Daily Archives: June 19, 2019

June 19 The Companion of Faith

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:6–10

Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 1:6

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.

God is continually molding believers to be more like Him. Often, transforming people into the image of Christ is a difficult process. It involves emptying a person of sins and filling him or her with Christlike characteristics. In 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Paul admonished, “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (nasb).

You are being molded by God. He teaches you through trials, and He guides you by the Holy Spirit. You endure this process so that you will understand God’s Word and be His witness in the world.

  1. L. Moody said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts.”

Each of us needs help becoming all that God created us to be. This is why God has given us His Spirit. The frustrations we face help to refine us and mold our lives so that we reflect God’s mercy and grace to others. It is through this molding process that God helps us fulfill His plan for our lives.

The Holy Spirit keeps you connected to the heart and will of the Father. The Spirit guides you through the toils and trials on the pathway to becoming more like Christ. He sustains you with joy as you conform to the image of your beloved Savior.

Holy Spirit, fill the corners of my heart. Show me the places where You cannot enter because of my own debris. Guide me in sweeping clean a pathway for You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 178). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 19 Encouragement for a Troubled Heart

Scripture Reading: Psalm 138

Key Verse: Psalm 138:7

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.

When Ruth Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, was sent to a North Korean school as a young girl, she wrestled with loneliness and discouragement. Her missionary parents were hundreds of miles away—an especially frightening thought for an adolescent reared in a loving, Christian environment.

Alone and afraid, Ruth Graham learned a lesson that has befriended her for life: “In missionary school I learned to turn to the Bible for comfort and encouragement,” she reflected. “Through the years I have continued that practice, and it has brought me more encouragement than any other source.”

The words of Scripture are not only for instruction and correction but also for encouragement. If your heart is troubled, open your Bible. Read the God-breathed utterances given to uplift and sustain you.

Look at the lives of Old and New Testament characters, and trust in the unchanging God to work His wonder on your behalf. The Bible speaks peace. It is steeped in love. It is aglow with hope. Its words are living and vital, true bread and water for the weak and afflicted.

O God, Your Word never changes. It is forever settled in heaven. It is aglow with hope. It is living and vital. It is the bread that strengthens and the water that pours divine life into me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 178). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 19 The Great Divorce

Scripture reading: Genesis 3:22–24

Key verse: Romans 5:12

Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Divorce has become too common in our fractured age. Its disabling effects—financially, emotionally, and socially—are well documented in various studies.

In a real sense, sin has effected a divorce between man and God. When the original couple, Adam and Eve, sinned in the Garden, God evicted man from His presence: “He drove out the man” (Gen. 3:24). The Hebrew word for “drove” is also used in the Old Testament on five occasions for divorce.

God and man—united at Creation in intimacy, fellowship, and purpose—were separated by sin. The holiness of God and the sin of man are incompatible. The Creator and the creation, man, can no longer live together in harmony apart from faith in Christ. Sin drives unbelieving man out of God’s presence and into chaos and evil.

The great divorce, as author C. S. Lewis put it, has fixed a gulf, a chasm, between God and man. Born into sin, man suffers from the emotional and spiritual wreckage of life apart from God, driven by wayward desires and instincts, walking in the darkness of his own counsel.

The truth about sin is ugly. But you must know the truth, the good and the bad, before you can be set free.

Set me free from sin, dear Lord. Restore my fellowship with You. Lead me from darkness into Your glorious light.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 178). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Entire ‘LGBT’ Narrative Just Crumbled — The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network

It’s time to stop condoning destructive behavior, and start speaking truth in unconditional love.

by Matt Barber

If your daughter, sister, mother or friend “identified” as a fat person trapped in a perilously emaciated body — if she truly believed she was obese, but, in reality, suffered from anorexia — would you affirm her “fatness” and get her liposuction, or would you go to the ends of the earth to help her bring her subjective (and mistaken) identity into alignment with objective reality? When someone is engaged in demonstrably self-destructive behavior, it is not loving, but hateful, to encourage persistence.

It was, ironically, lesbian activist and writer Dorothy Allison who once wrote, “Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.” In validation of this truism, a series of new peer-reviewed studies have just been released that serve to utterly debunk and deconstruct key “progressive” homosexual-activist talking points…

The Entire ‘LGBT’ Narrative Just Crumbled

via The Entire ‘LGBT’ Narrative Just Crumbled — The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network

Biggest American Scandal: Wall Street Analyst Sheds Light on Obama’s Role in ‘Spygate’ & ‘Emailgate’

While Donald Trump has kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign in Florida reiterating a vow to bring “deep state” figures out into the open, AG William Barr’s “investigation of investigators” is gaining steam. Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel has shared his views on the role of Barack Obama and his team in the so-called “spygate” case.

Source: Biggest American Scandal: Wall Street Analyst Sheds Light on Obama’s Role in ‘Spygate’ & ‘Emailgate’

#The15 ‘Lifeway Boycott’ Likely the Cause of $50 Million Loss, Shut Down — Pulpit & Pen

LifeWay, the Southern Baptist retail arm, is shutting all of their retail stores. We first wrote about this in January in the post, Good News: Lifeway Closing Retail Stores.

Hopefully, you’ve been apprised as to why it’s a good thing Lifeway is shutting their retail outlets. Originally designed as the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board and commissioned with creating Sunday School material, the SBC retail stores have become the nation’s largest peddler of outright heresy. From Heaven Tourism to Omen Interpretation to Word-Faith Theology to Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, New Age mysticism, to Anti-Trinitarianism, Lifeway’s doctrinal standards amount to profit motivation.

Before 2014, however, few focused on the heresy being sold at Lifeway Christian Resources. That is, until a tweet from Ed Stetzer set off a firestorm in social media. After John Piper referred to the Pope as a “brother,” and several indicated their displeasure as card-carrying Protestants, Stetzer claimed on December 23 of 2014 that “it was the same 15 Calvinists who are mad about everything.”

Stetzer then tweeted angrily at Pulpit & Pen, but the masses weren’t having it.

In the days that followed, many thousands of Christians began a grass-roots movement to boycott Lifeway Christian Resources, chiefly because of the theological heresies by their stores. Pulpit & Pen did undercover investigations and used recording devices to determine that Lifeway would special order nearly anything for customers, including everything from Joel Osteen books to gay propaganda.

The movement was called #the15, a reference to Stetzer’s claim that it was “just 15” disgruntled Calvinists. However, within hours there were thousands of us, including non-Calvinists like Randy White.

Within a day of the #the15 campaign, Stetzer had personally called those whom he thought were friends of mine, including Phil Johnson and at least one of my family members, to make the onslaught stop. But alas, it would not; people were fed up with the bad doctrine promoted by Lifeway.

During that time, Alex Malarkey joined #the15 movement. He was incensed that Lifeway was continuing to sell the best-selling Heaven Tourism book falsely ascribed to him. Malarkey wrote his Open Letter to Lifeway and Other Retailers, raking them over the coals for selling such bad doctrine, and furthermore, for refusing to pull the book when he and his mother asked.

The blog article at Pulpit & Pen soon became the #1 news story in the world on January 17 and 18 of 2014. This website was featured on The Today Show, and as far away as the UK Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post. Lifeway’s shame was covered in the New York Times, the LA Times, and the Chicago Tribune. In response, Lifeway spokesmen claimed they had no idea the book was false. Then, Pulpit & Pen released private emails with Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer in which they were told the book was false and asked to pull it many months earlier. They refused to do so, and attacked their critics. Simply put, Lifeway was caught in a lie.

To this day, Lifeway has never responded to Malarkey’s letter or given him an apology for using this story against his permission and in full knowledge that it was contrived. Lifeway is an evil, evil organization.

Tens of thousands of Christians were going into Lifeway stores to snap photos of the heresies on the shelves and email it to Pulpit & Pen. Many thousands of pastors and leaders promised to never use the retailer again. Lifeway, to this day, has refused to admit the impact this has had on their retail business.

I laid out the strategy for closing Lifeway stores in this article on December 29, 2014. Everything I asked for has happened, and I praise God for it.

However, Lifeway still doesn’t want to admit that what ultimately did in their retail operation wasn’t the softening of the book market, but conservative evangelicals who were tired of their garbage.

As LifeWay’s ship was sinking, its two most towering “leaders,” Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer (two men I’m convinced are both lost and wicked) pulled their golden parachute chords and abandoned ship. Stetzer moved off to ruin the Billy Graham School of Evangelism at Wheaton College and Rainer has moved off to capitalize on his personal brand that he used SBC resources to create. Both saw the hand-writing on the wall.

So when LifeWay gave a presentation to SBC messengers last week about their store closings, Stetzer and Rainer were nowhere to be found. Instead, Interim LifeWay president, Brad Waggoner, was left to spit a spin on their retail failure. You can watch the video below.

Waggoner acknowledges that “stores began to see significant losses” in 2014, just as #The15 began. By 2015, there was 9 million in losses. By 2017, there were 11 million dollars in losses. However, by 2018, the figures continued to decline. By the end, there were more than 50 million dollars.

The video, however, was more a pep-talk. Rather than admitting that their failure culminated in a massive conservative boycott of their stores, Waggoner insisted that it was external market forces. He also assured the messengers that they would continue to sell their products online (where there will no doubt be even fewer doctrinal standards than in the store).

Ultimately, the closure of Lifeway stores are the result of #the15 in two different ways. First, Bible-believing Christians stopped using their stores. There are countless thousands of churches who, because of #the15, swore to never patronize the company again. There are tens of thousands of laymen who promised to never again darken their door.

Secondly, however, Lifeway had to remove many products from their shelves (like TD Jakes books, for example), which #the15 consumers threw the biggest fits about. This didn’t help Lifeway’s sales numbers, which had developed an undiscerning consumer base that relied upon Lifeway to provide them with the latest heretical books.

A combination of these two things proved too much for the retail juggernaut. And ultimately, Goliath fell.

[Publisher’s Note: For more info on #the15 movement, click here. Contributed by JD Hall]

via #The15 ‘Lifeway Boycott’ Likely the Cause of $50 Million Loss, Shut Down — Pulpit & Pen

Chick-fil-A, with a Mission to ‘Glorify God,’ Is Now 3rd Largest Restaurant in U.S.

A restaurant that has a corporate mission to “glorify God” is officially the third-largest restaurant in the United States. Chick-fil-A climbed from No. 7 to No. 3 in the latest rankings by the Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) analysis after it had $10.46 billion in total sales in 2018, trailing only behind No. 1 McDonald’s ($38.52 billion) and No. 2 Starbucks ($20.49 billion).

Source: Chick-fil-A, with a Mission to ‘Glorify God,’ Is Now 3rd Largest Restaurant in U.S.

EXCLUSIVE: Corrupt Clinton Foundation Foreign Policy Director Amitabh Desai Appears to Have Vanished — The Gateway Pundit

A major corrupt player at the Clinton Foundation player has vanished.  Amitabh Desai is nowhere to be found!

Over the past decade the Clinton Foundation’s Amitabh Desai was very active capturing money for the Foundation.  The far left New York Times even commented on this when Desai was involved in a transaction with Russia:

But this was not Desai’s first clandestine transaction for the Foundation.  In 2011 it was reported that

Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) CEO Ira Magaziner sent an email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, Clinton Foundation foreign policy director Amitabh Desai, Douglas Band (an aide to former US President Bill Clinton), and two others, regarding Saudi Arabian and Ethiopian billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-‘Amoud [above].

Magaziner writes: “CHAI would like to request that President Clinton call Sheikh Mohammed to thank him for offering his plane to the conference in Ethiopia and expressing regrets that President Clinton’s schedule does not permit him to attend the conference.”

Desai replies, “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do.“

Band then comments, “If he doesn’t do it CHAI will say he didn’t give the money [because] of wjc [Bill Clinton].”

Podesta writes, “I agree with Doug and this seems rather easy and harmless and not a big time sink.”(Wikileaks 10/12/16)

Thus it can be seen Sheikh Mohammed is giving some money to the foundation, though the amount is unknown. Also, the exchange shows Podesta, who has no position in the foundation, helping make foundation decisions.

This was still just the beginning for Desai –

The government of Qatar got in the act for a quick million dollars with Desai in  2012  –

Amitabh Desai, director of foreign policy for the Clinton Foundation, writes in an email to other foundation officials, that he met with Qatar’s ambassador to the US four days earlier, on April 12, 2012. The ambassador is Mohammed Bin Abdullah Bin Mutib Al Rumaihi, who just assumed that position several weeks earlier. (QatarMinistry of Foreign Affairs, 12/26/2013) (WikiLeaks, 10/13/2016)

He summarizes that Al Rumaihi “Would like to see WJC [former President William Jefferson Clinton] ‘for five minutes’ in NYC [New York City], to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011.”

The assistant to the Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdullah Bin Mutib Al-Rumaihi attends a foreign ministers meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on March 9, 2015. Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi called for the creation of a unified Arab force to battle the spread of Islamic extremist groups.

Additionally, “Qatar would welcome our suggestions for investments in Haiti – particularly on education and health. They have allocated most of their $20 million but are happy to consider projects we suggest. I’m collecting input from CF [Clinton Foundation]Haiti team.”

The email is sent to foundation officials Douglas Band, Justin Cooper, Bruce Lindsey, Laura Graham, and Clinton advisor John Podesta. (WikiLeaks, 10/13/2016)

Two years later, on August 19, 2014, Clinton will comment in an email: “[W]e need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia,which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” (ISIL is also known as the terrorist group ISIS.) (WikiLeaks, 10/13/2016)

On October 14, 2016, the day after this email is made public by WikiLeaks, Reuters will report that this donation, if it took place, could be a major ethics breach. The donation takes place while Hillary Clinton is secretary of state, and the Clinton Foundation made an agreement with the Obama administration not to accept any increases in donations by foreign governments during that time. The email doesn’t specify that the donation was accepted, or if it went to the foundation or to Bill Clinton personally. Foundation records indicate the Qatar government did give over $1 million, but it isn’t clear when. When asked by Reuters if the donation was accepted by the foundation, a foundation spokesperson will decline to say. (Reuters,10/14/2016)

In 2012 Desai was involved with Hillary Clinton’s brother, the recently deceased Tony Rodham, and North Korea.  It was family time for the Clintons and Desai –

Amitabh Desai, a foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, emails Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills about an invitation for former President Bill Clinton to be paid $650,000 for speech in North Korea. Desaiasks “Is it safe to assume” the US government “would have concerns” about Clinton giving the speech, since North Korea is a strident enemy of the US at the time. Mills simply replies, “Decline it.” Clinton never does speak in North Korea. Three weeks later, Desai writes back to explain that the invite came from Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham. Further details about the offer are unknown.

Bill Clinton delivers 215 speeches for $48 million in the four years Hillary Clinton is secretary of state and this is one of a very few that anyone in the State Department told him he shouldn’t do. [Emphasis added] (ABCNews, 8/28/2015)

Amitabh Desai was involved in many more illicit transactions related to the Clinton Foundation.  He worked with Bill Clinton trying to reach agreement with the State Department to give a speech in Congo, to the poorest country in the world, for $650,000.

Desai received emails from Cheryl Mills that contained classified information. He worked with Libya’s President who sought to meet with Bill Clinton just two days after the Benghazi terror attack.  (Desai must have done his job because the Libyan President did meet with both Hillary and Bill Clinton later that month.)

Finally, Citizens United, the conservative watchdog group, requested emails from the Clinton Foundation and in particular those of Amitabh Desai.  Of course this was delayed and delayed with only 17 emails provided in the first two months out of an estimated 4,000 emails requested.

What ever happened to Amitabh Desai?  Where is this guy?  He appears to have vanished!

via EXCLUSIVE: Corrupt Clinton Foundation Foreign Policy Director Amitabh Desai Appears to Have Vanished — The Gateway Pundit

Teachings of the 2018 Revoice Conference may split the Presbyterian Church in America — Christian Research Network

This piece by Rev. Steven Warhurst is entitled “Responding to Revoice: The Case for Overture 28 at the PCA General Assembly (Part One).” An overture is the request of a presbytery for action by the General Assembly upon a specific matter. According to Rev. Warhurst “The Revoice Conference speakers affirmed homosexual orientation as a legitimate part of their identity; something that should not be condemned or changed. Overture 28 offers a different perspective.” Rev. Steven Warhurst’s overture is published on The Aquila Report: 

The Revoice Conference speakers repeatedly affirmed homosexual orientation as a legitimate part of their identity; something that should not be condemned or changed.[i]Ray Low condemned those who recommended counseling to help change his orientation.[ii] Greg Johnson expressed skepticism about whether sexual orientation could change[iii]and rejected the possibility of repenting of attractions.[iv]

What is this ‘sexual orientation’ that the Revoice speakers think is a legitimate part of a person’s identity and needs to be affirmed? Grant Hartley (a speaker who sought to define his terms) adopted the American Psychological Association’s definition of sexual orientation which says: “Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions to men, women or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.” [v]

In order to determine whether homosexual orientation is legitimate, we must determine if homosexual attraction is legitimate, for according to the APA definition, homosexual orientation is an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to the same sex. If we find that God condemns the attraction, then we must conclude that He would also condemn the orientation.

Romans 1:26-27 says, “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

Scripture clearly teaches that homosexual attraction is a vile passion. When Paul speaks of God giving men over to vile passions (πάθη ἀτιμίας), the first example of a vile passion is homosexual attractions. The apostle goes on to say that this attraction is ‘against nature’. When men are sexually attracted to men they ‘leave the natural use of a woman,’ and when women pursue women, they do ‘what is against nature.’ Thus homosexual attraction is a dishonorable passion that is not only sinful, but is against nature. If God condemns homosexual attraction as sinful and against nature, then He also condemns homosexual orientation, which is simply the enduring pattern of this degrading passion. [crn_lin url=”https://www.theaquilareport.com/responding-to-revoice-the-case-for-overture-28-at-the-pca-general-assembly-part-one/”%5D



Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

via Teachings of the 2018 Revoice Conference may split the Presbyterian Church in America — Christian Research Network

Sen. Josh Hawley Introduces ‘Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act’ to Stop Big Tech Bias — The Gateway Pundit

Republican Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a bill aimed at stopping censorship on social media platforms based on political ideologies.

The ‘Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act‘ seeks to remove protections granted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act if platforms are not acting neutral in regards to political views. Currently, platforms cannot be held responsible for user-posted content, as they are not considered publishers. As these companies become more political — and take an editorial stance, many have called for these protections to be stripped.

Sen. Hawley’s bill would require platforms to follow the First Amendment when it comes to free and legal speech, if they want to keep their liability waiver.

“With Section 230, tech companies get a sweetheart deal that no other industry enjoys: complete exemption from traditional publisher liability in exchange for providing a forum free of political censorship,” Hawley explained. “Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, big tech has failed to hold up its end of the bargain.”

The bill would only be aimed at platforms with 30 million monthly users or more than $500 million in global annual revenue — so small message boards and overly specific forums would not be effected. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube would be.

“There’s a growing list of evidence that shows big tech companies making editorial decisions to censor viewpoints they disagree with. Even worse, the entire process is shrouded in secrecy because these companies refuse to make their protocols public. This legislation simply states that if the tech giants want to keep their government-granted immunity, they must bring transparency and accountability to their editorial processes and prove that they don’t discriminate,” Hawley wrote.

If Hawley’s legislation is successful, tech giants will have to submit to an audit every two years to prove to the Federal Trade Commission that they are acting neutrally.

Google and Facebook’s lobbying group, The Internet Association, has come out swinging at the bill.

“This bill forces platforms to make an impossible choice: either host reprehensible, but First Amendment protected speech, or lose legal protections that allow them to moderate illegal content like human trafficking and violent extremism. That shouldn’t be a tradeoff,” Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association, said in a statement.

Beckerman’s statement conveniently ignores that Hawley’s bill is only seeking to protect free and legal speech — which obviously would not include human trafficking.

via Sen. Josh Hawley Introduces ‘Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act’ to Stop Big Tech Bias — The Gateway Pundit

Biden Claims Not ‘One Single Hint Of A Scandal’ During Obama Administration. Here’s Eight Scandals Off The Top Of Our Head. — The Gateway Pundit

“Know what I was most proud of?” former Vice President Joe Biden said last week during a campaign event. “For eight years, there wasn’t one single hint of a scandal or a lie.”

Maybe his memory is going (he is 76 years old, after all). But I can think of a bunch of scandals — right off the top of my head — that occurred during the two terms in office for the Obama-Biden administration. Here are a few of the biggest, in no particular order:

Benghazi scandal

Terrorists stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were killed, as were CIA contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. President Obama slept through the attack and then headed to Las Vegas for a fundraising event. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly said it wasn’t a terror attack, but an investigation later found Clinton told daughter Chelsea — in an email that very night — that al Qaeda was responsible. Clinton later deleted 30,000 emails, and famously uttered in a hearings months later: “What difference at this point does it make?” A scandal, to be sure, and not the only deadly scandal, at that.

‘Fast and Furious’ scandal

Also known as the “ATF gunwalking scandal,” Operation Fast and Furious involved the Arizona Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms allowing licensed firearms dealers in the U.S. to sell weapons to illegal buyers. The brilliant plan was for those buyers to sell the weapons to Mexican drug cartel leaders, and U.S. officials would then track the guns and arrest the bad guys. Some 2,000 weapons were sold; just more than 700 were ever recovered — and no high-level cartel figures were ever arrested. Instead, some of the weapons were used in crimes on both sides of the border, including when U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. In the end, Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of the U.S. Cabinet ever to be held in contempt of Congress. No scandals? Please.

Trump campaign spying

Then, of course, there’s the Obama-Biden administration spying on the Trump campaign. Officials in their administration secured wiretapping warrants — with suspect backing — to spy on Trump, who they feared might just pull off the win in 2016. “I think spying did occur,” Attorney General William Barr testified before Congress in April, adding that “I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly.” The authorization to spy on the campaign was approved by a secret court based on a bogus dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign. After his win, the dossier was used to impose a special counsel to investigate the spurious allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the election. Special counsel Robert Mueller, after a 22-month probe, found no collusion whatsoever. “Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected,” Trump tweeted after Mueller’s report was released in April by the Justice Department.

IRS ‘tea party’ scandal

In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative political groups, many connected to the tea party movement, applying for tax-exempt status. Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, secured documents showing that the handling of tea party applications was directed out of the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. “The documents also show extensive pressure on the IRS by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to shut down conservative-leaning tax-exempt organizations. The IRS’ emails by [Director] Lois Lerner detail her misleading explanations to investigators about the targeting of Tea Party organizations,” the group wrote. Those documents also showed IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House nearly 160 times while the IRS was actively targeting tea party groups. Scandalous, right?

Secret Service scandal

In 2012, several members of the U.S. Secret Service got snagged in a prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, while preparing for a visit by Obama. What’s more, a member of the White House advance team — aiding in the preparations for the president’s visit to the Summit of the Americas — was also implicated in the scandal. At first the White House said no staffers were involved, but when evidence emerged to the contrary, the White House sought to cover it up. “We were directed at the time … to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the homeland security agency, told Senate staffers, according to The Washington Post. Sure sounds like a scandal, doesn’t it?

Oof … we’re running out of room, there are so many scandals. Here are a few more.

⦁ In 2012, Obama’s Department of Justice wiretapped at the phones of at least 20 reporters at The Associated Press, monitoring “both the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters” and the main line used by reporters in the House of Representatives. The DOJ also investigated the activities of Fox News reporter James Rosen in what it said was a potential crime in a probe of classified leaks. Scandal.

⦁ In 2016, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch refused to answer questions from Congress about the Obama administration paying $1.6 billion to Iran. The whole operation was shady — and secret — and just happened to coincide with the release of four hostages. No members of Congress knew about the deal. Big scandal.

⦁ Then there was the huge scandal that the PolitiFact called “The Lie of the Year”: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” How is “The Lie of the Year” not a scandal?

And there are more, plenty more. But if Biden can’t think of a single scandal, maybe President Trump is right. Maybe Biden really isn’t mentally fit for the presidency. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

*Joseph Curl ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2014 and covered the White House for a dozen years. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter at @JosephCurl. A version of this article ran previously in The Washington Times.

via Biden Claims Not ‘One Single Hint Of A Scandal’ During Obama Administration. Here’s Eight Scandals Off The Top Of Our Head. — The Gateway Pundit

Principled Dems Remain Committed To Adopting Whatever Position Polls Say They Should — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—Staying true to their principles, Democrats announced Wednesday they will remain committed to any and all public policy positions that polls indicate are popular right now.

“We vow to stay true to whatever is popular at this exact moment,” Joe Biden said in a speech. “We reserve the right to change our mind without any notice, should polls indicate the winds are blowing in the other direction all of a sudden.”

“This principle is near and dear to our hearts,” Kamala Harris said. “That principle being that we have no principles except rushing to support any movement that becomes popular, and dumping it as soon as the tides turn.”

“Here we stand, we can do no other.”

At publishing time, Dems had changed their minds again as new poll results came out.

via Principled Dems Remain Committed To Adopting Whatever Position Polls Say They Should — The Babylon Bee

Alexander: Observations From an Indignant Millennial

Perspective from a bold young woman who has departed the lockstep leftist orthodoxy of her peers.

“I had always hoped that the younger generation receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty had been kindled in every breast … would have sympathized with oppression wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it.” —Thomas Jefferson (1814)

Having read my recent column, “Courage Is the Missing Millennial Link,” our long-time Patriot Post friend Foster Friess, a national advocate for policies that are important to all Americans, sent me a copy of an essay that was penned by a young millennial. But it was not an essay from a typical millennial.

Given that I am away with national board obligations this week — ironically with a company that is the nation’s largest distributor of character education curriculums for young people — I thought this essay about the values of young people would be a good subject for this column in my absence.

It was written by Alyssa Ahlgren, a self-described “millennial/hipster” who’s earning an MBA while working as an analyst in corporate finance. In other words, she doesn’t have time to join the useful idiots among her age group who spend their time denouncing the United States and perpetrating political violence.

To the contrary, Alyssa is among those bold young women who have departed the lockstep leftist orthodoxy of her peers, particularly her female peers, who blindly subscribe to the Demo-Party group think. She offers a timely perspective on her generation, and their lack of appreciation for the Liberty and privilege they have inherited from previous generations.

Here are Alyssa’s observations, with minor edits for clarity:

I’m sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis trying to think of what to write about. I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of Democratic candidates calling for policies to “fix” the so-called injustices of capitalism. I put my phone down and continue to look around. I see people talking freely, working on their MacBooks, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me.

We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it. Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose. These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought. We are so well off here in the United States that our poverty line begins 31 times above the global average. Thirty. One. Times.

Virtually no one in the United States is considered poor by global standards. Yet, in a time where we can order a product off of Amazon with one click and have it at our doorstep the next day, we are unappreciative, unsatisfied, and ungrateful. Our lack of appreciation is evident as the popularity of socialist policies among my generation continues to grow.

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said to Newsweek talking about the millennial generation, “An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity.”

Never saw American prosperity. Let that sink in. When I first read that statement, I thought to myself, that was quite literally the most entitled and factually illiterate thing I’ve ever heard in my 26 years on this earth. Now, I’m not attributing Miss Ocasio-Cortez’s words to outright dishonesty. I do think she whole-heartedly believes the words she said to be true.

Many young people agree with her, which is entirely misguided. My generation is being indoctrinated by a mainstream narrative to actually believe we have never seen prosperity. I know this first hand, I went to college, let’s just say I didn’t have the popular opinion, but I digress.

Let me lay down some truths.

The United States of America has lifted more people out of abject poverty, spread more freedom and democracy, and has created more innovation in technology and medicine than any other nation in human history. Not only that but our citizenry continually breaks world records with charitable donations, the rags to riches story is not only possible in America but not uncommon, we have the strongest purchasing power on earth, and we encompass 25% of the world’s GDP.

The list goes on. However, these truths don’t matter. We are told that income inequality is an existential crisis (even though this is not an indicator of prosperity, some of the poorest countries in the world have low-income inequality), we are told that we are oppressed by capitalism (even though it’s brought about more freedom and wealth to the most people than any other system in world history), we are told that the only way we will acquire the benefits of true prosperity is through socialism and centralization of federal power (even though history has proven time and again this only brings tyranny and suffering).

Why then, with all of the overwhelming evidence around us, evidence that I can even see sitting at a coffee shop, do we not view this as prosperity? We have people who are dying to get into our country. People around the world destitute and truly impoverished. Yet, we have a young generation convinced they’ve never seen prosperity, and as a result, elect politicians dead set on taking steps towards abolishing capitalism.

Why? The answer is this: My generation has ONLY seen prosperity. We have no contrast. We didn’t live in the Great Depression, or live through two world wars, or see the rise and fall of socialism and communism. We don’t know what it’s like to live without the internet and smartphones. We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague.

With the current political climate giving rise to the misguided idea of a socialist utopia, will we see the light? Or will we have to lose it all to realize that what we have now is true prosperity? Destroying the free market will undo what millions of people have died to achieve.

My generation is becoming the largest voting bloc in the country. We have an opportunity to continue to propel us forward with the gifts capitalism and democracy have given us.

The other option is that we can fall into the [Bernie Sanders] trap of entitlement and [lapse] into restrictive socialist destitution. The choice doesn’t seem too hard, does it?


June 19, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

new life 4

His Defense

But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. 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. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (2:17–21)

By their behavior, Peter and the other Jewish Christians at Antioch had given approval to the Judaizers’ idea that it was necessary for a Gentile to keep the Jewish rituals before he could become a Christian. Paul’s defense of justification by faith in verses 17–21 continues his contradiction of this Judaistic legalism to which Peter and the others had succumbed.

It is crucial to understand that, as in the previous two verses, we refers to Jewish Christians. But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves, as Jewish Christians, have also been found sinners, Paul asks rhetorically, is Christ then a minister of sin?

His first point was to show that, if the Judaizers were correct in their doctrine that believers are saved in part by keeping the ceremonial law of Moses and continue to be bound by that law to maintain their salvation, then, even before the Judaizers arrived in Antioch, Peter, Barnabas, and all the other Jewish believers, including Paul, had fallen back into the category of sinners by having freely eaten and fellowshiped with Gentile Christians.

Paul’s second point was even more devastating. “If you became sinners because of fellowshiping with your Gentile brothers,” he implies, “then Christ Himself became a minister of sin, did he not?” How? Jesus had clearly taught that no food can spiritually contaminate a person, because food cannot affect the heart (Mark 7:19). Through the vision of the unclean animals and the dramatic conversion and anointing of Cornelius, the Lord had given Peter direct evidence that Gentile believers are in every way equal to Jewish believers (Acts 10). On many other occasions and in many other ways Jesus had taught that all those who belong to Him are one with Him and therefore one with each other. Shortly before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus earnestly and repeatedly prayed to His Father that those who believed in Him “may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us … that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity” (John 17:21–23).

But if the Judaizers were right, Paul pointed out, Jesus was wrong; if they taught the truth, He had taught falsehood and was thereby a minister of sin! Such an accusation must have shaken Peter to his bones. To be called a hypocrite stung enough, but to be called a sinner was unthinkable, and to be accused of making Jesus a minister of sin was shocking and repulsive. Yet the logic of Paul’s argument was inescapable. By his actions, Peter had in effect condemned Jesus Christ. He therefore had to forsake his Judaistic sympathies or continue to make His Lord a liar.

To his own question Paul immediately responded, May it never be! It must have been painful to Paul to suggest even hypothetically that Christ could participate in, much less promote, sin. But the drastic danger of Judaistic legalism demanded such drastic logic. He knew of no other way to bring Peter and the others to their senses.

By using the term we in the previous verses, Paul had graciously identified himself with the compromisers to a certain extent. Now he even more graciously and lovingly softens the blow to his friends by using himself as a hypothetical example. For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, he said, I prove myself to be a transgressor. In other words, if anyone, including myself, tries to rebuild a system of legalism after he has once destroyed it by believing and preaching the gospel of God’s powerful grace and man’s sinful helplessness, he proves himself, not Christ, to be a transgressor. He proves himself to be a hypocrite and a sinner by abandoning grace for law.

“I could never do such a thing,” Paul asserts, “for through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. The idea of legalism clashes with God’s clearest truth and my own deepest convictions. Now that I have accepted grace and died to the Law, I could never go back to its system of rituals and ordinances. Otherwise I could not live to God.” The law is not the believer’s master; God is. It is not his relation to the law that saves him, but his relation to God.

“Do you not know, brethren,” Paul asked the believers at Rome, “that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.… Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead that we might bear fruit for God” (Rom. 7:1–2, 4).

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. (Rom. 6:1–14)

In both Romans and Galatians, Paul is referring to the fact that when a person exercises faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is placed in transcendent spiritual union with Christ in the historical event of His death and resurrection, in which the penalty of sin was paid in full.

If a man is convicted of a capital crime and is put to death, the law obviously has no more claim on him. He has paid his debt to society. Therefore, even if he were to rise from the dead, he would still be guiltless before the law, which would have no claim on his new life. So it is with the believer who dies in Christ to rise in new life. He is free forever from any claim of the law on him. He paid the law’s demand when he died in Christ. His physical death is no punishment, only a release to glory provided in his union with Christ.

Legalism’s most destructive effect is that it cancels the effect of the cross. I have been crucified with Christ, Paul testifies, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. To go back under the law would be to cancel one’s union with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and therefore to go back under sin.

I died to the Law, Paul explains, because I was crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live. The old man, the old self, is dead, crucified with Christ, and the new man lives (cf. Col. 3:9–10). Now I … live to God, because Christ lives in me (cf. Rom. 8:9). The life I received by faith I now also live by faith. The Greek verb behind live is in the perfect tense, indicating a past completed action that has continuing results. When a believer trusts in Christ for salvation he spiritually participates with the Lord in His crucifixion and in His victory over sin and death.

That is why, the apostle continues, the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. The true Christian life is not so much a believer’s living for Christ as Christ’s living through the believer. Because in Christ “all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9), the fulness of God also dwells in every believer, as “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).

I do not have such a divine life and the magnanimous privilege of being indwelt with the living, powerful Son of God because of anything I have done or merited, but only because He loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

The surpassing motive, therefore, for all spiritual devotion and obedience is gratitude to the sovereign, gracious Lord. The statement who loved me refers to the motive behind God’s saving grace. The New Testament is replete with teaching on this great truth (see, e.g., John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:5). The gift of love was not taken from Christ, but He delivered Himself up for me, says the apostle. This is reminiscent of our Lord’s words in John 10:17–18, “I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down of My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”

All of this saving work is the gift of God’s sovereign grace. Consequently, Paul concludes, I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. In effect he was saying to Peter, “By withdrawing from fellowship with your Gentile brothers you take your stand with the Judaizers and against Christ. You nullify the grace of God by denying the need for Christ’s death, just as you did when you rebuked the Lord for declaring it was necessary for Him to suffer, be killed, and raised on the third day (see Matt. 16:21–22).

The two pillars of the gospel are the grace of God and the death of Christ, and those are the two pillars that, by its very nature, legalism destroys. The person who insists that he can earn salvation by his own efforts undermines the very foundation of Christianity and nullifies the precious death of Christ on his behalf.[1]

Dying to Live

Galatians 2:17–21

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:19–20)

What Paul said in Galatians 2:16 bears repeating: “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.” This is the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. As John Calvin (1509–1564) said, “we are justified in no other way than by faith, or, which comes to the same thing, … that we are justified by faith alone.”

“Justification” is a legal term that refers to a person’s standing before the bar of God’s justice. In order to be declared right with God, I must be righteous. But I am not righteous; I am a sinner. How, then, can I justify myself to God? This is the question that the doctrine of justification answers.

Righteous by Faith

It would be hard to think of a more important issue than how to be accepted by God. Certainly it was important during the Reformation, when Protestants defended the doctrine of justification by faith alone over against the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification by faith plus works. Martin Luther claimed that “if the doctrine of justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost.”

Justification remains a vital doctrine to this day, even if many evangelical Christians are not sure what it means or if it matters. The situation is reminiscent of the man who when asked to explain the difference between ignorance and apathy said, “I don’t know and I don’t care!” “Precisely!” came the reply. And ignorance and apathy are precisely the words to describe the church’s present attitude. Christians do not know and do not care to know the doctrine of justification by faith. Yet there is no true Christianity without it. J. I. Packer once wrote, “The doctrine of justification by faith is like Atlas: it bears a world on its shoulders, the entire evangelical knowledge of saving grace.” Packer went on to say what happens “when Protestants let the thought of justification drop out of their minds: the true knowledge of salvation drops out with it, and cannot be restored till the truth of justification is back in its proper place. When Atlas falls, everything that rested on his shoulders comes crashing down too.”

As crucial as justification is to Christianity, it is even more crucial to the Christian. It is of paramount personal importance to get into a right relationship with God. How can a righteous God accept an unrighteous individual like me?

Part of the answer is contained in the last phrase of Galatians 2:16: “By works of the law no one will be justified.” In the previous chapter we noted that this phrase is a quotation from the Old Testament. It is important to realize that the New Testament writers did not simply quote a verse here and a verse there. Rather, they quoted verses in their original biblical contexts. Often, a single phrase is intended to call to mind an entire passage from the Old Testament.

This is what Paul does in Galatians 2. The psalm from which he quotes begins with a problem. David is pursued by enemies and tormented by guilt. He asks God to deliver him even though he knows that what he really deserves is divine judgment:

Hear my prayer, O Lord;

give ear to my pleas for mercy!

In your faithfulness answer me,

in your righteousness.

Enter not into judgment with your servant,

for no one living is righteous before you. (Ps. 143:1–2)

David did not want to be brought before the bar of God’s justice, where no living person can be acquitted, least of all himself. Yet David still appealed to God for his salvation, and the basis for his appeal was God’s own righteousness. David asked God to come to his relief, not because he was righteous, but because God was righteous. He makes the same appeal at the end of the psalm: “For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble” (Ps. 143:11). David asked to be saved by a righteousness that comes from God.

Psalm 143 is a psalm for the justified sinner, for an unrighteous man saved by the gift of God’s righteousness. By quoting from this psalm, Paul showed that God’s ultimate answer to David’s prayer came through Jesus Christ. No one can be made right with God by obeying the law, for no one is righteous. But Jesus Christ the Righteous One makes us right with God.

It happens like this. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, God treats us as if we were as righteous as Jesus is. God credits us with his righteousness. To use the proper term for this, God “imputes” Christ’s righteousness to us, so that what Jesus did through the cross and the empty tomb counts for us. Justification is the judicial act in which God pardons sinners, considering them righteous because of the righteousness of Christ. When he justifies a sinner, God declares that as far as he is concerned, that sinner is as righteous as his own Son.

This doctrine of imputed righteousness is so important that it is worth taking the time to define. Martin Luther explained it like this: “ ‘Because you believe in me,’ God says, ‘and your faith takes hold of Christ, whom I have given to you as your Justifier and Savior, therefore be righteous.’ Thus God accepts you or reputes you righteous solely on account of Christ, in whom you believe.” Calvin wrote: “It is entirely by the intervention of Christ’s righteousness that we obtain justification before God. This is equivalent to saying that man is not just in himself, but that the righteousness of Christ is communicated to him by imputation, while he is strictly deserving of punishment.”5 Similarly, the Westminster Shorter Catechism defines justification as “an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone” (Answer 33). An even fuller explanation comes from the Heidelberg Catechism, which asks, “How art thou righteous before God?” The answer is:

Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ; so that, though my conscience accuse me that I have grossly transgressed all the commands of God, and kept none of them, and am still inclined to all evil; notwithstanding God, without any merit of mine, but only of mere grace, grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ; even so, as if I never had had, nor committed any sin; yea, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ hath accomplished for me; inasmuch as I embrace such benefit with a believing heart. (A. 60)

Objection: The Problem of Sin

The doctrine of justification by faith alone raises an obvious problem. If by his free grace God has already declared us righteous, then why bother to become a better person? What incentive do we have to live for God? The doctrine of justification seems irresponsible. It sounds, in fact, like winning the spiritual lottery. If God gives righteousness away for free, who will ever work for him again?

Paul anticipates this objection by making it part of his argument. “But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin?” (Gal. 2:17). This is a fair question, and from the way he poses it, Paul seems to have something specific in mind. The clue is the word “sinners,” which Paul used back in verse 15 to indicate the Jewish attitude toward Gentiles. The Gentiles were “sinners,” not so much because they were immoral, but because they lived outside the boundaries of the law. According to the Judaizers, this was precisely the problem with Peter and Paul: they had become outlaws. In their personal habits, they were living like Gentile sinners rather than like Jews. They used to keep the law in all its detail. Now they were doing things like eating unholy food with uncircumcised Gentiles.

Hence the accusation that they were making Jesus a servant of sin, almost as if he were doing promotional work for the devil. Peter and Paul had sought to be justified by faith in Christ. This included giving up on the law as a way to get right with God. Whereas before they had always been law-abiding Jews, they were sinking to the level of pagans. When the Judaizers discovered that Peter and Paul were living like “Gentile sinners,” they reached the obvious conclusion: being justified by faith causes people to sin in the name of Christ. And if Peter and Paul were guilty of this charge, then so were the Gentiles. They had come to faith in Christ, but they were still living like so-called sinners. Someone needed to hold them to a higher moral standard, and the Judaizers were just the men to do it!

What is the best way to answer this line of thinking? It must be admitted that Christians do not always make good advertisements for Christianity. When this is the case, it helps to remember that by definition, all Christians are sinners. Martin Luther said, “A Christian is not someone who has no sin or feels no sin; he is someone to whom, because of his faith in Christ, God does not impute his sin.” This is the crucial difference. Christians are sinners too, but their sins do not count against them. Therefore, with the possible exception of the prison system, the church is the only institution in the world for bad people.

This does not mean, however, that God himself is in the business of sin. “Certainly not!” Paul says (Gal. 2:17). God forbid! Or to put it in the vernacular, “No way!” Perish the thought that Christ is a “servant of sin,” as if his grace is somehow to be blamed for my guilt. When God justifies sinners by faith, he is not aiding and abetting their sin. The very suggestion is blasphemous. God cannot sin (James 1:13), nor can he be held responsible for my sin. If I am still a sinner after I become a Christian, it is no one’s fault but my own.

The doctrine that really does promote sin is justification by the law rather than by faith. Paul shows this by using his opponents’ argument against them: “For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor” (Gal. 2:18). As we shall see, when Paul spoke of rebuilding what he tore down, he was referring to the Old Testament law that he had torn down by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. So what would happen if someone tried to rebuild the law? This was exactly what Peter was trying to do in Antioch. At first, he had destroyed the law by welcoming Gentiles into the church as full-fledged Christians. But then he allowed himself to be pressured into separating himself from them. In effect, Peter was rebuilding with one hand what he had destroyed with the other. First he told the Gentiles that they were saved by faith, not by works, but then he made the works of the law a test of Christian fellowship.

Not only is this what Peter did, but it is also what the Galatians were tempted to do. Some Jews had come to urge them to rebuild the law in place of the gospel. If the Galatians did that, they would become lawbreakers all over again. The law’s purpose is to show that we are sinners, so the more of it that gets rebuilt, the more sinful we become! In the words of F. F. Bruce, “Any one who, having received justification through faith in Christ, thereafter reinstates law in place of Christ makes himself a sinner all over again.” To rebuild the law is actually to transgress it, because we cannot keep the law in its perfection.

Dead to the Law

In Christ the law has been destroyed as a way of getting right with God. And now that it has been knocked down, it has to stay down. This has profound personal implications. “For through the law I died to the law,” wrote Paul, “so that I might live to God” (Gal. 2:19).

The first question to ask about this verse is, What does it mean to “die to the law”? Notice that the law is not what does the dying. Rather, Paul is the one who dies with respect to the law. This is a remarkable thing for a former Pharisee to say. When Paul was a Pharisee he lived for the law, but now that he is a Christian he is dead to it. That is to say, he is no longer under its power. Calvin said, “To die to the law is to renounce it and to be freed from its dominion, so that we have no confidence in it and it does not hold us captive under the yoke of slavery.”

But then another question arises: How can someone die to the law through the law? It would seem to make more sense for Paul to say something like this: “Through the gospel I died to the law so that I might live for God.” Instead he says that it was the law itself that persuaded him to abandon the law.

There are several ways to understand this. Perhaps Paul was saying that the law “did him in” by showing him that he was a sinner. This is certainly a point he makes elsewhere (Rom. 7:9–11). The law cannot save. All it can do is condemn us by proving that we cannot keep it. In the words of the old Scottish commentator John Brown (1784–1858), the Christian must therefore cease “to expect justification and salvation by obedience to its requisitions.” The law cannot promise life; it can only threaten death. Thus it is through the law that one dies to the law.

There is another possibility, however, which is based on the law’s penalty. Remember that the law came with a deadly curse. Anyone who failed to keep everything God’s law required (and note that in Galatians 2:19 Paul is referring to the whole law of God, not just the ceremonial law, as the New Perspective on Paul and the law would have it) was condemned to die. So the worst the law could do to a man was kill him. However, once the law had exacted its death penalty, there was nothing else it could do. A man can be executed only once, and once he has been executed, the law has no further claim on him. Perhaps this is why Paul considered himself dead to the law: because the law had already put him to death.

Now as far as the Christian is concerned, the penalty of the law has already been carried out. The law’s demand of death was satisfied in the death of Christ. It was the law that put Christ to death on the cross. When Christ died, Paul died too, at least as far as the law was concerned. He died to the law in the death of his substitute. Hence his triumphant statement: “Through the law I died to the law” (Gal. 2:19).

Alive in Christ

Having written his own obituary, Paul proceeds to explain the circumstances of his demise: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:19–20). Here the apostle indicates when he died to the law: he died to the law when Christ died on the cross.

This text reveals something very surprising about the cross. It shows that at least four things were nailed to the cross of Calvary. The most obvious, of course, was Jesus himself, through his hands and feet. As the records plainly show, he was put to death by being nailed to the cross. Also fastened to the cross with a hammer and a nail was the public announcement that read: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19). The third thing that was nailed to the cross was the debt of our sin. Paul explained this to the Colossians: God forgave “all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:13–14). The record of debt was the law of God, which condemns us by listing all our sins and which God canceled by nailing it to the cross.

But here is the surprise: if you are a follower of Christ, then you were nailed to the cross too! The crucifixion is not just a fact about the life of Christ and a momentous event in human history, but is also part of every Christian’s personal life story. The Cambridge Puritan William Perkins (1558–1602) said, “We are in mind and meditation to consider Christ crucified: and first, we are to believe that he was crucified for us. This being done, we must go yet further, and as it were spread ourselves on the cross of Christ, believing and withall beholding ourselves crucified with him.”

Do not misunderstand this. Jesus Christ died once for all. He alone was the God-man, so he alone could atone for the sins of the world by offering his life in our place. Yet the Scripture also says that the Christian has been crucified with Christ. It uses the perfect tense to show that this is something that really and truly happened, as if we were nailed to the very tree of Calvary. This is not a subjective experience in the life of the believer, but an objective reality that is based on the believer’s relationship to Christ. Mark Seifrid writes, “Paul does not have merely his inward life in view, but his whole person and history, which has now been manifestly taken up in the cross and resurrection of Christ.”

The surprising truth that the Christian has been crucified in Christ rests on the most magnificent of all doctrines: union with Christ, which the Scottish theologian John Murray (1898–1975) called “the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation.” We encounter it everywhere in the New Testament. Again and again, the Scripture teaches that the Christian is in Christ. To use the proper theological category, the Christian is united to Christ.

The way anyone becomes united to Christ is by faith. Paul said this in verse 16: “we also have believed in Christ Jesus.” Once we put our faith in Christ, then we are in Christ. Our union with Christ becomes a spiritual reality. Martin Luther said, “By [faith] you are so cemented to Christ that He and you are as one person, which cannot be separated but remains attached to Him forever.”

The reason union with Christ is such a magnificent doctrine is that once we get into Christ by faith, then everything Christ has ever done becomes something we have done. It is as if we had lived his perfect life and died his painful death. It is as if we were buried in his tomb and then raised up to his glorious heaven (Rom. 6:3–5). God attaches us to the events of Christ’s life so that they become part of our lives. His story—the story of the cross and the empty tomb—becomes our story.

The only way to get what Christ has to offer is to be united to him by faith. Calvin said, “We must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us.” But once we get into Christ, then we get everything he has to offer, especially his righteousness. When we are in Christ, God considers us as righteous as his own Son, not because we are righteous, but because we are in Christ.

The doctrine of union with Christ explains why the Christian is dead to the law. We were united to Christ in his crucifixion. As far as God is concerned, we were really and truly nailed to the cross with Christ. It was on the cross that the law carried out its death penalty against us. Therefore, as far as the law is concerned, we are now dead. There is nothing the law can do to improve our standing before God. We can live for Christ because we are dead to the law.

Not only are we dead to the law, it is almost as if we have stopped living altogether: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:19–20). Paul is saying something like this: “I no longer have a life of my own. The only life I have is the life that God puts into me through Jesus Christ.”

It would be hard to imagine a text more antithetical to our contemporary culture. Consider these words from the actress Shirley MacLaine:

The most pleasurable journey you take is through yourself.… The only sustaining love involvement is with yourself.… When you look back on your life and try to figure out where you’ve been and where you are going, when you look at your work, your love affairs, your marriages, your children, your pain, your happiness—when you examine all that closely, what you really find out is that the only person you really go to bed with is yourself. The only person you really dress is yourself. The only thing you have is working to the consummation of your own identity.

MacLaine’s words capture the spirit of this selfish age. Moderns and postmoderns alike are obsessed with themselves. Self-esteem, self-improvement, self-fulfillment, self-indulgence—whatever you want, as long as it begins with your “self.”

In these self-absorbed times, the Bible announces the death of the self: “It is no longer I who live” (Gal. 2:20). The world no longer revolves around me. I am no longer dominated by thoughts of my own pleasure and prestige. If I have a life at all, it is only the life that Christ lives in me.

This does not mean that becoming a Christian is a kind of suicide. We still have a normal physical existence, of course, what Paul calls “the life I now live in the flesh” (Gal. 2:20). Since it is the life I live, I even have a self. But the only self I have is the one that is united to Christ by faith. My life is the life that Christ “lives in me,” the life “I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20).

This is the mystery of Christ’s indwelling presence by the Holy Spirit. Theologians have tried to explain this mystery in various ways. Calvin said that the Christian “does not live by his own life but is animated by the secret power of Christ, so that Christ may be said to live and grow in him.” The Scottish theologian Henry Scougal (1650–1678) called it “the life of God in the soul of man.” One thing this means is that becoming a Christian is the best and only way to discover our identity. We will never find our true selves until we find ourselves in Christ. Our identity is established by our union with Christ. We have no self, except the self that we have in him. To have a “healthy self-image,” then, is to see ourselves as we are in Christ.

Christ Died for Someone

Union with Christ provides the answer to the question we posed earlier: If God justifies bad people, then why be good? Isn’t justification by faith alone a dangerous doctrine that encourages people to be immoral?

The answer is “Certainly not!” The reason the doctrine of justification by faith does not promote sin is that justifying faith is what gets us into Christ, and when we are in Christ we become new people. We are not simply justified by faith; we also live by faith. By faith we are in the crucified Christ. By the same faith Christ lives in us. Since we live in Christ, we no longer live in sin. We live in Christ, by Christ, and through Christ for the glory of God.

The Christian life is like life after death. We were crucified with Christ, dead both to the law and to ourselves. But we are still united to Christ by faith. Therefore, our story did not end at the cross, but went on to the empty tomb. Just as Jesus was brought back to life in his resurrection, so we also have been raised from the dead. God has given us a whole new life to live for him, a life of faith responding to love.

If this is not Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity, which is the point with which Paul concludes the first major part of his letter: “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (Gal. 2:21). J. Gresham Machen identified this as

the key verse of the Epistle to the Galatians; it expresses the central thought of the Epistle. The Judaizers attempted to supplement the saving work of Christ by merit of their own obedience to the law. That, says Paul, is impossible; Christ will do everything or nothing: earn your salvation if your obedience to the law is perfect, or else trust wholly to Christ’s completed work; you cannot do both; you cannot combine merit and grace; if justification even in slightest measure is through human merit, then Christ died in vain.

For the sake of argument, assume that there is another way to be justified, apart from the work of Christ. Suppose that there is some other procedure for getting right with God. Imagine, for example, that what Paul’s opponents were saying was true, that God will accept us only if we keep the law of Moses, getting circumcised and all the rest of it. Now explain why Christ died on the cross. Obviously not to justify sinners, because this is something that sinners must do for themselves. The cross is necessary only if it has the power to bring sinners into a right relationship with God.

Paul’s point is that if it is possible to be justified by working the law, then there was no reason for Christ to be crucified. His death was pointless. His work was in vain. His cross was unnecessary. For if our own works can save us, then Christ’s death was superfluous. Or perhaps Christ’s death was insufficient, so that when he hung, dying on the cross, and said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), it wasn’t really finished after all. Either salvation comes through the finished work of Jesus Christ, or it comes through human effort, but not both. If we can be saved by our own works, then Jesus was a false Messiah who died a worthless death on a meaningless cross.

The notion that Christ died for nothing is scandalous, of course. Luther considered it “an intolerable and horrible blasphemy to think up some work by which you presume to placate God, when you see that He cannot be placated except by this immense, infinite price, the death and the blood of the Son of God, one drop of which is more precious than all creation.” In fact, anyone who tries to add works to faith is treating Jesus exactly the way his enemies treated him when he was dying on the cross. Timothy George writes that “if we add works of the law to the sacrifice of the cross, then indeed we make a mockery of Jesus’ death just as the soldiers who spat upon him, the thieves who hurled insults at him, and the rabble who shouted, ‘Come down from the cross!’ ”21

This is exactly what the Judaizers were doing. They were adding works to faith as their basis for being justified before God. By doing this they were saying that Christ died for nothing. They were nullifying the grace of God. But the one thing the apostle Paul absolutely refused to do was to nullify the grace of God. He had come to Christ by faith, not by works. He understood that to go back now and argue that the law can save sinners would be to deny the saving power of the cross. All by itself the cross proves that justification comes by grace, through faith, and not by works. If the righteousness of the crucified Christ is not accepted, then the grace of God must be abrogated. For in order for salvation to be by grace alone, through faith alone, it must come from Christ alone. Otherwise, Christ died for nothing.

Christ did die for something, of course. Or to put it more accurately, Christ died for someone. He died for me. Notice the intensely personal terms that Paul uses to describe his relationship to Jesus Christ. Although Jesus is the very Son of God, he “loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). The same God who loved the world loves me, specifically and individually. He not only loves me, but also gave himself for me when he died for my sins on the cross. Jesus freely and willingly volunteered to be my Savior. I, personally, was crucified with the Christ who died, personally, for me. Divine love is not some abstract concept. It is a passionate affection that has been expressed through sacrificial action.

When John Wesley (1703–1791) was coming to faith in Christ, this truth made a deep and lasting impression upon him. In his journal he describes what it was like to come to the end of the second chapter in Luther’s Commentary on Galatians:“I laboured, waited, and prayed to feel ‘who loved me and gave himself for me.’ ” Wesley found that these verses were well worth the effort. So does everyone who comes to Christ by faith, becoming united to him in his crucifixion, and thereby receiving the free grace of the loving God.[2]

20. I am crucified with Christ. This explains the manner in which we, who are dead to the law, live to God. Ingrafted into the death of Christ, we derive from it a secret energy, as the twig does from the root. Again, the handwriting of the law, “which was contrary to us, Christ has nailed to his cross.” (Col. 2:14.) Being then crucified with him, we are freed from all the curse and guilt of the law. He who endeavours to set aside that deliverance makes void the cross of Christ. But let us remember, that we are delivered from the yoke of the law, only by becoming one with Christ, as the twig draws its sap from the root, only by growing into one nature.

Nevertheless I live. To the feelings of man, the word Death is always unpleasant. Having said that we are “crucified with Christ,” he therefore adds, “that this makes us alive.”

Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. This explains what he meant by “living to God.” He does not live by his own life, but is animated by the secret power of Christ; so that Christ may be said to live and grow in him; for, as the soul enlivens the body, so Christ imparts life to his members. It is a remarkable sentiment, that believers live out of themselves, that is, they live in Christ; which can only be accomplished by holding real and actual communication with him. Christ lives in us in two ways. The one life consists in governing us by his Spirit, and directing all our actions; the other, in making us partakers of his righteousness; so that, while we can do nothing of ourselves, we are accepted in the sight of God. The first relates to regeneration, the second to justification by free grace. This passage may be understood in the latter sense; but if it is thought better to apply it to both, I will cheerfully adopt that view.

And the life which I now live in the flesh. There is hardly a sentence here which has not been torn by a variety of interpretations. Some understand by the word flesh, the depravity of sinful nature; but Paul means by it simply the bodily life, and it is to this that the objection applies. “You live a bodily life; but while this corruptible body performs its functions,—while it is supported by eating and drinking, this is not the heavenly life of Christ. It is therefore an unreasonable paradox to assert, that, while you are openly living after the ordinary manner of men, your life is not your own.”

Paul replies, that it consists in faith; which intimates that it is a secret hidden from the senses of man. The life, therefore, which we attain by faith, is not visible to the bodily eye, but is inwardly perceived in the conscience by the power of the Spirit; so that the bodily life does not prevent us from enjoying, by faith, a heavenly life. “He hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6.) Again, “Ye are fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God.” (Eph. 2:19.) And again, “Our conversation is in heaven.” (Phil. 3:20.) Paul’s writings are full of similar assertions, that, while we live in the world, we at the same time live in heaven; not only because our Head is there, but because, in virtue of union, we enjoy a life in common with him. (John 14:23.)

Who loved me. This is added to express the power of faith; for it would immediately occur to any one,—whence does faith derive such power as to convey into our souls the life of Christ? He accordingly informs us, that the love of Christ, and his death, are the objects on which faith rests; for it is in this manner that the effect of faith must be judged. How comes it that we live by the faith of Christ? Because “he loved us, and gave himself for us.” The love of Christ led him to unite himself to us, and he completed the union by his death. By giving himself for us, he suffered in our own person; as, on the other hand, faith makes us partakers of every thing which it finds in Christ. The mention of love is in accordance with the saying of the apostle John, “Not that we loved God, but he anticipated us by his love.” (1 John 4:10.) For if any merit of ours had moved him to redeem us, this reason would have been stated; but now Paul ascribes the whole to love: it is therefore of free grace. Let us observe the order: “He loved us, and gave himself for us.” As if he had said, “He had no other reason for dying, but because he loved us,” and that “when we were enemies,” (Rom. 5:10,) as he argues in another Epistle.

He gave himself. No words can properly express what this means; for who can find language to declare the excellency of the Son of God? Yet he it is who gave himself as a price for our redemption. Atonement, cleansing, satisfaction, and all the benefits which we derive from the death of Christ, are here represented. The words for me, are very emphatic. It will not be enough for any man to contemplate Christ as having died for the salvation of the world, unless he has experienced the consequences of this death, and is enabled to claim it as his own.[3]

19–20 These verses contain four propositions: (1) “Through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God”; (2) “I have been crucified with Christ”; (3) “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”; and (4) “the life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Determining the meaning of each of these statements will aid in understanding Paul’s intention in this section.

Stating “through the law I died to the law” further expounds the assertion Paul made at v. 18 that he is not a transgressor of the law. When Paul speaks of “dying to” something elsewhere, he means to say metaphorically that all relationship to that entity has been cut off (cf. “died to sin,” Ro 6:2, 10–11; “died to the law,” Ro 7:2–6). So here he contends that the believer cannot be a transgressor of the law because one who has trusted Jesus Christ has been cut off from any (intended redemptive) relationship to the law. Paul does not indicate that the believer is cut off from the law in any and every sense—the context of this statement is the propositio, in which he sets forth his thesis statement regarding justification and observance of the law—but in both the “legalistic” connotation and in the sense of the law functioning as the nomistic guideline for life (as argued by Paul’s opponents), the believer is “dead” to the law and thus no longer in relationship to it (cf. Burton, 132–33; Bruce, 142). This death to the law came about “through the law,” i. e., the believer’s death to the law is through the law because he died in Christ’s death (Ro 7:4). Paul will further expand on this statement in the probatio section of 3:19–4:7, particularly at 3:19–25.

“I have been crucified with Christ” speaks to the believer’s incorporation into the work of Christ. This is the basis of Paul’s earlier statements regarding the believer’s death to the law and living for God. This is a “Spirit-ual” identification with Christ (i. e., “of the Spirit,” “sourced” in the person of God’s Holy Spirit) in his death. It indicates that union with Christ by faith includes one’s being united with him in his experience of death to the old order, to the law.

The statement “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” extends this incorporation into Christ beyond death to the law to life in Christ. The Christian’s life is “hidden with Christ” (Col 3:3). The believer is transferred by virtue of incorporation with the crucified Christ to the sphere of resurrection life in him (cf. Matera, 103; Bruce, 144). The believer’s life is now lived out under the ethic and guidance of Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit. Just as sin was the operative power of the former life, exercised through the law and the self, now Christ lives both in and through the believer.

Paul goes on to explain, “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” The present life in the mortal body is, for the believer, a life that is lived “in Christ.” This is life lived in union with Christ, through faith in him who is the “Son of God.” This is a life of commitment to him who “loved me and gave himself for me.” The title “Son of God” both defines Jesus’ identity as God’s Servant and describes the close bond between him and the Father. It also emphasizes the greatness of Jesus’ sacrifice, as he gave himself up to be crucified in order to provide redemption for lost humanity. This sacrificial activity made the way clear for the faith life of union with Christ Paul describes here.

In these verses Paul has expressed the crux of his theology of the Christian life: the believer has died to the law by virtue of incorporation into Christ, with whom the believer has been co-crucified. Life is now lived in union with him in a daily existence of faith “outworked” (cf. 5:13–6:10). The law has no dominion over the believer, who lives now in the ethical sphere of Christ’s life by his Spirit, whose power it is that energizes and empowers one by faith in Christ’s person and work.[4]

19–20a  The emphatic “I” (egō), with which the positive argument in vv. 19f. against the false conclusion of v. 17b begins (in the Greek text), may be explained by the “I” (egō) of v. 20b (20a in Greek editions) as referring to Paul in his natural self; but the genuine first person singular is here used also representatively of all true Christians. Of this “I” Paul predicates a dying “through the law … to the law” (RSV, NIV, NASB). A person’s death to the law means that that person ceases to have any relation to the law, so that the law has no further claim or control over that person.

This death is accomplished “through the law”; this is more specifically expressed in the clause “I have been crucified with Christ,” which refers not in an ethical sense to a subjective experience in Christian consciousness, but to the believer’s objective position in Christ. By virtue of his incorporation into Christ (cf. v. 17) and participation in Christ’s death Paul has undergone a death whereby his relation to the law has been decisively severed and the law has ceased to have any claim on him (cf. Rom. 7:4, 6). But since the vicarious death of Christ for sinners was exacted by the law (cf. Gal. 3:13) and was “first an affirmation of [the law’s] verdict,” Paul’s death to the law through participation in Christ’s death can be said to be “through the law.”68 This death “through the law … to the law” means not only that the law as a false way of righteousness has been set aside but also that the believer is set free from the dominion of the law (under which there is transgression, Rom. 4:15) for a life of consecration to God (cf. Rom. 7:6).

Paul’s point in vv. 19–20a is thus that, although in seeking to be justified in Christ believers become “sinners” in that they do not possess the law (v. 17a), this is but an outworking of the principle of dying to the law in accordance with its own demands, and the purpose and result of freedom from the yoke of the law is not to lead them to sin, but to enable them to live for God; hence, Christ is not “an abettor of sin” (v. 17b, c).

20b  As a result of his participation in Christ’s death on the cross, Paul now explains (note the first “and” of NASB, NIV), the life he now lives is not lived by him—by the “I” of v. 19, the self-righteous Pharisee who based his hope for righteousness and salvation on strict observance of the law—but by Christ, the risen and exalted One, who dwells in him. It is sometimes said that these words show the mysticism of Paul’s experience; but if the mode of expression may be somewhat “mystical,” the meaning is clarified by the completely rational statement which follows. Now that Paul’s natural self has come to an end, his earthly existence72 is no longer an independent life of his own, but a life of believing dependence on the Son of God who loved him and gave himself for him. To have Christ living in Paul, therefore, does not mean some kind of mystical depersonalization, as though the human “I” of Paul were absorbed into the pneumatic “I” of Christ;74 on the contrary, Paul fully retains his identity as an “I” who sustains an “I-Thou” relationship with Christ.

The new life spoken of here began when Paul “died to law—to live for God” (v. 19), which was also when “we believed … that we might be justified” (v. 16, RV).76 This means that the believer’s new life, which is characterized by faith in Christ and by Christ’s indwelling presence, is to be dated from the time of his justification. From the perspective of Paul’s argument, the point is that, although justification in Christ does mean that one abandons dependence on the law and becomes a sinner in that sense (v. 17), it does not mean actually committing sin, since it also and at the same time means living a new life of union with Christ: Christ lives in the believer, and the believer lives his present, earthly life by faith in Christ.[5]

19–20 Paul offers a personal statement as a further elaboration of the rationale for why that which was torn down (2:17–18) should not be erected afresh. To do so would be to undo all that is spoken of in 2:19–21. He gives us thereby one of the most beautiful expressions of the essence of the Christian life: “For I died to the law through the law, in order that I might live to God. I have been crucified along with Christ. It’s not me living any longer, but Christ is living in me. What I’m now living in the flesh, I live by trusting God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself up on my behalf.” Paul describes a paradigmatic “dying” that opens up the possibility of a new kind of “living,” all the result of Jesus’s own dying for the sake of, out of love for, and in order to benefit Paul—and it is significant that, while Christ did this for “all” (see 2 Cor 5:14–15), he also did it for “each,” and thus for “me” (2:20). In this way, a general benefaction (“for all”) remains also a very personal benefaction (“for me”), calling for a very personal response and creating a very personal bond. It is this bond that Paul takes every pain not to violate, this response of gratitude to which Paul yields all that he is, such that “it is not me living any longer.” Returning to the Torah-driven life would mean, for Paul, setting aside the favor, the generous love, that Christ has shown at ultimate cost to himself, which is something he will neither do himself nor suffer others to do without being held accountable (2:21).

Paul claims that his movement away from seeking to align himself with God’s purposes and standards through continuing to align his life with the Torah, accompanied by his movement toward aligning himself with God’s purposes and standards through trusting Jesus and allowing Jesus to come alive within him, was itself a journey undertaken “through the Torah.” Paul will explain further below (3:11–14, 19–25; 4:4–5) how “dying to the Torah” is in fact in accordance with God’s ultimate purposes for, and revealed in, the Torah. That Torah should pronounce Jesus accursed while God pronounces Jesus righteous by means of resurrection represents Torah’s own claim of incompatibility with Jesus. Indeed, by contributing to bringing about Jesus’s death, the Torah helped to effect Paul’s liberation from its own authority and power. Torah has a positive function, but only as a temporary measure set in place to provide protective discipline for the particular people out of which the Seed (see 3:15–18) would arise. It had to give way to the more powerful means by which God would bring all people, and not just Jews, into alignment with God’s righteousness—namely, identification with Christ in his death and rising to new life, and the gift of the Spirit to direct and empower righteousness from the heart.

Paul’s identification with Christ in his death, because he is now in Christ (who had been crucified and rose to a new life) and Christ is now in him, frees him from obligation to the law, which “has authority over a person while he or she is alive” (Rom 7:1). It is a death to living under the authority of the Torah, constrained by its regulations and practices, but it is also, as Paul recognizes here, a death to “the jurisdiction of one’s own ego,”359 or as he will express it later, a death to the power of the “old person,” the “flesh” with its cravings and urges (Gal 5:24), so that one can follow the Spirit’s leading in all things, manifesting the righteous character and practices that fulfill the Torah’s vision for righteousness—becoming the sort of person that Torah would affirm as reflecting God’s holiness, even though the Christian arrives at that point by a completely different path (5:22–23; see also Rom 6:1–14; Col 3:1–17).

This dying in union with Christ allows Paul to enter into a new kind of living—not merely existence as a biological organism, but a coming alive to God in a wholly new way, a life before God characterized by the freedom of God’s mature children (3:23–25; 4:1–7), who have the capacity to do what pleases God because God’s Spirit, living within them and empowering them to live this life, guides them (5:13–25). Gratitude, the full-bodied response to grace shown, is the path into, and driving force of, this new life.361 Paul remains ever mindful of the generous kindness of Jesus, “the Son of God who loved me and handed himself over on my behalf” (2:20b; see 1:4). Jesus displayed the highest form of generosity that any benefactor could, giving not his resources but his very life to bring benefit to others. Such commitment ought to awaken an equal commitment to respond with a proportionate degree of gratitude. Paul describes this response as nothing less than a life for a life. In a very real sense, Paul has given over to Jesus the remainder of his life in the body (“flesh” here does not yet carry the negative hues with which it will be colored in Gal 3–6 but speaks only of “this mortal body,” as in 1:16). Paul has put himself out of the way so that “the one who loved [him] and gave himself over for [him]” could have the remainder of Paul’s life as a fair return. As a gift in return, it may not be of equal value, but it shows equal commitment to the grace relationship. Christ’s self-giving becomes the focal act, the stimulus, that defines all of Paul’s responses—all of life is thenceforth lived first and foremost with a view to giving oneself to Christ, to his interests, his agenda, his pleasure.

An essential component of this response to costly favor is to move forward with unflagging trust in such a benefactor, and Paul expresses his own commitment to continue in this response: “What I now live in the flesh, I live by trusting in the Son of God” (2:20). The “faith in Christ” that is the means to acquittal (“justification”) includes this new life of “living by faith in God’s Son,” a new life in which the “I” no longer drives what is lived in the body, but Christ does by the power and means of his indwelling Spirit. Much of the central argumentative section of Galatians can be read as Paul’s attempt to encourage the believers to show more complete confidence in Jesus’s ability to bring them into God’s household and in the sufficiency of the gifts that Jesus’s death has secured for them. Central here is trust in the sufficiency of the Holy Spirit, the blessing once promised to Abraham and now available to all who trust Jesus (3:14), to lead them to life and righteousness before God (3:21; 5:13–6:10) by causing Christ to take shape within, and to live in and through, them (2:20; 4:19). This is the “new creation” (6:15; cf. 2 Cor 5:16–18) that renders all concern over circumcision or uncircumcision misplaced.

Paul offers his own experience as a paradigm of response to Christ’s love manifested in his self-giving death. Paul emphasizes how deeply personal this statement is by his repeated use of the nominative pronoun egō, explaining why he himself cannot think as did the “people from James,” could not do as Peter did, and cannot abide what the rival teachers are now seeking to do. The experience of “dying to the Torah” is, moreover, a particularly Jewish one and not one with which the gentile converts among his audience can immediately identify. Nevertheless, Paul’s response in 2:19–20 is paradigmatic insofar as gentile Christians must also experience a death, a cocrucifixion with Christ, to “the flesh with its passions and desires” (5:24) and to “the world” (6:14) with its fundamental rules and ordering principles (4:3, 8–11) in favor of Christ coming to life within them and making them “new creation” in whom “righteousness” comes to be embodied (5:5–6; 6:15). Paul is in labor for his converts until “Christ is formed” in them (4:19), even as Christ has taken shape in Paul (2:20). He will speak more fully in 5:13–6:10 of the process by which this formation becomes reality.

The narrative of Jesus’s giving of himself for Paul out of love for him becomes the act that defines Paul’s response, namely, dying with Christ in return and, in some sense, for Christ in return so that Christ may now live in Paul. This narrative must, in turn, be allowed to awaken the same response in every person who trusts in Christ’s death: “One person died on behalf of all; therefore all died. And he died on behalf of all in order that those who continued living might live no longer for themselves, but rather for him who died and was raised on their behalf” (2 Cor 5:14b–15). This response frees the human being from the condition of being “curved in on itself”370 and restores to it the God-centeredness and other-centeredness that is at the heart of righteousness under the old covenant and under the new.

Taken as a whole, Gal 2:15–21 demonstrates the fallacy of choosing either “justification by faith” or “participation in Christ” as the center of Paul’s theology. The two represent facets of a single center. Indeed, if we understand “justification” in its fullest sense—God intervening to bring back in line what was out of alignment in human beings and their relationship with the divine—then “participating in Christ” or, perhaps better, “Christ’s participation in us” is an essential mechanism of that justification. Paul speaks of Christ’s participation in us as the Spirit’s activity within and among us (4:6–7; 5:16–25), of “Christ being formed” among the believers (4:19), and of Christ “living” in Paul (2:20). Christ participating in us, changing us to the point that we are not “ourselves” any more, with Christ, rather, taking on new flesh in us—this is the means by which the righteousness that God seeks in God’s people (6:7–10), for which the Christian hopes (5:5), is formed within us (a righteousness that the Torah could not effectively nurture, 2:21). Paul’s interest in God’s justifying (“rectifying”) initiative includes a highly “formational” or “transformational” element.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Galatians (pp. 57–60). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Ryken, P. G. (2005). Galatians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 66–79). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 74–76). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Rapa, R. K. (2008). Galatians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 586–587). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Fung, R. Y. K. (1988). The Epistle to the Galatians (pp. 122–124). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] deSilva, D. A. (2018). The Letter to the Galatians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (pp. 245–250). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

June 19, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump repeated on Tuesday that immigration authorities
would next week target migrants in the country illegally in large-scale
arrests, but still gave no details about the planned action.

President Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran
from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of
force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under
threat by Iran.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi outlined several key
impediments to congressional approval of a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade
agreement, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was set to arrive in
Washington to push for final approval of the pact.

France and Germany will increase their efforts to reduce tensions over
Iran, but time was running out and the risk of war could not be ruled out,
their foreign ministers said on Wednesday.

Iran said on Wednesday it would not give European powers more time beyond
July 8 to save its nuclear deal by shielding it from U.S. sanctions.

A rocket hit a site in southern Iraq used by foreign oil companies on
Wednesday, including U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil, wounding three people
and threatening to further escalate U.S.-Iran tensions in the region.

The United States Navy on Wednesday displayed limpet mine fragments and a
magnet it said it had removed from one of two oil tankers attacked in the
Gulf of Oman last week, saying the mines bore a striking resemblance to
Iranian ones.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has executed
$44.15 billion in U.S. foreign arms sales through June 19, and the agency’s
director said he was optimistic the total for the full year would reach
last year’s $55.66 billion.

AP Top Stories

President Trump stuck to old themes and complaints in his highly touted
campaign kickoff speech in Orlando on Tuesday night. The president railed
against the “fake news,” “socialism,” investigations into his
administration, the Democrats running to replace him, former President
Barack Obama and the Clinton family in a speech that lasted well over an

Federal officials in Philadelphia seized over 16 tons of cocaine from a
cargo ship on Tuesday, calling it one of the largest drug seizures in U.S.
history and the largest in the history of the eastern district of
Pennsylvania. The street value of the bust is estimated at more than $1
billion. “This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of

An American teenager has been charged with conspiring to murder her “best
friend” after a man she met online offered her $9 million to commit the

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been orbiting the space rock known as
Bennu since the start of the year. It caught up with the asteroid in late
December of 2018 and successfully inserted itself into orbit around the
object around New Year ‘s Day. A recent tweak to its orbit has brought the
probe to an orbit of just 680 meters, or around 2,230 feet from the
asteroid’s surface. This is now the closest that any manmade spacecraft has
orbited any planetary body.

When the Coast Guard starts rolling out a new generation of heavy
icebreakers on the Gulf Coast, the ships will be heading for a familiar
port in the Pacific Northwest. “I am pleased to announce that Seattle,
Washington, will be the home of the Coast Guard’s new Polar Security
Cutters,” Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Tuesday sharply criticized the
Trump administration’s practice of holding migrants seeking asylum in what
she called “concentration camps.”

The city of Suzhou, known as “the Venice of the East” for its web of
intricate waterways, captured the imagination of Marco Polo when he
journeyed through China more than seven centuries ago. Today, it’s drawing
attention for another grand project: a sprawling network of databases
designed to track the behavior of China’s population. Sitting next to
Shanghai with an economy larger than Finland’s, Suzhou was one of a dozen
places chosen in 2018 by President Xi Jinping’s government to run a
social-credit trial, which can reward or punish citizens for their

Suspected jihadists killed 15 soldiers at an army base in restive northeast
Nigeria, stealing weapons before looting shops in a nearby town, military
sources said Tuesday.

LGBT refugees allege they have been harassed by police in recent weeks in
Kenya, which is a rare regional haven for the gay community and yet
maintains that gay sex is illegal. It is the only East African nation where
someone can seek asylum and be registered as a refugee based on their LGBT


The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70
million globally last year – the highest number in the UN refugee agency’s
almost 70 years of operations. The almost 70.8 million people forcibly
displaced is 2.3 million more than the previous year.

A huge international research program has been launched to assess the
health of the Atlantic Ocean. The iAtlantic project is the biggest ever
mounted in the planet’s second largest ocean.

The authorities in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, are banning motorbikes
from the city’s streets as part of an effort to reduce crime. The
administration believes that a rising number of thefts are being committed
by people on motorbikes.

Ethiopia’s state-run monopoly telecoms provider has apologized for the
internet shutdown that lasted for more than a week. However, no explanation
was given for the shutdown.


A seismic storm that unleashed more than 1,000 small earthquakes in San
Bernardino and Riverside counties these last three weeks. California has
small quakes all the time – a magnitude 3 every other day on average. But
not all of them act the same, and some bring more danger than others.

MasterCard says it will allow transgenders to choose their preferred name
on their credit card.

Mid-Day Snapshot · June 19, 2019

The Foundation

“Unequivocal in principle, reasonable in manner, we shall be able I hope to do a great deal of good to the cause of freedom & harmony.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

‘Yuge’ Florida Crowd Celebrates Trump’s 2020 Launch

He highlighted accomplishments while warning against the socialist-touting Democrats.

Trump’s HRAs, Price Transparency Driving Health Care Improvements

Better savings mechanisms and knowing what care costs are game-changing ideas.

Shanahan Out, Esper in at Pentagon

Trump taps the Army secretary to serve as the next acting secretary of defense.

Scandinavia Moving Away From Socialized Health Care

Talk about bad timing for Bernie Sanders to be selling Medicare for All.

The F-Word

That’s “feminism,” which has destroyed the relationship between fathers and their daughters.

Video: In Defense of Capitalism

People acting in their own self-interest created modern prosperity. It changed everything.

Video: Inside the Muslim Brotherhood

Ami Horowitz investigates the origins and the motivations behind the Muslim Brotherhood.

Today’s Opinion

Jonah Goldberg
Trump’s Personality Is His Biggest Reelection Obstacle
Ben Shapiro
The Dis-Grace of Harvard
Rich Lowry
Oberlin Is Forced to Check Its Woke Privilege
Walter E. Williams
Black Education Decline
Ken Blackwell
Why Do Democrats Have a Secret List of Supreme Court Nominees?

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

Trump’s reelection launch, Patrick Shanahan exits, EPA rollback, drug bust, and more.

Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Erick Erickson, the Washington Examiner, Joe Biden, and more.

Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

News – 6/19/2019

Meet The Mini-BOT: Italy Will Break Up The Eurozone
BOT stands for Buoni Ordinari del Tesoro (Ordinary Treasury Bonds). Mini means the denomination is smaller than the lowest denomination of regular treasury bonds, which is €1,000, thus “Mini-BOT”.
A crisis is brewing in the Eurozone and it’s not even on mainstream media radar. Italy is at the center of the crisis.
The idea of introducing mini-BOTs has alarmed Europe, with Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, saying on Thursday that they would either amount to a parallel currency, in which case they would be illegal, or they would simply add to Italy’s towering debt.

Jewish groups slam Ocasio-Cortez for comparing US border control to ‘concentration camps’
Outrage from pro-Israel and Jewish groups is growing at U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) for her remarks on Monday on her Instagram account that the United States is “running concentration camps on our southern border,” in reference to the Trump administration’s policies regarding illegal immigration. “AOC should ask Holocaust survivors and ex-GIs who liberated Dachau what that charnel House was like,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the SWC’s associate dean and director of global social action for the leading international Jewish Human Rights NGO, told JNS. “She is insulting victims of genocide.”

US attacks Russia’s power grid as warning to Putin, NYT says
…a new report revealed over the weekend. U.S. intelligence officials have launched “aggressive computer code” into the Russian power grid and other targets in response to Russia’s disinformation and hacking campaigns in to U.S. elections,

Trump calls NYT report on US cyberactivity in Russia ‘treason
Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…..“This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country,” Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

Strong earthquake, 6.8 mag has occurred near L’Esperance Rock in New Zealand
An earthquake magnitude 6.8 (ml/mb) has struck on Tuesday, 159 km ENE of L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand (99 miles). Exact location, longitude -177.4° West, latitude -30.8° South, depth = 10 km. Unique identifier: at00ptc3is. Ids that are associated to the event: pt19170000, at00ptc3is. Exact time and date of earthquake 19/06/19 / 2019-06-19 07:01:40 / June 19, 2019 @ 7:01 am UTC/GMT. The earthquake was roughly at a depth of 10 km (6 miles). A tsunami warning has been issued near L’Esperance Rock in New Zealand (Does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist). The temblor was picked up at 19:01:40 / 7:01 pm (local time epicenter).

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake Hits Japan with Tsunami Warning
Just a moment ago, magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits North West of Japan. It is 34 km from Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Japan at 9:22 pm. There are no casualties but Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a warning for a 0.2-1.0 metre tsunami along the north west coast of the island.

Netanyahu to Israel’s enemies: We have power to destroy, do not test us
Israel has tremendous destructive capabilities, and its enemies should not test it, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said,,. “I am very impressed by the improvement in the [IDF’s] readiness, in the spirit of the fighters and the commanders, and especially in the IDF’s destructive power,” said Netanyahu, who viewed the mutli-pronged exercise with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

Iran says there will be no war with the U.S.
There will not be any military confrontation between Iran and the United States, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council was quoted as saying on Wednesday by state news agency IRNA. Worries about a military confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the attacks but Tehran denied any responsibility.

International Atomic Energy Agency recognizes Palestine as a state
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed an agreement to recognize Palestine as a state as it joined the international body on Tuesday. The agreement, which was signed by Director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano and the Palestinian Ambassador in Vienna Salah Abdul Shafi, gives the IAEA inspectors the ability to check the safety of radioactive materials and fissile nuclear materials, such as uranium.

Qatar sends technical experts to Israel, eyeing new Gaza power line
A Qatari technical delegation held talks in Israel and the Gaza Strip this week about helping pay for a proposed new power line between them, officials on both sides said on Tuesday, marking a potential expansion of Doha’s aid efforts for Palestinians. Qatar has in recent years funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars into relief projects in Hamas-controlled Gaza, which it views as helping stave off privation and fighting with Israel.

Trump launches re-election campaign, presents himself as outsider and victim
President Donald Trump formally launched his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday by presenting himself as the same political insurgent who shook up the Washington establishment four years ago and who is now a victim of an attempted ouster by Democrats. At a packed rally at an arena in Orlando, Florida, Trump made clear he would run for re-election as an outsider, just as he did in 2016.

CA Lawmakers Trying to Force Pastors to Embrace Pro-LGBT Ideology
California Assemblyman Evan Low and three dozen other lawmakers are pushing a resolution in the state Assembly Judiciary Committee that’s aimed at telling religious leaders in California what they should preach from their pulpits.

“It’s Going To Be A Train Wreck”: Farmers Say Corn Crop Far Worse Than USDA Estimates
This year’s corn crop has been absolutely decimated by nonstop rain and unseasonably cool weather, according to a new report from Bloomberg. And while those caveats are widely known, farmers believe that already adjusted estimates for June are still going to be too optimistic.

Feds Seize 16.5 Tons Of Cocaine In Historic Philadelphia Drug Bust
Federal agents seized 15,500 kilos of cocaine, more than 16.5 tons, with a street value of $1 billion at a South Philadelphia Port on Tuesday, according to NBC Philadelphia.

Military transgender ban voted down by House
The Democratic-controlled House has voted to block President Donald Trump’s move to restrict transgender men and women from military service.

Southern Baptist Convention Supports Anti-Christian Racial Identity Politics
The largest Protestant denomination in North America, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), officially adopted “critical race theory” and “intersectionality” as “analytical tools” to be used in fostering racial reconciliation in the church. These key drivers of identity politics, however, are more likely to produce racial discord and strike at Christianity itself.

WATCH: Congolese migrants have $100 Bills, directions that say ICE is the enemy
According to News reports Congolese migrants were seen with rolls of $100 dollars bills and directions that basically say ICE is the enemy and not your friend.

Psychology Today: People Refusing To Date Transgenders Is ‘Dehumanizing’
If you are a heterosexual cisgendered person who only wishes to date heterosexual cisgendered people, then shame on you for dehumanizing transgenders and the non-binary, according to a recent article published in Psychology Today.

“Weaponized Immigration” Is Designed to Destabilize the Country Prior to Civil War and Invasion
All it takes is one virus particle.” says Elaine Donelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, she has repeatedly stated this fact for the last 4 years. Donelly further elaborated that, “I’m just appalled. Judging from this, the United States seems to have a very confused vision of what ‘national security’ means.” So, she is clearly referring to the fact that there is no regard for the health and safety of the public as we continue and purposely admit unscreened immigrants who are carrying diseases, in some cases, deadly diseases.

Why Churches Should Ditch Projector Screens And Bring Back Hymnals
A couple of decades ago, churches split in a grand debate over worship. Contentious arguments raged over every aspect of worship style, components, decorum, and practically everything else. Every church seemed to be choosing between opposites—organ or praise band, historic liturgy or rock liturgies, contemporary songs or historic hymns. The fallout was ugly. Assemblies erupted in dissonance and members on the losing side transferred out.

New Zealand Man Gets 21 Months In Prison For Sharing Mosque Shooting Video
He wanted someone to overlay crosshairs and a “kill count”…

Headlines – 6/19/2019

U.S. Mideast Envoy Greenblatt Says He ‘Will Understand’ if Trump’s Peace Plan Fails

Greenblatt: Israel should hold off on annexation until peace plan unveiled

Greenblatt: Settlements not reason for lack of peace

Former Israeli liaison to Palestinians to attend Bahrain peace summit

Palestinians boast of foiling Bahrain peace conference

Palestine: The Arab ‘deal of the century’

PM: Israel-Russia-U.S. meeting in Jerusalem crucial for regional security

After 1st election round, fate of Guatemala’s Jerusalem embassy hangs in balance

Court okays demolition of 100 East Jerusalem homes under Palestinian control

Palestinian village targeted in third apparent hate crime in a week

Israel re-expands Gaza Strip fishing zone to 10 nautical miles

EU presidency declares commitment to fighting anti-Semitism

In two cases, men wearing kippas targeted with anti-Semitic insults in Germany

Bennett floats alternative to ultra-Orthodox enlistment bill

In first, F-35s take part in massive drill simulating war with Hezbollah, Gaza

UN chief urges Russia, Turkey to stabilize Syria’s Idlib ‘without delay’

Rivlin warns Hezbollah against imposing Iranian agenda on Lebanon

Rivlin warns Lebanon, Hezbollah against launching attack on Iran’s behalf

Muslim Brotherhood describes Morsi’s death as ‘murder’

U.N. rights office calls for independent probe into Mursi death

Egypt’s Morsi quietly buried, a day after courtroom death

Morsi Symbolized the Triumph of Egypt’s Revolution – and Its Collapse

Turkey: Erdogan slams Egypt’s ‘tyrants’ as thousands mourn Morsi

Syria clashes kill 45 fighters: monitor

Kuwait emir to visit Iraq amid Gulf tensions

White House Steps up Iran Outreach to Congress

IRGC chief says Iran’s ballistic missiles capable of hitting ‘carriers in the sea’

Trump would consider military force vs Iran to prevent nuclear weapon

Trump: Oil tanker attack ‘very minor,’ but would go to war over Iran nukes

Pompeo: US must be able to respond to any Iranian attack

Pompeo warns Iran about trigger for US military action as some in administration question aggressive policy

Pompeo: US forces in Persian Gulf just a deterrent

Bolton: America Willing to Talk to Iran But Ready to Retaliate

As U.S. Boosts Pressure, Iran Tests Trump’s Appetite for a Fight

Russia says US troop deployment could lead to war with Iran

Russia to Washington: Drop Middle East troop plan and stop provoking Iran

Iran says it won’t wage war, Russia tells U.S. to stop stoking tensions

Amid Standoff With U.S., Iran’s Rohani Says Tehran Isn’t Seeking a War Against Any Nation

Iran is dragging the Middle East into a dangerous standoff

Potential conflict in Strait of Hormuz: Imbalanced forces and guerrilla warfare

Saudi Arabia urges world powers to secure waterways after twin attacks

A Failure Of OPEC+ Could Turn The U.S. Oil Boom Into Another Bust

New Zealand man jailed for 21 months for sharing Christchurch shooting video

Hong Kong leader’s apology is ‘fake,’ more protests are coming, foes say

Christian leaders react to Hong Kong protests: ‘Christ will stand by us’

‘Sing Hallelujah to the Lord’ emerges as anthem of Hong Kong’s protests

Trump to meet with China’s Xi Jinping at the G20 in make or break trade-war showdown

Venezuela’s Collapse Frays Its Economic Ties With Russia

Trump Threatens To Deport ‘Millions,’ As He Kicks Off Campaign For Reelection

Trump spiritual adviser says ‘demonic networks’ have aligned themselves against president

Donald Trump just keeps ‘joking’ about serving more than 2 terms as president

Dow surges more than 350 points on hopes for a China trade deal and an easy Fed

Facebook to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency, With Lofty Goals

Target’s 2-hour register outage could cost the company $50 million

Wild turbulence slams flight attendant into plane ceiling, drenches passengers with scalding water, sends 10 to hospital

Tsunami warning in Japan after 6.8-mag earthquake strikes

6.0-mag earthquake rocks southwestern China, kills at least 12, injures dozens, officials say

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits south of the Fiji Islands

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

Earthquake with magnitude of 3.4 in Bardarbunga volcano

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 28,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 12,000ft

Tropical Depression Vayu to unleash drenching downpours in northwest India as brief heat relief visits Pakistan

“It’s Going To Be A Train Wreck”: Farmers Say Corn Crop Far Worse Than USDA Estimates

N.Y. lawmakers agree to historic climate plan

‘Flesh-eating’ bacteria may be spreading to beach waters, seafood

They wanted a son so much they made their daughter live as a boy

YouTuber buys Michigan town and renames it ‘Gay Hell’ in protest of Trump policy

CA Lawmakers Trying to Force Pastors to Embrace Pro-LGBT Ideology

Startup that makes sex toys for women sues New York transit system for banning its ads

Sex doll maker creates replicas of dead partners to combat loneliness: ‘I’m providing comfort’

Quebec government adopts controversial religious symbols bill

Sandy Hook victim’s father wins case against authors who claim shooting was hoax

Apostasy Watch Daily News

The Theologians’ Cross – the theological question that cannot be answered

Be Still and Know That You are Not God!—God is Not “in” Everyone and Everything

The Shack author: Now Jesus is pregnant with Adam in Paul Young’s book, “Eve”??

LifeWay camp staffer charged with child molestation

Celebration Church pastor among 3 killed by suspected drunk driver on Father’s Day

Church of Scientology Sued by Former Member for False Imprisonment and Kidnapping

Coptic Christian Arrested for Allegedly Insulting Islam on Facebook in Egypt

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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

Bring me a minstrel: Music in worship — The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

You know the quote, I’m sure:

Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
― William Congreve

Music does make a difference to our mood. King Saul used music to soothe him when his savagery arose in him, calling for David to play.

And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. (1 Samuel 16:23).

It seems that music does have charms to soothe the savage breast, literally. In another case, Elisha had a hard decision to make and prepared to consult the LORD by asking for music.

Then Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD of Hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not for my regard for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you or acknowledge you. 15But now, bring me a harpist.” And while the harpist played, the hand of the LORD came upon Elisha. (2 Kings 3:15)

The John MacArthur Commentary says of the 2 Kings 3 verse,

The music was used to accompany praise and prayer, which calmed the mind of the prophet that he might clearly hear the word of the LORD. Music often accompanied prophecies in the Old Testament (cf. 1 Chronicles 25:1)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says

bring me a minstrel—The effect of music in soothing the mind is much regarded in the East; and it appears that the ancient prophets, before entering their work, commonly resorted to it, as a preparative, by praise and prayer, to their receiving the prophetic afflatus.

Music does have the ability to alter our mood, change our state of mind, even relax us (else why have so much New Age music in spas?), and alternately music can also excite us (else why have a ‘warm-up band’ before the main concert attraction?)

The long “music wars” in church began when millennials wanted more “contemporary music”. War is an apt name for this tussle over which music to play in church, because as we’ve seen from scripture, music is important in worship, and it can alter our mood and thinking. It’s important to ensure that the music we play isn’t for the purpose of altering our emotions without also engaging the mind. Music can alter our thinking because music lyrics are doctrinal. Songs aren’t neutral, lyrics present a way of thinking about God.

Music in church needs to be delivered in a biblical way and a practical way. Biblical as mentioned, because of the doctrine the songs contain (or don’t contain). Practical, because many ‘old songs’ were easier to sing corporately with laymen and many ‘new songs’ aren’t written for the laymen and are just hard to sing.

There are many new songs which exalt the Lord and/or are solidly doctrinal. There are many old ones that don’t and aren’t. The issue isn’t new vs. old, the issue is whether the song is biblical and practical.

My favorite hymns/songs are Amazing Grace, written in 1779, 240 years ago, and Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor, written in 2015, just 4 years ago.

Now where is that minstrel?…


Resources on Music in the Church

John MacArthur with an overview through a Q&A with Phil Johnson-
Contemporary Worship: Civil War in the Church

This Federalist author has a strong opinion. Essay is from one day ago-
Why Churches Should Ditch The Projector Screens And Bring Back Hymnals

Musician Bob Kauflin with an essay asking the question. BTW there are many other good essays on music in worship at Kauflin’s site.
What does a Worship Leader Do?

via Bring me a minstrel: Music in worship — The End Time

Promiscuous Prophetess Opens Trump’s Re-Election Bid with Insane Rant — Pulpit & Pen

Donald Trump and his Promiscuous Prophetess, Paula White

Paula White, who has now moved onto her third rockstar husband, was once the homewrecking mistress of faith-healer, Benny Hinn. American charismaticism is a moral cesspool, however, and she continued to be popular on the pop-prophecy circuit. Several weeks ago, Paula White claimed that God audibly told her to take the title of Apostle. Aside from being a crazy-eyed prophetess and notable adulterer, White is also the spiritual advisor of Donald Trump and she opened his presidential bid in craziest fashion.

Hinn’s wife divorced him after the his affair with White became public.

White took to the stage at the Amway Center in Orlando on Tuesday to provide the opening prayer for Donald Trump’s reelection rally. After asking the crowd to join hands, she prayed for a few moments before interrupting her own prayer to talk to the crowd.

She told the crowd…

“Right now, let every demonic network who has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken, let it be torn down in the name of Jesus!”

Then, as is common in Word-Faith and “little god theology,” White began to decree and declare things.

“I declare,” White shouted, “that President Trump will overcome every strategy from hell and every strategy from the enemy, every strategy, and he will fulfill his calling and destiny.”

It’s unclear what “demonic networks” are. Some have opined that she was speaking of CNN and MSNBC, but others claim that she was referring to an unseen platoon of demons in the Second Heaven. White used the language of “demonic networks” before, back in May while visiting the White House.

White also took the Messianic prophecy (about Jesus), Isaiah 54, and applied to to Trump.

“I declare that no weapon formed against him, his family, his calling his purpose, this counsel will be able to be formed.”

via Promiscuous Prophetess Opens Trump’s Re-Election Bid with Insane Rant — Pulpit & Pen

Democrats’ Problem Is Not The 70-Somethings Leading The Party, It’s Their Socialist Young — The Federalist

Andrew Ferguson, one of America’s great working writers, asks of the 2020 presidential field: “Why have national Democrats and not national Republicans fallen under the tyranny of the 70-somethings?” But the main answer he offers—vanity and self-indulgence—seems like a small part of the problem and does not explain the difference between the parties.

The contradictions are heightened by polls showing that, all else being equal, Democrats would not prefer a nominee 70 years or older. Indeed, as Dan McLaughlin notes, “Democrats have not elected a non-incumbent president aged 60 or older since James Buchanan in 1856, and have nominated only two non-incumbent candidates older than 60 since 1876: John F. Kerry & Hillary Clinton.” Yet the party’s 2020 field is led by Joe Biden (76), followed by Bernie Sanders (77) and the currently resurgent Elizabeth Warren (69).

Ferguson correctly notes “[t]here is a huge gap between where the energy and creativity of the party lie, with a group of dynamic activists and House members in their 30s and even their 20s (thank you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and the ruling class of 70-somethings layered far above like a crumbling porte cochere” and “[i]n the farm system that trains and seasons the leaders of tomorrow—assuming tomorrow ever comes—that gap signifies a lost generation.” To find the answers to how this generational gap opened, we should look beyond the narcissism of politicians, especially Boomer politicians.

Consider the Obama era. Over the course of Barack Obama’s tenure as president, the Democrats lost more than 1,030 seats in state legislatures, governor’s mansions, and Congress.

As Lisa Lerer wrote for the Associated Press after the 2016 election: “The defeats have all but wiped out a generation of young Democrats, leaving the party with limited power in statehouses and a thin bench to challenge an ascendant GOP majority eager to undo many of the president’s policies. To be sure, the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections. But, say experts, Obama’s tenure has marked the greatest number of losses under any president in decades.”

Whether you read the analysis from Real Clear Politics or the Daily Kos, the GOP became as strong as it had been since 1928. Democratic losses were worst in state legislatures. During Obama’s presidency, his party lost 968 state legislative seats—the largest number of any two-term president since World War II. (The average seat loss was 450 seats.)

Obama bears his share of the responsibility for the losses among an entire generation of Democratic politicians. He ran as a candidate who promised to fundamentally transform the United States of America; his mere nomination was to mark the moment the rise of the oceans began to slow. Disappointment among his coalition was inevitable, whether on the far left or among the disaffected who turned to Donald Trump in 2016.

Obama chose to respond to that disappointment by shedding semi-moderate trappings that were largely rhetorical from the outset. He went from citing his faith to oppose same-sex marriage to supporting it. He persecuted the Little Sisters of the Poor over their refusal to pay for abortifacients under Obamacare. He praised gun confiscation. He aligned himself with the Black Lives Matter movement. The one-time deporter-in-chief used his “pen and phone” in unconstitutional power grabs on immigration, even after acknowledging he lacked the authority to do what he did.

Obama’s response, however, demonstrates that he was as much a symptom as a cause of Democrats’ current predicament. The party’s leftward lurch—so-called “Great Awokening” driven by white progressives but growing among younger Democrats—can be seen across a range of issues during Obama’s second term and are by no means a product of one man.

Zack Goldberg, a Georgia State University PhD candidate studying the phenomenon, recently wrote for Tablet magazine: “There is no simple or single explanation for how this process got started. It appears to be driven by an interplay of factors: preexisting tendencies among white liberals; a series of polarizing events like the police shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent riots in Ferguson, and the migrant crisis; the rise of millenials as a political force, and the explosion of social media and ‘woke’ clickbait journalism.”

Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, taking a more explicitly generational perspective, point to parenting and education as well. A cohort coming into political age during the financial crisis and the ensuing great recession inclined more progressives to extreme movements, beginning with Occupy Wall Street, where intersectionality gained an early toehold in political discourse.

All of these factors—and doubtless others—fermented in an environment where the conventional wisdom among Democrats was the theory of an Emerging Democratic Majority or a Rising American Electorate comprised of younger, less white voters. But the required demographic change is not happening fast enough for the theory.

Indeed, working-class whites remain as large a bloc among Democrats as any other, despite the efforts of progressive elites and young activists to push them out (which has its own consequences). The American electorate is growing older, not younger. Even if Ferguson is right that 70-somethings should be leaving the political stage, he is not suggesting they decrease the surplus population.

The Democrats’ problem is not that 70-somethings are still lingering in leadership. Their problem is that its younger activist class and its non-representative woke elite are trying to fill the vacuum they created when their extremism decimated a generation of more mainstream Democratic politicians (but not the voters they represented).

These younger Democrats are echoing the New Left of the late Sixties and early Seventies. In 1972, George McGovern lost in a landslide to the seemingly divisive and unlikable Richard Nixon by running on a far-left hippie platform of “abortion, amnesty, and acid.”

The 2020 Democratic nominee is unlikely to lose in a landslide, given our increasing polarization and demographic change. But it is the younger Democrats, not the older ones, who are reducing their odds of political victory.

Warren Henry is the nom de plume of an attorney practicing in the State of Illinois.

via Democrats’ Problem Is Not The 70-Somethings Leading The Party, It’s Their Socialist Young — The Federalist

Quick Shot Responses to “A Loving God Would Not Send People to Hell” (Cold-Case Christianity S5E14) — Cold Case Christianity

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner offers a number of brief, rhetorically powerful responses to the objection: “A Loving God Would Not Send People to Hell.”  Why would a loving God send anyone to hell? Why wouldn’t God make sure everyone can go to heaven? These Quick Shot responses are designed to help you remove intellectual obstacles when talking about God with your friends and family members. They are also available on the Cold-Case Christianity Phone App so you can access them as you are interacting with others.

Be sure to watch the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast on NRBtv every Monday and Saturday! In addition, here is the audio podcast (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Podcast is located on iTunes or our RSS Feed):

via Quick Shot Responses to “A Loving God Would Not Send People to Hell” (Cold-Case Christianity S5E14) — Cold Case Christianity

When Normality Became Abnormal — Christian Research Network







“Trump so unhinged the Left that it finally tore off its occasional veneer of moderation, and showed us what progressives had in store for America. On one side in 2020 is socialism, “Medicare for All,” wealth taxes, top income tax rates of 70 or 80 or 90 percent, a desire for a Supreme Court full of “wise Latinas” like Sonia Sotomayor, insidious curtailment of the First and Second Amendments, open borders, blanket amnesties, reparations, judges as progressive legislators, permissible infanticide, abolition of student debt, elimination of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau and the Electoral College, voting rights for 16-year-olds and felons, and free college tuition.” 

(Victor Davis Hanson – American Greatness)  Donald Trump is many things. But one thing he is not is a defender of the 2009-2016 status quo and accepted progressive convention. Since 2017, everything has been in flux. Lots of past conventional assumptions of the Obama-Clinton-Romney-Bush generation were as unquestioned as they were suspect. No longer.

Everyone knew the Iran deal was a way for the mullahs to buy time and hoard their oil profits, to purchase or steal nuclear technology, to feign moderation, and to trade some hostages for millions in terrorist-seeding cash, and then in a few years spring an announcement that it had the bomb.

No one wished to say that. Trump did. He canceled the flawed deal without a second thought.

Iran is furious, but in a far weaker—and eroding—strategic position with no serious means of escaping devastating sanctions, general impoverishment, and social unrest. So a desperate Tehran knows that it must make some show of defiance. Yet it accepts that if it were to launch a missile at a U.S. ship, hijack an American boat, or shoot down an American plane, the ensuing tit-for-tat retaliation might target the point of Iranian origin (the port that launched the ship, the airbase from which the plane took off, the silo from which the missile was launched) rather than the mere point of contact—and signal a serial stand-off 10-1 disproportionate response to every Iranian attack without ever causing a Persian Gulf war.  View article →

via When Normality Became Abnormal — Christian Research Network