Daily Archives: September 2, 2019

September 2 A Sure Anchor

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:1–6

Key Verses: Hebrews 13:5–6

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

As the storm clouds roll across the horizon of our lives, we must prepare to face adversity with confidence. Once the trials or testing times arrive, it is time to evaluate where we have dropped the anchor of our faith. Does our anchor reach deep enough that our faith is securely fastened to the Lord?

When you place your hope and faith in anything other than Christ, you are going to be disappointed. The things of this world may satisfy temporarily, but eventually the emptiness in your heart will overtake any satisfaction.

No matter how much support and encouragement our friends may give us, the peace that is necessary to weather many storms in our lives can come only from God. No matter how much money we have, it will never solve all our problems or fill all our emptiness.

But our hearts anchored in Christ will hold us tightly as we endure all of these storms. God rejoices over His children, delighting in bringing about the best for our lives. Nothing in our lives surprises Him. He knows it all, and He knows the best way for us to stand strong against these difficulties. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13:5–6).

Lord, when material goods start to draw my attention away from You, help me to stay anchored in You so that I can withstand life’s storms.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 257). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 2 The Servant Spirit

Scripture Reading: John 13:1–20

Key Verse: Matthew 20:27

Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.

Why was Peter so stunned and overcome with shame when Jesus knelt to clean his feet? Foot washing was servant’s work, a menial and dirty task, certainly not a job for an esteemed and beloved Leader. In one humble and brilliant gesture, Jesus demonstrated what their attitude and actions should be: “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:14–15 nasb).

This servant’s spirit should characterize everything you do. Of course, it’s easy to think of a hypothetical situation and say, “Yes, I would do anything to help out.” But the real test of your willingness to serve comes when you are confronted with the actual need.

You see trash all around a picnic site. Do you pick up the litter, or do you eat and walk away, hoping that someone who is paid to do it will clean up?

Your elderly neighbor needs a driver to take her to the store and the doctor. Would you volunteer?

The key to overcoming hesitation to serve is keeping the right attitude. When you see others as Jesus sees them, you want to meet their needs with enthusiasm. You discover the joy of serving when you follow the Savior’s lead.

Heavenly Father, I want to serve others with joy, touching their lives with Your love, extending my hands to a hurting world. Make me a servant.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 257). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Hong Kong Protestors Using Mesh Messaging App China Can’t Block: Usage Up 3685% | Forbes

Mesh networking: how you communicate when China censors the internet.

How do you communicate when the government censors the internet? With a peer-to-peer mesh broadcasting network that doesn’t use the internet.

That’s exactly what Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters are doing now, thanks to San Fransisco startup Bridgefy’s Bluetooth-based messaging app. The protesters can communicate with each other — and the public — using no persistent managed network.

Unrest In Hong Kong During Anti-Government Protests

Getty Images

And it’s led to swift growth for Bridgefy: downloads are up almost 4,000% over the past 60 days, according to Apptopia estimates (Apptopia is an app metrics company).

Apptopia download and daily average user estimates
Apptopia download and daily average user estimates


The app can connect people via standard Bluetooth across an entire city, thanks to a mesh network. Chatting is speediest with people who are close, of course, within a hundred meters (330 feet), but you can also chat with people who are farther away. Your messages will simply “hop” via other Bridgefy users’ phones until they find your intended target.

While you can chat privately with contacts, you can also broadcast to anyone within range, even if they are not a contact.

That’s clearly an ideal scenario for protesters who are trying to reach people but cannot use traditional SMS texting, email, or the undisputed uber-app of China: WeChat. All of them are monitored by the state.

I asked Bridgefy’s co-founder and CEO, Jorge Rios, for more information.

Koetsier: Tell me about the app … what it’s for, why you built it, and why most people use it.

Rios: Bridgefy is a messaging app that works with or without Internet. It’s based on Bluetooth instead, and we built it because we konw that the lack of communication can be vital in many places and situations. Most people download it before going to a large music of sporting event, but we’re currently having huge spikes in downloads from Hong Kong due to the protests.

Koetsier: I hear it’s being used in Hong Kong by the protesters. Tell me why what purposes they’re using it for and how big a spike you’ve seen in downloads/registrations/usage.

Rios: People are downloading it for two reasons:

1) Because Internet access is starting to be limited by the authorities.

2) Because it’s a safe way for people to communicate with there being very little risk of messages being read by unwanted eyes.

We’ve seen more than 60,000 app installations in just the past seven days, most of them from Hong Kong. People are using it to organize themselves and to stay safe, without having to depend on an Internet connection.

Screenshots of Bridgefy's iOS app
Screenshots of Bridgefy’s iOS app

John Koetsier

Koetsier: Anything else?

Rios: Whenever there’s a hurricane or earthquake in the world, we see spikes in app downloads. It’s important for us to say that our core technology is also available to developers, so that they may integrate it into their own apps and make them work offline. We license it based on the amount of offline users, and are currently working so that some day we might be able to use apps like WeChat, Tinder, Uber, and Whatsapp without Internet.

Koetsier: Thank you for your time!

Source: Hong Kong Protestors Using Mesh Messaging App China Can’t Block: Usage Up 3685%

McCarthyism 101: Actors demand ‘blacklist’ of Trump supporters in Hollywood | RT USA News

Entertainment industry figures could soon find themselves on a “blacklist” of Donald Trump supporters if Will & Grace co-stars Debra Messing and Eric McCormack have their way. Have we reached peak neo-McCarthyism?

The pair are demanding that the Hollywood Reporter prints a full list of attendees for an upcoming Trump fundraiser in Beverly Hills – an appeal which has drawn natural comparisons to the late Sen. Joe McCarthy’s efforts in the 1950s to rid Hollywood of “Communist sympathizers.”

The difference is, this time the calls for a political blacklist are coming from the Hollywood left itself.

McCormack was the first to request a list of “everyone attending” the upcoming Beverly Hills fundraiser, “so the rest of us can be clear about who we don’t wanna (sic) work with.” Messing soon joined in, tweeting that the “public has a right to know” who is supporting Trump.

The public does indeed have a “right to know” who a political candidate’s donors are – particularly when those donors are rich and powerful. This is exactly why campaign finance information is made publicly available online. Few would argue against this kind of transparency in a democracy, because voters are entitled to know how their elected officials are being influenced on policy matters.

Also on rt.com

McCarthyism 2.0: Real skill of US ‘disinformation experts’ is spreading disinformation

The motivation behind Messing and McCormack’s blacklist, however, is entirely different and even sinister. They are not concerned that Hollywood celebrities might be influencing Trump on policy. It’s far simpler than that: They want those who disagree with their politics to be publicly shamed and punished for it.

Responding to criticism, Messing tweeted that she would be “happy to be listed” when she attends a political fundraiser. Why wouldn’t Trump supporters feel the same? she asked.

Perhaps because of people like you, Debra, who advocate for those people to be targeted for public harassment, intimidation and shaming while demanding professional repercussions for their political views.

If voters aren’t happy with their favorite celebrity’s political leanings, they are absolutely free to abstain from viewing their movies, listening to their music or reading their books etc. That’s the risk public figures take when they make their political views public.

The difference is, when Messing and McCormack contribute to the candidates of their choosing, no one demands that they are placed on a list to make it easier for their industry colleagues to avoid working with them.

The Trump blacklist is reminiscent of ‘Red Channels’ – a 1950s pamphlet on “communist influence in radio and television” that listed 150 industry figures whose loyalties to the US were questioned because of their leftist political beliefs. Red Channels was published in the right-wing Counterattack journal, the purpose of which was to “expose” the alleged communists to the wider public.

Messing and McCormack’s crusade is empty activism emblematic of the ‘Resistance’ celebrities. It requires no courage or effort to “expose” Trump supporters in Hollywood on Twitter. It does not help to produce political change – and serves purely as an egoic exercise for those who crave public approval and pats on the back from their colleagues.

Messing has become known for lobbing ad hominem Twitter attacks at those who fall foul of her own political agenda in a craven effort to fit in with the Hollywood crowd.

She has been one of those leading the attacks against fellow actress Susan Sarandon since 2016, delusionally attempting to pin blame on the vocal Bernie Sanders supporter for Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Messing’s disturbing obsession with Sarandon indicates she is more interested in grandstanding and condemning others for wrongthink than she is in engaging in substantial, impactful activism.

Also on rt.com

Twitter wars over Susan Sarandon’s refusal to vote for Hillary Clinton still raging … in 2019

If ‘Resistance’ Hollywood was really interested in fighting Trump on the issues, they wouldn’t waste their time on vindictive witch hunts and personal vendettas, designed to plump up their own profiles.

There is a big difference between political donors having their names publicly available online in the appropriate context and actually demanding an industry blacklist with the express purpose of damaging careers and reputations.

That is the very definition of McCarthyism.

By Danielle Ryan, an Irish freelance writer based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, teleSUR, RBTH, The Calvert Journal and others. 

Source: McCarthyism 101: Actors demand ‘blacklist’ of Trump supporters in Hollywood

Bethel Church Responds to Criticism Over Pro-Gay Post, Refuses to Clarify Position on Homosexuality — Christian Research Network

Bethel Church was widely criticized for doing anti-Gospel work with the LGBT, as perceived in their Facebook post. Many people have asked Bethel to clarify whether or not they view homosexuality as a sin.

(JD Hall – Pulpit & Pen)  After two weeks of criticism relating to a Facebook post telling gay people that God did not want them to change, Bethel Church responded to criticism but refused to clarify their position on the sinfulness of homosexuality.

As we reported in Bethel Church Goes Gay, Bethel is launching a new LGBT ministry called Changed, but the church said that only those who don’t feel “fulfilled” should worry about changing (as you can see in the screenshot below). In fact, the church explicitly said that not all homosexuals must change.

via Bethel Church Responds to Criticism Over Pro-Gay Post, Refuses to Clarify Position on Homosexuality — Christian Research Network

Jesus: Salvation Is Through Faith Alone Because Jesus Is Enough — The Heidelblog

It is being argued by some prominent evangelicals, who identify themselves as Reformed, that salvation is in two stages. They say that the first stage of salvation is justification by grace alone, through faith alone on the basis of Christ’s righteousness imputed. In their scheme, however, there is a second stage. This is where things become complicated.

Ball Of Confusion

Many who have read or listened to these teachers have only heard or read them speaking about the first stage of salvation and have assumed (as I did) that they are orthodox. This reading of their doctrine ignores, however, what these teachers are actually saying. It ignores the rest of what they are saying. In their scheme, justification by grace alone, through faith alone is only stage one. There is a stage two. Here is where the problems begin. The proponents of this view speak of “final salvation through works” (see the resource page below). So, in their view, there is an initial salvation and a final salvation. For them, our justification by grace alone, through faith alone, is just the beginning of the story.

This is not a way that the Protestant Reformers spoke about salvation nor is it the way that the Reformed Churches, in their confessions, speak about salvation. Following the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8–10, they taught and confessed “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God, not from works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Paul there clearly makes faith the instrument of our salvation and contrasts it with works. These are two distinct principles, faith and works (Rom 11:6). Further, Paul knows nothing of two stages of salvation. Paul did not say, “For you are initially saved through faith alone but you will be finally saved through your works. That thought never entered his mind. Read more»

via Jesus: Salvation Is Through Faith Alone Because Jesus Is Enough — The Heidelblog

The Vocabulary of Salvation — Reformation Theology

Text: Romans 3:19-4:8

Man’s greatest need is not happiness but righteousness. So many get that wrong and because of that, everything else is wrong. This sermon lists ten vital vocabulary words we need to grasp if we are to understand God’s way of salvation.

via The Vocabulary of Salvation — Reformation Theology

September 2 The Struggle with Jealousy

Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 18:5–9

Key verse: Song of Solomon 8:6

Set me as a seal upon your heart,

As a seal upon your arm;

For love is as strong as death,

Jealousy as cruel as the grave;

Its flames are flames of fire,

A most vehement flame.

Everything was going well for young David. Saul had given him a position of authority. He also had access to the king’s household and often spent his evenings in the king’s presence. Saul gave no indication of having any envy toward David. Yet both jealousy and envy were brewing within the king’s heart. The only way jealousy can flourish is to have an acceptable atmosphere in which it feels at home and can grow.

In reality, jealousy is a symptom of a deeper problem. And while it needs to be dealt with swiftly, you also need to ask God to show you the root cause of any envy that has set up shop in your life. Usually, pride is the taproot of jealousy and envy as well as strife.

Saul was pleased with David’s allegiance until one day when he returned from war and overheard the people shouting, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Sam. 18:7). As a result of their cheers, Saul’s need for acceptance evolved into an obnoxious jealousy that ruled his life until his death.

Only Christ can free you from the stronghold of pride and its cousins, jealousy and envy. If this is an area of concern in your life, be honest about it. Tell the Lord you want nothing to do with anything that keeps you from enjoying His fellowship. Pray that He will remove any hint of jealousy so that you may live free in Christ Jesus.

Dear Lord, please free me from pride, jealousy, and envy. I want to live free in You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 257). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 2, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Burden for the Lost

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (5:16–17)

The overarching reason Paul defended his integrity, the one that incorporated all the rest, was so that he could continue to reach the lost. He passionately longed to see people come to saving faith in Christ. In the pagan cultural center of Athens, for example, Paul found that “his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols” (Acts 17:16). To the Romans he wrote, “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles” (Rom. 1:13). In his first inspired letter to them, Paul made it clear to the Corinthians that his mission was “to preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 1:17); in fact, as he wrote later in that epistle, “I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).

But perhaps the most poignant glimpse of Paul’s burden for the lost comes in a shocking statement in his letter to the Romans:

I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Rom. 9:1–3)

So intense was the apostle’s desire to see his lost fellow Israelites saved that he was willing to forfeit, were that possible, his own salvation to bring that about. Not surprisingly, his constant “desire and … prayer to God for them [was] for their salvation” (Rom. 10:1). Paul’s burden for the lost moved him to defend his integrity, lest he lose his credibility and with it his ability to effectively preach the gospel.

These two verses define when Paul’s burden for the lost began. The conjunction hōste (therefore) points back to verses 14 and 15, which describe salvation. After his conversion, the way Paul viewed people changed radically. From then on, he did not recognize (oida; lit. “know,” or “perceive”) anyone according to the flesh; he no longer evaluated people based on external, worldly standards, as the false teachers did (cf. 2 Cor. 5:12; Gal. 6:12). The proud Pharisee, who once scorned Gentiles, and even those Jews outside of his group (cf. John 7:49), now looked beyond mere outward appearances. His prejudice and hatred gave way to a love for all, including “Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman” (Col. 3:11).

Not only did Paul’s view of people change but also his view of Christ. He had once known Him according to the flesh; he had made a human assessment of Him, concluding that He was merely a man. Worse, he had decided Jesus was a false messiah; a heretic and a rebel against Judaism; one worthy of death. As a result, Paul dedicated his life to persecuting His followers. As he later confessed,

So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities. (Acts 26:9–11)

Yet after his conversion Paul knew Him in this way no longer. The assessment of Paul the apostle was radically different than that of Saul the Pharisee. No longer did he view Jesus as an itinerant Galilean rabbi and self-appointed messianic impostor who was the enemy of Judaism. Instead, he saw Him for who He really is, God incarnate, the Savior, the Lord of heaven, the true Messiah who alone fulfills all Old Testament promises and provides forgiveness for sin. The transformation in Paul’s view took place in one blinding moment when he met the risen Lord on the road to Damascus. And when his assessment of Jesus changed, so did his assessment of everyone else. He knew that the same profound change that took place in his life would take place in the lives of all those who put their faith in Christ.

Therefore, in a conclusion also deriving from verse 15, Paul wrote, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. God’s grace and mercy are wide enough to encompass anyone, even the most vile, wicked sinner—even the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15–16). But God is only “the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26; cf. Gal. 3:26). His substitutionary death becomes their death, and His resurrection life their life.

The familiar Pauline expression in Christ succinctly and profoundly summarizes all the rich blessings of salvation (cf. Rom. 8:1; 16:3, 7; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; 4:21; Col. 1:2, 28; Philem. 23). Everyone who is in Christ becomes a new creature (cf. Gal. 6:15). Kainos (new) means new in quality, not just in sequence; believers’ “old self was crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6); they have therefore laid “aside the old self … and put on the new self” (Eph. 4:22, 24; Col. 3:9–10).

The transformation wrought by the new birth is not only an instantaneous miracle but also a lifelong process of sanctification. For those so transformed, everything changes; the old things have passed away. Old values, ideas, plans, loves, desires, and beliefs vanish, replaced by the new things that accompany salvation. The perfect tense of the verb ginomai (have come) indicates a past act with continuing results in the present. God plants new desires, loves, inclinations, and truths in the redeemed, so that they live in the midst of the old creation with a new creation perspective (cf. Gal. 6:14). That perspective, as it is nourished and developed, helps believers gain victory in the battle against sin and conforms them to the image of Jesus Christ.

So Paul defended his integrity in order to preach with boldness, knowing that he was trusted. In addition, his reverence and gratitude to the Savior who had done so much for him, his deep concern for the church, passionate devotion to the truth, desire for righteousness, and longing to see the lost come to the Savior compelled him to maintain his integrity. Because he did so, he could confidently challenge the Corinthians, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (1 Cor. 4:5).[1]

17. Therefore if any man is in Christ. As there is something wanting in this expression, it must be supplied in this way—“If any one is desirous to hold some place in Christ, that is, in the kingdom of Christ, or in the Church, let him be a new creature.” By this expression he condemns every kind of excellence that is wont to be in much esteem among men, if renovation of heart is wanting. “Learning, it is true, and eloquence, and other endowments, are valuable, and worthy to be honoured; but, where the fear of the Lord and an upright conscience are wanting, all the honour of them goes for nothing. Let no one, therefore, glory in any distinction, inasmuch as the chief praise of Christians is self-renunciation.”

Nor is this said merely for the purpose of repressing the vanity of the false apostles, but also with the view of correcting the ambitious judgments of the Corinthians, in which outward disguises were of more value than real sincerity—though this is a fault that is common to almost all ages. For where shall we find the man that does not attach much more importance to show, than to true holiness? Let us, therefore, keep in view this admonition—that all that are not renewed by the Spirit of God, should be looked upon as nothing in the Church, by whatever ornaments they may in other respects be distinguished.

Old things are passed away. When the Prophets speak of the kingdom of Christ, they foretell that there will be new heavens and a new earth, (Isaiah 65:17,) meaning thereby, that all things will be changed for the better, until the happiness of the pious is completed. As, however, Christ’s kingdom is spiritual, this change must take place chiefly in the Spirit, and hence it is with propriety that he begins with this. There is, therefore, an elegant and appropriate allusion, when Paul makes use of a commendation of this kind, for the purpose of setting forth the value of regeneration. Now by old things he means, the things that are not formed anew by the Spirit of God. Hence this term is placed in contrast with renewing grace. The expression passed away, he uses in the sense of fading away, as things that are of short duration are wont to fall off, when they have passed their proper season. Hence it is only the new man, that flourishes and is vigorous in the kingdom of Christ.[2]

17 Paul next states the second outcome of the death and resurrection of Christ. Whenever a person comes to be part of the body of Christ by faith, there is a new act of creation on God’s part. One set of conditions or relationships has passed out of existence (parēlthen, aorist); another set has come to stay (gegonen, perfect). And v. 16 indicates that the principal area of change is that of attitude toward Christ and other people. Knowledge “from a worldly point of view” has given place to knowledge in the light of the cross (cf. Gal 6:15). When a person becomes a Christian, he or she experiences a total restructuring of life that alters its whole fabric—thinking, feeling, willing, and acting. Anyone who is “in Christ” is “Under New Management” and has “Altered Priorities Ahead,” to use wording sometimes found in shop windows or (in England) on road signs.[3]

17 Again Paul states a consequence, “so that,” which flows from the spiritual death and resurrection of those (vv. 14–15) whom he now characterizes in the singular as “anyone [who is] in Christ,” who is “a new creation.” For that person the things of the former times, and especially the worldview, are in the past. “Look,” he says, “the new has come.”

Thus the first of the two sentences in this verse is brief and proverblike, and the second is subsidiary to and dependent upon it. In the first, the words “so then” (with which the previous verse also begins) introduce the pithy sentence of six words that sums up the entire passage vv. 14–16. In this conditional sentence the “if”-clause is “if any [one is] in Christ,” and the “then”-clause is, tersely,43 “new creation.” The result is a memorable text of unsurpassed power in the writings of Paul.45

In the second sentence the subject of both parts is “the old [things].” The verbs in the two parts are significant. In the first “passed away”47 (NIV, “gone”) is aorist, indicating a single action, now completed, pointing (1) to the end of the former dispensation, and (2) to the end of the former life of the person who is now in Christ. In the second “become”48 (NIV, “come”) is perfect tense, indicating a past action with continuing effects. The triumphant “look,”49 followed by the perfect tense (“become”) and the antonym “new,” combines to make the impressive statement, “behold, the old things have become and are new.”



So that, if any[one is] in Christ,


    [there is]


  a new creation.




    The old [things]


have passed;






  have become





The two sentences together emphasize the eschatological centrality of Christ. “In Christ” the old ends and the new—a new creation—begins. But this eschatological centrality is tightly connected with the soteriological centrality of Christ. Christ is the “one” who “died and was raised for all,” the “one” in and for whom “all” who have “died” now “live” (vv. 14–15). The crucified and risen Christ is the divine agent of universal salvation, the divider of history into two aeons, the “no longer” aeon when all things were “old” and the “now” aeon when all things have become, and are, “new.”

But this “new creation” is coterminous with the “new covenant” mentioned earlier (3:6); together they divide history into two epochs. The “old” things of creation and of the “old covenant” (3:14) coincide, as do the “new” things of the “new covenant” and the “new creation.” The inauguration of both the “new covenant” and the “new creation” occurs “in Christ,” and at the same time, that is, when he died and was raised for all, bringing to their respective ends the “old” in the former creation and in the “old covenant.” The “old” in the former creation are the things to which those who are “in Christ” have “died,” that is, to the godless, self-centered living, “according to the flesh,” of those “in Adam” (v. 15; cf. Rom 5:12). The “old” in the “old covenant” relates to law-keeping as the method of relational acceptance with God, which Paul also characterizes as “according to the flesh” (Rom 8:4). Both the “old” in the former creation and the “old” in the “old covenant” have “now” passed and “no longer” govern those who are “in Christ.” Those who are “in Christ” are—and are to be—governed by the Spirit (cf. Eph 5:18).

While the blessings of both the “new covenant” and the “new creation” have “come” in Christ, as proclaimed by his apostolic servant Paul, they remain hidden until the universal resurrection (4:14); they are not yet “by sight” (5:7). Nonetheless, the “new creation” may be entered now, through the word of God, the gospel, “by faith” (5:7). This openness to all is indicated by the “if anyone …” with which the verse begins.

Who is this “anyone”? As with the entire passage (vv. 14–17), Paul is speaking in the first instance of himself. These few words are Paul’s spiritual autobiography and testimony in a nutshell. The very openness and brevity of the expression “if anyone …” are eloquent expressions of Paul’s sense of the love and mercy of Christ toward him, the persecutor of Christ’s people (4:1; 5:14). The words “if anyone” mean “yes, even such a one as me” (see 1 Tim 1:12–16).

Thus, this verse may be understood in both an objective and a subjective sense. Objectively, it is Paul’s declaration that “in Christ,” by faith, he has entered the “new creation” in which the “old” things have “passed away” and have become “new.” Work on the “building from God,” which will be his at the general resurrection, has already been begun (4:17). This process of “edification,” which began at the moment of incorporation “in Christ,” will continue quietly and unseen throughout life until the final moment of revelation and glorification (see 3:18; Rom 8:19).

Subjectively, this verse summarizes the changes in Paul’s own life. Love for others is now his controlling motive in place of self-interest (v. 14), which he had expressed in zealous persecution. Serving the one who had died and been raised for him has taken the place of self-centered living (v. 15). True understanding of Christ and of his people has replaced ignorance and error (v. 16). The Creator who once said, “Let there be light,” has more recently shone his light into Paul’s darkened heart, making him a new creation (4:6). The subjective personal revelation, experienced “now,” is the sign of the objective “new creation” to be revealed then.

Nonetheless, as throughout this passage, Paul is also speaking representatively for all. Implicit in the words “if anyone” is the gracious evangelical invitation and summons to “all” for whom the “one” died and was raised (vv. 14–15) to enter “into” Christ by faith-commitment, to enjoy the benefits, objective and subjective, that will “now” hold true for “anyone” who responds. The invitation and summons, which are implicit in v. 17, will soon be made explicit, though in the different terms, “be reconciled to God” (v. 20).[4]

5:17 / Paul draws a general conclusion (Therefore, hōste) from the fact that, since his encounter with the resurrected Lord on the way to Damascus, he no longer knows Christ according to the flesh as a crucified messianic pretender. The contrast in verse 16 between Paul’s old and new ways of perceiving Christ prompts a further contrast between old and new that makes Paul’s experience prototypical of all believers. Being in Christ (e.g., 1 Thess. 2:14; 5:18; Gal. 1:22; 2:17; 3:26; 5:6; 1 Cor. 1:4; 15:22; 2 Cor. 3:14) or “in the Lord” (e.g., 1 Thess. 5:12; Gal. 5:10; 1 Cor. 7:22, 39; 11:11; 15:58; 2 Cor. 2:12) results from having been baptized into Christ by faith (Gal. 3:27), so that one now forms part of the church, which is the “body of Christ” (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–31; Rom. 12:4–8; Col. 1:18, 24; 2:16–19; 3:15; Eph. 1:23; 4:4–16; 5:23). Believers are personally united with Christ, who is a corporate figure like Adam and indeed his typological counterpart (cf. 1 Cor. 15:22, 45).

Being in Christ (“the last Adam”) causes one to be a new creation. In the “postexilic” time of distress, Nehemiah’s prayer (Neh. 9:6–37) takes creation as the ground for hope (v. 6). If the God who elected Abraham and led Israel out of Egypt is really the creator God, then he can and will lead Israel out of the present situation of degradation and distress (cf. R. Rendtorff). In Isaiah, the expectation of Israel’s restoration as a second exodus redemption included the idea that God would make “new heavens” and a “new earth” (Isa. 65:17–19; 66:22–23; cf. 1 En. 45:4–5; 72:1), and that there would be a return to the ideal conditions in Eden (Isa. 51:3; cf. Jub. 4:26 [no sin]). Within this new creation, “all flesh” would come to Zion in order to worship God (Isa. 66:22–23). Obviously, we are dealing here with much more than individual transformation (cf. 2 Cor. 5:18 [“the world”]). Paul calls believers a “new creation” (cf. also Gal. 6:15) because they, with the rest of creation (cf. Rom. 8:19–22), undergo a physical and spiritual transformation (see on 4:7–5:15), which is an act of creation on a personal level (see the allusion to Gen. 1:3–4 in 2 Cor. 4:6).

Paul’s radical distinction between the old (ta archaia) and the new (kaina) is also drawn from Isaiah. This in the context of Israel’s future redemption from exile, which recalls the exodus from Egypt, Isaiah 43:18–19 reads: “Do not remember the former things, and do not consider the old things (ta archaia). Look (idou), I am doing new things (kaina) which will now spring up, and you will know them. And I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.” This ot text plays a major role in the nt (cf. O. Betz). Paul identifies these “new things” with the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in the world. In the process, he recalls the “old (palaia) covenant” and the “new (kainē) covenant” mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3:6, 14, which is also understood in the traditional context of the second exodus redemption. The condemnation of the law that sent Israel into exile under the “old covenant” (and expelled Adam from Eden) is being reversed.[5]

17. Therefore—connected with the words in 2 Co 5:16, “We know Christ no more after the flesh.” As Christ has entered on His new heavenly life by His resurrection and ascension, so all who are “in Christ” (that is, united to Him by faith as the branch is In the vine) are new creatures (Ro 6:9–11). “New” in the Greek implies a new nature quite different from anything previously existing, not merely recent, which is expressed by a different Greek word (Ga 6:15).

creature—literally, “creation,” and so the creature resulting from the creation (compare Jn 3:3, 5; Eph 2:10; 4:23; Jn 3:3, 5, Col 3:10, 11). As we are “in Christ,” so “God was in Christ” (2 Co 5:19): hence He is Mediator between God and us.

old things—selfish, carnal views (compare 2 Co 5:16) of ourselves, of other men, and of Christ.

passed away—spontaneously, like the snow of early spring [Bengel] before the advancing sun.

behold—implying an allusion to Is 43:19; 65:17.[6]

Ver. 17.—Therefore. If even a human, personal, external knowledge of Christ is henceforth of no significance, it follows that there must have been a total change in all relations towards him. The historic fact of such a changed relationship is indicated clearly in John 20:17. Mary Magdalene was there lovingly taught that a “recognition of Christ after the flesh,” i.e. as merely a human friend, was to be a thing of the past. In Christ; i.e. a Christian. For perfect faith attains to mystic union with Christ. A new creature; rather, a new creation (Gal. 6:15). The phrase is borrowed from the rabbis who used it to express the condition of a proselyte. But the meaning is not mere Jewish arrogance and exclusiveness, but the deep truth of spiritual regeneration and the new birth (John 3:3; Eph. 2:10; 4:23, 24; Col. 3:3, etc.). Old things; literally, the ancient things, all that belongs to the old Adam. Behold. The word expresses the writer’s vivid realization of the truth he is uttering. All things. The whole sphere of being, and therewith the whole aim and character of life. The clause illustrates the “new creation.”[7]

The effects of ministry: new creation (5:16–17)

Twice in verses 15–16 the apostle uses the words no longer. This means that for the person who is now in Christ through the ministry of reconciliation certain things are no longer true. Such a person no longer lives for self (verse 15), no longer regards Christ from a purely worldly point of view (verse 16). These things which are no longer true belong to the old which has gone, replaced by the new creation (verse 17) which has now come (verse 16).

  • Radical reorientation

The astronomer Copernicus, who was among the first to understand that the planet Earth was not the centre of the universe, has lent his name to what we call a ‘Copernican revolution’ as a description of any kind of radical rethinking. The apostle Paul is no less famous for his Damascus Road experience which changed the whole direction of his life. Even though he was an outwardly religious man, everything had revolved around him. Formerly he had lived an egocentric life as the centre of his own universe. But now (verse 16) this is no longer (verse 15) true. He no longer lives to and for himself; now he lives to please the one who loved him, who died … and was raised again for him. Christ, not Paul, is the new centre of Paul’s universe; egocentricity has given way to Christocentricity.

What Paul underwent through the Damascus Road event others come to as a result of the ministry of reconciliation. What ordinary believers experience is no less remarkable, since the human will is so entrenched in egocentricity, a point well made by C. S. Lewis. ‘What mattered most of all’, Lewis observed, ‘was my deep-seated hatred of authority, my monstrous individualism and lawlessness. No word in my vocabulary expressed deeper hatred than the word “interference”. But Christianity placed at the centre what then seemed to me a transcendental interferer.’ Lewis, like Paul, was a famous convert to Christianity and he rightly saw how profound is the change from an egocentric to a Christocentric lifestyle.

  • Radical insight

In writing we once regarded Christ from a worldly point of view (literally, ‘according to the flesh’; verse 16) Paul is, at the same time, referring both to the newcomers and to himself. The Christ proclaimed by the intruding ministers was, apparently, entirely circumscribed within the covenant of Moses—a Jewish, law-keeping Jesus. Their high view of Moses (3:12–15) necessitated a low view of Jesus. Before the Damascus Road event Paul’s knowledge of Jesus had also been ‘according to the flesh’, not in the sense of having known the historical Jesus, but of having a false and superficial view of him. For Paul, Jesus had been a dangerous messianic pretender whose crucifixion was proof that he was indeed the accursed of God—for the Scriptures said, ‘Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse.’

But from now on, he writes, he regarded Christ in this way … no longer (verse 16). At and since Damascus he became convinced (verse 14) that in reality ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself’ (verse 19, nasb). It became clear, in an instant, that the glorified, crucified one could only be the Son of God who in death received God’s curse; not a false Messiah, but the divinely appointed agent through whom forgiveness and reconciliation would be mediated to sinful humanity. How shallow and erroneous Paul’s earlier views of Jesus were compared with the new and profound appreciation of the unique figure who alone was qualified to ‘die for all’! Paul’s stern opposition to the new ministers arose out of his conviction that Christianity stood or fell depending on one’s view of the person and work of Jesus. False views of Jesus have been promoted throughout history, including in these present times. Such views must be as firmly opposed in our generation as they were then by Paul if the true gospel is to have its power to mediate salvation.

  • A new creation

While Paul’s reference to a new creation (verse 17) summarizes the changes which occur within the life of any believer (if anyone), these changes are dramatically focused within his own life. Love was now the controlling motive (verse 14) in place of hate. Serving the one who died for him had taken the place of selfishness (verse 15). True understanding of Jesus, his identity and achievement, have replaced ignorance and error (verse 16).

The apostle’s use of the vocabulary of the creation narratives of Genesis is striking. It is implied that unbelievers (as Paul had been), are blind (4:4) and live in a darkness analogous to the primal darkness of the first verses of the book of Genesis. Just as God spoke then, and there was light, so too God now speaks the gospel-word and once again there is light, though it is inward within the heart (4:6). As by the agency of the word of God the world was made, so now, by the word of God, the message of reconciliation, people are remade. In expressing the great and profound changes that occur in the life of anyone who is in Christ Paul not only affirms that there is a ‘new covenant’ (3:6), there is also a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (verse 17).

We should note, however, what is not said about the new creation. It does not mean ‘living happily ever after’ or a trouble-free existence. The new creation in no way immunizes people from life’s problems or pain. If in relation to humanity generally the new creation was inaugurated at the first Easter, in relation to individuals it begins with the acceptance of the message, ‘Be reconciled to God.’ For both mankind at large and individuals in particular the full force of the ‘new creation’ will not be experienced or seen until the end of history, at the return of Jesus in glory. Meanwhile, since sin and its outworkings have not yet been abolished, everyone will continue to undergo, in varying degrees, difficulty and hardship—including those in whom the new creation has begun.

We are aware of the reality of the new creation through our new perception of Jesus and the accompanying, radical, Christ-centred lifestyle. For many people like Paul, Augustine or Luther the effect of the new creation has been dramatic, both within their own lives and also upon the people of their generation. There is also, however, an important aspect of the new creation which does not lie within our conscious experience, and which we apprehend by faith and hope. This is ‘the building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands’ (5:1), which God began to construct when we began to be ‘in Christ’. This process of ‘edification’ or ‘upbuilding’ continues quietly and unseen throughout our lives until, at death, when ‘the earthly tent we live in’ is pulled down, God presents us with a new home. When that occurs, the new creation, which to that point had been spiritual and psychological, will become physical and visible. The two aspects will be fused together in a perfect and indissoluble union.[8]

17. So, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. The old things passed away, and look—the new things have come.

Verses 16 and 17 are the logical conclusion of the preceding passage (vv. 14–15), are analogous, and show both a negative and a positive contrast (vv. 16 and 17 respectively). Because these two verses convey a parallel message, the last one depends on and is influenced by the first. The Greek clauses are short and in translation have to be augmented with the verb to be in the first sentence.

Let us look first at the word so, which introduces a summary of what Paul has been saying earlier about the unity believers have with Christ. He died for them and was raised, and they in turn live for him (v. 15). When Paul writes, “If anyone is in Christ,” he expresses the fact that numerous people in Corinth and elsewhere are true believers.

Next, the phrase in Christ occurs some twenty-five times in Paul’s epistles and signifies the intimate fellowship believers enjoy with their Lord and Savior. To be in Christ connotes being part of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:27), and Christ brings about a radical transformation in the believer’s life. Instead of serving the ego, the Christian follows Christ and responds to the law of love for God and the neighbor.

Some translators want to see balance in this sentence and thus link the word anyone in the first clause with the pronoun he (“he is a new creation”) in the second. But most expositors, rightly so, see the new creation not as being limited to a person but as extending to the total environment of this individual (compare Gal. 6:15; Rev. 21:5). That is, when people become part of the body of Christ at conversion, their lives take a complete reversal. They now abhor the world of sin and former friends are hostile to them. Their preconversion lifestyle is history, and “the old things have passed away” (see the parallel in Isa. 43:18–19). For converts, the life in Christ is a constant source of daily joys and blessings; the body of believers provides them with ready support and help; and self-assurance and trust certify the genuineness of their composure.

Scholars debate whether Paul borrowed the phrase a new creation from the rabbis of his day. Even if he did, these Jewish teachers never associated this phrase with moral renewal and regeneration. According to them, renewal occurred with respect to remission of sins, but not in the sense of the transformation that Jesus Christ brings about in the life of believers. For converts to the Christian faith, the old things no longer attract, for new things have taken their place through Christ. Although temptations always surround them, believers pray the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13), and they know that God supplies strength to resist evil.[9]

5:17. Paul asserted that every person who is in Christ—who is joined to him in his death and resurrection—has become a new creation. Paul drew from Old Testament prophetic language, describing the new world that God would bring at the end of the age (Isa. 66:22). This language also appears in the New Testament (2 Pet. 3:13). “New creation” describes those who follow Christ because they have begun the transformation that will eventually lead to their full enjoyment of salvation in the new heavens and new earth. Christ’s death and resurrection introduced a foretaste of that new world to come.

Paul’s ministry was compelled by the display of Christ’s love on the cross. Paul had been united to Christ in his death and resurrection, and thus had been inwardly renewed and regenerated. The apostle truly was a new creation. In this changed state, he began to look at people differently. Prior to coming to Christ, Paul would not have thought about the Corinthians much. He certainly would not have worked and sacrificed for the Gentiles in that church. But now the shadow of Christ’s cross fell across his view every time he looked at other people. He saw believers as new creations in Christ and unbelievers as people in need of Christ. This perspective shaped his ministry.[10]

5:16–17. Paul described two consequences concerning the death of Christ. (1) His conversion experience gave him a new perspective on Christians and Christ. Gone were the days when Paul appraised them according to the flesh, from a human perspective. The death of Christ means that Christians are regarded as spiritual brothers and sisters rather than as just members of certain ethnic, social, or economic groups; Jesus is regarded as the Messiah rather than a messianic pretender. (2) The old era of the law ended with the death of Christ, and a new era in salvation history has arrived. When people become Christians, they are in Christ and view everything from a new perspective.[11]

16–17 One result of Christ’s death and resurrection is that Paul has a new outlook: From now on we regard no-one from a worldly point of view. Attributes and achievements which formerly he would have laid great store by, he now regards as unimportant (cf. Phil. 3:4–8). It also means that he regards Christ in a new way. In his pre-conversion days he judged Christ using worldly criteria and came to the wrong conclusion, but he does so no longer. Something of Christ’s great significance is seen in the fact that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, so that it may be said, the old has gone, the new has come! To be in Christ is to be participating already in the new creation. It is true that for the time being the old still persists and the new has not yet fully come (cf. Rom. 8:18–25; Gal. 5:16–26). However, in the present passage it is the newness of life in Christ now which is being stressed, not the tension involved in participating in the new creation while still living as part of the old.[12]

5:17. No one was more able to reflect on that transformation than Paul who switched from a persecutor of Christ to a proclaimer of Christ (Acts 9:5, 20–22). He was in Christ (a phrase Paul used repeatedly in his epistles to speak of a believer’s spiritual relationship to Christ) because he believed the message of the gospel and was identified by faith with Christ (2 Cor. 5:14–15; cf. Rom. 6:3–4; Gal. 2:20; 6:14). To be in Christ is to be a new creation (cf. Gal. 6:15). This new creation is brought about by the Holy Spirit, the Agent of regeneration (Titus 3:5) and the Giver of divine birth (John 3:3, 6–8). God’s new creative work, begun in each one who believes in Christ, will one day be consummated on a universal scale (Rev. 21:4–5). The old life of slavery to self and sin has gone (2 Cor. 5:16; cf. Rom. 6:6–14; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9). The new life of devotion to Christ means that one has new attitudes and actions (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14–15; Rom. 6:4; Eph. 4:23–5:2).[13]

5:17 If anyone is in Christ, that is, saved, he is a new creation. Before conversion, one might have judged others according to human standards. But now all that is changed. Old methods of judging have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

This verse is a favorite with those who have recently been born again, and is often quoted in personal testimonies. Sometimes in being thus quoted, it gives quite a false impression. Listeners are apt to think that when a man is saved, old habits, evil thoughts, and lustful looks are forever done away, and everything becomes literally new in a person’s life. We know that this is not true. The verse does not describe a believer’s practice but rather his position. Notice it says that if anyone is in Christ. The words in Christ are the key to the passage. In Christ, old things have passed away and all things have become new. Unfortunately, “in me” not all this is true as yet! But as I progress in the Christian life, I desire that my practice may increasingly correspond to my position. One day, when the Lord Jesus returns, the two will be in perfect agreement.[14]

5:17. Paul’s conversion gives him a whole new way of looking at things. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is (or there is) a new creation. In Greek there is no subject or verb in the final clause. While the NKJV supplies he is, some other translations suggest there is (HCSB; see also TNIV and The New Geneva Study Bible). The latter is preferable. The believer enters into a new creation. In this new creation old things have passed away and all things have become new. The believer belongs to a new family (the Church), should have a new way of looking at people (v 16), and should be driven by a new motivation (v 14). In other words, the believer’s perspective should have dramatically changed. However, Paul is not suggesting that Christians will automatically have this perspective or will live accordingly. He is talking about positional truth here.[15]

5:17 in Christ: Paul is presenting the results of Christ’s death for the believer and the believer’s death with Him (v. 14). Because believers are united with Jesus both in His death and resurrection, they participate in the new creation. That is, they receive the benefits of being restored by Christ to what God had originally created them to be (Gen. 1:26; 1 Cor. 15:45–49). All things have become new: A believer’s life should change, because he or she is being transformed into the likeness of Christ (3:18). Instead of living for oneself, a believer lives for Christ (v. 15). Instead of evaluating others with the values of the world, a believer looks at this world through the eyes of faith (v. 16).[16]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 194–196). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 2, pp. 233–234). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 481). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 296–299). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 135–136). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 309). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Corinthians (p. 122). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Barnett, P. (1988). The message of 2 Corinthians: power in weakness (pp. 111–114). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 192–194). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[10] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 357–358). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[11] Woodall, D. L. (2014). 2 Corinthians. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1815). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[12] Kruse, C. G. (1994). 2 Corinthians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1197). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[13] Lowery, D. K. (1985). 2 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 567–568). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[14] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1841). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[15] Hunt, D. L. (2010). The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 788). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[16] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1501). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

Video Shows Dozens of Families Walk Illegally Around Border Fence and Into the United States | The Epoch Times

Border officials have released footage of dozens of people, mostly families, crossing into the United States illegally where the pedestrian border fence ends in the Arizona desert.

The black and white video, released on Aug. 30 by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in Arizona, shows a line of people making their way along a path on the Mexico side of the border near Sasabe on Aug. 27 before they approach the fence, when the video cuts out.

“Wednesday morning a group of 66 people, mostly family units, crossed the border where the fence ends east of Sasabe,” said the Arizona CBP in a statement. “Video shows the group approaching the fence and walking to the end. Thirty percent of apprehensions in the Tucson Sector are family units surrendering to Border Patrol.”

Eight people were hospitalized on June 6, when 134 people made the same journey at the remote location where the pedestrian fence gives way to a vehicle barrier, according to the CBP, before immediately surrendering to authorities. Video shows them simply walk around the end of the fence and into the United States across the border.

According to the CBP website, there are approximately 300 miles of vehicle barriers along the southwest border, and 354 miles of pedestrian barriers for a total of 654 miles of the 1,954-mile border. It is unclear whether this has been updated to reflect recent developments in border security.

The fence ends about three miles east of the nearby twin town of Sasabe, which straddles the border with its American and Mexican alter egos, where immigrants can be processed at the entry barrier.

Instead of waiting at the official ports of entry, some brave the heat and desolation of the desert.

The massive border fence erected by the United States to deter illegal immigration is replaced by a vehicle barrier where it ends near Sasabe, Arizona, on June 1, 2010. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“They kind of know to just expect a free ride to the processing area,” Border Patrol Agent Joe Curran told ABC in June. “They know we’re going to pick them up. They see our vehicles, and that’s their beacon of hope.”

The temperatures in the Arizona desert can reach well over 100 degrees in the summer.

A 7-year-old Indian national was found dead about 100 miles to the east of Sasabe in Lukeville on June 13, after being dropped off with four others by smugglers, and left to cross the border.

CBP said in a statement that they were unable to reach the girl in time after being alerted by her family who said they had lost contact with her in the arid desert.

In previous years, attempts to cross have peaked in the milder weather of early spring and mid-autumn. However, according to ABC, this year a record number of apprehensions were reported by Border Patrol in May.

Humanitarian groups who put out potentially life-saving jugs of water say that they have noticed the shift in pattern, according to ABC.

To the west of Sasabe, the pedestrian fence also stops as the border runs for 75 miles through the Tohono O’odham Nation.

The tribe’s remote territory sits in both Mexico and the United States, and it has been opposed to the construction of a proposed 30-foot-high wall, saying it will nonetheless cooperate closely with Border Patrol to ensure the border is secure.

“The Nation has been on the frontline of border issues for over 160 years and takes these issues very seriously,” said a statement (pdf) by the Nation in response to an executive order declared in Jan. 2017 by President Trump. “While the Nation does not support a large-scale fortified wall, it has worked closely for decades with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and other agencies to secure the U.S. homeland.”

Source: Video Shows Dozens of Families Walk Illegally Around Border Fence and Into the United States

Trump Says His Campaign’s Real Opponent Is The ‘Fake News Media,’ Not Democrats | The Daily Caller

‘They write whatever they want’

President Donald Trump suggested Monday morning that his campaign’s biggest concern is not Democrats but rather the “Fake News Media.”

“The LameStream Media has gone totally CRAZY! They write whatever they want, seldom have sources (even though they say they do), never do ‘fact checking’ anymore, and are only looking for the ‘kill.’ They take good news and make it bad. They are now beyond Fake, they are Corrupt..” he told his Twitter followers.

The LameStream Media has gone totally CRAZY! They write whatever they want, seldom have sources (even though they say they do), never do “fact checking” anymore, and are only looking for the “kill.” They take good news and make it bad. They are now beyond Fake, they are Corrupt..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2019

Trump added in a follow-up tweet: “….The good news is that we are winning. Our real opponent is not the Democrats, or the dwindling number of Republicans that lost their way and got left behind, our primary opponent is the Fake News Media.”

His comments come as Hurricane Dorian bears down on the East Coast and a day after a man shot and killed seven people in Odessa, TX. (RELATED: DHS Chief: ‘We Have 3,000 People Already Deployed’ For Hurricane Dorian)

The New York Times building is seen on Sept. 6, 2018 in New York. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

The New York Times building is seen on September 6, 2018 in New York. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

The president did not cite any specific media outlet, but a report in Axios Saturday suggested the Trump campaign is intent on making Big Tech’s supposed conservative bias a focal part of Trump’s 2020 reelection bid. The report cited an anonymous source inside the administration and included quotes from the official.

Many legacy media outlets have been on the receiving end of Trump’s barbs throughout the past year. He’s also gone after Fox News, a news outlet generally perceived as supportive of Trump and other conservatives.

“Never thought I’d say this but I think [John Roberts] and [Gillian Turner] [Fox News] have even less understanding of the Wall negotiations than the folks at FAKE NEWS CNN [and] NBC! Look to final results! Don’t know how my poll numbers are so good, especially up 19% with Hispanics?” Trump wrote in January of Fox News coverage of his ongoing negotiations for a southern wall.

Source: Trump Says His Campaign’s Real Opponent Is The ‘Fake News Media,’ Not Democrats

New NASA Data On Forest Fires, Deforestation Refutes Climate Alarmists | Daily Wire

Newly released data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) refutes claims made by climate alarmists that forest fires are becoming more prevalent as a result of climate change and that the world is losing its forests.

Source: New NASA Data On Forest Fires, Deforestation Refutes Climate Alarmists

Trump Authorizes Nuking California To Prevent Future Earthquakes — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, DC—During a cabinet meeting this week, President Trump proposed a bold new strategy for protecting Americans from future earthquakes: Nuke California.

California has long been known for being home to highly unstable areas, such as the San Andreas Fault and UC Berkeley. Over the years, incredibly devastating earthquakes have laid waste to entire neighborhoods in Southern California, brought down bridges in Central California, and ruined a couple of games of Jenga in Northern California.

“I know lots of people in Los Angeles, in the movies. They love me over there! They won’t admit it, but they do! They really do!” Trump declared during a recent rally, “But the earthquakes, they’re a problem –a huge problem. Nobody’s ever done anything about it! Been a state for 300 years and nobody’s done a thing! So I’m thinking: They’ve got some earthquakes. We’ve got some nukes. Just a bunch of nukes laying around –more than anybody else in the world! I can tell you, nobody else even comes close! So what am I gonna do? I’m gonna bomb the [expletive] out of ‘em! That’s what I’m going to do!”

Despite the enthusiastic applause at the rally, several critics were quick to voice concerns.

“Trump needs to stop the shenanigans and stick to bombing people in third-world countries, like Obama and every other president in modern history!” CNN host Jim Acosta declared.

California Governor Gavin Newsom laughed off the idea, stating instead that he could easily get the earthquakes to leave the state if he simply taxed them enough. “Worked on everyone else!” he said.

At publishing time, several nuclear bombs were tentatively scheduled to be dropped “probably in the next week or so.” Trump’s approval rating has skyrocketed among non-Californians.

via Trump Authorizes Nuking California To Prevent Future Earthquakes — The Babylon Bee

Snopes Rates Biden’s Claim That 2+2=5 As ‘Mostly True’ — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—Joe Biden recently made a strange claim: that 2+2=5. He was ridiculed for his gaffe after making the statement while speaking at an elementary school. The kids all said, “Hey, dummy! The answer is 4, not 5!”

But the crack squad of fact-checkers at Snopes quickly got to work on Biden’s incredulous claim. Their findings? Biden’s statement was actually “mostly true.”

“Sure, Biden got some key details wrong,” said Bob Snopes, founder of Snopes. “But the central concept of what he was saying, that two numbers put together make another number, was completely accurate. Sometimes two and two make four. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. It is not easy to become sane.”

The website’s 6,000-word defense/fact-check of Biden’s claim further pointed out that 80% of the answer was correct, and it’s only the one additional number that was a mixture of truth and falsehood.

As the event neared its conclusion, Biden claimed there were five spotlights lighting up the stage even though there were clearly four. One bald man in the back shouted, “There are four lights!” but was dragged from the room for reeducation.

via Snopes Rates Biden’s Claim That 2+2=5 As ‘Mostly True’ — The Babylon Bee

China’s Xinhua Issues Ultimatum: “End Is Coming” For Hong Kong Protesters | ZeroHedge News

Following what many have described as the most violent weekend yet after 86 days, or 13 weeks of pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong, which have led to the arrest of at least 1,117 residents, where the local police is now deploying water cannon in response to “rioters” using petrol bombs, China appears to have finally had enough and on Sunday, Beijing issued a stern ultimatum to not only Hong Kong protesters, but also the West on Sunday, reiterating that it will not tolerate any attempt to undermine Chinese sovereignty over the city.

“The end is coming for those attempting to disrupt Hong Kong and antagonize China,” stated a commentary piece published by the state’s Xinhua News Agency.

According to the Nikkei, the ultimatum was directed at “the rioters and their behind-the-scene supporters” – which should be interpreted as China’s latest accusation of Western meddling, with the article warning that “their attempt to ‘kidnap Hong Kong’ and press the central authorities is just a delusion,” adding, “No concession should be expected concerning such principle issues.”

The commentary said three red lines must not be crossed:

  • no one should harm Chinese sovereignty,
  • challenge the power of the central authorities
  • use Hong Kong to infiltrate and undermine the mainland.

“Anyone who dares to infringe upon these bottom lines and interfere in or damage the ‘one country, two systems’ principle will face nothing but failure,” the piece declared. “They should never misjudge the determination and ability of the central government… to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, security and core interests.”

With the protests attracting global attention, the demonstrators and the authorities are also fighting a PR battle. On Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry took an unusual step of distributing images of alleged protester vandalism to the international press, in an apparent attempt to discredit the movement.

The warning came just hours after tens of thousands of people blocked roads and public transport links to Hong Kong’s airport. The demonstrations, which started in response to a proposed bill that would have allowed extradition to the mainland, have mutated into a broader rejection of Beijing’s growing control over the semi-autonomous city, with China – and even Russia – accusing the CIA of being behind the ongoing protests.

Despite recently linking his view of the trade war with Beijing to the ongoing Hong Kong protests, Trump has refused to sternly condemn the growing possibility of a Chinese crackdown, leading some to suggest that China has cobbled a behind the scenes deal with Trump, whereby it lets the US president give the impression of a modest win in the trade war in exchange for being given a carte blanche to deal with the HK protesters as it sees fit when the time comes, and with the Chinese National Day holiday coming on Oct. 1, it is almost certain that Beijing will have to regain control over Hong Kong in the coming weeks if not days.

Source: China’s Xinhua Issues Ultimatum: “End Is Coming” For Hong Kong Protesters

A Letter to a Reader about the Battle against Sin — Gentle Reformation

Recently a regular reader of Gentle Reformation wrote me asking some questions about sin in the life of the believer. In particular, he asked in so many words, “How can someone know if they are a legitimate Christian struggling with sin versus an unbeliever in sin? And what should a Christian struggling with sin do when he feels defeated?” What follows is my letter to him (slightly edited for public posting). As I have been asked these types of questions before, I share it in the hope it can be of use to others.

Dear Reader,

Regarding a Christian struggling in sin and a non-Christian in sin, I agree they can look similar in some ways. However, there is an important difference where the answer is contained within your own question. It’s the idea of struggle.

When the Holy Spirit regenerates a heart and brings faith in Christ with repentance of sin, the soul of the new believer has a new fundamental disposition not found in the unbeliever. The believer now hates his sin for the way that it offends the holy God, and is genuinely grieved over it. The unbeliever may have a sorrow about his sin, but it is not a true sorrow. Paul calls unbelieving sorrow a “worldly sorrow” (2 Cor. 7:10). Believing sorrow is a repenting sorrow (2 Cor. 7:9).

So the Christian truly hates and fights against his sin, knowing there is a war within going on (Rom. 7:23). 1 John 3:9-10 highlights this battle for us, by telling us that a Christian will not continue to practice sin, but will instead seek to practice righteousness. I often tell people if they are struggling and fighting against sin, that’s a good sign of the Spirit’s work within them. Whereas the sinner is at home in his sin, the believer knows his only true home is in Christ.

So ultimately what separates the Christian struggling with sin to the unbeliever in sin is that the Christian is looking to Christ to save him whereas an unbeliever relies on his own efforts.

When a believer goes through periods of defeat, it can cause a doubt of assurance. The Westminster Confession of Faith says in the chapter on sanctification about the battle against sin: “In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (WCF 13.3).

Later, in the chapter on assurance, the Confession says in a very descriptive and prescriptive manner, “True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin, which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair” (WCF 18.4).

So yes, you have to keep fighting, employing the means of grace supplied to us in the gospel. Rut Etheridge has a good article about this.

Are you in a faithful church? Your pastor should be able to help you further in these things. If you are not in a good church, if you let me know where you live I can try to help you find one.

May the Lord bless and strengthen you.

In Him,


via A Letter to a Reader about the Battle against Sin — Gentle Reformation

September 2 Freedom Worth Pursuing

scripture reading: John 8:30–36
key verse: Galatians 6:14

God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

The winds of freedom blow hard in our world today. Politically oppressed, Communist bloc countries continue to demolish imprisoning walls and topple the icons of brutal dictators. Countries are dropping the shackles of ideologies that have padlocked individual freedom for the sake of state control.

Yet even when freedom is achieved, the once golden promises of liberty are tainted by painful new realities. Democracy is not a panacea. New leaders are not messiahs. The gains of social crusades are often short–lived. In each case, freedom is defined as what allows a nation, a group, or a person the right to pursue and obtain selected goals. It involves the removal of external barriers to self–fulfillment.

But true freedom is spiritual, within the human heart. It is the removal of the universal oppressor—sin—whose great infection lies in the bosom of every man and woman. It cannot be earned or legislated; it can be received only as a gift from God.

God’s freedom, liberation of the soul from sin’s tyranny, can be enjoyed behind barbed–wire walls, within prison camps, or in the midst of injustice. It cannot be stifled, regulated, or imprisoned. That is freedom worth pursuing.

Thank You for true freedom, Lord. I am free from the tyranny of sin. I praise You that my freedom cannot be stifled or regulated by any force in this world.[1]

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

09/02/2019 — Wretched


•Paul Harvey was prophetic
•4 things Jason Bradley would do if he were the Devil
•What do we do with Hillsong music?
•Giving up drugs for the NAR
•Is Hell a secondary issue?
•What if I’m arrested for street preaching?
•Should I leave a church that teaches from the Shack?
•Are Christian comedians anti-Biblical?

Download Now (right click and save)

via 09/02/2019 — Wretched

Newt Gringrich: Obama Knew of Comey’s Action and ‘the Fix Is In’ | Newsmax

The nonprosecution of fired FBI Director James Comey and the likely knowledge of former President Barack Obama during the undercover surveillance of President Donald Trump do not sit well with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who says “the fix is in.”

“There’s a story that the woman who tried to bribe her son into a university, that she and her husband got caught, that they are now facing 40 years in jail – now, how can we not prosecute Comey?” Gingrich told “The Cats Roundtable” on 970 AM-N.Y. “How can we not prosecute [fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe? How can we say that they’ve done all the terrible things that the inspector general said they did, but they’re somehow above the law?

“People are not going to have any faith in the system until people who are guilty are prosecuted and are treated like everybody else.

“I think that’s a very, very big problem. It’s clear that no matter how bad they were, the fix is in, and they’re not going to be prosecuted.”

Gingrich said the chain of politicization of prosecution goes all the way through the Obama era attorney general to the president himself.

“With everything we’re learning from the inspector general’s report, how is it conceivable that the attorney general and the president didn’t know about it?” Gingrich told host John Catsimatidis, adding, “given what a hands-on and dynamic president that Barack Obama was, do you really believe all these things happened and the attorney general and the president didn’t know it?”

Gingrich finished with a call for more declassification of documents in the investigation of the investigators so “the American people can render judgment about what their view of this.”

“There are a number of documents that had to be declassified and released that will tell us a great deal more about what happened from about 2012 to 2017,” Gingrich said. “A real test for Attorney General Barr is going to be, will he insist that those documents be released so the American people can know what happened? And the American people can render judgment about what their view of this is.”

Source: Newt Gringrich: Obama Knew of Comey’s Action and ‘the Fix Is In’