Daily Archives: February 11, 2020

February 11 Life-Changing Moments With God

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.

So it was, while the two believers conversed and reasoned, that You, Lord Jesus, drew near and went with them. Where two or three are gathered together in Your name, You are there in the midst of us … Your fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

May Your Word, Christ Jesus, dwell in me richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing others in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in my heart to the Lord. May we believers exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of us be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Every idle word I may speak, I will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by my words I will be justified, and by my words I will be condemned. Behold, it is written before You … You will repay.

Make me sensitive to Your presence with me today, Lord Jesus, that I may honor You with my actions, my words, my thoughts.

Malachi 3:16; Luke 24:15; Matthew 18:20; Philippians 4:3; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 3:13; Matthew 12:36–37; Isaiah 65:6[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 52). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

February 11, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (40:35). Even Moses who had enjoyed such close contact with the Lord was unable to enter the glory-filled Tent. Just as on Sinai he had to wait six days before being summoned into the divine presence, so too here Moses has to wait. The divine summons comes in Leviticus 1:1.[1]

The barrier cloud (35). Strange as it must have seemed, the tent designed for meeting was the very place where even Moses found he could not meet with the Lord. The title belied the reality. The Lord had come home, but was not ‘at home’ to callers. Was Moses surprised? Reading between the lines, the text seems to hint that he was, that he tried to go in but found he could not. Yet, in reality, nothing had changed. On Sinai, while Moses did indeed enter the divine presence, he never did so without invitation, and in 24:15–16 he even waited six days to be called. The Lord is sovereignly in charge of his own front door. He makes what arrangements he chooses as the conditions of entrance (cf. 3:5). But by the time the tabernacle had been erected and the golden calf had been made, sin and its dire consequences had been exposed, the wrath of God had been revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and the Israelites knew themselves to be sinners and the Lord to be holy. Once more Moses must await the divine invitation. This time, however, it takes virtually the whole book of Leviticus to spell out the conditions for this to happen—the way of the shed blood and of the life of the innocent being laid down in place of the guilty. The invitation to ‘draw near’ was not long in coming (Lev. 1:1). The tabernacle was specifically a place where sinners could live in fellowship with the Holy One, and he with them, on the basis of the atonement.[2]

40:35 Although Moses had been intimately involved in preparing the tabernacle, its completion meant that the glory of the Lord was present and that even Moses could not enter it. The cloud rested speaks of God living among His people (John 1:14). Throughout this section we encounter two attributes of God. One is His great grace and tender mercy. The King of glory was in the midst of His people! The second is His indescribable holiness. The Lord filled the tent and no one could draw near![3]

40:35 — And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

A similar phenomenon occurred when Solomon dedicated the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kin. 8:10, 11). God wanted to leave no doubt among His people that He would be with them as promised (Is. 6:4; Rev. 8:4).[4]

40:35 Moses was unable to go into Moses is able to enter the cloud on other occasions (e.g., 24:18). On this occasion, it was inappropriate for Moses to enter the tabernacle as the rightful owner took possession of His dwelling. The presence of Yahweh filling the entire tabernacle indicated His exclusive ownership.[5]

[1] Mackay, J. L. (2001). Exodus (pp. 604–605). Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[2] Motyer, A. (2005). The Message of Exodus: The Days of Our Pilgrimage. (A. Motyer & D. Tidball, Eds.) (p. 324). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 149). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ex 40:35). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ex 40:35). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

February—11 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.—Jude 6.

This will form a solemn meditation, my soul, for thy evening thoughts to be exercised upon. And, perhaps, under grace, it may lead thee to some sweet improvements in the contemplation of the distinguishing grace manifested to our rebellious nature; while judgment the most awful and everlasting overtook the higher nature of angels. If we humbly inquire what was the nature of their sin, all we can gather of information concerning it was, that it was rebellion against God. One part of the Scripture, indeed, tells us, that “there was war in heaven. Michael (by which we understand, Michael our Prince, the Lord Jesus Christ, Dan. 10:21) and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought, and his angels, and prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven.” (Rev. 12:7, &c.) By which it should seem, that the cause of this contest of the devil with Christ was personal, and on account of the kingdom which Jehovah gave him as God Mediator over angels and men. And hence, when these apostate spirits left their own habitation, and were cast out, they set up a kingdom, in opposition to the Lord’s. And from their bitter hatred to Christ and his kingdom, they wreaked all their malice in corrupting and seducing our nature to join in rebellion against God. Hence “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world,” beguiled our first parents, and introduced sin and death into this our world; which hath passed, and must pass upon all their posterity, because all have sinned, and come short of God’s glory. Pause, my soul, over the solemn account. Think, duly think, of the fallen state into which, by nature and by practice, thou art brought by this apostasy. And when thou hast had thy mind thoroughly impressed with the awfulness of such a situation, turn thy thoughts to the due contemplation also of the love, and grace, and mercy of God, in thy recovery. Sweetly dwell on the love of God thy Father, in the gift of his dear Son, for the purposes of redemption. Mark well the blessed features of the Son in his work of mercy, in this great accomplishment. And do not overlook, but delight evermore to contemplate, the love of God the Holy Ghost in condescending both to bring thee acquainted with the grace of the Father, and of the Son, and to incline thine heart to the thankful belief of it, and love of both! And that the whole subject may have its full influence upon thee, to induce in thee all the suitable and becoming affections of love, thanksgiving, holy obedience, and praise to the Author of such mercy, mark well the distinguishing nature of that grace, which hath left fallen angels in their ruin and misery, reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day, while bestowing pardon, reconciliation, and favour, upon fallen men, amidst all our unworthiness, sin, and rebellion. And, O Lamb of God! give me the continued grace to meditate for ever on the unequalled love of thine heart, who passeth by the nature of angels to take on thee the seed of Abraham; that in all things thou mightest be made like unto the brethren, in being a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of thy people![1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 47–48). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 11 Streams in the Desert

As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests … shall rest in the waters … the waters shall be cut off.” (Joshua 3:13.)

THE people were not to wait in their camps until the way was opened, they were to walk by faith. They were to break camp, pack up their goods, form in line to march, and move down to the very banks before the river would be opened.

If they had come down to the edge of the river and then had stopped for the stream to divide before they stepped into it, they would have waited in vain. They must take one step into the water before the river would be cut off.

We must learn to take God at His Word, and go straight on in duty, although we see no way in which we can go forward. The reason we are so often balked by difficulties is that we expect to see them removed before we try to pass through them.

If we would move straight on in faith, the path would be opened for us. We stand still, waiting for the obstacle to be removed, when we ought to go forward as if there were no obstacles.—Evening Thoughts.

What a lesson Columbus gave to the world of perseverance in the face of tremendous difficulties!

Behind him lay the gray Azores,

Behind the gates of Hercules;

Before him not the ghost of shores,

Before him only shoreless seas.

The good Mate said: “Now we must pray,

For lo! the very stars are gone.

Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”

“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!’ ”

“My men grow mutinous day by day;

My men grow ghastly wan and weak!”

The stout Mate thought of home; a spray

Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.

“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,

If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”

“Why, you shall say at break of day,

‘Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!’ ”

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the Mate:

“This mad sea shows its teeth tonight.

He curls his lip, he lies in wait,

With lifted teeth, as if to bite!

Brave Admiral, say but one good word;

What shall we do when hope is gone?”

The words leapt like a leaping sword:

“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”

Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck

And peered through darkness. Ah! that night

Of all dark nights! And then a speck—

A light! A light! A light! A light!

It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!

It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.

He gained a world; he gave that world

Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”

Joaquin Miller.

Faith that goes forward triumphs.[1]


[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 47–48). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

February 11th The D. L. Moody Year Book

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.—Deuteronomy 29:29.

THERE are many things which were dark and mysterious to me five years ago, on which I have since had a flood of light; and I expect to be finding out something fresh about God throughout eternity.

I make a point of not discussing disputed passages of Scripture. An old divine has said that some people, if they want to eat fish, commence by picking the bones. I leave such things till I have light on them. I am not bound to explain what I do not comprehend. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children forever”; and these I take, and eat, and feed upon, in order to get spiritual strength.[1]


[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 34). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

We Must Work Out Our Own Salvation — Counseling One Another

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12-13

At some point in our Christian walk, we all ask questions like these: “How can I overcome this stubborn, sinful habit?” or “Will I ever change in this particular area?” Asking these questions of ourselves and God can be a positive indication that the life of God has been planted in our soul. In other words, since the Holy Spirit breathed new life into us, by means of the gospel, we long to be more like Christ. But some days we wonder how much progress we are really making. Therefore, it’s imperative that we have a biblical understanding of cooperative sanctification, that is, embracing our responsibility while also relying upon the power of God at work within us. Without a right grasp of progressive sanctification, our longing for godliness may tempt us to gravitate toward one of two extremes. …continue reading my post at Servants of Grace.

via We Must Work Out Our Own Salvation — Counseling One Another

February 11, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Nature of the Incarnation

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (1:14)

Verse 14 is the most concise biblical statement of the Incarnation, and therefore one of Scripture’s most significant verses. The four words with which it begins, the Word became flesh, express the reality that in the Incarnation God took on humanity; the infinite became finite; eternity entered time; the invisible became visible (cf. Col. 1:15); the Creator entered His creation. God revealed Himself to man in the creation (Rom. 1:18–21), the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21), and, supremely and most clearly, in Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1–2). The record of His life and work, and its application and significance for the past, present, and future, is in the New Testament.

As noted in the discussion of 1:1 in chapter 1 of this volume, the concept of the Word was one rich in meaning for both Greeks and Jews. John here clearly stated what he implied earlier in the prologue: Jesus Christ, God’s final Word to mankind (Heb. 1:1–2), became flesh. Sarx (flesh) does not have here the negative moral connotation that it sometimes carries (e.g., Rom. 8:3–9; 13:14; Gal. 5:13, 16–17, 19; Eph. 2:3), but refers to man’s physical being (cf. Matt. 16:17; Rom. 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:26; 2 Cor. 5:16; Gal. 1:16; Eph. 5:29; Phil. 1:22). That He actually became flesh affirms Jesus’ full humanity.

Ginomai (became) does not mean that Christ ceased being the eternal Word when He became a man. Though God is immutable, pure eternal “being” and not “becoming” as all His creatures are, in the Incarnation the unchangeable (Heb. 13:8) God did become fully man, yet remained fully God. He entered the realm of those who are time and space creatures and experienced life as it is for those He created. In the words of the fifth-century church father Cyril of Alexandria,

We do not … assert that there was any change in the nature of the Word when it became flesh, or that it was transformed into an entire man, consisting of soul and body; but we say that the Word, in a manner indescribable and inconceivable, united personally … to himself flesh animated with a reasonable soul, and thus became man and was called the Son of man.… The natures which were brought together to form a true unity were different; but out of both is one Christ and one Son. We do not mean that the difference of the natures is annihilated by reason of this union; but rather that the Deity and Manhood, by their inexpressible and inexplicable concurrence into unity, have produced for us the one Lord and Son Jesus Christ. (cited in Bettenson, Documents, 47)

No wonder Paul wrote of the Incarnation,

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:

He who was revealed in the flesh,

Was vindicated in the Spirit,

Seen by angels,

Proclaimed among the nations,

Believed on in the world,

Taken up in glory. (1 Tim. 3:16)

Charles Wesley also captured the wonder of the Incarnation in his majestic hymn “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”:

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,

Hail th’ incarnate Deity!

Pleased as man with men to dwell,

Jesus, our Emmanuel.

Some found the Incarnation so utterly beyond human reason to comprehend that they refused to accept it. The heretical group known as the Docetists (from dokeō; “to seem,” or “to appear”), accepting the dualism of matter and spirit so prevalent in Greek philosophy at that time, held that matter was evil, and spirit was good. Accordingly, they argued that Christ could not have had a material (and hence evil) body. They taught instead either that His body was a phantom, or an apparition, or that the divine Christ spirit descended upon the mere man Jesus at His baptism, then left Him before His crucifixion. Cerinthus, John’s opponent at Ephesus, was a Docetist. John strongly opposed Docetism, which undermines not only the incarnation of Christ, but also His resurrection and substitutionary atonement. As noted earlier in this chapter, in his first epistle he warned,

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1 John 4:1–3)

John was so horrified by Cerinthus’s heresy that, as the early church historian Eusebius records,

John the apostle once entered a bath to wash; but ascertaining Cerinthus was within, he leaped out of the place, and fled from the door, not enduring to enter under the same roof with him, and exhorted those with him to do the same, saying, “let us flee, lest the bath fall in, as long as Cerinthus, that enemy of the truth, is within.” (Ecclesiastical History, book III, chap. XXVIII)

The eternal Son not only became man; He also dwelt among men for thirty-three years. Dwelt translates a form of the verb skēnoō, which literally means “to live in a tent.” Jesus Christ’s humanity was not a mere appearance. He took on all the essential attributes of humanity and was “made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7), “since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). As the writer of Hebrews goes on to explain, “He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17). And He pitched His tent among us.

In the Old Testament, God tented with Israel through His glorious presence in the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34–35) and later in the temple (1 Kings 8:10–11), and revealed Himself in some pre-incarnate appearances of Christ (e.g., Gen. 16:7–14; Ex. 3:2; Josh. 5:13–15; Judg. 2:1–4; 6:11–24; 13:3–23; Dan. 3:25; 10:5–6; Zech. 1:11–21). Throughout eternity, God will again tent with His redeemed and glorified people:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell [skēnoō] among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:3–4; cf. 12:12; 13:6)

Though Jesus manifested God’s divine glory during His earthly life with a clarity never before seen, it was still veiled by His human flesh. Peter, James, and John saw a physical manifestation of Jesus’ heavenly glory at the transfiguration, when “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matt. 17:2; cf. 2 Peter 1:16–18). That was a preview of the unveiled glory to be seen at His return (Matt. 24:29–30; 25:31; Rev. 19:11–16) and the fullness of His heavenly glory as the only Light of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23). But the disciples saw Jesus manifest God’s holy nature primarily by displaying divine attributes, such as truth, wisdom, love, grace, knowledge, power, and holiness.

Jesus manifested the same essential glory as the Father, because as God they possess the same nature (10:30). Despite the claims of false teachers through the centuries, monogenēs (only begotten) does not imply that Jesus was created by God and thus not eternal. The term does not refer to a person’s origin, but describes him as unique, the only one of his kind. Thus Isaac could properly be called Abraham’s monogenēs (Heb. 11:17) even though Abraham had other sons, because Isaac alone was the son of the covenant. Monogenēs distinguishes Christ as the unique Son of God from believers, who are God’s sons in a different sense (1 John 3:2). B. F. Westcott writes, “Christ is the One and only Son, the One to whom the title belongs in a sense completely unique and singular, as distinguished from that in which there are many children of God (vv. 12f.)” (The Gospel According to St. John [Reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978], 12). Jesus’ unique relationship to the Father is a major theme of John’s gospel (cf. 1:18; 3:35; 5:17–23, 26, 36–37; 6:27, 46, 57; 8:16, 18–19, 28, 38, 42, 54; 10:15, 17, 30, 36–38; 12:49–50; 14:6–13, 20–21, 23, 31; 15:9, 15, 23–24; 16:3, 15, 27–28, 32; 17:5, 21, 24–25; 20:21).

Jesus’ manifestation of the divine attributes revealed His essential glory as God’s Son, “for in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). The two attributes most closely connected with salvation are grace and truth. Scripture teaches that salvation is wholly by believing God’s truth in the gospel, by which one receives His saving grace.

The Jerusalem Council declared, “But we believe that we [Jewish believers] are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they [Gentiles] also are” (Acts 15:11). Apollos “greatly helped those who had believed through grace” (Acts 18:27). Paul described the message he preached as “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). In Romans 3:24 he wrote that believers are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” while in Ephesians 1:7 he added, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” Later in that same letter, Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8–9). He reminded Timothy that God “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Tim. 1:9). That same “grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11), with the result that believers “being justified by His grace … would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

There is no salvation grace except to those who believe the truth of the gospel message. Paul reminded the Ephesians, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13). In Colossians 1:5 he defined the gospel as the “word of truth” (cf. James 1:18). Paul expressed to the Thessalonians his thankfulness that “God ha[d] chosen [them] from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13). People are saved when they “come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4; cf. 2 Tim. 2:25). On the other hand, “those who perish” will do so “because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thess. 2:10). Everyone will “be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thess. 2:12).

Jesus Christ was the full expression of God’s grace. All the necessary truth to save is available in Him. He was the full expression of God’s truth, which was only partially revealed in the Old Testament (cf. Col. 2:16–17). What was foreshadowed through prophecy, types, and pictures became substance realized in the person of Christ (cf. Heb. 1:1–2). Therefore He could declare, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.… If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 14:6; 8:31–32).

A vague belief in God apart from the truth about Christ will not result in salvation. As Jesus Himself warned, “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Those who think they are worshiping God, but are ignorant of or reject the fullness of the New Testament teaching about Christ, are deceived, because “he who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23; cf. 15:23). In his first epistle John affirmed that “whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23; cf. 2 John 9). Those who reject God’s full revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ will be eternally lost.

Summarizing the magnificence of this verse, Gerald L. Borchert writes,

In analyzing this crucial verse of the Prologue it becomes quickly apparent that this verse is like a great jewel with many facets that spreads it rays of implication into the various dimensions of Christology—the theology of Christ. As a summary of this verse it may be said that the evangelist recognized and bore witness to the fact that the characteristics ascribed only to God by the Old Testament were present in the incarnate Logos, God’s unique messenger to the world, who not only epitomized in person the awesome sense of God’s presence in their midst as a pilgrim people but also evidenced those stabilizing divine qualities God’s people had experienced repeatedly. (John 1–11, The New American Commentary [Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2002], 121–22. Italics in original.)[1]

Jesus Christ Is Man

John 1:1, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The last study looked at the first two verses of John’s Gospel, the verses that declare so unequivocably that Jesus is God. We now want to skip ahead to the verse that goes with them and that says in equally certain terms that Jesus is man. That verse is John 1:14. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus is God. Jesus is man. Properly understood, these are the two most important truths to be made about Christ’s person.

A Biblical Doctrine

It is not only in John’s Gospel that we encounter such teaching, of course. These themes are found throughout Scripture. What is more, although they are very profound they are taught in the most natural way and in a totally artless manner.

Take the three places where God the Father describes the Son’s nature by means of two complementary verbs. In the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah, in a verse that is always much quoted at Christmastime, we read, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). This verse teaches that the Messiah was to be One who was always God’s Son but who would become man at a particular point in history. Hence, as a child he is born, but as a Son he is given. In Romans 1:3–4 the same teaching occurs. There the apostle Paul writes, “… regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.” Jesus was made the seed of David, according to the flesh. But he was declared always to have been God’s Son. Finally, in Galatians 4:4–5 we read, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” As a son, Jesus Christ was sent. Hence, he was always God. Nevertheless, he was made under the law. He became man. The Bible is never hesitant to put the twin truths of the full deity and the true humanity of Jesus Christ together.

What we have taught didactically in these verses is also taught by illustration in various events in Christ’s ministry. For instance, in the next chapter of John’s Gospel we find the Lord Jesus Christ at a wedding (John 2:1–11). Few things could be more truly human than that. Yet, when the wine is exhausted and the family about to be embarrassed, Jesus makes new and better wine of the water that had been standing around in the great stone waterpots that were used for the Jewish washings and purifications. Nothing in the whole chapter is more clearly divine.

On another occasion the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee from Capernaum to the land of the Gadarenes while Jesus, who was exhausted from the day’s activities, was asleep in the boat. A storm arose that was so intense it frightened even these seasoned fishermen. They awoke Jesus, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” And Jesus stilled the storm. What could be more human than our Lord’s total exhaustion in the boat? But what could be more divine than his stilling of the winds and waves, so that the disciples came to worship him saying, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matt. 8:23–27)? The same twofold nature of the Lord Jesus Christ is illustrated throughout the Gospels right down to the accounts of his death and resurrection. Nothing could be more human than his death by crucifixion. Nothing could be more divine than the darkening of the sky, the tearing of the veil of the temple, the opening of the graves of the saints buried near Jerusalem, and the final triumphant rending of the tomb on that first Easter morning.

We must not make the mistake of thinking of Jesus as being merely a divine man or, on the other hand, of being merely a human God. Jesus is the God-man; and this means that he is fully and uniquely God as well as being perfectly man. He is God with us, God for us, God in us. As man he is the One who has experienced all the trials, joys, sufferings, losses, gains, temptations, and vicissitudes of this life. All this is involved in these two important verses of John 1.

Able to Die

Why are these truths important? Or, more particularly, since we discussed the divinity of Jesus Christ in our previous study, why is the humanity of Jesus Christ important? There are several reasons.

First, the incarnation made it possible for Jesus Christ to die. This is easy to see. It is what the author of Hebrews is thinking of when he writes, “Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, “Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God” ’ ” (Heb. 10:4–7). A body made it possible for Jesus Christ to die.

It is always difficult to find an adequate illustration of the incarnation itself. But it is not so hard to find an illustration of this aspect of it. A body was the vehicle of Christ’s earthly ministry. Take a man who is called by God to do medical missionary work in a distant corner of Africa. His person and his willingness are one thing. But his training is another. Thus, the man will submit to years of training, gaining medical knowledge and at times even a bit of seminary training, so that to his person and original intention he adds that which is necessary for him to do the work. It is exactly what Jesus Christ did. In the beginning, in the eternal counsels of God, before there was a world or a lost race of men, Jesus foresaw all human history and knew that he was to redeem the race. Thus, in the fullness of time, in the days of Herod, he assumed a body so that he could offer up that body as the perfect sacrifice for man’s sin.

This is what we find throughout Scripture. The very name “Jesus” looks forward to an act of saving significance. For the angel said of Mary, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Jesus himself spoke of the suffering that was to come (Mark 8:31; 9:31), linking the success of his mission to the crucifixion: “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). At several places in John’s Gospel the crucifixion is spoken of as that vital “time” for which Christ came and to which his ministry inflexibly proceeded (John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20; 13:1; 17:1).

Moreover, the death of Jesus is in a real sense the theme of the Old Testament also. The Old Testament sacrifices prefigure Christ’s suffering, and the prophets explicitly foretell it. Paul teaches that Abraham was saved by faith in Christ (Gal. 3:8, 16). Jesus taught the downcast Emmaus disciples that the Old Testament foretold his death and resurrection: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). In the light of these texts it is not wrong to say that the most important reason for the incarnation of Jesus is that it made it possible for him to die. This death was the focal point of world and biblical history.

Able to Understand

There is also a second reason why it was important for the eternal Son of God to become man. The fact that Jesus Christ took upon himself all that men are and know and experience also made it possible for him to be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, as the author of Hebrews says. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:15–16). Jesus knew and experienced (in a way that we can understand) what it meant to be man.

J. B. Phillips, the translator who stands behind one of the modern paraphrases of the New Testament and some of the Old Testament books, tells how he was impressed with the deeply human nature of Christ’s sufferings as he went about his task of translating the Gospels. He says, “The record of the behaviour of Jesus on the way to the cross and of the crucifixion itself is almost unbearable, chiefly because it is so intensely human. If, as I believe, this was indeed God focused in a human being, we can see for ourselves that here is no play acting; this is the real thing. There are no supernatural advantages for this man. No celestial rescue party delivered Him from the power of evil men, and His agony was not mitigated by any superhuman anaesthetic. We can only guess what frightful anguish of mind and spirit wrung from him the terrible words ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ But the cry ‘It is finished!’ cannot be one of despair. It does not even mean ‘It is all over.’ It means ‘It has been completed’—and the terrifying task of doing God’s will to the bitter end had been fully and finally accomplished.”

It is this suffering that enables us to know that Jesus experienced all that we experience—the weariness, disappointments, misunderstandings, and the pain of this life—and so is able to understand and help all those who are his own and are so tempted.

Our Example

Third, by becoming man Jesus has also provided us with an example of how the life that is fully pleasing to the Father should be lived. Being what we are, this is most important.

I often have been asked by people who are concerned with the state of the church today why it is that so many of the young men who go to seminary (even a good seminary, for that matter) come out of it without much of a message and without much of an ability to lead the churches they eventually serve. This is good questioning. As I have thought about it, I have come to feel that one of the main reasons is that they lack an adequate example of what the Christian ministry can be. They have never had contact with a strong church or with an intelligent preaching ministry that is Bible-centered and faithful to the great themes of the gospel. So, lacking an example, they wander about in their approach and fail to provide strong leadership.

Now, what is true for the ministry is true for other fields also—business, law, medicine, scholarship, and so on—and it is true spiritually. Thus, Jesus became man in order to go through all sorts of situations with all sorts of people in order that we might be provided with a pattern upon which our Christian life can be constructed.

Do you remember ever having seen a sampler? I mean those patterns of needlework containing the alphabet by which children of a generation or two ago used to learn to read and write. That is what Christ is for us. He is our sampler, our example. We are to pattern our attempts to write out the Christian life on him. I find it interesting that Peter uses the word for “sampler” or “copybook” when he says, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). In other words, by means of Jesus Christ’s becoming man God wrote the characters of love and righteousness large so that we by his grace might copy them.

The Value of Life

The fourth reason why the incarnation was important is that through it God sanctified the value of human life in a way that had not been done previously. Before the coming of Jesus Christ, life in the ancient world was cheap; and it seems that, with the departure from biblical values and biblical principles that we see about us, life is becoming increasingly cheap today.

What makes life cheap? War makes it cheap. There is plenty of war today. The continuing reports of battle deaths numb us as to the destiny of the individual. The same thing is true of traffic deaths or deaths as the result of crime. Moreover, I personally believe that the laws that have legalized abortion have also had this effect and will have it increasingly in years ahead.

What will offset this cheapening of human life? Only the values that Christianity brings! Christianity values life, first, because God gave it and, second, because the Lord Jesus Christ sanctified it by assuming a full human nature by means of the incarnation. Jesus Christ became like you.

Does that mean anything to you personally? It should make you thankful. It should lead you to bow down before the Lord Jesus Christ and worship him deeply as your Savior. Martin Luther was a great expositor of John’s Gospel, as I mentioned in the opening chapter, and at this point in his commentary he tells a story from folklore that illustrates this principle. He says that there was once a stubborn and unspiritual man—Luther called him “a coarse and brutal lout”—who showed absolutely no reverence for any of the great truths of Christianity. When the words “And was made man” were sung in church, this man neither crossed himself nor removed his hat, both of which were common practice in the Roman church of that day. When the creeds were recited the man would not kneel. Luther says, “Then the devil stepped up to him and hit him so hard it made his head spin. He [the devil] cursed him gruesomely and said: ‘May hell consume you.… If God had become an angel like me and the congregation sang: “God was made an angel,” I would bend not only my knees but my whole body to the ground!… And you vile human creature, you stand there like a stick or a stone. You hear that God did not become an angel but a man like you, and you just stand there like a stick of wood!’ ” The story is fictional, of course. Yet it does make the point. Apart from the grace of God we all stand before the most tremendous truths of God’s Word as impervious blocks of stone. Yet we should respond to them.

Do we respond? Do you? You should lift up your heart and also your voice in praise of a God who can come from the infinite distance and glories of heaven down to a world such as ours in order that he might redeem us and lead us back to himself. The incarnation is the second greatest truth in the Bible. The greatest is that this God who became man could also love us enough to go to the cross and die for us personally.[2]

14 We now come to the most concise statement in Scripture regarding the incarnation. With eloquent simplicity born of brevity, John proclaims, “The Word became flesh.” The philosophical mind may have taken no exception to John’s teaching on the Logos up until this point. But any idea of the Logos (the eternal Reason) entering into our human estate would run counter to the fundamental Greek axiom that the gods were detached and separate from the struggles and heartaches of humanity (see Morris’s extended note, 115–26, on the Logos). By declaring that “the Word became flesh,” John answered the Docetics, who, while acknowledging that Jesus of Nazareth was divine, could not bring themselves to accept the fact that he was also fully human. They would claim that he only appeared (dokeō, GK 1506; used intransitively it means “to seem”) to be a real man. Throughout history Christian orthodoxy has always maintained the full humanity of Jesus, as well as his complete deity. He is the God-man. The incarnation is the embodiment of God in human form as Christ. In becoming human Jesus did not diminish in any way what he was before. While the voluntary restrictions of becoming human led him to resist any independent expression of his divine power, he was in no way less God by becoming human. He became what we are without relinquishing what he always has been and must be.

John goes on to say that the eternal Logos (God the Son) came and lived for a while (“made his dwelling”) among us. The reference is to his earthly ministry as Jesus of Nazareth. The verb skēnoō (GK 5012) means “to live in a tent [skēnē; GK 5008],” i.e., to take up a temporary abode. The term would call to mind the wilderness trek of Israel during which time God took up his abode in the tabernacle, or Tent of Meeting. During the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, his followers recognized in him the very presence of God. He was the shekinah glory, the visible expression of the glory of God. He was, as the writer of Hebrews puts it, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb 1:3). The glory that his followers “saw” (a weak translation of theaomai, “to behold,” GK 2517, from theōria, “an appearance or spectacle,” GK 2556) was the glory of the one and only Son. The KJV’s “only begotten” incorrectly suggests that monogenēs (GK 3666) is derived from gennaō (“to beget,” GK 1164) rather than from ginomai (in this context, “to be born,” GK 1181). John is saying that the Son is unique, the only one of a kind. God has as sons all who have been adopted into his family on the basis of personal faith, but Jesus is the Son of God sui generis (unique). He came from the Father, “full of grace and truth” (the phrase modifies “the Word” or “the one and only Son” rather than “glory” as some have suggested). These two great Christian terms reflect the unmerited favor of a God who, true to his essential character, gives of himself for the eternal benefit of humanity.[3]

14 Now comes the most concise statement of the incarnation. “The Word” (see on v. 1 and Additional Note A, pp. 102–11) refers to him who is nothing less than God. “Became” is in the aorist tense, and indicates action at a point of time. “Flesh” is a strong, almost crude way of referring to human nature (cf. its use in Rom. 1:3; 8:3; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:2; NIV tends to paraphrase). John does not say, “the Word became man,” nor “the Word took a body.” He chooses that form of expression which puts what he wants to say most bluntly. It seems probable that he was confronted by opponents of a docetic type, people who were ready to think of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ of God but who denied the reality of his humanity. They thought of him as only appearing to live a human life. Since God could not, on their premises, defile himself by real contact with humankind, the whole life of Jesus must be appearance only. John’s strong term leaves no room for such fancies. He is clear on the deity of the Word. But he is just as clear on the genuineness of his humanity.

Notice that this is the first time that John indicates that the Word and Jesus are to be taken as the same. Up to this point it would have been quite possible for the reader to take “the Word” to refer to some supreme cosmic principle or the like. But in one short, shattering expression John unveils the great idea at the heart of Christianity—that the very Word of God took flesh for our salvation.

The Word “lived for a while among us.” Properly the verb signifies “to pitch one’s tent;” it may thus denote a temporary visit (Moffatt, “tarried among us”). But this cannot be insisted upon, and any exegesis that deduces a limited incarnation from the fact that the Word “tabernacled” among us is in error. The term had come to be used in a conventional fashion of settling down permanently in a place (e.g., Rev. 12:12; there can be no more permanent dwelling than in heaven!). But in Jewish ears the word might arouse other associations. The place of worship during the wanderings of Israel in the wilderness, the place where God had vouchsafed his presence, was “the Tabernacle,” and that noun corresponds to the verb used here. That John wants us to recall God’s presence in the tabernacle in the wilderness seems clear from the immediate reference to “glory,” for glory was associated with the tabernacle. When, for example, it was first set up, “the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exod. 40:34). It is possible that we should see other symbolism here also. There seems to be no doubt but that John saw Jesus as a new and greater Moses, and a number of students have seen evidence for this here. It is possible that the Sinai theophany or some other Old Testament incident may be in mind. But certainly the glory associated with the tabernacle is part of John’s meaning. The glory resulting from the immediate presence of the Lord is referred to quite often in Jewish writings. It came to be linked with the Shekinah, a word that means “dwelling” and is used of God’s dwelling among his people (in the Targums this term was sometimes substituted for the divine name). There were various ways in which the Jews used the term, and it is likely that John has more than one of them in mind. As A. M. Ramsey says, “We are reminded both of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and of the prophetic imagery of Yahweh tabernacling in the midst of His people, and of the Shekinah which He causes to dwell among them.… The place of His dwelling is the flesh of Jesus.” He goes on to bring out the force of the present passage by saying, “All the ways of tabernacling of God in Israel had been transitory or incomplete: all are fulfilled and superseded by the Word-made-flesh and dwelling among us.” That is the great point. What had been hinted at and even realized in a dim, imperfect fashion earlier was perfectly fulfilled in the Word made flesh.

That John had in mind the Shekinah and the glory that was associated with it seems further indicated by the express statement that the glory was “the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father.” The verb “beheld” is invariably used in John (as, for that matter, in the whole New Testament) of seeing with the bodily eye. It is not used of visions. John is speaking of that glory which was seen in the literal, physical Jesus of Nazareth. Since he came in lowliness we have an example of the paradox that John uses so forcefully later in the Gospel, that true glory is to be seen, not in outward splendor, but in the lowliness with which the Son of God lived among us and suffered for us. John holds, it is true, that the miracles showed the glory of Christ (2:11; 11:4, 40). But in a deeper sense it is the cross of shame that manifests the true glory (12:23–24; 13:31). The repetition of the word “glory” emphasizes its reality. The true glory was there, in the earthly life of the Word. And it was seen.100

We should not read too much into “only begotten” (see mg.) To English ears this sounds like a metaphysical relationship, but the Greek term means no more than “only,” “unique.” It is used, for example, of the widow of Nain’s “only” son (Luke 7:12; cf. also Luke 9:38). It is used also of Jairus’s “only” daughter (Luke 8:42). Perhaps even more instructive is the use of the term with reference to Isaac (Heb. 11:17), for Isaac was not Abraham’s only son. But he was “unique.” He was the only son given to Abraham by God’s promise. Used here, though the word does not necessarily denote a metaphysical relationship, it does at the least show that Jesus is God’s Son in a unique way. No other is or can be the Son of God as he is. The unique character of the relationship between the Father and the Son is one of the great themes of this Gospel. What John here briefly indicates in one word he subsequently develops powerfully. From this point on, as R. H. Lightfoot notes, “St. John leaves behind him the use of the word Logos, in order henceforth, throughout the book, to use not only the historical name ‘Jesus’, but also the more personal terms of ‘Father’ and ‘Son’.”

There is a small problem, that of knowing with what we should connect the expression “full of grace and truth.” ARV puts “and we beheld … the Father” in parentheses and takes it with “the Word”; RSV with “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” makes sure of the same interpretation. REB reads “we saw his glory, such glory as befits the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth,” which seems to attach it to “glory,” a view found also in NRSV, “the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” Many of the early Fathers took this view, as do some modern commentators (e.g., MacGregor). Another view is that the expression qualifies “the only begotten.”103 There is probably most to be said for the first view, but in any case it is a problem of Greek grammar rather than of meaning, for on any showing it is the incarnate Word who is full of grace and truth.

“Grace” is one of the great Christian words, and it is a minor mystery that John uses it three times in his Prologue and not again throughout his Gospel. The word basically means “that which causes joy,” and so means “winsomeness.” It comes to signify “goodwill,” “kindness,” and the like, often with the notion that the favor shown is undeserved. In the Christian understanding of things grace is especially seen in God’s provision for our spiritual need by sending his Son to be our Savior. From this we get the thought of the good gifts that God bestows on those who are saved, and finally that of the attitude of thankfulness that people ought to have toward God for all his goodness to them. Nowhere do we see more clearly what the grace of God means than in the Word made flesh.

With this John links “truth.” This is another important Johannine word. It is found twenty-five times in this Gospel, so that it is clearly a topic in which John is deeply interested. We usually understand truth simply as the opposite of falsehood, and John may use the term in much this way (e.g., 8:45). But for him the term has a much wider meaning. Like “life” and “light,” with which we were dealing earlier, truth is closely linked with Jesus. He could even say, “I am … the truth” (14:6). For the richness of this Johannine concept see Additional Note D (pp. 259–62). It is plain that for John truth is many-sided and many-splendored. When he speaks of the incarnate Word as full of grace and truth he is pointing us to the fact that truth and the complete reliability of God are bound up with one another. Truth as he sees it is not basically something that can be known apart from God. The Word is the revelation of truth as well as of grace. Grace taken by itself may have given people an unbalanced picture. Not only is God the God of grace. He is that, but he is also the God who demands of his people “truth in the inner parts” (Ps. 51:6). They must “do” the truth (3:21).[4]

14 Depending on context, the conjunction (kai) with which verse 14 begins can be translated simply as “and” or with further nuances, either resumptively (as “so,” or “and so”) or calling attention to a contrast (“and yet”). The simple “and” leaves unclear the relationship (temporal or otherwise) between what has been said in verse 11–13 and what is added here. The third option (“and yet”) would be attractive if one were to adopt the singular reading, “was born,” in verse 13: that is, even though Jesus was born “not of blood lines, nor of fleshly desire, nor a husband’s desire, but of God,” yet he did truly come into human flesh, as a true human being. But it does not work nearly as well with the plural reading. The second option (“So the Word came”) is best because the verse is not asserting anything new. “The Word came in human flesh” simply recalls and reaffirms “He came to what was his own” (v. 11). The author is not announcing a mysterious transformation of the divine Word, as Haenchen proposes,7 into something other than itself (that is, flesh), but simply confirming verses 1–13 by making it explicit that “the true Light,” who “came to what was his own,” was none other than “the Word” (ho logos) introduced in verse 1, who had been “with God in the beginning” and was himself “God.”

“Came” here (egeneto) is not to be sharply distinguished from the same verb in verses 2, 6, 10, and 17. When the subject is “all things” (v. 2) or “the world” (v. 10), it means “came into being” (as in the LXX of Genesis 1), but when the subject is “a man” (v. 6), or “grace and truth” (v. 17), it can mean either “came into being” or simply “came.” In the case of “the Word” (who always existed, vv. 1–2), “came into being” is hardly an option. Here, however, the verb has a predicate, “flesh” (sarx). The point is not that the Word was transformed into flesh, for (as Schnackenburg points out) “the Logos remains the subject in the following affirmation (‘and dwelt among us’) and made his divine glory visible—in the flesh—to believers.” Rather, the meaning is that the Word came into the world as flesh, or in flesh. The affirmation is much the same as the confession of faith by which the utterances of prophets are to be tested according to 1 and 2 John: “Jesus Christ come in flesh” (1 Jn 4:2), or “coming in flesh” (2 Jn 7).

Ernst Käsemann’s rhetorical question is a good one: “Does the statement ‘The Word became flesh’ really mean more than that he descended into the world of man and there came into contact with earthly existence, so that an encounter with him became possible?” In itself, it does not. If one must choose between Käsemann and Haenchen (see n. 7), Käsemann has the better case. But when he goes on to suggest that the significance of “The Word became flesh” is “totally overshadowed by the confession ‘We beheld his glory,’ ”9 he is on much weaker ground. On the contrary, “The Word came in human flesh” is a decisive affirmation, repeated in a variety of ways by the Gospel writer and by Jesus himself throughout the Gospel: “He came to his own” (1:12), “The Light has come into the world” (3:19), “The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven” (6:33), “I have come down from heaven” (6:38; compare 3:13), “I am the living Bread that came down from heaven” (6:51), “This is the bread that came down from heaven” (6:58), “I have come as light into the world” (12:46), “I went forth from the Father, and have come into the world” (16:28). Rudolf Bultmann writes eloquently of the “offense” of “the Word became flesh,” but the offense of these other texts scattered throughout the Gospel is just as great (compare 6:61, “Does this offend you?”). John 1:14 is programmatic for them all, whether they speak of “flesh,” or of “coming down from heaven,” or “coming into the world.” Whatever the terminology, God enters the world he has made in a manner for which humans are totally unprepared.

There is a parallelism of sorts between “came in human flesh” and “encamped among us” (italics added). Those who speak here as “we” or “us” are unmistakably “flesh,” a purely human community, even though “born of God” and not “of fleshly desire” (v. 13). The imagery of the phrase “encamped [eskēnōsen] among us” is that of pitching a tent. The point of the metaphor is not that the Word’s presence on earth was temporary, for none of the other four New Testament occurrences of the verb “encamped” (skēnoun), all from the book of Revelation, have to do with a temporary dwelling. Two of these (Rev 12:12 and 13:6) refer to those who “dwell” in heaven (presumably angels), while the other two (Rev 7:15 and 21:3) promise that God will “dwell” with his people, not for a limited time but forever. More likely, the metaphor’s point is that the world is not the proper home of the Word (that would be “with God,” v. 1, or “right beside the Father,” v. 18), but a kind of second home, or home away from home. It is fully consistent with the notion that he came not “to his own home” but “to what was his own” (v. 12). The question of whether the Word’s stay on earth was temporary or permanent, and of what it meant for Jesus to “go away” when his ministry was over (7:33; 8:21; 13:33), is a broader and more profound question, one not to be settled on the basis of this verse alone.

Beyond this, the tent imagery evokes the Exodus, and the tenting of God with the people of Israel in their desert wanderings. This is evident in the close association of the phrase “encamped among us” with the “glory” (doxa) of the Word. Near the end of Exodus, the author concludes: “Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exod 40:35, NIV). The similarity of sound between the Greek skēnē (“tabernacle” or “tent”) and the Hebrew shākan, “to dwell,” or “settle,” used of the Lord dwelling with Israel or in his temple, seems to have influenced the LXX translators at some points and perhaps the choice of words here as well.16 But possibly the most relevant parallel is one in which this is not the case: “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Lev 26:11–12, NIV).17

Similar covenant language is echoed in the prophets and in the New Testament. For example:

“My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Ezek 37:27, NIV).

“ ‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you’ ” (Zech 2:10–11, NIV).

“I will dwell and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Cor 6:16).

“See, the tent of God is with humans, and he will encamp with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev 21:3).

In our text there is no direct reference to the Exodus nor to God’s ancient covenant with Israel. When the author wants us to think of Moses or the desert wanderings explicitly, he will mention Moses by name (v. 17). Yet if those speaking are “children of God” (vv. 12–13), covenant language is appropriate, for in almost the same breath in which the God who encamps on earth says, “I will be their God, and they will be my people,” he can also say, “I will be to you a father, and you will be to me sons and daughters” (2 Cor 6:18), or “Whoever overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be to him God and he will be to me a son” (Rev 21:7).

The “glory” (doxa) of the Word is seen by the children of God, appropriately enough, as the glory of “a father’s One and Only.” With this, the Gospel’s terminology takes a decisive turn from the expressions “God” and “the Word” (vv. 1–2) toward what is to be the dominant relationship from now on, between “the Father” and “the Son.” The classic declaration of that relationship in the Gospel tradition is of course the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22; compare Mt 3:17). It is widely recognized that the synoptic term “beloved” (agapētos; compare Mt 12:18; Mk 12:6; Lk 20:13) and the Johannine “One and Only” (monogenēs; compare 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 Jn 4:9) are almost equivalent terms, both accenting the uniqueness of Jesus’ relationship to the Father. The reference to “a father” seems to have been introduced to explain the otherwise abrupt “One and Only.” Otherwise, we might have wondered, “Whose One and Only?” The answer is “a father’s One and Only” (perhaps with the implication: “You know, as in the baptism story”), or literally, “a One and Only from a father” (para patros). At the same time, the choice of words could imply that “the One and Only” was also “sent” from his father, just as John was “sent from God” (v. 6). The notion that the Word “came” is, after all, still very much in the author’s mind. Yet in the absence of any explicit word for “coming” or being “sent,” it is probably safer to view the reference to a father (or the Father) as simply part of the definition of “One and Only.”24

In this Gospel (unlike the synoptics), the notion of Jesus as God’s “One and Only,” or more commonly as “the Son,” arises out of a certain perception of his ministry as a whole, not out of a specific incident such as the baptism or the transfiguration. The Gospel of John, in fact, makes no direct mention of either of these events. Similarly, “we looked at his glory” is not a claim based on a single experience (contrast Lk 9:32; 2 Pet 1:17–18), but a testimony to Jesus’ entire life on earth. His “glory” (doxa), closely identified with “the glory of God,” is revealed in his miracles (2:11; 11:40), but above all when he is “glorified” (doxazesthai) in his death on the cross and the events leading up to it (7:39; 11:4; 12:16, 23, 28; 13:31; 17:1, 5). The verb for “we looked at” (etheasametha) is used of John’s vision of the Spirit descending on Jesus (1:33), once of observing a miracle (11:45), and three times in 1 John of believers’ perceptions of God or Christ (1 Jn 1:1; 4:12, 14). It is also used of Jesus’ own perception (1:38; 6:5) or that of his disciples (4:35) in the presence of potential converts or an opportunity for mission. In two of these instances the expression “Lift up your eyes and look” (4:35), or “Lifting up his eyes and looking” (6:5), suggests a deliberate act of the will. For this reason “we looked at” (like the “beheld” of the KJV) is a marginally better translation than “we saw.”

“Full of grace and truth” probably modifies “a father’s One and Only.” Some English translations depart from the Greek word order so as to make it modify “the Word,”26 but by the time “grace and truth” are mentioned the author has exchanged the terminology of “the Word” for that of Son and father. The difference is small because in either case the phrase refers to “Jesus Christ” (compare v. 17). Other versions set off the expression translated here as “glory as of a father’s One and Only” with commas, in apposition to “his glory,” implying that “filled with grace and truth” modifies “glory.” This is less satisfactory because attributes such as “grace and truth” are more appropriately applied to persons than to another attribute such as “glory.” It is, after all, Jesus the man who is “full of the Holy Spirit” according to Luke 4:1, and Stephen, a man, who is “full of grace and power” according to Acts 6:8. If the Holy Spirit confers “power” (dynamis) in Luke-Acts, so that “power” and the Spirit are almost synonymous, the Spirit in John’s Gospel is closely associated with “truth” (alētheia), to the point of being identified as “the Spirit of truth” (14:17; 15:26; 16:13). “Grace and truth,” while coordinate grammatically, seem not to be coordinate in meaning, just as “grace and power” are not coordinate in meaning in the book of Acts. Rather, “truth” specifies what “grace” it is that Jesus possesses. He is full of the grace, or gift, of truth (that is, of the Spirit of truth). This suggests that “full of grace and truth” may be simply another way of affirming that Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit,” as in Luke 4:1.

Another line of interpretation derives “grace and truth” from the Exodus tradition, and two closely associated Hebrew words for “mercy” (or “covenant loyalty”) and “truth” (ḥesed wĕʾĕmet). Unlike “grace and truth” in our text, these two words are almost synonymous in meaning, both focusing on faithfulness to God’s covenant with Israel. This option is attractive because of the possible echoes of the Exodus and the Sinai covenant in verse 14. When Moses asked to see the glory of the Lord (Exod 33:18), the Lord warned him that “you cannot look at my face, for no one can look at my face and live” (33:20). Then he placed Moses on a rock and passed by, saying, “The Lord, the Lord, compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, great in mercy and truth” (Exod 34:6, my italics). Moses cannot look at God’s face, but he can learn to know God’s attributes of “grace and truth.”37 The covenantal background is noteworthy because Moses will be mentioned by name three verses later (v. 17), and we will be reminded explicitly of what God told Moses on the mountain: “No one has seen God, ever” (v. 18; compare 5:37; 6:46; 1 Jn 4:12). Still, the precise terminology, “full of grace and truth,” is, as we have seen, closer to what could be called the “empowerment language” of Luke-Acts, centered around the gift of the Holy Spirit (compare Lk 4:1; Acts 6:3, 5, 8; 7:55; 11:24). The two worlds of thought are not mutually exclusive. Jesus is the recipient of “grace” here, empowered as the Father’s “One and Only” with the very attributes God revealed to Moses long ago. The role of the Spirit in all this is not yet explicit, but we will hear more of it later (see 1:32–34; 3:34).[5]

The Word Became Flesh

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The exodus of Israel was one of the great mass migrations of history, when over two million Israelites left their bondage in Egypt. At first, this great caravan would have had a certain splendor, laden down as it was with the treasures of the Nile. But before long in the desert, the Israelites would have looked more and more like refugees: they became dirty, disheveled, and increasingly disorganized. But even then, the Israelites possessed a glory that made them the marvel of the world. At the center of their camp was the tabernacle of the Lord, over which rested the cloud of fire that God sent to guide his people. Inside was the ark of the covenant, with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle.

Christians are likewise unimpressive during our pilgrim journey through this desert world. But like the Israelites, the Christian church has the glory of God in its midst. John writes, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The Incarnation of Christ

It was to make this great statement that the Gospel of John was written. John’s prologue has been telling of Christ’s coming to the world in theological terms. He began by stating that Jesus is the eternal Word who was with God before the beginning. The Word came as a light into darkness. Now, John 1:14 tells us how this happened: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

This verse states the doctrine of the incarnation of Christ. Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary in the stable at Bethlehem. But the second person of the Trinity did not come into being at this birth. John says at the start of his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word,” and then at a certain time, “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). God the Son—the Word—did not come to existence in his incarnation, but he became a human being in addition to a divine being. Westminster Confession 8.2 explains, “The Son of God, … being very and eternal God, … did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin.” Christ’s incarnation means that the Son of God became a human in the fullest sense, without losing any of his divinity. Paul teaches, “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col. 2:9). Likewise, Jesus is sinless without losing his full humanity. His is uncorrupted, true humanity.

When John speaks of our “flesh,” he does not refer to our sinful nature, as is Paul’s meaning of this term, but simply our human nature. John means that Jesus gained a human body, which enabled him to suffer death for us. Jesus also possessed a human mind and heart; he felt all that we feel, including sorrow and joy, weariness and temptation. Because of this, he is able to sympathize with us in our trials. Moreover, Jesus lived a human life in the same world in which we live. He was born and grew up as a boy. He learned a trade in his father’s carpenter shop. He had friends and neighbors; he paid taxes and was subject to the governing authorities. Because he truly lived as we live, Jesus sets an example for us to follow. These, then, are the three main reasons why “the Word became flesh”: to die, to sympathize with us, and to show us how to live.

This is the most stupendous news that could ever be reported. C. S. Lewis said: “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man.… He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him.” Paul writes, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: [God] was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16).

We do not understand how one person can be both God and man. But the Bible shows that Jesus possesses two distinct natures—one divine, one human—without any mingling or confusion between them. The Greek mythologies spoke of gods who came down to earth for a while, until they got tired and returned to the clouds. But nowhere in the ancient world was there any idea of God’s becoming man, the Word’s taking up flesh.

Lo, within a manger lies

He who built the starry skies …

Thus to come from highest bliss

Down to such a world as this!”

What does this say about God’s desire for our salvation—that he actually stepped into our world and became one of us? This shows the value of every human life, given the dignity that God gave to humans above all other creatures. First God created us in his own image (Gen. 1:26); then he sent his own Son to become a Son of Man, so that we might become in him the sons and daughters of God.

He Tabernacled among Us

John tells us not merely that “the Word became flesh,” but also that he “dwelt among us.” This phrase employs a verb form of the Greek word for tabernacle (eskenosen). Literally, John writes, “The Word tabernacled among us.” Undoubtedly John is directing us back to the exodus, when God dwelt among the Israelites in the tabernacle.

The tabernacle was a tent structure about forty-five feet long and fifteen feet wide. It had three areas: the outer courtyard where priests made sacrifices and washed themselves before entering; an outer room (the Holy Place) housing the golden candlestick, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense; and an inner room (the Most Holy Place) containing the ark of the covenant, where God himself dwelt. Everything about the tabernacle was symbolic of spiritual realities and especially of Jesus Christ, who came as God’s true tabernacle. We should take note of some of the most obvious parallels.

First, the tabernacle was given for Israel’s wilderness journey. So it was for Jesus. This present world was not Jesus’ true home; he was passing through on the way to a better world to come. During his life, Jesus lived as a pilgrim: he said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20). The same is true for us through our union with Christ: we no longer belong to this desert world, but pass through it to the Promised Land just as Israel passed through the desert.

Second, the tabernacle was humble in appearance. Its outward appearance paled in comparison to the pyramids of Egypt or the ziggurats of Babylon. The tabernacle was made of hides. Looking on it from the outside, you would see nothing glittering and no great artistry. The same was true of Jesus. A hymn exhorts, “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see.” A. W. Pink remarks: “He came, unattended by any imposing retinue of angels. To the unbelieving gaze of Israel He had no form nor comeliness; and when they beheld Him, their unanointed eyes saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him.”5

Third, the tabernacle was at the center of Israel’s camp. Numbers 2:17 tells us, “The tent of meeting shall set out, with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camps.” The various tribes of Israel camped all around the tabernacle, with the Lord at their center. James Montgomery Boice points out, “This is highly significant in reference to Jesus Christ, for he is the center of the Christian encampment. He is our gathering place.” Jesus must always be at the center of everything we do, everything we believe, and everything for which we hope. In Jesus Christ, God has tabernacled with us.

Beholding His Glory

The tabernacle was also called the tent of meeting. It was the place where the people met with God and saw the shekinah glory cloud that shined from within (shekinah = “radiance”). John applies this to Christ’s coming: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” Hebrews 1:3 makes the same connection: “He is the radiance of the glory of God.”

This supplies a workable definition of a Christian. A Christian is someone who sees in Jesus the glory of God. Others may see him as a valued teacher, a social reformer, or even a pitiful victim. But a Christian reads the Gospels and sees glory in Jesus Christ, so that he worships him and yields his life as Jesus’ disciple. This is what Andrew said to his brother, Simon Peter: “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). Later, when the crowds were leaving Jesus because he didn’t teach what they wanted to hear, Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life[;] … you are the Holy One of God” (6:68–69). Seeing this makes you a Christian. The word that John uses for “we have seen” (theaomai) has a rich meaning, including the idea of personal contact and interaction; it is elsewhere used for stopping by someone’s place of abode in order to “see” the person (Rom. 15:24). John means that believers commune with Christ in his glory. This is what makes us Christians, and also makes Christianity so exciting as our growing faith discovers his glory more and more.

Given what we earlier observed about Jesus’ humble appearance, it might seem odd to say that we see glory in him. So what glory does John have in mind when he speaks of the glory revealed in Jesus? Many different answers have been given. Some think this refers to the transfiguration, when Jesus was revealed in full splendor on the mount before three of his disciples. This certainly was a display of glory, but the fact that John omits it from his Gospel suggests that he has other things in mind. Others point to Jesus’ miracles—his healings, his ability to feed thousands with a few fish and loaves, and his power even to raise the dead. John tells us that the miracles “manifested his glory” (John 2:11), showing his divine power and sublime compassion. John devotes the first half of his Gospel to presenting what has been called The Book of Signs, that is, a record of the miracles that pointed to Christ’s glory.

But there is another answer to this question about Jesus’ glory. Jesus showed the glory of God not merely through the power of his divine nature, but also in his human nature through a humble, obedient, servant life. To us, a glorious person is one who rises above the crowds, ascending to a place of wealth and prominence. But Jesus showed us higher glory. Though he had the power that created galaxies, he subjected himself to human scorn and abuse. He allowed his heart to break as he wept over Jerusalem. He allowed his body to be broken—his hands and feet nailed to a cross by creatures he had made—and he gave up his life so that we might live.

The truth is that at first glance, Jesus was not very glorious. He had his moments, but what did he accomplish? Leon Morris assesses Jesus’ earthly achievement: “He preached to a few people in an outlying province of an ancient, long since vanished empire. Even there he was not often in the capital, the center of affairs, but in a remote country area. He taught a few people, gathered a few disciples, did an uncertain number of miracles, aroused a great number of enemies, was betrayed by one close follower and disowned by another, and died on a cross. Where is the glory?”

This reminds me of a character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, whom the author doubtless intended to reflect hidden glory like that of Jesus Christ. Aragorn was a man with a weathered appearance whom many considered strange and unsavory. Unknown to the townsfolk who shunned him, he had gained this visage through his ceaseless labors for their defense. It turned out that Aragorn was in fact the rightful king of all those lands, in exile awaiting the appointed time to reveal his claims. Tolkien honored Aragorn with a poem, the first two lines of which could be equally spoken of Jesus Christ:

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost.

Jesus may have seemed to wander, but no one could have moved with a greater purpose. And though he did not glitter with gold, he bore a glory that is greater by far—the glory of humble obedience to the will of God. At the end of his mission, on the night of his arrest, Jesus prayed to the Father: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). His was the humble glory of an obedient life.

We tend to think that glory requires the pomp and glitter of this world—gold medals, trophies, great stock portfolios, and showy houses. But God shows us through Jesus that real glory is not like that: it does not depend on pageantry and show. Real glory is seen in humble service out of devotion to God. Morris says of Jesus:

Where people needed help, he helped them. Where there were sick, he healed them. Where there were ignorant folk, he taught them. Where there were hungry people, he fed them. All the time, he was seeking the needy. He did not haunt the palaces of kings and governors. He was not found in the high places of the earth.… All his life he was among God’s little people, those who in one way or another felt their need. And wherever there was need, he was found doing lowly service. That is what Christ came to do. And that is glory.

This means that we, too, can lead glorious lives. We do not possess Jesus’ divine power to perform miracles—although we do have great power in prayers offered in his name. But through the Holy Spirit, as Christ lives in us, we have power to deny ourselves, serving sacrificially out of God-given love. We, too, can help. We can heal. We can teach. We can feed. We can take in the lost. We can bind up broken hearts. Through faith, we can be Christlike, bearing his glory before the world.

The story is told of two brothers named Taylor. The older son set out to make a name and achieve glory for his family. So he entered politics, served in Parliament, and became a man of considerable power. The younger brother turned his back on worldly glory, having seen the greater glory of Christ. He went to China, spending his entire life bringing the gospel to that land. His name was Hudson Taylor, and when he died his name was revered on every continent by all who loved the Lord. One writer tells of looking for information about his politician brother. Years afterward, his encyclopedia listing provided no information about his high offices and achievements in Parliament. It read only, “The brother of Hudson Taylor.”

This is how it is for God’s heroes. If you read the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11, you will find the names of people who were nobodies in the world but great in the eyes of God: Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, and others. Many were persecuted and even put to death. “They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of [them] the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:37–38). But because of the humble obedience of their faith, they achieved a glory that the world can never reach. Hebrews 11:16 says, “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” That is glory, and we can have it, too.

Full of Grace and Truth

John concludes this great verse, saying, “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Here are two specific aspects of God’s glory that Jesus revealed: his grace and his truth.

I mentioned a number of ways in which the tabernacle symbolizes the Lord Jesus, but one that I omitted is that the tabernacle was where the sacrifices were made to atone for sin. From the time of our first parents—Adam and Eve—God had revealed that the wages of sin would be death (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23). Sin is not just a little dysfunction among ourselves; it is a violation of God’s law and an offense to his perfect holiness. Therefore, sin must be punished with death. But in his grace—his unmerited mercy and favor—God has provided a Sacrifice to die in our place. This was symbolized at the tabernacle, where bulls and sheep and goats were brought to bear the punishment that the people’s sin deserved. Those sacrifices pointed forward to Jesus Christ, whose cross is the true tabernacle, revealing the grace of God to sinners by his death on the cross.

The cross was the greatest display of the glory of God’s grace. On the very brink of his entry into Jerusalem, starting the final countdown to his crucifixion, Jesus said to his disciples, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). Jesus was not talking about the hosannas that would greet his entry. The people were looking for him to be glorified by an ascent to military and political power. William Barclay writes, “By glorified they meant that the subjected kingdoms of the earth would grovel before the conqueror’s feet; by glorified He meant crucified.”

To the world, the cross was the most shameful of all things. It involved physical torture, personal humiliation, and a cursed death. This was God’s way of showing us the true shame of our sin. But because the perfect Son of God died in this way for us, the cross displays the grace of God to the highest glory of his name. I mentioned earlier that a Christian is one who sees the glory of God in the person of Christ. But now we see that it is especially by seeing the glory of God’s grace in the cross that we are saved. Is the cross your glory? Is it your hope? Is it the place where your sins were put away and God’s glory shines into your heart? Unless you have believed on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, there is no heavenly glory for you, but only the shame of the guilt that you will eternally bear. Paul speaks for every Christian heart when he exclaims, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).

Jesus first glorifies God’s grace to us, but then he leads us into the glory of God’s truth. This is yet another feature of the tabernacle: it was the place where God’s Word was revealed. The tablets of the Ten Commandments were kept in the tabernacle. And Moses came there to receive God’s Word for the people.

Once, Moses asked for a more intimate revelation: “Please show me your glory,” he said (Ex. 33:18). God replied, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (33:20). But Jesus Christ is a better tabernacle. “The Word became flesh” so that God could show us his face. Paul explains, “God … has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

People ask: How can we know God? We answer: Jesus Christ came into this world to show us the glory of the truth of God in a human face. Therefore, to reject Jesus is to reject the truth about God. But if we receive Jesus, we come into the knowledge of God for the salvation of our souls.

Moreover, Jesus left us his Word in the Bible. It, too, is now our glory. We hold in a book the truth of God in all its glory, provided for us through the ancient prophets and the apostles of Jesus Christ. If we have seen God’s glory in the face of Christ, and if we have received God’s grace at the cross of Christ, then let us love and desire the knowledge of God’s truth through the Word of Christ, so that we might glorify God through our lives of humble, obedient, and Christlike service.

God is calling you to do that. God is calling you to minister, feed, teach, visit, heal, and witness in Christ’s name with the particular gifts and opportunities you possess. Will you answer that call? If you will, through faith in Christ, God’s own glory will rest on your life, and the glory of the Savior, Jesus Christ, will shine out from you.[6]

1:14. The glory of the Word at the incarnation is the theme of 1:14–18. The fact recorded in verse 14 is not later in time than what has been described in the preceding verses. Rather, it is greater in love. The incarnation—and the realization of its purpose, the crucifixion—is the climax of God’s condescending grace. This is clear from the context; note verses 10, 11: “In the world he was … but the world did not acknowledge him. To his own home he came, but his own people did not welcome him.” And yet in the midst of this ungrateful world he manifested his supreme love. From the infinite sweep of eternal delight in the very presence of his Father, the Word was willing to descend into this realm of misery, to pitch his tent for a while among sinful men: “Veiled in flesh the godhead see.”

And the Word became flesh. (See also 1 John 4:2; Rom. 1:3; 8:3; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:5–11; 1 Tim. 3:16; and Heb. 2:14. See on 1:1 for comments on “the Word.”) The verb became has a very special meaning here. Not “became” in the sense of ceasing to be what he was before. When the wife of Lot becomes a pillar of salt, she ceases to be the wife of Lot. But when Lot becomes the father of Moab and Ammon, he remains Lot. So also here: the Word becomes flesh but remains the Word, even God (see verses 1, 18). The second Person of the Trinity assumes the human nature, without laying aside the divine. John everywhere insists—over against heretics (see p. 33)—that the divine and the human nature of Christ became fully united without being fused. The true human nature of Jesus is taught throughout this Gospel (4:6, 7; 6:53; 8:40; 11:33, 35; 12:27; 13:21; 19:28). The relation of the two natures to one another will forever remain a mystery, far above our comprehension; but a better formulation than that which is found in the Symbol of Chalcedon will probably never be found:

“We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood … to be acknowledged in two natures inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably (ἀσυγχύτως, ἀτρέπτως, ἀδιαιρέτως, ἀχωρίστως); the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy fathers has handed down to us.”

The term flesh (σάρξ) has various meanings in the New Testament. In our passage it has reference to human nature, considered not as sinful (8:46), yet for a while with the curse due to sin resting upon it, so that until the ransom had been paid it is subject to weariness, pain, misery, death (4:6, 7; 11:33, 35; 12:27; 13:21; 19:30). It was that kind of “flesh” which the Word assumed in his incomprehensible, condescending love.

And dwelt among us as in a tent. These words (και ἐσκήνωσιν ἐν ἡμῖν) must not be regarded as a mere repetition of that which immediately precedes (“and the Word became flesh”). The idea is rather that the eternal Word which assumed the human nature permanently—though not permanently in its weakened condition—pitched his tent for a while among men, lived among them.

During that same period we—i.e., the evangelist and other eye-witnesses—beheld his glory. The verb beheld (ἐθεασάμεθα) indicates careful and deliberate vision which seeks to interpret its object. It refers, indeed, to physical sight; yet, it always includes a plus, the plus of calm scrutiny, contemplation, or even wonderment. It describes the act of one who does not stare absent-mindedly nor merely look quickly nor necessarily perceive comprehensively. On the contrary, this individual regards an object and reflects upon it. He scans it, examining it with care. He studies it, viewing and considering it thoughtfully (1:32; 4:35; 11:45; Acts 1:11). Thus, while Jesus was walking among them, the eye and mind of the evangelist and of other witnesses had rested on the Incarnate Word, until to some extent they had penetrated the mystery; i.e., they had seen his glory: the radiance of his grace and the majesty of his truth manifested in all his works and words (cf. 2:11), the attributes of deity shining through the veil of his human nature.

A glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. These words of verse 14 lend themselves to various interpretations.

The most natural meaning would seem to be that the glory which the eye-witnesses saw in Jesus was what could be expected with respect to One who is the only begotten from the Father. And this same Person—i.e. the only begotten from the Father—is full of grace and truth. The fact that the evangelist is actually thinking of the fulness of Christ is very clearly stated in verse 16: for of his fulness we all received grace upon grace. Thus, by reading on and on we arrive at the true meaning. We favor this interpretation for the following reasons:

(1) Jesus repeatedly declares that he came forth from God (παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ). See 6:46; 7:29; 16:27; 17:8.

(2) Unless there are sufficient reasons to do otherwise—and, indeed, there sometimes are!—it is a good thing to link a phrase with the substantive that stands closest to it. Hence, we construe from the Father as a modifier of the only begotten. And for the same reason we consider the words full of grace and truth to modify the only begotten from the Father. (Cf. Acts 6:3, 8; 7:55; 11:24.) As already pointed out, it is the fulness of this only begotten Son which receives further elaboration in verses 16 and 17, the context. (Objections against this interpretation are answered in a note. Other explanations are discussed in another note.35)

Accordingly, the glory on which John and others had fixed their adoring gaze is the proper and natural possession of the One whose name is the only begotten from the Father.

The question has often been asked: To what sonship does the term the only begotten from the Father refer? Is it the purely religious sonship, so that Jesus is here considered to have been a child of God in the same sense in which all believers are God’s children? This can be dismissed at once, for in that case the modifier “only begotten” would have no meaning. Is it, then, the Messianic sonship? But even those who maintain that the word μονογενής has nothing to do with the verb γεννάω and merely signifies that Christ was the “only” Son (the only, μόνος, member of a kin, γένος from γίνομαι), and being the only one, was therefore the beloved one, will have to admit that according to the context (see especially 1:1, 18) the sonship here indicated was present from eternity; hence, can have no reference to the Messianic office which was assumed in time. (On the question whether μονογενής should be connected with γίνομαι, to be born [Dutch: Eeniggeboren Zoon] or with γεννάω, to beget [English: only begotten Son] see G. Vos, The Self-Disclosure of Jesus, New York, 1926, pp. 218, 219.)

Is it, perhaps, the nativistic sonship that is discussed in this passage? If so, then the meaning would be that Christ’s human nature is here ascribed to the supernatural paternity of God. But in that case the evangelist would be thinking of one kind of sonship here in verse 14 and of another in verse 18, which is not probable. (See under verse 18.)

We conclude that the reference must be to Christ’s trinitarian sonship, i.e., to the fact that he is the Son of God from all eternity. This is favored by the context (1:1, 18) and by such passages as 3:16, 18, which prove that the Son was already the only begotten before his incarnation.

On this subject H. Bavinck states:

“But the name Son of God when ascribed to Christ has a far deeper meaning than the theocratic: he was not a mere king of Israel who in time became an adopted Son of God; neither was he called Son of God because of his supernatural birth, as the Socinians and Hofman held; neither is he Son of God merely in an ethical sense, as others suppose; neither did he receive the title Son of God as a new name in connection with his atoning work and resurrection, an interpretation in support of which John 10:34–36; Acts 13:32, 33; and Rom. 1:4 are cited; but he is Son of God in a metaphysical sense: by nature and from eternity. He is exalted high above angels and prophets, Matt. 13:32; 21:27; 22:2; and sustains a very special relation to God, Matt. 11:7. He is the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased, Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; the only begotten Son, John 1:18; 3:16; 1 John 4:9 ff.; God’s own Son, Rom. 8:32; the eternal Son, John 17:5, 24; Heb. 1:5; 5:5; to whom the Father gave to have life in himself, John 5:26; equal to the Father in knowledge, Matt. 11:27; in honor, John 5:23; in creative and redemptive power, John 1:3; 5:21, 27; in work, John 10:30; and in dominion, Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; 22:29; John 16:15; 17:10; and because of this Sonship he was condemned to death, John 10:33; Matt. 26:63 ff.” (The Doctrine of God, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1951, p. 270).

Now, with reference to this only begotten One we read that he is full of grace and truth. Of grace, for when he spoke, his messages were filled with unmerited favor for the guilty (e.g., for publicans and sinners), and the same attributes were revealed in his miracles of healing, yea, in his entire life and death, considered as an atoning sacrifice whose very purpose was to merit for his people the grace of God. Of truth, for he himself was the final reality in contrast with the shadows that had preceded him. Great, indeed, was the glory of the only begotten![7]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 39–43). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 26–31). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 373). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (pp. 90–95). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 76–83). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[6] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 1, pp. 53–61). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Vol. 1, pp. 83–88). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

BREAKING: SBC invites female teaching pastor to Pastor’s Conference — Capstone Report

SBC Pastor’s Conference to feature female spoken word artist who identifies as a Teaching Pastor and David Platt—the pastor who sort of apologized to his congregation after praying for President Donald Trump.

The Southern Baptist Convention is going Woke. It approved the use of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality as “Analytical Tools” at last year’s Annual Meeting. Now the SBC will host a female spoken word artist who identifies as a Teaching Pastor at this year’s Pastor’s Conference—the Pastor’s Conference precedes the Annual Meeting in Orlando. Of course, that’s not the only problematic speaker at this year’s event.

According to the SBC Pastor’s Conference’s website the lineup includes headliners like David Platt, the guy who prayed for Trump, but then kind of, sort of apologized for it to angry progressives in his congregation, along with Vance Pittman, Erik Cummings, Jim Cymbala and Wayne Cordeiro, David Hughes, Joby Martin, Jimmy Scroggins, Emerson Eggerichs, Ken Davis, and performers Phil Wickham and Hosanna Wong.

Hosanna Wong is listed as a special guest and is listed on her website as a spoken word artist and a Teaching Pastor.

Now, SBC apologists on Twitter are quick to point out—“She is only a performer!”

But, that is the same nonsense we always here from the SBC enablers.

The list of speakers and performers drew a strong reaction from conservative Southern Baptists.

Twitter provided some interesting commentary on the announcement. Author Larry Farlow summed it up: “So? You’re featuring a woman who claims to be a pastor at a pastors’ conference in a denomination that claims to believe women pastors are unbiblical. Does it really matter under what circumstances you’re featuring her?”

Another interesting thread pointed out theological questions about other Pastor’s Conference speakers including Wayne Cordeiro of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and Jim Cymbala:

This is today’s Southern Baptist Convention. It has no standards. It wants the Woke and the Celebrity to highlight its annual events.

Will conservatives take back the SBC at the Annual Meeting in Orlando, or will it continue the slide into progressive oblivion? If you want to save the SBC, then messengers must reject Status Quo leaders like Albert Mohler.

via BREAKING: SBC invites female teaching pastor to Pastor’s Conference — Capstone Report

February 11, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Democratic presidential hopefuls hit the streets of New Hampshire on
Tuesday in their last chance to persuade the state’s voters that they were
the party’s best bet to take on President Donald Trump in November.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plan for an orderly succession is in ruins and
the chances of an early election in Germany have risen after her
conservative protégée, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, gave up her
ambitions for the top job.

The coronavirus outbreak in China may be over by April, its senior medical
adviser said on Tuesday, but deaths passed 1,000 and the World Health
Organization feared a “very grave” global threat.

A growing number of countries around the world are evacuating or planning
to evacuate diplomatic staff and citizens from parts of China hit by the
new coronavirus.

The World Bank is offering technical assistance to China to help battle the
coronavirus epidemic but no new health loans, the development lender’s
president, David Malpass, said on Monday.

A federal judge on Tuesday approved wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc’s
takeover of Sprint Corp, rejecting a claim by a group of states that said
the deal would violate antitrust laws and raise prices.

Tens of thousands of Iranians poured into the streets of Tehran and other
cities on Tuesday morning to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the
Islamic revolution, against a backdrop of escalating tensions with the
United States.

U.S. companies installed fewer robots in 2019 than they did the year
before, the first cut back since 2015, as a downturn in manufacturing
fueled by trade wars and weaker demand dampened appetite for the machines.

AP Top Stories

The Trump administration’s war on so-called sanctuary cities and states is
being taken to a new level, with a court battle looming in New York over a
rule that may keep hundreds of thousands of residents from enrolling in a
program meant to speed reentry in the country from abroad. In some parts of
the country, local law enforcement officials are being pressured, or even
threatened, to defy laws meant to protect immigrants.

Russian spacecraft are trailing a US satellite used to spy on other
countries, according to the commander of the US Space Force. “”This is
unusual and disturbing behavior and has the potential to create a dangerous
situation in space,” Gen. John Raymond, the Space Force chief of space
operations, “The United States finds these recent activities to be
concerning and do not reflect the behavior of a responsible spacefaring

The toll from China’s deadly coronavirus outbreak passed 1,000 on Tuesday
after President Xi Jinping called for more “decisive” measures to tackle
the outbreak in a rare visit to a frontline hospital.

The Black News Channel, the first 24-hour news channel aimed specifically
at an African American audience, is set to launch on Feb. 10 to coincide
with Black History Month.

As Princess Cruises grapples with concerns of coronavirus onboard a ship in
Japan, another one of its ships, the Caribbean Princess, was forced to turn
around due to a norovirus outbreak. At least 299 passengers and 22 crew
members onboard the ship operated by California-based Princess Cruise Lines
Ltd. have become sick

President Donald Trump released his annual budget Monday, proposing deep
cuts to social programs but increases in defense and entitlement spending
that would push the gross federal debt above $30 trillion over the next

The Department of the Navy revealed in its latest budget request that it
wants to reduce the overall active-duty end strength of the Marine Corps by
2,300 Marines.

Yellowstone’s famous caldera, which last erupted more than 640,000 years
ago, can lay claim as North America’s most well-known supervolcano. But it
isn’t the continent’s largest. A more ancient, Wah Wah Springs’, found near
the small southwestern Utah town of Enterprise was about 30 times bigger.


A 22-year-old man has pleaded guilty to intentionally setting fire to three
African-American churches in the US state of Louisiana.

Heavy rains in New South Wales in recent days have led to hopes that all
the bushfires in the Australian state could be out by the end of the week.

The Guinness World Records entry for largest aerial firework has been
broken in Colorado United States. The successful attempt weighed 2,800lbs
and measured 62in across.

The World Health Organization says the official name for the new
coronavirus will be Covid-2019.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said the EU is “all
set” for trade talks with the UK and seeks a unique and unprecedented deal.
“We will enter these negotiations with the highest ambition because good
old friends like the UK and us shouldn’t settle for less,” she told MEPs.


It’s not only former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter who have
been accused of have nefarious connections to Ukraine. Former Secretary of
State John Kerry, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Bill and Hillary Clinton, House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and left-wing billionaire activist George Soros also
have been named in investigative reporting, points out the Gateway Pundit’s
Joe Hoft.

An Illinois law is discriminating illegally against the residents of 45
other states, contends a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by 18
state attorneys general. The AGs are backing the Second Amendment
Foundation’s lawsuit against Illinois’ refusal to allow residents of states
deemed to be weak on gun control to obtain conceal-carry permits.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Feb. 11, 2020

The Foundation

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

White House Budget Games

Proposed reductions in growth are welcome, but it’s still a deficit-ridden behemoth.

The Folly of Unilateral Political Disarmament

The GOP establishment is still failing to stand up for grassroots conservatives.

Buttigieg Is No Moderate

In an effort to distance himself from Sanders socialism, Buttigieg aims for the “middle” lane.

2020 Academy Awards — A Ratings Disaster

It’s also a fitting example of words written long ago warning about idolatry.

NYPD Blasts de Blasio Over War on Cops

After two more cops were targeted, the city’s police have had it with the mayor.

Illegal Immigration Has Outsized Negative Impact on Smaller U.S. States

New study finds that illegal immigration costs 10 low-population states $454 million annually.

Four Children Lost in Blizzard Save Two-Year-Old

The older boys acted smartly and selflessly to protect the youngest child.

Video: Jordan Peterson Debunks Intersectionality

Intersectionality is the newest fad in political activism. What is it? Who’s involved? And what does it even mean?

Video: Loans Forgiven via Transgender Kids

Elizabeth Warren thinks letting a transgender kid pick a SecEd is great policy.

Video: Pro-Life Message From Harvard’s First Black Woman Graduate

“I became a physician to help save lives, not to destroy them.”

Video: The Violence of the Radical Left

Viewer discretion is advised.

Today’s Opinion

Tony Perkins
2020 Dems to Pro-Lifers: Get Out!
Rich Lowry
The Democratic Establishment Is Awful at Picking Candidates
Gary Bauer
Pompeo Takes on China
Stephen Moore
Defusing the Debt Bomb
Dennis Prager
Why Private Speech Doesn’t Tell Us About a Person’s Character
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Tuesday News Executive Summary

New Hampshire primary, sanctuary-city sanctions, Chinese charged, Oscars, and more.

Tuesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Steve Scalise, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, 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.

11 Feb 2020 – Rapture Ready News

As Sea of Galilee fills to bursting, Israelis’ joy overflows
It’s a Tu Bishvat dream come true for Tiberias residents: The Sea of Galilee is at its highest level that most can remember. Ben-Tzvi said the last time he can remember such a scene at the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s largest source of fresh water, was during the major storms of 1992. He noted that it’s a new sight to many locals.

New mystery virus, named after indigenous goddess, discovered in Brazil
Scientists report a new virus was found in Brazil that contains genes previously unknown to man. Named after the Tupi water-goddess, Yara, 90% of the genes comprising the virus were previously unknown, according to a report published this week by bioRxiv.org. Such of the genes are known as orphan genes as they lack any similarity to other genes. Only six genes out of the 74 found resemble genes found in public databases,

Fearing instability and violence, Arabs ask Abbas to ‘lower the volume’
Arab states, meanwhile, have “advised” Abbas to “turn down the volume” of his rhetorical attacks on the US and Israel, a senior PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have advised President to start calming things down,”

Arabs prioritize key ties with US against Iran in reacting to Trump’s peace plan
Arab powers appear to be prioritizing close ties with the United States that are vital to countering Iran over traditional unswerving support for the Palestinians in their reaction to President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. At a White House event on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump proposed creating a Palestinian state but demilitarized and with borders drawn to meet Israeli security needs, while granting US recognition of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria and of Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.

Iraq Destroys Ancient Synagogue at Prophet Ezekiel’s Tomb: Turns it into Muslim Shrine
The Torah scroll in the synagogue was purported to have been written by the prophet himself and it was said that many of the books in the synagogue dated from the time of the First Temple. It is not known what happened to these artifacts. Less than ten Jews remain in Iraq today.

Sanhedrin Gets Authorization to Use Their Trees for Third Temple
Five years ago, the Sanhedrin began planting in preparation for the needs of the Third Temple and today is the first day the fruit of their labor can be used. Ever-present on the altar were three piles of wood: the first for burning the animal sacrifices, the second for making coals to burn the incense, and the third for the perpetual altar fire commanded by the Bible.

Germany Reports Outbreak Of “Highly Pathogenic” H5N8 Bird Flu Virus
Germany has reported an outbreak of the “highly pathogenic” H5N8 bird flu virus in a backyard in the southwestern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday, according to a Reuters report. The virus killed 44 birds out of a flock of 69 in Bretzfeld, in the Baden-Wurttemberg region, the Paris-based OIE said, citing a report from Germany’s food and agriculture ministry. “All poultry and captive birds have been culled and safely disposed of on Feb. 7, 2020. No poultry, poultry products or captive birds have been dispatched,” it said in the report.

Is China Really Resuming Production? Here Is The Dismal Answer, And An “Alternative” Way To Track What’s Really Going On
: “did China go back to work today or not” (the answer would also indicate whether global supply chains are still operational, or are as some fear, fraying and jeopardizing corporate earnings around the world). Of course, a cynic could interject that if China is lying misrepresenting the number of infections (as it clearly now is) and undercounting the epidemic casualties, why wouldn’t it lie about the logical next step: the number of people who have returned to work?

North Korea Concealing Coronavirus Outbreak; Officials Ordered To ‘Quickly Dispose Of Bodies’
While Coronavirus has officially reached 28 countries, with over 40,000 people officially infected and over 900 fatalities, North Korea – which has a woefully ill-prepared medical infrastructure, is concealing a massive outbreak of the disease, according to the Daily Beast. One sure sign of the regime’s fears is that it failed to stage a parade in central Pyongyang on Saturday, the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the country’s armed forces. This year, nothing …

Turkey Deploys Hundreds Of Tanks, APCs And Commandos To Idlib; Attacks Syrian Army
the growing feud between Russia and Turkey over control of Syria last remaining rebel holdout in Idlib province escalated overnight, and as Bloomberg reports, Turkey sent hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers and commandos to the Syrian province of Idlib as preparations continue for a likely attempt to break the siege of some of its outposts by Bashar al-Assad’s forces. … as the conflict is rapidly devolving into an all out war between Syria and Turkey.

This Is How China Is Rigging The Number Of Coronavirus Infections
We knew something was off a few days ago when China’s National Health Commission reported that the number of people receiving medical attention over the Coronavirus unexpectedly peaked after rising at roughly 15,000-20,000 each day, and flatlined ever since, even posting three days of declines in the past week.

Voyager 2 comes back online, 11.5 billion miles from home
Last week, Voyager 2 shut itself down into a safe mode after an unexplained delay in a calibration maneuver caused two high-powered systems to come on at the same time, overdrawing the power supply. Now, NASA has announced that it’s turned Voyager 2’s scientific instruments back on and resumed collection of scientific data. The rest of the craft is still under review, and the team is slowly running diagnostics to determine when everything else can be switched back on.

JUDGEMENT DAY: Today is the day that new infections in China should approach zero if the Wuhan quarantine is working
Today is Feb. 9th, and it’s now 15 days after the communist Chinese government first enacted a quarantine in Wuhan to halt the spread of the coronavirus. If that quarantine is working, we should see no new infections out of China from this day forward.

MEDICAL THEATER: Coronavirus test kits rushed into production are FAILING to identify 50 – 70 percent of infected carriers
The president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences has just blown the whistle on a wave of new, rushed coronavirus test kits that have been thrust into use across Asian, confirming they are only 30 to 50 percent accurate, reports SCMP.com. This means the test kits have a 50 – 70 percent false negative rate, missing infections by inaccurately reporting the samples as negative.

African swine fever outbreak spreads in Philippines’ southern provinces
The Philippines confirmed on Sunday that African swine fever infections had spread in the south of the country, which accounts for nearly a third of the nation’s 12.8 million pig herd.

“Where it begins”: Young hungry locusts bulk up in Somalia
At a glance, the desert locusts in this arid patch of northern Somalia look less ominous than the billion-member swarms infesting East Africa in the worst outbreak some places have seen in 70 years.

Very heavy rains hit NSW, extinguish ‘mega-fire’ and trigger widespread flooding, Australia
Very heavy rains hit New South Wales over the past couple of days, causing widespread flooding and cutting power to about 100 000 homes but also extinguishing more than 30 fires, including one dubbed ‘mega-fire.’ Thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate on Sunday night, February 9, amid fears of rising floodwaters.

Deadly winter storm spawns 19 tornadoes, causes major flooding and power outages, affecting 300 000 across Eastern U.S.
Powerful winter storm that wreaked havoc across parts of Eastern U.S. on Thursday, February 6, 2020, produced 19 tornadoes, the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed on Sunday, February 9, 2020. The storm sparked flooding and caused power outages that affected 300 000 people. Five people died in weather-related incidents.

Powerful windstorm wreaks havoc across northwestern Europe, causes widespread disruption and flooding
A powerful windstorm, named Ciara by the UK Met Office, hit Ireland and the United Kingdom on Saturday, February 8, 2020, and parts of Northwestern Europe on Sunday, bringing very strong winds and heavy rain. Ciara caused widespread disruptions, travel chaos, and major flooding. As of Monday morning, February 10, the storm claimed at least 5 lives – 1 in the UK, 2 in Poland, 1 in Sweden and 1 in Slovenia. Ciara is the third named storm of the 2019/20 European windstorm season.

Deadly winter storm spawns 19 tornadoes, causes major flooding and power outages, affecting 300 000 across Eastern U.S.
Powerful winter storm that wreaked havoc across parts of Eastern U.S. on Thursday, February 6, 2020, produced 19 tornadoes, the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed on Sunday, February 9, 2020. The storm sparked flooding and caused power outages that affected 300 000 people. Five people died in weather-related incidents.

Tropical Cyclone “Uesi” strengthening near New Caledonia
Tropical Cyclone “Uesi” formed on February 9, 2020, about 340 km (210 miles) west of Sanma, Vanuatu as the 4th named storm of the 2019/20 South Pacific cyclone season. The cyclone is expected to continue strengthening as it moves close to New Caledonia over the next 24 to 48 hours.

China Slaughters Nearly 5,000 Dogs in One City to Curb Rabies
Government officials in the city of Baoshan culled 4,900 dogs and vaccinated 100,000 more after five humans died from the disease in recent months.

Busted: Secretary of State Pompeo Speaks to US Governors – Says China Has a List of Sell-Out Governors and He Has Seen It (VIDEO)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to the National Governors Association last week. During his speech Pompeo told the governors that China is keeping a list of the governors and China is rating US governors as “friendly, hardline, or ambiguous.” China knows who is “friendly” and who have sold out.

Starbucks Launches New UK Commercial Promoting Teenager Transitioning From Female To Male, Will Donate Profits To Children’s Transgender Group
If you call yourself a Christian and buy your coffee at Starbucks, you’re a hypocrite. You’re a hypocrite because when you purchase coffee from Starbucks, you are helping to support an organization that is anti-christian, anti-Israel, anti-police, pro-Islam, and as you will see in a minute, rabidly pro-LGBTQ.

JURASSIC PARK: Scientists In Israel Able To Sprout Seeds From 2,000 Year Old Date Palm Trees Dating Back To When The Roman Army Controlled Jerusalem
At an astonishing rate, Israel is becoming reconnected with it’s storied biblical past, specifically the part on the timeline having to do when the Jews were under Roman occupation. We strongly recommend you take a quick trip to the NTEB Biblical Archaeology Archive to refresh your memory of just how much has been uncovered in recent years.

The Pope’s Economic Wealth Redistribution Plan
The Pope Is Into Both Religious and Wealth Redistribution

Headlines – 2/11/2020

UN Security Council to Discuss Trump’s Mideast Plan Tuesday, but without voting on a Palestinian draft resolution to condemn it

Diplomats say Abbas, lacking votes, pulls request for UN vote against Trump plan

Palestinians deny pulling UN resolution against peace plan as vote faces delay

UN vote against peace plan faces delay; Palestinians insist it’s not dead

Knesset Speaker Slams EU Opposition to Trump Peace Plan on Visit to Germany

‘A Frankenstein creation’: Saudi prince says US peace plan takes away Palestine’s heart and soul

Fearing instability and violence, Arabs ask Abbas to ‘lower the volume’

Netanyahu: Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty will ‘definitely’ happen

Netanyahu says settlements, Jordan Valley will only be annexed with US consent

Netanyahu endorses pro-settler slate in World Zionist Congress elections

Lapid says Netanyahu turning Trump peace plan into campaign stunt

Faulty app exposes millions of Israeli voters’ data

In vast breach, Likud campaign leaks ID, phones, addresses of all Israeli adults

Will 30,000 French Jews arrive in Israel this year? This organization says it’s possible

Andrew Yang Backtracks After Saying All Palestinians Should Have the Right to Return to Israel

Palestinians launch diplomatic push to get Israel to end export ban

170 cars, mosque vandalized in northern Arab town, drawing rare Netanyahu rebuke

Bennett signs off on rare administrative detention for Jewish terror suspect

Egyptian delegation warns Hamas to stop supporting Iranian interests

Egypt Moves Toward Toughening Up Draconian Anti-terror Law

Lebanon’s cabinet heads to controversial vote of confidence

Security forces use tear gas as Lebanon protesters try to block confidence vote

Lebanon’s financial crisis leaves its envied media industry in freefall

Reuters: Kremlin says all attacks on Syrian and Russian forces in Idlib must stop

Russian envoy: Israeli strikes in Syria ‘increase possibility of conflict’

Nearly 700,000 Syrians displaced by government offensive since early December: U.N.

Syrian regime forces destroy, dig up graves near Idlib: Videos

Syria war: Government shellfire kills Turkish soldiers in Idlib

Explosion hits convoy of US military vehicles near Baghdad – reports

Iraqi Shiite militia leader: ‘We may target US economic interests outside Iraq’

Top Iranian official: We’re looking for a pretext to raze Tel Aviv to the ground

Iran, foreign agencies may have access to data on Israeli intel officials

Failed satellite launch causes massive explosion in rural Iran

France condemns Iran satellite launch, urges Tehran to respect obligations

Ex-CIA official warns of Iran, ISIS drones armed with chemical weapons

Iran opposition activist accused of stoking protests said to go on trial

Iranians hold mass gatherings to mark anniversary of 1979 Islamic Revolution

Iranians would choose the 1979 Islamic Revolution again: Rouhani

More than 100 US troops suffered traumatic brain injury in Iran strike, military to report

Iran says Canada’s complaint over Ukrainian plane crash lacks legal basis

Arab Oil Money Is Running Out, and Chaos Will Likely Follow

Saudi-Qatar talks to end lengthy Gulf dispute falter – sources

African Union to support UN-led peace efforts in Libya

US hopes deal close on controversial Ethiopia dam

Suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul: Official

Taiwan scrambles jet fighters after Chinese aircraft enter airspace

Philippines Says It Will End U.S. Security Agreement

North Korea enhanced nuke program despite Trump overtures: report

Trump tells advisers he doesn’t want another summit with North Korea’s Kim before the election

White House requests just $2B for border wall this year but will take $7.2B from military

Barr announces sweeping new sanctions, ‘significant escalation’ against left-wing sanctuary cities

Bigger than Vindman: Trump scrubs 70 Obama holdovers from NSC

Democrats see chances rising for brokered convention

Dan Crenshaw says ‘political violence has to stop’ after van hits GOP voter registration tent

Paid social media influencers dip toes in U.S. 2020 election

Clearview AI: This man says he’s stockpiling billions of our photos

US says Chinese military stole masses of Americans’ data

Russian satellites tailing advanced US spy satellite, report says

2 satellites narrowly avoided hitting each other over Pennsylvania, officials say

White House calls for record NASA budget to reach moon, Mars

Mysterious signal from deep space is repeating in 16-day cycle

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits South of the Fiji Islands

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohonua, Tonga

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Bamboo Flat, India

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Karpathos, Greece

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 24,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 22,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupt to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Asosan volcano on Japan erupts to 12,000ft

New eruption at Piton de la Fournaise volcano, Reunion

Storm Ciara cuts power to more than 500,000 in UK, brings travel to a standstill in northern Europe

Tropical Cyclone Uesi tracks towards Australian coast

Sydney receives heaviest rain amounts in decades as deluge helps extinguish destructive ‘mega-blaze’

Deep South Flooding Worsens: Levee Breach Reported in Mississippi

As Sea of Galilee fills to bursting, Israelis’ joy overflows

Iraqis Wake Up to Snow for First Time in Over a Decade

Record-breaking 209-mph gust looks like a mistake, forecasters say

In Photos: The Drop Dead Beauty of the Dead Sea Environmental Disaster

Half-a-million insect species face extinction: scientists

“Swarms big as cities”: UN chief says locust fight must intensify

Locust plague: Millions at risk of famine

UK coronavirus cases double to eight, government declares ‘imminent threat’

43,000+ coronavirus cases may be ‘tip of the iceberg’ as death toll passes 1,000

Coronavirus incubation period could be 24 days

‘Super spreaders’ could make coronavirus outbreak harder to contain

Coronavirus emergency ‘holds a very grave threat’ for world: WHO

Trump expects coronavirus crisis to ‘go away’ in April

Two-thirds of international flights from China canceled amid coronavirus outbreak

Amid coronavirus worry, startup plans to attend mobile confab – virtually

Apple sees $27 billion of market value wiped out amid the delayed reopening of its main Chinese iPhone plants

HIV-positive airmen fighting to stay in the Air Force in first-of-its kind case

Bernie Sanders: ‘We have to codify Roe and expand funding for Planned Parenthood’

State Senator Silk Aims to Outlaw Abortion in Oklahoma, Faces Opposition From ‘Pro-Life’ Politicians

Catholic Priest Says ‘Pedophilia Doesn’t Kill Anyone’ After Barring Pro-Abortion Lawmakers From Communion

Bill banning gender reassignment treatments for transgender youth fails in South Dakota

Switzerland extends ban against public discrimination to include sexual orientation

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

February 11 No Quality without Quantity

Deuteronomy 6:7

You shall teach [God’s commands] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

It’s not the quantity, but the quality of time that really counts.” Simply defined, the statement means that one can make up for having minimal moments with his family by making certain that the time he does have is quality time.

On the surface, this concept seems to make a lot of sense. It is possible to spend much time with one’s family that is seemingly meaningless. All of us experience times when we are at home physically but our minds are wand-ering miles away. I can remember days with the family that could have been “scratched” in terms of “quality.”

So what is the “quality time” myth? It’s as phony as the fake diamond in a one-dollar ring. The fact is, there is no quality without quantity.

Too many parents live with the regrets of abandoned moments. It takes time to be silly, to share a secret, to heal a hurt, to kiss away a tear. Moments of uninhibited communication between child and parent cannot be planned; they just happen. The only ingredient we bring to that dynamic of family life is our availability … and that is spelled T-I-M-E.[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 44). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

3 Ways Grace Teaches Holiness | Crossway Articles

February 11, 2020 by: John MacArthur

How Grace Instructs Us

How does grace instruct us, and what does it teach? The biblical answer to that question is a definitive refutation of antinomian doctrine: “The grace of God . . . train[s] us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives” (Titus 2:12). The same grace that saves sinners from the penalty of their sin also instructs them in holiness.


The Greek word translated training is paideuō, a word that speaks of discipline. The same word is translated punish in Luke 23:16, 22 and 2 Corinthians 6:9. It carries the ideas of teaching, correction, and chastening. It’s the same word used for discipline in Hebrews 12:6: “The Lord disciplines the one he loves.” It describes a process that at times “seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11).



John MacArthur

Veteran pastor John MacArthur makes the case that Jesus’s passion for his people is sanctification and encourages pastors to revolve their ministry around the increasing sanctification of their members through preaching and discipleship.

There’s more in Titus 2. Look at the larger context. Paul tells Titus:

The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11–15)


Grace not only disciplines us for holiness’ sake; it also trains us to renounce sin, and it prompts us to await eagerly the return of Christ. Why? Because “everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). 

A godly pastor can be satisfied with nothing less than the sanctification of his people. 

And note carefully what else Paul tells Titus: Christ died not merely to liberate us from the penalty of sin, but also to redeem us from lawlessness itself—to purify us and to transform us into people who are zealous for good works. Moreover, Paul instructs Titus not to soft-sell these vital truths. He is to admonish and reprove those who are lax in receiving the sanctifying instruction of God’s grace, and he is not to permit anyone to disregard the message. Paul is saying in effect, “Hammer hard on the antinomians and correct their faulty view of grace.”


There is one other crucial way Scripture pictures grace as dynamic rather than inert. Romans 5:21 says that grace is supposed to reign over our hearts in the same way sin once reigned. Grace is not a doormat we can casually use to wipe sin off our feet; it rules as a monarch over us. How does grace redeem us from lawlessness and purify us? Not merely by instructing and disciplining and admonishing us “to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives” (Titus 2:12), but also by empowering us to that end. “God . . . works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). Ultimately, the Lord himself will make us stand “blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 24). Can I say it simply? Sanctification is a process of fighting for full joy and not selling out for a cheap substitute along the way.

There is of course discipline and correction in the process, but such discipline is “for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb. 12:10). The goal, again, is Christ-likeness. And that brings us back to where we began—Paul’s words in Galatians 4:19: “My little children, . . . I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” It is not a proper goal for a pastor to hope people will be content with his messages. No pastor should imagine that the size of his congregation is a measure of his effectiveness. A godly pastor can be satisfied with nothing less than the sanctification of his people. It’s a goal that will never be fully achieved until we are finally glorified.

Likewise, this is the goal each believer must keep pressing on toward. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2–3).

This article is adapted from Sanctification: God’s Passion for His People by John MacArthur.

John MacArthur

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur is chancellor emeritus of the Master’s Seminary and Master’s University. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

— Read on www.crossway.org/articles/3-ways-grace-teaches-holiness/

February 11 Thoughts for the quiet hour

As many as I love I … chasten

Rev. 3:19

I once saw a dark shadow resting on the bare side of a hill. Seeking its cause I saw a little cloud, bright as the light, floating in the clear blue above. Thus it is with our sorrow. It may be dark and cheerless here on earth; yet look above and you shall see it to be but a shadow of His brightness whose name is Love.

Dean Alford[1]


[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 – AlbertMohler.com


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God of Love — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“… the kindness and love of God our Savior …”Titus 3:4

How sweet it is to witness the Savior intimately connecting with His own beloved people! There can be nothing more delightful than being led into this fertile field of delight by the Holy Spirit. Let your mind, just for a moment, consider the history of the Redeemer’s love, and a multitude of winsome acts of God’s affection will come to mind. All of these acts of God’s love weave our hearts closer with Christ, and the intertwining of our thoughts and emotions with the mind of Jesus.

When we meditate on this amazing love, and see our glorious God granting His church all His ancient wealth, we should want to leap for joy. Who can endure such love? Even the partial sense of God’s love which the Holy Spirit is sometimes pleased to show us is more than we can contain. How incredible must it be to fully experience it! Someday we will be able to discern all the Savior’s gifts, and have wisdom to understand them, as well as time to meditate on them. We will commune with Jesus in an even closer way than we do now. But who can imagine the sweetness of such fellowship? It is one of the wonderful things that God has prepared for everyone who loves Him.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

When we actually see heavenly things themselves, with our own eyes, the stream of fellowship in which we will bathe will be so incredibly deep! This will simply overwhelm us with love. Until then, our loudest sonnets will be reserved for our loving benefactor, Jesus Christ our Lord, whose love to us surpasses all other loves.

Question: How could you show God’s love to someone else today?

Originally, written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
Used by Permission
Updated to modern English by Darren Hewer, 2009

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via God of Love — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

It’s The Thought that Counts — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 6:23

He smiled widely as he mounted the stairs and approached the front door to the house. One hand behind his back, obviously hiding something. As he walked through the doorway, he leaned over to kiss me and proceeded to tell me he was thinking about me on his way home. With the biggest grin ever, he pulled his hand from behind his back and handed me a stalk of cotton he picked from the field down the road from our house. I blushed like a schoolgirl who had just received her first bouquet of roses. Knowing my husband had me on his mind, and took the time to act on that thought, made that cotton one of the best gifts I ever received from him.

My husband’s thoughtful act that day reminded me of how God, in his infinite wisdom, thought of each of us before the foundation of this world and devised a master plan to ensure our salvation. Our Father wanted so much to be in fellowship with us that he was willing to give his only Son as a sacrifice for our sins in order to redeem us. Before we were even a thought on our parent’s mind, Jesus laid down his life to free us from the sting of death, hell, and the grave. What great love!

Have you received the free gift of salvation? The hard work was already done on the cross by Jesus. All you need to do is simply receive by faith the precious gift offered by our Heavenly Father.

Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. Without his sacrifice, where would we be? You gave us the ultimate gift of eternal life. May we always be grateful and continue to share your love and the message of the cross with everyone we meet. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Go Deeper

What little thing can you do today that will make a loved one or friend smile? What little thing has our Lord done for you that still makes you smile?

By Mary Pinckney
Used by Permission

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/mary-pinckney_thought-counts/

via It’s The Thought that Counts — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

February 11, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

24 For an interesting study of the political and spiritual implications of Rehoboam’s proposed plans to bring the northern kingdom back under his control, see Amos Frisch, “Shemaiah the Prophet versus King Rehoboam: Two Opposed Interpretations of the Schism (1 Kings 12 21–4),” VT 38 (1988): 466–68.[1]

Ver. 24. This thing is from me.—

This thing is from me:

I. Some events are specially from God. God is in events which are produced by the sin and the stupidity of men. This breaking up of the kingdom of Solomon into two parts was the result of Solomon’s sin and Rehoboam’s folly; yet God was in it. God had nothing to do with the sin or the folly, but in some way, which we can never explain, God was in it all. The most notable instance of this truth is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ; that was the greatest of human crimes, yet it was foreordained and predetermined of the Most High, to whom there can be no such thing as crime, nor any sort of compact with sin How, then, was “this thing” from God?

1. First, it was so as a matter of prophecy.

2. And, secondly, “this thing” was from God as a matter of punishment. God setteth evil against evil that He may destroy evil, and He uses that which cometh of human folly that He may manifest His own wisdom.

II. When events are seen to be from the Lord, they are not to be fought against. Rehoboam had summoned his soldiers to go to war against the house of Israel; but, inasmuch as it was from God that the ten tribes had revolted from him, he must not march into the territories of Israel, nor even shoot an arrow against them.

1. The thing that is happening to you is of the Lord, therefore resist it not, for it would be wicked to do so. If it be the Lord’s will, so may it be.

2. But, next, it is also vain, for what can we do against the will of God?

3. Next, it would be mischievous, and would be sure to bring a greater evil upon us if we did resist.

III. This general principle has many special applications. I believe it often happens that events are most distinctly from the Lord, and when it is so, our right and proper way is to yield to them.

1. A case in which this principle applies is when severe afflictions arise.

2. Sometimes, also, we are troubled by certain disquieting plans proposed by our friends or our children.

3. A very pleasant phase of this same truth is when some singular mercy comes. ( H. Spurgeon.)

Tracing events back to the final cause:

The scribe is more properly said to write than the pen, and he that maketh and keepeth the clock is more properly said to make it go and strike than the wheels and poises that hang upon it, and every workman to effect his works rather than the tools which he useth as his instruments. So the Lord, who is the chief agent and mover in all actions, may more fitly be said to bring to pass all things which are done in the earth than any subordinate causes, as meat to nourish, clothes to keep us warm, the sun to lighten us, friends to provide for us, &c., seeing that they are but His instruments. (T. Downame.)

God’s overrule of national events:

Those who care to watch the hand of God in history may soon discern this truth in this incident. The attempts of France to acquire the sovereignty of the British Isles, and the corresponding efforts of the earlier English kings to become what their coins so long styled them, “King of France,” have all been marvellously foiled by the Almighty Ruler of nations to the true welfare of both. Sir A. Alison has described the scene on the French coast in 1804, when the first Napoleon surveyed the flotilla which was to carry an invading army across the Channel, and saw them broken and dispersed by Him who rules the waves. God will not suffer the might or the cunning of man to wrest the sceptre from His hands.

God in history:

The Old Testament “philosophy of history” regards all events as at once the results of human forces and of God’s purposes, and finds no contradiction in the double aspect. Rehoboam was no less a criminal fool, Jeroboam no less a crafty traitor, because they were both working out God’s purpose. The possible co-existence of freedom of action, necessarily involving responsibility, and God’s sovereignty, is inexplicable, and as certain as it is inexplicable. Metaphysicians and metaphysical theologians may fumble at, or cut, the knot till doomsday, but it will not be untied or denied. Rehoboam ran the ship on the rocks, but God willed that it should be wrecked. But another mystery emerges, for the Divine resolve to shatter the kingdom was due to the thwarting of the Divine purpose in establishing it. Sovereign as that Divine will is, man has power to oppose it and to block its course, and lead to changes of its direction, as we sometimes hear of an army of caterpillars stopping a train. God’s methods vary, but His purposes remain the same. The ship tacks as the wind shifts, but it is always steering for the one port. The unifying of the tribes into a kingdom, and the disruption of the kingdom, were equally in the Divine plan, and were both, in a real sense, also the direct results of men’s sin and opposition to God. Hence it follows that “the history of the world is the judgment of the world.” The “natural” consequences of national acts are the punishments or rewards of these acts. Solomon’s tyranny, Rehoboam’s folly, the rebels’ indifference to the unity of the nation worked out the catastrophe, which was both a political effect, produced by political causes, and a Divine judgment, and was the latter just because it was the former. For nations, and for individuals, God “makes whips to scourge” them of their “vices,” and in the mighty maze of human acts, has so ordered the issues of things that “every transgression and disobedience receives its just recompense of reward.” So the “undevout” historian “is mad.” (A. Maclaren, D.D.)[2]

[1] Patterson, R. D., & Austel, H. J. (2009). 1, 2 Kings. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, p. 741). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: I Kings (pp. 140–141). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

02/11/20 Foolish Talking — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Exodus 19-21, Psalm 33, Ephesians 5

How we talk matters. We who are pastors and church leaders must surely know this truth, for our very ministries are built upon the integrity and godliness of our words. Still, though, we too need to hear Paul’s words to the Ephesians: “But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints.  Obscene and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks” (Eph 5:3-4). Genuine believers simply don’t live the way the world lives; we give no reason for others to accuse us, and we surely avoid filthy talk and ungodly joking. We who know better must live better in the power of the Spirit.

Meeting this standard, though, is not easy. Indeed, it’s sometimes easier to slip into unrighteous speech than it is to fight against it in a world that almost magnifies such talk. Even a few minutes of watching television or the movies will remind us that we are swimming upstream if our commitment is to be different. Even church leaders, I fear, give themselves permission to talk among themselves in ways they would never talk if church members were in the room. Such speech is not indicative of godliness and saintly living.

My prayer today is that God’s love would so grab my soul and His Spirit so control my heart that my tongue says nothing displeasing to Him. Only in His power can I ever reach that goal!

PRAYER: “Father, please keep my speech pure today.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Exodus 22-24, Psalm 109, Ephesians 6

via 02/11/20 Foolish Talking — ChuckLawless.com

February 11 – Heth: Permanence – Reformed Perspective

“The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words…The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes.” – Psalm 119:57,64 

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:57-64

Two great Old Testament words which begin with the Hebrew letter heth have the poet’s attention in this stanza. They are the words “portion” (57) and “steadfast love” (64). They set the theme here: the believer’s deep and secure relationship with the Lord.

Portion describes the inheritance God gave to His people upon entering the promised land. The Israelites didn’t really own their land; it was apportioned to them by God, Who remained the owner, the Israelites serving as tenants. This was underlined when God didn’t give any land to the Levites. God was their share (Num 18:20). Today, in Christ, God graciously gives us all things (Rom 8:32). God is our portion. God is all we really want. It is God’s steadfast (unchangeable) love that brings about such a relationship and maintains it.

A third word that begins with the letter heth, having a strategic place, is “statutes” (64). It’s one of the eight words for the law used regularly throughout this Psalm. Having this word for law at the end of the stanza, because of its first letter, is appropriate. However, it is equally appropriate to use this word in connection with our response to God’s grace and steadfast love. “The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes.” Also translated “decrees,” God’s law is permanent, as if carved in stone. According to God’s faithfulness, we are engraved into the palm of God’s hands and His Word is given to us as an everlasting witness. Therefore, in thankfulness, let us commit our lives to God and serve Him.

Suggestions for prayer

Give thanks that we have a God Whose Word is steadfast. Pray that you experience in your life how your relationship with God through faith in secure and permanent.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada.

— Read on reformedperspective.ca/february-11-heth-permanence/