Daily Archives: September 28, 2020

‘Gee, I wonder why?’ Trump bashes Biden campaign’s drug-test refusal as MSM renew push to CANCEL ‘useless’ debates — RT USA News

‘Gee, I wonder why?’ Trump bashes Biden campaign’s drug-test refusal as MSM renew push to CANCEL ‘useless’ debates

US President Donald Trump has pointed to rival Joe Biden’s refusal to be drug-tested before Tuesday’s debate, after accusing the Democrat candidate of doping. Meanwhile, pundits are ramping up calls to cancel the debate entirely.

Trump took to Twitter to speculate on the Democrat’s sobriety on Monday. “Joe Biden just announced that he will not agree to a Drug Test,” the president announced, adding sarcastically, “Gee, I wonder why?

After weeks of suggesting Biden was taking performance-enhancing drugs, Trump tweeted on Sunday that he would be “strongly demanding” the Democrat take a drug test before the first presidential debate on Tuesday – also volunteering to take one himself.

Biden’s “Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly,” the president observed, wondering whether “only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???

While Biden and his campaign had largely avoided responding to the president’s needling on the drug question, the campaign finally lashed out on Sunday evening through MSNBC, slamming Trump’s “attempts to make up a drug test policy for the upcoming presidential debate.”

Biden “intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it,” deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in the statement, piling on the pee puns as she accused Trump of “piss[ing] away the chance to protect the lives of 200K Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop Covid-19.”

The candidate himself has avoided publicly addressing the matter, brushing off a reporter’s question about whether he would take a drug test on Sunday with a “no comment.

 Also on rt.com

Ahead of a vital election, Trump has called on Biden to take a drug test. Why don’t BOTH old guys take this idea seriously?

Meanwhile, Biden boosters from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to New York Times columnist Charles Blow have argued for calling off the debates altogether. In an op-ed on Sunday titled “We Don’t Need Debates,” Blow claimed Americans had already made up their minds as to who they were voting for and insisted the small fraction of voters who remained undecided were not worth holding three sure-to-be-messy debates for. While a Trump-Biden debate would be “even more useless” than most, Blow insisted that debates in general rarely altered the course of elections.

That might come as news to Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, who never really recovered from being called out for her record as California Attorney General by rival Democrat Tulsi Gabbard on the debate stage. Despite previously being praised for her debate performance – against Biden, ironically – Harris struggled to recover after the surprise attack by the Hawaii congresswoman and ultimately dropped out of the primary.

Pelosi reiterated her own argument against a Biden-Trump debate over the weekend, telling CBS she still believed Biden should skip the debates because Trump “has no fidelity to fact or truth” and – along with his “henchmen” – was “a danger to our democracy.” The California Democrat had previously called on Biden to cancel the debates in August, bizarrely condemning the spectacle as an “exercise in skulduggery.”

A novel argument for canceling the debates – not just for 2020, but “permanently” – came from The Nation’s Edward Burmila, who stated the debates were “pointless” and that watching them was a waste of time. Presidential debates, he claimed, were “an anachronism of a bygone media era” when voters were still relatively unfamiliar with the candidates. “At best,” they “add nothing” – and “at worst, serve as a venue for spreading misinformation.” If Americans don’t ditch the debates now, they’ll regret it, he insisted.

 Also on rt.com

US politicians are too old and the short-term philosophy this encourages creates a vicious circle that is dooming the country

Biden has kept mostly to his basement studio during the pandemic, avoiding all but the friendliest interviews and declining to hold the kind of in-person rallies for which Trump is (in)famous. The Democrat’s critics have pointed to his isolation – as well as his apparent confusion and word-slurring during his rare press appearances – as proof of advanced mental deterioration, claiming he’s only being propped up with the help of strong drugs.

Trump critics have flung similar accusations back at the commander-in-chief, insisting the president abuses Adderall (pharmaceutical-grade amphetamines) based on allegations made by a former Apprentice staffer during a stand-up comedy routine. The president has denied the claims.

With over 87 percent of Americans over age 65 taking a prescription drug on a regular basis – and a third of Americans over 55 years of age taking five or more prescription drugs, chances are both Trump (aged 74) and Biden (aged 77) are taking something – though whether what’s in their medicine cabinets counts as a performance-enhancing drug is another matter.

— Read on www.rt.com/usa/501964-biden-drug-test-response-debates/

Tucker Carlson On The Mail-In Voting Problems That Are Starting To Emerge… — The Most Important News

The post Tucker Carlson On The Mail-In Voting Problems That Are Starting To Emerge… appeared first on The Most Important News.

Tucker Carlson On The Mail-In Voting Problems That Are Starting To Emerge… — The Most Important News

September 28th The D. L. Moody Year Book

 

Then said they unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.—John 6:34.

I CANNOT but believe that the reason for the standard of Christian life being so low, is that we are living on stale manna. You know what I mean by that. So many people are living on their past experience—thinking of the grand times they had twenty years ago, perhaps when they were converted. It is a sure sign that we are out of communion with God if we are talking more of the joy and peace and power we had in the past, than of what we have to-day. We are told to “grow in grace”; but a great many are growing the wrong way. The Israelites used to gather the manna fresh every day: they were not allowed to store it up. There is a lesson here for us. If we would be strong and vigorous, we must go to God daily. A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough to-day to last him for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at once to sustain life for a week to come. We must draw upon God’s boundless stores of grace from day to day, as we need it.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (pp. 170–171). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

Devin Nunes: Special .Counsel and Intelligence Officials Hiding Documents Were “Straight Up Crimes”… — The Last Refuge

This is the arc of the investigative inquiry that should have been started well over a year ago. This is likely the “expanded” justification now being explained by the Durham/Aldenberg probe.  As if…. they didn’t know this prior to having the evidence slapped upside their head like a cold wet fish.

The Special Counsel was the insurance policy. The Special Counsel ran Main Justice for two years. The function of the Special Counsel was to conceal gross abuses by government agencies. Now those agency leaders are coming under scrutiny for continuing to hide documents and evidence. This stall tactic is frustrating in the extreme.

Devin Nunes: Special .Counsel and Intelligence Officials Hiding Documents Were “Straight Up Crimes”… — The Last Refuge

CDC Comes Clean: New Fatality Rate Is A Shocker! – YouTube Video

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The Centers for Disease Control have come out with a new estimate of the Covid infection fatality ratio and the numbers will shock you. No wonder the Florida governor has said “enough is enough” and decided to open his state up completely. We are told to trust the CDC, so why is the mainstream media ignoring this very important news? Is this still about a disease…or is it politics?

Will Biden ‘Corruption’ Be Off-Limits In First Debate? | Zero Hedge

Authored by Frank Miele via RealClearPolitics.com,

Chris Wallace, America is watching!

When the “Fox News Sunday” host takes the stage on Tuesday to moderate the first presidential debate of 2020, he will for 90 minutes be the most important person in the world.

His questions, his demeanor, his raised eyebrow will signal to millions of voters how they are to assess the two candidates — President Donald John Trump and former Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

If his questions are piercing for both, if his skepticism is applied equally to both the Republican and Democrat, then all is well in this corner of the world of journalism. But if instead Wallace accuses Trump and coddles Biden, we will have one more instance of media bias, which has become so rampant that President Trump had to christen it with a pet name — Fake News.

Every day, the supposedly professional press corps cozies up to Biden with softball questions (“Why aren’t you more angry at President Trump?” has to be my favorite!) while accusing Trump of being a mass murderer, a racist and a Putin puppet. So conservatives are entirely justified in having low expectations for the debate and for Wallace, who has exhibited symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome more than once.

Wallace can ask anything he wants of Trump. I am confident the president will acquit himself admirably, but the litmus test for Wallace playing fair in the debate will be whether or not he asks any hard-hitting questions of Biden — especially about the new Senate report on the corrupt activities of his son Hunter in Ukraine and elsewhere.

If you have heard anything about the Biden report on CNN and MSNBC, or read about it in your newspapers, chances are you came away thinking that Republicans had made up a series of fake charges against the Bidens. “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

The Washington Post, as usual, was at the front of the pack for Fake News coverage. The Post used its headline to focus entirely on Hunter’s position on the board of the corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and claimed that the report doesn’t show that the cozy arrangement “changed U.S. policy” — as if that were the only reason you would not want a vice president’s son enriching himself at the trough of foreign oligarchs.

The story then spent most of its 35 paragraphs excusing Hunter’s behavior either directly or through surrogates such as Democrat senators, and most nauseatingly by quoting Hunter Biden’s daughter, Naomi, who “offered a personal tribute to her father” in the form of a series of tweets, including the following:

“Though the whole world knows his name, no one knows who he is. Here’s a thread on my dad, Hunter Biden — free of charge to the taxpayers and free of the corrosive influence of power-at-all-costs politics. The truth of a man filled with love, integrity, and human struggles.” Oh my, that’s convincing evidence of innocence of wrongdoing. I imagine she also endorses her grandfather for president, for what it’s worth.

The three reporters who wrote the Post piece also spin the facts like whirling dervishes. They say that the report by Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley “rehashes” known details of the matter. They quote Democrats to say without evidence that the report’s key findings are “rooted in a known Russian disinformation effort.”

The following passage in particular shows how one-sided the story is:

“Democrats argue that Johnson has ‘repeatedly impugned’ Biden, and they pointed to his recent comments hinting that the report would shed light on Biden’s ‘unfitness for office,’ as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, to argue that the entire investigation was orchestrated as a smear campaign to benefit Trump.”

Using the “shoe on the other foot” test, can you ever imagine a similar statement being made in the Washington Post about the Trump impeachment investigation? Let’s see. How would that go?

“Republicans argue that Rep. Adam Schiff has ‘repeatedly impugned’ Trump, and they pointed to his recent comments hinting that the report would shed light on Trump’s ‘unfitness for office’ to argue that the entire investigation was orchestrated as a smear campaign to benefit Biden.”

Oh yeah, sure! The chance of reading that paragraph in the Washington Post news pages would have been absolutely zero.

Perhaps even more insidious was the decision by the editors to push the most significant news in the report to the bottom of the Post’s story. That is the lucrative relationship that Hunter Biden established in 2017 with a Chinese oil tycoon named Ye Jianming. Biden was apparently paid $1 million to represent Ye’s assistant while he was facing bribery charges in the United States.

Even more disturbing, “In August 2017, a subsidiary of Ye’s company wired $5 million into the bank account of a U.S. company called Hudson West III, which over the next 13 months sent $4.79 million marked as consulting fees to Hunter Biden’s firm, the report said. Over the same period, Hunter Biden’s firm wired some $1.4 million to a firm associated with his uncle and aunt, James and Sara Biden, according to the report.”

Then, in late 2017, “Hunter Biden and a financier associated with Ye also opened a line of credit for Hudson West III that authorized credit cards for Hunter Biden, James Biden and Sara Biden, according to the report, which says the Bidens used the credit cards to purchase more than $100,000 worth of items, including airline tickets and purchases at hotels and restaurants.”

The Post also glossed over payments received by Hunter Biden from Yelena Baturina, who the story acknowledges “is the widow of former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov and is a member of Kazakhstan’s political elite.” What the story doesn’t say is that the payments received by Hunter Biden’s companies while Joe Biden was vice president totaled close to $4 million. Does anyone have even the slightest curiosity why Hunter’s companies received these payments from a Russian oligarch? As Donald Trump Jr. noted, if he had the same record of taking money from foreign nationals, he “would be in jail right now.”

In other words, the headline and the lede of the Washington Post story were entirely misleading. What readers should have been told is that there is a pattern of corruption and inexplicable enrichment in the Biden family that has continued for years and that Joe Biden has turned his back on it.

Seems worthy of the attention of the voters who will determine the nation’s leadership for the next four years. So the most important question at the debate Tuesday night is the following: Will Chris Wallace take the same cowardly path as the Washington Post, or will he demand an answer from candidate Biden as to why influence peddling, conflicts of interest and virtual money laundering are acceptable?

Based on Wallace’s track record, I’m not holding my breath that we will get either the question or the answer, but if we do, I will happily applaud him as the tough-as-nails journalist he is supposed to be.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/political/will-biden-corruption-be-limits-first-debate

Stream for Free: Dallas–Fort Worth Conference — Ligonier Ministries Blog

All of the messages from More Than Conquerors, our 2020 Dallas–Fort Worth Conference, are now available for free on Ligonier.org, the Ligonier app, and YouTube.

Sessions

STREAM NOW

Don’t forget to join us on October 3 at 1:00–3:00 p.m. for Always Ready, a free livestream created to help students share their faith and stand firm for the truth of God’s Word.

Stream for Free: Dallas–Fort Worth Conference — Ligonier Ministries Blog

September 28 Life-Changing Moments With God

 

They shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.

O Lord my God, masters besides You have had dominion over me; but by You only I make mention of Your name. I have become like those of old, over whom You never ruled, those who were never called by Your name.

But now all peoples of the earth shall see that I am called by Your name, Lord God, and they shall be afraid of me. You, Lord, will not forsake me, for Your great name’s sake, because it has pleased You to make me Yours.

O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay, for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name. Help me, O God of my salvation, for the glory of Your name; and deliver me, and provide atonement for my sins, for Your name’s sake! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Your name, Lord God, is a strong tower; we who are righteous in Christ run to it and are safe.

Thank You, Almighty God, that You won’t forsake me, You forgive my sins, and You act on behalf of Your children.

Numbers 6:27; Isaiah 26:13; Isaiah 63:19; Deuteronomy 28:10; 1 Samuel 12:22; Daniel 9:19; Psalm 79:9–10; Proverbs 18:10[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 291). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

How to Recognize and Rebuke a False Teacher (Titus 1:10–16) — Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family

A church appoints qualified pastors because, if not, false teachers will gladly take their place. Pastors should be godly and gifted to teach (Titus 1:6–9). Many men are the opposite, and Titus 1:10–16shows us how to recognize and rebuke them.

Realize that there are many false teachers (Titus 1:10).

“For there are many,” Paul warned, and he characterized them in three ways: (1) “insubordinate,” refusing to obey God and His word; (2) “empty talkers,” saying things that lack any Christian substance; and (3) “deceivers,” telling what is not true. These characterizations rang “especially” true “of the circumcision party” (Titus 1:10), those who required adherence to the Mosaic Law for salvation and sanctification (cf. Acts 15:5).

They must be silenced (Titus 1:11).

Even their own people know how bad they are (Titus 1:12–13a).

“A prophet of their own” (likely Epimenedes) said that his fellow “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12). Interestingly, Crete was not known for wild beasts, so Paul basically said that they had been replaced by the false teachers—lying, evil men who were given to their passions.2 Paul agreed with the so-called “prophet”: “This testimony is true” (Titus 1:13).

So, rebuke them sharply (Titus 1:13b–14).

Whatever they might say, they are evil inside and out (Titus 1:15–16).

No true church wants a false teacher to worm his way into people’s homes and lead them astray, taking their money in the process. Should we ever detect such a one in our churches, may we rebuke him sharply, and may God grant faith to him and wisdom to anyone under his sway. And may God help us to appoint pastors according to Titus 1:6–9so that our churches are not misled by men described in Titus 1:10–16.

David Huffstutler

About David Huffstutler

David pastors First Baptist Church in Rockford, IL, serves as a chaplain for his local police department, and teaches as adjunct faculty at Bob Jones University. David holds a Ph. D. in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His concentration in Christian Leadership focuses his contributions to pastoral and practical theology.

How to Recognize and Rebuke a False Teacher (Titus 1:10–16) — Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family

September 28, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

An Excellent Minister Disciplines Himself for Godliness

On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. (4:7b–9)

There is no effective spiritual ministry apart from personal godliness, since ministry is the overflow of a godly life. J. Oswald Sanders wrote, “Spiritual ends can be achieved only by spiritual men who employ spiritual methods” (Spiritual Leadership, 40).

Spurgeon described in the following words the minister who, lacking godliness in his own life, would seek to lead others to it:

A graceless pastor is a blind man elected to a professorship of optics, philosophising upon light and vision, discoursing upon and distinguishing to others the nice shades and delicate blendings of the prismatic colours, while he himself is absolutely in the dark! He is a dumb man elevated to the chair of music; a deaf man fluent upon symphonies and harmonies! He is a mole professing to educate eagles; a limpet elected to preside over angels. (Lectures to My Students, first series [reprint; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980], 4)

Discipline is from gumnazō, from which our English words “gymnasium” and “gymnastics” derive. It means “to train,” or “to exercise.” The word speaks of the rigorous, strenuous, self-sacrificing training an athlete undergoes.

Every Greek city had its gymnasium, and Ephesus was no exception. Youths customarily spent much of their time from ages sixteen to eighteen in physical training. That was vital, since life in those days involved much physical activity. There was a great emphasis on physical training and the glory of winning athletic events.

By using gumnazō, Paul plays off that cultural phenomenon and applies it to the spiritual realm. As Greek culture emphasized dedicated training of the body, Paul urged Timothy to discipline himself for the purpose of godliness. The present tense of the verb indicates that was to be Timothy’s constant pursuit. Timothy was to train his inner man for godliness.

Eusebeia (godliness) expresses the reality of reverence, piety, and true spiritual virtue. It was a word much used by the philosophers of Paul’s day. The Platonists defined it as “right conduct in regard to the gods.” The Stoic definition was “knowledge of how God should be worshipped.” Lucian said it described one who was “a lover of the gods,” while Xenophon said it characterized someone who was “wise concerning the gods” (cf. Richard C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976], 172–73). Thus even to the pagans eusebeia meant a concern for deity and a reverence for things holy.

That concept carried over into the Christian faith. Godliness is a right attitude and response toward the true Creator God; a preoccupation from the heart with holy and sacred realities. It is respect for what is due to God, and is thus the highest of all virtues. In 1 Timothy 6:3 it is said to be at the heart of truth. Second Peter 1:3 says that it comes from Christ, while 1 Timothy 6:11 balances that by teaching that believers must pursue it. According to Acts 3:12 it brings power, while 2 Timothy 3:12 indicates it brings trouble. First Timothy 6:5–6 says that it brings eternal (though not necessarily temporal) blessings. Godliness is the heart and soul of Christian character, and the aim of Christian living (cf. 1 Tim. 2:2; 2 Peter 3:11).

Spiritual self-discipline is the key to godly living. In 1 Corinthians 9:24–27 Paul wrote,

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

In 2 Corinthians 7:1 he exhorted us to “cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” In 2 Timothy 2:3–5 Paul commanded Timothy to

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

Here Paul likens spiritual discipline to that required of a soldier and an athlete. Such discipline is necessary for victory in war, or in the games. The lack of spiritual discipline is the primary reason so many spiritual leaders fall into sin. They fail to spend time cultivating the means of grace, in the Word, in prayer, and in self-sacrificial service. An excellent minister is to pursue godliness, not success (cf. 1 Tim. 1:5; 2:8; 3:2, 10; 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:1, 21–22). He will one day hear from the Lord, “Well done, good and faithful slave” (Matt. 25:21).

In Paul’s day, as in our own, there was a great emphasis on bodily discipline. While helpful, such discipline is only of little profit. Paul is showing that it is limited both in extent and duration. Bodily discipline affects only the physical body during this earthly life. On the other hand, godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. Unlike bodily discipline, godliness is profitable for the soul as well as the body. Its positive effects are also not limited to this life, because it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. Cultivating godliness will bring benefits in the present life (cf. Prov. 3:7–8), but it will primarily bring blessedness for all eternity.

So axiomatic is the truth of verse 8 that Paul calls it a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. As noted in chapter 3 of this volume, a trustworthy statement is a self-evident, obvious statement. It is something so patently clear that everyone acknowledges it. This affirmation refers back to verse 8, not ahead to the comment in verse 10. Verse 8 is much more of a proverbial, axiomatic statement than verse 10. A proverbial statement would not begin with a reference to laboring and striving, as does verse 10. Finally, the Greek phrase eis touto gar that begins verse 10 shows that verse 10 is not the trustworthy statement, but supports it. Verse 10, then, follows up the truth of verse 8.

It is axiomatic that believers are to be disciplining themselves for godliness because of its eternal value. Godliness, not fame, popularity, or reputation, is the pursuit of the excellent minister, who must be an example of spiritual virtue to his flock. He must apply all the means of grace as he endeavors to be able to say, as did Paul, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ “ (1 Cor. 11:1).[1]


7b–8 Timothy is take the alternate route of godliness (v. 7b). The third command employs language typical of Greco-Roman ethical teaching: “train yourself.” It was first applied to the effort and exercise involved in physical contexts, and transferred naturally to describe the work of progressing toward virtue in the moral and spiritual sphere. Here the language of training paves the way for development of the next comparison of bodily exercise and godliness.

The purpose or intended result of this training is “godliness.” This term, first surfacing in 2:2 (see Excursus), defines Christian existence as the interplay of the knowledge of God and of the truth (cf. 4:3) and the observable outworking of that knowledge in appropriate ways. The contours of this life of genuine spirituality would include all of the ethical teaching contained in the letter, but we are invited immediately to consider the elements spelled out in 4:11–16. It is highly probable, in this context where Paul has firmly denounced certain behaviors of the opponents (4:1–2), that “godliness” is being advanced in contrast to the misshapen spirituality of the heretics. But Paul will rely on traditional paradigms and implicit comparisons as he finishes his brief exposition of “godliness.”

Verse 8 provides grounding (“for”; gar) for the command to pursue godliness. It consists of a contrast between the value of bodily or physical training and godliness. Although the reference to bodily training (gymnasia) was anticipated by the preceding reference to “training” (gymnaze), the comparison might be proverbial and had possibly found its way into Christian teaching by this time from either secular or Hellenistic-Jewish sources. “Physical training” is generally that which pertains to the body, and the language suggests immediately a background in the athletic culture of Greco-Roman society.16 Paul admits that such exercise has “some value” (cf. 1 Cor 9:24–27), but the purpose of saying this is mainly to limit its relevance within this discussion and shine the brighter light on “exercise in godliness.”

The question often asked of this text is whether the reference to “physical exercise” in what is perhaps a well-known comparison coming from the philosophical schools (in which physical training is understood in the Greco-Roman sense or athletic training) is simply a way of highlighting the greater significance of “godliness,” or whether the term specifically zeroes in on the asceticism alluded to and challenged in 4:3. In my opinion, this remains an open question, though the force of the contrast (clearly elevating godliness to the highest level) cannot be missed. Although the traditional maxim would suffice to emphasize the greater importance of godliness, it does not seem far-fetched that the ascetic practices of 4:3 are at least obliquely in view (how could they not be?), perhaps regarded by Paul as an extreme example of the category defined by “physical exercise.” Paul’s denunciation of the opponents’ excessive measures with regard to marriage and foods is unequivocal, so there is no need to address them specifically again. But they do nevertheless fall at least somewhere within the category of those physical activities (including athletic exercise) that, in comparison with exercise in godliness, can only offer limited benefits. In turning the instructions to Timothy to his pursuit of godliness, Paul shifts to the level of larger principles. It is difficult to ignore the alter-image of the heretics and their practices (vv. 7, 3) as this shift is made.

The contrast indicating the better course to be pursued is expressed with an almost perfect parallelism as a literal translation shows:

8a:

 

For physical training is of some value;

 

   
8b:

 

But godliness is valuable for all things.

 

   
8a:

 

hē gar sōmatikē gymnasia

 

pros oligon

 

estin ōphelimos;

 

8b:

 

hē de eusebeia

 

pros panta

 

ōphelimos estin.

 

In place of physical exercise (whether ascetic rigor is meant or not), exercise in “godliness,” that holistic life encompassing faith and visible behavior, is set out as the first priority (4:7; 2:2). Its superiority stems from its far-reaching value (“for all things”), in contrast to the limited value of the former. This value is then explained in terms of eternal life: “holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” The phrase, “promise of life,” is almost technical, identifying this “life” as that which is specifically associated with the salvific pledge of God (2 Tim 1:1; Titus 1:2). Given the inherent unity in the concept of life associated with God’s promise (both now and to come; see discussion at 1:16), it is unlikely that Paul is distinguishing rigidly between physical life (“now”) and spiritual or eternal life (“to come”). The point is rather that the practice of godliness will lead the believer into the experience of God’s promise of eternal life in the present age that carries on into the “age to come.”

In the letters to Timothy and Titus it is typical of Paul to hold tightly together the present age (“now”) of Christian activity and the “coming”26 age (here the life associated with it), the result of which is an ethical tension. On the one hand, Paul insists that the future promise of God is being realized “now” in the present age, changing it and opening up new possibilities for those in faith. On the other hand, this fact, linked to the fact of the past Christ event, obligates believers to “put on” the new reality. Here this entire network of ideas is consolidated into the concept of “godliness.” Practice of it is anticipation of the fullness of blessing to come. Its value transcends that of bodily exercise—and in this the behavior of the opponents is flatly denounced—not simply because bodily exercise pertains only to life here and now, but because godliness is the outworking of God’s eschatological promise of life that has broken into the present age.[2]


4:7–8 / Almost as a reflex action, Paul’s mentioning the good teaching calls forth a contrast with the bad kind. Indeed, his own word order, with the imperative coming last, serves to highlight the contrast. “But (Gk. de, untranslated in the niv) godless myths and old wives’ tales, have nothing to do with.” For myths, see discussion on 1:4. Here they are characterized as godless, meaning profane in the sense of being radically opposite to what is sacred, and as coming from old wives’ tales, a sarcastic expression often used in philosophical polemic comparing an opponent’s position to the tales perpetuated by the older women of those cultures as they would sit around weaving and the like.

In contrast to godless myths and old wives’ tales, which promote speculations and have nothing to do with genuine godliness (eusebeia), Paul urges Timothy to give himself vigorously to the latter. In doing so he changes metaphors—from child rearing (v. 6) to athletics: Train yourself (gymnaze) for eusebeia (to be godly). Paul’s point is that, like the athlete, Timothy should keep himself in vigorous training for the practice of genuine godliness, understood here as both the content of the truth and its visible expression in correct behavior (see disc. on 2:2 and 3:16).

Having used the metaphor of physical training, Paul, in typical fashion, pauses to reflect on the metaphor itself for a moment. There is another kind of training, he says, physical training (gymnasia), which is of some value. This statement has been the cause of some puzzlement. Is Paul herewith trying to encourage Timothy to take a little physical exercise? Almost certainly not. Such a concern is irrelevant to the context and quite beside the point. What, then? Most likely the reason for it lies with the metaphor itself. Having just urged gymnaze (train yourself) for eusebeia (godliness), Paul now picks up both ends of that imperative, and with perfectly balanced sentences presses home the reason for Timothy’s training himself in godliness. Paul will allow that physical training (gymnasia) is of some value, a value, however, that is limited strictly to this age. But he says that only to set up his real concern. Eusebeia (godliness) is where the real value lies. Indeed, it has value for all things (better, “in every way”), because it holds promise for life, both the present life and the life to come. (The idea of godliness as holding promise of life is reiterated in Titus 1:2.) Here is a clear reference to Paul’s understanding of Christian existence as basically eschatological. Life, which means “eternal life” (see 1:16), has already begun. The life of the future is therefore both a present reality and a hope of life to come. (See further the note on 4:1.)

Paul’s argument has strayed a bit, but not without purpose. The word eusebeia (“true godliness”) is used throughout 1 Timothy to express genuine Christian faith—the truth and its visible expression. It is this quality that the false teachers lack. Thus “godliness,” though contrasted with physical training, really stands in contrast to the godless myths, precisely because it has to do with life, both present and future.[3]


Ver. 8.—Is profitable for a little for profiteth little, A.V. for for unto, A.V. which for that, A.V. Bodily exercise. Exercise which only affects the body, such as those rules which the Jewish ascetics enforced. Γυμνασία only occurs here in the New Testament, and not at all in the LXX, but is not uncommon in classical Greek. Another form is γύμνασις, and γυμνάσιον is the place where such γύμνασις takes place. For a little; margin, for little, which is the best rendering. Πρὸς ὀλίγον, as Elicott well remarks, may mean either “for a little while” or “for a little” (better, “for little”), but cannot mean both. The contrast with πρὸς πάντα determines its meaning here to be “for little,” which is exactly the same meaning as the A.V. Promise of the life. The genitive here is the genitive of the thing promised, as in Acts 2:33; Gal. 3:14; 2 Tim. 1:1. And the thing promised is “the life that now is,” meaning, of course, its enjoyment in peace and happiness (comp. Ps. 34:12 [33, LXX]., where ὁ θέλων ζωήν is parallel to ἀγαπῶν ἡμέρας … ἀγαθάς); and “that which is to come,” viz. eternal life). There is no occasion to strain after greater grammatical precision. There is no contradiction between this statement of the happiness of a godly life and St. Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 15:19. Another possible way of construing the words is that of Bishop Ellicott and the ‘Speaker’s Commentary:’ “Having the promise of life, both the present and the future.” But in this case we should have had τῆς τε νῦν καὶ, κ.τ.λ.[4]


8. For bodily exercise is of little profit. By the exercise “of the body,” he does not mean that which lies in hunting, or in the race-course, or in wrestling, or in digging, or in the mechanical occupations; but he gives that name to all the outward actions that are undertaken, for the sake of religion, such as watchings, long fasts, lying on the earth, and such like. Yet he does not here censure the superstitious observance of those things; otherwise he would totally condemn them, as he does in the Epistle to the Colossians, (2:21,) but at present he only speaks slightingly of them, and says that they are of little advantage. So, then, though the heart be altogether upright, and the object proper, yet, in outward actions, Paul finds nothing that he can value highly.

This is a very necessary warning; for the world will always lean to the side of wishing to worship God by outward services; which is an exceedingly dangerous imagination. But—to say nothing about the wicked opinion of merit—our nature always disposes us strongly to attribute more than we ought to austerity of life; as if it were no ordinary portion of Christian holiness. A clearer view of this cannot be adduced, than the fact, that, shortly after the publication of this command, the whole world was ravished with immoderate admiration of the empty form of bodily exercises. Hence arose the order of monks and nuns, and nearly all the most excellent discipline of the ancient Church, or, at least, that part of it which was most highly esteemed by the common people. If the ancient monks had not dreamed that there was some indescribably divine or angelical perfection in their austere manner of living, they would never have pursued it with so much ardour. In like manner, if pastors had not attached undue value to the ceremonies which were then observed for the mortification of the flesh, they would never have been so rigid in exacting them. And what does Paul say on the other hand? That, when any one shall have laboured much and long in those exercises, the profit will be small and inconsiderable; for they are nothing but the rudiments of childish discipline.

But godliness is profitable for all things. That is, “he who has godliness wants nothing, though he has not those little aids; for godliness alone is able to conduct a man to complete perfection. It is the beginning, the middle, and the end, of Christian life; and, therefore, where that is entire, nothing is imperfect. Christ did not lead so austere a manner of life as John the Baptist; was he, therefore, any whit inferior? Let the meaning be thus summed up. “We ought to apply ourselves altogether to piety alone; because, when we have once attained it, God asks nothing more from us; and we ought to give attention to bodily exercises in such a manner as not to hinder or retard the practice of godliness.”

Which hath the promises. It is a very great consolation, that God does not wish the godly to be in want of anything; for, having made our perfection to consist in godliness, he now makes it the perfection of all happiness. As it is the beginning of happiness in this life, so he likewise extends to it the promise of divine grace, which alone makes us happy, and without which we are very miserable; for God testifies that, even in this life, he will be our Father.

But let us remember to distinguish between the good things of the present and of the future life; for God bestows kindness on us in this world, in order that he may give us only a taste of his goodness, and by such a taste may allure us to the desire of heavenly benefits, that in them we may find satisfaction. The consequence is, that the good things of the present life are not only mingled with very many afflictions, but, we may almost say, overwhelmed by them; for it is not expedient for us to have abundance in this world, lest we should indulge in luxury. Again, lest any one should found on this passage the merits of works, we ought to keep in mind what we have already said, that godliness includes not only a good conscience toward men, and the fear of God, but likewise faith and calling upon him.[5]


7–8. By way of contrast to the good doctrine the apostle describes the false teaching as godless myths. The word used here (bebēlos) means ‘profane’, from a root meaning ‘permitted to be trodden’ with the idea that nothing remains sacred. The word has already been used in 1:9 in the list of law-breakers coupled with ‘unholy men’. The use of this word to describe professedly religious people shows the utter bankruptcy of their religion. The addition of the epithet old wives brings out forcibly the frivolous character of the false teachers’ tales (mythoi). The whole teaching lacked substance and must be vigorously rejected. The verb (paraiteomai) emphasizes the strong nature of the refusal (cf. Titus 3:10 and 2 Tim. 2:23).

Again the apostle is quick to balance a negative with a positive injunction. He turns to athletics for his illustration, probably to emphasize the contrast between manly exercise and old wives’ tales. There is a further comparison between physical and spiritual discipline. The apostle admits a place for the former but sets a strict limit on its exercise. The description of it in the niv as of some value does not bring out the force of oligos which means ‘little or slight’ and which seems to suggest only a limited value for physical exercise. It is contrasted with spiritual training, which on the other hand is of value for all things; or perhaps ‘in all directions’ (Moffatt). Its range is immeasurably greater for it embraces not only this life but the life to come. The promise … for the present life is not an equivalent for worldly prosperity, but sums up the blessedness of godliness. Irrespective of his present earthly circumstances, the Christian may fairly be said to have the best of both worlds.[6]


Ver. 8. For bodily exercise profiteth little; but godliness is profitable unto all things.

The profit of godliness:—Not only is this the testimony of a great man, but the testimony of a good man, the testimony of a Christian man; a man, therefore, who had experience as to the utility of that concerning which he makes affirmation. He did not speak on the report of others, but he had brought the matter to the test of personal experiment; and from what he had realized in himself he could say, “Godliness is profitable unto all things.”

  1. What is godliness? It is real, vital, experimental, practical religion—genuine Christianity—a religion concerning God, the great, the wise, the blessed God. 1. Godliness comprehends a genuine fear. For where there is no fear of God there is no genuine piety—there is no religion. 2. Godliness means the saving knowledge of God, “whom to know is life eternal.” 3. And then, where there is knowledge of God, saving knowledge, there must be love to God; and no man can love an unknown object. 4. Then just in proportion as we love God (and this is essential to godliness) we shall be concerned to entertain intercourse with God. 5. Then perceive that this will lead to conformity to God—likeness to God. Such, indeed, is the very nature, such the constitution of the human mind, that it contracts a resemblance to those objects with which from inclination it is the most conversant. Apply the remark where you will, it will hold. Look at the man of this world; where are his thoughts? Why, the world is his object, and he becomes more and more worldly: and so of every other class. Now look at the man of God: his thoughts rise to God, his affections are spiritually placed on God: there is his object, there is his all; and, beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus, he catches the impress of it. 6. Let me say, too, that all Scriptural piety is practical. All that godliness which is genuine must lead to holiness of life and conversation.
  2. What, then, are the advantages of godliness? “Godliness is profitable.” As though the apostle had said, “It is not merely a very harmless and innocent thing, and therefore no person should be afraid of it.” This would have been very low praise, if it had been praise at all. It is not merely said “that it is profitable for some things”; nor is it affirmed concerning it that it is profitable for many things; but the affirmation is without qualification, “Godliness is profitable for all things.” “The life that now is.” You cannot hear this without at once in your minds adverting to the beneficial influence of godliness on a man’s external circumstances. Then consistent godliness gives a man character. Besides, godliness saves a man from intemperance: and what a vast benefit is this! When a man becomes truly godly, he becomes industrious. You never saw an idle Christian. And then the Lord will bless the man that fears Him. Besides, godliness is beneficial considered in its influence in preserving and prolonging the life that now is. Then is it not true that ungodliness tends to impair and destroy life? Godliness is profitable in its beneficial influence on all the relations of life—on all the grades in society. Let me just add here that godliness is profitable at all the periods of life. It is profitable in the morning of life. Oh! how it brightens the morning: and is not morning the best part of the day? And if it be bright in the morning, oh! may it not bless the noon? Then if it brighten the morn and bless the noon, how will it cheer the evening of life! Learn the inconsistency and folly of those who, while they admit the profit of godliness, make no effort to avail themselves of its advantages. Let me recommend this religion to you on the principle of self-interest. (R. Newton.)

The advantage of godliness:—Among the other advantages which it secures on this side eternity, one is the improvement of the human mind—I mean of his intellectual qualities: the improvement of his judgment, his discrimination, his mental faculties. I shall draw your attention to four reasons why the religion of Christ, when received into the heart, improves the human mind.

  1. Its tendency is to subjugate the passions. It is more than its tendency; it is its direct effect. Not that man is wholly without restraint; there are three things which may operate to check the evil passions of the heart. 1. Conscience has some power. 2. Reason. 3. Self-interest. Self-interest can do something to check the passions, because it will say, “This will do you an injury.” But they are unable to do this perfectly, and that for two reasons. 1. That passion is greatly assisted by powerful allies. Satan sits at the right hand of the human heart, blowing up the coals of evil which are in the heart into a flame of sin, which marks the demon’s power over fallen man. But religion comes to counteract this; the grace of God, by applying to the mind Divine truth and disposing the mind to love and embrace it, improves the mind—(1) By strengthening it. It gives such views, and principles, and motives, as direct the conduct. (2) By enlightening it. The tendency of religion on the mind is to make it see more accurately, reason more correctly, and feel more properly.
  2. It presents right principles of action. 1. It presents a principle extremely weighty to regulate the mind aright and make it decide right on such things as it is called to judge respecting it. It enables the mind to realize eternity; to be influenced by it at such times and in such places as an individual living in preparation for it should be influenced and guided in relation to an appearance before the great tribunal. 2. Religion produces the realization of another object which tends to guide the mind aright. What is that which will decide the rectitude of the whole life? The apostle has stated it—“Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”; because all that is not done according to this motive is not done according to the will of God. 3. Religion influences the mind and will aright, and therefore elevates the mind, because it furnishes a directory—the Scriptures. Religion has this influence, because—

III. It presents to the mind the highest subjects of contemplation. 1. It brings to the mind the things of God. It takes the mind, by contemplation, up into the mount, as Moses was taken up to converse with God; or as the disciples were taken up into the Mount of Transfiguration to behold the glory of Christ and to hear Him talk with Moses and Elias. It has an elevating effect. 2. It makes the mind serious; and seriousness improves the mind. Trifling is the mark of a light mind, and does not improve it. Religion, as it induces habits of seriousness, cannot fail to improve the mind. 3. The study of God’s Word tends to strengthen the mind; and that which strengthens the mind improves it. 4. Religion gives acquiescence to the will of God; and this improves the mind. The mind that is opposed to the will of God is always battling; but the mind that yields to the will of God is always going right.

  1. By the internal peace, the peace of soul which religion is calculated to produce, and which it actually does produce; it raises the human mind. When the mind is at peace, it can operate calmly, and is therefore more likely to regulate the judgment and guide it aright. It has often been remarked what effect religion produces in seasons of great danger. This was strikingly observed in the case of the loss of the Kent East Indiaman. There were some persons on board under the influence of religion; and some of these, even females, became objects of admiration, because of their remarkable presence of mind. And this power of religion has often been remarked in our pious soldiers and sailors: their minds have been composed in the hour of danger and of battle; and they have been distinguished by their energy and calmness. In fact, almost all that distinguishes the rational from the irrational is seen in the Christian. The Christian in this world is always in danger. We cannot but observe, then—1. How superior is the state of the human mind in those who have religion to the state of the mind in those who have it not. 2. In attentively reading the history of the world, we may state, without fear of contradiction, that the minds of men have been improved in proportion to the degree of religion they have possessed. (R. Sibthorp.)

The advantages of practical religion:—1. “Godliness is profitable,” as it tends greatly to alleviate the sorrows of life. 2. Godliness is profitable because it imparts sweetness to the enjoyments and an additional relish to the pleasures of life. It is a libel on piety, to represent it as something gloomy and morose. 3. “Godliness,” because it confers upon its possessors pleasures peculiarly its own, “is profitable.” 4. Godliness is profitable, as it disarms death of its terrors and the grave of its gloom. 5. “Godliness is profitable,” for it prepares its possessor for eternal glory. From this subject we learn the importance—the value of religion. But, in fine, if religion is so profitable, I need scarcely, except for the purpose of excitement, remind you that it is personal religion that alone can be beneficial to any of you. (Dr. Beattie.)

Godliness:

  1. The nature of godliness. 1. Knowledge of the perfections of God—of the person and work of Christ as the Mediator—of man’s state as a fallen creature—of his duty and privileges as redeemed by Christ. (1) As to the perfections of God. This knowledge is to be found nowhere but in the Book of God. (2) Here alone we obtain a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Here we are made acquainted with man’s state as a fallen creature. (4) As to his duty and privileges. Now, the knowledge of all this is essential to true religion in any soul. 2. Obedience to the commands of God. 3. The transformation of the soul into the image of God.
  2. The fruits, or tendencies and effects, of godliness. 1. For the increase of worldly comfort. 2. For the establishment of respectability of character in the world. 3. For the improvement of the human mind. (P. M’Owan.)

The gain of godliness:

  1. And, first, what is godliness? It is a real belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; our Maker, our Redeemer, and our Sanctifier. It is believing in Him, as He is made known to us in the Bible, in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us see, whether, even in this world, godliness is not great gain. In the first place, the Scripture gives a general promise that the godly man shall have good things in this world. 1. For godliness fits a man for every station. It is that character on which favour, honour, and esteem surely follow. 2. The godly man alone really enjoys the things which God gives him here. 3. But further, the godly man alone has the privilege of know ing that all things shall work together for his good. 4. But after all, if you would know the great gain of godliness, even in this life, you must try it.
  2. And this word brings us to the full gain of godliness. If in this life only the believer had hope in Christ, he might still be deemed of all men most miserable. (E. Blencowe, M.A.)

That godliness generally makes men happy in this life:—I. It is to be observed that under the Jewish dispensation temporal promises were most expressly made to obedience, and most particularly with regard to the national success of the righteous against their public enemies (Deut. 32:29). II. Therefore it is to be observed in the next place, and the observation holds more universally true, that religion and virtue, whenever they obtain generally so as to prevail in a nation, do bring along with them very great temporal blessings. III. As to the case of particular and private persons, about whom is much the greatest difficulty, there are several considerations necessary to be taken in in order to determine with any exactness how far godliness having the promise of the present life can be applied to them in this mixed and disorderly state of things. And—1. Religion and piety does not generally alter the natural circumstances or the relative states and conditions of men. If a man be poor or be a servant or slave, his being pious and religious will not certainly make him rich or gain him his freedom. 2. Godliness and true holiness does not exempt men from the unavoidable casualties of nature, such as sickness, death, and the like. 3. Righteousness and piety do not exempt men from such afflictions as God sees necessary either to make trial of their virtue or to make an example of it. 4. Religion and virtue do not always secure men from all the consequences of their own former sins. 5. Righteousness and true holiness do not secure men from the consequences of other men’s sins also: from oppression and unrighteous judgment. (S. Clarke, D.D.)

The profitableness of godliness:—How generally men, with most unanimous consent, are devoted to profit, as to the immediate scope of their designs and aim of their doings, if with the slightest attention we view what is acted on this theatre of human affairs, we cannot but discern. Profit is therefore so much affected and pursued, because it is, or doth seem, apt to procure or promote some good desirable to us. It hath been ever a main obstruction to the practice of piety, that it hath been taken for no friend, or rather for an enemy to profit; as both unprofitable and prejudicial to its followers: and many semblances there are countenancing that opinion. For religion seemeth to smother or to slacken the industry and alacrity of men in following profit many ways: by charging them to be content with a little, and careful for nothing; by diverting their affections and cares from worldly affairs to matters of another nature, place, and time, prescribing in the first place to seek things spiritual, heavenly. It favoureth this conceit to observe that often bad men by impious courses do appear to thrive and prosper; while good men seem for their goodness to suffer, or to be nowise visibly better for it, enduring much hardship and distress. 1. We may consider that piety is exceeding useful for all sorts of men, in all capacities, all states, all relations; fitting and disposing them to manage all their respective concernments, to discharge all their peculiar duties, in a proper, just, and decent manner. If then it be a gross absurdity to desire the fruits, and not to take care of the root, not to cultivate the stock, whence they sprout; if every prince gladly would have his subjects loyal and obedient, every master would have his servants honest, diligent, and observant, every parent would have his children officious and grateful, every man would have his friend faithful and kind, every one would have those just and sincere, with whom he doth negotiate or converse; if any one would choose to be related to such, and would esteem their relation a happiness; then consequently should every man in reason strive to further piety, from whence alone those good dispositions and practices do proceed. 2. Piety doth fit a man for all conditions, qualifying him to pass through them all with the best advantage, wisely, cheerfully, and safely; so as to incur no considerable harm or detriment by them. Is a man prosperous, high, or wealthy in condition? Piety guardeth him from all the mischiefs incident to that state, and disposeth him to enjoy the best advantages thereof. It keepeth him from being swelled and puffed up with vain conceit. It preserveth him from being perverted or corrupted with the temptations to which that condition is most liable; from luxury, from sloth, from stupidity, from forgetfulness of God, and of himself; maintaining among the floods of plenty a sober and steady mind. Such a wondrous virtue hath piety to change all things into matter of consolation and joy. No condition in effect can be evil or sad to a pious man: his very sorrows are pleasant, his infirmities are wholesome, his wants enrich him, his disgraces adorn him, his burdens ease him; his duties are privileges, his falls are the grounds of advancement, his very sins (as breeding contrition, humility, circumspection, and vigilance), do better and profit him: whereas impiety doth spoil every condition, doth corrupt and embase all good things, doth embitter all the conveniences and comforts of life. 3. Piety doth virtually comprise within it all other profits, serving all the designs of them all: whatever kind or desirable good we can hope to find from any other profit, we may be assured to enjoy from it. He that hath it is ipso facto vastly rich, is entitled to immense treasures of most precious wealth; in comparison whereto all the gold and all the jewels in the world are mere baubles. He hath interest in God, and can call Him his, who is the all, and in regard to whom all things existent are “less than nothing.” The pious man is in truth most honourable. The pious man is also the most potent man: he hath a kind of omnipotency, because he can do whatever he will, that is, what he ought to do; and because the Divine power is ever ready to assist him in his pious enterprises, so that “he can do all things by Christ that strengtheneth him.” The pious man also doth enjoy the only true pleasures; hearty, pure, solid, durable pleasures. As for liberty, the pious man most entirely and truly doth enjoy that; he alone is free from captivity to that cruel tyrant Satan, from the miserable slavery to sin, from the grievous dominion of lust and passion. As for all other profits, secluding it, they are but imaginary and counterfeit, mere shadows and illusions, yielding only painted shows instead of substantial fruit. 4. That commendation is not to be omitted which is nearest at hand, and suggested by St. Paul himself to back this assertion concerning the universal profitableness of piety; “For,” saith he, “it hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” As for the blessings of this life, although God hath not promised to load the godly man with affluence of worldly things, yet hath He promised to furnish him with whatever is needful or convenient for him, in due measure and season, the which he doth best understand. Particularly there are promised to the pious man, A supply of all wants. “The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish.” A protection in all dangers.—“The eye of the Lord is on them that fear Him, on them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” Guidance in all his undertakings and proceedings.—“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” Success and prosperity in his designs.—“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Comfortable enjoying the fruits of his industry.—“Thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands.” Satisfaction of all reasonable desires.—“The desire of the righteous shall be granted.” Firm peace and quiet.—“Great peace have they which love Thy law.” “The fruit of righteousness is sowed in peace.” Joy and alacrity.—“Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” Support and comfort in afflictions.—“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Deliverance from trouble.—“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Preservation and recovery from mishaps, or miscarriages.—“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.” Preferment of all sorts, to honour and dignity, to wealth and prosperity.—“Wait on the Lord, and keep His way; and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land.” Long life.—“The fear of the Lord prolongeth days.” A good name endureth after death.—“The memory of the just is blessed.” Blessings entailed on posterity.—“His seed shall be mighty on earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.” “The root of the righteous shall not be moved.” It is indeed more frequently, abundantly, and explicitly promised unto God’s ancient people, as being a conditional ingredient of the covenant made with them, exhibited in that as a recompense of their external performance of religious works prescribed in their law. The gospel doth not so clearly propound it, or so much insist on it as not principally belonging to the evangelical covenant, the which, in reward to the performance of its conditions by us, peculiarly doth offer blessings spiritual, and relating to the future state; as also scarce deserving to be mentioned in comparison to those superior blessings. But infinitely more profitable it is, as “having the promises of the future life,” or as procuring a title to those incomparably more excellent blessings of the other world; those “indefectible treasures,” that “incorruptible, undefiled, and never-fading inheritance, reserved in heaven for us.” (I. Barrow.)

The profitableness of godliness:—1. We may consider that religion doth prescribe the truest and best rules of action; thence enlightening our mind, and rectifying our practice in all matters, and on all occasions, so that whatever is performed according to it, is done well and wisely, with a comely grace in regard to others, with a cheerful satisfaction in our own mind, with the best assurance that things are here capable of, to find happy success and beneficial fruit. Of all things in the world there is nothing more generally profitable than light by it we converse with the world, and have all things set before us; by it we truly and easily discern things in their right magnitude, shape, and colour; by it we guide our steps safely in prosecution of what is good, and shunning what is noxious; by it our spirits are comfortably warmed and cheered, our life consequently, our health, our vigour, and activity, are preserved. The like benefits doth religion, which is the light of our soul, yield to it. Pious men are “children of the light”; pious works are works of light “shining before men.” What therefore law and government are to the public, things necessary to preserve the world in order, peace, and safety (that men may know what to do, and distinguish what is their own), that is piety to each man’s private state and to ordinary conversation: it freeth a man’s own life from disorder and distraction; it prompteth men how to behave themselves toward one another with security and confidence. 2. We may consider more particularly, that piety yieldeth to the practiser all kind of interior content, peace, and joy; freeth him from all kinds of dissatisfaction, regret, and disquiet; which is an inestimably great advantage: for certainly the happiness and misery of men are wholly or chiefly seated and founded in the mind. If that is in a good state of health, rest, and cheerfulness, whatever the person’s outward condition or circumstances be, he cannot be wretched: if that be distempered or disturbed, he cannot be happy. 3. Seeing we have mentioned happiness, or the summum bonum, the utmost scope of human desire, we do add, that piety doth surely confer it. Happiness, whatever it be, hath certainly an essential coherence with piety. These are reciprocal propositions, both of them infallibly true, he that is pious is happy; and, he that is happy is pious. All pious dispositions are fountains of pleasant streams, which by their confluence do make up a full sea of felicity. 4. It is a peculiar advantage of piety, that it furnisheth employment fit for us, worthy of us, hugely grateful and highly beneficial to us. Man is a very busy and active creature, which cannot live and do nothing, whose thoughts are in restless motion, whose desires are ever stretching at somewhat, who perpetually will be working either good or evil to himself; wherefore greatly profitable must that thing be which determineth him to act well, to spend his care and pain on that which is truly advantageous to him; and that is religion only. It alone fasteneth our thoughts, affections, and endeavours, on occupations worthy the dignity of our nature. 5. It is a considerable benefit of piety, that it affordeth the best friendships and sweetest society. (Ibid.)

Temporal blessings, support under trouble, and sanctified afflictions:

  1. Godliness is profitable for the obtaining of all temporal good things that we stand in need of. In that catalogue of the Christian’s possessions and treasures, which St. Paul has drawn up (1 Cor. 3:22). 1. As to riches. “The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich (Prov. 10:22). To all this we may still add, that religion brings contentment to the mind, and “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). If it does not bring the estate to the mind, it brings the mind to the estate; and that is much the same thing, it is altogether as well. Thus it is that “a little that a righteous man hath, is better than the riches of many wicked” (Psa. 37:16). And he is truly richer with a little, than the others are with a great deal. 2. To honour and good reputation. A blessing which the wise man rates at a higher price than gold and silver, or any of the riches of this world (Prov. 22:1). 3. Pleasure. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace” (Prov. 3:17). (1) As to bodily health, without which we can neither enjoy ourselves, nor anything. (2) A peaceable mind. If the mind be not in tune, the sweetest harmony will make no music in our ears. I must not here pass by an objection or two which may possibly be made against the pleasantness of religion. One is, that it requires some difficult and distasteful duties, as repentance, self-denial and mortification. But as well may one object against the pleasantness of health, because itmay be sometimes necessary to take distasteful medicines, either to recover or to preserve it. Another objection against the pleasure of godliness is taken from the uncomfortable lives of some godly persons.
  2. Godliness is profitable for the life that now is, to support us under troubles and afflictions whenever they befall us. Here let us inquire what those peculiar supports under afflictions are, which are the proper fruits of godliness. They are chiefly these—1. The testimony of a good conscience. This, St. Paul tells us was his rejoicing in all his tribulations, and at last in the near views of death (2 Cor. 1:12). 2. A sense of pardon and reconciliation with God is a further support under worldly troubles. Pardon takes away the curse from affliction, and a sense of pardon is a sovereign balm to ease the anguish of the mind. 3. The comfortable hope of heaven, where these present afflictions shall be felt no more, and where they shall be abundantly compensated with fulness of joy for ever. 4. There are the supporting influences of the good spirit of God, which are promised in the gospel to all believers.

III. That it secures a sanctified use of afflictions, as well as a happy issue of them; which is therefore a present, as well as a future benefit. (D. Jennings.)

The present life:—1. It is a mysterious life. 2. It is a trying life. 3. It is a preparatory life. 4. It is a short life. 5. It is a precarious life. (The Homilist.)

Godliness:

  1. The principle.
  2. The practice. Godliness must be exercised; religion is a personal matter. He must exercise himself vigorously.

III. The profit. (D. Thomas.)

The profit of godliness:

  1. “Bodily exercise” is of considerable profit. St. Paul is speaking of the training in the gymnasium. He allows it profits a little. Yet it is not all. No man is necessarily better in heart and life for having the muscles of his arm increased in girth half an inch or an inch. A sound constitution does not necessarily involve goodness in character. If so the Kaffir or Zulu would be the best man upon earth, which he is not. “Bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” The discipline of godliness does make a man better inwardly. And the goodness passes from the centre outwards. It includes even that measure of advantage which may be derived from the culture of the body.
  2. There is another view of this phrase, “bodily exercise,” which we ought to notice before passing on. A large class of writers understand by it not so much athleticism as asceticism. The soul should bear empire over the body; but it should also reverence and care for the body. The laws of the body, of health, of sustenance are equally laws of God, with those of the soul. The perfection of manhood is attained when the laws of both, according to their kind and function, are duly observed. Asceticism is immoral, because it violates wantonly the law of God in one of the fairest provinces of His creation—viz., the delicate, sensitive, serviceable body of man. Yet even asceticism, in certain forms, profiteth a little. “Allow not nature more than nature needs,” says Shakespeare. Self-denial in bodily indulgence might put some of us into more robust mental health, and impart to us a finer spiritual tone. I am not sure but that “bodily discipline” might (as St. Paul says) “profit a little.” If any bodily appetite or habit rises into mastery over the mind or soul, it must be put in check with a firm hand, and with patient self-denial. So far “bodily exercise,” discipline, is not only profitable, but imperative.

III. The higher principle including all that is serviceable in both athleticism and asceticism, and immeasurably more beside, is godliness. It grows also by use. “Exercise thyself unto godliness.” We grow patient by being patient. We become industrious by refusing to be indolent and by working hard. We learn to love best by loving. We become religious by praying and communion with God. Begin to make God’s law a ruling influence and power in your life. Think out what His will is about, say, that temptation which is coming to you to-morrow; then keep to His will, and pass the temptation by. That is the discipline of godliness.

  1. This is profitable for all things—unlike athleticism, which profits only for soundness of health and toughness of muscle. 1. For the body itself godliness is profitable. Disease, weakness, morbidness are far more the devil’s work than God’s. 2. For the mind. He who ordered the planets in their orbits, and the seasons in their unvarying round, has not left the human mind without its law. Godliness brings man into harmony with the Author of his being. 3. For faith. But godliness advances faith. The more godlike we grow, the simpler, clearer, stronger is our faith in God. Live holier lives, live less selfish lives, and you will believe more in God and His Son. 4. The affections. This great reverence for the God who is great and good and loving enlarges our heart and our affections. Godliness is instinctive chivalry. If by your evil passion and harshness, your self-indulgence, your weakness and wanton folly, you blight the lives of others, I tell you, you are ungodly men. Godliness is profitable to the home. 5. Business. Be a godly man. Fear God rather than turns of fortune or than opinion. Be like God—true, reliable in your word and deeds. (A. J. Griffith.)

The profitableness of godliness:

  1. A man quickly learns if he wishes to live profitably he must have regard to law. We cannot violate law without suffering for it. Disobedience entails destruction, obedience informs with life.
  2. Let us carry this examination into greater detail. The most profitable human existence is that existence which secures the greatest benefit to the greatest number of faculties. If we resolve a human being into its elements, we shall find it divisible into body, mind, and soul, or, as some would put it, moral instincts. The true philosophy of living consists in the development of this tripartite. We pass, then, to consider the influence of rigidly religious life upon these sides of our nature. 1. If we practise the precepts of the gospel we will eschew those evil acts which occasion uneasiness and remorse; our temperament will maintain an even tranquility, our happiness will be full and satisfying. It has been truly said that an atheistic age is a barren age. We may safely say, then, that for the growth of the mind a godly life is best. 2. But the mind sends down its roots deep into the encompassing body upon which it acts and is acted upon. Physiologists tell us that a healthy mind conduces to a healthy body. If a Christian life produces vigour and clearness of intellect, then it must have a similar effect on the body. A religious life, then, we assert to be physically beneficial. 3. Passing to the region of the spiritual we are relieved from all necessity for discussion. Spirituality can only exist amid holy influences. The man who sins deadens his moral instincts, makes them useless here, and entails the penalty which such misuse is visited with hereafter. 4. But we cannot have obtained anything like a reliable knowledge of the relative value of two courses of life if we have excluded from our calculations all thought of suffering and sorrow. As we cannot by human device stave off sorrow, it behoves us to consider how it can be most successfully met. Mr. Spurgeon has said that if we take our troubles to God He will carry them for us; but if we take them anywhere else they will roll back again.

III. Passing from the individual man to his business interests, we proceed to consider whether godliness is inimical to worldly success. Now, all that Christianity enforces is the necessity of strict honesty. Religion will not transform the dunce into a genius, but sinfulness will transform the genius into a dunce. And if all things are considered, I feel confident that the just man gains in more than mere clear-headedness. Deceit is a most deceitful helper. Henry Ward Beecher tells a story of a man in the Canadian backwoods who, during the summer months, bad procured a stock of fuel sufficient to serve the winter’s consumption. This man had a neighbour who was very indolent, but not very honest, and who, having neglected to provide against the winter storms, was mean enough to avail himself of his neighbour’s supplies without the latter’s permission or knowledge. Mr. Beecher states that it was found, on computation, that the thief had actually spent more time in watching for opportunities to steal, and laboured more arduously to remove the wood (to say nothing of the risk and penalty of detection), than had the man who in open daylight and by honest means had gathered it. And this is oftener the case than we are disposed to allow. What appear to be short cuts to wealth are never safe ones, and very generally they prove to be extremely circuitous. Relaxation, too, is necessary for all men. Consider, then, whether the frivolous and enervating gaiety so frequently indulged in, or the innocent and energizing merriment of the godly, will best enable a man to recuperate the waste occasioned by business life.

  1. We cannot isolate ourselves from others; we are bound by innumerable bonds to the system of human interests. Our welfare is knit up with the welfare of the world. The man, then, who strives to suppress swindling, and who by the nobility of his own character rebukes all cheatery, is doing a grand service for mankind. He is making property more secure, and society more stable. If irreligion was crushed prosperity would visit this country with her brightest blessings and most permanent happiness. The gospel is also the more potent than all the antidotes which economists prescribe for the diminution of crime.
  2. It is true godliness, not sham or selfish godliness, that proves profitable.
  3. Having thus glanced at the profitableness of religion in this life, let us bestow a moment’s thought upon that other life which is eternal. If we lose this, what profit is it that we have been successful in business! We have gained the lesser by losing the greater. The course which in the end will prove profitable cannot be a selfish one. Love to God is indissolubly intertwined with love to man, and the glory of God must issue in man’s exaltation in the best and truest sense. (J. G. Henderson.) What is the profit of godliness?—That men, by godliness, should reap a fruition and harvest hereafter is not surprising to those who have at all been instructed in religious things; but there are many who have supposed that godliness was in a man’s way here. What is godliness? So that godliness means something more than merely religion, in the narrow and technical sense of the term. It means having a wise view of all the laws of our being and condition, and living in conformity to them. Moreover, when it is said that it has in it “the promise of the life that now is,” we are not to narrowly interpret it. A man with a clumsy hand, without skill and without inventive thought, is not justified in attempting to be an inventor simply on the general ground of godliness. We are not to suppose that a man who has no commercial training is to plunge into business and make this plea: “I live in conformity to the laws of my being, and shall be prospered in my pursuits.” We are to have a larger idea of prosperity than is seen in any of these special things. That which, on the whole, promotes their greatest happiness must be considered. Their prosperity now means their welfare. It does not consist in the development of any one part of their nature, but the whole of it. Godliness has an immediate relation to that which is the foundation of all enjoyment—a good, sound bodily condition. The condition of enjoyment in this life is that one is in a sound state of bodily health. Godliness, or a conformity to the great laws of our condition, includes physical health—works toward it. Moderation of appetite; restraint of undue desires; that quietness of spirit which comes from the belief in an overruling Providence; that undisturbed equilibrium which comes from faith in God—all these are, looking at them in their very lowest relations, elements of health—of a sound physical condition. Next consider how much a man’s happiness in this life depends upon his disposition—both with reference to himself and with reference to his social surrounding. It is not what you have about you, but what you are, that determines how happy you shall be. Excessive pride takes away from the power of enjoyment. Godliness, by its very nature, reduces a man to a certain conformity with the laws of his condition, and makes him content therein, and so works upon his disposition that it becomes amenable to the law of happiness. It is made to be more childlike and simple. It is brought into conditions in which happiness may distil upon it from ten thousand little things. A man who wishes to see beauty in nature must not watch for it in gorgeous sunsets always—though they will come once in a while. Let him watch for it in ten million little facets which glisten in the light of the sun, by the roadside as well as in the rich man’s adorned grounds. We must see it in the motes and bugs, in the minutest insects, everywhere. So, then, we are to reap happiness and satisfaction, not so much from great cataclysms and paroxysms as in little things, that have the power to make us supremely happy. Another thing. Men’s happiness depends more upon their relations to society than we are apt to think. Where men have the art of fitting themselves to their circumstances and their companions there is great satisfaction in these also. There is a true sympathy, a true benevolence, which is godly. If you go among men with a mean, selfish spirit, how little happiness will you find in your social intercourse! But if in the child and in its sports you see something to make you smile; if toward the labouring man you have a kindly good will, and if you find companionship with all who are virtuous in the various walks of life—with those who are high for certain reasons, and those who are low for certain other reasons; if you feel a generous brotherhood and sympathy of men, then there is a vast deal of enjoyment for you in this life, which comes simply from your aptitudes for fellowship and friendship. Now it is the peculiar office of a true godliness to subdue the heart to this universal amnesty and sympathy, so that they who are godly, who live in conformity to the will of God, in all their circumstances, shall reap more or less enjoyment. Godliness, by changing men’s condition, prepares them to be happy; and by giving them affinities for things about them produces conditions of happiness. There are also other ways in which godliness works towards happiness. It gives to men a motive in this life without concentrating on their worldly endeavours the utmost of their powers. The outgoing of a man’s own self, legitimately and industriously, with the constant expectation of success—there is great enjoyment in this. At the same time, let this enjoyment be coupled with the moderating, restraining feeling that if earthly enterprises fail and come short, this world is not the only refuge, and worldly affairs are not the only things of value—that though the house perish, and the garments be wasted, and the gold and silver take wings and fly away, and all things perish, yet there is a God, there is a providence, there is hope, there is a home, and there is immortality; then the happiness is greatly increased. Then there is the consideration of those qualities which go to make success in business. Men do not believe you are as honest or as faithful and prompt as you believe yourself to be. But where all the parts of a man are morally sound; where he is free from vices of every sort; where he has fidelity, conscientiousness, industry, good judgment, and intelligence; where he is so trustworthy that you can bring the screw to bear upon him, and, though you turn it never so many times, not be able to break him until you crush him to death—he is invaluable. And I say that just in proportion as men approach to that, they are more and more important in a commercial age, and in a great commercial community. Now, it is the tendency of the ethics of Christianity to produce just such men. If religion does not produce them, it is so far spuriously or imperfectly administered. There is a difference between ethical religion and ecclesiastical and doctrinal religion. But where a man has Christian ethics; where a man is truth-speaking and reliable; where a man is founded upon the rock Christ Jesus, and cannot be moved from it, I say that godliness tends to success in commercial affairs. If you take the different classes of religionists, where shall you find more Christian ethics than among the Quakers? Where shall you find more carefulness in daily life? And among what class will you find more worldly prosperity, and more enjoyment in it, than among them? When I lived in the West, a merchant told me that during twenty years he never suffered the loss of a quarter of a dollar from a whole Quaker neighbourhood. You might take whole settlements, and say that they were exemplifications of the fact that “godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Many a poor man goes along the street whose name would not be worth a snap on a note. He could not get a bank in New York to lend him a hundred dollars for a month. He is of no market value whatever. But if your dear child was dying, and you did not know how to pray, he is the very man that you would send for. You would say to him when you were in distress, “Come to our house.” Ah! a man may not have outward prosperity, and yet prosper. He may have that which money cannot buy—peace, happiness, joy. The power of making joy he has; and is he not prospered? Is he not well off? Finally, taking society at large, those who get the furthest from the rules of morality; those who have the most doubt and distrust in regard to the overruling providence of God; those who have a leaning to their own wisdom; those who are proud and selfish, and do what they have a mind to regardless of the welfare of others—they are not pre-eminently prosperous, even in material and commercial things. (H. W. Beecher.)

The profit of godliness in this life:—With regard to this life, let it be remarked that the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ neither undervalues nor overvalues this present life. It does not sneer at this life as though it were nothing; on the contrary, it ennobles it, and shows the relation which it has to the higher and eternal life. There are many who undervalue this life; let me mention some of them to you. Those undervalue it who sacrifice it to indulge their passions or to gratify their appetites. Too many for the sake of momentary gratifications have shortened their lives, and rendered their latter end bitterly painful to themselves. Some evidently undervalue their lives, because they make them wretched through envy. Others are richer than they are, and they think it a miserable thing to be alive at all while others possess more of this world’s goods than they. Oh poison not life by envy of others, for if you do so you miserably undervalue it! The slaves of avarice undervalue their lives, for they do not care to make life happy, but pinch themselves in order to accumulate wealth. The miser who starves himself in order that he may fill his bags may well be reasoned with in this way: “Is not the life more than the meat, and the body than raiment? So also do they undervalue it who in foolhardiness are ready to throw it away on the slightest pretext. He that for his country’s sake, or for the love of his fellow-creatures, risks life and loses it, truly deserves to be called a hero; but he who, to provoke laughter and to win the applause of fools, will venture limb and life without need is but a fool himself, and deserves no praise whatever. Yet there can be such a thing as overvaluing this life, and multitudes have fallen into that error. Those overvalue it who prefer it to eternal life. Why, it is but as a drop compared with the ocean, if you measure time with eternity. They overvalue this life who consider it to be a better thing than Divine love, for the love of God is better than life. Some would give anything for their lives, but they would give nothing for God’s love. It appears from the text that godliness influences this present life, puts it in its true position, and becomes profitable to it.

  1. First, let me observe that godliness changes the tenure of the life that now is. It hath “the promise of the life that now is.” I want you to mark the word—“it hath the promise of the life that now is.” An ungodly man lives, but how? He lives in a very different respect from a godly man. Sit down in the cell of Newgate with a man condemned to die. That man lives, but he is reckoned dead in law. He has been condemned. If he is now enjoying a reprieve, yet he holds his life at another’s pleasure, and soon he must surrender it to the demands of justice. I, sitting by the side of him, breathing the same air, and enjoying what in many respects is only the selfsame life, yet live in a totally different sense. I have not forfeited my life to the law, I enjoy it, as far as the law is concerned, as my own proper right: the law protects my life, though it destroys his life. The ungodly man is condemned already, condemned to die, for the wages of sin is death; and his whole life here is nothing but a reprieve granted by the longsuffering of God. But a Christian man is pardoned and absolved; he owes not his life now to penal justice; when death comes to him it will not be at all in the sense of an infliction of a punishment; it will not be death, it will be the transfer of his spirit to a better state, the slumbering of his body for a little while in its proper couch to be awakened in a nobler likeness by the trump of the archangel. Now, is not life itself changed when held on so different a tenure? “Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is.” That word changes the tenure of our present life in this respect, that it removes in a sense the uncertainty of it. God hath given to none of you unconverted ones any promise of the life that now is. You are like squatters on a common, who pitch their tents, and by the sufferance of the lord of the manor may remain there for awhile, but at a moment’s notice you must up tents and away. But the Christian hath the promise of the life that now is; that is to say, he has the freehold of it; it is life given to him of God, and he really enjoys it, and has an absolute certainty about it; in fact, the life that now is has become to the Christian a foretaste of the life to come. The tenure is very different between the uncertainty of the ungodly who has no rights and no legal titles, and the blessed certainty of the child of God who lives by promise. Let me add that this word seems to me to sweeten the whole of human life to the man that hath it. Godliness hath the promise of life that now is; that is to say, everything that comes to a godly man comes to him by promise, whereas if the ungodly man hath any blessing apparent, it does not come by promise, it comes overshadowed by a terrible guilt which curses his very blessings, and makes the responsibilities of his wealth and of his health and position redound to his own destruction, working as a savour of death unto death through his wilful disobedience. There is a vast difference between having the life that now is and having the promise of the life that now is—having God’s promise about it to make it all gracious, to make it all certain, and to make it all blessed as a token of love from God.
  2. The benefit which godliness bestows in this life. Perhaps the fulness of the text is the fact that the highest blessedness of life, is secured to us by godliness. Under ordinary circumstances it is true that godliness wears a propitious face both towards health and wealth and name, and he who has respect to these things shall not find himself, as a rule, injured in the pursuit of them by his godliness; but still I disdain altogether the idea that all these three things together, are or even make up a part of the promise of the life that now is. I believe some persons have the life that now is in its fulness, and the promise of it in its richest fulfilment, who have neither wealth, health, nor fame; for being blessed with the suffering Master’s smile and presence, they are happier far than those who roll in wealth, who luxuriate in fame, and have all the rich blessings which health includes. Let me now show you what I think is the promise of the life that now is. I believe it to be an inward happiness, which is altogether independent of outward circumstances, which is something richer than wealth, fairer than health, and more substantial than fame. This secret of the Lord, this deep delight, this calm repose, godliness always brings in proportion as it reigns in the heart. Let us try and show that this is even so. A godly man, is one who is at one with his Maker. 1. It must always be right with the creature when it is at one with the Creator. But when godliness puts our will into conformity with the Divine will, the more fully it does so, the more certainly it secures to us happiness even in the life that now is. I am not happy necessarily because I am in health, but I am happy if I am content to be out of health when God wills it. I am not happy because I am wealthy, but I am happy if it pleases me to be poor because it pleases God I should be. 2. The Christian man starting in life as such is best accoutred for this life. He is like a vessel fittingly stored for all the storms and contrary currents that may await it. The Christian is like a soldier, who must fain go to battle, but he is protected by the best armour that can be procured. 3. With a Christian all things that happen to him work for good. Is not this a rich part of the promise of the life that now is? What if the waves roar against him, they speed his bark towards the haven? 4. The Christian enjoys his God under all circumstances. That, again, is the promise of the life that now is. 5. I am sure you will agree with me that the genuine possessor of godliness has the promise of the life that now is in his freedom from many of those cares and fears which rob life of all its lustre. The man without godliness is weighted with the care of every day, and of all the days that are to come, the dread remembrance of the past, and the terror of the future as well. 6. And as he is thus free from care, so is he free from the fear of men. 7. Moreover, the fear of death has gone from the Christian. This with many deprives the life that now is of everything that is happy and consoling. Another application of the text is this. There is a bearing of it upon the sinner. It is quite certain, O ungodly man, that the promise of the life that now is belongs only to those who are godly. Are you content to miss the cream of this life? I pray you, if you will not think of the life to come, at least think of this. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Happiness of godliness:—Christianity a gloomy system! The world and devils may say so; but a thousand eyes that sparkle with a hope that maketh not ashamed, and a thousand hearts that beat happily with the full pulse of spiritual life, can tell thee thou liest. Christianity a gloomy system! Why, it is the Christian only that can thoroughly enjoy the world. To him, to his grateful vision, earth is garlanded with fairer beauty, heaven sparkles with serener smiles; to him the landscape is the more lovely, because it reminds him of the paradise of his hope in prospect which his father once lost, but which his Saviour has brought back again, as a family inheritance for ever; to him the ocean rolls the more grandly, because it figures out the duration of his promised life; to him the birds in their forest minstrelsy warble the more sweetly, because their woodland music takes him upwards to the harpers harping with their harps in heaven; to him the mountains tower the more sublimely, because their heaven-pointing summits are the emblems of his own majestic hopes. (W. M. Punshon.)

Secret of happiness:—A thoroughly loyal subject of God’s kingdom is qualified to dwell happily in any world to which God may call him. Because he is what he is, it matters less where he chances to be. The star which shines by its own light may traverse the infinite space of the heavens, but it can never know eclipse. On the other hand, a peevish, uneasy, and wilful spirit is not much helped by outward condition. King Ahab, in his palace, turns his face to the wall and will eat no bread, because he cannot have Naboth’s vineyard. How many a proud man is so unweaned and pulpy that he cannot bear a cloudy day, an east wind, the loss of a dinner, the creaking of a shutter by night, or a plain word! You will meet travellers who take their care with them as they do their luggage, and grasp it tightly wherever they go, or check it forward from place to place, although, unlike their luggage, it never gets lost. You may carry an instrument out of tune all over the world, and every breath of heaven and every hand of man that sweeps over its strings shall produce only discord. Such a man’s trouble is in his temper, not in his place. You can hardly call it “borrowed” trouble either, for it is mostly made, and so is his own by the clearest of all titles. (Wm. Crawford.)

The blessedness of religion:—Religion makes a man happier all the way through. You may have to work hard for your daily bread, but you hear reports of a land where they neither hunger nor thirst. You may have a great many physical distresses and pangs of pain, but you hear of the land where the head never aches, and where the respiration is not painful, and where the pulse throbs with the life of God! You may have to weep among the graves of the dead, but against the tombstone leans the Risen One pointing you up to that sphere where God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes. Ask those who are before the throne, ask those who have plucked the fruit of the tree of life, ask those who are waving the palms in glory whether this is the happy side or not. I knew a minister in Philadelphia (he was not poetic, he was not romantic—they called him a very plain man), who, in his last moment, as he passed out of life, looked up and said, “I move into the light.” Oh! it is the happy side—happy here—it is happy for ever. (T. De Witt Talmage.)

Happiness is attainable in this life:—Is happiness attainable? First, there is something in our condition as sinners against God, that militates against our happiness. God “made man upright, but he hath sought out many inventions.”

  1. In order to show that happiness is attainable, I shall first appeal to the infallible assurances of God’s inspired Word (2 Chronicles 20:20; 26:5; Job 36:11). In the first Psalm there is an encomium upon the happiness of the godly (Matt. 6:33).
  2. The manifest and unquestionable tendency of true godliness to impart and insure happiness. Health is by universal consent considered an essential ingredient to happiness. Cheerfulness is a part of happiness. And who can pretend to cheerfulness on such just grounds as the real Christian, the man of genuine godliness? His principles make him happy. Look at the influence of those principles on friendship; which is essential to happiness. Mark how the principles of godliness bear upon a man’s usefulness. How can I be happy unless I am useful?

III. The experience of the power of the God whom we serve. If I can show you that happiness has been actually attained, it will be quite clear that it is attainable. Look, therefore, at the history and experience of the servants of God. I will grant the straitness of their circumstances, for they are often a poor and an afflicted people. Let me call your attention to the case of the prophet Habbakuk. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail and the field shall yield no meat, the flocks shall be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Look at Paul and Silas—their backs lacerated with the Roman scourge, their feet made fast in the stocks, condemned to spend the night in a prison; “at midnight they prayed and sang praises to God; and the prisoners heard them.” Now either these persons must be grossly deceived, or happiness is attainable.

  1. In the fourth place, I must make an appeal to the fact of the existence of hypocrites in the Church. The counterfeit itself proves the value and the existence of the genuine coin.
  2. Finally, I make my appeal to the confessions and lamentations of the ungodly themselves; who, having discarded religion, both in principle and in practice, have been left to rue their own folly, and to admit that their happiness was indeed illusory and vain, ending in bitter disappointment. Some have been honest enough to confess this; that they have “forsaken the fountain of living waters,” and they have heaped to themselves immeasurable bitterness and sorrow of heart. 1. In conclusion, then, let this subject, in the first place, rectify our judgments. 2. In the next place, let this subject decide our choice. The consideration of it will do us good, if the decisions of the will should follow the enlightenment of the understanding. 3. Let this subject, thirdly, awaken our gratitude. 4. Finally, let this subject serve to stimulate our desire for a more full and complete and final happiness beyond the grave. (G. Clayton.)

The profit of godliness in the life to come:—There is another life beyond this fleeting existence. This fact was dimly guessed by heathens. What was thus surmised by the great thinkers of antiquity, has been brought to light in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. Godliness concerning the life to come possesses a promise unique and unrivalled. 1. I say a unique promise, for, observe, infidelity makes no promise of a life to come. It is the express business of infidelity to deny that there is such a life, and to blot out all the comfort which can be promised concerning it. Man is like a prisoner shut up in his cell, a cell all dark and cheerless save that there is a window through which he can gaze upon a glorious landscape. 2. No system based upon human merit ever gives its votaries a promise of the life to come, which they can really grasp and be assured of. No self-righteous man will venture to speak of the assurance of faith; in fact, he denounces it as presumption. Godliness hath a monopoly of heavenly promise as to the blessed future. There is nothing else beneath high heaven to which any such promise has ever been given by God, or of which any such promise can be supposed. Look at vice, for instance, with its pretended pleasures—what does it offer you? And it is equally certain that no promise of the life that is to come is given to wealth. Nay, ye may grasp the Indies if ye will; ye may seek to compass within your estates all the lands that ye can see far and wide, but ye shall be none the nearer to heaven when ye have reached the climax of your avarice. There is no promise of the life that is to come in the pursuits of usury and covetousness. Nor is there any such promise to personal accomplishments and beauty. How many live for that poor bodily form of theirs which so soon must moulder back to the dust! Nor even to higher accomplishments than these is there given any promise of the life to come. For instance, the attainment of learning, or the possession of that which often stands men in as good stead as learning, namely, cleverness, brings therewith no promise of future bliss. “Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come,” but to nothing else anywhere, search for it high or low, on earth or sea, to nothing else is the promise given save to godliness alone.
  2. I pass on to notice, in the second place, that the promise given to godliness is as comprehensive as it is unique. In the moment of death the Christian will begin to enjoy this eternal life in the form of wonderful felicity in the company of Christ, in the presence of God, in the society of disembodied spirits and holy angels.

III. I have shown you that the promise appended to godliness is unique and comprehensive, and now observe that it is sure. “Godliness hath promise”; that is to say, it hath God’s promise. Now, God’s promise is firmer than the hills. He is God, and cannot lie. He will never retract the promise, nor will He leave it unfulfilled. He was too wise to give a rash promise: he is too powerful to be unable to fulfil it.

  1. This promise is a present promise. You should notice the participle, “having promise.” It does not say that godliness after awhile will get the promise, but godliness has promise now at this very moment. When we get a man’s promise in whom we trust, we feel quite easy about the matter under concern. A note of hand from many a firm in the city of London would pass current for gold any day in the week; and surely when God gives the promise, it is safe and right for us to accept it as if it were the fulfilment itself, for it is quite as sure. You cannot enjoy heaven, for you are not there, but you can enjoy the promise of it. Many a dear child, if it has a promise of a treat in a week’s time, will go skipping among its little companions as merry as a lark about it. When the crusaders first came in sight of Jerusalem, though they had a hard battle before them ere they could win it, yet they fell down in ecstacy at the sight of the holy city. When the brave soldiers, of whom Xenophon tells us, came at last in sight of the sea, from which they had been so long separated, they cried out, “Thallasse! Thallasse!”—“The sea! the sea!” and we, though death appears between us and the better land, can yet look beyond it. V. This promise which is appended to godliness is a very needful one. It is a very needful one, for ah! if I have no promise of the life that is to come, where am I? and where shall I be? Oh! how much I want the promise of the life to come, for if I have not that I have a curse for the life to come. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The life to come:—It is a singular and lamentable fact, that while men are so sensitive and eager in pursuing temporal interests, they are so obstinately careless with regard to those spiritual interests, which are far more expanded and enduring. The correction of the evil now adverted to, must of course be considered as a matter of transcendant importance.

  1. First, notice some of the proofs that a “life to come” does really exist. There are evidences upon the subject of a future life, apart from any direct connection with revelation, to which nevertheless no insignificant weight must be assigned. I refer you especially to the masterly work of Dr. Butler, whence I imagine no candid mind can arise, without being satisfied that there is a strong probability, arising from analogy, of the continuance of conscious being after the death of the body, and entirely and absolutely uninjured by it. We may notice, again, the common consent of mankind, who, in all nations and in all ages, have admitted a futurity, although frequently with acknowledged and grievous defects: a fact, I conceive, which can only be properly accounted for by receiving the substantial and final truth of the thing which is believed. We may notice, again, the aspirations after something far beyond this transitory and mortal sphere—“longings of immortality.” We may notice, again, the operations of the momentous faculty of conscience, in the judgment which it forms as to the moral qualities and deserts of actions and thoughts, and the feelings which it inspires in the bosom (by reason of its decisions) of pleasure or pain, hope or fear, satisfaction or remorse; and all these, which are entirely independent of the opinions of other men, are to be regarded as prophetic indications of a subjection to other principles of decision, and to a great system of moral government, the sanctions of which are to be found in the yet impervious and impalpable future. But we must direct our regard to revelation itself: by which, of course, we mean the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, “given by inspiration of God,” and unfolding all the truths relating to the condition and to the destinies of man.
  2. The characteristics by which “the life to come” is distinguished. It will appear to you important, besides the contemplation of the general fact, to notice the particular attributes, which the fact involves. It is very possible, to admit the general fact, and yet to indulge great and perhaps fatal mistakes as to the detail. The heathen admits the general fact, but grievously errs as to the detail. 1. And we observe, in the first place, that “the life to come” will comprehend the whole nature of man. 2. We are to observe, that “the life to come” is purely and entirely retributive. God has arranged it as the scene, where He will apply to His intelligent creation the sanctions of that great system of moral government, under which they have existed. 3. Again, “the life to come,” which thus will comprehend the whole nature of man, and which is purely retributive, will be unchangeable and eternal. We can conceive nothing of what is indestructible in “the life that now is”; all around us breathes with decay and dissolution. The attributes which now are noticed do not merely apply to abstract existence, but to the condition of existence. In other words, the rewards and the punishments, which have been adverted to, will be unchanging and will be everlasting too.

III. The power, which the prospect of “the life which is to come” should possess over the minds and habits of men. 1. First, “the life which is to come” ought to be habitually contemplated. It has surely been revealed that it might be pondered; and admitting the fact that there is a life to come, a mere sciolist, a child, would be able to arrive at the conclusion, how it ought to be made the object of thought and of pondering. Think how noble and how solemn is your existence. 2. Again “the life to come” ought to be diligently prepared for. Your contemplations are for the purpose of leading you to preparation. And how are we to prepare, so as to escape the world of punishment and to receive the world of reward? The merit of penitence is nothing; the merit of what you regard good works is nothing. There is only one method of preparation; and that is, according to the announcements of the system of grace, in the volume which is before us. For the “life to come” many of you are prepared. Are there not some, who have never offered these aspirations, who themselves are not yet prepared? (J. Parsons.)[7]


7b, 8. In continuing his advice with respect to Timothy’s spiritual advancement and the means which he should use to that end, Paul says:

Train yourself for godly living. For while physical training is of some benefit, this godly living is of benefit in every way.

The figure which underlies the passage is, of course, that of the Greek gymnasium (or its popular imitation), comprising grounds for running, wrestling, etc. It was a place where stripped youths by means of physical training would try to promote the grace and vigor of their bodies. Timothy, then, is told to gymnasticize. But, in keeping with the immediately preceding context, which pictured him as being nourished on the words of faith and as shunning profane myths in order that thus he may be (and may continue to be) “an excellent minister of Christ Jesus,” he is told to train himself with a view to godliness or godly living. The exercise which he is urged to take is to be of a spiritual character.

What Paul had in mind, accordingly, must have included one or more of the following comparisons:

(a) Just as a youth in the gymnasium exerts himself to the utmost, so you, too, by God’s grace and power, must spare no efforts to attain your goal.

(b) Just as that youth discards every handicap or burden in order that he may train the more freely, so you, too, should divest yourself of everything that could encumber your spiritual progress.

(c) Just as that youth has his eye on a goal—perhaps that of showing superior skill on the discus range, that of winning the wrestling match or boxing-bout in the palestra, that of being the first one to reach the post which marked the winning-point on the running track, at least that of improving his physique—so you should be constantly aiming at your spiritual objective, namely, that of complete self-dedication to God in Christ.

It is not at all surprising that the apostle, with this figure of the gymnasium or its less pretentious substitutes in mind, now draws a comparison between the value of physical training (literally “bodily gymnastics”) and training for godly living. He states that the former is of some benefit. It is useful for something. The latter, however, is of benefit in every way. It is useful for all things. He is by no means belittling the value of physical exercise. He is saying two things: a. that the boon which bodily training bestows, however great it may be, is definitely inferior to the reward which the godly life promises. The former at best bestows health, vigor, beauty of physical form. These things are wonderful and to be appreciated. But the latter bestows life everlasting! b. that the sphere in which bodily training is of benefit is far more restricted than that in which godly living confers its reward. The former concerns the here and now. The latter concerns the here and now but also reaches far beyond it.

That this is, indeed, what he means is clearly shown by what follows in verse 8, after the words, “this godly living is of benefit in every way,” namely, as it holds promise of life both for the present and for the future.

The essence and contents of the promise is life, fellowship with God in Christ, the love of God shed abroad in the heart, the peace of God which passes all understanding. (See also N.T.C. on John, Vol. 1, pp. 71–73, 141.) Complete devotion, godliness, or godly living, itself the fruit of God’s grace, results in the increasing possession and enjoyment of this reward, according to the teaching of Scripture throughout (Deut. 4:29; 28:1–3, 9, 10; 1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 1:1–3; 24:3–6; 103:17, 18; 1 John 1:6, 7; 1 John 2:24, 25; Rev. 2:10, 17; 3:5, 12, 21).

God has promised this, and he always fulfils his promise. And this life which God bestows, and which surpasses all other blessings in value, is both for the present and for the future, for the age that now is and for the coming age. It can never cease.

The explanation of 1 Tim. 4:7b, 8 which I have given departs in some points from that which is favored by others. See the footnote.[8]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 1 Timothy (pp. 163–166). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 305–308). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (pp. 103–104). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Timothy (p. 71). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[5] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 108–110). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[6] Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, p. 109). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[7] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: First Timothy (pp. 188–201). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[8] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Vol. 4, pp. 150–152). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

September 28 – Temporary Pain, Everlasting Mercy — VCY America

September 28
Isaiah 54:1-57:14
Ephesians 6:1-24
Psalm 70:1-5
Proverbs 24:8

Isaiah 54:1 – Galatians 4:27 quotes this verse talking about Jerusalem in reference to Sarah. Theologians are still unsure about how the verses fit together.

Isaiah 54:7-8 – Exodus 20:5-6 stated that God will punish sin for 3-4 generations but have mercy for a thousand generations. Here we see a small forsaking but great mercies. Little wrath but everlasting kindness. Throughout the Bible we are warned that yes, God’s punishment will hurt but it’s worth it (Proverbs 3:12 / Hebrews 12:6 / Revelation 3:19 / Deuteronomy 8:5 / Psalm 94:12 / Proverbs 13:24).

Isaiah 54:9 – I’m writing this having just been to the Ark Encounter today. Someone told Ken Ham – your boat won’t float! Ken Ham said – we don’t need it to! God has sworn that the world will never flood again!

Isaiah 55:2 – How’s this for a bad investment? Spending money for counterfeit bread when God is offering food for free (Isaiah 55:1).

Isaiah 55:6 – When is the time of salvation? 2 Corinthians 6:2! Take advantage of the abundant pardon (Isaiah 55:7).

Isaiah 55:10-11 – The song “This is My Word” is based on these verses.

Isaiah 56:4-5 – From EnterTheBible:

Eunuchs were excluded from temple worship by Torah itself (Deuteronomy 23:1-3; Leviticus 21:18-20), not for moral or ethnic reasons but because they were understood to be “blemished,” excluded by the purity laws in the same way that blemished lambs were not acceptable as sacrifices…

But now, says the Lord (through the prophet), all that is changed. Foreigners and eunuchs are welcomed in the same way as anyone else–that is, those who keep the sabbath and hold fast the covenant. Sabbath-keeping had taken on even greater importance during the exile because it was a religious observance and a sign of the covenant that people could do within the family even when there was no temple for sacrifice and festival worship.

https://www.enterthebible.org/resourcelink.aspx?rid=475

Ephesians 6:1 – Relational commands started yesterday, addressed to husbands and wives. Today he’s addressing children (Ephesians 6:1), all with a parent (Ephesians 6:2-3), fathers (Ephesians 6:4), servants (Ephesians 6:5-8), and masters (Ephesians 6:9).

We have a gap between Ephesians 6:1 and 6:2 because while children (those under 18 for lack of a better definition) are commanded to obey, all are commanded to honor.

Ephesians 6:10-11 – From Earl Martin:

Ephesians 6:15 – We read the other day in the Old Testament about the beautiful feet of preachers (Isaiah 52:7), today we read in the New Testament about the feet ready for the gospel.

Psalm 70:5 – Echoing the great truth of Psalm 40:17

Proverbs 24:8 – What name do you want? (Proverbs 22:1)

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

September 28 – Temporary Pain, Everlasting Mercy — VCY America

September—28 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.—Psalm 76:4.

My soul! the more thou turnest over the word of God in inquiries after thy beloved, the more wilt thou be astonished at the relation given of him in his excellency and glory. By every thing that can represent the adorable Redeemer, in his beauty, loveliness, grace, fulness, and all-sufficiency, whether considered in his absolute, his comparative, his relative, or his official glory, or in his glory as the head of his body, the Church, the fulness of him that filleth all in all, thou art constrained, with the Church, to cry out at every view: “Yea, he is altogether lovely; the chiefest among ten thousand.” There is somewhat particularly striking to this amount in this verse for thine evening portion: “Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.” Yes! it must be so; for when the soul hath found Jesus, like the merchant-man seeking goodly pearls, having found this One of immense and incalculable value, the soul gladly parts with every thing beside, to attain it. Hence, one of old, having got possession of Jesus, cries out, with holy joy and rapture, “I rejoice at thy word as one that findeth great spoil.” (Psalm 119:162.) In life men become mountains of prey to one another; and too frequently find, to their sorrow, that the pursuit and chase is folly, and the end of the game, vanity and vexation of spirit. But in following thee, thou blessed Jesus, every renewed discovery of thee is glorious, and every new attainment most excellent indeed. In thy person, offices, character, relations, thou art most glorious and excellent. Thou art a glorious Redeemer; a glorious head of thy Church and people; a glorious husband, brother, friend; a glorious prophet, priest, and king, in thy Zion. And when I behold thee in all these relative excellencies, and can and do know thee, and enjoy thee, and call thee mine, under every one of them, surely I may well take up the language of this sweet scripture, and say, “Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey!”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, p. 282). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Is It Acceptable to Interpret Adam as an Allegory, Not a Historical Person? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

What do we lose if we don’t believe that Adam was a real, historical person? From one of our live events, R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur express the dangers of rejecting the Creator’s account of humanity’s origins.

Do you have a biblical or theological question? We invite you to ask Ligonier.Read the Transcript

Is It Acceptable to Interpret Adam as an Allegory, Not a Historical Person? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

September 28 Thoughts for the quiet hour

 

Wait for the promise of the Father

Acts 1:4

Tarry at a promise till God meets you there. He always returns by way of His promises.

Selected[1]

 

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

CNN’s Stelter Pleads Ignorance on Steele Source Bombshell: ‘I Literally Do Not Know’ — National Review

He was also apparently unaware that the Times stated in its own report that the records do not show “any previously unreported connections to Russia.”

CNN’s Stelter Pleads Ignorance on Steele Source Bombshell: ‘I Literally Do Not Know’ — National Review

Hugh Hewitt Exposes Brian Stelter on Collusion, the Steele Dossier, and ‘Irrelevant’ Avenatti | Newsbusters

CNN host and media reporter Brian Stelter appeared on the Hugh Hewitt radio show Monday to promote his book Hoax. Hewitt was very pleasant, but eventually he pressed Stelter on Russian collusion, the Steele dossier, and Michael Avenatti. (Transcript HERE.)  Stelter’s answers were embarrassing. Everything that used to be the source of “bombshells” were now irrelevant.

HEWITT: We know the end of some stories that you criticize Fox for their coverage of. We know the end of the Mueller report, right? There was no collusion, correct?

STELTER: You know, I’m not going to play a game about a word that is irrelevant to the question at hand. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the President’s ties with Russia, period.

HEWITT: But Brian, that kind of asks, that begs the question. Your criticism in Hoax, a lot of is based in the coverage of the Mueller investigation and how they downplayed it and called it a hoax. It turns out there was no collusion, and it turns out we know this week, you couldn’t have known it during writing of Hoax…that the primary sub-source of the Steele dossier is probably a Russian agent, correct?

STELTER: I think there’s a fantasyland that Fox promotes about what you’re describing, about the Steele dossier and all of that that distracts from the key questions about Trump’s ties with Russia. We now know from the New York Times, hundreds of millions of dollars of loans. Who does the President owe money to? We need to know. We deserve to know that, Hugh.

HEWITT: Brian, that’s a deflection. The primary sub-source of the dossier was revealed last week to be a Russian agent investigated by the Obama Department of Justice in 2009 and ’10. The dossier is discredited. There was no collusion. These are factual matters. That’s my problem with Hoax.

STELTER: I’m reflecting, I’m a media reporter, and I’m not a Steele dossier reporter. What I know is that when you use the word hoax over and over again the way the President has, it’s dangerous and poisonous, because it makes people think there’s nothing real and nothing true anymore. And that’s what I think the problem is.

HEWITT: Will you at least agree with me that the primary sub-source of the dossier has been revealed to be a Russian agent?

STELTER: I literally do not know, because I’m a media reporter.… I hate to disappoint you. I just, I don’t cover the dossier over the air

This is Not True. Greg Price at the Daily Caller (former NewsBusters intern) recalled Stelter pressing the dossier on Kellyanne Conway in 2017:

 

Oh, and let’s recall Stelter’s overwhelming obsession with all things Mueller, via Free Beacon:

 

From there, Hewitt jumped in to recall formerly ubiquitous Michael Avenatti, who appeared on CNN over 120 times:

HEWITT: There is not one mention of Michael Avenatti in your book, Hoax. Is that intentional on your part?

STELTER: Why would I mention Michael Avenatti? He’s irrelevant.

HEWITT: : He was part of the people who slimed Justice Kavanaugh. And he, in fact, propagated a hoax that was repeated on many networks.

STELTER: My book is about Fox and Trump and why Trump is obsessed with Fox, and why he gets misinformation from Fox. And Avenatti wasn’t really on Fox much, was he?

HEWITT:: Yes, he was. Not much, not as much as CNN. He was on CNN a lot.

STELTER: Right. He’s an alum.

HEWITT:  Yeah, he was on, was he on your show?

STELTER: Of course, he was. But if the President was watching CNN more, if he was watching a higher quality content, he wouldn’t get misinformed less often and then he would, he would, that’s the crux of the problem. And that’s why they’re not all the same.

HEWITT:  But if he’d been watching your show during Kavanaugh, he would have heard Avenatti say about his nominee completely false things.

STELTER: I don’t think I booked Avenatti during Kavanaugh, and I don’t think that’s true.

It’s not true that Avenatti’s accuser Julie Swetnick wasn’t saying false things when she charged Kavanaugh with participating in gang-rape parties? Even Joe Scarborough was crying hoax on that.

Hewitt tweeted after the interview: “Brian told me this AM he doesn’t know much about the Steele Dossier or the news about the primary sub-source. Brian is a good guest, open to criticism, but this is a huge blind spot.”

Source: Hugh Hewitt Exposes Brian Stelter on Collusion, the Steele Dossier, and ‘Irrelevant’ Avenatti

Ron Paul: “Question ‘The Science’? Go To Gulag!” | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

In the Soviet Union it was forbidden to dispute the wisdom of the “party line.”That’s because Marxian communism was viewed as the scientifically inevitable progression of mankind. For Marx and Lenin, the “science was settled.” Therefore anyone speaking out against “the science” of the Soviet system must be acting with malice; must actually want destruction; must want people to die.

Anyone voicing opposition to the “settled science” of Marxism-Leninism soon found their voice silenced. Oftentimes permanently.

Ironically, just 30 years after the “science” of Marxism-Leninism imploded for all the world to see, we are witnessing a resurgence here in the US of the idea that to question “the science” is not to seek truth or refine understanding of what appears to be conflicting evidence. No, it is to actually wish harm on one’s fellow Americans.

And while we who question “the science” are not being physically carried off to the gulags for disputing the wisdom of our “betters” in the CDC or the World Health Organization, for example, we are finding that the outcome is the same. We are being silenced and accused of malicious intent. The Soviet Communists called dissidents like us “wreckers.”

Last week on my daily news broadcast, the Ron Paul Liberty Report, we reported on two whistleblowers from inside the CDC and Big Pharma who raised serious and legitimate questions about the prevailing coronavirus narrative. The former Chief Science Officer for the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Dr. Mike Yeadon, has stated that from his experience he believes that nearly 90 percent of the current tests for Covid produce false positives. That means that this massive expansion in “cases,” used to justify continued attacks on our civil liberties, is simply phony.

As Dr. Yeadon said in a recent interview about the Orwellian UK coronavirus lockdown, “we are basing a government policy, an economic policy, a civil liberties policy, in terms of limiting people to six people in a meeting…all based on, what may well be, completely fake data on this coronavirus?”

Is Dr. Yeadon correct in claiming that based on his scientific observation there is no “second wave”? We don’t know. But we do know that his claims that the massive increase in “cases” in Europe used to justify new lockdowns are not in any way being matched with a similar increase in deaths. The EU’s own charts prove this. Deaths remain a flat line near zero while “cases” skyrocket to match the massive increase in testing.

Yet when we reported on Dr. Yeadon’s findings on the Liberty Report last week we found that for the first time ever, our program was removed by YouTube.

YouTube, owned by Google, which is firmly embedded into the deep state, was vague in explaining just where we violated their “community standards” by simply reporting on qualified scientists who happen to disagree with the mainstream coronavirus narrative.

But they did offer this shocking explanation in an email sent to us at the Ron Paul Liberty Report:

“YouTube does not allow content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of the World Health Organization.”

Incredible!

It’s not the science that is settled. What appears to be “settled is the impulse to silence anyone who asks “why”?

Source: Ron Paul: “Question ‘The Science’? Go To Gulag!”

New York Times’ Trump Tax Return ‘Bombshell’ Is A Joke — The Federalist

If this is the big pre-debate ‘gotcha’ that the Democrats and their allies in Big Media had in mind, it’s a bit of a flop.

New York Times’ Trump Tax Return ‘Bombshell’ Is A Joke

The New York Times published an article Sunday evening analyzing several years of tax returns filed by President Donald Trump. This illegal leak of the president’s tax returns revealed nothing we didn’t already know about the Trump business hydra: It is complicated, has a lot of expenses that generate tax deductions, and hires very smart tax advisers to make the whole thing work with as low a legal tax liability as possible. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Democrats also tried this line of attack against Trump in the 2016 debates.

Because most media will breeze over it, it’s important to pause and note the criminal illegality of this story. It is a federal crime for any federal, state, or local government employee to release a tax return without the consent of the taxpayer. Ditto for tax lawyers, CPAs, enrolled agents, and other tax professionals. Interestingly, it’s also illegal to print or publish tax returns or information from them. Section 7213 of the Internal Revenue Code prescribes that each violation here is a felony punishable by $5,000 and/or five years in federal prison, plus the cost of prosecution. Federal employees so convicted are to lose their jobs.

Trump enjoys the same protection of federal tax law that any John Q. Public has. Someone should go to jail for releasing his tax returns. Speaking as an enrolled agent who has prepared taxes as a side hustle for nearly two decades, this cavalier attitude toward tax return custody is appalling to me. The president ought to have some conversations today with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Attorney General William Barr about prosecuting the New York Times for its possible tax felonies.

The Story Is a Flop

Turning to the particulars of the tax return, there simply isn’t much here. There’s certainly no smoking gun, nothing that on its face is illegal in some way. The portrait that emerges is one of a very aggressive, wheeler-dealer businessman with a thousand fingers in a thousand pies. Trump allocates money in a wide array of business ventures, generating tax deductions that offset income from these and other enterprises.

Trump himself in the piece describes his approach as “truthful hyperbole,” which is one of those wonderful phrases like “trust but verify,” “non-denial denial,” and “unknown unknowns.” In this case, the phrase tells me, as someone who has had all sorts of tax clients over the years, that the president loves the game. He is always looking for his next business venture and wants to plow all his profits from other lines of work into the next chapter of his life.

Not surprisingly, a business empire run this way robs a lot of profitable Peters to pay a lot of unprofitable Pauls. The New York Times article throws around terms that sound tricky or scary to normal people, but to tax professionals are part of any business tax return — depreciation, amortization, business bad debt, net operating losses, passive losses, historic rehabilitation credits, consulting fees, and the like. The bottom line is that the Trump business empire is basically a closed circuit — profits from business A are used to prop up business B and acquire business C. That creates a lot of deductions that offset the profit, which in turn means that in some years, very little tax is owed.

Does that make Trump a tax cheat? Not by itself, certainly. The IRS or other tax authorities are of course free to challenge the legality of this capital loss or that consulting expense, but that’s a matter of analyzing facts and circumstances case by case. There’s nothing wrong with taking these deductions in and of themselves. These types of news stories tend to cherry-pick particular tax years and tax deductions that fit the narrative and ignore high tax payment years that do not. Remember that the next time you see a screaming headline that “Evil Company X Paid Nothing in Taxes Last Year.” It’s almost certainly a truthful lie.

Tax Evasion Is Different Than Tax Avoidance

Here is where the story really falls down. It does not inform the reader about the crucial distinction between tax evasion (illegally misrepresenting income and deductions to fraudulently lessen tax liability) and tax avoidance (legally using available deductions and other tax benefits to legitimately lessen tax liability). This difference is the axle upon which the entire story turns.

Unfortunately for the New York Times, all it has managed to uncover is a very aggressive taxpayer working with a very talented team of tax professionals pushing every legal tax avoidance strategy they can muster. God bless them for it.

A simple example of tax avoidance normal people could use might be in order. Suppose you purchased startup stock in your college roommate’s XYZ corporation, and it’s doubled many times over. Your tax adviser might counsel you that rather than selling the stock and having to pay the capital gains tax, you might consider donating the stock to your favorite charity. Not only do you avoid the capital gains tax, but you also get to claim a tax deduction for the fair market value of the stock donated, a double benefit. There are countless other tax avoidance techniques, complex and simple, throughout the tax code.

Tax Avoidance Is Smart

Some will object further that the president is doing something morally wrong by avoiding a larger payment of taxes. To that I would point to any small business owner and ask them whether they are doing something wrong by deducting subcontractor payments, business meals and travel, business owner retirement plan contributions, rent, and the like. It’s just a matter of scale.

Businesses can and should deduct all ordinary and necessary expenses against business revenue to arrive at business profit — period, end of story. To deny this is to implicitly endorse a gross receipts tax on business income, something tax experts of all persuasions will tell you is the singularly most unfair way to tax businesses.

It’s true that the president’s tax returns might not look like John and Jane Public’s married filing jointly April 15 Turbo Tax submission. But John and Jane have a stable and simple life of W-2 wages, 401(k) plans, a couple of kids, and a mortgage. They like things to be as far from complex as possible. They don’t have business expenses — everything is spent on their personal lives, and personal expenses are by norm not deductible under the tax code. This simplicity is made possible by business owners like Trump who deploy capital, take risks, endure losses, and manage complex enterprises. If John and Jane want in on this high-risk, high-reward lifestyle, they can and should start small businesses of their own.

Don’t Forget About Joe Biden

Are the rich guys getting away with murder and sticking John and Jane with the bill? Not according to the federal government’s own data. The Congressional Budget Office publishes an “all-in” analysis of how much people pay in total federal taxes. Its latest report says that middle-income families pay 13 percent of their income in total federal taxes, down from 14 percent before the Trump tax cut. The top 1 percent, however, pay more than twice that amount; over 30 percent of their income goes to the federal government. We have a steeply progressive tax system in which you pay a greater share of your income in taxes as you earn more money.

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, himself is a fan of perfectly legal tax avoidance. In 2017 and 2018, Joe and Jill Biden ran $13 million of profits from speaking and writing gigs through a Subchapter-S corporation, allowing them to avoid, not evade, $500,000 in Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes.

In addition, Biden might have ventured into the area of tax evasion, the bad kind, by not paying himself a high enough “reasonable salary” W-2, something required under tax law. The big difference between Biden and Trump, of course, is that Biden wants to raise your taxes and Trump wants to cut them.

If this is the big pre-debate “gotcha” that the Democrats and their allies in Big Media had in mind, it’s a bit of a flop.

New York Times’ Trump Tax Return ‘Bombshell’ Is A Joke — The Federalist

Former GOP Officials Under Bush, Reagan Administrations Endorse Trump in Letter

About 70 top-level government officials who worked with several GOP presidential administrations endorsed President Donald Trump for reelection on Monday, saying that he has significant foreign policy and national security accolades.

Source: Former GOP Officials Under Bush, Reagan Administrations Endorse Trump in Letter