Daily Archives: February 25, 2020

February 25 Life-Changing Moments With God

Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

When the enemy comes in like a flood, Your Spirit, Lord, lifts up a standard against him. “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” The devil left Jesus, and angels came and ministered to Him.

Enable me to be strong in You, Lord, and in the power of Your might. I put on the whole armor of God … to stand against the wiles of the devil. I will have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Lest Satan should take advantage of me; for I am not ignorant of his devices. I will be sober and vigilant; because my adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. I resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by my brotherhood in the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world—my faith.

Who shall bring a charge against me? God is my justifier!

Remind me that, in You, Lord God, I am stronger than Satan. Thank You for my protection and his defeat.

James 4:7; Isaiah 59:19; Matthew 4:10–11; Ephesians 6:10–11; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Peter 5:8–9; 1 John 5:4; Romans 8:33[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 66). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

February 25 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion


And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.—Acts 27:44.

This is a beautiful conclusion of a history, which, during the providence wherein Paul the apostle and his companions were in shipwreck, afforded a large opportunity for the exercise of faith. The issue, it appears, was not doubtful from the first: for an angel of God had assured Paul, that God had given unto him the lives of all that sailed with him. And so it proved; yea, the very wreck of the ship furnished out means for the people’s safety. Now, my soul, here is a very precious instruction for thee. In the exercises of thy life, learn from hence to abide firmly by the promise, when every thing leading to its accomplishment seems to fail. God hath said, that eternal life with all its preliminaries, is in his Son; and that he that hath the Son, hath life, and shall not come into condemnation. Now let what will arise, after this declaration of God, like the storm and shipwreck of the apostle, these are intervening circumstances with which thou hast nothing to do. Do thou take hold of the promise; for the promise hath its claim upon God. This cannot fail, whatever else may fail. And, though, like Paul in this voyage, “neither sun nor stars in many days may appear,” and no small tempest be upon thee, Jesus is still at the helm, and thou shalt assuredly escape to land. Yea, the very wreck of all things around thee, shall but the better minister to this great end. And thou shalt at length write down the same conclusion to thy history, which Joshua, the man of God, made of the whole history of Israel: “Not one thing hath failed, of all the good things which the Lord your good spake concerning you: all are come to pass, unto this very day.”[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, p. 61). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 25, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

29 The next day (i.e., the day after John’s encounter with the delegation from Jerusalem) John saw Jesus approaching and proclaimed him to be the Lamb provided by God to take away the sin of the world. Commentators have offered a number of suggestions concerning the background of the title “Lamb of God.” The three most prominent are (1) the apocalyptic lamb (Jewish apocalyptic literature contains the image of a conquering lamb that defeats the forces of evil; this messianic warrior appears in Revelation as the Lamb who triumphs over the beast and his armies [Rev 17:14]); (2) the suffering servant (some say that the Aramaic talya, which lies behind the Greek amnos (GK 303), can be understood as “servant” as well as “lamb” (Isa 52:7); and (3) the paschal lamb (Ex 12–13). See Brown, 58–61, for a helpful discussion of these three.

Lindars, 109, concludes that “the title is based on Isaiah 53, interpreted in the light of the Passover sacrifice.” J. Jeremias (TDNT 1:340) notes that the description of Jesus as amnos expresses his patience in suffering, his sinlessness, and the efficacy of his vicarious death. He is the one who “takes away the sin of the world.” Temple, 1:24, writes that John uses the singular (“sin”) because there is only one sin and it is characteristic of the entire world, “the self-will which prefers ‘my’ way to God’s—which puts ‘me’ in the centre where only God is in place.” The Greek airō (GK 149; NIV, “takes away”) in this context combines the two meanings “to take up” and “to carry away” (cf. BDAG, 28–29). Whether one interprets “the sin of the world” to mean all the sin of the world (as in 1 Jn 2:2) or only the sin of certain people from every nation depends on one’s view of the extent of the atonement: Was it for all humanity or only the elect?[1]

29 For the note of time see the commentary on verses 19–28. “Coming” will here mean “approaching,” not “coming to him for the first time.” Verses 26 and 32–33 show that John had recognized Jesus as the Christ on an earlier occasion. “Look” is a favorite expression in this Gospel, and John uses it more often than all the other New Testament writers put together.43 The expression “the Lamb of God” has passed into the general Christian vocabulary. But for all that it is very difficult to know exactly what it means. It is not found elsewhere in the New Testament (though Jesus is sometimes spoken of as “the Lamb,” especially in Revelation45), nor in any previous writing known to us. Thus we are not able to appeal to some other writing as John’s source. The genitive “of God” may mean “provided by God” (cf. Gen. 22:8), or “belonging to God.” Perhaps in his usual manner the Evangelist wants us to combine both meanings. But to what does “the Lamb” refer? Many suggestions have been made, among which we notice the following: (i) The Passover Lamb, a suggestion supported by the apparent identification of Jesus’ sacrifice with the Passover in 19:36. Against it are two main points, the one that the Passover victim was not necessarily a lamb at all, and the other that the proper term in use at the time for the Passover victim was not “lamb” but “Passover” (pascha). Another objection, that the Passover was not an expiatory sacrifice (and thus could not be said to take away the world’s sin), is not valid. All sacrifice was held to be expiatory,50 and, specifically, the Passover was sometimes viewed in this way. (ii) The lamb “led … to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7). This is possible, but nothing in the context points to it. We can hold this view only if we can feel that there was such a widespread acceptance of the view that Isaiah 53 applied to the Messiah that an unexplained reference to a lamb and to the taking away of sin would be seen to refer to that chapter. That Christians in due course came to understand the chapter in this way is clear enough. That those who heard John the Baptist did so is not. This explanation of the words is unlikely. (iii) The Servant of the Lord. This is another way of seeing the origin of the expression in Isaiah 53. Some scholars think that an ambiguous expression in Aramaic, meant as “the Servant of the Lord,” was mistranslated. The difficulties here are linguistic. It is not easy to think that so well known an expression as “the Servant of the Lord” should be unrecognized, and should be translated by so difficult and unusual a phrase as “the Lamb of God.”54 (iv) The lamb of the daily sacrifices offered morning and evening in the Temple. Once more we must admit the possibility. But we must add that there is nothing that clearly indicates it. We have no knowledge of the daily sacrifice ever being called “the lamb of God.” (v) The “gentle lamb” of Jeremiah 11:19. This should probably be dismissed, for that lamb was apparently not thought of as taking away sins. (vi) The scapegoat. This accords well with the thought of the taking away of sin. But it suffers from the fatal defect that the scapegoat was not a lamb. (vii) The triumphant Lamb of the apocalypses. This is undoubtedly the meaning of “the Lamb” in Revelation, and Dodd accepts the idea in this passage. But it is more than difficult to see this as the reference. John is not talking about victory over enemies, but sacrifice for sin. Why should the language of sin-bearing be used if what is meant is the defeat of foes? (viii) The God-provided Lamb of Genesis 22:8. This draws attention to one important aspect of Christ’s sacrifice, the divine initiative. But it does not help with the others. And in any case there is no indication in Genesis 22 that the lamb was considered to effect or foreshadow the far-reaching atonement of which the Baptist speaks. (ix) A guilt-offering, since sometimes this was a lamb (passages suggested are Lev. 14:12ff., 21, 24–25; Num. 6:12; cf. the expression “the lamb for the guilt offering,” Lev. 14:24), or a sin offering (Lev. 4:32). The objection to such views is that neither a guilt offering nor a sin offering was characteristically a lamb. Since the victim was so often another animal (e.g. a ram), the allusion would be almost impossible to detect.

From all this it is clear that there is no agreement (though two or three of these views would have many supporters). The fact is that a lamb taking away sin, even if it is distinguished as God’s Lamb, is too indefinite a description for us to pinpoint the reference. If the writer really had in mind an allusion to one particular offering we are not able any longer to detect it with certainty. But it seems more probable that of set purpose he used an expression that cannot be confined to any one view. He is making a general allusion to sacrifice. The lamb figure may well be intended to be composite, evoking memories of several, perhaps all, of the suggestions we have canvassed. All that the ancient sacrifices foreshadowed was perfectly fulfilled in the sacrifice of Christ.61

The verb “takes away” conveys the notion of bearing off. It is perhaps not specific enough to point to any one particular means of atonement, but it does signify atonement, and that by substitution. “Jesus bears the consequence of human sin in order that its guilt may be removed” (Hoskyns). It is removed completely, carried right off. John speaks of sin, not sins (cf. 1 John 1:9). He is referring to the totality of the world’s sin rather than to a number of individual acts. The expression “the sin of the world” does not appear to have been used prior to this passage. The reference to “the world” is another glance at the comprehensiveness of Christ’s atonement. It is completely adequate for the need of all people. Right at the beginning of his Gospel John points us forward to the cross and to the significance of the cross.

Objection has been made to the authenticity of this saying. It is pointed out that the Synoptic Gospels (as well as general probability) show that Jesus was not held to be the Messiah until some considerable time later than this. But this is to overlook the significance of Zacharias and Simeon and Anna. Luke tells us that, even before Jesus’ ministry started, “The people … were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ” (Luke 3:15). Messianic speculations were in the air, and there is no reason why the man whom Jesus called the greatest of those born of women (Luke 7:28) should not have had the prophetic insight to have greeted Jesus thus. Again, it is urged that the disciples found difficulty to the very end in accepting the truth that Jesus must suffer. Yet before his ministry has begun the Baptist is here depicted as referring to his sacrificial death. To this there is a threefold answer. In the first place, what John knew of the Christ he knew by way of revelation, as the succeeding verses make clear. It is not a matter of what the unaided human reason or intuition could discern in Jesus of Nazareth, but what God has made known. He would be a bold man who would set limits in advance to what God can reveal to his prophets. That John’s words made little impression on the followers of Jesus need cause no surprise. Neither did Jesus’ own predictions of his passion.65 In the second place, the Qumran scrolls have made acceptance of the saying “not so impossible as it once seemed,” as Brownlee puts it. He points out that the scrolls link suffering, and specifically the Suffering Servant, with messiahship, and he discovers “important Essene conceptions in John’s messianic expectation.” They have not been taken over unaltered, but the point is that the Qumran evidence indicates that a saying like this on the part of a man like John no longer looks improbable. In the third place, if it is not authentic it is difficult to ascertain where the saying comes from. It possesses none of the characteristic marks of a Johannine construction.67[2]

29 With this, the delegation from Jerusalem is gone. We have no idea how they reacted to John’s testimony, or what “answer” they brought back to those who sent them from Jerusalem (v. 22). Center stage is John’s, and his alone. All of what follows are his words, except for brief narrative introductions in verse 29 (“The next day he sees Jesus coming to him and says …”), and verse 32 (“And so John testified, saying that …”). He first presents Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (vv. 29–31), and then gives explicit testimony as to how he reached that conclusion (vv. 32–34). The section is unified by John’s repeated references to “baptizing in water” (vv. 31, 33; compare v. 26), by twin notices that “I did not know him” (vv. 31, 33), and by three closely related statements of who “This is” (vv. 30, 33, 34), a presentation formula recalling the synoptic accounts of Jesus’ baptism (Mt 3:17) and transfiguration (Mk 9:7 par.). There is no voice from heaven here, except for John’s private revelation from “the One who sent me to baptize in water” (v. 33). Instead, John’s is the authoritative voice, telling us decisively who Jesus is (“the Lamb of God,” and “the Son of God”), and what he does (“takes away the sin of the world,” and “baptizes in Holy Spirit”).

The notice that it is now “the next day” will be repeated twice (vv. 35, 43), punctuating the narrative from here to the end of the chapter, and the consciousness of a time sequence will continue into chapter 2 (“on the third day,” 2:1; “a few days,” 2:12). As the scene begins, Jesus is “coming to” John, an expression which in this Gospel normally suggests giving allegiance to someone (see 6:35, 37, 44–45, 65; 7:37). The phrase echoes “the One who comes after me” (v. 27), confirming the impression that Jesus is a disciple of John, or at least a potential disciple. It is even possible to infer that Jesus is “coming” to John for the first time, as if for baptism, but the story as it unfolds makes that unlikely (see vv. 32–34).

The narrative introduction is in the present tense. As soon as John “sees” Jesus approaching, he “says,” “Look [ide], the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” But to whom is he presenting Jesus? Not to the now absent delegation of priests and Levites, and not yet to his disciples (see vv. 35–37). Rather, in principle at least, John is presenting Jesus “to Israel” (v. 31). The “hidden Messiah” is no longer hidden. Yet, for the moment at least, we the readers are John’s only audience and therefore in a sense “Israel’s” representative. But why “the Lamb of God”? “Lamb” is bound to evoke the image of sacrifice, and yet the expression “who takes away the sin of the world” resists any notion of “the Lamb of God” as a passive victim. Jesus, in speaking of his death on the cross, will later declare, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (10:17–18). Similarly, “the Lamb of God” here is victor, not victim. He who “takes away” sin is not himself “taken away” by anyone or anything. According to 1 John 3:5, “You know that he was revealed so that he might take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” Three verses later the author explains, “For this the Son of God was revealed, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (3:8b). The form of the expression “the Lamb of God,” in fact, parallels “the Son of God,” as well as other titles such as “the Chosen One of God” (a variant for “Son of God” in v. 34; see above, n. 1), “the Holy One of God” (6:69), “the gift of God” (4:10), “the bread of God” (6:33), and “the word of God” (10:35). The definite article (ho amnos, “the Lamb”) suggests a title as well known as any of those, or as “the Christ” or “the Prophet” (v. 25), but no such title is attested in the Hebrew Bible or early Judaism. In the book of Revelation we hear of a well-known messianic figure, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (5:5), who appears on the scene as “a lamb” (arnion, without the definite article, 5:6), and is then consistently identified throughout the book as “the Lamb” (with the article). Similarly, the Gospel of John seems to presuppose an indefinite “lamb” used as a metaphor (as in Isa 53:7), which it transforms into a definite title, “the Lamb of God.”49 While the book of Revelation has no exact equivalent to the phrase as a whole, it does support the notion that “the Lamb of God” in John’s Gospel is an active and not a passive figure. “The Lamb of God” on John’s lips is likely a formulation modeled after “the Son of God,” which makes its first appearance in the Gospel (also on John’s lips) five verses later. In effect, “the Son of God” (v. 34) seems to function as an explanation of what “the Lamb of God” means. If John had said, “Look, the Son of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” the meaning would have been almost the same.

Why then doesn’t John say, “Look, the Son of God”? What is it that the metaphor of “the Lamb” brings to the title? The answer is neither gentleness nor silence nor a willingness to be sacrificed, but purity. When we are told in 1 John 3:5 that Jesus “was revealed so that he might take away the sins,” the author adds, “in him there is no sin” (compare 1 Pet 2:22). Without using the term “Lamb,” the passage in 1 John makes the point that Jesus is a Messiah “without defect” (like the Passover lamb of Exod 12:5). When he is revealed, the author promises, “we will be like him, for we will see him as he is; and everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure” (1 Jn 3:2–3). If “taking away” (airōn) the world’s sin is equivalent to “cleansing” (kathairōn) the world of its sin, then John’s pronouncement here corresponds to what he says in Luke of the Mightier One to come: that he will “thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor and gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Lk 3:17; see also Mt 3:11). The distinctive feature that the Gospel of John brings to this picture of judgment is that the One who purifies the world is himself pure. The One who takes away sin is himself sinless.

Can we go a step further and say that the sinless Lamb “takes away the sin of the world” by shedding his own blood? Such an idea seems far removed from the thought of John the Baptist as we meet him in the synoptic tradition, even though his baptism was said to be “for the forgiveness of sins” (Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3). It is much more at home in the larger setting of the fourth Gospel as a whole, where Jesus as the good Shepherd “lays down his life for the sheep” (10:11, 15; compare 11:52) and gives his flesh “for the life of the world” (6:51), claiming that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you do not have life in yourselves” (6:53; compare vv. 54–57). It is even more at home in 1 John, where “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7; 5:6, 8; compare 2:2, 4:10), and in the Revelation, where Jesus is introduced as the One who “loosed us from our sins in his blood (Rev 1:5). While the Gospel writer never speaks of “the blood of the Lamb” (contrast Rev 5:9; 7:14; 12:11), and stops well short of attributing to John the explicit notion of cleansing from sin through Jesus’ blood, he nevertheless allows John’s testimony to evoke for his readers just such imagery. Yet if we read the pronouncement with Jesus’ redemptive death in mind, we must still be careful to remember that he is not a victim here, but the victor. Just as the author of Hebrews presented Jesus as High Priest, but a high priest like no other in offering up his own blood rather than the blood of animals (Heb 9:25–26), so the Gospel writer presents him here as “the Lamb,” but a lamb like no other in that he himself initiates the sacrifice, and by his own will accomplishes purification (compare Heb 1:3). Both in Hebrews and in the Gospel of John, Jesus is priest and sacrifice at the same time. “For their sake,” he will say, referring to his disciples, “I consecrate myself, so that they too might be consecrated in truth” (17:19). “The Lamb of God,” paradoxically, functions as a kind of priestly title, for it attributes to Jesus the work of purification and cleansing from sin. As to the time frame, it is clearly future from the standpoint of both John and the Gospel writer, even though the verb “takes away,” like the verb “baptizes” (v. 33, referring to a future act of baptizing in Holy Spirit), is a present participle. The point of John’s testimony is not to fix the time of the world’s purification, but to identify it as the work of Jesus, and of him alone.[3]

1:29 / Lamb of God: C. H. Dodd (The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel [Cambridge: University Press, 1958], pp. 230–38) argued for a Jewish background to the title from apocalyptic references to the Messiah as a powerful young ram who defends the flock of God against its adversaries and puts them to flight. This is an appealing suggestion and one that may well be correct, but the evidence is meager (only Enoch 90.38 and Testament of Joseph 19.8, the latter of which may actually be a Christian interpretation of John 1:29 rather than the source of it). As Dodd himself seemed to recognize (pp. 236–38), the more significant evidence is the Lamb in the book of Revelation, together with 1 John 3:5 and the undeniable fact that making an end of sin was one of the functions of the Jewish Messiah.

Other suggestions (for example, that Lamb of God recalls the Passover Lamb, or the Servant described in Isaiah 53, or Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22) fall short, first, because they weaken the credibility of this verse as a pronouncement of John the Baptist in particular, and second, because even for the Gospel writer these themes are peripheral rather than central to the understanding of Jesus’ redemptive death (though see 8:56; 19:14, 36).[4]

1:29. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him. Jesus returns from the desert where he has been tempted. As John sees him approaching, he exclaims to his audience, while he looks or points toward Jesus, Look, the Lamb of God who is taking away the sin of the world! Is it not true that by his voluntary submission to the rite of baptism and by his victory over satan in the desert of temptation Jesus had, indeed, entered upon his task of vicariously taking upon himself the curse of the law and of rendering perfect obedience? And was he not by these very acts and by those that were to follow taking away (present participle) the sin of the world? How fitting were these words of the Baptist just at this moment! The word ἴδε is not to be construed as a transitive verb that has the lamb as its object. It is an interjection. Hence, the translation should not be, “Behold the Lamb of God,” or “See the Lamb of God.” If one wishes to retain either of these, a comma must be placed after the first word. This comma, though generally present in the translations, is not always felt when the words are spoken or sung! To avoid ambiguity we translate as follows, “Look, the Lamb of God, who is taking away the sin of the world.”

The question is usually asked, “Was the Baptist thinking of the paschal lamb (Ex. 12–13; cf. John 19:36; 1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19); of the lamb for the daily offering (Num. 28:4); or of the lamb in Isa. 53:6, 7, 10? Good reasons have been advanced for each of these: for the first, that Passover was approaching; for the second, that the slaughter of these lambs was a daily occurrence and therefore well-known to the people whom John addressed; and for the third, that the Baptist only yesterday had described himself and his task in language borrowed from Isaiah (chapter 40). Matthew, too, was familiar with Isa. 53 (see Matt. 8:17); so was Peter (1 Peter 2:22); also the evangelist Philip (Acts 8:32); and the author of the epistle to the Hebrews (Heb. 9:28). But why is it necessary to make a choice? Were not all of these types fulfilled in Christ, and was not he the Antitype to whom they all pointed (cf. 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22)?

Although it is true that the primary meaning of the verb αἴρω is to lift up, raise (8:59), nevertheless, in the types it was the actual taking away of sin and/or its consequence that was symbolized by the slaughtered lamb (Ex. 12:13; Isa. 53:5, 8, 11, 12). Hence, it is natural that here in 1:29 we must assign to αἴρω the meaning which has always been assigned to it by the reader of the English Bible; namely, to take away (just as in 19:31). According to the Baptist it is the sin of the world (men from every tribe and people, by nature lost in sin, cf. 11:51, 52) which the Lamb is taking away, not merely the sin of a particular nation (e.g., the Jewish). All the sins (see 1 John 3:5 for the plural) which the Lamb removes are spoken of collectively as the sin. The passage does not teach a universal atonement. The Baptist did not teach that, nor does the evangelist, nor Jesus himself (1:12, 13; 10:11, 27, 28; 17:9; 11:50–52; notice in the last reference the term “the children of God”).[5]

[1] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 379). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (pp. 126–131). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 107–111). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[4] Michaels, J. R. (2011). John (pp. 35–36). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Vol. 1, pp. 98–99). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

February 25 Streams in the Desert

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.” (Joshua 1:3.)

BESIDE the literal ground, unoccupied for Christ, there is the unclaimed, untrodden territory of Divine promises. What did God say to Joshua? “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you,” and then He draws the outlines of Land of Promise—all theirs on one condition: that they shall march through the length and breadth of it, and measure it off with their own feet.

They never did that to more than one-third of the property, and consequently they never had more than one-third; they had just what they measured off, and no more.

In 2 Peter, we read of the “land of promise” that is opened up to us, and it is God’s will that we should, as it were, measure off that territory by the feet of obedient faith and believing obedience, thus claiming and appropriating it for our own.

How many of us have ever taken possession of the promises of God in the name of Christ?

Here is a magnificent territory for faith to lay hold on and march through the length and breadth of, and faith has never done it yet.

Let us enter into all our inheritance. Let us lift up our eyes to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, and hear Him say, “All the land that thou seest will I give to thee.”

A. T. Pierson.

Wherever Judah should set his foot that should be his; wherever Benjamin should set his foot, that should be his. Each should get his inheritance by setting his foot upon it. Now, think you not, when either had set his foot upon a given territory, he did not instantly and instinctively feel, “This is mine”?

An old colored man, who had a marvelous experience in grace, was asked: “Daniel, why is it that you have so much peace and joy in religion?” “O Massa!” he replied, “I just fall flat on the exceeding great and precious promises, and I have all that is in them. Glory! Glory!” He who falls flat on the promises feels that all the riches embraced in them are his.

Faith Papers.

The Marquis of Salisbury was criticized for his Colonial policies and replied: “Gentlemen, get larger maps.”[1]


[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (p. 63). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

February 25th The D. L. Moody Year Book

There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.—Luke 7:41, 42.

VERY few people think they are lost. You seldom meet a bankrupt sinner. Most of them think they can pay about seventy-five cents on the dollar; some ninety-nine per cent.—they just come short a little, and they think the Almighty will make it up somehow.

Don’t let Satan make you think you are so good that you don’t need the grace of God. We are a bad lot, all of us, with nothing to pay.[1]


[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 44). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

Paula White’s Controversies | Juicy Ecumenism

As a Mainline Protestant, evangelist Paula White seems to me kind of crazy and probably semi-heretical.   She gets lots of attention because she’s a prominent Trump supporter.  But her flamboyant charismatic form of big dollar Christianity, with claims of direct interaction with God, is not particularly unusual in American religious life.

Most recently White’s critics are circulating a preaching video in which she claims she was, in a vision, taken to the “throne room of heaven,” where she saw God’s face, though it was apparently cloudy and obscured.  There she received a new “mantel” of authority or divine blessing.

“I literally went to the Throne Room of God,” she said. “There was a mist that was coming off the water, and I went to the throne of God, and I didn’t see God’s face clearly, but I saw the face of God … I knew it was the face of God.”

Her last major controversy was only last month, with a video in which she prays for “miscarriages” of “satanic pregnancies.  A gazillion people on social media, who seem to think White is a monster, angrily denounced her, apparently assuming she was urging literal miscarriages of literal pregnancies.  As White later explained, she was deploying charismatic language of spiritual warfare to describe opposition to wickedness in its early stages, not literal pregnancies.

Most Christians outside White’s particular brand of charismatic faith would not recognize the term “satanic pregnancy” of much of the other lingo from her preaching.  With her high political profile as a member of Trump’s Faith Advisory Council and advisor to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, there’s now a much larger audience for her esoteric pronouncements.   In some ways she’s replaced the aging Pat Robertson, another charismatic Christian, as a favorite for oddball Religious Right quotes.

White is an American original, raised in poverty, mother to an illegitimate child, working her way up from church custodian to Florida megachurch pastor, bestselling author, television personality, and presidential advisor. She met Trump years ago as a Trump Tower neighbor. Not many preachers have Manhattan suites. Her prosperity Gospel validates the millions of dollars she earns through her evangelistic empire. Her followers presumably are inspired by her financial success as evidence of God’s blessing, which they understandably hope for themselves.

Most high profile preachers are men. White, as an attractive and stylish woman with flawless delivery, stands out among Religious Right figures. Her political prominence has won her alliances and endorsements from other conservative preachers who otherwise oppose female preachers and charismatic Christianity. Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity, with its strong focus on direct interaction with the Holy Spirit, has historically been more embracing of women preachers than much of the rest of evangelicalism.

It’s become popular and easy to mock White for her esoteric spiritual pronouncements, whose theology is not easily comprehensible to Christians outside her charismatic community, much less to secularists. Traditional Christians are certainly right to critique her when she strays from orthodoxy. And her health and wealth focus invites criticism from non-Christians anxious for evidence of religious hypocrisy.

But White should be seen as part of a long tradition of American self-help enthusiasts who find success by extolling happiness and material blessing. She’s not altogether different from Oprah Winfrey, who’s made many more hundreds of millions of dollars with her self-empowering therapeutic spirituality. And then there are successful New Age self-help gurus like Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williams, among countless others.

America’s penchant for sunny self-help gurus dates back at least to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the New England transcendentalist who was endlessly optimistic about each individual’s ability to seize happiness through individual self-realization and initiative. He preached morality and goodness without an orthodox version of God, but many religionists were unconsciously inspired by his promise of empowerment and success. Emerson himself was a post-Protestant who preached personal redemption through introspection and diligent worldly accomplishment.

Some of Emerson’s evangelistic heirs rechristianized his message. Although not charismatic, Norman Vincent Peale was firmly in this tradition, proclaiming the Power of Positive Thinking. The late Robert Schuller of the soaring Crystal Cathedral was also in this tradition. More charismatic versions include Pat Robertson, an enormously successful entrepreneur who stressed the material prosperity gained by unlocking the secret of God’s blessing. Skankier versions of charismatic Prosperity Gospel include Jim Baker, who’s PTL empire collapsed in the 1980s amid epic financial and sexual scandal. He now unashamedly hawks survivalist tools on tv. Perhaps even more outlandish is Ernest Angley, now age 98, the white-suited, black wigged faith healer who knocked supplicants to the stage floor as he administered their healing before jetting off to his next rally on his private plane. He’s now charged with sexually abusing a young male pastor, which should surprise no one.

Multi-million dollar evangelistic empires built on a personality often degenerate into egotism, scandal and heresy. But they raise money from willing supporters who find hope and empowerment in the offered messages of deliverance and prosperity. Some of these empires are evangelical Christian. Some are New Age or simply popular self-help spirituality, but equally evangelistic in their fervor.

Paula White has not fallen into ruinous scandal. She is, I’m told by people who have met her, a nice person. Her style and theology don’t appeal to me nor I suspect to most traditional Christians outside her charismatic subculture. But she’s not an anomaly in American spiritually. She’s part of a long tradition of preachers of hope, Christian or not, who declare a path to individual enlightenment and blessing. They will always have a following.

Source: Paula White’s Controversies

CDC Warns of Coronavirus Spread in USA: ‘Disruption to Everyday Life Might Be Severe’

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, warned that the spread of China’s deadly coronavirus in the United States is all but certain and said Americans’ everyday life could be dramatically affected.

Source: CDC Warns of Coronavirus Spread in USA: ‘Disruption to Everyday Life Might Be Severe’

Coronavirus disruption to ‘everyday’ life in US ‘might be severe,’ CDC official says

The CDC said it’s “not a question of if, but when, and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”

Source: Coronavirus disruption to ‘everyday’ life in US ‘might be severe,’ CDC official says

‘Sudden Increase’: As Experts Warn World ‘Teetering Very Close’ to Coronavirus Pandemic, Stocks Plummet

The number of coronavirus cases is increasing exponentially and spreading so fast that scientists fear it could turn into a global pandemic that cannot be stopped. The World Health Organization is not ready to declare it a pandemic just yet, but others say we are close and the world should be prepared.

Source: ‘Sudden Increase’: As Experts Warn World ‘Teetering Very Close’ to Coronavirus Pandemic, Stocks Plummet

DHS official won’t rule out that coronavirus was created in a lab | WND

Army Spc. Chantalle Rioux checks the lines to a bag of saline during a comprehensive medical training course at Camp Nett, Connecticut, Jan. 14, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Tim Koster, Connecticut National Guard Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.]

By Jason Hopkins
Daily Caller News Foundation

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), could not definitively rule out the theory that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory.

Cuccinelli, who serves as a top member on the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, said Monday that the origins of the novel virus remain unknown, and while its characteristics suggest it isn’t man-made, he could not completely reject the theory that it was created in a laboratory in China’s Hubei province.

“Our colleagues at CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and NIH [National Institutes of Health] on the task force have made it very clear [that] we don’t yet know the origin of this particular virus,” Cuccinelli told Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“We are not entirely sure how this one started yet,” Cuccinelli continued. “There is a biological facility in the Hubei province that people worry about. But I will say the reading that I have done of medical professionals suggest that the structure of the virus seems unlikely to have been man-made because if it was made to be a threat, you would expect to see certain characteristics that aren’t present.”

“Does that mean it rules it out? No, not absolutely,” he said.

The coronavirus outbreak began in late 2019 in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei province. Since then, it has spread to most every corner of the globe. There are now more than 77,600 confirmed cases and 2,663 deaths in China from the novel virus, according to NBC News. The White House is seeking $2.5 billion in emergency funds to fight the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization, however, has yet to deem the virus as a pandemic.

The coronavirus has killed more people than SARS, another deadly virus that originated in China. Fears of a global pandemic caused the stock market to plunge, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all falling when the markets opened Monday morning.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Source: DHS official won’t rule out that coronavirus was created in a lab

9th Circuit Court rules Trump administration defunding abortion clinics is constitutional

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that it is constitutional for the Trump administration to deny federal funding to clinics that offer abortions.

Source: 9th Circuit Court rules Trump administration defunding abortion clinics is constitutional

House GOP to refer criminal charges against Mueller team | WND

House Republicans led by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., plan to make criminal referrals on members of Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, alleging they lied to a court about former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

As John Solomon reported Monday on his news site Just the News, newly declassified FBI memos directly conflict with court filings in which Mueller’s team asked a federal judge to send Papadopoulos to prison.

Papadopoulos — who pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about his contacts with figures purportedly tied to Russia who had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — contends he was entrapped by various government intelligence agencies to justify FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign.

Nunes told Solomon in a podcast to air Tuesday that his team has been poring over FBI documents, including witness reports known as 302s, and has found evidence that contradicts claims Mueller’s team made to courts and to Congress.

“We’re now going through these 302s, and we’re going to be making criminal referrals on the Mueller dossier team, the people that put this Mueller report together,” Nunes said in an interview with “John Solomon Reports.”

Nunes said the FBI interview memos of Papadopoulos show the onetime Trump adviser offered to help the bureau locate a key figure in the case, European professor Joseph Mifsud.

But Mueller’s prosecutors portrayed Papdopoulos as trying to thwart the investigation.

The new FBI memos, said Nunes, provide “our first evidence of the Mueller team lying to the court.”

“It a lie. It’s a total lie,” the lawmaker said, referring to the Mueller team’s claim that Papadopoulos tried to hinder efforts to locate and question Mifsud.

“I always assumed that Papadopolis probably was helpful. I mean, he’s kind of alluded to that, that he offered to be helpful, but we had never seen the actual 302s,” Nunes said.

Nunes said he hopes John Durham, the U.S. attorney appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, will address the conduct of Mueller’s team.

The congressman pointed out that the Russia probe relied on the political opposition research “dossier” of Russian propaganda funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“The only question that we don’t know is at what point did the Clinton dirty operation merge with the FBI?” he said. “And it’s something only Durham can get to the bottom of.

See Rep. Devin Nunes interview earlier this month with the Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs in which the congressman said corruption by Mueller’s team would be revealed in the coming weeks:

‘Omitted’ information

Solomon noted in his report Monday that the key Mueller prosecutor in the Papadopoulos case was Aaron Zelinsky, who recently resigned from the Roger Stone case over a dispute with Attorney General Barr over the length of prison time Stone deserved.

Zelinsky signed a sentencing memo in August 2018 seeking prison time for Papadopoulos. The prosecutors alleged Papadopoulos hindered their ability to question or arrest the European professor Joseph Mifsud while he was in the United States in February 2017.

However, Solomon reported, FBI 302 reports detailing agent interviews with Papadopoulos show he supplied information in a Feb. 10, 2017, interview that possibly would have enabled investigators to detain or arrest Mifsud.

Prosecutors claimed Papadopoulos lied about when he started advising Trump’s campaign and when he learned from Mifsud that Russia may have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails.

Mifsud did not leave Washington until the day after his Feb. 10, 2017, interview. Solomon said Papadopoulos’ information should have enabled investigators to confront Mifsud with conflicting testimony “on a point of critical importance to the stated purpose of the Russia collusion investigation before the professor’s departure.”

But the information was not mentioned in the Mueller team’s original statement of offense, filed Oct. 5, 2017, nor its later sentencing recommendation.

Solomon pointed out that in contrast, the documents portray Papadopoulos as trying to thwart the investigation.

The sentencing memo signed by Zelinksy said Papadopoulos’ “false statements were intended to harm the investigation, and did so.”

His “lies negatively affected the FBI’s Russia investigation and prevented the FBI from effectively identifying and confronting witnesses in a timely fashion,” the prosecutors said.

But the FBI interview memos show Papadopoulos expressed willingness to help the bureau locate Mifsud even before Feb. 10, 2017.

In a Feb. 1, 2017 interview, Papadopoulos told agents he “could potentially meet with Mifsud” during a planned trip to London. And he said Mifsud “had recently reached out to him” and “indicated that he may be traveling to Washington, DC in February 2017.”

And the former Trump adviser “provided that Mifsud recently reached out to him via email, and advised that he was in Washington, DC at the time of this interview.”

All of that information was missing from key court documents.

Solomon said the Justice Department did not respond to queries asking why the information Papadopoulos gave the FBI, his offer of assistance and his testimony contradicting Mifsud were omitted.

Source: House GOP to refer criminal charges against Mueller team

Coronavirus update: 80,238 cases, 2,700 deaths, CDC warns Americans to prepare for disruption

An official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday said Americans should prepare for COVID-19 to spread in their communities and cause disruption after Iran, Italy and South Korea reported a rapid uptick in the number of people who have been sickened.

Source: Coronavirus update: 80,238 cases, 2,700 deaths, CDC warns Americans to prepare for disruption

In ‘post-truth’ politics, how can we distinguish truth from falsehood? — Denison Forum

Politicians lie; that is nothing new. But politicians seem to lie today more than ever before.

With the country divided along party lines, we can’t even agree on the facts, leaving no room for consensus. To cite just one example, CNN aired a special report Nov. 24 hosted by Jake Tapper called “All the President’s Lies.” Laura Ingraham followed Dec. 5 on her Fox show, The Ingraham Angle, with a commentary about the impeachment inquiry called “All the Democrats’ Lies.”

If, to quote John 8:32, “the truth will set you free,” Americans seem stuck in a maze of falsehoods. If Christians don’t know which way to turn in search of truth, there are a few basic principles we can use as a guide.

But before considering them, we need to understand the cultural forces at work in this election year.

An era of factual relativism

Facts, even when not in dispute, and numbers have lost much of their power to persuade.

The trend has become so pronounced that the Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” the 2016 word of the year. It’s an adjective meaning “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The word is often used in the phrase “post-truth politics.”

Our public square has entered an era of factual relativism, where traditionally impartial sources of information have become suspect, at least in some quarters.

“Journalists, judges, experts, and various other ‘elites’ are under fire today,” Dr. William Davies wrote in Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason. “Fewer and fewer people believe they are independent. Their capacity to reflect the truth in a neutral fashion, whether as scientists, professionals, journalists or policy advisers, is now attacked on the grounds that it is more self-interested and emotional than the protagonists are willing to let on.”

A study last year by the Pew Research Center found that Americans are split roughly 50–50 on whether fact-checkers are fair. But 70 percent of Republicans believe they favor one side over another, an apparent indication of growing populist sentiment in the country.

“Populist leaders and spokespeople in countries around the globe, including the United States, have revived in recent years a traditional narrative in which the starting point is that the real people have been intellectually dispossessed, that is, deprived of their natural leadership rooted in their collective sense of the world,” Dr. Sophia Rosenfeld, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in an article in The Hedgehog Review.

She continued: “But all that can be righted, according to this story, once those real people are able once again to substitute their own version of truth, rooted in faith, instinct, and practical experience, not to mention authenticity, for the arcane and self-serving version offered up by the ‘mainstream’ press, the academic establishment, and the ‘deep state’ – in short, the various domains of truth elites.”

Statistics about a bustling economy under a politician’s leadership offer little comfort to individuals facing job loss. In Davies’ view, numbers don’t reflect emotions in cases like this, leading many populists to believe that groups like politicians, mainstream media and scientists no longer represent their interests.

“When trust in one of these elite groups disintegrates, it tends to impact upon trust in all of them,” he wrote. “Once people stop trusting systems of representation in general, and especially in the political system, they become less interested in what counts as ‘true’ and what as ‘false.’ Liars can become tolerated or even admired, once the very foundations of a political system are no longer viewed as credible.”

‘Illusory truth’ on social media

Many people, no longer trusting these groups for information, have turned to social media, which presents its own problems. Political ads on Facebook have been controversial since Russia used them in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election. More recently, Facebook has been criticized for not checking political ads for false claims by candidates.

And MIT scholars released a report in 2018 showing that lies spread faster on Twitter than truth does. Other research has shown that the more a lie is repeated, the more people are inclined to believe it. It’s called the “illusory truth effect.”

Besides repeating lies, some politicians tend to twist the facts or tell half-truths. The website politifact.com grades political statements on a Truth-O-Meter, with true at one end of the spectrum followed by mostly true, half true, mostly false, false, and pants on fire, indicating “the statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.”

How to seek the truth today

Considering all these factors, determining when politicians are lying can be a challenge, but Christians should be truth seekers.

“As those who follow after the one who is truth [John 14:6], we have to be innocent as doves but shrewd as serpents,” said Dr. Nick Pitts, a fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement at Dallas Baptist University. “Just like you don’t believe everything you see on TV, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear in the public square.”

Here are a few ways to help distinguish truth from falsehood in politics:

  • Go to the original sources, whenever you can. Watch speeches, for example; don’t just rely on reports of them.
  • Find a nonpartisan fact-checker you trust, like factcheck.org or politifact.com.
  • Don’t believe everything you read on social media. Check information with a news outlet you trust.
  • Vary your sources of news, from radio talk shows to news magazines and everything in between. Monitor a mix of conservative and liberal outlets, not just ones that confirm your beliefs.
  • Recognize opinion for what it is. Don’t listen to radio talk shows or political pundits if you expect impartial accounts of the news.

Most of all, the Bible should be your guide.

“As Christians, we have to let the biblical narrative shape us more than our political tribe,” Pitts said. “The Word is a lamp to our feet and a lantern for the path through the public square. Our policy decisions may not fit neatly into the dichotomies offered by today’s political pundits, but the Scriptures should influence how we consider public policy proposals.”


via In ‘post-truth’ politics, how can we distinguish truth from falsehood? — Denison Forum

February 25, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that India will buy $3 billion worth of military equipment, including attack helicopters, as the two countries deepen defense and commercial ties in an attempt to balance the weight of China in the region.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that no country was trying to help him win the election, after a top intelligence official told lawmakers Russia was interfering in the 2020 presidential vote to help Trump win a second term.

The Trump administration rolled out a new immigration policy on Monday that bars people deemed likely to require government benefits such as housing and food assistance from obtaining permanent residency in the United States.

Senior U.S. Democrats said on Monday that President Donald Trump’s administration should immediately impose sanctions on Russia after U.S. intelligence officials told members of Congress that Russia appeared to be trying to influence this year’s U.S. election.

Surging front-runner Bernie Sanders will be in the hot seat at the Democratic debate in South Carolina on Tuesday, when his six presidential rivals try to derail his growing momentum before the next big round of nominating contests.

Turnout for the Nevada Democratic caucuses was 105,195, the Nevada State Democratic Party said on Monday, surpassing the 84,000 voters who participated in the 2016 Nevada caucuses.

Iran’s coronavirus death toll rose to 16 on Tuesday, the highest outside China, increasing its international isolation as dozens of countries from South Korea to Italy accelerated emergency measures to curb the epidemic’s global spread.

British politicians turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children and actively covered up allegations over decades, an independent inquiry into historical sex offences in Westminster found on Tuesday.

A ceasefire brokered by Egypt and the United Nations took hold on the Israel-Gaza border on Tuesday after two days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.

At least seven people were killed and around 150 were injured in clashes between opposing groups in the Indian capital, a police official told Reuters on Tuesday, the deadliest riots in the city since protests against a new citizenship law began over two months ago.

AP Top Stories

The White House is asking Congress for $2.5 billion to respond to the coronavirus illness known as COVID-19 that has killed more than 2,600 people in mainland China, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the request inadequate.

Iran’s deputy health minister confirmed on Tuesday that he has tested positive for the new coronavirus, amid a major outbreak in the Islamic republic.

Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian leader who was the autocratic face of stability in the Middle East for nearly 30 years before being forced from power in an Arab Spring uprising, died Tuesday, state-run TV announced. He was 91.

As new cases of the coronavirus spiked on two continents, the World Health Organization warned Monday that the world was not ready for a major outbreak, even as it praised China’s aggressive efforts to wrest the epidemic under control.

South Korea is testing all 200,000 members of a doomsday cult which has been badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak. 60% of the country’s 977 infections are members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, based in Daegu, officials said.

China on Monday declared an immediate and “comprehensive” ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals, a practice believed responsible for the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

In a victory for the Trump administration, a U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld rules that bar taxpayer-funded family-planning clinics from referring women for abortions.

An 11-year-old girl holding a loaded AR-15 assault weapon appeared at a gun legislation hearing in Idaho on Monday with her grandfather, who is supporting legislation that would allow visitors to Idaho who can legally possess firearms to carry a concealed handgun within city limits.

A Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row in Pakistan, and who faced death threats from Islamic extremists, said she is going to request asylum in France.


The authorities in Brazil say 147 people have been murdered in the north-eastern state of Ceará in the first five days of a military police strike. The homicide rate is five times higher than usual, despite the deployment of the army to patrol the streets.

Anti-government protesters barricaded key streets in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on Monday. The blockades came a day after police demanding better working conditions attacked the army headquarters in the city.

The number of people confirmed as injured after a car ploughed into a carnival crowd in western Germany has risen to almost 60, police saud. Eighteen of those hurt in Monday’s incident are children. In total 35 people remain in hospital.

Australia’s intelligence chief has warned of a “real threat” to the country’s security from neo-Nazis. He said the threat from foreign espionage was also now higher than during the Cold War.


New Prospect Baptist Church is home to one of the largest black congregations in Cincinnati. Not exactly a place you think you’d find 179 women firing .22-caliber handguns in the church basement. One of the largest women-only, concealed carry gun certification classes held in the state of Ohio.

A new study conducted at Yale finds that staying in school may just extend one’s lifespan.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Feb. 25, 2020

The Foundation

“Have you something to do to-morrow; do it to-day.” —Benjamin Franklin (1742)

Perspective on Coronavirus

The death toll is rising, creating panic and market trouble around the globe.

Justice for #MeToo: Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape

The former Hollywood mogul and Democrat mega donor faces between five and 29 years in prison.

Warren PACs Up

Despite a pledge to avoid such backing, Warren claims she’s a victim and caves.

Damage Control: Bloomberg Will Release Women From NDAs

He seeks to fend off sexual-harassment allegations by releasing three women from NDAs.

Leaders Cannot Lead Without Earning Trust

Republican leaders have a long history of not standing up to leftist attacks.

Video: All My Money on Trump, No Matter the Dem Nominee

“I think Trump has already secured a second term,” journalist Sharyl Attkisson opines.

Video: Use Trans Pronouns or Get Fired, Court Tells Professor

A Christian professor in Ohio was told he must use female pronouns to refer to a male student — or he will be fired.

Video: California Is a Hellhole (And It’s Getting Worse)

Ben Shapiro goes off on California and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent State of the State address.

Video: Is Voter Fraud Real?

What is the greatest threat to free and fair elections in America?

Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
Trump Visits India
Rich Lowry
Is America Ready for President Noam Chomsky?
Salena Zito
Media Silence on Voter-Registration Attack Deepens Our Divide
Stephen Moore
Natural Gas Is Crushing Wind and Solar Power
Dennis Prager
Why the Left Calls Good People Racist
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Tuesday News Executive Summary

Democrat debate preview, Weinstein guilty, pro-life win, coronavirus concerns, and more.

Tuesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Erick Erickson, Lisa Boothe, Bernie Sanders, and more.

Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

Headlines – 2/25/2020

UN Security Council calls for two-state solution to be respected in Middle East

Netanyahu, Israeli officials meet with US mapping team for West Bank annexation

Precarious calm appears to hold on Gaza border after reported truce

Chief of Staff: It is unclear if an escalation or a decline is expected in Gaza

Rocket attacks target Israeli south despite reported ceasefire

55,000 students miss school as rockets rain down on southern Israel

IDF chief warns Gaza clash may not be over, could spiral into greater conflict

Israel Needs Qatar to Prevent Gaza From Spiraling, and Hamas Knows How to Exploit It

Gantz vows to reinstate targeted killings of terrorists in Gaza

European Commission condemns anti-Semitic Belgian parade

Belgian city of Aalst says anti-Semitic parade ‘just fun’

‘Truly shameful’: Pro-Israel AIPAC slams Sanders after he says conference is platform for ‘bigotry’

Bernie’s AIPAC Snub Throws Liberal Zionists Under the Bus

Nikki Haley Slams Bernie Sanders Over AIPAC Boycott: ‘Go Back to Defending Castro’

Fighting in northwest Syria close to ‘bloodbath’: UN

Five civilians killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria

UN in talks with Turkey to boost aid to northwest Syria amid offensive

Iran will be ‘held accountable’ for any actions against US in Iraq: State Dept.

Driver Plows Vehicle Into German Carnival Parade, Around 30 Injured

India rolls out the MAGA carpet for Trump

‘Pageantry over policy’ on Trump’s visit to India

Policeman killed in India’s New Delhi clash ahead of Trump arrival

White House spokesman: ‘We know there are people actively working against’ Trump in government

YouTube Permanently Bans TruNews Channel That Called Trump’s Impeachment ‘Jew Coup’

Pentagon Adopts New Ethical Principles for Using AI in War

DNA Databases Are Boon to Police But Menace to Privacy, Critics Say

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Santiago de Cao, Peru

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Lambasa, Fiji

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

Three Earthquakes Rattle Dangerous New Madrid While Two Rare Tremors Hit Maine

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 30,000ft

Popcateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador eurpts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Unsettled weather to persist across the UK as one town faces potentially historic river flooding

World must prepare for ‘potential pandemic’: WHO

Coronavirus: South Korea to test 200,000 sect members as pandemic fears hit markets

Trump asserts coronavirus ‘under control’ as stocks plunge

White House submits $1.25 billion emergency request as part of $2.5 billion coronavirus effort

Rush Limbaugh claims Chinese are ‘trying to weaponize’ coronavirus to ‘bring down’ Trump

Dow plunges 1,000 points on coronavirus fears, 3.5% drop is worst in two years

10-year Treasury yield falls to three-year low on coronavirus fears, 30-year rate hits record low

Cramer on market plunge: Coronavirus impact on companies could be ‘more severe than thought’

Iran teeters once again on the brink: Iran faces anti-terrorism sanctions, voter discontent, and a rising death toll from the Coronavirus outbreak

China postpones parliament amid coronavirus battle

Coronavirus could be a ‘catalyst’ for China to boost its mass surveillance machine, experts say

Italy’s coronavirus lockdown shows how the outbreak is testing democracies

Supreme Court to weigh ban on foster agencies that don’t work with LGBT couples

A police raid, viral videos and the broken lives of Nigerian gay law suspects

Weinstein convicted of rape, sexual assault in landmark moment for #MeToo

Harvey Weinstein: From Hollywood ‘God’ to convicted rapist

Apostasy Watch

The Five Pillars of the Christian Faith

Jesus Did Not Come to Address World Hunger or Global Inequality, He Came to Save His Sheep

First Baptist in Columbia Mo. Hosts Transgender Inclusion Seminar

Study: Nearly Half of Mainline Protestant Pastors Support Same-Sex Marriage

Judge rules in favor of Wheaton College students barred from evangelizing at park

Canada opens door to expanding assisted dying

Cuban Americans Tell What Life Under Castro Was Really Like

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

February 25, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Contrast In Essence

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (5:18–19)

The fourth contrast between the one act of Adam and the one act of Christ is in regard to essence. These two verses summarize the analogy of Adam and Christ.

As with the many in verse 15, Paul apparently uses all in verse 18 for the sake of parallelism, although the two occurrences of the term carry different meanings. Just as “the many died” in verse 15 refers inclusively to all men, so life to all men here refers exclusively to those who trust in Christ. This verse does not teach universalism, as some have contended through the centuries. It is abundantly clear from other parts of this epistle, including the first two verses of this chapter, that salvation comes only to those who have faith in Jesus Christ (see also 1:16–17; 3:22, 28; 4:5, 13).

Paul’s primary teaching in these two verses is that the essence of Adam’s one transgression (v. 18a) was disobedience (v. 19a), whereas the essence of Christ’s one act of righteousness (v. 18b) was obedience (v. 19b). When God commanded Adam not to eat of the forbidden fruit, Adam disobeyed and brought death. When God sent His only begotten Son into the world to suffer and die, the Son obeyed and brought life.

Made translates kathistēmi and here carries the idea of constituting, or establishing. Adam’s disobedience caused him and his descendants to be made sinners by nature and constitution. In the same way, but with the exact opposite effect, Christ’s obedience causes those who believe in Him to be made righteous by nature and constitution.

From beginning to end, Jesus’ earthly life was characterized by perfect obedience to His heavenly Father. Even at the age of twelve, He reminded His parents that He had to be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49). Jesus’ sole purpose on earth was to do His Father’s will (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; cf. Matt. 26:39, 42). In His incarnation, “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).

Christ’s obedience to the divine commandments is often called “active obedience,” and His death on the Cross is called “passive obedience.” Though He obeyed the law perfectly in His life, He also submitted to the penalty of the law in all its horrible fulness. Both active and passive obedience are included in the perfect righteousness of Christ that is imputed to believers. It is therefore a righteousness that satisfies all the demands of the law, including the law’s penal requirements. The obedience of the One thus secured redemption for the many who will be made righteous in God’s sight. God—“who justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5)—can therefore declare still-sinful believers fully righteous without any taint on His righteousness. he is both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

The “practical use” of this truth is that genuine believers can truly sing with H. G. Spafford in his great hymn:

My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought,

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,

It is well, it is well with my soul.[1]

Justification by Grace

Romans 5:18–19

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

I do not know when or where it happened, but somebody was sitting in his apartment, getting ready to go to bed, when he heard his neighbor drop a shoe on the floor above him. The upstairs neighbor was obviously getting ready for bed, too, and the man below him waited for the thud of the other shoe. Afterward he must have talked about it, and the expression “waiting for the other shoe to drop” became an expressive figure of speech in our language.

Now we come to what we have been waiting for ever since we started to study Romans 5:12–21. Our expectation arose because Paul began this great passage with a contrast: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.…” But just when we were expecting the second half of that thought, he broke it off, and everything we have been studying since has in a sense been a digression, or parenthesis.

In fact, there have been two major digressions, which it might be helpful to review before proceeding.

First, Paul explained the sense in which “all sinned.” He did not mean that all have become sinners and have therefore sinned, though we would naturally think this, but rather that each of us was declared a sinner because of Adam’s original sin or transgression. It is true that we also sin and should be condemned for that, if there were nothing more to be said. But that is not Paul’s meaning. He meant that all have been accounted sinners in Adam, so that those who were going to be saved could be accounted righteous in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Since this digression finished at the end of verse 14, we again expected the other shoe to drop. But instead of completing the contrast introduced by verse 12, Paul worked in another long parenthesis to show the differences between our union with Adam, on the one hand, and our union with Jesus Christ, on the other. This second digression started at verse 15 and occupied the next three verses.

It is only when we get to verse 18 that the second shoe finally falls and we get the full impact of the contrast. Paul backs up to give it, restating the first part again, although in slightly different words: “[1] Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, [2] so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”

There we have it!

But then, lest we have fallen asleep in the meantime and have somehow missed the point after this long wait, Paul makes it again in verse 19, adding: “[1] For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, [2] so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

What a great list of contrasts is implied here! In a previous study we have already seen “Three Great Contrasts” in verses 15–17. They were intended to show the ways in which the work of Adam and the work of Christ were dissimilar. The new list of contrasts in verses 18 and 19 shows the fullness of what Paul is teaching and serves as a summary. Those contrasts are:

Adam versus Christ

The one trespass of Adam versus the one act of righteousness of Christ

The disobedience of Adam versus the obedience of Christ

Death versus life

Condemnation versus justification.

Of these five contrasts, the greatest is the one between condemnation and justification, since this is what the chapter has been dealing with in one way or another all along.

By Faith or by Grace?

In the previous study, I said that we would be dealing with the subject of God’s grace through the end of Romans 5, and for that reason I have called this study “Justification by Grace.” But I wonder if that sounds right to you. We already know about “justification by faith.” It was the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther having said that it is the doctrine by which the church stands or falls. But if that is so, why should we speak of justification by grace? The answer, of course, is that both statements are parts of the same truth, since the justification that is received by faith alone (sola fide) is also by grace alone (sola gratia).

A full statement of the doctrine would be: “Justification by the grace of God alone, received through faith alone.”

Justification is an act of God as judge by which he declares us to be in a right standing before him so far as his justice is concerned. We are not just in ourselves, of course. So the only way by which we can be declared to be in a right standing before God is on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ for our sins, he bearing our punishment, and by the application of Christ’s righteousness to us by God’s grace. This grace is received through the channel of human faith, but it is nevertheless utterly of grace. It is apart from all deserving.

Is Etymology Helpful Here?

“Justification” is what this great section of Romans is all about, and we need to see the passage’s force. But before getting into the text, let me mention another reason why some people might be confused about justification and thus misunderstand it—the problem lies with the word’s etymology, its linguistic history.

Anyone who knows Latin can tell at a glance that “justification” is constructed out of two Latin words: iustus and facio, facere. The first word is an adjective meaning “just,” “equitable,” “fair,” or “proper.” In legal terminology it means “having a right status in reference to a law.” We have preserved the Latin term in English words like “just,” “justice,” and “justify.” The second word is a verb; it means “to make” or “to do.” We have it in such words as “factory,” which is a place where things are made, or “manufacture,” which literally means “to make a thing by hand.” Putting these two Latin words together, we have a meaning for “justification” that would go something like this: “to make just, right, or equitable.” Used of people, this would suggest that they are literally to be made righteous.

But here the etymology of the word justification is misleading to most English speakers. The reason is that “justification” actually refers not to a righteousness attained by or produced in an individual, but to the act of God by which the righteousness of Christ is credited to that person.

The context of Romans 5 is of great help in coming to understand and appreciate this term. You will remember from the list of contrasts I presented earlier that justification is contrasted with condemnation in verse 18: “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.” If this is the contrast, we need to ask what happens when people are “condemned.” Does the act of condemnation make them lawbreakers? To use biblical terminology: Does it make them sinners? Or does it merely mean that they are declared to be such? The answer is: It means that they are declared to be sinners. They are lawbreakers already. The act of condemnation merely declares this to be so and subjects them to whatever penalty the law in the case prescribes.

The same idea applies to justification. Even though the etymology would suggest that justification means “to make just or righteous,” the term actually means “to declare one to be in a right standing before God’s law.” In human courts, this might be on the basis of the individual’s own personal righteousness. But this can never be the basis in God’s court, since no one is truly righteous, as Paul has shown in the preceding chapters.

How can God declare us to be righteous, then? Only on the grounds of Jesus’ own perfect righteousness imputed to us. That is, we are justified by God by grace alone.

There is another explanation derived from the wording of verse 19. Paul says that on the basis of Adam’s one act of disobedience many “were made sinners.” We have already seen how that is to be taken. It does not mean that all were affected by sin and thus became sinning individuals, though that did happen and is true. Rather, here it means that the entire race was declared to be sinful because of Adam’s sin. That is why death passed upon all, even upon those (like infants) who died before they had any opportunity to sin. If “the many were made sinners” in that sense, it must be in a corresponding sense that “the many will be made righteous,” namely, through the one act of obedience by Jesus Christ.

The Obedience of Christ

This brings us to another important idea: the obedience of Jesus. Paul mentions this in verse 19, and it is the first time he has used the word. He has really been speaking of the difference between Adam’s disobedience and Christ’s obedience all along, but up to this point he has used different terminology. What is the significance of his use of the phrase “through the obedience of the one man” here?

In discussing the obedience of Christ, theologians usually distinguish between what is called the active obedience of Jesus and the passive obedience of Jesus.

The active obedience of Jesus refers to his submission to and active conformity to the law of Moses. Do you remember how in Galatians Jesus is described as having been “born under law, to redeem those under law” (Gal. 4:4–5)? This means that when Jesus became man he deliberately subjected himself to the law of Moses, so that when he went to the cross to die for our sin, it might be known that he did so as a perfect sin-bearer, “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19).

Jesus’ baptism signified the same thing. When Jesus came to John to be baptized, John protested at first, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matt. 3:14). He meant that Jesus was perfect, that he needed no baptism of repentance from his sins. But Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (v. 15). In other words, Jesus did not come to John for a baptism of repentance, as the others were doing, for he had no sin for which to repent. By his baptism he identified with us, putting himself under law as our federal head or representative. The law was there to be kept, and Jesus kept it. Throughout his life he exercised a full and active obedience to God’s standards and thus showed himself to be the only acceptable sacrifice for sin.

The passive obedience of Jesus Christ is something else. It refers to his submission to the cross. Do you recall how Jesus wrestled with this in Gethsemane? He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me …” (Matt. 26:39). Jesus was not asking if he could somehow escape the cruel death of crucifixion. It was his being made sin for us that troubled him. He was to be placed on the cross, and the full weight of the sin of men and women was to be placed on him and punished there. The Father was even going to turn his back upon him. That is what Jesus dreaded and what he referred to when he asked if there were not some other way open.

This was Jesus’ passive obedience, and it is what Paul is referring to when he speaks of “the obedience of the one man” through which “the many will be made righteous.” Christ’s active obedience qualified him for this role. But it was his one act of passive obedience, corresponding to Adam’s one act of disobedience, that atoned for our sin and made it possible for the Father to credit Jesus’ righteousness to our account.

Where are Your Sins?

But enough explanation. Here is an illustration from the life of Donald Grey Barnhouse, one of my predecessors as pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. It is the story of his conversion.

When Barnhouse was about fifteen years old he heard the testimony of a man who had been a narcotics addict but had been delivered from that life and become a minister of the gospel. Barnhouse approached the man and asked about his experience of Christ, because he believed that the preacher had something he himself lacked. The preacher gave him an object lesson. He took Barnhouse’s left hand, turned it palm upward and then said intently, “This hand represents you.” On it he placed a hymnbook, saying, “This book represents your sin. The weight of it is on you. God hates sin, and his wrath must bear down against sin. Therefore, his wrath is bearing down on you, and you have no peace in your heart or life.” It was a good statement of the truths in Romans 1, and Barnhouse knew it was true.

Then the preacher took the young man’s other hand and said, “This hand represents the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior. There is no sin upon him, and the Father must love him, because he is without spot or blemish. He is the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased.” There were Donald’s two hands, the one weighted down by the heavy book, the other empty. Again he knew it was true. He had the sin. Jesus had none.

Then the older man put his hand under Barnhouse’s left hand and turned it over so that the book now came down on the hand that previously had been empty. He released the left hand, its burden now transferred to the hand that stood for Jesus. Then he said, “This is what happened when the Lord Jesus Christ took your place on the cross. He was the Lamb of God, bearing away the sin of the world.”

While the hymnbook representing Barnhouse’s sin still rested on the hand representing Jesus Christ, the preacher turned to his Bible and began to read verses that taught what he had just illustrated.

First Peter 2:23–24: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sin in his own body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.…”

Isaiah 53:4–6 (the verses to which Peter was referring):

Surely he took up our infirmities

and carried our sorrows,

yet we considered him stricken by God,

smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

The preacher stopped reading and addressed the young man directly. “Whose sins were laid on Jesus?” he asked.

“Our sins,” Barnhouse replied.

“Whose sins does that mean?” the preacher probed.

“Our sins,” came the same answer.

“Yes, but whose sins are those?”

“Well, everybody’s sins—your sins, my sins …”

The older man interrupted and caught the words almost before they were out of Barnhouse’s mouth. “My sins; yes, that’s it,” he said. “That’s what I want. Say it again.”

Young Barnhouse obeyed. “My sins,” he repeated.

The preacher then went back to Isaiah 53:6. He put the hymnbook back on Barnhouse’s left hand and pressed down upon it as he read, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” The pressure was strong. But then he turned the book and hand over once again, so that the burden was transferred to the hand that represented Jesus Christ, and he continued his reading: “and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Barnhouse understood it then, and he never forgot it. In fact, he used that very illustration to teach many others about justification and lead them to the Savior. He also expanded it. For just as the transfer of the hymnbook showed the transfer of our sin to Jesus, where it has been punished, so also is it possible to show the transfer of the righteousness of Christ to us by movement in the opposite direction. As I showed when we were studying Romans 4, a double transfer is involved. Barnhouse used a Bible to show this corresponding reality.

Horatio G. Spafford knew these truths. He wrote:

My sin—O the bliss of this glorious thought!—

My sin, not in part, but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more:

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord! O my soul.

All of Grace

But this double transfer is all of grace! Nothing compelled God to act this way toward us. Nothing made Christ die for your sin or made God credit the righteousness of his Son to you. There was nothing in you, under that great blanketing weight of sin, that drew his love downward. God did it because it pleased him to do it, and because it is his nature to be gracious.

At the end of his very excellent treatment of these verses, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asks whether we have understood the doctrine of justification by grace, and suggests (rightly I think) that there is a connection between understanding this and being truly saved. He does not mean that everyone who is saved understands everything about justification, of course. None of us does. He means that if these truths seem impossible or even crazy to you—if you are objecting, “But how could God possibly treat us as if we were in Adam and as if we are in Christ? How can he save us because of something someone else has done?”—it is probably because you are not saved.

For those who are not saved, these doctrines will always sound foolish. They may even sound like an invitation to sin, which is the objection Paul deals with in the very next chapter of Romans. It will always be thus, for how can those who do not possess the Spirit of God understand spiritual matters? Ah, but to those who are saved, these truths are wonderful. They are the very essence of life—which is, of course, what Paul speaks about here: “Justification that brings life for all men.”

If you understand this and it seems right to you—not pointless, incorrect, or irrational—and if you believe it, you are one of those saved persons.[2]

19 Another term for Adam’s failure occurs in v. 19, namely, “disobedience” (parakoē, GK 4157). This word accents the voluntary character of his sin. Matching it is the “obedience” (hypakoē, GK 5633) of Christ (see esp. Php 2:8). This concept was highly meaningful for Paul, as we know from Philippians 2:5–11. The interpretation of that passage along the lines of a latent comparison between Adam (unnamed, but in the background) and Christ is most satisfactory. Instead of grasping after equality with God, as Adam had done, Jesus humbled himself and became obedient, even to the point of accepting death on a cross.

The result of Christ’s obedience is that “the many will be made righteous.” Does this refer to righteous character? Possibly so, if the future tense is definitely eschatological in its thrust, pointing to the consummation in glory, when imputed righteousness will have become righteousness possessed in unblemished fullness. But “will be made righteous” may simply be the equivalent of “will become righteous” in the forensic sense, as in 2 Corinthians 5:21, in which case the future tense need not be thought of as eschatological but as embracing all who in this age are granted justification. Most of these were indeed future to Paul’s time. Paul’s thought has not shifted away from the forensic.

Does the sweeping language used (“the many” being equivalent to “all,” as argued above) suggest that all humanity will be brought within the circle of justification, so that none will be lost? Some have thought so; the language sounds that way. But if the doctrine of universalism were being taught here, Paul would be contradicting himself, for he has already pictured some as perishing because of sin (2:12; cf. 1 Co 1:18). Furthermore, his entire presentation of salvation has emphasized the fact that justification is granted only on the basis of faith. Note the implied reference to faith in the words “those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace” (v. 17). We must conclude, therefore, that only as “the many” are found in Christ can they qualify as belonging to the righteous. When it comes to describing the saving work of Christ, however, Paul does not shy away from universal language. Rather, he must portray it in absolute terms and with the broadest strokes. In principle, de jure, Christ’s obedience—his atoning death on the cross—can only be thought of as outstripping the effects of Adam’s disobedience. Paul would not be amenable to language that described the work of Christ as a “limited atonement.”[3]

19 In case we have missed his main point, Paul reiterates it in this verse, using the same basic structure as in v. 18 but with different language. In contrast to the “all people” of v. 18, Paul denotes those who are affected by the acts of Adam and Christ by “the many” (as in v. 15). Two other differences are more important, suggesting that v. 19 is not just the repetition of v. 18, but its elaboration.

(1) Paul calls Adam’s destiny-determining action an “act of disobedience” (parakoē) rather than simply a “sin” (v. 12) or “trespass” (vv. 15, 17, 18). The characterization is, of course, a fair one since Adam and Eve had been explicitly told not to eat the fruit of the tree. In keeping with the careful contrasts that Paul has used throughout the passage, then, Christ’s work is characterized as “an act of obedience” (hypakoē). Paul may be thinking of the “active obedience” of Christ, his lifelong commitment to do his Father’s will and so fulfill the demands of the law. But Paul’s focus seems rather to be on Jesus’ death as the ultimate act of obedience. This is suggested by the parallel with Adam’s (one) act of disobedience. Note also the language of Phil. 2:8—Jesus “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”—and the consistent connection Paul makes between justification and Jesus’ death.

(2) As Paul chooses different language to characterize the era-initiating acts of Adam and Christ, so he also uses different language to describe the results of their respective acts. Rather than states, or destinies (death/life, condemnation/justification), Paul now describes these results in more personal categories: through Adam, the many “were made sinners”; through Christ, they “will be made righteous [people].” The verb that Paul uses in both phrases (kathistēmi) has a forensic flavor, often meaning “appoint.” Here it refers to the fact that people are “inaugurated into” the state of sin/righteousness. Paul is insisting that people were really “made” sinners through Adam’s act of disobedience just as they are really “made righteous” through Christ’s obedience. But this “making righteous,” in light of the focus throughout this text on one’s state or position, means not to become “morally righteous” people but to become “judicially righteous”—to be judged acquitted, cleared of all charges.281 The future tense of “made righteous” may suggest that Paul is here thinking of the final aspect of justification, the verdict rendered on the day of judgment.

In both parts of the verse, then, we are dealing with a real, though forensic, situation: people actually become sinners in solidarity with Adam—by God’s decision; people actually become “righteous” in solidarity with Christ—again, by God’s decision. But there is one important difference, plainly hinted at in the emphasis on grace throughout vv. 15–17: while our solidarity with Adam in condemnation is due to our solidarity with him in sinning, our solidarity with Christ in righteousness is not because we have acted righteously in and with Christ. While Rom. 6 suggests that we were in some sense “in Christ” when he “obeyed even unto death,” that obedience is never accounted to us as our own. In other words, while we deserve condemnation—for “all have sinned”—we are freely given righteousness and life. It is this gratuitous element on the side of Christ’s work that enables Paul to celebrate the “how much more” of our reigning in life (v. 17) and that gives to every believer absolute assurance for the life to come.[4]

19 Verse 19 is confirmatory and explicatory of verse 18. This is apparent not only from the construction and content of verse 19 but also from the way in which they are related; verse 19 begins with “for”. “For as through the disobedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners, even so through the obedience of the one the many will be constituted righteous.” We have here again a completed comparison after the pattern of verse 18. Though the doctrine is substantially the same, new facets of this doctrine are set forth.

(1) “The disobedience of the one man.” The sin of Adam is characterized as transgression (vs. 14), as trespass (vss. 15, 17, 18), now as disobedience. Each term possesses its own emphasis and indicates that the fall of Adam was regarded by the apostle as sin in all the respects in which sin may be defined.

(2) “The many were constituted sinners.” In the preceding verses we found that death passed on to all men by reason of the sin of Adam (vss. 12, 14, 15, 17). We found also that condemnation was pronounced upon all men through the sin of Adam (vss. 16, 18). Implicit in these reiterated declarations is the solidarity that existed between Adam and posterity. It would have been a necessary inference from the solidarity in death and condemnation to posit a solidarity in sin also, because death and condemnation presuppose sin. But we are not left to inference. The apostle is now explicit to the effect that the solidarity extended to sin itself. We discovered earlier that the only feasible way of interpreting the clause in verse 12, “in that all sinned” is that this refers to the involvement of all in the sin of Adam. But again the propriety of that interpretation is demonstrated by what is now said expressly in verse 19, “through the disobedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners”. The expression used here “constituted sinners” is definitely to the effect that the many were made to be sinners, they were placed in the category of sinners. Not only did death rule over them, not only did they come under the sentence of condemnation, but sinnership itself became theirs by reason of the sin of Adam. It is here again that the variety of terms which the apostle uses to characterize sin becomes eloquent of what is meant by being constituted sinners. Sin is transgression, trespass, disobedience, and therefore solidarity in sin is involvement in the disobedience, transgression, trespass of Adam. The last clause of verse 12 likewise can mean nothing less, for it says “all sinned”. By a confluence of considerations inherent in this passage we are informed that the sin of Adam was the sin of all and the solidarity in condemnation and death is traced to its source and ground, solidarity in sin. To attempt to escape from this conclusion is to waive exegesis.

(3) “Through the obedience of the one.” This is parallel to “through one righteous act” in verse 18 and there can be no doubt but it refers to the obedience of Christ. Even if doubt should persist as to the import of the “righteous act” in verse 18 there can be no doubt in verse 19. The obedience of Christ is stated to be that through which the many are constituted righteous. The concept of obedience as applied to the work of Christ on behalf of believers is more embracive than any other (cf. Isa. 42:1; 52:13–53:12; John 6:38, 39; 10:17, 18; 17:4, 5; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:7, 8; Heb. 2:10; 5:8, 9). It is significant that it should be used here. It indicates the broad perspective from which we must view that accomplishment of Christ which constitutes the basis of God’s justifying act. Undoubtedly it was in the cross of Christ and the shedding of his blood that this obedience came to its climactic expression, but obedience comprehends the totality of the Father’s will as fulfilled by Christ. And this brings into the clearest focus what was implied in “the grace of the one man Jesus Christ” (vs. 15), “through the one, Jesus Christ” (vs. 17), and “through the one righteous act” (vs. 18).

(4) “The many will be constituted righteous.” The notion of being constituted righteous cannot be in a different category from the “justification” of verse 16 or “the free gift of righteousness” of verse 17 (cf. vss. 15, 16) or the “justification of life” of verse 18. We could not suppose that at this climactic point in his argument the apostle had introduced a category extraneous to the foregoing context or to his main thesis up to this point. This is to say that “constituted righteous” has the same forensic character as justification and must be a variant mode of expression. This consideration gives us the direction in which we are to interpret the antithetic expression, “constituted sinners”. While we must not tone down the latter so as to eliminate our involvement in the sin, transgression, trespass, disobedience of Adam, yet this involvement must be interpreted in forensic terms. Our involvement cannot be that of personal voluntary transgression on our part. It can only be that of imputation, that by reason of representative unity the sin of Adam is reckoned to our account and therefore reckoned as ours with all the entail of implication and consequence which sin carries with it. In the judicial judgment of God the sin of Adam is the sin of all.

Though the expression “constituted righteous” belongs strictly to the forensic sphere, yet we must not overlook the distinctive aspect from which justification is viewed in the use of this formula. Justification is a constitutive act, not barely declarative. And this constitutive act consists in our being placed in the category of righteous persons by reason of our relation to Christ. The same principle of solidarity that appears in our relation to Adam, and by reason of which we are involved in his sin, obtains in our relation to Christ. And just as the relation to Adam means the imputation to us of his disobedience, so the relation to Christ means the imputation to us of his obedience. Justification means our involvement in the obedience of Christ in terms of the same principle by which we are involved in Adam’s sin. Nothing less is demanded by the analogy instituted in this verse. Again, the involvement in the obedience of Christ is not that of our personal voluntary obedience nor that of our subjective holiness. This would violate the forensic character of the justification with which the apostle is dealing. But we must not tone down the formula “constituted righteous” to any lower terms than the gracious judgment on God’s part whereby the obedience of Christ is reckoned to our account and therefore reckoned as ours with all the entail of consequence which righteousness carries with it. This interprets for us “the free gift of righteousness” (vs. 17) of which believers become the recipients and also how “through the one righteous act” judgment comes upon them “unto justification of life” (vs. 18).

The future tense in “will be constituted righteous” must not be taken as referring to an act that is reserved for the consummation. This would violate the nature of justification as a free gift received by believers here and now in its completeness and perfection. The future tense can well be used to indicate that this act of God’s grace is being continually exercised and will continue to be exercised throughout future generations of mankind.36 In this respect it differs from the judgment by which men were constituted sinners; the latter was a judgment that passed upon all men once for all in the identification of the whole race with Adam in his sin. The change of tense intimates the progressive realization of the fruits of Christ’s obedience through the ever-continuing acts of grace in justifying the ungodly.[5]

18, 19. Consequently, as one trespass161 resulted in condemnation for all men, so also one act of righteousness resulted for all men in justification issuing in life. For just as through the disobedience of the one the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One will the many be made righteous.

As the word “consequently” indicates, not only is Paul now returning to the thought expressed in verse 12; he is summing up the argument of the entire paragraph (verses 12–17). The present passage places over against each other one trespass, namely, that of Adam (Gen. 3:6, 9–12, 17), a trespass here called “the disobedience of the one,” and one act or deed of righteousness, called “the obedience of the One,” that One being Jesus Christ. Cf. Phil. 2:8. Since in the preceding context Paul has no less than three times mentioned Christ’s death for his people (verses 6, 8, 10; cf. verses 7 and 9), it is certain that also here in verses 18, 19 the reference is to that supreme sacrifice. However, we should not interpret this concept too narrowly: Christ’s voluntary death represents his entire sacrificial earthly ministry of which that death was the climax.

We can understand that one trespass resulted for all men in condemnation, but what does the apostle mean when he states that also for all men one act of righteousness resulted in life-imparting justification? If in the first case “all men” means absolutely everybody, does not logic demand that in the second instance of its use it has the same meaning? The answer is:

  1. The apostle has made very clear in previous passages that salvation is for believers, for them alone (1:16, 17; 3:21–25, etc.).
  2. He has emphasized this also in this very context: those alone who “receive the overflowing fulness of grace and of the gift of righteousness” will reign in life (verse 17).
  3. In a passage which is similar to 5:18, and to which reference has been made earlier, the apostle himself explains what he means by “all” or “all men” who are going to be saved and participate in a glorious resurrection. That passage is:

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward those who are Christ’s, at his coming” (1 Cor. 15:22, 23). Here it is clearly stated that the “all” who will be made alive are “those who are Christ’s,” that is, those who belong to him.

But though this answer proves that when Paul here uses the expression “all” or “all men” in connection with those who are or will be saved, this “all” or “all men” must not be interpreted in the absolute or unlimited sense, this still leaves another question unanswered, namely, “Why does Paul use this strong expresssion?” To answer this question one should carefully read the entire epistle. It will then become clear that, among other things, Paul is combating the ever-present tendency of Jews to regard themselves as being better than Gentiles. Over against that erroneous and sinful attitude he emphasizes that, as far as salvation is concerned, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. The reader should carefully study the following passages in order to see this for himself: 1:16, 17; 2:7–11; 3:21–24, 28–30; 4:3–16; 9:8, 22–33; 10:11–13; 11:32; 15:7–12; 16:25–27. As concerns salvation, says Paul, “There is no distinction. God shows no partiality.” All men are sinners before God. All are in need of salvation. For all the way to be saved is the same.

In a day and age in which, even in certain evangelical circles, the unbiblical distinction between Jew and Gentile is still being maintained and even emphasized, it is necessary that what God’s Word says about this, particularly also in Paul’s epistle to the Romans, be pointed out.

Note that in verse 18 we are told that the one trespass resulted in condemnation for all, but that the one act of righteousness resulted in justification issuing in life. This shows that justification not merely overturns the verdict of “guilty,” setting aside the sentence of doom, but also opens the gate to life. For this concept of life—cf. verses 17 and 21—see above on 2:7.

Also in verse 19 Paul does not say, “Just as through the disobedience of the one the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One will the many be made innocent or sinless,” but “… will the many be made righteous.” To be sure, this basically means “to be declared righteous.” However, when God declares someone righteous, does that action ever stand all by itself? See the explanation of 5:5.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 1, pp. 306–308). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, pp. 601–608). 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, pp. 99–100). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] 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. 371–372). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] Murray, J. (1968). The Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 1, pp. 203–206). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, pp. 182–183). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Mueller and Comey Went After Blago and Trump – Trump Stopped Them – Now Blago Has the Goods on Obama and the Deep State — The Gateway Pundit

Guest post by Marty Watters

Never mind the Russians. Former FBI directors Robert Mueller and James Comey and their Deep State masters are the real threat to our republic.

Aided by a complicit media and feckless representatives in Washington DC, Mueller and Comey have so far gotten away with interfering in at least two presidential elections and they may be at it again in 2020.

Their playbook was simple.

In 2008 FBI Director Mueller was so successful at getting a corrupt progressive nobody, U.S. Senator Barack Hussein Obama, into the White House that his successor, Comey, thought he could use the exact same playbook to do the same for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The playbook was actually used first in the Valerie Plame scandal known as Plamegate.

The first step involves protecting the Deep State candidate by projecting their crimes onto a chosen patsy.

2008 election: Obama had a history of receiving bribes and favors from convicted felon Tony Rezko: Rezko’s partner, Saddam Hussein bagman Nadhmi Auchi: and former Chicago cop Daniel T Frawley, who claimed in an email to have passed $400k in cash bribes through Rezko to Obama.

In order to divert attention from Obama’s criminal dealings with Rezko and Auchi, FBI Director Mueller opened an investigation into Rezko’s dealings with Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and simultaneously swept Obama’s crimes under the rug. The five year “investigation” of Blago came to an abrupt end when the Justice Department leaked information to the Chicago Tribune in order to avoid having to arrest Obama’s presidential election campaign co-chairman, Jesse Jackson Jr., for trying to buy Obama’s senate seat.

Blago was arrested, Jackson was not.

Blago faced criminal prosecution while Obama moved on to become President.

2016 election: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a lucrative deal for the Clinton Foundation by illegally selling the Russians control of twenty percent of U.S. Uranium production through Uranium One.  This was concealed by Secretary Clinton’s conducting business on a private server and destroying the records when the deal was discovered.

In order to divert attention from Clinton’s criminal dealings with Russia, FBI Director Comey cleared Clinton of her crimes involving the illegal server she set up and the destruction of the records kept on that server. Then Comey helped promote the phony Steele dossier, that Clinton paid for and used to paint Trump as a Russian operative.

Presumably Clinton would have moved on to become President in 2016 and Trump would have been facing criminal prosecution.

However, as Comey learned the hard way:

  • Trump is infinitely smarter than Mueller and Comey ever expected
  • Trump was a far superior presidential candidate than GOP sell-out Senator John McCain
  • Unlike Obama in 2008, it was already widely known that Clinton was a hardcore criminal.

Which brings us to Trump’s commutation of Blago’s sentence, and why this is so important.

Now that Blago is out of prison, he is free to talk about the crimes Obama committed in Illinois, how Muller covered them up, and how it all relates to Comey’s seditious acts that followed.

So when you hear Blago say, “The same characters that did it to me are involved in doing it to Trump,” what he is really saying is the people who interfered in the 2016 election are the same people who interfered in the 2008 election.

And they’re not Russian!

It’s like Blago said when he was trying to sell Obama’s senate seat, “I’ve got this thing and it’s f—–g “Golden”.

Only this time Blago will be selling the truth about Mueller and Comey.

No wonder the DC swamp and their media are freaking out over Blago’s release from prison.

via Mueller and Comey Went After Blago and Trump – Trump Stopped Them – Now Blago Has the Goods on Obama and the Deep State — The Gateway Pundit

February 25 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

February 25.—Morning. [Or April 20.]
“Hallowed be thy name.”

WE shall now read a brief incident, very terrible to think upon, and full of solemn teaching to us all. May the Holy Spirit enable us to profit by it.

Leviticus 24:10–16; 23

10 ¶ And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp. (Among the people of God there are some who are not altogether of Israel, they are in heart Egyptians or lovers of sin, and yet they are near of kin to true believers, and mingle freely in their gatherings.)

11 And the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed. (Observe that the words—“of the Lord” are not in the original. He blasphemed the name. Now there is given among us a name which is above every name, a name at which every knee shall bow, and woe shall be unto the man who shall lightly esteem the name of Jesus.) And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:) (Bad men shame their mothers. May we never do that.)

12 And they put him in ward, that the mind of the Lord might be shewed them.

It is not for us to judge unbelievers except as we have the Lord’s warrant for it from his own mouth. Utterances against the name and glory of the Lord Jesus should, however, strike us with horror, and lead us to consider what will be the doom of those who utter them.

13 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. (No ordinary punishment could meet the despiser’s case: he must die. There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, and as the offender had done despite to that blessed name, he must be suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy. We should be unfaithful if we held out even the slightest hope of eternal life to those who despise the name of Jesus. Rather must all the faithful lay their hands upon the unbeliever’s head, as assenting and consenting to his just punishment. Mercy there is in Jesus, but those who put him away from them bring down their blood upon their own heads.)

15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.

16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

23 And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses. (No other end is decreed for a blasphemer of “the name” than death, swift and terrible. Those awful words of the apostle which we will now quote, ought to sink down into every heart, and move us to reverent obedience to the name of Jesus.)

Hebrews 10:28–31

28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, the Lord shall judge his people.

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Jesus, the name high over all,

In hell, or earth, or sky;

Angels and men before it fall,

And devils fear and fly.

Jesus, the name to sinners dear,

The name to sinners given,

Woe to the man who will not hear

Th’ ambassador from heaven:

February 25.—Evening. [Or April 21.]
“The year of my redeemed is come.”

Leviticus 25:8–17; 25–28; 39–42

AND thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years: and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.

10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you: and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (The preaching of the Gospel is a proclamation of a spiritual jubilee, Jesus our great High-priest has preached deliverance to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Now, even now, each believer keeps his jubilee. Note that the jubilee began on the evening of the day of atonement; our Lord’s atoning work is the fountain-head of our holy joy.)

11, 12 A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.

13 In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.

14, 15 And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubile, thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:

16 According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee.

17 Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God. (The Jews could overreach each other by selling the lease of their lands for forty-nine years, whereas the seven seventh years were not “years of the fruits” but sabbatic years, and therefore the Lord enacts that the sabbatic years shall not count in the estimate. In our buying and selling let us be scrupulously just, lest we provoke the Lord.)

25 ¶ If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. (Blessed be God, we have a near “kinsman” who has redeemed our lost inheritance for us.)

26, 27 And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.

28 But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession. (Our lost possession is now restored to us, and we have obtained even more than Adam forfeited.)

39 ¶ And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:

40, 41, 42 But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen. (Thus by the gospel jubilee we are set free, with the true liberty. Now know we the meaning of the Lord’s words, “the year of my redeemed is come.” Have all in this house kept the jubilee? If not, the Lord grant that we may.)

Jesus our great High Priest,

Hath full atonement made;

Ye weary spirits, rest;

Ye mournful souls, be glad!

The year of jubilee is come:

Return, ye ransom’d sinners, home.

Ye who have sold for nought

The heritage above,

Receive it back unbought,

The gift of Jesus’ love;

The year, &c.

Ye slaves of sin and hell,

Your liberty receive;

And safe in Jesus dwell,

And blest in Jesus live;

The year, &c.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 111–112). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

February 25 In His Steps

1 Peter 2:21

To this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.

After supper one evening, we decided to stroll along the beach to the boardwalk, about twenty blocks away. I remember pointing out to the children that they ought to be careful where they walked. We were barefoot and could easily step on broken shells or those horrid jellyfish.

Since my gait is usually about twice as fast as anyone else’s, I was walking out in front of the rest of the family. Suddenly I sensed that someone was immediately behind me. The crunch of feet, not my own, was audible and I looked over my shoulder to see one small son stretching to put his feet in the very footprints I was leaving in the sand. I guess he felt that the only way he could be sure that he avoided broken shells, jellyfish, and crabs was to step exactly where his father was stepping.

What a lesson I learned that day! Sometimes as I walk through the debris of this world, I shudder to think of all the spiritual jellyfish, broken shells, and crabs that lie in the path. There is no certain way to avoid these pitfalls apart from the steps of our heavenly Leader.[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 58). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.