Daily Archives: October 10, 2018

Tragedy’s Warning: Responding Biblically to Evil and Disaster

As a mercy, God allows tragedies to illustrate sin and serve as a warning to the unrepentant. Yet tragedies also point us back to the cross, where Christ died to rescue sinners from suffering forever.

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October 10, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Plea

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, (5:1–2a)

The walk of the believer is a key matter to Paul. He has introduced the fact that ours is to be a worthy walk (4:1) and a walk different from the world’s (4:17). He will also call for a walk in light (5:8) and a walk in wisdom (5:15). In this verse the apostle pleads with believers to walk in such a way that daily life is characterized by love. Growing in love is a continuing need for every believer, since love fulfills all of God’s law (Rom. 13:8–10). As we grow in love we also see the need to be even more loving. And since biblically defined love is so contrary to the flesh, we are always in need of reminders and encouragement to love.

Therefore refers back to the last part of chapter 4, especially verse 32. Kindness, tender-heartedness, and forgiveness are characteristics of God, who is love. God Himself is infinitely kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving, and we achieve those virtues by imitating their Source.

Mimētēs (imitator) is the term from which we get mimic, someone who copies specific characteristics of another person. As imitators of God, Christians are to imitate God’s characteristics, and above all His love. The whole of the Christian life is the reproduction of godliness as seen in the person of Christ. God’s purpose in salvation is to redeem men from sin and to conform them “to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). To be conformed to Christ is to become perfect, just as God is perfect (Matt. 5:48). “As obedient children,” Peter tells us, “do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’ ” (1 Pet. 1:14–16; cf. Lev. 11:44). The great hope of believers is, “We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). Imitating His love is possible because “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5).

When Alexander the Great discovered a coward in his army who also was named Alexander, he told the soldier, “Renounce your cowardice or renounce your name.” Those who carry God’s name are to be imitator’s of His character. By His grace it is possible to reflect Him even in our present limitations.

To know what God is like we must study His Word, His revelation of Himself, His great Self-disclosure. Yet the more we learn of God’s character the more we learn how far above us He is and how impossible in ourselves it is fulfill the command to be like Him, to be absolutely perfect, just as He is. That is why we need “to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” in order to “be filled up to all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:16, 19). The only way we can become imitators of God is for the Lord Jesus Christ to live His perfect life through us. We are totally dependent on His Spirit to become like Him. If we are to obey Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians, “let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:14), we must submit to the controlling influence of the Spirit.

It is natural for children to be like their parents. They have their parents’ nature and they instinctively imitate their parents’ actions and behavior. Through Jesus Christ God has given us the right to become His children (John 1:12; Gal. 3:26). As Paul declared at the beginning of this letter, God “predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:5). Because our heavenly Father is holy, we are to be holy. Because He is kind, we are to be kind. Because He is forgiving, we are to be forgiving. Because God in Christ humbled Himself, we are to humble ourselves. Because God is love, as His beloved children we are to walk in love. This ability is not natural, however, but supernatural—requiring a new nature and the continuous power of the Holy Spirit flowing through us by obedience to God’s Word.

The greatest evidence of love is undeserved forgiveness. The supreme act of God’s love was to give “His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s love brought man’s forgiveness. God loved the world with such a great love that He offered forgiveness to sinful, rebellious, wretched, vile mankind, by sending His own Son to give His life on the cross that they might not suffer death. He offered the world the free gift of eternal fellowship with Him.

Because forgiveness is the supreme evidence of God’s love, it will also be the most convincing proof of our love. Love will always lead us to forgive others just as love led God in Christ to forgive us (Eph. 4:32). Nothing more clearly discloses a hard, loveless heart than lack of forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness betrays lack of love (see 4:31). The presence of forgiveness always proves the presence of love, because only love has the motive and power to forgive. The extent of our love is the extent of our ability to forgive.

Whatever another believer may do against us, no matter how terrible or destructive or unjustified, Christ has paid the penalty for that sin. No matter how others may hurt, slander, persecute, or in any way harm us, Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to pay their penalty. When a Christian expresses, or even harbors, vengeance toward a brother, he not only sins by allowing selfish hatred to control him but he sins by profaning Christ’s sacrifice—by seeking to mete out punishment for a sin whose penalty has already been paid by his Lord.

Because Christ has paid the penalty for every sin, we have no right to hold any sin against any person, even a nonbeliever. Peter thought that forgiving someone “up to seven times” was generous. But Jesus said, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:22). In Christ all our “sins are forgiven for His name’s sake” (1 John 2:12); He has “forgiven us all our transgressions” (Col. 2:13, emphasis added). “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

Just as the depth of God’s love is shown by how much He has forgiven, the depth of our love is shown by how much we forgive. “Above all,” Peter says, “keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). The Greek word behind “fervent” refers to a muscle stretched to the limit. Our love is to stretch to the limit in order to cover “a multitude of sins” The greater our love the greater the multitude of sins it will cover in forgiveness.

The depth of our love is also shown by how much we know we have been forgiven. When Jesus was eating dinner with Simon the Pharisee, a prostitute came into the house and anointed Jesus’ feet with her tears and with expensive perfume. Simon was incensed at what she did and was disappointed in Jesus for allowing such a woman to touch Him. Jesus responded by telling a parable: “ ‘A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more?’ Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’ And He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’ ” After comparing the ways that Simon and the woman had treated Him, Jesus said, “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:36–47).

Because Simon had no real sense of the enormity of the sin in his own life, and therefore sensed no need for forgiveness, he was unforgiving of others—especially those whom he considered moral and social outcasts. Unforgiveness is the measure of self-righteousness just as forgiveness is the measure of love. Our ability to love, and therefore to forgive, depends on our sense of how much God has forgiven us. Unforgiveness is also a measure of unbelief, because the person who feels no need for forgiveness feels no need for God.

Robert Falconer tells the story of his witnessing among destitute people in a certain city and of reading them the story of the woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears. While he was reading he heard a loud sob and looked up at a young, thin girl whose face was disfigured by smallpox. After he spoke a few words of encouragement to her, she said, “Will He ever come again, the One who forgave the woman? I have heard that He will come again. Will it be soon?” “He could come any time. But why do you ask?” Falconer replied. After sobbing again uncontrollably, she said, “Sir, can’t He wait a little while? My hair ain’t long enough yet to wipe His feet.”

The person who sees the greatness of his own forgiveness by God’s love will himself in love be forgiving. He forgives in love because his heavenly Father has forgiven in love and he desires to be an imitator of His Father.

The Pattern

just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (5:2b)

A young child often learns to draw by tracing. The more carefully he traces, the truer the likeness of his copy is to the original.

The pattern for Christian living is Christ Himself, the one by whom every believer is to trace his life. The great difference between this tracing and that of a young child learning to draw is that we will never have a time when Christ will cease to be our pattern. And we will never be “on our own,” sufficiently skilled in ourselves to live as He lived. In fact, our part is not so much to pattern our lives ourselves as to allow God’s Spirit to pattern us after His Son. Second Corinthians 3:18 expresses this profound truth in magnificent terms: “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

The summum bonum of Christ that we are to imitate is His love. He loved us and gave Himself up for us. Giving of oneself to others is the epitome of agapē love. Biblical love is not a pleasant emotion or good feeling about someone, but the giving of oneself for his welfare (cf. 1 John 3:16). Divine love is unconditional love, love that depends entirely on the one who loves and not on the merit, attractiveness, or response of the one loved. Christ did not simply have a deep feeling and emotional concern for mankind. Nor did He sacrifice Himself for us because we were deserving (cf. Rom. 5:8, 10). “While we were yet sinners,” He gave Himself us for us purely out of sovereign, gracious love, taking our sin upon Himself and paying its penalty in our behalf.

God’s love, and all love that is like His, loves for the sake of giving, not getting. With conditional love, if the conditions are not met there is no obligation to love. If we do not get, we do not give. But God’s makes no conditions for His love to us and commands that we love others without conditions. There is no way to earn God’s love or to deserve it by reason of human goodness.

Romantic, emotional love between husband and wife ebbs and flows, and sometimes disappears altogether. But loss of romantic love is never an appropriate excuse for dissolving a marriage, because the love that God specifically commands husbands to have for their wives is agapē love (Eph. 5:25; 3:19; cf. Titus 2:4; etc.)—love like His own undeserved love for us, love that is based on willful choice in behalf of the one loved, regardless of emotions, attraction, or deserving. Romantic love enhances and beautifies the relationship between husband and wife, but the binding force of a Christian marriage is God’s own kind of love, the love that loves because it is the divine nature to love. It is the love of giving, not of getting; and even when it ceases to get, it continues to give. Where there is the sacrificial love of willful choice, there is also likely to be the love of intimacy, feeling, and friendship (philia).

God loved us while we were still sinners and enemies, and He continues to love us as believers, even though we continue to sin and fall short of His perfection and His glory. He loves us when we forget Him, when we disobey Him, when we deny Him, when we fail to return His love, and when we grieve His Holy Spirit. When Jude said, “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21), he was indicating the responsibility to stay in the place where that divine love sheds its blessing.

Those who are given God’s nature through Jesus Christ are commanded to love as God loves. In Christ, it is now our nature to love just as it is God’s nature to love—because His nature is now our nature. For a Christian not to love is for him to live against his own nature as well as against God’s.

Lovelessness is therefore more than a failure or shortcoming. It is sin, willful disobedience of God’s command and disregard of His example. To love as God loves is to love because God loves, because we are to “be imitators of God, as beloved children” and because Christ also loved [us], and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God.

God’s love not only is forgiving and unconditional but is also self-sacrificing. Therefore to love as God loves is to love sacrificially, to love by the giving of ourselves as He gave Himself.

The Christian’s walk in love is to extend to every person, believer and unbeliever. If God’s love can reach out even to His enemies, how can we refuse to love our enemies? If He loves His imperfect children with a perfect love, how can we not love fellow believers, whose imperfections we share? And if divine love led Christ to sacrifice Himself for unworthy and ungrateful sinners, how can we not give ourselves to fellow sinful people, unbelievers as well as believers, in His name?

Shortly before His betrayal and arrest, Jesus was having supper with His disciples. During the meal the disciples began arguing among themselves as to which was the greatest. Their Lord was facing His ultimate humiliation and affliction, and yet their only concern was for themselves, for their own prestige, rank, and glory. When the Lord most needed their comfort, encouragement, and support, they acted as if He were not with them. All their attention was focused selfishly on themselves (Luke 22:24).

It was then that Jesus picked up a basin of water and began washing their feet, a task usually reserved for the lowest of servants. Despite their callous lack of concern for His impending suffering and death, Jesus humbly, forgivingly, unconditionally, and self-sacrificially ministered to them. After He finished washing their feet and returned to the supper table, “He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:12–16). Later He commanded them to love in this same manner (John 13:34–35).

Christ’s giving Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God was a fragrant aroma to His heavenly Father because that sacrifice demonstrated in the fullest and most ultimate way God’s kind of love. The words for us indicate the personal expression of love directed at all who believe. (This does not limit the provision of the atonement only to believers, as other Scriptures make clear. See John 1:29; 3:15–16; Rom. 10:13; 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:4, 6; 4:10; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 2:2; 4:14.)

The first five chapters of Leviticus describe five offerings commanded by God of the Israelites. The first three were the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the peace offering. The burnt offering (Lev. 1:1–17) depicted Christ’s total devotion to God in giving His very life to obey and please His Father; the meal (grain) offering (Lev. 2:1–16) depicted Christ’s perfection, and the peace offering (Lev. 3:1–17; 4:27–31) depicted His making peace between God and man. All of those offerings obviously spoke of what was pleasing to God. Of each, the Scripture says it provided a “soothing aroma to the Lord” (Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12; 3:5, 16). Philippians 4:18 explains that the fragrant aroma meant the sacrifice was “acceptable, … well-pleasing to God.” But the other two offerings—the sin (Lev. 4:1–26, 32–35) and the trespass (Lev. 5:1–19) offerings—were repulsive to God, because, though they depicted Christ, they depicted Him as bearing the sin of mankind. They depicted the Father’s turning His back on the Son when “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” (2 Cor. 5:21), at which time Jesus exclaimed from the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).

While Christ was the sin-bearer, God could not look on Him or rejoice in Him or be pleased in Him. But when the Father raised Christ from the dead, the sacrifice that caused Him to become sin became the sacrifice that conquered sin. The sin that put Him to death was itself put to death, and that great act of love was to God as a fragrant aroma. That fragrant aroma spreads its fragrance to everyone on earth who will place himself under the grace of that sacrifice, and it will spread its fragrance throughout heaven for all eternity. In all aspects, our lives should please God (cf. 2 Cor. 2:14–16).[1]

On the Imitation of God

Ephesians 5:1–2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The fifth chapter of Ephesians begins with one of the most startling admonitions in the New Testament: “Be imitators of God.” It is the only place in the Bible where these words occur, and what makes them so startling is that they point to a standard beyond which there is no other. William Barclay calls this “the highest standard in the world.” Alexander Maclaren calls it “the sum of all duty.”2 To Martyn Lloyd-Jones it was “Paul’s supreme argument … the highest level of all in doctrine and in practice … the ultimate ideal.”

“Be imitators of God” reminds us of Thomas à Kempis’ classic, Of the Imitation of Christ. Thomas was born in 1380 at a time when Europe was in turmoil. The church was split by rival popes, one of whom still sat on the throne of St. Peter in Rome while the other exercised a rival rule in Avignon. The Hundred Years War was in progress. The Black Death had ravished city after city. Thomas grew up in the midst of corruption, unrest and disillusion, entered a monastery and, presumably in the 1420s, wrote what has since been called “the most influential book in Christian literature.” To be honest, Of the Imitation of Christ has never moved me as other books have, but it has been influential, and for more than five hundred years Christians have apparently found no difficulty with the concept of imitating the Jesus of history.

But the imitation of God the Father is quite another matter—or at least it seems so. How is it possible to imitate one who is infinitely above us, the sovereign God of the universe?

Incommunicable Attributes

Part of our problem comes from the nature of God and from what theologians call his noncommunicable attributes. In theological textbooks a distinction is made between God’s communicable attributes, in which we share, and God’s noncommunicable attributes, in which we do not share. For example, when we talk about God we often begin with the fact that he is self-existent, self-sufficient, and eternal.

Self-existent means that God has no origins and consequently is answerable to no one. This sets God utterly apart, for everything else does have origin and is accountable. Human beings are accountable to people (parents and friends), organizations (the church, the state, the company for which one works), and ultimately God. Everyone will face a final judgment.

Self-sufficient means that God has no needs and therefore depends on no one. That is not at all true of us. We need countless things—food, warmth, clothing, homes, companionship, oxygen. If our supply of oxygen is cut off even for a few minutes, we die.

Eternal means that God has always existed and will always exist. That is not true of us either. We have a point before which we did not exist. Moreover, we change as time passes. God does not change. He is always the same in his eternal being.

To these initial attributes, without which God would not be God, we can add such things as omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, majesty, and holiness in its fullest sense. We cannot be like God in these characteristics.

Omnipotent means all-powerful. We are not nor will we ever be all-powerful. If we could be, we would be God.

Omnipresent means being everywhere at once. We will never possess this ability. We are finite creatures and will always be finite.

Omniscient means knowing all things. We will never know all things. We will spend all eternity learning.

Majesty and holiness also set God off from his creation. They are what make him “wholly other.” We are not that. Each of these incommunicable attributes sets God apart from us and delineates an area in which we cannot and never will be like him.

But we are also overwhelmed by God’s communicable attributes, that is, those attributes in which we share. They are things like justice, wrath, wisdom, faithfulness, goodness, love, mercy, compassion, tenderness, forgiveness. We can exercise these attributes and indeed we ought to. But when we think of them in reference to God the Father, who is perfect in them, we are necessarily overawed and wonder properly if there is any point in comparing our wisdom to God’s wisdom, our goodness to God’s goodness, our faithfulness to God’s faithfulness, and so on.

That is a healthy comparison, which should humble us, if nothing else. But it is nevertheless true that in our text Paul says that we are to imitate God. We are to imitate God “as dearly loved children.” In other words, just as a son should imitate a good father (though he is not a father and cannot imitate his father in many respects) and just as a daughter should imitate a good mother (though she is not a mother and cannot imitate her mother in many respects), so should the children of God imitate God. And they have this going for them: They have the enabling life of God within through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Consequently, just as physical genes should lead a child in the direction of a parent’s chief characteristics, so should a Christian’s spiritual genes lead in the direction of the moral character of God.

Forgiving Love

When we look at the passage in which the command to imitate God occurs we see at once that it is not just any attribute of God that Paul has in mind for our imitating, though it would be possible to imitate God in more ways than the one he mentions. What Paul chiefly has in mind is the imitation of God’s love. Indeed, this is what ties Ephesians 5:1 to the end of chapter 4 and links it also to the following verse. (Ephesians 5:1–2 are part of the preceding paragraph.)

The entire text says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” It is in loving that we are to imitate the Creator.

What kind of a love is this? The passage answers this question in several ways, and the first answer is that this love is to be forgiving. Since God the Father forgave us through the work of Christ, we are to forgive one another. This is love’s nature.

This link between God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others is important, because it is only through knowing ourselves to be forgiven that we are set free to forgive others lovingly. People are in desperate need of forgiveness. Some years ago I was talking with a friend who is a psychiatrist, and he said, “As far as I am concerned, most of what a psychiatrist does is directly related to forgiveness. People come to him with problems; they feel guilty about their part in them; they are seeking forgiveness. In effect, they confess their sins to the counselor and find that he forgives them. Then a pattern is set up in which they can show their change of heart in tangible ways toward others.”

In his book on confession John R. W. Stott quotes the head of a large mental hospital in England as having said, “I could dismiss half my patients tomorrow if they could be assured of forgiveness.”

That is what we have in Jesus Christ—forgiveness—and because we find forgiveness there, we can in turn be forgiving. God’s forgiveness is not a mere overlooking of sin, as though he said, “Well, boys will be boys (or girls will be girls). We’ll overlook it for now; just don’t let it happen again.” God takes sin with such seriousness that he deals with it fully at the cross, and it is on that basis—the death of Jesus—that we can know we are forgiven.

Do you know that, really know it? So long as you think you are a pretty good person who does not really need to be forgiven, you will naturally have a very hard time loving and forgiving others. But if you know yourself to have been a sinner under God’s just wrath, all that is changed. God says that in his sight even the best of us is vile to the extreme:

It is written,

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God.

All have turned away,

they have together become worthless;

there is no one who does good,

not even one.”

“Their throats are open graves;

their tongues practice deceit.”

“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

ruin and misery mark their ways,

and the way of peace they do not know.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:10–18

That is the way God sees us. If we see ourselves through his eyes, knowing our vile rebellion against his love and moral standards and yet finding ourselves forgiven on the basis of Christ’s death for us, then we will inevitably love and forgive others. For nobody can act as badly toward us as we have acted toward God, and yet he has forgiven us.

If we are not forgiving in our love, we really do not know the extent of God’s forgiveness of us. We still consider ourselves to be better than we are. But if we see ourselves as forgiven sinners, then we will be set free to love others in imitation of God.

Giving Love

The second thing these verses teach about the love of God, which we are to imitate, is that it is a giving love—not merely forgiving but also giving. Again, God is the model of such love, and the point at which it is most clearly demonstrated is the cross.

What is it that God chiefly gives us? He has given us all things, of course. Before Adam and Eve were even created God had prepared a wonderful environment to receive them. It was a place of beauty and interest, with meaningful work to do. Sin marred that environment, as we know. But even marred by sin, our experience of God’s gifts to us is not entirely unlike the experience of our first parents. God has given us life itself, and he has placed us within an imperfect but nevertheless beautiful and fascinating world. And the work we have to do in it is important. Having said this, however, we have to admit at once that it does not even come close to an expression of the full measure of God’s giving love. For that, like God’s forgiving love, is seen primarily at the cross:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20).

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

I am particularly interested in Philippians 2:5–8, for those verses tell us that even Jesus did not merely give up things to save us; he gave himself. He did not only give up things which were outward accompaniments of his divinity: his outward glory, the service of the angels, his position at the right hand of God the Father: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” The heart of the passage is that Jesus gave himself, to the point of even death: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.” The greatest expression of love is not that it gives things or even that it gives up things, but that it gives itself.

In this too we are to be God’s imitators. Years ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse was counseling a couple who were having marital difficulties. The husband spoke in frustration at one point, saying, “But I don’t understand it. I have given you anything a woman could want. I’ve given you a nice house. I’ve given you a car. I’ve given you all the clothes you can wear. I’ve given you …” The list went on.

At last the man ended and his wife replied sadly, “Yes, John. That much is true. You have given me everything … but yourself.”

Why don’t we give ourselves to other people? It is because we are afraid to, and because we are selfish. We want ourselves for ourselves, and we are afraid that if we give ourselves to others, we will be hurt or disappointed. Only those who have God are set free from these fears and can give to others out of God’s own immensity.

Living Love

The third thing our text teaches about the love of God which we are to imitate is that it is to be a living love: forgiving, giving, but also living. It occurs in verse 2, where Paul says, “and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

There are two things that a living love suggests. First, it suggests a practical or active love. This is what Paul’s whole section on practical Christianity involves. For if we ask, “What does it mean to ‘live a life of love’?” the answer is in the very thing Paul has been saying. To use the outline of the last chapter, it means: (1) to put off lying and speak truthfully, (2) to put off anger, (3) to put off stealing and work for a living instead, (4) to put off unwholesome talk and instead speak to help others, and (5) to put off bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice, and instead to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. That is what it means to live a life of love.

Second, living love suggests love that is made alive by the very life of God and is therefore an eternal love, as God is eternal. What a need we have for this today! Our loves are weak and faltering, variable and untrustworthy. What we need in our loves is something of the character of God’s love as Paul writes about it in Romans:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35–39

Can you be an imitator of God in such an eternal love as that? The answer, if we look only to ourselves, is no. No, we cannot. Nothing that is natural to us is eternal, or forgiving or giving either, for that matter. But the answer is yes, if we look to God. The very man who wrote Ephesians 4:1 said, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

But we must spend time with God if that is to happen. The word that our text translates “imitate” or “imitator” is mimētai, from which we get our English word “mimic.” Mimic means to copy closely, to repeat another person’s speech, actions, or behavior. That is what we are to do with God. We are to repeat his actions, echo his speech, duplicate his behavior. How can we do that if we do not spend time with him? We cannot, because we will not even know what his behavior is. Spend time with God! Spend time with God in prayer. Spend time with God in Bible study. Spend time with God in worship. It is only by spending time with God that we become like God. We need men and women who are like God today.[2]

Live as the Child of God (5:2)

In savoring their new identity the Ephesians are reminded that they are to live not only as children of God, but also to live as the Child of God. Held before us and the Ephesians is the example of Jesus Christ. We are told to “live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2). Imitating God means imitating his Son, and that means doing whatever is required to make our lives a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. The smell of Jesus, the fragrance of the Savior that we are to have waft from our lives, also includes offering and sacrifice.

The image that the apostle is bringing to mind, of course, is that of the Old Testament sacrifices where the people brought an offering to God and sacrificed it upon the altar so that its fiery consumption would cause the odor of a sweet sacrifice to God. There is much in the image that is pleasant. But it also reminds us that the fragrance from an altar does not come without some giving of self (an offering) and some dying of another (a sacrifice). There is no life of love without a degree of giving and dying.

As intimidating as that sounds, it may also be a source of comfort to us. In a world where we are tempted to advertise the earthly benefits of the faith, the Scriptures remind us of the theology of the cross. All who would be like Jesus must offer and sacrifice themselves. Luther taught that if we are truly to imitate Christ, then we must also in some measure suffer for the sins of others. The Reformer did not mean that we can atone for others’ sin, but we do suffer for their sake as we endure suffering so that they might know him.

In a world full of people caught up in sinful practices and attitudes, living like Jesus for the sake of others will involve both the giving of ourselves and the dying of self. Why is this a comfort? Because it allows me to confess that there is nothing unusual or odd in me when the purity and integrity to which God calls me also hurt me. Christian young men and women are too often ill-prepared for battle and weakened in spirit by the sense that they should not have to struggle much with the temptations of physical lust and personal gain. Such persons are tempted to think that if they were really holy, mature, and Christian, then it would not be difficult or painful to please God. But what is fragrant to God involves a giving and a dying of self—there is going to be some pain. If there were no pain involved, there would be no sacrifice. The fact that your obedience involves pain and struggle does not necessarily mean that God is displeased with you or that you are less spiritual than others. In fact, without the pain of giving and sacrifice there could be no fragrant offering to God. What enables us to bear and offer this pain is savoring our identity as children of God, and remembering that we are called to live as the Child of God who offered and sacrificed himself for us.[3]

2 Or imitating God may point to what Paul says next, for he says, “and walk in love” (present tense, imperative mood—i.e., “keep on conducting your lives in love”; NIV, “live a life of love”). Paul used the verb peripateō (“walk”) for the conduct of life in 2:2; 4:1, 17. “Love” represents the crucial divine trait to be imitated, and one that Paul has stressed for the community (recall 4:2, 15–16). Here Paul presents Christ’s self-giving love for his people as the pattern of love to emulate. With an active form of the verb, Paul insists that Christ “gave himself up” for his people (cf. v. 25; Gal 2:20). Employing language of the sacrificial system, Paul shows how love and giving are closely identified (cf. Jn 3:16). In Paul’s view, Christ’s death was a vicarious death—“for us”—and elsewhere Paul spelled out some of the benefits of Christ’s salvific work (e.g., 1:5, 7; 2:5–6). It was a sacrificial offering “to God” that was, literally, “for a smell of fragrance.” Paul paints the picture of the aroma of the sacrifice ascending to God and bringing God pleasure (cf. Ge 8:21; Ex 29:18; Lev 2:2, 9, 12). Paul clearly implies that God was pleased and accepted Christ’s offering. By implication, then, when believers love one another—i.e., when they sacrificially put others’ interests above their own—God is pleased with this offering to him. Paul employs this same language to capture what the Philippians demonstrated in giving Paul gifts (Php 4:18).[4]

5:2 / Since forgiveness and love are bound together, believers are admonished to live a life of love. That love finds its example in Christ who gave himself up for us. By implication, the Christian’s love is to be expressed as a self-giving sacrifice (cf. 5:25). Love is the essence of God and is to be the main feature of the believer’s walk (peripateō). By mentioning Christ’s death, the apostle recalls words that were applicable to Jewish sacrifices—namely, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. The sacrifice of Jesus and the sacrificial life of love that believers live are pleasing to God.[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 193–199). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 171–177). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[3] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 238–239). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 133). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 255). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

October 10, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be held after U.S. congressional elections on Nov. 6.

A California man who was accused by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office of operating an online auction service that trafficked in stolen identities will be sentenced on Wednesday in a federal district court.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday takes up a new immigration dispute as it ponders the circumstances in which the federal government can detain people awaiting deportation after they have completed their sentences for criminal convictions.

China is waging an unprecedented campaign to influence American public opinion as November congressional elections approach, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen said.

A Missouri state judge ordered on Tuesday that state election authorities could no longer tell voters that they are required to show a photo identification card in order to cast a ballot, blocking parts of Missouri’s voter identification law.

Fifty people were killed on Wednesday when a bus travelling between the Kenyan capital Nairobi and the western city of Kisumu swerved off the road coming down a slope and rolled repeatedly.

Switzerland’s highest court ruled that prosecutors cannot extend Swiss banking secrecy rules to all corners of the globe to pursue whistleblowers and other leakers at foreign subsidiaries.

Pope Francis on Wednesday compared having an abortion to “hiring a “hit man” to eliminate a problematic person, in comments sure to be welcomed by conservative Catholics who have accused the pontiff of not speaking out enough on “cultural war” issues.

Over 1,000 militants have left a demilitarized zone in Syria’s rebel-held region of Idlib, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Wednesday.

Sears is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as early as Friday.

Theft of cryptocurrencies through hacking of exchanges and trading platforms soared to $927 million in the first nine months of the year, up nearly 250 percent from the level seen in 2017.

AP Top Stories

The U.N. office for disaster risk reduction said Wednesday that worldwide reported economic losses from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, hurricanes and other climate-related disasters surged to total nearly $2.9 trillion over the past 20 years.

Facing declining demand and saddled with mounting debt, Westmoreland Coal, one of the oldest and largest coal companies in the United States has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Seoul is considering lifting some of its unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang to create more momentum for diplomacy aimed at improving relations and defusing the nuclear crisis, South Korea’s foreign minister said Wednesday.

Syrian President Bashar Assad granted general amnesty on Tuesday to army deserters both within Syria and outside the country, a move that could boost the return of refugees who fled violence in their war-torn country.

Jihadists and Turkish-backed rebels in Syria’s last major opposition stronghold have withdrawn heavy weapons from nearly all of a planned buffer zone, a day ahead of deadline.

Less than a month before another round of US sanctions against Iran take effect, analysts say hundred-dollar oil could be on the horizon.


A court in Guatemala has sentenced the former vice-president, Roxana Baldetti, to 15 years and six months in jail for her role in what became known as the “Magic Water” scandal.

Police in Mexico are investigating a couple arrested for transporting body parts in a pram in connection with at least 10 murders. The man reportedly confessed to killing 20 women in a suburb of Mexico City. Investigators have found body parts in the couple’s flat and at another nearby property. They were kept in buckets filled with cement and in a fridge.

Australia’s prime minister has defended leaked proposals to let religious schools discriminate against gay students. Schools in some states can already reject staff if they are gay. The new proposals would apply nationwide.

China’s western Xinjiang region has written internment camps for Muslim Uighurs into law amid growing international concern over large-scale disappearances there.

The Australian government has backed coal-fired power, despite the recommendations of a major report on climate change.


Maryland gun regulators are insisting that anyone who wants to defend his home with a firearm must have a month of special training.

In parts of Virginia, anyone 13 or older who goes trick-or-treating can be sent to jail for up to six months according to HRScene.com. And no matter what age, trick-or-treating after 8 p.m. can land you in the clink for up to 30 days. Fines range between $25 and $100.

The earliest written inscription of the word Jerusalem written in Hebrew on a 2,000 year old column drum was unveiled on Tuesday at a press conference at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Ireland – A Catholic bishop has said he is establishing a “delivery ministry” group of people who will be attempting to rid people of “the devil” through exorcism. Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan says he has received “several requests” from people to help deal with evil forces and one priest in his diocese of Waterford and Lismore is about to start training in the practice of exorcism.

News – 10/10/2018

“This Is Not Survivable”: Hurricane Michael Strengthens To Cat 4 As Southeast Braces For “Record Breaking” Impact
As residents of the Florida panhandle and big bend scrambled to flee their homes, Hurricane Michael strengthened to a Category 4 Hurricane over night putting it on track to rival the strongest storms to ever make landfall in that part of the country. As one meteorologist pointed out, if Michael doesn’t weaken before making landfall late Wednesday, it would surpass Hurricane Eloise, which wrecked the panhandle in 1975, and the Pensacola Hurricane of 1882 for strongest winds ever recorded for a landfall in the panhandle. If the storm’s 140 mph+ wind speeds are maintained, Michael could be the strongest storm to hit the area since the dawn of record-keeping in 1851.

For the 4th day in a row, a stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field, sparking intermittent auroras around the Arctic Circle. The gaseous material is flowing from a canyon-shaped hole in the sun’s atmosphere.

Gregg Jarrett: Rod Rosenstein should immediately stop overseeing the Mueller ‘collusion’ investigation
The latest evidence that Rosenstein is appallingly compromised comes from former FBI General Counsel James Baker. Baker reportedly told Congress last week that Rosenstein was “serious” when he proposed secretly recording the president to try to gain damaging information about him. Rosenstein allegedly also talked about soliciting others to secretly record the president. But that’s not all. According to Baker, Rosenstein was also “serious” when he discussed recruiting Cabinet members to depose Trump under the 25th Amendment, in what would amount to an attempted palace coup.

Florida Panhandle braces for catastrophic hit from Category 4 Hurricane Michael
Michael roared down on the Florida Panhandle strengthening into a Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday before it crashes against the region’s white-sand beaches, fishing villages and coastal communities later in the day. The unexpected brute that quickly sprang from a weekend tropical depression grew swiftly, rising in days to a catastrophic storm. Around midday it was expected to become one of the Panhandle’s worst hurricanes in memory…

DARPA is Making Insects That Can Deliver Bioweapons, Scientists Claim
The U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been accused of trying to create a new class of biological weapons that would be delivered via virus-infected insects. The Insect Allies program was announced by DARPA in 2016. It is a research project that aims to protect the U.S. agricultural food supply by delivering protective genes to plants via insects, which are responsible for the transmission of most plant viruses. Scientists believe loading the bugs up with viruses that would offer plants protective benefits could be one way of ensuring food security in the event of a major threat.

Public execution of five men in Somalia including British citizen
“Five of them were publicly shot to death this afternoon after they admitted espionage before the court,” said Mohamed Abu Abdalla, al Shabaab’s governor for the Jubba regions.

Neuton: A new, disruptive neural network framework for AI applications
Deep learning neural networks are behind much of the progress in AI these days. Neuton is a new framework that claims to be much faster and more compact, and it requires less skills and training than anything the AWSs, Googles, and Facebooks of the world have.

‘Trump peace plan will focus on Israel’s security needs’
…envoy Jason Greenblatt said the plan would “be heavily focused on Israeli security needs”. “But we also want to be fair to the Palestinians. We have tried hard to find a good balance,” he added. “Each side will find things in this plan that they don’t like.” US President Donald Trump said in September that he would unveil a new peace plan within months.. The peace plan, Greenblatt said, “will include a resolution to all of the core issues, including the refugee issue”. He said that it would not propose a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation as a possible solution — something that Abbas has been reported as saying.

Haley’s resignation as UN ambassador was planned
Nikki Haley’s resignation as US ambassador to the UN came six months after she informed President Donald Tramp that she would step down at year’s end because she needed a break after eight intense years of public service – six as South Carolina Governor, two at the UN. It was kept secret and therefore a shock to Washington insiders.

Will Nikki Haley’s replacement be as supportive of Israel?
Whomever US President Donald Trump appoints to replace outgoing Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will have very large shoes to fill, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said in response to Haley’s surprise resignation on Tuesday. Haley was a godsend at the UN from Israel’s point of view, passionately, eloquently and calmly defending the Jewish State and calling out the world for its hypocrisy and bias towards the country.

Row over Australia plan to let faith schools reject gay students
Australia’s prime minister has defended leaked proposals to let religious schools discriminate against gay students. Scott Morrison said the proposals were already “existing law”. Schools in some states can already reject staff if they are gay. The new proposals would apply nationwide. They are contained in a report into religious freedom that was commissioned after same-sex marriage was made legal last year.

Majorca flash flood kills at least six on Spanish island
At least six people have died and nine are feared missing in flash flooding on the Spanish island of Majorca. A huge wave of muddy water engulfed the town of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, in the east of the island, after a river burst its banks following heavy rain. Vehicles were swept away, some with their headlights switched on, as water gushed through narrow streets.

Scientists connect 3 actual human brains
Neuroscientists behind the project called it “BrainNet”, a “multi-person non-invasive direct brain-to-brain interface for collaborative problem solving”. In layman’s terms, researchers from the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon University figured out a way to connect three brains (still attached to their human hosts!) and have the owners of said brains make collective choices together without speaking.

‘Powerful Forces Preparing UK to Rejoin EU’ says Former Brexit Minister
Senior government figures could be preparing to orchestrate the softest possible form of Brexit so they can allow Brian to rejoin the EU. according to MP and former minister has claimed.

‘THE GOOD CENSOR’: Leaked Google Briefing Admits Abandonment of Free Speech for ‘Safety And Civility’
…But the 85-page briefing, titled “The Good Censor,” admits that Google and other tech platforms now “control the majority of online conversations” and have undertaken a “shift towards censorship” in response to unwelcome political events around the world.

The UN loses even more credibility as their UNESCO agency declares Islam the world’s most peaceful religion
The United Nations body released a statement earlier today that revealed that UNESCO had partnered with International Peace Foundation six months back to study all religions of the world and find out which was most peaceful amongst all.

Canadian taxpayers are giving $50,000 to each Muslim migrant family – and they don’t even know it
The “non-partisan” ministerial bureaucrats working for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are actively hiding from Canadians the details surrounding the cost of the “refugee” settlement program.

HORRIFYING: Samoa withdraws vaccine protecting against measles, mumps and rubella after two babies die within minutes of receiving the routine shot
Two babies were killed in Samoa just minutes after receiving the MMR vaccine Samoan government has withdrawn the vaccine across the entire country Both of the one-year-old babies died within minutes after being injected An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the babies’ deaths

Death toll in Haiti earthquake rises to 15; at least 333 injured
The death toll from a 5.9 earthquake that hit Haiti over the weekend rose to at least 15 people with 333 injured, according to updated figures released Monday by authorities, as rescue crews worked to help victims spooked by strong aftershocks.

A $240 Per Gallon Gas Tax To Fight Global Warming? New UN Report Suggests Carbon Pricing
A United Nations special climate report suggests a tax on carbon dioxide emissions would need to be as high as $27,000 per ton at the end of the century to effectively limit global warming.

Hurricane Michael Intensifies, Could Reach Category 4 Strength At Landfall
Hurricane Michael could reach Category 4 strength when it hits the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday, bringing with it heavy winds and life-threatening storm surge, according to forecasts.

Body Count Is About To Go Up In Chicago With New Abortion Clinic
An abortion clinic opened north of Chicago Tuesday and seeks to normalize abortion in Illinois with pink and purple exam rooms, mints, tea bags and more.

Why Leftists Feel Entitled to Block Highways, Shut Down Speakers, and Harass Public Officials
When I was in graduate school, I learned a lot about the left. One lesson was that while most liberals and conservatives abide by society’s rules of order and decency, most leftists do not feel bound to live by these same rules.

Hellywood declares war on America
Hollywood, the home of pedophiles and the casting couch, produces more sexual assault victims than movies worth watching, and now they are indignant because the phony character assassination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh failed. After Kavanaugh was confirmed, Pedowood exploded on Rep. Susan Collins.

Federal Government Investigates Transgender Policy in Georgia After Little Girl Is Sexually Assaulted
A controversial transgender bathroom policy at an elementary school in Georgia is now under federal investigation after a young child is reported to have been sexually assaulted.

‘Gosnell’ Movie Producers Never Trusted Pro-Lifers. ‘Brutal’ Murder Evidence Changed That
Film producers of “Gosnell,” a movie detailing the crimes of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, never trusted pro-lifers until they put together “brutal” murder evidence for the movie that changed their perspectives on abortion.

Turkish Intel Will Run ‘Operations’ Against Political Opponents On US Soil, Erdogan Spokesman Says
The Turkish government plans to continue “operations,” including in the United States, against supporters of a political opponent of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a top adviser to the Turkish president said Friday.

Can America Be Successfully Invaded and Occupied?
Not since the War of 1812 has the United States faced the possibility of being militarily invaded. Can such an invasion succeed? What are the variables involved? This is a the first of a multi-part series which will address the topics of a military invasion and subsequent occupation.

As Large Groups of Illegal Aliens Keep Pouring In, A Majority Have 3 U.S. Destinations in Mind
Border patrol agents say they continue to apprehend large groups of illegal immigrants, many from Guatemala, who increasingly are being led into remote desert areas of the United States by human smugglers who have deceived them with promises of financial gain and protected immigration status.

Evacuations Ordered As “Monstrous Hurricane” Michael Intensifies Into “Most Powerful Storm In A Decade”
In a repeat of the scramble for safety that preceded the landfall of Hurricane Irma during the 2017 storm season, residents of the Florida panhandle are boarding up homes and fleeing inland as Hurricane Michael, already a Category 1 storm following a rapid intensification over the past 24 hours, barrels toward the northern Gulf of Mexico, where it’s projected to make landfall on Wednesday, possibly as a Category 3 storm

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Mike Ratliff – Who will separate us from the love of Christ?

Roger Oakland – “Contextualization” of the Gospel – A Free-Falling Catastrophe

Wife of Harvest Church International Pastor Says He’s Mentally Unstable, He Accuses Her of Adultery

How America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer Almost Got Away With Murder

In Theaters Friday 10/12 – Gosnell, The Trial Of America’s Biggest Serial Killer

New Spa-Like Abortion Clinic Hopes to Normalize Killing Babies With Cups of Tea and Mints

CA Catholic church to install hideous 40-ft $2M statue of Mary to welcome illegal border-crossers…

US student detained in Israel over alleged boycott support

Headlines – 10/10/2018

In surprise move, Nikki Haley resigns as US ambassador to UN

Israel’s Ambassador to UN: ‘Nikki Haley will be missed by all’

With Nikki Haley’s departure, Israel loses its staunchest ally at the UN

Iran cheers Haley’s resignation from UN: ‘There is no new sheriff in town’

UN diplomats offer praise for Haley despite disagreements with Trump policies

Nikki Haley lavishes praise on Jared Kushner on her way out, calling him ‘a hidden genius that no one understands’

Merkel and Abbas Back Two-state Solution in Phone Conversation After Chancellor’s Israel Visit

Qatari-bought fuel enters Gaza amid fears of flare-up with Israel

UN Secretary General appreciates Qatar’s aid to Gaza to get fuel

U.S. envoy Greenblatt welcomes transfer of fuel to Gaza to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Gaza and efforts to achieve the goal of an enduring cease fire

Defying Abbas, Israel Allows Qatari-funded Fuel Into Gaza Strip

Netanyahu Says Abbas Is Suffocating Gaza; ‘I Don’t Want Needless Wars’

PA Blasts Qatar for Bringing Fuel into Gaza without Coordination

Qatar accused of ‘undermining Palestinian Authority’ through fuel move

Aide to Abbas concerned the money being channeled to Gaza could play a part in peace plan: “We believe that the U.S. is directing the money to Gaza not from a humanitarian perspective but rather from a political one”

Hamas-Fatah rivalry makes peace impossible

Israel Can ‘Definitely’ Absorb 100,000 West Bank Palestinians, Justice Minister Says

KKL: Incendiary balloons caused environmental disaster

How Iran Plans to Take Gaza

Bernie Sanders cites Israel’s nation-state law in slam of Trump authoritarianism

At interfaith conference, chief rabbi assails world religious leaders on terror

French Finance Minister: Israel needs the support of Europe against Iran

IMF Says U.S. Sanctions Have Pushed Iran’s Economy Into Recession

The Mask Drops: Russia Reveals Itself as Israel’s Enemy

Moscow rejects notion of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan

Netanyahu: Israel must continue Syria strikes despite S-300 delivery

Assad’s exhausted army in need of reinforcements as Idlib battle looms

China Makes ‘Largest Arms Deal’ of Its Kind with Pakistan After India Buys from Russia

Moscow speaks of need for five-way international talks to end Korean tensions

Russia challenges US compliance with nuclear arms treaty

Cyber Tests Showed ‘Nearly All’ New Pentagon Weapons Vulnerable To Attack, GAO Says

Trump and China look headed for a double-barreled trade and currency war with neither backing down

Trade tensions could trigger another global financial crisis, but investors appear complacent, IMF says

Trillions in US net worth vulnerable to recession: IMF

U.S., European regulators investigating Google glitch

Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public

At Iowa rally, Trump portrays Democrats as ‘angry mob,’ urges voters to reject ‘anger, division and destruction’

Hillary Clinton: Democrats ‘cannot be civil’ with Republicans anymore

Rand Paul warns of ‘assassination’ peril after Kavanaugh confirmation: ‘I really worry someone is going to be killed’

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Finschhafen, Papua New Guinea

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Lae, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Prome, Burma

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Neiafu, Tonga

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Chignik Lake, Alaska

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Vanuatu region

Salak volcano (West Java, Indonesia) activity update: Sudden large explosion- ash to 15km (50,000ft)

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 25,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Michael set to crash into Florida as Category 4 storm

Hurricane Michael could become the strongest storm on record to strike the Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael could rival worst storms on record to hit Florida Panhandle

Coastal impact, damage from Michael may be similar to Opal in 1995 and Eloise in 1975

Storm-weary Carolinas to get another hit of strong winds, drenching rain from Michael

Tropical trio: Hurricane Michael, Tropical Storm Nadine in Atlantic; Leslie is hurricane, again

Sergio downgraded to tropical storm heading to Mexico’s Baja

Twin cyclones, Luban and Titli keep Indian seas active

Severe Cyclonic Storm Titli to unload flooding rainfall, strong winds in eastern India, Bangladesh

Tropical Cyclone Luban in Arabian Sea Could Threaten Oman, Yemen

Majorca flash flood kills at least eight on Spanish island

Pope says abortion is like hiring ‘contract killer’

Ban on same-sex couples roils small Christian college: ‘This isn’t something sinful, God’

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Jesus Is Our Righteousness — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Jesus not only had to die for our sins, but He had to live for our righteousness. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul explains what Jesus’ active obedience means for His people.

This Reformation Month, watch a short video every day on the history and insights of the Protestant Reformation. And don’t forget that for a donation of any amount this month only, you can also receive a copy of Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer, a documentary featuring interviews with R.C. Sproul and several Ligonier Teaching Fellows, on DVD. Offer ends 10/31/18.


I don’t think there’s any more important text in all the New Testament that defines the work of Jesus than this one. That Jesus was sent to fulfill all righteousness. And what that meant to the Jew was to obey every jot and tittle of the Law. Because now Jesus is not acting in His baptism for Himself, but for His people. And if His people are required to keep the Ten Commandments, He keeps the Ten Commandments. If His people are now required to submit to this baptismal ritual, He submits to it in their behalf. Because the redemption that is brought by Christ is not restricted to His death on the cross.

We’ve seen that in the work of redemption God didn’t send Jesus to earth on Good Friday and say, “Die for the sins of your people and that will take care of it.” No. Jesus not only had to die for our sins, but He had to live for our righteousness. If all Jesus did was die for your sins, that would remove all of your guilt, and that would leave you sinless in the sight of God, but not righteous. You would be innocent, but not righteous because you haven’t done anything to obey the Law of God which is what righteousness requires.

So we have a doctrine in theology that refers to the active obedience of Jesus, as distinguished from the passive obedience of Jesus. And this doctrine is in great dispute right now particularly among dispensational thinkers, which I find extremely, extremely unsettling. The passive obedience of Christ refers to His willingness to submit to the pain that is inflicted upon Him by the Father on the cross in the atonement. He passively receives the curse of God there. The active obedience refers to His whole life of obeying the Law of God whereby He qualifies to be the Savior. He qualifies to be the Lamb without blemish. He qualifies for the song, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,” through His total righteousness. He fulfills the Law’s demands, and if you remember the covenant with Moses, everybody who fulfills the Law receives the blessing, those who disobey the Law receive the curse.

What does Jesus do? He obeys the Law perfectly, receives the blessing, and not the curse. But there’s a double imputation that we will look at later at the cross, where my sin is transferred to His account, my sin is carried over and laid upon Him in the cross. But in our redemption, His righteousness is imputed to us—which righteousness He wouldn’t have if He didn’t live this life of perfect obedience. So what I’m saying to you is that His life of perfect obedience is just as necessary for our salvation as His perfect atonement on the cross. Because there’s double imputation. My sin to Him, His righteousness to me. So that, that is what the Scripture is getting at when it says Jesus is our righteousness.

via Jesus Is Our Righteousness — Ligonier Ministries Blog

October 10 Rest Your Hope

Rest your hope fully on the grace that is brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:13

You’ve heard plenty of sermons and seen plenty of books on love and faith, but have you ever heard a message or read a book on hope? For some reason, we often ignore hope. Hope is a missing element in the Christian experience of our culture. We don’t live in hope primarily because we focus too much on our present circumstances.

What is hope? It is the Christian’s attitude toward the future. Hope in its essence is like faith. Both have trust, or a belief in God, as their focus, but there’s a difference between them. Faith is believing God in the present, and hope is believing God for the future. Faith believes God for what He has done, and hope believes God for what He will do.

Fix your hope on Him and live in anticipation of the glorious fulfillment of His future promise.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 307). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Is Cultural Marxism America’s New Mainline Ideology? | Mises Wire

Another name for the neo-Marxism of increasing popularity in the United States  is cultural Marxism.” This theory says that the driving force behind the socialist revolution is not the proletariat — but the intellectuals. While Marxism has largely disappeared from the workers’movement, Marxist theory flourishes today in cultural institutions, in the academic world, and in the mass media. This “cultural Marxism” goes back to Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) and the Frankfurt School. The theorists of Marxism recognized that the proletariat would not play the expected historical role as a “revolutionary subject.” Therefore, for the revolution to happen, the movement must depend on the cultural leaders to destroy the existing, mainly Christian, culture and morality and then drive the disoriented masses to Communism as their new creed. The goal of this movement is to establish a world government in which the Marxist intellectuals have the final say. In this sense, the cultural Marxists are the continuation of what started with the Russian revolution.

Lenin and the Soviets

Led by Lenin, the perpetrators of the revolution regarded their victory in Russia only as the first step to the world revolution. The Russian Revolution was neither Russian nor proletarian. In 1917, the industrial workers in Russia represented only a small part of the workforce, which mainly consisted of peasantry. The Russian Revolution was not the result of a labor movement but of a group of professional revolutionaries . A closer look at the composition of the Bolshevist party and of the first governments of the Soviet state and its repressive apparatus reveals the true character of the Soviet revolution as a project that did not aim at freeing the Russian people from the Tsarist yoke but was to serve as the launchpad for the world revolution.

The experience of World War I and its aftermath showed that the Marxist concept of the “proletariat” as a revolutionary force was an illusion. At the example of the Soviet Union, one could also see that socialism could not function without a dictatorship. These considerations brought the leading Marxist thinkers to the conclusion that a different strategy would be required to establish socialism. Communist authors spread the insight that the socialist dictatorship must come in disguise. Before socialism can succeed, the existing culture must change. Control of the culture must precede political control.

Cultural Control Rises in Tandem with Political Control

Helping the neo-Marxists was the fact many of their efforts in taking control of culture happened parallel to the encroachment of the state on individual liberties. Over the past decades, at the same time when so-called political correctness has been on the rise, the American government obtained a vast arsenal of repressive instruments. Few Americans seem to know that the U.S. is still under emergency law that has been in force since George W. Bush used the executive privilege to declare a state of national emergency in 2001. In the same year, 9/11 opened also the path to push through the Patriot Act . From a score of around 95 points, the Freedom House “Aggregate Index of Freedom” of the United States has fallen to 86 points in 2018.

Moral Corruption

The way toward the rule of the cultural Marxists is the moral corruption of the people. To accomplish this, the mass media and public education must not enlighten but confuse and mislead. The media and the educational establishment work to put one part of the society against the other part. While group identities get more specific, the catalog of victimization and history of oppression becomes more detailed. To turn into a recognized victim of suppression is the way to gain social status and to obtain the right to special assistance, of respect and social inclusion.

The demand for social justice creates an endless stream of expenditures deemed essential — for health, education, old age, and for all those people who are “needy,” “persecuted” and “oppressed,” be it real or imaginary. The flood of never-ending spending in these areas corrupts the state finances and produces fiscal crises. This helps the Neo-Marxists accuse “capitalism” of all evils when, in fact, it is the regulatory state that provokes the systemic failures and when it is the excess of public debt that causes the financial fragility.

Politics, the media, and the judiciary never pause at waging the new endless wars: the war on drugs or against high blood pressure or the campaigns that assert the endless struggle against fat and obesity. The list of the enemies grows every day whether racism, xenophobia, and anti-Islamism. The epitome of this movement is political correctness, the war against having one’s own opinion. While the public tolerates disgusting expositions of behavior, particularly under the cult of the arts, the list of prohibited words and opinions grows daily. Public opinion must not go beyond the few accepted positions. Yet while the public debate impoverishes, the diversity of radical opinion flourishes in the hidden.

The cultural Marxists drive society morally into an identity crisis by the means of the false standards of a hypocritical ethics. The aim is no longer the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” because this project has failed, but the “dictatorship of political correctness” whose supreme authority lies in the hands of the cultural Marxists. As a new class of priests, the guardians of the new orthodoxy rule the institutions whose power they try to extend over all parts of the society. The moral destruction of the individual is a necessary step to accomplish the final victory.

Opium of the Intellectuals

The believers of neo-Marxism are mainly intellectuals. Workers, after all, are a part of the economic reality of the production process and know that the socialist promises are rubbish. Nowhere was socialism established as the result of a labor movement. The workers have never been the perpetrators of socialism but always its victim. The leaders of the revolution have been intellectual party politicians and military men. It was up to the writers and artists to conceal the brutality of the socialist regimes through articles and books and by films, music, and paintings, and to give socialism a scientific-intellectual, aesthetic and moral appearance. In the socialist propaganda, the new system appears to be both fair and productive.

The cultural Marxists believe that someday they will be the sole holders of power and be able to dictate to the masses how to live and what to think. Yet the neo-Marxist intellectuals are in for a surprise. When socialism should come indeed, the “dictatorship of the intellectuals” will be anything but benign — and not much different from what happened after the Soviets took power. The intellectuals will be among the victims. This was, after all, the way as it had happened in the French Revolution, which was the first attempt of a revolution by intellectuals.  Many of the victims of the guillotine were prominent intellectuals who had earlier supported the revolution — Robespierre among them.

In his play about “Danton’s Death,” the dramatist Georg Büchner famously had a person say: “Like Saturn, the revolution devours its own children.” Yet more appropriately one should say that the revolution eats its spiritual fathers. The very same intellectuals who nowadays promote cultural Marxism will be the first in line if their project of conquest should succeed.


Contrary to what Marx believed, history is not pre-determined. The march through the institutions has gone far but there is not yet been a full take-over. There is still time to change course. To counteract the movement, one must note the inherent weakness of cultural Marxism. To the extent that the neo-Marxists altered classical Marxism and eliminated its basic tenets (deepening proletarianization, historical determinism, total collapse of capitalism), the movement has become even more utopian than previously socialism ever was.

As the successors of the New Left, the “democratic socialists” of the present time propagate a hodgepodge of contradictory positions. Because of the character of this movement as a promoter of group conflict, neo-Marxism is ineffectual to serve as an instrument of gaining coherent political power as it were necessary for a dictatorship. Yet this does not mean that the neo-Marxist movement has no impact. On the contrary: because of its inherent contradictions, the ideology of cultural Marxism is the main source of the profound confusion that has grabbed almost every segment of the modern Western societies and which is about to swell into even more dangerous proportions.
— Read on mises.org/wire/cultural-marxism-americas-new-mainline-ideology

Iran’s Idea of “Human Rights”: Persecute Christians — Pulpit & Pen

Gatestone Institute

• often uses it [the charge of ‘acting against national security’] against converts instead of the charge of apostasy… in an attempt to avoid international scrutiny.” — Morning Star News, July 13, 2017.

• Not only does Iran persecute its Christian minorities, but it also tries to coerce them to embrace Islam — despite Rouhani’s boasts before the UN that “Iran does not seek to… impose its official religion on others…”

• “Rouhani wants to prove that he is a good Muslim by persecuting Christians….The authorities are trying to eradicate Christianity, just as the Islamic State group, but smarter.” — Iranian Christian living in hiding, BosNewsLife, September 7, 2017.

• “If a prisoner’s case got [international media] attention, they stopped torturing or raping them because they knew the world was watching….” — Mohabat News, October 23, 2017.

In a speech before the United Nations on September 20, 2017, presumably as a way to support his claim that Israel is “a rogue and racist regime [that] trample[s] upon the most basic rights of the Palestinians,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly portrayed his government as dedicated to “moderation and respect for human rights,” adding:

“We in Iran strive to build peace and promote the human rights of peoples and nations. We never condone tyranny and we always defend the voiceless. We never threaten anyone…”

One need only look to Iran’s Christians — who form 1% of its entire population — to test these claims. Unlike the persecution other Christian minorities experience in Muslim majority nations — which often comes at the hands of Muslim individuals, mobs, or professional terrorists — the primary driver of Christian persecution in Iran is the government itself.

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Iran’s Idea of “Human Rights”: Persecute Christians — Pulpit & Pen

Christianity Plummets in Australia as Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam Grow — Pulpit & Pen

Daily Mail

Religion in Australia is steadily changing, with the number of people turning to Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam rising.

The 2016 Census showed almost a third of Australia’s population identify as having ‘no religion,’ although many of those still see themselves as spiritual.

While Christianity’s popularity has plummeted, down from 96.9 per cent of the population in 1921 to just scraping half of today’s citizens at 52 per cent, Sikhism and Hinduism have steadily risen.

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Christianity Plummets in Australia as Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam Grow — Pulpit & Pen

October 10 A Right View of Self

“Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.”

Psalm 51:6


True confession involves a proper understanding of oneself.

The supreme goal pursued by many in our narcissistic culture is a “healthy” self–esteem. Even Christians have jumped on the self–esteem bandwagon, misconstruing Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 19:19) as a mandate for self–love. But the Bible nowhere commands us to pursue self–esteem; instead, it commands us to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). In Psalm 51, David gives three reasons why holiness is imperative in the life of every Christian.

First, because of unbelievers. David knew he could be a witness for God only if his life was holy. In verse 13 he noted that it was only after God forgave him that he could “teach transgressors [God’s] ways” and see “sinners … converted to [Him].” “You are a chosen race,” Peter agrees, “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Nothing shuts a Christian’s mouth so tightly as guilt over unconfessed sin.

Second, because of God. In verse 14 David acknowledged that only when his life was pure could he praise God. He prayed, “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.” In verses 16–17 David attested that God desires holiness of life, not conformity to external ritual, in His children. When believers lead holy lives, God is pleased; when they sin, He is dishonored (2 Sam. 12:14).

Third, because of other Christians. Believers’ sin always affects, directly or indirectly, other Christians. As king, David’s sin affected both his family and the entire nation of Israel (2 Sam. 12:10–12). Thus he concluded his prayer of confession by praying for the nation: “By Thy favor do good to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then Thou wilt delight in righteous sacrifices, in burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then young bulls will be offered on Thine altar” (vv. 18–19).

Does your confession reflect a right view of yourself?


Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that God would enable you to “cleanse [yourself] from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).

For Further Study: What do Psalm 66:18 and 1 Peter 3:7 teach about the connection between holiness and prayer?[1]

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

Portland Police Want To Charge Driver With Crimes After Escaping Mob Protest – Violent Protesters Considered “Victims” — The Gateway Pundit

As the videos from last weekend’s protest in Portland have gone viral, namely due to the dereliction of duty on the part of the Portland police allowing the violent leftist mob to take over the city, one particular video has caught the attention of police and Multnomah County district attorney Rod Underhill.

The video in question shows a man in a silver car getting caught up in the protest. Apparently fearing for his safety, the man starts to drive through the protest. One genius decides he’s going to jump in front of the car and try to stop it, as other members of the mob converge on the car, shouting obscenities at the driver and beating on his car. The driver eventually made it through, but stopped at the red light up the block. There, the protesters chased him down, smashed a window out in his car, and started threatening him.

Now police are encouraging the protesters to come forward as “victims” so they can charge the driver of the car with crimes. The police refer to the violent thugs as “pedestrians.”

Far left Willamette Week hack reporter Katie Sheppard writes:

Police Ask Pedestrians To Come Forward After Driver Slowly Pushes Through a Small Crowd of Protesters

Without statements from the people in the path of the silver Lexus, police say they may not have a case.

Portland police are seeking witnesses to a collision at Southwest 4th Avenue and  Madison Street on Saturday, in which the driver of a silver Lexus slowly pushed through a crowd of protesters crossing the street.

Video of the incident obtained by WW‘s news partner KATU-TV shows the car turning right into a crosswalk while the “walk” sign signaled that pedestrians could legally be in the crosswalk. A man dressed in black stops, plants his feet and places his hands on the hood of the Lexus. The driver continues to gently press the gas, slowly moving the man down the street several feet as other people bang on the car’s windows.

Portland police say the driver of the Lexus contacted the bureau and reported his vehicle suffered $3,000 in damage. The video shows protesters hit the exterior and photos show a cracked driver’s side window.

Police say they are seeking witness statements from the pedestrians to “learn what occurred from their perspective.”

A spokesman for the bureau says officers may forward evidence to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office without additional witnesses, but having the pedestrians’ statements might strengthen a case against the driver prosecutors decide to bring one.

“The information provided by those individuals is important and it would be optimal to provide the information to the MCDA for their review,” says spokesman Sgt. Christopher Burley. “It is important to note that the video may leave questions that cannot be answered without a person being present to answer the questions.”

This entire incident took place literally one block away from police central precinct headquarters, and not a single uniformed officer was dispatched to quell the unruly mob. One person managed to get a screen grab from one of the videos showing this brave “police officer” standing far away from the mayhem, refusing protect and serve.

So, according to this new legal standard, a mob of thugs apparently have the right to surround a police car of an “officer” on duty, threaten the officer, hit the car with fists and sticks, smash out the windows, and if the “officer” tries to escape the situation, then he is the one committing crimes while the innocent pedestrians then become the “victims”.

You can reach Portland Police “public information officer” Chris Burley at 503-823-0830.

Portland Police Want To Charge Driver With Crimes After Escaping Mob Protest – Violent Protesters Considered “Victims” — The Gateway Pundit

October 10 Searching for Truth

“Thy law is truth. … And all Thy commandments are truth. … The sum of Thy word is truth” (Ps. 119:142, 151, 160).


Scripture is the source of divine truth.

It amazes me how people can spend so much time searching for truth but ignore the Bible. In his poem Miriam, John Greenleaf Whittier reflected on the same conundrum:

We search the world for truth. We cull

The good, the pure, the beautiful,

From graven stone and written scroll,

From all old flower-fields of the soul;

And, weary seekers of the best,

We come back laden from the quest,

To find that all the sages said

Is in the Book our mothers read.

God never intended for truth to be mysterious or unattainable. His Word is a repository of truth, containing every principle we need for life and thought.

But knowing truth begins with knowing God, who is its Author. First John 5:20 says, “We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

The psalmist proclaimed, “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His precepts are sure. They are upheld forever and ever; they are performed in truth and uprightness” (Ps. 111:7–8).

As Christians, we are those who walk in truth. That’s how Jesus described us when He prayed to the Father: “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Similarly John said, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4). In contrast, unbelievers “suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” thus making themselves targets for the wrath of God (Rom. 1:18).

To love God is to love truth; to love truth is to love the Word. May you walk in the truth of God’s Word today and every day.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the privilege of knowing Him and being able to walk in His truth.

For Further Study: How does Jesus describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:17, 15:26, and 16:13?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 296). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

CNN anchor has a bizarre reaction to liberal protesters being called the ‘m-word’ | TheBlaze

CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin was visibly upset that a guest criticized the extreme behavior from left-wing protesters against Brett Kavanaugh, and called them “the m-word.”“Let me move past the m-word” Baldwin was discussing the political climate with conservative commentators Mary Katherine Ham and Matt Lewis when she appeared offended at the use of a certain word to describe protesters. Lewis used the example of obnoxious demonstrators screaming and yelling at Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his wife as they tried to eat dinner in Washington D.C. “I believe it’s the overreaction of the left,” Lewis said, “when you see people like Ted Cruz being chased out of restaurants by a mob…” “Oh, you’re not gonna use the mob word here,” Baldwin interrupted. “It’s totally a mob! It is without a doubt!” he responded. “Matt. Matt,” she scolded. “There’s no other word for it!” Lewis said. “Matt. A mob? Stop! Stop! A mob is what we saw in Charlottesville, Virginia, two Augusts ago,” she interjected, referring to an “alt-right” demonstration where a man rammed his car into left-wing counter-protesters and killed a young woman. “No, I think both!” Lewis objected. “A mob is not what we saw chasing,” Baldwin added. “I’m not saying what they did was right..”“Weaponization” on the right “What about the people that were on the Supreme Court, banging on the walls what do you call that?” Lewis continued. “Civil protest? Or is that a mob? I think it’s easily a mob.” “Yeah, and if it were TeaPartiers, we’d call it a mob for sure,” said Ham. “Let’s be serious.” “Let me move past the m-word, because do I feel like that is part of the weaponization of what’s happening now on the right,” Baldwin said. Watch the bizarre debate in the video below:


Many supporters of Brett Kavanaugh, including Republican members of Congress, have referred to the protesters as a “mob,” after they began to actively harass lawmakers in public. In another video that circulated widely on the right, frustrated protesters angrily clawed at the giant doors at the Supreme Court.
— Read on www.theblaze.com/news/2018/10/09/cnn-anchor-has-a-bizarre-reaction-to-liberal-protesters-being-called-the-m-word

What’s the Difference Between Heresy and Orthodoxy? — Cold Case Christianity

While we may be in a “post”-postmodern world, there are still many people who resist objective truth claims, particularly when these claims are moral or metaphysical in nature. Is anything objectively true, or is everything simply a matter of perspective and opinion? Christianity, as a worldview, rejects relativism. The Christian worldview makes specific claims about the character of God, the person of Jesus and the nature of Salvation. These truths are grounded and described in the Bible, and while we may not always agree on tangential issues, some truths are simply not negotiable. Some views about Jesus, for example, are true, and some views are false.

The earliest believers felt so strongly about the exclusive nature of truth (and were so convinced the scriptures taught objective facts about the nature of God, Jesus and Salvation) they declared these truths in a number of creeds. These believers rejected the notion of a theological smorgasbord, arguing, instead, for a number of minimum objective truths. Those who rejected these minimum truths were called heretics because they embraced inaccurate choices. The word “heresy” comes from the Greek word “hairesis”.

Heresy = Hairesis (Greek) = Choice

A word once describing choice is now accepted as a term conferring error and inaccuracy. This seems to reflect the exclusive nature of objective truth. Let me give you an example. Imagine picking an apple from a tree. As we begin to identify the fruit with a single word, how many options do we have? To be accurate, we would have to say, “This is an apple.” Do we have other accurate choices? Could we say, for example, “This is an orange” or “This is a cantaloupe”? No, if we want to be precise in our one word description, we don’t have a lot of choices; only one word describes the fruit. Heresies are inaccurate choices in light of non-negotiable realities:

“Heresy is an opinion or doctrine in philosophy, politics, science, art, etc., at variance with those generally accepted as authoritative” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Heresies are incorrect choices, based on some generally accepted authority. From a Christian perspective, heresies are claims contradicting the clear objective truths described in the Bible. Irenaeus (the ancient apologist and disciple of Ignatius and Polycarp) made careful distinctions between heresies and apostolic truth. In “Against Heresies”, Irenaeus laid out the heretical claims of some of his errant contemporaries, and compared these claims to the truths he had been taught by Polycarp (the disciple of the Apostle John). Irenaeus referred to his own beliefs as “orthodox”. This word is derived from two Greek root words:

Orthodox = Ortho (Right) + Dox (Belief)

In essence, Irenaeus used the word to describe those beliefs supported by the apostolic, Biblical teaching. The idea of a “right belief” presumes there are objectively accurate Christian truths, and the Bible is the authority upon which we discover these “right beliefs”. Like all humans, Christians ground truths in an authoritative text. We’re not alone in this approach to truth, by the way. As an atheist, I grounded my beliefs in the texts of scientists I accepted as authoritative (even though I had never performed experiments or conducted research on my own). Everyone bases their beliefs in authoritative texts of one kind or another; not every truth can be verified by of some empirical experiment or observation.

The authoritative text of the Bible is the standard by which Christians must ultimately measure and assess claims about God, Jesus, and Salvation. When our views are aligned with the teaching of Scripture, we are said to be orthodox; we possess “right beliefs”. When we choose options other than those described in Scripture, we are said to be heretical; we’ve chosen heresies. In both cases, our accuracy is determined by the authoritative text of scripture, rather than our own biased opinions. That’s why it’s so important to become good Christian Case Makers. Sometimes we’ll need to make a case for Christianity to an unbelieving world; sometimes we’ll need to make a case for orthodoxy to a misbelieving Church.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case DetectiveChristian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case ChristianityCold-Case Christianity for KidsGod’s Crime SceneGod’s Crime Scene for KidsForensic Faith, and Forensic Faith for Kids.

What’s the Difference Between Heresy and Orthodoxy? — Cold Case Christianity

Imperishable Beauty ~ Catch Up Week

Michelle Lesley

Normally, my studies are designed for individual, “take it at your own pace” use, but with the launch of our new Facebook Discussion GroupImperishable Beauty has become a bit more of a group study.

We’ve had several newcomers who started the study late, and everybody has busy schedules, which means a lot of us have fallen behind on the lessons. So, the ladies in the discussion group asked if I would build some “catch up weeks” into the study.

There is no new lesson today, so use this week to “ketchup” on any lessons you haven’t finished yet, review anything from previous lessons you’d like to give more attention to, work on those memory verses, or join the discussion group at the link above and chime in on some of the discussion questions.

If you’re already caught up on your lessons, here are a few “bonus” resources you…

View original post 32 more words

The Earth again is in jeopardy, and powerful politicians have only a few years to save us

The press is playing an old game now that its favorite stories are falling apart.

The mainstream media’s Russian collusion story, based on no actual evidence, has almost run its course.

So have the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, sexual assault stories. They never should have been printed because there was never any actual evidence or witnesses who said the assaults occurred.

The economy is thriving instead collapsing, which had been the prediction.

Tax cuts are helping the entire economy instead of just the rich as we were told.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has not been fired as we have been told (multiple times) would happen.

Health care costs are stabilizing instead of skyrocketing.

Trade deals are coming together.

North Korea is no longer testing missiles and scaring the world.

So what is the media supposed to report in their continuous campaign to elect Democrats this fall?

They’re pulling out the old fictitious story that humans are destroying the earth and the powerful government only has a few years to solve the problem.

Here’s Monday’s headlines:

World has just over a decade to get control of climate change, U.N. scientists say

When I read these stories with such dire predictions, all I can think of is the 1922 story I read in the Washington Post from the Associated Press. They made the same wrong predictions then as they do now.

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway.

Then I think of all the predictions that were made around fifty years ago to scare us. Here is an excellent compilation from the

18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” 

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, 

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Then I think of long droughts that have occurred through billions of years and I wonder why these solemn, supposed journalists won’t ask one simple question:

If humans, fossil fuels and CO2 cause droughts, how do they ever end?

See what I mean?

1911 in Australia: 1911-1916 Australian Drought.

The predictions have been wrong ever since modern record-keeping began, but that does not stop the Democrats with the claims, and educators from indoctrinating the public with such a load of crap.

The more things change…the more they stay the same.
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/10/the_earth_again_is_in_jeopardy_and_powerful_politicians_have_only_a_few_years_to_save_us.html

Wednesday Briefing Oct 10, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

Contagion of gender confusion fueled by new study on teens and gender identity

Why much of the moral confusion we see today is a socially-constructed confusion

As we see images of another hurricane approaching, we should be thankful that we live in an age when there are images to see

— Read on albertmohler.com/2018/10/10/briefing-10-10-18/

Stossel: Socialism Fails Every Time – Reason.com

People who fled Cuba and Venezuela warn Americans not to embrace socialism.


Socialism has become cool in America, under the nice name “democratic socialism.”

Gloria Álvarez ‏knows better, because she’s from Latin America and studied socialism there. She says: Watch out! Socialism has a clear track record of wrecking every country that implements it.

Cuba tried socialism. Things got so bad that tens of thousands fled the island on dangerous, makeshift rafts. Others paid lots of money to be allowed to leave.

Álvarez interviews people who fled. One man told her that in Cuba: “You don’t see any future. Everything is stagnated…health care, education, nowadays they’re in ruins.”

Another said: “My father [a doctor] had to sell illegal meats out of his ambulance…because Cuban doctors earn less than 1% of American doctors.”

Because of his experience with socialism, that man is now running as a libertarian for a Florida State House seat.

He adds: “I tell my Venezuelan friends, we warned you guys!”

After Cuba, Venezuela became immersed in socialism. For a while, things seemed to work OK thanks to the country’s oil wealth; Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, and used to be the richest country in Latin America.

Celebrities like Michael Moore and Sean Penn visited Hugo Chavez and praised his socialism.

Venezuelans were happy, too. A former mayor in Venezuela’s capital city told Álvarez: “People were clapping so hard. They were like, ‘Oh, finally there is somebody here making social justice.'”

But eventually socialism led to a mismanagement of the economy that was so bad that money started to run out. The government just printed more. So much more that it led to million-percent inflation.

Life savings were wiped out.

When businesses raised prices to try to keep up with inflation, Chavez and his successor, President Maduro, banned that.

When businesses did it anyway, they were seized by the government. This tragic video shows a shopkeeper pleading as his business is taken away. It wasn’t a one-time thing; more than 30,000 businesses were confiscated.

Now, millions starve. The average Venezuelan has lost 24 pounds. More than 2 million people have fled the country.

“It’s like the apocalypse. It’s no food. No medicine,” one Venezuelan told Álvarez.

But some still defend socialism, saying that what happened there “isn’t real socialism.” Bernie Sanders says: “when I talk about Socialism I am not looking at Venezuela, I’m not looking at Cuba. I’m looking at countries like Denmark, like Sweden.”

But Denmark’s prime minister says that’s a mistake: “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy,” he clarifies.

In Scandinavian countries, government regulates business less than America’s government does. Scandinavian countries don’t even have a minimum wage.

Real socialism looks more like Cuba and Venezuela.

Álvarez hopes people look at socialism’s track record before implementing it anywhere else.
— Read on reason.com/reasontv/2018/10/09/stossel-socialism-fails-every-time

October 10, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Great Triumph

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (15:54–56)

Christ’s resurrection broke the power of death for those who believe in Him, and death is no longer master over them because “death no longer is master over Him” (Rom. 6:9). But death is still the enemy of man. Even for Christians it violates our dominion of God’s creation, it breaks love relationships, it disrupts families, and causes great grief in the loss of those dear to us. We no longer need fear death, but it still invades and torments us while we are mortal.

But one day, when Christ returns, the perishable that “must put on the imperishable” (v. 53) will have put on the imperishable, and the mortal that “must put on immortality” will have put on immortality. Then will come the great triumph that Isaiah predicted, when death is swallowed up in victory. The Isaiah text reads, “He [the Lord of Hosts] will swallow up death for all time” (Isa. 25:8; cf. v. 6). When the great transformation comes, the great victory will come.

The well-known commentator R. C. H. Lenski writes,

Death is not merely destroyed so that it cannot do further harm while all of the harm which it has wrought on God’s children remains. The tornado is not merely checked so that no additional homes are wrecked while those that were wrecked still lie in ruin.… Death and all of its apparent victories are undone for God’s children. What looks like a victory for death and like a defeat for us when our bodies die and decay shall be utterly reversed so that death dies in absolute defeat and our bodies live again in absolute victory (The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1963], pp. 744–45).

Quoting another prophet (Hos. 13:14), Paul taunts death: O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? To continue with that metaphor, Paul implies that death left its sting in Christ, as a bee leaves its stinger in its victim. Christ bore the whole of death’s sting in order that we would have to bear none of it.

To make his point, the apostle reminds his readers that the sting of death is sin. The harm in death is caused by sin; in fact, death itself is caused by sin. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). Only where there is sin can death deal a fatal blow. Where sin has been removed death can only interrupt the earthly life and usher in the heavenly. That is what Christ has done for those who trust in Him. Our “sins are forgiven for His name’s sake” (1 John 2:12). Death is not gone, but its sting, sin, is gone. “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

It is not, of course, that Christians no longer sin, but that the sins we commit are already covered by Christ’s atoning death, so that sin’s effect is not permanently fatal. “The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). But for those who do not believe, death’s sting tragically remains forever.

Paul continues to explain the sequence leading to death by mentioning that the power of sin is the law. God’s law reveals God’s standards, and when they are broken they reveal man’s sin. If there were no law, obviously there could be no transgression. “Where there is no law neither is there violation” (Rom. 4:15). But men die because they break that law.

What about those who do not know God’s law, who have never even heard of, much less read, His Word? Paul tells us in Romans that when “Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (2:14–15). Anyone, therefore, who goes against his conscience goes against God’s law just as surely as anyone who knowingly breaks one of the Ten Commandments. That is the reason men are doomed to die (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).

The Great Thanksgiving

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (15:57)

Because of Jesus’ perfect obedience to the law (Rom. 5:19) and the satisfaction He made for its victims, those who trust in Him “are not under law, but under grace,” having “been released from the Law” (Rom. 6:14; 7:6). Jesus has both fulfilled the law and fulfilled righteousness. Because His life was sinless and therefore fulfilled the law, His death conquered sin.

Paul gives thanks to the One who will give us the great transformation of our bodies and who has made the great triumph over sin and death. That which we could never do for ourselves God has done for us through our Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot live sinlessly and thereby fulfill the law, nor can we remove sin once we have committed it, or remove its consequence, which is death. But on our behalf Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, fulfilling the law; removed our sin by Himself paying the penalty for it, satisfying God with a perfect sacrifice; and conquered death by being raised from the dead. All of that great victory He accomplished for us and gives to us. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). He took our curse and our condemnation and gives us victory in their place.

How can we do anything but thank and praise God for what He has done for us? He has promised us an imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual body for one that is perishable, dishonorable, weak, and natural. He promises us the heavenly in exchange for the earthly, the immortal in exchange for the mortal. We know these promises are assured because He has already given us victory over sin and death.

For Christians death has no more power (Heb. 2:14–15), because God has taken away our sin. For Christians death is but the passing of our spirits from this life to the next, the leaving of earth and going to be with Christ. Paul had only one reason for wanting to remain on earth: to continue his ministry for Christ on behalf of others. But for his own benefit and joy he had but one desire: “to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (Phil. 1:23–24).

In Christ’s victory over death, death’s sting is removed; it is declawed, defanged, disarmed, destroyed. “And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire, … and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Rev. 20:14; 21:4).[1]

55 Because God’s last word is resurrection, glorified and imperishable bodies, and the abolishment of death, Paul cries out in the words of Hosea, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (cf. Hos 13:14). Right now death does have a sting. Right now it appears as though death does have the victory, for there is not a single human being alive who will escape death if the Lord tarries. But what appears to be victory for “the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon” (Rev 9:11), will ultimately end in his defeat, for death itself will be vanquished along with its angel (20:10, 14–15).

56 Paul digresses before he writes his grand conclusion. He wants to identify more closely what the “sting” (kentron, GK 3034) is that will be conquered through the resurrection. That sting is “sin.” As Paul wrote in Romans 5:12, death entered into the human world as a result of Adam’s sin. Otherwise put, “the wages of sin is death” (Ro 6:23). But when Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for sin on the cross, died, and then rose again as the firstfruits (1 Co 15:20–23), the power of that sting was gone. Death remains an enemy, of course, but only temporarily. When the resurrection of the body occurs, the sting will be gone permanently (v. 26).

Paul follows this phrase up with one more teaser, which reflects a lifetime of theological thinking about the relationship of sin and the law: “The power of sin is the law.” According to Paul’s thinking in Romans, the law (though in itself holy, righteous, and good, Ro 7:12) generates in us a knowledge of sin (3:20; 5:13; 7:7). In fact, the law can even increase our sin (5:20), perhaps by provoking us to do precisely what it forbids. But Christ, through his sacrifice on the cross, “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13).

57 Thus, not only has the sting of death (sin) been removed, but also the power of sin (the law) has lost its grip—all through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the message that Paul triumphs in v. 57: “Thanks be to God,” who has given us the victory through what he accomplished in Jesus Christ. It is Christ, and Christ alone, who has achieved the victory.[2]

15:54–55 / Paul looks to the time of the resurrection of the dead, and as he does so he offers a prooftext for his point from Isaiah 25:8. The victory is God’s, through Christ, and this divine victory has implications for Christian hope and life (v. 54). To amplify his position Paul adds the words in victory to Isaiah’s phrase death has been swallowed up. Then, Paul continues in verse 55 with a quotation from Hosea 13:14, which he again adapts, tailoring the language of the biblical material to suit the context.

One sees the intricacy of Paul’s logic throughout this chapter, but especially by noticing that Paul introduces both quotations from the lxx at this point in relation to the statement he made earlier in 15:26, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” In declaring the inevitable demise of death, Paul originally quotes the ot (see v. 27) to validate this message of hope. Here again he issues a scriptural warrant to assure the readers that God’s word is trustworthy.

15:56 / Verse 56 is Paul’s own exegesis of the quotations from the prophets in the previous verses. One sees his hand clearly in the mention of law at the end of the line. This concern of Paul’s, well-known from other letters and in other heated discussions, is not a concern for Paul in this conversation with the Corinthians. This mention of the law does not reveal the depth of Paul’s reflection on the topic that can be seen in Galatians or Romans, where Paul wrestles with the issues and implication of the law for Christian life. Here he only mentions the law somewhat unfavorably, associating it with death and the sting of death, which is sin; indeed, he says the power of sin is the law. To restate the declaration that Paul never elaborates or explains, the law is the power of sin, which is the sting of death, which is the final enemy of Christ. One may infer that Paul did not see a place for the law in the reality of the resurrection of the dead. In brief, however, verse 56 is a concise attempt to state the magnitude and reality of God’s future resurrection of the dead.

15:57 / Lest the readers become uneasy by the future cast of Paul’s discussion of the resurrection of the dead, in this verse he continues with a doxological declaration of the meaning of all that he has written, especially in relation to the present. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and in the establishment of his lordship in the context of earthly existence, God had already anticipated and actualized in an anticipatory form the ultimate victory that will come in the mysterious end about which Paul has been writing.

This energetic word of thanksgiving to God for the victory given through the Lord Jesus Christ recognizes the present significance of what God is already doing and mitigates against the misperception that what God is doing in Christ has little to do with life in this world. Yet, the dominant future bent of Paul’s reflections is an important corrective to the denial of the resurrection of the dead.[3]

55. Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?

Verse 54a is a continuation and a verbal repetition of verse 53. By adding two time references, when and then, and changing the tense of the verb to put on to the past, Paul speaks as if a future event has already occurred. To be precise, the fulfillment of Paul’s words took place when Jesus rose from the dead. And with that resurrection, all believers know that also they will rise from the grave. This text is a vivid illustration of the constant tension in the New Testament of the now and the not yet. Through Jesus Christ, we acknowledge the reality of the resurrection, and through his promise to us we shall appropriate it at the consummation.

For the last time in this epistle, Paul quotes prophetic passages from the Old Testament Scriptures (Isa. 25:8; Hos. 13:14). He puts the fulfillment of the first prophecy in the future with these introductory words, “Then the saying that is written will be realized.” He quotes from the prophecy of Isaiah, but follows neither the Hebrew text nor the Septuagint. This is the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures: “He will swallow up death forever” (Isa. 25:8). And the Greek translation reads, “Death forcefully has swallowed [them] up.” According to the Hebrew text, the subject is God and death the object. But notice that Paul makes death the subject with the verb to swallow up in the passive. He adopts the Semitic style of writing the passive to circumvent the use of the divine name; he implies that God has eliminated death, that is, the power of death (refer to Heb. 2:14). And last, Paul changes the Hebrew translation forever to “in victory.” His wording accords with readings in other Greek translations of the Hebrew text.

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” Looking back at Jesus’ triumph over death and forward to the resurrection of all believers, Paul bursts out in jubilation. He understands the demise of life’s mortal enemy: death. Even though death continues to wield power as Christ’s last enemy (v. 26), Paul knows that God will destroy it. Death’s days are numbered.

Paul taunts death and asks mockingly: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” He borrows this second prophecy from Hosea, who writes that God will ransom the children of Israel from the grave and will deliver them from death. The prophet queries, “Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” (Hos. 13:14). The Greek translation reads: “Where, O death, is your penalty? Where, O grave, is your sting?” Paul has changed the word penalty into “victory” to suit the flow of his presentation. And in the second question he has substituted the word death for “grave,” which in the Septuagint is Hades. But Paul never uses Hades in all his epistles. Perhaps he feared being misunderstood by those Greek readers who were acquainted with ancient mythology in which Hades was a Greek god and the underworld was called “the house of Hades.” This word, then, could not be part of Paul’s vocabulary.

A last comment on this verse. When Jesus stopped Paul on the way to Damascus, he said that it was hard for Paul to kick against the goads (Acts 26:14). Paul had to cope with the scars of these goads the rest of his life. Now Paul sees that death no longer has a goad and is, in a sense, powerless. Other scholars refer to the word sting as that of a scorpion. Both a goad and a sting strike fear into the heart of man. But those who are in Christ do not fear death with its goad or sting, for they know that Jesus indeed has conquered death. Therefore, Paul can boldly say:

  1. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

In a single verse Paul expresses the doctrine of sin, the law, and death. What is this sting of death? Paul answers: sin. And what is the power of sin? Paul says: the law. So, what is the relation of sin, the law, and death? Sin is the cause of death, and knowledge of sin comes through the law. In brief, the law has a causative function. It brings to light sin committed against God. It gives sin its power, that without the law is dead (Rom. 7:8). The law, which is good, arouses sinful passions (Rom. 7:5), and as such empowers sin. The law convicts and condemns the sinner to death. Thus the law is an instrument of death because the sinner is unable to fulfill its demands. John Calvin observes, “Death has no other weapon except sin, with which to wound us, since death comes from the wrath of God. But God is angry only with our sins; do away with sin then, and death will not be able to harm us any more.… It is the Law of God that gives that sting its deadly power.”

Is there no hope? Yes, in response to Paul’s cry, “Who will rescue me from this body of death,” he answers, “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:24b–25). Paul proclaims the good news that Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law for his people.

  1. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s jubilation is an appropriate climax to his lengthy discourse on the resurrection. In this climax he expresses his gratitude to God for the victory obtained through Jesus Christ. The key word in this verse is the term victory, which echoes the Old Testament quotations in the previous verses (v. 54–55).

What is this victory? Jesus died because of our sins and conquered death for us by rising from the grave. Through his death, he set us free from the bondage of sin and declared us righteous before God. On the basis of his resurrection and glorification, we look forward to being like him. By faith in Christ, we share his victory over Satan, death, hell, and the grave (compare 1 John 5:4). Conclusively, our risen Lord triumphantly holds the keys of death and Hades (Rev. 1:18).

While serving Christ, Paul repeatedly faced death. Even though he knows that death is still a powerful force on earth, he is absolutely certain that Jesus Christ has conquered death. Hence, he writes “God … gives us the victory.” Paul uses the present tense; that is, God keeps on giving us the victory in Christ. We may appropriate Jesus’ triumph and rejoice in the riches of salvation that are ours.

Paul clearly states that God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. He notes first the work that Christ performed to set us free; next, he identifies Jesus as our Lord. We acknowledge him as our Lord and in gratitude serve him without distraction by doing his will. Christ is our victorious Lord and we are his grateful servants.[4]

15:55 This verse may well be a taunt song which believers sing as they rise to meet the Lord in the air. It is as if they mock Death because for them it has lost its sting. They also mock Hades because for them it has lost the battle to keep them as its own. Death holds no terror for them because they know their sins have been forgiven and they stand before God in all the acceptability of His beloved Son.

15:56 Death would have no sting for anyone if it were not for sin. It is the consciousness of sins unconfessed and unforgiven that makes men afraid to die. If we know our sins are forgiven, we can face death with confidence. If, on the other hand, sin is on the conscience, death is terrible—the beginning of eternal punishment.

The strength of sin is the law, that is, the law condemns the sinner. It pronounces the doom of all who have failed to obey God’s holy precepts. It has been well said that if there were no sin, there would be no death. And if there were no law, there would be no condemnation.

The throne of death rests on two bases: sin, which calls for condemnation, and the law which pronounces it. Consequently, it is on these two powers that the work of the Deliverer bore.

15:57 Through faith in Him, we have victory over death and the grave. Death is robbed of its sting. It is a known fact that when certain insects sting a person, they leave their stinger imbedded in the person’s flesh, and being thus robbed of their “sting,” they die. In a very real sense death stung itself to death at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and now the King of Terrors is robbed of his terror as far as the believer is concerned.[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 444–446). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 404–405). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (pp. 352–353). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, pp. 584–586). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1811). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.