Daily Archives: February 16, 2020

February 16 Life-Changing Moments With God

Your name is ointment poured forth.

Jesus Christ, You loved me and gave Yourself for me, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Therefore, to me who believes, You are precious. God also has highly exalted You and given You the name which is above every name, that at Your name, Jesus, every knee should bow. In You dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

If I love You, I will keep Your commandments. The love of God has been poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit who was given to me. The house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. They realized that they had been with Jesus.

O Lord, my Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, You who set Your glory above the heavens! Immanuel … God with us. Your name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Your name, Lord, is a strong tower; we who are righteous run to it and are safe.

I praise Your name, Lord Jesus, and bow before You, marveling at Your love and grace!

Song of Solomon 1:3; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 2:7; Philippians 2:9–10; Colossians 2:9; John 14:15; Romans 5:5; John 12:3; Acts 4:13; Psalm 8:1; Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 9:6; Proverbs 18:10[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 57). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

February 16, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

Submission to Scripture

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (15:4)

A fourth characteristic that will lead us to please one another as Christ did is our willing and unreserved submission to God’s Word.

Whatever was written in earlier times obviously refers to the divinely-revealed truths we now call the Old Testament. They were written for the times in which they were recorded but also for our instruction, for God’s people in the present age.

As we have seen, beginning with Romans 14:1, Paul emphasizes that the ceremonial requirements of the Old Covenant are no longer binding on believers, Jews or Gentiles. But even though we are not bound to obey all of the commands of that covenant, every part of God’s revelation written in earlier times is still valuable for our instruction. Knowledge of all Scripture had spiritual benefit for Christians in Paul’s day and still has benefit for Christians for all time.

With few exceptions (Rom. 16:26; 2 Pet. 3:16), New Testament references to Scripture signify the Old Testament. Paul’s well-known statement that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17) certainly applies to the New Testament. But in the minds of the initial readers, it referred to “the sacred writings” (v. 15) of the Old Testament. That same understanding was in the minds of those to whom Peter wrote, saying “that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet. 1:20–21).

Paul reminded believers in Corinth that the events of the Exodus under Moses “happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.… Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:6, 11).

Our part in this blessing is perseverance, which is closely related to patience. In regard to the Lord’s return, James admonishes us to “be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7–8). Like saving faith, perseverance is both commanded of us and given to us by God, as Paul assures us in the next verse of our present passage (Rom. 15:5). It is continuing faithfulness to the Lord through all circumstances. Revelation 14:12 identifies perseverance with sustained faith and obedience. Second Thessalonians 1:4 says that perseverance is faith that does not fail “in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.” The clearest exhortation to perseverance is given in Colossians 1:22–23: “Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven” (cf. Matt. 24:13; Heb. 3:12–14; 4:11).

God also gives us encouragement to persevere. He provides this impetus by means of the Scriptures, which chronicle all the reasons to keep believing. They give us reason to sustain hope for our glorious future.

Jeremiah speaks of God, the author of Scripture, as the “Hope of Israel, its Savior in time of distress” (Jer. 14:8; cf. 17:7). The psalmists repeatedly speak of their hope in the Lord. “Why are you in despair, O my soul?” one writer asks himself. “And why have you become disturbed within me?” Giving answer to his own question, he says, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Ps. 42:5). Another psalmist advises himself, “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him” (Ps. 62:5). In the great psalm that so majestically exalts God’s Word, the writer calls on the Lord to “remember the word to Thy servant, in which Thou hast made me hope” (Ps. 119:49), and pleads, “Sustain me according to Thy word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope” (v. 116), and testifies, “I hope for Thy salvation, O Lord, and do Thy commandments” (v. 166). Another psalmist affirms, “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope” (Ps. 130:5).

We read in the book of Job that “the hope of the godless will perish” (Job 8:13)—unlike Job himself, of whom James writes, “Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (James 5:11). It was his certain hope in the Lord’s righteousness and justice that gave Job the unimaginable perseverance to endure the torments with which God permitted Satan to afflict His “blameless and upright” servant (Job 1:8).

Paul reminded Gentile believers in Ephesus that before their conversion they “were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12; cf. 4:17–18). “The covenants of promise” were part of the Old Testament, God’s revealed Word to His chosen people Israel.

From those passages and many others in both testaments, it is clear that, as far as the believer’s hope is concerned, God and His Word are inseparable. We know that God’s living Word, His Son “Christ Jesus, … is our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1) because that glorious truth is made known to us in God’s written Word.[1]


The Encouragement of the Scriptures

Romans 15:4

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

A number of years ago a German theologian named Juergen Moltmann wrote a book entitled The Theology of Hope. His point, which meant a great deal to Bible scholars at the time, was that eschatology (the doctrine of the last things) should not be an appendix to Christian theology—something tacked on at the end and perhaps even dispensable to Christian thought—but should be the starting point of everything. He said that it is confidence in what God is going to do in the future that must determine how we think and act now.

I am not sure that is entirely right. I would call the cross of Christ, not eschatology, the center, arguing that we must take our ideas even of the future from the cross. But Moltmann was correct in stressing that hope is important for living well now. To have hope is to look at the future optimistically. So to some extent a person must have hope to live. The Latin word for hope is spes, from which the French derived the noun espoir and the Spanish, esperanza. But put the particle de in front of those words, and the resulting word is despair, literally “without hope.” People who despair do not go on. When John Milton wanted to depict the maximum depth to which Satan fell when he was cast out of heaven, he has him say to the other fallen spirits in hell, “Our final hope is flat despair.”

How can any sane person have hope in the midst of the desperate world in which we live? The frivolous can, because they do not think about the future at all. Thinking people find the future grim. Winston Churchill, one of the most brilliant and influential people of his age, died despairing. His last words were, “There is no hope.”

Our text says that a Christian can have hope and that the way to that sound and steadfast hope is through the Bible.

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends—the scarecrow, the tin man, and the cowardly lion—make their way down a yellow brick road to find their future. Our text likewise gives us a road to hope. That road leads first through teaching, second through patient endurance, and third through encouragement. The text says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

The Teaching of the Scriptures

The first and most important stop along this important road leading to hope is teaching, because it is through the teaching of the Scriptures that the other elements, endurance and encouragement, come. Christianity is a teaching religion, and our text is the Bible. It is true that those whose minds have been enlightened by the Bible often go on to learn in other areas too. Some of the greatest scholars in the world have been Christians, and many have traced their love of learning to their Christian roots. Moreover, wherever the gospel has gone throughout the world, schools and colleges and other institutions of higher learning have gone with it. Still, Christians maintain that however much a person may come to know in other areas, if he or she does not know what God has revealed about himself and the way of salvation in the Bible, that person is ignorant and remains a great fool.

Paul said of the Gentile Christians at Ephesus, among whom there must have been many learned persons, that before they had been taught about Jesus and had received him as their Savior, they were “excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). They may have been educated, but they were ignorant of the things that matter most. After they had been taught and came to faith in Christ, however, they had hope of “the riches of [God’s] glorious inheritance in the saints,” which was future, and “his incomparably great power for us who believe,” which was present (Eph. 1:18–19).

Our text in Romans is about the teaching of the Scriptures and tells us at least three important things about the Bible:

  1. The Bible is from God. When Paul says that everything written in the past “was written to teach us,” he is not saying that when Moses wrote the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, he did so intending that the church in future ages might be blessed by his writings, or that David wrote the psalms so that we might profit by them. His point is that God caused the human writers of the Bible to write as they did, because what he had in mind was the edification and encouragement of his people through the ages, whether or not the human writers understood this.

This also flows from the context. We remember that Paul has just quoted Psalm 69:9, applying it to Jesus Christ, whom he brought forward as an example for our right conduct. Some may object, “How can you imagine that David was writing about Jesus Christ, who was born so many hundred of years after his own age, or that this has anything to do with us?” Paul is answering, in effect, as F. Godet suggests, “If I thus apply this saying of the psalmist to Christ and ourselves, it is because, in general, all Scripture was written to instruct and strengthen us.”

Of course, many other verses say the same thing. Peter wrote, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21).

Similarly, Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). The reason the Scriptures are so valuable is that they are unlike other books written by mere human beings. They are from God; therefore they have the authority and power of God within them. Besides, God has promised to bless them to the ends for which they have been given (Isa. 55:10–11).

  1. Everything in the Bible is for our good and is profitable. The second important teaching about the Scriptures in Romans 15:4 is that all Scripture is for our good and is profitable. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful.…” In our text he uses the words “everything that was written,” but he means the same thing in both passages.

This is not an endorsement of every piece of ancient literature, as if the words “everything that was written in the past” refer to the writings of the ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans. Paul is not writing about secular literature, but about the writings that are “God-breathed.” Other books may instruct and even charm us wonderfully, but only the Bible gives us a sure ground for hope, since only it speaks with full authority and trustworthiness about what God did to save us from sin and give us eternal life.

Paul’s statement is, however, an endorsement of all of the Bible. That is, he is informing us that “all Scripture … is profitable” and “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us.”

Some critics of the Bible have found things in it that they do not like and have therefore argued either that the Bible is from men only, not from God, or that it is a mixture of the two—some parts being from God and some from man. The parts that are from God are then regarded as authoritative, but the parts said to be from human beings only are discarded as error-prone and nonauthoritative. This is a convenient way of pretending to submit to the Bible’s authority while at the same time avoiding anything in the Bible that is convicting or contrary to the critic’s thought. This is not the Bible’s teaching. It is not historic Christianity. The Bible teaches that everything in it is the true Word of God and that it is binding upon the minds and consciences of all persons. Therefore, if we are being led by God’s Holy Spirit, we will conform our thoughts and actions to whatever we find in his Word.

  1. Nothing in the Bible is without value. Paul’s third point is that not only is everything in the Bible for our good and profitable, but nothing that is in the Bible is without value.

John Calvin was strong in this conviction: “This notable passage shows us that the oracles of God contain nothing vain or unprofitable.… It would be an insult to the Holy Spirit to imagine that he had taught us anything which it is of no advantage to know. Let us also know that all that we learn from Scripture is conducive to the advancement of godliness. Although Paul is speaking of the Old Testament, we are to hold the same view of the writings of the apostles. If the Spirit of Christ is everywhere the same, it is quite certain that he has accommodated his teaching to the edification of his people at the present time by the apostles, as he formerly did by the prophets.”

Patient Endurance

The second checkpoint we must pass along the road to hope is endurance, which some versions of the Scriptures translate patience (King James Version), perseverance (New American Standard Bible) or even patient endurance, since the word involves both passively accepting what we cannot change and actively pressing on in faithful obedience and discipleship. This word (hypomonê) occurs thirty-two times in the New Testament, sixteen times in Paul’s writings, six of which are in Romans.

Is Paul saying that endurance comes from the Bible—that is, from knowing the Bible? I raise that question because a detail of the Greek text provokes it. Paul uses the word for through (dia) twice, once before the word endurance and once before the word encouragement (the New International Version omits it the second time). According to the strictest rules of Greek grammar, that should mean that endurance is separated from encouragement with the result that the words “of the Scriptures” should be attached to encouragement only. In other words, Paul would be saying that it is through our own personal enduring as well as through the encouragement that we have in studying the Bible that we find hope.

Leon Morris is a fine Greek scholar, and he is led to this position by his grammatical sensitivity. “[Paul’s] construction seems to show that only encouragement is here said to derive from the Bible,” he says.

In my judgment this is a place where it may be wrong to read too much into a fine point of grammar. Grammatically Morris is right. But in terms of the flow of thought it is hard to suppose that Paul is not thinking of the role the Scriptures have in producing endurance too. For one thing, he links the two ideas together in verse 5, saying, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement.…” Again, in verse 4 both terms follow Paul’s opening words about the use of the Scriptures for teaching: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that …” Or again, even apart from what Paul is saying, elsewhere we are taught that endurance comes from reading how God has kept and preserved other believers even in terrible circumstances.

James wrote, “Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:10–11). He is saying that we learn to endure by reading about the way God helped others before us.

Although they recognize the grammatical issue, a large number of other writers nevertheless see the matter as I have outlined it here. Among these are John Murray, Charles Hodge and F. Godet.

Encouragement

The third checkpoint along the road to hope is encouragement, which also comes to us through Scripture. Encouragement (paraklêsis) is found twenty times in Paul’s writings out of twenty-nine occurrences in the whole New Testament. It occurs three times in Romans.

The interesting thing about this word is that it is virtually the same one Jesus used to describe the work of the Holy Spirit among believers, saying, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7; see 14:26; 15:26), and that the apostle John used to describe the work of Jesus himself: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). The word Counselor and the phrase “one who speaks … in our defense” translate the same Greek word paraklêtos, which is also sometimes translated advocate. The literal meaning is “one who comes alongside of another person to help him or her,” to back the person up or defend him. So together the passages teach that Jesus himself does this for us, the Holy Spirit does it, and the Scriptures do it too. Indeed, it is through the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit chiefly does his work.

The end result of this is hope. In our text the article is present before the word hope (“the hope”), meaning the Christian hope. This is not just optimism that Paul is writing about, not a hope founded on something the world thinks possible. Also, the verb have is in the present tense, meaning that hope is a present possession. As Calvin says, “The particular service of the Scriptures is to raise those who are prepared by patience and strengthened by consolation to the hope of eternal life, and to keep their thoughts fixed upon it.”

An Example from History

But enough analysis! If we are to travel the road of endurance and encouragement to hope by learning from the Scriptures, we should study how it actually works.

There are hundreds of examples of this in the Bible, of course, but let’s examine the familiar story of Joseph. Joseph was the next-to-youngest son of Jacob, and he was favored by his father because he was born of his much-beloved wife Rachel and also perhaps because he was an extraordinary young man. His brothers hated him for his virtue so they threw him into a cistern and then sold him to Midianite traders who were on their way to Egypt. Joseph was just seventeen years old. In Egypt he became a slave of a rich man named Potiphar. Joseph served the man well, and he was placed in charge of his entire household. Then Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and tried to seduce him. When Joseph refused to sleep with her, the proud, angry woman denounced him falsely to her husband, and Joseph was thrown into prison.

Joseph languished in prison for two years. Once when he had correctly and favorably interpreted the dream of Pharaoh’s cupbearer, predicting that he would be taken from the prison where he too had been confined and restored to his previous position, Joseph asked the man to remember him when he was released and speak a good word to Pharaoh to get him out of prison. But the cupbearer forgot.

The years dragged on. One day God gave a dream to Pharaoh. No one in the palace could interpret it, but the cupbearer remembered Joseph and his ability to interpret dreams and told the king about him. Pharaoh sent for the young man, and Joseph interpreted the dream, predicting seven years of prosperity to be followed by seven years of severe famine. He recommended that the king appoint a wise man to save grain during the good years so that the people would not starve when the years of scarceness came.

You know the story. Pharaoh appointed Joseph to the task. Joseph served well. The land was saved, and in time, when the famine drove Joseph’s wicked brothers to Egypt to buy grain, God used Joseph to bring the brothers to repentance. The family was reconciled, and Jacob moved all of them to Egypt, where the people stayed and prospered for many years.

The climax of this great story comes in the final chapter of Genesis, when Jacob dies and the brothers come to plead with Joseph not to take revenge on them. They had completely misunderstood him. He had no intention of doing any of them any harm. “Don’t be afraid,” he exclaimed. “Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:19–20). The story teaches that God is sovereign even in such terrible circumstances as those that overtook Joseph. And from it we learn to trust God’s sovereignty, endure in hardship, be encouraged, and so grow strong in hope.

I have picked this particular story because of Psalm 105, which refers to it. It may have been written by King David, but whoever the writer was, he was a man who needed encouragement. He found it in Joseph’s story:

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;

make known among the nations what he has done.…

He [God] called down famine on the land

and destroyed all their supplies of food;

and he sent a man before them—

Joseph, sold as a slave.

They bruised his feet with shackles,

his neck was put in irons,

till what he foretold came to pass,

till the word of the Lord proved him true.

The king sent and released him,

the ruler of peoples set him free.

He made him master of his household,

ruler over all he possessed,

to instruct his princes as he pleased

and teach his elders wisdom.

Psalm 105:1, 16–22

This writer clearly knew that “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Do you know that? If you do, you will study what God has spoken and move ahead boldly for him and with hope.[2]


4 The citation of Psalm 69, portions of which were evidently regarded in the early church as messianic, leads the apostle to a more general statement concerning the usefulness of the Scriptures for the “instruction” (didaskalia, GK 1436; NIV, “to teach”) of Christians—in fact, as deliberately planned for their edification (“was written to teach us”; cf. 1 Co 10:11).

The very phenomenon of the regular quotation of the OT speaks loudly of the dependence of the church on the course of redemption history reflected there. Things both new and old enter into Christian faith. The example of Christ was bound to influence the church to revere and use the OT, and this was made easier because at the beginning its membership was largely Jewish-Christian. Stuhlmacher, 231, calls attention to the importance of this perspective on the OT: “Accordingly, the church of Christ may and can relate the Holy Scriptures, read from the perspective of Jesus, to themselves, to their path in life, and to God’s future with the world.” As for the Gentiles, in many cases at least, they had become familiar with the Greek OT (reflected in the LXX) in the synagogue (Ac 13:44–48) before hearing the gospel and putting their trust in Christ.

The use of the Scriptures, Paul adds, promotes “endurance” (hypomonē, GK 5705) and supplies “encouragement” (paraklēsis, GK 4155). Both may be seen in these records of the past. And these two elements are intimately connected with a third, namely, “hope” (elpis, GK 1828), for the endurance is worthwhile only if it takes place on a course that leads to a glorious future, and the encouragement provides exactly that assurance.[3]


4  In a brief detour from his main argument, Paul reminds his readers that the use he has just made of the OT is entirely appropriate: “for whatever was written beforehand was written for our instruction.”32 Paul here crisply enunciates a conviction basic to his ministry and to the early church generally. The OT, though no longer a source of direct moral imperative (6:14, 15; 7:4), continues to play a central role in helping Christians to understand the climax of salvation history and their responsibilities as the New Covenant people of God.

The instruction Christians gain from the Scriptures has many purposes. One of these, Paul asserts in the second part of the verse, is that “we might have hope.” The introduction of hope at this point might also seem to be a detour in Paul’s argument. But two connections with the context may be noted. First, hope is especially needed by Christians when facing suffering (cf. 5:2–5; 8:20, 24–25). And Paul has broached the general problem of Christian suffering by citing the reproaches born by Christ as a model for the “strong” believers to imitate. The subordinate phrases Paul adds to his main purpose statement bear out this emphasis: “through [i.e., with] endurance” and “through the comfort37 of the Scriptures.” Reading the OT and seeing its fulfillment in Christ and the church fosters the believer’s hope, a hope that is accompanied by the ability to “bear up” under the pressure of spiritually hostile and irritating circumstances. But to return to the initial point: Paul signals his intention to talk about Christian suffering by using here two key terms, “endurance” and “comfort,” that he regularly uses when discussing the trials of believers.39

A second reason for Paul to bring “hope” into the discussion here emerges when we remember that many, perhaps most, of the “strong” were Gentiles. As such, apart from Christ, they were “without hope” (Eph. 2:12). Now, however, they have been “brought near,” wild branches grafted into the promises and people of God (cf. Rom. 11:17–24). By strengthening their “hope,” therefore, the Scriptures help these “strong” believers become more secure about their place in the people of God. At the same time, they are given the very practical reminder that this hope focuses on one people of God, made up of both Jews and Gentiles and of “strong” and “weak” (a point that Paul develops in vv. 8–13). If the “strong” believers, therefore, wish to maintain their hope, they must work to put into effect the unity of the people of God, within which they experience their own salvation.[4]


4 The “for” at the beginning of this verse intimates the reason for the propriety of appeal to Scripture for support. Paul vindicates the use of Psalm 69:9 in verse 3 by the purpose which Scripture is intended by God to subserve: “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (cf. 1 Cor. 10:6, 10; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17). The extent to which Paul’s thought was governed by this truth is evident from the frequency of appeal to Scripture in this epistle. The form of statement here and in the parallels cited above shows that in Paul’s esteem Scripture in all its parts is for our instruction, that the Old Testament was designed to furnish us in these last days with the instruction necessary for the fulfilment of our vocation to the end, and that it is as written it promotes this purpose. The instruction which the Scriptures impart is directed to patience and comfort. Patience is endurance and stedfastness. Both the stedfastness and the comfort are derived from the Scriptures and are, therefore, dependent upon these Scriptures and draw their character and value from them. These are generated by Scripture and their quality is determined by Scripture. However, the stedfastness and consolation are said to be the means of something more ultimate, namely, hope. Hope in this case is to be understood of that which the believer entertains, the state of mind. There cannot be the exercise of hope except as it is directed to an object, that hoped for. But to “have hope” is to exercise hope (cf. Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 3:12; 10:15; Eph. 2:12, 1 Thess. 4:13; 1 John 3:3). In this text the instruction, stedfastness, and consolation derived from Scripture are all represented as contributing to this exercise of hope and thereby is demonstrated the significance for the believer and for the fellowship of the saints of the prospective outreach which hope implies (cf. 8:23–25 and vs. 13).[5]


4 In a brief detour from his main argument, Paul reminds his readers that the use he has just made of the OT is entirely appropriate: “for whatever was written beforehand was written for our instruction.”701 Paul here crisply enunciates a conviction basic to his ministry and to the early church generally. The OT, though no longer a source of direct moral imperative (6:14, 15; 7:4), continues to play a central role in helping Christians to understand the climax of salvation history and their responsibilities as the New Covenant people of God.

The instruction Christians gain from the Scriptures has many purposes. One of these, Paul asserts in the second part of the verse, is that “we might have hope.” The introduction of hope at this point might also seem to be a detour in Paul’s argument. But two connections with the context may be noted. First, hope is especially needed by Christians when facing suffering (5:2–5; 8:20, 24–25). And Paul has broached the general problem of Christian suffering by citing the reproaches borne by Christ as a model for the strong believers to imitate. The subordinate phrases Paul adds to his main purpose statement bear out this emphasis. Paul’s syntax at this point is not clear. He uses two prepositional phrases, each introduced with the Greek preposition dia: “through endurance” and “through comfort/encouragement.”706 The second is clearly modified by “the Scriptures”: encouragement comes through [reading and meditating on] the Scriptures. The first, however, could be independent;708 and, if so, “endurance” is probably something that accompanies our hope: “so that we might have hope accompanied by, or bolstered by, endurance” (see NLT).709 On the other hand, “the Scriptures” could be construed with both words, so that, in some sense, both endurance and encouragement are provided by the Scriptures (see, e.g., NIV: “through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide”); and both are instrumental in fostering hope. The former option may be preferable, but the difference is not great. In any case, reading the OT and seeing its fulfillment in Christ and the church fosters the believer’s hope, a hope that is accompanied by the ability to “bear up” under the pressure of spiritually hostile and irritating circumstances. But to return to the initial point: Paul signals his intention to talk about Christian suffering by using here two key terms, “endurance” and “comfort,” that he regularly uses when discussing the trials of believers.

A second reason for Paul to bring “hope” into the discussion here emerges when we remember that many, perhaps most, of the strong were Gentiles. As such, apart from Christ, they were “without hope” (Eph. 2:12). Now, however, they have been “brought near,” wild branches grafted into the promises and people of God (Rom. 11:17–24). By strengthening their “hope,” therefore, the Scriptures help these strong believers become more secure about their place in the people of God. At the same time, they are given the very practical reminder that this hope focuses on one people of God, made up of both Jews and Gentiles and of strong and weak (a point that Paul develops in vv. 8–13). If the strong believers, therefore, wish to maintain their hope, they must work to put into effect the unity of the people of God, within which they experience their own salvation.[6]


15:4 / For the early Christians the holy Scriptures (everything that was written in the past) were what we today call the Old Testament. In the modern world the Hebrew Scriptures are read from many different perspectives. “Bible as Literature” courses read the ot as a repository of Hebrew saga, poetry, and narrative. Some theologians are interested in the ot’s layers of oral and written traditions, and others read it as a record of Hebrew social history. Some Christians see it as a book of law analogous to a moral counterpart of the gospel, and others relegate it to a book of preparation and prediction, now superseded by Christ. And, of course, there have always been Christians who have sought to reject the ot (and its God) as inferior and vengeful.

Whatever the merits (or lack thereof) of these various approaches, none of them aptly describe Paul’s approach to the Hebrew Scriptures, for he did not read them as a source book for a particular theory or ideology. The Scriptures were not something he referred to, but something he lived from, for what was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures were, of course, ancient, but not in the sense of being “dated.” In his day, what was oldest was normally thought to be truest because it had survived the most difficult of all tests—time! We do not know what external interests (if any) Scripture held for Paul. We know only that he considered it a living, dynamic tradition which was breaking into his own time, through which God was acting and revealing himself in Christ. Scripture was an unfolding drama wherein what God communicated to one generation became valid for another, for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Of all contemporary approaches, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s question, “Who is Jesus Christ for us today?” would have found perhaps greatest resonance from Paul. This question does not exclude historical and literary questions, although it limits them to a secondary status. The validity of such questions would depend on their leading to a renewed understanding of the meaning of the Scriptures for each generation. Bengel’s saying might also speak for Paul, “Apply yourself wholly to the text, and apply the text wholly to yourself.”

Through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. In these words Paul introduces the theme of hope with which he will conclude the epistle (v. 13). We might have expected that Scripture would impart knowledge or salvation, but the apostle views its essential message as one of hope. Hope is the claiming of Christ’s coming triumph and reign by saving faith (8:24–25). Of course, Paul speaks of hope that comes not from the Scriptures per se but from the “God of hope” (v. 13), to whom the Scriptures bear witness.[7]


15:4 through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Paul further appeals to the Old Testament as a whole to motivate the strong to be sensitive to the weak. Paul believed that the Old Testament witnessed to Christ and his church (see, e.g., 1 Cor. 10:1–11). Here Paul says that the Scriptures produce “endurance” and “encouragement” (or “comfort”) and thereby “hope” for believers. In light of the new-covenant theme that informs “encouragement” and “hope,” I suggest that Paul has the story of Israel in mind here (cf. again 1 Cor. 10:1–11): Israel’s sin and exile (“endurance,” hypomonē) will give way to restoration (“encouragement, comfort,” paraklēsis) and therefore hope (elpis). But this message of the restoration of Israel includes Gentiles (see 15:9–12 to follow). Recalling the lack of hope that Gentiles endured because they were outside of the covenant (see again Eph. 2:11–13), we may chart Romans 15:4 this way:

Before Christ

 

In Christ

 

Gentiles were in exile because they were outside the covenant and without hope.

 

Gentiles are in the new covenant and have hope.

 

We can thus summarize 15:3–4 by saying that since Christ’s sacrificial death brought Gentiles into the new covenant, the least that the strong in faith at Rome (Gentiles) can do is to sacrifice for their weak Jewish Christian brothers and sisters there at Rome.[8]


4. For whatever was written in former times was written for our instruction, in order that, through patient endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.

A very practical and unforgettable passage! In brief it informs us that if religion is going to mean anything to us we must practice it. Whatever was written in the Scriptures—which for Paul meant what we now call The Old Testament—was written “for our instruction.”

As often, so also here, that word “instruction” indicates far more than impartation of intellectual knowledge. The emphasis, in fact, is on practical knowledge, knowledge that can be, and should be, applied to living the life of a Christian.

Two things are necessary if the sacred writings are going to be of benefit to us:

  • patient endurance

Anyone who diligently studies Scripture, asking God to apply its teachings to his heart and life, will be hurt by it again and again, for he will become more and more conscious of the fact that the distance between his own conduct and the ideal held before him in Holy Writ is great indeed. Nevertheless, he must pray for strength to persist in this study, learning more and more how to apply it to his life.

  • the encouragement of the Scriptures

Those who by God’s grace and power persist in such a practical study will discover that these sacred writings, written in former times, not only hurt but also heal. In fact, they are filled with encouraging promises, which, when accepted by God-given faith, result in the birth and growth, within men’s hearts, of firmly rooted Christian hope. See on verse 12.

What Paul is saying therefore is that the way in which Scripture will become a blessing for ourselves and through us also for others, is to put it into practice.

In a thrilling conclusion to his book Col. E. W. Starling emphasizes that for the sake of the welfare of ourselves and of our nation we must begin to take to heart that Christianity is not just a theory to be believed but a living force.[9]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 311–313). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The New Humanity (Vol. 4, pp. 1803–1809). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[3] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 214). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (pp. 869–871). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Murray, J. (1968). The Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 199–200). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 885–887). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[7] Edwards, J. R. (2011). Romans (pp. 337–338). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[8] Pate, C. M. (2013). Romans. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 280). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[9] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, p. 472). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

February—16 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

And Peter said unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?—John 13:6.

My soul! dost thou want some sweet, some tender, some more than ordinarily interesting view of thy Jesus, this evening, to draw out all the finer feelings in love and adoration of thy Redeemer? Look at him, then, in the moment in which this scripture represents him in his lowliness and meekness, washing the disciples’ feet. Had I the power of drawing the most endearing portrait, Jesus should he my one and only object; and for a subject of the most finished kind, the humbleness and tenderness of Jesus, the Lord of life and glory, washing poor fishermen’s feet, should be the picture. And what, my soul, tends, if possible, infinitely more to endear and bring home to the heart this unparalleled condescension and grace of Jesus, is, that it was, as the evangelist relates it, at a time when Jesus knew that all things were given by his Father into his hands: that is, all things relating to his mediatorial kingdom; that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father had given him: and in due time take out of his kingdom all things that did offend. Was there ever a more lovely, a more engaging instance shown, than by the great Redeemer of the world, in this condescending act? Well might the astonished apostle cry out, in the contemplation of it, “Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” My soul! pause over the subject, and consider it well; and when thou hast duly weighed the matter, let it be asked, what condescension, what grace, what love, what mercy, will Jesus think too great for the salvation of poor sinners? Oh! that I had the power of persuasion with any poor broken-hearted transgressor, to convince him that there is nothing to keep a soul from Jesus but unbelief. I would say to such a one, My brother, oh! make trial only of Jesus’s love. The greater your unworthiness, the greater will be the grace of Jesus in his mercy towards you. And the lower the Son of God bends down to wash a sinner, the higher surely will he be in the sinner’s love and esteem. Let it be asked, through the whole Church of Christ upon earth, who loves Jesus most, but the sinner to whom Jesus hath forgiven most? Let it be inquired, through the realms of heaven, whose song of redemption is the loudest and the best, but those who were most low upon earth when Jesus first stooped to wash them. O thou blessed Emmanuel! thou, the Lord our righteousness! never let me forget this instance of thy grace to poor sinners, but do thou cause it to be my daily encouragement to come to thee, and under the same conviction as the apostle, to cry out, “Lord wash not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 52–53). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 16 Streams in the Desert

Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.” (Nah. 1:12.)

THERE is a limit to affliction. God sends it, and re-moves it. Do you sigh and say, “When will the end be?” Let us quietly wait and patiently endure the will of the Lord till He cometh. Our Father takes away the rod when His design in using it is fully served.

If the affliction is sent for testing us, that our graces may glorify God, it will end when the Lord has made us bear witness to His praise.

We would not wish the affliction to depart until God has gotten out of us all the honor which we can possibly yield Him.

There may be today “a great calm.” Who knows how soon those raging billows will give place to a sea of glass, and the sea birds sit on the gentle waves?

After long tribulation, the flail is hung up, and the wheat rests in the garner. We may, before many hours are past, be just as happy as now we are sorrowful.

It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day. He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies. Let us be of good cheer. It is better farther on. Let us sing Hallelujah by anticipation.—C. H. Spurgeon.

The great Husbandman is not always threshing. Trial is only for a season. The showers soon pass. Weeping may tarry only for the few hours of the short summer night; it must be gone at daybreak. Our light affliction is but for a moment. Trial is for a purpose, “If needs be.”

The very fact of trial proves that there is something in us very precious to our Lord; else He would not spend so much pains and time on us. Christ would not test us if He did not see the precious ore of faith mingled in the rocky matrix of our nature; and it is to bring this out into purity and beauty that He forces us through the fiery ordeal.

Be patient, O sufferer! The result will more than compensate for all our trials, when we see how they wrought out the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. To have one word of God’s commendation; to be honored before the holy angels; to be glorified in Christ, so as to be better able to flash His glory on Himself—ah! that will more than repay for all.

Tried by Fire.

As the weights of the clock, or the ballast in the vessel, are necessary for their right ordering, so is trouble in the soul-life. The sweetest scents are only obtained by tremendous pressure; the fairest flowers grow amid Alpine snow-solitudes; the fairest gems have suffered longest from the lapidary’s wheel; the noblest statues have borne most blows of the chisel. All, however, are under law. Nothing happens that has not been appointed with consummate care and foresight.—Daily Devotional Commentary.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 52–53). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

February 16th The D. L. Moody Year Book

I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.—John 11:25.

WHEN a young man, I was called upon suddenly, in Chicago, to preach a funeral sermon. A good many Chicago business men were to be there, and I said to myself,

“Now, it will be a good chance for me to preach the gospel to those men, and I will get one of Christ’s funeral sermons.”

I hunted all through the four Gospels trying to find one of Christ’s funeral sermons, but I couldn’t find any. I found He broke up every funeral He ever attended! He never preached a funeral sermon in the world. Death couldn’t exist where He was. When the dead heard His voice they sprang to life.[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.) (pp. 37–38). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

February 16, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Source of the Believer’s Inheritance

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1:3a)

Peter assumes it is necessary for believers to bless God. The intention is so implicit that the Greek text omits the word be, which the translators added. (In the original, the sentence literally begins, “Blessed the God,” which conveys Peter’s expectation that his audience “bless God” as the source of all spiritual inheritance.) The apostle adores God and implores others to do the same.

Peter further calls Him the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, a phrase that identified God in a distinctly Christian way. Historically the Jews had blessed God as their creator and redeemer from Egypt. His creation emphasized His sovereign power at work and His redemption of Israel from Egypt His saving power at work. But those who became Christians were to bless God as the Father of their Lord Jesus Christ.

With one exception (when the Father forsook Him on the cross, Matthew 27:46), every time the Gospels record that Jesus addressed God, He called Him “Father” or “My Father.” In so doing, Jesus was breaking with the Jewish tradition that seldom called God Father, and always in a collective rather than personal sense (e.g., Deut. 32:6; Isa. 63:16; 64:8; Jer. 3:19; 31:9; Mal. 1:6; 2:10). Furthermore, in calling God His Father, Jesus was claiming to share His nature. While speaking with the Jews at an observance of the Feast of the Dedication, Christ declared, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Later, in response to Philip’s request that He reveal the Father, Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9; cf. vv. 8, 10–13). Jesus affirmed that He and the Father possess the same divine nature—that He is fully God (cf. John 17:1, 5). The Father and the Son mutually share the same life—one is intimately and eternally equal to the other—and no one can truly know one without truly knowing the other (cf. Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22). No person can claim to know God unless he knows Him as the One revealed in Jesus Christ, His Son. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:6–7).

In his writings, the apostle Paul also declared the Father and the Son to be of the same essence: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 1:3; cf. Eph. 1:3, 17). Likewise, John wrote in his second epistle: “Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 John 3). Whenever the New Testament calls God Father, it primarily denotes that He is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 7:21; 10:32; 11:25–27; 16:27; 25:34; 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 10:21–22; 22:29; 23:34; John 3:35; 5:17–23; 6:32, 37, 44; 8:54; 10:36; 12:28; 15:9; 17:1; Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 11:31; cf. John 14:23; 15:16; 16:23; 1 John 4:14; Rev. 1:6). God is also the Father of all believers (Matt. 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 9; 10:20; 13:43; 23:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 12:30, 32; John 20:17; Rom. 1:7; 8:15; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18; 4:6; Phil. 4:20; Heb. 12:9; James 1:27; 1 John 2:13; 3:1).

One commentator calls Peter’s use in verse 3 of Christ’s full redemptive name “a concentrated confession.” All that the Bible reveals about the Savior appears in that title: Lord identifies Him as sovereign Ruler; Jesus as incarnate Son; and Christ as anointed Messiah-King. The apostle personalizes that magnificent title with the simple inclusion of the pronoun our. The divine Lord of the universe belongs to all believers, as does the Jesus who lived, died, and rose again for them, and as does the Christ, the Messiah whom God anointed to be their eternal King who will grant them their glorious inheritance.

The Motive for the Believer’s Inheritance

who according to His great mercy (1:3b)

His great mercy was the motive behind God’s granting believers eternal life—sharing the very life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Ephesians 2:4–5 also expresses this divine generosity, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (cf. Titus 3:5). Both here and in Ephesians, the apostolic writer added an enlarging adjective (great and “rich”).

Mercy focuses on the sinner’s miserable, pitiful condition. The gospel is prompted by God’s compassion toward those who were dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1–3). All believers were once in that wretched, helpless condition, compounded by a deceitful heart (Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Eccl. 9:3; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21–23), corrupt mind (Rom. 8:7–8; 1 Cor. 2:14), and wicked desires (Eph. 4:17–19; 5:8; Titus 1:15) that made them slaves to sin, headed for just punishment in hell. Therefore they needed God, in mercy, to show compassion toward their desperate, lost condition and remedy it (cf. Isa. 63:9; Hab. 3:2; Matt. 9:27; Mark 5:19; Luke 1:78; Rom. 9:15–16, 18; 11:30–32; 1 Tim. 1:13; 1 Peter 2:10).

Mercy is not the same as grace. Mercy concerns an individual’s miserable condition, whereas grace concerns his guilt, which caused that condition. Divine mercy takes the sinner from misery to glory (a change of condition), and divine grace takes him from guilt to acquittal (a change of position; see Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7). The Lord grieves over the unredeemed sinner’s condition of gloom and despair (Ezek. 18:23, 32; Matt. 23:37–39). That is manifest clearly during His incarnation as Jesus healed people’s diseases (Matt. 4:23–24; 14:14; 15:30; Mark 1:34; Luke 6:17–19). He could have demonstrated His deity in many other ways, but He chose healings because they best illustrated the compassionate, merciful heart of God toward sinners suffering the temporal misery of their fallen condition (cf. Matt. 9:5–13; Mark 2:3–12). Jesus’ healing miracles, which nearly banished illness from Israel, were proof that what the Old Testament said about God the Father being merciful (Ex. 34:6; Ps. 108:4; Lam. 3:22; Mic. 7:18) was true.

Apart from even the possibility of any merit or worthiness on the sinner’s part, God grants mercy to whomever He will: “For He [God] says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Rom. 9:15–16). Out of His infinite compassion and free, abundant, and limitless mercy, He chose to grant eternal life—it was not because of anything sinners could do or deserve (Ex. 33:19; Rom. 9:11–13; 10:20; 2 Tim. 1:9). It is completely understandable that Paul called God “the Father of mercies” (2 Cor. 1:3).

The Appropriation of the Believer’s Inheritance

has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1:3c)

The prophet Jeremiah once asked the rhetorical question, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?” (Jer. 13:23). His graphic analogy implied a negative answer to the question of whether or not sinners could change their natures (cf. 17:9). Humanity’s sinful nature needs changing (Mark 1:14–15; John 3:7, 17–21, 36; cf. Gen. 6:5; Jer. 2:22; 17:9–10; Rom. 1:18–2:2; 3:10–18), but only God, working through His Holy Spirit, can transform the sinful human heart (Jer. 31:31–34; John 3:5–6, 8; Acts 2:38–39; cf. Ezek. 37:14; Acts 15:8; Rom. 8:11; 1 John 5:4). In order for sinners to receive an eternal inheritance from God, they must experience His means of spiritual transformation, the new birth. Peter affirms that truth in this last portion of verse 3, when he says God has caused believers to be born again (see discussion on 1:23–25 in chapter 7 of this volume; cf. 2 Cor. 5:17).

Jesus effectively explained the necessity of regeneration—the new birth—to Nicodemus, a prominent Jewish teacher.

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. (John 3:1–15)

To illustrate the means of the new birth, Jesus referred to the episode of the bronze serpent (Num. 21:4–9), an Old Testament narrative Nicodemus would have known well. When the snake-bitten Israelites in the wilderness acknowledged their sin and God’s judgment on them for it and looked to the means He provided to deliver them (a bronze snake on a pole), they received physical healing from their poisonous bites. By analogy, if sinners would experience spiritual deliverance, they must recognize their spiritual condition as poisoned by their sin and experience salvation from spiritual and eternal death by looking to the Son of God and trusting in Him as their Savior. Jesus cut to the core of Nicodemus’s self-righteousness and told him what all sinners need to hear, that they are spiritually regenerated only by faith in Jesus Christ (cf. John 1:12–13; Titus 3:5; James 1:18).

Peter goes on to declare that regeneration results in believers receiving a living hope. The unbelieving world knows only dying hopes (Job 8:13; Prov. 10:28; Eph. 2:12), but believers have a living, undying hope (Pss. 33:18; 39:7; Rom. 5:5; Eph. 4:4; Titus 2:13; Heb. 6:19) that will come to a complete, final, and glorious fulfillment (Rom. 5:2; Col. 1:27). It is a hope that Peter later described when he wrote, “according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). This hope is what prompted Paul to tell the Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). At death believers’ hope becomes reality as they enter the glorious presence of God and the full, unhindered, joyous fellowship with the Trinity, the angels, and other saints (Rom. 5:1–2; Gal. 5:5).

The means of Christians’ appropriating this living hope and eternal inheritance is spiritual birth, and the power for that appropriation was demonstrated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Jesus told Martha, just prior to the raising of her brother Lazarus from the grave, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25–26; cf. 14:19). Paul instructed the Corinthians concerning the vital ramifications of the resurrection, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). Even if one hoped in Christ in this life, but not beyond it, he would be lost (v. 19). However, Christ rose from the dead, forever securing the believer’s living hope in heaven by finally conquering death (vv. 20–28, 47–49, 54–57).[1]


3 The parallels between the early Christian emphasis on “new birth” and that contained in mystery religions are fascinating, especially given the fact that 1 Peter is addressed to Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor, where mystery cults proliferated. Moreover, the verb ἐποπτεύω, epopteuō (GK 2227, “to be a witness”), and its nominal form ἐπόπτης, epoptēs (GK 2228), appearing in the NT only in Petrine literature (1 Pe 2:12; 3:2; 2 Pe 1:16), are employed in a technical sense to describe those individuals who have been initiated into the mystery rituals (TDNT 5:374). Nevertheless, resemblances in 1 Peter remain at the level of speculation.[2]


3  Peter begins his letter with the customary thanks to God (which in pagan letters would be thanks to the gods) for the well-being of the recipients, but, like that of Paul, who uses the identical wording in 2 Cor. 1:3 and Eph. 1:3, his content is distinctively Jewish and Christian. Blessing God is well known from the OT (Gen. 9:26; Ps. 67:20; cf. Luke 1:68), and this form of praise was taken over into the Christian liturgical tradition.  The One who is blessed, however, is not simply “God,” but that God who revealed himself distinctively as the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Since “Jesus is Lord” was the central confession of the early church (e.g., Acts 2:36; Rom. 10:9–10; cf. 1 Cor. 16:22), this expression encapsulates the core of Christian theology.

The specific act for which Peter blesses God is regeneration, which is not something deserved or produced by human beings, but a free act of God because of his character as a God of mercy or covenant-faithfulness (e.g., Exod. 20:6; 34:7, where the Hebrew term ḥesed, translated “lovingkindness” in the ASV and “love” in the NIV, is translated by the Greek term for mercy in the LXX). Regeneration, or being born again, is not an OT idea, although the Jews at times came close to it.  The terminology, however, was “in the air” of the Greek-speaking world in both secular and religious uses, and so it was natural for Christians to use it to explain what God had done for them. They used it to designate the radical change of conversion, which was like receiving a whole new life, life that was life indeed (e.g., Jas. 1:18; 1 John 1:13). It was often connected with baptism as the point of the new birth (see John 3:5, 7; Tit. 3:5, where a similar combination of mercy, regeneration, and future hope appears), and this connection would be stressed in the later church fathers, often without the caution that Peter will insert in 3:21. Regeneration itself was not a technical term but an idea that appealed particularly to the writers of the Catholic Epistles and the Johannine literature, for a variety of Greek words are used for it in the NT; in fact, Peter is the only one to use the term he uses here, anagennaō, and he uses it twice, here and in 1:23. But then in 2:2 he can refer to the same idea with different terminology.

Peter does not focus on the past, the new birth itself, but on the future, for the goal of this regeneration is “a living hope”; that is, it points to a bright future ahead, which will be discussed in the next verse. This fits the birth analogy in that birth, while wonderful, does not exist for itself but rather to start a child on its way to maturity and adult life. Pastorally this future orientation is important for our author, for a suffering people who may see only more pain and deprivation ahead need to be able to pierce the dark clouds and fasten on a vision of hope if they are to stay on track. This hope is not a desperate holding-on to a faded dream, a dead hope, but a living one, founded on reality, for it is grounded in “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” As Paul had argued, because Jesus really did shatter the gates of death and exists now as our living Lord, those who have committed themselves to him share in his new life and can expect to participate fully in it in the future (Rom. 6:4–5; 1 Cor. 15). It is this reality which will enable the readers to face even death without fear, for death is not an end for the Christian, but a beginning.[3]


1:3 / Peter at once launches into praise of God for planning so magnificent a salvation. The Israelites of old praised God as the creator of the world (2 Chron. 2:12) and as their redeemer from Egyptian slavery (Deut. 4:20). Peter develops the characteristic Jewish approach by adopting an explicitly Christian stance. He praises God as the Father of his unique Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and as the One who raised this Jesus from the dead. As a Christian, Peter blesses God for the new creation, as expressed in the new birth of believers, and for divine provision for them of “an inheritance” of a promised land “in heaven,” safe beyond the slavery of sin or the frenzy of foes.

The experiences of new birth and of a living hope are beyond human procurement. They are God’s gracious gift and are bestowed solely on account of his great mercy, for there is no way in which they can ever be deserved or earned. They come to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, as the direct consequence of his total triumph over the worst that the powers of evil can achieve; namely, death itself.

The concept of new birth is based on the teaching of Jesus (John 3:3–8). It speaks of the gift of spiritual life on a plane previously unknown in an individual’s experience. It can no more be acquired by self-effort than a babe can bring about its own physical birth.

The first result of this new birth, and the first characteristic of the new pilgrim life of the believer, is hope (anchor for the soul, firm and secure: Heb. 6:19). Hope is living (cf. 1:23; 2:4–5), not merely because it is active (Heb. 4:12), or is simply an improved version of the Jewish hope (Heb. 7:19). Nor are we to misunderstand the translation “have been born anew to a living hope” (rsv) to mean “hope has been restored.” Peter is referring to something of a different order: a sure and confident outlook which has a divine, not a human, source. That new quality of hope is generated in the believer by the new spiritual life brought about by the new birth. Peter is writing to encourage readers who face an uncertain future threatened by persecution of one degree or another. This living hope highlights the fact that the present life is by no means the limit of the believer’s expectation. As the word is used in everyday parlance, “hope” can prove a delusion (Job 7:6; Eph. 2:12; cf. Col. 1:5). The living hope in the newborn Christian has a vigor, a patient endurance, and an assurance beyond any human power: such hope can no more fail than the living God who bestows it. Peter elaborates the nature and the content of living hope in the following two verses.[4]


A Living Hope

1:3

Throughout his epistle, Peter encourages his readers to hope. Hope is based on a living faith in Jesus Christ. It characterizes the believer who patiently waits for the salvation God has promised to his people. “Hoping is disciplined waiting.”

  1. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Filled to overflowing with spiritual blessings which he wants to convey to his readers, Peter writes one long sentence in Greek (vv. 3–9). In our modern versions, translators have divided this lengthy sentence. Nevertheless, the sentence itself reveals the intensity of the writer and the fullness of his message. In the introductory part of this sentence we observe the following points:

  1. “Praise.” This word is actually the first word in a doxology, for instance, at the conclusion of many books of the Psalms: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 41:13; and with variations 72:18; 89:52; 106:48). The word praise is common in the New Testament, too. Zechariah begins his song with an exuberant burst of praise: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people” (Luke 1:68; also see Rom. 1:25b; 9:5).
  2. “God and Father.” Within the early church, Jewish Christians adapted the benedictions of their forefathers to include Jesus Christ. Note that the doxology in verse 3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” is identical to the wording of 2 Corinthians 1:3 and Ephesians 1:3 (compare also 2 Cor. 11:31).

God has revealed himself in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, all the elect share in his sonship. Through him they call God their Father, for they are his children. With the church universal, the believer confesses the words of the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth.

Because of Jesus Christ, we call his Father our Father and his God our God (John 20:17). Fatherhood is one of the essential characteristics of God’s being; it is part of his deity. God is first Father of Jesus, and then because of Christ he is Father of the believer.

Peter indicates our relationship to the Father and the Son when he uses the personal pronoun our (“God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”). Also, in the next sentence, Peter discloses that God is our Father because God “has given us new birth.” That is, the Father has begotten us again in giving us spiritual rebirth. The Father has given us rebirth because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. “Lord.” Verse 3 is the only text in this epistle in which Peter writes the title and names our Lord Jesus Christ. With the pronoun our, Peter includes himself among the believers who confess the lordship of Jesus Christ. “To call Jesus Lord is to declare that he is God.” Moreover, in the early church Christians confessed their faith in the brief statement Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). The name Jesus encompasses the earthly ministry of the Son of God, and the name Christ refers to his messianic calling. Four times in three verses (vv. 1–3) Peter employs the name Jesus Christ.
  2. “Mercy.” Peter describes our relationship to God the Father by saying, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth.” We read almost the same wording in one of Paul’s epistles (“God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ” [Eph. 2:4–5]). Apparently Peter was acquainted with Paul’s epistles (see 2 Peter 3:15–16). Together with the other apostles, Peter presents Christian doctrine on regeneration (e.g., see John 3:3, 5).
  3. “Birth.” Notice that we receive a new spiritual birth from God the Father. Peter writes that God “has given us new birth” (v. 3), and later he continues, “For you have been born again” (v. 23). Just as we are passive in natural birth, so we are in spiritual birth. That is, God is active in the process of begetting us, for he causes us to be born again. With the words new and again in these two verses, Peter shows the difference between our natural birth and our spiritual birth.

Peter speaks from personal experience, for he remembers when he fell into the sin of denying Jesus. Later, when Jesus restored him to apostleship, he became the recipient of God’s great mercy and received new life through restoration. Therefore, he includes himself when he writes, “He has given us new birth” (italics added). Incidentally, the passages in which Peter uses the personal pronouns our or us are few (1:3; 2:24; 4:17). First Peter is an epistle in which the author addresses his readers as “you.” The infrequent use of the first person, singular (2:11; 5:1, 12) or plural, is therefore much more significant.

  1. “Hope.” What is hope? It is something that is personal, living, active, and part of us. In verse 3, it is not something that pertains to the future (compare Col. 1:5; Titus 2:13). Instead, it brings life to God’s elect who are waiting with patient discipline for God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.
  2. “Resurrection.” What is the basis for our new life? Peter tells us that “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” God has made us alive and has given us living hope. Without the resurrection of Christ, our rebirth would be impossible and our hope would be meaningless. By rising from the dead, Jesus Christ has given us the assurance that we, too, shall rise with him (see Rom. 6:4). Why? As Peter preached on Pentecost, “God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). Jesus is the first one to break the bonds of death, so that through him we have our rebirth, and in him we have eternal life (1 John 5:12).

Peter speaks as an eyewitness, for he had the unique experience of meeting Jesus after he rose from the grave. Peter ate and drank with Jesus and became a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (refer to Acts 10:41).

Doctrinal Considerations in 1:3

Twice in this short epistle Peter introduces teaching on the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1:3; 3:21). This teaching, to be sure, is central to the Christian religion. When the eleven apostles came together after Jesus’ ascension and prior to Pentecost, they chose a successor to Judas Iscariot. Peter, as spokesman, declared that this person had to be a follower of Jesus from the day of his baptism to the time of his ascension, and that he had to be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:22).

As an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus, Peter proclaimed this truth in his sermon to the multitude gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2:31). When he preached to the crowd at Solomon’s porch, he said that God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 3:15; compare 4:2, 33). And last, when Peter spoke in the home of Cornelius at Caesarea, he taught the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 10:40). Peter testified to this truth throughout his ministry of preaching and writing.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 30–34). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 301–302). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Davids, P. H. (1990). The First Epistle of Peter (pp. 50–52). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (pp. 31–32). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 39–42). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Coronavirus “Did Not Start at the Wuhan Animal Market” – China’s Only Level 4 Super Lab “Is Only a Few Miles Away” – Sen. Tom Cotton Drops a BOMB on Sunday Morning Futures (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

This was written by Joe Hoft live from Hong Kong

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton was on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.  Senator Cotton claimed the coronavirus in Wuhan did not start at the food market as was initially reported.

So far the coronavirus has infected nearly 70,000 and killed over 1600, the world still has unanswered questions from China.  Senator Tom Cotton was on Mornings with Maria and he shared the following about the coronavirus and China’s actions related to it:

Senator Tom Cotton:  So Maria, here is what we do know.   This virus did not originate in the Wuhan animal market.  Epidemiologists who are widely respected from China published a study in the international journal Lancet have demonstrated that several of the original cases did NOT have any contact with that food market.  The virus went into that food market before it came out of that food market.  So we don’t know where it originated…  We also know that only a few miles away from that market is China’s only bio-safety Level Four Super Laboratory that researches human infectious diseases.

Via Sunday Morning Futures:

China critic Gordan Chang had the following to say to China Communists as well:

via Coronavirus “Did Not Start at the Wuhan Animal Market” – China’s Only Level 4 Super Lab “Is Only a Few Miles Away” – Sen. Tom Cotton Drops a BOMB on Sunday Morning Futures (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Joe Biden Claims That His Adulterous and Corrupt Son Who Had His First Arrest at 18 is a ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Honorable Guy’ — The Gateway Pundit

Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his corrupt and adulterous son during an interview with NBC on Sunday.

Appearing on Meet the Press, Biden claimed that his scandalous son Hunter is a “brilliant, honorable guy” and said that President Donald Trump’s attacks on him are “cruelty.”

“My son’s a brilliant, honorable guy who — who feels so guilty for being put in this spot — that he put me in this spot,” Biden said.

Hunter Biden’s first arrest may have been when he was 18. Hunter was arrested on Jersey Shore on drug charges in 1988 and had his record expunged.

Many years later and after several stops into drug treatment facilities Hunter joined his father the Vice President on a trip to China in 2013 where Hunter — inexperienced and out of place — was able to secure a $1.5 billion from China for private equity fund which he was forming at the time.

A year later in early 2014 Hunter was discharged from the Navy for testing positive for cocaine.

Biden was also asked by host Chuck Todd if it’s possible that Trump speaking out against his son might have cost him Iowa and New Hampshire. His son is under scrutiny for taking an extremely high paying job at Ukrainian gas company Burisma while Biden was still Vice President.

Additionally, a Ukranian prosecutor  says that he was fired for investigating the company for corruption. He claims the government was pressured to get rid of him by the then-vice president Biden.

“Have you thought about the fact that the president is campaigning against you and your son might have been effective? That it might have cost you Iowa, might have cost you New Hampshire? Has that crossed your mind?” Chuck Todd asked Biden.

“It has,” Biden said, “but, you know, I can’t focus on that, Chuck. I’ve got to focus on the future.”

Biden also said that he wants to know Senator Lindsey Graham did not defend John McCain enough when he was being called out by President Trump.

“I went out of my way for Lindsey,” Biden said, “and Lindsey recorded things that were so — about what a wonderful guy I am. But when I watched how Lindsey responded under pressure to John McCain, our mutual friend — John and I went at each other hammer and tong, but at his deathbed he asked me to do his eulogy. We were friends. He was honorable, he was decent. It just stunned me that [Graham] did not respond to the attacks on John that were made by this president so viciously.”

via Joe Biden Claims That His Adulterous and Corrupt Son Who Had His First Arrest at 18 is a ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Honorable Guy’ — The Gateway Pundit

“He Certainly Is Someone John Durham Would Want to Talk to” – Trey Gowdy Argues Andrew McCabe Is NOT Out of the Woods Yet (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Former Representative and US Prosecutor Trey Gowdy joined Maria Bartiromo this morning on Sunday Morning Futures.

This was a powerful interview with one of the two Republican lawmakers who reviewed the un-redacted classified documents in the Spygate scandal.

Gowdy initially explained that Andrew McCabe was exonerated for his conduct leaking classified documents during the election to the Wall Street Journal… BUT McCabe has not been exonerated for his actions regarding the FISA warrant scandal to spy on the Trump campaign and then President Trump.

Trey Gowdy: He escapes indictment from that narrow fact pattern but that has nothing to do with FISA or the initiation of Russia and any other potential misconduct that Andrew McCabe may have engaged in… He certainly is someone John Durham would want to talk to.

So McCabe is NOT out of the woods yet for his criminal behavior.

There is much more from this interview that we will include in a separate post.

Via Sunday Morning Futures:

 

via “He Certainly Is Someone John Durham Would Want to Talk to” – Trey Gowdy Argues Andrew McCabe Is NOT Out of the Woods Yet (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Conway: Bloomberg’s alleged comments to women ‘far worse’ than Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ tape

Counselor to President Trump Kellyanne Conway joined Democrats in their criticism of Michael Bloomberg, after a Washington Post report detailed allegations of inappropriate comments towards women and discrimination within his media company.

Source: Conway: Bloomberg’s alleged comments to women ‘far worse’ than Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ tape

February 16 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

February 16.—Morning. [Or April 2.]
“God be merciful to me a sinner.”

WE are now about to read that solemn epitome of the law of God, which is contained in

Exodus 20:1–17

but, before we read a line, let us beseech the Lord to forgive our offences against his holy name, and to accept us in the Son of his love, by whom this law has been magnified and made honourable. We are now to read a code of law in which there is no omission and no redundancy. It is the only perfect law in the universe. None of us have kept it, and therefore it were folly to look for salvation by it, since nothing but perfect obedience can be accepted by the justice of God.

And God spake all these words, saying,

I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

There is but one God, and we must not dare to worship or obey another. Beware of making gold or your self, or your dearest relation into a god. “Little children keep yourselves from idols.”

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

We are in the second commandment forbidden to worship God under any visible symbol, or after any other fashion than he has commanded. How great are the crimes of those who worship crosses, pictures, and bread, and even attach the idea of holiness to enclosures and buildings.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Any unhallowed use of the divine name is exceedingly sinful. Beware of flippantly saying, “O Lord,” and such like irreverent speeches.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9, 10 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

One day in seven is the Lord’s, and to rob him of it is to injure ourselves as well as to disobey our Maker. Rest and worship are two of our sweetest blessings, and to them the day should be sacredly given.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (Respect, love, and obedience are our parents’ due. This is the first commandment with promise.)

13 Thou shalt not kill.

Anger, and the doing of anything injurious to the health of ourselves or others, are here forbidden.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

This forbids lust of heart, thought, and look, as well as actual uncleanness.

15 Thou shalt not steal. (This forbids pilfering, cheating, and every kind of wrong.)

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (All lying is herein condemned.)

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (This touches a heart sin, and shews that the precept is exceeding broad, and reaches thoughts and imaginations. Who can read it and then hope to be saved by his own doings? Lord have mercy upon us, and forgive us our transgressions of this thy holy law.)

Lord, make me understand thy law;

Show what my faults have been;

And from thy gospel let me draw

The pardon of my sin.

Not one can e’er be just with God

By works his hands have wrought;

For thy command’s exceeding broad,

And reaches every thought.

My God, ’tis through thy Son I wait

For thy salvation still;

While thy whole law is my delight,

And I revere thy will.

February 16.—Evening. [Or April 3.]
“He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.”

WE have selected for our present reading a chapter which illustrates the difference between the law and the gospel.

Romans 10:1–24

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

The true spirit of Christianity is that of love and sympathy, it leads to prayer even for persecutors, and to hope for the most obdurate of men. Paul pleaded for the Jews.

For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Do not deny the good points in others, even if they are not all we could wish them to be.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

He fulfils the law’s purpose for us, and when we have him me have all the law requires.

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

6, 7, 8, 9 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above🙂 Or, who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Precious gospel. Not doing, but believing, saves us. We have not to do or feel great things but simply to trust.)

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Think over this verse, for it ought to comfort even the most depressed seeker. Real prayer will be heard sooner or later.)

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Be constant in attendance upon the gospel ministry, and be devoutly attentive while hearing, for it is the way by which faith comes.)

18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Alas, all hearers do not become believers. The many hear with deaf ears, and obey not the truth.)

19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

Sovereign grace sometimes saves the most unlikely, while those who sit under the gospel harden their hearts and perish. Beware of resting in outward privileges: ye must possess real faith in Jesus.

21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. (So that they were sincerely warned, and lovingly invited, yet it was all in vain. Shall it be so with any of this household? God forbid.)

All the doing is completed,

Now ’tis “look, believe, and live;”

None can purchase His salvation,

Life’s a gift, that God must give;

Grace, through righteousness, is reigning,

Not of works, lest man should boast;

Man must take the mercy freely,

Or eternally be lost.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 93–94). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Sunday’s Hymn: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Weary — Rebecca Writes

 

 

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

Refrain

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

—Joseph Hart

 

Other hymns, worship songs, or quotes for this Sunday:

via Sunday’s Hymn: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Weary — Rebecca Writes

The Day of the Lord, His Judgments and Promises; 2 Peter 3 — David Fiorazo

Fulfilled Bible prophecy is one factor that reinforces the certainty of the last days and God’s promises. There are over 330 distinct Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled perfectly. We had better pay attention to His warnings of judgment and live with a sense of urgency.

2 Peter 3:1-2 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,

Peter already wrote about the importance of being reminded (2 Peter 1:12-13). But here he wanted to emphasize what should be known in light of the coming of Jesus and the prophecies surrounding His coming. The purest minds need stirring up at times.

That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before: Peter knew the importance of reminding his readers of the Scriptural message, both received from the Old Testament (spoken before) and contemporary to his own day (and of the commandment of us).

Peter clearly believed that the words of Scripture were important; the words themselves, and not merely the meaning behind the words.

By the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior: By placing the messengers of the new covenant on the same level as the messengers of the old covenant, Peter understood the authority of the New Testament, even as it was being formed.

Peter understood that Jesus gave His apostles the inspired authority to bring forth God’s message to the new covenant community. He understood this from passages such as Matthew 16:19, where Jesus gave the apostles authority to bind and loose, much as the authoritative rabbis of their day.

Significantly, Peter saw this authority invested in the apostles, not in him alone. He would think it strange for supposed papal authority to be credited to him.

2 Peter 3:3-4 The message of scoffers.

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Knowing this first: Christians should not be surprised to find that there are those who scoff at the idea of Jesus coming again. Peter told us that the scoffers will come. This is the first thing to know.

“Every time a blasphemer opens his mouth to deny the truth of revelation, he will help to confirm us in our conviction of the very truth which he denies. The Holy Ghost told us, by the pen of Peter, that it would be so; and now we see how truly he wrote.” (Spurgeon)

Will come in the last days: In a sense, the last days began when Jesus ascended into heaven. Since that time, we haven’t rushed towards the precipice of the consummation of all things; but we have run alongside that edge – ready to go anytime at God’s good pleasure.

Walking according to their own lusts: These words remind us that scoffers do not only have an intellectual problem with God and His word. They also have a clear moral problem, wanting to reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ over their lives.

Where is the promise of His coming? This is the message of scoffers. In the thinking of these scoffers, Christians have talked about Jesus coming for two thousand years and He still hasn’t come back yet.

All things continue as they were from the beginning of creation: The scoffers base their message on the idea that things have always been the way they are right now, and that God has not and will not do anything new in His plan for creation.

2 Peter 3:5-7  (The error of scoffers)  For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

For this they willfully forget: The scoffers presume upon the mercy and longsuffering of God, insisting that because they have never seen a widespread judgment of God, that there will never be one. But they willfully forget God’s creation and the judgment God poured out on the earth in the days of Noah.

A literal belief in Creation, in Adam and Eve, and in Noah’s Flood are essential for a true understanding of God’s working both then and now. To deny these things undermines the very foundations of our faith. Sadly, today it is many Christians who willfully forget these things, thereby putting themselves in the place of scoffers.

That by the word of God the heavens were of old: The Bible clearly teaches that the active agent in creation was God’s word. He spoke and creation came into being.

The world that then existed perished, being flooded with water: Peter’s point is that things on this earth have not always continued the way they are now. The earth was different when God first created it and then it was different again after the flood.

Therefore no one should scoff at God’s promise that He will make it different once again, judging it not with water but with fire. The same word of God that created all matter and judged the world in the flood will one day bring a judgment of fire upon the earth.

“The lesson taught by the flood was this is a moral universe, that sin will not for ever go unpunished; and Jesus himself used the flood to point to this moral (Matthew 24:37-39). But these men chose to neglect it.” (Green)

SERMON VIDEO COMING SOON

2 Peter 3:8-10 Truths that scoffers deny but God’s people cling to.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

What seems like forever for us is but a short time for God, just as an hour may seem to be an eternity for a child but a moment for an adult. Peter quoted this idea from Psalm 90:4:

For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. 

“All things are equally near and present to his view; the distance of a thousand years before the occurrence of an event, is no more to him than would be the interval of a day. With God, indeed, there is neither past, present, nor future. He takes for his name the ‘I AM.’ … He is the I AM; I AM in the present; I AM in the past and I AM in the future. Just as we say of God that he is everywhere, so we may say of him that he is always; he is everywhere in space; he is everywhere in time.” (Spurgeon)

Peter did not give some prophetic formula, saying that a prophetic day somehow equals a thousand years. He instead communicated a general principle regarding how we see time and how God sees time. When people use this verse as a rigid prophetic key it opens the door for great error.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise: The truth is that God will keep His promise, and without delay according to His timing. Any perceived delay from our perspective is due to the longsuffering of God, who allows man as much time as possible to repent.

Many of those who are Christians today are happy that Jesus didn’t return ten years, or five years, or two years, or one year, or even two months ago. There is a compassionate purpose in God’s timing.

Not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance: Peter here revealed some of God’s glorious heart. The reason why Jesus’ return isn’t sooner is so that all should come to repentance, because God is not willing that any should perish.

We understand that God is not willing that any should perish not in the sense of a divine decree, as if God has declared that no sinners will perish. Rather, Peter’s statement reflects God’s heart of love for the world (John 3:16), and His compassionate sorrow even in the righteous judgment of the wicked.

It is the same thought as expressed in Ezekiel 33:11:

As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.

“So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost.” (Calvin)

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night: Though the Lord’s longsuffering love to the lost makes it seem that perhaps He delays His coming, the truth is that He will indeed come. And when Jesus does return, He will come at a time that will surprise many. The ultimate result of His coming will be a total transformation of this present world (in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat).

READ 1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-5, 2 THESS. 1:5-10

2 Peter 3:11-13 (Holy and godly living in anticipation of a new created order)

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be: In light of the fact that this world order and the things associated with it will be dissolved, we should live our lives seeking first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness – that is, having holy conduct and godliness.

We tend to think that the world is more enduring and will last longer than people. This is not true, and Peter reminds us of it. People will live into eternity, longer than even the earth.

Will be dissolved/destroyed: “The solar system and the great galaxies, even space-time relationships, will be abolished … All elements which make up the physical world will be dissolved by heat and utterly melt away.

What manner of persons ought you to be:

“The king is coming; he is coming to his throne, and to his judgment. Now a man does not go up to a king’s door, and there talk treason; and men do not sit in a king’s audience-chamber when they expect him every moment to enter, and there speak ill of him. The King is on his way, and almost here; you are at his door; he is at yours. What manner of people ought ye to be? How can ye sin against One who is so close at hand?” (Spurgeon)

Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God: Peter says there is a sense in which we can hasten the Lord’s coming. It’s remarkable to think that we can actually do things that will affect the return of Jesus. In the immediate context, Peter says that we hasten the Lord’s coming by our holy conduct and godliness.

We can also hasten the Lord’s coming through evangelism. Paul said that God’s prophetic focus on Israel will resume when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25).

We can also hasten the Lord’s coming through prayer. Even as Daniel asked for a speedy fulfillment of prophecy regarding captive Israel (Daniel 9), we can also pray Even so, come, Lord Jesus!(Revelation 22:20).

God will genuinely make a new heavens and a new earth, even as Isaiah promised:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind (Isaiah 65:17).

A new earth in which righteousness dwells: The most glorious characteristic of this new heaven and new earth is that it is a place in which righteousness dwells. In God’s plan of the ages, this happens after the millennial earth ruled by Jesus Christ.

It is the re-creation of this world order as described in Revelation 21:1: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.”

2 Peter 3:17-18 Conclusion.

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

We, who know of the Day of the Lord and await it with patient expectation, must persevere lest we fall from your own steadfastness. We must take care to keep abiding in Jesus.

“In order that they might know how to stand, and to be preserved from falling, he gave them this direction: ‘grow in grace;’ for the way to stand is to grow; the way to be steadfast is to go forward. There is no standing except by progression.” (Spurgeon)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: We prevent a fall from your own steadfastness by a continual growth in grace and knowledge of Jesus.

Grace is not merely the way God draws us to Him in the beginning. It is also the way we grow and stay in our steadfastness. We can never grow apart from the grace and knowledge of our Lord, and we never grow out of God’s grace.

“But you will remark that our text does not say anything about grace growing; it does not say that grace grows. It tells us to ‘grow in grace.’ There is a vast difference between grace growing and our growing in grace. God’s grace never increases; it is always infinite, so it cannot be more; it is always everlasting; it is always bottomless; it is always shoreless. It cannot be more; and, in the nature of God, it could not be less. The text tells us to ‘grow in grace.’ We are in the sea of God’s grace; we cannot be in a deeper sea, but let us grow now we are in it.” (Spurgeon)

We must also grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. This means knowing more about Jesus, but more importantly, knowing Jesus in a personal relationship.

To Him be the glory:  Amen: We can say there are four meanings to “Amen”:

  • It expresses the desire of the heart. · It expresses the affirmation of our faith.
  • It expresses the joy of the heart. · It expresses the declaration of resolution.

Under the law, Amen was only said at the declaration of the curses (Deuteronomy 27:14-26). Under the New Covenant, we say “Amen” at the announcement of a great blessing and praise to God.

Adam Clarke added this insightful postscript to Second Peter regarding Roman Catholicism:

“We have now passed over all the canonical writings of Peter that are extant; and it is worthy of remark that, in no place of the two epistles already examined, nor in any of this apostle’s sayings in any other parts of the sacred writings, do we find any of the peculiar tenets of the Romish Church: not one word of his or the pope’s supremacy; not one word of those of affect to be his successors; nothing of the infallibility claimed by those pretended successors; nothing of purgatorypenances, pilgrimages, auricular confession, power of the keysindulgencesextreme unctionmasses, and prayers for the dead; and not one word on the most essential doctrine of the Romish Church, transubstantiation.” (Clarke)

*

*Click here for previous message from the Book of Jude: Contending for the Faith, Standing for Truth, discernment, and false teachings.

via The Day of the Lord, His Judgments and Promises; 2 Peter 3 — David Fiorazo

EXPLAINER: 5 things you should know about the Conservative Baptist Network — Capstone Report

Southern Baptist Elites are worried about the new Conservative Baptist Network. Should you? Here’s what you need to know about this new group of Conservative Baptists.

     1. The Conservative Baptist Network believes patriotism is a good thing for a Christian.

Unlike many hip Southern Baptist leaders who despise President Donald Trump and recoil at the American flag, the Conservative Baptist Network believes the Bible encourages patriotism. They are right. The Bible encourages the Christian to a responsible devotion to his state. The Apostles Peter and Paul respectively in their epistles commanded Christians to obedience, subjection, honor and duty to the government.
Of course this must never conflict with one’s duty to God; however, the Christian must recognize the state is part of God’s divine plan. He created government for man’s good. Failure to render it duty is to rebel against God.

     2. The Conservative Baptist Network rejects Identity Politics—something embraced by Southern Baptist Elites.

Did you know Albert Mohler’s seminary employs as Provost a man who claims to be guilty of white supremacy? Did you know he has professors spreading the assumptions of Critical Race Theory?

No? You didn’t know that?

Well, you should. Al Mohler is running for SBC President. He expects to be crowned in Orlando.

However, if you are a Conservative Southern Baptist, then you should ask if Racial Identity Politics is a good thing in the church. And you should be asking why Mohler’s professors were intimately involved in the crafting of the infamous Resolution 9—the action where the Southern Baptist Convention endorsed the use of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality as Analytical Tools.

Fortunately, the Conservative Baptist Network rejects these Analytical Tools of division.

The Conservative Baptist Network said in a statement on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, “However, they are far more than just tools; they are ideologies that have their roots in Neo-Marxist, postmodern worldviews. While the committee may have meant well in presenting the resolution, many messengers left Birmingham confused about Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, and others left feeling that they had been misled or deceived.”

Unlike Mohler who is playing all sides in his cynical campaign for SBC President, there are now real conservatives standing against the Never Trump Elites.

     3. Unlike the lies spread on social media about the Conservative Baptist Network, black Southern Baptists are involved.

Did you notice that the Woke, Social Justice fanatics lied about the Conservative Baptist Network?

They said no self-respecting African American would be involved.

What an insult to great Southern Baptists like Lorine Spratt. Spratt is even featured in a video on the front page of the Conservative Baptist Network’s website.

Spratt is a lay member of a SBC church and made this stirring and encouraging statement:

“I have been a member of Southern Baptist Churches for over 25 years. I chose Southern Baptists because of their strong emphasis on the inerrancy, supremacy, and sufficiency of the Word of God – not just preached but lived out in everyday life. But now, the emphasis has shifted in a direction that is diametrically opposed to the Word of God. Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality has been introduced and touted as “an analytical tool” in the SBC. I am embarrassed and insulted by this tool for many reasons but the main reason being – the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only tool needed to heal and rescue the heart of sinful men, women, boys, and girls of every nation, every people, and every tongue. In the book of Acts, Phillip, when commanded by God to join himself to the chariot of a eunuch to help him understand the Word of God, was perfectly capable without “an analytical tool” because he was empowered by the Spirit of God. So ‘let’s beware that we are not spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, and after the rudiments of the world…’”

     4. The CBN is a group of Calvinists and non-Calvinists (Traditionalists & others).

Unlike many groups in Southern Baptist life, this is not an exclusive club—something that excludes one based on soteriology (a view of salvation). The Conservative Baptist Network declares it is open to anyone who holds an orthodox understanding of salvation.

The Conservative Baptist Network declares that it is not, “a group exclusive to one soteriological view or another.”

This is an opportunity to build bridges among conservatives for the critical fight against the infiltration of Progressives.

     5. The Conservative Baptist Network is growing…fast.

The Conservative Baptist Network is growing at an unbelievable pace. The group surged to 800 churches involved in the first three hours after the announcement of the group’s formation. And by Saturday, the Conservative Baptist Network announced it had surged to over 2,000 signed up to join.

This should encourage everyone. And, if you want to join the Conservative Baptist Network, then you can visit their site and use the form.

We encourage you to do so and stand against the Liberal Elites running the Southern Baptist Convention.

via EXPLAINER: 5 things you should know about the Conservative Baptist Network — Capstone Report

Bill Gates Warns “10 Million Lives” At Risk As Virus Spreads To Africa And Taiwan Reports First Death | ZeroHedge News

Summary:

  • Taiwan reports 1st coronavirus death
  • There are now at least 68,500 cases worldwide, and at least 1,665 deaths from the Covid-19 virus
  • Japan found 70 more cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship
  • Taiwan confirmed its first coronavirus death
  • Second African confirms suspected coronavirus case
  • Hubei province, the outbreak’s epicenter, reported fewer new infections for the second day
  • Bill Gates warns “10 million deaths” possible in Africa
  • China’s facemask shortage likely won’t be over anytime soon
  • WHO says Beijing’s actions bought the world time, but “we don’t know how much time”

* * *

As we move into the late evening hours of Sunday on mainland China, Taiwan has become the latest country or territory to report a virus-related fatality, the SCMP reports. They join Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines in having reported virus-related deaths outside China.

Here are the latest global totals from SCMP:

Island says fatality was a 60-year-old unlicensed taxi driver with chronic health problems.

Meanwhile, in the latest statement from the WHO, the international health organization seemed to back away from its newly hostile tone toward China, saying Beijing’s actions bought the world time, but “we don’t know how much time.”

As the world’s greatest minds examine the epidemic, it’s worth remembering that Bill Gates has repeatedly  warned us that humanity isn’t ready for the next pandemic.

Now, he’s repeating those warnings to an even larger crowd – but this time, with far more gravitas.

The Microsoft founder warned everyone during a speaking engagement at a conference on Friday that a Covid-19 outbreak in Africa could overwhelm the continent’s health services and trigger “10 million deaths,” reported The Telegraph.

Gates’ warning at the 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Seattle on Friday came hours before Egypt’s ministry of health confirmed that a 33-year-old male foreigner who flew into Cairo International Airport had tested positive for the virus. Authorities said the infected man had 17 contacts and many interactions at the airport before testing positive.

Gates said: “This is a huge challenge. We’ve always known the potential for a naturally caused, or intentionally caused, pandemic is one if the few things that could disrupt health systems and economies and cause more than 10 million excess deaths.”

“This could be particularly if it spreads in areas like sub-Saharan Africa and some Asia, it could be very, very dramatic.”

He added that Covid-19 is more concerning than Ebola because the rate of which the disease spreads is far faster.

“Ebola is terrible, but it’s not like a lightning flu,” he said.

“This coronavirus has a lot of similarities to a very bad flu, in terms of the death rate, so far more like the 1957 flu outbreak,” Gates said.

“This disease, if it’s in Africa it’s more dramatic than if it’s in China, even though I’m not trying to minimize what’s going on in China in any way,” he said.

The risk, as Gates points out, is that the virus could spread to Africa next, where governments, even governments that have been bracing for an outbreak by readying beds and quarantines while stockpiling supplies, might still risk a rapid transmission that could lead to a health crisis far worse than China.

On Saturday, Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (Africa CDC) director Dr. John Nkengasong said Africa CDC has been working with African countries “in preparedness and response to the disease.”

The Health Ministry in Eswatini, a tiny southern African country, identified its first suspected case of the deadly on Friday.

Director of Health Services in Eswatini, Dr. Vusi Magagula, said the person had been placed in quarantine, and blood samples have been taken for further analysis, reported SABC News.

“She presented with a fever and was at the hospital, then the rapid response team took over and took up the case. She came through the Ngwenya Port of Entry on February 6 having arrived from the Republic of South Africa. I don’t think she was presenting with any symptoms, we only picked her up on the 14th because she was already now in hospital, ill and had to be admitted to the isolation ward. So I guess when she passed through or even through Ngwenya border post, she didn’t have the symptoms.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa warned South African nationals in China to not return for fear the virus could spread.

The African continent does not need another crisis, already battling locust plagues and food shortages.

But still the close economic ties between China and Africa are difficult to ignore.

Africa is home to nearly one million Chinese, health officials across the continent are extremely worried that it’s only a matter of time before the breakout begins.

As we detailed previously, Ethiopia’s Bole International airport is the leading African gateway to and from China. On average, 1500 passengers per day arrive from China. Ethiopia scans all passengers from Asia for symptoms, which essentially means taking their temperature.

Many of those passengers then fly on to other parts of Africa, where Chinese companies are doing business, and inadvertently spreading the virus to nations along the BRI (the Belt & Road Initiative). These are 2018 figures courtesy of Brookings.

The question of why no infections have been reported in Africa was raised via twitter by Jim Bianco, of Bianco Research, earlier this month: “did anyone on the continent actually get a testing kits to look for infected people?” he asked.

Fast forward one week: As we noted above, a case has already been confirmed in Egypt with a suspected case in Eswatini. With the understanding that Ethiopia international airport is a continental gateway for the Chinese.

This could mean super-spreaders, during the incubation period, undetected by temperature readings or showing no symptoms, have likely invaded Africa from China via Ethiopia’s main airport, as it’s only a matter of time before cases on the continent could start increasing.

1000 Genomes Project has published a list of various types of people with the highest risks of contracting the virus. Several countries in Africa are seen on the list:

And oddly enough, Gates has been warning about how the world needs to “prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war.”

At the 2017 Munich Security Conference, Gates asked world leaders to “imagine that somewhere in the world a new weapon exists or could emerge that is capable of killing millions of people, bringing economies to a standstill, and casting nations into chaos. If it were a military weapon, the response would be to do everything possible to develop countermeasures,” he said at the 2017 event, adding that a “sense of urgency is lacking” when it comes to biologic threats.

The outbreak continues to worsen over the weekend, despite China’s National Health Commission’s optically pleasing phony statistics of how confirmed cases and deaths declined for the third straight day. There were 2,009 new cases in mainland China on Sunday, bringing the total to 68,500.

The government of Hubei province, the center of China’s virus outbreak, told residents on Sunday evening that a ban on vehicle traffic across the region will go into immediate effect to prevent further transmission of the virus.

According to the new conditions, only police cars, ambulances, military vehicles, and cars hauling essential goods are permitted on roads. Local authorities told companies not to resume work unless they have approval from officials, which will undoubtedly throw a wrench in the factories who were planning to open facilities last Monday. They could now be delayed even longer, which would start creating shortages of goods destined for the West for the spring and summer retail season.

Meanwhile, health officials on mainland China recently reported 2,009 new infections and 142 deaths from the coronavirus on Sunday. Hong Kong said it now had 57 cases of infection in the city after another man tested positive, while Hongkongers stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan learned they will face another 14 days quarantine when they arrive home.

On Sunday, the SCMP, one of the most reliable chroniclers of the outbreak, published a story that investors might want to take note of: The facemask shortage in China – a big component of the general shortage of medical supplies – likely won’t be over any time soon, and will likely spread to other countries.

Why? Because most of the big facemask makers are based in China, and their operations have been badly restricted by the outbreak.

China’s dominance in the global supply chain as a result of competitive pricing has come back to bite the country where it currently hurts the most – in the manufacturing of medical facial masks, a shortage of which is intensifying as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country and around the world.

Demand for masks has surged in recent weeks, exhausting not just China’s stockpile, but emptying shelves from Bangkok to Boston. In China, it is now mandatory to wear facial masks in public areas in many cities.

China, which accounts for about half of the world’s mask production, is scrambling to snap excess supply from overseas, both through official diplomatic channels, and buyers like Cai.

An update on the Diamond Princess, a virus- stricken cruise ship, held under quarantine in the Japanese port of Yokohama: Several countries with citizens aboard the ship have announced plans for an emergency evacuation following reports that passengers are literally going mad with paranoia.

Among them, the US is scheduling a charter plane for its 380 citizens aboard the ship. On Sunday, South Korea said it’s planning to evacuate 355 of its people from the vessel. It was noted by Japanese authorities that anyone testing positive for the virus would not be able to leave.

However, the Hong Kongers, Americans and others among them will likely be less-than-pleased to learn that the clocks will restart and they will face another 14 day quarantine when they return.

As for the cruise ship docked in Cambodia, an American passenger tested positive for the virus on Sunday. The 83-year-old woman has been aboard the MS Westerdam, operated by Carnival Corp. The ship is carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew.

In Taiwan, it was confirmed on Sunday night that the first death related to the virus was seen, Health Minister Chen Shih-Chung told reporters.

The island’s health minister said the deceased man was in his sixties, had not traveled to China, and had diabetes and hepatitis B. This is the first death in the country with at least 20 confirmed cases.

It appears the World Health Organization (WHO) finally admitting the COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic, along with the announcement last week that there’s no vaccine for at least 12-18 months, is more than enough to recognize their “contained” narrative is bullsh*t, with new risks emerging of an outbreak in Africa.

Simultaneously, China’s economy is disintegrating at the seams, producing one of the most massive economic shocks not seen since the 2008/09 financial crisis, as nearly two-thirds of its economy has ground to a halt. China was responsible for over half of the world’s credit creation in the last decade, and if China decelerates, so does the world.

Source: Bill Gates Warns “10 Million Lives” At Risk As Virus Spreads To Africa And Taiwan Reports First Death

Brave CNN talking head admits on Avenatti, ‘‘I feel kind of snookered because I took him seriously’

So far, only one prominent MSM television pundit has passed the test of basic integrity that the guilty verdict against Michael Avenatti poses for his former fanboys and fangirls on CNN, MSNBC, and the alphabet networks.

Source: Brave CNN talking head admits on Avenatti, ‘‘I feel kind of snookered because I took him seriously’

New Hampshire Buries Biden and Warren, Prepare for the Rise of Little Pete | Strategic Culture Foundation

Not all the highly suspicious and flagrant bungling and/or manipulation of the Iowa caucuses – which should be the simplest and smallest of all democratic election procedures to count honestly and efficiently in real time – could save Senator Elizabeth Warren and her dreams of power.

A quarter of a million voters in the little Granite State of New Hampshire put the last nails in her political coffin.

After a year of empty speculation in the U.S. Mainstream Media (MSM) fawningly built up the hollow and fraudulent Warren – she fulfilled her political fate as a badly built giant airship, full of nothing but gas that crashed and burned on her first real test flight, just like her socialist predecessor, Britain’s bizarre R101 more than 90 years ago.

After her rejection by the caucuses of Iowa- who similarly threw out Hillary Clinton in both 2008 and 2016, performing signal services for world peace and survival – Warren knew she had to do better in New Hampshire. But she could not even make the top three candidates among Democratic voters alone and she also failed to break the 15 percent barrier.

Democrats in New Hampshire were even more stunning in their humiliation of veteran national candidate Vice President Joe Biden who led the preferences of national Democratic voters for so long.

Biden’s campaign is plummeting out of control. His vaunted loyal support, among older, white working class and rural Democrats and among Hispanic and African American voters must now kick in across the U.S. South on March 3 – Super Tuesday – or he’s toast.

Biden could yet prove a “Comeback Kid”. Registered Democrats across Heartland America and the great Hispanic and African American communities have so far have shown no enthusiasm at all even for Senator Bernie Sanders – who has won the hearts and minds of students and potential young voters, or of the other two now clear frontrunners, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The heiresses of Hillary Clinton and other feminist extremists across the United States – the same people who actually believe Russia stole the 2016 presidential election for Donald Trump – are truly grieving for Elizabeth Warren.

The Washington Post on the very day of the New Hampshire primary ran a long piece in its Style section lamenting that voters’ rejection of Warren was a judgment on the bigotry of gender-bigoted Americans who were not a ready for a Strong Woman at their head.

As is now usual for the Post, its lies are not only absurd but also incompetent: It was not mainstream American voters who rejected Warren: It was her own liberal Democrats in New Hampshire.

Far from being gender bigoted, those same voters preferred in their top three, an openly gay young mayor (Pete Buttigieg) and another woman (Amy Klobuchar) as well as an elderly Jewish Socialist originally from the borough of Brooklyn in New York City (Bernie Sanders). Not much if any racism or gender hatred there.

However no tears will be shed yet in Langley. Wall Street and the U.S. Deep State would clearly prefer not to have Bernie Sanders as the next president of the United States. But so far their efforts to demonize him have failed entirely.

On the other hand, Buttigieg, suddenly the hot commodity to “stop Sanders” has been packaged as the new “moderate” and “bright fresh face.” He came out strong from both Iowa and New Hampshire. And the dynamics of primary politics and favor him.

Taken separately, Iowa and New Hampshire are both extremely low population states and the Iowa caucuses are a bizarre though sweet ceremonial procedure that began before even railroads or electric wire telegraphs had fully come to the Midwest back in the 1840s. The Iowa caucuses are democratic politics as they were conceived in the era of horses and buggies, slaves and serfdom.

However, Iowa and New Hampshire are so different from each other and so far apart that to do strongly in both of them, as Sanders did in 2016 and this year, as Barack Obama did in 2008 and as Donald Trump did in 2016 shows a candidate has the broad appeal to give him or her national credibility.

This year, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Sanders all passed that test in both contests with flying colors. But Warren and Biden both dismally failed to do so.

I regard Buttigieg as an entirely empty figure, another of T S Eliot’s Hollow Men – a Straw Dog. The most chilling thing about him is that despite his utter lack of experience, achievement and substance on every issue, literally scores of senior CIA, NSA and other Deep State officials have enthusiastically endorsed him, as the Grayzone has documented.

The question is Why?

The answer is obvious:

Lovable little Pete Buttigieg is not only a Manchurian Candidate: He is Langley’s Manchurian Candidate.

Buttigieg is far from being an unprecedented phenomenon: Repeatedly, the U.S. establishment tolerates or actively advances a young, inexperienced, supposedly squeaky clean candidate to launch a new era of Instant Happiness and Virtue.

The disgusting little hypocrite Jimmy Carter – who unleashed both the Iraqi attack on Iran and supported the Mujahedeen to start more than 40 years of war in Afghanistan – won the presidency that way in 1976.

Barack Obama rode the popular wave of a similar appeal in 2016.

Having a first woman president is now passé. In fact Klobuchar could certainly do the job credibly, but the ludicrous fiascoes of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have tarnished her.

Buttigieg offers yet another childish, meaningless “glass ceiling” to be broken in the way so beloved of infantile romantic-liberal Americans. He would be the first gay president! A new Rainbow Coalition! A new way to display imagined U.S. moral superiority over the rest of the world!

Watch for the rise of the pampered little Buttigieg as the brave boy knight in shining armor ventures forth to slay the foolish old raving socialist dragon Bernie Sanders.

It is a ludicrous narrative. It is packed with lies. But it is going to be stuffed down our throats in the months ahead.

Source: New Hampshire Buries Biden and Warren, Prepare for the Rise of Little Pete