Daily Archives: April 21, 2018

April 21: The Misnomer about God’s Will

Joshua 7:1–8:35; 2 Corinthians 10:1–8; Psalm 49:1–20

We often hear a great misnomer about following God’s will. It usually sounds something like this: “God has commanded me to do x, so I’m going to go into x blindly without fear.” A phrase like this has elements of great truth—faith should carry us. But it’s missing a piece.

Sometimes God instructs us to follow Him quickly and blindly. When that’s the case, we should certainly do it. However, His commands should almost always be combined with the abilities that He has given us, including logic and rationality. We have to find the balance. If we get too rational, it can be at the detriment of God’s will; we can reason ourselves out of taking the risks God wants us to take.

Joshua, the leader of the Israelites after Moses, is a great example of proper behavior within God’s will. He learned from Moses and led out of that strength and experience, but he was led by the Spirit (Deut 34:9–12). He also did the proper legwork, even though he knew that God had guaranteed success if he and the people were faithful.

We see a glimpse into this strategy in Josh 7:2–5, the battle of Ai. Joshua sent spies into enemy territory before invading it. He then paced the troops by sending only a small regiment at first (Josh 7:3). Despite his proper behavior, Joshua was unsuccessful because of the people’s disobedience (Josh 7:1).

After this, we see the pain that Joshua felt as a result of the people’s spiritual failures (Josh 7:6–9). Yahweh didn’t allow for this to continue, though, because He was aware of the root cause of the problem; God called Joshua to find it and change it, so he did (Josh 7:10–26).

Joshua shows us what it means to follow God’s will: receive a call, be trained, act out of wisdom and preparation, accept defeat when it comes, seek Yahweh’s will again to fix it, and then confront the problem head on. The result: success (Josh 8:1–29). Following their victory, Joshua rededicated himself and those he led to Yahweh (Josh 8:30–35).

If we understood how to function within God’s will, we would be much more successful for God. We would see great and miraculous things happen. And this understanding is not just reserved for the leader, but for all people.

What patterns of following God’s will do you need to change? How have you misunderstood what it means to live for Him?

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.

April 21 The Cushion of Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

✧✧✧

God’s peace cushions the soul during difficult times.

I remember reading about what is called “the cushion of the sea.” The ocean surface is often greatly agitated, but as you descend, the water becomes increasingly calm. At its greatest depths, the ocean is virtually still. Oceanographers dredging ocean bottoms have found animal and plant remains that appear to have been undisturbed for hundreds of years.

Similarly, Christians can experience a cushion of peace in their souls regardless of their troubled surroundings. That’s because they belong to God, who is the source of peace; they serve Christ, who is the Prince of Peace; and they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who is the agent of peace. Galatians 5:22 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.” When you become a Christian, God grants you the gift of peace.

God is not only the source of perfect peace but also its purest example. Everything He does is marked by peace. First Corinthians 14:33 says He is not a God of confusion but of peace. In Judges 6:24 He is called Jehovah-shalom, which means, “the Lord is peace.” The Trinity is characterized by a total absence of conflict—perfect oneness, perfect righteousness, and absolute harmony. It is impossible for God to be at odds with Himself!

God wants everyone to know that kind of peace. He created the world with peace and sent His Son to offer peace. Someday Christ will return to establish His Kingdom and reign in peace for eternity.

In the meantime, turmoil exists for all who don’t know Christ. They have no cushion for their souls. You, however, have peace with God through the death of Christ Jesus, and as you obey Him, His peace will continually reign in your heart. Don’t ever let sin rob you of that blessed cushion. Only as you experience peace within yourself can you share it with others.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the cushion of peace He has provided amid difficult circumstances. ✧ Ask God to use you as an instrument of His peace today.

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 57:15–21, noting how God encourages the repentant and warns the wicked in relation to peace.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 124). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Pope Completely Casts Scripture Aside, Lies to Young Boy About God

Maybe not the religious figure the world needs right now.

Pope Completely Casts Scripture Aside, Lies to Young Boy About God
— Read on www.westernjournal.com/ct/pope-completely-casts-scripture-aside-lies-to-young-boy-about-god/

Criticism of Christians and Chick-fil-A Has Troubling Roots – Bloomberg

The fast-food chain’s “infiltration” of New York City ignores the truth about religion in America. It also reveals an ugly narrow-mindedness.
— Read on www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-21/criticism-of-christians-and-chick-fil-a-has-troubling-roots

APRIL 21 SPIRITUAL TESTING

Do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

Deuteronomy 5:32

In the scriptural accounts, there are many examples of men and women being tested, and I think it is plain that the Holy Spirit rarely tells a believer that he is about to be tested.

Abraham was being tested when the Lord asked him to take his only son up into the mountain. He thought he was being ordered. He did not know he was being tested.

Peter was unconsciously tested. Paul was tested and tried. There does come a time when we have heard enough truth and the Holy Spirit says, “Today this disciple is going to be tested.”

The people of Israel in their time of testing came to Kadesh Barnea, and instead of crossing into the promised land, they said, “We will not go over!” God simply let them make their own test, and they flunked it!

Are there any among us who have an honest desire to be Christlike? We should all be aware that every day is a day of testing. Some come to their own Kadesh Barnea and turn back.

What a solemn thought: Many of the persons whom God is testing will flunk the test!

Lord, tutor me by Your Spirit and help me successfully “pass” Your times of testing. I can’t do it by myself.[1]


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

Weekend Snapshot — Top Stories This Week

Weekend Snapshot

Apr. 21, 2018
Top Stories This Week
Quote of the Week

“It seems as certain as these things can be that if Hillary Clinton had followed the law and regulations, there would be today no President Trump, no Attorney General Sessions, no EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, no Justice Neil Gorsuch. The blame ultimately belongs to Barack Obama, who knew of Clinton’s private email system and who could have ordered her to follow the law. But that’s one bit of collusion that didn’t occur.” —Michael Barone

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 04/21/2018

‘Pope Francis’ Tells Boy Atheist Father Went to Heaven, Counsels Him to ‘Pray’ to His Dad   Apr 17, 2018 05:38 pm

ROME — Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” claimed to a young boy on Sunday that his atheist father is in Heaven because he was a “good man” and God will not “abandon His children when they are good.” He also counseled the child to pray to his deceased dad. Bergoglio was participating in a question and answer session at St. Paul of the Cross in Rome…

Continue reading the story


Michigan Pastors Deliver 23,000 Petitions to Lawmakers Who Want Metro City Church Investigated for Offering Help to Homosexual Youth   Apr 14, 2018 10:26 pm

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan pastors delivered 23,000 petitions this week to two state lawmakers who have urged Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate Metro City Church for offering biblical teaching to teenage girls who struggle with homosexuality or gender dysphoria. “It is alarming that legislators, who have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, have…

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Snoop Dogg Gathers ‘Gospel Greats’ for ‘Bible of Love’ Album as Others Decry Worship of ‘Another Jesus’   Apr 19, 2018 07:49 pm

Photo Credit: “Words Are Few” music video screenshot Profane rapper Calvin Broadus, Jr., known as “Snoop Dogg,” has released an album entitled “Bible of Love,” which features a number of well-known performers of the gospel music industry. While the project has been praised by many, others are speaking out, declaring that Broadus needs to be shown true love by…

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Man Accused of Incest Kills Daughter, Baby, Self in Murder-Suicide   Apr 15, 2018 07:10 pm

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. — A North Carolina man who was accused of committing incest with his adult daughter killed the young woman, their baby and himself on Thursday. Steven Pladl, 42, was to have appeared in court on April 23 to face the felony charge. He and 20-year-old Katie Fusco had been arrested in January after officials learned that the two had a baby together…

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Mennonite Minister Imprisoned for Two Years for Helping Mother Avoid Placing Daughter With Lesbian Now Free   Apr 16, 2018 03:37 pm

STUARTS DRAFT, Va. — A Mennonite minister who spent two years in prison for allegedly helping a woman flee the country with her daughter in defiance of a court order requiring that the child be allowed to have visitation with her mother’s previous lesbian partner is now free. Ken Miller, who reported to prison in March 2016 to serve a 27-month sentence,…

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U.S. Supreme Court Declines Appeal of Ruling Against Pastor Who Preaches Outside Planned Parenthood   Apr 17, 2018 02:43 pm

Photo Credit: Donna Hebert/Facebook WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a ruling that overturned a lower court decision granting a preliminary injunction to a Maine minister who asserted that he was being unlawfully targeted by police outside of a Planned Parenthood facility for his pro-life preaching. The high court…

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‘Rapidly Worsening Epidemic’: Flesh-Eating Disease Strikes Australia, Scientists Don’t Have Answers   Apr 20, 2018 07:48 am

Photo: Public Domain Images/Dawn Hudson (Washington Post) — The spread of a flesh-eating ulcer in parts of Australia is being described as a “rapidly worsening epidemic” and, to make matters worse, researchers say they don’t know exactly where it comes from or how it is transmitted. Known as Buruli ulcer, the infectious disease initially appears as a…

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Prominent Homosexual Rights Attorney Sets Himself on Fire in Environmental Protest Suicide   Apr 17, 2018 07:42 pm

Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot/Garden State Equality (CNN) — A prominent gay rights attorney who led lawsuits legalizing same-sex marriage set himself on fire in Brooklyn on Saturday morning in a fatal plea for action on issues related to the environment. The body of David S. Buckel, 60, was found near Prospect Park’s baseball fields about 6:30 a.m. on…

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Army Chaplain Facing Possible Discipline for Declining to Conduct Marriage Retreat After Lesbian Signs Up   Apr 18, 2018 06:14 pm

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A Southern Baptist Army chaplain is pushing back after a military investigator concluded that he discriminated against a lesbian woman by declining to conduct a marriage retreat after learning that she had signed up to attend the event with her partner. According to the First Liberty Institute, the unnamed Army equal opportunity investigator…

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Prayers Not Allowed Over PA System at Tennessee School Following Atheist Complaint   Apr 14, 2018 06:08 pm

WAYNESBORO, Tenn. — Prayers will not be allowed to be presented over the public address system at a school in Tennessee after one of the nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist groups lodged a complaint about a student’s recent prayer during the morning announcements. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter on March 26 to…

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Baalism’s Suicidal Nature Worship and Sexual Decadence (Earth Day) — The Ignorant Fishermen Blog

Much of ancient Israel’s plight, well documented throughout the Old Testament, was its insatiable thirst for pagan nature worship. This of course was in direct violation of the first two commandments of the Mosaic Law which commanded Israel not to worship any other false god or idol (Exodus 20:3-4). The reason why Israel was forbidden…

via Baalism’s Suicidal Nature Worship and Sexual Decadence (Earth Day) — The Ignorant Fishermen Blog

The Demonic Movement Behind Earth Day — The Ignorant Fishermen Blog

As “Earth Day” is upon us, let us look at the demonic and leftist philosophy which is driving this “Baalistic” ideology.What seems to have a strangle hold on America and the world at present is the godless totalitarian socialistic environmental movement of today. This movement has halted progress and has laid shackles on the capitalistic freedoms at present…

via The Demonic Movement Behind Earth Day — The Ignorant Fishermen Blog

A Word to Parents at Their Breaking Point — Crossway Articles

April 21, 2018 by: Andrew Wilson The Long Road Ahead When you’re in the trenches of parenthood, it can be easy to become discouraged as you stare down the struggles and difficulties of the long road ahead. In this brief video, Andrew Wilson gives some advice to parents of children with special needs, offering a…

via A Word to Parents at Their Breaking Point — Crossway Articles

The church’s mission is not societal transformation — Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family

The church’s primary responsibility in this age is gospel proclamation and making disciples. Members of the church are destined to reign over a restored earth when Jesus returns. But in this age before Jesus comes again, the church’s mission is not cultural or societal transformation. This does not mean the church has no concern for…

via The church’s mission is not societal transformation — Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family

5 Dangers of Online Dating Christians NEED to Know — Faithwire

With today’s advances in technology, online dating seems an “easier” way to meet someone because you can swipe left or scroll through photos and be spared the rejection of a face-to-face interaction. You can make your profile vague to ostensibly avoid “creepers” and prevent stalkers. But that’s not how it actually plays out. Keep in mind…

via 5 Dangers of Online Dating Christians NEED to Know — Faithwire

April 21, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Consider

consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (6:11b–12)

The second key word (consider) has more to do with what we would call the heart. In its literal sense, logizomai means simply to count or number something. Jesus used it of Himself during the Last Supper when He disclosed to the disciples that He was the One “numbered with transgressors” of whom Isaiah prophesied (Luke 22:37; cf. Isa. 53:12). But the word was commonly used metaphorically in the sense of fully affirming a truth, of having unreserved inner confidence in the reality of what the mind acknowledges. Though both aspects actually occur in the mind, we think of this matter in the sense of being “heart felt.”

In the next chapter of this epistle Paul will illustrate from his own life how difficult it is for a Christian to realize experientially that he is free from sin’s bondage. As we look honestly at our lives after salvation, it is more than obvious that sin’s contamination is still very much with us. No matter how radical our outer transformation at the time of salvation may have been for the better, it is difficult to comprehend that we no longer have the fallen sin nature and that our new nature is actually divine. It is hard to realize that we are actually indwelt by the Holy Spirit and that God now calls us His children and deems us fit to live eternally with Him in His heaven.

To help us consider, it is advantageous to note that there are a number of reasons believers often find it difficult to comprehend that they are now free from sin’s bondage. Many of them do not realize that marvelous truth simply because they have never heard of it. They assume, or perhaps have been wrongly taught, that salvation brings only transactional or forensic holiness—that because of their trust in Christ, God now regards them as holy but that their basic relationship to sin is the same as it always was and that it will not be changed until they go to be with Christ. That view of salvation often includes the idea that, although trust in Christ brings the believer a new nature, the old nature remains fully operative, and that the Christian life is essentially a battle between his two resident natures. This makes salvation “addition” rather than “transformation.”

A second reason Christians often find it hard to believe they are actually free from the tyranny of sin is that Satan does not want them to believe it. If the enemy of our souls and the accuser of the brethren can make us think he still dominates our earthly lives, he weakens our resolve to live righteously by making it appear hopeless.

A third reason Christians often find it difficult to believe they are free from sin’s compulsion is that the reality of the new birth in Christ is not experiential, it is not physically observable or verifiable. Redemption is a divine and spiritual transaction that may or may not be accompanied by physical or emotional experiences. A believer cannot perceive or experience in any humanly verifiable way the moment of his dying and resurrection with Christ.

A fourth and perhaps the most common reason why Christians find it hard to believe they are freed from sin’s tyranny while they are still on earth is that their continued battle with sin seems almost constantly to contradict that truth. If they have a new holy disposition and sin’s control has truly been broken, they wonder, why are they still so strongly tempted and why do they so often succumb?

Paul’s answer follows, Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. He was not speaking of a psychological mind game, by which we keep affirming something over and over until we are convinced against our better judgment or even against reality that it is true. We know we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus because God’s Word declares it is so. In other words, those are truths of faith and they must be affirmed in faith.

David C. Needham wrote, “What could be more frustrating than being a Christian who thinks himself primarily a self-centered sinner, yet whose purpose in life is to produce God-centered holiness?” (Birthright: Christian, Do You Know Who You Are? [Portland: Multnomah, 1979], p. 69). Until a believer accepts the truth that Christ has broken the power of sin over his life, he cannot live victoriously, because in his innermost being he does not think it is possible.

Commentator Donald Grey Barnhouse said,

Years ago, in the midst of a Latin-American revolution, an American citizen was captured and sentenced to death. But an American officer rushed before the firing squad and draped a large American flag entirely around the victim. “If you shoot this man,” he cried, “you will fire through the American flag and incur the wrath of a whole nation!” The revolutionary in charge released the prisoner at once. (Romans: God’s Freedom [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961], p. 118)

In a similar way, Christ’s righteousness is draped over every believer, protecting him from sin’s deadly attacks.

We believe we are in God’s eternal purpose, plan, presence, and power because His Word assures us we are. Paul assured the Ephesian believers that God “chose us in Him [Christ Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4). And to the church at Philippi he wrote, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.… So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 1:6; 2:12–13).

There are many important and practical results of our considering ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. First, we can have confidence in the midst of temptation, knowing that with sin’s tyranny broken we can successfully resist it in God’s power. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Second, we have confidence that we cannot sin our way out of God’s grace. Just as we have been saved by God’s power alone, we are kept by His power alone. “My sheep hear My voice,” Jesus said, “and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27–29).

Third, when we truly consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ, we have confidence in the face of death. “I am the resurrection and the life,” our Lord said; “he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25–26; cf. Heb. 2:14).

Fourth, we know that, regardless of what happens to us in this life, no matter how disastrous it may be, God will use it not only for His glory but also for our blessing. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

All of those things, and many more, are true because we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. No religion in the world can or does make such a claim. Even the most ardent Muslim does not claim to be in Mohammed or in Allah. Buddhists do not claim to be in Buddha or Hindus to be in any of their multitude of gods. As Christians, however, we know that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3; emphasis added).

Yield

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. (6:12–14)

The third key word is yield, or present (v. 13), which obviously has to do with the will. Because of the incomprehensible truths about his relationship to God that the believer knows with his mind and feels deeply committed to in his heart, he is therefore able to exercise his will successfully against sin and, by God’s power, prevent its reign in his mortal body.

In this present life, sin will always be a powerful force for the Christian to reckon with. But it is no longer master, no longer lord, and it can and must be resisted. Sin is personified by Paul as a dethroned but still powerful monarch who is determined to reign in the believer’s life just as he did before salvation. The apostle’s admonition to believers, therefore, is for them to not let sin reign, because it now has no right to reign. It now has no power to control a believer unless the believer chooses to obey its lusts.

Peter makes a similar appeal. Because “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,” he says, “I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:9, 11). The moment they are saved, Christians become citizens of God’s kingdom of righteousness, and thereby aliens and strangers to Satan’s realm of sin and death.

Because a believer is a new creature in Christ, his immortal soul is forever beyond sin’s reach. The only remaining beachhead where sin can attack a Christian is in his mortal body. One day that body will be glorified and forever be out of sin’s reach, but in the meanwhile it is still mortal, that is, subject to corruption and death. It still has sinful lusts—because the brain and the thinking processes are part of the mortal body—and Satan uses those lusts to lure God’s people back into sin in whatever ways he can.

Paul later declares in this letter, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:22–23). Teaching the same truth, he wrote the Philippian believers, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:20–21). And to the Corinthians he wrote, “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53).

It is because our mortal bodies are still subject to sin that Paul says, Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness. He does not warn about sin reigning in our souls or our spirits, but only about its reigning in our bodies, because that is the only place in a Christian where sin can operate. That is why later in this epistle he laments, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:18, 22–23). He then concludes, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (Rom. 7:24–25; emphasis added).

It is because the Christian’s warfare with sin is waged in the body that the apostle also declared, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1), and “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27; emphasis added).

It is obvious that sin can reign in our bodies, else Paul’s admonition would be pointless. But it is also obvious that sin does not have to reign there, or the warning would be equally pointless. He therefore commands: Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

By definition, a command presupposes a will in the one being commanded. The commands in God’s Word are no exceptions. It is therefore the Christian’s will that Paul is speaking about here. For a sin to have power over a child of God, that sin must first pass through his will. It is for that reason that Paul exhorts believers: “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12–13). God’s will can be active in our lives only as our wills are submissive to His.

When a believer yields the members of his body to sin, those members become instruments of unrighteousness. On the other hand, when in obedience to his heavenly Father he yields himself as one who is alive from the dead ways of sin and death, those same members become holy instruments of righteousness to God.

In verse 14, Paul changes from admonition to declaration, offering the assuring words: For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.

God’s law “is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12). But the law cannot break either sin’s penalty or its power. It can only rebuke, restrain, and condemn. The Christian is no longer under the condemnation of God’s law but is now under the redeeming power of His grace. It is in the power of that grace that the Lord calls him to live.[1]


God’s Instruments

Romans 6:12–14

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

During my college years I majored in English literature, concentrating on the period from Edmund Spencer to William Wordsworth, and the instruction was so good that even now, in strange moments, parts of what I learned then come back to me. This happened as I began my study of Romans 6:12–14. The words that came to mind were from The Prelude. In the sixth book of that fourteen-book poem, William Wordsworth is telling of a walking tour he and a friend took from Switzerland up over the Simplon Pass into Italy. They did not know the route, got lost, descended into a ravine, and there inquired of a peasant where they could find the road to Italy. Wordsworth then wrote:

Every word that from the peasant’s lips

Came in reply, translated by our feelings,

Ended in this—that we had crossed the Alps.

Those words came to mind as I began this study because, in a sense, that is what has happened to us. For more than five and a half chapters we have been laboring up the majestic mountain of doctrine concerning what God has done for us in salvation. Now, for the very first time, we have passed over the highest ridge to verses that tell what we are to do in response to God’s action.

To put it in other words, after many detailed studies, our tour has at last enabled us to cross from the high doctrine of justification-by-grace-through-faith to the doctrine of sanctification.

We were already easing into it in our last study, for in Romans 6:11 we encountered Paul’s first exhortation to his readers in this epistle. He told them to “count” upon everything he had previously told them, to “reckon” those things so. Now he comes to four specific exhortations, prefaced by the important connecting word therefore. Because of what he has said, believers are to do the following: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (emphases added).

Principles of Sanctification

Since this is the first direct teaching about sanctification in Romans, it is important that we understand what is being said. To do that, we need to look at this passage as a whole to see what principles about sanctification are taught here. Then we need to apply those teachings in the most practical terms possible.

We start with the principles. What are they?

  1. Sin is not dead in Christians, even in the most mature and pious Christians, but rather is something always to be struggled against. I have already said this in a variety of ways in our previous studies, but it needs to be repeated here for two reasons. First, this principle is clear from the passage. There is no point in telling us not to offer the parts of our bodies to sin, as “instruments of wickedness,” but rather to offer them to God, “as instruments of righteousness,” unless we have a tendency to do the former. The reason we have to fight against sin is that we are sinners.

Second, there are some people who tend toward a kind of perfectionism in which they can claim either that sin is not in them or that the sin that is in them can in time somehow be eradicated. This doctrine is not only wrong (the whole of Scripture stands against it), but it is also a source of frustration for those who have come to believe in their own perfection but who nevertheless constantly find themselves fighting against sin.

  1. Sin’s hold on us is in or through our bodies. This is something we have not explored earlier (except in reference to Rom. 6:6). But it is very important, and we need to examine it carefully. When I say that sin’s hold on us is in or through our bodies, I do not mean that sin is in our bodies as opposed to being in us, as if by saying that it is in our bodies we are claiming that we are not sinners or that sin is only external to us. Of course, we are sinners, and sin is not merely external to us but rather is within. But here is the point: So far as that new man about whom Paul has been writing is concerned—that new creature I have become by being taken out of Adam by God and by being joined to Christ—that new man is dead to sin, so that sin’s hold is no longer actually on me but on my body.

Certainly we cannot miss noticing how directly, literally, and strongly Paul emphasizes our actual physical bodies in these verses. In verse 12 he refers to our “mortal body,” that is, the body of our flesh that is dying. In verse 13 he twice refers to “the parts of” our bodies, that is, to our hands, feet, eyes, tongues and so forth. It is through these physical parts of our bodies that sin operates and through which it maintains its strong hold on us.

  1. Sin can reign in or dominate our bodies. It cannot dominate or destroy that new person that I have become in Christ. That new “me” will always abhor sin and yearn for righteousness—and it will have it, because God is determined to produce the holy character of Christ in his people. But sin can certainly dominate my body. I can become a slave to its cravings. If this were not so, it would be pointless for Paul to say “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires,” as he does.
  2. Although sin can reign in or dominate our bodies, it does not need to. In other words, although it is possible for us to “offer the parts of [our] body to sin, as instruments of wickedness,” we do not need to do this. On the contrary, being now joined to Jesus Christ, we have his new life within and his power available to us. Having been non posse non peccare (“not able not to sin”), to use Saint Augustine’s phrase, we have now become posse non peccare (“able not to sin”). We often do sin; that is why Paul is urging us not to yield our bodies to it. But we no longer need to. We have an alternative.
  3. This leads to the last and positive truth: As Christians, we can now offer the parts of our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. This is the thrust of the passage. It is what Paul is urging on us.

The Parts of Our Bodies

There are many ways one can approach the subject of sanctification. Paul himself does it in several ways. But I do not know a more practical, balanced, or down-to-earth way of speaking about how to live a holy life or grow in righteousness than the way in which Paul does it here. He has given us one easy-to-grasp principle in verse 11: “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Now he tells us how to give practical expression to that great principle. It is by what we do with our bodies. What does that mean? The answers come by considering the body’s parts and their potential for doing both good and evil.

The Mind

We begin with the mind because, although we like to think that who we are is largely defined by our minds, and thus separate our minds from our bodies, our minds are actually parts of our bodies, so the victory we need to achieve must begin here. I take you to Romans 12:1–2, where Paul is writing much as he does in Romans 6. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (emphasis added).

That text begins in nearly the same way as Romans 6:12–14 (“Therefore … offer the parts of your body to him …”). But when Paul begins to spell this out, strikingly the very first body part he mentions is the mind.

Have you ever carefully thought through that what you do with your mind will determine a great deal of what you will become as a Christian? If you fill your mind with the products of our secular culture, you will remain secular and sinful. If you fill your head with trashy “pop” novels, you will begin to live like the trashy heroes and heroines whose illicit romances you read about. If you do nothing but watch television, you will begin to think like the scoundrels on “Dallas” or “Falcon Crest” or the weekday soap operas. And you will act like them, too. On the other hand, if you feed your mind on the Bible and Christian publications, train it by godly conversation, and discipline it to critique what you see and hear elsewhere by applying biblical truths to those ideas, you will grow in godliness and become increasingly useful to God. Your mind will become an instrument for righteousness.

Some years ago, John R. W. Stott wrote a book entitled Your Mind Matters in which he bemoaned the growth of “mindless Christianity” and showed how a proper use of our minds is necessary for growth in all areas of our Christian experience. He related it to worship, faith, the quest for holiness, guidance, presenting the gospel to others, and exercising spiritual gifts.

He asks at one point, “Has God spoken to us, and shall we not listen to his words? Has God renewed our mind through Christ, and shall we not think with it? Is God going to judge us by his Word, and shall we not be wise and build our house upon this rock?”

And there is something else: If Christians would offer their minds to God to be renewed by him, they would begin to think and express themselves as Christians and would begin to recover something of what Harry Blamires calls “a Christian mind.”

Blamires writes:

There is no longer a Christian mind. There is still, of course, a Christian ethic, a Christian practice, and a Christian spirituality. As a moral being, the modern Christian subscribes to a code other than that of the non-Christian. As a member of the Church, he undertakes obligations and observances ignored by the non-Christian. As a spiritual being, in prayer and meditation, he strives to cultivate a dimension of life unexplored by the non-Christian. But as a thinking being, the modern Christian has succumbed to secularization. … Except over a very narrow field of thinking, chiefly touching questions of strictly personal conduct, we Christians in the modern world accept, for the purpose of mental activity, a frame of reference constructed by the secular mind and a set of criteria reflecting secular evaluations.

If the use of the mind is important in sanctification, as I maintain it is, and if we lack “a Christian mind” in our day, as Blamires claims, is it any wonder that so many Christians today are for the most part indistinguishable from the non-Christians around them? Obviously, if we are going to grow in holiness, either as individuals or as a church, we must start here.

Here is a simple goal for you in this area. For every secular book you read, make it your goal also to read one good Christian book, a book that can stretch your mind spiritually.

Our Eyes and Ears

The mind is not the only part of our bodies through which we receive ideas and impressions and which must therefore be offered to God as an instrument of righteousness. We also receive impressions through our eyes and ears. These, too, must be surrendered to God.

Do you remember Achan? He was the Israelite soldier who participated in the battle of Jericho under Joshua but who disobeyed God’s command not to take any of the spoils but rather to dedicate them to God. As Achan afterward confessed, “When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent with the silver underneath” (Josh. 7:21). Achan was stoned for his sin. But what caused it? The “lust of his eyes” (1 John 2:16). Achan’s eyes became instruments of wickedness instead of instruments for his growth in holiness.

It is no different today. Sociologists tell us that by the age of twenty-one the average young person has been bombarded by 300,000 commercial messages, all arguing from the identical basic assumption: personal gratification is the dominant goal in life. Television and other modern means of communication put the acquisition of material things before godliness; in fact, they never mention godliness at all. How, then, are you going to grow in godliness if you are constantly watching television or reading printed ads or listening to secular radio?

Do not get me wrong. I am not advocating an evangelical monasticism in which we retreat from the culture, though it is far better to retreat from it than perish in it. But somehow the secular input must be overbalanced by the spiritual.

One simple goal might be for you to spend as many hours studying your Bible, praying, and going to church as watching television.

Our Tongues

The tongue is also part of the body, and what we do with it is important. James, the Lord’s brother, must have thought about this a great deal, because he says more about the tongue and its power for either good or evil than any other writer of Scripture. He wrote, “… the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:5–6).

If your tongue is not given to God as an instrument of righteousness in his hands, what James writes will be true of you. You do not need to be a Hitler and plunge the world into armed conflict to do evil with your tongue. A little bit of gossip will do. A casual lie or slander will suffice.

What you need to do is use your tongue to praise and serve God. For one thing, you should learn how to recite Scripture with it. You probably can repeat many popular song lyrics. Can you not also use your tongue to speak God’s words? How about worship? You should use your tongue to praise God by means of hymns and other Christian songs. Above all, you should use your tongue to witness to others about the person and work of Christ. That is the task Jesus gave you when he said, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

Here is another goal for you if you want to grow in godliness: Use your tongue as much to tell others about Jesus as for idle conversation.

Our Hands and Feet

Our hands and feet determine what we do and where we go. So when we are considering how we might offer the parts of our body to God as instruments of righteousness, let us not forget them.

I think of several important passages in this regard. In 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12, Paul writes of using our hands profitably so we might be selfsupporting and not dependent on anybody: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” Similarly, in Ephesians 4:28, Paul writes of working so that we will have something to give to others who are needy: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”

And what of our feet? A few chapters further on in Romans, Paul writes of the need that others have for the gospel: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ ” (Rom. 10:14–15).

Where do your feet take you?

Do you allow them to take you to where Christ is denied or blasphemed? Do they take you to places where sin is openly practiced? Are you spending most of your time soaking up the world’s entertainment or loitering in bars or the “hot” singles clubs? You will not grow in godliness there. On the contrary, you will fall from righteous conduct. Instead, let your feet carry you into the company of those who love and serve the Lord. Or, when you go into the world, let it be for the purpose of serving the world and witnessing to its people in Christ’s name.

Here is another goal: For every special secular function you attend, determine to attend a Christian function also. And when you go to a secular function, do so as a witness by word and action for the Lord Jesus Christ.

A Warfare and a Race

What we are actually engaged in is spiritual warfare, an ongoing battle against sin, for our own growth in grace and for the good of others. And, like all soldiers who are facing some great conflict, we are to train ourselves physically and steel our wills for the enterprise.

Paul thought in these terms, sometimes speaking of a warfare in which the followers of Christ are to clothe themselves with God’s armor (cf. Eph. 6:10–18), sometimes speaking of a race. “Fight the good fight of the faith…” he says in 1 Timothy 6:12. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” he says in 2 Timothy 4:7.

I like the way Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Cor. 9:24–27).

Perhaps you have seen the recent television advertisement for a certain brand of athletic shoe in which six or seven very energetic young people are going through their workouts. The scenes shift quickly and the tempo increases rapidly throughout the commercial until it all suddenly comes to an abrupt halt and three words appear on the screen in bold black letters: “Just do it.”

That is what I recommend to you. You have been waiting through five and a half chapters of Romans for something to do. Now you have that something. You know what it is. So do it. Just do it. “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of righteousness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”

Why should you do this? Why should you submit to such rigorous training? It is not because you are driven to do it. It is because you have been liberated from sin by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and want to do it. You want to live for him. This is why Paul ends by saying, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (v. 14).[2]


12 The element of willing cooperation receives emphasis in v. 12. The implication is that sin has been reigning. The believer must refuse obedience any longer to sin’s enticements. The word “obey” (hypakouō, GK 5634) has as its root idea “listening” or “heeding.” If the body is kept mortified, it will have no ear for the subtle suggestions of evil. Paul here describes the body as “mortal” (thnētos, GK 2570)—a reminder that, despite the glorious asset of being united to Christ, we are still living in a frail instrument affected by the fall and subject to death. The “evil desires” (epithymiai, GK 2123) of the mortal body continue to be a force that can still, but need not (v. 14), bring one into slavery again.[3]


6:12–14 / We now encounter the first moral exhortation in Romans! The cross and resurrection of Jesus have broken the power of sin, and believers at last stand before a real choice. They now have a fighting chance, for they can choose not to sin. Verses 12–14 hum with energy and urgency as Paul drafts believers into action. He shifts from the indicative to the imperative mood, and also from first person plural to second person plural. What God has done for believers at baptism is the indicative of grace; what God wills from believers as a consequence of grace is the imperative of ethics. The two are inseparable and witness to the unity of justification and sanctification. When a minister unites a couple in Christian marriage he or she enjoins them to make their vows actual, to become what they are. This is Paul’s appeal to the Romans. Christians are dead to sin, so let them henceforth live to God!

Sin is viewed as an armed tyrant who exacts obedience. But Christ has stopped sin’s despotic drive in its tracks. Because of Christ’s resurrection and assurance that God is for them, believers are now free. They are not to return abjectly to their gangster lord. Paul calls them to arms! Christians must not allow sin to reign unopposed in their lives, but, in the words of Cranfield, “revolt in the name of their rightful ruler, God” (Romans, vol. 1, pp. 316–17). These are the marching orders of a militant faith as Paul summons believers not to offer their bodies as “weapons” (instruments) of wickedness, but rather—as inmates on death row whose sentences have been pardoned—“to offer their parts … to God as instruments of righteousness” (v. 13). The Greek tenses of the verb offer are themselves instructive and might be paraphrased, “Do not continue offering yourselves to sin, but offer yourselves up once and for all to God.” The reference to parts (of your body) in verse 13 need not be limited to the physical body, for it surely includes in a figurative sense all human talents and abilities. The Christian life pictured in verse 13 is not an idealized watercolor but a bold (albeit simple) sketch of the rigors facing the faithful. The essence of the new life is not a concept or feeling detached from reality, but a trumpet call to active combat in the cause of righteousness against evil (Gal. 5:16ff.).

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace, concludes Paul (v. 14). Since believers stand in grace, sin has neither the right nor the power to enslave them. Sin can rule only when it is obeyed, and Christ has broken its power. Sin need no longer be obeyed. Jesus said that no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). Believers are like soldiers who have deserted the ranks of a rebel unit to rejoin their rightful leader: the orders of the rebel captain have no further authority over them. Death can no longer be Christ’s lord, and sin will no longer be the lord of the believer. The Lord of the believer is Christ. This, as we noted earlier, does not mean that sin has no power over believers, but that believers are not helpless in the face of sin’s assaults. They are free to rebel against it. Indeed, they are commanded to do so, empowered by grace, and guaranteed the ultimate triumph (8:37).

To be under grace instead of law is to be led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:18). The law makes sin known (3:20), whets one’s appetite for the forbidden (5:20), and hence leads to condemnation. The law is not thereby the opponent of grace, but its prelude (Gal. 3:24). The law demands righteousness, but cannot produce it, and those who try to fulfill it on their own become oppressed by its demands. To be under grace is to be free from the guilt of knowing the right but falling short of doing it. Grace means “that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1). It means that despite ourselves God is for us (8:31), God is faithful (2 Cor. 1:18), and God frees us for himself (Gal. 5:1).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 1, pp. 333–338). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, pp. 681–688). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[3] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 108). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Edwards, J. R. (2011). Romans (pp. 164–165). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

APRIL 21 WE DO NOT DESPISE GOD-GIVEN EMOTIONS

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad….

MATTHEW 9:36

Our emotions are neither to be feared nor despised, for they are a normal part of us as God made us in the first place. Indeed, the full human life would be impossible without them!

A feeling of pity would never arise in the human breast unless aroused by a mental picture of others’ distress, and without the emotional bump to set off the will there would be no act of mercy. That is the way we are constituted and what I am saying here is nothing new. Every mother, every statesman, every leader of men, every preacher of the Word of God knows that a mental picture must be presented to the listener before he can be moved to act, even though it be for his own advantage!

God intended that truth should move us to moral action. The mind receives ideas, mental pictures of things as they are. These excite the feelings and these in turn move the will to act in accordance with the truth. That is the way it should be, and would be had not sin entered and wrought injury to our inner life. Because of sin, the simple sequence of truth-feeling-action may break down in any of its three parts.

The Christian who gazes too long on the carnal pleasures of this world cannot escape a certain feeling of sympathy with them, and that feeling will inevitably lead to behavior that is worldly. To expose our hearts to truth and consistently refuse or neglect to obey the impulses it arouses is to stymie the motions of life within us, and if persisted in, to grieve the Holy Spirit into silence.[1]


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

April 21 Dealing Radically with Sin

If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.—Matt. 5:29–30

We must be willing, as Jesus teaches here, to relinquish whatever is necessary to protect us from evil and preserve righteousness. Mutilation will not cleanse our hearts, but Jesus’ figurative words call for dramatic severing of any impulse that could lead to sin (cf. Matt. 18:8–9).

In other words, we must deal radically with sin, as Paul says, “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). If we don’t purpose to carefully control the worldly influences around us, they will control us. Those we can’t control we should not hesitate to discard.

Cutting off harmful influences will not necessarily and automatically turn a corrupt heart into a pure one. But just as external acts of murder or adultery reflect internal hearts of sin, the outward act of fleeing sinful effects reflects the inward attitude that seeks holiness and God’s will rather than human pleasure.

Jesus reminds us again that His standards of righteousness are humanly impossible to attain. We have all been murderers and adulterers in our hearts, and often we don’t realize this because of sin’s subtlety and blinding effect. But the impossibility of measuring up to divine standards points to our need to receive a new heart and turn over our helplessness to His sufficiency.

ASK YOURSELF

How have you practiced this kind of severing in your Christian life? What familiar sins and seductions have proven so injurious in your past, it’s best if they’re just never in the same room with you?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 120). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

April 21 Suffering for Sins

For what the law could not do in that it was weakthrough the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin.

Romans 8:3

When we as believers suffer persecution, criticism, or even death, we are sinners suffering because of the sins of others. Our pain may come from the sins of hatred, anger, envy, or murder.

Christ also suffered for sins, but as the sinless One. First Peter 2:22 says He “committed no sin.” He never thought, said, or did anything evil. Rather, everything He thought, said, and did was perfectly holy. The sins of others placed Him on the cross: of those who mocked Him and those who nailed Him to the cross. He died because of the sins of the whole world.

Today’s verse says that Jesus died “on account of sin.” He suffered as a sin offering because “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Just as in the Old Testament God required an animal sacrifice to symbolize the need for our atonement for sin, the New Testament presents Christ as the sacrifice who provided not a symbol, but the reality of our eternal atonement for sin.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 126). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

A Quiet Place: A subversive conservative and Christian movie

I suspect that the majority of people who have seen A Quiet Place went into the theater anticipating a thrilling horror story that gives the usual rush of being scared out of one’s seat.

But A Quiet Place has a couple of sub-narratives running through it that might be subversive to the secular Hollywood left.  I suspect that John Krasinski knew exactly what he was doing when he directed a movie for the first time and came up with a masterpiece in its originality.

— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/04/ema_quiet_placeem_a_subversive_conservative_and_christian_movie.html

April 21 The Centrality of the Resurrection

“Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.”

Matthew 28:5–6

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The fact of Jesus’ resurrection is the culmination of redemptive history and the essential basis of the Christian faith.

Without the Resurrection, our Christian faith would just be a lot of wishful thinking, no better than human philosophies and speculative religions. In fact, the noted seventeenth–century philosopher John Locke, some of whose ideas were incorporated into the Declaration of Independence, wrote, “Our Saviour’s resurrection is truly of great importance in Christianity, so great that His being or not being the Messiah stands or falls with it.”

From its very early accounts, Scripture has contained the message of resurrection hope. Death has never been the end for the believer, but simply a gateway to eternal life in Heaven. Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only son Isaac because in faith “he considered that God is able to raise men from the dead” (Heb. 11:19). The Lord assured Daniel that believers “will awake … to everlasting life” (Dan. 12:2).

The Resurrection was the focal point of Christ’s teaching to the disciples about His sufferings and death: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). It is therefore completely understandable that Matthew and the other three Gospel writers all included an historical account of Jesus’ resurrection in their narratives.

Paul knew that without the Resurrection our salvation could not have been possible. He was also convinced that the truth of the Resurrection must be believed or else salvation cannot be received: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

It’s no wonder that Paul, the other apostles, and every leader in the early church continually proclaimed Christ’s resurrection as the culmination of His ministry. Those men were so captivated by the significance of the Resurrection that they could not help but preach it. And that should be our attitude today.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the truth of John 11:25, which gives us the hope of resurrection in Jesus’ own words.

For Further Study: Read Acts 2:14–36 or 3:12–26. What is the focal point of Peter’s evangelistic sermons? ✧ How does he prove his theme?[1]


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