Exclusive: W. Scott Magill, M.D., sees a ‘brilliantly engineered coordinated campaign’ against U.S.
By W. Scott Magill, M.D.
It is time to seriously question everything we are told regarding the physical and the cultural virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, in his role as longtime federal immunology bureaucrat, paid $3.7 million to the Wuhan laboratory for coronavirus development after the U.S. declared a moratorium on such funding. Fauci is joined at the hip with Bill Gates, paid for the scam VA study at the University of Virginia and has been on the payroll of the Clinton Foundation for years.
He is responsible for the death of thousands of Americans by leading the opposition to a drug regimen that is at least a 91% effective in curingSARS-CoV2 infections – thereby violating his Oath – “First do no harm” – and his responsibility to America and Americans.
Now he gleefully flaunts the success of Remdesivir, which was initially developed in 2016 to fight against Ebola and made by Gilead Biosciences as the “cure” for COVID-19. Bear in mind that Dr. Fauci reportedly has close ties to, through the Clinton Foundation, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who appears to promote whatever Xi Jinping wants him to promote. And who holds the patent on Remdesivir? – China.
A convoluted issue indeed, with Gilead stating it patented Remdesivir in China and the Wuhan Institute of Virology filing a patent application on Jan. 4, 2020.
It appears that to the becoming-infamous Dr. Fauci, truth and reality are only a reflection of his desires at any given moment, and that is subject to change in the next moment. As reported by One American News this week, in 2005, he knew that hydroxychloroquine was “effective against viruses genetically related to COVID-19.” However, when it became troublesome to his financial and social Trojan horse, he contradicted President Trump and global experience and experts during a Task Force briefing on March 20, 2020, saying, “You got to be careful saying ‘fairly effective.’ …” – effectively saying, a la Obi Wan, “America, these are not the drugs you’re looking for – move along.”
With a brilliant piece of journalism, two terms not used together often, by Tucker Carlson in March, the Fox host destroyed any doubt that the Wuhan coronavirus came from the Wuhan Virology Lab. Subsequently, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have confirmed there is abundant credible evidence that, in point of fact, the leak from the Wuhan Lab was the start of a global pandemic. These truths do not seem to meld with Dr. Fauci’s desired reality, and he firmly stated, there is “no evidence” that SARS-CoV2 escaped from a Chinese lab. Although it is possible that infected horseshoe bats were brought into the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the virus escaped during guiltless experiments, this was not mentioned. Instead, Fauci answered the unasked question, emphatically stating that the scientific evidence is “very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.” Does the gentleman protest too much?
And just who, or what is Gilead Biosciences? Gilead is partnered with Wuxi Pharmaceuticals, an international pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical device company. According to Wikipedia, “The company covers the development cycle through five core operations, including small molecule R&D and manufacturing, biologics R&D and manufacturing, cell therapy and gene therapy R&D and manufacturing, medical device testing, and molecular testing and genomics.” And where, you may ask, is the company located? Wuxi Pharm was begun in Shanghai by Dr. Gi Li now with facilities also in Wuxi City and Suzhou, China, as well as facilities in St. Paul, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Wuxi Pharmaceuticals is owned by none other than America’s own – George Soros.
The web becomes even more entangled as a reported owner of Gilead Bioscience is also … George Soros.
Holding this web together is the fact that Gilead has endorsed and is engaged with a drug purchasing group, UNITAID. UNITAID is an outgrowth of the United Nations, Millennium Declaration of 2000, which is now the U.N. Global Compact.
The large investors in UNITAID include WHO, George Soros, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a partnership relationship with the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Both Drs. Fauci and Birx are associated with the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
When, you may ask, will Remdesivir go into production? On Feb. 12, 2020 – that is correct, Feb. 12 – 10 days after Trump initiated the China travel ban, Bloomberg reported:
“A Chinese drugmaker said it has started mass-producing an experimental drug from Gilead Sciences that has the potential to fight the novel coronavirus, as China accelerates its effort to find a treatment for the widening outbreak.
“Suzhou [China]-based BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology said in a statement filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Tuesday night that it has developed the technology to synthesize the active pharmaceutical ingredients of Remdesivir, Gilead’s drug that is a leading candidate to treat the highly infectious virus that’s killed more than 1,000 people. The drug isn’t licensed or approved anywhere in the world yet. …”
Of interest, HHS has already won a lawsuit against Gilead. “For nearly a decade, Gilead’s price gouging on PrEP has prevented hundreds of thousands of Americans from accessing this technology, despite it being a taxpayer-funded invention,” noted a statement by the PrEP4All Collaboration. “If HHS is truly invested in ending the HIV epidemic, it will use these patents as leverage to ensure that everyone who needs PrEP can get it.”
Can there be any uncertainty as to why Dr. Fauci, who worked closely with Gilead, is strongly promoting its more expensive and less effective medication, which has already failed against Ebola, over a readily available, markedly affordable medication with a 91% success rate?
Has America reached the point where what once was unthinkable became the unspeakable, and is now becoming the undeniable?
Consider the anti-liberty players: Anthony Fauci; George Soros; WHO and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party; The Clinton Foundation; the FDA, which has tried to limit hydroxychloroquine to hospital use where the window of maximum effect has passed, and now approves the unproven and expensive Remdesivir; CDC, which requires fraudulent death certificates to bolster the COVID-19 death rate, dispensed test kits tainted with SARS-CoV2 and supports contact tracing as “KEY STRATEGY”; Bill and Melinda Gates; the media; the Democratic Party and its politicians; and countless numbers of influentials flying under the radar. Is there any reason to believe anything these domestic enemies say or offer?
Is there any reason America, the last great hope for humanity, should fall to a virus with a 99.6% survival rate, even if it’s being manipulated by a well-orchestrated and executed malevolent plan by those with nefarious intentions? America will only fall if Americans continue to nurture their fear and refuse to stand against this stealthy malignancy eating away at the very core of freedom and liberty.
Is there any reason to believe that the SARS-CoV2 virus is not America’s Trojan horse, or should we say Trojan virus? A Trojan horse that provides the tools for the left to weaponize the invisible enemy and empower it far beyond its inherent physical capabilities. America’s Trojan horse provided the blueprint to America’s anti-freedom left to brilliantly engineer a coordinated campaign against the American culture and society. A crusade of lies, blame, deceit, deception and false accusations all designed to spread division, fear and panic – like a virus – from coast to coast throughout our republic. All to accelerate America’s rush to national suicide by the tyranny of socialism.
Remember, Americans don’t give up; they stand up! Veterans in Defense of Liberty® is calling on all Americans to contact their elected officials, at the federal, state and local level, and advise them that we counsel every American to consider ALL INFORMATION from our federal government about the current pandemic worthless and false until the following six questions are entirely and plainly answered:
1. Hydroxychloroquine is cheap, safe, plentiful and at least 91% successful in curing COVID-19 when taken early in the disease process. Why is the federal government discouraging its use, thereby directly contributing to the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of Americans?
2. Why did the FDA direct doctors to prescribe hydroxychloroquine only for hospitalized patients, by which time the drug’s effectiveness is reduced, increasing the probability of death by delay?
3. Why has Dr. Fauci not been removed from the Coronavirus Task Force for conflict of interest since he and his pharmaceutical partners stand to make huge profits from any expensive COVID-19 vaccine developed later, while they earn nothing from cheap hydroxychloroquine cure available right now?
4. How was Dr. Fauci allowed to direct $3.7 million of American taxpayer money to conduct illegal virus research at the Chinese government’s bioweapons laboratory in Wuhan, from which this virus may have escaped?
5. Communist China sickened the world, and now, with Dr. Fauci’s full involvement, we will try to sell us the cure for the disease it caused. How is this not rewarding criminal behavior?
6. Since sound science and accurate data are essential for combating any pandemic, why have Dr. Birx and the federal government (CDC) directed doctors to classify the cause of death on the death certificate to grossly inflate the COVID-19 death rate even if they only “assume” COVID-19; while other primary causes of death exist?
If Americans stand NOW and proclaim to the world that America is open for business, that America is back, then, as President Lincoln proclaimed in his Annual Address to the U.S. Congress, Dec. 1, 1862, “The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just – a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” – Thomas Paine
William Scott Magill, M.D., is the executive director of Veterans in Defense of Liberty (ViDoL). He served with the United States Marine Corp. 1965-1971, with the United States Army Medical Corps 1981-1988, and with the Denver Police Dept. 1970-1976. He obtained his bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Denver, Masters of Health Care Administration Trinity University in San Antonio, and medical degree from The University of Health Sciences in Kansas City. Dr. Magill matriculated his residency in Ob/Gyn at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, and served as the Chief of Ob/Gyn at Irwin Army Hospital Ft. Riley Kansas. He was until recently a practicing obstetrician & Gynecologist in Springfield, Missouri, for 21 years.
Small Minded People with Authority
Humans are inherently social creatures, and that is never going to change. Within each one of us there is a fundamental need for connection with others, but now these coronavirus lockdowns have separated us from one another like never before. Thankfully, many states are now starting to end their lockdowns, but unfortunately this is definitely not the end for “social distancing”. Just as 9/11 greatly altered our society on a permanent basis, many of our social engineers now intend to make “social distancing” a permanent part of our lives. If they have their way, there will be written or unwritten rules about how close you can get to other people virtually everywhere that you go.
Can you imagine a world where you have to constantly be concerned about walking, standing or sitting too close to someone else?
Already, there is talk of putting physical markings on sidewalks in order to constantly remind all of us not to walk too closely to one another…
Arrows on the ground, and other physical markers to encourage and enforce distance. Imagine sidewalks with scoring every 6 feet so those walking could make sure they’re the human equivalent of a few car lengths behind. Or large sculptures deployed to separate people.
And Wal-Mart and other major retailers are already starting to put arrows on the floor to remind us which direction to shop so that we can maintain proper “social distancing”.
We are being told that restaurants may have to start putting empty tables between customers, sports stadiums may have to keep at least half their seats empty, and churches may have to start holding services in shifts.
Just like in the days after 9/11, we will be told that the changes are just “temporary measures”, but once we accept “temporary measures” long enough they have a way of becoming permanent.
When I was much younger, I loved to attend concerts. And at first I was encouraged to hear that some states were going to start allowing live concerts once again, but then I learned about the new “fan pods”…
Travis McCready, the singer of the country-rock band Bishop Gunn, will be performing what’s billed as an “intimate acoustic set” in Fort Smith at the city’s TempleLive venue — but with social distancing measures in place. The show will take place on May 15, three days before the scheduled reopening.
According to Billboard, assigned seats for the show will be at least six feet apart per grouping in what Ticketmaster is calling “fan pods.” As fans enter the venue, they’ll be required to wear face masks (including the venue’s employees), have their temperatures taken at the door and capacity for the 1,100 person venue will be capped at 229.
Are you kidding me?
I understand that they are trying to prevent the spread of the virus, but it isn’t going to work.
Look, unless you plan on locking yourself in your own home for the next couple of years, you are almost certainly going to be exposed to the virus no matter how careful you are.
And once you are exposed to the virus, what is really going to matter is the strength of your immune system, and so that should be your focus instead of trying to maintain “proper social distancing” at all times.
To me, some of the “social distancing” measures that we are now seeing are completely and utterly ridiculous. For example, at one supermarket in Philadelphia cashiers are actually working in “tent-like” plastic enclosures…
At a Philadelphia supermarket, the cashier’s side of each checkout line has been outfitted with a tent-like plastic enclosure, keeping essential workers safe while on the job.
Alexander Tavares, 19, captured now-viral footage of the new working conditions, constructed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, at a store on March 25.
Those enclosures may protect those workers for a short period of time, but it is inevitable that they will eventually be exposed to the virus.
This pandemic is never going to burn itself out until herd immunity is achieved, and herd immunity is never going to be achieved until about 70 percent of the population catches the virus.
Of course it would be wonderful if someone could actually find a way to keep 70 percent of the population from becoming infected, but because this virus spreads like wildfire that simply is not going to be possible.
In the end, “social distancing” can temporarily slow the transmission of the virus, but roughly the same proportion of the population will eventually catch it whether we have “social distancing” or not.
Thankfully, some industries are already starting to push back against “social distancing”. There has been an effort to require airlines to keep middle seats vacant on all flights from now on, and the airlines are fighting this really hard…
Airlines are pushing back on proposals to require social distancing onboard aircraft. During a press briefing today, airline industry group IATA argued that leaving the middle seat vacant would hurt airlines’ ability to recover from the coronavirus crisis and potentially cause a spike of up to 54% in airfares.
If you get on an airplane, you pretty much have to assume that you are going to be exposed to all sorts of nasty bugs. That has always been true, and there will never be a time when it isn’t true.
If you don’t want to be exposed to all sorts of nasty bugs, just don’t fly.
As far as COVID-19 is concerned, there are literally thousands of ways that you could potentially catch this virus, and anyone that believes that “proper social distancing” will keep people 100 percent safe is just being delusional.
Sadly, “social distancing” has been pounded into our heads so relentlessly in recent weeks that a big chunk of the population has become big believers in it.
In fact, one recent survey discovered that almost 60 percent of everyone living in Seattle intends to continue practicing social distancing “for a year or longer”…
Nearly 60 percent of people in Seattle say they plan on doing social distancing for a year or longer.
That’s according to a new survey recently released by a company in New York City called Elucd.
This company said they provide data to the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department on the public’s opinions on various topics.
And once you adopt a pattern for a whole year, there is a really good chance that it becomes permanent.
We can’t let them do this to us.
They fundamentally changed our society after 9/11, and now the social engineers want to do it again.
We must stop them this time, because the alternative is absolutely unthinkable.
It would be nice to think that the malicious Machiavellians in media and politics will be held accountable for visiting one of American history’s greatest blunders upon us. But that appears just a dream. It’s lamentable, surely, and can make one understand why G.K. Chesterton once remarked, “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”
(Selwyn Duke – Renew America) When I speak of a hoax and The Virus, I don’t mean there isn’t in our population a pathogen identified as SARS-CoV-2 or, as the “unwoke” might say, the Wuhan Flu….
As with past respiratory diseases, it’s also dangerous to the vulnerable. But as data increasingly show — and as I and some others have been saying all along — this current situation is very different from past pandemics in one significant and deadly way: It’s not being treated as only a medical/health issue.
It’s being treated as a political issue.
And as the Soviet Union’s Lysenkoism demonstrated, politics kills science.
I recently dubbed the Wuhan Flu the “Wizard of Oz Virus” because its reputation greatly exceeds its power. This was evident long ago, too. We only had to look at the early data coming out on Italy and a certain quarantined cruise ship, after all.
All … all … all.—Matthew 28:17–20.
ALL power is given unto Me; go teach all nations. Teach them what? To observe all things. There are a great many people now that are willing to observe what they like about Christ, but the things that they don’t like they turn away from. But His commission to His disciples was, “Go teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” And what right has a messenger who has been sent of God to change the message?
 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. 83). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.
Every generation has blind spots. The church is no exception. The church has always had rough edges and areas in need of reform. That being said, every generation of Christian has also had their strengths, and those strengths often serve as correctives to the blind spots of other generations.
One of the major blind spots of the twenty-first-century American church is its view of theology. For many in the church, theology is little more than fuel for controversy or a complicated, wet blanket for Christian sincerity and zeal. We live in an age when pastors are expected to be all things to all men—that is, except theologians.
Many churches and Christians today have filed for theological divorce—making clear distinctions between the rigors of the mind and the affections of the soul. Many sigh in exasperation: give me what my soul needs, not complicated doctrines! The reality is, however, theology was never intended for such abuse. This is our generation’s tragic blind spot.
But another generation has answers and cures for our doctrinal deficiencies—the generation of the Puritans. For these sixteenth and seventeeth-century Protestants, theology was not intellectual rough-housing, but the very soul of the Christian life. The Puritan Thomas Watson writes that doctrine “directs the whole course of Christianity, as the eye directs the body…. [It] is to the soul as the anchor to the ship, that holds it steady in the midst of the rolling waves of error, or the violent winds of persecution.”1
The Puritans understood that reflection about God should produce affection for God
They knew that the head is meant to serve the heart. They were gripped by the reality that theology enjoyed in the soul would kindle worship and prayer. The Puritans were bent on making theology transformative for the soul.
And so, I wish to offer an example of a Puritan doing theology to answer a pressing question: how do I actually change and grow?
How does a Christian gain a practical, genuine holiness is the question of every age—a love-your-spouse and think-less-of-yourself kind of holiness. A holiness very much available to (and expected of) us in the here-and-now. Newly regenerated believers enter into the Christian life outmatched, overwhelmed, and often still somewhat enamored by sin. The war has begun. And thus there is an earnestness to the question: how do I practically increase in holiness?
This increasing in holiness is what the NT authors refer to as sanctification.
What is sanctification but the painful, slow carving of our lives into the image of Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 8:29)? It is the slow, at times minute-by-minute, putting to death of sin by the power of Christ through the instrument of the word.
And yet, the question remains: How does one do this? In other words, what are the means God has given by which one may grow in holiness and victory over sin and temptation?
The grace of God works through very practical means,
which is why we refer to them as means of grace.
This is precisely where the Puritans can help us. I am going to let Henry Scougal (1650-1678) step in. In his soul-nourishing little book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, Scougal reveals what is perhaps the deepest secret to sanctification and holiness. And what is that secret?
Follow Scougal’s logic. He writes:
Love is that powerful and prevalent passion by which all the faculties and inclinations of the soul are determined and on which both its perfection and happiness depend.
In other words, what you love the most determines the direction and happiness of your life.
He goes on:
The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love: he who loveth mean2 and sordid things doth thereby become base and vile; but a noble and well-placed affection doth advance and improve the spirit unto a conformity with the perfections with its loves.
Here now is the crux of his argument:
What you love most, you grow to resemble
If you love someone, you will likely begin to absorb some of their interests and passions into yourself. If you develop a passion for gambling, you should not be surprised to find in your life sprouts of greed and recklessness. You slowly, yet assuredly, resemble what you love. This means, then, if we love God most, we will begin to resemble His beauty and holiness.
So if we find deficiencies in our practical holiness, we have to ask ourself, What am I loving? Because I am growing to resemble something that is not God. Therefore, we are to love God more. So then the next question presents itself: how do I increase my affections for God? This is nearing the heart of what it really means to change. Answer: you must expose yourself to Him and His beauty. How? In the pages of Scripture. You must gaze upon the beauty of His perfections and character in the pages of Scripture.
Scougal put it this way:
The true way to improve and ennoble our souls is, by fixing our love on the divine perfections, that we may have them always before us, and derive an impression of them on ourselves…. He who, with a generous and holy ambition, hath raised his eyes toward that uncreated beauty and goodness, and fixed his affection there, is quite of another spirit, of a more excellent and heroic temper than the rest of the world, and cannot but infinitely disdain all mean and unworthy things; will not entertain any low or base thoughts which might disparage his high and noble pretentions.
Far too often, we think of theology as useless quibbles that will all sort themselves out in the end. But a theologian is one who thinks rigorous thoughts about God. We are all theologians. Some of us, as theologians, have just come to the conclusion (unconsciously) that my understanding of the character of God has little to do with my arguments with my wife. That could not be more wrong. Scougal teaches us that the secret to our day-in-day-out holiness is not to avoid thinking deeply about God, but to push ourselves deeper into who God is.
The more of God’s glory you see, the more you will love Him
And the more you love Him, the more you will begin to resemble your Father, or—to state it negatively—the more liberation you will experience from the sins that entangle you.
Scougal demonstrates that precise, robust theology is anything but a wet blanket to Christian zeal. Instead, all of the life-change that we long to see in ourselves and in others is produced through careful meditation and theological reflection. Here is but one small example of why we should not only read the Puritans, but emulate their enjoyment of theology. The church would be healthier for it.
Editor’s Note: For more on the intersection of theology and everyday life, see our free resource: Reformed Practical Theology.
 Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 4.
 That is, low in dignity, worth, or value.
For Democrats, COVID-19 is the road to socialism.
As the country navigates the course of the mis-modeled and over-hyped COVID-19 pandemic, we are hovering on a fragile tightrope between freedom and socialism, with those on the left pushing for socialism.
Eager not to let a “crisis go to waste,” Democrat lawmakers have become tyrannical, enforcing draconian unconstitutional stay home orders.
Joe Biden admits his goal is to use COVID-19 as an excuse to push a radically left agenda.
Dead Americans, millions of people plunged into idleness during lockdown and a broken economy that may plunge us into a depression is an “incredible opportunity” to “to fundamentally transform the country,” the presumptive Democrat nominee gloated on Monday.
California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom also admits he wants to take advantage of the coronavirus “crisis” to implement a “new progressive era.”
Despite the rising amounts of Americans who are calling to return to work, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is touting “universal basic income.”
A recently released poll shows Democrats favor mandatory testing, immunity cards, ankle bracelets, quarantine and fines, precepts historically imposed in every communist country.
On Easter Sunday, Kentucky’s Democrat governor Andy Beshear ticketed those who attended an Easter church service in their cars and even put nails on the street and parking lot to “save lives.”
But Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer has earned nationwide infamy for using the coronavirus as a license to be a tyrant.
In true dictator fashion, Whitmer who is on the shortlist to be Biden’s running mate, has told the citizens of Michigan what is and what is not “essential,” what they can buy, where they can go, banned gatherings “anywhere for any reason” in people’s homes and shut down stores she deemed “unnecessary”.
Stores that she allowed to remain open have had to cordon off all products she has decided are not essential including plants, vegetable seeds, appliances and baby car seats.
She is keeping abortion clinics open but has banned the sale of the American flag.
The only thing standing between the United States and socialism is President Trump. The left’s effort to “save lives” during COVID-19 is their latest ploy to defeat the president.
Can we actually coexist or does something have to give? Can we respectfully disagree on important issues and be truly tolerant of those who we think are wrong? Does it matter if they are intolerant of us? Here’s what it might all come down to: We convert them or they convert us.
So many things divide us today. The 2016 election. Abortion. Socialism. Obama. Nationalism. Religious Freedom. Trump. COVID 19, Liberal Media. Racism. Government Shut Down. Free Speech. Big Tech. Public Schools. LGBT Agenda. Environmentalism.
I could go on.
The war on truth is in full swing, and battle lines have been drawn on the liberal left and the conservative right. Church and state lines have also wrongly been laid down. The media and half the country thinks we are idiotic, immoral, or intolerant for believing the Bible.
But remember, we’re all human beings made in the image of God and, coronavirus or not, death comes to us all. I know, how sobering. And if you have given your life to Jesus and believe in His name, you are a Christian first.
The Bible says our citizenship is in Heaven, but while we’re here, we are ambassadors for Christ and need to be loving and patient with others. This is hard to do especially when people are so easily triggered, defensive, and divided about politics, the Constitution, Christianity, and cultural issues.
How did it get so bad?
In a great article by John Zmirak, he writes:
“Engorged with all the power it wielded while Obama was in office, along with its total conquest of our media and academia, the left could not accept Trump’s 2016 victory as legitimate. You know, the way the South couldn’t accept the victory of Lincoln in 1860 without a single Southern electoral vote.”
It’s clear we are operating under very different rules of engagement. Many seem all too willing to lie, allow the country to suffer, for people to die, and to slander the opposition. Is it even possible for us to come together under the unifying flag of humanity in these divided states of America?
Even Christians have taken sides on candidates, party, or policy, but these things are fleeting and will fail us time and time again. They aren’t going to save America. They aren’t going to eliminate all sickness and disease. They aren’t going to change the truth.
A virus with a 99.6% recovery rate is not the real danger that has made 30 million Americans unemployed. The 2017-2018 flu season left us with 61,000 deaths. No draconian measures were taken, nor was there induced fear, panic, paranoia, and hysteria like we have today.
Allen West said that America’s biggest threat isn’t a virus, but tyranny. He adds:
“We know that COVID-19 is most dangerous for those with underlying medical conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, COPD, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Those Americans over the age of 65 have been the hardest hit…”
“We were told that COVID-19 was different, but for the most part, it is not. It is still a virus that attacks the respiratory system. And America did not respond this way with MARS, SARS, Avian (Bird) flu, or the H1N1 (Swine) flu which affected 60 million Americans [during the Obama administration].”
Sadly, this has become about who controls the narrative, who should be president, and about what vision should be enacted for the country. We are now hearing that many deaths of Americans are being classified as caused by COVID-19, when there were preexisting severe health issues.
This is all potentially confusing and crazy. But let’s not make this about us, about our side, or about politics. It’s about the value of every human life. It’s about liberty and a country with a rich history of God’s grace and tremendous blessings.
It’s also about a nation that needed a wake-up call! One that has rebelled against the living God and Creator of all things.
Redeem the time because either way, our days are numbered. Call on the name of the Lord and be saved! Confess your sins, turn back to Jesus, and bring as many people with you as you can.
So, yes, we should vote, and yes, we should fight for godly influence. We should stand for life and traditional family and for natural marriage. We should be vocal and active in church and state. But we should not put all our hope in this life alone.
The Apostle John wrote:
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; …The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15, 17“
America’s deeper problem is not about a virus, a biased media, power-hungry governors or Washington D.C. We have a serious and terminal sin problem. We must return to God and point others back to Him while there’s still time. And pray! No one gets out alive, no matter your politics.
Video courtesy of Freedom Project Media
Many are familiar with the Duluth Model Power and Control Wheel used to identify power dynamics within domestic abuse. This wheel is extremely useful when working with victims and survivors to identify power and control tactics used in their interpersonal relationships.
One day it occurred to me that a power and control wheel could easily be put together on spiritual abuse. Abuse is about power and control, no matter the type of abuse. The same tactics that we see used in domestic abuse may be found in spiritual abuse. I am thankful that Laura Anderson at the Religious Trauma Institute was willing to share the Religious Power and Control Wheel she created.
Each section of the Religious Power and Control Wheel describes a tactic used by abusers to maintain power and control over their victims. According to Laura Anderson, when the tactics are combined, a system is “designed and intended to exert power and control over others by their rules, requirements, punishments and consequences for not adhering to the specific requirements of the group.”
Many who read here will be able to identify with some or all of these tactics. I thought it would be good to provide a space to talk about each one individually. On the wheel, isolation is described as:
*Cutting off relationships with people outside the system
*Reporting back where time/money was spent
*Increased level of commitment to the systems’ activities
*Devaluing people not in the religious system
*Fear/propaganda regarding motives of people outside the system
Abusive religious leaders isolate in order to control the way members think, behave, and feel. Members find that their energy, money, emotional and mental energy, and time becomes focused on the leader and group while outside relationships or information become more untrustworthy. Physical isolation may also occur; members may be required to live in the same house or move to a remote location.
Are there other ways that you have seen controlling religious groups or leaders isolate? If you experienced spiritual abuse, how did isolation impact you?
And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.—Luke 13:12.
My soul! sit down this evening, and let the case of this poor woman open to thy view some sweet subjects of instruction and encouragement. Who knows, but that God the Holy Ghost may graciously make thy meditation on it blessed in Jesus? The Evangelist gives a short but interesting history of her. She was a daughter of Abraham, and yet Satan had bound her: and that not for a little space, but for a very long time, even to eighteen years. Hence learn, that they who are within the covenant, are not without affliction; nay, they become the very grudge and hatred of Satan, on that account, and shall assuredly be made sensible of his enmity. Do not overlook this part of the poor woman’s memoir. It forms a distinguishing feature in the children of the kingdom. Jesus himself hath said, “Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19.) And as to the length of time in which Satan had harassed her, no doubt, there was much mercy mingled with the exercise. Jesus knew all; yea, permitted all, and sanctified all. It were devoutly to be wished, that all the Lord’s afflicted ones would ever keep this conviction uppermost in their minds. I have often thought that we should lose some of our highest enjoyments, if the Lord did not afford occasion for the enemy to make use of some of his deepest cruelties. A child of God can never be a loser by the greatest exercises, while Jesus stands by, regulates, restrains, and ultimately blesseth all. The devil, as in the case of this poor woman, meant nothing but evil; but see, my soul, how Jesus at length overruled it for good. And if the sorrow be lengthened to eighteen, or even eight-and-thirty years, as to the man at the pool of Bethesda, yet if the issue be glorious, it is the end that crowns the action; and in the mean time, the Lord can, and will minister eighteen thousand consolations, to bear his children up under them, and to make them “more than conquerors,” through his grace supporting them. He can, like another Samson, make “meat come forth from the eater; and out of the strong bring forth sweetness.” How often have I seen a child of God triumphing in weakness, when the power of Jesus hath been resting upon him! Yea, the very tear, which hath been standing in the eye from the pain of body, hath looked like a pearl for beauty, from the spiritual enjoyments of the soul.—But let me take another view of this poor exercised daughter of Abraham! Though bowed together by reason of this spirit of infirmity, so as in nowise to be able to lift up herself, yet do not fail to remark, my soul, that she did not absent herself from the house of prayer. What multitudes are there, who plead sickness, yea, trifling sickness, to justify their absence from the house of God! And who shall say, what blessings may be lost upon those occasions? Had Thomas not withdrawn himself from the meeting of the disciples, at that memorable season when Jesus came to bless them, he would have been spared the dreadful mortification that followed. Had this poor woman not been in the synagogue when Jesus visited it, who shall say how long might the blessings she then found have been withheld, or when might another opportunity have offered? And it doth not appear that this poor woman’s attendance on worship was with the most distant view of getting relief to her body, but for the cure of her soul. She was indeed a daughter of Abraham, and, as such, regarded “the one thing needful.” She had at least learned the spiritual truth of that blessed saying of Jesus, whether, or not, she had learned the Lord’s sermon on the mount, and was brought into the practice of it: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”—When Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity!”—It doth not appear that she made any application to Jesus to be healed. Sweet thought! “If we love him, it is because he first loved us.” Gracious as the Lord is to the cries of his afflicted, he doth not always wait for their petitions. It is his love, not our prayers; his free grace, not our constrained necessities, that becomes the rule for Jesus bestowing mercy. O thou dear Lord! art thou now in the assemblies of thy people? And dost thou not seek, and search out the poor of thy fold, wheresoever they have been scattered “in the cloudy and dark day?” (Ezek. 34:11, 12.)—Pause, my soul, over this delightful view of thy Jesus, in his grace, to this daughter of Abraham; and gather from it sweet instruction in all the remaining infirmities under which thou art frequently bowed together, and from which, in thyself, or thine own strength, thou art no more able to lift up thyself, than this woman, of the stock of Abraham. Learn from this relation, where, and in whom alone, thy strength is found. Oh! for grace to live under the constant enjoyment of strength in Jesus, and to say with that exercised servant of old: “I can do nothing of myself: but I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” And should the Lord, in his providence, cause these lines to meet the eye of any son or daughter of Abraham, who is still under the same spirit of infirmity, of a natural state in which they were born, I would say, Do as this poor woman did, diligently attend the means of grace, and let nothing of soul or body hinder a constant waiting upon the Lord: and depend upon it, Jesus will be there, and will speak personally to your case and circumstances, and say, “Thou art loosed from thine infirmity!”
“I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, ‘Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.’” – Revelation 1:9-11
Our Scripture text today records John’s marching orders. He is to write about what he will see and send it to the seven churches in Asia. In verse 9, John identifies himself to his readers. He is a brother in the faith. He is addressing family in the LORD. He is their companion in a season of persecution. (There still continues to be seasons of persecution all around the world.) But John also recognizes that He is part of the Kingdom—the Kingdom of Christ. He is learning patient endurance and perseverance despite difficult times.
John has been exiled on a barren rocky island. He has been exiled for standing firm on the Word and for his testimony concerning Jesus. He is devoted to his Lord and Master. (Let us ask ourselves: Are we standing firm? What characterizes our devotion to the One we have been called to follow?) John has had first-hand experience with the Lord Jesus. He has witnessed our Redeemer’s authoritative preaching and teaching, Christ’s compassion, the miracles confirming Christ’s Deity and Christ’s ultimate sacrifice as our substitute on the cross. John, in God’s grace, knows what he is talking about.
John is obedient to the Master’s call to write and send. What a privilege it is for us to share in that message to this day. What a blessing for this same word from Genesis to Revelation to go out to all those who have been given ears to hear!
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for strength, day by day, to persevere in the most holy faith, to honor and serve the Lord in selfless devotion and to remember the more we serve Christ, the less we will serve self.
Pastor Peter Vellenga serves as an itinerant preacher in the churches of Southern Ontario. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
Entering the Kingdom
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (18:1–4)
Scripture describes and identifies the people of God by many names. But more frequently than anything else we are called children—children of promise, children of the day, children of the light, beloved children, dear children, and children of God.
As believers we can rejoice in the wonderful truth that, through Christ, we have become God’s own children, adopted through grace. Consequently, we bear the image of God’s family and are joint heirs with Jesus Christ of everything God possesses. We enjoy God’s love, care, protection, power, and other resources in abundance for all eternity.
But there is another side to our being children, and in Scripture believers are also referred to as children in the sense that we are incomplete, weak, dependent, undeveloped, unskilled, vulnerable, and immature.
Matthew 18 focuses on those immature, unperfected, childlike qualities that believers demonstrate as they mutually develop into conformity to the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ.
This chapter is a single discourse or sermon by our Lord on the specific theme of the childlikeness of the believer, speaking directly to the reality that we are spiritual children with all the weaknesses that childhood implies. It is also essential to see that the chapter teaches the church, as a group of spiritually unperfected children, how to get along with each other. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the single greatest discourse our Lord ever gave on life among the redeemed people in His church. Sadly, because it has been largely misinterpreted, its profound riches often have been lost. We shall attempt to recover these truths that are so vital, powerful, and needed by the church in every age and place.
The first lesson in this masterful sermon is that everyone who enters the kingdom does so as a child (vv. 1–4). Jesus then teaches that all of us in the kingdom must be treated as children (vv. 5–9), cared for as children (vv. 10–14), disciplined as children (vv. 15–20), and forgiven as children (vv. 21–35).
The setting for the sermon is indicated by the phrase at that time, which refers to a period soon after Jesus told Peter to go to the Sea of Galilee and retrieve the coin from the fish’s mouth (17:27). While Peter was paying the tax with the coin or, more likely, just after he returned, the rest of the disciples came to Jesus, possibly at Peter’s house in Capernaum.
The two scenes are closely connected in time and in thought. On the same day the disciples received the lesson on being citizens of the world they were given a series of lessons on the issues related to being children of God.
The Lord’s teaching was prompted by the disciples themselves, who asked Him a very selfish question that betrayed their sinful ambitions. We learn from Mark and Luke that the question, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? resulted from an argument the Twelve had been having among themselves “as to which of them might be the greatest” (Luke 9:46; cf. Mark 9:34). Although He omnisciently knew what had happened, Jesus asked, “What were you discussing on the way?” They were so ashamed of their attitude and conversation that “they kept silent” (Mark 9:33–34).
Their embarrassed reticence shows they knew that what they had been doing was inconsistent with what their Master had been teaching on humility. But the fact that they nevertheless were arguing about their relative ranks in the kingdom shows they were making little effort to apply what they had been taught. They were as proud, self-seeking, self-sufficient, and ambitious as ever. In light of what they had been discussing and the way they phrased the question to Jesus, it is obvious they expected Him to name one of them as the greatest.
Just as they had heard but not really accepted what Jesus had been teaching about humility, they also had heard but not really accepted what He had been teaching about the kingdom. Much like those to whom Isaiah was sent to preach (Isa. 6:9), the disciples listened but did not perceive and looked but did not understand. They obviously still expected Jesus soon to set up an earthly kingdom, and each of them was hoping to have a high rank in that dominion. They were especially competitive about being number one.
Perhaps it was earlier that same day (see 17:22–23) that Jesus had told them (for the third time) about His impending suffering and death. Although they did not fully understand what He was saying to them (Mark 9:32), they should have sensed its gravity. And even though they were afraid to ask Jesus what He meant (v. 32b), it would seem they would have been discussing that issue rather than which of them was to be the greatest. They were so caught up in their own desire for prestige, glory, and personal aggrandizement that they were impervious to much of what Jesus said—even about His suffering, death, and resurrection. They demonstrated no concept of humility, very little compassion, and certainly no willingness to take up their own crosses and follow Christ to death as they had been taught (Matt. 10:38–39; 16:24–26).
Several months after this lesson in Capernaum, their selfish ambition was still very much evident. Probably at her sons’ instigation, the mother of James and John asked Jesus, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left” (Matt. 20:20–21). The other disciples were indignant at the two brothers, but their indignation was not righteous but envious (v. 24).
It must have been especially painful to Jesus that, just as on the occasion recorded in chapter 18, this self-seeking request came immediately after He had predicted His suffering and death (20:19). There is no indication of sympathy, consolation, or grief concerning what their Lord was about to endure on their behalf and on the behalf of all the world. And on the night before He died, while He was eating the Last Supper with them, they were still arguing about their own greatness (Luke 22:24). Their insensitivity and selfishness is thus demonstrated as all the more sinful because it occurred at times when Jesus was speaking of His own suffering and death.
The rest of the disciples may have been jealous of Peter, knowing that he was the most intimate with Jesus and was always their chief spokesman. Peter was one of the three privileged to witness Jesus’ transfiguration, and only Peter had walked on the water or had his Temple tax miraculously provided. But it was also only Peter who had been told by Jesus, “Get behind Me, Satan” (Matt. 16:23), and perhaps the other disciples thought the number one position was not yet finalized.
The teaching here is desperately needed in the church today, where selfish ambition is widespread and obligation to perform our duty to fellow children of God is routinely ignored.
Like all of us, the disciples needed repeated lessons in humility, and here Jesus used a child as His illustration. And He called a child to Himself and set him before them.
Paidion identifies a very young child, sometimes even an infant. This particular child was perhaps a toddler, just old enough to run to Jesus when He called him to Himself. Because the group was likely in Peter’s house, the child may have belonged to Peter’s family and already been well known to Jesus. In any case, he readily responded and allowed himself to be taken up into Jesus’ arms (Mark 9:36). Jesus loved children and they loved Him, and as He sat before the disciples holding this small child in His arms, He had a beautiful setting in which to teach them profound lessons about the childlikeness of believers.
The essence of the first lesson is in verse three: Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. That is an absolute and far-reaching requirement of ultimate importance. Entrance into Christ’s kingdom demands childlikeness. There is no other way to receive the grace of salvation than as a child.
The kingdom of heaven, a phrase Matthew uses some 32 times, is synonymous with the kingdom of God. It had become common for Jews at the end of the Old Testament era, and especially during the intertestamental period, to substitute out of reverence the word heaven for the Hebrew tetragrammaton (YHWH), God’s covenant name (often rendered as Yahweh, or Jehovah). Used in that way, heaven was simply another way of saying God. Both phrases refer to the rule of God, kingdom of heaven emphasizing the sphere and character of His rule, and kingdom of God emphatically pointing to the ruler Himself. God rules His kingdom with heavenly principles and heavenly blessings and in heavenly power, majesty, and glory. Entering the kingdom means coming under the sovereign rule of God.
Our Lord is talking directly about entering God’s kingdom by faith, through salvation that will result in future millennial blessing and eternal glory. The phrase “enter the kingdom of heaven” is used three times in the book of Matthew (see also 7:21; 19:23–24) and in each case refers to personal salvation. It is the same experience as entering into life (18:8) and entering into the joy of the Lord (25:21).
The fact that a person must enter the kingdom assumes he is born outside of it under the rule of Satan and that he is not naturally a heavenly citizen under the rule of God. The purpose of the gospel is to show men how they may enter the kingdom and become its citizens, moving from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13). It is God’s desire to have men come into His kingdom, and He does not wish “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). The purpose of Christ’s ministry and the ministries of John the Baptist and the apostles was to call people to the kingdom. That is still the supreme task of the church.
The central focus of Matthew’s gospel is to draw men and women into the kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ, and that is doubtlessly one of the reasons the Holy Spirit placed this book at the beginning of the New Testament. Throughout his gospel, Matthew carefully and systematically presents the components of genuine belief.
The first component presented for entering the kingdom is repentance. The message of John the Baptist was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (3:2), and it was with that identical message that the Lord began His own ministry (4:17). The initial call for entering the kingdom was a call for people to recognize and repent of their sin, which involves genuine desire to turn away from it. This repentance is not a human work but a divine gift that only God can grant (see 2 Tim. 2:25).
A second component of the faith that grants entrance to the kingdom is the recognition of spiritual bankruptcy. That, too, is a work of God, not man, because it is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin (John 16:8–11). The Beatitudes begin with a call to humility, expressed there as poverty of spirit (Matt. 5:3). The person who genuinely wants to enter God’s kingdom sees himself as utterly unworthy and undeserving. His awareness of his sin brings guilt and frustration over his inadequacy to remove it. He knows that he cannot himself cleanse his sin and that he has nothing to offer God that could merit forgiveness for it. The Greek term behind “poor in spirit” refers to a beggar who has absolutely no resources of his own. Because the repentant and bankrupt person is deeply aware of his sin, he mourns over it (v. 4); because he has no righteousness of his own, he hungers and thirsts for God’s righteousness (v. 6); and because he cannot himself cleanse his sin, he longs for the purity of heart (v. 8) that only God can provide.
A third component of the faith that allows entering the kingdom is meekness, which is closely related to the sense of having nothing of value to offer God. Because of his sense of personal unworthiness, the humble and meek person neither claims nor demands anything of glory for himself. He is committed to fight for God’s causes, not his own.
The one who enters God’s kingdom also will have a desire and capacity to be obedient. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus declared, “but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Entering God’s kingdom is more than simply expressing the wish to be in it and having the conviction that Jesus is its Lord. The sovereign, saving God will produce in the soul a personal submission to Jesus as Lord and a new heart longing to obey His commands. The person who is unwilling to leave the things of the world for the things of the Lord has no genuine desire for salvation (8:19–22). Coming into the kingdom assumes by the very term that one comes under the rule of the Lord of that kingdom.
When Jesus called people to follow Him, He was calling them to salvation (cf. Matt. 19:21). The new birth makes people followers of Jesus. It would be more consistent with the method of our Lord if, instead of asking people to “make a decision for Christ,” modern evangelists would call them to turn from sin to follow the Lord’s leadership and turn over to Him the rule of their lives.
The one who enters God’s kingdom also is willing to make public confession of his desire to follow the Lord. “Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men,” Jesus said, “I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (10:32–33).
The one who enters God’s kingdom is aware of his need to be self-denying. Jesus said, “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it” (10:38–39).
Further in Matthew’s presentation of the faith that saves is the component of persistence. The Canaanite woman with the demon-possessed daughter did not give up when Jesus at first ignored her, when the disciples wanted to send her away, or even when Jesus reminded her that she was not an Israelite, one of God’s chosen people. She was willing to take even the Lord’s leftovers and would not give up until He had met her need. In response to her childlike persistence, Jesus said, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish” (15:28).
All of these components of the faith that God grants for salvation can be summed up in the first lesson Jesus teaches-the lesson of humility.
It is impossible to miss the fact that this teaching is directed at the disciples and implies they needed to hear and accept it. And from the argument among them that prompted this lesson from Jesus, it is obvious they were not living according to His standard of humility. They were manifesting pride and self-seeking. It may be that some of them were not yet in the kingdom (certainly this invitation was pertinent to the power-hungry, money-hungry Judas), and those who were in the kingdom had allowed their fallen flesh to dominate their attitudes. This makes the important statement that even though our hearts are in line with these principles of genuine saving faith at the time God graciously grants it to us, we fall often and easily to the power of sin that is still in us.
As He took the young child in His arms and held him up before the disciples, the Lord gathered up all those elements of salvation: “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The phrase are converted translates an aorist passive of strephō, which elsewhere in the New Testament is always translated with an idea of “turning” or “turning around.” It means to make an about face and go in the opposite direction. Peter used a form of the term twice in his message shortly after Pentecost, as he called his hearers to “repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away” and declared of Jesus that “God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways” (Acts 3:19, 26). The term is used repeatedly in the book of Acts to speak of conversion (11:21; 15:19; 26:18, 20). Paul used the word when speaking of the Thessalonian believers, who had turned “to God from idols to serve a living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9).
Conversion is the other half of repentance. Repentance is being sorry for sin and turning away from it; conversion is the expression of will that fully turns from sin to the Lord. Psalm 51:13 alludes to these two halves of the turning when it declares, “and sinners will be converted to Thee.” Jesus’ use here of the passive voice indicates that the disciples could not be converted from sin to righteousness by their own efforts but needed someone else to turn them around. Although the response of a person’s will is required, only God has the power to convert.
To be converted requires people to become like children, Jesus explained. A little child is simple, dependent, helpless, unaffected, unpretentious, unambitious. Children are not sinless or naturally unselfish, and they display their fallen nature from the earliest age. But they are nevertheless naive and unassuming, trusting of others and without ambition for grandeur and greatness.
“It is the person who humbles himself as this child,” Jesus declared, “who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” The verb behind humbles is tapeinoō, which has the literal meaning of making low. In God’s eyes, the one who lowers himself is the one who is elevated; the one who genuinely considers himself to be the least is the one God considers to be the greatest. “The greatest among you shall be your servant,” Jesus told the self-righteous Pharisees. “And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matt. 23:11–12). The person who is not willing to humble himself as Jesus “humbled Himself” (Phil. 2:8) will have no place in Jesus’ kingdom. For self-righteous Jews who exalted themselves so highly as to think God was pleased with them for their own goodness, this was a shattering blow.
But Jesus makes clear that you rise higher in His kingdom as you go lower. The great Lutheran commentator R. C. H. Lenski has written, “He who thinks of making no claims shall have all that others claim and by claiming cannot obtain.… Only an empty vessel can God fill with his gifts. And the emptier we are of anything that is due to ourselves, the more can God pour into these vessels his eternal riches, honors, and glories” (The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1943], 683).
A little child makes no claims of worthiness or greatness. He simply submits to the care of his parents and others who love him, relying on them for all that he needs. He knows he cannot meet his own needs and has no resources to stay alive. That is the kind of humble submissiveness that results in greatness in God’s eyes and in His kingdom.
A number of years ago I ministered to a group of black schools in the south. At one rural elementary school, I presented a simple message about God’s love and the unique and lovely person of Jesus Christ, who especially loved children and died as a sacrifice for them on the cross to pay the punishment for all our sins. At the end of the message I asked, “How many of you would like to have Jesus live in your heart and forgive all your sin and desire to follow such a wonderful Lord and Savior and have Him take you to heaven some day?” To my amazement, every one of the one hundred or so hands in the room immediately went up. There was no skepticism, no doubting, no hesitation, no looking around to see how their friends would react. When the invitation was asked for, the heart of each one of those children was ready to respond positively to the claims of Jesus Christ. To be sure that they understood the commitment they were making, I asked, “Now how many of you are willing to let Jesus control your life and to obey whatever He says?” Again, every hand went up.
God knew the intent of their hearts and what that simple affirmation meant as a step toward Him. But what I saw was the illustration of saving faith. None of those children felt adequate in himself or so perfect as not to recognize sin and the need of forgiveness. None was reluctant to give his life to One who was so lovely and gracious and could provide all they would need in time and eternity. Nor were they reluctant to do what He asked them in obedience.
That is the kind of unpretentious, nonhypocritical, humble, childlike faith Jesus was talking about. That sort of response to His Son is the greatest in God’s sight. The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who is humble, unaffected, genuinely sincere, undemanding, nonself-centered, receptive to whatever God offers, and eagerly obedient to whatever He commands.
The popular “gospels” that propagate self-fulfillment and personal success are the antithesis of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are a mockery of New Testament Christianity and strike at the heart of salvation and of Christian living. The Lord made no provision for the elevation of self, but rather declared unequivocally that the person who, on his own terms, “has found his life shall lose it” (Matt. 10:39). The way of self is the way of disqualification from the kingdom. Those who glorify self not only will not be great in the kingdom but will never enter it.
James presents an invitation to salvation that unarguably reiterates what our Lord demands in this passage of Matthew:
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:6–10)
4 The way has now been prepared for a direct answer to the disciples’ question. The tapeinos word-group is traditionally translated by “humble,” which in English normally has a strongly ethical implication denoting a mental attitude. The Greek adjective tapeinos can carry the same connotation (as in 11:29), but the verb tapeinoō which is used here regularly denotes status, often in direct opposition to hypsoō, “to lift up” (as in 23:12); its meaning is thus closer to “humiliate”, so that to “make oneself tapeinos like this child” (the literal translation of the expression here) does not mean to attempt to gain the mental virtue of humility15 which is supposed (by whom?—not by most parents or teachers!) to be characteristic of children, but rather to accept the low social status which is symbolized by the child, who in an adult world has no self-determination and must submit to the will of adults who “know best.” The paradox expressed in this verse is therefore stark: the least are the greatest, as in 19:30, “the first last and the last first.”
18:4 whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest. Jesus answers the disciples’ question about kingdom greatness by pointing to a child who has little status. The NIV’s “lowly position” reflects the Greek word tapeinoō, which can indicate internal disposition or external situation (BDAG 990). In this context, the latter is most likely. Jesus uses a child to demonstrate that the disciples are misguided in seeking greatness in the kingdom. They should instead assume the position of those who are lowest in status within the kingdom community (also 20:26–27).
Ver. 4.—Whosoever therefore. This verse gives a direct application of the principle just enunciated, and supplies an answer to the apostles’ question. Shall humble himself. Not that a child consciously humbles itself, but is humble by nature. The disciple must become that by deliberate choice which the child is by reason of his constitution and natural disposition. The same is greatest; rather, greater (μείζων), Christ using the same term as the questioners in ver. 1. The more a man annihilates self and casts away pride, conceit, obstinacy, the fitter is he to become a living member of Christ’s kingdom. “Quanto humilior, tanto altior,” says Thomas Aquinas. But this is a joint work. St. Gregory says well, “The good which a man doeth is both the work of God and the work of man: of God, as being the Author, in giving grace; of man, as being actor, in using grace, yet so that he co-operate with grace by grace” (quoted by Ford, in loc.).
4. Whosoever shall humble himself like this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. This is intended to guard us against supposing that we degrade ourselves in any measure by freely surrendering every kind of distinction. And hence we may obtain a short definition of humility. That man is truly humble who neither claims any personal merit in the sight of God, nor proudly despises brethren, or aims at being thought superior to them, but reckons it enough that he is one of the members of Christ, and desires nothing more than that the Head alone should be exalted.
4. The emphasis we have seen in vv. 2–3 is here made explicit. True greatness is to be found in being little, true importance in being unimpressive. That is what the kingdom of heaven does to the world’s scale of values. Humbles himself does not refer to an arbitrary asceticism or a phoney false modesty; it does not describe a character-trait (ICC says children are ‘untempted to self-advancement’—really?), but the acceptance of an inferior position (as Jesus did, Phil. 2:8, where the same phrase is used).
18:3–4 unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom. Matthew contains many statements about entering into the Kingdom (see 5:20; 7:21; 19:23–24; 23:13; cf. 19:17; 25:21, 23).
as humble as this little child. The character trait that appears to be foremost in the simile of becoming like a child is humility (11:29; 23:12; Luke 1:52; 3:5; Eph 4:2; Phil 2:3; Jas 1:9; 4:6, 10; 1 Pet 5:5–6; cf. “meekness” in 5:5; 21:5). In this sense conversion amounts to a renunciation of all one’s human prestige or status and an acceptance of the values of the Kingdom. It is not that children are innocent of selfishness or that they consistently model humility, but that children have no status in society. As they are at the mercy of adults, so disciples acknowledge in repentance that they have no status before God and that they depend solely on the love and mercy of the heavenly Father. (It is not at all clear that John 3:3 is another version of this saying of Jesus, as advocated by Davies and Allison 1991:758.)
Vers. 2–5. And Jesus called a little child unto Him.—
Christian humility:—The question of the disciples brings them very distinctly before us, and makes them very real to us, as men like unto ourselves. Nothing can be more artless, and evidently truthful, than their representation in these Gospels of their own thoughts and conduct. How beautifully does Jesus rebuke all this. What a profound and original idea of greatness does this unfold!
- The commendation of humility. That humility is not set forth as the sole condition of the heavenly estate. The Saviour’s words do not limit the entire range of Christian character to this one quality. It is its secret fountain. What humility is not. 1. Humility is not a weak and timid quality. It must be distinguished from a grovelling spirit. We should think something of our humanity, and not cast it under men’s feet. Servants to all; servile to none. 2. It is not to be confounded with that morbid self-abasement which grows out of certain religious views. We may well be humble when we see the infinite love against which we have sinned. 3. Genuine humility is not incompatible with a consciousness of merit; for a secret persuasion of power is the spring of noble enterprise. The consciousness of possessing something is essential to the sense of deficiency which makes us truly humble. 1. Now see how humility lies at the base of all true greatness. We instinctively associate humility with greatness. We always suspect ostentation. 2. The weakness which pride covers, but does not obviate, in the matter of dress and show. It is a great thing for a man to know and feel that he is a man; it is a great thing for him to understand where he is, and to profess what he is. Humility is the spring of all intellectual greatness; also of religious. The man who is convinced that he is perfect, the farthest from being perfect. “God be merciful to me, a sinner,” is the spring of all real acquisition in religious things. The child’s humility is unconscious; man’s humility is reached by experience. 3. The child-like relation in all who in any degree enter into the sphere of Christian faith and feeling. Christ would bring all men to filial dependence upon God. There is no humility without love and confidence; subjection to a tyrant is not humility; but the reverence which I give to a father. (E. H. Chapin, D.D.)
Greatness determined by use, not extent:—When you take the loftiest standards in comparison, who is filling a great sphere in God’s universe? What king, what president, what statesman, what man of pride and renown, is filling a great sphere? But the moment you come down and take the ordinary earthly standards, the true test of any man’s condition is the uses to which he puts it—and to which the Almighty Himself puts it. The uses of a thing make it great, not its extent. The uses of the wayside spring, that refreshes the traveller’s march; or the flower that grows at the foot of awful ice-peaks and battlemented crags, unfolding all the summer long its beautiful parable of Providence and love—who can limit the usefulness of that? and who can say that it is nothing, because its sphere is little? (Ibid.)
Humility the spring of intellectual greatness:—The humbler men are, the greater they are. What are the proudest triumphs of our day, intellectually speaking? They are in little things. The great men of our day do not construct cosmologies; do not sit down and build up great theories of the universe. We laugh at such things; we suspect their soundness at once. When a man comes to us and tells us that he has a new theory of creation, we begin to think whether he had not better have a theory of his own sanity. The things which occupy the greatest minds of our day are the little sparks of electricity, the little wayside shells, the blossoms, the infusoriæ myriad-fold that hang in a single drop of water. Down in the little lowly things men find the great secret of the world; away down they begin to find the spring and sources of things, and the profoundest books of science are founded on these little ordinary, unobserved affairs. Humility is the spring of all intellectual greatness. (Ibid.)
The unconscious humility of a child combined with the experience of a man:—But we have—and let us thank God that we have—something better than childhood’s innocence, if we have lived truly and Christ-like. We have strength to overcome evil which the child must learn; we have a power to trample sin underneath us that the child must undergo much to gain; we have not the innocence of Eden, but by God’s help and Christ’s example we may have the victory of Gethsemane. It is a great thing to have the humbleness of a child. But it is to be joined with the consciousness and the effort of the man. (Ibid.)
The spiritual worth of childhood:—But, moreover, there is testimony in Christianity, not only for the love of God to the child, but to the spiritual worth of the child. The child illustrates the value of the soul as Christ brings it before us here. Now, observe, there is no materialistic theory that would be consistent with the way in which Christ treats the child, because, on the materialistic theory, everything grows upward, grows wider and better. But the doctrine of the text is not the doctrine of development; we must go back to childhood again; we don’t develop humility. We may develop physical strength; we may develop intellectual splendour; we may develop imagination or reason, but we do not develop humility. In that the child has the advantage of us. If it were merely material, why should not the child have less humility than the man? No; we come back to the child’s condition, in some respects; and that illustrates the child’s share of our common spiritual nature. And here is the reason why we find the element of greatness set forth as it is by Jesus Christ. Greatness is in spiritual power; it is not an outward attainment that the man can attain and the child can not. It is not any outside clothing; it is not in crowns; it is not in the world’s fame; it is a spiritual quality, and the child has that spiritual quality which is the condition of all greatness. (Ibid.)
The nature and necessity of conversion:—
- The nature of conversion. A change of character (Psa. 51:13; Acts 13:19; James 5:20) implies—1. A change of mind. 2. A change of heart. 3. Followed by a change of conduct. Regulated by the word of God.
- The effect of conversion. Its subjects become as little children, not, indeed, in every respect—ignorance, idleness, &c. But, 1. In the affectionate dispositions of their hearts towards each other. 2. In simplicity and sincerity. 3. In humility and lowliness of mind.
III. The necessity of conversion. 1. What we are to understand by the kingdom of heaven. 2. The necessity of conversion in order to enter into this kingdom. The unconverted have no right to, and no meetness for, this kingdom. Were it possible for them to enter they would still be unhappy. (R. Treffrey.)
The necessity of conversion:—
- The nature of the kingdom of Christ, and what is implied in entering into it. 1. The kingdom of Christ is, His reign in and over mankind. It must be considered in two states and periods—(1) In a state of imprefection, warfare, and suffering on earth. (2) In a state of perfection, triumph and joy in heaven. 2. We enter this kingdom by becoming members of Christ’s true Church—militant, triumphant.
- The nature of this conversion, or in what sense we must be converted and made like little children, in order to our entering into this kingdom. 1. It implies being turned from self to Christ; from the world, and sin, &c. 2. It implies being inwardly changed, understanding enlightened, &c. 3. Conversion makes us like little children—sincere, humble, &c. 4. The works of conversion. Light in the understanding; love to the godly; obedience to all God’s commands; hatred to, and victory overall known sin; avoiding temptation, &c.
III. The absolute necessity of this conversion. Unconverted persons are unfit for heaven. (Joseph Benson.)
Conversion:—The occasion of this remark was like the manifestation of a desire for pre-eminence.
- The nature of conversion.
- The evidence of it is the disposition of a child. 1. A disposition which is the opposite of an ambitious spirit. 2. A child is confiding. It trusts its parents. 3. A child is submissive.
III. Why this change is necessary. Because the disposition of a child is the only one that agrees with our relation to God. This will apply—1. To our ignorance. 2. To our weakness. 3. To our guilt and pollution.
- The blessedness of this disposition. 1. The peace it gives. 2. The security it affords. God cares for us. 3. It places us in our normal relation to God. 4. It secures our admission into the kingdom of God, of which Christ is the head and centre. (C. Hodge, D.D.) This teaches us all—I. The necessity of humility in order to salvation. II. That even converted souls have need of a daily conversion. III. How abominable in the eyes of God ambition and pride are in any, especially in ministers of the gospel. IV. That in the Church the way to be great is to be humble. V. That true humility consists in a mean opinion of ourselves, not minding high things, not being wise in our own conceits, in honour preferring one another. (M. Pool.)
Conversion:—Let us see what “turn” is necessary before we can be Christians. I. It is evident that we are all too much men and women, else it would not have been said, “Turn and be children.” 1. We as men fancy ourselves independent and self-sufficient; we must get back to simplicities, self-renunciation, to a babyhood of trust. 2. To be a little child is to be in a state to receive. Be a little child in the lowest form and receive discipline. 3. This image does not convey the idea of a perfectly new being, but of an old being begun again, that it may do better. 4. There is another beautiful trait of childhood, purity. (J. Vaughan, M.A.)
Conversion; its nature, effects, and importance:—
- Its nature.
- The evidences of conversion. 1. A child is inquisitive. 2. Teachable in his disposition. 3. A child believes the testimony of his parents.
III. Its necessity. (J. Williams, M.A.)
- The temper that distinguishes the subjects of Divine grace. “As little children.” Not like them in ignorance, not in fickleness, not in waywardness. Little children are teachable and ready of belief; are devoid of malignity; are characterized by humility.
- The way in which we are to attain it. We must be “converted” and “become as little children.” 1. The temper we are required to possess is not in us naturally, but is the consequence of a Divine change. 2. The change is to be judged of by its effect.
III. The importance of possessing this temper. “Ye shall not enter,” &c. This exclusion—1. The most awful. 2. The most unavoidable. “Without holiness man shall see the Lord.” 3. The most universal. 4. What a difference there is between the opinion of the world and the judgment of God. (W. Jay.)
- Childlikeness is the test of greatness in the kingdom of heaven. Resemblance to children, not in ignorance or in fickleness, but—1. In a teachable spirit (Acts 9:6; 10:33; 16:30). 2. In a consciousness of weakness (2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 4:13). 3. In a dependent spirit (Matt. 6:31; Phil. 4:18, 19). 4. In freedom from ambition (Rom. 12:16). 5. In a forgiving temper (1 Cor. 14:20; Eph. 4:32).
- The degree of childlikeness is the measure of greatness. 1. Because it raises its possessor in the scale of our excellence. 2. Because it qualifies its possessor for higher usefulness. 3. Because it assimilates its possessor more nearly to the Redeemer. 4. Because it secures for its possessor a more exalted position in the heavenly world. (1) The necessity of conversion. (2) The beauty of humility. (3) The attraction of heaven. (Various.)
Humility:—1. Some are naturally more humble than others; there is a natural humility. 2. Still lower than this, there is a humility of word, love, and manner, which is a mere worldly ornament to be put off and on. How shall we cultivate humility? 1. Be sure that you are loved. We are all inclined to be proud to those whom we think do not like us. 2. Realize yourself the object of great mercy. 3. Seek to be reverent in worship, for if humble before God, you will be before men. 4. Always try to re-live the life of childhood, to think and feel as when you were a child. 5. Deal often with your real self in some of the humbling parts of your history. 6. Exercise inward discipline to meet the first buddings of pride. 7. Do acts of humility. 8. God always empties before He fills; He will humble before He will use a person. 9. It is a great thing to have much intercourse with little children. (J. Vaughan, M.A.)
A lesson of humility:—The question of the disciples reveals the appearance and the nature of the kingdom of heaven. To these disciples it was the most natural question in the world.
- The ambition to be greatest is a very common weakness in our nature. But there are very many considerations which wonderfully qualify this desire to be first. 1. It is a thing of great responsibility. 2. You may be first and be very miserable. 3. It is utterly inconsistent with the religion of Jesus Christ.
- How our Lord taught the lesson of humility to his disciples. He not only spoke about it to them, but He showed it to them. What is the ground of comparison between that beautiful boy and a true disciple—a disciple in the right spirit? 1. The perfect non-resistance of a child. Christ called the child, and the child came, &c. There was no resistance. The very reverse of this was the case with the disciples. Give instances. They did not, like the little child, yield and come the moment the Master called. They resisted the Spirit of Christ; the darkness in them opposed the light that came from Him. There is very much in the best of us that resists Christ. 2. Perfect trust and the absence of all fear. It was so with this child. To be a Christian is to trust Christ perfectly, and to cast all fear to the wind. In our darkness and ignorance, &c. In our sin and weakness. In our trials and perplexities. And when death comes. 3. Humility. Observe what Christian humility is—Coming when Christ calls, &c., without endeavouring to appear to be anything that we are not. Conclusion. The dignity and glory of true humility. (Thomas Jones.)
The nature of humility:—It is not at all the thing that people suppose it to be. Take Christ’s exposition of it. The child humbles himself. How did the child humble himself? He came when Christ called, he suffered himself to be embraced, and he stood where Christ put him, without pretending to be anything more than he was, an honest, fine, healthy-looking boy. Christ calls that humility. People think that going and moping about the world and saying, “I am very imperfect,” is humility. Protect me from such humility. Some of the proudest creatures I ever met in the world were the most humble, if that be humility—people who complained about themselves; but if you were ever to say to them, “Yes, sir,” or “Yes, madam, I know you really are bad,” they would turn round and say, “Who told you so? What do you know about me?” That is not Christian humility. Humility is that of the boy coming when Christ called, suffering himself to be embraced, standing there as long as Christ wanted him to stand, without endeavouring to appear to be anything that he was not. That is Christian humility. There is a real charm in this child, if you will only think of it, in his unconsciousness. He never thought he was doing anything praiseworthy; it never entered into his little head that there was anything beautiful in his little actions. That is the essence of the thing. He came quickly when the Master called, he looked happy in His arms, he stood where Christ put him, and he never thought for one moment that there was any praise due to him for that. He was moved to confidence; the instincts of the boy were moved by the tenderness of Christ’s voice and the expression of His face. The little man went under his natural instincts and never thought for a moment that there was any virtue or beauty in his actions. What is that? That is Christian humility—to yield ourselves to Christ, to serve Him, to serve our brothers and our sisters, going about doing good, beautiful as lamps in the darkness, sweet and fragrant as the breeze from the south. Go and do this, live this beautiful life, yet never showing that we are conscious of its beauty, never letting it escape the lip that we know we are doing anything grand. What is the most beautiful thing in the world? A man or a woman living a high Christian life without ever letting it escape the lip or the expression that they consider there is anything beautiful or grand in it. It is the unconsciousness of the child that constitutes the highest climax of the Christian life. To be great, to be greatest in the kingdom of heaven is to excel in that direction. I have looked lately at some large fruit trees covered with fruit; and a rich fruit tree is a very beautiful object; it has a massive trunk and far-stretching boughs; the foliage is rich, the dew of the morning is wet upon its leaves, and the sun plays in the little crystal drops, and the branches bending under their fruit barely move in the very gentle movement of the wind. There are very few things in nature more beautiful than a tree like that, and a man of sensibility, a man with a right state of heart, looking upon such a thing cannot but admire it. But if (which of course it is folly to suppose) that tree for one moment could be self-conscious, if it had the power of speech for one instant and let out the secret that it thought itself very beautiful, it would be a different thing to us the moment it had spoken. It is the unconsciousness, the absence of the knowledge of self, that is one charm of the vegetable world. So in character. It is very difficult to be this, my brethren; it is very difficult for me to stand here Sunday after Sunday and speak to you without revealing some little bit of vanity, some little bit of self-consciousness; but if I have not got it I cannot show it. Two great preachers in Wales met at a public meeting. It was usual then, I am sorry to say, as it is now, for men of different denominations to justify their appearing before each other. One of them was a very eloquent man, one of the greatest preachers in the Principality, and he said he had left his party zeal at home before he started. Another as great as he got up and said, “Well, I thank God I had none to leave, and I came here just as I was at home.” Let a man be free from vanity and self-consciousness, and it will not appear. This is Christian humility as taught by the Saviour. (Ibid.)
The desire to be great natural:—Now this ambition to be the greatest is a very common weakness in our nature,—to be great, to be first, to be the greatest anywhere, however small the little kingdom may be, to be the first minister in the kingdom, or, if you can, to be the king of the little kingdom. Better reign anywhere than serve in high positions. To have power, to see our own thoughts carried out, to make men, and things, and circumstances, do as we like,—it is very delightful, exceedingly fascinating, and it has a great charm for our minds. I believe somewhat of it is natural, and I do not think it is altogether sinful. The natural is not sinful. Whatever God has put in us is right. A lad has fine powers, and God has put ambition into the lad to use his powers, so that if he is at school he desires to take the first place. Do not blame him; it is quite natural; the ambition is in him. But, on the other hand, I must say what is true about this. There are very many considerations which wonderfully qualify this desire to be first. (Ibid.)
The responsibility of greatness overlooked:—To be first in the world is a thing of great responsibility. To be first is very pleasant. Yes, but it has a burden of responsibility. To be the first poet—the fierce rays of criticism beat upon you; to be the first preacher, the first minister—it is a most solemn responsibility. Nothing is expected of a delicate flower but that it should be beautiful and just give a little fragrance. Everybody is satisfied with the flower if it will do these two things. But a large tree upon which nature has expended years of time and care, and made the trunk massive, and the boughs wide, and the foliage thick and rich, a tree that nature has taken years of trouble with, much is expected from that. Oh, delicate flower, if thou art beautiful and hast a little fragrance nobody will blame thee; but oh, great, massive tree, everybody will blame thee, and thy foliage, and thy massiveness, except thou bringest forth much fruit. Like the delicate flower is the man with one talent, the humble Christian man, doing his duty, walking humbly with God. I think myself that is the finest life in the whole world, incomparably the most blessed life in the world—not to be rich, not to be very poor, to have a little home of your own, surrounded by those you love and by whom you are loved, unobserved by the world around, like the delicate flower, just being beautiful and giving forth fragrance. The world never criticises you, never says anything about you; you pass on doing your duty, you lay your throbbing head down in death, you shall rest and go home and be with God, and the report of your doings shall be read in another world than this. The responsibility of being first is very great, and the criticism upon those who are first is very fierce. Plant the sapling in the valley, it shall have shelter,—put the same sapling on the mountain top, and the fury of every element shall be expended upon it. There are men in England, authors, statesmen, and preachers, upon whom every element, good, bad, and indifferent, at the command of criticism comes in all its fury, expending its strength upon them. I would not be one of them for any earthly consideration. I would not be first in England for the possession of a nobleman’s estate. To be in such a position, especially as Tennyson says, “in the fierce light of the throne,” is to be in a position of solemn responsibility. My friend, if God has not called you to be very prominent you have reason to thank God that He has consented you should live a quiet, reverent, honest, generous, Christian life, uncriticised, unpraised, and unabused. (Ibid.)
Child-like non-resistance:—There is very much in the best of us that resists Christ. We are not like that little child. Christ calls (it is all the better for you if I am not speaking truth), but there is no answer; Christ commands, but we do not obey; Christ stands at the door, and we do not open; He has been there long, He is there now, and will be there to-morrow, and many of you keep Him out. The comparison in the Bible to express this want of child-likeness, this want of non-resistance, is a rock. The rain comes, the rock is not softened; the winds blow, the rock makes no response; the sun shines, the rock is not made fertile; summer comes, autumn comes, winter comes, spring comes—spring, summer, autumn, winter find and leave the rock the same cold, hard, insensate thing as it ever was. I do not know you, but I am describing exactly the state of many hearts even in the Church of God. The gospel comes like rain showers upon the rock, but it has not softened you; breezes from the eternal mountains blow upon you—they are not vivifying; God’s eternal love shines upon you—it has not changed you; life with its wonderful lessons comes—you grow very little better. Do you not know men in the circle of your acquaintance who are not at all better than they were ten years ago? Success came—they were no better; disappointment came; the marriage morning came, they were the same; the funeral day—they were the same. All the elements of the gospel, all the influence of the Divine Spirit, all the wonderful events of life, all its friendships, all its love, left them where they were. They resist God, they resist His influences. Brethren, I ought to be a better man, having enjoyed the friendship of many of you for many years; I should be unworthy of that friendship, if I were not wiser and better, and more humble and more reverent. You ought, as day after day carries you nearer to eternity, to resist God less. Oh, my friends, be as little children; lean to Christ, resist not the Holy Spirit of God. (Ibid.)
The mission and ministry of infants in the family and in the world:—
- Some of the doctrinal lessons taught us by the mission of infants. 1. By man’s original transgression temporal death ensued to infants as a part of the race. 2. Universal atonement. 3. Their immortality. 4. Their resurrection.
- Some of the practical lessons. 1. The duty of parental watchfulness and tender care over the helplessness of infancy. 2. The duty of self-sacrifice is taught by the mission of infants. 3. The solemn responsibility of a most important trust. 4. The duty of resignation to the work of God, in the dispensations of His Providence. 5. The ministry of infants in the family is intended to teach patience. 6. It teaches the highest Christian virtues, such as innocency, dependence. 7. God’s providential care over childhood. 8. That the path of true greatness lies through the vale of humility. (J. E. Edwards, D.D.)
God’s care of little children:—A poor little boy was found standing in the streets by a kind-hearted man. The child was lean and thinly clad, bearing the marks of hunger and poverty. “What are you doing here?” inquired the man. The boy replied: “I am waiting for God to come.” “What do you mean?” inquired the man, touched by the novelty of his reply. The poor little boy responded: “Mother and father, and my little brother died, and my mother said God would come and take care of me. Won’t He come?” “Yes,” replied the man, “I have come.” “Mother never told me a lie,” said the little boy; “I knew you would come; but you have been so long on the way.”
Childhood educates man on the best side of his nature:—It is probable that every one of the traits of higher manhood in adults springs from the drill and the training which little children require and inspire. I doubt whether preceptual teaching could ever have brought into this world any considerable degree of disinterested affection. I doubt if Self-denial and heroism in that direction could ever have been propagated in this world as a matter of duty. Conscience never brings forth love. Intellectual reasoning never produces rich and warm caresses. It is the economy of God’s providence to set men and women together in the household, and give them little children, and draw them toward these little children by the instinct of love (instinct in the early day, and companionable love in a later day), and out of this love to develope all the character, forethought, and industry which are necessary for the good of these children. There are men who are very selfish toward their neighbours, very selfish in their business, very selfish in their pleasures; there are men who, as citizens, are not true to the laws under which they live, not true to commonwealth, but who, if you go into their households, and see how they deal with their children, seem to have an entirely different nature. They lay aside their selfishness. The pride and greediness which characterize them out-of-doors are gone when they are indoors. Indeed, the faults which they exhibit outside are often faults which they take on for the sake of being able to take care of the little children that are inside. (H. W. Beecher.)
Christ in a child:—There is an old story, a kind of Sunday fairy tale, which you may sometimes have seen represented in pictures and statues in ancient churches, of a great heathen giant who wished to find out some master that he should think worthy of his services—some one stronger than himself. He went about the world, but could find no one stronger. And, besides this, he was anxious to pray to God, but did not know how to do it. At last he met with a good old man by the side of a deep river, where poor wayfaring people wanted to get across and had no one to help them. And the good old man said to the giant, “Here is a place where you can be of some use, and if you do not know how to pray, you will, at any rate, know how to work, and perhaps God will give you what you ask, and perhaps also you will at last find a master stronger than you.” So the giant went and sat by the river-side, and many a time he carried poor wayfarers across. One night he heard a little child crying to be carried over; so he put the child on his shoulder and strode across the stream. Presently the wind blew, the rain fell, and as the river beat against his knees, he felt the weight of the little child almost more than he could bear, and he looked up with his great patient eyes, and he saw that it was a child glorious and shining, and the child said, “Thou art labouring under this heavy burden because thou art carrying one who bears the sins of all the world.” And then, as the story goes on, the giant felt that it was the child Jesus, and when he reached the other side of the river, he fell down before Him. Now he had found some one stronger than he was, some one so good, so worthy of loving, as to be a master whom he could serve. (Dean Stanley.)
Nature of countersign:—Converting grace makes persons become like little children; both like those just born, and those who are a little grown.
- Converts resemble little children newly born. 1. Children enter the world with much difficulty and hazard. So God’s children have a difficult entrance into a state of grace. 2. An infant has always a principle of life and motion; so converts have a principle of spiritual life infused into their souls. 3. The child bears the image of the father; so converts bear a likeness to God; they have His image. 4. A child comes weeping into the world; so God’s children are crying children. 5. There is a natural instinct in children, as soon as born, to seek the mother’s breast; so a gracious soul, when newly converted, desires “the sincere milk of the word, that he may grow thereby.” 6. Converts resemble little children in their weakness and dependence. 7. There is a resemblance between little children and converts in their harmlessness.
- Converts represent children a little grown. 1. In their guileless disposition. Little children are generally plain and downright, what they seem to be, and do not dissemble. 2. They are of a gall-less disposition; they may be angry, but bear no malice. 3. They are submissive to correction. 4. They are full of jealousies and fears. 5. They are very affectionate. 6. They are very inquisitive. 7. They are generally tractable. 8. They do all for their parents, and acknowledge them in all they have; so the child of God does nothing for himself but for God’s glory. 9. Converts resemble little children in their growth. 10. They are mostly of an humble and condescending disposition. Application—(1) If converting grace makes persons become like little children, then conversion is no half work; (2) If true conversion makes men become like little children, then there is reason to fear few people go to heaven. (Oliver Heywood.)
Marks of a true conversion:—I. What are we to understand by our Lord’s saying? The words imply—1. That before you or I can have any well-grounded, scriptural hope, of being happy in a future state, there must be some great, some notable and amazing change pass upon our souls. 2. That little children are not perfectly innocent, but in a comparative and rational sense. 3. That, as to ambition and lust after the world, we must in this sense become as little children; we must be as loose to the world, comparatively speaking, as a little child. 4. That we must be sensible of our weakness, as a little child. 5. That, as little children look upon themselves to be ignorant creatures, so those that are converted, do look upon themselves as ignorant too. 6. That, as a little child is looked upon as a harmless creature, and generally speaks true, so, if we are converted, we shall be guileless as well as harmless. (George Whitefield.)
Humility aids spiritual vision:—He that is in the low pits and caves of the earth, sees the stars in the firmament, when they who are on the tops of the mountains discern them not. He that is most humble, sees most of heaven, and shall have most of it; for the lower the ebb, the higher the tide; and the lower the foundation of virtue is laid, the higher shall the roof of glory be over-laid. (John Trapp.)
2–4. So he called to himself a little child, had him stand in the midst of them.… What Jesus did at this occasion revealed not only his thorough understanding of the nature of the kingdom and of the way of entering it, but also his tenderness toward the little ones. What he said deserved all the praise that has ever been ascribed to it, and far more than that. But was not the amazing glory of the Mediator’s soul revealed also in his restraint, that is, in what he did not do and did not say? He did not even scold his disciples for their callousness, their insensibility with respect to his approaching agony, the non-lasting character of their grief, their quickness in turning the mind away from him to themselves, their selfishness. All this he passed by, and addressed himself directly to their question.
It is pleasing to note the frequency with which the presence of children around Jesus and/or his love for them is mentioned in the Gospels. See Matt. 14:21; 15:38; 18:3; 19:13, 14 (cf. Mark 10:13, 14; Luke 18:15, 16); 21:15, 16; 23:37 (cf. Luke 13:34). Undoubtedly children felt attracted to Jesus, wanted to be with him. Whenever he wanted a child there was always one present, ready to do his bidding, to come when he called him. So also here. To speculate who this child was is useless. The point is that this was indeed a child, endowed with all the favorable and amiable qualities generally associated with childhood in any clime and at any time.
The Lord calls this little one to his side, and places him “in the midst of” all these “big” men, perhaps in such a position that the child faced them while they were arranged in a crescent before him. The child was not afraid, for it stood by the Lord’s very side (Luke 9:47), and was then taken up in his arms (Mark 9:36), where he would feel perfectly at ease and able to look up into the face of Jesus.
The Master looked at his disciples and said, I solemnly declare to you, unless you turn and become like the little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. What he meant was this: “You have been arguing about the question who will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, as if you were sure of already being in it and of being destined for its future manifestation in glory. But if you continue in your present state of mind and heart, each of you being eager to be higher than his fellows and to lord it over them, you will be excluded; you will then most certainly not even enter it.”
Jesus demands that the disciples turn, that is, that they be converted from their worldly ambition, their coarse selfishness. Of course, they cannot do this in their own power. They must pray the prayer found in Jer. 31:18, “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art Jehovah my God.” Only when the divine act of causing a person to be reborn (born “from above”) has taken place, is conversion, as an act in which man himself takes part, even possible (John 3:3, 5).
That this turning—from self to God; from sin to grace—implies “becoming like the little children” is clear from the juxtaposition of the words, for Jesus said, “unless you turn and become like the little children, etc.” This poses the question, “Exactly what did he mean when he solemnly declared (see on 5:18) that with a view to entrance into the kingdom of heaven (see on 4:23; 13:43) the disciples must become like the little children?”
Among the favorable qualities which we generally associate with the little ones the following are perhaps the most outstanding: simplicity, frankness, obedience, unpretentiousness, humility, trustfulness. The fact that they are weak, very limited in strength and knowledge, and that they do not deny this, endears them to us. All of these traits may well have been in the mind of the Savior when he told the disciples that if they wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven they must become like the little children. Nevertheless, it is especially humility or, if one prefers, humble trustfulness (see verse 6: “who believe in me”) which the Savior emphasizes in the present passage. This is evident first of all from the preceding context, which requires that the disciples’ striving to be the greatest make place for willingness to be the least; then also from the immediately following passage (verse 4); note the words: “whoever becomes humble like this little child”; and finally, from such parallels as 20:20–28; 23:11, 12; Mark 9:35, 42; Luke 18:14; 22:24–30. See also John 13:1–20 and 1 Peter 5:5, 6. Salvation, whether in its initial, continuing, or final stage, must always be accepted as an undeserved gift, even the faith by means of which it is accepted being also a gift. See N.T.C. on Eph. 2:8. Thus all human boasting is excluded (Rom. 3:27). God alone receives the glory.
Christ’s negative statement (verse 3) implies the positive: Therefore whoever becomes humble like this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It was a reaffirmation of a lesson Jesus had been teaching right along. He had taught it by means of the first four beatitudes (see on 5:3–6). He had stressed it in connection with the praise which he had heaped upon the centurion (8:5–13) and upon the Canaanite woman (15:27, 28). He was constantly teaching it by means of his own example (Matt. 12:15–21; 20:28; 21:5; Luke 22:27; John 13:1–20; cf. 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:5–8). And now there was this humble little child, still looking trustfully into the eyes of the Master! Let the disciples—yes, let everyone (note “whoever”)—then become like this child. Let them learn that the only way to ascend is to descend. Do they wish to become great? Then let them become little! Do they wish to rise? Then let them sink! Do they wish to rule? Then let them serve! Or, as a Dutch poem (Te worden als een kindeke), of which I here offer my free translation, has it:
Make me, O Lord, a child again,
So tender, frail, and small,
In self possessing nothing, and
In thee possessing all.
O Savior, make me small once more,
That downward I may grow,
And in this heart of mine restore
The faith of long ago.
With thee may I be crucified—
No longer I that lives—
O Savior, crush my sinful pride
By grace which pardon gives.
Make me, O Lord, a child again,
Obedient to thy call,
In self possessing nothing, and
In thee possessing all.
18:4. This second statement served as a poetic restatement of the first (18:3), but it also clarified the specific childlike quality believers are to imitate—humility. All the complicated mental gymnastics adults use to avoid facing the truth take us farther from the kingdom. The person who comes to Jesus in simple humility, recognizing Jesus’ greatness and his own lowliness, is the greatest in God’s kingdom. This person enters the kingdom by grace and serves in such a way as to inherit reward. A person like this warms the heart of the Almighty. He will be used by God to accomplish the greatest good for the kingdom.
The child Jesus called was standing in their midst even as Jesus spoke (this child). He was so simple in his trust of Jesus that he came when called, not knowing what Jesus wanted him for. He simply obeyed. He had not yet learned the art of self-assertion, pride, self-deception, and disobedience.
 Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 2, p. 333). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Turner, D., & Bock, D. L. (2005). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 11: Matthew and Mark (p. 236). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Recently, in my men’s group, we were reading George Swinnock on the subject of holiness and he writes the following vivid description of the depraved sinner. He writes, “They run as fast as if they feared that hell would be full before they came thither” (The Christian Mans Calling, Vol. 1, Chapter IX, 76). So it seems that unsaved people are so committed to sin that they worry that they might lose a seat in hell.
When it comes to life in general, it doesn’t take a deep dive into theology to see the obvious fact that carnal people are committed to sin. It is the duty and calling of the Christian to pursue God in a lifestyle of consistent holiness, but the unsaved person has a mind and a heart that is fixed in a direction that opposes God.
Consider the passions and pleasures of sin and how the unsaved person has no care for God and no desire to submit to God’s law. He makes it his daily pattern to break God’s law. Why is this the case? Because by nature, he has no ability to see his need for God nor any ability in himself to submit to God. His appetite craves sin and his feet are swift to run away from God.
This is at the heart of the issue of the free-will and sovereignty of God debate. Consider what the Scripture teaches about the issue of man’s depravity.
Man’s Inability to Repent and Believe the Gospel
- John 6:44 and 65– “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
- John 1:12-13– But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Repentance and Faith are Given as Gifts of God
- Ephesians 2:8-9– For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- Acts 16:14– One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
- Acts 5:31– “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”
- Acts 11:18– When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
- Acts 18:27– When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed
- Philippians 1:29– For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should… believe in him
- 1 Corinthians 3:6– I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
- Romans 12:3– For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
- 2 Timothy 2:24-25– And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, [etc.]… God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth
- 1 Corinthians 12:3– no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
- 2 Peter 1:3– His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence
- Romans 11:36– For from him and through him and to him are all things.
- 1 Corinthians 4:7– For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
- John 3:6, 6:63– “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”
The Truth About the Seeker
- Psalm 10:4– In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
- John 3:20– “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”
- Isaiah 65:1– “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
- Isaiah 64:7– There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
- Romans 3:10-12– “no one seeks for God.”
These are merely summary statements in the vast array of holy Scripture that points us to the reality that God seeks us, saves us, and is presently sanctifying us into the image of his Son. We are called out of the darkness and depravity of sin into the marvelous light of the gospel.
This is why John Newton phrases his wonderful hymn with such careful and precise theological language. He writes:
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
When we consider the reality that we were lost and blind in our sin (2 Cor. 4:4)—the glorious light of God’s amazing grace is such a beautiful reality. When we could not come to God nor could we find our way, God came to us. It is, therefore, our duty to exercise ourselves unto godliness—pursuing holiness as a means of bringing glory to our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Let this truth of God’s amazing grace affect your daily life and your weekly worship.
May 5.—Morning. [Or September 6.]
“O God, Thou art my God.”
PERHAPS it was at this period that David wrote—
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. (Or jackals, which in the East are always ready to devour the slain. Saul and his men fell on the battle-field, and David foresaw it would be so, and that then he would be made king.)
11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
We have refrained from commenting, in order to quote the sweet remarks of our dear friend Andrew Bonar, upon the whole psalm: “It may have been near the Dead Sea, on his way to the ford of Jordan, that the Psalmist first sung this song. It is a Psalm first heard by David’s faithful ones in the wilderness of Judah; but truly a Psalm for every godly man who in the dry world-wilderness can sing: ‘All my springs are in thee,’—a Psalm for David—a Psalm for David’s Son—a Psalm for the Church in every age—a Psalm for every member of the Church in the weary land! What assurance, what vehement desire, what soul-filling delight in God, in God alone; in God, the only fountain of living water amid a boundless wilderness! Hope, too, has its visions here; for it sees the ungodly perish (verses 9, 10), and the King on the throne surrounded by a company who swear allegiance to Jehovah. Hope sees for itself what Isaiah 65:16, describes, every mouth ‘swearing by the God of truth;’ and what Rev. 21:27, has foretold:—the mouth of ‘liars’ closed for ever—all who sought other gods, and trusted to other saviours, gone for ever.
And when we read all this as spoken of Christ, how much does every verse become enhanced. His thirst for God! His vision of God! His estimate of God’s loving-kindness! His soul satisfied! His mouth full of praise! His soul following hard after God! ‘O God, thou art my El,’ mighty one. Thou art my omnipotence. It is this God he still seeks. The word translated ‘so’ in verse 2, and ‘thus’ in verse 4, is interesting. In verse 2, the force of it is this: ‘No wonder that I so thirst for thee; no wonder that my first thoughts in the morning are toward thee; no wonder that my very flesh longeth for thee! Who would not, that has seen what I have seen? So have I gazed on thee in the sanctuary, seeing thy power and glory!’ The ‘so’ is like 2 Peter, 1:17. ‘Such a voice!’ And then, if the past has been thus exquisitely blessed, my prospects for the future are not less so. I see illimitable bliss coming in as a tide; ‘so’ will I bless thee while I live! (ver. 4). Yes; in ages to come, as well as in many a happy moment on earth, my soul shall be satiated as with marrow and fatness! And when verse 7 shews us the soul under the shadow of God’s wings, rejoicing, we may say, it is not only like ‘the bird, which, sheltered from the heat of the sun amid the rich foliage, sings its merry note,’ but it is the soul reposing there as if entering the cloud of glory, like Moses and Elias. O world! come and see The Righteous One finding water-springs in God.”
O God of love, my God thou art;
To thee I early cry;
Refresh with grace my thirsty heart,
For earthly springs are dry.
Thy power, thy glory let me see,
As seen by saints above;
’Tis sweeter, Lord, than life to me,
To share and sing thy love.
May 5.—Evening. [Or September 7.]
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves.”
WE shall again have an instance of David’s generous spirit, if we read in—
1 Samuel 26:1–22; 25
1 And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?
2 Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
3 And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.
4 David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed.
5 And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him.
6 Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.
7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him.
8 Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.
9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?
10, 11, 12 David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go. So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them.
13 ¶ Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them:
14, 15, 16 And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king? And David said to Abner, Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord. This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the Lord liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.
17 And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.
18, 19, 20 And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand? Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the Lord have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go, serve other gods. Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.
21 ¶ Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.
22 And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it.
25 Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
Thus David conquered by forbearance, and the lesson for us is, “overcome evil with good.”
Is there an ideological obstacle that prevents people from fairly assessing the claims of Christianity? If so, what is it? In this interview with Patrick & Tony from Cave to the Cross Apologetics, J. Warner talks about the case for Christianity, the nature of faith, and the role of evidential and presuppositional apologetics. Be sure to check out other Cave to the Cross podcasts!
To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.
In my research of Dr. Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, it has become evident to me that he has a long record of making risky and irresponsible decisions about virus research.
In a prior article I quoted the dollar amount paid to the Wuhan Lab by NIH as $3.7 million. It has now been revealed that the true funding amounted to $7.4 million.
There is a term which I have been seeing frequently during this global nightmare – GOFR which means “Gain of Function Research.” In lay terms, it simply means manipulating a virus or adding to its capabilities.
There could be a host of functions added to the corona virus. One of these could be to increase the infectiousness of the virus. Another might dramatically increase the danger to humans who become infected.
And conversely, the virus could be tweaked to be less…
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Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Oh, as one of Your saints, I fear You, Lord! There is no want to those who fear You. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek You, Lord, shall not lack any good thing. No good thing will You withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, how blessed I am because I trust in You!
You want me to be without care … anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let my requests be made known to You, my God, my heavenly Father.
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from Your will. But the very hairs of my head are all numbered. I do not fear therefore; I am of more value than many sparrows. Why am I so fearful? How is it that I have no faith? I will have faith in You, Lord God.
Thank You that I can trust You completely to care for me and provide for my needs.
Matthew 6:31–32; Psalm 34:9–10; Psalm 84:11–12; 1 Corinthians 7:32; Philippians 4:6; Matthew 10:29–31; Mark 4:40; Mark 11:22
In mid April New York state decided to add “presumed” COVID-19 deaths to its death toll, which pushed the state’s coronavirus total over 10,000 victims.
On one day alone, 3,700 new deaths were added to the revised death count, according to a report from the New York Times.
“These new presumed cases are mostly from ERs and hospitals, which means people weren’t getting tested even in those settings. Lots more were in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities,” NY Times reporter Kristen Danis said.
On Monday Governor Cuomo’s administration added another 1,700 coronavirus deaths to their count.
This time the ‘presumed ‘ deaths were at New York nursing homes.
At least 4,813 people died from coronavirus in a New York State nursing home.
New York state is reporting more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it’s protected vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
At least 4,813 people have died from COVID-19 in the state’s nursing homes since March 1, according to a tally released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration late Monday that, for the first time, includes people believed to have been killed by the coronavirus before their diagnoses could be confirmed by a lab test.
Exactly how many nursing home residents have died remains uncertain despite the state’s latest disclosure, as the list doesn’t nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals before dying.
The revised list shows that 22 nursing homes, largely in New York City and Long Island, have reported at least 40 deaths.
At this point can you trust any number coming out of New York state?