Daily Archives: October 2, 2020

Weekly Watchman for 10/02/2020

Bill Cook: Warning Pastors, Enemies Attacking Church & Country

We discuss the importance of pastors to preach the whole counsel of God and to stand for truth and righteousness today – outside church walls in our culture. Teaching their congregations about political and worldview issues including the voting process is an important of a church leader’s role in society.

David Fiorazo and Bill Cook also discuss two of the biggest threats to America: the “Red-Green axis” of communists and globalists aligning with Islam against Christianity and our Constitution, the potential consequences of Christians not voting on November 3, what happens when government becomes perverted, and the importance of confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Debates and Idolatry and Addictions – Oh My!

On today’s podcast, Josh Parise of Ephesians 5 Ministries joins David and Crash. First topic, the (un)presidential debate Tuesday night; why our initial reactions may have been wrong; what was really accomplished? Also discussed, mail-in ballots, Christians and voting, religious freedom, sexual addiction and idolatry.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Paul Blair: America at a Critical Crossroads for Faith and Freedom

Today’s guest is Pastor Paul Blair, Senior Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma since 2001. He speaks nationwide about God in Government, as well as Apologetics and a Biblical Worldview. He serves on the Board of Directors for Bott Radio, and the Oklahoma Apologetics Alliance.

Paul was a football All Star at Oklahoma State University and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1986 playing under Coach Mike Ditka and alongside Hall of Famers Walter Payton, Dan Hampton, and Mike Singletary.

He’s an author, and President of Reclaiming America for Christ and founder of Protect Life and Marriage OK.  He is also a member of the Council on National Policy.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Stephen Broden: Political Correctness, Cultural Marxism, and the Church

TODAY’S GUEST is Pastor Stephen Broden, Senior Pastor of Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Texas. He’s also a political commentator, founder of Protect Life and Marriage Texas, member of the National Black Prolife Coalition, and former professor. He is the chairman of the Gone 2 Far Movement, and is also featured in the 2020 documentary, Uncle Tom: An Oral history of The American Black Conservative.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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October 2d The D. L. Moody Year Book

 

Trust in Him at all times ye people.—Psalm 62:8.

THERE are a good many who trust God when they see all is light and clear before them, but not in the dark. They will trust when everything is fair and bright—no opposition, no persecution or bitterness, but all smooth sailing. Well, that is walking by sight, and not by faith. We are to trust in the Lord at all times. The Lord will not have one who cannot be tried. If you are starting out in the Lord’s work, you are going to be tempted. St. Augustine said that God has had one Son without sin, but no son without trial.[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. 173–174). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

Announcing the Fall 2020 Edition of TMSJ — The Master’s Seminary Blog

Announcing the Fall 2020 Edition of TMSJ — The Master’s Seminary Blog

I am honored to announce the release of the Fall 2020 edition of The Master’s Seminary Journal. This issue addresses a variety of theological disciplines with articles we believe will serve our readers in a number of important ways. Without question, the mind of the pastor must be multi-disciplined. He must be versed in New Testament, Old Testament, linguistics, biblical languages, systematic theology, historical theology, and biblical theology, to name several. His calling requires him to weave these disciplines together each week in his study. The Master’s Seminary exists to serve and benefit the church, and to do that well, we must serve in ways that equip the pastor to better exposit the Word and to guard the truth entrusted to him.

As President, my desire is that The Master’s Seminary Journal will serve you well by informing, equipping, and encouraging you in your own pursuit of faithful service to Christ through the careful, accurate exegesis and exposition of God’s Word. To that end, our goal is that each edition of the journal will be marked by faithful scholarship for the edification of the Church.

To God be the glory.


Read The Master’s Seminary Journal 


Below are the abstracts for the articles included in the fall edition.

Analysis of Geerhardus Vos’ Nature and Method of Biblical Theology

Richard C. Barcellos (Ph.D., Associate Professor of Exegetical Theology, IRBS Theological Seminary)

When Geerhardus Vos stood to give his inaugural address for the “new chair” of biblical theology at the College of New Jersey in 1894 (now Princeton University), the field of study had been dominated by “the liberal/critical biblical-theological enterprise” for over one-hundred years. He was a Reformed-orthodox theologian entering a field of “perverse influences.” This paper traces the thought of Vos historically, beginning with his inaugural address (1894) and concluding with his last published work (1948). The focus of this paper is the nature and method of biblical theology as presented by Vos. This historical study discovers a harmony of thought—a hermeneutic grounded not only in how Scripture is formed, but in what it says and how it says it. He views revelation as pre-redemptive, redemptive, historical, organic, progressive, Christocentric, epochal-covenantal, and multiform. Vos would one day be considered “an all-time master in the field of Biblical Theology.” Whether or not readers agree with his methodology and/or doctrinal formulations, his work merits our attention, respect, and appreciation.

A Methodology for Janus Parallelism

Nathan LeMaster (Ph.D. Candidate, Cambridge University)

The Greek god of beginnings and endings had two faces, one looking to the future and the other to the past. This god was known by the name Janus. Thus, the masterful Hebrew literary device used to intentionally exploit a single word with two meanings—one meaning pointing to what has come before, and the other meaning to what has come after—was deemed Janus Parallelism. The conclusions one draws about Janus Parallelism impact a proper understanding of authorial intention and the semantic connections which existed in the mind of the Hebrew writer. The purpose of this article is to establish an initial methodology for identifying Janus Parallelism, as well as to expound the implications of Janus Parallelism for biblical studies. The pertinent question for this study is, how can one affirm that the biblical author purposefully exploited both meanings? While recent scholarship has been insightful on this issue, the danger of presuming upon the intention of the biblical author remains. This article argues that the first step in identifying Janus Parallelism is to prove a case of polysemy or homonymy (not ambiguity) within the Janus word. The second step is to demonstrate previously established semantic connections between both meanings of the Janus word and the immediate context. This initial methodology for determining Janus Parallelism will help to prove the intention of the biblical author, rather than allowing imagination of possible meanings to overshadow sound exegesis.

Divine Timelessness: A Recovery of the Foundational Doctrine of Classical Theism

Peter Sammons (Ph.D., Director of Academic Publications and Faculty Associate in Systematic Theology, The Master’s Seminary)

The doctrine of the timelessness of God has long baffled laymen and theologians alike. This article will address the current debate over the timelessness of God, providing a definition of time and uncovering the Scriptural foundations for this doctrine in the process. This article will also trace the development of this critical doctrine throughout church history. God’s timelessness is of no small consequence, because to tamper with this single doctrine is to send an eroding ripple effect through all the other attributes of God. The church must remember, regain, and rejoice over this forgotten doctrine in order to preserve the integrity of Christian theology.

Toward the Worship of God as Actus Purus

Alan Quiñones (Ph.D. Candidate, The Master’s Seminary)

God is Actus Purus, which is to say that He is eternally all that He can be. Potentiality is a trait of creatures, not God. The concept of Actus Purus was first articulated by Aristotle in his argument for the unmoved mover, and through its history, the church has considered this notion a valid articulation of the absolute perfection and preeminence of God over all things. This paper, then, explores the exegetical footing of Actus Purus. It also will seek to understand its implications for systematic theology. Careful exegesis will demonstrate that the doctrine of pure actuality is deducible from Scripture by good and necessary consequence. It is an instrument that helps to sound the unbounded perfection of God and arrive at a more settled understanding of His meticulous sovereignty. In short, pure actuality conveys that life cannot but belong to God, because He decrees, wills, knows, and does everything entirely from Himself.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on “Unity”

Kevin D. Zuber (Ph.D., Professor of Theology, The Master’s Seminary)

This article is the second in a two-part series that surveys several messages from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in an attempt to better understand his perspective on “unity.” In this second article, particular attention is paid to the message delivered at the meeting of the National Assembly of Evangelicals in October 1966—a message that marked a turning point in twentieth-century British evangelicalism. Two other messages on unity after 1966 are also examined. This examination will demonstrate that Lloyd-Jones’ message on unity in 1966 was consistent with his stance on unity before and after 1966. The article concludes with suggestions as to how Lloyd-Jones’ teaching on unity has application for twenty-first century evangelicalism.

Recent Scholarship and the Quest to Understand Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13

Peter J. Goeman (Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, Shepherds Theological Seminary)

This article analyzes Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. One of the most debated parts of these prohibitions is the phrase “as one lies with a female” (מִשְׁכְּבֵי אִשָּׁה). Although many modern scholars have attempted to explain this phrase as a technical phrase referring to incest or specific homosexual behavior, this phrase should be understood as a general reference to sexual activity. Thus, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 should be read as general prohibitions against sex between homosexual partners.

The Hermeneutics of the American Revolution

Gregg L. Frazer (Ph.D., Professor of History and Political Sciences, The Master’s University)

The American Revolution was a time not just of conflict between nations, but also between preachers. The differences of opinion between the Loyalists and the Patriots concerning rebellion resulted in differences in their interpretations of Scripture. This article compares two sermons—one by a Patriot, and one by a Loyalist. Patriot preachers largely began with a natural understanding of the biblical text, but then filtered that meaning through the lens of rebellion. The result was a creative, emotion-filled interpretation intended to bolster the cause of revolution. The Loyalists, on the other hand, interpreted and applied Scripture with a strict grammatical-historical hermeneutic. Through a comparative analysis of these two early-American sermons, modern readers have an opportunity to understand the importance of hermeneutics to practical living.

Postmodernism and the Gospels: Dancing on the Edge of Disaster

David Farnell (Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, The Master’s Seminary)

A saying that is so true for today’s liberal and evangelical critical scholars’ investigation in Gospel studies is found in the words of a nineteenth-century German philosopher, “Against that positivism which stops before phenomena, saying ‘there are only facts,’ I should say: no, it is precisely facts that do not exist, only interpretations.” The state of Gospel studies among liberals is always expected to be pathetically conflicting and arbitrary. Unfortunately, now evangelical-critical scholars evidence no substantive qualitative difference in Gospel studies from their more liberal counterparts. Increasingly as the twenty-first century develops, such distinctions between these two groups blur at an alarming rate, making both groups increasingly unified in presuppositions as well as conclusions in Gospel studies. This article will consider recent developments in the field of Gospel studies with the goal of illuminating shortfalls and providing productive alternatives in scholarly methods.

Read this issue online here, or email journal@tms.edu for more information about TMSJ.

October 2 Life-Changing Moments With God

 

The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

Righteous God, as far as the east is from the west, so far have You, Lord God, removed my transgressions from me. “In those days and in that time,” You say, “the iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found; for I will pardon those whom I preserve.” You will cast all my sins into the depths of the sea. Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity?

All we like sheep have gone astray; I, too, have turned to my own way; and You, Lord God, have laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all. He shall bear my iniquities. Therefore You will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for us transgressors. The Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world!

Thank You, Jesus, for dying for my sin—and thank You, Father God, for sacrificing Your Son for that specific purpose.

Leviticus 16:22; Psalm 103:12; Jeremiah 50:20; Micah 7:19, 18; Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 53:11–12; John 1:29[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 297). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 2 – Religious Credentials are Dung — VCY America

October 2
Isaiah 66:1-24
Philippians 3:4-21
Psalm 74:1-23
Proverbs 24:15-16

Isaiah 66:1 – This verse was one of the last words of Stephen (Acts 7:49), and was the transition from narrating the history of Israel to condemning his accusers. Isaiah has been the voice of the LORD rejecting the religious practices of His people:

  • Sacrifices – Isaiah 1:11
  • Fasting – Isaiah 58:5
  • Building Projects – Isaiah 66:1-2

Isaiah 66:22-24 – Wow – Isaiah concludes with a stark contrast. The redeemed of the LORD will dwell in the new heavens and the new earth, and the men that transgress against the LORD – their worm shall not die and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). From GotQuestions:

Mark 9:48 does not mean that there are literal worms in hell or that there are worms that live forever; rather, Jesus is teaching the fact of unending suffering in hell—the “worm” never stops causing torment. Notice that the worm is personal. Both Isaiah 66:24 and Mark 9:48 use the word their to identify the worm’s owner. The sources of torment are attached each to its own host.

Some Bible scholars believe the “worm” refers to a man’s conscience. Those in hell, being completely cut off from God, exist with a nagging, guilty conscience that, like a persistent worm, gnaws away at its victim with a remorse that can never be mitigated. No matter what the word worm refers to, the most important thing to be gained from these words of Christ is that we should do everything in our power to escape the horrors of hell, and there is only one thing to that end—receiving Jesus as the Lord of our lives (John 3:16).

https://www.gotquestions.org/worm-will-not-die.html

Philippians 3:8 – Paul recognizes the truth of Isaiah – God doesn’t care what religious credentials we have. No matter if we’ve been circumcised the eight day, a Pharisee, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. Paul declares it is dung, echoing Malachi 2:3. Now there is a trend amongst the cool theologians to say that Paul really said a more vulgar version of the word dung, but Gary Manning helpfully debunks that myth:

Paul was not alone in using σκύβαλα as a metaphor for something worthless in the moral or religious realm. Philo and Sirach both used σκύβαλα to describe undesirable qualities that should be abandoned. Paul’s interesting, and somewhat different, use of the word is to say that his desirable religious credentials (circumcision, pedigree, Pharisaism, zeal, obedience to the Law) were σκύβαλα – worthless waste – in comparison to knowing Jesus (Phil 3:4-8).

https://www.biola.edu/blogs/good-book-blog/2015/did-the-apostle-paul-use-profanity

Philippians 3:9 – Paul said his righteousness of the law was dung. It was worthless because it was powerless. Now the righteousness of Christ was powerful (Philippians 3:10) – it is priceless (not worthless) because it is powerful – so powerful it can defeat death (Philippians 3:11) 

Philippians 3:12 – Jesus caught Paul, now Paul is trying to catch Jesus. Notice that Paul hasn’t apprehended (entire sanctification) until glorification (Philippians 3:11).

Philippians 3:14 – May this be our goal in life as well. Not seeking a prize of an Olympic gold medal, or a Super Bowl ring, or a Fantasy Football championship, but of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! What a day that will be (Philippians 3:21).

Psalm 74:18 – What does God say about His name? There are 90 references in the Old Testament to My Name. What does God think about people who misuse His Name?

Proverbs 24:16 – Endurance is the mark of a just man. Don’t stop, Don’t Quit! (Sounds like Philippians 3:14!)

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.

October 2 – Religious Credentials are Dung — VCY America

October 2, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

loving money ignores the true gain

But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. (6:6)

This verse is closely connected with verse 5. De (but) could also be translated “indeed.” In that case, Paul would be saying in response to the false teachers who saw their religious activity as a way to get rich, “Indeed, godliness does provide great gain.” The NASB translation reflects an adversative sense of the word. Paul’s meaning then is “But as over against the false understanding of godliness displayed by the false teachers, true godliness does result in great gain.” The apostle’s point is that true godliness is profitable, but not as some think.

Godliness translates eusebeia, a familiar term in the Pastoral Epistles. It means “piety,” “reverence,” or “likeness to God,” and here even “religion,” in the true sense. As such, it describes true holiness, spirituality, and virtue. When accompanied by contentment, such religion or godliness is a means of great gain. Autarkēia (contentment) means “self-sufficiency,” and was used by the Cynic and Stoic philosophers to describe the person who was unflappable, unmoved by outside circumstances, and who properly reacted to his environment (cf. Geoffrey B. Wilson, The Pastoral Epistles [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1982], 85). To be content means to be satisfied and sufficient, and to seek nothing more than what one has.

For the Christian, unlike the Greek philosophers, contentment derives from God. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” In 2 Corinthians 9:8 he adds, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” The apostle gave testimony to his own contentment in Philippians 4:11–13:

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

In verse 19 of the same chapter he adds, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” For the believer, then, contentment is more than a mere noble human virtue. It is based on the sufficiency provided by God the Father and Jesus Christ. Loving money deprives one of that contentment, thus ignoring the true gain provided by true godliness.

True godliness produces contentment and spiritual riches. People are truly rich when they are content with what they have. The richest person is the one who doesn’t need anything else. When asked the secret of contentment, the Greek philosopher Epicurus replied, “Add not to a man’s possessions but take away from his desires” (cited in William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 129). He is richest who desires the least. Proverbs 30:8–9 puts it this way: “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

A godly person is motivated not by the love of money but by the love of God. He seeks the true riches of spiritual contentment that come from complete trust in an all-sufficient God. David said in Psalm 63:1–5,

O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, to see Thy power and Thy glory. Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee. So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips (cf. Ps. 107:9; Isa. 55:2; 58:11).

No amount of money will make up for a lack of contentment. John D. Rockefeller once said, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.” Cornelius Vanderbilt added, “The care of millions is too great a load … there is no pleasure in it.” Millionaire John Jacob Astor described himself as “the most miserable man on earth.” Despite his wealth, Henry Ford once remarked, “I was happier doing mechanic’s work.” And John D. Rockefeller commented, “The poorest man I know is the man who has nothing but money.”

Love of money and contentment are mutually exclusive. As a Roman proverb put it, money is like sea water, the more you drink the thirstier you get (Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, 132). Ecclesiastes 5:10 sums it up, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money.”[1]


6 In the first saying, Paul asserts that the true sign of “godliness” (eusebeia, GK 2354; see comments at 2:2) is “contentment” (autarkeia, GK 894; see 2 Co 9:8; Php 4:11; cf. Ps 34:10); such contented godliness is truly profitable (NIV, “gain,” porismos). Contentment, defined as “self-sufficiency,” was considered a virtue in Greek (Cynic-Stoic) philosophy. Paul, however, did not advocate that version of contentment. Rather, “putting new wine in old wineskins” (cf. Frederick E. Brenk, “Old Wineskins Recycled: Autarkeia in 1 Timothy 6.5–10,” Filologia neotestamentaria 3 [May 1990]:39–52), he “ ‘turned the tables’on the Stoics by declaring that genuine autarkeia is not self-sufficiency but Christ-sufficiency” (Fee, 143). Such true contentment is set in contrast to the greed of always wanting more,which leads to the exploitation of others.

In essence, “godliness” is not an avenue for material gain; as a spiritual virtue, it is “gain” in and of itself. This message has strong countercultural implications in the increasingly materialistic cultures of Western society. Even Christians are frequently drawn into a pattern of excessive debt, consumer spending, and status-consciousness based on material possessions (see “Consumerism,” “Debt,” and “Economics,” in Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, ed. A. S. Moreau [Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000], 224–25, 262–63, 297–99).[2]


6 As indicated by the repetition of the two key terms, “gain” and “godliness,” and the linking “to be” verb (now moved to emphatic position), Paul turns the negative assessment just made inside out to correct (and further condemn) the heretical distortion of values. While the repetition of thoughts is rhetorically significant, it is the expansions he introduces, and the implicit redefinition of “godliness” that results, that shift the direction of meaning.

First, Paul takes the discussion to a higher level than the heretical understanding is able to reach. The “great gain” he associates with “godliness” exceeds the limited material “gain” sought by the opponents.

Second, his repetition of the term “godliness,” bearing the profound meaning of authentic Christian existence, also seeks a higher, spiritual level of meaning. The further qualification of it as “godliness with contentment [or self-sufficiency]” removes godliness from the material limitations of the false teachers’ motives and substantiates Paul’s spiritual thrust. The qualifying phrase contains a term that was essential to Stoic philosophy (and present also in Cynic and Epicurean teaching), where it expressed the notion of “self-sufficiency,” emphasized detachment from things or outside possessions, and stressed independence. Paul was clearly in touch with this theme (Phil 4:11–12; 2 Cor 9:8), but supplied a Christian basis for it. By introducing the counter-materialistic concept of self-sufficiency as an element of “godliness,” there is no room left for the acquisitiveness and financial implications attached by the false teachers. With a slight shift, the term comes to mean the satisfaction or contentment with what one already has. In the present context, both ideas converge (cf. the adjective in Phil 4:11). Godliness is not about acquiring better and more material things; it is instead an active life of faith, a living out of covenant faithfulness in relation to God, that finds sufficiency and contentment in Christ alone whatever one’s outward circumstances might be.[3]


6:6 / This verse stands in immediate contrast to the last words in verse 5, with a striking play on terms. They think godliness “is a way to become rich.” They are partly right. There is great gain (or profit, now used metaphorically) in eusebeia, provided it is accompanied by contentment, that is, if one is satisfied with what one has and does not seek material gain.

The word autarkeia (contentment) expresses the favorite virtue of Stoic and Cynic philosophers, for whom it meant “self-sufficiency,” or the ability to rely on one’s own inner resources. There are some (D-C, Hanson, Brox, et al.) who see that philosophical tradition as lying behind all of verses 6–8, and they translate “if it is coupled with self-sufficiency” (D-C; cf. neb, “whose resources are within him”). But Paul has already used this word in an analogous context in Philippians 4:11; there he “turned the tables” on the Stoics by declaring that genuine autarkeia is not self-sufficiency but Christ-sufficiency. For Paul, therefore, the word means contentment, the empowering Christ gives to live above both want and plenty (Phil. 4:13). Moreover, there is no hint in 1 Timothy that its author considered anything like self-sufficiency to be a virtue. Life for him is all of grace and dependent on God’s mercies (1:12–17), and his ministry comes from Christ who appointed and empowered him for it (1:12).

Paul’s point, of course, is to combat the greed of the false teachers and, incidentally, of any others who might be tempted to lean in that direction.[4]


6:6. Godliness with contentment is great gain …

Paul repeats the word for ‘gain’ from verse 5, tying this new section to the previous one. Here, however, it is spiritual gain, spiritual riches, that he has in mind, as opposed to financial gain. ‘Godliness with contentment’ is the means to true spiritual riches. To put it in the words of Jesus, the issue is the location of our treasure (Matt. 6:21). Do we pursue the things of earth, or do we pursue the goals of heaven, including that holiness without which no one will see the Lord?

Contentment is an essential part of true godliness. Contentment in any and every situation (Phil. 4:11–12) reveals that we truly trust God’s sovereignty in our lives. Jeremiah Burroughs defines Christian contentment as ‘that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition’. Literally, the Greek word for contentment means ‘self-sufficiency’. The biblical idea is not that we are independent, not needing God or others. Rather, it is that our trust in God and our joy in him are not dependent on our outward circumstances. We quietly, graciously accept whatever comes from the hand of the Father. The world seeks contentment, but through illegitimate means, such as material gain. True spiritual contentment, the greatest form of riches, comes by trusting and resting in God’s provision.[5]


Ver. 6.—Godliness, etc. The apostle takes up the sentiment which he had just condemned, and shows that in another sense it is most true. The godly man is rich indeed. For he wants nothing in this world but what God has given him, and has acquired riches which, unlike the riches of this world, he can take away with him (comp. Luke 12:33). The enumeration of his acquired treasures follows, after a parenthetical depreciation of those of the covetous man, in ver. 11. The thought, as so often in St. Paul, is a little intricate, and its flow checked by parenthetical side-thoughts. But it seems to be as follows: “But godliness is, in one sense, a source of great gain, and moreover brings contentment with it—contentment, I say, for since we brought nothing into the world, and can carry nothing out, we have good reason to be content with the necessaties of life, food and raiment. Indeed, those who strive for more, and pant after wealth, bring nothing but trouble upon themselves. For the love of money is the root of all evil, etc. Thou, therefore, O man of God, instead of reaching after worldly riches, procure the true wealth, and become rich in righteousness, godliness, faith,” etc. (ver. 11). The phrase, Εστι δὲ πορισμὸς μέγας ἡ εὐσεβεία μετὰ αὐταρκείας, should be construed by making the μετὰ couple πορισμὸς with αὐταρκείας, so as to express that “godliness” is both “gain” and “contentment”—not as if αν̓ταρκεία qualified εὐσεβεία—that would have been expressed by the collocation, ἡ μετὰ αὐταρκείας εὐσεβεία. Contentment (αὐταρκεία). The word occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in 2 Cor. 9:8, where it is rendered, both in the R.V. and the A.V., “sufficiency.” The adjective αὐτάρκης, found in Phil. 4:11 (and common in classical Greek), is rendered “content.” It means “sufficient in or of itself”—needing no external aid—and is applied to persons, countries, cities, moral qualities, etc. The substantive αὐταρκεία is the condition of the person, or thing, which is αὐτάρκης.[6]


6. But godliness with sufficiency is great gain. In an elegant manner, and with an ironical correction, he instantly throws back those very words in an opposite meaning, as if he had said—“They do wrong and wickedly, who make merchandise of the doctrine of Christ, as if ‘godliness were gain;’ though, undoubtedly, if we form a correct estimate of it, godliness is a great and abundant gain.” And he so calls it, because it brings to us full and perfect blessedness. Those men, therefore, are guilty of sacrilege, who, being bent on acquiring money, make godliness contribute to their gain. But for our part, godliness is a very great gain to us, because, by means of it, we obtain the benefit, not only of being heirs of the world, but likewise of enjoying Christ and all his riches.

With sufficiency. This may refer either to the disposition of the heart, or to the thing itself. If it be understood as referring to the heart, the meaning will be, that “godly persons, when they desire nothing, but are satisfied with their humble condition, have obtained very great gain.” If we understand it to be “sufficiency” of wealth, (and, for my own part, I like this view quite as well as the other,) it will be a promise, like that in the book of Psalms, “The lions wander about hungry and famished; but they that seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.” (Ps. 34:10.) The Lord is always present with his people, and, as far as is sufficient for their necessity, out of his fulness he bestows on each his portion. Thus true happiness consists in piety; and this sufficiency may be regarded as an increase of gain.[7]


6. The dictum of the false teachers is first of all admitted, yet with an all-important proviso. The notion of self-mastery inherent in the word translated contentment (autarkeia) is singularly Pauline (the noun occurs elsewhere only in 2 Cor. 9:8 and the adjective in Phil. 4:11). Godliness will only be true gain when independent of circumstances, and the apostle himself provides an admirable pattern of this in Philippians 4:11. To the Stoic notion of self-mastery Christianity brings the essential quality of a contented mind.[8]


6:6. Paul had just shown how the false teachers equated gain, success, and personal well-being with money. They promoted a form of outer godliness and intricate academic systems in order to draw people into their influence and so secure their financial support. Religion brought them prestige and profits.

But … This little qualifier is an important word. Paul negated the premise and goal of the false teachers. Success and personal well-being have nothing to do with rules, crowd adoration, or material prosperity: it is godliness with contentment [that] is great gain.

For Paul, godliness was the entire scope of the faith—correct doctrine combined with new life, truth measured by right living. The spiritual goals and disciplines necessary to progress in Christlikeness are to be the consuming passion of all his followers. This has nothing to do with material wealth or poverty. Material possessions are irrelevant. The human soul was not created to find contentment in the accumulation of stuff. This is a phantom that too many people chase. Personal peace is found in intimate relationship with God—this is great gain.[9]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 1 Timothy (pp. 250–252). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 1 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 553–554). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 398–399). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (p. 143). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Barcley, W. B. (2005). A Study Commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy (pp. 189–190). Darlington, England; Webster, NY: Evangelical Press.

[6] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Timothy (p. 120). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[7] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 157–158). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, p. 127). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 243). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Are Moral Truths a Product of Culture? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

Does moral truth change from people group to people group? Are moral truths subjective and simply a matter of cultural consensus? If moral truth is objective, how can we account for it? In this video from J. Warner’s “Quick Shots: Fast Answers to Hard Questions” series on RightNow Media, J. Warner answers this common question related to the claims of Christianity.

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.

Are Moral Truths a Product of Culture? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

October—2 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.—Luke 7:42.

My soul! nothing can be more grateful and commendatory to the state of thine insolvency, than the recollection of what thy God and Saviour hath taught in this beautiful parable; that the debtor of five hundred pence, and the debtor of fifty, being both equally incapable of discharging the respective claims upon them, are equally considered as objects of mercy, and are therefore both alike forgiven. And this, indeed, is the distinguishing property of grace. It is totally distinct from merit; yea, in direct opposition to it. Hadst thou the least pretensions to divine favour, or couldst thou have put forth the least helping hand towards thine own salvation; grace then would have been no more grace. The frank forgiveness of all debt, carries with it the plainest testimony of man’s total helplessness, and the sovereign freedom of divine love. And hence, when the sinner, of every description and character, is brought into this glorious privilege of redemption, the whole result is “to the praise of the glory of his grace, who hath made us accepted in the beloved.” What a beautiful and interesting view is this of the gospel of Jesus! It is full, and free, and suited to every case, and answering to the state and circumstances of every poor sinner. For as all have sinned and come short of God’s glory, so all, being unable to make the smallest restitution, are equally objects suited to divine mercy; and whatever other causes operate, certain it is, that the greatness or smallness of the debt, in a state of total insolvency, becomes no bar to pardon. So runs the charter of grace, and the proclamation from the court of heaven. Let all that are poor, and insolvent, and helpless, and conscious of their lost state, come alike to the footstool of the mercy-seat. The Son of God will have his court surrounded with such; and every one to whom his free salvation is welcome, that poor creature, be his circumstances what they may, shall be welcome to take it; whether him that oweth ten thousand talents, or whether him that oweth fifty; having nothing, either of them, to pay, the Lord frankly forgives both! Oh! the unsearchable riches of grace! Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift![1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 285–286). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

October 2 Thoughts for the quiet hour

 

God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him

1 John 4:16

God is love; and it is good, as it is true, to think that every sun-ray that touches the earth has the sun at the other end of it; so every bit of love upon God’s earth has God at the other end of it.

Mark Guy Pearse[1]

 

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