Daily Archives: November 3, 2019

November 3 Intimacy with God

Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:1–9

Key Verse: Proverbs 3:32

For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord,

But His secret counsel is with the upright.

Do we understand the magnitude of this statement: “God wants to have a relationship with you”? For all our thoughts toward God and our understanding of what He has done for us, it’s difficult to grasp why He desires to have an intimate relationship with us.

God created us in His image, meaning that the innate desires of our hearts—to love and to be loved, to be all we are created to be—were placed there by Him. In all His splendor and majesty, God also desires our fellowship. He wants intimacy with His creations. He wants to love us, and He wants to be loved by us.

In building intimacy with us, God does four things: He chooses us; He reveals Himself to us through His love; He responds to our invitation for Him to come into our hearts; and He reveals Himself to us through experience. Static relationships produce static results. God desires dynamic relationships with us that transform the way we think, act, and live. And it is through intimacy that we learn life-changing principles.

As we seek intimacy with God, we must aim to live a righteous life. And it’s through living a righteous life that we discover intimacy.

Lord, thank You for choosing me and revealing Yourself to me. I want to remain close to You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 322). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 3 The God Who Speaks

Scripture Reading: Matthew 3:13–17

Key Verse: Hebrews 1:4

Having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

The opening verses of the book of Hebrews are known for their power and majesty. The writer used a formal, written technique to impart truths that are foundational to the rest of the book and, more important, to faith in Christ:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power … He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. (Heb. 1:1–4 nasb)

It is vital to understand how the coming of Christ fits into God’s grand scheme of history and of dealing with His people. Since He created the universe and mankind, God has demonstrated His deep desire to communicate. The wonders of creation and the Scriptures find their fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.

When you accept Christ, you embrace the living revelation and Word of God. God’s eternal conversation sounded through the ages when He said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:17 nasb).

O God, I am so thankful that You spoke in ages past and You still speak today! I release the revelation power of Your Word to work in my life without reservation.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 322). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 3 In the Face of Despair

Scripture reading: Psalm 143:1–12

Key verse: Psalm 143:8

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,

For in You do I trust;

Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,

For I lift up my soul to You.

When despair overtook David’s life, he discovered the sure remedy; his attention needed to be redirected to the Lord. He felt his spirit failing within him, and in hurt and humility, he cried out to God: “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning” (Ps. 143:8).

Emotional and spiritual upheaval has a way of fragmenting the mind, sending your thoughts reeling in a thousand different directions as you try to quickly bring order to confusion. It’s not easy to respond calmly, and sometimes carrying on with daily chores may seem an intolerable burden.

The Lord understands the way your heart and mind work. He designed you to be sensitive to your surroundings and to interact with other people, so it’s no surprise to Him when a shock to your system causes disturbance.

That is why He gives these specific directions for responding to trials: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

Getting the right view of His love-filled plan for your life is the way to push through the numbness of spirit and despair that often accompanies severe circumstances. You can then say with David: “Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!… Bring my soul out of trouble” (Ps. 143:11).

For Your name’s sake, O Lord, revive me, and bring my soul out of trouble.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 322). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 3, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Subject of the Ministry

that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (1:26–27)

The message Paul proclaimed in his ministry was the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints. There are some things God reveals to no one. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God.” God reveals other things only to certain people. “The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him” (Ps. 25:14). Proverbs 3:32 says, “He is intimate with the upright.” Still other things were hidden in the Old Testament but have now been revealed in the New. The New Testament calls them mysteries (mustērion). Paul’s use of this word is not to indicate a secret teaching, rite, or ceremony revealed only to some elite initiates (as in the mystery religions), but truth revealed to all believers in the New Testament. This truth, that has now been manifested to His saints, is that which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, namely the Old Testament era and people. Now refers to the time of the writing of the New Testament. Such newly revealed truth includes the mystery of the incarnate God (Col. 2:2–3, 9); of Israel’s unbelief (Rom. 11:25); of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:7; cf. Rev. 17:5, 7); of the unity of Jew and Gentile in the church (Eph. 3:3–6); and of the rapture (1 Cor. 15:51). This mystery truth is available only for those who are saints—true believers (cf. 1 Cor. 2:7–16). The phrase to whom God willed to make known clearly indicates that the mysteries are not discovered by the genius of man, but are revealed by the will and act of God. It is God’s purpose that His people know this truth.

Of all the mysteries God has revealed in the New Testament, the most profound is Christ in you, the hope of glory. The Old Testament predicted the coming of the Messiah. But the idea that He would actually live in His redeemed church, made up mostly of Gentiles, was not revealed. The New Testament is clear that Christ, by the Holy Spirit, takes up permanent residence in all believers (cf. Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Eph. 2:22). The revelation of the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles awaited the New Testament (Eph. 3:3–6). Believers, both Jew and Gentile, now possess the surpassing riches of the indwelling Christ (John 14:23; Rom. 8:9–10; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 1:7, 17–18; 3:8–10, 16–19; Phil. 4:19). The church is described as “the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people’ ” (2 Cor. 6:16). That Christ indwells all believers is the source for their hope of glory and is the subject or theme of the gospel ministry. What makes the gospel attractive is not just that it promises present joy and help, but that it promises eternal honor, blessing, and glory. When Christ comes to live in a believer, His presence is the anchor of the promise of heaven—the guarantee of future bliss eternally (cf. 2 Cor. 5:1–5; Eph. 1:13–14). In the reality that Christ is living in the Christian is the experience of new life and hope of eternal glory.[1]


27 Thus far in this section Paul has spoken of his ministerial vocation in terms of suffering on behalf of the church (v. 24) and fulfilling the word of God, i.e., declaring the now-manifested mystery to the saints (vv. 25–26). In v. 27 Paul reflects further on what God has willed to reveal to his holy ones. God chose to make known to the saints, the text contends, “what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles” (NASB). Though this expression is rather cumbersome, at its heart is Paul’s abiding conviction that the gospel is for all people, be they Jew or Greek (3:11; cf. Ro 1:16; Gal 3:28). In conjunction with Israel’s vocation to be a light to the nations (Isa 49:6), Paul was divinely commissioned to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Ro 15:8–12, 15–16; Gal 1:16). As an apostle to the Gentiles (Ro 11:13), Paul was given the opportunity and responsibility to declare to them the spiritual life available in Christ (cf. Eph 3:7–8). Paul sought to convey to Gentiles that they did not need to remain spiritual “foreigners and aliens”; instead, alongside Israel, they could be “fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Eph 2:19). God used Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles to reveal a particular mystery to the church, namely, that Christ could indwell and dwell among (even) Gentile people (Eph 2:11–21; cf. Ac 10:45; 11:1, 18; 13:47; Gal 2:15–16).

In 1:26 Paul employs the term “mystery” as more or less a synonym for the gospel. Later in the letter, Paul will equate God’s mystery with Christ himself (2:2). Here in 1:27 “mystery” is used to speak specifically of Paul’s proclamation and the Gentiles’ (particularly the Colossians’) reception of Christ. Paul instructs the fellowship that the rich and glorious mystery is Christ “in” and/or “among” them (the “you” is plural). Both the NIV and NASB render the preposition en as “in”; in doing so they underscore the personal indwelling of Christ in the lives of (Gentile) Christians, not unlike the Colossians. If en were translated “among” (so NJB), it would emphasize the presence of Christ in the midst of the Christian community (cf. Mt 18:20). While both renderings are possible (and a double entendre may be intended), I am inclined to translate en as “in.” Even as the Colossians are “in Christ,” so also Christ is “in” them (cf. Gal 2:20).

The presence of Christ in the Colossians gives rise to and reinforces “the hope of glory.” Although Christ (by his Spirit) already indwells the Colossians (cf. 2 Co 3:17) and is able to meet their every spiritual need (Ro 8:9–11; cf. Php 4:19), additional revelation and transformation will yet occur. As 1 John 3:2 states, “Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known” (cf. 1 Co 2:9). Hope is a recurring theme in Colossians (1:5, 23). In this verse, “hope” connotes an eager expectation of and steadfast confidence in God’s glorious future for his children and his creation (see esp. Ro 8:18–25). Like the word “hope,” “glory” (doxa, GK 1518) appears three times in Colossians (1:11, 27; 3:4). Both here and in 3:4 the term is essentially equivalent with what we might refer to as “eternity.” For Paul, the presence of Christ in believers’ lives was an enabling power for the day and an abiding hope for the morrow. Christians, therefore, are able to stand in grace and “rejoice in the hope of [sharing] the glory of God” (Ro 5:2).[2]


27  For Paul the moment of revelation came on the Damascus road. He did not instantly grasp the full significance of what was revealed to him then: it had to be worked out and appreciated in the course of his apostolic experience. It was Christ in person that was revealed to him with special reference to his role in Paul’s Gentile mission. “God,” as he says, “was pleased to reveal his Son in me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles” (Gal. 1:15–16).

The saving purpose of God was a major theme of the OT prophets, and that Gentiles as well as Israelites were embraced within its scope was also foreseen. But the manner in which that purpose would come to fruition—by the incorporation of Gentile and Jewish believers alike in the common life of the body of Christ—was not made known. That remained a secret, a mystery, until the time of fulfilment, and now Paul, as steward of this mystery, unfolds its wonder to his readers, that the glory of God’s rich grace thus lavishly dispensed may move them to grateful adoration. Had this grace been shown to believing Jews alone, it might not have excited such wonder; they, after all, were the messianic people. But non-Jews are included as well, and included on an equal footing with Jews; and it is Paul’s supreme joy, as it is his divinely imposed obligation, to “make known the glorious wealth of this mystery among the Gentiles.”

Christ is himself “the mystery of God” (Col. 2:2); in him the deus absconditus has become the deus revelatus. But Paul’s special stewardship of this mystery involves its disclosure to Gentiles. “Christ is in you,” he assures his Colossian readers, “Christ is in you (even in you Gentiles) as your hope of glory.” The phrase “in you” might mean “in your midst” (as a community) or “within you” (as individuals). Neither sense should be excluded, but the thought of Christ as indwelling individual believers is completely in line with Pauline thought. The indwelling Christ and the indwelling Spirit are practically interchangeable thoughts for Paul (cf. Rom. 8:10–11), although elsewhere it is the indwelling Spirit that he presents as the hope or guarantee of coming glory. In this letter, however, he expresses himself in christological terms, and the readers are assured of the hope which is bound up with the indwelling Christ. The fact that here and now, as members of his body, they have his risen life within them, affords them a stable basis for confidence that they will share in the fullness of glory yet to be displayed, on the day of “the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19).[3]


27 Another explanation by way of explanation now follows his comments about the “saints,” or as the NIV has it, “the Lord’s people.” Again, the diagram:

The christologically based suffering ministry (1:24)

The servant-based ministry of the Word (1:25)

The Word is a mystery (1:26)

The mystery extends to the Gentiles (1:27)

The Gentiles become mature in Christ (1:28)

The christologically energized ministry (1:29).

To this people “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery.” The word “make known” parallels the “now disclosed” of v. 26, and “the Lord’s people” is defined as including “the Gentiles.” The word “mystery” in v. 26 finds a parallel in “the glorious riches of this mystery,” which is itself now made more clear with “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” In effect, v. 27 repeats v. 26 by way of slight expansion. To circle back to v. 25, we are learning more and more what “commission” (oikonomia) means: God’s plan all along has been to expand Israel by extending Abraham’s blessing to the Gentiles, and Paul’s mission is precisely that—to gospel the Gentiles with the message about Christ. But “God has chosen to make known” reveals that gospeling is the work of God—the missio Dei. To repeat, the work of God is to declare God’s Son, Jesus, to be King for all people, Jews and Gentiles, males and females, slaves and free, Scythians and barbarians.

The focal point of this mystery’s glorious richness is Christ himself; the Christocentrism of Paul’s theology in the Prison Letters must be acknowledged for what it is. Paul sees the ground and the goal of all history to be Christ, and we perhaps need to remind ourselves of two things: first, that “Christ” means “Messiah” and therefore evokes a history of expectation in Israel’s story that leads to God finally sending his Son to be Israel’s one true King; and second, that soteriology flows out of Christology, or that the gospel message is first about Jesus and only then about salvation. This ordering turns Jesus from simply being a means of redemption into the subject of the gospel itself. It is in this Christocentric context that the word “glorious” gains its most important evocation: Paul is not using “glorious” just as an adjective,540 as if he were saying “marvelous” or “magnificent.” No, this term evokes the very presence of God in Christ (the Glorious One), and one is not off base thinking here of the christological reflection of Heb 1:1–4, and one might also take a long drink over a similar usage at Jas 2:1. As will be clear a few words deeper into v. 27, Paul will define “the glorious riches of this mystery” to be “Christ in you,” and Christ is defined then as “the hope of glory.”

This Christ the King can be described only with the term “riches,” an important if minor theme in Paul at this period in his ministry (cf. Rom 9:23–24; 11:33; 16:25–26). “Riches” can refer to the gospel response in generosity to others (2 Cor 8:2), to the gracious gift of election and covenant redemption in Christ (Eph 1:7; 2:7; Rom 2:4), to the incomparable goodness and abundance of that gift (Phil 4:19; Eph 3:16; Rom 9:23; 11:33; 1 Tim 6:17), and to the mystery of God’s redemption expanding to the Gentiles (Col 2:2; Eph 1:18; 3:8; Rom 11:12).

And this gloriously rich mystery, Paul continues in v. 27, is flourishing among the Gentiles. They are not the object of God’s choice to make the mystery known but the ones among whom this knowledge is now circulating. In other words, God is making known to the “Lord’s people” the mystery that is at work now among the Gentiles. What is known is the story about King Jesus expanding to include Gentiles into the people of God. This kind of Christocentricity of history characterizes so many paragraphs of the Prison Letters because the gospel itself is Christocentric. It is a mistake to think the gospel can be reduced to the message of our salvation; the gospel is the message about Christ who is King, Lord, and Savior. The gospel saves because the Messiah is the Savior; the Savior is not the means of the gospel but its content. The missio Dei is to announce Jesus because, as the hymn in 1:15–20 makes clear, he is the Creator and the Sustainer and the Redeemer and the telos of all creation.

What does “Christ in you” mean? It can be either individual (in you personally) or corporate (among you Colossians). There is plenty of evidence that the apostle Paul believed Christ took up residence in the heart of each believer (Gal 2:20 [referring to Jewish believers]; 2 Cor 13:5; Rom 8:10; Eph 3:17), but the term “you” here is plural, and Paul’s theme of Christ’s presence transcends individuals.543 That is, because he dwells in the new people of God, the church (corporate), through the Spirit, he truly also indwells the believer (individual). This sense has an immediate parallel in the preceding clause: “among the Gentiles,” which uses en, meaning “in, or among, you.” Having said this, there is some trendiness is asserting that the use of plural nouns means that Paul is not speaking to individuals or that such plurals counter modern-day individualism. These plurals can just as easily mean “each one of you—that is, all of you” and not be seen as a razor’s edge cutting into individualism. It is a false dichotomy to pose individual (as personal) vs. corporate in New Testament texts; the language operates in both directions—which is not to say that our modern context is not too individualistic and that we are not in need of a more robust ecclesiology. Paul’s ecclesiology does not colonize the individual into a collective but reorients the selfishness of individuals toward a cruciform existence for others.

“Christ in you” is further clarified as v. 27 comes to its end: the indwelling of God in Christ among and in the Colossians generates “the hope of glory.” As we have already stated at 1:5, Paul’s sense of hope refers to the future, final, and eternal salvation of God in the kingdom that has been now manifested in Christ himself and in God’s people, the church, and that glorious residence is spreading throughout the world through that indwelt people. The presence of Christ among the Colossians, then, is ground for their hope of life in the age to come.[4]


The mystery of Christ (vv. 26–27)

The ‘mystery’ Paul speaks about is not ‘something paradoxical or puzzling but a truth revealed now that Christ has died’. The ‘spoilers’ in Colosse were accustomed to using words like ‘mystery’. Paul is counteracting this because there are no secrets now. The Messiah has come and there are no guilds, societies, orders or cults which have more divine light than the gospel Paul preaches. The gospel of Jesus Christ reveals the whole picture to all who will listen and believe. Here are four things about the mystery:

The ‘mystery’ is the content of Paul’s preaching ministry, ‘hidden from ages and from generations, but now … revealed to his saints (v. 26).

The ‘mystery’ has two elements that climax in Christ himself. (1) The Gentiles are now included in the plan of God (v. 27). This was new and it created a problem for established Judaism. (2) The ‘mystery’ is actually a person who is ‘Christ in you’ (v. 27b).

The phrase ‘Christ in you’ speaks of the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ in the believer’s heart in the Person of the Holy Spirit. This leads to love, joy and peace.

The phrase ‘the hope of glory’ refers to eternal life. Christ possessed within is eternal life. This ‘hope’ is always looking forward to the future resurrection and the fulfilment of God’s promises in the Scriptures.

The ‘mystery’ is what God had revealed about Christ and not simply what the church came to believe about him and pass down to posterity. This distinction must be noted as the latter idea is propagated by those who reject the revelation of the historical Jesus found in the New Testament.[5]


1:27 / Paul leaves his readers in some suspense before disclosing the content of this mystery. God has chosen, he begins, to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery. And that mystery, he goes on to clarify, is that by virtue of their incorporation into Christ his readers will share in the glory of God. The gospel, in other words, initiates a process that moves toward a goal that is yet to be fully realized. The content of the mystery is expanded in Ephesians, where the author shows that God’s plan was to include the Gentiles in his plan of salvation so that they, along with the Jews, are members of his body (Eph. 2:11–22; 3:2–12).

It is possible to translate the Greek en to read Christ among you rather than Christ in you. If so, the emphasis is upon the preaching of Christ in their midst rather than Christ dwelling within their hearts. But though this may fit the context, it is also true that the Colossians personally share in this mystery by virtue of the indwelling Christ. The mystery is that Christ is both in and among them. They are members of Christ’s body here and now; nevertheless, there is an eschatological ring to this concept because their hope is directed toward the glorious future.[6]


26, 27. That word of God centers in Christ, God’s glorious mystery. Hence, the apostle continues, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. Paul uses the term “mystery,” but not as indicating a secret teaching, rite, or ceremony, having something to do with religion but hidden from the masses and revealed to an exclusive group, the sense in which the term (generally in the plural: mysteries) was at that time being employed outside of the circles of true Christianity. On the contrary, in the Pauline literature a mystery is a person or a truth that would have remained unknown had not God revealed him or it. Such a mystery is said to have been revealed in the fullest sense only then when its significance is translated into historical reality. The mystery of which the apostle is thinking here in Col. 1:26, 27 had been hidden; that is, for ages and generations (lit. “since the ages and since the generations”) it had not been historically realized. It was present, to be sure, in the plan of God and also in prophecy, but not in actuality. Now, however, that is, in this present era which began with the incarnation, and even more specifically with the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles, it was made manifest to his saints, that is, to the entire church of this new dispensation, none excepted. It was there for all to see! To describe more fully what he has in mind Paul continues: to whom God was pleased to make known what (is) the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. The mystery, accordingly, is Christ himself, just as in 1 Tim. 3:16; cf. Eph. 3:3, 4, 9. It is Christ in all his glorious riches actually dwelling through his Spirit in the hearts and lives of the Gentiles. In all the preceding ages this had never been seen, but now every child of God (“saint”) could bear witness to it. The Colossians themselves offered proof. To be sure, even during the days of the old dispensation there were predictions which, with ever-increasing clarity, foretold that the Gentiles would one day constitute part of God’s people (Gen. 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10; Ps. 72:8; 87; Isa. 54:2, 3; 60:1–3; Micah 4:1, 2; Mal. 1:11, to mention only a few), but in the divine good pleasure the realization of these predictions did not arrive until this present Messianic Age. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” had to wait until now. “Christ in you” means Christ in you Gentiles, and that on a basis of perfect equality with Israel, the “middle wall of partition” having been completely removed (Eph. 2:14)!

Christ in you, the hope of glory, an Easter theme

  1. Its meaning

Christ in you is here proclaimed as the hope or solid basis for the expectation of future, eschatological glory. The content of this glory is set forth in the context: “the inheritance of the saints in the light” (verse 12), “the presentation” of the bride to the Bridegroom (verses 22, 28); see also Col. 3:4, 24; Rom. 5:2; 8:18–23; 1 Cor. 15; Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:13–17; 2 Thess. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:8; Titus 2:13. While the apostle included the intermediate state in this concept of glory (2 Cor. 5:1–8; Phil. 1:21, 23), his horizon was Christ’s second coming and never-ending bliss.

  1. Hopes that deceive

In all ages men have tried to establish their own basis for belief in immortality and even in a future state of perfection.

  1. Some reason from the premise of unsatisfied desire. We desire to see a perfect landscape. Yet when, standing on a hill, we think we see one, the descent into the valley with its rotting logs and decaying fruit, disillusions us. Nevertheless, the desire persists. This guarantees future realization.
  2. Others derive their proof from the unheeded voice of conscience. A voice within me is constantly saying, “Thou shalt do this, that.” Yet, no one has ever fully obeyed this categorical imperative. Is not this unrelenting demand a prediction of a future state of strict compliance, a state of perfection?
  3. There is also the argument from the enduring character of the self within me. In a steady line of progress I as a person have already survived successive stages of being. I was an embryo. When that stage ceased my self persisted. I was born, became an infant. I survived that stage too. And so after boyhood I became a young man, then a man of middle age, etc. Consequently, as I have survived every one of these stages, will I not also survive the last stage, namely, physical death, and rise to an immortality of bliss and glory?

A moment’s reflection is all that is necessary to show the weakness of this type of reasoning in any of its forms. Persistent yearning for the ideal in the realm of beauty, inner compulsion to obey the moral law coupled with the realization that in the here and now one can never obey it fully, and also the self’s leapfrogging of biological stages, these facts do not guarantee immortality, much less perfection in a future existence. As to the last argument, even a dog, in proportion to its own life span, passes through and survives various stages, yet does not thereby attain to immortality!

  1. Christ … the hope of glory

Now over against these fallible reasonings Paul proclaims Christ as the one and only solid basis for the expectation of immortality not only, but of future, eschatological glory. The evidence, moreover, which Christ gave to the world of a future state of perfection lay not only in his words or deeds but in himself. Our persistent yearning for the ideal in the realm of true, spiritual beauty is realized in him. And because his soul is beautiful, words of grace and beauty fell from his lips.

“Fair are the meadows,

Fairer still the woodlands,

Robed in the blooming garb of spring:

Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,

Who makes the woeful heart to sing.”

Crusaders’ Hymn

As to the persistent demand of conscience, he was the only one who satisfied it in every respect. He was able to say, “Who of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46).

“Weak is the effort of my heart,

And cold my warmest thought;

But when I see thee as you art,

I’ll praise thee as I ought.”

John Newton

And finally, as to surviving every stage of earthly existence, even the last one, he did that very thing! Easter proclaims in every land, “Hallelujah, Christ arose.” In Paul’s day there were witnesses—many of them, in fact—who had seen him alive after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6). And was not the apostle himself also a witness? (1 Cor. 15:8).

“Death cannot keep his prey—

Jesus, my Savior;

He tore the bars away—

Jesus my Lord.

Up from the grave he arose,

With a mighty triumph o’er his foes.

He arose a Victor from the dark domain,

And he lives forever with his saints to reign.

He arose! He arose!

Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Robert Lowry

  1. Objection

But granted that Christ does indeed satisfy the desire for beauty, for moral and spiritual perfection, and for ultimate survival, is not he an exception to the rule, an interruption in the race of Adam? How can his adequacy satisfy my inadequacy? How can he really be the solid basis for the hope of future bliss for the entire church, and particularly, in the present context, the Gentiles’ hope of glory?

  1. Objection answered

Christ in you, the hope of glory.

“This Christ through his Spirit is dwelling (and this not passively but energetically) in you,” says Paul. Hence, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11).[7]


1:26–27. Paul calls the message he was responsible to announce a mystery. The word mystery should not evoke images of Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes. The term really means secret. It is something that was kept hidden for ages and generations but is now disclosed to the saints. What’s the secret? That God has chosen to include the Gentiles in the blessings of salvation (see Eph. 3:1–6). What’s the secret? Jesus Christ is the secret. He opens the door to everyone. The unprecedented secret is that all are included. The unprecedented truth is that Jesus Christ lives in all who trust him. Not only does he live in us; he is our hope of glory.[8]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 78–79). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 301–302). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 85–86). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] McKnight, S. (2018). The Letter to the Colossians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (pp. 197–200). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] McNaughton, I. S. (2006). Opening up Colossians and Philemon (pp. 34–35). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[6] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 44). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 88–91). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 285). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Here’s Why Corrupt FBI Actors Strzok and Page Referred to Schiff’s Suspected ‘Whistleblower’ Eric Ciaramella as ‘Charlie’ — The Gateway Pundit

We reported a couple of days ago that it is suspected that Lying Adam Schiff’s ‘whistleblower’ was Eric Ciaramella.  We now have some additional evidence on why Ciaramella was referred to as ‘Charlie’ in Strzok and Page texts.

As we reported, Dan Bongino put this all together in one of his podcasts –

(At about the 10 minute mark Bongino unveils this entire twisted plot.)

In April of this year, Senators Grassley and Johnson sent a letter to Attorney General Barr asking him for any information on the following (or perhaps this was their way of encouraging him to look into something). What they specifically asked about was related to some text messages from corrupt FBI Agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page referring to a “CI guy” in the White House –

Next Grassley and Johnson provide the exact text messages they wanted Barr to look into. The text from Peter Strzok says “Do we want Joe to go with Evania instead of Charlie for a variety of reasons?” –

A footnote at the bottom of the Grassley and Johnson memo says “At this time it is unknown who “Charlie” is”.

On the beginning of the next page of their memo Grassley and Johnson share some more texts from Strzok and Page referring to “the CI guy” again in the White House –

Grassley and Johnson ask Barr some shocking questions (highlighted below) –

The nature of these communications , and the precise purpose of any attempts to “develop relationships” with Trump or Pence transition team staff are not immediately clear. Were these efforts done to gain better communication between the respective parties, or were the briefings used as intelligence gathering operation? Further, did any such surveillance activities continue beyond the inauguration, and in the event they did, were those activities subject to proper predication? Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed.“

Strzok and Page in their texts were likely referring to fired FBI Director Andy McCabe and Bill Priestap per footnotes on that page. The reference to the “CI guy” is unclear.

On Wednesday Paul Sperry announced at RealClearInvestigations.com in a post that the so-called ‘whistleblower’ in Lying Adam Schiff’s fake impeachment sham is none other than Eric Ciaramella. This is old news to us at TGP as well as Bongino and others on the web. (We first reported on Ciaramella on October 11th.)

But in Sperry’s post, he notes the exact pronunciation for Ciaramella’s name – (pronounced char-a-MEL-ah) –

Bongino suspects that Sperry is trying to hint at something as the pronunciation of a name is not usually included in posts like Sperry’s. What Bongino suggests is that there is a connection between Sperry’s article and the Grassley and Johnson letter – Char-a-MEL-ah is the same ‘Charlie’ in the Strzok and Page communications.

Today we have more evidence why Eric Ciaramella was referred to as ‘Charlie’ by the Deep State and not ‘Eric’.  The answer is simple.

In various text messages between Strzok and Page they refer to a couple of individuals as ‘Eric’.  In one series of texts they refer to Eric Smith, a friend of Lisa Page’s and get the individual named ‘Eric’ confused with someone else named ‘Eric’ like perhaps Eric Holder –

They mention Eric many times in their texts –

Again, numerous messages referring to Eric –

The reason they didn’t refer to Eric Ciaramella as Eric is because they already were having a hard time keeping track of which Eric they were talking about.  The simplified their lives by referring to Eric Ciaramella as ‘Charlie’ instead of Eric.  Also, Ciaramella’s last name sounds like Charlie.

The suspected whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella, worked with the Obama Administration in the Ukraine, spied on President Trump in the White House for Obama’s CIA and FBI and was apparently doing all he could to sabotage the Trump White House while he was there.

It’s against the law for the CIA to spy on our President. I thought the CIA was not allowed to spy in the US period.

Creepy and corrupt Adam Schiff used the whistleblower’s memo to start his corrupt and criminal impeachment sham investigation taking place in the House. It sure looks like Eric Ciaramella is no hero, he is more likely a traitor and a crook. Hang him high!

Hat tip D. Manny

via Here’s Why Corrupt FBI Actors Strzok and Page Referred to Schiff’s Suspected ‘Whistleblower’ Eric Ciaramella as ‘Charlie’ — The Gateway Pundit

Break-Out Or Fake-Out? | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Sven Henrich via NorthmanTrader.com,

The Fed cut rates, the ECB officially launched QE, and a parade of administration officials touted progress on the ever elusive China trade deal for the 100th time and voila: Markets breaking out to new highs. But is the breakout a fake out?

Let’s explore some uncomfortable facts, charts and perspectives.

Read more: Break-Out Or Fake-Out?

Docs reveal Obama State Dept. official in contact with Russian Embassy Political Chief One Month Before Trump Inauguration | Canada Free Press

JUDICIAL WATCH:


Documents also reveal State Department officials continued use of unsecure BlackBerrys to transmit classified material long after Clinton email scandal revelations

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation today released eight pages of State Department documents revealing that on December 23, 2016, 28 days before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, State Department Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer had a 10-minute phone call with Alexey Vladimirovich Skosyrev, the “political chief” at the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC.

State Department officials continued to use unsecure BlackBerry devices

The documents also show that State Department officials continued to use unsecure BlackBerry devices for the transmission of classified material more than a year after Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecure, non-government email system had been revealed.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on April 25, 2018, on behalf of itself and the Daily Caller News Foundation against the State Department after State failed to respond to three separate FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv- 00968)). The lawsuit seeks:

  • All records of communications between State Department officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, on the one hand, and British National Christopher Steele and/or employees or contractors of Steele’s company, Orbis Business Intelligence, on the other hand.
  • All records and/or memoranda provided by Christopher Steele and/or his firm Orbis Business Intelligence or by others acting on Steele’s/Orbis’s behalf, to State Department officials.
  • Any and all records in the custody of the State Department related to the provision of documents to British national Christopher Steele and/or his firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, or the receipt of documents from Steele or his firm. Time period is January 20, 2009 through the present.
  • All records created in 2016 by Jonathan M. Winer relating to research compiled by Christopher Steele.

State Department has still not fully explained its role in collecting and disseminating Christopher Steele’s false allegations about President Trump’s ties to Russia

Following Winer’s December 23 call with Russian political operative Skosyrev, State Department official Anne Sackville-West provides a “read-out” of the call to department colleagues in which she updates the “S-Lavrov points” (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov). The body of the read-out is entirely redacted as classified for reasons of national security or foreign policy. Despite the classification, Eric Green, then-director of the Office of Russian Affairs in the Eurasian Bureau of the State Department, forwarded the exchange via his unsecure BlackBerry to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Kathleen Kavalec, to Obama Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary John Heffern. Kavalec then responds, saying “Jonathan called me after first trying to get through to Toria and John. He relayed this readout, noting that Skosyrev emphasized that [redacted].”

“The State Department has still not fully explained its role in collecting and disseminating Christopher Steele’s false allegations about President Trump’s ties to Russia,” said Daily Caller News Foundation President Neil Patel. “The latest documents obtained by Judicial Watch on behalf of The Daily Caller News Foundation raise new and important questions about the role played by Jonathan Winer, who played a key role as Steele’s conduit to U.S. diplomats.”

“The Kerry State Department and Jonathan Winer worked hand-in-glove with the Clinton Fusion GPS spy Christopher Steele. It is suspicious, to say the least, that Winer was in contact with a senior Russian government official as the Kerry State Department was simultaneously pushing the Russia smear against then President-elect Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Judicial Watch uncovered State Departments documents showing that Winer played a key role in facilitating Steele’s access to other top government officials, prominent international business executives. Winer was even approached by a movie producer about making a movie about the Russiagate targeting of President Trump. In September 2019, Judicial Watch released State Department documents revealing that former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele had an extensive and close working relationship dating back to May of 2014 with Winer and Nuland.

In July 2019, Judicial Watch uncovered a series of documents from the State Department that include a September 2016 email exchange between Nuland and Winer, discussing a “face-to-face” meeting on a “Russian matter.”

In December 2018, Judicial Watch released documents revealing that Nuland was involved in the Obama State Department’s urgent gathering of classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Trump taking office.

In May 2019, Judicial Watch’s released documents showing a conversation between Kavalec and Bruce Ohr, discussing the targeting of Donald Trump with Steele dossier material. In discussing a meeting with the potential source for a Mother Jones article accusing the Trump campaign of taking money from a Russian-American oil magnate, as well as Christopher Steele’s connection to that source, Kavalec emails Ohr citing the accusatory Mother Jones article. Ohr says, “I really hope we can get something going here.”

Source: Docs reveal Obama State Dept. official in contact with Russian Embassy Political Chief One Month Before Trump Inauguration

Citizenship (Part 3 of 3) | Truth For Life

As we come to the end of a special three-part message about citizenship, we discover how our identity as citizens of heaven completely reshapes the way we live in the present. Study along with us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.

Listen…

Source: Citizenship (Part 3 of 3)

Hong Kong Police Shuts Down Protests, Make Mass Arrests During 22nd Straight Weekend of Unrest | The Epoch Times

Locals in Hong Kong called for simultaneous protests in seven districts on Nov. 3, to condemn the police’s use of force against protesters.

But police made arrests and cleared away crowds before some events could begin in earnest.

Sunday’s protests came a day after local police arrested more than 200 people for offenses such as unlawful assembly, property damage, and wearing a face mask during an illegal assembly—one of the highest number of arrests in a single day since mass protests began, according to local media. Among those arrested were political candidates running for the district council elections later this month, who were taken by the police during a peaceful assembly in Victoria Park.

They initially themed the event as seeking international support for Hong Kong’s crisis. When the police did not approve of their application, the candidates re-billed the gathering as a rally for local elections, which do not require prior police approval.

Saturday ended with the police firing tear gas in multiple neighborhoods, including Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, while protesters hurled petrol bombs, set up road barricades, and stormed the local office of China’s state-owned media Xinhua in Wan Chai, smashing the office’s windows and glass doors.

On Sunday, local police searched people and made more arrests, as police officers moved to gathering points announced by protesters online, including Tamar Park in Admiralty, and a local town hall in Sha Tin.

At least 5 people were arrested at a park near the Sha Tin Town Hall, according to local media RTHK.

Police officers fired tear gas and made more arrests inside the New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, after protesters held a peaceful sit-in inside the shopping mall, according to local media.

Local police shut down Tamar Park, clearing out people who were inside the park before protesters could gather, according to RTHK.

Police officers also broke up protesters forming a human chain inside the City Plaza Mall in Tai Koo Shing and made several arrests, after a restaurant inside the mall was reportedly damaged by protesters, according to local media.

Hong Kong media The Stand News reported that one of its photojournalists who was onsite conducting interviews was also taken by police inside City Plaza Mall.

Blood was spilled in City Plaza in the evening, in an incident unrelated to the protests. According to RTHK, a Mandaran-speaking man slashed several people with a knife after he engaged in arguments with several mall patrons over “political differences.” The knife-wielding man then bit the ear of Democratic Party city councilor Andrew Chiu, who was trying to prevent the man from fleeing. Chiu represents the Tai Koo Shing area. An angry crowd at the scene then beat the man before the police arrived.

Censorship in Hong Kong

On Oct. 31, Hong Kong’s High Court, at the request of the Secretary of Justice, issued an interim injunction banning people from disseminating any information that “promotes, encourages, or incites the use or threat of violence” on popular Reddit-like forum LIHKG and the messaging app Telegram.

Seven organizations, including the Washington-based Freedom House and international nonprofit Access Now, recently issued a joint letter to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, condemning the court ban.

“This vague and overbroad language offends established principles of international law protecting the freedoms of opinion and expression,” the letter said.

It added: “Such imprecise language leaves room for authorities to exercise wide discretion in law enforcement, with the potential to unlawfully chill speech and deter demonstrators.”

Pro-democracy lawmaker Charles Mok, who on Oct. 31 issued a press release criticizing the ban, took to his Twitter account to state his appreciation for the joint letter.

He added that curbing speech on Telegram and LIHKG brings Hong Kong “dangerously close to China-style #GFW (Great Firewall) #censorship.”

The joint letter warned that the ban will eventually lead to the Hong Kong government’s tighter grip on the Internet.

It stated: “We fear that this creeping censorship marks another step toward a full internet shutdown in Hong Kong and will undermine the open and secure internet in Hong Kong and elsewhere.”

Lam in Beijing

All attention will be on Beijing on Nov. 6, when Lam is scheduled to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, according to a Hong Kong government press release.

Lam is to attend the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Nov. 5, meet with Han the following morning, then attend the third plenary meeting of the Leading Group for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in the afternoon. The Leading Group was established by China’s State Council in 2018.

The meeting comes amid media speculation that Beijing might replace Lam before March next year, Lam herself and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that there were such plans.

The meeting could also shed light on Beijing’s new plans for Hong Kong, after a recently concluded the communique from the Chinese Communist Party’s recently concluded political conclave mentioned “perfecting” Hong Kong and Macau’s “legal system and law enforcement mechanism.”

Han is the top Beijing official in charge of Hong Kong affairs, as head of the Leading Group and head of the Central Coordination Group for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, an internal policy coordination group within the Beijing leadership.

This will be the first meeting between Han and Lam since mass protests began in June. According to Chinese state-run media, Lam had attended a second plenary meeting in Beijing back in March, which was chaired by Han.

Source: Hong Kong Police Shuts Down Protests, Make Mass Arrests During 22nd Straight Weekend of Unrest

Steve Bannon: “Joe Biden is the Hand Grenade. Hunter Biden is the Pin… The Shrapnel Is Going to BLOW BACK All Over Democrat Party” (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Former Trump Chief Strategist joined Maria Bartiromo Sunday morning on Sunday Morning Futures this morning.

Steve discussed the ongoing impeachment crisis facing America.  Steve Bannon says America will demand Joe and Hunter Biden come testify before the impeachment star chamber.

Steve Bannon: “If Schiff stands there and argues Joe Biden is above the law, Hunter Biden is above the law. The Bidens have to be called. Joe Biden is the hand grenade and Hunter Biden is the pin. And when that pin gets pulled the shrapnel is going to blow back all over the Democrat Party.

Via Sunday Morning Futures:

via Steve Bannon: “Joe Biden is the Hand Grenade. Hunter Biden is the Pin… The Shrapnel Is Going to BLOW BACK All Over Democrat Party” (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit