Daily Archives: August 24, 2019

August 24 Demonstrating Peace

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 13:5–11

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 13:11

Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Here is a scene that you could witness on almost any playground in the world. Two boys are playing together in a sandbox or at the base of a slide. Suddenly, a fight breaks out and the two young children are embroiled in a heated exchange with fists flying. Their peaceful playtime has come to a violent end.

Where did these children learn to act like this? Apparently, human beings are not programmed for peace. Too often, a person’s initial response to displeasure or stress is to strike out violently against the source of his frustration. The base nature of sinful man is to protect oneself first and foremost. However, one’s disposition toward anarchy is certainly no excuse for failing to strive toward peaceful living.

The New Testament contains no less than eight direct commands for peace among believers. This clearly reveals that God’s will is for men and women to live in peace with one another. Knowing that God demands His people to live in peace may seem too much to ask when countered by mankind’s sinful, selfish desires. Yet, if peace is God’s will—and it is—then He must have made it possible to achieve. Sometimes peace may not be one’s natural reaction, but according to God’s Word, it is possible.

Pray today for the Holy Spirit to reveal ways in which you can demonstrate the peace of God.

Dear heavenly Father, reveal ways in which I can demonstrate Your peace to those with whom I come in contact today.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 247). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 24 Free to Live God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:1–15

Key Verse: Galatians 5:1

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

When approving an inmate for parole, prison officials are supposed to consider the likelihood of recidivism, or repetition of the offense. People who have committed certain crimes, especially the more violent ones, have a higher rate of recidivism than others. The sad fact is that some prisoners are never able to escape their pattern of criminal behavior.

Why? Until their thinking changes, the resulting actions stay the same, no matter how good rehabilitation efforts might be. The same is true for a sinful habit in your life. Before you can shake off its negative influence, you must alter your mind-set.

Romans 12:2 (nasb) explains the bondage-breaking process: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As you read God’s Word and study His principles carefully, they gradually become a natural part of your thought process. When the new comes in, the old is tossed out. The Lord is then able to work His truth into your innermost being, establishing new, Christlike habits.

You don’t have to be confined by the restrictions of an old sin problem. Whether you are in a jail that is real or one of your own making, Jesus wants to set you free to live in His ways.

Almighty God, set me free to live Your way. Remove the restrictions of sin. Toss out the old. Make room for the new.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 247). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 24 – Wholly following the Lord

“Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the LORD my God.” – Joshua 6:8

Scripture reading: Joshua 14:6-15

Today we focus on Caleb, one of only two faithful spies who gave a good report to Moses. Ten spies reported that the land was filled with fortified cities and that giants lived there, so Israel would never be able to conquer it. The people believed this bad report, rebelled against Moses and rejected the Lord. As a result, they never set foot in the Promised Land. In direct contrast to this unbelief, Caleb, “wholly follows the Lord” and is blessed by God.

Notice the repetition in this passage. Five times Caleb speaks of what God said or promised (vs. 6, twice in vs. 10, and twice in vs. 12). Because Caleb based his faith on the sure promises of God, he was able to “wholly follow the Lord” (repeated three times, vs. 8, 9, and 14).

In this whole-hearted following of God, Caleb is more than just a good moral example for us. He is an Old Testament picture of Christ! Caleb had a strong faith and followed the Lord with all his heart, but he still sinned. Caleb needed to look, as we all do, to the Lord. Jesus came and fully accomplished and perfectly completed every command of Almighty God with His righteous life. He laid down his life, paying for all our sins with His sacrificial death on the Cross. Caleb’s obedience foreshadows Christ’s. God’s plan for the history of redemption is carried out fully and completely in Jesus Christ alone. Look to Jesus and whole-heartedly follow Him.

Suggestions for prayer

Give thanks to God for the whole-hearted obedience of Christ, lived out for us. Thank God for the sacrificial death of our Lord in our place. Pray that this message of the Gospel would go forth powerfully from faithful churches tomorrow.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ed Marcusse is the pastor of the Oak Glen United Reformed Church of Lansing, Illinois.

Source: August 24 – Wholly following the Lord

August 24 Sin Does Not Fit

Scripture reading: Psalm 33:1–22

Key verse: Romans 8:6

To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Paul cautioned us not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes. Peter issued a similar warning when he wrote, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Both men understood the nature of temptation and its effects on the believer. However, many, like spiritual lambs being led to slaughter, ignore God’s warning concerning temptation and later end up wishing they had heeded His commands.

You have a choice. And as a believer, you are not overcome by the darkness of temptation. Jesus is your strong arm of protection. Proverbs tells us:

These six things the Lord hates,

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren. (Prov. 6:16–19)

One sure way to deal with temptation is keep the focus of your heart on His Word. The Word of God that Paul wrote about in Ephesians 6 is your greatest defense. It works only when you are willing to walk in the light of obedience and in Christ. Because you are a child of God, sin does not fit who you are in Christ.

Lord, I realize that sin does not fit who I am in You. Cleanse me from sin. Let me walk in the light of obedience to You and Your Word.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 247). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 08/24/2019

‘Whatever,’ Woman Says After Church Revokes Her Membership for Unrepentant Lesbianism   Aug 20, 2019 09:19 am

Mary Trollinger Glenwood Baptist ChurchSOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Two women who are involved in a lesbian relationship recently contacted the media after receiving a letter from their now-former pastor who advised that their church membership had been revoked as they remained unrepentant. “Hmmmmm, ok whatever. Going to a better church now. Love my wife and Christ! ‘Nough said,” Mary Catherine Trollinger also…

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Parents Boo as Christian Street Preacher Confronts Drag Queen at Story Time   Aug 22, 2019 08:56 am

(LifeSite News) — The Drag Queen Story Time’s question-and-answer session didn’t go as planned. After this event at Westcliffe Community Centre in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon, evangelical street preacher Dorre Love responded to an invitation for questions. “I have a question,” Love said. “What are you going to do when you stand before God…

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‘I Will Not Leave My Faith’: Pastor in India Left for Dead but God Shocks Persecutors   Aug 18, 2019 03:17 pm

(Open Doors USA) — The Church in India is growing at an unprecedented rate, with village church pastors forging a burgeoning movement. Increasingly, the leaders of these churches are bearing the brunt of persecution in India, often finding themselves the first target of Hindu extremists, especially when extremists begin to see the impact of these leaders and their…

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Back in Pulpit After Scandal, Tullian Tchividjian Insists Sex With Former Congregants Was Not Abuse   Aug 21, 2019 09:27 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — (The Christian Post) — As he gets ready for the fall launch of his unaffiliated The Sanctuary church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Billy Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, who was stripped of his preaching credentials in 2015 due to extramarital relationships with former congregants, says they were all “consensual” and not an…

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Dept. of Justice Tells Supreme Court: Federal Law Prohibiting Sex Discrimination Does Not Include ‘Gender Identity’   Aug 17, 2019 05:26 pm

WASHINGTON — In a crucial Supreme Court case that could determine whether or not Christian organizations and businesses must accommodate the wishes of an employee who decides to begin identifying as the opposite sex, and whether or not the hiring and dismissal practices of religious organizations are protected in such situations, the U.S. Department of Justice has…

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Bullied Teen, 14, Killed After Lying in Front of Train While 50 Classmates Helplessly Watched   Aug 20, 2019 03:27 pm

(Heavy) — Investigators are searching for answers after a 14-year-old boy was killed by an oncoming train. Sam Connor of Ashford, Surrey in the UK, was at the Chertsey railway station with classmates when he suddenly slid off the platform and laid on the tracks. Authorities are trying to determine if the boy killed himself in front of approximately 50 classmates…

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Mexican Pastor Shot to Death in His Car After Church Service   Aug 23, 2019 05:54 pm

(Christian Solidarity Worldwide) — A pastor from the Fraternidad Cristiana church was shot and killed in Oaxaca, south-west Mexico, on Aug. 18. Alfrery Líctor Cruz Canseco was waiting in his car after a church service at the Fraternidad Cristiana church in the municipality of Tlalixtac de Cabrera when he was shot and killed. His attacker attempted to escape, but…

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BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ Decried After Featuring Same-Sex Ceremony in Program   Aug 19, 2019 03:22 pm

(The Christian Institute) — BBC’s “Songs of Praise” has alienated its viewers after it featured a same-sex “wedding” in this week’s program. Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowell married at Rutherglen United Reformed Church near Glasgow – one of the few denominations to have accepted the redefinition of marriage. While presenter Kate Bottley described the URC…

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Archaeologists Find Artifacts From Babylonian Conquest of Jerusalem Chronicled in Bible   Aug 21, 2019 01:39 pm

Photo Credit: UNC Charlotte JERUSALEM — Archaeologists conducting a dig in Israel have uncovered artifacts and evidence confirming the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem as chronicled in the Old Testament of the Bible. “It is very exciting to be able to excavate the material signature of any given historical event, and even more so regarding an important…

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Man Who Says He’s Possessed by Demons Arrested After Threatening to Commit Mass Murder at Tenn. Church   Aug 21, 2019 09:16 pm

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A man who allegedly has told family members that he hears voices and that he believes he’s possessed by demons has been arrested for threatening to commit mass murder at a Tennessee church. According to reports, Thomas McVicker of Punta Gorda, Florida planned this week to attack the church and then kill himself. “I’m thinking about…

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Weekend Snapshot · Aug. 24, 2019 – Top Stories This Week

Demos’ 2020 Strategy — Recession

Some important context is missing from the revised jobs numbers for 2018.

New York Times ‘1619 Project’ Is Revisionist History

The Times says that slaves arriving in 1619 is the date of our “true founding,” not 1776.

Birthright Citizenship and Detaining Illegal Aliens

One change to detention rules and one mulled change President Trump would like to make.

Greenland Would Be a Good Buy

The world’s biggest island is strategically important, and Trump is smart to consider it.

Sanders the Alchemist Offers $16T Green New Deal

Bernie promises to replace the fossil-fuel industry with 20 million renewable-energy jobs.

Leftmedia Uses ‘Ecofascism’ Charge to Protect Ecofascism

The Washington Post distorts the meaning of terms to attack the “far right” after mass murders.

Transgender Fascism

The appalling story of an Illinois family’s encounter with a school district’s Rainbow Mafia.

Trump Cautions Jewish Voters Who Support Democrats

His comments on Jewish loyalty highlight the growing problem of leftist anti-Semitism.

Dems Feign Backing Away From Medicare for All

The unpopularity of Sanders’s socialist health plan has Democrats realizing that it’s not a winning policy.

Dems Use Mass Shootings as Pretext for Gun Confiscation

The renewed push for an “assault weapons” ban is both wrong and mendacious.

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.

Quote Of The Week

“Trump has been strongly pro-life, strongly pro-American, strongly pro-Israel, strongly pro-capitalism, and he has pushed back against the freedom-robbing regulatory state. He cut taxes and he left evangelicals alone. He didn’t sue the nuns. He doesn’t want our guns. Voting for Trump is not ‘trading Christian values for political power.’ It’s voting in self-defense against the radical, evangelical-hating left and hoping for the best — and getting more than expected.” —Bryan Preston


What we need to know from the Horowitz report — Christian Research Network

“Republicans know the end result of the investigation, but they don’t know how it began. Yes, they know the official story of the start of what the FBI called Crossfire Hurricane — that it began with a foreign intelligence service (Australia) telling U.S. officials that Papadopoulos appeared to have foreknowledge of a Russian plan to release damaging information about Hillary Clinton. But they don’t think it’s the whole story.  That’s where Horowitz comes in.”

(Byron York – The Washington Examiner)  There will be much to learn in Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s upcoming report on the Trump-Russia investigation, but most of it will likely boil down to just two questions. One, how much did the Obama Justice Department spy on the Trump campaign? And two, was it justified?

Many Democrats would immediately protest the word “spying.” But the public already knows the FBI secured a warrant to wiretap low-level Trump adviser Carter Page a few months after Page left the campaign. The public also knows the FBI used informant Stefan Halper to gather information on other Trump campaign figures. And the public knows the FBI sent an undercover agent who went by the alias “Azra Turk” to London to tease information out of another low-level Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos.

Was that all? Were there more? Horowitz should give definitive answers.  View article →


Trump–Russia Collusion

via What we need to know from the Horowitz report — Christian Research Network

Yikes! Fewer People Today Consider Themselves Democrat than When Trump was Elected — The Gateway Pundit

Democrat party leaders

The last two years have been hard on America-hating Democrats.
Open borders, lawlessness and socialism are not big selling points for the liberal party.

There are less Democrats today than when Donald Trump was elected US President on November 8, 2016.

According to Gallup.
On November 9-14 2016 30% of Americans considered themselves Democrat.

Today, August 24, 2019 only 27% of Americans consider themselves a Democrat.

All of that craziness and violence is not expanding their party.

via Yikes! Fewer People Today Consider Themselves Democrat than When Trump was Elected — The Gateway Pundit

August 24, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

5:25 Paul turned to the duties of husbands. The society in which Paul wrote recognized the duties of wives to husbands but not necessarily of husbands to wives. As in Col 3:19, Paul exhorted husbands to love their wives; but Ephesians presents Christ’s self-sacrificing love for the church as the pattern for the husband’s love for his wife.

Husbands are to love their wives continually as Christ loves the church. The tense of the Greek word translated “love” indicates a love that continues. Love is more than family affection or sexual passion. Rather it is a deliberate attitude leading to action that concerns itself with another’s well-being. A husband should love his wife: (1) as Christ loved the church (vv. 25–27); (2) as his own body (vv. 28–30); and (3) with a love transcending all other human relationships (vv. 31–33).[1]

5:25 Husbands, love. The emphasis in the passage is not the husband’s authority to govern, but his responsibility to love.

as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Nowhere in the New Testament is Christ’s self-sacrificing love applied more directly to a specific relationship as a pattern to be emulated (cf. v. 2).[2]

5:25 Husbands, love your wives Paul is referring primarily to sacrificial actions for the benefit of the wife. The model for this kind of love is Christ’s death on the cross.

In the first century ad, a husband was not necessarily expected to show love for his wife. Generally, Paul’s model for household relationships affirms traditional roles but undermines cultural understandings of these roles. Paul’s exhortation to husbands (vv. 25–33) is the longest single section in this teaching on households (5:22–6:9). Paul takes great care to set his command that wives submit to their husbands (vv. 22–24) within its proper context, emphasizing the husband’s responsibilities in greater detail.[3]

5:25 love. Paul now turns to the duty of husbands. He does not command the husband to submit to his wife but instead tells the husband that he must give himself up for her. Thus, husbands are to love their wives in a self-sacrificial manner, following the example of Christ, who “gave himself up for” the church in loving self-sacrifice. Clearly the biblical picture of a husband laying down his life for his wife is directly opposed to any kind of male tyranny or oppression. The husband is bound by love to ensure that his wife finds their marriage a source of rich fulfillment and joyful service to the Lord. Notably, Paul devotes three times more space to the husband’s duty (nine verses) than to the wife’s (three verses).[4]

5:25 love your wives. Though the husband’s authority has been established (vv. 22–24), the emphasis moves to the supreme responsibility of husbands in regard to their wives, which is to love them with the same unreserved, selfless, and sacrificial love that Christ has for His church. Christ gave everything He had, including His own life, for the sake of His church, and that is the standard of sacrifice for a husband’s love of his wife. Cf. Col 3:19.[5]

5:25 Husbands, love: Paul does not emphasize the husband’s authority; instead, he calls on husbands to love self-sacrificially. Husbands are to emulate Christ’s love, the kind of love that is willing to lay down one’s life for another person and serve that person even if it means suffering.[6]

5:25. Husbands are commanded to love their wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (cf. Titus 2:14; 1 Pet 3:18). The husband is to love his wife by giving himself for her.

The husband is to live in an understanding manner toward his wife (1 Pet 3:7), wanting her well-being and living with her in honor and support. It is a sacrifice for the man to live his life for his wife, and yet this is what Christ commands him to do.[7]

5:25 If the foregoing instructions to wives stood alone, if there were no correspondingly high instructions to husbands, then the presentation would be one-sided, if not unfair. But notice the beautiful balance of truth in the Scriptures, and the corresponding standard they require of the husbands. Husbands are not told to keep their wives in subjection; they are told to love their wives just as Christ also loved the church. It has been well said that no wife would mind being submissive to a husband who loves her as much as Christ loves the church. Someone wrote of a man who feared he was displeasing God by loving his wife too much. A Christian worker asked him if he loved her more than Christ loved the church. He said no. “Only when you go beyond that,” said the worker, “are you loving your wife too much.” Christ’s love for the church is presented here in three majestic movements extending from the past to the present to the future. In the past, He demonstrated His love for the church by giving Himself for her. This refers to His sacrificial death on the cross. There He paid the greatest price in order to purchase a Bride for Himself. Just as Eve was brought forth from the side of Adam, so, in a sense, the church was created from the wounded side of the Savior.[8]

5:25. After speaking of a wife’s submission to her husband (vv. 22–24), Paul then stated the measure of the husband’s love for his wife (vv. 25–32). Husbands are commanded, Love your wives (cf. v. 33) just as Christ loved the church. The word “love” (agapaō) means seeking the highest good for another person (cf. 2:4). This is an unselfish love as seen in Christ’s sacrificial death in which He gave Himself up for the church (cf. 5:2; John 10:11, 15, 17–18; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 5:25; Heb. 9:14). A wife’s submission in no way hints that a husband may lord it over his spouse, as a despot commanding a slave. The “submit-love” relationship is a beautiful mixture of harmonious partnership in marriage.[9]

The admonition addressed to husbands begins as follows: 25. Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. The love required must be deep-seated, thorough-going, intelligent and purposeful, a love in which the entire personality—not only the emotions but also the mind and the will—expresses itself. The main characteristic of this love, however, is that it is spontaneous and self-sacrificing, for it is compared to the love of Christ whereby he gave himself up for the church. More excellent love than that is inconceivable (John 10:11–15; 15:13; 1 John 3:16). See also on 5:2.

When a believing husband loves his wife in this fashion obedience from the side of his believing wife will be easy. Illustration taken from life: “My husband loves me so thoroughly and is so good to me that I jump at the opportunity to obey him.” That was putting it beautifully![10]

Ver. 25.—Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for her. The husband’s duty to the wife is enforced by another parallel—it ought to correspond to Christ’s love for the Church. This parallel restores the balance; if it should seem hard for the wife to be in subjection, the spirit of love, Christ-like love, on the part of the husband makes the duty easy. Christ did not merely pity the Church, or merely desire her good, but loved her; her image was stamped on his heart and her name graven on his hands; he desired to have her for his companion, longing for a return of her affection, for the establishment of sympathy between her and him. And he gave himself for her (comp. ver. 2), showing that her happiness and welfare were dearer to him than his own—the true test of deep, real love.[11]

25. “Thou hast seen the measure of obedience; now hear also the measure of love. Do you wish your wife to obey you, as the Church is to obey Christ? Then have a solicitude for her as Christ had for the Church (Eph 5:23, “Himself the Saviour of the body”); and “if it be necessary to give thy life for her, or to be cut in ten thousand pieces, or to endure any other suffering whatever, do not refuse it; and if you suffer thus, not even so do you do what Christ has done; for you indeed do so being already united to her, but He did so for one that treated Him with aversion and hatred. As, therefore, He brought to His feet one that so treated Him, and that even wantonly spurned Him, by much tenderness of regard, not by threats, insults, and terror: so also do you act towards your wife, and though you see her disdainful and wantonly wayward, you will be able to bring her to your feet by much thoughtfulness for her, by love, by kindness. For no bound is more sovereign in binding than such bonds, especially in the case of husband and wife. For one may constrain a servant by fear, though not even he is so to be bound to you; for he may readily run away. But the companion of your life, the mother of your children, the basis of all your joy, you ought to bind to you, not by fear and threats, but by love and attachment” [Chrysostom].

gave himselfGreek, “gave Himself up.”

for it—Translate, “for her.” The relation of the Church to Christ is the ground of Christianity’s having raised woman to her due place in the social scale, from which she was, and is, excluded in heathen lands.[12]

5:25 / Lest husbands come to believe that Ephesians 5:21–33 is a document legitimizing their authority to restrict the freedom of their wives, it should be noted that the admonition for husbands to love their wives puts a greater responsibility on them. Agapē means to subordinate one’s own interests, pleasures, and personality for the benefit of someone else. In fact, Christ’s love, which the husband is to model, was completely sacrificial—Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. The church is considered as the sum total of persons for whom Christ died (Rom. 4:25; 8:32; Gal. 1:4; 2:20). Loved (past tense) refers to some definite action in the past, such as the cross.[13]

25  As in Col. 3:19, husbands are exhorted to love their wives, but here the self-sacrificing love of Christ for the church is set forth as the pattern for the husband’s love for his wife. This does not imply a nobler view of the institution of marriage than that expressed in the earlier Pauline letters: even there Paul shows himself to be a “philogamist,” regarding matrimony as the norm for the majority of Christians and commending it as a way of life sanctified by God (1 Cor. 7:3–14). In 2 Cor. 11:2–3 he has already used the marriage relationship as a figure for the union between Christ and the church; in the present household code this figure is worked out in greater detail. It is sometimes pointed out that the Greek word for “bride” appears neither here nor in 2 Cor. 11:2–3—as though its appearance were necessary when bridal language is so plainly used. In both places the bridal language is used by way of a simile; there is no reason to give ontological status to a figure of speech. The believing community is here compared to a maiden for whom Christ laid down his life that she might become his bride. In v. 2 of this chapter Paul has said that “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us”; now he repeats the statement, except that instead of “us” the object is “the church,” referred to by the feminine form of the third person singular pronoun (“her”). Christ’s love for the church is a self-sacrificing love, and the same, it is implied, should be true of husbands’ love for their wives. The idea of self-sacrifice inheres not in the verb “love” as such, but in its context.[14]

25 We might expect that when Paul turned to husbands, he would admonish them to exercise their headship well, to instruct their wives properly, or perhaps to rule benignly. If he had been seeking to make no waves within the Roman culture, he would have soft-pedaled what he said to husbands with such words as, “Be kind to your wives,” or, “Do not treat your wives too harshly as you rule over them.” In fact, what he says goes against all cultural expectations for husbands; the words that follow are astonishing, to say the least. He commands husbands to keep on unconditionally loving their wives (using the present imperative form). This is not sexual but self-sacrificing love. In fact, the standard against which to define and measure their love is Christ’s love and self-sacrifice for the church (vv. 1–2; cf. 1 Jn 3:16; 4:10). The model of Christ ought to transform how husbands view their positions within the family. Paul does not call on husbands here to submit in so many words, as he does wives (and oddly, he never calls on wives to love their husbands). Yet, this is how the husband’s exercise of the mutual submission command (v. 21) operates in his role as “head” in a marriage. He does not submit to his wife; he loves her as Christ loves the church. In effect, Paul issues a radical call that revolutionizes the partriarchalism of the day.

The word for “love” is agapaō (GK 26), already used of God’s love for Jesus (1:6) and for his people (1:4; 2:4), and of Christ’s love for the church (5:2). Love ought to characterize the lives of all God’s people (4:2, 15–16; 5:2), but no less husbands as they exercise their headship in the household. They emulate Christ’s love for the church. In short, a husband’s role as “head” does not entail seeing what demands he can make on his wife, but discovering how he can love her sacrificially for her benefit. His authority exists for service and not for prestige, for his own advantage, or so he can get his own way. And as before, Paul commands husbands to respond as Christians without regard to their circumstances. A husband must be faithful to love his wife, whether or not his wife submits to his headship. As Christ’s love for the church did not depend on whether or not people submit to his lordship, so a husband’s love is not conditioned on his wife’s submission; he must love.[15]

25 Οί ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε τἀς γυναῖκας, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself up for her.” After the exhortation to wives to submit, with its depiction of husbands as heads, what might well have been expected by contemporary readers would be an exhortation to husbands to rule their wives (cf. Schrage, NTS 21 [1975] 13). Instead the exhortation is for husbands to love their wives. This takes up the first five words of Col 3:19, omitting the injunction “do not be embittered with them” and replacing this with a Christological grounding and a further lengthy elaboration, in the course of which the exhortation to love occurs twice more. There is no contrast with the Colossians passage, where “masculine love is an emotion of inner attitude” and “men are invited to feel love,” while Ephesians calls for a different quality of love (pace Terrien, Till the Heart Sings, 185). Rather both passages see the love required as involving an act of the will (cf. also Col 3:12–14). It is simply that Ephesians reinforces this by showing the radical extent of that love through its analogy with Christ’s love for the Church.

Elsewhere in the letter, love has been seen as an essential quality in Christian living (cf. 1:4; 3:17; 4:2, 15, 16). Significantly, the call to all to loving sacrifice for one another in 5:1, 2 takes a similar form to that directed to husbands here in 5:25, since in both places the analogy with Christ’s own self-sacrificing love provides the warrant for the appeal. The exhortation to sacrifice one’s own interests for the welfare of others, which is so necessary for the harmony of the community, now finds a more specific application in the husband’s role in contributing to marital harmony. Husbands are asked to exercise the self-giving love that has as its goal only their wives’ good and that will care for their wives without the expectation of reward. It can now be seen clearly that for this writer the exhortation to wives to submit is not to be separated from this call to husbands to give themselves in love and that any exercise of headship on the part of husbands will not be through self-assertion but through self-sacrifice (cf. also Gnilka, 279). The parallel to the love of Christ for the Church means, of course, that the husband’s love is one that will make even the ultimate sacrifice of life itself. In the marriage relationship this love demanded in terms of the most profound self-sacrifice is not separate from, but takes place in and through, natural affection and sexual love.

Exhortations to husbands to love their wives are found outside the NT but they are fairly infrequent (Ps.-Phocylides 195–97 uses the verb στέργω in commanding husbands to love their own wives, while in the rabbinic tradition b. Yeb. 62b is “concerning a man who loves his wife as himself”). It is noteworthy, however, that ἀγαπᾶν does not occur in Greco-Roman household codes in setting out the husband’s duties. So in terms of contemporary instructions on marriage, this writer’s exhortation to husbands is by no means conventional or matter of course. In any case, he makes it distinctive by radicalizing the love for which he calls, as he models it on that of Christ for the Church. Schüssler Fiorenza (In Memory of Her, 269–70) can, therefore, rightly assert, “the patriarchal-societal code is theologically modified in the exhortation to the husband.… Patriarchal domination is thus radically questioned with reference to the paradigmatic love relationship of Christ to the church.”

The analogy with Christ’s love for the Church is introduced by καθώς, which in addition to its primary comparative force also has causal connotations. Christ’s love for the Church not only presents the model but also provides the grounds for the husband’s love for his wife. On the traditional formulation of the language of Christ’s loving and self-giving, see Comment on 5:2. What is unique about its use here in 5:25 is that the recipient is the Church as a corporate whole. That the Church can be linked to Christ’s death in this way does not mean that the writer believed it to have been already in existence when Christ died (pace Schlier, 255–56). This is a retrospective way of talking about the significance of Christ’s death for the present Church (cf. also Schnackenburg, “Er hat uns auferweckt,” LJ 2 [1952] 178). Christ’s death is seen as the particular point in history at which his love for the Church was demonstrated and at which his loving relationship with her began (cf. also 2:13–16). For the writer to the Ephesians, this love of Christ for the Church should find its reflection within the Christian community, particularly in the love of husbands for their wives.[16]

25. Husbands, love your wives. From husbands, on the other hand, the apostle requires that they cherish toward their wives no ordinary love; for to them, also, he holds out the example of Christ,—even as Christ also loved the church. If they are honoured to bear his image, and to be, in some measure, his representatives, they ought to resemble him also in the discharge of duty.

And gave himself for it. This is intended to express the strong affection which husbands ought to have for their wives, though he takes occasion, immediately afterwards, to commend the grace of Christ. Let husbands imitate Christ in this respect, that he scrupled not to die for his church. One peculiar consequence, indeed, which resulted from his death,—that by it he redeemed his church,—is altogether beyond the power of men to imitate.[17]

Self-sacrifice (5:25)

Paul says, “Love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” An essential resource that husbands are to use for enacting their headship is selflessness.

A leader not only in his home but also in the evangelical world is J. Robertson McQuilkin. In 1990, however, he resigned prematurely from the presidency of Columbia Bible College and Seminary because his wife Muriel, afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, needed his care. During his last two years as president he wrote that it was increasingly difficult to keep Muriel at home. When she was with him she was content, but without him she became distressed and panic-stricken. Although the walk from their home to the school was a mile round trip, Muriel would often try to follow her husband to the office. Seeking him over and over she would sometimes make that trip ten times a day. When he took her shoes off at night, McQuilkin sometimes found her feet bloodied from all the walking. Washing her feet prepared him for a similar Christlike act that he ultimately performed for her. He sacrificed his position to take care of her.

This is the leadership of humility, the headship of service—husbanding by sacrifice. To it God calls men who would be biblical heads of their homes. A Christian husband leads by service. He heads his family through selfless love. He has the primary biblical responsibility in the home to set a spiritual standard by his own sacrifice to make God’s grace evident.

What kind of authority is this? There is no easy way to describe it. I often hear Christians try to define male headship in the home by saying that the husband has the last word or is the final authority in decision making. This is certainly true, but without an understanding of biblical priorities such a definition can be terribly misused. Does it mean that even if the wife hates the idea of moving to a distant town, doesn’t want a particular home, thinks that a child does not need another after-school activity, doesn’t want a certain kind of love-making, disagrees with a husband’s discipline of their children, or believes an investment is unwise, that the husband should insist on his wishes anyway because he is the head of the home and has the final word? If having the final word means that others’ view and feelings do not have to be considered, then I do not see such a definition ever provided for biblical headship.

Far from encouraging a husband to exercise his authority for personal privilege, the Bible takes care to direct a Christian husband to use his authority for the benefit of his spouse and family. Thus biblical headship shifts the focus of husbanding from taking charge to taking responsibility, and from asserting one’s will to giving one’s self to the good of another. Headship is more a function of controlling our nature than controlling our wives. We are always “Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20). To represent him we must be willing to suffer for his name, stand for his principles, and support his people—even if the place for doing so is in our own homes.

With great wisdom the Bible mandates no particular style, manner, or set of behaviors that alone qualify as biblical headship. In fact, if this aspect of the believer’s life holds true to other mandates for Christian character, then there are probably as many legitimate expressions of headship as there are variations of personality. Biblical headship is simply the exercise of God-given authority whereby a man does all that is within his power to see that love, justice, and mercy rule in his home even when fostering such qualities requires his own personal sacrifice.[18]

[1] Wallace, D. B. (2017). Perseverance of the Saints. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1878). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1713). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eph 5:25). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2272). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eph 5:25). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1539). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] Bond, J. B. (2010). The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 885). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[8] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1948). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Hoehner, H. W. (1985). Ephesians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 641). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[10] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, p. 250). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[11] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ephesians (p. 212). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[12] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 355). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[13] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 269–270). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[14] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 386–387). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[15] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 151). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[16] Lincoln, A. T. (1990). Ephesians (Vol. 42, pp. 373–375). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[17] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 318–319). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[18] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 286–287). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

August 24 Facing the Future

scripture reading: Acts 16:6–10
key verse: Psalm 31:3

You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.

The eyes of America turned westward in the 1800s as settlers and explorers streamed into the vast frontier. Most were familiar only with states and land east of the Mississippi River. Therefore, they required a knowledgeable guide for the oceans of grass prairies, the weeks of desert, and the maze of mountains. Thus did men like Christopher “Kit” Carson and William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody become cultural legends as they safely led thousands, including the U.S. military, to their destinations.

Each Christian has an infallible guide within, the person of the Holy Spirit. He is responsible to navigate you in God’s direction.

You are completely ignorant of the future, but the Holy Spirit is all–knowing. He knows how your decisions today fit into His will for your tomorrows.

The Holy Spirit wants to guide you into a more intimate relationship with Christ. His express purpose is to glorify the Son of God (John 14:26). He also desires to guide you into the truth of God. The truth sets you free, and God’s Word is truth. It should come as no surprise then that the Spirit uses Scripture as His primary tool of guidance.

Do not worry or fret. Gather information, pray, search the Word, and ask God to lead you. He will not fail you.

Dear Father in heaven, I don’t know the future, but I rest in the knowledge that You do. You know how each decision I make today prepares me for Your will tomorrow. Lead me.[1]

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