Daily Archives: September 20, 2018

September 20: Measuring Out God’s Goodness

Habakkuk 2:6–3:19; Acts 18:1–28; Job 26:1–14

Although we don’t usually question God’s goodness, we do make assumptions about how He should act in the world. We expect God to use us in His work and to intercede on our behalf—and rightfully so, since those promises come from Him. But when we find ourselves in messy or uncertain situations, we sometimes run ahead of God. Frustrated with the waiting and the unknown, we risk making judgments about how well He is running the world.

As Habakkuk watches the destruction, violence, contention, and strife in Israel, he turns to Yahweh and makes bold demands: “Why do you cause me to see evil while you look at trouble?” (Hab 1:3). But by the end of the dialogue, he has changed his mind. He will rejoice in Yahweh “though the fig tree does not blossom, nor there be fruit on the vines; the yield of the olive fails, and the cultivated fields do not yield food, the flock is cut off from the animal pen, and there is no cattle in the stalls” (Hab 3:17–18).

Did Habakkuk merely give in to a hopeless situation? He didn’t gain any more information about God’s motives. But after his dialogue with God, his entire posture changed. The confidence in Habakkuk’s final prayer hinges on his acknowledgment of Yahweh’s power and His anger at the evil of those who disregard His ways. God has the situation under control; Habakkuk must simply wait.

We often associate waiting with inaction, but waiting is faith in action. Habakkuk chooses to rejoice and trust God in spite of his circumstances, and that decision shapes his new perspective: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (Hab 3:18–19). Like Habakkuk, we are called to come before God in humility, waiting in faith on His timing and trusting in His goodness.

How are faith and trust in God motivating all your thoughts and actions?

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.

September 20 Repelling Discouragement and Doubt

“Take the helmet of salvation” (Eph. 6:17).

✧✧✧

Discouragement and doubt are deflected when you know you’re secure in Christ.

The Roman soldier’s helmet was a crucial piece of armor designed to deflect blows to the head—especially the potentially lethal blow of a broadsword. Soldiers of that day carried a swift and precise dagger designed for close-quarter, hand-to-hand combat. But they also carried a giant broadsword, which was a two-edged, three- to four-foot-long sword. It had a massive handle that, similar to a baseball bat, was held with both hands. With it they could take broad swipes from side to side or deliver a crushing blow to an opponent’s skull.

To protect us from Satan’s crushing blows, Paul tells us to “take the helmet of salvation.” Considering all he’s been telling us so far, he was not saying, “Oh, by the way, go get saved.” Paul was addressing believers. Unbelievers don’t have to put on spiritual armor. They aren’t even in the battle. Satan doesn’t attack his own forces.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:8 Paul describes the helmet of salvation as “the hope of salvation.” That implies that Satan’s most fierce and powerful blows are directed at the believer’s assurance and security. Therefore Paul was encouraging believers to have confidence in the salvation they already possess. He knew that doubting their security in Christ would render them ineffective in spiritual warfare, just as a blow to the head renders one’s physical body incapable of defending itself.

As a believer, you should have the assurance that you are secure in Christ. If you don’t, you haven’t put your helmet on, and that makes you vulnerable to discouragement and doubt. Romans 8:29–30 assures us that all whom God justifies, He sanctifies and glorifies. No one is lost in the process.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27–28). That’s a wonderful promise. So don’t let your enemy rob you of the joy and assurance of knowing you belong to Christ, for the Lord will never let you go (Heb. 13:5).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for your eternal security in Christ!

For Further Study: Read John 6:37–40. ✧ Who receives eternal life? ✧ How does Christ respond to those who come to Him?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 276). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Islam, Violence, and Hope – CARM

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Just last week, across the country, we all paused again to remember the tragic deaths in the 9/11 terrorist attack and to honor the bravery and sacrifice of those first responders and many others who willingly gave their lives to save as many victims as possible. Faced with such an act of evil, it is difficult to avoid the question, “What would motivate someone to do such a thing?”

Of course, the ultimate answer is the fallen nature of man. The broken, sin-sick heart in every son or daughter of Adam has again and again proven its depravity. As our Lord said:

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man,” (Mark 7:21-23).

Yet, the evil common to all men does not typically take the form of terrorism or mass murder. What caused these men to give in to these particular wicked desires over other possible sinful paths? According to the men themselves, the answer is Islam.

Now, to be clear, this does not mean that all or even most Muslims today are secret terrorists waiting for their chance to kill you. Most Muslims are decent people who are genuinely disgusted by violence done in the name of Islam. There is a huge difference between a people and an ideology. Many church-going people who think of themselves as “Christians” don’t actually live in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.

Likewise, many practicing Muslims are either unaware of, or are inconsistent with, the teachings of the Quran. Still, the teachings themselves are there, and they are the authoritative core of the ideology of Islam. And, important passages in the Quran promote violence and oppression.

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  • Kill those against Islam: Surah 5:33, “The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter.”
  • Allah urges war: Surah 8:65, “O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand.”
  • Fight against non-Muslims: Surah 9:29, “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
  • The Qur’an tells Muslims to kill and go to war to fight for Islam: Surah 2:191; 2:193; 3:118; 4:75-76; 5:33; 8:12; 8:65; 8:65; 9:5; 9:29; 9:73, 9:123; 33:60-62.

You can watch a video from the Matt Slick Live radio broadcast which touches on this subject HERE. You can also read about in our article “The truth about Islam, killing, the Quran, terrorism, and the so-called religion of peace,” or view a lengthier discussion of the subject HERE.

The statistics today show that millions around the world are influenced by the violent ideology inherent in the Quran (and the Hadith, the deeds and sayings of Muhammad). So, what is the response? Should Christians be afraid of Muslims? Should we be hostile to them? Avoid them? Absolutely not! Instead, we are to genuinely love them and bring them the good news of Jesus Christ. Only salvation in Jesus can truly free someone from the bondage of a false religion.

For more information on Islam and how to reach Muslims for Christ, check out the free resources at Carm.org/islam-examined or consider purchasing our Examining Islam DVD course.

09/20/2018 — Wretched

WR2018-0920

•Justin Welby conflates justice and equity
•Kevin DeYoung offers definitions for “Social Justice” and “Gospel Issue”
•The two camps in the Social Justice debate are not lock-step
•Dennis Prager dispels the lie that America is a racist society
•Marijuana sellers want people to stop calling them “Stoners”
•Why Samuel Sey hates illegal immigration
•South Africa is using “Social Justice” to foster racism

Download Now (right click and save)

via 09/20/2018 — Wretched

5 Ways Progressive Christianity and New Age Spirituality Are Kind of the Same Thing

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​Think about the phrase “New Age.” What comes to mind? Old documentaries of hippies at Woodstock experimenting with LSD and yoga? Shirley MacLaine holding a cluster of crystals on the cover of Time Magazine back in the ‘80s?  Deepak Chopra teaching Oprah how to move things with her mind in the ‘90s? As old or out of touch as these images may seem, New Age beliefs are hotter than ever and have permeated our culture—but with a slick new image. The psychic hotline of the ‘80s has been replaced by winsome hipster gurus who have traded robes for skinny jeans—often translating Eastern religious ideas into Christianese.

Many Christians aren’t even aware of how New Age beliefs have infiltrated Christendom through the Progressive Church. I’ve written about Progressive Christianity here, and talked about it here, here, and here.  It wasn’t until I recently did a study of New Age Spirituality that I realized how much Progressive Christianity has in common with it.

Here are 5 ways Progressive Christianity and the New Age Spirituality are kind of the same thing:

1. The redefinition or abandonment of the concept of sin

New Agers believe all people are inherently divine….that there is no such thing called “sin,” but only the failure to remember our divinity. In her master class on the Oprah and Friends network in 2008, New Age leader Marianne Williamson led countless Americans through the book,A Course in Miracles. Participants were encouraged to affirm “There is no sin,”(1) and were taught, “The Atonement is the final lesson [a person] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.” (2) And all of this information supposedly came from Jesus Himself. (3)

Several years ago I heard a Progressive pastor teach on Genesis 3, the famous passage in which Eve was tricked by the serpent into eating the forbidden fruit. Rather thanreading the account as historical fact, he was unpacking the moral “truth” we could all learn from this creation story. He made the point that when this first couple took that fateful bite, it was their shame, not their sin, that separated them from God. In other words, they failed to recognize their belovedness…their inherent goodness and worth. If they were “separated” from God, it was they who were distant….not God. Progressive writer Brian McLaren describes it this way: “They lose their fearlessness in relation to God.”(4)

Notice the similarity of language. Without original sin we are all good, and we are only distant from God in our own minds when we forget that.

2. The denial of absolute truth

New Age thought is marked by its relativism: a rejection of objective morality and absolute truth. If something feels true to you, it’s true. If it feels right to you, it’s right. If something feels real to you, it’s reality. In other words, your own thoughts and feelings are your authority for what is true and real.

​One distinctive feature of Progressive Christianity is its denial of biblical authority. But of course, no one operates without an authority—if you remove one authority, you will replace it with another. Typically, Progressive Christians shift the authority for what they believe is true from the Bible to themselves—by becoming their own moral compass which will inevitably ebb and flow with culture.

3. An acceptance of Jesus, but a denial of His blood atonement

New Age thought leaders almost always couch their teachings in Christian language. Jesus is an example of someone who attained enlightenment by connecting with the divine—an example any of us can follow. His death wasn’t a saving act…the “saving” comes from within ourselves when we realize we have the same capabilities as Jesus already within us. This is often referred to as “Christ consciousness.” This is why many New Agers see no contradiction in reciting the Lord’s prayer while believing in karma and the healing power of crystals. Of course, this is an outright denial of His atoning death and resurrection.

​Many (not all) Progressive Christians also deny the blood atonement of Jesus. Last year, popular Christian musician Michael Gungor took to Twitter to rant about the idea of God requiring a blood sacrifice for sin, calling it “horrific.” In his controversial book, Love Wins, Rob Bell refers to this idea as something Christians simply picked up from surrounding cultures and used to explain the death of Jesus. In a 2016 lecture explaining the Eucharist (Communion for us Protestants), Bell joked about the ridiculousness of atonement theory, summing it up as: “God is less grumpy because of Jesus.” This gave the audience a good laugh, as Bell went on to explain that the real reason we pass the bread and wine is to “heighten our senses to our bonds with our brothers and sisters in our shared humanity.”

Many Progressive Christian leaders have popularized the phrase “cosmic child abuse,” a term first coined by Steve Chalke to protest the idea that a loving God would require a blood sacrifice for the sin of mankind.

4. It’s all about “me”

New Age thought revolves around the “Self.” Self-empowerment and realization of our innate divinity are central to its teachings and practices. According to New Age bloggerKalee Brown, when Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” in John 14:6, “The ‘me’ Jesus referred to isn’t himself, but rather the Self within you” (emphasis mine). A Course in Miracles also asks the participant to affirm: “My salvation comes from me.”(5) And hey….if we are all divine, why shouldn’t it be about us?

The typical Progressive Christian will probably not agree that it’s all about them—in fact, they tend to be very focused on social justice. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a theological shift. Progressive favorite Richard Rohr even goes so far as to write that each of us and sometimes “creation” is the “fourth member of the blessed Trinity,” implying that the fullness of God isn’t complete until we become a part of it. (6)Generally speaking, the concept of sin is abandoned or redefined, truth becomes relativized, and a mere martyr’s cross gives us a more palatable Jesus who is a great teacher, moral example, and doting BFF—but not the all-powerful warrior King who will one day return in a blood-dipped robe to judge the living and the dead. (Revelation 19:13; 2 Timothy 4:1)

5. Universalism

Former New Ager and now Christian believer Steven Bancarz noted that New Age proponents affirm the idea that all roads lead to God.He wrote:

The New Age movement holds tightly to religious pluralism and universalism, which is the view that all religions are inspired by a common Source and they all point to the same truth that we will one day reach, regardless of what path we choose to get there.

Many Progressive Christian authors affirm some form of universalism—implicitly, by denying the concept of a literal hell, or explicitly, by declaring that all people will be reconciled to God, regardless of their beliefs or religious practices.

​The concept of universal reconciliation (that Jesus will reconcile all sinners to Himself,) was smuggled into the mainstream consciousness of the Evangelical church through the wildly popular 2007 book,The Shack. Years later, its author, William Paul Young, confirmed his intention in his book, Lies We Believe About God. He wrote, “Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!”

(7)None of this is new. Throughout church history these ideas have emerged again and again. They are old pagan dogmas recycled as new and edgy ideas, dressed up in modern garb and given a Christian make-over. Trevin Waxput it perfectly on Twitter:

One of the insufferable aspects of heretics and heresies is how boring, predictable, and recycled they are. Orthodoxy is thrilling in its holding together of paradox and mystery. Heresies are narrow because they’re tailored to their times.

Progressive Christians may think they are being cutting-edge and relevant by stepping outside the bounds of orthodoxy, but in reality they are simply falling for the ideology that has kick-started every false religion since the fall of man: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

It is no less damning if the “creature” is….yourself.

​If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to have my weekly blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.

References:
​(1) Schucman, Dr. Helen (2007-12-25). A Course in Miracles  Foundation for Inner Peace. Kindle Edition. Lesson #259
(2) Ibid., Kindle Locations 21635-21636
(3) A Course in Miracles is a collection of spiritual revelations recorded by Columbia University Professor Helen Schucman. She dictated messages from an entity she called “the Voice,” that she later identified as “Jesus Christ.”
(4) McLaren, Brian (2011-2-1) A New Kind of Christianity, Harper One; Reprint edition p. 50
(5) Schucman, Dr. Helen (2007-12-25). A Course in Miracles  Foundation for Inner Peace. Kindle Edition. Lesson 70
​(6) Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Kindle Location 1255). Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.
(7) Young, William Paul (2017) Lies We Believe About God, Atria Books p. 118

Source: 5 Ways Progressive Christianity and New Age Spirituality Are Kind of the Same Thing

Video: “The Shield of Faith” by Alistair Begg — Truth For Life Blog

Because the evil one desires to undermine the spiritual stability of all who follow Christ, Paul exhorted the believers in Ephesus to take up the shield of faith. The darts that Satan aims at Christians are subtle, varied, and deadly, so Alistair Begg urges us to follow Paul’s instruction by trusting in the Gospel personally, consistently, and corporately. The enemy is fierce and relentless, but Christ has triumphed and His victory is ours.

via Video: “The Shield of Faith” by Alistair Begg — Truth For Life Blog

Former Scalia Law Clerk Bombshell Claim: ‘Compelling Evidence’ Will Exonerate Brett Kavanaugh Soon — The Gateway Pundit

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford is waging a war on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh with decades-old, unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault in an effort to derail his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Judge Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations and even told Senator Orin Hatch he wasn’t at the party in question.

Others have come out in defense of Kavanaugh such as witness Mark Judge who said in a letter he does not wish to speak publicly on the incident.

Mark Judge said in a letter sent by his legal counsel to Grassley, “I have no memory of this alleged incident..Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in..Ford’s letter. More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner..Ford describes”

Senator Dianne Feinstein circulated Christine Ford’s unredacted letter about the allegations against Kavanaugh to her staff –which of course was subsequently leaked to the media–Chuck Grassley, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he still hasn’t seen the unredacted letter even though he has after repeatedly asked for the document.

Feinstein is withholding evidence from the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Now this…

Ed Whelan, Justice Scalia’s former law clerk and president of conservative think tank the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), came out in defense of Brett Kavanaugh and said compelling evidence will come out next week exonerating Kavanaugh.

Ed Whelan: By one week from today, I expect that Judge Kavanaugh will have been clearly vindicated on this matter. Specifically, I expect that compelling evidence will show his categorical denial to be truthful. There will be no cloud over him.

Ed Whelan continued “It’s precisely b/c sexual assault is so terrible that it is deeply unjust when someone is mistakenly (even good-faith mistakenly) accused of having committed it,” he said. “Everyone should rejoice when the mistake is found.”

“And the sooner the mistake is discovered, the better.”

She’s got the wrong guy, said Whelan.

“Senator Feinstein will soon be apologizing to Judge Kavanaugh.”

H/T Law and Crime

via Former Scalia Law Clerk Bombshell Claim: ‘Compelling Evidence’ Will Exonerate Brett Kavanaugh Soon — The Gateway Pundit

Over 250 Nigerian Christians Killed by Fulani Radicals in Two Months — Blogs

On September 14, two Christian boys were murdered by Fulani radicals in Nigeria, making the total number of lives claimed by this violence over 250 in just two months.

According to International Christian Concern, the bodies of Ntyang Pam Danjuma, 9, and Mesheck Dalyop Kang’ageda, 10, were found riddled with bullet holes and machete slashes.

Reportedly, local police are looking for attackers who they believe are Fulani Muslim radicals.

“The Nigerian government continues to be complacent in dealing with the problem of the Fulani militants, who have in 2018 killed nearly three times as many people as Boko Haram,” ICC said.

“If they do not ensure the safety of all of their people, they are going to have continued fighting that will increase as communities decide to defend themselves and their families.”

Human rights groups in Nigeria, including the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, have warned citizens that jihadists are presenting themselves as Fulani farmers and then massacring Christians and burning down churches.

In August, board chairman of Intersociety Emeka Umeagbalasi, told The Christian Post that the Nigerian government is trying to characterize these murders as conflicts between farmers and herders. But what is really happening, he said, was a calculated attack designed to kill and drive Christians out of Nigeria.

Intersociety reported on Sunday that no fewer than 250 Christians have been killed in the last two months. They obtained this number by combining the statistics and news reports of killings since July.

“The Christian agonies in Nigeria include killing of Christian children and busting, using machetes and guns, of pregnancies of the heavily pregnant Christian women leading to their death and that of their unborn children; killing of other Christians (i.e., women, children, the physically challenged, young men and women, the aged and the sick) in their sleep, sick and retirement apartments, farms and other workplaces as well as sacred places of worship,” the group explained.

Along with killing several hundred believers, The Christian Post reports that the extremists have also seized and forcefully occupied Christians’ lands and burned down places of worship among other Christian paraphernalia.

via Over 250 Nigerian Christians Killed by Fulani Radicals in Two Months — Blogs

SEPTEMBER 20 GOD HAS THE ANSWERS

Lord, make me to know…the measure of my days…that I may know how frail I am.

Psalm 39:4

We can all learn something from David’s prayer—for none of us has all of the answers! David had come through the trying experiences of life and was now unsure about the things he once thought he knew. In the autumn of his life, I think David was a more relaxed man and more dependent on the divine answers.

I found a lesson in this for myself and I pass it on.

Some time ago I preached for a week in Rochester, New York. At the conclusion and before the benediction, the chairman of the congregation told the audience: “We have enough time for questions. Mr. Tozer will answer any questions you have.”

This was news to me, so I got up and said: “Mr. Chairman, you are twenty-five years too late! Twenty-five years ago I could have answered questions on almost any subject, but now I beg to be excused!”

In our Christian life and experience, it is a blessed thing to find out that we do not have to know everything after all!

Lord, instead of getting simpler, life seems to get more complex year after year. I need Your divine help to sort out the confusion, Lord. Thank You that I can trust in You—always.[1]


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

Generation being born now is the last to be free – Assange in last interview before blackout (VIDEO)

Before his links to the world was cut by his Ecuadorian hosts, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gave an interview on how technological advances are changing humankind. He said global surveillance will soon be totally unavoidable.

Source: Generation being born now is the last to be free – Assange in last interview before blackout (VIDEO)

SARA CARTER: FBI Had 2 Separate Sets of Books – One With Real Spygate Docs and Another For Appearances (AUDIO) — The Gateway Pundit

Investigative reporter Sara Carter dropped a bombshell on Sean Hannity’s radio show Wednesday.

Sara Carter told Hannity that sources are telling her that the FBI has two sets of records on the Carter Page FISA docs and other records relating to the Russia probe.

“Sara, I’m hearing it gets worse than this–that there is potentially out there–if you will, two sets of record among the upper echelon of the FBI–one that was real one that was made for appearances. Is there any truth to this?” Hannity asked Sara Carter.

“Absolutely, Sean. With the number of sources that I have been speaking with as well as some others that there is evidence indicating that the FBI had separate sets of books,” Sara Carter said.

Sara Carter went on to explain top FBI brass was aware of this.

“I will not name names until all of the evidence is out there, but there were certain people above Peter Strzok and above Lisa Page that were aware of this,” Sara said. “I also believe that there are people within the FBI that have actually turned on their former employers are even possibly testifying and reporting what happened inside the FBI to both the Inspector General and possibly even a Grand Jury.”

Everyone involved in this attempted coup of a duly elected President should be put in front of a Grand Jury and prosecuted.

AUDIO:

via SARA CARTER: FBI Had 2 Separate Sets of Books – One With Real Spygate Docs and Another For Appearances (AUDIO) — The Gateway Pundit

The Bible Never Promises Immediate Physical Healing in the Atonement

There are many prosperity preachers who teach that physical healing—in this life—is part of the atonement. For example, Kenneth Copeland states,

Sadly, many Christians have been falsely accusing God of being the cause of their troubles. They wrongly believe that trials and tribulations are God’s tools for developing and strengthening our character….

This is absolutely against the Word of God. Why? Because the very basic principle of the Christian life is to know that God put our sin, sickness, disease, sorrow, grief and poverty on Jesus at Calvary. For God to put any of this on us now to teach us or to strengthen our faith would be a miscarriage of justice. To believe that God has a purpose for sickness would mean that Jesus bore our sickness in vain. What an insult to His love, care and compassion for us!

According to Copeland, Jesus didn’t merely die for your sins. He also died for your sickness and poverty.

Word-Faith teacher Andrew Wommack agrees. He claims,

The Lord redeemed us from sickness just as much as He redeemed us from sin. He would no more want us to be sick than He would want us to sin. Those are radical statements to many Christians because we’ve been taught that forgiveness of sins is what salvation is all about. Well that’s certainly a vital part of salvation, but that’s not all that Jesus accomplished. We were also healed by His stripes. Sickness is not of God just as sin is not of God. Thank You, Jesus!

Those who believe it’s God’s will to always physically heal in this life are quick to quote 1 Peter 2:24–25. It says,

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet. 2:24–25)

No one disputes what this text says. What is under dispute is what this text means. What does it mean by “healed”? Does it refer to physical healing in this life, or does it refer to spiritual healing?

The word itself doesn’t help us since it is used in Scripture to mean both physically healed and spiritually healed. For example, Jesus tells His disciples,

For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. (Matthew 13:15)

Clearly, this passage is talking about spiritual healing—salvation—not physical healing. Yet, it’s the same Greek word used by Peter.

The key to understanding the 1 Peter passage is to look carefully at the context. Peter begins by stating how Jesus bore our sins in His body on the tree. He connects Jesus bearing our sins with Jesus’ body being nailed to the cross. Next, Peter tells us why this is so significant. He says this was so that we might “die to sin and live to righteousness.”

So far, this says nothing about physical healing. But let’s continue.

Notice how Peter interjects the quote from Isaiah to back up his claim. Most theologians believe Peter is quoting Isaiah 53:5.

But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

It’s as if Peter is saying, “This is what Isaiah was talking about all along. By His wounds, you have been healed.” The wounds are what Jesus experienced “in His body on the tree.” The healing is the benefit we receive—dying to sin and living to righteousness.

The context of Isaiah 53 also points strongly to a spiritual healing. First, Isaiah describes the spiritual sickness that we’re saved from (i.e. trespasses and iniquity). Second, he describes the spiritual healing that we’re saved to (i.e. peace and healing). These parallelisms in Isaiah cannot be overstated. Just as the trespasses and iniquities we are saved from are taken as parallels, the peace and healing we receive are parallels.

This spiritual healing extends into the eventual physical, emotional, and psychological healing. However, this will not be fully realized until the final resurrection of the physical body.

What about Matthew’s use of Isaiah 53:4? Surely this has to do with physical healing.

That evening they brought to Him many who were oppressed by demons, and He cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” (Matthew 8:16–17)

Most people see this as a quote from Isaiah 53:4.

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

I believe this text is talking specifically about Christ’s healing ministry, not His atonement. Notice that Matthew tells us this passage from Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus’ healing ministry before He ever went to the cross. Therefore, this text cannot be used to guarantee immediate, physical healing at the cross.

The Effects of the Atonement Are Not Yet Complete

Please hear me. I believe there is physical healing through the atonement, but this isn’t guaranteed until the final resurrection. We live between two worlds. The kingdom of God is “already but not yet,” which means we don’t get all of the benefits of the atonement in the present world.

So, the question is not whether our bodies receive healing because of the atonement of Christ, but when our bodies receive healing because of the atonement.

You can see this tension between the “already” and “not yet” in the way the New Testament authors write. John says,

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)

Notice the temporal language. We are—in the present—God’s children. But something is missing. John says, “What we will be has not yet appeared.” We have to wait for that.

Paul expounds on this waiting in Romans 8:18–25.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Paul is making a sharp contrast between the “present time” and what will be revealed. We don’t get all of the benefits of the atonement right now.

There are aspects of the kingdom that we get right now. Paul says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Right now, there is no condemnation for anyone who is saved.

However, there are aspects of the kingdom that we have to wait for. Paul tells the Christians in Philippi,

But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20–21)

Jesus will bring perfect health for every human being who trusts in Christ, but it’s something we wait for. John says,

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

What are the former things? Death, mourning, crying, pain. These will all cease in the new creation. But we’re not in the new creation yet. That is something we eagerly wait for. Sadly, Word-Faith teachers ignore all of the passages of Scripture that talk about waiting.

Let me leave you with one final thought. Word-Faith proponents teach that faith in Christ’s atonement brings salvation from sin and healing from sickness. After all, on their view, both were purchased on the cross. Gloria Copeland claims,

Jesus bore your sicknesses and carried your diseases at the same time and in the same manner that He bore your sins. You are just as free from sickness and disease as you are free from sin. You should be as quick to cease sickness and disease in your body as you are to cease sin.

However, this teaching creates the untenable idea that someone can have enough faith to be saved, but not enough faith to be healed. But if you don’t have enough faith to be healed, how do you know you have enough faith to be saved?

(See the previous posts in this series here and here.)

Source: The Bible Never Promises Immediate Physical Healing in the Atonement

SBC Executive Committee Shuts Down Free Speech, Criticism of “Woke” Leaders — Pulpit & Pen

Russell Moore is the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). He is, as Wikipedia points out, a Christian Democrat and Communitarian. He is also a former Democratic staffer, one of the most vociferous critics of President Donald Trump, works for George Soros on his Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), and has led the ERLC to embrace animal rights, environmentalism, a softening tone on homosexuality, and Critical Race Theory. When he defended his ERLC research fellow, gay-affirming feminist and animal rights activist, Karen Swallow Prior at the SBC annual meeting, Moore had another ERLC employee, Brent Leatherwood, call the police on a member of the press because they asked Moore questions about Prior’s support for the pro-LGBT Revoice Conference.

Many Southern Baptists are rightly upset with Moore, and not just because he’s called conservatives who believe in national sovereignty “idolaters” for wanting a border wall, or because POTUS called him “a very nasty guy with no heart,” or because his research fellows are out there saying that Trump supporters “lost their soul” by voting for him. Many Southern Baptists are upset with Moore because he’s assisted a Mosque’s construction in New Jersey, but opposed the right to religious conscience on gay marriage. They are upset that Moore has coalesced himself with the most radical Cultural Marxists, Liberation theologians, and Critical Race Theorists on the planet. They’re upset that he’s aligned himself with Roman Catholics, but shunned and repeatedly reprimanded conservative Baptists. Some are legitimately upset that Moore has repeatedly been on the wrong side of ethics issues and advocates for policies not conducive to national sovereignty, which is the single greatest bulwark and defender of religious liberty on planet Earth. And some, are speaking out.

When one Thomas Littleton asked Moore questions, he was forcefully kicked out of the SBC’s annual meeting. When another reporter asked Moore about Karen Swallow Prior’s support for the pro-LGBT Revoice Conference, he was rebuked and Prior defended. When another SBC messenger tried to express displeasure with Moore at the annual meeting, he was rebuked by the moderator and cautioned not to speak ill of the SBC’s inglorious leaders.

In the Southern Baptist Convention, you can’t question Russell Moore or the newly-woke coalition of pro-Social Gospel entity heads. In the new Fascist Regime of the New SBC, even meetings ostensibly designed to ask questions, seek clarifications, and voice opinions are for show only. Moderators of these meetings, the self-glorified hall monitors, perceive themselves as bouncers playing interference, putting questioners in their place and protecting the SBC elite from having to answer any inconvenient questions. This was seen Tuesday when the moderator of an OPEN FORUM (I’m using ALL CAPS  because I’m screaming it right now) shut down a Southern Baptist pastor expressing displeasure in the way Russell Moore is leading the SBC.

The Baptist “Press” reports:

Paul Hicks, pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church in Hayden, Ala., said he has heard from individuals in the state and beyond expressing dissatisfaction “almost unanimously” with the ERLC and its president, Russell Moore.

EC chairman Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga., intervened to note that the open forum was a time for expressing concern about issues and not personalities.

A few things here. First, I doubt seriously that anywhere in the agenda of the so-called “Open Forum” does it state that the time was designated to expressing concern about issues and not personalities. I would fully suspect that “rule” was made up by Executive Committee chairman, Mike Stone, on the spot. Second, Russell Moore is the issue. People CAN be issues. To claim otherwise is an offense to basic logic and the use of words. Third, no one is concerned about the “personality” of Russell Moore (although I find him to be a smug little elf). The issue is not his personality, but the ISSUES he promotes and supports.

SBC Voices sycophant blogger, William Thornton, reported this account and said, “One member tried to skewer Russell Moore but was cut off by the EC chairman. Good job.”

Uh, no. He wasn’t trying to “skewer” Russ Moore. He was voicing his OPINION which was the advertised PURPOSE of the OPEN FORUM and he was cut off by the EC chairman. That is only a “good job” if you’re a fascist running an organized crime syndicate. It’s not good if you’re a Southern Baptist in a denomination that supposedly exists to serve its members.

The Baptist “Press” then reports:

Boto then responded to Hicks’ concern, noting that it should be expressed to the ERLC and that its contact information is readily accessible. Saying he has “every confidence” that the ERLC will respond, he cited Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 18 for resolving allegations of wrongdoing among Christians.

For the record, the ERLC never, ever, ever, ever responds to criticism…ever. They do not respond to criticism, either public or private (see here). However, who really needs “skewered” here is interim President of the SBC Executive Board, Augie Boto. Rebuking the Southern Baptist pastor on the grounds of Matthew 18 is beyond asinine. It shows a fundamentally flawed understanding of conflict resolution and a profound interpretive ignorance of the Holy Scriptures.

Matthew 18 is a process of church discipline in the local church. It does not and cannot work at the level of a denomination. Nor can Matthew 18 be followed (nor is it intended) with celebrities or public figures who do not personally know their critics. Neither can Matthew 18 be followed to handle grievances privately when the actions (as Russ Moore’s) are already public. Furthermore, even if Matthew 18 could be applied denominationally (and it cannot), Boto has no idea whether or not Hicks already had gone to Moore privately (which he does not have to, because Moore’s actions are public), thus making the rebuke not only drip with theological ignorance, but with presumption. For more information on Matthew 18, consult Seth Dunn’s blog post, Rightly Applying Matthew 18 Church Discipline as Baptistshere.

The level of insanity in having a “open forum” and then not allowing someone to express their opinion on an issue because a personality is involved (people are always involved with “issues” and the two are inexorably tied) and then to condescendingly cite a Bible passage that is in no way applicable to the situation is beyond repugnant.

Southern Baptist pastors and church members, you need to understand that there is no dismantling the ERLC. There is no way to rid yourselves of Russell Moore. The ERLC is an independent entity of the SBC, which is controlled by trustees that are hand-selected by Russell Moore. Its money comes from you, and you fund all of its salaried positions and budget, but you have absolutely no oversight or control over this runaway entity. The best thing to do is not hope and pray Russell Moore is removed from his position. He will not be. The best thing to do is leave the Southern Baptist Convention and never look back. If you can’t do that, go around the ERLC by not funding the  Cooperative Program. For more on how to still be a Southern Baptist but not financially support causes that you don’t believe in, read this ebook here.

via SBC Executive Committee Shuts Down Free Speech, Criticism of “Woke” Leaders — Pulpit & Pen

Nellie Ohr Refusing to Cooperate With House Judiciary Committee – Won’t Appear For Congressional Deposition — The Gateway Pundit

Nellie Ohr, wife of twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr is refusing to appear for a Congressional deposition that was supposed to be conducted in a closed-door session Friday.

Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller:

Nellie Ohr, the wife of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, is refusing to appear before Congress for a closed-door hearing that was scheduled to take place this Friday, sources tell The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The sources also said that former FBI general counsel James Baker is not cooperating with the committees’ request for an interview.

“The Committee continues to seek the testimony of Nellie Ohr and Jim Baker and will compel their testimony if necessary,” an aide to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees sought to question Nellie Ohr after her husband Bruce Ohr gave an explosive testimony to Congress.

The former Associate Deputy Attorney General told Congress the FBI knew his wife, Nellie Ohr worked for oppo research firm Fusion GPS yet failed to disclose that information to the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court].

Nellie Ohr was paid multiple large payments by Fusion GPS, the oppo research firm that commissioned dossier author Christopher Steele.

Mrs. Ohr also previously worked for the CIA and was a corrupt Communist sympathizer who spoke fluent Russian–both important pieces of information the fake news media glosses over.

It is time for the House Judiciary Committee to issue Nellie Ohr a subpoena.

Investigative reporter Sara Carter also said Thursday morning “Also hearing from a source former FBI SA Peter Strzok ( who was fired) is refusing to come back for additional testimony without a subpoena. I say subpoena Strzok, former Gen Counsel James Baker. Oh, and Nellie Ohr too. It May have something to do with all these texts were seeing”

Update: GOPers on House Judiciary Committee say they will compel testimony of Fusion GPS’s Nellie Ohr and former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker if necessary.

via Nellie Ohr Refusing to Cooperate With House Judiciary Committee – Won’t Appear For Congressional Deposition — The Gateway Pundit

DC: Nellie Ohr and James Baker Refusing to Testify to Congress… — The Last Refuge

According to sources responding to The Daily Caller, Nellie Ohr and James Baker are refusing to willingly testify to the joint House Oversight and Judiciary committee chaired by Bob Goodlatte.   Nellie’s husband Bruce Ohr, a current DOJ official, previously testified to the committee; however Nellie Ohr is not in government and may have to be subpoenaed if Chairman Goodlatte wants her testimony. She was originally schedule to appear tomorrow.

UPDATE – “The Committee continues to seek the testimony of Nellie Ohr and Jim Baker and will compel their testimony if necessary.”

Nellie Ohr was a FusionGPS employee and a bridge of contact between FusionGPS and Christopher Steele.  There are strong indications Nellie Ohr may have actually authored a considerable portion of the Steele Dossier for use by the FBI.  In prior testimony FustionGPS founder, Glenn Simpson, was less than forthcoming about Nellie Ohr’s engagements; and generally misled -direct and by omission- both the Senate and House intelligence committees about Mrs. Ohr.

Additionally, The Daily Caller is reporting that former FBI Chief Legal Counsel James Baker is also refusing to cooperate.  Mr. Baker was removed from his position in December 2017, and left the FBI May 4th, 2018, after spending five months in employment limbo.

FBI legal counsel James Baker accompanied FBI Asst. Director “Andy” McCabe to a Tuesday December 19th, 2017, congressional hearing with the House Intelligence Community.  Curiously, in addition to other lines of inquiry, during the questioning McCabe was asked about whether James Baker was authorized to speak to the media about the Steele Dossier and the underlying ‘counterintelligence’ operation.  Asst. Director McCabe responded that Baker would not be authorized to take such action.

Following the December 19, HPSCI hearing, republican committee leadership announced their plan to subpoena James Baker for further questioning.  [Keep in mind Baker was there.]  Two days later, at the Thursday Judiciary and Oversight Committee hearings, James Baker did not accompany Andrew McCabe.   Hours later, James Baker is removed from his responsibilities as legal counsel within the FBI.  Cause: ‘unknown‘.  Five months later Mr. Baker resigned from the FBI.  Mr. Baker went to work with Benjamin Witts at Lawfare.

.

 

via DC: Nellie Ohr and James Baker Refusing to Testify to Congress… — The Last Refuge

September 20, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump pressed fellow Republicans in Congress on Thursday to “get tough” and push to fund his proposed border wall in the current spending bill, raising the specter of a government shutdown when funding lapses later this month.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new limits on the ability of immigration judges to terminate deportation cases on Wednesday, the latest in a series of decisions to facilitate the removal of immigrants in the country illegally.

The United States said it was ready to resume talks with North Korea after Pyongyang pledged on Wednesday to dismantle its key missile facilities and suggested it would close its main Yongbyon nuclear complex if Washington took unspecified actions.

The Vatican has accepted a request from a bishop in India to be temporarily relieved of his pastoral duties as police questioned him for a second day over accusations that he raped a nun.

Japanese cryptocurrency firm Tech Bureau Corp said about $60 million in digital currencies were stolen from its exchange, highlighting the industry’s vulnerability despite recent efforts by authorities to make it more secure.

Tesla’s Model 3 sedan has been awarded a five-star rating by the U.S. auto safety agency NHTSA in tests that are standard for cars in the United States.

AP Top Stories

The Air Force is taking another step in an aggressive plan to prototype, test and deploy hypersonic weapons on an expedited schedule — to defend against enemy attacks by fast-tracking an ability to launch high-impact, high-speed attacks at Mach. 5 – five times the speed of sound.

A Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli fire in clashes near the border in southern Gaza late Wednesday, the health ministry in the enclave said.

A gunman opened fire outside a crowded Pennsylvania courtroom Wednesday afternoon, shooting at police and others before an officer fired multiple shots at him, killing him.

Officials at a Wisconsin software company say they’re “heartbroken” one of their employees shot four people in the office. The suspect died after being shot by police.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah said Thursday it had acquired “precision missiles” despite extensive efforts by neighbor and foe Israel to prevent the Shiite movement developing this capability.

Many Indians are switching off air conditioners in cars and going to gas pumps across state borders in a bid to save money, as petrol prices across the country hover at record-high levels. Protests against high petrol and diesel prices paralyzed many parts of India earlier this month, shutting businesses, government offices and schools.

Twice in less than a year, the federal government has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children after placing them in the homes of sponsors across the country, federal officials have acknowledged. The Health and Human Services Department recently told Senate staffers that case managers could not find 1,488 children after they made follow-up calls to check on their safety from April through June. That number represents about 13 percent of all unaccompanied children the administration moved out of shelters and foster homes during that time.

U.S. President Donald Trump linked American support for Middle Eastern countries to oil prices on Thursday as he again urged OPEC to lower prices. “We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”

Islamist militants have killed hundreds of soldiers in attacks in northeastern Nigeria in recent weeks, security and military sources say, forcing a turnaround in the course of an insurgency which the government has frequently claimed to have vanquished.

Russia and Israel risked a military confrontation on Tuesday after a Russian reconnaissance plane with 15 people onboard was mistakenly shot down by allied Syria forces that were targeting Israeli jets.

BBC

Australian supermarket giant Woolworths has temporarily removed sewing needles from its shelves as the country faces a strawberry safety scare. Last week, Australians were warned to cut fresh strawberries before biting into them after several people found sewing needles hidden inside the fruit. Several strawberry brands have been pulled from stores across the country.

A Texas man who has played a central role in making 3D-printed weapons available has been charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl. A warrant was issued for Cody Wilson but he flew to Taiwan before he could be detained, police in Austin said.

Colombian cocaine production hit record levels in 2017, according to newly released UN statistics.

A girl has suffered a “significant leg injury” in a shark attack at a popular tourist spot in Australia, paramedics said. It is the second serious shark attack in Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands within 24 hours. On Wednesday, a woman was treated for leg and torso wounds. She remains in a critical condition.

The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah movement says it has acquired sophisticated rockets despite Israel’s efforts to prevent it obtaining them. He did not produce evidence of this.

WND

Senate Democrats have proposed to raise taxes on businesses as part of a $1 trillion tax hike that would make the corporate rate higher than almost every other developed country.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits in mid-September fell to the lowest level since November 1969. Initial jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 201,000 in the seven days ended Sept. 15.

A series of whites-only events happening this fall at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte looks to help white staff members and students at that university “work toward white consciousness” and develop “anti-racist practice.”


News – 9/20/2018

Keith Ellison domestic violence accuser posts 2017 medical document identifying Democrat as abuser
The woman who accused U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., of domestic abuse released on Wednesday … a medical document from 2017 detailing the abuse allegedly caused by the congressman. The woman claims the document’s date – Nov. 28, 2017 – proves she discussed the abuse story long before she publicly voiced her accusations against the Democrat.

Ex-Federal Employee Says She Got Leaks From ‘Resistance Movement’ in Government
A former federal employee told an undercover reporter that there’s a “resistance movement” inside the federal establishment that’s trying to undermine the administration of President Donald Trump. To that end, Jessica Schubel says former colleagues were providing her with insider information, including confidential documents, which she acknowledges is probably illegal. Schubel was a senior policy adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Obama administration. “It’s kind of like the Nixon ‘Deep Throat’ type of thing,” she said. Based on Schubel’s description, her sources likely violated the Basic Obligation of Public Service statute, which says that federal employees “shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.”

Israel Upgrading Nuclear Defenses, Response to Iran, Syria Threats
In a highly unusual and unprecedented move, the director general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission made a public statement about explicit threats by Iran and its proxies to attack Israel’s nuclear sites. Speaking at the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday, Zeev Snir made it clear that Israel plans to reinforce its Dimona nuclear facility. “We cannot ignore the repeated and explicit threats, made by Iran and its proxies, to attack Israel’s nuclear sites,…

US seeks treaty with Iran, says envoy
The United States is seeking to negotiate a treaty with Iran to include Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its regional behavior, the US special envoy for Iran said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. “The new deal that we hope to be able to sign with Iran, and it will not be a personal agreement between two governments like the last one, we seek a treaty,” Hook told an audience at the Hudson Institute think tank,…

Democrats vow massive tax hikes if they win
When it comes to distinguishing Republicans from Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, a tax-policy expert contends it can’t be said enough that Democrats intend to roll back the tax cuts and reform that many economists believe have been the major catalyst for the current economic resurgence.

Scalise Doubts Canada’s ‘Talent For Compromise’ In NAFTA Talks
Scalise told reporters in Washington on Tuesday, “Members are concerned that Canada does not seem to be ready or willing to make the concessions that are necessary for a fair and high-standard agreement. While we would all like to see Canada remain part of this three-country coalition, there is not an unlimited amount of time for it to be part of this new agreement.”

NASA Announces Spacecraft Flyby of Object Four Billion Miles from Earth
“In just over 100 days the New Horizons spacecraft will add another chapter to its remarkable story with a flight past the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed ‘Ultima Thule,’” Buckley said. The new nickname for 2014 MU69 comes from medieval literature and refers to a distant, unknown world. Ultima Thule is four billion miles away from Earth, having passed Pluto, the last target of the spacecraft’s flyby, in 2015. It’s located in a previously unknown part of the solar system,…

Texas Republicans Flip Long-Held Democratic State Senate Seat
Texas Republicans refuted talk of a coming “blue wave” on Tuesday by flipping a state senate seat that had long been held by the Democratic Party. Republican Peter Flores, a retired game warden, pulled an upset win in a special election for Texas’s 19th Senate District over the Democratic nominee, former congressman Pete Gallego. The district, which contains all or parts of 17 counties and spans 35,000 square miles—400 of which are on the border between the United States and Mexico, is one of the largest legislative jurisdictions in the country and until recently one of the most Democratic in Texas.

Franklin Graham scorches Wall Street Journal on ‘reality’ of hell
In response to a Wall Street Journal column claiming that in some “distant, better future, the foreclosure of Hell will be an important step in the maturation of human communities,” Christian evangelist Franklin Graham offered a warning to naysayers Wednesday. “Hell is much more than a concept – it’s a reality.”

Trump revokes visas for Palestinian envoy and his family
The Trump administration has revoked visas for the Palestinian envoy to Washington and his family, just days after shutting the PLO General Delegation Office in the US capital, Palestinian officials said Sunday.

Will Iraqi territory be used to fire rockets on Israel from Iran?
While Amidror did not specify whether he believed Iran has moved rockets to Iraq, Reuters reported the weapons transfer took place in late August, drawing swift responses from Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Most importantly, Amidror emphasized to the Post that if the report were true, Iraq’s desire not to alienate the US and avoid a superfluous confrontation with Israel would not be the decisive factor.

Hurricane forecasters tracking 2 disturbances in Atlantic
Hurricane forecasters on Wednesday morning (Sept. 19) were tracking two disturbances in the Atlantic Ocean. Both had low chances of developing into tropical depressions.

Nasrallah: Hezbollah maintains advanced missiles despite Israeli strike
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed on Thursday that the balance of power between the Lebanese Shi’ite terror group and Israel has “changed,” and that the group has accurate missiles which would be used in the next conflict. “All your attempts to prevent Hezbollah from possessing accurate missiles are foiled,” Nasrallah said during a speech via video to Beirut’s Dahiyeh suburb to mark the Muslim holiday Ashura.

Liberman: Assad is responsible for downing Russian plane
“Assad’s army is to blame” for the Russian plane that was shot down after an Israeli air strike on an Iranian military facility in Syria, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in an interview on Army Radio on Thursday. Israel’s defense forces “will do everything they must” to defend the country and its citizens. “I will continue to do what I must,” he added.

Israel nuclear chief: We are upgrading defenses at Dimona reactor
Israel Atomic Energy Commission Director General Zeev Snir said that the Israel will upgrade and reinforce its nuclear facilities in response to Iranian threats during the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday. “We cannot ignore the repeated and explicit threats, made by Iran and its proxies, to attack Israel’s nuclear sites,” Snir said at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Report: Abbas ready to halt all funding to Gaza
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is close to announcing a series of additional punitive measures against the Gaza Strip, as Egyptian efforts to end the power struggle between his Fatah faction and Hamas appear to have reached a dead end, Palestinian sources in Ramallah said on Wednesday.

Amazon Will Consider Opening Up to 3,000 Cashierless Stores by 2021
Amazon.com Inc. is considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new AmazonGo cashierless stores in the next few years, according to people familiar with matter, an aggressive and costly expansion that would threaten convenience chains like 7-Eleven Inc., quick-service sandwich shops like Subway and Panera Bread, and mom-and-pop pizzerias and taco trucks.

‘God’s Not Dead’ Writers Making Planned Parenthood Movie
The film focuses on anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, who spent years working for Planned Parenthood before switching sides. A $6 million anti-abortion film that takes a critical look at Planned Parenthood recently wrapped after being shot in secret in Oklahoma, and the filmmakers behind such surprise hits as God’s Not Dead and I Can Only Imagine are hoping for similar success when they release the movie wide next year.

Hamas ramps up pressure to resume negotiations
Sources in Gaza told Ynet Tuesday that Hamas has decided to escalate the weekly “March of Return” demonstrations in order to pressure Egypt and Israel to renew ceasefire talks, which have been suspended for the past three weeks. Since the end of August, after Israel and Hamas reached advanced stages of the agreement—mediated by Egypt and the UN envoy to the Middle East—the ceasefire talks have been brought to a halt.

Sessions limits U.S. judges’ ability to dismiss deportation cases
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new limits on the ability of immigration judges to terminate deportation cases on Wednesday, the latest in a series of decisions to facilitate the removal of immigrants in the country illegally. Unlike the federal judiciary system, U.S. immigration courts fall under the Department of Justice and the attorney general can rewrite opinions issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Google Is Implementing the AI Technology for the Persecution of Christians
Observatories are closing in record numbers. Why? Because “they” are soon going to be arriving. Who is arriving? The fallen angels. Do not be deceived. If governments proclaim that this is the beginning of ET disclosure, do not believe them. This is the new religion. It is called Transhumanism. However, before the AI, transhumanist religion can take hold, the one true religion, Christianity, must be eradicated along with its followers.

Dem Leader Tells Crowd: “Vote early and often – whatever you can get away with”
A St. Clair Democrat leader told a crowd to “vote early, vote often, whatever you can get away with” during a rally in Caseyville this past weekend.

Kavanaugh Accuser’s Lawyer is Vice Chair of Soros-Funded Organization Opposing Kavanaugh
Debra Katz, the attorney representing the woman who’s accusing Brett Kavanaugh of a high school era sexual assault, is the vice chair of the Project on Government Oversight — a group funded in large part by George Soros and his Open Society Foundation.

New Jersey Deli Owner Pleads Guilty to $888,000 Food Stamp Fraud Scheme
A 25-year-old deli owner in New Jersey pleaded guilty Tuesday to bilking the federal government out of $888,000 in a more than six-year food stamp fraud scheme.

John Kerry: A Traitor for the Ages
We had news this past week that John Kerry is undermining the United States once again, working with her enemies, this time the Iranian mullahs trying to salvage his deeply flawed Iran nuclear deal.

Do We Still Need to Believe in Hell?
In March 2018, Pope Francis allegedly denied the existence of Hell and the endless suffering of the damned in a private talk with his friend Eugenio Scalfari, a left-wing journalist, who published his account of their conversation in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. The response to Scalfari’s article was immediate and explosive.

Priest Says Exorcism Prayer Over Gay Flag, Burns It In Defiance Of Cardinal Cupich
A Chicago priest burned a gay flag after saying a prayer of exorcism over it, defying Catholic Archbishop Blase Cupich’s orders not to do so.

DEEP STATE: Former Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz Publishes Book Exposing The Secret Government In Washington
I spent 8 and a half years in Congress. I took about 8 and a half to 9 months to write it. It’s on sale tomorrow at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and all the other usual suspects. When I went to Congress I didn’t really know what the Deep State was or if it was real or not real, but I left knowing that it is very real. It’s something that is out in the open. It’s not some tinfoil person whose off in the corner with some weird dials trying to do things. It is a abrasion approach that many federal bureaucrats do to wait out administrations.

Football Coach Arrested for Filming Himself Raping Dozens of Young Boys
A married father and football coach has been arrested after he was caught raping dozens of young boys and filming himself committing the horrific acts.

Brooklyn Diocese To Pay $27.5 million to Catholic Official’s 4 Abuse Victims
Four men who suffered horrific child sex abuse by their Catholic religion teacher have been awarded a $27.5million settlement by the Diocese of Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Soros Funded Group Lobbies YouTube to Silence Conservative Creators
A Soros-funded organization called the “Data & Society” group is now lobbying YouTube to censor conservative voices.

Yet again, the Israeli Air Force bombs the hell out of an Iranian weapons depot near the Damascus Airport…is it just the beginning?
The Times of Israel reports: An Israeli missile attack targeted the Syrian capital’s airport late Saturday, activating air defenses which shot down a number of the projectiles, state news agency SANA reported.

Church of England’s first female bishop says stop calling G-d a ‘HE’ – demands gender-neutral designation
Church leaders say the tendency to describe God as “he” is a growing problem, some even going so far as to argue calling God a man is heresy.


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Justin Peters – Thanks For Nothing

Debunking the Quid Pro Quo Transactional Tithing Arguments

Stupid Pastor Tricks-How You’re Getting Fooled

Pope Francis Says Accused Pastors Are Like Jesus on Good Friday

Female ‘Bishop’ Claims Church of England Should Avoid Only Calling God ‘He’


Headlines – 9/20/2018

Abbas to hold meeting with ministers, diplomats in New York

From peace to armageddon: The Israel-Palestine nightmare – Was Oslo doomed from the start?

PA hasn’t yet paid family of terrorist who killed Fuld, but they’ll be eligible

Palestinians say teen shot dead by Israeli fire in Gaza clashes

150 pounds of kosher food airlifted to Wilmington, N.C. hours before Yom Kippur

Israel nuclear chief: We are upgrading defenses at Dimona reactor

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah says group will stay in Syria until further notice

Nasrallah: Hezbollah Getting Precision Rockets Despite Israeli Actions

Hezbollah chief warns Israel to stop Syria airstrikes

Israel airstrike left Syria arms warehouse in ruins, satellite images show

Syria’s Assad blames Israel for downing of Russian plane

Israel to present findings in Moscow over downing of Russian plane

Russia to Israel: We’ll take measures in order to eliminate threat to Russian military

Syrians Avoid Russian Bombardments With Airstrike Alert App

Macron to meet Trump, Iran’s Rouhani at UN in New York

Japan’s oil refiners temporarily halt Iranian loadings on sanctions threat

US tags Iran anew as top terror sponsor, as global attacks fall

Cybersecurity firm warns of more Iranian hacking as US sanctions loom

Israel ramps up security on nuclear sites amid Iran’s threats

Saudi ambassador to US: Red Sea security is vital for Saudi Arabia, region

Cyprus, Egypt sign accord for Mediterranean gas pipeline

Trump slams Bush for ‘worst single mistake’ in U.S. history: Going to war in the Middle East

Putin made an unexpected offer to Japan to finally end World War II, but he may just be ‘trolling’

UN chief: ‘Time for concrete action’ on North Korea

Kim Jong Un, Moon Jae-in sign ‘peace’ agreement at Korean summit; Kim promises to visit Seoul

Pompeo: US ready to restart talks with North Korea immediately

U.S., China have lots of ‘ammunition’ and trade spat could escalate -WTO chief

Divisive Brazil election careens into ‘dangerous’ polarization

Facebook building a ‘war room’ to battle election meddling

Amazon is planning to open up to 3,000 cashier-free stores by 2021, report says

Nearly half of cellphone calls will be scams by 2019, report says

Israeli co Habana Labs unveils world’s fastest AI chip

A Japanese Probe Is About to Drop Two Hopping Robots Onto Asteroid Ryugu

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Dadali, Solomon Islands

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits Carlsberg Ridge

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Anatahan, Northern Mariana Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Pondaguitan, Philippines

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Dadali, Solomon Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Iquique, Chile

Popocateptl volcano in Mexic erupts to 26,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Ruiz volcano in Colombia erupts to 22,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Semeru volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Philippines typhoon death toll hits 81, with dozens still missing

A week after Florence, FEMA is still having to debunk rumors and hoax stories

Hurricane Florence impact to push up used car prices

Woolly Mammoths will roam new Jurassic Park-style theme park with cave lions and extinct horses in ten years, Russian scientists say

UN says Colombia’s coca production surges to record high

Marijuana Stocks Soar Again As Wall Street Eyes U.S. Imports

Child pornography reason behind Sunspot Observatory closure, according to court documents

Record $27.5 mn settlement in NY Catholic child sex abuse case

Former classmate of Kavanaugh’s denies being at party in sexual assault allegation

Opinion: The drive to sink Kavanaugh is liberal totalitarianism

‘She Denied It to Bill’s Victims’: Juanita Broaddrick Blasts Hillary Calling for ‘Due Process’ on Kavanaugh Accuser

Ellison accuser releases 2017 medical document saying she feared ‘retribution’

Sessions blames Obama-era DOJ for Chicago, nationwide crime spikes


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September 20, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Believers: Testimony Believed

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (1:12–13)

The conjunction de (but) is a small fulcrum that marks a dramatic shift. The world’s hatred of God and rejection of Christ in no way overrules or frustrates God’s plan, for He makes even the wrath of men praise Him (Ps. 76:10). There will be some who receive Him. Those whom God willed for salvation before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9) will in faith embrace Christ. As He declared in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

Lambanō (received) could be translated “take hold of,” “obtain,” or “grasp.” To receive Christ involves more than mere intellectual acknowledgment of His claims. The last clause of verse 12 refers to those who received as those who believe in His name. The concept of believing in Christ, another important theme for John, will be developed in several passages in his gospel (6:29; 8:30; 9:35–36; 12:36, 44; 14:1; 16:9; 17:20; cf. 1 John 3:23; 5:13). His name refers to the totality of Christ’s being, all that He is and does. Thus, it is not possible to separate His deity from His humanity, His being Savior from His being Lord, or His person from His redemptive work. Saving faith accepts Jesus Christ in all that Scripture reveals concerning Him.

Though people cannot be saved until they receive and believe in Jesus Christ, salvation is nonetheless a sovereign work of God on the dead and blind sinner. John simply states that no one would come to believe in Jesus unless He gave them the right to become children of God. They are saved entirely by “grace … through faith; and that not of [themselves], it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8–9), because “God has chosen [them] from the beginning for salvation” (2 Thess. 2:13). Thus they were born again (John 3:3, 7; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23) not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. Those three negative statements stress the fact that salvation is not obtainable through any racial or ethnic heritage (blood), personal desire (flesh), or man-made system (man). (See also Matt. 8:11–12; Luke 3:8; Gal. 3:28–29.)

The great truth of election and sovereign grace is here introduced appropriately at the very foundation of John’s mention of salvation. Our Lord Himself will speak of this truth in 6:36–47; 15:16; 17:6–12.

Because all bear the guilt of unbelief and rejection, the phrase but of God means that salvation, that is, receiving and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, is impossible for any sinner. God must grant the power supernaturally and with it the divine life and light to the lifeless, darkened sinner.[1]


The Free Offer of the Gospel

John 1:12

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

We have seen two very important themes in the prologue to John’s Gospel: the glory of Jesus Christ, and the depravity of man. The glory of Jesus is described in verses 1–9. The depravity of man is shown by man’s rejection of Jesus when he came. These two themes leave us at the end of verse 11, with a very depressing picture. Men as a whole did not know Jesus; and, by and large, his own people, the Jews, who should have known better, rejected him. Are we to think then that no one believed? No, that would be a false inference. So John hurries to point out that although the Lord of glory was unknown by the world at large and was rejected by the nation of Israel, nevertheless, there were some who did receive him. He writes, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

This is a glorious verse, especially since it comes, as it does, after the dismal picture of the preceding verses. It is a verse for you personally. It reminds us here at the very beginning of the Gospel—even before the account of the crucifixion and the resurrection—that the gospel of salvation by grace apart from the keeping of the law is today offered freely to all men, and it points to the glorious privilege of those who receive it.

God’s Children

We need to look at this statement in parts, beginning with the part declaring that those who believe become God’s children. How are we to understand this? If we are to understand it rightly, we need to recognize first that people are not (or do not become) God’s children naturally. The ideas of the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man have been popular themes in the past. But this is not biblical teaching. It is true that Paul told the men of Athens: “We are his offspring” (Acts 17:28), but that is not the same thing as saying that we are God’s legitimate children. And what is more, in that verse Paul was actually only quoting a Greek poet, either Aratus or Cleanthes, obviously in order to establish a point of contact with his Greek hearers. In his own teaching, by contrast, he stresses that we become God’s children only by means of the new birth.

It is also true that there are verses in the Old Testament that speak of the nation of Israel as God’s child or of the Jews as God’s children. In Exodus 4:22 Israel is called the “firstborn” son of God. David says in the Psalms: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Ps. 103:13). Isaiah has written, “O Lord, you are our Father” (Isa. 64:8). Jeremiah says, “I thought how I would set you among my sons, and give you a pleasant land, a heritage most beauteous of all nations. And I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following me. Surely, as a faithless wife leaves her husband, so have you been faithless to me, O house of Israel, says the Lord” (Jer. 3:19–20 rsv). Although this is true, we must note that these verses are not talking about the Babylonians, Egyptians, Syrians, or even Americans. They are talking about God’s relationship to Israel and, thus, about a special relationship that they had to God and that was possessed by no other people at that time. Moreover—and this is much to the point—not one of these verses makes the relationship of father to son the relationship of God to any individual Israelite.

The true biblical teaching is seen most clearly in the great discussion of this theme by Jesus Christ as recorded in the eighth chapter of the Gospel. The starting point of the discussion, as John records it, was the question of freedom. Jesus had said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Because this was a touchy theme in a country that was then under the rule of the Roman armies, Jesus’ Jewish hearers reacted to Christ’s words violently, saying, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” (v. 33). Jesus did not bother to refute their absurd contention although he could have. They had been slaves to the Egyptians, Babylonians, Syrians, Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, Philistines, Greeks, and Romans. There had almost never been a power in the ancient Near East to which they had not been in bondage at some time or other. But Jesus did not speak about this. He was speaking of a slavery to sin.

Even this was a sore spot with Jesus’ hearers, as it is to people today. So they answered by becoming vicious, probably accusing Jesus of being illegitimate. “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself” (v. 41). At this point Jesus nailed down the whole subject by denying that they were in any sense God’s children. For, “If God were your Father, you would love me.… You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire” (vv. 42, 44).

Now if the Jews, who had a special historical relationship to God, could not be called his children even by Jesus Christ, who was himself a Jew, how much less can this be true of the rest of us. It is true that not all men are children of the devil. A person becomes a child of the devil in the same way that another becomes a child of God; that is, by a moral commitment to him and to his principles. Nevertheless, a man is not naturally a child of the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ either. According to the Bible he becomes a child of God only through a new birth.

By Whose Authority?

The second important part of the verse is the part that declares that we become God’s children not on the basis of any human authority but on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. The verse says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

The importance of this is that it gives the one who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ great boldness. On one of the military campaigns of the emperor Napoleon, when Napoleon had dropped the reins of his horse in order to read papers, the horse reared up and nearly unseated him. A corporal of the grenadiers, a very lowly soldier, leaped forward and caught the bridle of the emperor’s horse so that in a few seconds he had brought the animal under control. Napoleon turned to the corporal and said, “Thank you, Captain.”

“Of what company, sire?” asked the soldier who had just been called a captain.

“Of my guards,” answered Napoleon.

In an instant the young man threw aside his musket and walked across the field toward the headquarters of the general’s staff, tearing off his corporal’s stripes as he went. He took his place among the emperor’s officers. Someone asked what he was doing, and he replied that he was a captain of the guards.

“By whose authority?” they asked him.

“By the authority of the emperor,” the young man answered.

It all depends upon the authority of the commander involved. If one of the soldier’s friends had called him a captain, the two corporals might have had a good laugh together, but that would have been all. The title bestowed by the friend would have meant nothing. However, when the emperor gave the order, the corporal seized upon it instantly and was then received as a captain by the staff. In the same way, our position before God as God’s children depends upon the highest authority in the universe, the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, before whom every knee shall bow. And we can be as bold in seizing our rank as Napoleon’s soldier was.

Will we step back into the ranks and boast, “Jesus has called me God’s child,” but fail to assume the privileges and responsibilities of that position? Or will we take him at his word and come to God to enjoy all the privileges of being his own? If you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and understand this verse properly, then you will come to God as his child with great boldness.

Faith in Christ

At this point someone might say, “That is wonderful. It must be a great privilege to be God’s child. But how do I become God’s child? How does this special relationship become mine?” The answer, which is the same answer given throughout the New Testament, is that you become a child of God through faith. This means that you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and also believe that by means of his death and resurrection he is your Savior.

The letter to the Hebrews says: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). Romans tells us that “a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’ ” (Rom. 1:17). Ephesians says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Eph. 2:8). In Romans 10 we read, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (vv. 9–10). It is the same in the opening verses of John’s Gospel.

There is one more truth to be seen. When you believe in Jesus Christ there must be also a verbal expression of that belief. The Bible does not acknowledge any such thing as secret discipleship. On the contrary, it teaches that Christ must be professed publicly. The reason, of course, is that verbal testimony indicates the reality of that faith, just as the cry of the newborn child reveals the existence of life to the doctor and the mother. The verses just quoted, Romans 10:9–10, say that if we “confess” with our mouth the Lord Jesus and “believe” in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead we shall be saved. Confession is proof that belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is genuine.

Have you confessed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ publicly? One of the most famous characters in the New Testament was a man who came to Jesus by night and held a long conversation with him, yet left Christ’s presence without any outward confession of faith. As a result, we do not know whether he was genuinely converted or not. His name was Nicodemus.

Nicodemus came to Jesus as a result of Christ’s preaching, as many people travel to hear great preaching today. We know this because he referred to Christ’s teaching and miracles in his opening remarks: “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him” (John 3:2). In other words, he was very impressed. This alone was no evidence of his conversion, however, and Christ’s reply to him was in essence a rebuke. The one thing that Jesus was not was a teacher sent from God. There had been thousands of teachers sent from God in the previous history of the world, and there have been thousands of teachers since. He was not one of them. He was God sent to teach, and to die, and to rise again. So he corrected Nicodemus by telling him that unless he was born again, he would never be able to understand things that were spiritual.

Nicodemus was puzzled. “How can a man be born when he is old?” he asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” (v. 4). Jesus answered by showing that the new birth was spiritual and that it would express itself as faith in his death and resurrection. How much of this entered into the heart of Nicodemus? We do not know, for Nicodemus left no outward expression of his belief. He had heard great preaching, but so have thousands of other unbelievers. Later he would say to the Jewish leaders who were plotting against Jesus, “Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?” (John 7:51). But many unbelievers have argued for the due process of law and for civil liberties. We even see him bringing spices to Joseph of Arimathaea in order to embalm the body of Jesus on the day of his crucifixion (John 19:39), but many a guilty, unbelieving conscience has donated a stained-glass window or a chapel to Jesus.

Was he one of God’s children? We do not know. His witness to the Lord of glory is missing, and we search in vain for his confession.

How different, on the other hand, is the account John gives us of the woman of Samaria, just one chapter later. Donald Grey Barnhouse, in Epistle to the Romans, has pointed out that the contrast between these two personalities is striking. “The one is the story of a man, the other of a woman. The one is seemingly a seeker, the other is found by Christ, almost by accident, but definitely by design. The first was a Jew, the second a Samaritan. The one was an aristocratic Pharisee, the other a village harlot. The one wanted Jesus to talk to him, the woman tried to avoid the probing truth and attempted to change the subject. The one came at midnight, the other at noon.”

Both Nicodemus and the woman heard great truths during their conversation with the Lord Jesus, but the effect of his words on them was different. Nicodemus questioned Christ, but he showed no verbal response to Christ’s teaching. The woman tried to evade Christ’s questions. But at last she believed and thereafter showed signs of her faith and transformation. Who was Jesus? To the woman he was revealed to be God’s Messiah. So we read, “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’ ” (John 4:28, 29). We are told that the men then went to Jesus and asked him to remain with them, and that as the result of his words and of the testimony of the woman many others believed in him also.

The importance of public confession arising out of true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can hardly be overestimated. It is true that there is a type of confession that is insincere. It is this type of confession that the apostle James refers to when he speaks of a faith without works that is dead (James 2:20, 26). But there is also a sincere confession that will always arise out of a life transformed by Jesus. Have you told others of your faith in him?[2]


Children of God

John 1:12–13

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12–13)

The youth movement of the 1960s was hailed as a “counterculture” because of its values of social upheaval, sexual liberation, and psychedelic narcotic highs. But this counterculture soon proved to be quite at home in the culture that it was intended to confront. Many of the hippies went on to be stockbrokers, and many stockbrokers took up the lifestyle modeled by the hippies.

There really is only one true counterculture that never becomes absorbed into the world. John describes this in the prologue to his Gospel, telling us that the true light shined in the world but the world rejected him. Rebellion against God and his light is the first principle of this wicked world. But there are some in the world whose attitude is not of this world but of heaven. John says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Here is the true counterculture, the only real alternative to a sinful humanity: those who receive Jesus Christ in faith and thereby become children of God.

The Greatest Distinction

There is a basic division within mankind based on our response to Jesus Christ. There is the prevailing culture of unbelief and the counterculture of Christian faith. Charles Spurgeon observed, “Were an angel to come here with a drawn sword, and suddenly to separate the righteous from the wicked with one stroke, you would find that his sword had for its edge the question, ‘Believest thou in the Lord Jesus Christ?’ ” It is faith in Christ that makes the greatest distinction in our world. John 3:36 puts it this way: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

We recognize all kinds of distinctions among people. There are the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the powerful and the weak, the moral and the immoral. Today, political views seem to divide us more and more. But according to the Bible, in God’s sight all people are united under the guilt and curse of sin, regardless of all other distinctions: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We all have transgressed God’s law, and whether we are Caesar or slave here on earth, in God’s sight we are united in the condemnation of sin. The only distinction that will last is faith in Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life … but whoever does not believe is condemned already” (John 3:16, 18).

If faith in Christ is the great distinction, we should want to know what faith is. John 1:12 gives a definition: “All who did receive him, who believed in his name.” Faith, then, involves believing and receiving Jesus Christ as he has revealed himself—in his person and saving work. It is not enough to have vague notions about Jesus. People say, “I believe in Jesus,” meaning that they accept that he existed or even appreciate him in some sense. But that is not receiving Jesus Christ, and it does not constitute saving faith. Faith requires us to receive Jesus as he has offered himself to us. John spells this out at the end of this Gospel: “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31).

First, we must receive Jesus as the person he has revealed himself to be. This especially means acknowledging him as the unique Son of God. Some people admire Jesus but doubt that he could really be God’s Son. Yet the Bible insists: “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:14–15). To deny Jesus’ unique deity is to reject him. Jesus insists that we receive him not only as fully human but also as fully God.

Jesus confronted his own disciples about this matter. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” he asked. They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus pressed them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus hailed that profession of faith as the rock on which he would build his church (Matt. 16:13–18). We must likewise profess Jesus as God’s Son.

Second, we must receive Jesus in his saving offices. Believing “in his name” includes accepting him in his God-given work. Christ means “Anointed One.” It refers to the three anointed offices of Old Testament Israel—prophet, priest, and king—which pointed to and were fulfilled by Jesus. This means that we must receive Jesus as the true Prophet who reveals God to us. People are looking for gurus of every kind; Jesus calls us to receive him as our Teacher. Others deny that truth can even be known. But Jesus claims to be God, who knows all truth perfectly, and he came to teach the truth to the world. “Your word is truth,” he said to the Father (John 17:17). To refuse to accept God’s Word—the Bible—as genuine and binding truth is to reject Christ as Prophet. He said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (8:31–32). Faith acknowledges to Jesus:

Thou art the Truth: thy word alone true wisdom can impart;

To thee alone I yield a willing mind, and open all my heart.

Jesus also claims the office of Priest. The Old Testament priests offered sacrifices to God—lambs and bulls and goats—to purify sinners. Jesus came as the true Sacrifice and the true High Priest. John the Baptist said of him, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Receiving Jesus in his office of Priest means confessing your need to be cleansed from your sin and trusting his death for your forgiveness. It requires you to renounce every other ground for pardon with God—all human priests, saints, rituals, and even your supposedly good works. First Timothy 2:5 teaches that “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” Faith acknowledges:

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.

Naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace.

Foul, I to the Fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.

Finally, Jesus comes to us in the office of King. The kings of Israel were anointed to rule God’s people, and Jesus is the true Anointed One, the Christ, and the King of kings. Receiving him and believing on his name means bending the knee and opening your heart to be ruled by him. Jesus came to forgive our sins, but also to lead us into a new life of righteousness. We do not receive him unless we are willing to yield to his commands. Our faith acknowledges to him:

My King supreme, to thee I bow, a willing subject at thy feet;

All other lords I disavow, and to thy government submit.

This is what it means to have faith in Christ, which makes the great distinction between those who are saved and those who are lost: to receive him as Son of God and as Christ in all his offices—Prophet, Priest, and King.

And we must receive him personally. It is one thing to acknowledge that a feast is prepared, but another to come and eat. We must not merely assent to Jesus as a God and a Christ, but say: “Jesus, you are my God. You are my Christ—my Prophet, my Priest, and my King.” The great dividing line of the human race—a distinction that will last forever—is between those who personally receive Jesus in faith and those who refuse him in rebellious unbelief. Jesus declares, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” (John 10:27–28).

The Highest Privilege

Faith also grants us the highest privilege: “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). People work all their lives to receive titles and privileges—to become vice president or chairman of the board. Others dream of being a son or daughter of some noble king or high official. But John holds before us the highest possible privilege: we become children of God through faith in Christ.

This is our great need, to be brought into God’s family and to become his blessed children. People may talk about God as being the Father of everyone, but the Bible denies this concept (see John 8:44). Sinclair Ferguson asserts:

This is a basic assumption of the Christian gospel: we are not, by nature, children of God. We need to become his children. By nature we are alienated from God.… Not one of us possesses, by nature, the characteristics of a child of God. Instead, we show all the signs of rebelling against him and turning away from his Fatherly rule over our lives.

John 1:12 stresses the privileges of membership in God’s family: “he gave the right to become children of God.” Many people talk glibly today about “rights,” demanding privileges to which their claim is, in fact, dubious. Jesus speaks of “the right” to become God’s children as an authority that is bestowed by God himself. God confers on believers a change of status. Just as we adopt children, giving them authority to claim the privileges of family membership, God adopts us into a loving, Father-child relationship. Jesus is God’s true Son, and we are adopted as God’s sons and daughters in him.

The world thinks little of the privileges of membership in God’s family, but they are the greatest that could be imagined. First, we receive the privilege of God’s dear fatherly love for us. Some people struggle with the idea of God as Father because their human fathers were unloving or abusive. But God is the true Father for whom our hearts have always yearned. This is why we crave a father’s love—because God wants us to look to him as Father. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Ps. 103:13). Believers are “beloved children” (Eph. 5:1).

As such, we receive God’s gracious care. It is a father’s duty to provide for his children, and God has taken up the obligation of caring for believers in Christ. Jesus remarks: “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30). “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (6:26). Even earthly parents anticipate their children’s needs. A child does not have to ask, because his parents are watching and recognize needs even if the child does not. “God is like that to us if we are in Christ; he is going to supply our every need because he is our Father.”

Moreover, God grants us the privilege of his loving discipline. No loving father neglects to punish and train his children. We might not think of it this way, but discipline is a mark of God’s fatherly love: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:6). Earthly fathers do not discipline other people’s children, but only their own. God chastises us and prods us toward holiness because we are his beloved children.

Furthermore, children of God are heirs of God’s eternal glory. This is why God trains us in this life: because we have royal callings awaiting us in the life to come. Romans 8:17 reminds us that Christians are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” Every believer can look forward to an inheritance in glory with God.

Finally, those who receive Christ are granted the inestimable privilege of intimate access to God in prayer. Romans 5:2 promises that if we have been justified by Christ, “we have also obtained access by faith” into the grace of God. It is always a thrill when someone you greatly admire takes you into an intimate relationship. He pulls you aside and says, “You don’t have to call me Mr. but simply John.” Sinclair Ferguson writes, “But that privilege pales into insignificance by comparison with what we have here. Christ is giving us access to the presence of his Father, and saying to us: ‘You may now speak to him as I speak to him; with the same right of access, with the same sense of intimacy, with the same assurance that he loves you.’ … We may speak with the Father just as he speaks with the Father.” This is why Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).

John 1:12 promises that these privileges are available to one and all through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the only distinction—not your past, not your rank in the world, not the amount of money you have to give, not your supposed moral attainments: “To all who did receive him … he gave the right to become children of God” (1:12).

This means that we should be bold in exercising our privileges, since we received them on the authority of Christ. The Emperor Napoleon once was almost thrown from his horse while reading some papers. A corporal of his grenadiers, a lowly soldier, leaped forward and caught the horse’s reins, saving the emperor from injury. Napoleon turned to him and said, “Thank you, Captain.” Instantly, the soldier walked over to the headquarters tent, demanding to be issued the uniform of an officer in Napoleon’s guards. “On whose authority?” they demanded. “By authority of the emperor,” he replied, and the uniform was issued. We likewise should boldly exercise our privileges as God’s children, claiming our privileges as children of God by authority of God’s royal Son, Jesus Christ, whom we have received through faith.

The Most Profound Change

Faith in Christ makes the greatest distinction and grants the highest privilege. Faith also involves the most profound change. John 1:13 explains that children of God “were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John is talking about the spiritual rebirth, one of the great themes of his Gospel. God grants us outward privileges as his children, but he also works in us the spiritual character of his own heavenly family.

Many of us long for a new start in life. Perhaps we remember the innocence of childhood, before we entered into the school of sin and felt its cruel bondage. We think, “Oh, that I could go back and start over again!” This is the very thing that God grants to his children. Our spiritual lives begin with a new birth: a new life infused into us so that we are able to believe and live like children of God.

John says that believers are “born … of God.” We entered our earthly families because we were born into them. We did not take the initiative; our parents met and produced us, so we became their children. It is obvious that God uses this image to show that he is the One who initiates our salvation; we believe and become his children because he first created the new life in us to do it. We entered our earthly families because we were born of our parents; likewise, we enter God’s family because we are “born of God.” This is what the Bible consistently teaches. Ephesians 1:4–5 says, “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” James 1:18 states, “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth” (niv).

Some will ask, “Am I not a Christian because I was born into a certain family?” John answers that we become God’s children “not of blood.” Spurgeon writes, “Sin runs in the blood, but grace does not.” God often brings us to faith by placing us into families where God’s Word is taught and lived. But no human family has the virtue to enter you into God’s family apart from your personal faith in Jesus.

Moreover, John points out that we are not born “of the will of the flesh.” This distinction is important today, when people associate spiritual experiences with a true work of God. But no surge of the emotions will cause the new birth. Moving people to tears at a church service will not produce the kind of change that transforms us into God’s children. We must be born of God and not “of the will of the flesh.”

Third, John says that we are not born “of the will of man.” This, too, cuts across the spirit of our age. People think the rebirth occurs by getting people to exercise their will: by making a decision, by filling out a card, or by walking an aisle in response to an altar call. But John explicitly says that it is not the will of man that causes the new birth. The change is a supernatural one, and it cannot be caused by any natural means.

How, then, is anyone saved? The answer is that we are supernaturally born again through God’s Word so that we respond in saving faith. This is why the church must devote itself not to cultivating bloodlines, not to inciting emotional highs, and not to appealing to the human will, but to teaching God’s Word. By other means we may warm the heart so as to attract the interest of the world. But only God’s Word has divine power to transform the heart with power and make us children of God: “born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). Paul observed that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).

What, then, should you do? You should receive and believe on Christ as the Bible is preached, for God’s Word is the source of spiritual life. You should also read the Bible for yourself. You can start anywhere, but a Gospel like John is an ideal place. Read God’s Word prayerfully, asking God to reveal himself to your heart, so that you receive Jesus Christ as he is presented to you. When you believe in him, you will have a new life, with God living in your soul. This is God’s way: we are born again “not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

Noblesse Oblige

To be born of God is to experience the most profound change. Second Peter 1:4 explains that believers have become “partakers of the divine nature.” A new spiritual DNA is given to us: a new principle and a new power within. We have new and godly desires and a new perspective on life and eternity. To be born of God is not to have all our problems solved or all our sinful tendencies removed. But it is to have the spiritual ability and desire to know God, worship him, and do his will. And with this profound change comes a new obligation to live as the true counterculture that trusts and glorifies God.

The French have an expression, noblesse oblige, meaning “nobility obliges.” The point is that if we enjoy great privileges, we have great responsibilities, too. This is especially true of God’s children. How can a child of God live only for money or pride or pleasure? How can he permit anger to rule his heart? How can a true Christian be unfaithful or live dishonestly? How can one who has been forgiven harbor a critical spirit toward others? How can we have fellowship with darkness or participate in the shameful sins of the world? Yes, we become God’s children through faith in Christ alone: “To all who did receive him … he gave the right to become children of God.” But it is by the lives that we lead that we show what family we belong to.

There is no greater distinction than faith in Christ, no higher privilege than to become a child of God, and no more profound change than to be born of God. Now we must live up to our calling by the grace and power that God gives to his family. Peter writes, “Live such good lives among the pagans that … they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12 niv).[3]


12 Although his people as a nation did not accept the divine Word, some as individuals did. To all those who did receive him, he gave “the right [the authority] to become children of God.” People are not by nature God’s children. They become his children by receiving Jesus Christ. God’s attitude toward all humanity is that of a father, but unless they receive his Son they cannot become his children. John always refers to believers with the word tekna (“children.” GK 5451) rather than huioi (“sons,” GK 5626), the latter term being reserved for Jesus alone.

Those who received him are further identified as those who “believed in his name.” Here we see the customary use of the verb pisteuō (“to believe,” GK 4409) followed by eis (GK 1650) and the accusative, a construction that appears thirty-six times in John. To believe is to place one’s faith “into” (eis) another person. Faith for John is a definitive action. By contrast, pisteuō with the dative case means no more than to believe that something is true. It involves the intellect but not the will. The construction John uses indicates “allegiance as well as assent” (Barrett, 164). To believe in the “name” of Jesus is to accept all that his name declares him to be.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 34–35). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 73–78). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 1, pp. 44–52). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 372). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

September 20 Sign of the Resurrection

The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said,“It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.—John 2:18–22

The Jewish authorities completely missed the point of Jesus’ statement, incorrectly applying it to the Herodian temple. But as John points out, Jesus “was speaking of the temple of His body.”

The sign He would give was His own resurrection, which even His disciples did not immediately understand (cf. 12:16). It was not until “He was raised from the dead [that] His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.” His death as the ultimate sacrificial Lamb would render the Jerusalem temple obsolete (cf. 4:21); and His resurrection as the triumphant Lord would lay the foundation for a new, spiritual temple in its place—namely the church (1 Cor. 3:16–17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19–22).

It was not until after the resurrection that everything came into focus for the disciples. Only then did they recognize Jesus’ power of resurrection as convincing proof of His deity.

ASK YOURSELF

Have you been confused recently by a section of Scripture that puzzles you with its mystery, or seems to scrape against other things you’ve been taught in the past? If your heart is set on learning and obeying, rather than arguing or resisting, be sure that the Holy Spirit will reveal truth as you seek Him for it.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 272). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Natarajan Subramanian: “We have a bunch of just communists, like no prefix, and that’s basically me. We have some folks who are Trotskyists or Leninists.”

James O’Keefe and Project Veritas released the third installment in their undercover video series unmasking the Washington DC Deep State.

The first report in this series featured Stuart Karaffa, a member of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), who admitted to engaging in political activism while working at the Department of State.

The second report featured Allison Hrabar of the Department of Justice, also a member of DSA, reportedly using government owned software and computers for advancing political activism.

TODAY’S NEW REPORT features a Government Accountability Office (GAO) employee and self-proclaimed Communist actively engaged in potentially illegal political activity. Natarajan Subramanian is a government auditor for the GAO and a member of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America.

In one exchange, Subramanian describes his political philosophies and those of his comrades in DSA:

“We have a bunch of just communists, like no prefix, and that’s basically me. We [also] have some folks who are Trotskyists or Leninists.”

“Sometimes as a government employee, you have to keep it under wraps a little bit so you don’t get into trouble and that’s kind of what I try to do.”

Subramanian says that federal employees in executive branch agencies can deliberately work less efficiently in order to slow down the implementation of the President’s agenda:

“If you’re in [an] executive branch agency you can slow ball things to a degree, that it’s like ineffective, and maybe you get in trouble, or maybe you get fired or resign or whatever, but you slowed [Trump’s agenda] down for a certain period of time.”

In today’s release Project Veritas includes several experts who discuss how Subramanian and other communists are openly violating US law with their activities.

Here is the latest Project Veritas installment in their Deep State series — A Communist in the GAO.

James O’Keefe Strikes Again: Open Communists in GAO Admits to Slow-Walking President’s Agenda — The Gateway Pundit

“Thy Word is Truth” (John 17:17b).

The most dangerous thing for our holiness is very small, but hugely comprehensive. It’s unassuming and disarming. It appears non-threatening, but actually brings death where ever it goes. It appears hip and relevant, but it’s actually ancient. It gives the illusion of intellectual virtue, but is actually a smokescreen. The greatest threat to our holiness is a lie, the greatest of all lies: “Has God really said?”

These are the first recorded words of the devil in Genesis 3, and he has yet to give up that challenge. It is his main ploy, his best weapon, his most deadly tool, and the heart of his strategy. Contrary to this heresy of all heresies, Christ makes very clear in our text that we have a way to know the truth. We have an antidote to the great lie of all lies. We have the Word.

Others have elsewhere ably defended various aspects of the doctrine of Scripture (e.g., sufficiency, authority, trustworthiness). I want in this post to reflect on how, practically, the Scriptures are: “the only sufficient, certain, and infallible standard of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience” (2LBC 1.1, emphasis added). I’d like to offer a very practical, extended application of the sufficiency, truthfulness, and trustworthiness of God’s word, in the hopes that these scenarios help us see how our doctrine of Scripture isn’t cold and unrelated to our heart-level, daily holiness.

Scenario #1

Imagine with me a scenario. A man comes home from work, he’s had a rough day. He’s looking forward to sitting down on the couch, relaxing in a quiet house, watching the news with no interruptions, and eating his favorite meal. However, he walks in the door and hears the kids screaming. They are arguing over whose fault it is that the permanent marker got all over the wall. He ignores it, walks into the kitchen to see what’s for dinner. His wife barely acknowledges him, which drives him nuts, and then she remarks that she made salad for dinner. In clear frustration, he rolls his eyes and walks away mumbling something about how just because she’s on a diet he doesn’t have to suffer. Then, one of the kids comes up to him and tells him that his son got sent to the principal’s office that day. So, he snaps, he screams at his kids out of anger, he lets his wife have it about the salad, and he storms off to his bedroom.

In this scenario, what lies of Satan has he believed? What parts of God’s word has he practically denied the sufficiency and truthfulness of? Well, he believed that his time at home was primarily about his comfort and relaxation, that his work during the day had earned him some peace. He believed several other lies: that a Christian husband is to be served, rather than to serve; that his position as husband and head of the household entitled him to automatic deference; that his kids are a nuisance and an impediment to his happiness, and therefore not a blessing. And he believed that his harsh words would be effective in producing change in his children’s behavior.

Scenario #2

So, let’s look at this scenario through a man that is saturated with God’s word, who is seeking to honor the sufficiency and truthfulness of God’s word and be sanctified through it.

He finished work and is exhausted, but he reminds himself of Ephesians 4:32, which he read during his quiet time that morning: “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.” He prays for a kind and tender heart before he walks in the door. He hears the kids screaming at each other over who wrote on the wall with permanent marker. So rather than his preference of just ignoring the problem and hoping either it goes away on its own (which never happens) or letting his wife handle it, he remembers Ephesians 6:4, which calls him as the father to bring his children up in the discipline of the Lord. So, he takes the time to calmly sit down, talk to both parties, figure out who actually wrote on the wall, take the guilty child aside and explain that messing up property like that is wasteful stewardship and ungrateful. It’s actually sinful against God. He reminds the boy of the gospel, which is fresh on his mind because of his verse he read in Ephesians 4:32, how God in Christ has forgiven him for his sins. He disciplines the boy, as appropriate, and sets the boy out on trying to scrub the marker off the wall. Then the man walks into the kitchen, and is barely acknowledged by his wife. Rather than being annoyed by that, he decided to obey his verse: to be kind to her, tenderhearted, forgiving her as God in Christ has forgiven him. He decides that she probably had a rough day with the boys, so he asks her if he can help with supper. She says that they are having salads and that he can help by cutting up the carrots. Rather than being annoyed with the salad (which is his least favorite meal), he reminds himself to be tenderhearted, rather than harsh. So, he thanks his wife for working hard around the house, and especially with this meal. Then he hears a child come in and tattle about the younger son who was sent to the principal’s office today. Rather than getting immediately angry and yelling at the boy, he reminds himself from Proverbs that a soft answer turns away wrath and that sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. So, he has a conversation with his son, and provides corrective discipline in a loving and gentle way, so as not to exasperate his son.

Two very different scenarios, but one seeking to apply the sufficiency and truthfulness of God’s word and to live it out. The other ignores or denies God’s word. One used God’s word to fuel his holy service, the other exchanged the truth of God for a lie.

Which will you be? Will you be sanctified by God’s word of truth, or will you follow the lie of Satan, and ask “has God really said?”

via Has God Really Said? — Founders Ministries