Daily Archives: September 4, 2019

September 4 A God We Can Trust

Scripture Reading: Psalm 85:1–13

Key Verse: Psalm 85:7

Show us Your mercy, Lord,

And grant us Your salvation.

Trust is something we earn with one another. However, from the moment God saves us, He trusts us and believes in us. Does He think we will never make another mistake? God knows we will still make mistakes, but His Spirit lives in us—and this is a point of uncompromising trust.

Many people read God’s Word and then allow the enemy to twist God’s truth in such a way that they doubt God’s goodness. When there are people in our lives who promise us things but fail to deliver, an attitude of cynicism can seep into our thinking. Trusting anyone can be a major challenge for us when we have been disappointed time and time again.

However, God has a reputation of trust for several millenniums. Throughout the Bible, we do not read of God promising to do something and then not following up on His promise. For some people steeped in cynicism, this might take longer to believe than others. But in the end, the truth is revealed: God is faithful—always.

God’s faithfulness is great. His promises do not always unfold the way we imagined, but He always keeps them. As God proves His faithfulness to us, we learn that He is ultimately trustworthy with everything, including our lives. We can rest confidently in that assurance.

Dear Lord, cleanse me of any cynicism that has seeped into my thinking. I embrace Your faithfulness and trustworthiness with renewed assurance.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 259). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 4 Living a Consistent Life

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:17–24

Key Verse: Ephesians 4:24

You put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

A Christian college professor urged her students to make sure their lives were consistent with the message of God’s Word: “Never let an air of inconsistency blow through your lives. If this happens, the world will notice it, and your testimony for Jesus will be damaged.”

Consistency is difficult. The Lord knows this and is ever present to keep us pointed in the right direction. However, the matter of consistency also is a matter of self-will. We must want to be like Jesus in order for there to be a sweetness to our lives that others notice and see as being essential to the Christian lifestyle.

In Ephesians 4, Paul explained how the believer is to approach life. He admonished the young church in Ephesus to leave their old ways and thought patterns, especially the ones that reminded them of their lives before they were saved.

A radical change takes place on the inside when our souls are transferred from eternal death to eternal life. The evidence of this transformation is that now that we have given our lives to Jesus, we no longer desire to live in sin’s habitat.

Washed in the saving blood of Jesus Christ, we are new creatures. The old is gone. Once we lived as those who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord; praise be to God, though, as believers, we have a new consistency to our lives that brings eternal peace and hope.

Father, I want to be like You. Let my life exude a sweet aroma that others will notice. Help me be consistent in my Christian walk.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 259). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 4 Focus on God

Scripture reading: Luke 10:38–42

Key verse: Luke 10:42

But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.

Martha had chosen to prepare the evening meal. No one forced her to do it. In fact, if we examined the situation, we would find that Martha really didn’t mind the work. She loved receiving praise for her cooking.

Yet here’s the scenario: Jesus is in the front room of the house talking to those gathered near Him. Martha is rushing around the cooking area in the back of the house. All is fine until she discovers her sister is missing. A quick check of the courtyard provides no clue of Mary’s whereabouts. With her jaw set to reprove her sister, Martha storms by the doorway to the front room. Then she spots Mary sitting near the feet of Jesus. Envy and jealousy take control of Martha’s heart: “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me” (Luke 10:40).

All of us have fought feelings like these. Although God understands our weaknesses, jealousy is intolerable to Him. Why? For one, it proves that we are more interested in taking care of ourselves than in taking care of our love relationship with Him. Jesus told Martha, “Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Make every effort to rid your life of envy, strife, and jealousy. Let God bless you in the way He has chosen. Set the focus of your heart on Him, and rejoice that He greatly loves you.

Father, help me set the focus of my heart on You and rejoice in Your love today.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 259). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Two Ticking Time Bombs of the Coming Election — Christian Research Network

The country voted, the Electoral College met, and Comey knew that when he sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) warrant to “spy” (Attorney General Bill Barr’s mot juste) against the  Trump campaign and transition team, on the basis of the Clinton campaign’s false and malicious dossier. Comey’s actions went “beyond” courage and were a grievous corruption of the FBI and a threat to American democracy. 

(Conrad Black – American Greatness)  It is now clearer than ever that the whole Trump-Russia collusion argument, as many of us have been loudly proclaiming since it began, is a monstrous hoax, “a conspiracy so immense”—to use Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s infamous words in his attack upon General George C. Marshall in 1951—that it has been hard for the public to take it on board.

Of course, the assimilation of what has happened has been made more complicated by the extremely agitated political ambiance of the Trump era, which was to a large extent inevitable given the mandate this president received to make profound public policy changes and to assault the whole bipartisan political class in its entrenched positions.

As soon as the rock was pried off the fact that the much-touted Steele dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the alarm bells rang on the smell-test monitor. Clinton’s memoir of the election, blaming everything on being “shivved three times by Jim Comey,” and on her opponent’s “treason” with the Russians, cited the Steele dossier several times as independent corroborative evidence of President Trump’s treachery and betrayal of the nation.

But the stark contrast in policy and personality terms between the president and the Democrats, and the bellicosity of the president himself, which can be embarrassing but may have been essential for him to get through the unprecedented effort to undermine him illegally, do not in themselves explain the very long fuse that is burning with excruciating slowness toward the powder keg of explicit revelation of Democratic law-breaking.   View article →

via The Two Ticking Time Bombs of the Coming Election — Christian Research Network

Alan Greenspan says it’s ‘only a matter of time’ before negative rates spread to the US | CNBC

There is currently more than $16 trillion in negative-yielding debt around the world as central banks try to ease monetary conditions.

It will not be long before the spread of negative interest rates reaches the U.S., former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said.

“You’re seeing it pretty much throughout the world. It’s only a matter of time before it’s more in the United States,” Greenspan told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street ” on Wednesday, adding investors should watch the 30-year Treasury yield.

The 30-year U.S. rate traded at 1.95% midday Wednesday. It reached an all-time low last week.

There are currently more than $16 trillion in negative-yielding debt instruments around the world as central banks try to ease monetary conditions to sustain the global economy. The 10-year sovereign bonds in Belgium, Germany, France and Japan — among others — are trading with a negative rate.

U.S. Treasury yields are still well within positive territory, but the Fed has already cut rates once this year and is expected to ease later this month. Market expectations for a rate cut in September are at 92.7%, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

An aging population is driving demand for bonds, pushing their yields lower, Greenspan said.

“We’re so used to the idea that we don’t have negative interest rates, but if you get a significant change in the attitude of the population, they look for coupon,” Greenspan said. “As a result of that, there’s a tendency to disregard the fact that that has an effect in the net interest rate that they receive.”

He added that gold prices have been surging recently because people are looking for “hard” assets they know are going to have value down the road as the population ages. Gold futures are up more than 21% in 2019 and are trading around levels not seen since 2013.

Greenspan’s comments come after New York Fed President John Williams called low inflation the “problem of this era” in a speech earlier in the day.

Source: Alan Greenspan says it’s ‘only a matter of time’ before negative rates spread to the US

Actor Robert Davi: 95% of Hollywood’s Technical Crews ‘Are for Trump,’ But ‘They’re Frightened’ to Admit It | CNSNews

Actor Robert Davi (Getty Images/Valery Hache)

While the vast majority of Hollywood’s behind-the-camera workers support President Donald Trump, they’re too frightened to say so because of liberal intolerance in the industry, veteran actor Robert Davi says.

In an interview Monday with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Davi discussed how Hollywood liberals blacklist and discriminate against conservatives who are simply trying to earn a living in the entertainment field. Davi said he’s been both offered work – if he would denounce Trump – and denied work because of his conservative views.

Davi, who has appeared in more than one hundred films, including the iconic action movie “Die Hard” and the James Bond thriller “License to Kill,” said he wishes Hollywood executives would hold a meeting and agree to stop denying work to people who don’t share their political views.

“It’s never going to happen,” Ingraham replied, calling Hollywood liberals “the most intolerant people when it comes to ideology”:

“It is never going to happen. Never going to happen. They are the most intolerant people when it comes to ideology. They are not for diversity – they’re for their type of diversity. Other people are horrible, awful, rotten people. And, they just don’t want to work with you. I’m sorry, but I have heard this time and again. People have to go and lie about what they believe in order to feed their family. They are lying and hiding themselves.”

Davi agreed, saying that – when it comes to Hollywood’s technical professionals – “95 percent are for Trump,” but can’t say so, for fear of losing their jobs:

“The below-the-line people – the key grips, the sound guys, the lighting guys, the gaffers, the makeup artists – a lot of them, 95 percent are for Trump.

“So, when they go in front of the cameras, they’re frightened. They come to me and say, ‘Man, thank you for speaking up for us. Thank you for being one of the few that speak up.’”

In addition to his film work, Davi’s acting credits include appearances in hit television programs, such as “Profiler” (82 episodes), “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and “Criminal Minds.”

Source: Actor Robert Davi: 95% of Hollywood’s Technical Crews ‘Are for Trump,’ But ‘They’re Frightened’ to Admit It

New Gun Debate Flash Cards Get You Through Arguments With Speed And Efficiency — The Babylon Bee

EAST LONGMEADOW, MA—A new deck of flashcards is hitting stores this week that promises to get you through your next gun debate “thoroughly, speedily, and efficiently.” Card manufacturer Filton Brigley is releasing the cards in the form of a fun game where two people on different sides of the debate can quickly raise cards to cancel out the other person’s argument until every known gun ownership cliche has been exhausted.

The pack comes with two decks: one for gun advocates, and one for those who want stricter gun laws. Each player may choose the level of extremism that suits them based on what cards they select. For instance, a pro-gun player may use any card from, “It’s in the constitution,” to “Nukes should be legal too.” Gun control advocates will find arguments that range from “common-sense gun control” to “Tyrannical authoritarian government takeover.”

The cards are thorough and include all your favorite gun arguments from both sides of the aisle, including:

  • “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”
  • “You don’t need guns, you can call the police”
  • “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”
  • “What about Switzerland?!”
  • “We should arm teachers”
  • “Cars kill a lot of people, should we ban those too?!”
  • “You have blood on your hands!”

There are even bonus sarcasm cards such as…

  • Maybe we should make killing against the law too
  • You look sooo cooool with your big gun
  • And many more
  • You really want to start a civil war with gun owners?

Players will find that the deck runs out quickly, but you can cycle through all of the arguments as many times as you want until exhausted, just like in a real gun debate.

When you’ve worn out all the arguments in both decks, Brigley has also announced that they will be releasing personal insult flashcards. “At some point, these debates always get personal, so we have a deck for that too,” Seth Hemet, CEO of Filton Brigley told the press. “Cards mocking body types, genders, sexual orientations, religion, skin color, privilege… it’s all in there and will provide anyone with hours and hours of personal attacks when the gun debate deck needs to take a rest.”

via New Gun Debate Flash Cards Get You Through Arguments With Speed And Efficiency — The Babylon Bee

Five Things They Don’t Tell You about Slavery — National Review

It’s important to know what happened before 1619 and what happened elsewhere besides America.

A sign commemorating the arrival of the first Africans is displayed at Chesapeake Bay, in Hampton, Va., August 24, 2019. (Michael A. McCoy/Reuters)

It didn’t begin or end in the United States.

The same people most obsessed with slavery seem to have little interest in the full scope of its history.

There has been an effort for decades now — although with new momentum lately, as exemplified by the New York Times’ 1619 project — to identify the United States and its founding with slavery.

To the extent that this campaign excavates uncomfortable truths about our history and underlines the central role of African Americans in our nation, it is welcome. But it is often intended to undermine the legitimacy of America itself by effacing what makes it distinctive and good.

Yes, slavery and racial prejudice were our great original sins. It would have been better if we had, like the British, been leaders against the slave trade and for abolition (the representation of slaveholders in Congress and the rise of King Cotton forestalled this). But we didn’t invent slavery, even in its race-based form.

Slavery didn’t make us unique, which is obvious if we consider its history in a little broader context. Critics of the American Founding don’t like to do this because it weakens their case and quickly brings them up against politically inconvenient facts that they’d prefer to pass over in silence.

Let’s dwell, then, on a few things they don’t tell us about slavery. None of these are secrets or are hard to find, but they are usually left out or minimized, since they don’t involve self-criticism and, worse, they entail a critical look at societies or cultures that the Left tends to favor vis-à-vis the West.

None of what follows is meant to excuse the practice of slavery in the United States, or its longevity. Nor is it to deny that the Atlantic slave trade was one of history’s great enormities, subjecting millions to mistreatment so horrifying that it is hard to fathom. But if we are to understand the history of slavery, it’s important to know what happened before 1619 and what happened elsewhere besides America.

1. Through much of human history, slavery was ubiquitous and unquestioned

Slavery wasn’t the exception in human history; it was the norm. The “perennial institution,” as historian Seymour Drescher calls it, was an accepted feature of the ancient world, from ancient Egypt to Greece to Rome, and of traditional societies.

The Greeks, according to the compelling David Brion Davis book Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World, “came to see slave labor as absolutely central to their entire economy and way of life” and deployed it in a wide range of occupations. Roman slavery wasn’t race-based but was brutal all the same (see the fate of slave gladiators, among many other atrocities).

In the post-Roman world, the Byzantines, the Vikings, and Central Asian societies all embraced slavery in various forms.

Again, this wasn’t remarkable. Consider, for instance, Ethiopia. Stewart Gordon writes in his book Shackles of Iron: Slavery Beyond the Atlantic that its first legal code, dating from the mid 13th century, “recognized slaves as central to the economy and defined the acquisition and holding of slaves as the natural order of things.” In the 16th century, Ethiopia “was a full slave society,” even taking tribute from some provinces in the form of slaves.

Slavery knew no bounds of color or creed. During one period, from 1500 to 1700, there were more white European slaves held captive on the Barbary Coast than slaves sent from West Africa to the Atlantic world, according to Gordon.

All this history wasn’t incidental to what eventually arose in the Atlantic world. Davis notes, “There was a genuine continuity of slave-trading and slave-holding from Ancient Greece to Rome and from the late Roman Empire to the Byzantine and Arab worlds, from the medieval shipment of slaves from the Balkans, the Black Sea and Caucasia to Muslim and Christian Mediterranean markets, and from there to the beginnings in the fifteenth century of an African slave trade to Portugal and Spain, and then to the Atlantic Islands and New World.”

And slavery was widespread throughout the New World. “An imaginary ‘hemispheric traveler,’” Davis writes, “would have seen black slaves in every colony from Canada and New England all the way south to Spanish Peru and Chile.”

2. The East African slave trade lasted into the 20th century

The United States ended slavery too late (again, Britain is a better model). But let’s not forget how long the slave trade, ended in 1808 in the United States, lasted elsewhere.

Gordon discusses the East African slave trade, also called the Arab slave trade: “Throughout the vast Indian Ocean region,” he writes, “slave trade and ownership were considered completely moral and legal, regardless of the religion of the slaver or the buyer.”

More than a million slaves were taken from East Africa in the 1800s. Despite British attempts at suppressing it, this trade continued into the 20th century. According to Gordon, “Perhaps the last large-scale movement of East African slaves to the Middle East was in the 1920s.”

Relatedly, the Muslim world was a vast empire of slavery and enslaved countless black Africans.

3. Islam was a great conveyor belt of slavery

“Long before the establishment of African slavery in the Americas,” James Walvin writes in his A Short History of Slavery, “Islamic societies were characterized by the widespread and generally unchallenged use of slavery. Indeed slavery was commonplace throughout Arabia well before the rise of Islam. But as Islam spread between the eighth and 15th centuries, and especially to black Africa, it extended and confirmed the commonplace use of slavery and slave trading.”

According to Walvin, Muslim slavers transported enslaved Africans across vast distances — via overland routes — “long before the European pioneers in the Americas began to consider the use of African slaves as laborers in the American settlements.“ The routes across the Sahara, he adds, “survived from the seventh to the twentieth century, and millions of Africans were force-marched along them from their homelands to the slave markets to the north.”

This story is relevant to the nature of slavery in the Atlantic world. At first, slavery in the Muslim world wasn’t race-based, but that changed. Davis writes: “The Arabs and other Muslim converts were the first people to make use of literally millions of blacks from sub-Saharan Africa and to begin associating black Africans with the lowliest forms of bondage.”

It may well be, he continues, that “racial stereotypes were transmitted, along with black slavery itself — to say nothing of the algebra and knowledge of the ancient Greek classics — as Christians treated and fought with Muslims for the first Islamic challenges to the Byzantine Empire, in the seventh and eighth centuries, through the era of the crusades.”

Certainly, while slavery was in eclipse in the rest of Europe, it had a new vitality on the Muslim-occupied Iberian peninsula, with Muslims and Christians both engaged in the practice.

“By the fifteenth century,” historian James Sweet notes, “many Iberian Christians had internalized the racist attitudes of the Muslims and were applying them to the increasing flow of African slaves to their part of the world.“ He adds, “Iberian racism was a necessary precondition for the system of human bondage that would develop in the Americas during the sixteenth century and beyond.”

One would think that there would be more attention paid to the Muslim world’s contribution to race-based slavery, but since it doesn’t offer any opportunity for Western self-reproach, it’s mostly ignored.

4. The Atlantic slave trade would have been impossible without African cooperation 

Slavery wasn’t a European imposition on West Africa. It was already a common practice before the European slavers showed up to subject African captives to the hideous Atlantic passage and bondage in the New World.

According to John Thornton, “slavery was widespread in Atlantic Africa because slaves were the only form of private, revenue-producing property recognized in African law.”

Europeans didn’t capture millions of slaves on their own. The slavers were confined to the coasts. They weren’t capable of enslaving masses of Africans, and even when they attempted it, they risked disrupting the entire system (and retribution from the Africans).

In the interior, slaves were captured in battles and raids and marched to the coast in unspeakable conditions. They were then sold to the Europeans for liquor, textiles, tobacco, and other goods.

Davis notes “the rise of predatory states, such as Futa Jallon, Dahomey, Asante, Kasanje, and the Lunda Empire, which found it financially profitable to wage war on neighbors and sell prisoners to the Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, Danes, or Americans.”

The system of West African enslavement kept running even when the Europeans stopped coming, “flooding various regions with nonexportable slaves,” as Davis puts it. The slave population in West Africa would come to exceed that of the New World.

5. Brazil took the lion’s share of slaves from the Atlantic slave trade

Any historical accounting of the Atlantic slave trade has to judge Brazil harshly.

Ninety-five percent of the slaves transported across the Atlantic went to places south of the present-day United States, with Brazil alone taking about 40 percent.

Black slaves were already about 10 percent of Lisbon’s population in 1550, and Brazil had about 1 million slaves by 1790.

Even though a relatively small 5 percent of African slaves went to colonial America, the population in the colonies and the United States grew until there were four million slaves by the time of the Civil War. Brazil never had this natural increase because the life expectancy of the slaves there was so low. Life on Brazil’s sugar plantations was brutal and regimented.

“Beginning in the 1960s,” Davis writes, “historians have demolished the myths that Brazilian slavery was benign or humane and that Brazil was relatively free from racism.” The record shows, he writes, “extreme forms of racial prejudice coupled with the view that slaves were mere instruments of production.”

Even when the Atlantic slave trade was mostly illegal and on the way out, the beat went on. Brazil and Cuba received most of the more than 2 million slaves transported between 1820 and 1880, according to Davis.


To repeat, none of this justifies American cruelty and hypocrisy across the centuries. It does suggest, however, that an appropriate perspective should take full account of all that sets us apart, which emphatically wasn’t chattel slavery.

None of the other societies tainted by slavery produced the Declaration of Independence, a Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton, the U.S. Constitution, or a tradition of liberty that inspired people around the world for centuries. If we don’t keep that in mind, as well as the broader context of slavery, we aren’t giving this country — or history — its due.

via Five Things They Don’t Tell You about Slavery — National Review

Leading SJWs Now Claim ‘There is No Evangelical Social Justice Movement’ — Christian Research Network

“For mercy sakes, people. Just google Thabiti Anyabwile’s own name cross-referenced with “Social Justice” and you’ll see he’s been promoting that movement BY NAME for the last two years. And now, he has the audacity to claim it doesn’t exist and we’re making it up.”

(JD Hall – Pulpit & Pen)  Thabiti Anyabwile and Kyle J. Howard – two outspoken proponents of Social Justice – are now claiming that there is no Evangelical Social Justice Movement. They are now insinuating that those who allege the existence of such a movement are conspiratorial or paranoid. These same men who have explicitly used the term thousands of times in recent years and promoted the concept as a new revolution now claim it doesn’t exist.

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past…’Reality control,’ they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink.’

George Orwell, 1984

Marxists are like rats who have infested a home. When the light is shined upon them, they scurry back into the black shadows. Rats do not leave, they simply retreat, only to come out again in whatever corner happens to have remained darkened.

These men use terms of Critical Race Theory, until we explain their vocabulary, its origins, and its ideology. These men espouse doctrine from the Frankfurt School until we explain what Cultural Marxism is, at which point they change their approach. These men teach explicit Liberation Theology, until we explain the devilish doctrines of James Cone. In each case the rats do not evacuate; they only evade. Subversive doctrines require plausible deniability, shows of aloofness, coyness, and the willingness to lie.  View article →


Thabiti Anyabwile

The Gospel Coalition

Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

via Leading SJWs Now Claim ‘There is No Evangelical Social Justice Movement’ — Christian Research Network

CURL: ‘Facts’ Are Dead In Today’s Political World, Replaced By Personal ‘Truth’ — The Gateway Pundit

Do “facts” exist anymore? Or are we all living in alternative realities, where we everyone has their own set of facts?

It sounds silly, but it’s all too real.

Just days after President Trump moved into the White House in 2017, top aide Kellyanne Conway kicked off the whole game. During a “Meet the Press” appearance, she was asked about the size of the crowd at the inauguration — yes, that was an actual news story — and she said then-press secretary Sean Spicer “gave alternative facts” to dispute claims that there was a paltry crowd.

In a fantastic twist you couldn’t have made up, “journalist” Dan Rather blasted Conway (yes, the guy who used “alternative facts” when he claimed former President George W. Bush never served in the Texas Air National Guard and got booted from his CBS News anchor chair).

It’s all gone downhill since then.

Now, “facts” have become fungible. Every day, both side cite “facts” — often diametrically opposed “facts” — to support their arguments. Fact-checkers swing into action, with liberal sites backing Democrats’ “facts” and conservative sites validating Republicans’ “facts.”

And both sides are embracing the fact that maybe there aren’t any “facts” anymore.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a testy hearing in January with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about the U.S.-Mexico border, interrupted to declare: “I reject your facts.”

Well, that pretty much ends that debate.

Nielsen, a no-nonsense sort, was having none of it. “These aren’t my facts,” she fired back. “These are the facts.” But were they, in fact, her own “facts”?

That’s where we are today — everyone is armed with their own “facts.”

Especially Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She takes to social media daily to decry this or denounce that, often citing “facts.” Last week, she said that “there is a potential that a lot of diseases could, um, escape these melted glaciers, things that were frozen for thousands of years, and that they’re going to get into our water.” She must’ve read an article, so now, clearly, she’s an expert. Fact.

The 29-year-old former bartender also said mosquitoes are “starting to fly further north that carry diseases like malaria, and, um, a whole slew of other things,” so, boom, another “fact.”

AOC embodies the new flexible definition of “fact,” lamenting to The Washington Post that “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”

Then, as always, there’s former Vice President Joe Biden, for whom “facts” are whatever he says they are.

At the Iowa State Fair last month, the 2020 Democratic front-runner declared to a crowd of supporters: “We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts.”

Biden actually bailed out of his first run for the White House in 1988 after it was revealed that he had plagiarized parts of his own life story from a British politician.

“My intent was not to deceive anyone,” Biden wrote at the time. “For if it were, I would not have been so blatant.”

The 76-year-old is at it again, this time after telling a story last month about how a four-star general asked him to travel to Afghanistan to award a Silver Star to a Navy captain who saved a fellow soldier. It was a great tale, “except almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect,” The Post wrote.

Biden has been defending himself for a week for conflating the stories of three different soldiers into one anecdote, and on Monday said he wasn’t trying to “mislead anybody.”

“Details matter in terms of whether you’re trying to mislead people. And I wasn’t trying to mislead anybody,” Biden told reporters in Iowa at a Labor Day picnic. “My point is, I was there.”

Then he went further on Tuesday, saying “the details are irrelevant in terms of decision-making.”

Snopes, a liberal fact-checking site, backed Biden, saying his “story is not ‘false,’ as was widely reported, because his underlying recollection of pinning a medal on a grieving soldier who did not want the medal is based on a real occurrence.” Huh?

Then, of course, there’s Trump. “As of Aug. 5, his 928th day in office, he had made 12,019 false or misleading claims,” according to The Post. Even if the liberal paper is only half right, that’s a lot of falsities.

So, forget facts. Politicians from both sides are telling you they don’t exist anymore.

But luckily, you know better. “Facts” are real, and they still exist. They’re hard to find and harder to validate, but that’ll be every American’s job this election season as they sift through the claims from Democrats and Republicans.

And always remember, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own “facts.”

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

via CURL: ‘Facts’ Are Dead In Today’s Political World, Replaced By Personal ‘Truth’ — The Gateway Pundit

Experts: It May Be Too Late To Halt Climate Change Town Hall On CNN — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—Experts solemnly warned the nation that it may be too late to stop the 7-hour climate change town hall scheduled to air on CNN tonight.

Despite humanity’s best efforts to stall climate change town halls by long-winded, self-important politicians, the event appears to be rapidly approaching. No one has been able to come up with a plan to stop it, and now there’s a scientific consensus that it’s inevitable.

“We have reached the point of no return,” said one expert grimly as he took a shot of something from a flask. “We have less than 12 hours before the Democrats do irreparable damage to our sanity by talking for seven full freakin’ hours on television.”

“The only thing we can do now is say goodbye to our loved ones,” he added. “And maybe tune into something else, like HGTV or something. Anything.”

Radical activists tried to distract the candidates to prevent the town hall from moving forward. One man left a wallet with some $20 bills sticking out of it in hopes that Bernie Sanders would get distracted. Another left a book of cool cuss words on a park bench, hoping that Beto O’Rourke would make a detour to pick it up. But all of these efforts have failed, and now the climate change town hall will affect everybody on the planet, or at least CNN’s seven viewers.

The inescapable broadcast is expected to cause a sharp rise in unprovable claims, such as linking Hurricane Dorian to human activity. Scientists also predict a rapid surge of Prius purchases.

“We’ve been warning the public about this for years,” said Chuck Little, certified climate authority. “Can you believe some people still think public profiteering off trendy political footballs isn’t real? Deniers,” he scoffed.

At publishing time, experts were revising their predictions, claiming that future climate change town halls could still be avoided if everyone followed the climate change advocates’ advice to “do as we say, not as we do.”

via Experts: It May Be Too Late To Halt Climate Change Town Hall On CNN — The Babylon Bee

September 4, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Ten U.S. Democratic presidential contenders will tout their plans to tackle climate change on Wednesday night in a marathon series of CNN forums likely to pit moderates like Joe Biden against progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

More than 120 U.S. military construction projects will be adversely affected as the Pentagon prepares to use $3.6 billion to help build or enhance 175 miles (282 km) of the border wall with Mexico, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday that Democrats are especially concerned about enforcement of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement and Mexico’s implementation of labor standards, a spokesman for Pelosi said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday demanded an Oct. 15 snap election after lawmakers seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit dealt him a humiliating defeat in parliament which he cast as an attempt to surrender to the European Union.

Turkey may lose trade with Britain worth up to $3 billion in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Wednesday, adding that many Turkish companies lacked information on the consequences of such a scenario.

Google, which is owned by Alphabet, and its YouTube video service will pay $170 million to settle allegations that it broke federal law by collecting personal information about children, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced the formal withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that has plunged the Chinese-ruled city into its worst political crisis in decades.

AP Top Stories

Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 2 with sustained winds of 105 mph, the slow-moving storm is expected to turn its wrath on Georgia and the Carolinas later this week.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday urged ranking members of the House Judiciary Committee to oppose a bill that targets white supremacist groups by criminalizing domestic terrorism.

Afghanistan’s government on Wednesday expressed new concerns about a deal that a U.S. envoy says has been reached “in principle” with the Taliban on ending America’s longest war, asking for clarifications about the agreement and its risks in order to avoid “unpleasant consequences.”

Seven crew members of a Swedish-owned tanker seized by Iran in July will be released, the chief executive of Stena Bulk that owns the tanker said Wednesday.

A University of Illinois student accused of leaving a noose in a residence hall elevator has been charged with a felony hate crime.

The Israeli military said Tuesday the militant group Hezbollah and Iran have built a precision-missile factory in neighboring Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday 1,700 convicts who were freed early for good behavior should be sent back to prison after questions were raised over the legality of their release.

Under a new law, all New York children must begin getting their vaccines within the first two weeks of classes and complete them by the end of the school year. Otherwise, their parents must home-school them or move out of the state.

A new study involving hundreds of thousands of participants finds that homosexual behavior is about one-third genetic – and that many genes are involved, each having only a tiny effect. It even manages to single out a few: “rs34730029,” for example, increases the chance of having a same-sex experience by 0.4 percentage points. These genes might affect sex hormones and the sense of smell.

Pope Francis is opening a three-nation pilgrimage to southern Africa with a strategic visit to Mozambique, just weeks after the country’s ruling party and armed opposition signed a new peace deal and weeks before national elections.

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will announce a new step in scaling back its nuclear commitments by Thursday despite a diplomatic push for relief from US sanctions.

The founder of one of America’s largest homosexual conversion therapy programs, has called the practice “harmful” and come out as gay.


Nigeria has told its citizens to “avoid travelling to high risk and volatile areas [in South Africa] until the situation is brought under control”.

The Ugandan government has decided to review its open-door refugee policy, citing concerns about security and criminality. The country has, in the past few years, been hailed around the world for its all-embracing approach to hosting refugees and has given shelter to more than a million people from across the region.

Huawei has accused the US government of “using every tool at its disposal” to disrupt its business. In a press release on Tuesday, the Chinese tech giant said the US had launched cyber-attacks to infiltrate its networks and was threatening its employees.


The legal husband of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and the father of her three children, Ahmed Hirsi, has confirmed to friends that the congresswoman married her brother in a fraudulent immigration scheme, according to sources.

The University of South Carolina has continued to ignore an old state law mandating instruction in the nation’s founding documents, in favor of offering classes in belly-dancing and other subjects.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Sept. 4, 2019

The Foundation

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” —James Madison (1822)

Walmart’s Vacuous Virtue Signal

Banning its ammunition sales will do nothing to prevent the next homicide with a gun.

Mattis: Obama and Biden Empowered ISIS

The former defense secretary says Obama let his ideology overrule his military advisers’ expertise.

Communist Chinese Gov’t Fears a Free Hong Kong

Withdrawing the extradition bill is good, but it may be simply an attempt to restore order.

Chinese Dissidents: Communism Must Be Confronted

“Trump Has The Right Strategy On Beijing,” says an op-ed in The Washington Post.

Corruption Corrodes the UAW

The workers aren’t the problem. It’s the big whigs pocketing big money from cronies.

Automakers Demand More Electric Vehicle Tax Breaks

Washington really wants to keep picking winners and losers in the auto industry.

God Is ‘Liberal’

Democrats have put themselves in the position of God, giving away “liberally” to voters.

Video: Black Trump Vote Is Mental Illness?

A black pastor defends an offensive and dishonest sign outside his Alabama church.

Video: Lessons From Africa

Magatte Wade, an African entrepreneur, blames crushing government regulation for poverty.

Today’s Opinion

Rich Lowry
The Threat of Red Britain
Michelle Malkin
Stop Mental Health Data Mining of Our Kids
Stephen Moore
Natural Gas, America’s Wonder Fuel
Star Parker
Cuccinelli Right to Keep the Focus on Freedom
Hans von Spakovsky
Crimes by Illegal Immigrants Widespread Across U.S. — Sanctuaries Shouldn’t Shield Them
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

Border-barrier funds, Walmart’s virtue signaling, Hurricane Dorian, economic warning signs, and more.

Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from David Harsanyi, Joe Scarborough, Joe Biden, Geraldo Rivera, and more.

Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

Headlines – 9/4/2019

Netanyahu says Trump peace plan to be released ‘immediately’ after vote

U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Enrages Residents With 20-foot ‘Defense’ Wall

Palestinian Authority prepares action plan to extend authority to Area C

EU Funding of Illegal Palestinian Settlement in Area C

Ex-Likud minister denies leaking damaging Netanyahu tape, blames ‘evil people’

Ex-communications Minister Complains to Police Over Leaked Audios of Netanyahu’s Media Intervention

Attorney general says media can publish leaks from cases against Netanyahu

Swedish imam fined for calling Jews the ‘offspring of apes and pigs’

How YouTube became an open, lucrative stage for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Israel Has Become A Five-Front War

Shaked: Israel must launch massive military operation in the Gaza Strip

Netanyahu on flareup with Hezbollah: It was tense, but we achieved all our goals

‘Arab states condemning Hezbollah sounds like Messianic times’

Israeli envoy to UN warns Hezbollah actions could ‘bring disaster to Lebanon’

Israel says Hezbollah plans advanced missile plant in Lebanon’s Bekaa

IDF publishes photos purporting to show Hezbollah precision missile factory

Worrying days for Israel when Hezbollah is a key source of credible information

Lebanon to declare ‘state of economic emergency’ and push ahead with reforms

Iran building new classified military base in Syria: intelligence sources

Iranian oil tanker sought by US turns off tracker outside Syria, Lebanon

Iranian oil tanker nears coast of Syria as captain refuses to cooperate with delivery, sources say

Iran says it will free seven crew members of detained UK tanker

New US-led patrols in Persian Gulf raise stakes with Iran

Report: Iran stifling probe of storage of nuclear equipment

Iran says it can resume 20% uranium enrichment in days if no economic relief

US State and Treasury Departments Slap First-Ever Sanctions on Iran’s Space Program

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iran Space Agencies as Zarif Poses Ultimatum to European States

Iran’s Rouhani says next nuclear deal breaches will have ‘extraordinary’ effects: TV

Rouhani: Iran will give EU countries two-month deadline to save nuclear deal

France says much work remains to save Iran nuke deal amid credit line talks

France seeks $15b letter of credit for Iran to keep nuclear deal alive

Further rollback of Iran nuclear obligations would send ‘bad signal’ – French diplomat

Iran’s Rouhani says no intention of holding bilateral talks with US

Dutch mole planted infamous Stuxnet virus in Iran nuclear site – report

Deadly Taliban Attack in Kabul Rattles U.S. Deal on Ending War

Yemen: Western powers may be held responsible for war crimes – UN

Islam: The West’s “Most Formidable and Persistent Enemy”

Five dead as mobs burn down shops in ‘anti-foreigner’ riots in Johannesburg

South Africa’s President Condemns Violent Attacks on Foreign-Owned Businesses

Saudi Arabia, UAE FMs in Pakistan to discuss regional tensions

Pakistan’s Envoy to U.S. Says ‘World Should Take Notice’ to Avoid New Conflict with India over Kashmir

First official death in Indian Kashmir protests prompts tighter security

Pakistan, India officials meet to talk Sikh border crossing

China Says It Will ‘Show No Mercy’ to Those Behind Hong Kong Protests, U.S. Must End Support for Them

Trump suggests ‘personal meeting’ with China’s Xi on Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong leader to announce withdrawal of controversial extradition bill: Media

China Rejects Blame for Fentanyl Deaths, Says Trump’s Accusations are ‘Groundless and Untrue’

President Trump issues new warning to China as latest tariffs go into effect

Trump was so angry after China’s trade retaliation that he wanted to double tariffs

5 U.S. industries hit hardest by Trump’s latest China tariffs

The more Trump tweets, the worse it is for stocks, research finds

US Vice President urges EU to negotiate ‘in good faith’ on Brexit

Boris Johnson loses crucial vote in Parliament, Brexit set to be delayed

Major defeat for British PM as lawmakers seize Brexit agenda

Churchill’s grandson to be expelled from Conservative Party for voting against Boris Johnson

Russian blogger sentenced to five years over ‘extremist’ tweet

Liberal FEC chairwoman targets online news she considers ‘fraudulent’

Google target of new U.S. antitrust probe by state attorneys general

Facial recognition becomes opt-in feature at Facebook

Chinese deepfake app Zao goes viral, but sparks privacy concerns

Some Tesla owners reportedly got locked out of their cars because the app was down

Hurry Up! Modern Patience Thresholds Lower Than Ever Before, Technology To Blame

Coming Soon to a Battlefield: Robots That Can Kill

Walmart plans to dramatically step back from ammunition sales after ‘horrific’ shootings

NRA slams Walmart’s ‘shameful’ change to gun policies

Chicago mayor tells Ted Cruz: ‘Keep our name out of your mouth’ about gun control

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Taupo, New Zealand

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohonua, Tonga

Ubinas volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 18,000ft

Nevados De Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Sangeang Api volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Pacific basin active in wake of 3 Tropical Storms, Lingling likely to impact Japan

Hurricane Juliette to roil Southern California coastline as Dorian hammers eastern US

Hurricane Dorian’s monstrous size revealed in epic images from space

‘Total devastation’: Hurricane slams parts of the Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian death toll rises to 7 in one of Bahamas’ ‘greatest national crises,’ PM says

Bahamas left in ruins, faces severe humanitarian crisis as hurricane heads to US

Florida rides Dorian’s ’emotional roller coaster’ after a week of warnings and waiting

Slow-crawling Dorian a new kind of threat

Hurricane Dorian may hurt soy and cotton: Meteorologist

Trump ramps up Twitter offensive as Dorian approaches Florida

Marco Rubio chides London mayor over Trump hurricane jab, tells him to worry about Bahamas

Tropical Storm Fernand threatens Mexico; triple threat seen as hurricane season nears peak

Cory Booker unveils $3 trillion climate change plan, creating ‘Environmental Justice Fund’

Cocaine Laced With Veterinary Drug Levamisole Eats Away at Flesh

Dr. Bob Sears’ views on vaccines have inspired loyal followers – and a crush of criticism

Former conversion therapy leader comes out as gay and apologizes to community

“We don’t do gay weddings or mixed race”: Mississippi wedding venue turns away family in viral video

Todd Bentley sexual misconduct allegations widen to Pakistan

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Anthony Wade – Word Faith Theology — The Sin of Lucifer Revisited

My Uneasy Experience at House Fire Ministries- Part 1

Letter to the Editor: As Christians, My Wife and I Became Heavily Involved With Reiki

Jerry Falwell Jr Endorses Pro-Gay Candidate, Invites Him to Fundraiser Because of “Shared Values”

Rick Joyner: Christians Need to Establish Militias in Preparation for the Coming Civil War

Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

An article and/or blog post link doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the linked article/posting. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

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

September 4, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Understanding The Greatness of God’s Person

far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all. (1:21–23)

Moving from Christ’s might to His majesty, Paul’s third request is for the Lord to give believers understanding of the greatness of His Person who secures and empowers them.

Once when Timothy was intimidated by criticism from fellow Christians, he understandably became discouraged. Paul wrote to him, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:8–10). “Remember the greatness of the Person who lives within you,” Paul says. “He was raised from the dead and seated at God’s right hand. He was born of the seed of David, as a man just like us. He identifies with us, understands us, and sympathizes with us.”

Every Christian should continually have that focus. When we look at Him, our physical problems, psychological problems, and even spiritual problems will not loom so all-important before us. We not only will be better able to see our problems as they really are, but will then, and only then, have the right motivation and power to work them out. It is sad that we read and hear so much about the peripheral things of the Christian life and so little about the Person who is the source of Christian life. How much happier and more productive we are when our primary attention is on His purity, greatness, holiness, power, and majesty. Paul calls the Corinthians to gaze intently on His glory with the clear vision provided in the New Covenant, and thus be made like Him by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:18).

What great blessing we can have when we take time to set our own concerns and needs aside and simply focus on the Lord of glory, allowing the Holy Spirit to do in us what Paul asked Him to do in the Ephesians—give us deep understanding of the truth that our Lord is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. The terms rule (archē, meaning leader or first one), authority (exousia), power (dunamis), and dominion (kuriotēs, lordship) were traditional Jewish terms to designate angelic beings of great rank and might. The point here is that the power of Christ applied in the believer’s behalf cannot be overthrown or negated or defeated, because it far surpasses that of the hosts of Satan who design to defeat it.

It should be noted that the matter of the cosmic war between God and His angelic hosts and Satan and his demons is a matter of great importance in Scripture. Redemption is a demonstration of God’s power before the angels (3:10). Our conflict is with these fallen angels, who endeavor to halt our efforts for God (6:12; cf. 1 Pet. 3:18–22, which shows Christ’s triumph over those fallen angels, accomplished in His death). Satan and his hosts have endeavored to thwart the plan of God from the beginning and are the constant enemy of the work of the kingdom, but they are destined to be overthrown and eternally banished (Rev. 20:10–15).

Our Lord not only is above, but far above, everything and everyone else. He is above Satan and above Satan’s world system. He is above the holy angels and the fallen angels, above saved people and unsaved people, for time and for eternity. He is above all names, titles, ranks, levels, powers, and jurisdictions in the universe. God put all things in subjection under His feet (a quote from Ps. 8:6; cf. Heb. 2:8). There is no limit on time, as Paul said Christ will be supreme not only in this age, but also in the one to come—that is, in the eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 2:7).

Most importantly, as far as believers are concerned, God gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all. Christ not only is the head of the church but its fulness. Since He has such a unique and intimate relationship with the redeemed whom He loves, all His power will be used in their behalf to fulfill His loving purpose for them. He is completely over us and completely in us, our supreme Lord and supreme power. The church is the fulness or complement (plērōma) of Christ. As a head must have a body to manifest the glory of that head, so the Lord must have the church to manifest His glory (3:10). Jesus Christ is the only One for whom the word incomparable truly applies; yet in a thrilling and securing wonder, He has chosen us to display His incomparable majesty. We are guaranteed to come to glory in order that we might forever manifest His praise.

The incomparable Christ is incomplete until the church, which is His body, is complete. Jesus Christ fills all in all, giving His fulness to believers. But in God’s wisdom and grace, believers, as the church, are also the fulness of Him. John Calvin said, “This is the highest honor of the church that until He is united to us, the Son of God reckons Himself in some measure incomplete. What consolation it is for us to learn that not until we are in His presence does He possess all His parts, nor does He wish to be regarded as complete.”

The point of this great petition is that we might comprehend how secure we are in Christ and how unwavering and immutable is our hope of eternal inheritance. The power of glorification is invincible and is presently operative to bring us to glory.[1]

Jesus Over All

Ephesians 1:19–23

That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

A person does not need to read very much of the New Testament to realize that large portions are future-oriented. We are told of Christ’s past work, providing salvation for his people, but we are also told that he will return in power to subdue his enemies and subject all things to God. One of the earliest Christian prayers, reflected in 1 Corinthians 16:22 and Revelation 22:20, is, “Come, Lord Jesus.” The church looks forward to that future day and longs for Christ’s victory.

Unfortunately, a concern for future things has often obscured for some Christ’s present exalted position in the universe. It is true, as the author of Hebrews writes, that “at present we do not see everything subject to him” (Heb. 2:8). But, as he also writes, “We see Jesus … crowned with glory and honor” (v. 9). Paul was thinking along these lines at the end of the first chapter of Ephesians. He had been speaking of the greatness of our salvation—grounded in the electing purpose of God from eternity, accomplished in history by the atoning death of Jesus Christ, and applied to individuals personally by the Holy Spirit. He prayed for the Ephesians, asking that they might be more fully grounded in God’s truth. He said that he wanted them to know the power of Christ. But when he got to the thought of God’s power Paul’s mind expanded to marvel at the greatness of that power, and his thoughts turned to the present exalted status of Christ in whom that power has already been displayed.

In speaking of Jesus’ present exaltation he referred: (1) to his resurrection from the dead, (2) to his ascension and enthronement over evil, and (3) to his headship over the church, his body.

God’s Mighty Strength

In studying the first part of this prayer (vv. 15–23) I pointed out the importance of knowledge for sound faith. Paul makes his concern for sound knowledge plain. He prayed that the Christians at Ephesus might know God better (v. 17) and that they might know the hope to which he had called them, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and the incomparable greatness of his power to all who believe (vv. 18–19). It is impossible to look at those verses without realizing that Christianity is a religion of knowledge. It is for the head as well as for the heart.

But having said this, we must also stress that Christianity is not just “head” knowledge. It is not a religion of ideas only. It is not merely a philosophy. Some Christians treat the faith as if it were, taking care to master Bible doctrines, thinking that when they have done this they have done all that needs to be done. They believe that in knowing the truth they have it all. This did not satisfy the apostle, and it should not satisfy us either. For important as sound theological and doctrinal knowledge is, it is given that we might know God better and thus live in his power and be victorious over sin in this life. Christianity is knowledge, yes. But it is also power, power from beginning to end. Without the power of God not one individual would ever become a Christian. The salvation of the soul is a resurrection, the recovery of a person from the dead. Without God’s power not one individual would ever triumph over sin, live a godly life, or come at last to the reward God has for all his own in heaven.

So we begin to see why this is so important and why Paul develops and emphasizes it as he does. It is by the power of God displayed in Jesus Christ that we are to live Christianity.

Resurrection Power

When Paul thinks of the greatness of the display of God’s mighty power in Christ, he looks first at the resurrection. Jesus had predicted that God would raise him from the dead after the leaders of the people had arrested, abused, and crucified him. He said, “The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise” (Mark 10:33–34). It seemed impossible. For centuries people had lived and died. So far as anyone could see, death was the end of them. Yet Jesus said that after he died (indeed, after three days in the tomb) he would return to life triumphantly.

What power on earth could possibly accomplish this miracle? Obviously, no power on earth could. Only a heavenly power could—and did! On the third day God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, as he said he would. God thus vindicated Jesus’ claims, declared that Christ’s atonement for sin was accepted, and revealed that all who are united to Christ by faith can live triumphantly through that power.

We sometimes speak of Christ’s resurrection as the forerunner of our own resurrection—and the proof of it. Because he lives, we shall live also. That is true enough. It is a glorious certainty. But it is not only at the end of things, that is, at our own resurrection, that the power of God displayed in Christ is to be seen in us. It is to be seen in our present victories over sin in this life. In his study of this passage D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks of victory over worldliness, the flesh, and the devil—our three great adversaries. The world constantly bombards us with its values. We get them from television, newspapers, films, the competitive world in which we earn our livings and from casual conversations. How are we to be victorious over this great enemy? It is by the power of God displayed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This power is able to transform us “by the renewing of our mind[s]” (Rom. 12:2). It is what makes us “new creation[s]” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Our second great adversary is the flesh, which in biblical language means the nature of sinful man untouched by the Holy Spirit. The flesh is a formidable enemy. It draws us to inactivity when we should be reading the Bible, praying, or performing good works. It locks us into sinful patterns of behavior when we should be living a Christlike life. How can we triumph over these strong forces? It is only by the power of God displayed in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Third, there is the devil. What a foe he is! Many people, even Christians, regard the devil almost as an invention or at least as one at whom we may laugh. But when Satan met our first parents in Eden it was no laughing matter. They had been created perfect with not even a disposition to evil. Yet when Satan appeared, so great were his power, wiles, and subtlety that it was only a short time before he had brought about the fall of both Eve and Adam. Thus did sin (and death, the consequence of sin) pass upon the race. No wonder Peter writes, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). No wonder Paul told the Ephesians, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11). Lloyd-Jones says, “Because of these things we need to be enlightened with respect to the power of God working in us. Nothing else can enable us to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

All Things Under Jesus

With all these spiritual enemies, is Christ’s power adequate to overcome them? We might doubt that it can—were it not for this next step in Christ’s exaltation. God’s mighty strength was not exhausted in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead but also worked to seat him “at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (vv. 20–21).

Christ’s exaltation over “all rule and authority” involves all earthly powers and angels. But in the context of the Christian’s struggle to live a godly life (and in the context of this book as a whole) the emphasis is certainly upon the hostile spiritual powers of the corrupt world system. The Bible teaches that demonic powers stand behind evil rulers so that, as Paul says later in this book, we struggle not merely “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). These spiritual forces have been made subject to Christ. So when we are told that Jesus has been exalted over them we do not need to fear attacks from these forces any more than from our flesh or the surrounding world system.

How are we to be victorious over Satan? James tells us: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We cannot resist Satan in our own strength. But if we first submit ourselves to God so that the power of God demonstrated in the exaltation of Christ above all rule and authority flows through us, the devil will flee from us as he fled from Christ at the conclusion of his temptation in the wilderness.

The Church, His Body

The third step in Christ’s exaltation through God’s power is in verses 22–23: “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” These verses continue the thought of Jesus being exalted above all rule and authority since “all things” have been placed under his feet. But they carry the thought further by reference to “the church” for whose benefit this subjugation has been made. Jesus has been exalted over the spiritual forces of evil as a conqueror. He is exalted over the church as its proper and greatly honored head.

This is the first time in Ephesians that the word “church” has occurred, but from the beginning Paul has had the church in mind. Ray C. Stedman outlines Ephesians around this theme: (1) the origin of the church, (2) the nature of the church, (3) the function of the church, and (4) the church’s essential relationship to its Lord. Since the letter is chiefly about the church, it is worth looking at this first reference to the church carefully.

Unfortunately, there is difficulty in knowing how to translate verse 23, which deals with it. The difficulty stems from the fact that the words translated “the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” can have three meanings.

  1. The first interpretation takes the phrase to be a description of Christ so that we should read: “… the church, which is the body of him (that is, Christ) who is the fullness of him (that is, God) who fills all in all.” John Stott, who discusses each of these three options carefully, notes that “at first sight this is an attractive interpretation.” Certainly the idea of God filling all things is biblical (Jer. 23:24), and the fullness of the Godhead is said to dwell in Jesus Christ (Col. 1:19; 2:9). To translate the verse this way would be to end the chapter with a grand wrap-up of all things in Christ, who is the fullness of God, and God, who is the fullness of all things. The difficulty with this view is that although the Godhead is said to dwell fully in Christ, in the sense that he is fully God, Scripture never elsewhere says that Christ is God’s fullness. That would be to say that the Father is subsumed in the Son, which is not accurate.
  2. The second interpretation (like the third, which follows) takes “fullness” as referring to the church. What makes it distinct from the third view is that here the meaning is supposed to be active, that is, the church is that which fills or completes Christ, while in the last possibility the meaning is supposed to be passive, that is, the church is that which Christ fills.

If the church fills or completes Christ, the verse is teaching the startling truth that without the church Christ is in some sense incomplete. That cannot be meant ontologically, of course; if Christ is God (as he is), there can be no real incompleteness or imperfection about him. But that is not what proponents of this view mean. They only wish to carry out the images of the church as the body or bride of Christ, which this letter develops. A head without the body is incomplete. A husband without his wife is incomplete, just as a wife without her husband is also incomplete. John Calvin held to this interpretation. He wrote, “By this word ‘fullness’ he means that our Lord Jesus Christ, and even God his Father, account themselves imperfect unless we are joined to him.… It is his will to have us joined to him, yes, even on the condition that he should be perfected in us by our being united in that manner. As if a father should say, My house seems empty to me when I do not see my child in it. A husband will say, I seem to be only half a man when my wife is not with me.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones also endorses this view in guarded fashion: “There is a sense in which we as the church are his fullness.… A head alone is not complete. A head needs a body, and you can not think of a head without a body. So the body and the head are one in this mystical sense. As such we Christian people are part of ‘the fullness’ of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

3. The final interpretation of this phrase takes it in the passive sense of being that which Christ fills. John Stott holds to this view. I think he does so rightly, although, as I say, each of the views is possible. Stott holds to this view chiefly because of the analogy of Scripture, which nowhere else says that the church completes Christ but which often says that he fills it. It also fits the flow of this chapter, which climaxes with Christ in his glory, just as it began with him. In view of the teaching about Christ’s exaltation in these last verses, it is more natural to say that Jesus fills the church as he also fills the universe than to say (unnaturally) that the church somehow completes him. Since Paul is talking about God’s power displayed in Christ, it is natural for him to portray Christ as filling and thus empowering the church, which is his body.

Banner of the Cross

The church is to be a transforming power—indeed, through the presence of the risen Christ within, the greatest of all powers in this world. Those who belong to the church are changed; apart from the power of Christ in their lives they do not even belong to it. Then, having been changed and having become members of the church, they are to work through the power of Christ in the church to transform the world powerfully. The victory is not achieved by arms. It is not achieved by marches or by the force of power politics. It is the victory of transformed lives as, through the church which Christ fills, the rule of Christ is extended forcefully throughout the world.

Edward Gibbon, the author of the classic study The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, saw this in the early church and wrote about it movingly: “While that great body [the Roman Empire] was invaded by open violence, or undermined by slow decay, a pure and humble religion gently insinuated itself into the minds of men, grew up in silence and obscurity, derived new vigour from opposition, and finally erected the triumphant banner of the Cross on the ruins of the Capitol. Nor was the influence of Christianity confined to the period or to the limits of the Roman empire. After a revolution of thirteen or fourteen centuries, that religion is still professed by the nations of Europe, the most distinguished portions of human kind in arts and learning as well as in arms. By the industry and zeal of the Europeans it has been widely diffused to the most distant shores of Asia and Africa; and by the means of their colonies has been firmly established from Canada to Chile, in a world unknown to the ancients.”

That is the way Christ’s banner is erected: by pure and humble means, but powerfully, as the strength of Christ appears in those who are his followers.[2]

Spiritual Power (1:19–23)

How do you make spiritual power apparent to God’s people who are preoccupied and oppressed by this material world? I am told that one therapy utilized by those who treat autistic children is to cloud the lower half of their eyeglasses. Certain kinds of autism apparently manifest themselves as a child becomes completely focused on some dimension of his experience. Such a child can become so focused on a habitual activity or familiar object that interacting with that single aspect of life becomes the child’s entire world. Thus, glasses clouded on the bottom but clear in the upper lenses force the child to look up—to take his eyes off of his little world and to consider a greater, wider world. In like manner, the apostle who would give us hope lifts our eyes from this world and causes us to focus on another power from One above. Our hope resides in understanding the power above and the power here.

The Hope Above (1:19–22)

First, Paul says the power that is available to God’s people is “incomparably great” (Eph. 1:19). Then he tells us the nature of that power:

That power is like the working of his [God’s] mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church. (Eph. 1:19b–22)

The power that is at work in our behalf is resurrection power, able to overpower sin and death. For those once dead in sin, new life is possible; and because of this divine provision, maintaining our witness before adversaries and our hope in adversity is not futile or impossible. The power that is at work in our behalf is also the sovereign power that places our Savior and Advocate above all rulers and forces of this world. To explain this sovereign power Paul mentions virtually every dimension of authority and strength that we would recognize in this world, from political rule to physical might to spiritual forces in this age and in the age to come, and says simply that Jesus is greater than them all. He is the head of everything. And this great power that is at work in our behalf is church power. What Christ is doing with his power is “for the church” (Eph. 1:22c).

We might expect the apostle to say that what Christ is doing with his power is “for believers” or “for you,” instead of “for the church.” He could have said such things and been perfectly consistent with what he writes elsewhere. Christ does express his resurrection and sovereign power in behalf of us as individuals, but that is not Paul’s point here. The point that the apostle is making is that the power of Christ is expressed not merely for individuals, but for the church of which you and I are only a part. He who created all things and who is the head of all things and who continues to fill all things is ordering all things in the interest of the church. There are powerful implications for those who gather corporately to worship God and to learn to fulfill his purposes.

We cannot truly fathom the magnitude of the apostle’s promise that Christ, who is head over all things, is filling creation with his purposes for the church. The universe is being constrained in its course, bent in new directions, for the good of the bride of Christ. As much as our perceptions may seem to deny this truth, the battles that rage, the leaders that rise, the events that occur do not thwart his agenda. History inexorably marches forward toward the triumph of the church of Jesus Christ. He is using all things (including the tragedies of a fallen world) to shape and reshape the world for her sake. The whole creation is being conformed to purposes that serve the glory of Christ’s church. This is a compelling reason to be a part of the church. The entire world is Christ’s bouquet to his bride, the church. But how does he prepare this bouquet? What instrument is Christ using to fill up the earth with his eternal purposes? It is the church.

The Hope Here (22c–23)

Jesus is “the head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Eph. 1:22c–23). That for which the universe is being filled is itself the instrument of his filling. Jesus is changing the world for the good of the church by means of the church. Jesus said, “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matt. 18:20). This is more than a wedding song sentiment; it is a battle charge. It is the declaration of the divine groom that he will be present to protect and promote his bride. He who is head over all things and gives the universe its full purpose also fills the church that gathers in his name. As such the church, the body of Christ, is the present instrument of his filling the universe with his purpose. The eternal, universe-conforming power of God is present in the world through the church, and this power is working in the world for the church.

This filling of the world with Christ’s purpose for and through the church is the corporate hope we alone possess. No other agency on earth has this promise. God gives no other institution the promise or the power that it will be salt and light in the world. The world will ultimately and eternally yield to the influence of the church, because it is the body of him who is head over all and, thus, it contains and exerts his power in behalf of his own glory. Our mission does not end at the threshold of the church door, nor is it limited to matters the world calls “religious.” All of culture is our domain, all enterprises are of our interest, and all that is beautiful is ours to enjoy and cultivate. All that is here he is head over. Therefore we have a right to be concerned for it and to bring it under the lordship of him for whom it was created and for whose glory it is designed.

The way that the apostle expresses this power and purpose of the church has caused no little consternation for commentators through the ages because of the uncompromising nature of his words. The church is the fullness of him who fills everything; thus she completes his purpose for him even as he designs everything for her. The complexity of Paul’s “fullness” language can be seen especially in Ephesians (Eph. 1:23; 3:19; 4:10, 13) and Colossians (Col. 1:19; 2:9–10). In Ephesians 1:23, the term “fullness” most naturally refers to the “body,” that is, the church (see also Eph. 3:19; cf. Col. 2:10). Similarly, because Paul elsewhere conveys that the fullness of God “fills” the believers (Eph. 3:19), it is apparent here that Christ is the one who fills the church (plēroumenou here being considered a middle voice). Thus the NIV accurately translates this phrase: “which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Eph. 1:23).

The church is God’s instrument for world transformation and renewal. Some have interpreted this to mean that the church should seek to amass financial, political, or even military power to impose Christ’s will upon the nations. More instructive is Paul’s own unfolding of these truths in the remainder of this epistle. His following words do not frame a political, marketing, or military strategy but, rather, are a blueprint for the ministry of local churches that will produce mutual love and personal purity so that believers are prepared for godly service in every dimension of their lives. The church is called to be the church so that by her proclamation of the gospel in word and deed her people will be prepared to advance his kingdom wherever he calls them to be salt and light in the world.

The role of the church in world transformation needs to be emphasized so that all will realize how noble is the calling to lead and support her. The church is the primary instrument of the glory of Christ in this earth. If you work within her to tell the world of the hope, the resources, and the power that he provides, then the Lord is conforming all of life and history to your purposes because the church you serve fulfills purposes for which the world itself was created. With the church’s ultimate triumph before our eyes, we may understand more and more the corporate purposes to which our God calls us, and the mandates he gives.

First, the corporate purpose of the church indicates that we are part of a body, where there may be no mavericks. In an individualistic culture we can forget this. We can talk about changing the culture, being salt and light, taking the message of Christ into the marketplace and, with the best of intent, think almost entirely in terms of personal, autonomous efforts. In accord with our Western culture’s habits and interests, we think primarily in egocentric terms: what I will do, how I will change an industry, an artistic field, or a political movement. While we do have individual responsibilities, we do not fulfill our calling if we seek to influence the culture without the church.

The corporate calling of the church also means that there can be no deserters. To move forward without her is not only to move beyond our spiritual supply lines; it is to declare the body of Christ, his bride, irrelevant to us or contrary to our causes. This can be quite easy to do because the church can be intolerant, intractable, tradition-bound, blind to her duty, and a pain to endure. She can be an ugly bride. But she is the beloved of Christ and the only instrument that will ultimately fulfill his purposes on this earth. That is why she is worth the effort, and worth the dedication of our lives.

The corporate destiny of the church means, too, that there should be no despair. For all of her weaknesses—including the carping of her people and the failures of her leaders—she is the means that Christ will use to fill the world with his glory. And despite her setbacks and her apparent losses, the church will not be stopped. Those who serve her can have no higher calling. Despite all of her weakness, there is no more powerful an organization of hope in the world than a body of believers loving one another, helping and forgiving one another, praying for the work of Christ in their midst, supporting each other in joy and in sorrow, equipping disciples, showing mercy to outsiders, and praising the God who enables it all. The cumulative effect of multiple churches so living is the world’s greatest power for good.

Ultimately, the corporate promises to the church mean that there should be no surrender. Those who have the eyes of their heart opened to the heavenly purpose that God commits to the church are a power that the world cannot restrain. She is the fullness of him who is head over all things, whose power fills everything in every way. The riches of heaven are outpoured in her behalf. This is our hope and, by the power of God, it is the church’s certainty. We are part of the movement of God that all creation bows to honor.

In the early days of the French Reformation, the Huguenots grew with a force that was supernatural. As many as three thousand churches grew within one seven-year period. It was easy to see the “incomparably great power” of Christ in those years. But soon the Catholic French monarchy had enough of this new Protestantism, and in a series of edicts, imprisonments, and massacres destroyed the movement. Tens of thousands tried to flee the country, but being a religious refugee was itself a crime punishable by imprisonment or death. So while thousands fled, many more were forced to stay and worship in secret.

This commitment to private worship, we readily understand. What is less clear to us is why during this time the people continued to insist on finding hidden places to worship corporately. They fashioned communion sets that could be ingeniously dismantled and hidden inside books or flour sacks. Pulpits were constructed out of wire and sheets that could be folded into nondescript piles of laundry when not in use. One pulpit from that time was fashioned so that it could be collapsed into the shape of a wine barrel and, then, like a modern child’s robotic transformer, be unfolded into a massive wooden pulpit. But why would the Huguenots exert all that effort? After all, during those years, if a congregation was caught worshiping without the king’s approval, the minister would be executed, the other men would be sent to the galleys for life, the women would be imprisoned for life, and children would be taken away to be raised in state-sponsored religious schools. At times, whole villages were tortured until the people as a whole professed their allegiance to the state church. Surely in those years the people wondered where was the “incomparably great power” for those who believe.

Today a little farmhouse nestled into the French countryside holds the modest museum that commemorates the Huguenots. Inside is a white marble wall. On that stark wall appear the names of men and women who were executed, condemned to galleys, tortured, or imprisoned for life. Many suffered greatly, and surely in their day it was difficult to see the prevailing power of Christ as their churches were exterminated. Who could have blamed the people if, for their individual safety, they had abandoned the worship and practices of the corporate body? We struggle today to see the purpose the eyes of their hearts so clearly saw as they committed themselves to the church.

Yet after I visited that farmhouse museum in France, I was blessed by a glimpse of what the French Reformers saw. I continued on to Budapest to minister to pastors from Hungary, Romania, and the Ukraine. Through their heroic efforts the work of Christ has endured in nations oppressed by atheistic Communist rule for two generations. I spoke to men who also were tortured, threatened, and had their children taken by the government. These men too had endured for the sake of a purpose larger than their own lives. And when I asked them their reason, they told me that they were the descendants of the Huguenots. They were the offspring of the faithful few who escaped from their French homeland four centuries ago, as God seeded the world with the salt and light of their testimony and his truth.

With this testimony, I suddenly realized what I was witnessing: “the incomparably great power for us who believe.” In the time since the Huguenots’ persecution, kings and kingdoms have come and gone, governments and philosophies have risen and fallen, dictators and oppressors have ruled and faded, but through it all the church of Jesus Christ carrying the message of his eternal love and final rule has endured. The gates of hell have not prevailed against it, and they shall not. Christ shall have dominion, and he will use his church to bring his rule to the hearts of his people throughout the world.

Now God calls us to be a part of this ongoing mission to take the church into the world, with the eyes of our heart opened to his truth and to his triumph. I will not pretend that the challenges will be small or without pain, but I can promise that our efforts will not be in vain. However small we may feel our influence, however opposed may be our efforts, however weak may seem our strength, those engaged in the work of the church are members of the agency that God has determined will exert his power for the transformation of this world. Our Lord calls us to a good and a great work. May the eyes of our heart be opened to what he is doing in and through us so that we always speak of the hope, the riches, and the power that are the possession of those God calls his own for the glory of Christ Jesus our Savior.[3]

22 Continuing his explication of God’s power begun in v. 20, Paul states, third, that God subjected all things under Christ’s feet (an allusion to Ps 8:6; cf. 110:1). Paul also describes Christ’s universal authority in 1 Corinthians 15:24–28, when at the end Christ triumphs over all (also citing Ps 8:6). The point is clear: he brooks no rivals. And Christ is not only superior to the “powers”; they submit to him. Despite this, the battles still rage for Christians because, though they reign with Christ in the heavenly realms, the powers also reside there (cf. esp. 6:10–20)! All things are not yet summed up in Christ, though we are assured that they will be and that he will reign supreme.

Fourth, God “gave” (NIV, “appointed”) Christ to be head (kephalē, GK 3051) over all things to or for the church. In other words, Christ’s overall supremacy benefits the church, for it shares in his authority. Clearly “head” points to Christ’s superior rank or status (cf. BDAG, 542; L&N, 87.51), a meaning Paul also employs in 1 Corinthans 11:3 and Colossians 2:10. In Paul’s use here, Christ is the head or chief not solely over the church (as he will assert in 4:15; 5:23) but over “all things” (the entire cosmos) for the church (the first of Paul’s nine uses of ekklēsia [GK 1711] in Ephesians).

Ekklēsia was a common secular Greek term referring to a gathering or assembly of people. A term used in the LXX for the community of Israel (e.g., Dt 31:30; Jdg 20:2), it was readily applied by Christians to their own congregations. In Paul’s usage it became the technical term to identify the Christian body. Applied regularly in the NT to local assemblies or house churches (e.g., Mt 18:17; Ro 16:5; 1 Co 11:18; 14:4–5, 12, 19, 28, 33, 35; 16:19; Col 4:15; Phm 2; 3 Jn 6), “church” in Ephesians mainly denotes the wider or universal body of believers (1:22; 3:10, 21; 5:23–25, 27, 29, 32), though that sense is not limited to Ephesians or to Paul.[4]

22  “He subjected all things beneath his feet” is a quotation from Ps. 8:6. In the psalm, which repeats the language used of the creation of man in Gen. 1:26–28, wondering adoration is expressed at the contemplation of the honor which the Creator has bestowed on man, giving him dominion over the works of his hands. In the NT the words of the psalm are applied to Christ as the last Adam, notably by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:27 and by the writer to the Hebrews in Heb. 2:6–9. In 1 Cor. 15:24–28 the words of Ps. 8:6 are linked with those of Ps. 110:1, “Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool,” the “enemies” being identified as “every principality and every power and might.”153 Here there is no express reference to the subjection of enemies beneath the feet of Christ; even so, the mention in v. 20 of his session at the right hand of God makes it probable that the clause immediately following “Sit at my right hand” was not remote from the writer’s mind.

Christ, then, exercises universal lordship, and in particular God has given him as “head over all things”—that is, “supreme head”—to the church. If “head” be understood in the sense of origin, then Christ is divinely appointed as source of the church’s life, and with the insistence on his universal lordship goes the implication that he is also the church’s lord.”155 In Colossians the statements that Christ is “the head of the body, the church” (1:18) and “head of every principality and power” (2:10) appear in separate contexts; here they are brought together.157 Here indeed the word “head” is not explicitly used (as it is in Col. 2:10) to denote his supremacy over principalities and powers or the rest of creation. Moreover, there is a difference in character between his supremacy over the latter and his headship over the church. The principalities and powers, insofar at least as they are hostile, “are subjected, put down by force, and are placed under Christ’s feet by victory. On the other hand, the Church is one with him, even if she is subjected to him. Over her he exercises a supremacy only of sanctification and love, and force does not come into it at all.”[5]

“In Christ” (vv. 20–23)

The riches of our inheritance and the power of God to bless and save his people have been “brought about in Christ” (v. 20). In fact, the chief exhibitions of God’s power, Paul says in these verses, are the resurrection, ascension, and Kingship of Jesus. “If you want to know just how powerful God is,” Paul seems to be saying, “consider how he raised Jesus from the dead [v. 20], how he seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places [v. 20], and how he put all rule, authority, power, and dominion in subjection under his feet [vv. 21–22].”

Remember that some of these Ephesians had been converted to Christ out of paganism and satanic oppression. They were accustomed to “power.” They had lived their whole lives under the “rule and authority and power and dominion” that Paul speaks of in verse 21—demonic power that sought to steal from and destroy them. But now God, by “the surpassing greatness of His power,” had raised Jesus from the dead, seated him on the heavenly throne, and put all the dark forces “in subjection” under his feet (v. 22). The Ephesians, therefore, were no longer under the power of despotic and demonic gods who only sought to steal, kill, and destroy. Christ defeated those powers and brought his Ephesian people under his own generous power and rule. The same is true for all who believe. Jesus is our new King, the “head over all things to the church.” Moreover, unlike the forces that once controlled our lives, he is a kind, benevolent King! That is why we have every spiritual blessing, Paul says: because lovely Jesus has been crowned as our King, and because we are part of “His body” (v. 23).

In these final verses, Paul is really saying what he has already said numerous times throughout this first chapter of Ephesians. The reason why Christians are so blessed and receive so much good from God’s hand is because of God’s kindness and power toward us “in Christ”! Those who believe have “every spiritual blessing” in him![6]

1:22 / The apostle presses on with thoughts of Christ’s supremacy, using images characteristic of a royal court, where the defeated foes pay homage to their victor: God placed all things under his feet. This appears to be an obvious quotation from Psalm 110:1 and, as applied to Christ, illustrates his conquest of all spiritual enemies and his authority over them.

Sometimes the readers of the nt find it difficult to interpret and apply this principle of Christ’s sovereignty because it uses ancient cosmological concepts and is stated in mythic and poetic language unfamiliar to modern people. The tendency is either to dismiss the language as irrelevant and nonsensical or to demythologize it.

1. Barth has made an attempt to understand the apostle’s thoughts by probing into the history, essence, and function of these spiritual powers. From his study, he concludes that “Paul means by principalities and powers those institutions and structures by which earthly matters and invisible realms are administered, and without which no human life is possible” (Eph. 1–3, p. 174). Barth includes categories such as kings, procurators, senators, judges, and high priests, who function in political, financial, juridical, and ecclesiastical offices. C. L. Mitton carries this even further and wonders about substituting for principalities and powers the “evil powers in our contemporary world [such] as racism, nationalism, hate, fear, uncurbed sexual desire, drug addiction, alcoholism, etc. As with ‘principalities and powers,’ before these the individual feels helpless even though he recognizes their power to destroy the best things in human life” (p. 72).[7]

2. And gave him to be the head. He was made the head of the Church, on the condition that he should have the administration of all things. The apostle shews that it was not a mere honorary title, but was accompanied by the entire command and government of the universe. The metaphor of a head denotes the highest authority. I am unwilling to dispute about a name, but we are driven to it by the base conduct of those who flatter the Romish idol. Since Christ alone is called “the head,” all others, whether angels or men, must rank as members; so that he who holds the highest place among his fellows is still one of the members of the same body. And yet they are not ashamed to make an open avowal that the Church will be ἀκέφαλον, without a head, if it has not another head on earth besides Christ. So small is the respect which they pay to Christ, that, if he obtain undivided the honour which his Father has bestowed upon him, the Church is supposed to be disfigured. This is the basest sacrilege. But let us listen to the Apostle, who declares that the Church is His body, and, consequently, that those who refuse to submit to Him are unworthy of its communion; for on Him alone the unity of the Church depends.[8]

22. put … underGreek, “put in subjection under” (Ps 8:6; 1 Co 15:27).

gave … to the church—for her special advantage. The Greek order is emphatic: “him He gave as Head over all things to the Church.” Had it been anyone save HIM, her Head, it would not have been the boon it is to the Church. But as He is Head over all things who is also her Head (and she the body), all things are hers (1 Co 3:21–23). He is over (“far above”) all things; in contrast to the words, “to the Church,” namely, for her advantage. The former are subject; the latter is joined with Him in His dominion over them. “Head” implies not only His dominion, but our union; therefore, while we look upon Him at the right hand of God, we see ourselves in heaven (Rev 3:21). For the Head and body are not severed by anything intervening, else the body would cease to be the body, and the Head cease to be the Head [Pearson from Chrysostom].[9]

Ver. 22.—And put all things under his feet; a strong, figurative expression, denoting high sovereignty. It does not refer merely to defeated and arrested enemies, but to the whole of creation and the fulness thereof. They are as thoroughly under Christ and at his disposal as if they were literally under his feet. As a military commander, proceeding even through his own country, has power to requisition everything needful for his army, and deal with all property as may be required for military purposes, so Christ has the whole creation at his disposal, animate and inanimate, hostile and friendly. And gave him to be Head over all things to the Church. The exaltation of Christ is not merely an honour conferred on himself, but has also a definite practical purpose; it is for the benefit of the Church. God gave him to the Church as all things Head over. The gift of Christ to the Church is the gift of One who has sovereign authority over all things. The official subordination of Christ to the Father is recognized throughout this remarkable passage. So in Philippians, though he was “in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” It is this Jesus, in the form of a servant and in the likeness of men, that is now Head over all things, and as such given by the Father to the Church. With such a Head, what need the Church fear, and what can she want?[10]

22, 23. Accordingly, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory manifested his infinite might when he raised Christ from the dead and made him to sit at his right hand and he ranged everything in subjection under his feet. In him, as the Ideal Man (“Son of Man” as well as “Son of God”) Psalm 8 (of which verse 6 is here quoted; cf. LXX Ps. 8:7) attains its absolute fulfilment. See also 1 Cor. 15:27 and Heb. 2:8. The expression “everything” or “all things” must not be narrowed down to “all things in the church.” Nor does it merely include such things as “sheep and oxen, the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas” (Ps. 8:7, 8). Though, in a very limited manner, mankind, even after the fall, exercises a degree of dominion over these “lower” creatures, the sway that he thus wields is nothing compared to Christ’s universal sovereignty, a dominion from which absolutely nothing that exists is excluded. Therefore nothing can prevent the realization of the believers’ “hope.” Nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of their acquisition and enjoyment, to the full, of that glorious “inheritance” of which they have a foretaste even here and now. Moreover, God’s power does not lie dormant. In a manner that was clearly exhibited in Christ’s exaltation it is being used for the government of the universe in the interest of the church. Hence, Paul continues: and him he gave as head over everything to the church, since43 it is his body …; that is, since he is so intimately and indissolubly united with it and loves it with such profound, boundless, and steadfast love. It is the closeness of the bond, the unfathomable character of the love between Christ and his church that is stressed by this head-body symbolism, as is clearly indicated in 5:25–33. In this connection an important fact must not be ignored, namely, that throughout the letter Paul emphasizes God’s (or Christ’s) great love for his people, and the love they owe him and one another in return (1:5; 2:4; 3:19; 4:1, 2; 5:1, 2ff.; 6:23, 24). There is not a single chapter in which this theme is not stressed. One who has not grasped this point does not understand Ephesians!

In the twin epistles, Colossians and Ephesians, the figure head-body appears for the first time in Paul’s epistles, to indicate the relation between Christ and his church. It is true, of course, that here in Eph. 1:22, 23 Christ is not actually said to be the head of the church but rather “head over everything to the church … his body.” But this manner of expressing it merely enhances the beauty of the symbolism. The meaning, then, is this: since the church is Christ’s body, with which he is organically united, he loves it so much that in its interest he exercises his infinite power in causing the entire universe with all that is in it to co-operate, whether willingly or unwillingly. Accordingly, the idea Christ the Ruling Head over everything (cf. Col. 2:10) does not cancel but rather strengthens and adorns the clearly implied doctrine Christ the Ruling (and Organic) Head of the Church (cf. Eph. 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:19). When, therefore, many commentators, dogmaticians, as well as the Heidelberg Catechism (Lord’s Day XIX, edition with textual references, Q. and A. 50) appeal to Eph. 1:20–23, among other passages, in support of the position that Christ is head of the church, they are not committing an error. For further remarks on Christ’s headship see above, on verse 10; also N.T.C. on Colossians, pp. 76–78, the latter particularly for the distinction between ruling and organic headship.

As a further description of the church as body of Christ, Paul adds: the fulness of him who fills all in all.

The argument with respect to the exact meaning of fulness in this particular case covers many pages in scores of commentaries. With due respect for the reasoning of those who defend other theories, and whose pleas in corroboration of their views have been examined in detail, I have, after lengthy study reached the conclusion that the following is the correct interpretation: the church is Christ’s complement. In other words:

“This is the highest honor of the church, that, until he is united to us, the Son of God reckons himself in some measure imperfect. What consolation it is for us to learn that, not until we are in his presence, does he possess all his parts, or does he wish to be regarded as complete.” (John Calvin in his comments on this passage. See Bibliography for title of work.) With variations as to detail, this view, namely, that the church is, indeed, represented here as filling or completing him who fills all in all, is also defended by Abbott, Barry, Bruce, Grosheide, Hodge, Lenski, Simpson, and many others.

This interpretation to which I, along with all of those just mentioned, cling does not in any degree or manner detract from the absolute majesty or self-sufficiency of Christ. As to his divine essence Christ is in no sense whatever dependent on or capable of being completed by the church. But as bridegroom he is incomplete without the bride; as vine he cannot be thought of without the branches; as shepherd he is not seen without his sheep; and so also as head he finds his full expression in his body, the church.

There are also the following additional reasons that have induced me to regard this interpretation as being the correct one:

(1) The fact that the One who fills all in all does, nevertheless, have that which fills or completes him, is clearly taught by Christ himself and also by his disciple John (John 6:56; 15:4, 5; 17–21; 1 John 3:24). “Abide in me, and I in you” shows that not only are the branches incomplete apart from the vine—which is the point that is stressed in John 15—but, in a sense, the vine also finds fulfilment in the branches.

(2) In Col. 1:24 Paul speaks about himself as “supplying what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.” There is a sense in which the church, as it were, completes Christ’s suffering. See N.T.C. on Col. 1:24. Those, therefore, who reject the idea that the church is the complement of the Christ, will experience great difficulty in interpreting Col. 1:24. Similarly, the church recapitulates Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom. 6:4, 5; Col. 2:20; 3:1; 2 Tim. 2:11, 12).

(3) The head-body metaphor, when interpreted as meaning that the body fills or completes the head, resulting in an organic unity, so that the body carries out the will and purpose of the head, makes good sense. Christ uses the church in the realization of his plan in the government of the world and for the salvation of sinners.

(4) The idea stressed by Calvin, namely, that Christ refuses to regard himself as complete until he possesses all his parts, also harmonizes beautifully with the love-motif which, as I have shown, dominates this entire epistle.

(5) The description of the church as “the fulness of him who fills all in all” is, indeed, a “tremendous paradox” (to use Lenski’s expression, op. cit., p. 403). This, too, is exactly what we expect to find in Paul. Oxymora or seeming contradictions abound in his writings: “They are not all Israel that are of Israel” (Rom. 9:6). “In everything we commend ourselves … as deceivers, yet true: as unknown, yet well-known; as (dying but behold we live; … as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:4–10). “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). It is Paul who wants the Thessalonians to be ambitious about living calmly (1 Thess. 4:11). And in this very epistle of Ephesians he speaks about knowing the love of God that passes knowledge (3:19)! The paradox of Eph. 1:23 fits nicely into this style category.

Commenting on the words “of him who fills all in all” Calvin continues as follows, “This is added to guard against the supposition that any real defect would exist in Christ if he were separated from us. His desire to be filled and, in some respects, to be made perfect in us, arises from no want or necessity; for all that is good in ourselves, or in any of the creatures, is the gift of his hand.”

The words “who fills all in all” mean that Christ fills all the universe in all respects; that is, the entire universe is not only dependent on him for the fulfilment of its every need but is also governed by him in the interest of the church, which, in turn, must serve the universe, and is replenished by his bounteous gifts. Thus he is constantly pervading all things with his love and power (cf. Jer. 23:24; 1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:7). I agree with the statement of Roels, “Paul most probably refers to the fact that the Christ, exalted over all, is now involved in the historical realization of the already accomplished reconciliation of the universe by directing all things to their determined, divinely appointed, end” (op. cit., p. 248).

With such a Christ as the Eternal Foundation of its salvation the church has nothing to fear. Its hope will be realized, its inheritance fully enjoyed.[11]

19b–23 The saving power of God revealed in the resurrection-exaltation of Christ. Because he is the truly representative Man, his resurrection and glorification are a picture of what God will accomplish in us (cf. 1 Cor. 15:45–49; Phil. 3:21). There is, of course, a difference: the authority invested in Jesus through his exaltation is unique, even though there is a sense in which we share in it (see 2:6). But this very difference leads Paul to another way of assuring the Ephesians of God’s power in them, for he finishes by saying that the Jesus who is given all power is given by God to the church, which he fills (22–23). That, of course, means that the full authority and power invested in Jesus is at work in the church.

The assertions of both Jesus’ resurrection and his exaltation to God’s right hand (20) were traditional in the church, and the latter is phrased in the language of Ps. 110:1 (cf. Acts 2:34–36; Rom. 8:34; Col. 3:1 and Heb. 1:3, 13). It speaks of Jesus’ enthronement as cosmic ruler who is given the place of honour in the heavenly circle (hence in the heavenly realms). Jesus has not been removed from earthly influence by ascension, precisely the opposite: he has been moved to the place of ultimate influence over matters on earth. Thus no other powers or potentates, in the world or in the heavens, whether good or evil, can compare; his authority, as the one at God’s right hand, is over all (21). The original readers would have seen the point: none of the powers they were prone to fear could compare with Jesus.

Whereas in Ps. 110:1 God bids the heavenly Lord sit at his right hand ‘until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’, v 22a here insists God has placed all things under Jesus’ feet. This is not failure to be realistic about the continuation of evil, but a switch from the language of Ps. 110 to that of Ps. 8:6. (Paul does the same at 1 Cor. 15:25–27.) Jesus is hereby portrayed as a second Adam who is given the task of exercising dominion over the cosmos. As such he is head over everything (22b), that is, ruler or master, a sense of ‘head’ well attested in biblical Greek and beyond. The point of what follows in v 22b is then best rendered by the reb: God ‘gave him as head of all things to the church’. Paul could hardly have given a more dramatic portrayal of the power at work in the church but, to emphasize it further, he describes the church in two distinct ways.

First, he calls the church Christ’s body (23a). In 1 Corinthians the church as Christ’s ‘body’ includes its own ears, eyes and head (1 Cor. 12:16–21)—it is a whole body belonging to Jesus and intimately united with him (1 Cor. 6:15; 12:12). This is probably meant here too, not that the church is merely a headless torso, for which Jesus is himself the head; for v 22 describes Jesus as head of the cosmos, not the church, and uses ‘head’ in the sense of ‘ruler’, not anatomical part. But to describe the church as his ‘body’ so soon after describing Jesus as ‘head’ almost inevitably highlights at least the connotation of union between them (cf. 4:16; 5:23, 28 and the even more striking, ‘he is the head of the body, the church’ at Col. 1:18).

23 goes on to describe Jesus as the one who fills everything in every way (cf. 4:10). To ‘fill’ is a metaphor for ‘become present to, and active in respect of’ or ‘extend influence, or rule, over’. As ‘head’ over all things, Jesus ‘fills’ them; he thus begins to fulfil the mystery spoken of in vs 9–10, he begins the task of subjugating rebellion and drawing all things into unity and harmony in himself. But, says Paul, it is supremely the church which is his fulness (i.e the thing he fills)—and he will explain this more fully in 2:1–22.

In sum, Paul prays that his readers will understand that the power at work in the church is the presence of that same power which will bring about the new creation, a new universe in total harmony, united under Christ. In her union with Christ the church has already received a foretaste of that end.[12]

1:19–23. The third fact Paul wanted believers to know pertains to the present time: His incomparably great power for us who believe. The word “power” (dynamis; cf. 3:20) means a spiritually dynamic and living force. This power of God is directed toward believers. Paul then used three additional words to describe God’s power. It is according to the working (energeian, “energetic power,” from which comes the Eng. “energy”) of the might (kratous, “power that overcomes resistance,” as in Christ’s miracles; this word is used only of God, never of believers) of God’s inherent strength (ischyos) which He provides (cf. 6:10; 1 Peter 4:11). This magnificent accumulation of words for power underscores the magnitude of God’s “great power” available to Christians.

Then Paul mentioned three manifestations of God’s power which are seen in Christ (Eph. 1:20–23). First, this energetic power was exerted (enērgēken) in Christ when God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms. God’s energetic power which resurrected and exalted Christ in the past (cf. Rom. 8:34; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22) is the same power available to believers in the present (cf. Phil. 3:10). What an amazing source of spiritual vitality, power, and strength for living the Christian life! (cf. Col. 1:11) Christ’s Ascension to the right hand of God involves His being exalted above every order of authority (cf. Col. 1:16), human and superhuman (cf. Phil. 2:8–11), whether present (in the present Age) or future (the Age to come; cf. 1 Cor. 15:23–28). The words rule and authority, power and dominion may refer primarily to angelic beings (cf. Rom. 8:38; Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:15; Titus 3:1).

A second manifestation of God’s power in Christ is seen in His placing all things under Christ’s feet. Whereas Adam lost his headship over Creation when he sinned, Christ was made Head over all Creation (cf. Eph. 1:10). This will be fully realized in the future (Ps. 8:6; 1 Cor. 15:27; Heb. 2:6–8).

The third manifestation of God’s power in Christ is His appointment of Christ as Head over … the church. Though the final manifestation of Christ’s headship over all Creation will be in the future, He is now Head over the fellowship of believers. He is also called the church’s “Head” in Ephesians 4:15; 5:23; and Colossians 1:18. Though the church is implied in Ephesians 1:10, it is specifically mentioned for the first time in Ephesians in verse 22b. The church is His body (v. 23; cf. 4:4, 15–16; Col. 1:18). His body, the universal church consisting of all believers, is the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. The meaning of this description of His body is difficult to determine. The verb “fills” can be taken passively, meaning that Christ, the Head of the body, is filled by the church. That is, as the church grows it completes Christ. However, it is better to understand the word “fills” as in the Greek middle voice: Christ, the Head of the body, fills (for Himself) the church with blessings. The verse could then be rendered, “which is His body, which is being filled by the One who fills all things with all things (blessings).” This interpretation is preferred for these reasons: (1) Nowhere else does the New Testament state that Christ finds fullness from the church. (2) This view fits the context well because the Persons of the Godhead are completing the actions (cf. Eph. 1:10). (3) This view correlates well with 4:10–11 which speaks of Christ giving all things (“the whole universe” is lit., “all things”), namely, gifted people to the church.

This ends Paul’s prayer. After demonstrating that believers have all spiritual blessings (1:3–14), Paul prayed that believers would come to know God intimately (v. 17) in order that they might know three facts: (1) the past call of salvation that produced hope (v. 18), (2) the future inheritance that God has in His saints (v. 18), and (3) the present power of God that is available to believers, which (a) was manifested in the past in Christ’s resurrection and Ascension, (b) will be manifested in the future in Christ’s headship over Creation, and (c) is presently manifested in Christ’s headship over the church.[13]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 48–49). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 39–44). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[3] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 70–76). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 60–61). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 274–275). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] Strassner, K. (2014). Opening up Ephesians (pp. 38–39). Leominster: Day One.

[7] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 171). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[8] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 217–218). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 344). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[10] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ephesians (p. 8). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[11] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, pp. 102–106). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[12] Turner, M. (1994). Ephesians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1228). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[13] Hoehner, H. W. (1985). Ephesians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 620–621). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

September 4 Three Dimensions of Freedom

scripture reading: Psalm 20
key verse: Psalm 20:6

I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

Many times what we think will lead to freedom ends up leading to bondage. In his book Living Free in Christ, Neil Anderson discusses our freedom as God’s children:

The most practical, present benefit of being a child of God is freedom. Being a servant of sin is bondage; being a servant of God is freedom.

As one who belongs to God, we have freedom in three ways:

First, we are free from the law. The law says “don’t do this” in order to be righteous, but Galatians 5:1 says, “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” … Living by the Spirit gives life and liberty.

Second, we are free from the past. “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son.” As children of God, we are no longer products of our past; we have a new heritage.

Third, we can be free from sin. The only means by which we are capable of doing this is to realize that we have been bought with a price and that the Holy Spirit now lives in us, enabling us to live our lives for Him, free from sin’s bondage.

But the choice is still ours. Say no to sin, and you will experience a freedom that our lost world can only dream of knowing.

I am free from the law. I am free from the past. I am free from sin. I make the choice, O Lord, to live in Your freedom.[1]

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

4 september (1859) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Christ triumphant

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:15

suggested further reading: Isaiah 63:1–6

I might describe the mighty pictures at the end of the procession; for in the old Roman triumph, the deeds of the conqueror were all depicted in paintings. The towns he had taken, the rivers he had passed, the provinces he had subdued, the battles he had fought, were represented in pictures and exposed to the view of the people, who with great festivity and rejoicing, accompanied him in throngs, or beheld from the windows of their houses, and filled the air with their acclamations and applauses. I might present to you first of all the picture of hell’s dungeons blown to atoms. Satan had prepared deep in the depths of darkness a prison-house for God’s elect; but Christ has not left one stone upon another. On the picture I see the chains broken in pieces, the prison doors burnt with fire, and all the depths shaken to their foundations. On another picture I see heaven open to all believers; I see the gates that were fast shut heaved open by the golden lever of Christ’s atonement. I see another picture, the grave despoiled; I behold Jesus in it, slumbering for awhile, and then rolling away the stone and rising to immortality and glory. But we cannot stay to describe these mighty pictures of the victories of his love. We know that the time shall come when the triumphant procession shall cease, when the last of his redeemed shall have entered into the city of happiness and of joy, and when with the shout of a trumpet heard for the last time, he shall ascend to heaven, and take his people up to reign with God, even our Father, for ever and ever, world without end.

for meditation: The victory and triumph (or victory parade) are Christ’s alone; if you are a Christian, your part in his victory procession is to be found in 2 Corinthians 2:14.

sermon no. 273[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 254). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Wednesday Briefing September 4, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com


 Can a Religious School Actually Operate by Its Own Religious Convictions? The Intentional Subversion of Religious Exemptions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act


 Why Are Lesbian Communities Shrinking? How the Inevitable Collision Between the Gender Binary and the LGBTQ Revolution Helps Explain It


 Hey Dude, You Can’t Use Those Gendered Words at Summer Camp Anymore: When the LGBTQ Revolution Goes to Camp


 Lara Spencer Faces Backlash Over “Insensitive” Comments about Prince George Taking Ballet, But Why?







4 SEPTEMBER 365 Days with Calvin

Grieving the Holy Spirit

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 3:13–23

Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, every part of our soul and our body ought to be devoted to him. If we give ourselves up to anything that is impure, we may rightly be said to be driving him away from making his abode with us. To express this in more familiar terms, human affections such as joy and grief are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. So we are to endeavor that the Holy Spirit may dwell cheerfully with us, as in a pleasant and joyful dwelling, and give him no occasion for grief.

We are sealed by the Spirit, Paul says. Because God has sealed us by his Spirit, we grieve him when we do not follow his guidance and pollute ourselves by wicked passions. No language can adequately express this solemn truth that the Holy Spirit rejoices and is glad on our account when we are obedient to him in all things and do not think nor speak anything but what is pure and holy. On the other hand, he is grieved when we admit anything into our minds that is unworthy of our calling.

Now, let us reflect what shocking wickedness there must be in grieving the Holy Spirit to such a degree that it compels him to withdraw from us. The same truth is expressed by the prophet Isaiah, but in a different sense, for he says people “vexed his Holy Spirit” (Isa. 63:10) in the same sense in which we are accustomed to speak of vexing the mind of a man.

The Spirit of God is the seal by which we are distinguished from the wicked. It is impressed on our hearts as a sure evidence of adoption.

for meditation: Several minutes of quiet reflection on the dreadfulness of grieving God Almighty should be a great impetus to new obedience. In what ways could you be grieving the Holy Spirit at the present time? What should you do about this?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 266). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

September 4 – Taking possession of what God gives — Reformed Perspective

My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. – Psalm 144:2

Scripture reading: Psalm 144

We noticed yesterday that the structure and exact words of the Psalm are important. God determines exactly which Words He wants to teach His truth. In this second verse of the Psalm, there are personal pronouns of covenant significance “attached” to each comment about an attribute or description of God. In other words, God is not just “a” fortress, rather He is “MY” fortress. These personal pronouns are exactly what God wants to say. He says that He is the fortress or high tower or shield for His people. Do you see what that means?!

“Since God is for us, who could be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Our personal application of this verse goes like this – since God sent His only begotten Son to save us (cf., John 3:16), He also promises to keep us safe, out of harm’s way and ultimately safe out of hell. No enemy can take us down. We need this confidence because, as a latter part of the Psalm will show us, we don’t always “feel” well, safe, protected and peaceful. We need to believe it and tell our feelings to trust God’s Word.

Have you had times in your life and experiences when your emotions got the best of you? Have you experienced fear and anxiety that has no realistic explanation? When we feel like that, we need a “High Tower.” God is our refuge and our strength (Psalm 46).  Ask this question: On this day is God MY mighty fortress?

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God to remind you that He is able to do all we need and more! (Ephesians 3:20)

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri.

via September 4 – Taking possession of what God gives — Reformed Perspective

How Sinful Is Man? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Imagine a circle that represents the character of mankind. Now imagine that if someone sins, a spot—a moral blemish of sorts—appears in the circle, marring the character of man. If other sins occur, more blemishes appear in the circle. Well, if sins continue to multiply, eventually the entire circle will be filled with spots and blemishes. But have things reached that point? Human character is clearly tainted by sin, but the debate is about the extent of that taint. The Roman Catholic Church holds the position that man’s character is not completely tainted, but that he retains a little island of righteousness. However, the Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century affirmed that the sinful pollution and corruption of fallen man is complete, rendering us totally corrupt.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about just what the Reformers meant by that affirmation. The term that is often used for the human predicament in classical Reformed theology is total depravity. People have a tendency to wince whenever we use that term because there’s very widespread confusion between the concept of total depravity and the concept of utter depravity. Utter depravity would mean that man is as bad, as corrupt, as he possibly could be. I don’t think that there’s a human being in this world who is utterly corrupt, but that’s only by the grace of God and by the restraining power of His common grace. As many sins as we have committed individually, we could have done worse. We could have sinned more often. We could have committed sins that were more heinous. Or we could have committed a greater number of sins. Total depravity, then, does not mean that men are as bad as they conceivably could be.

When the Protestant Reformers talked about total depravity, they meant that sin—its power, its influence, its inclination—affects the whole person. Our bodies are fallen, our hearts are fallen, and our minds are fallen—there’s no part of us that escapes the ravages of our sinful human nature. Sin affects our behavior, our thought life, and even our conversation. The whole person is fallen. That is the true extent of our sinfulness when judged by the standard and the norm of God’s perfection and holiness.

This excerpt is taken from The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul. To learn more about the true extent of human sinfulness download R.C. Sproul’s free Crucial Questions booklet Are People Basically Good?

via How Sinful Is Man? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

September 4, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

Blessing of Forgiveness (32:1–2)


1–2 By a twofold repetition of “blessed,” three synonyms for sin, and a threefold expression of forgiveness, the assurance of forgiveness is promised to the person “in whose spirit is no deceit” (v. 2). Forgiveness is freely and graciously given, regardless of whether it is of a “transgression,” “sin,” or “iniquity” (v. 2; NIV, “sin”). The three words for sin may in certain contexts connote different reactions to God and his commandments: (1) “transgression” (pešaʿ, GK 7322) is an act of rebellion and disloyalty (cf. TWOT 2:741–42); (2) “sin” (aṭāʾâ, GK 2631) is an act that misses—often intentionally—God’s expressed and revealed will (cf. TWOT 1:277); and (3) “sin” (ʿāwōn, GK 6411, “iniquity”) is a crooked or wrong act often associated with a conscious and intentional intent to do wrong (cf. TWOT 2:650). The three words here do not signify three distinct kinds of sin, since the synonyms overlap. The psalmist declares that the forgiveness of sin of whatever kind—whether against God or human beings, whether great or small, whether conscientious or inadvertent, or whether by omission or commission—is to be found in God.

The nature of the sin is not as important here as the blessedness of forgiveness. The three verbs express the absoluteness of divine forgiveness: (1) “are forgiven” (neśûy, GK 595l, lit., “carried away”) is the act of removal of sin, guilt, and the remembrance of sin (cf. TWOT 2:600); (2) “are covered” (kesûy, GK 4059) is the gracious act of atonement by which the sinner is reconciled and the sin becomes a matter of the past, so that the Lord no longer brings it up as a ground for his displeasure (cf. TWOT 1:448); (3) “does not count” (lōʾ yaḥšōb, GK 3108) expresses God’s attitude toward those forgiven as “justified” (cf. TWOT 1:330).

There is an expression of joyous excitement in these verses. The voice of wisdom is heard in the last colon, where the blessedness of forgiveness is contingent on integrity. The Lord hates those who purposely sin against him. God knows the “spirit” of humankind, whether the request for forgiveness is expressive of true repentance and sorrow for sin or merely of regret for the consequences. To teach the godly both the blessedness of forgiveness and the way of integrity, David has given us a psalm to lead the godly into the path of wisdom. The joy of forgiveness was a reality among the OT saints (cf. Ro 4:6–8). How great is the blessedness of all who have tasted God’s forgiveness in Christ (cf. 1 Jn 1:9)! But God expects no less than blamelessness in those whom he has forgiven (cf. Rev 14:5).[1]

1–2 The prayer opens with dual beatitudes, Happy is the one. Happy is not an adequate definition in modern English, for “happiness” has been significantly diminished by our consumer-driven culture. The Hebrew root means “to go straight” or “march forward” and indicates not a condition, but a way of life. In other psalms, this happiness comes from life choices and training, but here we learn that is not the entire formula, for one’s “happiness” is also completely dependent on God’s forgiving grace. First, the passive voice of v. 1 makes it clear that this is God’s action and not human. God forgives and God covers. Second, God restores this one back to a state of grace, so this one is restored to full humanity (v. 2).[2]

the blessedness of forgiveness (vv. 1–2)

Forgiveness was not a light thing to David. He regards himself as being ‘blessed’ in receiving it. By using the word ‘blessed’, he was essentially saying, ‘How very happy!’ David was happy to be forgiven.

If we do not share his appreciation for forgiveness, it is most certainly because we do not share his understanding of sin. Wrongdoing presupposes an objective standard of right and wrong. The Bible insists that God’s law is that standard.

David alludes to God’s standard of behaviour by the words he uses for his sin. He calls it ‘transgression’, which indicates the stepping over a known boundary. He calls it ‘sin’, which refers to missing a mark or a target. He calls it ‘iniquity’, which carries the idea of twisting something.

In each case, the thought is the same, namely, failing to live up to a standard. There is a boundary, there is a target, there is something that is straight and true, but sin steps over the boundary, misses the target, and twists the straight.

But the grace of forgiveness is ever sufficient for the sin. David had found it to be so. His sin had been forgiven and covered (v. 1). And iniquity was no longer imputed to him (v. 2). God had lifted the burden and carried it away. God had covered it from view. God had blotted out the handwriting of its indictment.[3]

32:1–2 / The liturgist begins by pronouncing a blessing on him whose transgressions are forgiven and thus brings center stage the psalm’s chief topic. Yahweh’s forgiveness is depicted by three images. “Forgiven” is literally “lifted up” (cf. 25:18; 85:2), as in the removal of a burden. The sins are also covered and are “not counted,” as in an accounting ledger (Lev. 25:27, 52; 1 Kgs. 10:21; 2 Kgs. 12:15; 22:7). For most readers, however, what the blessing offers by way of forgiveness it takes away by the condition of applying it to a person in whose spirit is no deceit—a quality with which few of us can identify. There are three possible explanations. First, this line appears to lie outside the normal metrical structure of the poetry (though the metrics of this psalm are generally uneven). It may be a later scribal gloss. Second, it parallels somewhat the character profiles of those who may or may not enter Yahweh’s temple (5:6; 24:4; 36:3; 52:2, 4). In this light it should not be read as a claim to absolute moral purity but as an affirmation that one aspires to be true to Yahweh’s way (see on Ps. 24). The third and most likely explanation is that the meaning of this phrase is exemplified by the confession that follows. This absence of “deceit” is spelled out as acknowledging “my sin to you” and by not covering up “my iniquity.” Because “I … confess, you forgave.” Verse 5 thus links confession and forgiveness, just as this opening blessing links the absence of deceit and forgiveness. (Instead of “spirit,” the lxx reads “mouth,” and if correct provides further support for the second and third explanations.)[4]

1. Blessed are they whose iniquity is forgiven. This exclamation springs from the fervent affection of the Psalmist’s heart as well as from serious consideration. Since almost the whole world turning away their thoughts from God’s judgment, bring upon themselves a fatal forgetfulness, and intoxicate themselves with deceitful pleasures; David, as if he had been stricken with the fear of God’s wrath, that he might betake himself to Divine mercy, awakens others also to the same exercise, by declaring distinctly and loudly that those only are blessed to whom God is reconciled, so as to acknowledge those for his children whom he might justly treat as his enemies. Some are so blinded with hypocrisy and pride, and some with such gross contempt of God, that they are not at all anxious in seeking forgiveness, but all acknowledge that they need forgiveness; nor is there a man in existence whose conscience does not accuse him at God’s judgment-seat, and gall him with many stings. This confession, accordingly, that all need forgiveness, because no man is perfect, and that then only is it well with us when God pardons our sins, nature herself extorts even from wicked men. But in the meantime, hypocrisy shuts the eyes of multitudes, while others are so deluded by a perverse carnal security, that they are touched either with no feelings of Divine wrath, or with only a frigid feeling of it.

From this proceeds a twofold error: first, that such men make light of their sins, and reflect not on the hundredth part of their danger from God’s indignation; and, secondly, that they invent frivolous expiations to free themselves from guilt and to purchase the favour of God. Thus in all ages it has been everywhere a prevailing opinion, that although all men are infected with sin, they are at the same time adorned with merits which are calculated to procure for them the favour of God, and that although they provoke his wrath by their crimes, they have expiations and satisfactions in readiness to obtain their absolution. This delusion of Satan is equally common among Papists, Turks, Jews, and other nations. Every man, therefore, who is not carried away by the furious madness of Popery, will admit the truth of this statement, that men are in a wretched state unless God deal mercifully with them by not laying their sins to their charge. But David goes farther, declaring that the whole life of man is subjected to God’s wrath and curse, except in so far as he vouchsafes of his own free grace to receive them into his favour; of which the Spirit who spake by David is an assured interpreter and witness to us by the mouth of Paul, (Rom. 4:6.) Had Paul not used this testimony, never would his readers have penetrated the real meaning of the prophet; for we see that the Papists, although they chant in their temples, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven,” &c., yet pass over it as if it were some common saying and of little importance. But with Paul, this is the full definition of the righteousness of faith; as if the prophet had said, Men are then only blessed when they are freely reconciled to God, and counted as righteous by him. The blessedness, accordingly, that David celebrates utterly destroys the righteousness of works. The device of a partial righteousness with which Papists and others delude themselves is mere folly; and even among those who are destitute of the light of heavenly doctrine, no one will be found so mad as to arrogate a perfect righteousness to himself, as appears from the expiations, washings, and other means of appeasing God, which have always been in use among all nations. But yet they do not hesitate to obtrude their virtues upon God, just as if by them they had acquired of themselves a great part of their blessedness.

David, however, prescribes a very different order, namely, that in seeking happiness, all should begin with the principle, that God cannot be reconciled to those who are worthy of eternal destruction in any other way than by freely pardoning them, and bestowing upon them his favour. And justly does he declare that if mercy is withheld from them, all men must be utterly wretched and accursed; for if all men are naturally prone only to evil, until they are regenerated, their whole previous life, it is obvious, must be hateful and loathsome in the sight of God. Besides, as even after regeneration, no work which men perform can please God unless he pardons the sin which mingles with it, they must be excluded from the hope of salvation. Certainly nothing will remain for them but cause for the greatest terror. That the works of the saints are unworthy of reward because they are spotted with stains, seems a hard saying to the Papists. But in this they betray their gross ignorance in estimating, according to their own conceptions, the judgment of God, in whose eyes the very brightness of the stars is but darkness. Let this therefore remain an established doctrine, that as we are only accounted righteous before God by the free remission of sins, this is the gate of eternal salvation; and, accordingly, that they only are blessed who rely upon God’s mercy. We must bear in mind the contrast which I have already mentioned between believers who, embracing the remission of sins, rely upon the grace of God alone, and all others who neglect to betake themselves to the sanctuary of Divine grace.

Moreover, when David thrice repeats the same thing, this is no vain repetition. It is indeed sufficiently evident of itself that the man must be blessed whose iniquity is forgiven; but experience teaches us how difficult it is to become persuaded of this in such a manner as to have it thoroughly fixed in our hearts. The great majority, as I have already shown you, entangled by devices of their own, put away from them, as far as they can, the terrors of conscience and all fear of Divine wrath. They have, no doubt, a desire to be reconciled to God; and yet they shun the sight of him, rather than seek his grace sincerely and with all their hearts. Those, on the other hand, whom God has truly awakened so as to be affected with a lively sense of their misery, are so constantly agitated and disquieted that it is difficult to restore peace to their minds. They taste indeed God’s mercy, and endeavour to lay hold of it, and yet they are frequently abashed or made to stagger under the manifold assaults which are made upon them. The two reasons for which the Psalmist insists so much on the subject of the forgiveness of sins are these,—that he may, on the one hand, raise up those who are fallen asleep, inspire the careless with thoughtfulness, and quicken the dull; and that he may, on the other hand, tranquillise fearful and anxious minds with an assured and steady confidence. To the former, the doctrine may be applied in this manner: “What mean ye, O ye unhappy men! that one or two stings of conscience do not disturb you? Suppose that a certain limited knowledge of your sins is not sufficient to strike you with terror, yet how preposterous is it to continue securely asleep, while you are overwhelmed with an immense load of sins!” And this repetition furnishes not a little comfort and confirmation to the feeble and fearful. As doubts are often coming upon them, one after another, it is not sufficient that they are victorious in one conflict only. That despair, therefore, may not overwhelm them amidst the various perplexing thoughts with which they are agitated, the Holy Spirit confirms and ratifies the remission of sins with many declarations.

It is now proper to weigh the particular force of the expressions here employed. Certainly the remission which is here treated of does not agree with satisfactions. God, in lifting off or taking away sins, and likewise in covering and not imputing them, freely pardons them. On this account the Papists, by thrusting in their satisfactions and works of supererogation as they call them, bereave themselves of this blessedness. Besides, David applies these words to complete forgiveness. The distinction, therefore, which the Papists here make between the remission of the punishment and of the fault, by which they make only half a pardon, is not at all to the purpose. Now, it is necessary to consider to whom this happiness belongs, which may be easily gathered from the circumstance of the time. When David was taught that he was blessed through the mercy of God alone, he was not an alien from the church of God; on the contrary, he had profited above many in the fear and service of God, and in holiness of life, and had exercised himself in all the duties of godliness. And even after making these advances in religion, God so exercised him, that he placed the alpha and omega of his salvation in his gratuitous reconciliation to God. Nor is it without reason that Zacharias, in his song, represents “the knowledge of salvation” as consisting in knowing “the remission of sins,” (Luke 1:77.) The more eminently that any one excels in holiness, the farther he feels himself from perfect righteousness, and the more clearly he perceives that he can trust in nothing but the mercy of God alone. Hence it appears, that those are grossly mistaken who conceive that the pardon of sin is necessary only to the beginning of righteousness. As believers are every day involved in many faults, it will profit them nothing that they have once entered the way of righteousness, unless the same grace which brought them into it accompany them to the last step of their life. Does any one object, that they are elsewhere said to be blessed “who fear the Lord,” “who walk in his ways,” “who are upright in heart,” &c., the answer is easy, namely, that as the perfect fear of the Lord, the perfect observance of his law, and perfect uprightness of heart, are nowhere to be found, all that the Scripture anywhere says, concerning blessedness, is founded upon the free favour of God, by which he reconciles us to himself.

2. In whose spirit there is no guile. In this clause the Psalmist distinguishes believers both from hypocrites and from senseless despisers of God, neither of whom care for this happiness, nor can they attain to the enjoyment of it. The wicked are, indeed, conscious to themselves of their guilt, but still they delight in their wickedness; harden themselves in their impudence, and laugh at threatenings; or, at least, they indulge themselves in deceitful flatteries, that they may not be constrained to come into the presence of God. Yea, though they are rendered unhappy by a sense of their misery, and harassed with secret torments, yet with perverse forgetfulness they stifle all fear of God. As for hypocrites, if their conscience as any time stings them, they soothe their pain with ineffectual remedies: so that if God at any time cite them to his tribunal, they place before them I know not what phantoms for their defence; and they are never without coverings whereby they may keep the light out of their hearts. Both these classes of men are hindered by inward guile from seeking their happiness in the fatherly love of God. Nay more, many of them rush frowardly into the presence of God, or puff themselves up with proud presumption, dreaming that they are happy, although God is against them. David, therefore, means that no man can taste what the forgiveness of sins is until his heart is first cleansed from guile. What he means, then, by this term, guile, may be understood from what I have said. Whoever examines not himself, as in the presence of God, but, on the contrary, shunning his judgment, either shrouds himself in darkness, or covers himself with leaves, deals deceitfully both with himself and with God. It is no wonder, therefore, that he who feels not his disease refuses the remedy. The two kinds of this guile which I have mentioned are to be particularly attended to. Few may be so hardened as not to be touched with the fear of God, and with some desire of his grace, and yet they are moved but coldly to seek forgiveness. Hence it comes to pass, that they do not yet perceive what an unspeakable happiness it is to possess God’s favour. Such was David’s case for a time, when a treacherous security stole upon him, darkened his mind, and prevented him from zealously applying himself to pursue after this happiness. Often do the saints labour under the same disease. If, therefore, we would enjoy the happiness which David here proposes to us, we must take the greatest heed lest Satan, filling our hearts with guile, deprive us of all sense of our wretchedness, in which every one who has recourse to subterfuges must necessarily pine away.[5]

1, 2. (Compare Ro 4:6).

forgiven—literally, “taken away,” opposed to retain (Jn 20:23).

covered—so that God no longer regards the sin (Ps 85:3).

  1. imputeth—charge to him, and treat him accordingly.

no guile—or, deceit, no false estimate of himself, nor insincerity before God (compare Ro 8:1).[6]

Ver. 1.—Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered. There are three aspects under which sin is viewed in Holy Scripture: 1. As an offence against God’s Law. This is “transgression”—ἀνομία. 2. As an offence against the eternal and immutable rule of right. This is “sin”—ἁμαρτία. 3. As an internal depravation and defilement of the sinner’s soul. This is “iniquity”—ἀδικία (comp. Exod. 34:7). Each aspect of sin has its own especial remedy, or manner of removal. The “transgression” is “lifted up,” “taken away”—αἵρεται, ἀφαίρεται—more vaguely ἀφίεται. The “sin” is “covered,” “hidden”—καλύπτεται, ἐπικαλύπτεται. The “iniquity” is “not imputed”—οὐ λογίζεται. The union of all three, as here in vers. 1, 2, is complete remission or forgiveness.

Ver. 2.—Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity. “Iniquity”—the defilement of the sinner’s own soul by sin—is not at once removable; if removable at all, it is only so by long lapse of time, and God’s special mercy. But God can, at his own will and at any moment, “not impute” it—not count it against the sinner to his detriment. Then in God’s sight the man is clean; it is as though the iniquity were not there. And in whose spirit there is no guile; i.e. no false seeming—no hypocrisy—where repentance has been sincere and real.[7]

32:1–2. David affirmed how blessed (see the comment on Ps 1:1) the man is whose transgression is forgiven. This verb, when used with any of the words denoting sin (e.g., transgression [rebellion against God], sin [missing the mark of God’s standard], iniquity [behavior that is bent or twisted]), represents the standard biblical idiom used to express the concept of forgiveness in the following. The parallel statement, whose sin is covered, likewise expresses confidence in forgiveness of sin. It is a figurative expression characteristic of Hebrew poetry, and should not be taken to mean that sin in the OT period was in reality only covered up but not forgiven. In the OT, forgiveness is expressed in terms of complete atonement and removal for those who offered their sacrifices in faith (e.g., 2Sm 12:13; Is 6:7). Romans 4:4–8 cites this passage regarding forgiveness of sin (see the comments there).[8]

BLESSED is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity and in whose spirit there is no guile.

1. “Blessed.” Like the sermon on the mount, this Psalm begins with beatitudes. This is the second Psalm of benediction. The first Psalm describes the result of holy blessedness, the thirty-second details the cause of it. The first pictures the tree in full growth, this depicts it in its first planting and watering. He who in the first Psalm is a reader of God’s book, is here a suppliant at God’s throne accepted and heard. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” He is now blessed, and ever shall be. Be he ever so poor, or sick, or sorrowful, he is blessed in very deed. Pardoning mercy is of all things in the world most to be prized, for it is the only and sure way to happiness. To hear from God’s own Spirit the words, “absolvo te” is joy unspeakable. Blessedness is not in this case ascribed to the man who has been a diligent lawkeeper, for then it would never come to us, but rather to a lawbreaker, who by grace most rich and free has been forgiven. Self-righteous Pharisees have no portion in this blessedness. Over the returning prodigal, the word of welcome is here pronounced, and the music and dancing begin. A full, instantaneous, irreversible pardon of transgression turns the poor sinner’s hell into heaven, and makes the heir of wrath a partaker in blessing. The word rendered forgiven is in the original taken off, or taken away, as a burden is lifted or a barrier removed. What a lift is here! It cost our Saviour a sweat of blood to bear our load, yea, it cost him his life to bear it quite away. Samson carried the gates of Gaza, but what was that to the weight which Jesus bore on our behalf? “Whose sin is covered.” Covered by God, as the ark was covered by the mercy-seat, as Noah was covered from the flood, as the Egyptians were covered by the depths of the sea. What a cover must that be which hides away for ever from the sight of the all-seeing God all the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit! He who has once seen sin in its horrible deformity, will appreciate the happiness of seeing it no more for ever. Christ’s atonement is the propitiation, the covering, the making an end of sin; where this is seen and trusted in, the soul knows itself to be now accepted in the Beloved, and therefore enjoys a conscious blessedness which is the antepast of heaven. It is clear from the text that a man may know that he is pardoned: where would be the blessedness of an unknown forgiveness? Clearly it is a matter of knowledge, for it is the ground of comfort.

2. “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.” The word blessed is in the plural, oh, the blessednesses! the double joys, the bundles of happiness, the mountains of delight! Note the three words so often used to denote our disobedience: transgression, sin, and iniquity, are the three-headed dog at the gates of hell, but our glorious Lord has silenced its barkings for ever against his own believing ones. The trinity of sin is overcome by the Trinity of heaven. Non-imputation is of the very essence of pardon: the believer sins, but his sin is not reckoned, not accounted to him. Certain divines froth at the mouth with rage against imputed righteousness, be it ours to see our sin not imputed, and to us may there be as Paul words it, “Righteousness imputed without works.” He is blessed indeed who has a substitute to stand for him to whose account all his debts may be set down. “And in whose spirit there is no guile.” He who is pardoned, has in every case been taught to deal honestly with himself, his sin, and his God. Forgiveness is no sham, and the peace which it brings is not caused by playing tricks with conscience. Self-deception and hypocrisy bring no blessedness, they may drug the soul into hell with pleasant dreams, but into the heaven of true peace they cannot conduct their victim. Free from guilt, free from guile. Those who are justified from fault are sanctified from falsehood. A liar is not a forgiven soul. Treachery, double-dealing, chicanery, dissimulation, are lineaments of the devil’s children, but he who is washed from sin is truthful, honest, simple, and childlike. There can be no blessedness to tricksters with their plans, and tricks, and shuffling, and pretending: they are too much afraid of discovery to be at ease; their house is built on the volcano’s brink, and eternal destruction must be their portion. Observe the three words to describe sin, and the three words to represent pardon, weigh them well, and note their meanings. (See note at the end.)[9]

[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 311–312). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Jacobson, R. A., & Tanner, B. (2014). Book One of the Psalter: Psalms 1–41. In E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, & R. L. Hubbard Jr. (Eds.), The Book of Psalms (p. 308). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[3] Ellsworth, R. (2006). Opening up Psalms (pp. 96–97). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Hubbard, R. L. J., & Johnston, R. K. (2012). Foreword. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Psalms (pp. 161–162). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 522–527). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[6] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 356). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 1, p. 236). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Rydelnik, M., Vanlaningham, M., Barbieri, L. A., Boyle, M., Coakley, J., Dyer, C. H., … Zuber, K. D. (2014). Psalms. In The moody bible commentary (p. 788). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[9] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, pp. 81–82). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.