Daily Archives: August 10, 2018

August 10: Love, Praise, Forgiveness

Isaiah 20:1–22:25; Luke 7:36–8:15; Job 5:8–16

Our praise for God is often directly connected to accepting and confessing our brokenness. Our capacity to love Him is tied to the realization of how much He has forgiven us.

The woman in Luke 7 who anointed Jesus’ feet is described with one phrase: She was a sinner. We’re not given clarifying detail, but we do know her sin was notorious and, as a result, she was marginalized by society. She was not only weighed down by her sin; her public identity was grounded in it, and she could not hide it. She knew that she needed to receive forgiveness from the only one who could provide it. Her necessity made her bold: She came to Simon the Pharisee’s house to wash and anoint Jesus’ feet.

Her behavior created quite a spectacle. Simon the Pharisee was quick to condemn her actions and question Jesus’ decision to show her compassion. But Jesus turned the tables on him. While the woman was aware of her brokenness—and was all the more grateful for forgiveness—Simon ran with those who had built up a charade of holiness.

Jesus told Simon, “For this reason I tell you, her sins—which were many—have been forgiven, for she loved much. But the one to whom little is forgiven loves little” (Luke 7:47).

Our praise for Jesus—the way we speak of Him and the way we speak of our sin and forgiveness—is a reflection of the state of our hearts. Because our hearts are inclined to be prideful, it’s often easier for us to defend our sin than to confess it. It’s easier to go about our religious activities while rationalizing our sin. But unless we drop the charade and confess the true state of our hearts, we’ll never honor Him as we should.

Do you “love little”? What holds you back from expressing praise?

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.

August 10 Benevolence Without Love

“If I give all my possessions to feed the poor … but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3).

✧✧✧

Love is characterized by self-sacrifice, but not all self-sacrifice is an act of love.

If you’ve ever donated to your church or another charitable organization out of obligation, peer pressure, legalism, guilt, a desire for recognition, or simply to earn a tax deduction, you know what it means to give without love. In our society it’s easy to fall prey to that kind of giving because the needs are so great and fund-raisers appeal to every conceivable motive. In addition, many cults and false religions encourage the giving up of possessions and other sacrificial gestures as a supposed means of earning God’s favor. But God is more interested in why you give than what you give.

Paul’s hypothetical illustration in 1 Corinthians 13:3 is that of someone who sacrificed everything he had to feed the poor. The Greek word translated “to feed” means “to dole out in small quantities.” Apparently this guy didn’t simply write out a check for a food distribution program; he was personally involved in a long-term, systematic program that would eventually consume every resource he had.

Paul doesn’t mention motives—only that this person lacked love. Consequently, the benefits of his benevolence were limited to the physical realm. Any spiritual benefits were forfeited.

Jesus, making a similar point, said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 6:1). If your motive for giving is to gain the approval of men, their accolades will be your only reward. If you’re motivated by love for God, He will reward you abundantly (vv. 2–4).

When you give to the Lord, what is your motive? Do you want others to think more highly of you? Do you feel obligated? Those are subtle influences, so be sure to guard your motives carefully. Remember, the only acceptable motive is love.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask the Holy Spirit to keep you sensitive to the needs of others, enabling you always to give out of genuine love.

For Further Study: Read Luke 18:9–14. ✧ How did the Pharisee’s prayer differ from the tax-gatherer’s? ✧ How did God respond to each prayer?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 235). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Daily Beast article leaves Hillary Clinton out of 90s feminism debacle (Video)

Allison Yarrow recently wrote a piece entitled, “The Media’s Nasty Treatment of Monica Lewinsky Shaped a Generation of Women.” The Resident agrees with 90% of what she wrote, being a woman in the 90s and experiencing the times first hand. But she can’t help notice that Yarrow completely omits Hillary Clinton’s role in the Lewinsky scandal, which shaped a lot of women’s opinion of the Hillary well before her failed presidential candidacy.

This ‘n’ That for August 10, 2018

  • So much travesty in the name of Christ.
  • There’s more coming out about Bill Hybels, and so the leadership exodus has begun.
  • The Cripplegate compares two of the latest evangelical scandals, including the one referenced above.
  • This is a neat story. It’s sad to think that most of our World War 2 veterans are already gone.
  • Any guesses as to when millennials will enter reality?
  • Jesus died for God.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • I haven’t read this yet, but I’m not sure why everyone’s so surprised that Andy Stanley has proven himself to be unfaithful to the Word.
  • I love thinking about Christ as the Good Shepherd.
  • I once had to take a drug test for a job, and completely panicked because I had eaten a hamburger on a poppyseed bun right beforehand. It’s cool, I told them about it, I passed, and I got the job, but seriously, the danger is real.
  • Hey, it’s Snoopy’s birthday today!

 

A believer longs after God, to come into his presence, to feel his love, to feel near to him in secret, to feel in the crowd that he is nearer than all the creatures. Ah! dear brethren, have you ever tasted this blessedness? There is greater rest and solace to be found in the presence of God for one hour than in an eternity of the presence of man.
—Robert Murray McCheyne

Are Our Hearts Still Deceitfully Wicked after We Are Born Again? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

 

Do our hearts deceive us? From our 2017 National Conference, Albert Mohler considers whether Christians still have “wicked hearts” after being born again. When you have biblical and theological questions, just ask Ligonier. Read the Transcript

via Are Our Hearts Still Deceitfully Wicked after We Are Born Again? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

AUGUST 10 CHOSEN IN HIM

He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame.

Ephesians 1:4

I have been told that sometimes when I preach I really worry the Calvinists, but I want to make a point here, and I take the chance of worrying my brethren in the Armenian persuasion.

The recorded acts of Creation in the beginning were not God’s first activity. God had been occupied before that, for He must have been engaged in choosing and foreordaining before the foundation of the world!

Paul told the Ephesian Christians: “[God] hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (1:4).

Can I explain how God could have chosen us before the creation of the world? Can I explain the eternal nature of God, the uncreated Being? Can I explain a time when there was only God—no matter, no law, no motion, no relation and no space, no time and no beings, only God?

God was there, and God is not a void! He is the triune God, and He is all there is. Before the Creation He was already busy with eternal mercies and a redemptive plan for a mankind not yet created!

Merciful God, as I reflect upon Your eternal goodness, I am amazed once again at Your resoluteness to save a wayward world at such a great expense—Your only Son.[1]


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

Persecution, Beatings and Arrests for Christians

ICC Note:  Christians in India are constantly punished or attacked by Hindu radicals. Indian authorities also discriminate Christians and show favoritism for Hindus in their practices and persecution of Christians.

8/10/2018 India (Asia News) – Whilst acts of hooliganism and violence against Christians intensify in Uttar Pradesh, India’s “secular” authorities continue to show “preferences” for Hindus.

Yesterday, senior police and government officials in Meerut (62 km north-east of Delhi), threw rose petals from a helicopter to greet Kanwar pilgrims.

A video, shared on social media, shows Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar throwing rose petals during an aerial tour. He was accompanied by Meerut’s commissioner.

[Full Story]

Source: Persecution, Beatings and Arrests for Christians

08/10/2018 — Wretched

WR2018-0810

•Richard Dawkins believes in Panspermia, and we’re the crazy ones
•How do I talk to my pastor when he loses his mental edge?
•Can Christians be Gynecologists?
•The sad decline of Jack Van Impe
•Is Ben Shapiro waiting for the Anti-Christ?
•A prophetic evangelist puts Todd in his place
•Can you make the Bible an idol?
•Another Wretch loses their church to the NAR
•Cultural Marxism is taking over Moody Bible Institute
•Does God lay people on our hearts?

Download Now (right click and save)

via 08/10/2018 — Wretched

When Celebrity Pastors Let Us Down

Photo by Rucksack Magazine on Unsplash

Over the past several years, victims of sexual assault within the church have been paying attention to the cultural force that is the #MeToo movement, and more and more of them have felt emboldened to speak up about their experiences with sexual assault by church leaders. As a result, what once was hidden has been brought to light. Perpetrators are being exposed, and victims are being vindicated. The #MeToo movement is alive and well in the evangelical church, where it has been rebranded as #ChurchToo.

Recently, Bill Hybels has been under fire regarding the repeated sexual assault of a former employee of his church. Hybels, the founder of Willow Creek Community Church, Willow Creek Association, and Global Leadership Summit, now joins an ever-expanding list of famous evangelical pastors who have had their ministry careers derailed because of sexual assault incidents coming to light (see here and here).

Perhaps one of the most common reactions I hear to these incidents is, “How could this man have done this? How could this man who has done so many great things for God be capable of committing such heinous sins?” There is great concern over the fact that men who have embodied so many public virtues have also possessed so many private vices. And though most of us have never personally met those pastors engaged in these sin, because these pastors had been theological mentors to us, we feel hurt and betrayed.

When role models let us down, it is natural to have emotional responses–grief, anguish, disbelief, bitterness, anger, etc. However, if we find ourselves completely overwhelmed by these emotional responses, then that can be a sign that we had elevated those role models too highly, that we had set a moral bar for them so high that they could never reach it.

In today’s evangelical world, although we would probably not admit it publicly, many of us have come to idolize our pastors. We think of our pastors as being so sanctified that they are incapable of the greatest sins. We think of them as being so close to God that they are spiritually invincible. And we forget, as Paul says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10-11).

Here is the reality. Behind every pulpit is a broken human being, prone to guilt and fear and shame just like the rest of us. One may think that the pulpit purifies the pastor behind it, but in fact the pulpit often hides the pastor behind it. The pulpit serves as a defensive buffer for the pastor. It creates the impression that the pastor is perfectly put together–so put together that he does not need the community, the accountability, and the mentorship that everybody else in the church requires. And it is exactly the type of environment that allows secret sins to cultivate unchecked.

What then should Christians do when pastors let us down?

In the Old Testament, the ancient Israelites experienced a similar dynamic. During their early history, they had no kings, for God was their king. But in 1 Samuel 8:5, they asked the prophet Samuel, “Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” In response, God told Samuel, “[T]hey have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8:7), but nonetheless he allowed Samuel to identify a king. From then onward, Israel was ruled by kings and, as a result, Israel was no longer a theocracy but a monarchy. And as the years went by, it soon became apparent that none of the kings were any good. Every single king would let their people down. Even the best king of them all, King David, committed adultery and plotted a murder to cover it up. Surely the Israelites must also have asked, “How could this man who has done so many great things for God be capable of committing such heinous sins?”

Eventually, the wickedness of the Israelite kings drove the nation straight into the ground, and the Israelites were conquered and exiled. But God did not abandon his people. In Jeremiah 23, God condemned the “shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of [his] pasture” and promised that he would “set shepherds over them who will care for them” (Jeremiah 23:1-4). And then God made it clear that he was speaking of one Individual in particular: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 23:5). God was promising that there would one day be a Shepherd King who would never let his sheep down–he would rule with justice and righteousness.

This prophecy, of course, was referring to Jesus. It is not a coincidence that Jesus later claimed, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

Throughout the age of the bad kings, God was essentially saying, “You want a king? Okay, I’ll let you have some kings. And when they let you down over and over again, I’ll let you discover that it was me you wanted this whole time.” And at the right time, Jesus the Shepherd King appeared and showed us that God is the King we were looking for.

The principle of the Israelite kings is the same as the principle of the celebrity pastors. Too many of us put too much stock in celebrity pastors. We look around at the secular world, and we say, like the Israelites did, “Now appoint for us a celebrity to shepherd us like the secular world.” And over and over, we see celebrity pastors quickly rise to stardom and quickly fizzle out.

Every time a celebrity pastor lets us down, it is an opportunity to look to Jesus, as we are reminded of the fact that only Jesus is the good King. Though spiritual shepherds may let us down, Jesus the Good Shepherd will never let us down. He is the Celebrity Pastor we are all looking for.

Source: When Celebrity Pastors Let Us Down

BSF Leader resigns; warns members about 2018 Study — Naomi’s Table Bible Studies

I remember the first time I “got” the Gospel. It was in a woman’s Bible study group called BSF, or Bible Study Fellowship. In 2015 I warned ladies about the ever-increasing concerns many members have had that this once-trusted ministry has been going down the contemplative, mystical path. (See, BSF, Jesus Calling and a plea from the heart.)

Additional resources for what you are about to read:

White Paper: Purpose Driven
White Paper: Spiritual Formation
White Paper: Emergent Church

Now on to the latest: This week, long-time Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF) leader Linda Davis is warning members signed up for this fall’s new study, People of the Promised Land. Davis is a BSF veteran of 22 years. I am sharing her public note from her Facebook page, for my many friends who are in BSF and/or who are not on social media:

BSF

God’s Word vs. BSF’s eBook: “A Faithful Legacy”

By Linda Davis· Thursday, August 9, 2018
This fall, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) will launch a new study, People of the Promised Land. As a foundational mindset kick-start to the study, eBook A Faithful Legacy, co-authored by Stephen R. Graves and Susan C. Rowan, was sent to Bible Study Fellowship class members and leadership in July 2018. Susie Rowan (BSF executive director) writes in the introduction that she and her friend Steve Graves created this eBook “to help us all prepare and begin to apply the timeless truths we will unpack throughout this upcoming study.” The following pages seek to examine, chapter by chapter, the content of A Faithful Legacy against the truths of Scripture.
I joined BSF in 1996. At that time, I was in my late 20s with superficial Bible knowledge at best, BSF served as the tool which God has used to teach me the Scriptures, and more importantly to grow my relationship with Him.
I thought I would grow old and die in BSF. When it came to matters of BSF, I was ALL-in, as I committed wholeheartedly to learning, growing, serving. BSF has also been a mainstay in my role as mother, with my children participating from the time they were two until they graduated from the senior level in the school program. In addition, I have served for ten years as a discussion/group leader and two years as a children’s leader. There has been no one more loyal to this ministry.
It is with great sadness that I have watched the slow but steady dismantling of what was once an effective tool in the hands of the Master. Miss Audrey Wetherell Johnson (BSF founder) would be heartbroken to see what has become of Bible Study Fellowship, how it has drifted, at first subtly, and now drastically from the foundation of Truth upon which the Lord used her to build it. BSF is no longer “true to His Word.”
I am deeply grateful to the Lord for the past 2+ decades of Bible training from BSF. Without this equipping in the Scriptures, accomplished through this “training center” (as they once called themselves), I would not have so readily detected the error in this eBook, nor would I have known how to contend for the faith in this review.
Chapter 1
Steve Graves kicks off the eBook with a chapter devoted to the significance of man, a theme prevalent throughout the eBook and typified by the chapter title, “A Leader Worth Following.” The title would be fine, if it was referring to the Lord. Unfortunately, on page 4, it is a man he wants to magnify when he refers to the Apostle Paul as a “super-leader.” Would Paul agree?
1 Timothy 1:15-17 — It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Romans 1:1 — Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus,
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 — For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
Ephesians 3:8 — To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
To further his man-centric agenda, Graves proceeds to exercise distortion of the teaching in 1 Corinthians 3:4-9. This passage is clearly teaching that Paul identifies as a mere servant, through whom God did His work (i.e., causing growth). The one who plants/water is nothing. It is all about God!
For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Graves insists, however, that this passage is really teaching about the traits of great leadership (p. 5). To support his premise, Graves quotes Mark Sanborn, author of several books on how to achieve success and remarkable performance in business and life and New York Times Jewish columnist David Brooks. These secular writers’ views on what constitutes a great leader are irrelevant to the proper interpretation of the Scriptures. Paul is not calling himself a “super-leader.” He describes himself as a servant, God’s fellow worker. It is the Lord, not Paul who is the “super-leader” in this passage.
In his second point (p. 6), Graves says, “Great leaders have a healthy sense of selflessness and humility.” While his statement is true, Paul’s selflessness and humility do not make him a great leader; they make him an obedient follower. Jesus is the great Leader. It is His example to which His disciples are to aspire and follow.
Philippians 2:5-7 — Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant.
On page 6, after plugging his “executive coaching business” (for which he charges $6,000 + travel at https://stephenrgraves.com/coaching/), Graves again uses secular business examples to make his biblical point, citing the many “successful” transfers of leadership within the Wal-Mart retail company. Principles of business leadership do not teach or validate the truths of God’s Word.
Isaiah 55:8-9 — “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
For his fourth and final point in his man-centric interpretation of 1 Corinthians 3:4-9, Graves quotes problematic teacher Rick Warren (see note at end).
In the chapter conclusion, Graves summarizes his teaching on great leadership, namely that a great leader has an “outward” focus. While there is a head nod to God in the list of appropriate “outward” focal points, the emphasis continues to be on “great leaders” and their emphasis on other men, not God. Unlike Paul whose main point in 1 Corinthians 3 is to correct the church’s man-centric focus, Graves’ agenda in this entire chapter is to elevate the importance of people. Both in his exegesis of the biblical text and in his supporting examples from the secular business world and questionable teacher Warren, Graves fails to promote God’s glory as our reason for existence.
Chapter 2
In the second chapter of A Faithful Legacy, Graves continues to impose his secular worldview upon the interpretation of Scripture. Lifting 2 Timothy 2:3-6 out of context, Graves summarizes his treatise on the importance of striving for the universal virtues of endurance, focus, discipline, ambition, hard work, and patience with the call to “wash these six virtues through your life and work.”
However, when teaching the principles from his examples of the soldier, athlete, and farmer, Paul sandwiches these truths between reminders of our need for God to do anything. In verse 1 he exhorts believers to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” and concludes his teaching in verse 7 with a reminder that “the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” While Graves implies a need to tug harder at those boot straps, the message of Scripture is our need to depend upon the strength only the Lord can provide though His grace.
John 15:5 — I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Steve Graves once again misses the point of the Scripture he uses to make his man-centric point. The context of verses in Scripture is essential to discern their accurate meaning. An organization whose name includes the words “Bible Study” knows this. To strip verses of their context to make them support your own agenda is distortion of its intended meaning and therefore false teaching.
Chapter 3
This chapter, penned by Susie Rowan, uses Genesis 2:15 as her basis for saying “we are still called to cultivate the culture around us.”
Genesis 2:15 — Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it [i.e., the garden of Eden] and keep it.
Genesis 2:15 says nothing about culture. It is a mandate to Adam to cultivate (i.e., work) and keep (i.e., watch over and care for) the Garden. In Genesis 3:23, Adam and Eve are driven out of the Garden. The command to cultivate and keep it are, after this point, actually forbidden, as the Lord stationed a cherubim with a flaming sword to prevent them from returning to Eden. Verse 23 revises the command to say that the man was sent from the Garden to “cultivate the ground from which he was taken.” This is a biblical mandate for Adam to work literal soil, as he was taken from literal ground. As the original man, he did not come from a culture, so no amount of spiritualizing will get this text to teach Rowan’s point.
In the section on meditation, Rowan quotes Timothy Keller, author of Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God and founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, which currently promotes mysticism, contemplative prayer, and lectio divina under the prayer tab on their website. Keller himself is quoted as saying, “The best things that have been written, almost, are by Catholics during the counter Reformation: Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis de Sales, John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Ávila…..great stuff.” [St. Ignatius of Loyola opposed the Reformation; St. John of the Cross proponent of the Counter-Reformation movement; and St. Theresa of Avila was a nun who describes her mystical ecstatic prayer experiences and offers a seven-step method by which to ascend to divine union.] Keller and others quoted in this eBook are associated with the Spiritual Formation / Contemplative Prayer / Emergent Church movement, revealing alliances that BSF is forming.
Chapter 4
In summarizing four ways Christians respond to culture, this chapter outlines its points based on a book by Richard Niebuhr. As supporting evidence for the outline’s validity, Graves and Rowan quote more books by Andy Crouch, Russell Moore, Tim Keller, and Chuck Colson. Conspicuously missing is support from the Bible. There are zero quotes from Scripture. Zero.
Chapter 5 — Gospel Community
In this short e-book of less than 40 pages, the word community is used in some form 23 separate times. The word “Body” in reference to the church is used zero. Zero. The entirety of chapter 5 is devoted to this non-biblical concept, dubbing a new term “gospel community.” Rowan writes on page 23 that God calls us to live in community, citing mystic Donald Miller and fiction writers (Lord of the Rings and Star Wars) rather than Scripture to support her claim. Again she twists Scripture to say that God created “community” in Genesis 2:18 — Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” The provided context in verse 24 instructs us that Genesis 2:18 was God’s basis for creating marriage, not the trendy “community” concept being pushed in every corner of both secular arenas and mainstream Christianity.
In her push to extol the virtues of “community,” Rowan proceeds to cite examples of Old Testament leaders who “most typically worked in community with other believers to do the will of God and accomplish some mighty works” (p. 24). In this sentence, she gives credit to the togetherness of people in accomplishing God’s will. The people get the glory; God does not. According to Rowan, it is the “power of community” that accomplishes mighty works, not dependence upon the Lord, nor the strength of His might (cf. Ephesians 6:10).
While I do not debate the value of relationships with others, as Psalm 133 relays its goodness, the modern buzz word “community” is troublesome because it is a concept taught by the world, not the Scriptures. The Lord makes very clear in the New Testament what He wants His people called in the context of one another and Himself. We are not a community, we are His Body.
Believers are the Body of Christ, with the Lord Jesus as our Head. Only the Body has a Head, with the individual parts literally dependent upon one another. Though “community” celebrates togetherness, individuality is the emphasis (like the secular philosophy of multiculturalism). With community, the required unity and inter-dependence of parts are minimized or ignored. Above all, the subtlety that seems to be missed is how “community” completely neglects the need and purpose for the Head. Community is about the people, the benefit of their togetherness, and their strength in joining forces. This “community” concept reminds me a lot of Babel.
“Community” cheapens the beauty and purpose that “Body” captures. How can a ministry who has “Bible Study” in its name substitute a secular word for a biblically-mandated truth?
Scriptural Teachings on the Body of Christ
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, just sixteen verses, Paul uses the word “Body” 18 times.
1. The literal dependence of the parts upon one another
1 Corinthians 12:12-17 — For even as the Body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the Body, though they are many, are one Body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the Body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the Body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the Body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the Body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the Body. If the whole Body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
1 Corinthians 12:19-24a —If they were all one member, where would the Body be? But now there are many members, but one Body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the Body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the Body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the Body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the Body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
2. God’s purposefulness and sovereignty in design of the Body
1 Corinthians 12:18 —But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the Body, just as He desired.
1 Corinthians 12:24b —But God has so composed the Body….
1 Corinthians 12:27-28a —Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church….
3. Christ as the Head of the Body… The focus should be the HEAD, not the Body
Colossians 1:15-18 —He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the Body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
While Colossians teaches the preeminence of Christ—all things through Him and for Him, Rowan concludes her chapter on this non-biblical concept by exhorting readers to “start by building a rich gospel community.” “From there,” she teaches, “the Holy Spirit is free to work in wonderful ways.” The Holy Spirit is not dependent upon people’s actions; He is always working in wonderful ways.
Chapter 6
In this chapter, Rowan continues, without biblical support, to make claims about what God’s Word teaches. She says on page 28: “God’s Word doesn’t call us to withdraw from the people around us or universally oppose everything; it compels us to engage.” However, Paul contradicts her assertion:
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 — Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be MY people. “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.
To support her claim, Rowan goes on to quote Bart Ehrman (p. 28), a “New Testament scholar” who on his own blog renounces Christianity and is most famous for his published criticisms of the New Testament’s reliability, including best-seller Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. It is not surprising that such a man would be critical and call “antisocial, sacrilegious, and dangerous” first century Christians who adhered to the biblical principle that “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Rowan again mishandles the teachings in Genesis, spiritualizing the commands God gave to Adam in a very literal garden and earth. In examining the word “subdue” from Genesis 1:28, she uses Merriam-Webster, an English dictionary, rather than a Hebrew lexicon. As a result, her subsequent teaching on Genesis 1:28 is built upon a faulty definition of “subdue.” The Hebrew word kabas is quite different from Merriam-Webster’s “to tone down.”
H3533. כָּבַשׁ kāḇaš: A verb meaning to subdue, to bring into subjection, to enslave. It means basically to overcome, to subdue someone. It is used to describe God’s mandate to humans to subdue the created order (Gen. 1:28). It describes Israel’s taking of the Promised Land, Canaan (Num. 32:22, 29; Josh. 18:1). King David subjugated the land (2 Sam. 8:11). It means to put into bondage or to degrade in general (Neh. 5:5). It is used once of Haman’s supposed assault on Queen Esther (Esth. 7:8). It is used in its causative stem to indicate subduing or subjugating peoples (Jer. 34:11). It is used figuratively of the Lord’s subduing, removing, crushing the iniquities of His people (Mic. 7:19). It is used of the Lord’s people overcoming their enemies with His help (Zech. 9:15). (CWSB Dictionary)
So much for spiritualizing the command to “subdue” the earth in Genesis 1:28, unless Christians are to enslave, overcome, and crush the culture. Again, how can an organization who has “Bible Study” in its name spiritualize a literal command and use English instead of Hebrew to define it?
With similar mishandling of Scripture, she makes man the focus of Psalm 8 (p. 30-31), even though David opens and closes the text with “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!” In short, Rowan’s concept of “gospel engagement” twists the truths of Scripture to fuel a man-centric worldview.
Chapter 7
Steve Graves’ concluding chapter continues to employ a secular business mindset to interpret the teachings of the Bible, referring to God’s people as “Judah, Inc. “ With this worldly frame of reference, Graves asserts that “we are all building a legacy of some kind” (p. 33).
Steve Graves, author of secular books promoting legacy-building, is advocating that his readers seek an ambition that runs contrary to the Bible’s principle that man exists for God’s glory, not his own. James 4:14 states: “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (Cf. Psalm 39:5, 144:4) A true follower of Christ does not aspire to be known, or even noticed. Paul concludes in Romans 11:36 — “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
Graves concludes A Faithful Legacy with this man-centric statement: “If we live well now, we’ll leave behind something worth remembering.” Where does Scripture exhort God’s redeemed people, those bought and owned by Him, to desire a legacy, to seek being remembered? His glory alone is to be our ambition.
Psalm 115:1 — Not to us, O Lord, not to us, But to Your name give glory….
Isaiah 43:7 — Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
Isaiah 48:11 — For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.
Additional information on problematic teachers quoted:
p. 8 — Rick Warren
In his hugely popular book, The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?, the reader is hard-pressed to find a clear gospel presentation. While pages 58-59 do include the “sinner’s prayer,” the gist of the gospel instruction is to simply “believe” and “receive” Christ. There is no clear mention of the sinner’s need to repent. There is no reference to Jesus’ resurrection. Neglected is teaching on the truths of an eternal judgment, hell, heaven, and subsequent commitment to self-denial. There is no discussion of sin, nor warning of God’s wrath. Omitted are the clear teachings of God’s righteous Law, and man’s breaking of that Law which requires death. (https://www.gty.org/library/Print/Blog/B150902)
Since the publication of this book, Warren’s ongoing heretical words, actions, and alliances are too numerous to include for the scope of this review. In short, Rick Warren is one of the most dangerous false teachers in America. Why is he being quoted in the BSF publication?
p. 20 (from the section called “Go Along with It”) — Russell Moore
Russell Moore (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention) teamed up with Rick Warren and Roman Catholic Pontiff Francis for an interfaith Vatican conference on marriage and family. There is thick irony in his quote from page 20 of A Faithful Legacy: “A church that loses its distinctiveness is a church that has nothing distinctive with which to engage the culture. . . . A worldly church is of no good to the world.”
p. 22 — Chuck Colson
Co-drafter of Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium, a landmark ecumenical agreement between the two religions. Colson says he and others at the meetings “were moved by the words of our Lord, calling us to be one with one another as He is one with us and with the Father, in order that the world might know, as Jesus prayed, that ‘Thou didst send me.’“ Colson added, “We were agreed that the Scripture makes the unity of true Christians an essential—a prerequisite for Christian evangelism.” As 2 Corinthians 6:14b teaches, “What fellowship has light with darkness?”
p. 23 — Donald Miller
“For me, the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not explained.”—Blue Like Jazz, p. 115

via BSF Leader resigns; warns members about 2018 Study — Naomi’s Table Bible Studies

Weekly Watchman for 08/10/2018

Listener Comments and Questions Keep Coming

Every Friday Mike and David address whatever issue you want to discuss. Send yours to us early as the hour fills up extremely fast each week. Here we go!

What if we as Christian parents do everything right and our children still stray from God and the truth?
Gender confusion – a departure from Genesis and creation
The danger of open theism – wait, what the heck is “open theism”?
How can we respond to young people who use excuses for not going to church such as, ‘Christians are hypocrites’?
Should I have any concerns about Rick Warren?
What’s wrong with church growth and running a church like a business?
Why do so many pastors think they have to be so positive, loving, and encouraging without balancing out their sermons with righteousness, holiness, judgment, wrath, and repentance?
How do you distinguish between teachers who are heretics or those who are simply committed liberals and have wrong opinions of doctrine?
Does the United Church of Christ (UCC) believe in or worship a false Jesus?
In Revelation, what do the seven lamp stands represent?
What will happen to those deceived by the dangerous prosperity message when they have an economic crisis or serious trial in their lives?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Pastors: Stop Imitating and Embracing the World

Today Mike and David discuss a provocative and compelling article by Shane Idleman that challenges pastors to stop imitating the world and return to the fundamentals of being a pastor: Teaching the complete Word of God, challenging the flock assigned to them to grow in holiness, and to quit worrying about offending members of their church. Idelman makes an interesting observation in his article: that at a time when “unity” is the buzz word in many churches perhaps it is time for a little separation to divide true born-again believers from the goats.

In our first segment, Mike and David talk with a Messianic Jew who has committed his life to reaching Jews with the truth and gospel of Jesus Christ. We will discuss why most Jews reject Jesus as messiah and how we can share the truth of the gospel with them.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Refuting the Deceptions of Islam

Human nature is such that if a lie is repeated often enough people will believe it if they are not grounded in the truth of God and His Word. We have witnessed this in the areas of abortion and acceptance of homosexuality within our culture and even in many professing Christian churches. A vast majority of Americans used to oppose these issues, but now over time many people – even Christians – have caved to culture and generally accept both practices.

The same appears to be happening with Islam. Deceivers and those they have deceived keep repeating lies about Islam and an increasing number of Americans jumped on board. Even in the Christian Church an increasing number of pastors and church members think Islam is an “Abrahamic faith” and that Muslims and Christians worship the same god. But the Quran and other Islamic “holy books” contradict these ideas. And certainly, anyone familiar with the Bible knows that Allah of the Quran is clearly not the God of the Bible.

What other deceptions about Islam are people accepting today as truth? Elijah Abraham, a former Muslim and now born-again believer joins us to discuss the issues. Elijah travels around the world equipping and teaching pastors about Islam and how to reach Muslims with the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Who is Influencing Whom?

The Church should be full of salt, preserving culture, providing flavor, and being a positive influence in secular society. Instead, by any measurable standard, immorality is increasing and secular culture is infiltrating and influencing the church in part by creating division and deceiving many. Whether out of ignorance, fear, or heartfelt but compassion, more congregants as well as church leaders are embracing secular principles and beliefs in the hopes of attracting the world.

Today, Mike and David look at several news stories addressing this subject, including the ongoing controversy at Willow Creek Church as it prepares for its Global Leadership Summit. We also discuss a survey revealing the majority of Christians think God wants them to prosper financially, and the author of ‘The Shack’ claims unbelievers can still be saved even after they die.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Can Reading the Bible Actually Hurt You Spiritually?

How many times, when a professing Christian faces a dilemma, do other Christians say “Well, just read your Bible”? That sounds like solid advice on the surface…but what if you don’t know how to read your Bible in correct context? Or what if your world view or belief about God is skewed already? Could reading the Bible in those circumstances actually do more damage than good?

Barna Research has recently published a study of Americans and our bible reading habits; and one Christian organization thinks the findings are a warning of the growth of apostasy within professing Christianity.

In our first segments we’re joined by Jay Seegert of The Starting Point Project. Jay discusses some of the questions that baffle today’s scientists; questions that are easily answered if we just turn to God’s Word.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Adam Hamilton: Liberal United Methodists Have a “High View” of Scripture, Too — Juicy Ecumenism

Diversity, inclusion, compromise, and unity were the mantra of the Uniting MethodistsConference at Lovers Lane UMC from July 16–18. In their view of the liberal and conservative divide over homosexuality within the denomination, “Both perspectives are biblical and evident in the church today, and both are necessary.”  Though they claim to be a theologically diverse group, this conference definitively showed that the caucus is dominated by liberals who would largely like to see the removal of traditional values on sexuality in the UMC, evidenced by their major support of the “One Church Plan”. Central to the conference was Rev. Adam Hamilton, conservative-turned-liberal senior pastor of the 22,000 member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, who provided a keynote talk defending how liberal United Methodists interpret the Bible in regards to homosexuality.

Hamilton attempted to present a case for affirming homosexuality as Biblically sound by confounding scriptural authority and interpretation. He asked, “What constitutes a high view of scripture?” To him, someone with a high view of scripture reads it daily, asks God to speak to them by it, uses it for prayer, and reads its “minor chords” and “major chords”. They always take things seriously, but not necessarily literally. He says we all take some verses literally, and not others. This picking and choosing is part of our differing interpretations of the Bible.

He attempted to show that conservatives are no less guilty of not taking the Bible literally or very seriously than liberals. One egregious example he used was that of Matthew 16:19, which begins “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” If conservatives are so concerned about taking scripture at face value, he half-joked, they should get rid of their savings accounts, or their pensions through Wespath, even. By not doing so, Hamilton claims, conservatives show they do not honor biblical authority better than progressives like they claim to, and in fact do impose their own personal interpretations on the text. Since we all agree that these practices are sound Biblically and logically, to him this is proof we all “pick and choose.”

To further complicate the basic conversation of biblical authority, he discussed how the phrase “the word of God” in the Bible rarely refers to something written down. Rather than a text, he says, it is usually said in reference to something a prophet or disciple has to share, a message that has come to them from God to relay to the people. This, he says, means that “the word of God” is something bigger than the Bible. Particularly, Jesus is the “Word,” as evidenced by John 1. To Hamilton, there seems to be a difference between all of scripture and Jesus and his own words, the latter being more authoritative and definitively free from error.

To add to this, Hamilton commented on a piece of scripture foundational to this debate, 2 Timothy 3:16, which says that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (NRSV). Hamilton shared that Paul’s word for “inspired” isn’t found anywhere else in the Bible, and is rare even in non-Biblical texts of that time, so we have little context for it. “If it means God-influenced, what then?” he asked. The megachurch pastor also said that we go too far to say that this verse means scripture is inerrant.  In all, he presented the verse as carrying much less weight and importance as it is normally given.

To wrap up his argument, Hamilton described the references to homosexuality in the Bible as if they were very vague and confusing. “The question we’re left is, those six or seven verses in the Bible that say something about some form of same-gender something, and we can’t even be sure on some of those, are those passages more like the things we all agree are timeless… or are they more like the passages we just have said we no longer apply to us today?” Hamilton’s strategy seems simple: apply a false sense ambiguity to straightforward statements on human sexuality that support God’s unambiguous design described in Genesis. All of this is necessary to the Uniting Methodist talking point that the UMC’s divide on issues of sexuality are not worth splitting the church.

While at face value Hamilton’s points on word usage and language are correct, I feel that more importantly he is doing wrong because he is sowing seeds of doubt on the authority of scripture, our accepted canon. Were the people who wrote, translated, or transcribed the various books of the Bible across many centuries perfect or free from error? No, but I believe a perfect God who wants all of mankind to truly know Him has watched and guided these processes at every step. Instead of creating space for Biblically-sound debate, Hamilton justified disregarding verses one finds inconvenient and encouraged doubt in the absolute authority of all scripture.

via Adam Hamilton: Liberal United Methodists Have a “High View” of Scripture, Too — Juicy Ecumenism

As Willow Creek reels, churches must reckon with how power corrupts

What Willow Creek and all Christian communities need in our #MeToo /#ChurchToo moment is a sober reckoning with power, including how to mitigate its subtle lure in churches led by magnetic men.

(RNS) — Amid new sexual misconduct allegations against founding pastor Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church is facing a reckoning at all levels of leadership. The shameful situation at the iconic church should inspire Christian communities everywhere to take seriously how power corrupts, and guard more vigorously against its abuse.

Read more: As Willow Creek reels, churches must reckon with how power corrupts

Rand Paul Against the World

Not long ago, Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton was promising regime change in Iran by the end of this year. Uber-hawk Bolton has long wanted war with Tehran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo isn’t much different, and has even advocated bombing Iran. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has previously recommend U.S. airstrikes against Iranian targets.

Today, Bolton says the U.S. does not to seek regime change in Iran. So does Pompeo. So does Mattis.

Why?

President Trump has been known to be hawkish on Iran. Politico observed Wednesday: “Trump has drawn praise from the right-wing establishment for hammering the mullahs in Tehran, junking the Iran nuclear deal and responding to the regime’s saber rattling with aggressive rhetoric of his own….” There are also powerful factions in Congress and Washington with inroads to the president that have been itching for regime change for years. “The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran,” says Senator Tom Cotton, once rumored to be Trump’s pick to head the CIA.

So what, or who, is stopping the hawks?

Politico revealed Wednesday some interesting aspects of the relationship between Senator Rand Paul and the president, particularly on foreign policy: “While Trump tolerates his hawkish advisers, the [Trump] aide added, he shares a real bond with Paul: ‘He actually at gut level has the same instincts as Rand Paul…’.”

On Iran, Politico notes, “Trump has stopped short of calling for regime change even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Bolton support it, aligning with Paul instead, according to a GOP foreign policy expert in frequent contact with the White House.”

But this part of the story was the most revelatory: “’Rand Paul has persuaded the president that we are not for regime change in Iran,’ this person said, because adopting that position would instigate another war in the Middle East.”

This is significant, not because Trump couldn’t have arrived at the same position without Paul’s counsel, but because it’s easy to imagine him embracing regime change, what with virtually every major foreign policy advisor in his cabinet supporting something close to war with Iran. “Personnel is policy” is more than a cliché.

Paul and Trump apparently like making fun of some White House staffers, as Politico also reported: “the Kentucky senator and the commander-in-chief have bonded over a shared delight in thumbing their noses at experts the president likes to deride as ‘foreign policy eggheads,’ including those who work in his own administration.”

Eggheads indeed. For every foreign policy “expert” in Washington who now admits that regime change in Iraq was a mistake (and a whole slew of them won’t even cop to that), you will find the same people making the case for regime change in other countries, including Iran, explaining how this time, somehow, America’s toppling of a despot will turn out differently.

“So let’s understand that the people pushing for regime change in Iran are seeking to destabilize and harm the country…” writes TAC’s Daniel Larison. “Just as many of the same people did when they agitated for regime change in Iraq and again in Syria, they don’t care about the devastation and chaos that the people in the country would have to endure if the policy ‘works.’”

These are the same Washington foreign policy consensus standard bearers who would likely be shaping U.S. foreign policy unfettered if 2011 Libya “liberator” Hillary Clinton had become president—or any other Republican not named Trump or Paul.

When it comes to who President Trump can turn to for a more sober and realist view of foreign policy, one who actually takes into account past U.S. mistakes abroad and tries to learn from them, at the moment it appears to be Paul against the Washington foreign policy world.

President Trump hired regime change advocates as advisors presumably because he wanted their advice, yet there’s evidence to suggest that at least on Iran, certain hawks’ wings might have been clipped.

Most importantly, on arguably the most crucial potential foreign policy decision the president can make—one that could potentially start another disastrous U.S. Middle Eastern war—it appears to be Rand Paul who is literally keeping the peace.

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.

Source: Rand Paul Against the World

Ocasio-Cortez Appears On ‘Sesame Street’ To Debate Economic Plan With The Count

NEW YORK, NY—Star Democratic political candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez finally accepted a challenge to debate her economic plan with Count von Count, esteemed number expert from Sesame Street, on a special guest appearance that aired Friday.

Source: Ocasio-Cortez Appears On ‘Sesame Street’ To Debate Economic Plan With The Count

August 10, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Source of the Believer’s Inheritance

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1:3a)

Peter assumes it is necessary for believers to bless God. The intention is so implicit that the Greek text omits the word be, which the translators added. (In the original, the sentence literally begins, “Blessed the God,” which conveys Peter’s expectation that his audience “bless God” as the source of all spiritual inheritance.) The apostle adores God and implores others to do the same.

Peter further calls Him the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, a phrase that identified God in a distinctly Christian way. Historically the Jews had blessed God as their creator and redeemer from Egypt. His creation emphasized His sovereign power at work and His redemption of Israel from Egypt His saving power at work. But those who became Christians were to bless God as the Father of their Lord Jesus Christ.

With one exception (when the Father forsook Him on the cross, Matthew 27:46), every time the Gospels record that Jesus addressed God, He called Him “Father” or “My Father.” In so doing, Jesus was breaking with the Jewish tradition that seldom called God Father, and always in a collective rather than personal sense (e.g., Deut. 32:6; Isa. 63:16; 64:8; Jer. 3:19; 31:9; Mal. 1:6; 2:10). Furthermore, in calling God His Father, Jesus was claiming to share His nature. While speaking with the Jews at an observance of the Feast of the Dedication, Christ declared, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Later, in response to Philip’s request that He reveal the Father, Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9; cf. vv. 8, 10–13). Jesus affirmed that He and the Father possess the same divine nature—that He is fully God (cf. John 17:1, 5). The Father and the Son mutually share the same life—one is intimately and eternally equal to the other—and no one can truly know one without truly knowing the other (cf. Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22). No person can claim to know God unless he knows Him as the One revealed in Jesus Christ, His Son. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:6–7).

In his writings, the apostle Paul also declared the Father and the Son to be of the same essence: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 1:3; cf. Eph. 1:3, 17). Likewise, John wrote in his second epistle: “Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 John 3). Whenever the New Testament calls God Father, it primarily denotes that He is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 7:21; 10:32; 11:25–27; 16:27; 25:34; 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 10:21–22; 22:29; 23:34; John 3:35; 5:17–23; 6:32, 37, 44; 8:54; 10:36; 12:28; 15:9; 17:1; Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 11:31; cf. John 14:23; 15:16; 16:23; 1 John 4:14; Rev. 1:6). God is also the Father of all believers (Matt. 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 9; 10:20; 13:43; 23:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 12:30, 32; John 20:17; Rom. 1:7; 8:15; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18; 4:6; Phil. 4:20; Heb. 12:9; James 1:27; 1 John 2:13; 3:1).

One commentator calls Peter’s use in verse 3 of Christ’s full redemptive name “a concentrated confession.” All that the Bible reveals about the Savior appears in that title: Lord identifies Him as sovereign Ruler; Jesus as incarnate Son; and Christ as anointed Messiah-King. The apostle personalizes that magnificent title with the simple inclusion of the pronoun our. The divine Lord of the universe belongs to all believers, as does the Jesus who lived, died, and rose again for them, and as does the Christ, the Messiah whom God anointed to be their eternal King who will grant them their glorious inheritance.

The Motive for the Believer’s Inheritance

who according to His great mercy (1:3b)

His great mercy was the motive behind God’s granting believers eternal life—sharing the very life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Ephesians 2:4–5 also expresses this divine generosity, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (cf. Titus 3:5). Both here and in Ephesians, the apostolic writer added an enlarging adjective (great and “rich”).

Mercy focuses on the sinner’s miserable, pitiful condition. The gospel is prompted by God’s compassion toward those who were dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1–3). All believers were once in that wretched, helpless condition, compounded by a deceitful heart (Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Eccl. 9:3; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21–23), corrupt mind (Rom. 8:7–8; 1 Cor. 2:14), and wicked desires (Eph. 4:17–19; 5:8; Titus 1:15) that made them slaves to sin, headed for just punishment in hell. Therefore they needed God, in mercy, to show compassion toward their desperate, lost condition and remedy it (cf. Isa. 63:9; Hab. 3:2; Matt. 9:27; Mark 5:19; Luke 1:78; Rom. 9:15–16, 18; 11:30–32; 1 Tim. 1:13; 1 Peter 2:10).

Mercy is not the same as grace. Mercy concerns an individual’s miserable condition, whereas grace concerns his guilt, which caused that condition. Divine mercy takes the sinner from misery to glory (a change of condition), and divine grace takes him from guilt to acquittal (a change of position; see Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7). The Lord grieves over the unredeemed sinner’s condition of gloom and despair (Ezek. 18:23, 32; Matt. 23:37–39). That is manifest clearly during His incarnation as Jesus healed people’s diseases (Matt. 4:23–24; 14:14; 15:30; Mark 1:34; Luke 6:17–19). He could have demonstrated His deity in many other ways, but He chose healings because they best illustrated the compassionate, merciful heart of God toward sinners suffering the temporal misery of their fallen condition (cf. Matt. 9:5–13; Mark 2:3–12). Jesus’ healing miracles, which nearly banished illness from Israel, were proof that what the Old Testament said about God the Father being merciful (Ex. 34:6; Ps. 108:4; Lam. 3:22; Mic. 7:18) was true.

Apart from even the possibility of any merit or worthiness on the sinner’s part, God grants mercy to whomever He will: “For He [God] says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Rom. 9:15–16). Out of His infinite compassion and free, abundant, and limitless mercy, He chose to grant eternal life—it was not because of anything sinners could do or deserve (Ex. 33:19; Rom. 9:11–13; 10:20; 2 Tim. 1:9). It is completely understandable that Paul called God “the Father of mercies” (2 Cor. 1:3).

The Appropriation of the Believer’s Inheritance

has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1:3c)

The prophet Jeremiah once asked the rhetorical question, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?” (Jer. 13:23). His graphic analogy implied a negative answer to the question of whether or not sinners could change their natures (cf. 17:9). Humanity’s sinful nature needs changing (Mark 1:14–15; John 3:7, 17–21, 36; cf. Gen. 6:5; Jer. 2:22; 17:9–10; Rom. 1:18–2:2; 3:10–18), but only God, working through His Holy Spirit, can transform the sinful human heart (Jer. 31:31–34; John 3:5–6, 8; Acts 2:38–39; cf. Ezek. 37:14; Acts 15:8; Rom. 8:11; 1 John 5:4). In order for sinners to receive an eternal inheritance from God, they must experience His means of spiritual transformation, the new birth. Peter affirms that truth in this last portion of verse 3, when he says God has caused believers to be born again (see discussion on 1:23–25 in chapter 7 of this volume; cf. 2 Cor. 5:17).

Jesus effectively explained the necessity of regeneration—the new birth—to Nicodemus, a prominent Jewish teacher.

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. (John 3:1–15)

To illustrate the means of the new birth, Jesus referred to the episode of the bronze serpent (Num. 21:4–9), an Old Testament narrative Nicodemus would have known well. When the snake-bitten Israelites in the wilderness acknowledged their sin and God’s judgment on them for it and looked to the means He provided to deliver them (a bronze snake on a pole), they received physical healing from their poisonous bites. By analogy, if sinners would experience spiritual deliverance, they must recognize their spiritual condition as poisoned by their sin and experience salvation from spiritual and eternal death by looking to the Son of God and trusting in Him as their Savior. Jesus cut to the core of Nicodemus’s self-righteousness and told him what all sinners need to hear, that they are spiritually regenerated only by faith in Jesus Christ (cf. John 1:12–13; Titus 3:5; James 1:18).

Peter goes on to declare that regeneration results in believers receiving a living hope. The unbelieving world knows only dying hopes (Job 8:13; Prov. 10:28; Eph. 2:12), but believers have a living, undying hope (Pss. 33:18; 39:7; Rom. 5:5; Eph. 4:4; Titus 2:13; Heb. 6:19) that will come to a complete, final, and glorious fulfillment (Rom. 5:2; Col. 1:27). It is a hope that Peter later described when he wrote, “according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). This hope is what prompted Paul to tell the Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). At death believers’ hope becomes reality as they enter the glorious presence of God and the full, unhindered, joyous fellowship with the Trinity, the angels, and other saints (Rom. 5:1–2; Gal. 5:5).

The means of Christians’ appropriating this living hope and eternal inheritance is spiritual birth, and the power for that appropriation was demonstrated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Jesus told Martha, just prior to the raising of her brother Lazarus from the grave, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25–26; cf. 14:19). Paul instructed the Corinthians concerning the vital ramifications of the resurrection, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). Even if one hoped in Christ in this life, but not beyond it, he would be lost (v. 19). However, Christ rose from the dead, forever securing the believer’s living hope in heaven by finally conquering death (vv. 20–28, 47–49, 54–57).[1]


3 The parallels between the early Christian emphasis on “new birth” and that contained in mystery religions are fascinating, especially given the fact that 1 Peter is addressed to Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor, where mystery cults proliferated. Moreover, the verb ἐποπτεύω, epopteuō (GK 2227, “to be a witness”), and its nominal form ἐπόπτης, epoptēs (GK 2228), appearing in the NT only in Petrine literature (1 Pe 2:12; 3:2; 2 Pe 1:16), are employed in a technical sense to describe those individuals who have been initiated into the mystery rituals (TDNT 5:374). Nevertheless, resemblances in 1 Peter remain at the level of speculation.[2] 1:3 / Peter at once launches into praise of God for planning so magnificent a salvation. The Israelites of old praised God as the creator of the world (2 Chron. 2:12) and as their redeemer from Egyptian slavery (Deut. 4:20). Peter develops the characteristic Jewish approach by adopting an explicitly Christian stance. He praises God as the Father of his unique Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and as the One who raised this Jesus from the dead. As a Christian, Peter blesses God for the new creation, as expressed in the new birth of believers, and for divine provision for them of “an inheritance” of a promised land “in heaven,” safe beyond the slavery of sin or the frenzy of foes.

The experiences of new birth and of a living hope are beyond human procurement. They are God’s gracious gift and are bestowed solely on account of his great mercy, for there is no way in which they can ever be deserved or earned. They come to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, as the direct consequence of his total triumph over the worst that the powers of evil can achieve; namely, death itself.

The concept of new birth is based on the teaching of Jesus (John 3:3–8). It speaks of the gift of spiritual life on a plane previously unknown in an individual’s experience. It can no more be acquired by self-effort than a babe can bring about its own physical birth.

The first result of this new birth, and the first characteristic of the new pilgrim life of the believer, is hope (anchor for the soul, firm and secure: Heb. 6:19). Hope is living (cf. 1:23; 2:4–5), not merely because it is active (Heb. 4:12), or is simply an improved version of the Jewish hope (Heb. 7:19). Nor are we to misunderstand the translation “have been born anew to a living hope” (rsv) to mean “hope has been restored.” Peter is referring to something of a different order: a sure and confident outlook which has a divine, not a human, source. That new quality of hope is generated in the believer by the new spiritual life brought about by the new birth. Peter is writing to encourage readers who face an uncertain future threatened by persecution of one degree or another. This living hope highlights the fact that the present life is by no means the limit of the believer’s expectation. As the word is used in everyday parlance, “hope” can prove a delusion (Job 7:6; Eph. 2:12; cf. Col. 1:5). The living hope in the newborn Christian has a vigor, a patient endurance, and an assurance beyond any human power: such hope can no more fail than the living God who bestows it. Peter elaborates the nature and the content of living hope in the following two verses.[3]


God establishes our hope in Christ (1:3)

In his play No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre gives his own vision of hell. Two women and a man, doomed to perdition, enter a room that seems to threaten no torment. But they are sentenced to remain together in that same room for ever—without sleep and without eyelids. All three enter with pretensions about their past. The man pretends that he was a hero of the revolution. In reality, he was killed in a train wreck when he tried to escape after betraying his comrades. The women have even more sordid lives. In the forced intimacy of the room their guilty secrets are all wrung out. Nothing can be hidden, and nothing can be changed. Sartre’s imagination has well prepared us for his famous line, ‘Hell is other people.’ But the moral of the play is the line of doom to which the drama moves: ‘You are—your life, and nothing else.’

Sartre rejected Christianity, but his play invites heart-searching. Who wants to say that he is what he has been rather than what he meant to be, or what he hopes to be? Sartre implies that hell begins when hope ends. Sartre’s image falls far short of the reality of hell, for God’s judgment exposes sinners not simply to the lidless eyes of other sinners, but to the all-seeing gaze of God himself. Yet Sartre reminds us of how desperately we need hope. While there is life, there is hope, we say. But if hope dies, what life can remain?

Peter writes a letter of hope. The hope he proclaims is not what we call a ‘fond hope’. We cherish fond hopes because they are so fragile. We ‘hope against hope’ because we do not really expect what we hope for. But Peter writes of a sure hope, a hope that holds the future in the present because it is anchored in the past. Peter hopes for God’s salvation, God’s deliverance from sin and death. His hope is sure, because God has already accomplished his salvation in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus was a life-changing reality for Peter. When Jesus died on the cross, it was the end of all Peter’s hopes. He knew only bitter sorrow for his own denials. The dawn could not bring hope; with the crowing of the cock he heard the echo of his curses.

But Jesus did not stay dead. On that Easter morning Peter learned from the women of the empty tomb and the message of the angels. He went running to the tomb and saw its evidence. He left in wonder, but Jesus remembered Peter and appeared to him even before he came to eat with the disciples in the upper room. Hope was reborn in Peter’s heart with the sight of his living Lord. Now Peter writes to praise God for that living hope. The resurrection did much more than restore his Master to him. The resurrection crowned the victory of Christ, his victory for Peter, and for those to whom he writes. The resurrection shows that God has made the Crucified both Lord and Christ. At the right hand of the Father Jesus rules until the day that he will come to restore and renew all things.2 With the resurrection of Jesus and his entrance into glory, a new age has begun. Peter now waits for the day when Jesus will be revealed from heaven (1:7, 13). Peter’s living hope is Jesus.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Peter blesses God, rejoicing in what he has done. He uses a form of praise to God that was an important part of worship in the Old Testament. The eighteen ‘blessings’ that we know from the later synagogue service go back to early times, perhaps in some form even to Peter’s day. Those blessings look forward to the fulfilment of the promises of God, yearning for the time of realization:

Speedily cause the offspring of David, Thy servant, to flourish, and let his horn be exalted by thy salvation, because we wait for Thy salvation all the day. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who causest the horn of salvation to flourish.

How different from the plaintive longing of that benediction is the astonished joy of the apostle Peter! Peter can bless the God and Father of his Lord, Jesus Christ. He can exult in the Offspring of David, raised up in salvation to the throne. God’s promises have all come true in Christ. There is more to come, for Christ is to come, but our living hope is real in our living Lord.

Christ’s resurrection spells hope for us not just because he lives, but because, by God’s mercy, we live. In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. By the resurrection of Christ, God has given life, not only to him, but to us. We are given new birth by God; he fathers us by the resurrection of his Son. In Christ’s triumph God makes all things new, beginning with us.

The resurrection carried Christ not only out of the grave but to his Father’s throne. The great day of the renewal of all things had already begun. Yet Peter preached that heaven must receive Christ until the time of renewal, a time still to come. The time of new birth for the universe will come when Christ comes again. But for those united to Christ in his death and resurrection, that new day has already dawned.

When we speak of the new birth, we think of the change that God’s grace works in us. We are brought from death to life. Peter speaks of our being born of imperishable seed through the living word of God that was preached to us (1:23–25). But if we think only of what happens to us, we may be puzzled by the statement that we are given new birth by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The means of our new birth is not first the message of the resurrection; it is the fact of the resurrection. When Christ rose he secured our salvation. He entered that new day of which the prophets spoke, and he brought us with him. Peter is saying what Paul also declared: when Christ rose, we rose. In giving life to Christ, God gave life to all those who are united to Christ. God’s elect have a hope that is as sure as Christ’s resurrection. Christ has not just made their salvation possible; he has made it sure.

Like Paul, Peter also speaks of baptism as the sign of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection (3:21). Some commentators would see this passage, or indeed the whole letter, as instruction given in a service for baptism. But Peter does not in the least focus on the sign, but on the spiritual reality of our new life in Christ. His teaching is beautifully appropriate for baptismal instruction, but gives no real evidence of being designed for this specific purpose, far less limited to it.3The Father, who gives new birth to his children through the resurrection of Christ, also through Christ brings them to a living faith (1:5; 3:21). Our faith and hope are in God; his living word, the good news of the gospel, has brought life to us (1:23). The things to which believers in Old Testament times looked forward have now happened (1:12).

Yet we, too, look to the future. The salvation that was scaled by Christ’s resurrection and planted in our hearts by the seed of the Word will be revealed completely when Christ comes again in glory. Our hope is anchored in the past: Jesus rose! Our hope remains in the present: Jesus lives! Our hope is completed in the future: Jesus is coming! (1:5, 7, 13).

The apostle leads us to praise God that our salvation is his work. We could not even begin to accomplish it, and we do not in any sense deserve it. Yet, as trophies of God’s grace, we have the privilege of adoring the Father of our Lord Jesus as our Father. Peter’s praise is not a mere formula; praise is the goal of God’s gracious work, as Peter later reminds us (2:9).[4]


1:3. Peter piled up expressions in verses 3–5 to talk about a believer’s relationship with God through salvation. His opening words are those of worship and praise, reminding us that salvation did not come because of who we are or because of what we have accomplished. Salvation came as a gift of mercy. Salvation represents a new birth (see John 1:13), a changing of who we are. Salvation makes us dead to sin and alive to righteousness in Christ.

Peter linked our salvation relationship to what he termed “a living hope.” Peter is without question the apostle of hope. The hope that he had in mind is the eager, confident expectation of life to come in eternity. Hope in the New Testament always relates to a future good! Amid present and difficult dangers we are justified in viewing the future with optimism because we are securely attached to the God who deals in futures. Furthermore, our hope is a living hope because it finds its focus in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our living hope comes from a living, resurrected Christ.[5]


A Living Hope

1:3

Throughout his epistle, Peter encourages his readers to hope. Hope is based on a living faith in Jesus Christ. It characterizes the believer who patiently waits for the salvation God has promised to his people. “Hoping is disciplined waiting.”

3. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Filled to overflowing with spiritual blessings which he wants to convey to his readers, Peter writes one long sentence in Greek (vv. 3–9). In our modern versions, translators have divided this lengthy sentence. Nevertheless, the sentence itself reveals the intensity of the writer and the fullness of his message. In the introductory part of this sentence we observe the following points:

  1. “Praise.” This word is actually the first word in a doxology, for instance, at the conclusion of many books of the Psalms: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 41:13; and with variations 72:18; 89:52; 106:48). The word praise is common in the New Testament, too. Zechariah begins his song with an exuberant burst of praise: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people” (Luke 1:68; also see Rom. 1:25b; 9:5).
  2. “God and Father.” Within the early church, Jewish Christians adapted the benedictions of their forefathers to include Jesus Christ. Note that the doxology in verse 3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” is identical to the wording of 2 Corinthians 1:3 and Ephesians 1:3 (compare also 2 Cor. 11:31).

God has revealed himself in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, all the elect share in his sonship. Through him they call God their Father, for they are his children. With the church universal, the believer confesses the words of the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth.

Because of Jesus Christ, we call his Father our Father and his God our God (John 20:17). Fatherhood is one of the essential characteristics of God’s being; it is part of his deity. God is first Father of Jesus, and then because of Christ he is Father of the believer.

Peter indicates our relationship to the Father and the Son when he uses the personal pronoun our (“God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”). Also, in the next sentence, Peter discloses that God is our Father because God “has given us new birth.” That is, the Father has begotten us again in giving us spiritual rebirth. The Father has given us rebirth because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. “Lord.” Verse 3 is the only text in this epistle in which Peter writes the title and names our Lord Jesus Christ. With the pronoun our, Peter includes himself among the believers who confess the lordship of Jesus Christ. “To call Jesus Lord is to declare that he is God.” Moreover, in the early church Christians confessed their faith in the brief statement Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). The name Jesus encompasses the earthly ministry of the Son of God, and the name Christ refers to his messianic calling. Four times in three verses (vv. 1–3) Peter employs the name Jesus Christ.
  2. “Mercy.” Peter describes our relationship to God the Father by saying, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth.” We read almost the same wording in one of Paul’s epistles (“God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ” [Eph. 2:4–5]). Apparently Peter was acquainted with Paul’s epistles (see 2 Peter 3:15–16). Together with the other apostles, Peter presents Christian doctrine on regeneration (e.g., see John 3:3, 5).
  3. “Birth.” Notice that we receive a new spiritual birth from God the Father. Peter writes that God “has given us new birth” (v. 3), and later he continues, “For you have been born again” (v. 23). Just as we are passive in natural birth, so we are in spiritual birth. That is, God is active in the process of begetting us, for he causes us to be born again. With the words new and again in these two verses, Peter shows the difference between our natural birth and our spiritual birth.

Peter speaks from personal experience, for he remembers when he fell into the sin of denying Jesus. Later, when Jesus restored him to apostleship, he became the recipient of God’s great mercy and received new life through restoration. Therefore, he includes himself when he writes, “He has given us new birth” (italics added). Incidentally, the passages in which Peter uses the personal pronouns our or us are few (1:3; 2:24; 4:17). First Peter is an epistle in which the author addresses his readers as “you.” The infrequent use of the first person, singular (2:11; 5:1, 12) or plural, is therefore much more significant.

  • “Hope.” What is hope? It is something that is personal, living, active, and part of us. In verse 3, it is not something that pertains to the future (compare Col. 1:5; Titus 2:13). Instead, it brings life to God’s elect who are waiting with patient discipline for God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.
  • “Resurrection.” What is the basis for our new life? Peter tells us that “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” God has made us alive and has given us living hope. Without the resurrection of Christ, our rebirth would be impossible and our hope would be meaningless. By rising from the dead, Jesus Christ has given us the assurance that we, too, shall rise with him (see Rom. 6:4). Why? As Peter preached on Pentecost, “God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). Jesus is the first one to break the bonds of death, so that through him we have our rebirth, and in him we have eternal life (1 John 5:12).

Peter speaks as an eyewitness, for he had the unique experience of meeting Jesus after he rose from the grave. Peter ate and drank with Jesus and became a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (refer to Acts 10:41).

Doctrinal Considerations in 1:3

Twice in this short epistle Peter introduces teaching on the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1:3; 3:21). This teaching, to be sure, is central to the Christian religion. When the eleven apostles came together after Jesus’ ascension and prior to Pentecost, they chose a successor to Judas Iscariot. Peter, as spokesman, declared that this person had to be a follower of Jesus from the day of his baptism to the time of his ascension, and that he had to be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:22).

As an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus, Peter proclaimed this truth in his sermon to the multitude gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2:31). When he preached to the crowd at Solomon’s porch, he said that God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 3:15; compare 4:2, 33). And last, when Peter spoke in the home of Cornelius at Caesarea, he taught the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 10:40). Peter testified to this truth throughout his ministry of preaching and writing.

Greek Words, Phrases, and Constructions in 1:3

εὐλογητὸς—the verbal adjective (“blessed”) reflects the passive mood; that is, God the Father is praised by his people. The clause lacks the verb. Therefore, some scholars insert the verb to be in the indicative, others supply it in the optative or imperative, and still others omit the verb altogether.

ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατήρ—note that the definite article governs both nouns, so that two aspects of the same person are stressed.

ὁ … ἀναγεννήσας—between the definite article and the aorist active participle stands a prepositional clause beginning with κατά (according to). The participle derives from the compound verb ἀναγεννάω (I beget).

κατὰ … εἰς … διὰ … ἐκ—notice the increased use of prepositions, particularly in this verse, but also in the entire passage (1:1–12). This is one of the stylistic features of this epistle that helps in determining the authorship of First Peter.[6]


1:3 In verses 3–12, Peter sets forth the unique glories of our salvation. He begins by calling for praise to be given to the Author of salvation—the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This title presents God in a twofold relationship to the Lord Jesus. The name God … of our Lord Jesus Christ emphasizes the humanity of the Savior. The name Father underlines the deity of God’s Son. The full name of the Son is given:

Lord—the One with the exclusive right to rule in hearts and lives.

Jesus—the One who saves His people from their sins.

Christ—God’s Anointed One who has been exalted to heaven’s highest place.

It is by God’s abundant mercy that we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. God is the source of this salvation. His great mercy is its cause. The new birth is the nature of it. A living hope is its present reward. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the righteous basis of our salvation, as well as the foundation of our living hope.

As sinners, we had no hope beyond the grave. There was nothing ahead for us but the certainty of judgment and fiery indignation. As members of the first creation we were under the sentence of death. But in the redemptive work of Christ, God found a righteous basis upon which He can save ungodly sinners and still be just. Christ has paid the penalty of our sins. Full satisfaction has been made. The claims of justice have been met, and now mercy can flow out to those who obey the gospel. In the resurrection of Christ, God indicated His complete satisfaction with the sacrificial work of His Son. The resurrection is the Father’s “Amen” to our Lord’s cry, “It is finished!” Also, that resurrection is a pledge that all who die in Christ will be raised from among the dead. This is our living hope—the expectation of being taken home to heaven to be with Christ and to be like Him forever. F. B. Meyer calls the living hope “the link between our present and future.”[7]


1:3 according to His abundant mercy: Our salvation is grounded in God’s mercy, His act of compassion toward us despite our condition of sinfulness. has begotten us again: God has given believers a new, spiritual life that enables us to live in an entirely different dimension than the one our physical birth allowed. to a living hope: Hope here does not imply a wishfulness but rather a dynamic confidence that does not end with this life but continues throughout eternity. “Hope is one of the Theological virtures,” C. S. Lewis said. “This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.” through the resurrection: Although this phrase may modify the phrase “to a living hope,” the context suggests that it is to be understood as the means of our salvation rather than the means of our hope (1 Cor. 15:12–19).[8]


1:3. The contemplation of God’s grace caused Peter to praise God, the Author of salvation and the Source of hope. The words Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ are identical in 2 Corinthians 1:3. The phrase in His great mercy refers to God’s unmerited favor toward sinners in their hopeless condition. He has given us new birth; people can do nothing to merit such a gift. The words “has given … new birth” translate anagennēsas, from the verb “beget again” or “cause to be born again.” It is used only twice in the New Testament, both times in this chapter (1 Peter 1:3, 23). Peter may have been recalling Jesus’ interview with Nicodemus (John 3:1–21). The “new birth” results in a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The “living hope” is based on the living resurrected Christ (cf. 1 Peter 1:21). The Christian’s assurance in Christ is as certain and sure as the fact that Christ is alive! Peter used the word “living” six times (1:3, 23; 2:4–5; 4:5–6). Here “living” means that the believer’s hope is sure, certain, and real, as opposed to the deceptive, empty, false hope the world offers.[9]


1:3 — … according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead .…

Because we do not have a dead Savior, we have a living hope. The resurrection of Jesus guarantees that God will honor all His promises to His faithful children. That hope keeps us going in the darkest of times.[10]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 30–34). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 301–302). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (pp. 31–32). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Clowney, E. P. (1988). The message of 1 Peter: the way of the cross (pp. 43–47). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 7–8). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 39–42). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[7] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2251). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1677). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] Raymer, R. M. (1985). 1 Peter. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 840–841). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[10] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (1 Pe 1:3). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

‘Last Man Standing’ — The show Hollywood’s political correctness couldn’t kill off

The hit sitcom “Last Man Standing” will be standing once again in the new TV season, this time on the Fox network, after ABC unceremoniously and abruptly gave the show the boot last year despite six successful seasons and high ratings.

Source: ‘Last Man Standing’ — The show Hollywood’s political correctness couldn’t kill off

Kanye West doubles down on Trump support on Jimmy Kimmel: ‘Liberals can’t bully me’

Rapper Kanye West doubled down on his support of President Donald Trump on Thursday night while talking with one of the president’s biggest critics: Jimmy Kimmel.

What did he say?

During a wide-ranging interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” the musician discussed coming out in support of Trump, and the criticism he received as a result of his decision to do so.

“Just as a musician, African-American, guy out in Hollywood, all these different things, you know, everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me,” West told Kimmel. “And then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over.”

“[That] I’d get kicked out of the black community because blacks, we’re supposed to have a monolithic thought,” he added. “We can only … be Democrats and all.”

The rapper told Kimmel that it took quite some time before he was able to have the “confidence to stand up” against those attempting to tell him what to do to think and don the Trump campaign’s trademark “Make America Great Again” red cap.

West was first spotted wearing the cap in April. The incident sparked widespread outrage on the internet, as well as with his fans.

Why did he finally decide to wear the cap?

The rapper explained that he finally up and decided to put on the cap “no matter what the consequences were,” because it was more representative and symbolic than anything else.

“What it represented to me is not about politics, because I’m not a politician like that,” he explained. “But it represented overcoming fear and doing what you felt, no matter what anyone said, in saying, ‘You can’t bully me.”

“Liberals can’t bully me, news can’t bully me, the hip-hop community — they can’t bully me,” West added.

He concluded by telling Kimmel that if he were to allow that to happen, he wouldn’t be authentic anymore.

“[A]t that point, if I’m afraid to be me, I’m no longer Ye,” the rapper, who sometimes goes by “Yeezy,” otherwise known as “Ye” — added. “That’s what makes Ye.”

You can watch West’s full remarks on Trump and courage in the video below.

Source: Kanye West doubles down on Trump support on Jimmy Kimmel: ‘Liberals can’t bully me’

Democrats hungry for Facebook data… to counter fake news (Video)

Democrats are looking for a new tool to counter fake news online. They are asking Facebook to share data on its users so they can then be fed what they say is the right information. The DNC has frequently accused Russia of trying to influence voters in the 2016 presidential elections by using false reporting.