Daily Archives: January 26, 2021

Following Christ for Loaves and Growing Rich in Christianity | Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. 25 When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”
26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” John 6:24-27 (NASB) 

46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” Luke 20:46-47 (NASB) 

The spiritual blindness of the ‘professing Christian,’ unregenerate heart is a wonder to behold. It is religious to be sure, but its framework consists of rationalizations that are developed in order to “have Christ” on one’s own terms. It allows for things such as compromises by the professor to “work” in such a way to accumulate wealth or position or both in society. It condones doing ministry in such a way in order become wealthy or famous. The focus is on the temporal. These “fellows” use religiosity as their cash cow.

When discerning Christians challenge their bad theology or their modus operandi, their response can escalate into threats of lawsuits or dirty tricks with the intent to silence their critics. They justify this because they insist they are only protecting their livelihood. By this they are also ‘justifying’ how they do their ministries. However, according to God’s Word, this sort of thing is nothing new as we see in Luke 20:46-47 above, which tells us the scribes of Jesus’ day were using their “office” to devour widows’ houses. Our Lord tells us here also that these were the teachers of the people, but they did their ministries from a motivation of self-aggrandizement. This is religion for wealth and self-elevation in the eyes of the people.

Look at John 6:24-37, which is at the top of this post as well. Our Lord had miraculously fed these people just the day before. They sought Him because they wanted more bread not to be His disciples. He tells them in these verses and the passages that follow what the high cost of discipleship really is and those who are His do not labor for what perishes (the temporal), but for the eternal.

Think of the “best-selling Christian” authors in our day who make millions by writing what the masses want to hear regardless of the verity of what they teach. These people have actually sold their ministries for 30 pieces of silver. Judas Iscariot was religious for the moneybag (John 12:6). These authors have developed their ministries by addressing what the unregenerate professing Christians want to hear, which is that their false form of Christianity is actually valid. Money flows to these authors and their ministries because their books are snapped up and this leads to being paid to be guest speakers, et cetera. However, they do not dare preach and teach the genuine Gospel and what genuine discipleship is because this would end their run at the money.

Selling Jesus is a great sin. Those who do this are attempting to use a “ministry” in order to become rich in the things of this world. Their focus will never be within the bounds in Orthodoxy. No, they must always stretch the truth even to the point of combining the religions of man with their version of Christianity. They attempt to align their messages with the what is hot in society or within a certain target age-group. Their philosophy, which they push in all their messages, is always centered and lined up that which is prevalent in society such as relativism and existentialism.

Examine yourselves my brethren. Are you ministering for God’s glory alone? Are you focused on the eternal rather than the temporal? Are you ministering because that is your career or are you a slave of your Lord? We must repent of the things in which we become absorbed by temporal focus and are motivated in our ministries by any thing other than God’s glory alone. We must be obedient to our Lord even if it means serving Him in ways and areas where the only one who knows what we are doing is Him.

Soli Deo Gloria!

— Read on mikeratliff.wordpress.com/2021/01/26/following-christ-for-loaves-and-growing-rich-in-christianity/

Rand Paul says Trump impeachment case is ‘DEAD ON ARRIVAL’ after 45 senators support his motion to declare trial unconstitutional — RT USA News

Rand Paul says Trump impeachment case is 'DEAD ON ARRIVAL' after 45 senators support his motion to declare trial unconstitutional

Only five Republican senators opposed a motion by colleague Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) to declare Donald Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional, signaling that Democrats won’t have enough votes to convict the former president.

The Senate voted 55-45 on Tuesday to set aside Paul’s motion to short-circuit the trial before it even starts on the basis that the Constitution doesn’t provide jurisdiction for impeaching a president who’s no longer in office. It would take a two-thirds Senate majority, or as many as 67 votes, to convict Trump.

“Forty-five Senators agreed that this sham of a trial is unconstitutional,”Paul said on Twitter. “This is more than will be needed to acquit and to eventually end this partisan impeachment process. This trial is dead on arrival in the Senate.”

The five Republicans who voted with Democrats to go forward with the trial, which is scheduled to begin the week of February 8, were: Mitt Romney (Utah), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Ben Sasse (Nebraska) and Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania).

Paul’s point of constitutional order came one day after Democrats chose Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), president pro tempore of the Senate, to preside over the trial. US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over Trump’s impeachment trial last year, declined to take that role again. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to officiate impeachment trials only for sitting presidents and vice presidents.

 Also on rt.com

Partisan Dem Senator Leahy to be Trump’s judge AND a juror as SCOTUS chief balks at presiding over impeachment trial

In fact, the Constitution doesn’t address trials for former presidents, inasmuch as impeachment is designed to remove an office holder. Republicans such as Paul and Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) have argued that the Senate has no constitutional authority to convict a private citizen.

“Democrats are wasting the nation’s time on a partisan vendetta against a man no longer in office,” Paul said today in the Senate. “It’s almost as if they have no ability to exist except in opposition to Donald Trump. Without him as their bogeyman, they might have to legislate and to actually convince Americans that their policy prescriptions are the right ones.”

Paul said Democrats have called for unifying the country, but they instead are “about to drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol, the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history.”He added that there could be no sense of fairness or due process while allowing a partisan Democrat who’s already on record in favor of impeachment to serve as trial judge.

 Read more

‘Forgetting it is not how you unify’: Pelosi ‘not worried’ about Trump trial contradicting Biden’s calls for unity (VIDEO)

Trump was impeached by the House for allegedly inciting the rioters who breached the US Capitol on January 6. Paul contrasted Trump’s words at the Save America Rally speech earlier that day — telling his supporters to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” after he figuratively called for them to “fight” Biden’s allegedly fraudulent election victory — with those of Democrats. The former president’s backers argue that the fact that Trump called for a peaceful rally clears him of any wrongdoing. However, critics point out that in the very same speech, the ex-president urged his supporters “to show strength” saying “you’ll never take back our country with weakness,” leaving the message up for interpretation.

Paul argued that Democrats have been reluctant to take notice of calls with potential to incite partisan violence when they come from one of their own.

For instance, a supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) shot US Representative Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) and three other people in 2017, saying “this is for health care,” after Sanders said the Republican plan for those without health insurance is “that you die.” 

Paul noted, too, that he and his wife were among the many victims who were assaulted by mobs of leftists after Democrats such as Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Representative Maxine Waters (California) called for their supporters to get in the faces of Congress members and “create a crowd and push back” on Trump administration officials, respectively. He added that Democrats could be accused of inciting the deadly and destructive riots that plagued US cities last summer.

“Should (Vice President) Kamala Harris be impeached for offering to pay for violent people to get out of jail who’ve been burning our cities down?”Paul asked. “No, and no Republican has offered that because we’re not going down the road that Democrats have decided, this low road of impeaching people for political speech.”

— Read on www.rt.com/usa/513714-senate-lacks-impeachment-votes/

When Fascism Comes, It Will Be Wearing a Mask – LewRockwell

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Many of these executive orders concern coronavirus, fulfilling Biden’s promise to make ramping up a coronavirus-inspired attack on liberty a focus of his first 100 days.

One of Biden’s executive orders imposes mask and social distancing mandates on anyone in a federal building or on federal land. The mandates also apply to federal employees when they are “on-duty” anywhere. Members of the military are included in the definition of federal employees. Will citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where US troops are or will be “spreading democracy” be happy to learn the troops shooting up their towns are wearing masks and practicing social distancing?

Another one of Biden’s executive orders forces passengers on airplanes, trains, and other public transportation to wear masks.

— Read on www.lewrockwell.com/2021/01/ron-paul/when-fascism-comes-it-will-be-wearing-a-mask/

Bad Day for the Impeachment Crowd: 45 Republicans Vote to Reject Trump Trial as Unconstitutional | CBN News

Senate Democrats may think they won a victory after voting to reject a Republican attempt to block their impeachment trial, but there’s another way of looking at this vote.

— Read on www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2021/january/bad-day-for-the-impeachment-crowd-45-republicans-vote-to-reject-trump-trial-as-unconstitutional

Brannon Howse: January 26, 2021 | Worldview Weekend Broadcast Network

Guest: Carl Teichrib and Terry Turchie. Global Reset And Democratic Party is a Terrorist Organization Topic: Carl joins us for another report on the World Economic Forum and the Great Reset. The President of the European Commission in her speech complained about former President Donald Trump, pushed for a digital society and called for a global counsel to decided internet rules and who gets kicked off the World Wide Web. Topic: Terry Turchie, Former Assistant Director of the Counter Terrorism Division of the FBI joins us again as we continue to discuss new information from his book, In Their Own Words: How the Democratic Party is Pushing us Toward a Communist America. Terry gives us the definition of terrorism and then explains how the Democratic Party meets that definition and then how the FBI in many regards has acted as their enforcer. Topic: Terry explains how the FBI has become so political. Topic: How long before the FBI comes knocking on Brannon’s door and that of other conservatives for what they talk about on their radio and television programs? Topic: We take your calls. 

Right Click here and Select Save As to Download the Audio file

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-january-26-2021

Rand Paul: What’s the Next Subject Where You Are Not Going To Be Allowed To Have An Opinion That Contradicts Liberals? | Video | RealClearPolitics

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared on FOX News Tuesday and reacted to the blacklisting of former Trump associates and Democrats calling for people who participated in “Stop the Steal” to be banned from holding a security clearance.

“We have to be very careful when they start talking about domestic terrorism,” Paul said. “The last time we did this was the PATRIOT ACT and they said we’re only going to spy on foreigners. But it turned out they were spying on every American. They were cataloguing every American’s phone calls.”

“Now when they say domestic terrorists, you have to realize, I’ve been willing to say there was fraud in the election. I don’t know if it was enough fraud because I don’t think we did enough investigation as to whether it would have overturned the election. I’m agnostic,” he said.

“We should investigate it,” the Senator said. “We should want to know. I plan to go to 35, 40 state legislatures and trying to get them to fix their laws. But is that now something that I’m not allowed to say? And that I will be wanted by authorities or wanted by the domestic terrorism police because I might say, ‘Oh my goodness, I think somebody might’ve stolen the election. I think there might’ve been fraud.'”

“So is it not okay to have an opinion in our country anymore? This started with the global warming extremists and now it’s gone to election fraud, what is the next subject where you’re not allowed to have an opinion that contradicts the liberals?” Paul asked.


— Read on www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/01/26/rand_paul_whats_the_next_subject_where_you_are_not_going_to_be_allowed_to_have_an_opinion_that_contradicts_liberals.html

China’s Communist leaders fear Christians may rise to 30 million – The Christian Post

China’s Christian community may reach a staggering 300 million people by 2030, unnerving the country’s Communist leadership who fear “they’ll have to share power” as the Church increases in size and influence, an expert has said.

January 26 Evening Quotes of the Day

Loving Things for Themselves Is Sinful
Psalm 40:4; Acts 12:22; 28:6; Romans 1:25; Galatians 4:8–10

Whatever creature is loved ultimately for itself, and not for a higher end, even for God, his service, his honor, his relation to it, or his excellency appearing in it, is sinfully loved. For it is made our god when it is loved ultimately for itself.


Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Do Not Neglect to Be Aware of God
Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 63:6; 145:18; James 4:8; 1 Peter 2:3–4

Think on God, by day, by night, in your business, and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone. You would think it rude to leave a friend alone, who had come to visit you: why then must God be neglected? Do not then forget Him, think often of Him, adore him unceasingly, live and die with Him: this is the glorious employment of a Christian, in a word, this is our profession; if we do not know it, we must learn it.


Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

January 26 Evening Verse of the Day

5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 5:5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

5:5 Life in the resurrection is impossible without the proper preparation. This verse emphasizes God’s sovereignty. On the Spirit as a down payment, see 1:22 and Eph 1:14 for the other NT instances of “down payment,” always connected with the Spirit. The beginning of salvation is receiving God’s person (the Spirit); the goal of salvation is enjoying God’s person fully and forever (Rv 22:4).[1]

5:5 guarantee. See note 1:22. The Holy Spirit’s work in us now in daily renewal and spiritual strengthening (3:18; 4:16) is a foretaste and guarantee of future completion of that work in resurrection bodies and complete sanctification.[2]

5:5 the down payment, the Spirit God provides believers with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that they will receive resurrected spiritual bodies when Christ returns (see 2 Cor 1:22; compare note on Eph 1:14).[3]

5:5 the Spirit as a guarantee. The presence of the Spirit in Christians’ lives now is the down payment or guarantee that they will receive resurrection bodies when Jesus returns.[4]

5:5 for this very purpose. Paul emphatically states that the believer’s heavenly existence will come to pass according to God’s sovereign purpose (see notes on Ro 8:28–30; cf. Jn 6:37–40, 44). God … gave to us the Spirit. See notes on 1:22; Ro 5:5; Eph 1:13; cf. Php 1:6. pledge. See notes on 1:22; Eph 1:13.[5]

5:5 guarantee: The Holy Spirit’s work in believers’ lives can be compared to a deposit or down payment (1:22). The presence of the Holy Spirit assures believers that God has purchased them. They are no longer slaves to sin, but His children. They will receive all the rights and privileges of children of God when their Savior returns.[6]

5:5. The apostle’s confidence falls back on God who gives the Spirit as a guarantee that these things will take place. The Holy Spirit’s work in the believer’s life is compared to a deposit or a down payment (1:22). Paul says that the person and presence of the Holy Spirit pledges that believers will experience their resurrected bodies.[7]

5:5 It is God … who has prepared us for this very purpose, namely, the redemption of the body. This will be the climax of His glorious purposes for us. At the present time we are redeemed as to our spirit and soul, but then redemption will include the body as well. Just think of it—God made us with this goal in view—the glorified state—a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens!

And how can we be sure that we will have a glorified body? The answer is that God … has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. As explained previously, the fact that every believer possesses the indwelling Spirit of God is a pledge that all God’s promises to the believer will be fulfilled. He is a token of what is to come. The Spirit of God is Himself a guarantee that what God has already given to us in part will one day be ours in full.[8]

5:5. This present condition of fading mortality, however disquieting it may be, is not without design. As Paul had just written, ordinary mortals, like common jars of clay, are the means through which God displays, by contrast, His own all-surpassing power (4:7).

Equally encouraging is the realization that in the life of each Christian God has begun the transforming process that will one day culminate in possessing a heavenly body and perfect Christlikeness. The surety of that consummation is the Holy Spirit, whose presence and transforming work (3:18) forms the beginning and is guaranteeing the completion of God’s gracious salvation (Rom. 8:23; Eph. 4:30). (On the words as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come, see comments on the word arrabōna in 2 Cor. 1:22.)[9]

5:5. God gives the Spirit to believers at conversion. This Spirit is a guarantee that God works through suffering to prepare Christians for their resurrection body.[10]

5:5. The apostle proclaimed with great confidence, God … has made us for this very purpose. As Genesis states, God did not design human beings to die, but to be clothed in immortal bodies. If Adam and Eve had passed the test of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would have realized this destiny immediately. Now, however, that destiny has been accomplished in Christ, who has redeemed his people and secured immortal bodies for them. These will be inherited in the future.

Paul also taught that earthly life is not devoid of God’s future blessing. Believers have already received the Spirit who is a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (cf. Eph. 1:13–14). He drew upon the analogy of a down payment that guaranteed full payment in the future. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in his life and in the life of the Corinthian church was a deposit or first portion of full salvation in the future. Paul saw his life and the lives of other believers as suffering and death as well as a grand blessing from God.[11]

5:5 “prepared” Paul uses this word often in II Corinthians (cf. 4:17; 5:5; 7:10, 11; 9:11; 12:12). Our lives are not controlled by luck, chance, or fate, but by God. Even our trials can be the means of maturity and greater faith.

The giving of the Spirit is (1) the sign the New Age has dawned; (2) the evidence of personal salvation; (3) the means of ministry; (4) the means for maturity; and (5) the surety of heaven.













This concept of a pledge had an OT precedent: (1) a promise to pay a debt (cf. Gen. 38:17, 18, 20; Deut. 24:10–13); (2) a promise of providing sustenance (cf. 1 Sam. 17:18); and (3) a personal promise (cf. 2 Kgs. 18:23; Isa. 36:8).

This Greek term refers to a down-payment or earnest money (cf. 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5). In modern Greek it is used of an engagement ring, which is the promise of a marriage to come. The Spirit is the fulfilled promise of a new age of righteousness. This is part of the “already” and “not yet” tension of the NT, the overlapping of the two Jewish ages because of the two comings of Christ (see the excellent discussion in How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart, pp. 129–134). The Spirit is a pledge given now for a future consummation.[12]

5. The one who has prepared us for this very purpose is God, who has given us his Spirit as a pledge.

Paul completes the first paragraph of this chapter with a sentence that stresses God’s prominence. At the same time, this verse serves as an introduction to the next paragraph (vv. 6–10) that speaks of confidence, faith, and purpose.

The subject of verse 5 is God, whom Paul described with two clauses: he has prepared us, and he has given us his Spirit. First, then, God’s work in preparing us. The verb to prepare can mean diligently working with and in someone, much as an instructor trains a student in anticipation of graduation and service. Paul’s life is a case in point: God prepared him for missionary service by giving him an education, a conversion experience, faith in Christ, and numerous hardships and trials.

Paul writes that God has prepared us “for this very purpose,” but what is that purpose? It is to be covered with a resurrected body and the future glory that God already has prepared for us. To put it differently, God has in store for us an existence of which the pristine life of Adam and Eve in paradise is a reflection. This existence is what God had originally designed before sin entered the world and now has planned for us. At the close of the age, Christians will be reclothed with either transformed or resurrected bodies.

God has given us the Holy Spirit as a pledge concerning matters that will be revealed in the future. He has made a contract with us with a down payment that obliges him to continue to make additional payments. Now we are receiving a foretaste of the Spirit but in the hereafter we will receive the full allotment that God has in store for us.

Paul writes the Greek word arrabōn (pledge), which is a transliteration of the Hebrew (see Gen. 38:17, 18, 20) and a technical term used in commercial and legal circles. He also writes this term elsewhere with reference to the Holy Spirit (1:22; Eph. 1:14). Moreover, when God gives us a pledge in the person of the Holy Spirit, then he will also give us rest in due time. God’s Word cannot be broken (John 10:35), for it is entirely trustworthy and true. We have the assurance that the Spirit, who is with us, will lead us safely into God’s presence at the time of death.[13]

Ver. 5. Now He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God.

The patient Divine Workman and His purpose:—These words penetrate deep into the secrets of God. To Paul everything is the Divine working. Life is to him no mere blind whirl of accidental forces, but the slow operation of the great Workman. And he believes that the clear perception of the Divine purpose will be a charm against all sorrow, doubt, despondency, or fear.

  1. God’s purpose in all His working. 1. What is that “self-same thing”? The apostle has been speaking about the instinctive reluctance that even good men feel at the prospect of “putting off the earthly house of this tabernacle.” He distinguishes between three different conditions in which the human spirit may be—dwelling in the earthly body, stripped of that, and “clothed with the house which is from heaven”; and this last and highest state is the very thing for which God has wrought us—i.e., the highest aim of the Divine love in all its dealings with us is not merely a blessed spiritual life, but the completion of our humanity in a perfect spirit dwelling in a glorified body. 2. That glorified body is described in our context.
  2. The slow process of the Divine Workman. 1. The apostle employs a term which conveys the idea of continuous and effortful work, as if against resistance. Like some sculptor with a hard bit of marble, or some metallurgist with rough ore, so the loving, patient, Divine Artificer labours long and earnestly with somewhat obstinate material, by manifold touches, here a little and there a little, and not discouraged when He comes upon a black vein in the white marble, nor when the hard stone turns the edge of His chisels. Learn, then—(1) That God cannot make you fit for heaven all at a jump, or by a simple act of will. He can make a world so, not a saint. He cannot say, and He does not say, “Let there be holiness,” and it comes. Not so can God make man meet for the “inheritance of the saints in light.” And it takes Him all His energies, for all a lifetime, to prepare His child for what He wants to make of him. (2) That God cannot give a man that glorified body of which I have been speaking unless the man’s spirit is Christlike. By the necessities of the case it is confined to the purified, because it corresponds to their inward spiritual being. It is only a perfect spirit that can dwell in a perfect body. Some shall rise to glory and immortality, some to shame and everlasting contempt. If we are to stand at the last with the body of our humiliation changed into a body of glory, we must begin by being changed in the spirit of our mind. 2. Consider the three-fold processes which, in the Divine working, terminate in this great issue. (1) God has wrought us for it in the very act of making us what we are. Human nature is an insoluble enigma if this world is its only field. Amidst all the mysterious waste of creation, there is no more profligate expenditure of powers than that which is involved in giving a man such faculties and capacities if this be the only field on which they are to be exercised. All other creatures fit their circumstances; nothing in them is bigger than their environment. They find in life a field for every power. But we have an infinitude of faculty lying half dormant in each of us which finds no work at all in this present world. “What is the use of us if there is nothing except this poor present? God, or whoever made us, has made a mistake; and, strangely enough, if we were not made, but evolved, evolution has worked out faculties which have no correspondence with the things around them. Life, and man, is an insoluble enigma except on the hypothesis that this is a nursery-ground, and that the little plants will be pricked out some day, and planted where they are meant to grow. (2) Another field of the Divine operation to this end is in what we roughly call “providences.” What is the meaning of all this discipline through which we are passed if there is nothing to be disciplined for? What is the good of an apprenticeship if there is no journeyman’s life to come after it, where the powers that have been slowly acquired shall be nobly exercised upon broader fields? Life is an insoluble riddle unless the purpose of it lie yonder, and unless all this patient training of our sorrows and our gladnesses is equally meant for training us for the perfect life of a perfect soul, moving a perfect body in a perfect universe. And who can think of life as anything but a wretched fragment unless he knows that all which begins here runs upwards into the room above, and there finds its explanation and its completion? (3) So in all the work and mystery of our redemption this is the goal that God has in view. It was not worth Christ’s while to come and die if nothing more was to come of it than the imperfect reception of His blessings and gifts which the noblest Christian life in this world presents. The meaning and purpose of the Cross, the meaning and purpose of all the patient dealings of His whispering Spirit, is that we shall be like our Divine Lord in spirit first, and in body afterwards. 3. And everything about the experiences of a true Christian spirit is charged with a prophecy of immortality. The very desires which God’s good Spirit works in a believing soul are themselves confirmations of their own fulfilment.

III. The certainty and the confidence. 1. “He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God.” Then we may be sure that, as far as He is concerned, the work will not be suspended nor vain. This Workman has infinite resources, an unchanging purpose, and infinite long-suffering. In the quarries of Egypt you will find gigantic stones, half-dressed, and intended to have been transported to some great temple. But there they lie, the work incomplete, and they never carried to their place. There are no half-polished stones in God’s quarries. They are all finished where they lie, and then borne across the sea, like Hiram’s from Lebanon, to the temple on the hill. 2. But it is a certainty that you can thwart. It is an operation that you can counter-work. Oh! do not let all God’s work on you come to naught, but yield yourselves to it. Rejoice in the confidence that He is moulding your character, cheerfully welcome the providences, painful as they may be, by which He prepares you for heaven. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

Preparation for heaven the work of God:—There are five steps in orderly succession whereby we are wrought, made fit, for the kingdom of God.

  1. The first of these is the divine call, by which we are excited and urged to seek salvation.
  2. The second step in the preparation of the soul for heaven is divine illumination.

III. The spiritual illumination of the inner man is followed by repentance.

  1. And this conducts us to the fourth step in the process of religion—namely, faith in Christ.
  2. The final step in the method of salvation is the sanctification of the soul. (J. A. Sartorius.)

Preparation for heaven:

  1. The work of preparation. 1. It is almost universally admitted that some preparation is essential. Whenever death is announced, you will hear the worst-instructed say, “I hope, poor man! he was prepared.” (1) Men need something to be done for them. (a) God declares that we are enemies to Him. We need, therefore, that some ambassador should come to us with terms of peace, and reconcile us to God. (b) We are debtors also to our Creator—debtors to His law. Some mediator, then, must come in to pay the debt for us, for we cannot pay it, neither can we be exempted from it. (c) In addition to this, we are all criminals—condemned already; in fear of execution unless some one come in between us and punishment. Say, then, has this been done for you? Many of you can answer, “Blessed be God, I have been reconciled to Him through the death of His Son; my debts to God are paid; I have looked to Christ, my Substitute, and I am no longer condemned” (Rom. 8:1). Come, let us rejoice in this, that He hath wrought us for this self-same thing. (2) Something must be wrought in us. (a) We are all dead in trespasses and sins. Shall dead men sit at the feasts of the eternal God? Only the living children can inherit the promises of the living God, for He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (b) By nature we are all worldly. We “mind earthly things”; the world’s maxims govern us, its fears alarm us, its hopes and ambitions excite us. But we cannot go to heaven as worldly men, for there would be nothing there to gratify us. The joys and glories of heaven are all spiritual. (c) We are unholy by nature; but in heaven they are “without fault before the throne of God.” No sin is tolerated there. What a change, then, must come over the carnal man to make him holy! What can wash him white but the blood of Christ? That a great change must be wrought in us even ungodly men will confess, since the Scriptural idea of heaven has never been agreeable to unconverted men. When Mahomet would charm the world into the belief that he was the prophet of God, the heaven he pictured was a heaven of unbridled sensualism. Could a wicked man enter into heaven, he would be wretched there. There is no heaven for him who has not been prepared for it by a work of grace in his soul. 2. If we have such a preparation, we must have it on this side of our death. As the tree falleth, so it must lie. While the nature is soft it is susceptible of impression, stamp what seal you may upon it; once let it grow cold and hard, you can do so no more; it is proof against any change. We have no intimation in the Word of God that any soul dying in unbelief will afterwards be converted. “He that is holy, let him be holy still; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Moreover, we ought to know, for it is possible for a man to know whether he is thoroughly prepared. Jesus Christ has not left us in such a dubious case that we always need to be inquiring, “Am I His, or am I not?” He tells us that “he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.” If we have obeyed these commands we shall be saved, for our God keepeth His word. We need not harbour endless questionings. 3. Alas! how many put off all thoughts of being prepared to die! They are prepared for almost anything except the one thing needful. “Prepare to meet your God.”
  2. The Author of this preparation for death. Who made Adam fit for Paradise but God? And who must make us fit for the better Paradise above but God? That we cannot do it ourselves is evident. We are dead in trespasses and sins. Can the dead start from the grave of their own accord? The dead shall surely rise, but because God raises them. Conversion, which prepares us for heaven, is a new creation. The original creation was the work of God, and the new creation must likewise be of God. Think of what fitness for heaven is! To be fit for heaven a man must be perfect. Go, you who think you can prepare yourselves, be perfect for a day. Man’s work is never perfect. God alone is perfect, and He alone is the Perfecter.

III. The seal of this preparation. “The earnest of the Spirit.” Masters frequently pay during the week a part of the wages which will be due on Saturday night. God gives His Holy Spirit, as it were, to be a part of the reward which He intends to give to His people when, like hirelings, they have fulfilled their duty. So God gives us His Holy Spirit to be in our hearts as an earnest of heaven. Have you received the Holy Spirit? Do you reply, “How may I know?” Wherever the Holy Spirit is, He works certain graces in the soul, such as repentance, patience, forgiveness, holy courage, joy, &c. This gift, moreover, will be conspicuously evidenced by a living faith in Christ. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The great hope and its earnest:

  1. What “this self-same thing” is for which we are “wrought.” Studying the context, we find it to be a certain state of mind in regard to many things. We must go back to chap. 4 to understand this fully. And I think it must be allowed that it is a very great and heroic attitude. He who can take up the language of a passage like this, and honestly adopt it as the description of the state and feeling of his mind, is a very king, and must be among the happiest of men. We have around us here and now the world—God-denying and anti-Christian—which was around the Apostle Paul. It is not changed! The apostle seems to have lived in a tough house, and yet a house that, after years of toil and hardship, became worn out and frail. If it was a great thing for him to triumph over bodily suffering, and to face death, must it not be a great thing for afflicted and suffering people to do the same now? And is it not a great thing, in these times, to be able to look to that “beyond” in faith and confidence, to cast anchor of thought and faith, as well as of desire and hope, in another life? While atheism spreads blackness over the universe, while materialism drags men down to the dust, while heartless philosophies and flippant literatures tell us “it does not matter”—in times like these it is a great thing to stand on the old watch-tower, and to look by faith clearly beyond the visible into the invisible, declaring, “Yes, I see it. I know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle,” &c.
  2. It is wholly the result of a Divine process. It is not a natural development. If it were so, the apostle might have said, “He who created us, when we were born, for this self-same thing is God”; or, “He who gave us life, and gave us power to mould and renew our own nature till we rise into all goodness, is God.” But his words take another line. “He who hath wrought us”—created us anew in Christ Jesus—“wrought us,” as the block of marble is wrought into the shape of the fair figure. So are we “wrought” by God. His work is marvellous. He must have wrought a great work in Stephen before he could stand up fearlessly, with an angel face, amid the shower of deathdealing stones. He works always along main lines, amid infinite variety of circumstance, but always with a view to the “self-same thing,” and therefore in some degree along the same road to reach it; and this is the road (Rom. 8:29, 30).

III. All this is made sure to us, not only in Divine promise, but by “the earnest of the Spirit.” That is to say, this “self-same thing” means not merely a hope that something good and great is coming by and by, but that it is in part matter of experience now. There are estates in this world which you can enter by crossing a river, or going over a chain of hills. You are then in the estate, and if you know the proprietor, and he accounts you his friend, you have some feeling of safety as you travel on over moor and moss, through gloomy forest and dark defile; but if you are going to the mansion—that is twenty or thirty miles distant, perhaps, and many adventures may come to you by the way. Still, if you walk well, and walk right on—not stopping for every dog that barks, or sheltering from every shower that falls, but pressing always on—why, then, just about sunset, perhaps, the western sky all gold, sweet evening breathing peace over the earth, you will see the towers of the castle whither you are going. And the landscape will begin to soften and glow; the grass is greener now; the trees are more select; the road—how smooth it is, compared with some of the first miles you trod! And then you pass the great iron gate, and lo! yonder in the doorway is your friend who has sent for you, and who is lord of all the way by which you have come. Such is our heavenly way. Every step of it is on King’s ground. We are in heaven when we begin to live to heaven’s King. But it is a wide estate, and looking, and longing, and praying as they travel; and this is “the earnest of the Spirit”—this is the witness in the man himself that he has “passed from death unto life,” and that he shall win the life immortal at length. (A. Raleigh, D.D.)

The glorious hereafter and ourselves:—It is a very comforting thing to be able to see the work of God in our own hearts. We have not to search long for the foul handiwork of Satan within us. The apostle found indications of the Divine work in a groan. Believers may trace the finger of God in their holy joys, yet just as surely is the Holy Spirit present in their sorrows and groanings which cannot be uttered. So long as it is the work of God, it is comparatively a small matter whether our hearts’ utterance be song or sigh.

  1. God’s work is seen in creating in us desires after being “clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” 1. The Christian is the most contented man in the world, but he is the least contented with the world. He is like a traveller, perfectly satisfied with the inn as an inn, but his desires are ever towards home. He is like a sailor, well content with the good ship for what it is, but he longs for harbour. 2. What is it that makes the Christian long for heaven? (1) A desire for the unseen. The carnal mind is satisfied with what the eyes can see, &c., but the Christian has a spirit within him which the senses cannot gratify. (2) A yearning after holiness. He who is born again of incorruptible seed finds his worst trouble to be sin. What bliss to be without the tendency or possibility to sin! (3) A sighing after rest, which we cannot find here. (4) A thirst for communion with God. Here we do enjoy fellowship with God, but it is remote and dark. 3. This desire is above ordinary nature. All flesh is grass, and the grass loves to strike its root deep into the earth; it has no tendrils with which to clasp the stars. Man by nature would be content to abide on earth for ever. 4. While they are contrary to the old nature, such aspirations prove the existence of the new nature. You may be quite sure that you have the nature of God in you if you are pining after God. 5. Note the means by which the Holy Spirit quickens these desires within our spirits. (1) They are infused in us by regeneration, which begets in us a spiritual nature, and the spiritual nature brings with it its own longings—viz., after perfection and God. (2) They are further assisted by instruction. The more the Holy Ghost teaches us of the world to come, the more we long for it. (3) They are further increased by sanctified afflictions. Thoms in our nest make us take to our wings; the embittering of this cup makes us earnestly desire to drink of the new wine of the kingdom. (4) They are increased by the sweets as well as the bitters. Communion with Christ sharpens the edge of our desire for heaven. And so does elevation of soul. The more we are sanctified and conformed unto Jesus, the more we long for the world to come.
  2. The fitness for heaven which is wrought in us 1. Who fits us. (1) God the Father, by adopting us into His family, by justifying us through Christ, by preserving us by His power. (2) God the Son, by blotting out our iniquities, by transferring to us His righteousness, by taking us into union with Himself. (3) The Holy Spirit, by giving us food for the new nature, instruction, &c. 2. In what this fitness consists. (1) In the possession of a spiritual nature. The unregenerate would not by any possibility be able to enjoy the bliss of heaven. They would be quite out of their element. A bee in a garden is at home, and gathers honey from all the flowers; but admit a swine, and it sees no beauty in lilies and roses, and therefore it proceeds to root, and tear, and spoil in all directions. (2) In a holy nature. If a man has no delight in God he has no fitness for heaven. (3) In love to the saints. Those who do not love the people of God on earth would find their company very irksome for ever. (4) In joy in service. (5) In conformity to Christ. Much of heaven consists in this. 3. The unfitness of unrenewed souls for heaven may be illustrated by the incapacity of certain persons for elevated thoughts and intellectual pursuits. Alphonse Karr tells a story of a servant-man who asked his master to be allowed to leave his cottage and sleep over the stable. What was the matter with his cottage? “Why, sir, the nightingales all around make such a “jug, jug, jug” at night that I cannot bear them.” A man with a musical ear would be charmed with the nightingales’ song, but here was a man without a musical soul, who found the sweetest notes a nuisance.

III. The Lord has graciously given to us an earnest of glory. An earnest is unlike a pledge, which has to be returned when the matter which it ensures is obtained; it is a part of the thing itself. So the Holy Spirit is a part of heaven. His work in the soul is the bud of heaven. 1. His very dwelling in our soul is the earnest of heaven. If God Himself condescends to make these bodies His temples, is not this akin to heaven’s honours? 2. When He brings to us the joys of hope, this is an earnest. While singing some glowing hymn our spirit shakes off all her doubts and fears, and anticipates her everlasting heritage. 3. When we enjoy the full assurance of faith, and read our title clear to mansions in the skies; when faith knows whom she has believed, and is persuaded that He is able to keep that which she has committed to Him—this is an earnest of heaven. 4. Heaven is the place of victory, and when the Holy Spirit enables us to overcome sin we enjoy an earnest of the triumph of heaven. 5. When through the Spirit we enjoy fellowship with Christ, and with one another, we have a foretaste of the fellowship of heaven. Conclusion: If these things be so, believers—1. Be thankful. Remember these things are not your own productions; they have been planted in your soul by another hand, and watered by a superior power. 2. Be reverent. When a scholar knows that all he has learned has been taught him by his master, he looks up from his master’s feet into his master’s face with respectful esteem. 3. Be confident. If the good thing had been wrought by ourselves we might be sure that it would fail before long. Nothing of mortal man was ever perfect. But, if He that hath begun the good work be God, there is no fear that He will forsake or leave His work undone. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


  1. In God’s economy this life is a process of disentangling from its own conditions. Mortal life is a getting loose. 1. Note the imagery of the context. We mortals are as dwellers in a tent. This tent is being gradually “loosened down.” The same word was used by our Lord of the stones of the temple at Jerusalem, and indicates a gradual destruction, stone after stone. So in striking a tent. Paul has a like figure in Philippians, where he desires to “depart,” or, literally, “to break camp.” This gradual loosening, this detachment, is a familiar fact of our life. We are breaking up, and God hath wrought us for this very thing. One of the most puzzling things about the world is that such superhuman ingenuity, such perfect finish of workmanship, will crumble to dust. How exquisite is the structure of a bee or of a butterfly, and yet how short-lived they are. 2. These are familiar facts. What is our attitude toward them? (1) The average man ignores them. He strikes out the tabernacle from the text, and substitutes a building. He lives and plans as if both he and the world were eternal. The earlier stages of life are occupied with amassing instead of throwing off. The love and intimacy of the family circle are taking the boy deeper into themselves. Then his social nature is throwing out tendrils and attaching itself to school and college friends. Then comes social and business or professional life. The bonds multiply; more and more the man is getting wrapped round and tied up. Domestic life encircles him. Business becomes engrossing. So the world winds round him, coil after coil. If the house of his earthly habitation is a tent, it is a substantial tent, or so it seems. It has stood a good many hard blasts. The man himself, too, has been all along growing. All is increase, enlargement of range. (2) But as time goes on you notice a change. The man has reached his altitude. The cords on the rear of the tent begin to slacken. A father or a mother dies. Brothers and sisters form homes for themselves, and their interests and his diverge. The old circle of kindred begins to break up. It goes on quietly, like the undermining of a bank. And as time goes on the connections with his own generation gradually break. The push of younger, fresher life crowds him back or on one side. Some day he realises that almost all his old comrades are gone. The break is heading towards the centres of life. He has lost some ambition. He is not so ready for the undertakings which make a drain on nerve and strength. He gives up more easily than of yore. And so the final stage sets in; physical wreck, mental feebleness, complete withdrawal from the busy world. Let it go on its way. He cares no longer. The tent, with its loosened cords, flaps and strains, then collapses. The earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved; and yet He that wrought us for this very thing is God. God meant this. 3. This is a very sad picture if this is all. Nay, it is an insult to common sense to ask us to believe that this wondrous frame of nature and of man are made merely to be destroyed. God did not make us for death, but for life. If He has appointed a tent for our sojourn, He has reared a building for our dwelling. Moses, in Psa. 90, voices the truth. There is nothing eternal but God. There is no warrant of man’s eternity but God. There is no eternal home for man but in God.
  2. And so we turn to the other side of our text. God has made us for the tent, but He has also made us for the building. 1. The important point is that we should see these two things as part of one economy—the tent and the building as related to each other. Even if sin had never entered the world, I doubt whether this human life and body would have been any more than a temporary stage of existence through which men would have passed into a purely spiritual life. Because I find that this is according to the analogy of God’s working elsewhere. God’s plans unfold. They do not flash into consummation. They involve progressive stages. The line of His purpose runs out to eternity, but it runs through time. 2. Thought has tended too much to the violent separation of the mortal life from the eternal life—has tended to set them in contrast and opposition instead of in harmony. For instance, we draw the line sharply between life and death; and yet many a scientist will tell you that death is the beginning of life, and Christ and Paul tell you that in unmistakable terms. And what we want clearly to apprehend is that this mortal, transitory tent-life has a definite relation to the permanent spiritual life of the future; that it serves a purpose of preparation and development toward that life; that it furnishes a soil in which the seeds of the spiritual life are sown; and that, therefore, instead of being despised and neglected because it is temporary and destined to dissolution, it is to be cultivated as the effective ministrant of the eternal life. “He that wrought us for this very thing is God.” 3. We have in nature a great many illustrations and analogies of this. Take, e.g., the soil. Existence underground, in the dark, is a low form of life, and yet the seed must be cast into the ground, and remain there for a time, before the beauty and fruitfulness and nourishment of the fruit or grain can become facts. And that stage ministers directly to the higher form of life. So in animal life. What a delicate and beautiful structure is the egg of the fowl! It is made, as we all see, to be broken, and an egg-shell is a synonym for something worthless. And yet there have been lodged in that frail and temporary thing forces which minister to life. So the worm rolls himself up in the cocoon, but within the cocoon the purple and golden glories of the butterfly are silently elaborating themselves. Even so it is God’s intent that the immortal, the spiritual life should be taking shape under the forms of the mortal life—that in the tent man should be shaping for the eternal building. 4. This feature of our mortal life is intended to show itself early. The average human life, as we have seen, tends to become more and more enveloped in the wrappings of this world, and to consider nothing else; and many practically reason that attention to the interests of the next world may be deferred until the process of detachment from the things of time has fairly and consciously set in. On the contrary, the life should be shaped for eternity from the beginning. The ministry of the soil begins with the very first stage of the seed-life. The world to come does not appeal merely to manhood and old age. It is the child that is most inquisitive about the sky, to whom the stars are a wonder. Why not the same fact in spiritual life? Why should not heavenly aspirations characterise childhood? Why should not the child-life be touched and quickened by contact with heaven? Within and under the life of society, the life of business, the domestic life, an eternal, spiritual manhood may be outlining itself. 5. When men have undertaken to shut themselves out as much as possible from the contact of this life, they have not seen that He that hath wrought us for this very thing is God. 6. For years, as the traveller on the Rhine came in sight of Cologne, the first object which greeted his eye was the unsightly mass of scaffolding around the cathedral spires. It is all gone now, and the twin spires soar heavenward from their base, and cut the horizon with their clean, sharp lines of stone. Yet the scaffolds were necessary to the building. Whether this life is to be more than scaffolding depends on the man who lives—depends on whether or not he mistakes scaffolding for building. If the cocoon is all that the worm comes to, poor worm! Worthless cocoon! If business, politics, social life, fame, are all the man comes to, poor man! The tent will fall. Shall you be left uncovered? Beware, beware of these same wrappings. They are folding you in closely. Detachment may mean for you victory and immortality. God hath wrought you for the eternal building in the heavens no less than for the frail, perishing tent on earth. (M. R. Vincent, D.D.) Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

The earnest of the Spirit:

  1. What is given by way of earnest.
  2. The nature of an earnest. 1. An earnest supposeth a bargain and contract. The right to eternal life cometh to believers in a way of covenant; they resign themselves to God by faith, and God bindeth Himself to give them forgiveness of sins. 2. Earnest is given when there is some delay of the thing bargained for. As soon as we enter into covenant with God we have a right; but our blessedness is deferred, not for want of love in God, but partly that in the meantime we may exercise our faith and love (Phil. 3:21; Rom. 8:23), and partly that the heirs of salvation may glorify Him here upon earth (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12). 3. An earnest is part of the whole bargain, though but a little part. So the saving gifts, graces, and comforts of the Spirit are a small beginning, or a part of that glory which shall then be revealed. Grace is begun glory, and they differ as an infant and a man. Regeneration is an immortal seed, a beginning of eternal life. 4. Earnest is given for the security of the party that receiveth it, not for him that giveth it. There is no danger of breaking on God’s part; but God “was willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel”; because of our frequent doubts and fears in the midst of our troubles and trials, we need this confirmation. 5. It is not taken away till all be consummated, and therein an earnest differeth from a pawn or pledge. A pledge is something left with us, to be restored or taken away from us; but an earnest is filled up with the whole sum. So God giveth part to assure us of obtaining the whole in due season (Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:9).

III. The use and end of an earnest is—1. To raise our confidence of the certainty of these things. There is some place for doubts and fears, till we be in full possession, from weakness of grace and greatness of trials. 2. To quicken our earnest desires and illustrious diligence. The firstfruits are to show how good, as well as earnest how sure. 3. To bind us not to depart from these hopes. (T. Manton, D.D.)[14]

5. Having stated the nature of his hope for the future, Paul picks up again the idea introduced in 4:17 and reminds his audience that the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God. It is not a vain or empty hope that the apostle entertains, rather it is based upon the known fact that God himself has prepared us for such a future. It must not be overlooked that, in the light of 4:16–17, part of the process of preparation for the glorious future is participation in present suffering (cf. Rom. 8:17). But this truth must be complemented by that found in Romans 8:28–30, where God’s election, calling and justification of sinners form the basis upon which he prepares his children for glory. Theodoret of Cyr comments, ‘Since God the Creator foresaw the sin of Adam, he prepared a remedy for it. For he himself has given us the first fruits of the Spirit, so that by the miracles which the Spirit does in our midst we may be reassured that the promises of future glory are true’ (Bray, p. 241).

Paul’s hope rests not only upon the objective knowledge that it is God who is preparing him for a glorious future, but also upon the subjective experience of the Spirit which believers enjoy. The God who prepares is also the God who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. The Greek word translated deposit, guaranteeing is arrabōn. The word is also used in 1:22, and here, as there, it refers to the Holy Spirit given to believers as a pledge guaranteeing their share in what is to come, that is, their share in Christ’s glory (cf. Rom. 8:16–17). For an explanation of the concept of the deposit as a guarantee (arrabōn), see commentary on 1:22.

It is worth noting that up to this point, by the use of various images, Paul has spoken of the destruction of the physical body being compensated for by the provision of the resurrection body, and that he has done so without any reference to the possibility that the former may take place before the provision of the latter. It is in verses 6–10 that he grapples with this possibility, very probably in the light of an increasing awareness that he personally might experience the destruction of the body before the general resurrection.[15]

5. Now he that hath fitted us. This is added in order that we may know, that this disposition is supernatural. For mere natural feeling will not lead us forward to this, for it does not comprehend that hundredfold recompense which springs from the dying of a single grain. (John 12:24.) We must, therefore, be fitted for it by God. The manner of it is at the same time subjoined—that he confirms us by his Spirit, who is as it were an earnest. At the same time the particle also seems to be added for the sake of amplification. “It is God who forms in us this desire, and, lest our courage should give way or waver, the Holy Spirit is given us as an earnest, because by his testimony he confirms, and ratifies the truth of the promise.” For these are two offices of the Holy Spirit—first, to show to believers what they ought to desire, and secondly, to influence their hearts efficaciously, and remove all their doubt, that they may steadfastly persevere in choosing what is good. There would, however, be nothing unsuitable in extending the word fitted, so as to denote that renovation of life, with which God adorns his people even in this life, for in this way he already separates them from others, and shows that they are, by means of his grace, marked out for a peculiar condition.[16]

5:5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit. The most immediate antecedent to “for this very purpose” is the statement in 5:4 regarding the acquisition of the transformed, spiritual body at Christ’s return. The descriptive clause “who has given us the Spirit” is connected to what precedes as its means. God has prepared us for this future renewal by means of the gift of the Spirit, given as guarantee. Paul has in mind the bestowal of the Spirit at conversion (1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13–14), whereby the initial, inner renewal is effected, and this initial renewal leads to inward longing for the completion of the work (Rom. 8:23).

a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. As in 1:22 and Ephesians 1:14, Paul refers to the Spirit as a deposit by which God obligates himself to fulfill the transaction and complete the work he has begun (Phil. 1:6). In the parallel passage in Romans 8:23, Paul uses the image of the Spirit as the firstfruits, a foretaste of a much larger harvest to come: “the redemption of our bodies.”[17]

5:5 / The theological reason that Paul can expect this future transformation of his body is given in verse 5: since God, according to his own purpose, has given believers the Spirit, they can expect the resurrection of their bodies at the Parousia. Romans 8:29 traces the process of transformation in terms of a sorites that progresses from divine predestination to conformity to the likeness of his son at the resurrection. Moreover, just as in Romans 8:23, where the Spirit is the “firstfruits” of the coming redemption of the body (cf. Rom. 8:11), the Spirit is here the deposit, which, in a binding way, promises and guarantees the rest of the expected payment (i.e., the resurrection of the body) within a specified period of time (cf. 2 Cor. 1:20). Paul’s confidence about his heavenly destination and his imminent expectation are based on an intimate knowledge of God’s ultimate purposes for his life and the inner working of the Spirit.[18]

5 The apostle now moves to correct a possible misunderstanding of these remarks, hence his opening “but.” The words “this very purpose” refer immediately to the objective “what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” of the previous verse. More fundamentally, however, they point to the subjective—the groaning, the longing, the being burdened (vv. 2–4)—which gladly anticipates all that awaits us in the coming age. Such inner yearnings do not arise from within us; rather, it is God who has prepared us for these stirrings of hope, having given us the Spirit as a deposit. This deep eschatological longing is itself from God, mediated to us by the eschatological Spirit he has given to us at the hearing of the gospel (1:19, 21–22).

Thus it must not be thought that God is present with us only in the glorious end time, that he is somehow not present in the evil age in which believers—along with all others—now live. On the contrary, it is God himself “who has prepared us” for58 “this very purpose,” that is, “to be clothed over … swallowed up by life” (v. 4), by giving us the longing and the desire for it. The eschatological “groaning”—as of a woman soon to deliver her child, who is at the same time full of hope and afflicted with pain—comes from God, inspired by the Spirit, here described as a “deposit” or down payment (see on 1:22).

The now/not yet tension in both eschatology and anthropology is well represented by this commercial image for the Spirit. Eschatologically, Paul’s reference to the Spirit as a “deposit” reminds us how emphatic he is that “the time of God’s favor, the day of salvation” has come (see on 1:19–22; 3:3; 5:15–6:2). Nonetheless, that the Spirit is a “deposit” signals that the coming age has not yet physically arrived.

Anthropologically, Paul’s reference to the Holy Spirit as a “deposit” appeals to the Corinthians’ experience of the Spirit as a radical, life-changing power (see on 3:3), for which, remarkably, no further elaboration is necessary. Nonetheless, it is incomplete, pointing forward to the infinitely greater experience of the Spirit—to payment in full, not merely a deposit—with the onset of the end time.

The passage 4:14, 16–5:5 indicates that believers are in a double but related tension between (1) existence in this crumbling age and their expectations for the coming age ushered in by the universal resurrection, and (2) the decay of the “outer person” in this age and the progressive, growing renewal—by the Spirit-deposit—of the “inner person” that points to the coming age. The Holy Spirit as a “deposit” tellingly captures this twofold tension.

At the same time the Spirit as a “deposit” points to the faithfulness of God. Having begun his work in us, he will assuredly complete that work. The presence of the Spirit is a source of hope.

Although the precise context in Corinth into which Paul’s words in vv. 1–5 are written must remain blurred to us, we sense that it was somewhat romantic, whether due to Corinthian superspirituality, or the “peddlers’ ” triumphalism, or some kind of union between the two. Had they faced up to the reality of death? To be sure, Paul reaffirms the certainty of the believer’s hope in the coming age, of which the Spirit, given by God, is a foretaste of our Spirit-controlled bodies subsequent to the general resurrection (4:14). Nonetheless, the intervention of death must be recognized as a distinct possibility, and with it a period of nakedness, a not-yet-embodied state, prior to the advent of the general resurrection. Far better that the superimposition of the resurrection body on this decaying frame occur first. In the meantime Paul testifies to a burdened longing, as inspired by the activity within of the anticipatory Spirit, a longing that mingles the joy of hope with the tension of waiting.[19]

5 “This very purpose” for which God has “made” (better, “prepared”; so NASB) the believer is defined by v. 4b as the transformation of the mortal body. Verse 5b indicates how the preparation takes place. God has prepared Christian believers for the resurrection transformation by giving them the Spirit “as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (arrabōn, GK 775).

Undoubtedly the crucial word in the verse is arrabōn, which had two basic meanings in commercial usage. It was (1) a pledge or guarantee that differed in kind from the final payment but rendered it obligatory, or (2) a first installment of a purchase, a down payment or deposit, that required further payments but gave the payee a legal claim to the goods in question. Clearly not all these elements apply to Paul’s use of the word, for salvation is no process of reciprocal bargaining ratified by some contractually binding agreement but is the result of the grace of God, who bestows on believers his Spirit as an unsolicited gift. Certainly Paul did not regard the Spirit as a pledge to be returned (cf. Ge 38:17–20) or as an inferior part of the Christian’s inheritance. Significantly, in modern Greek arrabōn can mean “engagement ring.”

But how can the Spirit be God’s pledge of the Christian’s inheritance (Eph 1:13–14; cf. 4:30)? No doubt through his empowering of the Christian’s daily re-creation (2 Co 3:18; 4:16; Eph 3:16) and his future effecting of the Christian’s resurrection transformation (Ro 8:11). His present work prefigures and guarantees his future completion of that work (cf. Php 1:6).[20]

The Next Existence Fulfills God’s Purpose

Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. (5:5)

What is yet future for believers was prepared by God in the past and unfolds according to His plan and will. In eternity past, God sovereignly chose believers for salvation; in time, he redeemed them; in the future, He will give them their glorified, resurrection bodies. The phrase for this very purpose emphatically states that believers obtain their glorified bodies in fulfillment of God’s sovereign plan from all eternity, bound up in His elective decree. In Romans 8:28–30 Paul wrote the familiar words,

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

God’s ultimate purpose in salvation is not justification but glorification, when believers “become conformed to the image of His Son” (v. 29). And being transformed into Christ’s image includes receiving a glorified body like His (1 Cor. 15:49). Jesus swept through the fulfillment of the eternal decree from calling to glorification when He said,

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:37–40)

So God’s glorious purpose for believers stretches from eternity to eternity. It was planned in eternity past and will be fulfilled in eternity future; time is but a fleeting moment in the middle. No matter what level of spiritual maturity they attain or how effectively they serve God, the divine purpose will only be fulfilled in a glorified body.

Further reinforcing the apostle’s confidence in facing death was the knowledge that God gave to us the Spirit as a pledge (down payment; first installment; guarantee; cf. 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:14). The indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5; 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19–20) is God’s promise that His ultimate purpose for believers will be fulfilled. “For I am confident of this very thing,” Paul wrote to the Philippians, “that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Nothing can interrupt that process, as Paul emphatically declared in Romans 8:35–39:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The indwelling Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that believers are His possession and that He will redeem them to the praise of His glory. For that reason it is ludicrous to believe that Christians can lose their salvation. Nothing can interrupt the plan God set in motion in eternity past (election) and has pledged Himself to carry through until eternity future (glorification). To argue otherwise is to assume that God is incapable of achieving His purposes and thus to diminish His glory.[21]

[1] Easley, K. H. (2017). 2 Corinthians. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1844). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1678). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Co 5:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2229). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (2 Co 5:5). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1500). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] Hunt, D. L. (2010). The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 785). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[8] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1838). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Lowery, D. K. (1985). 2 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 566). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[10] Woodall, D. L. (2014). 2 Corinthians. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 1814). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[11] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 353). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[12] Utley, R. J. (2002). Paul’s Letters to a Troubled Church: I and II Corinthians (Vol. Volume 6, pp. 237–238). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[13] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 175–176). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[14] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Second Corinthians (pp. 228–234). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[15] Kruse, C. G. (2015). 2 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary. (E. J. Schnabel, Ed.) (Second edition, Vol. 8, pp. 157–158). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[16] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 2, pp. 219–220). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[17] Hubbard, M. V. (2017). 2 Corinthians. (M. L. Strauss, Ed.) (p. 77). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[18] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (p. 114). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[19] Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 265–267). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[20] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 475). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[21] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 167–169). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 26 Afternoon Quotes of the Day

The Necessity of Speaking Truth Plainly
Ecclesiastes 12:10; John 3:21

Truth overcomes prejudice by mere light of evidence, and there is no better way to make a good cause prevail than to make it as plain, and commonly, and thoroughly known as we can; and it is this light that will dispose an unprepared mind. At best it is a sign that he has not well digested the matter himself, who is not able to deliver it plainly to another.


Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Every Sinner Owes God Honor
Psalm 116:12; Malachi 3:8; Matthew 18:23–35

Everyone who sins ought to pay back the honor of which he has robbed God; and this is the satisfaction which every sinner owes to God.


Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Sen. Rand Paul will force a Senate vote to declare impeachment trial unconstitutional

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday told BlazeTV host Glenn Beck that he will act to force a procedural vote in the Senate on whether the impending impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is constitutional. The trial is currently scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 8. Senators will be officially sworn in as jurors today, but before that Paul intends to make the argument that an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional. “Republican leadership has made a deal.

Source: Sen. Rand Paul will force a Senate vote to declare impeachment trial unconstitutional

Tulsi Gabbard: Brennans, Schiffs, and Big Tech Oligarchs More Dangerous than Mob that Stormed Capitol

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard blasted former CIA Director John Brennan, House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and big tech “oligarchs” seeking to censor fellow Americans after the January 6 Capitol riot.

Source: Tulsi Gabbard: Brennans, Schiffs, and Big Tech Oligarchs More Dangerous than Mob that Stormed Capitol

SIX DAYS: Biden Signs A Whopping 28 Executive Orders, Dwarfing His Predecessors

Through Monday, January 25, the sixth day of his tenure in office, President Joe Biden issued a whopping 28 executive orders, dwarfing the number of executive orders issued by former presidents in the initial days of their tenure.

Source: SIX DAYS: Biden Signs A Whopping 28 Executive Orders, Dwarfing His Predecessors

Number of Biden’s executive orders in first week more than previous 4 presidents combined

As of Monday afternoon, President Joe Biden had signed 21 executive orders, far exceeding the amount of any other U.S. president during his first week in office.

Source: Number of Biden’s executive orders in first week more than previous 4 presidents combined

January 26 Afternoon Verse of the Day

15:13 Paul gave a second benediction for the churches with emphasis on hope in God produced by the Holy Spirit’s work among them.[1]

15:13 See “Hope” at Heb. 6:18. What was described as the effect of Scripture in v. 4 (having hope) is now attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul here follows a pattern evident throughout the New Testament in which God’s saving acts are attributed to God’s Word as well as to the work of the Holy Spirit (e.g., regeneration, 1 Pet. 1:23; sanctification, John 17:17; salvation, Rom. 1:16; searching the heart, Heb. 4:12).[2]

15:13 Hope is the link word from v. 12 (see also v. 4). Joy and peace come from trust in God, but such trust is finally the gift of God, for believers abound in hope only by his grace.[3]

15:13 God of hope. God is the source of eternal hope, life, and salvation, and He is the object of hope for every believer (see note on 5:2). by the power of the Holy Spirit. The believer’s hope comes through the Scripture (cf. 15:4; Eph 1:13, 14), which was written and is applied to every believing heart by the Holy Spirit.[4]

15:13 — Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The normal Christian life is to be characterized by hope, joy, and peace. As we grow in grace, God wants us to experience more and more of each of them—and if they’re lacking, something has gone wrong.[5]

15:13 A prayer that concludes Paul’s exhortations. We are able to fulfill God’s will only through the power that the Holy Spirit gives.[6]

15:13. Paul concludes the nonessential issues section begun in 14:1 with a benedictory prayer. He asks God as the source of all hope to fill believers with joy and peace (14:17) by believing in the hope, which guarantees a future day of unity that Jews and Gentiles (cf. vv 9–12) will share. One’s behavior should exemplify this unity now in light of that future day. This hope, like that mentioned in 14:17, comes by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This verse also concludes the section (12:1–15:13) dealing with the practical aspect of the gospel that reveals specifically God’s perfect will that exhorts believers to serve in all aspects. Only the justified can experience gospel-life by serving others in love.

Paul concludes his letter with a Manual for Ministry by giving believers specific exhortations on how to behave in key relationships within the church and the world (12:1–15:13).[7]

15:13 So Paul closes this section with a gracious benediction, praying that the God who gives good hope through grace will fill the saints with all joy and peace as they believe on Him. Perhaps he is thinking especially of Gentile believers here, but the prayer is suitable for all. And it is true that those who abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit have no time to quarrel over nonessentials. Our common hope is a powerful unifying force in the Christian life.[8]

15:13. Several times Paul’s words sound as if he were ending this epistle (vv. 13, 33; 16:20, 25–27). This verse (15:13) is in effect a benedictory prayer. The description of God as the God of hope relates to hope mentioned in the preceding verses and to the promises of God recorded in the Scripture which give hope (v. 4). Paul desired God to fill his readers with all joy and peace (cf. 14:17). Joy relates to the delight of anticipation in seeing one’s hopes fulfilled. Peace results from the assurance that God will fulfill those hopes (cf. 5:1; Phil. 4:7). These are experienced as believers trust in Him (cf. Heb. 11:1). As a result believers overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom. 15:19). The achievement of all God’s purposes for the spiritual welfare of His children comes from the power given by the Spirit of God. What a fitting closing reminder to the apostle’s discussion of Christian living.[9]

13. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, in the exercise of (your) faith, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may overflow with hope.

Note the following:

  1. Another earnest and impressive prayer-wish. Cf. verse 5.
  2. “the God of hope.”

This “hope” does not indicate a weak aspiration but a firmly rooted expectation. See Heb. 6:19, 20. The phrase “the God of hope” means: the God who is the Source of hope and imparts it to those who trust him.

  1. The object of this hope is God Triune as revealed in the Shoot springing up from the Root of Jesse; in other words, as disclosed in the Lord Jesus Christ. See also above, on verse 12.
  2. “joy and peace.” This is the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (A.V. 1 Peter 1:8), and the “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). See pp. 169, 249.

Paul was well aware of the fact that in the presence of such joy and peace no room would be left for quarrels between “the weak” and “the strong.”

  1. “in the exercise of your faith.”

Faith is God’s gift, indeed, but that does not cancel the fact that man must exercise it. See Luke 8:50; Phil. 2:12, 13; 2 Thess. 2:13.

  1. Though it is man who must exercise faith, he cannot do so by his own power but “by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
  2. “you may overflow with hope.”

In Paul’s writings we find a constant emphasis on the overflowing or “super” character of redemption in Christ. See Rom. 5:20, p. 184; further also 2 Cor. 7:4; Phil. 4:7; 1 Thess. 3:10; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:14; etc. In our present passage note

“fill … all … overflow.”

  1. “with hope.” See above, under b.

And will Christian hope “be emptied in delight”? Will it vanish at the moment when the soul enters heaven? The answer is found in 1 Cor. 13: “Now abideth faith, hope, and love, these three …”

What a marvelous prayer-wish![10]

Ver. 13. Now the God of hope.

The blessing given to the Church at Rome:

  1. A benediction pronounced. “Filled”—1. With what? “joy and peace in believing.” 2. By whom? “the God of hope.” 3. To what end? “that ye may abound,” &c.
  2. A fact stated. 1. The high estimate in which Paul held the Roman converts. 2. The reminder that was needed by them, so that they should not forget God’s grace.

III. A great progress in Christian knowledge implied (ver. 14). The Romans were—1. Filled with knowledge. 2. Able to admonish their erring fellow Christians. (J. Hanson.)

Christian privileges:

  1. The privileges of true Christians. 1. Joy. 2. Peace. 3. Hope.
  2. The method of securing them. 1. God the source. 2. Faith in Christ the means. 3. The Holy Ghost the agent. (J. Lyth, D.D.)

A round of delights:—1. The apostle desired for the Romans the most delightful state of mind. See the value of prayer, for if Paul longs to see his friends attain the highest possible condition, he prays for them. 2. Paul’s making this state a subject of prayer implies that it is possible for it to be attained. There is no reason why we should hang our heads and live in perpetual doubt. We may not only be somewhat comforted, but we may be full of joy, &c. 3. The fact that the happy condition described is sought by prayer is a plain evidence that the blessing comes from a Divine source. Notice concerning this state:—

  1. Whence it comes. From “the God of hope.” The connection is instructive. 1. To know joy and peace through believing we must begin by knowing what is to be believed from Holy Scripture (ver. 4). Where He is revealed as the God of hope. Unless God had revealed Himself we could have guessed at hope, but the Scriptures are windows of hope to us, and reveal the God of hope to inspire us with hope. Faith deals with the Scriptures and with the God of hope as therein revealed, and out of these it draws its fulness of joy and peace. At least three of the apostle’s quotations call us to joy (vers. 10–12). 2. The apostle leads us through the Scriptures to God Himself, who is personally to fill us with joy and peace; i.e., He is to become the great object of our joy. Our God is a blessed God, so that to believe in Him is to find happiness and rest. When you think of God, the just One, apart from Christ, you might well tremble, but when you see Him in Jesus, His very justice becomes precious to you. The holiness of God which aforetime awed you becomes supremely attractive when you see it revealed in the person of Jesus. How charming is “the glory of God in the face of Christ.” His power, which was once so terrible, now becomes delightful. 3. God is, moreover, called the God of hope because He worketh hope and joy in us. Peace without God is stupefaction, joy madness, and hope presumption. This blessed name of “God of hope” belongs to the New Testament, and is a truly gospel title. The Romans had a god of hope, but the temple was struck by lightning, and afterwards burned to the ground. Exceedingly typical this of whatever of hope can come to nations which worship gods of their own making. The hope which God excites is a hope worthy of Him. It is a Godlike hope—a hope which helps us to purify ourselves. He who graspeth this hope hath a soul-satisfying portion. It is a hope which only God would have contrived for man, and a hope which God alone can inspire in men.
  2. What it is. 1. It is a state of mind—(1) Most pleasant, for to be filled with joy is a rare delight, reminding one of heaven. (2) Safe, for the man who has a joy which God gives him may be quite easy in the enjoyment of it. (3) Abiding. We may drink our full of it without surfeit. (4) Most profitable, for the more a man has of this joy the better man he will be. The more happy we can be in our God the more thoroughly will the will of Christ be fulfilled in us, for He desired that our joy might be full. (5) Which has varieties in it. It is joy and peace; and it may be either. Peace is joy resting, and joy is peace dancing. Joy cries hosanna before the Well-beloved, but peace leans her head on His bosom. We work with joy and rest with peace. (6) Which is also a compound, for we are bidden at one and the same time to receive both wine and milk—wine exhilarating with joy, and milk satisfying with peace. “Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.” You shall lie down in the green pastures of delight, and be led by the still waters of quietness. 2. The joy and peace here spoken of are through believing. You come to know the God of hope through the Scriptures, which reveal Him; by this you are led to believe in Him, and it is through that believing that you become filled with joy and peace. It is not by working nor by feeling. 3. This joy and peace are of a superlative character, “Fill you with all joy.” He means with the best and highest degree of joy, with as much of it as you can hold. 4. Notice the comprehensiveness of his prayer. (1) “All joy”; that is joy in the Father’s love, the Son’s redeeming blood, the Holy Ghost’s indwelling; joy in the covenant of grace, in the promises, in the doctrines, in the precepts, in everything which cometh from God. (2) All peace—with God, of conscience, with one another, even with the outside world, as far as peace may be. 5. Observe the degree of joy and peace which he wishes for them—“that ye may be filled.” God alone knows our capacity and where the vacuum lies which most needs filling. As the sun fills the world with light, even so the God of hope by His presence lights up every part of our nature with the golden light of joyous peace.

III. What it leads to. “Lead to? What more is wanted?” When a man brings you into a chamber vaulted with diamonds, walled with gold, and floored with silver, we should be astonished if he said, “This is a passage to something richer still.” Yet the apostle directs us to this fulness of joy and peace that we may by its means reach to something else—“that you may abound in hope,” &c. How often do great things in the Bible, like the perpetual cycles of nature, begin where they end and end where they begin. If we begin with the God of hope, we are wound up into holy joy and peace, that we may come back to hope again, and to abounding in it by the power of the Holy Ghost. 1. The hope here mentioned arises, not out of believing, but out of the joy created in us by our having believed. This hope drinks its life at the fountain of personal experience. 2. The text speaks of an abounding hope. Much hope must arise to a Christian out of his spiritual joy. Grace enjoyed is a pledge of glory. Acceptance with God to-day creates a blessed hope of acceptance for ever. 3. “By the power of the Holy Ghost,” is partially mentioned by way of caution, because we must discriminate between the fallacious hope of nature and the certain hope of grace. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Gospel blessings:

  1. The blessings derived. 1. Joy. 2. Peace. 3. Hope.
  2. The source whence they flow—the God of hope.

III. The measure in which they may be enjoyed.

  1. The means by which they are attained. V. The power by which they are effected. (J. Lyth, D.D.)

The unbounded beneficence of God in the history of a Christian:—This is seen in:—

  1. The character He assumes towards them. “God of hope.” In this chapter the apostle speaks of Him as the God of patience, and the God of peace. Patience implies something to provoke, viz., sin. The history of the Almighty towards us and our race is a history of patience. Peace implies benevolence, rectitude, and freedom from all anger, remorse, fear, the necessary elements of inward commotion and outward war. God is peaceful in Himself. The storms of all the hells in His great universe ruffle not the infinite tranquility of His nature. He is peaceful in His aim. The constitution of the universe, the principles of moral law, the mediation of Christ, and the work of the Spirit show, that He desires to diffuse peace throughout this stormy world. He is peaceful in His working. How quietly does He move in accomplishing His sublime decrees. But in the text He is styled, God of hope; an appellation more significant than either of the other two, and more interesting to us as sinners. It does not mean that God is the subject of hope. God is infinitely above hope; Satan is infinitely below it; this is the glory of the one, it is the degradation of the other. 1. God is the object of hope. What is hope? Is it expectation? No. We expect sorrow and death. Is it desire? No. A poor man may desire to live in a mansion, a lost spirit to dwell in heaven. But put these two things together. Hope is the expectation of the desirable—God—His favour, society, friendship. Now that God should thus reveal Himself is a wonderful exhibition of love. The mind never points its hopes to a being that it has offended; it always looks to those that it has pleased. But here is God, whom the world has injured, revealing Himself as the object of its hope. 2. God is the author of hope. Before man can possess real Christian hope he must have—(1) Ground to expect it. What reason have we to expect that the God of inflexible justice and immaculate purity will be favourable to us? Thanks be to Him, He has given us firm ground in the atonement of His Son. (2) Appetite to desire it. The reason that there is so little real Christian hope is because men do not want God. This appetite is produced by the Spirit of God.
  2. The blessings He imparts to them. 1. The nature of the enjoyment. “Joy and peace,” i.e., complete happiness. How delightful is the calm of nature after a thunderstorm! How still more precious is the peace of the empire after a long war! But how infinitely more so is the peace “that passeth all understanding!” The great causes of all mental distress are—(1) Remorse. God removes this by the application of the sacrifice of Christ. As oil smooths the troubled waters, so the atonement of Christ calms the agitated breast. “Being justified by faith,” &c. (2) Anger. God takes this away, and fills the heart with love. (3) Apprehension. God removes this by assuring us of His constant presence and guardianship. “Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace,” &c. 2. The plenitude of the enjoyment. “Fill you,” &c. Not a mere taste, a transient thrill, but a fulness of deep spiritual happiness. Have you ever seen a person filled with delight? The tender mother that clasps in her arms a beloved child, &c. Now God wishes His people always to be filled with all joy—intellectual, social, religious: to have as much joy as their vessels can hold in this world. Christians have not lived up to this, and in consequence have led the world to associate the idea of sadness with that religion whose “ways are ways of pleasantness,” &c. It is our duty to have joy. “Rejoice evermore,” &c. 3. The condition of the enjoyment. What is this? Painful penances? Great attainments? Difficult labours? No. “Believing.” An act that can be performed at any time in any place. 4. The design of the enjoyment. That we may “abound in hope,” &c. This is very remarkable. God wishes us to be filled with happiness, that we may expect the more. The more favours we receive from an individual the less we have to expect; but the reverse is the case with God. God’s disposition to bestow is infinite, “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all,” &c. Let us come to God with enlarged expectations. We can never weary Him, for it is His delight to give. We can never exhaust His fulness, for it is infinite. What a view does this give us of heaven! We shall be always anticipating; and the more we receive the more we shall anticipate.

III. The agency which He employs for them. “Through the power of the Holy Ghost.” What an exhibition of mercy is this! Had God employed the greatest, the oldest, or the noblest spirit for this purpose, it would have been wonderful mercy; but He employs His Holy Spirit who is equal with Himself. We are not sufficiently impressed with the value of this Infinite gift. We profess to estimate the gift of His Son to bleed and die for us. True, the world could never be saved without that; but it is equally true that the world could never be saved without the operations of the Spirit. (D. Thomas, D.D.)

Prayer to the God of hope:—All men desire to be happy; but very few obtain the happiness which they covet. All happiness, except that of the Christian, is but counterfeit. It is like the morning cloud and early dew. Yet even the true Christian often falls short of the blessedness which he might enjoy.

  1. The encouraging character here given of God. This manner of speaking expresses somewhat more than if Paul had called God the Author or the Giver of Hope. It is meant to teach us that this is His distinguishing characteristic, that hope springs from Him. 1. Even if we had no revelation of His gracious purposes, the probability would be that there is hope from Him; for we, His guilty creatures, are not yet finally lost—“He hath not dealt with us after our sins.” 2. This probability is, however, increased to certainty by the gospel. The great design is to encourage our hope. It reveals God’s unspeakable gift to make reconciliation for iniquities. It exhibits God as a present Father and Friend, and assures an eternity of blessedness in Christ.
  2. The blessings which may be sought from Him. 1. Joy. This may be thought by the penitent too great a blessing to be expected; yet thy Lord allows thee to expect it. Nay, thou art even commanded to rejoice in the Lord. This, however, like all other duties, is hard to fulfil. We are often unfaithful; this unfaithfulness begets distrust; and this interrupts our joy in the Lord. We have, therefore, cause to pray that God would bestow on us, and preserve to us, this inestimable blessing. 2. Peace. This is a gift more common, perhaps, than the other; a gift, also, of a more uniform and abiding nature. The continuance of joy depends in some measure on bodily constitution; but the soul may enjoy peace under the greatest trials. This was, in fact, the dying bequest of Jesus—“Peace I leave with you.” It is a holy calmness and tranquility, springing from faith in the promises of God. Let the apostle’s example encourage you in this prayer, both for yourselves and for those whom you love. 3. Hope. Joy and peace are present blessings; but hope has respect to things future. We have already seen that the character of God is calculated to raise our expectation of these future mercies. Now, then, we must pray for strength to hope for them. We are too apt to rest satisfied with the present enjoyments; and, even when we look forward to the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him, this is too often done with a cold heart and a languid eye. This is our infirmity and our sin. We ought rather to forget the things which are behind, &c. 4. The prayer of the apostle implies that we should set no bounds to our requests for these blessings. It is no scanty measure of joy, and peace, and hope, which he prays for. Hath He not said, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it”? If, then, our joy, our peace, or hope be defective, we are not straitened in Him; but we are straitened in our own bowels.

III. The way in which we may expect these blessings to be communicated. 1. On our part, Faith is the instrument. It is faith in His Word, which alone can make known to us the existence of such gifts. When, however, the discovery is made, true faith leads a man one step further, constraining him to say, “Here is all my salvation and all my desire.” 2. On God’s part, the power of the Holy Ghost is promised, for the communication of His gracious gifts. Faith is, indeed, the hand which grasps the gift; but all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally, in such kind and in such proportion, as He will. (J. Jowett, M.A.)

The God of hope:

  1. What is implied in this title. 1. The expression is peculiar: He is termed the God of peace (ver. 33), of grace (1 Pet. 5:10), of love and peace (2 Cor. 13:11), of patience (ver. 5), and the meaning is not only that He is the Author of these graces in us, but also that they exist in Him. But the case is different with respect to hope: this cannot exist in God, as He has every good in possession, and has nothing for which to hope. In this, and in this chiefly, the Creator differs from all His creatures.
  2. The reasons why God has this title. 1. There is in Him the most stable foundation for the most glorious hopes to all His rational creatures. The most solid ground for hope is offered—(1) In His nature and attributes, e.g., His self-existence, supremacy, eternity; His infinite power, wisdom, love and mercy, and even His justice, Christ having died. (2) In the relations in which He stands to us. What may not His offspring expect from such a Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer; His subjects from such a King; His servants from such a Master? What may not we. His children, hope for from such a Parent? (3) In what He has already done. He has given His Son for the redemption of mankind, and His Spirit’s influence. And He, who withheld not His own Son, what gift can He deny? (4) In what He has promised still further to do: to receive us to be with Jesus, to raise our bodies, to give us the vision and enjoyment of Himself, and the society of saints and angels for ever! 2. He is the great object of our hope. The main thing we hope for is, the vision, love, and enjoyment of Him (Psa. 73:24). 3. He is also the Author of our hope. By freely justifying us, and by giving us peace with Him; by adopting us into His family; regenerating us by His grace; constituting us His heirs, and giving us an earnest of our future inheritance in our hearts (1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Cor. 4:17).

III. Application and improvement. 1. What an antidote against—(1) Distress, on account of all present troubles (chap. 8:16, 17; Heb. 11:13–16). (2) Doubt, fear, despondency, and despair. 2. What a death-blow to the carnal expecters of a Mohammedan paradise! God Himself is the true object of hope. And what a help to spiritual-mindedness? How necessary the question, Are we “begotten again to a lively hope”? (J. Benson.)

Hope:—This prayer is closely connected with the preceding (vers. 5, 6), and the more obvious link between them is “In Him shall the Gentiles hope”; but the note of hope had been struck before (ver. 4). The apostle, however, loses sight of the connection and gives us his solitary petition for this grace in a manner perfectly independent. Let us study the prayer in regard to—

  1. The God to whom it is addressed. Who derives many of His names from the gospel which manifests His glory. As that gospel rests on an accomplished propitiation, He is “the God of grace,” “the Father of mercies”; as it displays its present effects in the soul, He is “the God of peace,” and His name of names is love; as it reserves its blessedness for the future, He is “the God of hope,” i.e., the Fountain of the entire Christian salvation as it is not yet revealed. This includes—1. A wide range: there is hardly an aspect of the redeeming work which “the God of hope” does not preside over. His Son is “Jesus Christ which is our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1); the gospel is the foundation of a great hope (Col. 1:23); the Christian vocation is summed up in hope (Eph. 1:18); salvation is our comprehensive hope (1 Thess. 5:8). 2. An interminable perspective. The future is a glorious sequence of revelations which the God of hope has yet to disclose (Rom. 8:20, 24). There is the hope of the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour (Titus 2:3), the hope of the resurrection (1 Thess 4:13), the hope of final deliverance from every evil (1 Thess. 5:8), the hope of eternal life (Rom. 7:20), the hope of glory (Titus 1:2; 3:7); and it would be easy to show that every one of these forms of the one great gospel blessing is referred to God as its Author (Col. 1:27; Rom. 5:2; 2 Cor. 3:12).
  2. The fulness of the blessing which it asks. Though other terms are found here, they all pay tribute to this grace. Faith is the root of hope; the peace and joy which are the fruits of faith are the nourishment of hope; and the abundance of hope is made the perfection of the Christian life as a state of probation. 1. Faith and hope are so inseparable that their only scriptural definition makes them all but identical (Heb. 11:1); and they are one in this that their objects are invisible (chap. 8:25). But they differ in this, that faith has to do with the present, but hope with the future; or faith brings the past and hope the future into the reality of the present moment. Faith rests upon the “It is finished” already spoken; hope rejoices in the assurance of another “It is finished” which the creation waits to hear. But faith must have the pre-eminence as the parent of hope; for while we can conceive of a faith without hope, we cannot conceive of a hope that does not believe in its object. Hence the apostle here utters his prayer in a circuitous manner, and takes faith on the way. 2. There is an evident connection in Paul’s mind between the fruits of faith and the abounding in hope. He borrows from the previous chapter (vers. 17). Peace is the blessed settlement of the controversy between God and the sinner as respects the past; while joy is the present good cheer of the soul as encompassed by mercies, but feeling the present rather than thinking of the past or future. Now these two demand a third to fill up the measure of the Christian estate; peace touching the guilty past, and joy in the fruitful present, do not so much cry out for as naturally produce good hope for the unknown future. 3. But of all these there may be measures and degrees. Nothing is more characteristic of St. Paul than his insistance on the increase even unto perfection of every grace. The notion of fulness enters into every department of his practical theology. Here we have set before us the abundance of peace, joy and hope as the result of the abounding power in us of the Holy Ghost. But the term reluctantly submits to exposition. It is chiefly to be defined by negatives, though they are positive enough for man’s desire. To be filled with peace is to be dispossessed of the last residue of a servile dread before God, and to have risen beyond the possibility of unholy resentments towards man; to be filled with joy is to have vanquished the sorrow of the world, to find elements of rejoicing even in tribulation, and to possess a serene contentment that finds nothing wrong in nature, providence, or grace; to abound in hope is expressed by another word that rather brings the answer of the prayer down into the region of our own endeavour. The God of hope bestows its increase rather as the fruit of our patience and fortitude. Hence the marked allusion to the “power of the Holy Ghost.” Hope is strengthened by the habits of endurance and resistance. While all graces demand His inworking, these demand His power. 4. Abounding in hope is prayed for as the end and result of the fulness of joy and peace. This indicates that these more tranquil graces are instruments for the attainment of that more strenuous grace. Joy and peace minister to hope. The assurance of reconciliation cannot rest in itself, but must muse on that which is to come; how can it but encourage the expectation of all the fruits of a justified estate? The soul, no longer weighed down under the burden of sin, by a holy necessity springs upward. Peace is not hope, but it sets hope free. So also joy, by an equally Divine necessity, encourages endurance and fortitude, and the hopeful expectation of the great release. Hope in this case ministers as it is ministered unto (chap. 5:2). Conclusion: Hope is in some sense the highest of the probationary graces. It is the servant of many of them, but is itself served by all. What would everything else be without this? The mere imagination of the withdrawal of hope withers the rest, and wraps all in darkness. Charity, of course, has the pre-eminence by every right; but as the grace of our stern probation-hope has its own peculiar pre-eminence. It imparts its strength to all other graces, so that they without it cannot be made perfect. It divides the triumphs of faith, and enters largely into the self-denials and labours of love. As it respects the present life hope is in some sense the abiding grace. Then comes a supreme moment when hope, or faith working by hope, is the only anchor of the soul; and when it has endured its final strain it will be glorified for ever. With all its fruition it will have its everlasting anticipation of glories not yet revealed. (W. B. Pope, D.D.)

The secret of joy and of hope:—Joy, peace, hope: a fair triad which all men seek, and few find and retain. They are, for the most of us, like bright-winged, sweet-voiced birds that dart and gleam about us, and we hear their voices, but nets and cages are hard to find. This prayer opens up the way to find joy, peace, and hope. Notice that the text begins with “the God of peace fill you with” these things, and it ends with “through the power of the Holy Ghost.” So, then, there are here three stages. There is, first, the Divine gift, which underlies everything. Then there is the human condition of making that gift our own; and then there is the triumphant hope which crowns joy and peace, and is their result. I ask you, then, to look at these three things with me this morning.

  1. The only source of true joy and peace is God Himself. The only way by which God can give any man joy and peace is by giving him Himself. No gifts of His hand, apart from Him; no mere judicial act of pardon, and removal from a state of condemnation, are of themselves enough to fill a human heart with calm gladness. And if there is ever to be tranquillity in this disturbed being of mine, if the conflict between duty and inclination, between passion and principle, between present and future, between flesh and spirit, is ever to be hushed, it must be because God dwells in us. Notice the bold emphasis of the apostle’s prayer. “The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace.” So then, where God comes and is welcomed by humble obedience and trustful love, there is a fulness of these precious gifts. So as that a man has as much gladness and peace as he can hold. There is the difference between Christian joy and all other. In all others there is always some part of the nature lacking its satisfaction. Only when we put the colouring matter in at the fountain-head will it tinge every little ripple as it runs. Only when we have God for the joy of our hearts and the peace of our else troubled spirits will the joy be full. Otherwise, however abundant the flood, there will always be some gaunt, barren peak lifting itself parched above the rejoicing waters. No man was ever glad up to the height of his possibility who found his joy anywhere else than in God. And, then, mark that other word, too, “all joy and peace.” From this one gift comes an infinite variety of forms and phases of gladness and peace. And so it is wise, in the highest regions, to have all our investments in one security; to have all our joy contingent upon one possession. One pearl of great price is worth a million of little ones. One sun in the heavens outshines a million stars; and all their lustres gathered together only illuminate the night, while its rising makes the day. So if we want joy and peace, let us learn that we are too great and too miserable for any but God to give it us.
  2. And now the human condition of this Divine gift of full and manifold joy and peace. “Fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” Believing what? He does not think it necessary to say, partly because all his readers knew who was the object of faith, and partly because there was more prominent in his mind at the moment the act of faith itself than the object on which it rests. They who thus trust in Jesus Christ are they to whom, on condition of, and at the moment of their trust or faith, God gives this fulness of joy and peace. Altogether apart from any consideration of the thing which a man’s faith grasps, the very act of trust has in itself a natural tendency to bring joy and peace. When I can shift the responsibility off my shoulders on to another’s, my heart is lightened; and there comes a great calm. Christian faith does not wriggle out of the responsibilities that attach to a human life, but it does bring in the thought of a mighty hand that guides and protects; and that itself brings calm and gladness. You fathers have got far more anxious faces than your little children have, because they trust, and you are responsible for them. Trust God, and it cannot be misplaced, and the vessel can never be swept out of the centre of rest into the hurtling rage of the revolving storm around. Nor need I do more than just remind you of how, in the object that the faith grasps, there is ample provision for all manner of calm and of gladness, seeing that we lay hold upon Christ, infinite in wisdom, gentleness, brotherliness, strength. Oh, if only we keep hold of Him there can be but little in any future to alarm, and little in any present to disturb or to sadden. But note how the communication from God of joy and peace, in their fulness and variety, is strictly contemporaneous with the actual exercise of our faith. Our belief is the condition of God’s bestowal, and that is no arbitrary condition. It is because my faith makes it possible for God to give me Himself that He only gives Himself on condition of my faith. You open the door, and the daylight will come in. You remove the hermetical sealing, and the air will rush into the vacuum. Only mark this, as long as you and I keep up the continuity of our believing, so long, and not one moment longer, does God keep up the continuity of His giving. Because there are such spasmodic and interrupted acts of faith on our part, we possess such transient and imperfect gifts of joy and peace. Let me drop one more word. Their are other kinds of religion and religious exercise than that of trust. There is no promise of peace and joy to them. “Fill you with all joy and peace” in poking into your own hearts to see whether you are a Christian or not. That is not the promise. “Fill you with all joy and peace” in painfully trying to acquire certain qualities, and to do certain duties. That is not the promise. III. And so, lastly, the issue of this God-given joy and peace is hope. The apostle did not tell us what was the object of the faith that he enjoined. He does not tell us what is the object of the hope either; and I suppose that is because he is not thinking so much about the object as about the thing. And this is the teaching here, that if a man, trusting in God in Jesus Christ, has all this flood of sunny gladness lying quiet in his heart, there will be nothing in any future that can alarm. For the peace and joy that God gives bear witness in themselves to their own immortality. Ah, there is a difference between all earth’s gladnesses and the joys that Christian people may possess. In all earthly blessedness there blends ever the unwelcome consciousness of its transiency. Therefore the best demonstration of a heaven of blessedness is the present possession of “joy and peace in believing.” These are like the floating timber and seeds that Columbus saw the day before he sighted land. But, brother, is there any reason to suppose that you will find a heaven of blessedness beyond the grave, in close contact with the things that you do not like to be in contact with now? We must begin here. We must here exercise the faith. We must here experience the peace and the joy, and then we may have the hope. Then, rich and blessed with such gifts from such a Giver, we may venture to say, “To-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant,” and that hope shall not be put to shame. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

Christian hope:

  1. Comes from God. 1. Worldly hope rests upon favouring circumstances—our own powers. It hangs often upon a slender thread. “Hope centred in that child.” How often parents with broken hearts have said that. 2. Few are atheists in theory, but many are such in their feelings. They are hopeless because they are godless. On the other hand, the Christian is first of all a believer in God as revealed in Christ. God therefore is the giver and the foundation of his hope.
  2. Comes “through joy and peace in believing.” 1. It comes not to a heart that is without faith. It comes not from a creed repeated, or held merely intellectually. It comes from a faith that yields the affections, the will, the whole life to God. Are there “Christians” without faith? Then they are also without hope. Are they without “joy and peace”? Then they are also without hope. 2. Peace and joy in believing make God known. This is the logic of the heart. “Such joy and such peace can come only from God.” The joy of pardon and cleansing is the faith that only God can pardon and cleanse. 3. “Peace and joy in believing” are the firstfruits of Heaven. They are like the two faithful spies who came back loaded with the rich clusters of the promised inheritance. Larger faith, permanent faith, mean larger and more permanent hope. Being “justified by faith,” our tribulations work patience, our patience experience, our experience hope. 4. And this hope is for others as well as for ourselves. The man whose hope is confined to his individual interests is not a Christian. Under the stimulus of “joy and peace in believing” we argue: “The God who has pardoned my sins can pardon others.”

III. Is by the power of the “Holy Ghost.” 1. Like all other elements of the Christian life, hope is inspired. It is not a natural impulse. The lack of hope argues, then, a lack of spiritual life. Do we find persons professing faith in Christ, and yet living drearily? It may mean enfeebled health, or overtaxed nerves. It may mean also that they have not “received the Holy Ghost.” And when we remember this saintly apostle who writes of hope, yet has an enfeebled body, and nerves constantly taxed by toils and perils, we can conclude what the lack of despondent Christians most commonly is. 2. Our hope is not for the sanguine only, but for persons of every shade of temperament. Conclusion: 1. Our hope is not a selfish emotion. God never inspires mortals with any sort of selfishness, not even with religious selfishness. The hope we cherish, if it reflects the spirit of Christ, will be large-hearted. It will rest upon “the God of Hope,” as the God who rules over all the world. 2. It is an exclusively Christian possession. Such is the unavoidable inference from the text. Men who are not Christians are “without God and without hope.” (E. McChesney, Ph.D.)

Joy and peace in believing.

Joy and peace in believing:—Consider—

  1. The source of this desired good. God sometimes permits the use of titles descriptive of what He is in Himself, and sometimes of names denoting His relation to His creatures. In the former sense we apply such designations as “the God of mercy,” “the God of love,” “the God of truth.” Examples of the latter are “the God of peace,” “the God of patience,” “the God of all consolation.” In the text He is “the God of hope,” because—1. He is the Fountain from which all hope must flow. Hope, like its sister Faith, is one of those “good and perfect gifts” which, pass through what intermediate channels it may, must come down to us “from the Father of lights.” And this hope, which God begets in us, is “a lively hope” that is, God invests spiritual objects with a new attractiveness, and creates within us longing desires after their attainment. 2. He is the object on which all hope must terminate. God can never raise an expectation in His creatures for the mere purpose of disappointing them. It might be optional whether He should give to us a ground of hope or not; but having given us cause to hope, it is no longer an option whether such a hope shall be fulfilled. “God cannot deny Himself.” And although God may and will take His own time, we must not, as in the case of human promises, allow the heart to sicken at hope deferred. Delays with God are but invisible means of hastening mercy. “He that believeth” must “not make haste.” “In due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
  2. The particular blessings. 1. Joy is one of those early fruits of the Spirit which flow from a sense of our interest in the promises—a well-grounded persuasion of our having a part in the great propitiation. It is a joy with which “a stranger intermeddleth not,” and of which even adversity depriveth us not. Hence this joy is to be distinguished from every other as having God for its object. It is not in riches, which have wings—not in honours, which may fail—not in health, which may languish, &c. but it is Isaiah’s joy when he said, “My soul shall be joyful in my God.” It is the Virgin’s joy when she said, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.” It is the apostle’s joy when he said to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord alway.” And this may serve to explain the paradox, “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” For the Christian has meat to eat that the world knows not of. 2. Peace—(1) The peace of reconciliation with a God offended. (2) The peace of conscience for a law infringed. (3) The peace of an assured conscience. The apostle would have us filled with peace—the true peace—the peace which was the Father’s token, the Son’s legacy, the Spirit’s seal and earnest unto the day of a complete redemption. This is a “peace which the world cannot give.” 3. “In believing.” We might have expected “after ye have believed,” as if joy and peace were not to be looked for at the outset of our Christian course, but the recompense of an advanced and established faith. But no; you should expect the blessing as you believe, and because you believe. Faith is the hand which takes the blessing at God’s hand.

III. The fruit. 1. In ver. 4 and here the respective functions of the Word and the Spirit in our salvation are beautifully brought together. Perfectly distinct as these agencies are, yet their joint operation issues in the same result. The reason is, that one is the agent and the other the instrument in this great work. The Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit”; it is that by which He works. The Word cannot convert without the Spirit; and, as a rule, the Spirit does not convert without the Word. And here the Word and the Spirit join together to make us “abound in hope.” 2. What is the hope in which we are to rejoice and abound? Why, we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God”; we “rejoice in hope of the glory” that shall be revealed. We “abound in hope” of entering a world without sin, suffering, and death. (D. Moore, M.A.)

The present happiness of believers:

  1. Faith naturally tends to fill the soul with the most pleasant and delightful fulness, pleasure, and hope.
  2. Though faith naturally tends to fill the soul with the most pleasant and delightful feelings, yet even true Christians do not always fully enjoy them.

III. We must labour to remove the obstacles which prevent our full enjoyment of this spiritual happiness. (D. Savile, M.A.)

Joy and peace in believing:—There are a large number of persons who profess to have believed in Christ, but who assert that they have no joy and peace in consequence. Now I shall suppose that these are not raising this difficulty by way of cavil, and that they are not labouring under any bodily sickness such as might bring on hypochondriacal feelings. We begin with two observations—1. That joy and peace are exceedingly desirable for your own sakes and for the sake of your acquaintances, who set down your despondency to your religion. 2. Do not overestimate them; for, though eminently desirable, they are not infallible evidences of safety. Many have them who are not saved, for their joy springs from a mistake, and their peace rests upon the sand of their own imaginations. It is a good sign that the spring is come, that the weather is warm; but there are mild days in winter. A man may be in the lifeboat, but be exceedingly ill, and think himself to be still in peril. It is not his sense of safety that makes him safe. Joy and peace are the element of a Christian, but he is sometimes out of his element. The leaves on the tree prove that the tree is alive, but the absence of leaves will not prove that the tree is dead. True joy and peace may be very satisfactory evidences, but their absence, during certain seasons, can often be accounted for on some other hypothesis than that of the absence of faith. 3. Do not seek them as the first and main thing. Let your prayer be, “Lord, give me comfort, but give me safety first.” Be anxious to be happy, but be more anxious to be holy.

  1. The text may be used to correct two common and dangerous errors. 1. That there is a way of joy and peace through self. Some look for them through good works. Now if we had never sinned, joy and peace would have been the consequences of perfect holiness; but since we have broken God’s law any rational joy and peace are impossible under the covenant of works. You have broken the alabaster vase; you may preserve the fragments, but you cannot make it whole again. Many who are conscious of this say, “Then I will do my best.” Yes; but a man who is drowning may say that, but it is no solace to him as the billows close over him. Some try the plan of scrupulous observance of all religious ceremonies. These things may be good in themselves; but to rest in them will be your ruin. 2. That of turning the text upside down. There is such a thing as joy and peace in believing, and some therefore infer that there is such a thing as believing in joy and peace. You will get peace just as the florist gets his flower from the bulb; but you will never get the bulb from the flower. To trust Christ because you just feel happy is—(1) Irrational. Suppose a man should say daring a panic, “I feel sure that my bank is safe, because I reel so easy about my money”; you would say to him, “That is no reason.” Suppose he said, “I feel sure that my money is safe, because I believe the bank is safe.” That is good reasoning. But here you put the effect in the place of the cause. If a man should say, “I have got a large estate in India, because I feel so happy in thinking about it,” that is no proof whatever. But if he says, “I feel very happy, because I have got an estate in India,” that may be right enough.” (2) Irreverent. You say to God, “Thou tellest me to trust Christ and I shall be saved. Well, I cannot trust Christ, but I can trust my own feeling, and if I felt very happy I could believe that He would save me.” (3) Egotistical. Here is a person who has the Divine promise—“He that believeth on Him is not condemned”; and instead of confiding in this, he says, “No, I shall believe nothing which I do not feel.”
  2. The great truth of the text is, that believing in Christ is the true ground for joy and peace. Believing in Christ is trusting Christ. “But what sort of a Christ is this I am to confide in? Is He worthy of my trust?” The reply is this, “We have trusted Christ”—1. Because of the wonderful union of His natures. He is God, and whatever God undertakes He is able to accomplish. But He is man, and has the requisite tenderness to deal with sinners. 2. Because of the evident truthfulness of His character. Could we suspect the Saviour we should find it difficult to trust Him; but as we cannot imagine a cause for suspecting Him, we feel shut up to believing Him. Millions of spirits bear witness to the trustworthiness of Christ. He did not fail one of them. 3. Because He was sent of God on purpose to save. Now if this be so, and Christ comes into the world and says, “Trust, and I will save you,” He has God to back Him, and the honour of the Trinity is pledged to every soul that comes to Christ. 4. Because the merit of His sufferings must be great enough to save us. 5. Because He rose again from the dead, and now He ever liveth to make intercession for us. Wherefore, “He is able to save to the uttermost.”

III. The principle of the text is of constant application: joy and peace always come through believing. We do not always have joy and peace, but still, in the main, joy and peace are the result of believing.

E.g.—1. As soon as a person is saved, one of the earliest evidences of spiritual life is a great battle within. Some have the notion that as soon as they are saved they shall never have to fight. Why, it is then that you begin the campaign. But you shall have joy and peace while the fighting is going on. 2. Remember that even after you are secure in Christ, and accepted before God, you may sometimes get despondent. Christian men may have a bad liver, or some trial, and then they get depressed. But what then? Why then you can get joy and peace through believing. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Joy essential:—Joy has been considered by Christian people very largely as an exceptional state; whereas sobriety—by which is meant severity of mind, or a non-enjoying state of mind—is supposed to be the normal condition. I knew a Roman Catholic priest that was as upright and conscientious a man as I ever met, who said he did not dare to be happy; he was afraid that he should lose his soul if he was; and he subjected himself to every possible mortification, saying, “ ‘It is not for me to be happy here; I must take it out when I get to heaven. There I expect to be happy.” That was in accordance with his view of Christianity. Now, it is of the utmost importance that it should be understood that health of soul and joyfulness are one and the same thing. You cannot be healthy in soul and not be happy. The true idea of religion is one that makes men happy by making them happiable; that brings them into that soul-knowledge, and into that concord of soul, out of which comes happiness. Remember that the state of suffering, if you must suffer, is the abnormal state, and that a true Christian is a man who is a happy Christian. You may say, “I cannot be happy.” Very well, then you cannot be an ideal of true Christianity. You are not able to reach the highest condition of which the human soul is capable. It does not follow because a man has one leg shorter than the other, and is obliged to limp, that limping is a part of the best state of man. The man whose legs are lithe, and who can run like a roe, is a true man physically, in so far as that is concerned; and the man who is maimed, and cannot do this, is physically so much less than a true man as he falls short of the possibility of it. (H. W. Beecher.)

A cheerful hope:—A hopeless life is a bitter life. Surely the heart is broken when hope is gone. Thank God, this is a rare thing. You tread upon the wild flower in the field, and for a time it is crushed; but ere the next morning comes, when the dew is on the grass, it stands erect again. And when deep trouble comes the heart may be crushed for a time, but it is generally only for a time. It is wonderful how people will recover and see there is still something left. Here is a bankrupt: his plans are frustrated, his heart is bruised. For a time he droops his head despondently, but he is soon ready to make another start. He adapts himself to his circumstances, and finds hope rising within him. “I may yet be in comfortable circumstances,” he says, and again he can work with a will. It is beautiful, though sometimes very sad, to see how the poor consumptive patient will retain hope to the last. “It is only a little cold,” she says; “I shall soon be strong again.” “We are saved by hope,” says Paul, and there is a depth of meaning in his words. People often say, “While there is life there is hope”; but would it not be truer still to say, “While there is hope there is life”? This cheerful hope is the Christian’s. All things are his, not in possession, but in prospect. The heart can cherish no desire which is not abundantly spread out before him. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what things God hath prepared for those who love Him.” (J. Matthews.)

Through the power of the Holy Ghost.

The power of the Holy Ghost:—Power is the peculiar prerogative of God. “Twice have I heard this,” &c. If He delegates a portion of it to His creatures, yet still it is His power. This prerogative is to be found in each of the three persons of the Trinity. We shall look at the power of the Holy Ghost in—

  1. The outward and visible displays of it. 1. In creation works (Job 26:13; Psa. 104:29; Gen. 1:2). But there was one instance of creation in which the Spirit was more especially concerned, viz., the formation of the body of Christ. “The power of the Highest shall overshadow Thee,” &c. 2. In the resurrection of Christ. Sometimes this is ascribed to Himself, sometimes to God the Father. He was raised by the Father, who said, “Loose the Prisoner—let Him go. Justice is satisfied.” He was raised by His own majesty and power because He had a right to come out. But He was raised by the Spirit as to the energy which His mortal frame received (chap. 8:11; 1 Pet. 3:18). 3. In works of witnessing. When Jesus went into Jordan the Spirit proclaimed Him God’s beloved Son. And when afterwards Jesus raised the dead, healed the leper, &c., it was done by the power of the Spirit, who dwelt in Him without measure. And when Jesus was gone the master attestation of the Spirit was when He came like a rushing mighty wind, and cloven tongues. And all through the apostle’s ministry “mighty signs and wonders were done by the Holy Ghost, and many believed thereby.” 4. The works of grace. Under the power of the Holy Ghost the uncivilised become civilised, the savage polite, the drunkard sober, &c.
  2. The inward and spiritual manifestation. The former may be seen, this must be felt. The Holy Ghost has a power over—1. Men’s hearts. Now these are very hard to affect. If you want to get at them for any worldly object you can do it. But there is not a minister breathing who can win man’s heart himself. He can win his ears, his eyes, his attention; but he cannot reach the heart. The Holy Spirit can. He can “Speak with that voice which wakes the dead.” 2. The will. This, especially in some men, is a very stubborn thing. I can bring you all to the water, and a great many more; but I cannot make you drink; and I don’t think a hundred ministers could. But the Spirit of God can make us willing in the day of His power. 3. The imagination. Those who have a fair share of imagination know what a difficult thing it is to control. It will sometimes fly up to God with such a power that eagles’ wings cannot match it; but it is also potent the other way, for my imagination has taken me down to the vilest kennels and sewers of earth. Can you chain your imagination? No; but the power of the Holy Ghost can.

III. Its future and desired effects. He has—1. To perfect us in holiness. The Christian needs two kinds of perfection—of justification in the person of Jesus, of sanctification by the Holy Spirit. At present corruption still rests even in the breasts of the regenerate, but the day is coming when God shall finish the work which He has begun. 2. To bring on the latter-day glory. 3. To raise the dead. That same power which raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies. Practical inferences: 1. The Spirit is very powerful, Christian! (1) Then you never need distrust the power of God to carry you to heaven. (2) Why should you doubt anything? 2. Sinners, there is some hope for you. I cannot save you, but I know my Master can. (C. H. Spurgeon.) Our urgent need of the Holy Spirit (text, and ver. 19):—1. The Spirit of God is necessary to the Church for its own internal growth in grace. Hence ver. 13, where the apostle attributes the power to be filled with joy and peace in believing, and to abound in hope, to the Holy Ghost. But the power of the Church outside, to be aggressive, is this same energy (ver. 19). If the Church is to be happy and holy within herself, and if she is to conquer the world for Christ, she must have the power of the Holy Ghost. 2. The power of the Church for external work will be proportionate to the power within. (1) There are two cottages in winter. From the roof of one the snow has disappeared, while the other is still covered with it. The reason is that there is a fire burning inside the one, but the other is untenanted. So where worldliness and formalism lie thick upon Churches there is not the warmth of Christian life within; but where hearts are warm with Divine love through the Spirit of God, evils vanish and beneficial consequences follow. (2) Here is a trouble arising between different nations. Everybody knows that one of the hopes of peace lies in the bankrupt condition of the nation which is likely to go to war. Thus is it in the great battle of truth. The strength or weakness of a nation’s exchequer affects its army in its every march, and in like manner its measure of grace influences the Church of God in all its actions. (3) The rising of the Nile depends upon those far-off lakes in the centre of Africa. If there be a scanty supply in the higher reservoirs, there cannot be much overflow in the course of the river through Egypt. So if the upper lakes of fellowship with God are not well filled the Nile of practical Christian service will never rise to the flood. You cannot get out of the Church what is not in it. We must ourselves drink of the living water till we are full, and then out of the midst of us shall flow rivers of living water. Out of an empty basket you cannot distribute loaves and fishes, however hungry the crowd may be. The power of the Holy Ghost is manifested in—

  1. The quickening of souls to spiritual life. 1. All the spiritual life which exists in this world is the creation of the Holy Spirit. Every growth of spiritual life, from the first tender shoot until now, has also been His work. You will never have more life, except as the Holy Ghost bestows it upon you. 2. The Holy Spirit is absolutely needful to make everything that we do to be alive. We are sowers, but if we take dead seed in our seed-basket there will never be a harvest. How much there is of Church work which is nothing better than the movement of a galvanised corpse. How much of religion is done as if it were performed by an automaton, or ground off by machinery. 3. As the Spirit is a quickener to make us and our work alive, so must He specially be with us to make those alive with whom we have to deal for Jesus. As well may you try to calm the tempest with poetry or stay the hurricane with rhetoric as to bless a soul by mere learning and eloquence. We are utterly dependent here, and I rejoice in this. If I could have a stock of power all my own apart from the Spirit, I cannot suppose a greater temptation to pride and to living a distance from God.
  2. The enlightenment of His people. 1. This He has done by giving us His Word; but the Book, inspired though it be, is never spiritually understood by any man apart from His personal teaching. The letter you may know, but no man knows the things of God save he to whom the Spirit of God has revealed them. 2. If professors be not taught of the Spirit their ignorance will breed conceit, pride, unbelief. Sorrow too comes of ignorance. Hadst thou known the doctrines of grace thou hadst not been so long a time in bondage! Half of the heresy in the Church of God is not wilful error, but error which springs of not submitting the mind to the light of the Holy Ghost. If He will but enlighten the Church thoroughly there will be an end of divisions. Practical unity will exist in proportion to the unity of men’s minds in the truth of God. 3. We find in this gracious operation our strength for the instruction of others; for how shall those teach who have never been taught? “Son of man, eat this roll”; for until thou hast eaten it thyself thy lips can never tell it out to others. It is the law of Christ’s vineyard that none shall work therein till first of all they know the flavour of the fruits which grow in the sacred enclosure. An ignorant Christian is disqualified for great usefulness; but he who is taught of God will teach transgressors God’s ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Christ.

III. The creation in believers of the spirit of adoption. 1. We are regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and so receive the nature of children; and that nature He develops and matures. This is of very great importance, for sometimes the spirit of slaves creeps over us. 2. This will have a great effect upon the outside world. A body of professors performing religion as a task can have but small effect upon the sinners around them. But bring me a Church made up of men who know they are accepted and beloved, and are perfectly content with the great Father’s will; put them down in the midst of ungodly ones, and they will begin to envy them their peace and joy.

  1. Sanctification. 1. Holiness is the entirety of our manhood fully consecrated to the Lord and moulded to His will. This is the thing which the Church of God must have, but it can never have it apart from the Sanctifier, for there is no holiness but what is of His operation. 2. And if a Church be destitute of holiness what effect can it have upon the world? Scoffers utterly despise professors whose lives contradict their testimonies. V. Prayer. 1. The strength of a Church may pretty accurately be gauged by her prayerfulness. But all acceptable supplication is wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost. 2. Furthermore, when we come to deal with sinners we know that they must pray. “Behold he prayeth” is one of the earliest signs of the new birth. But can we make the sinner pray?
  2. Fellowship. 1. In the apostolic benediction we pray that we may receive the communion of the Holy Ghost. He gives us fellowship with God Himself. Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. So, too, our fellowship with one another is always produced by the Spirit. 2. If you are to tell upon the world you must be united as one living body. A divided Church has long been the scorn of Antichrist.

VII. In His office of Paraclete. 1. The Holy Spirit is our friend and Comforter. Many a heart would break if the Spirit of God had not comforted it. This is a very necessary work, for if believers become unhappy they become weak for service. 2. He is the Advocate of the Church—not with God, for there Christ is our sole Advocate, but with man. The grandest plea that the Church has against the world is the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. All the evidences of the truth of Christianity which can be gathered from analogy, history, and external facts, are nothing whatever compared with the operations of the Spirit of God. If we have the Spirit of God amongst us, and conversions are constantly being wrought, the Holy Spirit is thus fulfilling His advocacy, and refuting all accusers. (Ibid.)[11]

13. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. The title ‘the God of hope’ is perhaps suggested by the mention of ‘hope’ at the end of the immediately preceding quotation from Isaiah 11:10. Cf. 14:17, where peace and joy are blessings of the kingdom of God. Because ‘the God of hope’ gives his children hope in himself, they may enjoy these blessings now.

So that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Once more, it is the Spirit who enables believers to experience in this life the blessings of the life to come. The grand object of their hope is the glory of God (5:2).[12]

Ver. 13.—The office of the Holy Spirit. Paul was not one of those upon whom the Spirit fell on the Day of Pentecost. He was at that time a scholar; living probably in Jerusalem, and certainly studying the Law and the traditions of his nation, with all the energy of an ardent, zealous, and persevering mind. He may have known at the time of the remarkable events which occurred; but if he did, they made no great impression on him. For only two or three years afterwards, when Stephen was stoned, Saul was one of those who “consented to his death.” And, as we read, he “made havoc of the Church,” and “breathed out threatenings and slaughter” against the disciples of the Lord. But if for a while neither the crucifixion of Christ nor the descent of the Holy Spirit had any effect upon the Pharisee who boasted himself to be of the school of Gamaliel, the time came when the faith which he despised and persecuted laid hold upon his great heart, and assumed the lordship over his active life. And now observe two things very noticeable in Saul’s history. First, when Ananias was sent to the smitten and blinded persecutor, to release him, in the name of Jesus, from his privation and doubt, and, in the same name, to commission him as the apostle to the Gentiles, the servant of the Lord declared the purport of his visit to be that, Saul might be “filled with the Holy Ghost!” And secondly, when, at Antioch, the Holy Ghost called Barnabas and Saul to a missionary enterprise, they are said by the inspired historian to have been “sent forth by the Holy Ghost.” So, although Paul was not present when Peter and the rest of the brethren were made partakers of the spiritual outpouring by which the new dispensation was inaugurated, it is clear that be received, and that he knew that he received, the Holy Ghost as well as they. In his conversion, his whole nature was influenced by the Divine enlightenment and quickening; in his commission, the impulse and the authority of his missionary life were conferred by the living Spirit of God. It is not to be wondered at, then, that the apostle of the Gentiles, in his preaching and his writings, laid stress upon the office of the Divine Comforter. He could not have exalted the Spirit more constantly and gratefully even if he had listened to the Master’s discourses in which the Paraclete was promised; even if he had been amongst the favoured company on the Day of Pentecost, when cloven tongues of fire sat upon the heads of the disciples of the Lord. In fact, just as the mediatorial work of Christ is at least as fully stated and explained by Paul as by the other apostles, so is he not behind them in the exposition of the offices of the Comforter, and the results of his perpetual indwelling in Christian hearts, in Christian society. It needs not be said that the offices of the Holy Spirit are not only precious, but manifold. Paul was well aware of this fact. But attention is asked especially to one result of the dispensation of the Spirit; to one valuable fruit which all Christians growingly appreciate. The Divine Spirit is set before us in the text as the Author and Inspirer of a cheerful and hopeful disposition of the mind: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” It is often observed that, in a cultivated and reflective state of society, there is a tendency to a mournful and even desponding disposition. When people have much leisure to think, and large knowledge of human life and history, they often cherish gloomy and hopeless forebodings. Unable to resolve their own difficulties, disappointed with efforts made to improve society, they are prone to abandon themselves to scepticism, and to ask whether all things do not exist in vain, and whether the philosophy of the royal sage is not sound and just: “Vanity of vanities,” saith the preacher; “all is vanity!” The Holy Spirit was given to banish such a temper of mind, and to inspire us with cheerfulness and with hope. He is the Spirit of life, quickening the spiritually dead; the Spirit of truth, revealing the realities of the Divine character and government; the Spirit of holiness, fostering in the soul of man all pure thoughts and purposes. And our text brings before us the welcome truth that the Spirit of God has power to fill us with “joy and peace in believing,” and to cause us to “abound in hope.” There is no broader and more obvious distinction between Christians and unbelievers than that which is suggested by our text. The Christian, speaking generally, is the man who hopes; the infidel is the man who is hopeless. The preacher has known in the course of his life, and has conversed with, many unbelievers—some of them honourable, virtuous, and, within limits, benevolent men. But they have been, without exception, neither happy nor hopeful. Their view of human life is invariably melancholy, and their forebodings for humanity’s future are usually dark and despondent. At the time when our Divine faith was first preached in the world, observant and thoughtful men were under a cloud of depression. Dissatisfied with the superstitions of their fathers, disgusted with the corruptions of society, they were without any faith that could sustain and cherish a lofty hope for the race. It did not enter into their minds that any moral power could be introduced into the world capable of even attempting, far less achieving, the regeneration of society—of raising the uncivilized, and redeeming those who were civilized and cultivated, but corrupt and cynical and selfish. What a revelation must Christians—not merely Christianity, but Christians—have brought to the ancient society! Here was a sect of men, distinguished, indeed, by their beliefs and practices, their pure and beneficent life, from those around them, but in nothing more distinguished than in this—they were the men in the world who hoped! Whilst the multitude, and even many of the philosophers, were saying, “Let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die;” whilst the thoughtful and high-minded mourned the corruptions of the times, and despised their degraded fellow-creatures, and saw no prospect of the salvation of society; the followers of Christ appeared, each one with a hope which death could not tear from him, for himself; each one with a yet sublimer hope, that no disappointment could quench, for the unhappy but not forsaken race of which he was a member. You remember the honour which was bestowed upon a patriot—that, in days of darkness and of threatening, he did not despair of his country. Of every lowly Christian the yet more remarkable eulogy would have been true, that he did not despair of his race. And this, in days when Christianity had yet its triumphs to win, its great renown to achieve! The Holy Spirit was given to reveal to the disciples of Christ a “God of hope.” Men’s dejection and despair arise from their want of faith in God. And nothing but a sound and rational belief in God can bring them to a better mind. What so fitted to inspire with cheerfulness as the conviction that a God of righteousness and of grace lives and reigns, takes the deepest interest in men, and provides for their true well-being? Now, when the Holy Ghost was given, on the Day of Pentecost, he was given as “the promise of the Father,” as the bestowal of a gracious God. Let the truth be recognized that a good hope must begin in God. The counsel of the ancient psalmist was sound as well as pious: “Hope thou in God.” Fix your hopes, as many do, upon human beings, upon human institutions, upon human plans, and their failure will involve you in cruel disappointment. But if for you the Lord liveth and reigneth, if he be the God of man, the God of salvation, then there is a sound basis for your hopes—a basis which no power on earth, and no power from hell, can overturn or even shake. It was the power of the Spirit that ratified the words and sealed the authority and authenticated the mission of Christ. Jesus had promised that, if he went away, be would “send the Comforter.” He knew that the approach of his departure filled their hearts with sorrow, and he bade them rather rejoice, inasmuch as this was the condition of the gift of the Comforter. And when, in fulfilment of his assurance, he shed forth the gifts they needed for their spiritual quickening and for their qualification for apostolic service, the friends of Christ must have felt the encouraging and inspiring influence of the faithfulness and grace of their Lord. After his resurrection, the disciples were “glad when they saw the Lord.” After his ascension, “they returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” And when the Spirit was poured out, their confidence in their Saviour was naturally confirmed; and their habitual demeanour was that of happy and hopeful spirits. They “ate their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God;” and, when persecuted, they “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his Name.” It was Jesus Christ who brought hope, even as he brought every other blessing, to this benighted and unhappy world. That he cherished hope, is known full well. His parables regarding the progress of his kingdom, his assurance that when lifted up he would draw all men unto him, his prediction of his reign and his return—all show an unwavering confidence and a calm expectation regarding the future. And in order that this attitude might be shared by his disciples, he provided for the descent of his Spirit, by whose influences they should be brought into living sympathy with himself. Our hope may be said to have three main outlooks: (1) towards our personal future; (2) towards the prospects of Christianity and Christ’s Church; and (3) towards the progress and destiny of humanity. In all these respects is apparent the power of the Holy Ghost to inspire us with, and to cause us to rejoice in, hope.

  1. Hope concerning one’s self—concerning one’s own future—is generally supposed to be matter of temperament. There are persons of a sanguine temperament, who always expect the best possible, and sometimes are confident in hope, though on the slightest ground. And others are given rather to foreboding, and their forecasts are of evil. Now, Christianity does not destroy temperament; but it gives a just bent to the outlook of the hopeful, and instils into the despondent a different spirit. Based, as the Christian life is, upon faith, it must proceed to hope. The God who has loved us with an everlasting love will “never leave and never forsake us.” The Saviour who has “loved his own” will “love them unto the end.” The Word in Which we trust is a “Word which liveth and abideth forever.” It is the office of the Spirit of God to bring these great and inspiriting truths home to the minds of Christians, to make them a power real and effective. If hope were based upon confidence in chance and good fortune, or if it were based upon the character and promises of fallible fellow-men, it would in such cases need rather to be checked and sobered than to be encouraged. But just as faith depends for its value upon the person on whom it rests, so is hope justifiable and wise only when based“upon the promises of the Being whose character is unchanging, and whose word is never broken. The Christian’s hope extends beyond this earthly life. There have been cases in which the followers of Jesus have been tempted to exclaim, “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” But nothing is more distinctive of the Christian revelation than the clearness with which it speaks of a life to come. By the resurrection of our Lord Jesus from the dead, we are begotten “unto a living hope, of an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” And the hope which we have is “an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, that entereth into that within the veil.” By the power of the Holy Spirit, this blessed hope is awakened and fostered. His gracious influences counteract the earthly and depressing powers by which we are all beset, and make the mediation and the promises of our Saviour effective and helpful to us; so that we are led to abound in hope. The text reminds us that faith, and the joy and peace which faith brings, and these in Divine fulness, are the antecedents of the abundant hope of the Christian. And this is so. The heart that knows nothing of the cheerful gladness which religion imparts to the present can know nothing of the glowing anticipations which religion inspires with reference to the future. If we are to judge the future merely. by what we see now, our outlook might be dim and cheerless. But the present is beheld by the medium of faith; and the same glass, when turned towards the coming ages, affords to us the blessed prospect of Christian hope. It is instructive to observe the close connection between the joy and peace which Christians now have in believing, and the hope to which they are introduced by the gospel. The cheerful mind is likely to be the hopeful mind. The rule and the love of God have reference alike to the present and to the future. Our earthly privileges are the earnest of our immortal prospects. And these, in turn, cast something of their inspiring radiance upon the difficulties and the sorrows of the present.

“Oh, who, in such a world an this,

Could bear his lot of pain,

Did not one radiant hope of bliss

Unclouded yet remain?

That hope the Sovereign Lord has given,

Who reigns above the skies;

Hope that unites the soul to heaven

By faith’s endearing ties.”

  1. But hope, that is worthy of the name will transcend our individual prospects. We are united, by innumerable bonds, to our fellow-Christians and to our fellow-men; and our hopes must include others within their scope and range. Nothing was further from the generous heart and expansive charity of the apostle than any thought of limiting within narrow bounds the prospects and the hopes born of Christianity. Our religion is emphatically unselfish. And being so, those who come under its sway and share its spirit are constrained to take a wide, expansive view. They are members of a mystical body, and are concerned for the health and well-being of the whole. It is not enough to have a good hope of our own salvation; if the mind of Christ is in us, we shall desire “the edification of the body,” as St. Paul phrases it. Enlightened and large-hearted Christians are more interested in the spread of Christianity than in anything beside on earth. It is their hope and prayer that the holy leaven may penetrate and vivify the whole mass of human society; that the tree of life may grow and spread, until all nations shall sit with delight beneath its shadow Taught by the Spirit of truth, they rely upon the faithful word of Christ, who has unfolded before humanity hopes so bright and glorious. Error may seem to prevail, and we may tremble for the truth. Superstition may encroach upon the simplicity of the gospel, and we may ask—Is the old paganism to revive? Lukewarmness may seem to steal over nominal Christians, and to paralyze the activities of the Churches. Yet the Christian is not daunted by these “signs of the times,” distressing though they be. He can join in the triumphant chant, “We will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge!” When the infidel rejoices over what seem to him tokens of the decrepitude of the Church of Christ; when the atheist foretells the destruction of all religion, and the approach of the millennium of animalism; Christ’s followers do not yield to fear. They remember that their Divine Lord has promised that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against” his Church. Its dead branches may be lopped off, and its living branches may be pruned; but life shall only be the more vigorous, and fruit the more abundant. The gold may be cast into the furnace, and the dross be consumed; but the precious metal shall only be refined and purified, and shall shine with brighter lustre, and be fitter for the Master’s use.

III. Is there Hope for humanity? Is this race of man destined to deteriorate; is it doomed to remain for ever a prey to strife, to vice, to sin; or is it appointed to sure progress and to final happiness? Questions these which have disturbed many a sensitive and philanthropic mind; clouded many a generous, disinterested life with sorrow and with gloom. The pessimism which is a sort of fashion in some circles refuses to take any comfort in looking forward to the future of mankind. As the individual is of necessity unhappy, as life is of necessity a calamity, a disaster, and death the only alleviation, annihilation the only thing worth looking forward to; so for the race, composed of units thus unhappy, no destiny that is desirable can be in reserve. Progress is an illusion, and the general happiness a baseless dream. The Spirit of God—the God of hope—has taught the Christian a very different lesson from this. That Spirit encouraged Hebrew prophets of old to anticipate a universal reign of righteousness, knowledge, and peace. That Spirit directed evangelists and apostles to base, upon the incarnation and sacrifice of the Son of God, the broadest of all beliefs and the brightest of all hopes. That Spirit has sustained the faith and inspired the energy of Christ’s people, amid the darkness of human ignorance, the din of human conflict, and the desolation of human despair. The omen of the birth of Christ and Christianity has not been falsified. The progress of the truth has been slow, the hindrances have been many, the corruptions and distortions have been serious. War, cruelty, slavery, vice, ignorance, brutality, are still scourging this human race. But no candid observer can say that the religion of Christ has attacked these evils in vain. And no Christian, convinced of the supernatural powers of his religion, can do other than bravely hope in the progress of enlightenment, the victory of righteousness, the reign of Christ.

“Yet with the woes of sin and strife

The world has suffered long;

Beneath the angel-strain have rolled

Two thousand years of wrong;

And man at war with man, hears not

The love-song which they bring!

Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife,

And hear the angels sing!

“The promised time is hastening on,

By prophet-bards foretold,

When with the ever-circling years

Comes round the age of gold;

When peace shall over all the earth

Its undimmed splendours fling,

And the whole world send back the song

Which now the angels sing!”

Observe the richness and fulness of the apostle’s prayer: “That ye may abound in hope.” This is an emotion which admits of many degrees. There are cases in which men say, “There is no hope!” and melancholy indeed was the inscription which the poet read over the infernal portals: “Leave every hope behind, all ye who enter here.” Sometimes there is a little hope, a faint glimmer, as it were, to relieve the darkness. Hope can grow, as the dawn brightens into the morning. And hope can become a strong, happy, unhesitating persuasion, with no shade of anxiety, fear, or doubt. When the wish is uttered that we may “abound in hope,” it is implied that hope is good, and so good that there is no possibility of our having too strong a hope. Abundance is “more than enough;” and what is besought for Christ’s people is the “full assurance of hope.” This is a “living hope,” a hope whose life is vigorous and vital; a “hope which maketh not ashamed,” which is confident, and which produces happiness and peace. The Christian should be the possessor of such a hope. Let the unbeliever walk, if he will, in the twilight; it is for us to come out into the fulness of the noonday light. This we may enjoy, not through the power of reason, or of fancy, or of public opinion; but through the power of the Holy Ghost. It is the Divine Spirit, and not a spirit of error or illusion, that prompts our hope. Hope is of God, and is in God; and such a hope may well be abundant. For there is no hope which he inspires which he cannot and will not satisfy; and when Divine fulness meets with human hope, our vessel is filled, and filled to overflowing, from the heavenly, the perennial spring.

Ver. 13.—Hope. Perhaps ordinary and even Christian moralists would not assign to hope the place which it occupies in the teaching of the apostle. But Paul had good reason for extolling and enjoining this beautiful and most inspiring and influential virtue. In this verse he sets forth—

  1. The Source of hope. His language is a prayer, and the prayer is addressed to “the God of hope.” He is so called because there can be no true, well-founded, far reaching hope which is not fixed on God, on his providential rule, on his gracious purposes, on his consolatory promises. He suggests and inspires hope; he justifies and expects hope; he approves and rewards hope. All true and worthy hope for ourselves and for others is fixed on God, centres in God.
  2. The power of hope. The Holy Spirit is represented as the Agent by whose aid hope is experienced and enjoyed. When the spirit is downcast and sad, when the prospect is gloomy and dark, when human help seems far and feeble, then the Comforter brings near the grace of God, unveils a glorious prospect, and inspires a blessed confidence.

III. The means of hope. If any one is bidden to cherish hope, he will reply, “Where is the ground upon which I may hope? By what means can I arise from the Slough of Despair?” The steps by which rational hope can be fostered are here described. 1. Believing; i.e. in Christ as the true Object of hope—“Christ our Hope.” 2. Joy; i.e. the emotion produced by a believing appropriation of the blessings of the gospel—joy which may even rise to be “unspeakable, and full of glory.” 3. Peace; i.e. another of the fruits of the Spirit, the growth from the root of Christian faith. A disturbed mind is a mind uncongenial to hope; tranquillity in the present is contributive to hopefulness as to the future.

  1. The abundance of hope. When God gives, he gives liberally, royally. Observe in what respects the Christian’s hope abounds. 1. For himself, his personal future being gilded with radiant, celestial light. 2. For the Church, that it shall arise and shine and fulfil the ministry it has received. 3. For the world, that it shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. 4. For both time and eternity.[13]

13 Paul rounds off his exhortation in this paragraph, and his entire exhortation to the strong and the “weak,” with a final “prayer-wish.” In this prayer, Paul brings together many key elements from his exhortation and from the letter as a whole. Indeed, as Longenecker notes, “What Paul sets out here in 15:13 is, in fact, the essence of all that he proclaimed in his mission to pagan Gentiles, of all that he wrote to the believers in Jesus at Rome, and of all that, by being canonized in our NT, is being spoken to Christians today.” As he did in vv. 5–6, Paul characterizes God in the address of his prayer-wish with a concept drawn from the immediate context. As the Gentiles have now come to “set their hope” on the root of Jesse, so Paul prays to the “God who gives hope.” In praying that this God might “fill780 you with all joy and peace as you believe,” Paul is undoubtedly thinking specifically of the weak and the strong in the Roman community. He does not want the differing conclusions that they draw from their “believing” in Christ (see 14:1–2, 22) to take away that “peace” and “joy” which they should be experiencing as joint participants in the kingdom of God (see 14:17). It is only as the “God of hope” fills them with these qualities that they will be able to “abound in hope,” to realize in their community the hope of a new people of God in which Jews and Gentiles praise God with a united voice (see 15:6, 7–12). All this can happen, however, only “by the power of the Holy Spirit” (see, again, 14:17). Paul’s remarks in 14:1–15:13 are directed to a set of very specific issues in the Roman (and first-century) church. All three specific issues are still debated by Christians: whether it is necessary to abstain from meat and from wine, and to observe the Sabbath and other “holy” days. But only on the issue of Sabbath observance is there a real parallel. For it was out of continuing reverence for the Mosaic law that some of the Roman Christians adopted these practices. But modern Christians who, for example, abstain from all alcoholic beverages do so not because they fear ritual contamination. Some abstain because they are leery of a product that has had such a sad history of “enslaving” those who partake (see the principle of 1 Cor. 6:12b). Many others do not drink because they do not want to set a bad example for others who might not be able to handle alcohol. Abstinence on these grounds may be a laudable course of action; but it has little basis in Paul’s argument in these chapters. For the weak here are not those who cannot control their drinking. They are people who are not convinced that their faith in Christ allows them to do a particular thing. They are not weak in respect to handling alcohol; they are weak in respect to their faith (14:1). And Paul urges the strong to abstain, not because their example might lead the weak to drink to excess but because their example might lead the weak to drink and so to violate their conscience (14:22–23). Only, therefore, where contemporary Christians are convinced that their drinking (or eating meat) might lead another to drink (or eat meat) in violation of their conscience is Paul’s advice truly applicable to the matter of alcohol.

But the value of this section is not limited to Paul’s advice on these specific issues. For Paul here sets forth principles that are applicable to a range of issues that we may loosely classify as adiaphora: matters neither required of Christians nor prohibited to them. Carefully defining these adiaphora is vital. On the one hand, not all issues can be put in this category. Paul considered certain matters pertaining to the gospel to be basic and nonnegotiable, and he fought like a tiger for them (see Galatians). To apply Paul’s plea for tolerance in this chapter to these issues would be to surrender the heart of Christianity. As Horrell puts it, “Paul’s tolerance operates only within the framework of an intolerance that insists on Christ alone as the basis for community solidarity.”787

On the other hand, there are issues that are in this category of “things indifferent,” and on these Christians are willingly and lovingly to “agree to disagree.” Inflexible commitment to the basics; complete flexibility on the adiaphora: this was the posture of Paul that he would like every one of us to emulate.

Paul makes three specific points, each one built solidly on general theological truth.

(1) Paul was a realist: he knew that we have to deal with people “where they are.” In his day Jewish Christians who had lived all their lives believing the law of Moses to be God’s last and absolute word could not always align their consciences with the truth about the end of the law’s authority. For such believers, while eating meat that might not be kosher was not “sin” in the absolute sense, it continued to be “sin” for them (see 14:14, 20). In much the same manner, believers in our day cannot always internalize the liberty of the gospel on all matters. On one or more practices on which the gospel gives freedom, these believers continue to have scruples. To them, Paul says: “Don’t violate your conscience.” And his theological justification?—“anything not done on the basis of faith is sin” (14:23). Paul would undoubtedly hope that such believers would grow out of their prejudice. Indeed, “in the long term and at a deeper level he [Paul] seriously undermines their [law-observant Christians] social and cultural integrity.” But until they do, Paul does not want them to do anything that their consciences are telling them not to.

(2) For whatever reason (greater spiritual maturity; background; personality), other believers will not share the scruples of these believers. They do not find any bar at all in their conscience to the practice that some of their fellow believers abhor. To them, Paul says: “Don’t use your freedom in a way that brings spiritual harm to a fellow believer” (14:13b, 20–21). And his theological justification cuts to the heart of what the gospel is all about. For the Christian, like the Christ he or she follows, should not be seeking to please him-or herself, but others (15:2–3). That same Christ is their Lord, who demands that those who belong to his kingdom “walk in love” (14:15), pursue peace with others (14:17, 19), and do everything they can to “build up” their fellow disciples (14:17, 19). Rather than “building up” fellow believers, Paul makes clear that the strong can run the risk of “tearing down” and causing spiritual harm to the “weak.” Such harm will be caused these believers when those who have no scruples insist on exercising their liberty in front of the weak in such a way as to pressure them into doing what their consciences are forbidding them.

To be sure, Paul does not want the strong to walk around in constant fear lest something they do might “injure” a weak believer; little would be left of Christian liberty were this to be the case. We are probably justified in introducing here some of those limitations that Paul brings up in the parallel 1 Cor. 8–10 passage, where he urges the strong to go ahead with their legitimate behavior as long as no weak Christian is being harmed (1 Cor. 10:25–29). I may know, for instance, that some believers do not think a certain practice “right” for Christians. I should not refrain for that reason, but only if I think that my practice might bring spiritual harm to other believers. Finally, we must emphasize: Paul is not advocating that any Christian give up his or her liberty (which no human being can take from the believer); he is advocating only that we be willing, for the sake of others, to give up our exercise of Christian liberty. In Luther’s famous formulation, “A Christian man is a most free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian man is a most dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”

(3) Paul’s bottom line is the unity of the church. As we have indicated, this unity is not to be pursued at any price; but Paul is adamant about not allowing differences among believers about the adiaphora to injure the oneness of the body of Christ. Therefore, negatively, Paul tells those with scruples not to condemn believers who think differently (14:3, 10, 13a). Paul suggests that weak as well as strong believers should be able to recognize the difference between those matters required by the gospel and those that are not. Unity stems from mutual appreciation of the gospel and its demands. As J. Barclay puts it, “The strength in their faith is the degree to which they have been able to dissociate their faith in Christ from every norm or value that is not derived from the good news itself.” And the “weak,” while not enjoying the sense of liberty that the strong have, are not to condemn the strong for exercising that liberty. At the same time, he warns the strong about looking down on the weak (14:3, 10; see v. 13a). Those who consider themselves enlightened are always tempted to treat with condescension and even scorn those who are less enlightened. Paul warns the strong not to succumb to this tendency. Paul’s theological justification for this warning to both weak and strong is the central Christian affirmation “Christ is Lord” (14:4–9). As Jewett nicely puts it, “The frown of the legalist is just as inappropriate for the realm of Christ as the disdainful smile of the liberated.” Christians are slaves who owe absolute allegiance to their master—and only to their master; not to fellow slaves. No fellow believer, apart from Christ’s own revelation and teaching in the gospel, has the right to call us to account.

Paul expresses this same point positively in the climax of the section: “Receive one another, just as Christ has received you” (15:7). Each of us must recognize that we have been “received” by Christ, as a matter of pure grace; and that same grace has reached out and brought into the kingdom people from all kinds of races, nations, and backgrounds, and with all kinds of prejudices (see 15:8–12). Such differences should never be allowed to disturb the unity of the church.[14]

13 This verse may well be regarded as bringing this section of the epistle to a close. In accordance with the last quoted word (vs. 12) the emphasis falls clearly on hope. The clause to which all else is subordinate is the final one, “that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit”. The form of this verse is the same as that of verse 5; it is indirectly prayer to God and combines invocation and exhortation. The title “God of hope” is to be construed after the same pattern as the titles in verse 5 and “the God of peace” (vs. 33; cf. 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20). God is the God of hope because he generates hope in us. It is, however, difficult to suppress the thought in this instance that the title points also to God as the object of hope. God himself is the ultimate hope of the people of God because he is their portion, their inheritance, and their dwelling-place (cf. Psalms 73:24–26; 90:1; Eph. 3:19; Rev. 21:3).

The fulness of joy and peace which the apostle invokes for his readers is based upon what is implied in the title “God of hope”. Only the hope created by God gives warrant for joy and peace and when this hope is present joy and peace should be full. The joy is joy in the Lord (cf. Gal. 5:22; Phil. 4:4; 1 John 1:4) and the peace is the peace of God (cf Phil. 4:7). As joy and peace are conditioned by hope, so they are produced by faith and they promote hope. The fulness of joy and peace invoked is to the end that hope may abound more and more in the hearts of those who entertain it. The graces in exercise in believers never reach the point of fulness to which no more can be added. Joy and peace emanate from hope and they contribute to the abounding of the same. The object contemplated in hope far transcends human conception and the discrepancy between what believers are now and what they will be (cf. 1 John 3:2) makes the entertainment of hope presumption except as it is generated and sealed by the Holy Spirit. This is the significance of the concluding words of the invocation, “in the power of the Holy Spirit”. The prayer begins and ends with the accent upon divine agency and resource. Within this sphere alone can the grandeur of hope be contemplated and within it hope has the certification which the earnest of the Spirit accords to it (cf. Eph. 1:13, 14).[15]

13 As he had done at the close of the first section in this chapter (v. 5), Paul expresses his desire that God will meet the needs of his readers. Although eschatology is a significant feature of ch. 8, eschatology in a formal, structured sense has little place in Romans. Its subjective counterpart, “hope” (elpis, GK 1828), however, is mentioned more often than in any other of his letters, especially in this portion (vv. 4, 12–13).

The expression “the God of hope” means the God who inspires hope and imparts it to his children. “Hope” in the NT does not mean “wishful thinking”; quite to the contrary, “hope” in the NT connotes “a confident expectation.” The confidence of Christian hope derives from the fact that God can be counted on to fulfill what yet remains to be accomplished for the church (5:2; cf. 13:11). Likewise, in the more immediate future and with the help of Paul’s letter, they can confidently look to God for the working out of their problems, including the one Paul has been discussing. Hope does not operate apart from trust; in fact, it is the forward-looking aspect of faith (Gal 5:5; 1 Pe 1:21). Paul prays that the Romans might be filled “with all joy and peace”—words that remind us of key traits of the kingdom of God according to 14:17. Peace, of course, is very pertinent to the concerns of this portion of Romans.

Paul in his pastoral zeal is not satisfied with anything less than a rich experience of hope that “overflows” (perisseuein, GK 4355), even as elsewhere he desires his readers to abound in love (Php 1:9; 1 Th 3:12), in pleasing God (1 Th 4:1), and in thanksgiving (Col 2:7). The reason for this emphasis in Paul is that the God who is supplicated here has so wonderfully abounded in the exercise of his grace (5:15) that he can also be expected to enable his people to increase in the manifestation of Christian graces, especially as this is ensured “by the power of the Holy Spirit,” who indwells and fills the inner life.[16]

The First Benediction

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a sense in which the Book of Romans ends with the thirteenth verse of chapter fifteen, because what follows is essentially personal in nature. Paul did not always end his letters with such remarks, and this one would have been complete without them. Besides, Romans 15:13 would have been a great ending.

I have called this study “The First Benediction” because there will be two more benedictions before we end—Romans 15:33 and Romans 16:20—followed by a doxology in Romans 16:25–27. Each benediction is important, but this is a particularly important and comprehensive one.

Donald Grey Barnhouse devoted six studies to this verse in his radio series on Romans. (They were reduced to one in book form.) He says, “This verse is a great summary of the blessed life in the brotherhood formed by our oneness in Jesus Christ. The source of that life is the God of hope. The measure of that life is that we shall be filled ‘with all joy and peace.’ The quality of that life is joy and peace which he desires for us. The condition of that life is faith—we enter it by believing. The purpose of that life is that we might abound. The enabling of that life is divine power. And the director of that life is the Holy Spirit.” So clearly, this is a very practical verse.

Romans 15:13 is a prayer, which leads Leon Morris to say, “We should not think of Paul primarily as a controversialist; he was a deeply pious man and it is characteristic that he finishes not with some equivalent of Q.E.D. [quod erat demonstrandum, meaning ‘which was to be demonstrated’] nor a shout of triumph over the antagonists he has confronted but with a prayer.”

The God of Hope

The obvious place to begin this study is with the word hope, because it is the first key word and occurs twice, once at the beginning and once at the end.

What is striking here is that Paul links hope to God, speaking of “the God of hope.” This can point to God as the source of hope (a subjective genitive), or it can point to God as the object of hope (an objective genitive). Both are true. God is the source of hope because he is the source of every good thing. But he is also the object of hope, since we have hope in him and not in the weak things advanced as objects of hope by our secular sinful world.

Paul is not saying to “keep a stiff upper lip” or “look for the silver lining” or “never, never, never give up” when he speaks of the Christian’s hope. To be hopeful is a human characteristic possessed in large measure by great men and women, and we admire it. But if that is all we are talking about in terms of our spiritual state, it would be utter deception and delusion. This is because without God our condition is literally, thoroughly, unmistakably, and unalterably hopeless. We are indeed “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).

As soon as we bring God into the picture the situation is reversed. Now we have hope through the work of Jesus Christ, because God himself is our hope and has given hope to us.

Nothing else can be that or do that. If you put your hope in other people, they will let you down. If you trust your stocks or bonds or bank accounts, you will find that they can disappear overnight. In any case, they are not ultimately satisfying. Health will fail. Houses can burn. Jobs can be lost. Even great nations enter periods of economic and moral decline. But the one who has his or her hope from God and trusts God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ can stand firm in anything. Edward Mots expressed it in one of our best-known hymns:

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, his covenant, his blood

Support me in the whelming flood;

When all around my soul gives away,

He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

Paul spoke of this hope when he wrote to the Christians at Corinth, describing himself as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor. 6:10).

Abounding in Joy

Joy is one of Paul’s great concepts since, as Leon Morris points out, “the term occurs in his writings twenty-one times and no other New Testament writing has it more than John’s nine times.” He links it to faith in Philippians 1:25 (“I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith”) and with the other fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22–23 (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”).

Yet Paul didn’t invent the idea. He received it from Jesus, who spoke of it, along with peace, as his gift to his disciples before his departure. Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). Speaking of his death he added, “Now is your time for grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22). Later in his high priestly prayer, recorded in John 17, Jesus said to his Father, “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (v. 13).

This joy has its source in God, since “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

This means that the Christian’s joy is not a matter of natural human endowments or nice circumstances. It is supernatural in origin and in the way it expresses itself in spite of circumstances. Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote, “It is not a question of being an extrovert or an introvert. Some people are by nature gloomy and morose. In the days of superstition it was thought that such had been born under the influence of Saturn, and so they were called saturnine. Other people are buoyant and outgoing, and this was attributed to their being born under the influence of the planet Jupiter, so they were called jovial. But jovial people are sometimes plunged into the deepest despair and gloom when something goes contrary to their selfish desires. And contrariwise, some who are naturally despondent learn to settle upon the eternal Rock, and are filled with a deep and steadfast joy, which does not have its spring in this natural life.”

In the prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus indicated that we should have “the full measure” of this divine joy within. But we don’t always; that is why he prayed for it on our behalf.

We find much the same thing in our text in Romans, for Paul is praying that God might fill the Roman believers with “all joy and peace as you trust in him.” This teaches that there are degrees of these blessings for Christians; and this must mean that although many have them, not all are filled with them. Instead of being mostly empty of blessings, you should be filled to the brim.

Two Kinds of Peace

Two kinds of peace are spoken of in the Bible: peace with God and the peace of God. Thus far in Romans the first meaning has dominated, because Paul has been trying to show how sinners, who are naturally at war with God, might find peace with God through the cross of Christ. Here, however, he is talking about personal peace, the peace of heart and mind that God gives.

William Barclay in his commentary on Romans writes about how people naturally want peace but lose it due to inner tensions or disturbing circumstances:

The ancient philosophers sought for what they called ataraxia, the untroubled life. They wanted above all serenity, that serenity which is proof alike against the shattering blows and the petty pinpricks of human existence. One would almost say that today serenity is a lost possession.

There are two things which make serenity impossible. (a) There is the inner tension. Men live a distracted life, for the word distract literally means to pull apart. So long as a man is a walking civil war, so long as he himself is a battleground, so long as he is a split personality, there can obviously be no such thing as serenity. There is only one way out of this, and that is for self to abdicate to Christ. When Christ controls the tension is gone. (b) There is worry about external things. There are many who are haunted by the chances and the changes of life. H. G. Wells tells how in New York harbor he was once on a liner. It was foggy, and suddenly out of the fog there loomed another liner, and the two ships slid past each other with only yards to spare. He was suddenly face to face with what he called the general large dangerousness of life. It is hard not to worry, for man is characteristically a creature who looks forward to guess and fear. The only end to that worry is the utter conviction that, whatever happens, God’s hand will never cause his child a needless tear. Things will happen that we cannot understand, but if we are sure enough of love, we can accept with serenity even those things which wound the heart and baffle the mind.

What that is all about, if we speak in theological terms, is faith in the sovereignty of God—that God is in control and that he never lets anything come into the lives of one of his children that he has not ordained for that person for his or her ultimate good. A person who really trusts in God’s sovereignty will have a peace that others cannot even comprehend.

Trust in Him

The fourth of the key terms Paul puts together in this verse is faith, or trust as the New International Version has it. Faith is the indispensable channel for blessings, as they come from God but become ours only as we trust in him.

This is not so mysterious. It is simply a matter of believing God when he tells us who he is and what he has done and will continue to do for his people. I am convinced that the most important of all differences between people is precisely at this point, not whether they are intelligent or unintelligent, kind or unkind, joyful or taciturn, people-oriented or loners, but whether or not they will trust God. Christians by very definition are believers; non-Christians are unbelievers. But I mean more than this. I mean that even professing Christians differ fundamentally in regard either to trusting or not trusting God, either believing him or questioning what he says.

In his study of this verse Donald Grey Barnhouse illustrates this by citing the way some Bible critics reacted when so-called errors they believed they had found in the Bible were explained. They began by creating a series of arguments for why intelligent people could no longer trust the Bible—call them arguments A, B, C, and D. These stood for a while because biblical scholarship is slow. Yet as the years went by arguments A and B were refuted by a better knowledge of the Bible and of the times of the writing of the biblical documents. By this time these same unbelieving critics had developed arguments E, F, G, and H. Scholarship crawled on and eventually explained these problems. But now the critics had arguments I, J, K, L, and M. And so it has gone. Eventually they ran out of letters and had to start again!

We might expect that such people would learn from what has happened, but they do not. In the meantime, however, as Barnhouse writes, “While this parade of doubt passes by, there is the quiet march of men of faith who are filled with all joy and peace in believing, because they have been filled by the God of hope who establishes, strengthens and settles them.”

I have often called attention to Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s remark that he was willing to be thought a fool today, knowing that in twenty or thirty years his faith in the Word of God would be vindicated, and chiding those who aspired to seem wise now by attacking the Scriptures but who would look foolish in a decade or so’s time.

Learn to trust God. You will find that as you trust him you will grow stronger in your faith and that you will become ever more firmly settled in the wonderful doctrines taught us in the Bible. Moreover, you will discover something of the perfect joy and peace of believing God. Hymn writer Thomas Kelly (1769–1855) wrote this:

Trust in him, ye saints, forever;

He is faithful, changing never;

Neither force nor guile can sever

Those he loves from him.

Powered by the Holy Spirit

The fifth and last of the great biblical words found in Romans 15:13 is power, in the phrase “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” In the Greek it is the word dynamis, not exousia (which is sometimes also translated as power but actually means authority). It is a power that gets things done.

This phrase reminds us that nothing of any spiritual value is possible in and of ourselves since, as Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We cannot believe unless we are enabled to believe by God (Eph. 2:8). We cannot find peace unless we submit our requests to God by prayer and earnest petition (Phil. 4:6–7). Joy comes only from God and is a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work within (Gal. 5:22). Hope is impossible (Eph. 2:12). But while these blessings are impossible for any of us to achieve by ourselves, everything is possible for God who makes them possible for us and in us by his Spirit’s power. In fact, God promises to bless us in all these ways if we will trust him, and it is for this that Paul is praying in Romans 15.

By ending with a reference to “the power of the Holy Spirit,” the prayer that is our text both begins and ends with God. This is an important point, and it is one that should be familiar to us by now since it is exactly what we found in Romans 11:36, which closed the long doctrinal section of the epistle. It ended with a doxology, the final words of which were:

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Everything in this whole universe begins with God, is accomplished by God’s agency, and exists for God’s glory. But if that is true of the inanimate universe—the world of plants and trees, of suns and planets, of quasars, quarks, and black holes—it is certainly true of salvation. It is true of you, if you are a Christian. You exist because God created you. You believe because he worked faith in you and sustains it in you by the power of his Holy Spirit. He does this that you might live to his glory now and indeed forever.

Left to ourselves we can do nothing. Even as saved people we would fall at the first wisp of temptation or the first blast of Satan’s death-dealing blows. But because God is for us we can stand firm and triumph. That is why Thomas Kelly continues, in the hymn from which I quoted earlier:

Keep us Lord, O keep us cleaving

To thyself and still believing,

Till the hour of our receiving

Promised joys from thee.

Finally, we note that according to our text, all this is so Christians “might overflow with hope.” That is Paul’s emphasis, his conclusion. To put it in temporal sequence: God, who is the source of hope, is asked to fill believers with joy and peace through their learning to trust in him, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit’s working they might overflow with the hope of which God the Father is the source.

This is the fourth mention of hope in this chapter (vv. 4, 12, 13 twice) and the third since verse 12. So obviously it is Paul’s main concern and should be ours also, especially since we live in an age that is so lacking in hope. As I look around me today I sense that people have lost hope in nearly everything. They have no faith in politicians or the economy or justice from the courts or even safety from those authorized to provide it. They do not even have faith in themselves. And they are without God, and therefore there is no hope for them in this world.

What an opportunity for God’s people! Robert Haldane says, “The people of God have high hopes.” Indeed we do. We have divine, uplifting, great, overwhelming, and overpowering hopes. So let’s be hopeful. Abound in hope—and let the world know why.[17]

The Benedictory Intercession

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (15:13)

Paul closes this passage with a beautiful benediction of intercession for all the people of God, not mentioning Jew or Gentile, but addressing the entire, unified Body of Jesus Christ. He petitions the God of hope to graciously fill His people with His divine joy and peace and hope. It expresses the apostle’s deep desire for all believers to have total spiritual satisfaction in their beloved Savior and Lord.

It is essentially the same benediction with which Paul blessed the church at Philippi: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7; cf. 1 Pet. 1:3, 8). It is a prayer for satisfied souls in Christ to know and experience the peace, the hope, the love, the victory, the joy, and the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, who makes them one in Jesus Christ their Lord.[18]

[1] Patterson, P. (2017). Salvation in the Old Testament. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1804). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1639). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2182). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ro 15:13). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ro 15:13). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1453). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] López, R. A. (2010). The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 700). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[8] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1738–1739). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Witmer, J. A. (1985). Romans. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 496). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[10] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, pp. 477–478). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[11] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 701–713). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[12] Bruce, F. F. (1985). Romans: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 6, p. 257). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[13] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). The Pulpit Commentary: Romans (pp. 434–439). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[14] Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 897–900). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[15] Murray, J. (1968). The Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 206–207). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[16] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 216). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[17] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The New Humanity (Vol. 4, pp. 1835–1841). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[18] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, p. 324). Chicago: Moody Press.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 26, 2021


“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last. … A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.” —Alexander Hamilton (1794)

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McConnell Saves Filibuster, Holder Wants SCOTUS Packed

Thomas Gallatin

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday relinquished his demand that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) agree to preserving the filibuster in their power-sharing agreement. With the Senate split 50-50, Schumer had repeatedly rejected McConnell’s demand to agree to preserve the filibuster, which saves minority bargaining power by necessitating a 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. Schumer predictably asserted that he would not allow McConnell and the minority to dictate the terms of sharing power. Clearly, compromise is a term Schumer loves to conflate with “unfair demands.” Unity™.

Irrespective of Schumer’s objections, McConnell got what he wanted. “Two Democrat senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster,” he explained. “They agree with President [Joe] Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation.” Those two Democrat senators are Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). Furthermore, Democrats Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Chris Murphy (CT) have also expressed their misgivings about ending the filibuster with the real possibility of Republicans regaining the majority in 2022.

That isn’t the only battle in the now-Democrat Senate. The hard Left is stumping for court packing and DC statehood. Barack Obama’s bag man, er, Attorney General Eric Holder blasted Democrats for not pushing the issue hard enough. “It is painfully clear Democrats and progressives are uncomfortable with the acquisition and use of power, while Republicans and conservatives never have been,” Holder laughably claimed. (The exact opposite is, of course, the truth.) He then asserted, “Our courts badly need reforms.” Translation: He doesn’t like that Donald Trump appointed a bunch of constitutionalist judges and justices.

Holder’s revisionist history lesson continued as he claimed, “The Republicans have abused their power to give themselves an unfair advantage. It is necessary and totally appropriate to add seats [to the Supreme Court]. … What Mitch McConnell and Republicans have done is create a crisis of legitimacy.” How quickly Holder forgets — or rather intentionally ignores — the fact that it was Democrats who started the Senate down this path. Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), in a blatant power play to enable Barack Obama to politicize the courts in the Democrats’ favor, triggered the “nuclear option,” ending the filibuster over judicial nominations. It was McConnell who warned that the Democrats would come to regret it.

With 62% of the country opposed to packing the Supreme Court, Holder is attempting to browbeat Democrats into seeing this as an essential platform issue. Evidently, anything that undercuts the ability for Republicans to fairly win elections or find success in promoting their own policy agenda should be opposed vigorously because Holder and company are all about “saving American democracy,” or whatever.

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Real Coups and Fake Ones

Douglas Andrews

Yesterday we learned that the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, will open an investigation into whether Donald Trump’s DOJ “engaged in an improper attempt” to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Democrats have been hyperventilating about this non-story for some time now, with some going so far as to say the Trump administration’s efforts amounted to “an attempted coup.”

Got that? In leftist parlance, any effort toward uncovering the truth about a deeply flawed election is “an attempted coup.”

Speaking of attempted coups, though, a couple of real ones took place during the Trump years. As our Mark Alexander has pointed out, both involved the use of deep-state operatives within the FBI and CIA in order to remove Trump from office or, at the very least, cripple his “America First” agenda. One of these coup attempts came via a phony impeachment, while the other came via the Obama administration’s willful spying on the Trump campaign under the false pretense of it having colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. And Obama’s fingerprints were all over that one.

Remarkably, more than four years after the fact, the specific details of this so-called Spygate coup are still being uncovered. But we gained additional insight into the Obama administration’s corruption when, during his last days in office, President Trump ordered the release of a trove of heretofore classified documents.

Those documents, as we noted last week, put to rest any claims that the Obama administration wasn’t spying on the Trump campaign. It was spying, and the FBI’s tasking instructions to longtime FBI informant Stefan Halper, which told him to infiltrate the Trump campaign by posing as someone who wanted to work for the GOP nominee, confirm this beyond a shadow of doubt. After all, a person who secretly collects and reports information on the activities, movements, and plans of an enemy or competitor is the very definition of a spy.

As for the latest revelations, which have come via newly submitted court filings from Special Counsel John Durham on behalf of former Trump campaign associate Carter Page, we learn what we long suspected: that mid-level FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, a Trump hater who doctored an email to hide the fact that Page had been a CIA source and therefore not a Russian asset, didn’t doctor that email in a vacuum.

Others above Clinesmith in the Obama DOJ also knew Page wasn’t working for the Russians. But they kept that information from the FISA court in order to secure a warrant for spying on him — and thus spying on the entire Trump team.

As we wrote back in August, “Clinesmith was a soldier, a guy at the ground level who did the dirty work. He answered to captains such as Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe, who in turn took orders from an underboss, former FBI Director James Comey. And the bosses? The untouchables? The ones with the cutouts to give them plausible deniability? That would be Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.”

So far, Clinesmith is the only Obama-era crook to have faced even a modicum of justice, having pleaded guilty last year to a single count of making false statements. But these new court filings make clear that he didn’t do this alone. (As part of his plea deal, Clinesmith agreed to “be personally debriefed” about “FISA matters and any information he possesses.”)

As Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations reports, “For the past year, defenders of the FBI have consistently downplayed the significance of [Clinesmith’s crime as] a rare lapse in judgment by an overworked bureaucrat. It was not, his apologists say, part of any broader conspiracy to conceal exculpatory information from surveillance court judges. … But such explanations are challenged by new revelations from court papers filed in the case, which some civil libertarians call the most egregious violation and abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) since it was enacted more than 40 years ago.”

Sperry continues, “Several officials within [Clinesmith’s] tightly compartmentalized chain-of-command — including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe [who actually hired Clinesmith], his counselor Lisa Page and counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok — learned of Page’s role with the CIA before they first sought to wiretap him during the 2016 presidential campaign. The CIA had confirmed his role two months earlier in an August 2016 memo it sent to the FBI. And Page’s status as a CIA contact had been documented in the FBI’s own electronic files going back to 2009.”

Yet while all of these Trump haters withheld this crucial information from the FISA court, only the lowly Clinesmith has been fingered. So far.

“It’s a very brazen move doctoring email from another agency; it’s unlikely Clinesmith would have been so brazen if he didn’t know he had protection from above,” said former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker, who served in the FBI’s legal counsel division for two years and is familiar with the role of attorneys like Clinesmith in such national security investigations. “It makes perfect sense from Clinesmith’s guilty plea that McCabe is in legal jeopardy.”

And if McCabe is in legal jeopardy, perhaps others above him are as well.

Keep digging, John Durham. Keep digging.

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Chinese Propaganda at The Wall Street Journal

Nate Jackson

China has emerged as America’s number one geopolitical foe. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that rules China’s 1.4 billion people with an iron fist has designs on global domination. For the most part over the last three decades, the U.S. has allowed that to happen or even contributed to it. But it has not come without a huge price.

Just to pick a random news story from the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic began in China, likely in a Wuhan lab. That isn’t to say the CCP intentionally released the virus, though that is possible. It is to say the ChiComs strategically handled the initial outbreak to their advantage — and our great disadvantage.

China manipulated its puppets at the World Health Organization (WHO) to lie to the world about the pandemic in the early days. As a result, President Donald Trump rightly withdrew from the WHO, only to have President Joe Biden rejoin it on his first day in office. Biden and his crime family are, after all, likewise beholden to Beijing, and his actions don’t always match his sometimes-tough rhetoric.

And this is to say nothing of the way China has increasingly dominated global markets and supply chains since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001.

It is with that background of communist lies and machinations that we come to the Wall Street Journal’s “Saturday Essay” by Greg Ip. The Journal’s news side is, shall we say, not up to the standard of its editorial board. Few examples make that as plain as Ip’s introductory paragraphs, which we’ll quote in full to show the depth of the misinformation upon which he builds his case:

In late 2019, a group of international public health experts set out to assess pandemic preparedness around the world. Using criteria such as early virus detection, speed of response and adherence to international health norms, they ranked the U.S. first, China a distant fifty-first.

The experience with Covid-19, which swept the world shortly after that ranking was published, suggests that the experts got it backward. Among major countries, the U.S. has one of the highest per capita death tolls, China the lowest. The pandemic continues to spread in the U.S. while it remains mostly under control in China except for localized outbreaks.

Covid-19 wasn’t the only area in which China outshone the U.S. in 2020. Its economy managed to grow while the American economy shrank. Its political system grew stronger as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reasserted control over Hong Kong and China’s unruly private sector. Meanwhile, American democracy took a hit as outgoing President Donald Trump sought to overturn last fall’s election, culminating with a group of his followers violently storming the Capitol. Joe Biden took the oath of office this week behind military-style fortifications guarded by troops.

If the U.S. and China are strategic competitors, as both Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden maintain, then judging by the last 12 months, China is winning.

Did Ip get this wording straight from Beijing’s apparatchiks, or does he simply believe China’s propaganda?

Does he think China is honestly reporting COVID deaths? Does he think GDP growth is the sole measure of goodness in an economy? Perhaps, for example, he missed that China is the world’s number one polluter, making the Barack Obama-Joe Biden dream of the Paris climate accord a farce. Or maybe Ip thinks building your economy on genocidal slave labor is what made China “outshine” the U.S. Does he think that China’s political system is enviable because our two-party structure is messy? That crushing dissent in Hong Kong is a model for the U.S.? He certainly complains about the very existence of political disagreement here, as well as our federalist system, which he says is far less “efficient” than China’s “centralized, authoritarian model.” But which country developed two vaccines for the China Virus in record time?

Ip’s pablum is appalling and worthy of China’s state-run People’s Daily, not The Wall Street Journal.

To wit, the Journal’s esteemed editorial board’s Monday offering noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping is, on the one hand, sweet-talking global leaders at Davos this week while threatening Taiwan with a show of military force. “Mr. Xi said in his speech that ‘the strong should not bully the weak,’ but that admonition doesn’t seem to apply to his own government,” the editors write. “‘We should stay committed to international law and international rules, instead of seeking one’s own supremacy,’ he added. Tell that to the people of Hong Kong who were promised autonomy through 2047 in a treaty Beijing signed with Britain but are now being arrested for even mild political dissent.”

Speaking of bullying the weak, Xi sent a warning to Biden while in Davos: “To build small circles or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to willfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, to create isolation or estrangement, will only push the world into division and even confrontation.”

One sign of Biden’s early acquiescence is killing the Keystone XL pipeline, ostensibly to fight climate change. But doing so simply means Canada will be selling more oil to China. Maybe Ip thinks that’s just China “outshining” the U.S.

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The First Amendment Really Was at Stake

Harold Hutchison

Along with bulk-mail ballots, failure to follow election law, and disregard for the Constitution, the infighting among conservatives played a large part in President Donald Trump’s failed reelection bid. Many intelligent conservatives who chose to vote for Trump despite his flaws were absolutely correct about leftists’ hatred for conservatives. Yet some conservatives who’ve always opposed Trump on character and personality grounds chose instead to make false allegations to the contrary.

The Dispatch’s David French is a prime example. The former National Review contributor, Iraq war veteran, and Never-Trumper who briefly pondered his own independent presidential bid claims that the stakes of the 2016 and 2020 elections were overstated in terms of American and religious institutions. In other words, a victory by Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden did not pose a threat serious enough to justify supporting Trump. In this case, French was clearly very wrong, in the most charitable of takes. At worst, he was gaslighting grassroots Patriots into ignoring clear and present dangers.

When we discussed the clear differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton near the end of the 2016 election, we noted that one of the biggest issues was freedom of speech. Let’s recap some of what was publicly known around election day:

  • The Internal Revenue Service targeted the Tea Party, and there was no meaningful accountability.
  • In Wisconsin, rogue prosecutors targeted conservative activists with “John Doe” investigations.
  • State attorneys general sought to weaponize RICO to go after opponents of the Left’s environmental policies.
  • The Federal Election Commission was opening the door to target conservative media and talk radio.
  • Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent out an email stating Breitbart News had “no right to exist.”
  • The state of California was trying to hijack the voice of crisis pregnancy centers to force them to promote abortion.

So, at the time of Trump’s first presidential campaign, the First Amendment was clearly at stake, and nothing has changed since then. If anything, the threats have gotten worse.

You don’t have to like Fox News, Breitbart, Newsmax, or OANN to recognize that under the First Amendment, they have a right to operate. They are news outlets that break news, feature commentary, and act no differently from CNN or MSNBC. The difference is their perspective. For the government to retaliate against them for their reporting or commentary is completely at odds with the First Amendment.

Once again, the evidence is very clear: The First Amendment was on the ballot in 2016 and 2020. In 2016, Americans gained a reprieve with President Trump’s win. Now, in the wake of 2020, the Left seeks to silence dissenting voices, in conjunction with reporters from mainstream media outlets, like CNN’s Oliver Darcy, who eagerly want to silence competing outlets. David French can claim other priorities all he wants, but again, you can see the pattern with your own eyes that the First Amendment has been at stake these last two presidential elections against a radical Left that has decided that silencing opposition is the way you win debates.

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The Most Violent Year Ever

Douglas Andrews

From the Left’s perspective, the most useful feature of the January 6 Capitol riot is the pretense it provided for cracking down on the Right. Cheered on by Democrats and their mainstream media wingmen, the Big Tech speech suppressors could do so under the guise of fighting “domestic terrorism.” And for oligarchs like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, what better excuse for silencing those with whom they disagree politically?

A less consequential but no less convenient byproduct of the riot, though, is the distraction it’s provided from any discussion about the appalling violence of the year just past and the Left’s undeniable role in it.

Just how bad was it? “The year 2020 likely saw the largest percentage increase in homicides in American history,” writes Heather Mac Donald in The Wall Street Journal. “Murder was up nearly 37% in a sample of 57 large and medium-size cities. Based on preliminary estimates, at least 2,000 more Americans, most of them black, were killed in 2020 than in 2019. Mainstream media and many politicians claim the pandemic caused this bloodbath, but the chronology doesn’t support that assertion. And now the criminal-justice policies supported by President [Joe] Biden promise to exacerbate the current crime wave, while ignoring its actual causes.”

The theory put forth by leftists — that the pandemic made ‘em do it — is as rooted in outright idiocy as it is in denial of the data. They point to the social and economic stresses brought about by lockdowns and mask mandates and shuttered businesses and social distancing. But this doesn’t account for the specific spike in violence that began in the last days of May and carried on into early June in big cities across the country. It’s a spike that provides a perfect overlay to the death while in police custody of a career criminal named George Floyd, followed by a nationwide orgy of burning, looting, and unchecked mayhem.

As we noted back in early July, the cops were immediately demonized as systemically racist. To a (white) man, they were guilty of having put their collective knee on George Floyd’s neck. As Mac Donald put it at the time, “Today’s violent-crime increase — call it Ferguson Effect 2.0 or the Minneapolis Effect — has come on with a speed and magnitude that make Ferguson 1.0 seem tranquil. George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May was justly condemned — but the event has now spurred an outpouring of contempt against the pillars of law and order that has no precedent in American history.”

So the Left smears law enforcement as systemically racist, and the cops naturally stand down, and the violent thugs naturally step up. And the people disproportionately victimized by all this violence? Poor urban blacks.

As Mac Donald now writes, “The calculus for engagement has changed. An Oakland, Calif., officer who has arrested dozens of known murderers and gang members over his career tells me he is scared for the first time, ‘not because the criminals are necessarily more violent, even though they are.’ But if he has to use force on a resisting suspect, he could lose his career, his life, or his liberty, he says. A ‘simple cost-benefit analysis’ recommends simply responding to calls for service and collecting a paycheck. ‘All cops now understand this.’”

There’s no hope on the horizon, either — at least not for inner-city blacks. The violence of 2020 has rolled seamlessly into 2021 and, as Mac Donald notes, “The Biden Justice Department will treat disparate stop or arrest rates as evidence of police bias and seek to put as many police departments as possible under costly consent decrees [i.e., court-ordered reform plans].”

If black lives really mattered to the Black Lives Matter movement, its leaders and adherents would dispense with the lies about racist cops, acknowledge the awful toll of black-on-black crime, and work to help improve policing in minority communities rather than eliminating it.

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Trump’s Legacy: Political Impact

Nate Jackson

If there’s one thing you can say about Donald Trump, it’s that he motivates people. On the one hand, he motivates love and devotion that, for some folks, borders on cultish sycophancy. On the other hand, he provokes incoherent and sometimes violent wrath and hatred. We might argue that both extremes are manifestations of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Fortunately, the vast majority of Americans fall somewhere in the middle. They understand that Trump is a mixed bag of both good and bad, not a 2D caricature of either unblemished hero or unredeemable villain.

Before we get to where things stand for him and Republicans politically, let’s take a brief walk down memory lane. Trump spent most of his life as a wealthy New York City Democrat with fashionably liberal views about most things. Abortion? Generally for it. Guns? Generally against them. On the economy? “I probably identify more as a Democrat,” he once said. His personal life was a tabloid, and more has been learned since then. It was these “New York values” that led us and millions of other principled conservatives to oppose a New York Democrat’s attempt to win the Republican nomination in 2016. We didn’t trust him — because he hadn’t earned that trust. (On the policy front, he largely did earn trust in the ensuing four years.)

In 2015 and early 2016, we spent months warning that this ace card of anger affirmation was a loose cannon who presented taxing questions and a big character problem. We cautioned that the Leftmedia helped push him to the forefront because it thought he’d lose and bring down other Republicans with him. (Now it’s made him the face of supposedly detestable and racist policies, and his off-putting character makes that easier.)

Nevertheless, in a crowded GOP field, Trump won the nomination despite failing to win a majority of Republican voters. We spent time analyzing his appeal to disaffected grassroots folks who hated the GOP establishment as much as they hated the Left. There were millions of Americans who were tired of being told by the elites of both parties to shut up and get in line. They were sick of Republican officeholders promising things on immigration, jobs, and such, while only doing what the donor class wanted. And they no longer wanted milquetoast nice guys who’d just lose to the Democrat in November; they wanted a fighter.

For these Americans, Donald Trump, the blue-collar billionaire, spoke their language, and they wanted him to send a message to the power brokers in the swamp, a wrecking ball to the facade of “norms” that protected powerful hypocrites.

For the rest of the party, when it became clear that it was him or Hillary Clinton, the choice became obvious: It was time to back Trump.

He then won the 2016 election despite failing to win a majority of voters. Thank goodness for the Founders’ wisdom in establishing the Electoral College! But then he lost the 2020 election while again failing to win a majority of voters — in fact, even though he increased his vote total by more than 11 million, his margin of defeat grew.

Despite all his success, his most devoted supporters might take a moment to ponder why Trump has never won a majority of voters.

The answer can be boiled down to something simple: The people who love him are outnumbered by the people who hate him.

Now, don’t get us wrong. There are millions of Americans who judged Trump on the merits of his policies and not on (sometimes extreme) views of his personality. It should go without saying that we’re not in the category of people who hate Trump. Despite allegations from some of his most devoted followers, we’re not “Never-Trumpers.” We spent more than four years writing hundreds of articles advocating his policies, defending even his sometimes bizarre statements, and rejecting the arguments of those who opposed him, all while blanching at his Twitter account and his frustrating fratricidal attacks.

This author has recently written three “legacy” articles detailing what a great success Trump’s presidency actually was — with voter appeal and with both foreign and domestic policy. It was a load of achievements, and we noted them regularly.

But Donald Trump is not above criticism, which we’ve occasionally given when merited by his behavior. When all is said and done — and, yes, despite the Democrats’ bulk-mail ballot fraud — the manifold faults and flaws of Donald Trump the man are the real reason he lost. Those who love him would vehemently disagree, of course, while canceling us for heresy with a few choice words to boot.

Nevertheless, we began this review by stating a core truth that should be obvious to everyone: Many people love Trump; many more hate his guts.

That, in a nutshell, is why we had to offer two responses for the occasional reader who chooses to unsubscribe from our humble journal: “Too pro-Trump” and “Too anti-Trump” are both available options, and for most of the last four years it’s been a pretty equal number of both. That tells us we’re doing our job.

Beyond our own endeavor, however, that division is a good indicator of the deep problem facing the Republican Party in the years ahead. How can Republicans win votes when half the party is outraged at the other half and demanding their cancellation? Some Republicans are establishment globalists who’ve betrayed average Americans, while other Republicans are conspiracy kooks who have no business in polite society. So the two sides see each other.

Stuck in the middle are those of us who just want solid conservative policy and constitutionally limited government without the theatrics and hysterics. We happen to think — or at least hope — that still defines a majority of GOP voters.

We also think that once tempers cool after the events of the last two months, reconciliation is possible. But it’s going to involve some compromises.

First of all, Trump’s agenda is well worth keeping, and the millions of Americans who benefited from it know that. Thus, thanks to Trump’s work, the establishment can no longer ignore the grassroots. Constitutionalist judges, low taxes, reduced regulation, well-managed immigration, smart foreign engagement, appeals to minorities and the poor, and a focus on putting America and Americans first — all of that should have broad appeal, because it works, it’s fair, and it’s constitutional.

The trick is going to be packaging those policies in a way that still appeals to fans of Trump the man despite his absence while avoiding the stigma of Trump among his detractors when Democrats will do everything they can to brand conservative policies with Trump’s hated name. That was their primary agenda with impeaching him over the Capitol riot. And that’s to say nothing of the roiling animosity between and among Republican voters.

Will the establishment quit betraying the grassroots? Will the grassroots even show up to vote GOP ever again? Will Trump run again, simply become a kingmaker, or start a third party? Probably not the last one, but no matter what, Trump looms large.

All we can say to Republicans right now is, “Good luck.”

If there’s one thing all people on the Right should be thankful for, it’s that Trump fully exposed the gross hypocrisy and anti-American hatred so rampant on the Left. He revealed the Leftmedia and its incendiary fake news to be the real enemy of the people. He showed Democrats to be rank hypocrites who regularly eviscerate the “norms” of American politics, as well as conspiracy kooks in their own right who would spin a totally fake yarn just to take down a duly elected president.

The mask is off, and everyone can see the ugliness underneath. Leftists didn’t take that kindly, of course, and the fight has escalated in both tenor and stakes.

The bottom line: Donald Trump permanently changed the course and makeup of the GOP, and perhaps Democrats too. But if Republicans don’t take a lesson from Trump about how to fight the Left, then they may as well fold up the tents and go home.

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Jordan Candler

Government & Politics

  • Rule by decree: Joe Biden sets record with at least 21 executive orders in first week (Breitbart)
  • House Democrats deliver latest Trump impeachment charge to the Senate (Examiner) | “Nastiest Democrat” Patrick Leahy will preside over impeachment (Power Line)

Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over the first trial, values precedent above anything else. Thus, his opting out is emblematic of the unconstitutional reality of this sham trial.

  • Senate confirms Janet Yellen as treasury secretary (UPI)
  • Supreme Court throws out lawsuit alleging Trump profited illegally from presidency (Post Millennial)
  • “It has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock”: Ohio Senator Rob Portman not running for reelection in 2022 (Fox News)
  • Biden admin to “speed up” efforts to place Harriet Tubman on $20 bill honor gun-wielding Republican who freed Democrat slaves (National Review)


  • New York Times claims Dr. Fauci has “commitment to hard facts” after he admitted to paper he lied about herd immunity (Fox News) | By the way: Fauci is the highest paid employee in the federal government (Forbes)
  • Twitter launches “Birdwatch,” a community to help moderate misinformation police free speech (Gizmodo)

National Security

  • Unity! Biden officially ends Trump’s ban on troops suffering from gender dysphoria (American Military News)
  • Thousands of National Guard troops to remain in DC for Trump impeachment trial (Examiner)
  • Testing Biden: For second straight day, China provokes Taiwan — and the U.S. (NY Post)

Odds & Ends

  • Moderna says its vaccine is effective in blocking new COVID strains (UPI)
  • Globally, job losses from coronavirus were four times as bad as the 2009 financial crisis (AP)
  • And not a minute too soon: Seattle police chief announces tougher policy of prosecuting anarchists (Seattle Times)
  • Ironic: Baltimore “Safe Streets” gun control advocate shot and killed (TTAG)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: The Left wants to transform and nationalize our election system (Daily Signal)
  • Policy: The Biden administration seems determined to run the country on the ruinous model of the Golden State (City Journal)
  • Humor: Kamala sneaks a “Do Not Resuscitate” order in Biden’s stack of executive orders (Genesius Times)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit Headline Report.

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Exposing Facebook’s ‘Fact-Checkers’ — Who are these “fact-checkers” employed by Big Tech to censor conservative speech? These people WANT to lie to you. They know they’re lying to you.

If Walls Work at the Capitol, How About at the Border? — MRCTV took to the streets at President Joe Biden’s inauguration to talk to people about fences and armed guards. Apparently, walls and armed guards work at the Capitol, but not at the border.




For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.


Insight: “If it be admitted that a man, possessing absolute power, may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should a majority not be liable to the same reproach? Men are not apt to change their character by agglomeration; nor does their patience in the presence of obstacles increase with the consciousness of their strength.” —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

For the record: “Impeachment 1.0, the 2021 edition is badly conceived, poorly executed, and likely to produce precisely what the first round did: results 180 degrees contrary to the objectives that impeachment supporters say they want. … I predict that a sufficient number of Senate Republicans will conclude that their chamber lacks jurisdiction… Felicitations to all who participate. Let’s not do it again soon.” —John Bolton

Upright: “The foundation of any country that’s getting any society that’s going to progress is going to be built on the notion of freedom — freedom of expression, freedom of thought. We’ve been having a decay of that for quite some time. I mean, it’s not a new concept. Like I said, it is Orwellian. I mean, people have written about this for many decades and have warned against it. The notion that people are now saying we have to reprogram people to think the way we want them to think is scary. I don’t care which side of the aisle you’re on. It should be something we can come out and say, ‘Hey, this is wrong.’” —actor Ilan Srulovicz

Defying the Constitution: “A state may not require an individual to provide any form of identification as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot. … A state(s) may not require notarization or a witness signature or other formal authentication (other than voter attestation) as a condition of obtaining or casting an absentee ballot.” —Democrat zombie bill HR 1, stipulating that the federal government will have the power to set universal regulations regarding voter-identity requirements in order to implement universal bulk-mail balloting

Braying jackass: “Trump and his people, conservative outlets like Fox News, and then conservative websites and organizations aligned with the president and conservative platforms — these three pillars of this disinformation industrial complex essentially helped put Trump in power, kept him in power, sustained his grip on the Republican Party, and it remains a threat to our democracy. And until that poison, that toxin, is drained from the national political discourse in this country … I do think that these forces represent a potential existential threat to this country.” —CNN’s Jim Acosta (Isn’t this the kind of hateful political rhetoric that should get CNN banned from social media?)

Non compos mentis: “I think it might be a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency. … Then he can do many, many things under the emergency powers of the president … that he could do without legislation. Now, Trump used this emergency for a stupid wall, which wasn’t an emergency. But if there ever was an emergency, climate is one.” —Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

And last… “Is it too late to impeach George Washington for owning slaves? I don’t see how we can let that slide.” —Scott Adams

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“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)

26 Jan 2021 – News Briefing

Last week the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) admitted to bulk purchasing commercially available U.S. smartphone location data and using it to search the movements of Americans. In a memo provided to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), obtained by the New York Times, the DIA confirmed it has a database of U.S. phone location data, which it has used five times in the past two-and-a-half years since the database was established.

Democrats Have Released A Roadmap To One-Party Rule
The Democrats appear intent on instituting one-party rule in the United States. They’re trying to use the U.S. Capitol riots as an excuse to criminalize dissent and banish conservative voices from the public sphere, and at the same time they’re hoping to use their temporary, razor-thin majority in Congress to rewrite the rules governing our elections in a way designed to keep the Democratic Party entrenched in power for decades to come.

Leon Black Steps Down As Apollo CEO After Review Finds He Paid Jeffrey Epstein $158 Million
Over the past year and a half, Apollo CEO and founder Leon Black had been caught in a web of allegations that he was “too close” to suicided and disgraced pedophile Jeffrey Epstein after it emerged Black had paid Epstein $158 million after he was released from jail. And while Black published a letter in which he admitted that “it was a terrilble mistake” to associated with Epstein and “like many people I respected, I decided to give Epstein a second chance,”

Apple Paid Lobbyist To ‘Educate Policymakers’ Regarding Bill To Stop Uighur Slave Labor
Apple, the trillion dollar tech company, paid a consulting firm $90,000 to “educate policymakers” regarding a bill that would prohibit U.S. companies from using forced labor of Uighur Muslims in China, according to lobbying disclosure reports filed on Friday. Apple paid two consulting firms for work on the House version of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the lobbying reports. The company paid $90,000 to Invariant LLC and the same amount to Fierce Government Relations, the records show.

As Thousands Die From COVID on His Watch, Biden Vows to ‘Speed Up’ Efforts to Redesign $20 Bill
Nearly 18,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 on President Joe Biden’s watch—the equivalent of 7.5 Pearl Harbor attacks. In response, the Biden administration on Monday vowed to “speed up” efforts to redesign the $20 bill.

New phase in anti-terror op launched in eastern Turkey
A new phase of Turkey’s domestic counter-terrorism operation has been launched in the country’s east, expanding the country’s fight against terrorists, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday. Operation Eren-3 is moving forward in the Mt. Agri (English Mt. Ararat) region of the eastern Agri province with 59 operational teams, including over 1,000 personnel from the gendarmerie, police, and village guards.

Tulsi Gabbard asks Joe Biden: ‘Have you declared martial law?’
With the National Guard now expected to remain in the nation’s capital during the second impeachment trial of former President Trump through March, a former congresswoman is asking President Joe Biden if he has declared martial law. “President @JoeBiden, have you declared martial law? Because that is what it’s starting to look and feel like. Let our troops get back home to their families,” Tulsi Gabbard tweeted on Monday.

63 people who received second vaccine dose contracted COVID-19
The Ministry of Health on Monday evening published data regarding cases of coronavirus that were discovered in people after they received the second dose of the vaccine. Of the 428,000 people for whom a week has passed since they received their second vaccination, 63 have contracted the virus.

Iran’s Zarif urges Biden to act first in returning US to nuclear deal
Iran urged new US President Joe Biden on Friday to “choose a better path” by returning to a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers, but said the opportunity would be lost if Washington insists on further Iranian concessions up front.

Second wave of locusts striking hard-hit East Africa
A second wave of desert locust swarms has begun striking an already hard-hit East Africa in recent weeks after heavy rains and a late-season cyclone sparked a new round of breeding, with swarms invading Kenya and southern Ethiopia

Recent Chinese military moves pose big questions for new US administration
Taiwan reported a “large incursion of Chinese warplanes for a second day running,” the BBC reported. Some 15 aircraft flew near Pratas Island in the northern part of the South China Sea administered by Taiwan. From Beijing’s perspective, it is merely flying over areas it claims.

F-35s caught by Hezbollah TV over Lebanon in rare operational flight
Israeli F-35s are never seen in combat, but on Monday they seemed to have been captured by a Lebanese photographer patrolling the skies over Lebanon.

REPORT: Arab Countries’ Support for PA Dropped 81% in 2020
A recent report showed that support from Arab countries for the Palestinian Authority dropped 81.5% in 2020. A closer look reveals that the situation for the PA is much worse than even that.

Syrian Arab Army forces position themselves on Mount Hermon – report
The Armed Forces, the land body of the Syrian Arab Army, were spotted on the Lebanese side of Mount Hermon in the north of Israel on Monday night, Syrian state-media reported. The Syrian Army is under the directive of President Bashar Assad and consists largely of Sunni Muslims. Recently, reports have surfaced of both Israeli and Syrian airstrikes in areas close to the border.

China to conduct military drills in South China Sea amid tensions with U.S.
China said on Tuesday it will conduct military exercises in the South China Sea this week, just days after Beijing bristled at a U.S. aircraft carrier group’s entry into the disputed waters. A notice issued by the country’s Maritime Safety Administration prohibited entry into a portion of waters in the Gulf of Tonkin to the west of the Leizhou peninsula in southwestern China from Jan. 27 to Jan. 30…

Blast shakes Riyadh three days after projectile intercepted
A loud explosion shook Riyadh on Tuesday three days after the kingdom intercepted a projectile fired over the Saudi capital. No immediate reaction came from Saudi Arabia, which has come under repeated missile or drone attacks from Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen since 2015. The blast rattled windows across the Saudi capital at about 1pm (10:00 GMT), witnesses said.

Jordan demands Israel end Al-Aqsa ‘provocations’
Jordan urged Israel on Monday to stop blocking restoration work at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site. Jordanian foreign ministry spokesman Daifallah Alfayez said he had sent a “protest note” demanding Israel “refrain from such violations and provocations, and respect the mandate of Jordan in administering Muslim holy sites.”

US exploring new bases in Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensions
The U.S. military is exploring the possibility of using a Red Sea port in Saudi Arabia and an additional two airfields in the kingdom amid heightened tensions with Iran, the military said Tuesday. While describing the work as “contingency” planning, the U.S. military said it already has tested unloading and shipping cargo overland from Saudi Arabia’s port at Yanbu, a crucial terminal for oil pipelines in the kingdom.

House Delivers Impeachment Article To Senate But Biden Doesn’t Think Trump Will Be Convicted
“The outcome would be different if Trump had six months left in his term…”

Californian dies hours after getting COVID-19 vaccine, prompting probe
A California resident who was vaccinated against COVID-19 died just hours later — and authorities are trying to find out why.

Storm Hortense hits Mallorca with wind gusts up to 170 km/h (105 mph), Spain
Storm Hortense left a trail of destruction after it made landfall in Mallorca, Spain on January 23, 2021. Significant damage was reported across the island and at least 2 people were injured.

Prof to give talk on ‘demilitarizing whiteness’ so white people can ‘become human’
The narratives springing forth about the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6 are becoming more and more inventive.

BREAKING: Trump issues statement, establishes “Office of the Former President”
Moments ago the office of former President Trump released the following statement: According to the release “the Office of the Former President” will manage Trump’s correspondence, public statements, appearance and official activities, according to a press release from the office. “President Trump will always and forever be a champion for the American People,” the release adds.

All states need to immediately enact a vaccine bill of rights
The rollout of “Operation Warp Speed” Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines is now in full swing, and it appears as though getting jabbed will eventually become a requirement in order to travel, keep a job, buy food, and conduct business. There is still time to prevent this nightmarish dystopia from happening, though.

SPAIN UNDER ATTACK! Illegal alien, military-aged Muslim invaders form Africa, many of whom are infected with COVID-19, storm border fence
In the early hours of the morning, 150 potentially dangerous Muslim invaders stormed Spain’s border fence in Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa bordering Morocco.

States eye allowing concealed carry of guns without a permit
Republican lawmakers in several more states want to loosen gun restrictions by allowing people to carry concealed firearms without having to get a permit, continuing a trend that gun control advocates call dangerous.

Christian Church Bombed in California, Media Blames Church For Preaching Traditional Marriage
If you saw the headlines for the story about what took place at the First Works Baptist Church in El Monte, California you wouldn’t have thought it was as alarming as it turns out to be.  At first, when you read the headline you thought it was just a minor incident, maybe punk kids screwing around with fireworks.  But it wasn’t fireworks, rather, it was a real hate crime.

British Broadcasting Company Releases Program Aimed At Prepubescent Children Teaching That There Are More Than ‘100 Genders’ Available Now
We warned you about 8 years ago that the global LGBTQ+ P for Pedophile Movement was recruiting children, and we received all kinds of hate mail telling us how wrong and mean we were to say such things. But the reality is that the LGBTQ+ people are making a very strong pitch for recruiting children to their doctrine, as we see here in this BBC ‘special’ that is aimed at very young children to fill their heads with ridiculous ideas about changing their gender.

Well, it appears that another Democrat has been caught on camera where he seemingly has been outed as a Chinese dictator super fan.

The trigger for the military to move against Biden (you won’t like this)
A lot of people won’t want to hear today’s Situation Update, even though it still delivers many action items and justification for optimism. What people want to hear are instant solutions: “Joe Biden will be removed by Saturday” or “there will be a new election on March 4th under the restored republic.”

Twitter Launches ‘Birdwatch’, A Liberal ‘Fact Checking’ Feature Designed To ‘Combat Misinformation’ But Is Actually Meant To Silence Christians And Conservatives
Not content with their silencing and censoring the views and opinions of people like Donald Trump, Twitter now turns to the Twitterverse to enlist them to do their dirty work for them. Censorship will become a group effort, where no opinion will be allowed except for the opinion of the group. This is exactly what George Orwell warned would happen one day in America, that day is now here. Check out this bible verse written over 3,000 years ago by the wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon, it’s almost like he could see the future.

MOTB UPDATE: Get Ready To Get One Step Closer To The Mark Of The Beast With FacePay Biometric Currency That Uses Your Face To Buy And Sell
Today on our Prophecy News Podcast, we talked about the aims and goals of something called The Fourth Industrial Revolution, a paradigm shift currently underway right now by the New World Order heavyweights like Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum. As you read this, Davos 2021 is busy mapping out our short-term global future, and it includes lovely little goodies like biometric currency known as FacePay. Currently it’s all the rage in Europe and Asia, and as the old saying goes, coming soon to a theater near you. Or in you. Yep, that’s the plan.

Fauci Pledges New Admin’s Commitment To Taxpayer-Funded Abortion
Dr. Anthony Fauci pledged the new administration’s aggressive pursuit of gender equity, including abortions funded by American taxpayers, after President Joe Biden rejoined the Chinese-dominated World Health Organization (WHO) last week.

Godiva Closing All US Stores On Plunging Sales
“Of course, this decision was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hard-working chocolatiers who will be impacted.”

Xi Warns Biden & Globe Against ‘New Cold War’ In Davos Opener As Pundits Tout “Great Reset”
Great Reset or a Threat?… “to build small circles or start a new cold war, threaten or intimidate others, willfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions” will push the world into “division or even confrontation.”

Source: 26 Jan 2021 – Rapture Ready

Headlines – 1/26/2021

Biden’s top security advisor tells Israeli counterpart he aims to build on accords

As Israelis Flock To UAE, They See A New Precedent: Peace Deals Without Giving Ground

How the Arab spring engulfed the Middle East – and changed the world

Syria war: 20,000 abandon tents after floods inundate camps

India, China soldiers brawl again along disputed frontier

China’s Xi warns Davos World Economic Forum against ‘new Cold War’

How Space Became the Next ‘Great Power’ Contest Between the U.S. and China

China says U.S. military in South China Sea not good for peace

Rep. Tom McClintock: Joe Biden Calls for Unity While Accepting ‘Vindictive’ Impeachment of Trump

Trump impeachment heads to US Senate, but chances of conviction are slim

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul slams Trump’s impeachment again, calls it ‘political theater’

Democratic senator presiding over Trump impeachment trial pledges impartiality despite call to convict

Republicans object after Sen. Leahy announces he, not Chief Justice Roberts, will preside over impeachment trial

Eric Swalwell, prolific tweeter who had ties to Chinese spy, brings political baggage as impeachment manager

Alan Dershowitz: Lawless Congress ‘a Total Mess’

Thousands of Guard troops to stay in Washington as threats target lawmakers ahead of impeachment trial

US Supreme Court puts end to attempts to sue Trump for profiting from presidency

Trump Creates ‘Office of the Former President’ to Advance US Interests, Carry on Trump Admin Agenda

Trump Campaign Disavows Notice Linking Him to ‘Patriot Party’

Biden Faces Backlash Across Country For Canceling Keystone XL Pipeline

Hawley calls for ethics investigation into Dems who filed complaint against him

DOJ Watchdog Probes if Justice Department Officials Sought to Alter Election Results

Trump lawyer Giuliani faces $1.3 billion lawsuit over ‘big lie’ election fraud claims

Senator Rand Paul, Likely Citing Georgia, Says Secretaries of State Violated Constitution in 2020 Election

Rand Paul Refuses to Say Election Wasn’t Stolen, Blames Media for Saying ‘We’re All Liars’

Sen. Rand Paul clashes with ABC’s Stephanopoulos: ‘You’re forgetting who you are as a journalist!’

After a string of censorship scandals, Twitter launches ‘birdwatch’ initiative to combat ‘misinformation’

House Republicans demand that any FBI investigation into Parler’s role in the Capitol riot must probe Facebook and Twitter, too

Rupert Murdoch Condemns ‘Awful Woke Orthodoxy’ and Social Media ‘Censorship’ in Speech

‘The Walking Dead’ actor Ilan Srulovicz talks cancel culture, media censorship: ‘It is Orwellian’

Citing Political Division, Russell Moore Calls the Church to ‘Recover the Credibility of Our Witness’

A Telegram Bot Is Selling Stolen Facebook User Info for $20 a Pop

Forget 5G, record-breaking laser signal from satellite could be key to faster smartphones, technology

Twilight fireball over Belgium

Over 68 earthquakes recorded near Rotorua, New Zealand

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Ishigaki, Japan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Leava, Wallis and Futuna

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Neiafu, Tonga

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Hengchun, Taiwan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 20,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Storm Hortense hits Mallorca with wind gusts up to 170 km/h (105 mph), Spain

Rare thundersnow impacts wide swaths of UK

Massive locust swarms attack Saudi Arabia, bigger invasion ongoing in the Horn of Africa

Apollo CEO Leon Black to Step Down Following Review of Jeffrey Epstein Ties

U.K. university creates protections for ‘student sex workers’

New bill would decriminalize, support sex workers in New York

Man Brutally Beaten and Slashed by 12 People in Broad Daylight in NYC Chinatown

15-year-old girl’s killing shown on social media

Rep. Crenshaw on Biden lifting transgender military ban: ‘People should serve openly’

Biden Signs Transgender Rights Order Forcing Schools to Allow Boys in Girls’ Sports

Feminists: Biden Gender Identity Order ‘Unprecedented Attack on Women’s Rights and Liberty for Everybody’

President Biden Reinstates Race-Based ‘Diversity Training’ in the Federal Government

Biden attends mass at DC church that prayed for dignity of the unborn

Pope Benedict ‘to spark downfall of Vatican’ as major concerns over Francis’ health emerge

Florida offers to host Olympics if Tokyo backs out: state official

Italy’s Prime Minister Conte Resigns Amid Struggle Against Covid-19 and Recession

Violence erupts in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods over coronavirus restrictions

Facebook suspends Netanyahu’s chatbot for seeking to ID unvaccinated Israelis

Amazon’s offering to help Biden’s vaccine push – could help the company boost its own ambitions of expanding into the $3.8 trillion health care marketplace

Hollywood Elite in COVID-19 Vaccine Scramble: ‘It’s the Hunger Games Out There’

Moderna says it’s working on Covid booster shot for variant in South Africa, says current vaccine provides some protection

FDA: Death, heart attacks, stroke, blood disorders all possible side effects of COVID vaccine

Cats and dogs may need COVID vaccines to curb spread, scientists say

COVID-Sniffing Dogs To Screen Fans At Miami Heat Games

Psaki claims it’s not ‘fair’ to say Biden called Trump’s COVID travel ban ‘xenophobic’

Chinese Media: COVID Originated in U.S. Military Lab

Hong Kong Locals Slam Lockdown as Political Show to Please Beijing

Oxygen Scarcity Swells Covid-19’s Death Toll

Billionaires thriving as poor suffer in widening COVID-19 divide

Bubble Fears Everywhere But All Investors Can Do Is Keep Buying

The Dollar’s Crash Is Only Just Beginning

Bitcoin Is Braced For A Huge $4 Billion Price Earthquake This Week

Source: Tracking the Birth Pangs – News and Links (trackingbibleprophecy.org)

Apostasy Watch Tuesday 1-26-21

Harry Ironside – What Does It Mean to Be Justified Before God?

Bethel Pastor Describes God ‘Losing His Virgnity’ By Having Sex with Congregation

Brothers Reveal Rev. Michael Pfleger (Obama’s Moral Compass) Molested Them as Teens

Montreal police break up gatherings at three synagogues

Biden officially ends Trump’s ban on transgender troops

Missouri becomes first state in US to no longer perform abortions

S.Dakota’s Kristi Noem Introduces Bill to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome Diagnoses

Christian leaders demand Cuban authorities release pastor arrested for leading ‘illegal’ church

Source: Daily News and Commentary (apostasywatch.com)

This Is the Racist Past of the Democratic Party They Are Hiding

Leftist historians have challenged me to provide one single example of a progressive textbook that conceals the deep complicity of the Democratic Party in slavery, segregation and racism. So here I provide two! For full podcast: WATCH: https://rumble.com/vd94zj-erasing-history-dinesh-dsouza-podcast-ep11.html?mref=23gga&mc=8uxj1 LISTEN: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dinesh-dsouza-podcast/id1547827376 — Dinesh D’Souza is an author and filmmaker.