Daily Archives: May 26, 2018

May 26: A Longsuffering God

1 Chronicles 18:1–20:8; 2 Timothy 2:1–13; Psalm 85

God is longsuffering, but sometimes we take this for granted. How often have we given into temptation, expecting to be obedient at a later date?

Psalm 85 gives a testimony of God’s faithfulness in the past: “O Yahweh, you favored your land. You restored the fortunes of Jacob. You took away the guilt of your people; you covered all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your burning anger” (Psa 85:1–3).

As he experiences that judgment, the psalmist remembers God’s past restoration, and he hopes for it once more: “I will hear what God, Yahweh, will speak, because he will speak peace to his people, even his faithful ones”; he also sets a condition: “but let them not return to folly” (Psa 85:8).

Do we wait until bad times before we realize God’s amazing grace for us?

God’s faithfulness is also expressed in surprising moments in the New Testament, like Paul’s exhortation to Timothy. Paul tells him to be strong in grace and offers comfort while presenting a challenge: “For if we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are unfaithful, he remains faithful—he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim 2:11–13).

These passages portray a God who is incredibly patient. But they also present a sense of urgency and demand a response. If we acknowledge our sin and seek Him, He is faithful to forgive us. But we shouldn’t use His faithfulness as an excuse to delay our response. He wants our complete loyalty.

How are you responding to God’s calling in your life?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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

May 26 Receiving Christ’s Word (Thaddaeus)

The twelve apostles included “Thaddaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

✧✧✧

If you love Christ, you will receive His Word and obey it.

Radio signals are fascinating. At any given moment every room in your house is filled with voices, music, and numerous other sounds; yet you can’t hear them unless your radio is tuned to their frequency. That’s a modern parallel to a spiritual truth Jesus taught in John 14:21: “He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.” In effect Jesus was saying, “I reveal Myself to those who love Me—those whose spiritual receivers are tuned to My frequency. They receive My Word and obey it.”

In the Biblical record Thaddaeus is a man of few words. His question in John 14:22 is the only thing he ever said that is recorded in Scripture. It was prompted by his perplexity over Jesus’ statement in verse 21 to disclose Himself only to those who love Him. Thaddaeus asked, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

Thaddaeus didn’t understand Christ’s statement because it wasn’t consistent with his concept of the Messiah. Like the other disciples, he expected Jesus imminently to vanquish Roman oppression, free God’s people, and establish an earthly kingdom wherein He would sit on the throne of David, reigning as Lord and Savior. How could He do that without revealing who He was to everyone?

In verse 23 Jesus responds by reiterating that only those who love Him will be able to perceive Him, and they are the ones within whom He and the Father would dwell.

That brief conversation between the Lord and Thaddaeus addresses the very heart of Christianity. It isn’t those who say they love God who are true believers, but those who receive Christ and obey His Word. As Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (v. 23).

Does obedience to the Word characterize your life? I pray it does. Remember, your obedience to Christ is the measure of your love for Him.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His Word, by which the Spirit instructs you and empowers you to live an obedient life.

For Further Study: Read John 8:31–47. ✧ To whom was Jesus speaking? ✧ Why were they seeking to kill Him? ✧ How did Jesus characterize the Devil?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 159). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

POTUS Trump Unleashes on #Spygate ‘Why Didn’t the FBI Contact Me About the Russia Problem?’ — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump brought another punishing round to the Deep State over the FBI infiltration of his campaign on Saturday.

The President asked a very simple yet powerful question, “Why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or “Justice” contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?”

The answer to that is simple. The spies implanted in Trump’s campaign were there to gather information and pass it onto Hillary Clinton.

The notion that an informant was buzzing around Trump’s camp to protect him as Clapper and the fake news claim is absurd.

Trump tweeted: With Spies, or “Informants” as the Democrats like to call them because it sounds less sinister (but it’s not), all over my campaign, even from a very early date, why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or “Justice” contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

With Spies, or “Informants” as the Democrats like to call them because it sounds less sinister (but it’s not), all over my campaign, even from a very early date, why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or “Justice” contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?

Trump slammed Crooked Hillary in round two.

Trump tweeted: This whole Russia Probe is Rigged. Just an excuse as to why the Dems and Crooked Hillary lost the Election and States that haven’t been lost in decades. 13 Angry Democrats, and all Dems if you include the people who worked for Obama for 8 years. #SPYGATE & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST!

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

This whole Russia Probe is Rigged. Just an excuse as to why the Dems and Crooked Hillary lost the Election and States that haven’t been lost in decades. 13 Angry Democrats, and all Dems if you include the people who worked for Obama for 8 years. & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST!

President Trump is taking the fight to the Deep State head on demanding the DOJ hand over classified documents relating to Spygate.

On Friday evening, President Trump’s Attorney Rudy Giuliani says the Trump legal team wants to be briefed on the Obama FBI campaign spying scandal.

via POTUS Trump Unleashes on #Spygate ‘Why Didn’t the FBI Contact Me About the Russia Problem?’ — The Gateway Pundi

Huckabee Goes After Media Under Obama: Not A Watchdog But A ‘Lapdog’

Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee went after the media under Obama, calling them a “lapdog” for the former president on Saturday.

Source: Huckabee Goes After Media Under Obama: Not A Watchdog But A ‘Lapdog’

With Clintons Out of Power, Jake Tapper and Chuck Todd Bravely Trash Bill Clinton for Ruining Monica Lewinsky’s Life — The Gateway Pundit

NBC News’ Meet the Press host Chuck Todd and CNN’s The Lead host Jake Tapper, both of whom started out as Democrat operatives in the 1990s before moving on to “reporting”, took a decades-late brave stand on Thursday against former President Bill Clinton on over his abuse of White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s.

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office.

Jake Tapper and Chuck Todd, image via YouTube screengrab.

Todd and Tapper waited decades, until Bill and his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton were finally out of the possibility of holding high political office with Hillary losing her second and final presidential run in 2016, to boldly denounce Bill Clinton for ruining Lewinsky’s life by having a sexual affair with her in the White House when she was in her early twenties and not even having the decency to apologize to her.

News of the comments by Todd and Tapper were first reported by the Washington Free Beacon’s Conor Beck who transcribed part of the discussion from Todd’s 1947: The Meet the Press Podcast from Thursday. Beck also posted a video clip to YouTube.

Excerpt from Beck’s transcript:

…”From Monica Lewinsky’s public statements, you sense that she’s just now coming to grips with the relevance of her story to the #MeToo movement,” Tapper added.

“It galls me that the former president hasn’t even simply apologized to her for ruining her life,” Todd responded.

“It’s crazy, it’s crazy,” Tapper agreed.

“Her life is never the same,” Todd continued. “He ruined it. He got to move on. I’ve never understood why he couldn’t simply apologize to her.”…

End excerpt, please read Conor Beck’s complete report at the Free Beacon.

Note: Jake Tapper dated Monica Lewinsky before the Clinton scandal broke in early 1998. Tapper rose to prominence after writing about it in the Washington City Paper.

Clinton’s efforts to cover-up his affair with Lewinsky to keep it from being exposed during a sexual harassment lawsuit by Paula Jones accusing Clinton of similar ‘drop-trou’ in the workplace when he was Arkansas governor led to Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice by the House of Representatives in late 1998. Clinton was not convicted by the Senate after a fixed trial in early 19999 and finished his second term. In the days before he left office, Clinton made a plea agreement with Independent Counsel Robert Ray that made Clinton, a lawyer, the first president to be suspended from practicing law while in office. Clinton later quit the Supreme Court bar in the face of a disbarment proceeding. Clinton also paid over $100,000 in various fines and paid Paula Jones $850,000.

via With Clintons Out of Power, Jake Tapper and Chuck Todd Bravely Trash Bill Clinton for Ruining Monica Lewinsky’s Life — The Gateway Pundit

The SBC, JD Greear, and Reformation: a Polite Polemic and Michelle Lesley — Pulpit & Pen

I really like Michelle Lesley and her work at michellelesley.com.  I cite her often.  Michelle is the type of (female) author the SBC needs but, unfortunately, as LifeWay sales indicate, not the type of author the SBC wants.  As a minister’s wife and long-time Baptist, Michelle is well aware of the desperate need of reform in the SBC. Yesterday, she published an article entitled “It’s time for Reformation in the SBC – 3 Issues We Need to Set Right.” In it, Michelle assesses the mindset of those Southern Baptists who have chosen to walk away from the Convention:

“for some individual Southern Baptists and Southern Baptist churches, the biblical error and other problems pervading the SBC have become too much to bear, and they have deemed it time to walk away from what they see as a system damaged beyond repair, seeking refuge in ARBCA, Bible, Independent, or non-denominational churches and networks instead.”

Michelle herself is not ready to walk away.  She holds out hope for reform in her denomination.  The three issues that need to be set right, according to Michelle, are:

  1. The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture
  2. False Doctrine and False Teachers (with emphasis on the problems of LifeWay, Beth Moore, Sarah Young, and Priscilla Shirer)
  3. Disfellowshipping Errant Churches

I agree with Michelle’s identification of the problems.  For example, there are a number of errant churches that have abandoned Baptist church polity as defined in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.  Article VI of that document states:

“A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation.”

A number of the SBC’s largest churches have abandoned the concept of the local church and implemented a “multi-site” model where satellite campuses in other towns are controlled by a mother church.  This number not only includes nominally affiliated SBC churches like NewSpring and Elevation but the churches of several recent SBC Presidents. Bellevue Baptist Church, Cross Church, and the First Baptist Church of Woodstock have all adopted the multi-site model.  These megachurches, led by megapastors, effectively become their own denominations. All the while, their leadership, maintains control of the Southern Baptist Convention. To state the matter plainly, the top leadership of the SBC (Steve Gaines, Ronnie Floyd, Johnny Hunt et al) is composed of pastors whose churches are considered “errant” by a plain reading of the Baptist Faith and Message.  Lesley condemns none of these pastors in her article. Rather she condemns Elevation and NewSpring, churches which are barely involved with denominational affairs. The SBC is not being corrupted by churches (NewSpring and Elevation) which have almost nothing to do with denominational leadership. While these churches are embarrassments to the denomination, their leaders are not among those steering the SBC ship.

The odds on favorite to be the captain of the sinking ship that is the Southern Baptist Convention is JD Greear, the pastor of The Summit Church.  Greear is to be nominated for the Presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention this June.  His opponent is long-time Southern Baptist statesman Ken Hemphill. A prominent SBC blogger recently told me that he thinks, “Hemphill will get beaten worse than Mondale in ‘84.”  I agree with his assessment. The conservative resurgence is over and the SBC’s next “anointed” leader is Greear, an advocate of the liberal-minded racial reconciliation movement.  The Summit Church is an errant church, having nine different locations, with an errant leader.  Michelle Lesley views the activities of LifeWay (see reformation issue #2) as a major problem SBC life.  Greear is a featured author at LifeWay’s website.  He is not someone Southern Baptists can expect to rebuke Lifeway (along with Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer) and push for the expulsion of errant churches.  He is a LifeWay pusher at an errant church and quite friendly with Beth Moore:

Beth Moore

@BethMooreLPM

I love and believe this to my bones. Thank you, JD. pic.twitter.com/aSkDv3dJFN

J.D. Greear@jdgreear

Thank you, Beth! Hoping that we are entering a new era where we in the complementarian world take all the Word of God seriously–not just the parts about distinction of roles but also re: the tearing down of all hierarchy & his gracious distribution of gifts to all his children!

One would expect Lesley to provide a withering critique of Greear in her call for Reformation.  However, she provides quite the opposite.  Lesley has used her media platform to back Greear:

I suspect that Lesley backs Greear because he is Calvinistic.   His sociological beliefs are a positive.  However, they are overshadowed by his status as one more LifeWay author from an SBC mult-site megachurch.  If Lesley truly wants reformation, she needs to back the right horse.  Frankly speaking, Elevation and NewSpring aren’t the problem. Churches like The Summit are.  Megachurches thrive off of low discernment people who consume the products of the very authors (Moore, Shirer, Young et all) that Michelle Lesley condemns.  Michelle Lesley has proclaimed herself to be a member of #TeamJD.  She needs to decide if she wants reform or more of the same from the SBC power complex.

via The SBC, JD Greear, and Reformation: a Polite Polemic and Michelle Lesley — Pulpit & Pen

WikiLeaks’s Assange reportedly offers to show Schiff ‘there was no collusion’

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is willing to meet with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, to prove there was “no collusion,” according to an intermediary who spoke…

Source: WikiLeaks’s Assange reportedly offers to show Schiff ‘there was no collusion’

Obama claims his presidency was scandal-free. But here are all of Obama’s White House scandals.

President Barack Obama claimed this week that his eight-year administration was free of political scandals. His comments came during a technology conference in Las Vegas.

“I didn’t have scandals, which seems like it shouldn’t be something you brag about. But actually, if you look at the history of the modern presidency, coming out of the modern presidency without anybody going to jail is really good. It’s a big deal,” Obama said, according to Newsweek.

Unfortunately for Obama, his comments don’t stand up to the facts.

Here are Obama’s political scandals:

  • The ATF-led “Operation Fast & Furious”
  • The 2012 Benghazi attack
  • The Clinton Foundation’s pay-for-play scheme
  • Uranium One
  • The Department of Justice’s tracking of journalists, including Fox News’ James Rosen
  • The Veteran’s Affairs scandal
  • The Hillary Clinton private email scandal
  • The IRS targeting of conservative groups
  • The Solyndra scandal
  • NSA spying on Americans and the PRISM program, exposed by whistleblowers
  • Obama’s nuclear Iran deal
  • Obama’s intervention in Syria and subsequent failure to act on his “red line” declaration

Anything else?

Obama and other top members from his administration have made similar claims since President Donald Trump assumed office last January, despite the overwhelming amount of facts that disprove their outright dishonesty.

Even Obama’s messaging has not been consistent. He admitted earlier this year that his administration “didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us.” At that private event, Obama never disputed his administration had scandals, like he did publicly this week.

Source: Obama claims his presidency was scandal-free. But here are all of Obama’s White House scandals.

GOP Leader: No Difference Between FBI Informant & Spy ‘For All Practical Purposes’

Media, Deep State using semantics to downplay severity of scandal.
Republican leader: ‘For all practical purposes’ there’s no difference between an FBI informant and a spy
© Greg Nash

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Cornyn said that there is no difference between a “confidential informant” and a spy.

“The FBI was involved in a counterintelligence investigation, I presume, and used somebody who had contacted various subjects of their investigation to communicate back to the FBI what they found out,” Cornyn, who is the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said. “I guess for all practical purposes, for most people, it wouldn’t be any different.”

Democrats have said the FBI did nothing wrong by using an informant, who reportedly met with at least three Trump advisers during the campaign in 2016.

Source: GOP Leader: No Difference Between FBI Informant & Spy ‘For All Practical Purposes’

MAY 26 MAN’S VIEW OF THIS WORLD

Choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

If you have ever given much thought to this present world in which we live, you have some idea of the power of interpretation. The world is a stable fact, quite unchanged by the passing of years, but how different is modern man’s view of the world from the view our fathers held.

The world is for all of us not only what it is; it is what we believe it to be, and a tremendous load of weal or woe rides on the soundness of our interpretation!

In the earlier days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over American thinking, men conceded this world to be a battleground. Man, so our fathers held, had to choose sides. He could not be neutral—for him it must be life or death, heaven or hell!

In our day, the interpretation has changed completely. We are not here to fight, but to frolic! We are not in a hostile foreign land; we are at home! It now becomes the bounden duty of every Christian to reexamine his spiritual philosophy in the light of the Bible. So much depends on this that we cannot afford to be careless about it!

Lord, with Joshua I say to You today, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”[1]


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

Justified and made righteous

Here, in 90 seconds Pastor Gabe explains what justification is. When he explained that it is the legal declaration of God as to the pardon of all our sins AND the credit to our account the righteousness of Christ, it made me think of the verse from Luke regarding the return of an unclean spirit. But first, take a listen to Pastor Gabe’s explanation:

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26).

Without the imputation of righteousness to our account and the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit, we simply would be damned and punished forever. We can stave off obvious sin and project a certain morality in keeping our ‘house’ empty for a while, but sin soon creeps back in to take over again. (Genesis 4:7), We can’t help it, our sin-nature demands it.

An empty house is ripe for possession again. And as we see in the verse, the unholy spirits return. But they return in force and the state of the person is worse than before.

We always remember how great and wonderful it is that not only are we forgiven of our sins, but our Lord gave us HIS righteousness, without which, we would simply be either a suppurating cauldron of putrid sin, or a temporarily swept house waiting to become the cauldron of sin once again. His purity and righteousness is fresh, clean, and given in grace to His people. Thank you Lord for justifying Your chosen sinners!

Source: Justified and made righteous

7 Ways Spy-in-Chief Barack Obama Spied on Donald Trump

We now know for a fact that Spy-in-Chief Barack Obama weaponized the various intelligence agencies at his command to do something unprecedented: spy on a rival presidential campaign, specifically Donald Trump’s.

From what we know so far, Obama’s spies spied on Trump in seven spying ways. Just one of these seven items should make us gasp. Put together, they add up to something that makes Watergate look like a pillow fight.

Source: 7 Ways Spy-in-Chief Barack Obama Spied on Donald Trump

A History Lesson for the ‘Trump Is Hitler’ Crowd

Yesterday, I visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. A new picture was driven home to me in a most forceful manner.

Leftists love to claim that President Trump is the reincarnation of Hitler and that he’s a Nazi, or maybe a fascist.  They never supply any facts to substantiate their claims. They seem to be immune to logic.

Yesterday, I visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where a million and a half Jews were murdered in a most vile demonstration of human depravity.  A new picture was driven home to me in a most forceful manner.

The master race theory that allowed the Germans to believe that their actions were acceptable was developed by American Democrat political philosophers.  Hitler’s Nazis were happy to see the theoretical constructs their American counterparts developed and astonished to see how far the American left wanted to take them.  The Holocaust now had its foundation.

But the master race idea was not the driving force for German conquest in the early days of the Third Reich.  The annexation of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia and the blitzkrieg of Poland were driven by claims that these regions were historically part of Germany and that they should return to German control to be inhabited only by Germans.  The name for this was “lebensraum,” or “living space.”

There was only one problem in Poland: the Poles.  As long as the Poles lived there, there wasn’t room for the Germans.  Master race theory gave them an excuse to eliminate the three million Jews who lived there as a step in the Final Solution.  The Waffen S.S. carried this task out with a vengeance, hampered only by lack of resources. They were half done when the Russians retook Poland.

Has Donald Trump considered anything that has even a vague resemblance to this?  Of course not.  But the leftists calling him “Hitler” actively support a group that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nazis.  They are the so-called “Palestinians” and their allied Islamic groups.  And before anyone screams bloody murder, let us recall that bloody murder was central to the Waffen S.S. and is the hallmark of Islamic jihadis.

The Nazi justification for conquest and extermination was “lebensraum.”  What do Hamas and Islamic Jihad claim?  The “right of return.”  That’s exactly the same claim made by Hitler under the term lebensraum.  “It’s properly my land.  You have no right to it.  I’m going to take it by force.”

Hmmmm…. I wonder if there’s anything more.

Lebensraum required the forcible removal of the non-German inhabitants of the Sudetenland and Poland.  While the Germans focused on the Jews, using master race theory, they were not going to be content with just the Jews.  They murdered an equal number of Poles, Slavs, Gypsies, and Russians at Auschwitz.  The Final Solution was to be complete extermination of all non-Germans in Europe.  Fortunately, they didn’t get the time to carry it out.  Is there a parallel with the Islamists?  Hmmm…

Oh, yes.  Now I remember.  Not only do the jihadis want every Jew out of Israel; they want every Jew dead.  But they aren’t using master race theory.  They’re using “master religion theory.  The Nazis got close to master religion theory with their excuses about the Jews killing Jesus.  That meant that the Jews were guilty and should die.

Even though the term “ethnic cleansing” wasn’t used until the 1990s, that’s what Hitler was doing in Poland.  While Hamas and Islamic Jihad haven’t been able to achieve it, ethnic cleansing of Israel is their stated goal.  For anyone willing to read, it’s in black and white in their founding documents.  And just to drive the point home, to this day, they refuse to admit that Israel is a nation.  It’s referred to as the “occupying Zionist entity.”  Children are taught this lie in school, just as German children were taught lies about Jews.

What about the method of extermination?  We have to give the Nazis the nod for outright efficiency, but for brutality, little in the modern world matches the drowning, burning alive, and beheadings the Islamists choose and celebrate.

What about public support?  The German people, while not unanimous, overwhelmingly supported Hitler at first.  They bought into master race theory and lebensraum.  Any opposition was later exterminated.  Islamists are also overwhelmingly supported by their public.  In Gaza, all of the moderates have been similarly exterminated.

Nazis are, for all political intents and purposes, indistinguishable from Islamists.  Their goals and methods are nearly identical.  The ruthlessness with which those goals are achieved is comparable from one to the other.  In short, they are both to be thoroughly condemned.

At this point, we must return to the accusations against President Trump.  If he is the new Hitler, then it should be obvious that he supports Hamas and Islamic Jihad.  But when we look, we discover that President Trump has acted with great favor toward the nation of Israel and against Iran, the patron of the Islamists in the Middle East.  On the other hand, the left has taken up the Islamists’ cause.

The left, accompanied by the chorus in the Mainstream Legacy Media, takes every opportunity to accuse Israel of great crimes.  Islamist atrocities are ignored.  They refuse to admit that the West Bank is anything other than “occupied.”  Just like the Golan Heights, the west bank of the Jordan River all the way to Jerusalem is an essential part of the Jewish state.  It has been since 1968.  That’s longer than a number of uncontested modern states have existed.

Hitler claimed that Germany had been improperly ousted from Poland and Sudetenland.  The Islamists claim they were improperly ousted from Israel.  Do I hear more echoes?  The German public supported Hitler.  The American left and mainstream media support Hamas.  Did I mention that the American Left were the originators of master race theory?

The left created the philosophies that built the Nazi machine. The left has not changed since the Nazis were defeated.  Leftists still support the master race approach in the form of the Final Solution.  But this time, the Final Solution is to be administered by Islamists, not Germans.

The left has not changed.

Source: A History Lesson for the ‘Trump Is Hitler’ Crowd

Ireland Makes History: Legalizes Murder of the Unborn — Pulpit & Pen

Abortion has been illegal in Ireland since 1861.  In 1983, there was a growing concern among Ireland’s population, which was heavily influenced by the pro-life ethic of the Roman Catholic Church, that their country would follow the pattern of the more secular nations around it and legalize the practice of killing babies in womb.  Pro-lifers fought to maintain the protection of the unborn. On September 7th, 1983, the “Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act” was enacted, giving the mother and the unborn equal rights and protection under Irish law.  Yesterday, May 25, Irish voters, in a referendum, had the opportunity to perpetuate or repeal the Eight Amendment. Sadly, in a landslide vote, Irish voters decided to repeal the amendment.

Today, throughout Ireland, “celebrations” are being held as the voters who said, “Yes” to the lawful murder of the unborn, are reveling in that fact that women will no longer have to obtain illegal abortions in countries outside Ireland or make use of the black market to have access to the abortion pill.  According to the revelers, women finally have comprehensive reproductive care in Ireland.  This developmental is indicative of the waning influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.

This is indeed a grievous day for God’s image-bearers in Ireland.  The voters of Ireland, currently celebrating evil, face a grim judgement in the future. They will have to stand before the righteous and just God to answer for their murderous ways.  Their Roman Catholic ancestors, as protective of the unborn as they were, will also stand before God. They face a similar grim judgement, not for condoning the murder of the unborn but for preaching a false gospel of works.  Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can save both groups from the wrath that is it come.  Christians observing the events of today should keep eternal matters in perspective as they consider this sad temporal polticial development.

Below is a “live” link to the wicked celebrations taking place in honor of the legalization of the killing of the unborn in Ireland.

via Ireland Makes History: Legalizes Murder of the Unborn — Pulpit & Pen

Apostles Today Part 1 — Christian Research Network

Bible teacher and Christian apologist Elliott Nesh tackles the unbiblical notion that the office of Apostle and Prophet has made a comeback in modern day churches. As you will see, nothing could be further from the truth.

Elliott Nesh is the founder of Holy Bible Prophecy (HBP) and director of HBP films. Following is part one of his four-part series.  He writes:

In his article, “Understanding How Apostles Minister in Different Spheres,” the late modern Apostle C. Peter Wagner defines an apostles as a “Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.” …

Based upon the text of Ephesians 4:11, Wagner argues for what he calls the foundational or governmental gift or office of apostle. This is the teaching of the teaching of the apostolic and prophetic movement, sometimes known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). But what does the Bible say about apostles today?

Biblical Definition of Apostle

The Greek noun apostolosfrom which we get the word “apostle,” means “a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders.” Apostolos is derived from the verb apostellō, which means “to send off, to send away; to order (one) to go to a place appointed.” In other words, an apostle is an emissary or one who is sent. In the KJV the word apostolosis translated “apostles” (78x), “messenger(s)” (2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25) and “he that is sent” (John 13:16). Jesus Christ was an “Apostle” sent from the Father (Hebrews 3:1-2). In a similar way, the Twelve are Christ’s apostles. Jesus said to His apostles, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

In the New Testament, an apostle was one who was sent to preach the gospel. Several individuals in the church were called apostles. Other than the Twelve and Paul, those apostles/messengers were James, the Lord’s brother (1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19) Barnabas (Acts 14:4-14), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonian 2:6; cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:1). 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 may also indicate that there were other apostles in addition to the Twelve and Paul. All of these apostles are what 2 Corinthians 8:23 calls “messengers [apostles] of the churches.” They all bore the title, though they were not among the foundational apostles chosen by our Lord to govern the church. Therefore, we must make a major distinction between those in the New Testament who were apostles of Christ and the apostles of the churches.

In a very broad sense, apostolic work may be likened to missionary work, that is, when Christians are sent by the church as church-planting evangelists. But that’s not what NAR leaders have in mind when they claim to wield the authority of an apostolic office. Instead, today’s apostles are claiming authority and power that belonged uniquely to men specifically chosen by the Lord. One example is the modern Apostle Che Ahn who is founder of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). Under Che Ahn’s apostolic authority, WLI has “spread into numerous regional schools throughout the U.S. and into 11 nations.” As the Presiding Apostle of HIM, Che Ahn oversees “more than 25,000 ministries and organizations in 65 nations.”

In its more restricted and common New Testament usage, apostle specifically refers to the twelve apostles (with the addition of Matthias after Judas’s defection), and the apostle Paul. In contrast to the apostles of the churches, these men were appointed and sent by the Lord Himself. The name apostle was specified by Christ: “He named them Apostles” (Luke 6:13). According to Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 2:20 and Revelation 21:14, it is these apostles upon whom the church is built.

Paul the apostle was not among the Twelve, yet he is recognized as a unique apostle to the Gentiles. In his own words, he was “called to be an apostle” (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1); “an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:1; Titus 1:1); “one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:8); “an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)” (Galatians 1:1); “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1); “an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 1:1).

The Credentials of an Apostle

At least three credentials may be observed for New Testament apostles:

(1) The apostles were personally chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the gospel, we read: “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark 3:14); “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” (Luke 6:13). The Lord also said to the apostles, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). In his preface to the book of Acts, Luke wrote, “after He [Jesus] through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen” (Acts 1:2).

The necessity of appointment by Christ is also emphasized when Judas Iscariot was replaced. First, two men were selected who met the necessary prerequisites for an apostle of Christ. Because the apostle had to be personally chosen by the Lord, they prayed and cast lots:

And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:24-26).

Speaking to the household of Cornelius, the apostle Peter said, “Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:40-41).

Paul also recognized the Lord as the source of his apostolic office: “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:5). The Lord said of Paul, “he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Ananias declared to Paul, “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard” (Acts 22:14-15). Describing his apostolic work, Paul spoke of “the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Paul spent much of 2 Corinthians defending his apostleship by comparison of his own ministry to the false apostles. He opened the letter by saying, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 1:1). He echoed that specific calling in 1 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1 and Titus 1:1.

Within NAR organizations like the International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (ICAL), there is an application process and annual membership fee. The annual membership fees for ICAL are provided on their website (accessed 2/12/18): View article →

Apostles Today Part 2

Apostles Today Part 3

Apostles Today Part 4

via Apostles Today Part 1 — Christian Research Network

May 26, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Evidence of Reconciliation

if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (1:23)

One of the most sobering truths in the Bible is that not all who profess to be Christians are in fact saved. Our Lord warned, “ ‘Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” ’ ” (Matt. 7:22–23).

Of all the marks of a genuine Christian presented in Scripture, none is more significant than the one Paul mentions here. People give evidence of being truly reconciled when they continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast. The Bible repeatedly testifies that those who are truly reconciled will continue in the faith. In the parable of the soils, Jesus described those represented by the rocky soil as “ ‘those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away’ ” (Luke 8:13). By falling away they gave evidence that they were never truly saved. In John 8:31, “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.’ ” Speaking of apostates, the apostle John writes in 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”

After hearing some difficult and challenging teaching from Him, many of Jesus’ so-called disciples “withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore” (John 6:66). By so doing, they gave evidence that they had never truly been His disciples. Perseverance is the hallmark of the true saint. (I discuss the issue further in my books The Gospel According to Jesus [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988] and Saved Without a Doubt [Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1992].)

Lest there be any confusion about what they were to continue in, Paul specifies the content of their faith as the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. The Colossians are to hold fast to the apostolic gospel they had heard; the gospel that had been proclaimed throughout the world; the gospel of which Paul was a minister, commissioned to preach. Those who, like the Colossian errorists, preach any other gospel stand cursed before God (Gal. 1:8).

Perhaps no passage stresses the vital importance of reconciliation more than 2 Corinthians 5:17–21:

If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

In that powerful text we can discern five truths about reconciliation. First, reconciliation transforms men: “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (v. 17). Second, it appeases God’s wrath: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (v. 21). Third, it comes through Christ: “All these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ” (v. 18). Fourth, it is available to all who believe: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (v. 19). Finally, every believer has been given the ministry of proclaiming the message of reconciliation: God “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (v. 18), and “He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (v. 19).

God sends His people forth as ambassadors into a fallen, lost world, bearing unbelievably good news. People everywhere are hopelessly lost and doomed, cut off from God by sin. But God has provided the means of reconciliation through the death of His Son. Our mission is to plead with people to receive that reconciliation, before it is too late. Paul’s attitude, expressed in verse 20, should mark every Christian: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”[1]


23 Paul does not presuppose, however, that the Colossians’ final spiritual standing before God is a given. The “if [indeed]” (ei ge) with which v. 23 begins interjects a degree of contingency and a note of conditionality. Even if Paul can presently rejoice in the good order and stability of the Colossians’ faith (1:4–5; 2:5), he does not assume that they cannot deviate or be diverted from “the hope held out in the gospel” (cf. 1:28; 4:12). Indeed, a purpose for which Paul wrote Colossians was to warn the congregation of the negative spiritual consequences of supplementing or abandoning their received faith. Paul clearly believed that God would empower and enable the Colossians to stand firm in the gospel (1:11). In Paul’s theological understanding, however, divine provision does not preclude human responsibility. As Moule, 73, puts it, “Christ does for us what we could not do for ourselves; but we must do, for our part, what he will not do for us.”

Paul encourages the Colossians to “continue” (remain or stay) in the faith. The precise connotation of “faith” in this verse is debatable. Is it the Colossians’ personal faith to which Paul is referring (so NIV)? Is it the basic beliefs to which the Colossians and other believers hold? Or is it a both/and rather than an either/or? While I am inclined to construe “faith” here primarily as initial and continual trust in God through Christ (1:4; 2:5, 12), as intimated in the NIV, it would be both unwise and unnecessary to dichotomize the act of faith from the facts of faith. In any event, Paul, like Jesus, regarded the saving faith as the continuing faith (cf. Mt 24:13). Assurance of salvation and perseverance in salvation go hand in hand. Spiritual fidelity and eternal security were closer partners for Paul and his Master than some theologians in the (ultra-) Reformed tradition have acknowledged.

Paul depicts how the Colossians should continue in faith by means of three reinforcing images. First of all, the Colossians are to be firmly established or founded like a well-built edifice. The perfect passive participle tethemeliōmenos (“having been established,” GK 2530) intimates that another is assisting and enabling their spiritual construction. If Paul does not intend a divine passive here, then Epaphras through his direct ministry and/or conceivably even Paul himself through his indirect ministry could be in view. Additionally, the Colossians’ faith is to be “firm” or steadfast. The meaning of the root word on which the adjective hedraios (GK 1612) is built is “to sit.” Paul is encouraging the church “to remain firmly seated on the gospel as … a skillful rider on a spirited horse” (Dunn, 111). Furthermore and finally, Paul cautions the congregation “not [to be] moved away from the hope of the gospel that [they had] heard” (NASB). The term metakinoumenos (“being moved away,” GK 3560) is a present passive participle. At this point we may well encounter the first, if subtle, indication that there are those who would lead the Colossians away from “the hope of the gospel” (cf. 2:4, 8). Christian hope, the eager expectation that God will consummate all things in Christ, is part and parcel of the gospel.

Regarding the gospel, three things are said. First, it is the gospel the Colossians had heard in the past (cf. 1:5–6). Hearing the gospel is vital. Indeed, “faith comes from hearing the message” (Ro 10:17). Moreover the gospel, Paul propounds, was preached “to every creature under heaven.” The universal scope of the gospel spoken of in 1:6 (cf. 1:20) is underscored here. Precisely who preached this gospel and where it was proclaimed do not concern Paul at this point. Paul’s confidence in the going forth of the gospel enables him to speak of the historical future as a theological past. Or as Bruce, 79, remarks: “Paul may be engaging here in prophetic prolepsis.” Regardless, Paul describes himself as a “servant” or minister (diakonos, GK 1356) of the good news (cf. Eph 3:7). Paul viewed himself as a servant of God (2 Co 6:4), the new covenant (2 Co 3:6), and the church (Col 1:25). He did not regard himself, however, as the only one suitable to serve. On the contrary, he acknowledged and appreciated such people as Phoebe (Ro 16:1), Apollos (1 Co 3:5), Tychicus (Col 4:7; cf. Eph 6:21), and Epaphras (Col 1:7) as fellow servants of the model servant, Christ (Ro 15:8; Php 2:7). For Paul, as with Jesus, spiritual success was based on sacrificial service, not on ecclesial standing or social status (cf. esp. Mk 10:43b–45).[2]


faith and hope for sinners (v. 23). Perseverance proves faith’s genuine character and is the fruit of reconciliation: ‘… if you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel’ (v. 23). This fruit is brought to maturity through the use of the means of grace. Men cannot add anything to the power of the blood of Jesus Christ by human effort, but God expects believers to exercise faith and embrace the hope that is found in the gospel. Christians are expected to continue believing in Christ Jesus all the days of their earthly life and to die in the hope of eternal life. There was an attempt in the assembly at Colosse to devalue Christ and deny the true way of salvation, so here Paul sounds a warning against backsliding. Christ is all-sufficient for their needs, and the pre-eminent Saviour (Heb. 7:25). False doctrine will come and winds of change will blow, but they (the Colossians) must remain true to Christ and his gospel. Christ is glorified when his redeemed and reconciled people persevere to the end.[3]


1:23 / Lest his readers entertain any idea that their status in Christ can be treated with indifference, Paul emphatically reminds them of an important condition that needs to be kept in mind: if you continue in your faith, established and firm. Salvation, although a free gift from God, must be kept. Thus those who have received Christ are admonished to abide or to persevere in Christ (John 8:31; 15:4–7; Acts 14:22; Rom. 11:22; 2 John 9).

To counter the threat of their eroding faith and shifting hope, Paul draws upon building metaphors that, as elsewhere in Scripture, portray strength, endurance, and security (Matt. 7:24–27; 1 Cor. 3:10–15; Eph. 2:19–22; 1 Pet. 2:4–10). The recipients can only have such a foundation, established and firm, by following in the faith and hope of the gospel that initially was proclaimed to them as well as to the whole world.

With these themes of faith, hope, and the universality of the gospel, Paul returns full circle to ideas expressed in his opening thanksgiving (1:3–8). There, his concern was that the Colossians see this as evidence for the truth of the gospel; here, he admonishes them to apply this truth to their lives continually.

Paul closes this section by stating that he is related personally to this gospel as a servant (diakonos). By doing this, he shows his commitment to the message that the Colossians have heard as well as his identity with his co-workers Epaphras and Tychicus, who likewise are servants of the gospel (1:7; 4:7). The statement also serves as a transition to the following verses where Paul outlines his ministry to the church.[4]


How you must go on (verse 23)

This verse confirms our understanding of Paul’s meaning. The position the Colossians occupy before God as ‘acceptable people’ depends upon one condition—continuance in the faith. This continuance is then defined as faithfulness to the gospel. The gospel is then defined as:

(i) the gospel they had already heard, i.e. which had already proved itself to be living and powerful;

(ii) the gospel the world was also hearing, i.e. which had already proved itself ‘catholic’ or universal;

(iii) the gospel Paul had received and served, i.e. which had already proved itself to be apostolic.

The duty of the Colossians to this gospel is expressed in fine words, whose precise meaning epitomizes the appeal of the whole Colossian letter.

  1. a. They are to be stable, literally, established or well-founded in the truth. To move from the gospel is to move from the foundations on which Christ has built his church, and therefore to lose Christian ‘stability’.
  2. b. They are to be steadfast. This is the great call of 1 Corinthians 15:58, where apostolic truth was again at stake. It means loyalty to the truths by which they were saved.
  3. c. They are not to shift. A unique New Testament word, it literally means that they are not to be dissuaded from the hope of the gospel. This is extremely significant language, specially characteristic perhaps of the captivity epistles. The chief blessing of the gospel is the hope it contains for the future. Meanwhile, in the present, the church lives by faith. Now we have a ‘taste’ of ‘the powers of the world to come’.7 It may be that the new teachers urged the believers not to be content with this ‘taste’, but to claim from God the full heavenly feast. But this, for Paul, is to ‘shift from the hope’. It is to refuse to walk by faith. It is to bring Christ down to earth. It is to give oneself to ‘another’ gospel.

To continue in the faith is to be content with the gospel that first saved and delivered us from spiritual death and estrangement with God, and brought us straightaway to live in his presence, at peace with him. It is to base our lives and our teaching upon the apostolic doctrines of grace. It is for those whose confidence that they are reconciled is in Christ’s work for us, not in Christ’s work in us. It is to be unmoved and immoveable in the face of strong winds of new doctrine, not just when people would deny the apostolic gospel but when, more subtly, they would improve upon it. For the sixteenth-century Anglican Reformers it was the rediscovery of the ‘finished work’ of Christ on the cross as an atonement for the sins of the world that made the medieval Mass so intolerable to them. From experience they knew that the focus of the worshippers’ attention was on the words and actions of the priest at the altar; there is concrete evidence of this in the new consecration prayer prepared for the Holy Communion service in the Book of Common Prayer. The words of this prayer vigorously turn our attention back to what Christ did by his death at Golgotha, ‘who made there … a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice … for the sins of the whole world’. Notice the emphatic there as opposed to here. Communicants are then invited to listen to what Christ said at the institution of the supper, since it is not the mysteriously powerful words of the priest that matter but rather the words Christ spoke by way of explanation for this remembrance of his passion. It is these words that must reach every listening ear and lodge in every worshipper’s mind and heart.

Today the situation is confused for many Christian people. Frequently one meets ‘catholic’ believers who claim with obvious sincerity that they believe and trust in Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice for sins. Shall we not say, therefore, that the old misunderstandings have been removed and that all believers can reasonably look forward to meeting with one heart and mind at the Lord’s table? Only if we can all agree that the finality of the sacrifice on the cross is a cardinal tenet of the New Testament, not only here in Colossians (1:20, 22) but also in the letter to the Hebrews where the imagery is very telling. Christ is pictured as having sat down at the right hand of the Father, his work of offering sacrifice completed, while his presence at the place of honour witnesses to the fact that he is (and therefore those that are ‘in him’ are also) now accepted fully, finally and for ever (Heb. 10:1–18).

It must reluctantly be said that this finality is still contradicted by much Catholic principle and practice even since Vatican II. Granted that the Mass is no independent or additional sacrifice, it remains for many a ‘real’ sacrifice, that is, the same sacrifice which Christ offered, though offered now in a different way. But why is this constant ‘renewal’ of Christ’s sacrifice necessary, even if it is offered in a bloodless manner? The official answer remains unchanged, as in paragraph 29 of Paul VI’s encyclical Mysterium Fidei (1965);

Instructed by the Lord and the Apostles, the Church has always offered it not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions and needs of the faithful still alive, but also for those who have died in Christ but are not yet fully cleansed.

Notice carefully the final phrase ‘not yet fully cleansed’. But this full cleansing of all sin is precisely what Christ by his bloody sacrifice has won for his people. This is the glory of the cross (1:27); this is the hope of the gospel from which we may not shift (1:23); from the enjoyment of this ‘freedom from sin’ we cannot allow ourselves to be recaptured by the chains of ‘religion’ (2:8–15). To those with a heart for this spiritual freedom the official Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass remains intolerable still.

Paul’s teaching remains the only road to spiritual ‘assurance’, a much neglected aspect of Christian truth: indeed it has often been regarded as peculiarly evangelical. Writing of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, Georgina Battiscombe says that

No existing record suggests that at any period of his life did Ashley experience that sudden and definite assurance of salvation which is the classic Evangelical conversion. If he in fact ever had such an experience it most probably would have been during his childhood under the influence of Maria Millis.

But sudden or gradual, can there be an intelligent and genuine turning to Christ without ‘that definite assurance of salvation’? Alas, it seems that there can, but only because believers do what Paul here forbids and shift from the hope (i.e. assurance) of the gospel by seeking something more than Christ crucified as the sufficient foundation for their soul’s confidence. Assurance of ultimate salvation is God’s intention for every Christian (1 Jn. 5:13), and, incidentally despite his most recent biographer’s hesitations, Shaftesbury certainly enjoyed it. The celebrated minister of St Peter’s, Dundee, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, wrote these words about such Christian certainty:

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.[5]


1:23. The if of verse 23 should not be misunderstood. This verse is not saying that we will be presented holy and blameless if we remain faithful, as if our eternal salvation depends on our performance. The Greek construction of the if is not an expression of doubt but an expression of confidence and is better translated as since. Paul is not in doubt about whether the Colossians will remain faithful (see Col. 2:5). He is confident that because they have understood what it means to be reconciled they will remain faithful to the gospel that reconciled them. He writes this as an expression of confidence and as a warning to avoid the religious fads of the false teachers of Colosse.[6]


23. Now in connection with this glorious presentation at the Lord’s return a condition must be fulfilled. Hence, Paul continues: if, indeed, you continue in the faith, founded and firm.… Divine preservation always presupposes human perseverance. Perseverance proves faith’s genuine character, and is therefore indispensable to salvation. To be sure, no one can continue in the faith in his own strength (John 15:5). The enabling grace of God is needed from start to finish (Phil. 2:12, 13). This, however, does not cancel human responsibility and activity. Yes, activity, continuous, sustained, strenuous effort (Heb. 12:14). It should be noted, however, that this is distinctly the activity of faith (cf. 1 Tim. 2:15), a faith not in themselves but in God. Thus they will be “founded and firm,” that is, firmly established upon the one and only true foundation, the foundation of the apostles (through their testimony). Of this foundation Christ Jesus is the cornerstone (1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:20: Rev. 21:14, 19, 20). The conditional clause continues: and are not moved away from the hope that is derived from the gospel which you have heard. Danger was threatening; and it was of a twofold character, as pointed out earlier (see Introduction, III B; IV A). Hence, the apostle by implication is here warning the Colossians against relapse into their former state with all its soul-destroying vices (Col. 3:5–11) and against the “solution” urged upon them by those who refused to recognize Jesus Christ as the complete and all-sufficient Savior. Let them not allow themselves to be dislodged or shunted away from the hope—ardent expectation, complete confidence, watchful waiting—of which the gospel speaks and to which the gospel gives rise, that gospel which the Colossians “have heard,” that is, to which they have not only listened but to which they have also given heed. See above on Col. 1:6–8. That gospel, moreover, was not meant for a select few—the Colossian errorists may well have considered themselves an exclusive set!—nor was it confined to any particular region; on the contrary, it was the gospel which, in obedience to the Lord’s command (Matt. 28:19; especially Mark 16:15), was preached among every creature under heaven. It recognized no boundaries whether racial, national, or regional. It is always the “whosoever believeth” gospel. Having reached Rome, from which Paul is writing this epistle, it had actually invaded every large center of the then-known world. More on this under verse 6 above. With deep emotion and humble gratitude the apostle concludes this section and links it with the next paragraph by adding: and of which I, Paul, became a minister. The real depth of these words can only be understood in the light of such passages as 1 Cor. 15:9; Eph. 3:8; and 1 Tim. 1:15–17. A minister of the gospel is one who knows the gospel, has been saved by the Christ of the gospel, and with joy of heart proclaims the gospel to others. Thus he serves the cause of the gospel.[7]


1:23 Now the Apostle Paul adds one of those if passages which have proved very disconcerting to many children of God. On the surface, the verse seems to teach that our continued salvation depends on our continuing in the faith. If this is so, how can this verse be reconciled with other portions of the word of God, such as John 10:28, 29, which declare that no sheep of Christ can ever perish?

In seeking to answer this question, we would like to state at the outset that the eternal security of the believer is a blessed truth which is set forth clearly in the pages of the NT. However, the Scriptures also teach, as in this verse, that true faith always has the quality of permanence, and that one who has really been born of God will go on faithfully to the end. Continuance is a proof of reality. Of course there is always the danger of backsliding, but a Christian falls only to rise again (Prov. 24:16). He does not forsake the faith.

The Spirit of God has seen fit to put many of these so-called “if” passages in the word of God in order to challenge all who profess the name of Christ as to the reality of their profession. We would not want to say anything that might dull the sharp edge of these passages. As someone has said: “These ‘ifs’ in Scripture look on professing Christians here in the world and they come as healthy tests to the soul.”

Pridham comments on these challenging verses as follows:

The reader will find, on a careful study of the Word, that it is the habit of the Spirit to accompany the fullest and most absolute statements of grace by warnings which imply a ruinous failure on the part of some who nominally stand in faith.… Warnings which grate harshly on the ears of insincere profession are drunk willingly as medicine by the godly soul.… The aim of all such teaching as we have here is to encourage faith, and condemn, by anticipation, reckless and self-confident professors.

Doubtless with the Gnostics primarily in mind, the apostle is urging the Colossians not to be moved away from the hope that accompanies the gospel, or which the gospel inspires. They should continue in the faith which they learned from Epaphras, grounded and steadfast.

Again Paul speaks of the gospel as having been preached to every creature (or “all creation”) under heaven. The gospel goes out to all creation, but it has not as yet reached literally every creature. Paul is arguing the worldwide proclamation of the gospel as a testimonial to its genuineness. He sees in this the evidence that it is adaptable to the needs of mankind everywhere. The verse does not mean that every person in the world at that time had heard the gospel. It was not a fact accomplished, but a process going on. Also, the gospel had reached to all the Bible world, that is, the Mediterranean world.

Paul speaks of himself as a minister, a Latin word that simply means “a servant.” It has nothing of officialdom about it. It does not denote a lofty office so much as humble service.[8]


23 Their continuing in the faith shows how real that faith is; so the passage concludes with a condition. If it is true that the saints will persevere to the end, then it is equally true that the saints must persevere to the end. Like a building set on a sure foundation and erected with strong supports, the readers are to remain true to the gospel, and not to shift from the fixed ground of their Christian hope. The claim of Paul’s gospel (which focused on this hope) to be the true message of God is shown by its universal appeal. It has already been preached in representative towns and cities of the empire—Paul does not mean that every single individual has heard.[9]


1:23if indeed you continue in the faith: The perseverance of the Colossians was proof of the reconciling work of Christ on their behalf (vv. 21, 22). every creature under heaven: Paul uses this exaggeration to illustrate the rapid spread of the gospel. Compare Acts 17:6, where the apostles are said to have turned the world upside down, even though their ministry up to that point had been limited to a small portion of the eastern Mediterranean region.[10]


1:23. This reconciliation in Christ comes only by an abiding faith—if you continue in your faith. The Colossians had a settled faith—established (i.e., “grounded” like a building on a strong foundation) and firm (hedraioi, “seated or settled”; cf. 1 Cor. 7:37; 15:58), so Paul did not doubt that they would continue. In fact he spoke of the hope (confident expectation) which this gospel of reconciliation provides not only to them but also to the whole world—to every creature under heaven. This is obviously a figure of speech indicating the universality of the gospel and its proclamation, not that every person on the globe heard Paul preach. In Acts 2:5 this phrase describes a wide range of people from various countries without including, for example, anyone from North or South America (cf. also Gen. 41:57; 1 Kings 10:24; Rom. 1:8).[11]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 65–67). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 297–298). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] McNaughton, I. S. (2006). Opening up Colossians and Philemon (p. 32). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 37). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Lucas, R. C. (1980). Fullness & freedom: the message of Colossians & Philemon (pp. 62–65). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 284). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, p. 85). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1996–1997). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] O’Brien, P. T. (1994). Colossians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1267). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[10] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1563). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[11] Geisler, N. L. (1985). Colossians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 674–675). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Audio: Storm Warning

Storm Warning! In this special interview, Jan Markell’s guests include David Fiorazo and Mike LeMay from “Stand Up for the Truth” radio. Is Christianity being eradicated from culture in America? Because government is god to the secular Left, there is an all-out assault on everything Christian. True believers are the targets of choice and often discriminated against. Prepare yourselves as this will likely come to your neighborhood. Some suggest a terrible storm is coming; others say the storm is already here. We use the mobile app found at www.oneplace.com.

May 26 Asking for God’s Provision

Give us this day our daily bread.—Matt. 6:11

“Give” reminds us of our need to ask God for His provision. In recognition of His past and present provision we ask Him, and trust for His future furnishing of all our needs. We can ask confidently because God has richly promised. “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.… The humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity” (Ps. 37:4, 11). God does not pledge to always meet the physical needs of everybody, but only of those who trust in Him. In Psalm 37:25, David is speaking about believers when he says, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.”

It is clear that the “us” who can expect provision from the Father are believers. Paul echoes the same principle: “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God” (2 Cor. 9:10–11; cf. Luke 18:29–30).

God mercifully supplies our needs daily, meaning simply our ordinary, day-by-day provision of food, clothing, money, etc. The primary means by which we receive these things is through work, but isn’t it the Lord who provides even the strength for that? To accept God’s provision for today without undue concern for tomorrow is a testimony of our godly contentment (cf. Matt. 6:25, 32–33).

ASK YOURSELF

If the supply we have today isn’t satisfying to us and doesn’t seem like enough, is the problem with our Supplier or with our own measure of demand? Pray for a humble willingness to be thankful for every blessing, without focusing on the ones He seems to be withholding.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 155). Chicago: Moody Publishers.