Daily Archives: December 27, 2018

12/27/2018 — Wretched


•Entertaining people into the Church in the 19th century
•Pastors should heed the example of Old Testament priests
•God is Love, but what does that mean?
•Pilgrim’s Progress, slavery, and the burden of sin
•Church retreat for Goddesses
•Ezekiel 4:9 cereal; now with cow dung?
•Democrats don’t see a difference between Christianity and Islam

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12/27/2018 — Wretched

More Evidence of Church Apostasy — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

The evidence of the Church at large going into apostasy is overwhelming when reading daily news items.  It can be disheartening, but also encouraging at the same time because we know these apostates with fold with persecution and the true Church will become more evident.  Watch out for these wolves and false teachings of every sort, that you don’t let them lead you astray.
This is why we quit ringing the bells and supporting the Salvation Army.
These “churches” are dens of iniquity. Their leaders are wolves. The Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ especially long ago left any semblance of following Christ. The others mentioned in the article are following Satan as they worship Molech.
Beth Moore — again!  Why do churches continue to support her!?!?
Go figure; a United Methodist Church is putting on a Muslim Christmas play! Oh the apostasy of that denomination never ceases to amaze me!
Pope Francis proves he has no clue.  In fact, he is trying to convince everyone that we need more Muslim “immigrants!”  (As well as “immigrants” in general.) As usual, the Pope cares nothing for sovereign nations and their laws, contrary to what Scripture says about obeying the laws of the land. He is a shill for the LEFT.
The Church of England has bowed to the “transgender” agenda and has approved baptism for them.
I’ve posted many things about James MacDonald over the years, but here is an excellent article exposing all sorts of sin and corruption problems at Harvest Bible Chapel. And here is a followup. And, another one.
Lifeway “Christian Resources” is just another minefield of false teachings, and yet get praise from The Gospel Coalition!
With a place like this as their seminary, it’s no wonder that the ELCA has been apostate for decades!
So why hasn’t Rome excommunicated all these apostates?!?!?
More on the situation with Lauren Daigle; some people don’t like their favorite stars to be criticized.  I found this article to be right on the money, but also quite humorous.
A perfect example of why Andy Stanley MUST be considered a false teacher — his new book, Irresistible.
A “bishop” of Satan’s “church.”  How these people can thumb their noses at God and expect His blessings is beyond me!

More Evidence of Church Apostasy — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

‘Israel’s wall works 99.9%’: Trump says shutdown only about Democrats not letting him win

US President Donald Trump is accusing the Democrats of opposing funding for a border wall only to deny him and the Republican party a policy victory. Walls work, Trump says, pointing to the case of Israel.

Source: ‘Israel’s wall works 99.9%’: Trump says shutdown only about Democrats not letting him win

Trump Trolls Barack Obama over His 2011 Comments on Illegal Immigration — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump trolled failed president Obama over his past comments on illegal immigration today.

Trump tweeted out Obama’s tweet from 2011.

Of course, Obama did nothing to close the southern border but he did lock immigrant children in cages.

President Trump also lashed out at Open Borders Democrats on Thursday in a series of tweets.

The president pointed out that there is a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant killer.

This is interesting.

via Trump Trolls Barack Obama over His 2011 Comments on Illegal Immigration — The Gateway Pundit

December 27 The Best Use of Life

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21


Personalize today’s verse by filling in the blanks: “For to me, to live is __________, and to die is __________.” If you put wealth in the first blank, dying brings not gain but loss. The same is true if you selected prestige, fame, power, or possessions because none of those things remains after death: prestige is lost, fame is forgotten, power is useless, and possessions are taken by others. For today’s verse to make sense as Paul wrote it, only Christ can fill the first blank. Otherwise, death is inevitably a loss.

Some who read this will say they put Christ in the blank. But if they think about it carefully, they will realize that what they really meant was Christ plus wealth, Christ plus power, or Christ plus possessions. Christ can’t share the first blank with anything else. Those who truly live for Christ have no fear of death and make the best use of life—in both they glorify Christ.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 388). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Syria: Mr. President, You Made the Right Move

Article Image
https://rense.com, By Devvy

Let me take you back to two of my columns. First: Democrat Congresswoman Introduces Bill That Must Anger Obama, November 23, 2015 – I know everyone is busy but I ask you to please take time to read that column. The factual information I provided must get out to the American people so they understand the big picture and stop being distracted by BS headlines; anything to fill space on “news” web sites.

“As I have written several times, you and I are being raped in taxes to fund so-called rebels in Syria who want their legally elected president, Assad, thrown out of office. Assad is another bad guy who oddly enough has protected Christians in his country even though he is a Shia muslim.

“Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat, and Austin Scott, a Republican, introduced legislation on Friday to end what they called an “illegal war” to overthrow Assad, the leader of Syria accused of killing tens of thousands of Syrian citizens in a more than four-year-old civil war entangled in a battle against IS extremists, also known as ISIS.

Poll: Americans Trust Clergy Less than Ever — Pulpit & Pen

[HuffPo] The level of trust Americans have in clergy members has dropped to a record low, a recent Gallup survey suggests.

The polling organization found that only 37 percent of 1,025 respondents had a “very high” or “high” opinion of the honesty and ethical standards of clergy, according to a report published on Thursday. Forty-three percent rated clergy’s honesty and ethics as “average,” while 15 percent had low or very low opinions.

The 37 percent positive rating is the lowest Gallup has recorded for clergy since it began examining views about religious leaders’ ethical standards in 1977.

Currently, only 31 percent of Catholics and 48 percent of Protestants rate the clergy positively, according to Gallup.

Gallup has been asking Americans to rate the honesty and ethical standards of clergy since 1977.
Gallup has been asking Americans to rate the honesty and ethical standards of clergy since 1977.

John Fea,  a professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania,
told HuffPost he believes the prominence of the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal this year may be contributing to a lack of trust in the clergy.

In July, Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, resigned from the church’s College of Cardinals amid allegations that he had sexually abused children and adult seminarians over decades. And in August, a Pennsylvania grand jury identified 301 predator priests and more than 1,000 victims in a landmark report into sexual abuse in the state. The report has inspired other attorneys general across the U.S. to start similar investigations into the cover-up of sexual abuse in Roman Catholic dioceses.

“Men and women turn toward clergy in some of the most intimate moments of their lives,” Fea told HuffPost in an email. “The kinds of scandals and authoritarian leadership that we saw this year among the clergy undermines the trust we place in them.”

Stephen Prothero, a professor of American religions at Boston University, told HuffPost that along with Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis, there’s another factor at play. Prothero wrote in an email that he believes the increasing entanglement of evangelical Protestants and key evangelical leaders with the Republican Party has led many to view Christianity as a right-wing political movement “more concerned with getting people like President [Donald] Trump elected than with saving souls.”

“The overwhelming majority of American clergy are neither sexual predators nor right-wing political hacks,” Prothero told HuffPost. “But this is one of those cases of a lot of bad apples spoiling the whole bunch.”

Only 37 percent of respondents had a “very high” or “high” opinion of the honesty and ethical standar
Only 37 percent of respondents had a “very high” or “high” opinion of the honesty and ethical standards of clergy, according to a Gallup report.

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Gallup has been asking Americans to rate the honesty and ethical standards of various professions for 42 years. The company has asked the question about the clergy’s honesty 34 times over that time period.

Trust in clergy hit a historical high of 67 percent in 1985. A sharp drop occurred in 2002, the year the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team first started reporting on the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. Positive views about clergy have been steadily declining since 2012, Gallup stated.

Fea said American religion has always existed in a “consumer society,” where individuals “shop” for the churches that best meet their needs. Fueled by a general distrust in the authority of the clergy, Americans have been finding other sources for their spiritual nourishment, he wrote.

“With Internet churches and other kinds of on-line social media offering spiritual advice and counsel, coupled with the sex abuse scandals, the clergy does not seem to be as important any more as people seem to place their trust in other places,” Fea said.

A Gallup poll measured the public's views of the honesty and ethical standards of members of various occupations.
A Gallup poll measured the public’s views of the honesty and ethical standards of members of various occupations.

Americans viewed clergy as less honest than police officers, accountants, and funeral directors, Gallup’s December report states, but more trustworthy than bankers, lawyers, business executives and telemarketers.

To continue reading, click here.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Carol Kuruvilla and first posted at the Huffington Post]

via Poll: Americans Trust Clergy Less than Ever — Pulpit & Pen

Leftists Mock First Lady Melania For Wearing ‘Timberland Boots’ – But They Loved Michelle Obama’s Streetwalker Thigh-High Glittery Boots — The Gateway Pundit

Our lovely First Lady Melania joined her husband and surprised US troops in a post-Christmas visit to Al Asad Airbase in Iraq this week.

As usual, Melania Trump looked gorgeous in a mustard yellow top and dark pants. She swapped her usual high heels for ‘Timberland boots.’

The First Lady is in a combat zone so she’s trying to balance fashion and comfort, but the left just can’t help themselves — they had to mock Melania’s shoes.

The hate-filled leftists who always attacks Melania Trump for her heels and now these ‘Timberland’ boots just loved Michelle Obama’s streetwalker thigh-high glitter boots she paired with an ill-fitting dress.

First Lady Melania Trump already has set a number of records as First Lady.

Melania Trump is:

  • First First Lady not to have been born a citizen of the United States or in what would later become the United States. (Though Louisa Adams was born outside of the United States, she was the daughter of an American father – Joshua Johnson, the American Consul in London – and American citizenship was therefore her birthright.)[38][39] She naturalized in 2006.[40][41][42]
  • First First Lady to be born in Slovenia.
  • First First Lady to be fluent in five languages.[22] Besides Slovene, which is her native language, she speaks EnglishGermanFrench and Italian.[43]
  • First First Lady to be a non-native speaker of English.[22]

Melania Trump is also the first First Lady to have a successful career as a fashion model.

And on Wednesday Melania Trump became one of the first First Ladies to enter a combat zone.

But leftists only have the brain power to talk about Melania’s shoes and debate whether our troops violated military rules because Trump signed red MAGA hats. Let that sink in.

via Leftists Mock First Lady Melania For Wearing ‘Timberland Boots’ – But They Loved Michelle Obama’s Streetwalker Thigh-High Glittery Boots — The Gateway Pundit

December 27 God Becomes Visible

“[Christ] is the image of the invisible God.”

Colossians 1:15


In Christ, the invisible God became visible.

Sometimes I listen to different preachers on the radio or watch them on television, and I get tremendously frustrated. That’s because so many of them present a confusing picture of who Christ really is. Since there are so many who distort the Christian faith, there should be in every believer a desire to defend it. The apostle Paul certainly had that desire. Since the heretics at Colosse viewed Jesus as a lesser spirit who emanated from God, Paul refutes that with a powerful description of who Jesus really is.

Paul describes Him as “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). The Greek word translated “image” (eikon) means “likeness.” Although man is also the eikon of God (1 Cor. 11:7), he is not a perfect image of God. Humans are made in God’s image in that they have rational personality. Like God, they possess intellect, emotion, and will, by which they are able to think, feel, and choose. We humans are not, however, in God’s image morally: He is holy, and we are sinful. We are also not created in His image essentially, since we do not possess His divine attributes.

Unlike man, Jesus Christ is the perfect, absolutely accurate image of God. He did not become the image of God at the Incarnation but has been that from all eternity. Hebrews 1:3 says Christ “is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature.” Christ reflects God’s attributes and is the exact likeness of God. That is why Christ could say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

By using the term eikon, Paul emphasizes that Jesus is both the representation and manifestation of God. He is the full, final, and complete revelation of God. He is God in human flesh. That was His claim (John 8:58), and it is the unanimous testimony of Scripture (cf. Col. 2:9; Titus 2:13). To think anything less of Him is blasphemy and gives evidence of a mind blinded by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4).


Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for removing your spiritual blindness so that you could “see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

For Further Study: According to Romans 8:29, what has God predestined for all believers?[1]

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

Being a witness: an interview (of sorts) with Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) has long since been retired from his earthly duties, but the Presbyterian pastor, philosopher, and apologist was still up for an interview (of sorts) on the desperate need for a clear Christian witness in the public square.

The text in bold is his own words, taken from his book A Christian Manifesto.


JON DYKSTRA: A Christian Manifesto was your last book. Why did you feel the need to write it?

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: It was intended as a rallying cry for Christians, to stand up against the world’s humanist worldview, by offering up God’s own. The basic problem of the Christians in this country…in regards to society and in regards to government is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals. They have gradually become disturbed over permissiveness, pornography, the public schools, the breakdown of the family, and finally, abortion. But they have not seen this as a totality – each thing being a part, a symptom of a much larger problem. [We] have failed to see that all of this has come about due to a shift in…. the overall way people think and view the world and life as a whole. This shift has been away from a worldview that was at least vaguely Christian…toward something completely different – toward a worldview based upon the idea that the final reality is impersonal matter or energy shaped into its present form by impersonal chance.

 The phrase “separation of church and state” has been used to push Christians to the sidelines in politics, and we have, for the most part, gone willingly. Christians have forgotten that the Lordship of Christ covers all of life and all of life equally. That includes politics as well. A Christian Manifesto is a call for Christians to reenter the public square as Christians. It argues that the Christian worldview is absolutely vital to civil society and we need to share it with them.

JD: Why is it vital?

FS: Because it is foundational! In the American Constitution we have the phrase “certain inalienable rights.” Who gives the rights? The State? Then they are not inalienable because the State can change them and take them away. Where do rights come from? Now Christians know there is Someone who gave these inalienable rights, but if you don’t recognize the Giver, how can you recognize His gift? If we ignore God and build our law on humanist assumptions we are left with rights that have no foundation. And if we can’t explain the basis for these rights, how can we complain when they are taken away? That’s why a secular worldview is the road to tyranny.

JD: How should Christians respond when their government ignores God?

FS: Be a witness! We are where we are today in large part because of the many voters who held to two bankrupt values – personal peace and affluence. Personal peace means just to be left alone, not to be troubled by the troubles of other people, whether across the world, or across the city. Affluence means an overwhelming and ever-increasing prosperity – a life made up of things and more things – success judged by an ever-higher level of material abundance. Even as voters demand peace and prosperity, we Christians need to stand on principle. We need to speak, even when that is going to cause us trouble, and cost us materially.

JD: But are Western Christians prepared for the cost that comes with being a witness?

FS: Many are scared. That’s because obedience can be scary. I know many among your readership had grandparents involved in hiding Jews from the Nazis. What your grandparents understood is that when we recognize Christ as Lord of All then at a certain point there is not only the right, but the duty to disobey the State. That’s why your grandparents were willing to risk the wrath of Man – because they valued the approval of God.

JD: You’re talking here about there being a time and place for civil disobedience. What cautions or considerations would you share when it comes to resisting a government imposing wicked laws?

FS: Samuel Rutherford suggested that there are three appropriate levels of resistance: First, [the Christian] must defend himself by protest (in contemporary society this would most often be by legal action); second, he must flee if at all possible; and third, he may use force, if necessary to defend himself. One should not employ force if he may save himself by flight; nor should one employ flight if he can save himself and defend himself by protest and the employment of constitutional means of redress.

JD: Here in the West we are still free to make use of the first possibility, taking legal and political action. What would you say to Christians who are hesitant to speak out against our society’s humanist worldview, and downright scared about presenting the explicitly Christian alternative?

FS: I would tell them the world needs to hear a Christian witness. And until we share that, anything we do is only treating the symptoms. Then I might quote to them a few lines from Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming:

You’ve got gangsters in power and lawbreakers making rules
When you gonna wake up,
When you gonna wake up,
When you gonna wake up
And strengthen the things that remain?

A version of this article first appeared in the March 2008 issue.

Source: Being a witness: an interview (of sorts) with Francis Schaeffer

Where Was The Media Outrage When 18 Migrants Died In Custody Under The Obama Administration?

Over Christmas, there was another tragedy at the border. An eight-year-old migrant boy died while in the custody of the Border Patrol. It’s horrible. It’s not something that anyone wants in these situations, but U.S. immigration authorities didn’t murder the child, which is heavily insinuated if not suggested by members of the liberal media. We have some folks going off half-cocked saying we have full-blown concentration camps under the Trump presidency when it comes to border enforcement. It’s straight up insanity. Then again, what would you expect the reaction would be from a movement that wants open borders? Associated Press has more:

According to a DHS call this morning the child’s father was offered but rejected medical treatment after the child threw up https://t.co/5Ns6Jtd9Uz

— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) December 26, 2018

This is despicable and dishonest. The editor of @thedailybeast thinks it’s appropriate to falsely blame CBP for this death, despite all evidence suggesting they did everything possible to save this child’s life.

Also, neither the child or dad were being prosecuted. https://t.co/yA20MdWnup

— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) December 26, 2018

The media was widely called out for misleading the public last time this happened, yet they decided to run with these B.S. headlines yet again.

The kid was given extensive medical treatment. There is nothing in this article, once again, to suggest CBP did anything wrong. https://t.co/8tDqxpdxU7

— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) December 25, 2018

U.S. Customs and Border Protection ordered medical checks on every child in its custody Tuesday after an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died, marking the second death of an immigrant child in the agency’s care this month.

The death came during an ongoing dispute over border security and with a partial government shutdown underway over President Donald Trump’s request for border wall funding.

The boy, identified by Guatemalan authorities as Felipe Gómez Alonzo, had been in CBP’s custody with his father, Agustin Gomez, since Dec. 18. CBP said in a statement late Tuesday that an agent first noticed the boy had a cough and “glossy eyes” at about 9 a.m. Monday. He was eventually hospitalized twice and died just before midnight, the agency said. CBP earlier said that the boy died just after midnight.

CBP said in the statement it needs the help of other government agencies to provide health care. The agency “is considering options for surge medical assistance” from the Coast Guard and may request help from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A CBP spokesman could not immediately answer how many children are currently in the agency’s custody. But with border crossings surging, CBP processes thousands of children — both alone and with their parents — every month.

Immigration advocates and human rights groups sharply criticized CBP in the wake of Felipe’s death. The body of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, who died earlier this month, was returned this week to her village in Guatemala for burial.

You knew this was going to be used to attack the Trump White House. Enforcing federal immigration laws is evil, you see. And we have a new sheriff in town that is—you know—going to do that. This infuriates the Left to no end. Once again, we have to take liberal media by the hand to show that much of what Trump is doing at the border is what the Obama administration did. The Obama administration shot tear gas at migrants at the border, they separated children from adults at the border, and guess what; migrants died under the custody of U.S. immigration officials. In fact, 18 migrants died under the Obama regime. When are we going after him for being a proto-Nazi (via Daily Caller)?

Source: Where Was The Media Outrage When 18 Migrants Died In Custody Under The Obama Administration?

Becoming more like Jesus — Evangelical Magazine

Growing as a Christian can feel daunting. We want to become more like Jesus, but we know we’ve got a long way to go and we can often feel like we’re going backwards. So, how can we grow?

The answer is given in 2 Corinthians 3:18.

‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’

It’s by seeing and admiring Jesus’ glory that we are transformed to become like Jesus, all through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

During the football World Cup, children across the world were trying to be like their favourite footballer. They copied their tricks and wore replica shirts with their player’s name on. Some even copied their hairstyle to look as much like them as they could! Why did they do this? Because they admire that player so much.

Similarly, the more we see and admire the wonderful glory, beauty and holiness of Jesus, the more we will become like him. Jesus lived a wonderfully attractive life: he lived to please his heavenly Father. As he did that, he loved others more than himself. He sacrificed himself, his own life for us. The love of Jesus is wonderful. The more we see that, the more we will adore him and start to become like him.

Notice, the answer isn’t found in making up all sorts of strict rules about what we can or can’t do. Just trying to keep strict rules won’t truly change us to become like Jesus. In fact, if we only follow rules without getting to know Jesus better, we’re likely to become even colder towards other people.

Rules don’t change hearts, but revelation does – that is, the revelation of Jesus to our hearts. Then our hearts will be changed to become like him, keeping his law.

So, what do we need to do about this?


Firstly, we need to pray. When it comes to seeing and admiring Jesus’ glory, we need help. The problem is a bit like my struggle to appreciate artwork by post-impressionists like Vincent van Gogh. I just don’t see what’s so attractive about their paintings! I certainly wouldn’t choose to have a print on a wall in my home. But if I had someone help me to appreciate their paintings, I would begin to admire them. Similarly, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we will be able to see and admire more of Jesus’ glory.

We can ask confidently for the Holy Spirit’s help because he is so powerful. Just look at how 2 Corinthians 4:6 describes God’s power: ‘God, who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.’ It’s saying that the awesome power of God that brings streaming rays of light to brighten the face of Earth is the same power that is at work in us. So, he is able to shine the glory of Christ into the darkness of our hearts and enable us to cherish Jesus. I find that hugely encouraging whenever I’m struggling to be excited about Jesus.

Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see more of Jesus’ glory.

God’s Word

Then, we need to read God’s Word. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that we see the glory of Christ in the gospel. It’s there that we see his sacrificial love for us sinners. He came as the promised Messiah, he knew what he would go through but came as a man for us anyway. It’s in the gospel that we see his sufferings for us in dying that cruel, excruciating death for us while taking the wrath of God that we deserved – to save you and me. What wonderful love! Also, in God’s law and in Christ’s life, we can look at his perfect character that always stood for what is right. In fact, throughout Scripture, we see different aspects of the glory of Jesus and his gospel displayed in various ways.

So, as we read the Bible, we will see more of Jesus, which is what we need to become like him. With the Holy Spirit’s help we’ll read about Jesus and be able to say, ‘Jesus is wonderful! I want to become like him!’

Conversely, we can expect to become less like him if we are not reading the Bible regularly. That’s because our hearts will become set on other things instead. We mustn’t kid ourselves that we can be a healthy, godly Christian without reading God’s Word each day. Also, to benefit from our daily Bible readings, we need them to be more than just another thing on our ‘to do list’. Otherwise, we’re only going through the motions and not really taking it in. Instead, take time to savour the good news of Jesus.

So, what do you need to rearrange in your diary to give you time in God’s Word? Why not ask your pastor for help in your personal Bible reading so you can dig deeper?

Treasure Jesus

Thirdly, be careful what you treasure and admire. In his book, We become what we worship, Greg Beale highlights a convicting warning that God gave to Israel in the book of Isaiah. God said that Israel had become like the idols they worshipped. They had ears, but were unable to hear; they had eyes, but were unable to see; and so on. Israel had become spiritually lifeless.

The same will happen to us too if we set our hearts on modern-day gods. If we treasure money, we will become spiritually lifeless; if we treasure status, we will become spiritually as shaky as the precarious status we seek; if we treasure comfort, we will become spiritually lazy and unproductive.

That’s why it’s dangerous to treasure anything other than Jesus. Treasuring other things will lead us to become spiritually frail and lifeless. Whereas, treasuring Jesus will renew us in the image of God to live as the people he created us to be (Colossians 3).

Is there anything in your life that has become more precious to you than Jesus? If so, ask for God’s help to see Jesus as greater than that thing, in fact far greater than anything else.


Lastly, take heart that this is an ongoing process. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we are ‘being transformed’. We’re not going to be transformed overnight, so don’t lose heart when you hit a setback or don’t make progress as quickly as you’d like. But be encouraged that God is still changing you, one wonderful step at a time. And one day, when we see him as he is, we will be made perfectly like him (1 John 3:2).

via Becoming more like Jesus — Evangelical Magazine

December 27, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Remember Your Salvation

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (3:4–7)

As the apostle moves to his third reminder, the transitional conjunction But turns the emphasis from remembering our former condition of lostness to the equally important need to remember our present condition of salvation. Again, Paul lists seven categories (as in both previous points), this time the seven aspects of salvation that are revealed in the single sentence that comprises verses 4–7.

In this short passage Paul sweeps across the glorious truths of salvation, every facet of which is sovereignly initiated and empowered by God alone. There are doctrines here that could be studied and pondered for months without mining all their truth.

We are now radically different from the way we once were, and from the way the unsaved still are, solely because of God’s kindness, His love, His mercy, His washing of regeneration, His renewing by the Holy Spirit, His Son Jesus Christ our Savior, and His grace.

Among other things, remembering our salvation should motivate us to keep in mind that the only reason we are different now is that He saved us. When we are bombarded by our ungodly culture—by ungodly media, ungodly educators, ungodly politicians, ungodly entertainers and sports figures, ungodly books and magazines, ungodly neighbors and co-workers, and even by ungodly friends and relatives—we should focus above all else on the sovereign grace of God, who delivered each one of us from that life purely by His own will and for His own glory and not because of anything desirable or worthy that was in us. It is God “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), who does not wish “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9), and who “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life, … that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:16–17).

Every aspect of salvation is from God and from God alone. First, we should remember that we were saved by the kindness of God our Savior. Chrēstotēs (kindness) connotes genuine goodness and generosity of heart. Our salvation from sin and lostness and death issued wholly from God’s kindness, His loving, benevolent, and entirely gracious concern to draw us to Himself and redeem us from sin forever.

It is God’s nature to be kind to the lost. “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return,”

Jesus commanded; “and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35, emphasis added). God is kinder still to His children, those who are saved. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul declared, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4–7, emphasis added).

Paul again refers to God as Savior, the central title for both God the Father and for Christ the Son and the theme of this letter (see also 1:3, 4; 2:10, 11, 13; 3:6). Near the beginning of his letter to believers in Rome, the apostle asked rhetorically, “Do you think lightly of the riches of His [God’s] kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4; cf. 11:22). It is the sovereign kindness of God that initiates repentance, the first step in salvation.

Second, we should remember that we were saved by God’s uninfluenced and unearned love for mankind, a phrase that translates the compound Greek noun philanthrōpia, from which the English philanthropy is derived. It is composed of phileō (“to have affection for”) and anthrōpos (“man,” or mankind) and refers to compassion, especially the eagerness to deliver someone from pain, trouble, or danger. It involves more than mere emotion and always finds a way to express itself in some form of helpfulness.

In the last two chapters of Acts, Luke records two instances of unsaved Gentiles showing philanthrōpia. Before Paul boarded ship to be taken as a prisoner to Rome, the centurion “Julius treated Paul with consideration [philanthrōpia] and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care” (Acts 27:3). After the shipwreck off the coast of Malta, Paul and all the others on board managed to safely reach shore, just as God had promised (27:22–26). Luke then reports that “the natives showed us extraordinary kindness [philanthrōpia]; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all” (28:2).

The Old Testament speaks often of the Lord’s loving kindness, which never ceases or fails (Lam. 3:22). David declared, “Thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness and truth” (Ps. 86:15; cf. 145:8). Another psalmist proclaimed, “He has made His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate” (Ps. 111:4).

In the present passage, kindness and love for mankind are virtually synonymous. The two words together, especially in the context of these four verses, reflect the even deeper agapē love that God has for-fallen mankind. The best known and most beloved passage that expresses God’s agapē love is “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Because of God’s great and compassionate love for mankind, He delivers sinners from the oppression and fatal danger of their iniquity.

It was through the incarnation of Jesus Christ that God’s sovereign kindness and love for mankind appeared, at which time His grace also appeared (Titus 2:11). “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4–6). All believers can exult with Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20; cf. Rev. 1:5).

John Calvin wrote that, although God

testifies his goodness and love to all, yet we know it by faith only, when he declares himself to be our Father in Christ. Before Paul was called to the faith of Christ, he enjoyed innumerable gifts of God, which might have given him a taste of God’s fatherly kindness; he had been educated, from his infancy, in the doctrine of the law; yet he wanders in darkness, so as not to perceive the goodness of God, till the Spirit enlightened his mind, and till Christ came forth as the witness and pledge of the grace of God the Father, from which, but for him, we are all excluded. Thus he means that the kindness of God is not revealed and known but by the light of faith.

Third, we should remember that we did not save ourselves by self-effort or any other means, but that God saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.

Saved is from sōzō, which, although it is sometimes used in the New Testament of physical, temporal deliverance (see, e.g., Matt. 8:25; John 12:27), is most often used of spiritual salvation. Those words have always been cherished by those who have been saved. Our salvation is the most important and precious thing about us, to which nothing else can begin to compare. Biblical Christianity is a saving religion, and salvation has always been the central theme of Christian songs and hymns.

In the negative sense, salvation relates to our deliverance from the penalty of sin, that is, from divine wrath, spiritual death, and hell. Still again, we are pointed to that beloved text in the gospel of John. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,” the Son Himself declared, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved [sōzō] through Him” (John 3:16–17).

In the positive sense, salvation grants us the privilege “to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), to be made “alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:5), to be delivered “from the domain of darkness, and transferred … to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13), and to have “the hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2).

After Pentecost, “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). In words that may have been part of an early church creed, Paul wrote, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). The purpose of the incarnation was to accomplish the sacrifice that would save lost sinners, among whom we all were once numbered (Eph. 2:5).

The Savior did not redeem us because of anything that we were, or could ever be, in ourselves. Ephesians 2:8–9 makes it clear: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8–9). No deeds, even those done in relative righteousness, could have earned or merited our salvation. We made no contribution to God’s sovereign and gracious work of salvation. We did not deserve deliverance from sin and death. We did not deserve to be born again, recreated in the very image of our Lord. We did not deserve to become God’s children and joint heirs with His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We did not deserve the promise of everlasting life, which we will spend in heaven in the continual presence of God.

We were rather saved according to His mercy. Mercy is from eleos, which refers to the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who receive it and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it. In some ways, mercy is similar to grace, which Paul mentions in verse 7. But whereas grace relates to guilt, mercy relates to affliction. Whereas grace relates to the state of the sinner before God the judge, mercy relates to the condition of the sinner in his sin. Whereas grace judicially forgives the offender for his wrongdoing, mercy compassionately helps him recover.

Fourth, we should remember that we were saved by God’s mercifully deciding to grant the washing of regeneration. When we were saved, we were cleansed of our sin, the decay and filth that is produced by spiritual deadness. Speaking of that truth in his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul explains that we were cleansed “by the washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:26). James declares that, “In the exercise of His will He [God] brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:18). Peter reminds us that we “have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23).

Palingenesia (regeneration) carries the idea of receiving new life, of being born again, or born from above. Jesus told the inquiring Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5; cf. Eph. 5:26). In his first letter, the apostle John repeatedly speaks of the marvelous truth of the new birth. We are assured that, “If [we] know that He [Christ] is righteous, [we also] know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29). Conversely, we also are assured that “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (3:9; cf. 5:18). We are assured that “everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (4:7) and that “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (5:1).

Fifth, we should remember that our salvation came through our renewing by the Holy Spirit. This phrase moves to the next logical step: the effect, or result, of regeneration—namely, the new life that emerges from the new birth. In Romans 8:2, Paul reveals that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” The Holy Spirit, working through the Word, empowers our new life in Christ. “If any man is in Christ,” the apostle explains in his second letter to the church in Corinth, “he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). That is the Spirit’s work of sanctification (cf. 1 Pet. 1:2). He begins moving the believer up the ladder of glory from one level to the next (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).

The Father not only saved us through His Holy Spirit, but He poured out His Spirit upon us richly and without measure when we were born again (cf. Acts 2:38–39; 1 Cor. 12:7, 11, 13). The Lord “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power [of His Holy Spirit] that works within us” (Eph. 3:20). Because of that available power in us, we are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual life, sustains our spiritual life, empowers our spiritual life, and guarantees that our spiritual life will become eternal life, because He is the seal, or guarantee, of eternal life (Eph. 1:13–14).

Sixth, in order to prevent feelings of hostility toward the corrupters of our society, we should remember that we were saved only by the substitutionary and atoning sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Savior, which God, by His eternal decree, made efficacious for us before we were even born. His death in our place and for us is the means, and the only means, of our salvation. In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter declared to the assembled Jews that, although Jesus was put to death by their own ungodly leaders, He nevertheless was sovereignly “delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). And the death that He died in God’s plan was a death in which He bore all the sins of all who would ever believe.

The seventh aspect of sovereign salvation is equally from God alone. We should remember that we were saved by God’s grace, as Paul has already alluded to in verse 5. In his second letter to Timothy, the apostle explains in more detail that God “has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Tim. 1:9; cf. Rom. 4:2–8; 9:11; Eph. 2:8–9).

Paul is not here using justified in its narrow, forensic sense of God’s declaring believers righteous based on the merits of Jesus Christ that are applied on their behalf (see, e.g., Rom. 4:6–8; cf. 3:24, 26; Gal. 2:7). He is rather using justified in its broad, more general sense as a synonym for salvation. Even John Calvin, a stickler for the narrow, precise definition of justification, recognized that in this passage it refers to salvation in general. He says, “What does he mean by the word justified? The context seems to demand that its meaning shall be extended further than to the imputation of righteousness.”

Paul used his own life as proof that salvation is based entirely on the gracious merit and work of Christ. “If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more,” he testifies:

[I was] circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. (Phil. 3:4–9)

Because Jesus paid the price for our sins, they are graciously removed; justice is fully satisfied; and God’s kindness, love, mercy, regeneration, renewing, and grace are therefore enabled to act. Grace gives us what we do not and cannot deserve. We do not deserve to be forgiven, to have our sins removed, to have Christ’s own righteousness imputed to us, to be given heavenly citizenship, to be justified, sanctified, and one day glorified in the very presence of our gracious Savior and Lord. The bottom line is stated in the three words: He saved us!

That divine saving grace provides another amazing benefit to undeserving sinners: By faith they are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. As Paul declares more fully in his Roman letter, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:16–17). Peter exults: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven” (1 Pet. 1:3–4).[1]

5. Not by works. Let us remember that here Paul addresses his discourse to believers, and describes the manner in which they entered into the kingdom of God. He affirms that by their works they did not at all deserve that they should become partakers of salvation, or that they should be reconciled to God through faith; but he says that they obtained this blessing solely through the mercy of God. We therefore conclude from his words, that we bring nothing to God, but that he goes before us by his pure grace, without any regard to works. For when he says,—“Not by works which we have done,” he means, that we can do nothing but sin till we have been renewed by God. This negative statement depends on the former affirmation, by which he said that they were foolish and disobedient, and led away by various desires, till they were created anew in Christ; and indeed, what good work could proceed from so corrupt a mass?

It is madness, therefore, to allege that a man approaches to God by his own “preparations,” as they call them. During the whole period of life they depart further and further from him, until he puts forth his hand, and brings them back into that path from which they had gone astray. In short, that we, rather than others, have been admitted to enjoy the salvation of Christ, is altogether ascribed by Paul to the mercy of God, because there were no works of righteousness in us. This argument would have no weight, if he did not take for granted, that everything that we attempt to do before we believe, is unrighteous and hateful to God.

Which we had done. To argue from the preterite tense of this verb, that God looks at the future merits of men when he calls them, is sophistical and foolish. “When Paul,” say they, “denies that God is induced by our merits to bestow his grace upon us, he limits the statement to the past time; and therefore, if it is only for the righteousness going before that no room is left, future righteousness is admitted to consideration. But they assume a principle, which Paul everywhere rejects, when he declares that election by free grace is the foundation of good works. If we owe it entirely to the grace of God, that we are fit for living a holy life, what future works of ours will God look upon? If, previously to our being called by God, iniquity holds such dominion over us, that it will not cease to make progress till it come to its height, how can God be induced, by a regard to our future righteousness, to call us? Away then with such trifling! When Paul spoke of past works, his sole object was to exclude all merits. The meaning of his words is as if he had said,—“If we boast of any merit, what sort of works had we?” This maxim holds good, that men would not be better than they were before, if the Lord did not make them better by his calling.

He hath saved us. He speaks of faith, and shews that we have already obtained salvation. Although, so long as we are held by the entanglements of sin, we carry about a body of death, yet we are certain of our salvation, provided that we are ingrafted into Christ by faith, according to that saying,—“He that believeth in the Son of God hath passed from death into life.” (John 5:24.) Yet, shortly afterwards, by introducing the word faith, the Apostle will shew that we have not yet actually attained what Christ procured for us by his death. Hence it follows, that, on the part of God, our salvation is completed, while the full enjoyment of it is delayed till the end of our warfare. And that is what the same Apostle teaches in another passage, that “we are saved by hope.” (Rom. 8:24.)

By the washing of regeneration. I have no doubt that he alludes, at least, to baptism, and even I will not object to have this passage expounded as relating to baptism; not that salvation is contained in the outward symbol of water, but because baptism seals to us the salvation obtained by Christ. Paul treats of the exhibition of the grace of God, which, we have said, has been made by faith. Since therefore a part of revelation consists in baptism, that is, so far as it is intended to confirm our faith, he properly makes mention of it. Besides, baptism—being the entrance into the Church, and the symbol of our ingrafting into Christ—is here appropriately introduced by Paul, when he intends to shew in what manner the grace of God appeared to us; so that the strain of the passage runs thus:—“God hath saved us by his mercy, the symbol and pledge of which he gave in baptism, by admitting us into his Church, and ingrafting us into the body of his Son.”

Now the Apostles are wont to draw an argument from the Sacraments, to prove that which is there exhibited under a figure, because it ought to be held by believers as a settled principle, that God does not sport with us by unmeaning figures, but inwardly accomplishes by his power what he exhibits by the outward sign; and therefore, baptism is fitly and truly said to be “the washing of regeneration.” The efficacy and use of the sacraments will be properly understood by him who shall connect the sign and the thing signified, in such a manner as not to make the sign unmeaning and inefficacious, and who nevertheless shall not, for the sake of adorning the sign, take away from the Holy Spirit what belongs to him. Although by baptism wicked men are neither washed nor renewed, yet it retains that power, so far as relates to God, because, although they reject the grace of God, still it is offered to them. But here Paul addresses believers, in whom baptism is always efficacious, and in whom, therefore, it is properly connected with its truth and efficacy. But by this mode of expression we are reminded that, if we do not wish to annihilate holy baptism, we must prove its efficacy by “newness of life.” (Rom. 6:4.)

And of the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Though he mentioned the sign, that he might exhibit to our view the grace of God, yet, that we may not fix our whole attention on the sign, he immediately sends us to the Spirit, that we may know that we are washed by his power, and not by water, agreeably to what is said,—“I will sprinkle on you clean waters, even my Spirit.” (Ezek. 36:25, 27.) And indeed, the words of Paul agree so completely with the words of the Prophet, that it appears clearly that both of them say the same thing. For this reason I said at the commencement, that Paul, while he speaks directly about the Holy Spirit, at the same time alludes to baptism. It is therefore the Spirit of God who regenerates us, and makes us new creatures; but because his grace is invisible and hidden, a visible symbol of it is beheld in baptism.

Some read the word “renewing” in the accusative case, thus:—“through the washing of regeneration and (through) the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” But the other reading—“through the washing of regeneration and of the renewing of the Holy Spirit”—is, in my opinion, preferable.[2]

God’s saving work


Five times in the Pastoral Epistles—1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:8, 9; 2 Tim. 2:11–13; Titus 3:4–8—Paul gives us what he calls a ‘trustworthy’ or ‘faithful’ saying. These appear to have been well known among the early Christians, and each receives Paul’s apostolic endorsement. Here in Titus 3:4–8 we have the last and longest of them—a saying that celebrates God’s saving work in his people’s lives.

If you were to make a list of New Testament passages that illustrate how greatly God in salvation has blessed his people, you would certainly want to include this one and might well put it near the top. Paul tells us here that notwithstanding our great sinfulness (v. 3) we have been the objects of God’s kindness, love, mercy, and grace (vv. 4, 5, 7). And the fruit of it is rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, justification, and the hope of eternal life (vv. 5–7).

Before we come to the details there is an important question we need to ask. Why does Paul say these things at this point in his letter? The answer is found in verse 8 where Paul writes to Titus, ‘I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.’ There is a lifestyle that he wants believers to embrace, one that is characterized by good works. And it is in order to motivate us to do those good works that he reminds us of God’s saving work in our lives. The passage fits in, therefore, with what is evidently one of Paul’s major concerns in the letter as a whole, namely, the promoting of godly living.

The great things God has given us

The three words in verse 5 that the NIV gives us twice over, ‘he saved us’, are the key words in the passage. They tell us what this ‘trustworthy saying’ is principally about—God’s saving work in our lives. But what does it all mean? What does God actually do when he saves us? Paul identifies three things that are given to us.

A new beginning

Many would love to make fresh start. They are not happy with the way their lives have gone, with the things they have experienced and done. If only they could begin again! In a very real way when God saves us he gives us that very thing. Paul speaks in verse 5 about ‘rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’. It is the language of new beginning. From this point onward a whole new life begins—a life of faith, penitence, love, and obedience.

This is no exaggeration. There is nothing superficial about the Spirit’s renewing activity at the outset of our Christian lives. One writer has described it as an ‘all-pervasive moral transformation changing the whole man in heart, disposition, inclination, desire, motive, interest, ambition and purpose’. The Scriptures bear that out. It is what God promised through the prophet Ezekiel when he said, ‘A new heart … will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you’ (Ezek. 36:26). And further, ‘I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws’ (Ezek. 36:27). We are radically changed when the Spirit renews us. The whole of our nature is affected for good. And the change inevitably shows itself in the way that we live.

Of course, as every Christian knows, to renew is not to perfect. We still carry around with us a heart that is sinful, and, because of that to devote ourselves to doing what is good (v. 8) can sometimes be a struggle. But through the Spirit a transformation has begun. And that transformation always makes itself visible in the adoption of a lifestyle that is pleasing to God.

A new standing

According to verse 7, God in saving us has not only renewed us. He has also ‘justified’ us ‘by his grace’. It is the language of a new standing or legal status.

Imagine you are a defendant in a court of law—the man or woman accused. The evidence has all been sifted; the jury has finished its deliberations; and now the critical moment for the verdict to be announced has come. Guilty or not guilty? ‘Not guilty!’

Whenever such a thing happens the defendant, to use Paul’s word in verse 7, has been justified. It is a legal word and means to find and declare that in the eyes of the law the person accused is innocent and therefore free to leave the court.

It is this amazing thing that God does when he saves sinners. He justifies them. In spite of all the sins of which they are justly chargeable he is now able to regard and treat them as righteous in his sight. He forgives their sins, frees them from the condemnation they deserve, and makes them heirs of eternal life.

From other passages of Scripture—most notably Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians—we learn in detail how God can do such a thing righteously. We learn that it is wholly on account of Christ. It is because of his perfectly obedient life and his sacrificial death that God can justly forgive and treat as righteous those who believe in him.

Here in Titus, however, it is simply the fact of our justification that is stressed. We have a new standing! Right up to the moment God saved us we stood guilty and condemned. But now our standing in his sight is altogether different. Through Christ our sins have all been pardoned. A perfect righteousness has been credited to our account. God can justly regard and treat us now as if we had perfectly kept his law. And he both does and will!

A new future

It is said of the Old Testament character Enoch that ‘he walked with God’ (Gen. 5:24). The same may be said of every Christian. In giving us a new beginning and a new standing, God has brought us into a very close relationship with himself. We have peace with him because he has justified us (Rom. 5:1), and we have a heart for him because he has renewed us. The fruit of it is that we walk with him.

It is the language of intimacy, friendship, companionship. We are no longer separated from God as we were before our sins were dealt with. There has been reconciliation and reunion. We now go through life together, because he is with us all the time. As we do so we talk with each other. We talk to God in prayer; he talks with us through the Scriptures. Furthermore, as we journey on in his company we try to serve him, do his will, and bring glory to his name. That is Christian life for us!

And the great thing is that this life with God is going to go on for ever and ever. It is eternal. Having been ‘justified by his grace’, verse 7, we have ‘become heirs having the hope of eternal life’. What a contrast this new future presents to the one that we had before God saved us! That was as dark as can be imagined. We were on our way to hell. But now we have the prospect of eternal life. We have become heirs to it. We are going to walk with God always—in the unending enjoyment of his friendship and love.

In seeking to attract sinners to Christ, preachers will often speak about the privileges that Christians enjoy. They have every warrant to do so. In saving us God has given us a new beginning, a new standing, and a new future. Our privileges are great indeed!

What moves God to give these things

There is more to this trustworthy saying than an enumeration of God’s good gifts to us. We also learn what moves God to give them.

Firstly, and negatively, it is ‘not because of righteous things’ that we have done (v. 5). Think about what we sometimes do with young children. Their toys are scattered all over the room, and we tell them to pick them up and tidy them away. We know of course that they will not be able to do it perfectly. But we want them to make the attempt. And when they have done it we are happy to do the rest.

There are many who seem to think that that is how God acts. They make an effort to clean up their lives and keep God’s commandments in the hope that he will deem that to be enough. But God does not save us in that way. He does not take note of what we do, feel pleased with us, and then reward us by doing the rest. It is ‘not because of righteous things’ that we have done!

This is a note that the New Testament strikes frequently. In Ephesians 2, for example, Paul reminds his readers that ‘by grace you have been saved … not by works, so that no one can boast’ (vv. 8, 9). In Romans 3 the same apostle writes, ‘we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law’ (v. 28). The point is made again in Galatians where Paul states that ‘a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ’ (2:16). And in a personal note in Philippians Paul says that his desire is ‘to gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ’ (3:9). The good things we have been given have not in any way been earned by us.

What was it then that did move God to give them? Four words stand out as we read through the passage—kindness, love, mercy, and grace. It was ‘when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared’ that he saved us (v. 4). It was ‘not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy’ (v. 5). It was ‘by his grace’ that he justified us (v. 7).

These words of course have their own distinct meanings. Mercy, for example, takes account of our helplessness and points us to God’s pitying, compassionate heart. Grace has reference to our undeservingness and again speaks of God’s pitying, compassionate heart. What a thoroughly wretched state we were in! We were ‘foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another’ (v. 3). Nevertheless we were the objects of God’s love. And it was that that moved him to save us.

A godly lifestyle

There is an important principle that we see illustrated in various parts of the New Testament: great blessings place us under great obligations. Take, for instance, Romans 12:1: ‘Therefore, I urge, you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.’ For eleven chapters Paul has been writing about God’s mercy to us in salvation. And now, at the beginning of chapter 12, he turns to the obligation this mercy has placed us under and urges us to offer ourselves to God.

We have another example at the beginning of Philippians 2: ‘If you have any encouragement from being united to Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose’ (vv. 1, 2). Paul is reminding us of our blessings—our union with Christ, our comfort from his love, our fellowship with the Spirit, our experience of God’s tenderness and compassion—and is indicating what our response to these blessings should be. We should be like-minded; we should have the same love; we should be one in spirit and purpose.

Then there is our present passage. Why dwell at such length on the great things God has done in his love and kindness? The answer, as we noted at the beginning, is found in verse 8: ‘I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works’. God’s mercy calls us to a lifestyle characterized by good works. It obliges us to devotedly do what is good. And it is in order to motivate us to fulfil this obligation that Paul has spoken of the things that he has.

Doing good is a very broad-ranging thing. It ultimately takes in the whole will of God for us. It means being all that God wants us to be whether as husbands or wives, parents or children, brothers and sisters in the Lord, neighbours, colleagues, employers, workers, citizens, or friends. The apostle himself has given us some of the details in the course of chapter 2. And our abiding concern should be to take these details and out of thankfulness to God for what he has done for us to seek in a devoted way to fulfil them.[3]

3:5 / What God did, “when” his “kindness and love” for mankind appeared, was to save us. This is the main subject and verb of the whole sentence. The rest of the sentence gives the basis (his mercy), the what (rebirth, renewal, justified), the means (by the Holy Spirit, “by his [Christ’s] grace”), and the goal (the hope of eternal life) of salvation.

The basis of salvation is expressed in thoroughly Pauline terms. It was not because of any righteous things we had done (cf. Eph. 2:8–9; Phil. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:9), emphasized in this way here (and not in terms of “works of Law”—found only in Romans and Galatians) because of his frequent appeal for good deeds in this letter (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14). On the contrary, “ ‘tis mercy all, immense and free.” As throughout the ot, salvation is God’s prior action, based entirely on his mercy (cf. 1 Tim. 1:12–16). Paul more often uses “grace” for this idea (but see Rom. 11:30–32); here, God in mercy … saved us (v. 5) “by [Christ’s] grace” (v. 7).

The what of salvation is expressed in three metaphors: rebirth and renewal in this verse and justification in verse 7. Between them they condense the twofold aspect of Christian conversion: (1) a new (renewed, restored) relationship with God—the positional aspect—expressed by “justification” and (2) a radical change in one’s inner being—the regenerational aspect—expressed in new birth (palingenesia, “regeneration”) and renewal (anakainōsis). In this sentence the aspect of re-creation is mentioned first, with emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit, who accomplished it through washing us. This latter expression is seen by the niv (and more clearly in gnb), probably correctly so, as a metaphor for spiritual “cleansing,” although perhaps also alluding to baptism.

The niv, however, as with many translations, is quite ambiguous as to the intent of a very difficult phrase, which literally reads: “through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” For this collection of genitives (“of” phrases) there have basically been three positions (with various modifications within each):

(1) That washing refers to conversion (or baptism) and renewal to the coming of the Spirit, with both words dependent on through and referring to two distinct realities. Thus: “through the ‘washing’ found in rebirth and through the renewal that comes with the gift of the Spirit.” These two realities are variously seen as conversion and confirmation (the traditional view) or conversion and baptism in the Spirit (a Holiness-Pentecostal view). But there are some distinct disadvantages to this interpretation, including the fact that the words rebirth and renewal are nearly synonymous metaphors and that such an intent seems to need a repeated through in order to make it clear.

(2) That washing refers solely to baptism and as such controls both genitives, “regeneration and renewal,” which are effected at baptism by the Holy Spirit. Thus: “through the regenerating and renewing work of baptism effected by the Holy Spirit.” This is the more common interpretation, which in turn elicits considerable discussion over the meaning of baptism in Paul and in this passage. The two words “regeneration and renewal” can be seen either as synonyms (“the washing of regeneration and renewal, effected by the Holy Spirit”) or as one phrase explaining the other (“the washing of regeneration, that is, the renewal of the Holy Spirit”). Although this view is certainly to be preferred in terms of its understanding of the middle terms, “regeneration and renewal,” it tends to put more emphasis on baptism than the full context warrants.

(3) That washing probably alludes to baptism but is in fact a metaphor for spiritual cleansing and not a synonym for baptism itself, the emphasis in the entire phrase being on the cleansing, regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. Thus: “through the ‘washing’ by the Holy Spirit that brings rebirth and renewal.” This is probably the view of the niv (since it does not repeat “the” before renewal); in any case, it seems most likely to be Paul’s own intent. It is fully in keeping with Pauline theology that the Holy Spirit is the absolute prerequisite of Christian existence (e.g., 1 Cor. 2:6–16; Rom. 6–8), and it seems confirmed by the emphases in the sentence itself (see disc. on v. 6).

Of the middle terms, rebirth is found frequently in Hellenism and Hellenistic Judaism for a whole variety of “rebirths”—of deities in the mystery cults (e.g., Plutarch, Isis and Osiris 35), of the Jewish homeland (Jos., Antiquities 11.66), of the reincarnation of souls (e.g., Plutarch, On the Eating of Flesh 1, 2), and of initiates into the mystery cults (see note). One might compare the eschatological “regeneration of all things” mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 19:28. The idea here, of course, reflects Paul’s “death, burial, new life” metaphor found in Romans 6:4–14. The term renewal occurs only in Paul (cf. Rom. 12:2), and later Christian literature dependent on Paul, in all of Greek literature. The idea is reflected elsewhere in Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:14–17. Thus the two words are twin metaphors for the same spiritual reality—the re-creating work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.[4]

Ingredients of salvation (3:3–8)

Paul now spells out the theological reason why we can expect Christians to have a social conscience and to behave responsibly in public life. The logic is seen in the pronouns: ‘Remind them to be conscientious and considerate citizens, because [gar is unaccountably omitted by niv] we were ourselves once anti-social, but he (God) saved and changed us.’ That is, the only reason we dare instruct others in social ethics is that we know what we were once like ourselves, that God nevertheless saved us, and that he can therefore transform other people too. It is not enough to affirm that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (2:11); we must be able to say that he saved us (3:5), even he saved me. It is not just history which raises our expectations; it is experience. Without a personal experience of salvation we lack the right, the incentive and the confidence to teach social ethics to others.

So Paul now gives a condensed but comprehensive account of salvation. Verses 4–7 are a single long sentence, which he may have taken from an early Christian creed.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

The whole sentence hinges upon the main verb he saved us (5). It is perhaps the fullest statement of salvation in the New Testament. Yet whenever the phraseology of salvation is dropped into a conversation today, people’s reactions are predictable. They will either blush, frown, snigger, or even laugh, as if it were a huge joke. Thus the devil, whose ambition is to destroy, not to save, succeeds in trivializing the most serious question we could ever ask ourselves or put to anybody else. For Christianity is essentially a religion of salvation. To prove this, it is enough to quote two biblical assertions: ‘the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world’ and ‘the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost’.11

So we have to come to terms with the concept of ‘salvation’, and one of the best ways is to study verses 3–8 of Titus 3. For here Paul isolates six ingredients of salvation—its need (why it is necessary), its source (where it originates), its ground (what it rests on), its means (how it comes to us), its goal (what it leads to) and its evidence (how it proves itself).

  • The need of salvation

In verse 3 the apostle supplies an unsavoury picture of the state and conduct of unregenerate people. In doing so, he discloses what we ourselves used to be like. Moreover, this is not an exaggeration, but ‘the very exact image of human life without grace’. It is perhaps best grasped as four couplets.

First, at one time we too were foolish, disobedient. In other words, we were both mentally and morally depraved. We lacked sense (anoētos) and sensibility (apeithēs). This is elaborated in the next pair.

Secondly, we were deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. Both verbs are passive in form, and so indicate that we were the victims of evil forces we could not control. We were not ‘foolish’ only, but deceived. We were not ‘disobedient’ only, but enslaved. Doubtless Paul is alluding to the Evil One, that arch-deceiver who blinds people’s minds and that arch-tyrant who also takes people captive.14 We were his dupes and his slaves.

Thirdly, we lived in malice and envy, which are very ugly twins. For malice is wishing people evil, while envy is resenting and coveting their good. Both disrupt human relationships.

Fourthly, we were being hated and hating one another. That is, the hostility which we experienced in our relationships was reciprocal.

Thus a deliberate antithesis seems to be developed between the kind of people Christians should be (1, 2) and the kind of people we once were (3). It is a contrast between submissiveness and foolishness, between obedience and disobedience, between a readiness to do good and an enslavement by evil, between kindness and peaceableness on the one hand and malice and envy on the other, between being humble and gentle and being hateful and hating.

How is it possible to get out of the one mindset and lifestyle into the other, and to exchange addiction for freedom? The answer is given in verse 5: he saved us, he rescued us from our former bondage and changed us into new people. The New Testament loves to dwell on this transformation, which salvation entails, by using the formula ‘once we were … but now we are …’

  • The source of salvation

If we were truly deceived and enslaved, one thing is obvious: we could not save ourselves. Yet the possibility of self-salvation is one of the major delusions of New Age philosophy. It teaches that salvation comes not from without (someone else coming to our rescue) but from within (as we discover ourselves and our own resources). So ‘look into yourself’, Shirley MacLaine urges us, ‘explore yourself’, for ‘all the answers are within yourself’. And in her subsequent book, which is revealingly entitled Going Within, she writes that ‘the New Age is all about self-responsibility’, i.e. taking responsibility for everything that happens, since ‘the only source is ourselves’.

But Paul teaches a different source of salvation. With verse 4 he turns from us in our depravity to ‘God our Saviour’ (1:3; 2:10; 3:4), from our hatred of one another to his amazing love for us. Paul traces our salvation right back to its source in the love of God. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared (4), that is, in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, he saved us. Then at the end of verse 5 Paul mentions God’s ‘mercy’ and in verse 7 his justifying ‘grace’. These are four tremendous words. God’s ‘kindness’ (chrēstotēs) is shown even to ‘the ungrateful and wicked’; his ‘love’ (philanthrōpia) is his concern for the whole human race; his ‘mercy’ (eleos) is extended to the helpless who cannot save themselves; and his ‘grace’ (charis) reaches out to the guilty and undeserving.

Thus salvation originated in the heart of God. It is because of his kindness, love, mercy and grace that he intervened on our behalf, he took the initiative, he came after us, and he rescued us from our hopeless predicament.

  • The ground of salvation

Granted that God’s love is the source or spring from which salvation flows, what is the ground on which it rests? On what moral basis can God forgive sinners? It is true that in explicit terms this question is neither asked nor answered in Titus 3. Yet it is implicit in the antithesis of verse 4, which declares that he (God) saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. Not our righteousness but his mercy is the ground of our salvation. This sharp contrast between the false and the true way of salvation is hammered home in the New Testament by constant repetition.

God does not save us because of his mercy alone, however, but because of what his mercy led him to do in the sending of his Son. His attribute of mercy is indeed the source of our salvation; his deed of mercy in Christ is its ground. This is implied in Paul’s previous statement that the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared (4). For this saving ‘appearance’ clearly refers to the historical event of Christ’s coming to save, as in 2:11 and 2 Timothy 1:10. Further, although there is no specific allusion to the cross, this must have been in Paul’s mind, since twice elsewhere in the Pastorals he affirms that Christ ‘gave himself’ for our redemption (2:14; 1 Tim. 2:6). The ground of our salvation, therefore, is not our works of righteousness but his work of mercy in the cross.

  • The means of salvation

In order to clarify what the main verb is, on which this long sentence depends, the niv repeats it in verse 5 (he saved us … he saved us …), although it occurs only once in the Greek text. On the one hand, he saved us … because of his mercy, that is, because of his merciful deed (the ground of our salvation); on the other, he saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (the means of our salvation). Here is a composite expression containing four nouns—washing, rebirth, renewal and the Holy Spirit. What do they mean?

Washing (loutron) is almost certainly a reference to water baptism. All the early church fathers took it in this way. This does not mean that they (or Paul) taught baptismal regeneration, any more than Ananias did when he said to Saul of Tarsus, ‘Get up, be baptised and wash your sin away, calling on his name.’21 Most Protestant churches think of baptism as ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace’, namely of the washing away of sins, and of new birth by the Holy Spirit. But they do not confuse the sign (baptism) with the thing signified (salvation).

The next two nouns (rebirth and renewal) are variously understood. ‘Rebirth’ translates palingenesia, which Jesus used of the final renewal of all things, and which the Stoics used for the periodical restoration of the world, in which they believed. Here, however, the new birth envisaged is individual (like the ‘new creation’ of 2 Cor. 5:17) rather than cosmic. It speaks of a radical new beginning, since ‘God has not repaired us, but has made us all new’. The other noun, ‘renewal’, translates anakainōsis. It may be synonymous with ‘rebirth’, the repetition being used for rhetorical effect. Or it may refer to the process of moral renovation or transformation which follows the new birth.

The Holy Spirit is of course the agent through whom we are reborn and renewed, and whom God poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour (6b). The use of both the verb ‘pour out’ (ekcheō) and the aorist tense suggests that the reference is to the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and the statement that he was poured out on us denotes our personal share in the Pentecostal gift.

The question which perplexes all commentators is how these four nouns, which have been called a ‘string of genitives’, are meant to be related to one another. The av deliberately places a comma in the middle of them and translates: ‘by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost’. The value of this rendering is that it distinguishes between the outward washing of baptism and the inward renewal of the Holy Spirit. But it also has the disadvantage of separating the Holy Spirit from the regeneration he brings about.

So other versions delete the comma and understand the expression as a single, complex phrase, not least because none of the nouns is preceded by the definite article. It could then be paraphrased that ‘God saved us through a rebirth and renewal which were outwardly dramatized in our baptism but inwardly effected by the Holy Spirit’. Or, reversing the order, ‘God generously poured the Holy Spirit upon us; this outpoured Spirit has inwardly regenerated and renewed us (or has regenerated us and is renewing us); and all this was outwardly and visibly signified and sealed to us in our baptism.’

Salvation means more than an inward rebirth and renewal, however. It also includes having been justified by his grace (7). We must decisively reject the rsv and jb version, which says that God saved us through rebirth ‘so that we might be justified by his grace’. For justification is emphatically not the result, still less the object, of our regeneration. These two works of God are rather parallel and concurrent. Salvation includes both. Justification means that God declares us righteous through the sin-bearing death of his Son; regeneration means that he makes us righteous through the indwelling power of his Spirit. So we must never confuse justification and regeneration, our new status and our new birth. Nor should we ever attempt to separate them. For God always does both together. He never justifies people without at the same time regenerating them, and he never regenerates them without justifying them. The work of Christ in justification and the work of the Spirit in regeneration are simultaneous.

  • The goal of salvation

God saved us, Paul wrote, … so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (7). All those whom God has justified and regenerated become his heirs, because he has saved us for this purpose. We are ‘heirs of God and coheirs with Christ’. And as his nominated heirs we cherish the sure expectation that one day we will receive our full inheritance in heaven, namely ‘eternal life’, an unclouded fellowship with God. During the present age, although we have received a foretaste of eternal life, the fullness of life is the object of our hope, and we are its ‘heirs-in-hope’.27 Yet our hope is secure because it rests on God’s promise (1:2).

This is a trustworthy saying (8a), Paul adds. We have seen that the Pastorals contain five ‘trustworthy sayings’ (pithy statements which Paul endorses). This is the only one in Titus. In three of them the formula almost certainly relates to what follows. But here in Titus (as probably in 1 Tim. 4:9), it seems rather to refer back to what precedes it, that is, to Paul’s ‘glowing statement’ of salvation. Whether it covers the whole of verses 3–7 or less, commentators differ. Though a longer ‘trustworthy saying’ than the others, it is still a concise, single-sentence utterance. And Paul endorses it. It is true, he says; it may be trusted.

  • The evidence of salvation

Although the ‘trustworthy saying’ formula seems to have concluded Paul’s exposition of salvation, he has not yet finished the topic. He will not leave it without underlining the indispensable necessity of good works in those who profess to have been saved. And I want you to stress these things (that is, the essential ingredients of salvation), so that those who have trusted in God (and so have been saved by faith) may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good (8b).

What kind of good deeds does the apostle have in mind? Because the verb translated ‘to devote themselves’ (proïstēmi) can have the almost technical sense ‘to practise a profession’, the rsv margin translates it ‘to enter honourable occupations’, and the reb margin ‘to engage in honest employment’. But the context does not require, or even encourage, this meaning. The reference seems to be a more general one to good works of righteousness and love. Although Paul has made it plain in verse 5 that God has not saved us ‘because of righteous things we had done’, he nevertheless now insists that believers must devote themselves to good works. Good works are not the ground of salvation, but they are its necessary fruit and evidence. It is in this way that these things are excellent and profitable for everyone (8c).

The necessity of good works has been noted by several commentators as a major topic of the Pastorals. Robert Karris, for example, has called it ‘the author’s basic message’. But it is Gordon Fee who has drawn particular attention to it, not so much in the Pastorals in general, as in Titus in particular. ‘The dominant theme in Titus … is good works … that is, exemplary Christian behaviour, and that for the sake of outsiders’ and ‘in contrast to the false teachers’. It is ‘the recurring theme of the entire letter’.

The expression ‘good works’ (kala erga) occurs fourteen times in the Pastorals. Paul seems to emphasize five points. First, the very purpose of Christ’s death was to purify for himself a people who would be enthusiastic for good works (Tit. 2:14). Secondly, although good works can never be the basis of salvation (Tit. 2:5; 2 Tim. 1:9), they are its essential evidence (Tit. 3:8, 14). Thirdly, it is therefore to be expected that all Christians will be ‘equipped’ and ‘ready’ to do good works, women seeking this special adornment34 and rich people accepting this special responsibility. Fourthly, since pastoral oversight is itself a good work,36 all Christian leaders should be conspicuous for the good works they do. Widows should not be registered unless they have a reputation for good works,38 and every pastor should be a model of good works (Tit. 2:7). All this is in contrast to the false teachers who ‘claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him’ (Tit. 1:16). Fifthly, it is above all by good works that the gospel is adorned and so commended to outsiders (Tit. 2:9–10).

We are now in a position to summarize the six essential ingredients of salvation. Its need is our sin, guilt and slavery; its source is God’s gracious loving-kindness; its ground is not our merit but God’s mercy in the cross; its means is the regenerating and renewing work of the Holy Spirit, signified in baptism; its goal is our final inheritance of eternal life; and its evidence is our diligent practice of good works.

We note what a balanced and comprehensive account of salvation this is. For here are the three persons of the Trinity together engaged in securing our salvation: the love of God the Father who took the initiative; the death of God the Son in whom God’s grace and mercy appeared; and the inward work of God the Holy Spirit by whom we are reborn and renewed.

Here too are the three tenses of salvation. The past is justification and regeneration. The present is a new life of good works in the power of the Spirit. The future is the inheritance of eternal life which will one day be ours.

Once we have grasped the all-embracing character of this salvation, reductionist accounts of it will never satisfy us. We shall rather determine both to explore and experience for ourselves the fullness of God’s salvation and to share with other people the same fullness, refusing to acquiesce, whether for ourselves or others, in any form of truncated or trivialized gospel.[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1996). Titus (pp. 150–156). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 330–334). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Campbell, D. (2007). Opening up Titus (pp. 97–105). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (pp. 203–205). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Stott, J. R. W. (1996). Guard the truth: the message of 1 Timothy & Titus (pp. 200–208). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Brannon Howse: December 26, 2018

Brannon plays a portion of the briefing that Clare Lopez gave at our November, 2018 National Security Briefing. Clare explains that Turkey is now in a partnership with Iran, and Russia. Clare also tells us about the on the ground reports of Turkey giving assistance to ISIS. President Trump has declared that Turkey will take over the fight against ISIS in Syria and yet it appears that Turkey is aligned with Hamas while also giving assistance to ISIS. Clare explains how Turkey is working with a group of Islamists that want to see the total destruction of Israel. Topic: Clare reports on how Germany now has Turkish Sharia patrols. How long before Sharia patrols funded by foreign governments are seen on the streets of America? Topic: We take your calls.

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Source: Brannon Howse: December 26, 2018

Franklin Graham Calls Out Politicians, Media, Calls them ‘Vicious and Relentless ” — Blogs

Franklin Graham took to Facebook on Wednesday to call out the news media as “vicious and relentless.”

The evangelist wrote, “Well, it’s the day after Christmas—and I’m tired. How about you?”

He continued, “Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing family and friends and hearing from people I haven’t heard from in a long time. But I’m tired, and it’s not just the season.”

He continued, referring to the government shut down, “I’m tired of all the fighting in Washington. You can’t turn on the news or read the headlines online without being overwhelmed by all of the political squabbling (to put it mildly). The news media are so vicious and relentless in their fault finding and their attacks on the President.”

According to Fox News, the government “partially shut down” on Saturday after Congress could not agree on a budget. The outlet reports that Trump said he would only sign a bill that provided adequate funding for the southern border wall and border security.

According to WND, the $5 billion demand was met with great opposition, including opposition from New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who promised President Trump that the Democratic party would never work with the president on border wall or security plans. In his post on Facebook, Graham emphasized that he was tired of this lack of civility in Washington and the media.

He wrote, “It’s just sickening. We have the potential for so much good and so much progress for our nation, but Washington is squandering it away over political agendas.”

Graham ended his post by giving thanks to God for being consistent and unchanging. He said, “I’m thankful that I have put my faith and trust in God who never grows weary and is never shut down, no matter what the problems are.

‘The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary’ (Isaiah 40:28).”

As of Thursday afternoon, there was still no end in sight for the government shut down.

via Franklin Graham Calls Out Politicians, Media, Calls them ‘Vicious and Relentless ” — Blogs

Giuliani: Robert Mueller Should Be Investigated for Destruction of Evidence by Deleting Strzok-Page Text Messages — The Gateway Pundit

Mueller’s Spcecial Counsel team of 13 angry Democrats scrubbed Peter Strzok’s phone and then turned it over to the Office of Inspector General investigators AFTER Peter Strzok was fired from the special counsel.

Peter Strzok was fired from the Special Counsel after text messages surfaced showing that he had a strong hatred for Donald Trump and his supporters.

Peter Strzok was reassigned in the summer of 2017 to the FBI’s human resource department after his dismissal from the Mueller witch hunt in July 2017.

His lover Lisa Page reportedly resigned from the Special Counsel in May 2017 – two weeks before Strzok was fired.

Lisa Page’s phone was scrubbed and not turned over to OIG until September 2018.

Via The Donald page on Reddit:

Strzok’s anti-Trump lover Lisa Page’s phone was also scrubbed clean.

And, of course, Page’s phone went missing for a year before it was “found” and turned over to investigators in September 18 — scrubbed clean.

On Wednesday Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told reporters Buck Sexton and John Solomon that Robert Mueller should be investigated for the destruction of this evidence.
Rudy is right.

Mueller is one of the most corrupt players in Washington DC today.

John Solomon at The Hill reported:

Rudy Giuliani has an unmistakable New Year’s message for special counsel Robert Mueller: It is time for the chief investigator in the Russia case to be investigated in 2019.

In wide-ranging interviews with Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and me on Wednesday and Thursday, President Trump’s defense lawyer pointedly accused Mueller’s office of destroying evidence by allowing text messages from now-fired FBI official Peter Strzok and his FBI lover, Lisa Page, to be erased in the Russia probe.

“Mueller should be investigated for destruction of evidence for allowing those text messages from Strzok to be erased, messages that would show the state of mind and tactics of his lead anti-Trump FBI agent at the start of his probe,” Giuliani said.

The Justice Department inspector general reported this month that it found large gaps in the preservation of official government text messages between Strzok and Page, the two top FBI agents who helped to start the Russia probe in 2016, who were having an affair at the time, and who expressed disdain for Trump.

The report said a technical glitch was to blame for the FBI’s failure to save those text messages but the IG was able to recover more than 19,000 from the early part of the Russia probe before Mueller was named special prosecutor.

However, the IG said it was unable to recover messages from the time Strzok and Page worked for Mueller’s office in spring and summer 2017 because the memories of both FBI officials’ government phones were wiped clean by technicians.

That erasure occurred after Strzok and Page left Mueller’s team over revelations they exchanged anti-Trump text messages, including one string in which they talked about stopping Trump from becoming president.

“That should be investigated, damn it, that should be investigated fully. You want a special counsel, get one for that,” Giuliani said.

* * * * * * * * *

For the record: Corrupt Facebook and the AP banned a previous Gateway Pundit post for accusing dirty cop Mueller of intentionally deleting the Strzok-Page text messages. Facebook has no proof this was by accident. Facebook is hiding information from Americans.

via Giuliani: Robert Mueller Should Be Investigated for Destruction of Evidence by Deleting Strzok-Page Text Messages — The Gateway Pundit

Patriot Post Readers’ Choice: Best of Analysis for 2018 · Dec. 27, 2018

Kavanaugh Justifiably Angry at Outrageous Demo Strategy

The judge’s impassioned response to spurious allegations was exactly what the Democrat circus called for.

Trump Is Making America’s Economy Great Again

The U.S. is again the world’s most competitive economy, a ranking it hasn’t held since 2008.

Who Decides What the 14th Amendment Means?

The Constitution and its amendments mean what its authors said, not what modern politicos wish.

Waves of Bogus Asylum Seekers Overwhelm Immigration System

The Trump administration is working to address this very real crisis.

So Much for the Blue Wave — GOP Expands Senate Majority

Against all odds, Republicans lost the House and yet increased their Senate control.

The Battle for the ‘Burbs

The darkest electoral cloud for Republicans is in the suburbs. That must change.

Is the Electorate Really Informed?

Just one in three Americans could pass a 10-question test derived from the U.S. Citizenship Test.

The Adolescent 2nd Amendment Puppet Protests

Students across America walked out of their schools, using free speech to protest gun rights.

The Second-Class Second Amendment?

It’s past time for the Supreme Court to stop side-stepping any and all questions about gun rights.

Disintegrating Families, Disintegrating Culture

The root of our cultural rot can be traced back to one place: the shift away from nuclear families.

A Morally Pretentious #MeToo Movement

Feminism is less about expanding independence or strength, and more about expanding victimhood.

The Cost of Homosexual Catholic Abuse

An inconvenient truth: The vast majority of the crime was perpetrated by homosexuals.

The Truth About Wildfires

The media’s emotional narrative is about climate change instead of a more accurate picture.

Contrary to Predictions, U.S. Nears Energy Independence

Prediction: “The U.S. will account for 75% of the growth in global oil production through 2025.”

UN: It’s Climate Doomsday, and We Mean It This Time

As if we needed just one more apocalyptic warning to finally believe these Chicken Littles.

Crying ‘Wolf’ on Entitlements?

Social Security and Medicare really are in big trouble, but most Americans just don’t care.

Promise Kept — Trump Nukes Iran Deal

Yet another pillar of Barack Obama’s horrible legacy crumbles at Trump’s hands.

How to Verify North Korean Denuclearization

The biggest question after Donald Trump’s work with Kim Jong-un is trusting the crackpot dictator.

The Enemy of My Enemy Is Likely Just Another Enemy

What to make of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other American “friends” is a complicated question.

Another ‘Win’ for Socialism in Venezuela

Venezuela’s implosion is the result of the policies pushed by American Democrats.

Supreme Court Sides With Religious Liberty

The baker who refused to bake a customized cake for a same-sex wedding couple is vindicated.

December 27, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump made a surprise Christmas visit to U.S. troops in Iraq on Wednesday, his first trip to a conflict zone nearly two years into his presidency and days after announcing a pullout of American troops from neighboring Syria.

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he is prepared to wait as long as it takes to get $5 billion from taxpayers for his U.S.-Mexico border wall, a demand that has triggered a partial shutdown of the federal government that is now in its fifth day.

The head of the U.S. Federal Reserve faces no risk of losing his job and President Donald Trump is happy with his Treasury secretary, a White House official said in an apparent attempt to calm Wall Street nerves frayed by Trump’s criticism of the Fed.

President Donald Trump is considering an executive order in the New Year to declare a national emergency that would bar U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by China’s Huawei and ZTE.

A former Israeli armed forces chief who poses the toughest challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid for reelection next year formally established a political party on Thursday.

Three Central Asian men have been charged in Sweden with plotting to commit terrorist crimes as well as – along with three others – financing the Islamic State militant group.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s health ministry said that 24 patients fled an Ebola treatment center in Beni on Thursday when it came under attack by people protesting the cancellation of Sunday’s presidential election in the eastern city.

A middle-aged Indian woman attacked her alleged stalker and cut off his genitals before rushing him to hospital to save his life, police said on Thursday.

Oil prices fell on Thursday after rebounding 8 percent in the previous session, as worries over a glut in crude supply and concerns over a faltering global economy pressured prices.

The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits fell last week to near a 49-year low, pointing to underlying strength in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended Dec. 22.

China and the United States have made plans for face-to-face consultations over trade in January, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, as the world’s two biggest economies advanced efforts to resolve a months-long trade war.

AP Top Stories

Indonesian authorities urged people to avoid the coast in areas where a tsunami killed at least 430 people over the weekend in a fresh warning issued on the anniversary of the catastrophic 2004 Asian earthquake and tsunami.

A Chinese court will try a Canadian citizen on drugs charges, a government-run news portal said, in a case that could further test already difficult relations between Beijing and Ottawa.

A South Korean delegation left for North Korea on Wednesday to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for reconnecting roads and railways across the divided peninsula despite stalled denuclearization talks.

A withdrawal of American ground forces in Syria will give Turkey freer rein to target Washington’s Kurdish partners in the fight against jihadists but analysts doubt Ankara’s capacity to “eradicate” the Islamic State extremist group.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered a major government reshuffle Thursday, replacing the ministers of foreign affairs and information, a royal decree said.

An independent union of Sudanese journalists launched a strike Thursday in support of “legitimate” popular demands for freedom and democracy, the latest in a series of work stoppages and protests calling for longtime President Omar Bashir to step down.

The Israeli military on Wednesday destroyed another cross-border tunnel it says was built by Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, sending a loud explosion throughout the volatile area.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers released another 500 migrants in Texas and New Mexico. Shelters in the border towns say they’re overwhelmed and running out of space.


Seven years after Germany scrapped conscription, its defense chief has said employing EU citizens is “an option” to fill expert posts.

A 33-year-old American man has become the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unassisted. Explorer Colin O’Brady finished in 53 days, ahead of British Army Captain Louis Rudd, 49, after an epic race across the ice.

An Argentine radio host accused of misogynist diatribes has been ordered to host a feminist guest every week for five months as part of a deal with prosecutors, reports say. Angel Etchecopar must not interrupt his guests for 10 minutes, nor can he criticize them after they finish. It comes after prosecutors accused him of gender discrimination.

The alert level for Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano has been raised to the second-highest level possible, after a series of eruptions. All flights around the volcano have been rerouted and a three-mile exclusion zone has also been imposed.


Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the impending deployment Wednesday of a new hypersonic nuclear-capable missile system that he claims will evade American defenses worldwide, dramatically upping the ante of a growing high-tech arms race with Washington.

More than 3,700 patients who had procedures at HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, may have been exposed to blood-borne illnesses such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, according to a statement from the center.

The University of Florida is being sued for favoring some speech, giving liberal students generous budgets to promote their ideology on campus but restricting the 1st Amendment for conservatives.

News – 12/27/2018

2018: Top Natural Phenomena Heralding the Messiah

In an era when many anticipate the imminent outbreak of the pre-Messianic War of God and Magog, it is no surprise that the earth is shrugging its shoulders, preparing for the great battle.

Drama in the Skies Above Damascus

There was drama in the skies above Damascus Tuesday night as IAF fighter planes attacked strategic targets in and around the Syrian capital. The Israel Air Force (IAF) was reported to have struck several targets inside Syria Tuesday night, as the regional game of chess following the United States’ announced pull-out from Syria begins to take shape. The main target of the IAF strike was alleged to have been an aircraft carrying several Hezbollah leaders on their way to a meeting in Iran.

The DRC’s Ebola Outbreak Is an End-of-Year Nightmare

Six months after the first case of Ebola was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s conflict-torn border province of North Kivu, the outbreak is still raging, leaving a trail of fractured families and hundreds of orphans in its wake. As of December 20, more than 512 cases have been confirmed and 288 people have succumbed to the deadly virus, making it the second-largest outbreak in history.

Syria accuses Israel of attacking Damascus

The report quoted a military source as saying that the Israeli attack was directed against weapons depots and that three soldiers were wounded.

Netanyahu: Israel won’t let Iran take root in Syria

Israel will not let Iran embed its troops in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, a day after an airstrike attributed to Israel reportedly targeted Hezbollah or Iranian weapons depots in the war-torn country.

Netanyahu vows to keep hitting Iran in Syria: ‘We stand firmly on our red lines’

“We will not abide an Iranian entrenchment in Syria,” Netanyahu, who is also the defense minister, said at a graduation ceremony for fresh Israeli Air Force pilots at the Hatzerim air base in the south. “We are taking action against it aggressively and powerfully, including in these very days,” he said.

Satellite shows damage to Iranian bases in Syria after alleged Israeli strike

New satellite images of an Iranian weapons storehouse outside the Syrian capital of Damascus showed significant damage done to site following Israeli airstrikes against Iranian targets earlier in the week. The images, taken by ImageSat International (ISI), showed the complete destruction of the 60×15 meter storehouse which supposedly held Fajr-5 missiles at an Iranian base in the Syrian regime’s 4th Division camp in the Al-Muna area.

U.S., Israel work to block unilateral Palestinian statehood drive at U.N.

The United States and Israel are working to block a renewed Palestinian Authority drive to become a member state of the United Nations. “We are preparing to stop the initiative,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said. The move would effectively hand the Palestinians unilateral statehood recognition outside the context of any final status agreement with Israel.

Kurds fear Turkish-backed Syrian rebel extremists will attack as U.S. withdraws

Turkey has vowed to launch a military operation against areas controlled by the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria. Turkey says it is fighting “terrorism” in its operation, however many locals are concerned that Turkish-backed Syrian rebels who seek to join the Turkish operation contain extremists in their ranks.

DR Congo election: Tear gas fired at protesters

Tear gas has been fired in Democratic Republic of Congo at protesters angry that several opposition strongholds have been left out of Sunday’s polls. Electoral officials have postponed voting in three cities until March, citing insecurity and Ebola concerns. But with the new president due to be sworn in next month, it appears the votes of more than a million people will be discounted.

Anak Krakatau: Indonesia flights rerouted as volcano alert level raised

The alert level for Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano has been raised to the second-highest level possible, after a series of eruptions. All flights around the volcano have been rerouted and a 5km (three-mile) exclusion zone has also been imposed. Indonesia’s disaster management agency (BNPB) said the alert level had been raised from level two to three because of the increased volcanic activity.

Russia condemns ‘Israeli’ air strikes on Syria

Russia has branded as “provocative” an alleged Israeli air strike on Syria late on Tuesday. Reports from Syria said an arms depot in Qatifah, about 40km (25 miles) north-east of Damascus, was hit, injuring three soldiers. Israel has not commented, but after the reported strikes it said it had fired at a Syrian anti-aircraft missile. It did not report any damage or injuries.

Russia is setting up a military base on Caribbean island to host NUCLEAR BOMBERS

RUSSIA has sent supersonic bombers capable of carrying nuclear missiles to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea, according to reports. This follows news earlier in the month that the former-Soviet state was planning to set up its first military base in the Caribbean after striking a deal with cash-strapped Venezuela.

The U.S.’s interest payments are about to skyrocket. Does it matter?

The Fed’s interest rate hikes are doing more than hitting consumers in the credit cards. They’re also making it much more expensive for the U.S. to carry its debt load. While they’re not currently a subject of President Trump’s Twitter outrage, America’s interest payments have become a point of concern for some on Wall Street.

Indonesia hikes danger level for deadly tsunami volcano

Indonesia on Thursday raised the danger alert level for a volcano that sparked a killer tsunami at the weekend, after previously warning that fresh activity at the crater threatened to trigger another deadly wave. Authorities also widened a no-go zone around Anak Krakatoa to five kilometres (three miles)…and warned shell-shocked residents to stay away from the coast, after more than 400 were killed by Saturday night’s killer wave.

Stormy weather: Israel hit by hail, lightning and floods

Israel was hit by a particularly wintry day Thursday as heavy rain spread from the north to the southern coastal plain. In the Western Galilee, 14 mm of rain dropped in one hour in Kibbutz Ayalon. Heavy rain also hit the Lower Galilee, the northern valleys, and the Sharon and Dan regions in the center.

IDF exposes, destroys fifth Hezbollah tunnel

The IDF Spokesmen’s unit announced on Wednesday that “IDF troops exposed an additional cross-border attack tunnel that was dug from the Shiite village of Ayta al-Shab and crossed into Israeli territory. A short while ago, the tunnel was neutralized by an explosion.” The announcement also stated that the IDF notified the heads of the relevant local authorities and UNIFIL in advance.

Globalists Call for “Celebration” of Plunging Human Fertility As War Against Humanity Accelerates

You may recall it was barely two weeks ago that the New York Times published an op-ed applauding the extermination of the human race as a way to “save the planet.” Now, The UK Guardian, a globalist-run propaganda rag that despises human freedom, has published a story saying that declining birth rates of human babies is a “cause for celebration.”

Nearly 4,000 Patients May Have Been Accidentally Exposed To HIV, Hepatitis

More than 3,000 patients at a New Jersey medical center have been told they may have been exposed to HIV, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, according to The New Jersey Department of Health.

Indonesia Tsunami Survivors Remain Jittery As Deaths Hit 429

Panicked residents, police and soldiers in this remote fishing village clobbered by a devastating weekend tsunami ran to higher ground Tuesday, shouting “Water is coming! Water is coming!” and reciting verses from the Quran as emergency messages were broadcast over mosque speakers.

Atheist group pays for Grand Junction billboard reading ‘Make Christmas Great Again …Skip Church!’

A new billboard has gone up in Grand Junction and it has people — both religious and not — talking.

This Dickens-Style Christmas Day Tour of ‘Liberal’ Los Angeles is Heartbreaking

While most of the civilized world enjoys Christmas with their loved ones, it’s easy to forget above those suffering from extreme poverty in the blue states.

CANADIAN POLICE STATE – PM Trudeau is threatening to put surveillance on people who publicly oppose mass Islamic migration

There already are reports of Royal Canadian Mounted Police taking photos of the faces of Yellow Vest protestors in Canadian cities. Something they have not been seen doing to ANTIFA protesters despite their history of violence and thuggery while covering their faces with masks.

Pedophiles demand to be included in the LGBT community, say they should be respected and tolerated like everyone else

Pedophiles are rebranding themselves as “MAPs” or “Minor Attracted Persons” in an effort to gain acceptance and be included into the LGBT community, according to several reports from LGBT news sites.

American city slapped down by the courts for forcing Christian churches to bow down to the LGBT agenda
…“Now churches can continue to advertise, display, or publish teachings and sermons on matters of sexual ethics, divorce, or the biological phenomenon that persons are born either male or female – without the city’s oppressive restriction.”

Israeli Company First in World to Produce Delicious Steaks from Cow Cells
…The revolutionary company located in Rehovot’s Weizmann Science Park is shaping the future of meat by turning cow cells into beef cuts, replicating the complex shape, texture and flavor of a steak. The company has already produced the first cell-grown minute steak in its labs, delivering the full experience of meat with the appearance, shape, and texture of beef cuts.

All the President’s Men Are Named Benedict or Arnold
We have fighting in the Middle East that is being ignored by the MSM. The President is silent. Israel has grabbed the military mantle of power in the Middle East and only the Independent Media is reporting any of this.

Historic 1,000+ Stock Boom Day After Christmas

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rocketed upward Wednesday in the highest single-day point increase ever and highest percentage raise in nearly a decade.

Christians Are Borderline Extinct In The Middle East Now

Christians have become nearly extinct in the Middle East, the land where the religion began 2,000 years ago and flourished until the rise of Islam.

DHS Calls CDC To Investigate Growing Number Of Sick Migrants

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is requesting that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) investigate the cause of the growing number of sick migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, officials revealed to reporters Wednesday morning.

Headlines – 12/27/2018

PA plans to seek full UN recognition at UN Security Council. Danon: We’re preparing to block the initiative

Italian Minister Salvini In Favor of Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Israel’s parliament formally votes to dissolve government

Netanyahu says he won’t step down if indicted, turns up heat on AG

The left is recruiting the media to oust my government, PM tells settler leaders

Israel advances plans for construction of 800 more West Bank homes

Erekat: ‘Grinch’ Israel stole Christmas with settlement plans

Former Egyptian President: We didn’t know about tunnels from Gaza to Sinai

Army finds, destroys fifth attack tunnel from Lebanon

Trump: We give Israel billions, it can defend itself in Syria

Jerusalem official confirms Israel struck Iranian arms depot in Syria

Russia accuses Israel of ‘gross violation’ of Syrian sovereignty

Lebanese minister says complaint will be filed with the UN Security Council over air strike in Syria

Netanyahu: ‘Israel operates against Iranian entrenchment in Syria’

Netanyahu vows to keep hitting Iran in Syria: ‘We stand firmly on our red lines’

Suspicious Iranian cargo plane left Damascus minutes before airstrike

Russia: Syrian government must take over eastern Syria

The Coming ‘Turkish Jihadist Invasion’ Against Christians: A Christmas Plea from Syrians to US Christians

Saudi Arabia clarifies Trump tweet: No new Saudi pledges to rebuild Syria

In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA

In surprise trip to Iraq, Trump defends decision to withdraw from Syria

Trump: ‘we can use Iraq as base for Syria operations’

Iraqi lawmakers criticise Trump visit as blow to Iraqi sovereignty

Iran-affiliated militias say Trump’s Iraq visit ‘will not go unpunished’

Middle East: Saudi Arabia weakened as Iran plans to consolidate gains

Russia Tells U.S. Not to Interfere in Saudi Crown Prince MBS Becoming King, Despite Khashoggi Killing

Putin hails successful test of Russia’s new hypersonic missile

Martial law ends in Ukraine a month after Russian naval attack

Tunisia protests spread after journalist sets himself on fire

US: Trump signals no end to shutdown: ‘You have to have a wall’

Dow rallies 1,000 points, logging its biggest single-day point gain ever

The U.S.’s interest payments are about to skyrocket. Does it matter?

Merry Christmas: Federal Debt Up $1.37 Trillion Since Last Dec. 25; $10,743 Per Household

Delivery Drones Cheer Shoppers, Annoy Neighbors, Scare Dogs

Toyota Wants to Put a Robot in Every Home and Make It Your Pal

Inside the growing trend of rehab for ‘tech addicts’

Chinese schools make pupils wear micro-chipped uniforms to thwart truancy

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near San Diego, Venezuela

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Neiafu, Tonga

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Mawlaik, Burma

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohonua, Tonga

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Port-Olry, Vanuatu

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near San Diego, Venezuela

4.8 Quake from Mount Etna volcano jolts Sicily, sparks panic

Indonesia hikes danger level for deadly tsunami volcano

Indonesians worry another tsunami is coming, as 16,000 displaced and hundreds more dead or injured

Indonesia orders flights to steer clear of erupting Anak Krakatau volcano

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 38,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 11,000ft

Mayon volcano in the Philippines erupts to 10,000ft

2018 will be the first year with no violent tornadoes in the United States

Australia Is Ending 2018 With a Record-Breaking Heat Wave

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