should feel toward such divine compassion:

When all Thy mercies, O my God,

My rising soul surveys,

Transported with the view I’m lost,

In wonder, love, and praise.

Proclamation of Christ

so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him (2:9e)

Finally, God has provided His kaleidoscope of spiritual privileges for believers for one overarching purpose: that they may proclaim the excellencies of Christ. There is no higher privilege than to be a herald for the gospel.

Proclaim (exangeilēte) is from a Greek word that appears only here in the New Testament. It means “to publish”, or “advertise” and to do so in the sense of telling something otherwise unknown. That which is generally unknown and which Peter encourages believers to publicize is the excellencies of Christ, the Savior. Excellencies (aretas) can imply the ability to perform powerful, heroic deeds. Contrary to what it might indicate in English, the term refers more to those kinds of actions than to some intrinsic royal attributes or qualities. Christians have the distinct privilege of telling the world that Christ has the power to accomplish the extraordinary work of redemption (Acts 1:8; 2:22; 4:20; 5:31–32; Rev. 15:3; cf. Pss. 66:3, 5, 16; 71:17; 73:28; 77:12, 14; 104:24; 107:22; 111:6–7; 118:17; 119:46; 145:4; John 5:36; 10:25 regarding God’s amazing acts).

For God to choose undeserving sinners as His representatives and use them to gather other sinners to Himself is a privilege beyond all expectation. It caused Paul to write:

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim. 1:12–17)[1]

9 Here Peter recapitulates, stringing together OT metaphors that remind the saints of God’s covenantal faithfulness and their basic identity. The saints are a “chosen people,” a “royal priesthood,” “a holy nation,” and a “people belonging to God” (cf. Ex 19:5–6; Dt 7:6; 10:15; 1 Sa 12:22; Isa 43:21; 62:2). As God’s “chosen” people, believers are reminded of and encouraged by the notion of covenant. The fact that God has entered into covenant with his people entails both privilege and obedience/obligation; the two go hand in hand.

A “royal priesthood” is best understood in the light of the LXX’s translation of Exodus 19:6, rendered “a kingdom of priests” in most versions. Michaels, 109, and Achtemeier, 165, understand this phrase as a priesthood that belongs to and acts in the service of the king. For Kelly, 96, the community is royal because the king dwells in her midst. Not insignificantly, in Revelation the saints are a “kingdom and priests” (1:6; 5:10), where “they will reign”; i.e., the saints are vindicated.

As a “holy nation,” the readers are reminded again that they are consecrated to God and thus set apart, in the sense of being different, from the world. They will resist conformity to the world because of their ultimate allegiance. Also, they are “a people belonging to God” and, consequently, have great value. Precisely why is it important to affirm basic Christian identity? What is the goal of the Christian community? It is “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” The church’s mission, simply put, is to witness to the splendor of moral transformation.[2]

2:9 / But you! With an almost audible sigh of relief, Peter turns away from contemplating the dark and inescapable lot of those who disobey God’s command to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), to consider the bright and very different prospect of believers.

Peter draws expressions from the Greek ot (lxx) which there are addressed to Israel as the people of God. The apostle is thus boldly claiming that privileged status on behalf of the Christian church of believers. It is they who are now the chosen people (genos eklekton), a phrase echoing Deuteronomy 14:2 lxx: “The Lord your God has chosen you to be his special property from all the nations on the face of the earth.”

In his opening greeting, Peter addressed his readers as “elect” (eklektois); the same Greek word is here translated chosen. Now Peter adds people, genos, a term denoting race and blood relationship, and involving the idea of hereditary privilege. It is a further reminder of the new birth (1:23), whereby Christians have been brought into the divine family and thus share in all that such a relationship means (2:4–7).

Furthermore, believers are a royal priesthood and a holy nation, phrases quoted from Exodus 19:6; 23:22 lxx, which promise such a standing before God to those who are loyal to his covenant. The priesthood here spoken of is one applying to all Peter’s readers, that is, to believers in general (not to a hierarchy of a select few set apart), as in verse 5, where Christian priestly duties have already been touched upon.

As members of a holy nation, all believers are set apart for God (the sense of holy), but without geographic boundaries or without being limited to particular cultures, ages, or ethnic groups. This is a worldwide, spiritual people belonging to God (laos eis peripoiēsin, lit. “a people for [his] possession,” language reminiscent of such verses as Exod. 19:5; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; Mal. 3:17). Peter probably has in mind Isaiah 43:21 lxx, since that verse also goes on to refer to God’s chosen people who are to tell forth his “praises” (aretas), the word used by Peter in the next clause: that you may declare the praises (aretas) of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

That you may declare the praises of him who called you indicates the purpose for which God has chosen his people: they are to proclaim his praises, aretas, excellencies (nasb), glorious deeds (reb), triumphs (neb). The translations seek to express aspects of the meaning of aretas, which include moral worth of the divine action in bringing about salvation and the resultant worship by those who recognize and respond to what God in Christ has done for them individually and collectively. While the declaration of such praises would include the proclaiming of God’s glory in preaching, the primary sense is of adoring worship by believers.

Peter reminds his readers that God has called them out of darkness, that is, they are called to leave the darkness due to their earlier ignorance of God (1:14), which had kept them not only from a knowledge of his character, but also from realizing the immense love he had for them and the great blessings he had in store for their eternal benefit.

The divine call is into his wonderful light. To Jews, light was a familiar image of Messiah’s kingdom and spoke of the presence and active leading of God (Exod. 13:21; 14:20; Num. 6:25; Ps. 104:2). Light is the unexpected third element that makes a trio with the themes of precious stones and priesthood in the present chapter.

The light of the divine presence is often associated in Scripture with precious stones (Ezek. 1:16, 26; 10:1; Rev. 4:3, 6; 21:18–26). Whatever may be the relationship of the stones listed in Revelation 21 with the twelve stones set in the high priest’s breastpiece (Exod. 28:17–20; 39:10–14), the same association of priesthood and precious stones occurs here and in verses 5 and 9.

One of the values of the precious stones in the high priest’s breastpiece was their ability to reflect light, and the light most readily associated in the Jewish mind in this context would be the light of the Shekinah, the divine presence.[3]

2:9–10. In the midst of a culture that stumbles over Jesus Christ, disobeys the message of Christ, and then persecutes any who embrace Christ, believers can easily become discouraged from continuing in the journey with Christ. The thought of further growing pains is certainly not attractive to everyone. So Peter laid out in ascending order some of the incredible spiritual riches that believers have in Christ. This encourages us and reminds us of the value God places on each of us. It also ties us to the Old Testament heritage of the people of God, since much of the language here comes from Exodus 19.

A chosen people emphasizes God’s loving initiative in bringing people to himself and allowing us to be a part of his church. A royal priesthood reminds us as believers that as priests we serve royalty. We have not landed a maid-service position. We are part of God’s “forever kingdom.” A holy nation emphasizes that God has set apart the church for his use and that individual believers have a valuable contribution to make to his church.

“A chosen people,” “a people belonging to God,” and “the people of God” emphasize God’s ownership in our lives. Throughout history God has claimed for himself his own people as his prized possession. Christians are a people for God to possess. A very ordinary thing acquires a new value if it has been possessed by some famous person.

Several years ago, an auction was held that focused on sports memorabilia. Dan Quayle’s little league uniform was up for grabs, as were Michael Jordan’s running shoes. Although in themselves these items were of little value, they were sold for incredible amounts of money simply because of who had owned them. Peter’s repeated emphasis with the term people is that as a believer I may be a very ordinary person, but I acquire an immense new value because I belong to God and am possessed by him.

All of this has come to us not because we deserve it or have somehow earned it but because of God’s mercy. The people who first read Peter’s letter had lived without God and Christ for a long time. During that time they had tried through many ways to obtain mercy for themselves, but had failed. In coming by faith to Christ, they received the mercy that so long had eluded them. God’s mercy came to them in tangible form, bringing the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life.

The New Testament is consistent in suggesting that these kinds of benefits—extended to us through the mercy of God—are not only to be received with gratitude but are to motivate each believer to testify verbally on behalf of God and Christ. Verse 9 contains a purpose statement that describes our response. We are to declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.Declare means “to advertise, to proclaim.” A very literal rendering of the verb would be “to tell out or tell forth.” This suggests we should give a high priority to verbal declarations.

The word is used in other contexts to describe the rehearsing in adoring language of God’s righteousness and praises. The praises of God or Christ is a word picture for his character. One translator suggested that “praises” means his “excellent attributes.” The Christian is to be an instrument that publicizes the attributes and character of God.

According to Grudem,

The answer to our search for ultimate meaning lies in declaring the excellencies of God, for he alone is worthy of glory. Salvation is ultimately not man-centered, but God-centered. To declare God’s excellencies is to speak of all he is and has done … This purpose is too often thwarted by our silence or pride, but even brief associations with a Christian whose speech fulfills this purpose invariably refreshes our spirits (Grudem, 112).[4]

9. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

The contrast is evident; the term but marks the difference between disobedient unbelievers and God’s chosen people. In ascending order, Peter enumerates the glorious riches of the believers in terms that approach incredulity. From the Greek we learn that he addresses them personally and emphatically with the plural pronoun you. How does Peter describe the believers? Here are the words:

  • “A chosen people.” Peter writes to people who lived before the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. Himself a Jew, Peter addresses numerous Jewish Christians and Christians of Gentile descent. Moreover, he speaks to all believers of every age and place who read his epistle. Fully acquainted with the Old Testament, Peter applies its wording to his readers because he views them as God’s chosen people. He borrows from the prophecy of Isaiah, who records the words of the Lord: “My people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise” (Isa. 43:20–21). Peter, then, views the believers as the body of Christ, that is, the church.

Other translations have the term race instead of “people.” Members of a race have a common ancestor and through that ancestor are related to one another. For instance, Abraham is the father of the Jewish race. Christians through Jesus Christ call God their Father, and they are related to each other as brothers and sisters. Furthermore, because Jesus has been chosen by God (vv. 4, 6), they also are designated God’s chosen people (see 1:1; compare Deut. 10:15; 1 Sam. 12:22).

  • “A royal priesthood.” Peter continues to describe the glorious riches the believers possess. He calls them “a royal priesthood.” In verse 5 he speaks of a holy priesthood, a phrase which is meaningful in the light of the command to be holy (1:15–16). The descriptive adjective royal, however, adds the dimension of kingdom and king. In the kingdom of priests (compare Exod. 19:6), there is a king. In fact, the Messiah is both priest and king, as Zechariah prophesied: “He will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne” (6:13; also see Heb. 7:14–17; Rev. 1:5–6). Whereas Zechariah prophetically portrays the Messiah as the royal priest, Peter reveals that believers are priests in a royal priesthood.
  • “A holy nation.” Again Peter relies on Old Testament phraseology. He borrows the language of Exodus 19:6 (also see Deut. 7:6; Isa. 62:12). Peter resorts to using national and political terminology, but wants his readers to understand these terms in a nonpolitical manner.37 For this reason he qualifies the word nation with the adjective holy.

A nation consists of citizens who reside in a given locale, obey rules and regulations, and strive for the well-being of their society. Citizens of a “holy nation,” however, have common characteristics through Jesus Christ. Peter portrays God’s people as a holy nation, which means that the citizens have been set apart for service to God.

  • “A people belonging to God.” Throughout the ages God has claimed for himself his own people (see Mal. 3:17; Acts 20:28; Titus 2:14). These people, who differ from the nations of the world, are his prized possession. They are independent of nationalistic ties because they have a special relationship to God. They belong to God, who has bought them with the blood of Jesus Christ.
  • “Declare the praises.” Peter points to the task of God’s special people. As a skilled pastor, Peter addresses his readers personally. He says, “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (compare Isa. 43:21). Everywhere they should vocally proclaim God’s praiseworthy virtues, deeds, power, glory, wisdom, grace, mercy, love, and holiness. By their conduct, they must testify that they are children of the light and not of darkness (Acts 26:18; 1 Thess. 5:4).

Peter implies that in earlier days his readers lived in spiritual darkness. God called them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and redeemed them from the powers of darkness. Through the gospel of Christ, God called them into the kingdom of his Son (Col. 1:13).[5]

2:9 Peter now turns again to the privileges of believers. They are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special people. God had promised these very privileges to the nation of Israel if they would obey Him:

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex. 19:5, 6a).

Because of unbelief Israel failed to realize the promise of God, and the nation forfeited its place as God’s own people. During the present age, the church occupies the favored place that Israel lost through disobedience.

Believers today are a chosen generation, chosen by God before the foundation of the world to belong to Christ (Eph. 1:4). But instead of being an earthly race with common ancestry and distinct physical characteristics, Christians are a heavenly people with a divine parentage and spiritual resemblances.

Believers are also a royal priesthood. This is the second priesthood mentioned in this chapter. In verse 5, believers are described as holy priests, offering up spiritual sacrifices. Now they are said to be royal priests, proclaiming the excellencies of God. As holy priests, they enter the sanctuary of heaven by faith to worship. As royal priests, they go out into the world to witness. This difference in priesthood is illustrated by the imprisonment of Paul and Silas at Philippi. As holy priests they sang praises to God at midnight; as royal priests they preached the gospel to their jailor (Acts 16:25, 31).

Believers are a holy nation. It was God’s intention that Israel should be a nation distinguished by holiness. But the Israelites stooped to the sinful practices of their Gentile neighbors. So Israel has been set aside temporarily and the church is now God’s holy nation.

Finally, Christians are a people for God’s own possession. They belong to Him in a unique way and are of special value to Him.

The last part of verse 9 describes the responsibility of those who are God’s new race, priesthood, nation and people. We should proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once we were groping in the darkness of sin and shame. By a stupendous deliverance we have been transferred into the kingdom of His dear Son. The light is as clear and brilliant as the darkness was oppressive. How we should shout the praises of the One who did all this for us![6]

2:9But you: This verse provides a direct contrast to the previous verse, a contrast between those who believe in Jesus Christ and those who do not. a chosen generation: God has not left to chance those who will be part of a unique body of people, a group who will serve Him. He has reserved that decision for Himself. a royal priesthood: Believers are transformed not only internally (v. 5, which describes us as being made into “a holy priesthood”) but also externally. We are a priesthood that functions in a ruling capacity, as kings. a holy nation: Believers are a unified group of people who are set apart for God’s use. His own special people: God protects those whom He has adopted into His family. proclaim the praises of Him: The purpose for our having been transformed into these marvelous wonders is that we might declare to the world the works of our glorious God.[7]

2:9–10. Peter closed this portion of his letter of encouragement with a moving exhortation for his readers to practice holiness. He reminded them that, in contrast with the disobedient who are destined for destruction, they were a chosen (eklekton; cf. “elect,” eklektois, 1:1) people. Peter again echoed the Old Testament, specifically Isaiah 43:20. “Chosen people,” which used to apply only to Israel, was now used of both Jewish and Gentile believers. The responsibility once solely trusted to the nation of Israel has now, during this Age of Grace, been given to the church. At Sinai, God told Moses to tell the people, “You will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Now believers in the Church Age are called a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. Peter called Christians “a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5) and “a royal priesthood” (2:9; cf. Rev. 1:6). The words “belonging to God” loosely render the words eis peripoiēsin, which are literally “unto obtaining or preserving” (also used in Heb. 10:39, where the niv has “are saved”). Christians are a special people because God has preserved them for Himself. While these descriptions of the church are similar to those used of Israel in the Old Testament, this in no way indicates that the church supplants Israel and assumes the national blessings promised to Israel (and to be fulfilled in the Millennium). Peter just used similar terms to point up similar truths. As Israel was “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,” so too believers today are chosen, are priests, are holy, and belong to God. Similarity does not mean identity.

God’s purpose in choosing believers for Himself is so that they may declare the praises of Him before others. “Praises” could also be translated “eminent qualities,” “excellencies,” or “virtues” (aretos, used only four times in the NT: Phil. 4:8; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3, 5). Believer-priests should live so that their heavenly Father’s qualities are evident in their lives. They are to serve as witnesses of the glory and grace of God, who called them out of darkness into His wonderful light. Peter (1 Peter 2:10) explained this figure with a quotation from Hosea 2:23. “Darkness” refers to the time when his readers were pagans, ignorant of God’s provision of salvation (cf. Col. 1:13), when they were not a people, when they had not received mercy. His “wonderful light” now illumines the people of God because they have received mercy. The practice of holiness, in which God’s people serve as a holy and royal priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices and extolling His excellencies, is the proper response to the mercy (cf. 1 Peter 1:3) they have received.[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 123–134). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 318). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (pp. 68–69). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 30–32). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 91–93). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2260–2261). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1681). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[8] Raymer, R. M. (1985). 1 Peter. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 845–846). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

March 5: Oddities that Make Sense

Numbers 5:1–31; John 13:1–20; Psalm 6:1–10

Some of the Old Testament laws seem so odd they’re difficult to understand. It’s easy for us to see why, in a day before medicine, God would send people with “a rash … a fluid discharge, and everyone … [who had touched] a corpse” outside the tribe for a period of time to prevent infection (Num 5:2). But why would God severely punish people caught in sins not (or hardly) related to possible medical issues (Num 5:5–31)?

I think it’s because God understands that a culture that allows for amoral behavior will become a culture that promotes such behavior. Considering that Jesus had not come yet and sin was not graciously atoned for, there was a need for a ritual that symbolized religious purity.

We are meant to hate the things that people in this life condone—things that may even seem right to us at the time—for the sake of loving God’s work. When evil was present among His people, God had to take drastic measures to combat it—thus, He gave specific instructions. While today we have Christ, we must still devote ourselves to following God’s calling and changing our evil ways for the sake of the gospel.

In what ways are you loving evil things instead of hating them? Be honest with yourself and God.

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.