Daily Archives: August 15, 2019

August 15 Peaceful Solitude

Scripture Reading: Psalm 9:1–5

Key Verse: Psalm 9:1

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;

I will tell of all Your marvelous works.

Clearly, we live in a loud society. This is not simply a problem in some parts of the world; rather, industrialized society and fast-paced living have filled the world’s airwaves with what can only be described as “noise.” Some of the noise is useful; for example, a late-breaking news report on all channels that warns of an approaching storm. However, many things that fill our ears are practically pointless. Why is the noise there, and why do we need it?

In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster speculates, “One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless.… If we are silent, who will take control?” Very often, words are not only our means of communication, they are our means of control. We use words to manipulate our environment, to indelibly set our fingerprints on any given situation. If we don’t speak up, someone else will swoop in and take charge.

Sometimes, this is exactly what needs to happen. Foster continues, “If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control.” Our prayer lives are too often marked by an overabundance of talking, petitioning, and posturing. It is of extreme value to spend time daily talking with the Lord. However, it is also necessary to spend time in utter solitude before Him, allowing Him to speak to you uninterrupted. Take a moment to filter out the noise, and listen for God’s voice.

Lord, am I guilty of using my voice to control situations? Give me the will to silence my voice so that Yours can be heard and You can have control.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 238). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 15 Checking Your Progress

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:17–24

Key Verse: Psalm 37:37

Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.

Like physical growth, spiritual growth is not necessarily something you feel yourself doing. You detect growth by seeing where you are now and looking back at where you’ve been. You can check your progress along the way as well if you know what to look for.

Increasing awareness of sin. You will develop a keener sense of sin in your life, a sharper awareness of your private motivations. As you expose your innermost thoughts to the truth of God’s Word, reality comes into clear focus, and it is much more difficult to justify wrongdoing.

Increase in spiritual battles. The heat is turned up when you begin to wrestle with issues of obedience in everyday life. Attacks may come from all sides, even from those you thought supported you. You will learn to rejoice as you “get dressed” in spiritual armor (Eph. 6).

Increased desire to serve. When you possess love overflowing, you want to give it away. That’s the nature of God’s grace—it’s a gift to be shared. Whether it’s a deed people can see or a commitment to praying for someone, you will develop a heart for others.

Decreased desire to be critical. The more you are aware of God’s grace for you, the less inclined you are to be harsh with others. Mercy breeds mercy, and you become a bearer of love.

Father God, increase my awareness of sin. Give me new desire to serve. Keep me strong for the spiritual battles I encounter as I continue to grow in You. Make me a bearer of love.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 238). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 15 Strongholds for Satan

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 10:3–5

Key verse: 1 Timothy 6:12

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Another word for fortresses is strongholds, which, in the context of warfare, means “fortified places.” In the spiritual realm, aspects of your behavior and thinking can become strongholds for Satan—hard-to-penetrate positions that furnish excellent ground for him to assault your inner being.

A stronghold may be found in any area of your life, from your speech to interpersonal relationships to eating habits. It may involve a weakness or a predisposition to a certain sin. In any case, a stronghold is something that you have never completely surrendered to the lordship or control of Jesus Christ.

Can you identify any strongholds in your life? It’s not a mysterious subject. When you ask God to reveal His truth to you, He will reveal strongholds through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord wants you to understand spiritual warfare so that you can end Satan’s influence and move forward in your relationship with Him.

Dear heavenly Father, please reveal any spiritual strongholds in my life, and give me strength to deal with them.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 238). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 15, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

5. For if we have been ingrafted, &c. He strengthens in plainer words the argument he has already stated; for the similitude which he mentions leaves now nothing doubtful, inasmuch as grafting designates not only a conformity of example, but a secret union, by which we are joined to him; so that he, reviving us by his Spirit, transfers his own virtue to us. Hence as the graft has the same life or death in common with the tree into which it is ingrafted, so it is reasonable that we should be partakers of the life no less than of the death of Christ; for if we are ingrafted according to the likeness of Christ’s death, which was not without a resurrection, then our death shall not be without a resurrection. But the words admit of a twofold explanation,—either that we are ingrafted in Christ into the likeness of his death, or, that we are simply ingrafted in its likeness. The first reading would require the Greek dative ὁμοιώματι, to be understood as pointing out the manner; nor do I deny but that it has a fuller meaning: but as the other harmonizes more with simplicity of expression, I have preferred it; though it signifies but little, as both come to the same meaning. Chrysostom thought that Paul used the expression, “likeness of death,” for death, as he says in another place, “being made in the likeness of men.” But it seems to me that there is something more significant in the expression; for it not only serves to intimate a resurrection, but it seems also to indicate this—that we die not like Christ a natural death, but that there is a similarity between our and his death; for as he by death died in the flesh, which he had assumed from us, so we also die in ourselves, that we may live in him. It is not then the same, but a similar death; for we are to notice the connection between the death of our present life and spiritual renovation.

Ingrafted, &c. There is great force in this word, and it clearly shows, that the Apostle does not exhort, but rather teach us what benefit we derive from Christ; for he requires nothing from us, which is to be done by our attention and diligence, but speaks of the grafting made by the hand of God. But there is no reason why you should seek to apply the metaphor or comparison in every particular; for between the grafting of trees, and this which is spiritual, a disparity will soon meet us: in the former the graft draws its aliment from the root, but retains its own nature in the fruit; but in the latter not only we derive the vigour and nourishment of life from Christ, but we also pass from our own to his nature. The Apostle, however, meant to express nothing else but the efficacy of the death of Christ, which manifests itself in putting to death our flesh, and also the efficacy of his resurrection, in renewing within us a spiritual nature.[1]

5 Verse 5 affirms what has been implied in v. 4b: the participation of the believer in the resurrection of Christ. The verse takes the form of a conditional sentence, in which the protasis (the “if” clause) states what is already known—the believer’s connection with Christ’s death—as the basis for the conclusion drawn in the apodosis (the “then” clause): that this connection with Christ in death assures participation in his resurrection.381 Complicating Paul’s assertion, however, is his use of the phrase “the form of [Christ’s] death.” Two issues must be resolved.

First, what is the syntactical function of the phrase (a dative in Greek)? Many scholars think that “likeness of his death” is the means by which the believer is united with Christ or, more generally, the location at which this union takes place. See, for instance, the rendering in the NAB: “if we have grown into union with him through a death like his [my italics].” But this is not the most natural reading of the syntax. It is preferable to take “likeness of his death” as the object with which we are “joined”; see our translation: “we have become united with the likeness of his death” (so most English versions).

Second, what does Paul refer to with the phrase? The decisive issue is the meaning of the Greek word homoiōma. Two basic meanings are possible.

(1) Homoiōma can refer to something that resembles something else: a “copy” or “image.” Many scholars argue that this “something” here relates to baptism, in the sense, perhaps, of the “copy” or “image” of Christ’s death that is present in baptism (vv. 3–4). But this interpretation suffers from two serious drawbacks. First, “likeness of his death” makes sense as a reference to baptism only if it refers to the means by which we are joined to Christ. But I have argued that this is not the most likely reading of the syntax. Second, the movement of Paul’s thought in this passage is away from baptism. Other scholars who argue that homoiōma here means “image” assert that Paul is referring to the Christian’s own death to sin, a “copy” of Christ’s death (which was itself a “death to sin,” v. 10). But the language “become joined with” seems too strong if the union is with our own death to sin.

(2) Homoiōma can also mean “form,” in the sense of the outer appearance, or shape, of the reality itself. “Likeness of his death” may, then, simply be the death of Christ itself.389 Substantiation for this can be found in the parallel v. 8, where Paul speaks simply of “dying with Christ.” However, while I think this interpretation is on the right track, Paul’s use of homoiōma suggests that he wants to portray Christ’s death in a particular light. Some think that Paul uses it to designate Christ’s death as the death that is sacramentally present in baptism. But, again, this ignores the plain teaching of v. 4 that baptism mediates our union with Christ—it does not “contain” it. A better alternative, then, begins with the recognition that, as we have seen, the believer’s death and burial “with Christ” is a redemptive-historical association that cannot be precisely defined in terms of time or nature. Homoiōma, while not differentiating the death to which we are joined from Christ’s, nevertheless qualifies it in its particular redemptive-historical “form.” Further, by speaking of the “form” of Christ’s death, Paul may also be reminding us that our “dying with Christ” initiates a conformity with Jesus’ death that is to have a continuing effect on our existence. Reference to this ongoing conformity to the death of Christ explains the perfect tense of the verb Paul uses:394 we have been joined to the form of Christ’s death and are constantly being (and need to be) conformed to it. We may, then, paraphrase: “we (at ‘conversion-initiation’) were united with the death of Christ in its redemptive-historical significance, and are now, thus, in the state of conformity to that death.”

The “but also” introducing the second part of the verse stresses the certainty that our union with “the form of Christ’s death” will mean union with the form of Christ’s resurrection.396 But what are we to make of the future verb “we will be”? Paul may put the matter this way because being “joined to the form of Christ’s resurrection” follows logically upon “being joined to the form of his death.” In this case, the reference could be to the already realized “spiritual” resurrection of believers “with Christ” (as in Col. 2:12 and Eph. 2:6), or to the imperative of living in the “form” and power of Christ’s resurrection life in the present.399 Either of these options is possible, considering the fact that Paul himself infers in this text that believers in this life live in the resurrection power of Christ (vv. 4b, 11, 13). However, I believe the scales are tilted slightly to a true future here by v. 8, which asserts a similar point but with a construction that is more difficult to read as a “logical” future. With most interpreters, then, I take it that Paul is referring to the physical resurrection of believers “with Christ” (see 2 Cor. 4:14)—to that time when God will transform our earthly bodies, “making them conformed to the body of his [Christ’s] glory.”

This does not mean, however, that all allusions to the present are eliminated. For, even as union with the “form” of Christ’s death at baptism-conversion works forward to the moral life, so the union with the “form” of Christ’s resurrection at death or the parousia works backward. It is in this sense that the believer can be said to have been “raised with Christ” and to be living in the power of that resurrected life. Perhaps, then, as our union with Christ’s death cannot be fixed to any one moment, so we should view our union with Christ’s resurrection as similarly atemporal. But, while the spiritual effects of resurrection are felt now, we must not commit the mistake of some in the early church (see 2 Tim. 2:18) and spiritualize the resurrection. We await a real, physical resurrection, and this physicality destroys the parallel at this point with our “dying with Christ.” The futurity of our resurrection reminds us that complete victory over sin will be won only in that day; until then, we live under the imperative of making the life of Jesus manifest in the way we live (see 2 Cor. 4:10).[2]

5. For if we have been planted together—literally, “have become formed together.” (The word is used here only).

in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection—that is, “Since Christ’s death and resurrection are inseparable in their efficacy, union with Him in the one carries with it participation in the other, for privilege and for duty alike.” The future tense is used of participation in His resurrection, because this is but partially realized in the present state. (See on Ro 5:19).[3]

Ver. 5.—For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. So the Authorized Version. But the English word “planted” (though the idea expressed by it has the support of Origen, Chrysostom, and other ancient Father; also of the Vulgate, and, among moderns, Beza, Luther, and others; while some, including Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Cornelius à Lapide, understand “engrafted”) probably suggests what was not intended. Σύμφυτος is from συμφύω (not συμφυτεύω, and need only express being made to grow together in close association. In classic authors it commonly means innate. It seems here used, not to introduce a new figure, whether of planting or grafting, but only to express the close union with Christ, already intimated, into which we entered in baptism. The Revised Version has “have become united with him,” which may perhaps sufficiently express what is meant, though hardly a satisfactory rendering of σύμφυτοι. Tyndale and Cranmer translate “graft in deeth lyke unto him;” and perhaps “graft into” may be as good a rendering as any other. Meyer, Tholuck, Alford, and others take the dative τῷ ὁμοιώματι as governed by σύμφυτοι, equivalent to ὁμοίως ἀπεθάνομεν ὥσπερ αὐτὸς (Tholuck). But it may be better to understand Χριστῷ: “Graft into Christ, in the likeness of his death,” τῷ ὁμοιώματι being added because Christ’s death and ours, in the senses intended, are not the same kind of death literally, ours only corresponding to, and in a certain sense like his. The main purpose of this verse, as of ver. 4, is to press resurrection with Christ as following death with him. But why here the future ἐσόμεθα? Did we not rise with Christ to a new life when we emerged from our baptismal burial? Future verbs are used also with a similar reference in ver. 8 and ver. 14. Now, there are three senses in which our resurrection with Christ may be understood, (1) As above (cf. Col. 2:12, etc., where the expression is συνηγέρθητε). (2) Our realization of our position of power and obligation in subsequent life—actually in practice “dying from sin and rising again unto righteousness” (cf. below, vers. 12–14). (3) The resurrection of the dead hereafter. Some (including Tertullian, Chrysostom Œcumenius) have taken sense (3) to be here intended; but, though the words themselves, ἐσόμεθα and συζήσομεν in ver. 8, suggest this sense, it can hardy be intended here, at any rate exclusively or prominently, since the drift of the whole passage is to insist on the necessity of an ethical resurrection now; and it is evident that the clause before us corresponds with οὕτω καὶ ἥμεις, etc., in the previous verse, and to ver. 11, et seq. The future ἐσόμεθα is understood by some as only expressing consequence—a necessary conclusion from a premiss, thus: If such a thing is the case, such other thing will follow, If so, sense (1) might still be understood; so that the idea would be the same as in Col. 2:12, etc., viz. that of our rising in baptism itself to a new life with Christ, in which sin need not, and ought not to, have dominion. But still the repeated use of the future tense (especially ἁμαρτία ὑμῶν οὐ κυριεύσει in ver. 14), together with the whole drift of what follows, seems rather to imply sense (2); that is, our realization of our position in our actual lives subsequent to baptism. If it be objected that in this case we should expect “we ought to be” rather than “we shall be,” it may be replied that it is what God will do for us, rather than what we shall do for ourselves, that the apostle has in view. If he has made us partakers in the atoning death of Christ, having forgiven us all trespasses, etc. (Col. 2:13, seq.), he will also make us partakers, as our life goes on, in the power of his resurrection too, delivering us from sin’s dominion. Further, if this be so, the thought may also include sense (3). For elsewhere the future resurrection seems to be regarded as only the consummation of a spiritual resurrection which is begun in the present life, Christians being already partakers in the eternal life of God, of which the issue is immortality; cf. Eph. 1:5, 6; Col. 3:3, 4; Gal. 2:20; also our Lord’s own words, which are peculiarly significant in this regard, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:24, 25). Again, “I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25, 26).[4]

5. For if we have become united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.

The close connection between verses 3, 4 and verse 5 is indicated by the word For. Hence, the idea of some, that verse 5 refers to the future bodily resurrection of believers must be rejected. Verse 5 repeats the thought of the immediately preceding context, namely, the believers’ union with Christ in (a) his death and (b) his resurrection, considered respectively as the source of (a) their death to sin, and (b) their resurrection to newness of life. But it also adds something to the thought expressed in the preceding. Note the word certainly.

The meaning of verse 5, then, is as follows, “For if we have become united with Christ in a death like his, so that his death brought about our death to constantly living in sin, we shall certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his; that is, then surely his (bodily) resurrection (understood in its most comprehensive sense, as explained above, see p. 196) will bring about our spiritual resurrection; that is, our walking in newness of life.” The emphasis Paul placed on this fact must be ascribed to the ominous character of the antinomian heresy.[5]

[1] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (pp. 222–224). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 392–396). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[3] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 235). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). The Pulpit Commentary: Romans (pp. 157–158). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[5] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, p. 197). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

August 15 A Supernatural Tool

scripture reading: Ephesians 3:14–21
key verse: Ephesians 3:16

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.

As Great Britain faced the German might alone in the initial stages of World War II, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill sent this urgent but concise message to President Franklin Roosevelt: “Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.”

The power of the Holy Spirit is the supernatural tool God has given to equip and enable each believer. The power of the Holy Spirit is to do the work God calls you to accomplish.

Serving others, loving even your enemies, building up one another in the faith, sharing Christ, and exercising your spiritual gifts are possible only through the Holy Spirit’s enabling ministry. Trying to do such tasks in your own wisdom and strength and by your own methodology will eventually lead to failure and burnout.

The power of the Holy Spirit is also available for you to become the person God wants you to be. How can you possibly be loving, kind, gentle, patient, joyous, self–controlled, or peaceful apart from the Spirit’s help?

Depend daily on Him, and the task of becoming Christlike and building His kingdom can be achieved.

I’ve tried it in my own strength and failed. Lord, I need Your enabling power to accomplish the task. I’m depending on You today.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

15 august (1858) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The way of salvation

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

suggested further reading: Isaiah 12

What a great word that word ‘salvation’ is! It includes the cleansing of our conscience from all past guilt, the delivery of our soul from all those propensities to evil which now so strongly predominate in us; it takes in, in fact, the undoing of all that Adam did. Salvation is the total restoration of man from his fallen estate; and yet it is something more than that, for God’s salvation fixes our standing more secure than it was before we fell. It finds us broken in pieces by the sin of our first parent, defiled, stained, accursed: it first heals our wounds, it removes our diseases, it takes away our curse, it puts our feet upon the rock Christ Jesus, and having thus done, at last it lifts our heads far above all principalities and powers, to be crowned for ever with Jesus Christ, the King of heaven. Some people, when they use the word ‘salvation,’ understand nothing more by it than deliverance from hell and admittance into heaven. Now, that is not salvation: those two things are the effects of salvation. We are redeemed from hell because we are saved, and we enter heaven because we have been saved beforehand. Our everlasting state is the effect of salvation in this life. Salvation, it is true, includes all that, because salvation is the mother of it, and carries it within its bowels; but still it would be wrong for us to imagine that is the whole meaning of the word. Salvation begins with us as wandering sheep, it follows us through all our confused wanderings; it puts us on the shoulders of the shepherd; it carries us into the fold; it calls together the friends and the neighbours; it rejoices over us; it preserves us in that fold through life; and then at last it brings us to the green pastures of heaven, beside the still waters of bliss, where we lie down for ever, in the presence of the Chief Shepherd, never more to be disturbed.

for meditation: Past salvation from sin’s penalty (justification): present salvation from sin’s power (sanctification): prospective salvation from sin’s presence (glorification)—what a great salvation (Hebrews 2:3). Don’t miss it.

sermon no. 209[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 234). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Thursday Briefing August 15, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com


 When Brands Trip Over Themselves: The Intersection of Woke Corporations and Political Controversy


 From Self-Help to Self-Care: It All Still Revolves Around the Self


 The New American Religion of Wellness: And Make No Mistake, It Is a Religion


 Goat Yoga in the Congressional Cemetery: The Most Interesting Critters Aren’t the Goats





 The Hypocrisy of SoulCycle, by James Hamblin



 When Did Self-Help Become Self-Care?, by Kate Carraway



Worshiping the False Idols of Wellness, by Jen Gunter


15 AUGUST 365 Days with Calvin

Drawn to Evil

For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 1 Corinthians 11:19

suggested further reading: Titus 3:9–15

Observe what Paul says here: there must be heresies. By this he teaches that heresies do not happen by chance but by the sure providence of God. That is because God has it in view to try his people as gold in the furnace. If using heresy for that is agreeable to the mind of God, it is consequently expedient.

At the same time, we must not enter into thorny disputes or into labyrinths of despair as if heresy were our fate. We know there never will be a time when reprobates do not exist. We know that reprobates are governed by the spirit of Satan and are effectually drawn to what is evil. We also know that Satan actively leaves no stone unturned in trying to break up the unity of the church. From this—not from fate—comes the necessity for heresy that Paul mentions.

We also know that the Lord, by his admirable wisdom, turns Satan’s deadly machinations to promote the salvation of believers. Hence comes the purpose of which Paul speaks, that God allows heresies so that the good may shine forth more conspicuously. For we should not ascribe the advantage to heresies, which, being evil, can produce nothing but what is evil. Rather, the advantage belongs to God, who, by his infinite goodness, changes the nature of things so that even those things which have been contrived for the ruin of the elect become salutary to them.

In the end, the wicked are impelled by Satan in such a manner that they both act and are acted upon with the consent of their wills. Hence they are without excuse for their wickedness.

for meditation: Given human depravity, we ought not be surprised that heresies surface in the world and even in our own families and churches. As we lovingly yet firmly confront those who depart from Scripture, let us be encouraged that God will bring good out of evil and reward us for our faithfulness in dealing with this unpleasant and sinful reality. Do you walk with integrity before heretics, striving to correct them and lovingly show them their error?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 246). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Science Uprising: a revolutionary case for Intelligent Design — Reformed Perspective

The Bible tells us this world and this universe were spoken into being by God Himself, and that Mankind is the pinnacle of His creation (Ps. 8:3-9, Gen. 1:26-28). Meanwhile mainstream science – the sort we read about in the newspapers and get taught in our public schools and universities – says we’re only modified monkeys.

So which is it? Are we a special creation? Or does the scientific evidence show we’re just the products of time and chance?

As the six videos below lay out, there’s evidence aplenty to undermine mainstream science’s modified monkey theory. And while evolution preaches we are matter and nothing more, that turns out to be philosphy, not evidence-based.

Each of the videos are between 6 and 8 minutes long, and all are part of the “Science Uprising” project crafted by the Intelligent Design think tank Discovery Institute to “directly confronts the false views of science held by the growing number of science popularizers like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye.

Be aware, though, that Science Uprising is not a specifically Christian argument. In none of these videos is the Bible mentioned, and the Intelligent Designer the series argues for is never specifically named. That means the project, as compelling as its argument is and as professional as the production values are, has a notable shortcoming: it ably tears down evolutionary arguments, but it never raises up God’s Truth. If we share this material with non-Christian friends, we need to also point out everyone’s need for a Redeemer, and share with our audience who that Saviour is, the God-man Jesus.

That limitation noted, this whole series is remarkable. This is as succinct and slick a presentation of the Intelligent Design argument as you will ever find. So grab some popcorn, shut off your phone, and for the next hour kick back and enjoy the show!

Materialism vs. reality – Episode #1

The Bible says that the universe and all that is in it was created by Someone who is more than it and beyond it. But materialist science tells us “the cosmos are all there is, all there was, and all there ever will be.”

So is our universe matter and nothing more, and is it anti-science to believe that non-material things like love and consciousness are real? Dr. Jay Richards weighs in.

No, you’re not a robot made out of meat – Episode #2

Who are we? The Bible says we are physical and spiritual beings – we have a body, but we are more than our body. If I lose an arm and leg, I may have lost 25% of my body, but am still all there – there isn’t 25% less of me.

And the evidence agrees. For example, it shows that our immaterial minds – our thoughts – can actually change our material brains.

The Programmer – Episode #3

The Bible says we were are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by a Master Craftsman.

And what does Science say? The materialist scientists reduce us to mere machine. And yet they have to acknowledge that “our DNA code is more complex than any man-made software…” And as Stephen Meyer explains, our observations of the world show us “information always arises from an intelligent source.”

You don’t suck – Episode #4

The Bible declares that Man is something special, created in the very image of God (Gen. 1:26-28).

Materialist science has a very different perspective. As Bill Nye puts it, “I am a speck on a speck, a whirling speck, among still other specks in the middle of specklessness….I suck!” At the same time, scientists are discovering that this supposedly purposeless universe seems to be especially and improbably fine-tuned to not just support life but to enable us to thrive.

How do the materialists explain that? By proposing this is just one of millions or billions or trillions of universes out there, and this is the one where everything came out just right. One problem: as physicist Frank Tipler explains there’s exactly as much evidence for this “multiverse theory” as there is for the existence of unicorns and leprechauns

The origins of life – Episode #5

The Bible says that life was designed, and came about by an extraordinary supernatural act of God. In contrast, materialist science says that life came about by simple, random, unguided chemical interactions.

But if life really could come about by sheer unintended luck, then why haven’t the world’s most brilliant scientists – with their billions of dollars in equipment, awesome computing power, refined chemicals, and ready blueprints all around them – ever been able to create life on purpose?

Mutations break; they don’t create – Episode #6

The Bible says that due to Man’s Fall into Sin the perfect world that God created is broken, and wearing out (Isaiah 51:6, Ps. 102:25-25). In this worldview it is no surprise that mutations are harmful, causing things like cancer. It’s no surprise because Christians understand that we as a species are breaking down.

But evolutionary theory says Mankind is the end result of a long process of beneficial mutations that changed us and improved us, progressing upward from life’s simple origins as a single cell, to eventually evolve into the incredibly complex creatures that we are today. Evolution says that we as a species are improving.

So which worldview fits best with the evidence? Do we see mutations improving us, or harming us? A closer look at the science shows that mutations don’t have the type of creative power the evolution proposes and needs.

The picture at the top of the page is a screenshot from episode #6.

via Science Uprising: a revolutionary case for Intelligent Design — Reformed Perspective

August 15, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

3:4 — “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”

God says, “put off the old man with his deeds,” and “put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:9, 10). We must wear Jesus like a garment.[1]

4 The NIV, probably correctly, identifies the unnamed (see MT) speaker as the “angel” of the Lord. The removal of the filthy clothes (apparently by angels—“those who were standing before him”) may connote that Joshua is thereby deprived of priestly office. If so, he is reinstated in v. 5. Theologically, however, there also seems to be a picture here of the negative aspect of what God does when he saves a person. Negatively, he takes away sin. Positively, he adds or imputes to the sinner saved by grace his own divine righteousness (cf. v. 5). The act of causing Joshua’s sin to pass from him (cf. Heb.) represents justification, not sanctification. It is forensic forgiveness that is in view, as seen from v. 9, which interprets Joshua’s cleansing by applying it to the land (i.e., the people)—another evidence that more than Joshua himself is in view here.

Next, Joshua is to be clothed with rich or fine garments—God’s representative clothed in God’s righteousness. God’s servant goes from filthy clothes to festive garments. The “rich garments” (the Hebrew word is used only here and in Isa 3:22) speak of purity, joy, and glory; but their chief significance is that they symbolize the restoration of Israel to her original calling (Ex 19:6; Isa 61:6). There is a contrast here: Joshua in filthy garments, representing Israel as a priest but defiled and unclean, versus Joshua in festive garments, representing Israel’s future glory in reconsecration to the priestly office.

“I have taken away” emphasizes the agent of the forgiveness. It is God who causes sin to be removed, ultimately on the basis of the messianic Servant’s substitutionary death. But here it was actually the Angel of the Lord who forgives sin, thus identifying him with deity (cf. Mk 2:7, 10), or at least as God’s representative.[2]

4 After the slight pause for narrative description of Joshua, the action begins in earnest as the messenger of Yahweh (see translation above) takes the initiative to rectify Joshua’s deplorable condition. This verse introduces a new set of characters: the ones standing before him, who also participate in 3:5 and are referred to in 3:7. These figures are most likely members of the divine court who serve under the messenger of Yahweh, much like the riders on the horses in the first vision report. As members of this heavenly royal court they parallel similar earthly figures who “stood before” (that is, attended) kings in the ancient world (see above, also commentary on 4:14 below).

These attendants in the court are commanded by the messenger of Yahweh to remove the filthy clothes described in 3:3 (see commentary there) from Joshua. Removal here is expressed with the verb sûr Hiphil, which is used for Tamara removing her widow’s mourning garments in Gen. 38:14, for a prophet removing a disguising bandage in 1 Kgs. 20:41, and for David removing Saul’s armor in 1 Sam. 17:39. This normal action of removing clothes, however, has symbolic value according to the messenger’s subsequent words to Joshua, in which he declares that this act has removed his guilt. Although the verb for removal here (ʿāḇar Hiphil) is a synonym for the previous verb and is also followed by mēʿal (from; cf. Jonah 3:6), here it reveals that the physical removal of the clothing is a symbolic act of a removal of something related to sin.

The word translated here as guilt (ʿāwôn) can mean the act of sin, the resultant guilt from the act of sin, or the resultant consequence of the act of sin. It appears with the verb used here in 3:2 on a few other occasions in the OT: 2 Sam. 24:10//1 Chr. 21:8; Job 7:21. In 2 Sam. 24:10//1 Chr. 21:8, David asks for removal of ʿāwôn, but since God never says he is forgiven and then offers him three different consequences, it is not certain whether David was asking God to remove the guilt or the consequences. In Job 7:20–21, Job wonders if he has sinned to deserve his suffering and so asks God why he doesn’t pardon his transgression and take away his ʿāwôn. Again, this could refer to the removal of the guilt or to the consequences he was experiencing at the moment. Either of these meanings would fit the present context, because the problem appears to be associated with the earlier destruction of Jerusalem. Either the guilt that stained the community and priestly line and prompted the destruction or the consequences of their sin—that is, the punishment itself—is what has been removed. In either case, the removal of the filthy clothing is far more than an external act which qualifies Joshua for priestly service, but is related to the removal of the guilt which brought on, or the consequences of, the earlier discipline of Judah. Such removal of guilt is key to the future role of Joshua as priest, since the priest was essential to the removal of the guilt of the community according to the Torah (Num. 18:1), and according to Exod. 28:38 the removal of the guilt of the community was related specifically to the high-priestly clothing. This probably foreshadows the expected removal of sin associated with the coming Sprout figure in 3:8–10.

After identifying the symbolic value of the removal of the filthy clothes, the messenger of Yahweh expresses his intention now to replace these filthy clothes with festal clothes. This type of clothing (maḥalāṣôṯ) is only mentioned elsewhere in the OT in Isa. 3:22, where it is part of a long list of fine clothing and jewelry which Yahweh will strip from the daughters of Zion (Isa. 3:18–23). An earlier connection of this noun to the verbal root ḥālaṣ, which in the Qal means to “draw off” (a sandal; Deut. 25:9), led to the understanding that this term referred to a robe which was “taken off in ordinary life,” that is, a robe of state. Winton Thomas connected it to other Semitic roots related to purification (Arabic ḥalaṣa, “to be pure, unmixed”; Akkadian ḫalāṣu, “to purify”), resulting in the gloss “pure vestments.”[3]

4. those that stood before him—the ministering angels (compare the phrase in 1 Ki 10:8; Da 1:5).

Take away the filthy garments—In Zec 3:9 it is “remove the iniquity of that land”; therefore Joshua represents the land.

from him—literally, “from upon him”; pressing upon him as an overwhelming burden.

change of raiment—festal robes of the high priest, most costly and gorgeous; symbol of Messiah’s imputed righteousness (Mt 22:11). The restoration of the glory of the priesthood is implied: first, partially, at the completion of the second temple; fully realized in the great High Priest Jesus, whose name is identical with Joshua (Heb 4:8), the Representative of Israel, the “kingdom of priests” (Ex 19:6); once clad in the filthy garments of our vileness, but being the chosen of the Father (Is 42:1; 44:1; 49:1–3), He hath by death ceased from sin, and in garments of glory entered the heavenly holy place as our High Priest (Heb 8:1; 9:24). Then, as the consequence (1 Pe 2:5), realized in the Church generally (Lu 15:22; Rev 19:8), and in Israel in particular (Is 61:10; compare Is 3:6; 66:21).[4]

Ver. 4.—He answered. The Angel of Jehovah answered the mute petition of Joshua. Those that stood before him. The attendant angels, who waited on the Angel of Jehovah to do his pleasure (see note on ver. 1). Take away the filthy garments. This symbolized remission of sins and restoration to favour, as the following words explain. I will clothe thee with change of raiment; Revised Version, with rich apparel. The word machalatsoth occurs also in Isa. 3:22, and may mean either “change of raiment,” or “costly raiment;” or the meanings may be combined in the sense of “festal robes,” only worn on great occasions and changed after the occasion. They are used here as symbols of righteousness and glory. Not only is the sin pardoned, but the wearer is restored to the full glory of his state. The LXX. makes the words to be addressed to the attendants, “Clothe ye him in a robe flowing to the feet” (ποδήρη, the word used for Aaron’s priestly garment, Exod. 28:4; Ecclus. 45:8).[5]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Zec 3:4). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] Barker, K. L. (2008). Zechariah. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, pp. 755–756). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Boda, M. J. (2016). The Book of Zechariah. (R. K. Harrison & R. L. Hubbard Jr., Eds.) (pp. 236–238). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[4] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 719). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Zechariah (pp. 28–29). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.