Daily Archives: February 10, 2021

February 10 Evening Quotes of The Day

“But by a Miracle of Grace”
Ephesians 2:4–9; Mark 7:21–22

Surely corruption is ingrained in our hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk deep into our souls, and will never be cured but by a miracle of grace.


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

Apparitions Are Delusions of the Devil
Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:3–14; Isaiah 8:19–20; 19:3; 2 Corinthians 11:14

That which is recorded of the spirits or souls of the dead sometimes appearing to those who are alive, and craving certain duties of them whereby they may be set free: we count those apparitions among the delusions, crafts, and deceits of the devil, who, as he can transform himself into an angel of light, so he labors tooth and nail either to overthrow the true faith or else to call it into doubt.


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

2020 Election Fiasco Favored Democrats, So Now Congress Is Working To Make Sloppiness Permanent

A new bill seeks to grant Democrats the power to overhaul state election processes and grant Congress “ultimate supervisory power over federal elections.”

Source: 2020 Election Fiasco Favored Democrats, So Now Congress Is Working To Make Sloppiness Permanent

February 10 Evening Verse of the Day

1:16 Why might someone be ashamed of the gospel? On the surface, the gospel seems like a very strange message. It is about a Jewish carpenter and teacher who was put to death on a cross by Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea in AD 26–36. The message says that this man Jesus was raised from the dead and is now Lord—the (Gk) kurios. This title was used of God in the Greek Bible and was applied to the emperor by some Romans. Paul himself wrote that this message seemed foolish to Gentiles (1Co 1:23) and was a stumbling block to Jews. A crucified Messiah seemed to be a contradiction in terms to the Jews. A crucified Jew seemed like foolishness to the Romans, who despised Jews in general. Anyone who was crucified was considered among the lowest members of society. Paul had no confidence in his rhetorical skills to overcome the human objections to the message, but he knew the power of the Spirit to change the lives of people as they heard the good news about Jesus’s death and resurrection. People are saved by faith, but faith is not the cause of salvation. The cause of salvation is the grace of God, the will of God, and the power of God working through the message.[1]

1:16 “Gospel” is the translation of euangelion (Gk.), which combines angelia (Gk.), meaning “message,” with the Greek prefix eu, meaning “well” or “good.” Hence, the gospel is a “good message.” The precise nature of the Christian gospel is nowhere more succinctly stated than in 1 Cor. 15:3, 4. The essential facts of the gospel include (1) the incarnation of the Son of God, (2) His atoning death on the cross for our sins, (3) His victorious resurrection for our justification, and (4) the promise of His return for His people. An additional and inevitable thrust of this gospel is the appeal to respond to those truths in repentance and faith.[2]

1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel. Although the gospel is folly to the cultured, Paul sees his message as divine wisdom (1 Cor. 1:22–25, 30), and is not embarrassed by God’s way of salvation. See “Salvation” at 2 Cor. 6:5.

power. The regenerating, life-changing impact of the gospel word through the Holy Spirit is essential because of humanity’s bondage to sin and Satan, and weakness and spiritual inability on account of sin (5:6; 8:5–9).

believes. Salvation is unmerited, but it is not universally enjoyed; faith is required for it.

to the Jew first. While this was true in terms of the history of redemption (2:9, 10; John 4:22; cf. Mark 7:24–30), it was also the pattern of Paul’s missionary outreach. Hence, in visiting the cities of the Roman world he began by expounding Scripture in the synagogues where possible, and he preached Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises (Acts 9:20; 13:5, 14; 14:1; 17:1, 17; 18:4, 19, 26; 19:8). Throughout Romans, Paul is careful not to deny the validity of the God-given privileges of His own people (3:11, 12; 9:4, 5).[3]

1:16 not ashamed Expresses a high degree of confidence in the gospel. Paul is confident that the hope he has placed in the gospel message will not be disappointed (see 5:5 and note).

power The Greek word used here, dynamis, often refers to miraculous works (e.g., Matt 7:22; 11:20; Mark 6:2). Here, it refers to God’s ability to deliver His people from sin and future judgment (compare Exod 9:16; Rom 8:2–3; 1 Cor 1:18; note on 2 Tim 3:5). God’s power also relates to the power of the Holy Spirit (see Rom 1:4).

salvation The Greek word used here, sōtēria, refers to deliverance from the final judgment. It also might refer to deliverance from sin and the results of sin: death and alienation from God.

Jew first and also to the Greek Paul uses references to both Jews and Greeks (or Gentiles) to encompass all of humanity. Although the gospel message applies to all people, Paul describes it as being directed first toward the Jew because God gave the Jews the covenants and promises to which the gospel refers (9:4). The priority of the Jews in God’s plan of salvation also anticipates the discussion of Israel’s future role in chs. 9–11.[4]

1:16 Because of their lack of size, fame, or honor in the Roman corridors of power and influence, Christians might be tempted to be ashamed of the Christian message. But Paul says it is nothing to be ashamed of, for it is in fact a message coming with the power of God that brings people to salvation. Jew first indicates the priority of the Jews in salvation history and their election as God’s people. The role of the Jews is a major issue in Romans, as seen especially in the discussion in chs. 9–11. Greek is not limited here to people from Greece but refers to all Gentiles.[5]

1:16 I am not ashamed. He had been imprisoned in Philippi (Ac 16:23, 24), chased out of Thessalonica (Ac 17:10), smuggled out of Berea (Ac 17:14), laughed at in Athens (Ac 17:32), regarded as a fool in Corinth (1Co 1:18, 23), and stoned in Galatia (Ac 14:19), but Paul remained eager to preach the gospel in Rome—the seat of contemporary political power and pagan religion. Neither ridicule, criticism, nor physical persecution could curb his boldness. See notes on 2Co 4:5–18; 11:23–28; 12:9, 10. power. The Eng. word “dynamite” comes from this Gr. word. Although the message may sound foolish to some (1Co 1:18), the gospel is effective because it carries with it the omnipotence of God (cf. Ex 15:6; Dt 32:39; Job 9:4; Pss 33:8, 9; 89:13; 106:8, 9; Is 26:4; 43:13; Jer 10:12; 27:5; Mt 28:18; Ro 9:21). Only God’s power is able to overcome man’s sinful nature and give him new life (5:6; 8:3; Jn 1:12; 1Co 1:18, 23–25; 2:1–4; 4:20; 1Pe 1:23). salvation. Used 5 times in Romans (the verb form occurs 8 times), this key word basically means “deliverance” or “rescue.” The power of the gospel delivers people from lostness (Mt 18:11), from the wrath of God (Ro 5:9), from willful spiritual ignorance (Hos 4:6; 2Th 1:8), from evil self-indulgence (Lk 14:26), and from the darkness of false religion (Col 1:13; 1Pe 2:9). It rescues them from the ultimate penalty of their sin, i.e., eternal separation from God and eternal punishment (see note on Rev 20:6). believes. To trust, rely on, or have faith in. When used of salvation, this word usually occurs in the present tense which stresses that faith is not simply a one-time event, but an ongoing condition. True saving faith is supernatural, a gracious gift of God that He produces in the heart (see note on Eph 2:8) and is the only means by which a person can appropriate true righteousness (cf. 3:22, 25; 4:5, 13, 20; 5:1; see notes on 4:1–25). Saving faith consists of 3 elements: 1) mental: the mind understands the gospel and the truth about Christ (10:14–17); 2) emotional: one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joy over God’s mercy and grace (6:17; 15:13); and 3) volitional: the sinner submits his will to Christ and trusts in Him alone as the only hope of salvation (see note on 10:9). Genuine faith will always produce authentic obedience (see note on 4:3; cf. Jn 8:31; 14:21–24). Jew first. God chose Israel to be His witness nation (Ex 19:6) and gave her distinct privileges (3:2; 9:4, 5). Christ’s ministry was first to Israel (Mt 15:24), and it was through Israel that salvation was to come to the world (Jn 4:22; Acts 13:46). Greek. See note on 1:14.[6]

1:16 — For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes .…

We must never feel ashamed of our connection to Christ or to the salvation which He freely offers to all. It is a high privilege to represent Him, and we must do so with boldness and enthusiasm.[7]

1:16 The NT speaks of salvation in the past tense (Eph. 2:8), the present tense (2 Cor. 2:15), and the future tense (13:11). In the past, the believer has been saved from the penalty of sin. In the present, the believer is being saved from the power of sin. In the future, the believer will be saved from the very presence of sin (Matt. 5:10–12; 8:17; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 2:11–13; Rev. 22:12). not ashamed: Paul was ready to preach the gospel of Christ. When we really believe in it, we too are eager to make it known. the power of God: He was not ashamed because it works. Salvation delivers us from the judgment of God and the power of sin. It makes us God’s children, giving us peace with Him and a share in future glory. Christ’s atonement makes salvation available to everyone who will accept His offer. believes: Accepts the truth about Jesus revealed by God and acts accordingly. the Jew first: The Jews were first in that God worked with them throughout the OT to prepare salvation for the entire human race. For Paul the term Greek includes all people who are not Jews.[8]

1:16. Paul concludes the introduction by stating his theme: the gospel has power to deliver the justified from God’s wrath.

Paul is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Why does Paul mention shame? Perhaps he had unbelieving Greeks (1:5, 14) in mind who think preaching a crucified Savior is foolish (1 Cor 1:23). Furthermore, with persecution in Rome, these believers were subject to fear and ridicule. If Christians are ashamed, they will not confess (cf. Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 2 Tim 1:8). If they will not confess, they will not be delivered, according to Rom 10:9–10. This topic becomes relevant in Romans since 10:11 links “shame,” that could hinder public confession of calling on the Lord (10:9–14), with deliverance that believers can experience.

Paul (and the Roman Christians) need not be ashamed of this gospel, for it is [furnishes] the power of God to salvation [deliverance]. Paul does not mention salvation again until 5:9. Neither the noun sōtēria nor the related verb sōzō are mentioned at all in the justification section (3:21–4:25). They are found only in places where they are clearly distinguished from justification (see 5:9 and 10:9–14). Thus, one is hard pressed in Romans to define salvation as justification. The connection of v 16 with v 18 becomes vitally important since salvation and wrath are linked in this way. From the beginning of his letter, Paul defines salvation as deliverance from God’s present wrath brought about by sins. Therefore, in Romans, it serves the interpreter best to understand and translate salvation as deliverance, which focuses on freeing the believer from sin’s grip.

A closer look at wrath in Romans (cf. 1:18, 2:5, 8, and 3:5) shows God’s wrath to be a present, not eternal, judgment whereby He turns the sinners over to the bondage of sin (1:18–3:20). Therefore Paul is saying that to be delivered from this wrath one must have a life of victory over sin (cf. 1:16–18; 5:9–10; 10:9–14; 13:4–5), not just simply be justified. Nevertheless, justification through faith in Christ is the first condition of deliverance (3:21–4:25), with the second condition being following Christ (5:1–8:39).

Hence the gospel furnishes the power which is able to deliver everyone who believes (i.e., faith becomes the only condition necessary to appropriate the power that is able to deliver; cf. 3:22; 4:11; 10:4, 11). Therefore, this salvation/ deliverance is not the immediate result of believing in Christ. Believing in Christ makes deliverance possible.

The power to deliver is now available to all believers, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.[9]

1:16. Paul’s eagerness to evangelize sprang also from his estimate of his message, the gospel. (This is the fourth of five times Paul used the word “gospel” in these opening verses: vv. 1, 9, 15–17.) Many consider this the theme of the letter, which it is in one sense. At least Paul gladly proclaimed it as God’s panacea for mankind’s spiritual need. He identified it as the infinite resources (dynamis, “spiritual ability”) of God applied toward the goal of salvation in the life of everyone who believes regardless of racial background. He recognized, however, a priority for the Jew expressed in the word first, which has sufficient textual support here and is unquestioned in 2:9–10.

Because the Jews were God’s Chosen People (11:1), the custodians of God’s revelation (3:2), and the people through whom Christ came (9:5), they have a preference of privilege expressed historically in a chronological priority. As the Lord Jesus stated it, “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). In Paul’s ministry he sought out the Jews first in every new city (Acts 13:5, 14; 14:1; 17:2, 10, 17; 18:4, 19; 19:8). Three times he responded to their rejection of his message by turning to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:25–28; cf. comments on Eph. 1:12). Today evangelism of the world must include the Jews, but the priority of the Jews has been fulfilled.[10]





“I am not ashamed of the gospel”




“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”




“I have complete confidence in the gospel”




“I am not ashamed of the Good News:”


Paul may be alluding to Jesus’ words in Mark 8:38 and Luke 9:26. He is not ashamed of the content of the gospel or its resulting persecution (cf. 2 Tim. 1:12, 16, 18).

In 1 Cor. 1:23 the Jews were ashamed of the gospel because it affirmed a suffering Messiah and the Greeks because it affirmed the resurrection of the body. Verses 16–17 are the theme of the entire book. This theme is amplified and summarized in 3:21–31.

© “salvation” In the OT, the Hebrew term (yasho) primarily referred to physical deliverance (cf. James 5:15), but in the NT the Greek term (sōzō) refers primarily to spiritual deliverance (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18, 21). See Robert B. Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament, pp. 124–126.





“to every one who believes”




“for everyone who believes”




“to everyone who has faith”




“all who believe”




“all who have faith”


The gospel is for all humans (oh, how I love the words “everyone,” “whosoever,” and “all”), but believing is only one of the conditions for acceptance. The other is repentance (cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:16, 19; 20:21). God deals with mankind by means of covenant. He always takes the initiative and sets the agenda (cf. John 6:44, 65). But there are several reciprocal conditions, see note at 1:5.

The Greek term, here translated “believe,” can also be translated in English by the terms “faith” or “trust.” The Greek word has a wider connotation than any one English word. Notice it is a PRESENT PARTICIPLE. Saving faith is continuing faith (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18; 15:2; 1 Cor. 2:15; 1 Thess. 4:14)!

Originally the related Hebrew terms behind this Greek term for “faith” meant a stable stance, a man with his feet apart so that he could not be easily moved. The opposite OT metaphor would be “my feet were in the miry clay” (Ps. 40:2), “my feet almost slipped” (Ps. 73:2). The Hebrew related roots, emun, emunah, aman, came to be used metaphorically of someone who was trustworthy, loyal or dependable. Saving faith does not reflect fallen mankind’s ability to be faithful, but God’s! Believers’ hopes do not reside in their abilities but in God’s character and promises. It is His trustworthiness, His faithfulness, His promises!

© “to the Jews first” The reason for this is discussed briefly in 2:9–10 and chapter 3 and fully developed in chapters 9–11. It follows Jesus’ statements in Matt. 10:6; 15:24; Mark 7:27.

This may relate to the jealousy between believing Jews and Gentiles in the Roman church.[11]

Ver. 16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.

The gospel:—What grand truths lie concealed in this Scripture, as in a kaleidoscope! The gospel being its focal point, several easy turns bring into clearest view some of the most precious things of our Christian faith. I. The first turn presents its efficacy: “It is … power.” II. The second its Divinity: “It is the power of God.” III. The third its object: “It is the power of God unto salvation.” IV. The fourth its impartiality: “It is the power of God unto salvation to every one.” V. The fifth its conditionality: “It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” VI. The sixth the order in which it was to be preached to and employed by guilty man: “To the Jews first, and also to the Greek.” A man who can define it so comprehensively and grandly, could not well be “ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” In more than the sense of willingness he is “ready to preach” it anywhere. (W. H. Luckenbach.)

The apostle’s estimate of the gospel:

  1. Paul’s estimate of the gospel. 1. The gospel is a power. This power is manifested—(1) In overcoming deeply rooted prejudices. Perhaps no man was more prejudiced than was Paul. Yet he embraced it. (2) In triumphing over cruel persecutions. (3) In overturning systems of long-established idolatry. Diana of the Ephesians, worshipped by the world, lost her adherents when the gospel was proclaimed. All the deities of Greece and Rome were soon dethroned. Buddhism, Brahminism, and other isms are furnishing unmistakable signs of decay. (4) In its influence over men’s lives. When imprisonment, stripes, destitution, and disgrace have been powerless to reform, the gospel of Christ has succeeded. 2. The gospel is the power of God. The Jews said this power was of Beelzebub. The Pagans that it was the power of fanaticism. Paul said it was of God. (1) The gospel scheme was originated by God. (2) The success of the gospel is of God. “Not by might … but by My Spirit,” &c. 3. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Nature exhibits His power in creation. The Deluge furnished proof of His destructive power. The gospel reveals His power to save. It saves—(1) From present sinfulness. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, because He shall save His people from their sins.”—(2) From future wrath. 4. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to believers. The Lord has a perfect right to fix the terms of our salvation. 5. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.
  2. Paul’s personal feelings concerning the gospel. “I am not ashamed.” Being satisfied of its Divine origin. 1. The poverty of its adherents did not make him ashamed of it. Though our religion had a carpenter for its founder, fishermen for its advocates, and the poor for its supporters, yet Paul was not ashamed. 2. The illiterateness of its adherents did not make him ashamed of it. Paul was a learned man. The vast majority of Jewish rabbis and heathen philosophers despised the gospel. The bulk of Christians were unlearned and ignorant men. Yet Paul was not ashamed. 3. The persecutions of its adherents did not make him ashamed. Lessons: 1. The apostle was not ashamed to profess the gospel. 2. The apostle was not ashamed to live the gospel. 3. The apostle was not ashamed to preach the gospel. 4. Are you ashamed of the gospel? (W. Sidebottom.) Not ashamed of the gospel: and why?—The success of Christianity has won for it the respect even of its enemies.
  3. The subject which it emphasises—the “gospel.” In the context we have clearest evidence that a knowledge of certain facts and truths associated therewith existed among those to whom the apostle wrote. These facts and truths all clustered around the person, life-work, example, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The bare historical record of these, however, was not the gospel any more than mere creeds or systems of Christian truth, however important these may be. The members of the body are the servants of the living soul; so the gospel is the animating spirit which employs as its instruments facts and doctrines, precepts and institutions.
  4. The reference which our text implies—Not ashamed of the gospel! Strange language, surely, for Paul to use, is it not? Did he not love the gospel with a most ardent affection? Did he not prize it above all things, and glory in it as an ineffable trust Divinely committed to his charge: How could Paul content himself with declaring that he was “not ashamed of the gospel”? The reference here implied brings us back to the words in which Christ described His mission to the world at its commencement (Luke 4:18), and also, when replying to the messengers sent to Him by John the Baptist, from the prison (Luke 7:22). Christ’s heart glowed with love to all; but most intensely towards the poor, the vast struggling masses of humanity, denied universally the rights of citizens and of manhood. Slavery and class-privilege were the corner-stone of that Pagan civilisation, then so powerful, and to these the gospel did not offer any terms of compromise; and so its advocates, as Paul tells us, were “made as the filth of the world, the off-scouring of all things.” Enemies were constantly asserting that this “new religion drew to it the dregs of the population—peasants, mechanics, beggars, and slaves.” Even long after the time of Paul, when Christianity had won many triumphs, we find Celsus, a haughty, heathen philosopher, remarking that “even the Christian teachers were wool-workers, cobblers, and fullers—the most illiterate and vulgar of mankind.” We can easily understand that some might waver in the good cause, and that others, though favourable, might shrink from embracing it through fear of being treated as persons who had degraded themselves in the social scale. So the apostle Paul comes down for the moment from his wonted high position of “glorying” in the gospel and adopts a lowlier strain; he “was not ashamed of the gospel.”

III. The argument upon which this declaration rests. (J. M. Cruickshank.)

The distinguishing features of Christianity:—Whether religion in general has any rational ground or not, it is certain that human society in the long run is quite impossible without religion. You have heard of the ten great religions of the world. Of these only three have been expansive and conquering religions—Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity. To these three the struggle is narrowed down. And as between the three, whether legitimately or illegitimately, the hard, historic fact is, that Christianity is certainly carrying the day. I. I name as the first distinctive feature of Christianity, the incarnation of God in Christ. History teaches that human nature cannot endure a bald spiritual theism. We have two thoughts of God equally necessary. We think of Him as an Infinite Spirit, wholly separate from matter and superior to it—wise, just, awful in holiness. Hence the pure monotheism now recognised as lying in the background of all the better mythologies. But human weakness, and, above all, human depravity necessitate another conception of God. The human heart, yearning for sympathy in its weakness, and stricken with terror in its defilement, cries out passionately for an Incarnate God. Call it reason and conscience, or call it finite limitation and guilty fear, this uniform importunate demand for an Incarnate God is answered only by our God in Christ. II. The second distinctive feature of Christianity is atonement. Both Testaments are full of it. III. The third distinctive feature of Christianity is regeneration. Confession of sin is not confined to Christendom. Universal sacrifice is universal confession. Christianity begins its curative work by a better diagnosis of the disease. It sets in clear light the original rectitude of man, discloses the tempter, and proclaims the fall. (R. D. Hitchcock, D.D.)

On Christianity:

  1. The character of its Author recommends Christianity to particular regard.
  2. The intrinsic excellence of Christianity marks its superiority to every other religious system.

III. Consider the mode of its establishment. (T. Laurie, D.D.)

The Christian evangel, its contents and results:—In these words we have exhibited the true spirit of this ambassador of Christ, and the nature of the message he was commissioned to make known. “The gospel is no feeble utterance, no mere human speculation composed of sentiments light as air. It is charged with Divine energy, and works out the salvation of all who receive it.” I. Notice that by these words we are assured there is a Divine positive message to man. Paul did not appear before the world as a philosopher, who by the workings of a powerful intellect could solve all the problems of being and knowing which had baffled those who went before him. He did not assume the position of a reformer, whose business was to set in order those things which pertained to the social and political conditions of life. Neither did he maintain the position of an educator who should train minds in the mental products of human genius. Paul was a herald of the King of grace and of glory; he was an ambassador of Christ, a preacher of a positive message of truth and love to all mankind, and which came from the heart of the Eternal. God has looked down from His high and holy abode in tenderest love and righteous mercy, and has made known to us His purposes and desires. II. Our text teaches us that the burden of this Divine message to man is a person. The gospel is the gospel of Christ—concerning Christ. It came from Him and it is occupied with Him and nothing else.

III. The Christian evangel is charged with Divine power. The magnetism of great men—which is the resultant of their personalities—has more power with those they influence than their wisest counsels. So it is with the gospel. It is powerful, not only because of its truthfulness, or merely because of the love it reveals, but because God in the person of His own Son is in it, and with it, dealing personally with the sinful and the lost. Its efficiency is from Heaven, and the spiritual revolutions it has wrought have been produced, not only by power as power, but by the living spirit of the Lord. IV. We advance a step further by noticing that the gospel is a saving power. The Roman power was in its outgoings, in very many instances, a power unto destruction. It pulled down, injured, and destroyed; and the more destruction it produced, the greater it was feared, and the more loudly it was applauded. This destroying power is a low, vulgar power. Any person—no matter how weak and wicked—is capable of destroying the finest work of art which ever proceeded from the reason and hand of man. On the other hand, it takes one who is wise, tender, and good inspired by more than human genius—to raise and to save the human soul, and secure the advance and development of the human race. Of all beings who ever appeared in this world, no one has ever been equal to this Herculean task except the Man of Sorrows. He alone can build up the temple of humanity which was pulled down by sin. V. Finally, it is to be observed that the salvation the gospel works out is to be possessed and enjoyed by faith. Faith is the door by which all spiritual power and upbuilding influences enter the soul. It is receptive in its nature, and takes into the inner man those thoughts, feelings, and persons, which regulate the heart out of which flows the issues of life. He that believeth the testimony of the gospel takes Christ and all that is in Christ into the deepest parts of his spirit. By faith Christ dwells in us the hope of glory and the power of an endless life. (W. Adamson, D.D.)

God’s power unto salvation:—If he had been ashamed, could we have so much wondered? Consider the time and the place, and the man and the message. The time was the hideous time of Nero; the place was the city of Rome, in which, as in a sort of moral sewer, all the detestable, and, to us, in many respects, inconceivable wickedness of the world festered. The man was a Jew, one of an ancient and indestructible race, which then, even more than now, the world despised, ill-used, and robbed. The message was this: that a crucified Hebrew had risen from the dead, being the Son of God, with power. And the apostle felt no sort of reluctance with this message. Of this gospel, the apostle tells us these magnificent statements. First, he calls it a gospel, a good news—a good news which could have been discovered only in one way, by revelation from heaven, a good news declared in a life sealed by death, confirmed by resurrection, and written in a book. And this great revelation, which none of the great thinkers of the day had been able to think out, tells us of three great things. It is a revelation of the fatherhood of God, of the redemption of Christ by the power of grace. Then, in the power of this grace, we go on free, reconciled, and strengthened for the duties of life and for the city of God. This is the gospel, there is no other—the free, full, present forgiveness of sin in Christ our Lord. And it is called the gospel of Christ; Christ is the gospel; Christ reveals the Father. “And Christ is our Redeemer. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.” “The gospel of Christ,” the apostle calls it, and he goes on to tell us that the gospel of Christ is the power of God. How is it the power of God? It is the power of God because God uses it to convert, and to instruct, and to console, and to inspire. This book that brings us to God makes us like God, it makes us thirst for God, it helps us to be filled with God. And once more it inspires ideas of the power that rules the world; and this power, with its lofty ideals, with its moral principles, with its wonderful history, with its life-giving promises, is the one book in all the world which has done more than anything else to break the chains of the captive, to lift up mortal man to the true dignity for which God intended him. It is the power of God; and yet there is another sense in which it is the power of God, because only God can make it powerful. I think it is upon this great truth that we preachers need to rely more than we have ever relied yet. “Not by might, nor by power, but My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The apostle further defines what he means by “power”; he says, “unto salvation.” Salvation from the power of sin; from the dominion of the world; from the yoke of selfishness; from the misery of small, wretched faults which eat and ulcerate the soul like venomous insects; salvation from all that makes life poor and mean; salvation from low idea; salvation from forgetting God. It is the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation, because it tells us whence we came, and to what we go: that we are the sons of God. But there is a limitation to this—“unto every one that believeth.” God never makes a man good against his will, He never takes from any one of us our awful freedom. He knows that one day we shall stand to be judged for our works before His Son, to whom He hath committed judgment. How could He punish us for the evil we have done, how could He recompense us for the good which, by His grace, we may have done if He did not leave us free? To every one that believeth is the gospel a power, and to no one else. It was of this gospel of which the apostle was not ashamed first to accept it for himself, and then to proclaim it to others. He knew, if any man ever yet knew, on whom he had believed. With these last three truths I will leave the subject in your hearts. First, St. Paul’s reason for writing to Rome, and afterwards going to Rome, was the sense of his indebtedness. “I am a debtor,” so we are debtors to God, to the world, to the Church, and in a sense to ourselves and to those who come after us; and just so far as we know what we owe to Christ, and what Christ has done for us, shall we feel the blessed duty and obligation of passing on to others what has been given to us. And then when this is the case, when we feel our obligation, and when each takes such share as we may in what Christ gives us to do, we shall feel the reasonableness of faith—the reasonableness of a reasonable faith. (Bp. Thorold.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:—I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ—I. Because of the heroic character of its witnesses. II. Because of the influence it has had on civilisation. III. Because of its adaptability to human necessities. IV. Because of the promise it gives of eternal life.

  1. The heroic character of its witnesses. I think it is Thomas Carlyle who says that “the history of a nation is the history of its great men.” On the same principle it may be said that the history of Christianity is the history of its heroes. For it is from them and by them that we have given to us practical illustration of the power and processes of the great God-sent religion. And first we turn to Him who was at once the Founder and Finisher of the faith, Jesus Christ, whose life may be said to epitomise the biography of mankind. But perhaps it may be said, “Time has lent a fascination to their labours; what they did perforce has been transfigured into something done for love.” If it was done “perforce,” it was the force of Christianity—the force of Jesus Christ, and that is the force of devotion and love. I do not know that history and the lapse of time have done anything to magnify their work. The gospel of Jesus Christ prompts men to acts of as great heroism to-day as it did in the darker times of history,
  2. Because of its influence on civilisation. So silently has this power been exercised, that we are very apt to lose sight of its influence upon the morals of men. And yet in its very secrecy has lain its strength. It began by enforcing the truth of universal brotherhood: the duties of each to all, and of all to each. It flung aside the superstitions of the age. Civilisation without religion! It is impossible. It is fire without warmth; it is motion without progress; it is existence, but it is not life. It becomes in time the very apotheosis of immorality. I have said that the influence of religion is spiritual. But all work which is spiritual eventually reveals itself in the natural, the material. So is it especially, I think, with the Christian faith. What has Christianity done for men in the mass? Each phase of its spiritual activity has its equivalent in the natural world, in society.

III. Because of its adaptability to human necessities. Herein lies the beauty and the blessedness of our religion. It is to this that what in the most sacred sense may be called its success is due. To go back to its earliest days, how did it attract men? It gave rest to the weary, and comfort to the sad; it cheered the mourning and raised the dead to life. To-day its methods are the same. How are we to account for this power? Simply, I think, because its Founder was “the Man Christ Jesus.” He knew what was in man.

  1. Because of the promise it gives of eternal life. It is not a reward; it is a development. And even if it were only a reward, I am too human to disregard its value as an element in the teaching of Jesus Christ. A religion which provides for this world only is no religion at all. (R. Barclay, M.A.)

The nature and claims of the gospel:

  1. What are we to understand by the gospel of Christ? Christianity, or the scheme of religion revealed in the New Testament. 1. The things it proposes to our faith. These are of several sorts. Some of them are merely historical; others purely authoritative, and some partly historical and partly authoritative. Of this latter class are the truths relating to the Incarnation of Christ. 2. The things which the gospel commands to be practised.
  2. What are the reasons for not being ashamed of this gospel, but, on the contrary, for embracing it, and glorying in it, with all the heart? 1. Its incontrovertible truth. 2. Its incomparable excellence. Compare the system, in its doctrines and duties, with all other systems. (1) What has been the worship of the heathen religions? Ceremonies, penances, and orgies; many that were puerile, painful, cruel, and obscene. And are these to be compared with a worship contemplative, devout, reverential, filial, such as that of Christianity? (2) What have been the duties inculcated by other religions? How questionable and scanty their moral code! But what weed escapes in the moral garden of Scripture? (3) It is, however, in its state of future rewards and punishments that the gospel far outshines every other system. 3. Its sovereign efficacy. “It is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth.” Its objects and sentiments are not merely to fall upon the ear, or to remain before the eye, but to enter into the mind and accomplish its renovation.

III. What are the objections urged by men against this system, and by which they attempt to justify their neglect of it? These may be easily shown to be trivial. 1. Do they object that they can arrive at the knowledge of the truth of the New Testament history, only in a secondary way—only from the testimony of others—and that, therefore, they are not so responsible for their unbelief as these other would be? This, however, is felt to be no prejudice to the truth of any other history, and no argument for its disbelief. 2. Do they object to severity of the gospel requirements? The gospel requires us to crucify only our sins; to deny ourselves only what would be injurious to us. The virtues it inculcates it renders easy to us by a new nature, and productive of a present happiness surpassing every other kind of happiness. 3. Do they object the incomprehensibleness of many things which the gospel states to exist? If God has not revealed them, reject them for their incomprehensibleness; if He has, receive them for His veracity’s sake. Conclusion: 1. How awful is their condition who oppose the gospel! What excuse can there be for this? What evil has the gospel done? What attestation does it lack? What good has it not done? 2. How pitiable is their condition by whom the gospel of their salvation is practically disregarded! We are about to be wrecked; the gospel is the only plank left for our escape to the shore; and while we neglect to seize it, our danger increases, and the destructive waves bear us nearer and nearer to our doom. 3. Let them who have received the gospel, and who, in addition to all other evidence, have that of experience in its favour, attach themselves closely to it. 4. The gospel is a subject of triumph to Christians, as through life, so especially at the hour of dissolution. Its grandest objects are those of another world. (J. Leifchild.)

St. Paul’s confidence in the gospel:—St. Paul’s enthusiasm for Christ is one of the great problems of history. That such a man should deliberately renounce all his advantages, and embark on a career which involved obloquy and suffering, is a fact that has to be accounted for. His own explanation is clear enough, viz., that the Lord Jesus appeared to him under circumstances which left no room for doubt as to His person and His claims; that the evidences he received of Christ’s love acted on him like an irresistible constraint to yield to those claims; and that to discharge them he had become a preacher of a gospel which he knew to be the power of God unto salvation to a perishing world. The world, therefore, was his creditor until the glad tidings had been everywhere proclaimed. By the time he wrote this letter Paul had been able to wipe off no inconsiderable portion of his debt. But he felt that until he had seen Rome the greatest portion of the debt must remain unpaid, and that at Rome the most favourable opportunities would be afforded for paying it. Once firmly rooted there the gospel would spread its branches everywhere. So he says, “I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are in Rome.” Here the apostle seems to pause to take breathing time, so that he might calculate his resources for an enterprise the like of which he had never yet attempted. “At Rome! Yes, at Rome also, for I am not ashamed of the gospel. I was not ashamed of it at sacred Jerusalem, at philosophical and artistic Athens, at commercial Ephesus and Corinth, any more than among my own friends at Tarsus, or among the unsophisticated heathen at Lystra. And now, although I shall have to confront in combination at Rome all the forces I have elsewhere met singly, I am not ashamed of the gospel.”

  1. The apostle’s confidence in the gospel. To fully appreciate this we must—1. Reflect where the apostle was writing to. If St. Paul could have been ashamed of the gospel it would certainly have been when brought into juxtaposition with Rome. The incredible tenets of some obscure Hindoo or Chinese sect would hardly appear to greater disadvantage in London than would Christianity in that proud capital of the world. For Rome was now in the zenith of her glory. Yet before this wondrous city, where all that constituted what was then thought greatness existed in colossal proportions, the advocate of a creed which was everywhere spoken against, and to whom, as a provincial, the grand metropolis, we may be sure, would lose none of its glamour, says, “I am ready to preach the gospel at Rome; for I am not ashamed of the gospel.” 2. Notice where the apostle was writing from. St. Paul had only recently been prosecuting a vigorous ministry in Ephesus which had been brought to a riotous close. From Ephesus Paul went to Corinth, where he wrote to Rome, and where there was enough to put a far less sensitive mind than his to the blush, and enough for some men to utterly discredit the pretensions of a religion claiming to be heavenly and Divine. And again, he had just learned how the gospel had fared among the Churches of Galatia, and the memorable Epistle to these Churches unfolds one of the most tragic of all the stories of early Christianity. Riot and scandal and failure had been the result of three of the most recent experiments of the gospel, and Paul knew the impression that they would make at Rome. And besides, were these results to be repeated there on a gigantic scale? But such was the apostle’s faith in the gospel that, with Ephesus, Corinth, and Galatia behind him, and Rome, with its unmeasured and complicated problems before him, he nevertheless declares, “I am ready to preach the gospel in Rome,” &c. 3. Consider what that gospel was of which he was not ashamed at Corinth when writing to Rome. (1) It was a system of vast pretensions, with no apparent means of supporting them. The Roman government was exceeding tolerant of the diverse faiths of its heterogeneous peoples. But the gospel scorned to ask for a simple toleration as it afterwards declined to receive an honourable patronage. It aimed at universal supremacy. And what were its means for furthering its amazing pretensions? There was no known force in the world beside which it did not look contemptible. It had no history. It was a word, and therefore could not compete with the power of arms. It had no public buildings, and scarcely anything that could be called a ceremonial. From a political, intellectual, and religions standpoint nothing seemed so feeble as the gospel. Nor did its advocates dissemble in the least in this particular. “Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble were called.” The chiefest among them were fishermen and tentmakers, and the rest, for the most part, artisans or slaves. They “came in much weakness,” and were content to let the gospel go on its own merits, and on those merits they insisted with a confidence that startled the world. (2) It was a system whose principles seemed least likely to succeed. Its Author belonged to a race nowhere so detested as at Rome, and yet the Romans were asked to accept the crucified Jew as the Son of God, who had died and had risen again to be their Saviour. Forgiveness and salvation, words of insult to patrician and plebeian alike, must be sought on the humiliating conditions of penitence and faith. In urging these the gospel appealed to sentiments which were a degradation for a Roman soldier to encourage, and to hopes and fears which he scorned to entertain. Those who embraced it were charged with duties alien to their nature, and with the exercise of virtues for which no existing vocabulary could provide a name. In return it offered privileges in this life on which the Romans would set no value, and a destiny in the next from which they would turn with scorn. And Paul had discounted all this. He had once himself regarded and persecuted the gospel as a foolish and offensive thing. And so had people everywhere. In Rome, of all places, was this general verdict least likely to be reversed. Nevertheless, he says, “I am ready to preach the gospel in Rome,” &c.
  2. The grounds of the apostle’s confidence in the gospel. 1. Paul sounded the apparent power of Rome and found it weakness. As the apostle gazed at Rome he saw a colossal fabric whose foundations were sand. The empire was built up in utter disregard of the forces on which power has ultimately to depend. The mere lust of power was satiated; but with its gratification everything that made it worth the having went to wreck. (1) The nations poured their luxury into the lap of Rome; but with their treasures came their filth, and that which made her the embodiment of this world’s glory, made her the receptacle of its corruption and its shame. Military plunder brought vast wealth into hands that knew not how to use it. It had, however, to be spent, and era of extravagance set in. Family life was extinguished. Divorce, and worse, was rife, and infanticide was fearfully prevalent. What political life had become may be guessed by the positions to which a Caligula and a Nero, a Pilate and a Felix, might attain, and the means they employed to attain them. The consequences were inevitable. The age was fast wearing itself out. Wholesale indulgence was inducing an intolerable lassitude which refused relief from the ordinary means of excitement. A monstrous ingenuity had to be called into play to invent new pleasures and hitherto inconceivable vices, and the end could not be far off when death by suicide was recommended and embraced as a refuge from the tedious superfluity of a life which had exhausted all possible means of gratification. (2) Equally gigantic evils in another direction also sprang from the satiated lust of power. The swarms of captives who survived the butchery which celebrated the military triumphs had to be provided for. A system of slavery was therefore introduced, for which it would be impossible to find a parallel. Not the least evil of the system consisted in its wholesale adoption in trade and agriculture, from which the freemen were gradually driven, to the extinction of a middle class. Thus there grew up a free population, released from the obligations and opportunities of labour, and eventually despising it as beneath the dignity of a Roman citizen, who became mere loafers and parasites. This teeming, lazy, and because such, dangerous class had to be kept quiet. It was not enough that they were fed by the State, and that they received occasional doles from their lordly patrons. They caught the prevalent unrest and craving for excitement, and developed vicious instincts, which had, at all costs, to be gratified. Hence the savage amusements of the amphitheatre. Hence the open and unabashed practice of every form of moral abomination, of which there was an unlimited provision at a cheap rate. Is there, then, no relief to this terrible picture? Was there no salt that could purify this poisoned fountain? The answer is—none. Religion, which had been powerless to check the progress of corruption, became incurably tainted with it, and eventually succumbed to it Worship was but one of the outlets for the passion for excitement, and was made the cover for the most licentious orgies. Of course, widespread infidelity prevailed; but the very Atheists surrendered themselves wholesale to still baser systems of superstition and imposture. Philosophy was the last hope of the age; but that, alas! was dying of despair. The apostle saw all this moral rottenness and had already predicted its doom. Christianity, however humble, he felt, could not suffer by comparison. He said, therefore, with the utmost confidence, “I am ready to preach the gospel at Rome,” &c. 2. Paul proved the apparent weakness of the gospel and found it power. He knew that under the seeming weakness of its infancy lay the germs of a mighty manhood, which would soon measure itself with Rome and wrest from its senile grasp the sceptre of the world. This knowledge was born of a personal experience of its power. (1) It was the power of God. It might seem weak, bat then he felt that “the weakness of God is stronger than men.” The gospel was a word, bat it was the word of God. A word of God brought the universe into being, and by the Divine word it is still upheld. It was but a word that was spoken at the grave of Lazarus, but at that word the power of death was shattered. To the Word of the gospel a Divine power was guaranteed in a special sense. Its preachers were filled with His inspiration, and were endowed by Him with tongues of flame. Mighty promises urged them forward with it; and so, as they preached it, their word was with power, and it grew mighty and prevailed. The want of this Divine power reduces the greatest human force to impotence. Rome was built up by force of arms, but were is Rome to-day? Our schools of thought are created by the power of intellect, but how many survive their own generation? Human power, like its embodiment, “is as grass, and the glory thereof is as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the Word of our God shall stand for ever.” And this Word is that gospel of which, in the presence of the splendid rottenness of Rome, St. Paul was not ashamed, because it was the power of God. (2) It was the power of God directed to the mightiest result. The weakness of Rome largely lay in the inability of its leading men to measure the world’s needs, and in the Inadequacy of the best systems of the age to supply them. But the power of the gospel consisted in the fact that it could penetrate the secret of the world’s wretchedness and despair, and articulate it. The gospel met man at once with the most searching diagnosis of sin, but told how that God commended His love toward men in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for them. And men began to realise what it was to be saved. This was what men wanted, and what nothing else could give them. The gospel succeeded in accomplishing results that nothing else was competent to reach—nay, even to conceive. And the apostle was therefore “not ashamed of the gospel,” &c. (3) It was a power available for all men. (a) It was offered to every man. It began, as it has continued, not by dealing with the mass, but by dealing with individuals. (b) This universal offer was to be accepted on the condition of faith. The embrace of the heart’s faith was and is necessary to quicken it into a salvation. “The word could not profit” where it was not “mixed with faith in them that heard,” but it worked effectually in them that believed. (c) This condition was within the compass of every man’s ability. The evils which the gospel proposed to remedy were worldwide. If the remedy therefore were to be equal to the evil, the conditions of its application must be within the reach of all. All the gospel asks is to be embraced, and surely every man can do that. Paul lived long enough to repeat this boast after a ministry at Rome. With what emphasis would he repeat it could he stand where we stand to-day! And how he would endeavour to make those tongues which, eloquent on every other, are dumb on this great theme aflame with a live coal from off the altar, and the vehicles of this solitary boast, “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” &c. (J. W. Burn.)

Paul’s holy audacity in regard to the gospel:—Courage is of two kinds. There is the hardihood which can face danger, and there is the intrepidity which can confront shame. The former can only be where the danger is without dishonour, and the latter where the shame is without desert. The former is an instinctive and animal endowment, while the latter is an acquired virtue and a moral quality possessed only by man. It is physical courage which we admire in the soldier who stands unmoved in front of blazing musketry; in the sailor, lashed to the wheel, and steering his tumbling vessel across the foaming waves, or in the traveller of science scaling untrodden heights: but it is a much higher, rarer, and Diviner quality which we admire in the pious workman who rebukes the ribaldry and oaths of his fellow-craftsmen. Rarely does it happen that these two kinds of courage meet in the same individual. You may see the undaunted hero of a battle-field crimson with shame and rage to be twitted for his virtue, or the firm heroine of the household tremble to hear an unusual noise. In Paul, however, the union may be found; and it is this which ranks him among the kingliest of men. Let us ponder a few of the reasons of Paul’s holy audacity. Note—

  1. The end proposed: Man’s salvation, an object not only aimed at but achieved. 1. Salvation may be viewed either as an individual benefit or as a social one. On the one hand, it is a blessing for every one that believeth; on the other hand, it is needed by the race at large, and the gospel proposes to accomplish the salvation of mankind in both these aspects. In saying this we oppose those who speak and act as if the whole aim of the gospel was to pick out themselves, and a few other individuals, from the mass devoted to destruction, and translate them one by one to a better world. And we also oppose the vague dreams of rationalistic philosophers who profess to be engrossed with a noble concern for the good of mankind at large. The peculiarity of the gospel is that it begins with the individual, and so seeks, as its last result, the salvation of the community. 2. It may be regarded as either an inward or outward process. Inward salvation is sanity or soundness; outward salvation is deliverance and safety. Each one of us needs to be both restored to righteousness and rescued from hell. 3. It is negative and positive. There is much sin and suffering from which we are saved by it; but there is also much of holy attainment and heavenly joy to which we are raised by it.
  2. The power employed. 1. Its source is Divine; and this in so direct a way that its very nature is Divine. It is the power of—(1) God’s truth, revealing to us both His nature and our own state. (2) Love appealing to us to subdue our enmity and incite us to gratitude and trust. (3) All urgent motives addressed to our hopes and to our fears. (4) Precious promises whereby we are offered a filial position in God’s family, and a final lot among all the sanctified. (5) The power of the Holy Ghost, who helpeth all our infirmities. This is the gospel, the power of God unto salvation, because it has God Himself in it and with it. 2. Its extent. The gospel is as strong as God. It can do all that He can do. (1) As to individual souls, it can save any and it can save all. It can deliver from all sin, and enrich with all the treasures of holiness. (2) And so for society generally and the world at large. Here is a Divine and all-availing expedient for the regeneration of the species, and the establishment of righteousness and peace through all the earth. (T. G. Horton.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:—We have no reason to be ashamed of—

  1. The evidence by which it is supported. 1. Historical. Take the testimony of Paul. He was a contemporary of Christ; he conferred with the apostles; he saw the Lord. In his four undisputed Epistles he embodies all the facts of gospel history. His testimony is unexceptionable, for he was too sane to be imposed upon, too disinterested to be an impostor. 2. Prophetical. The canons of prophecy are that it should be long anterior to the event; that it should be so constructed that the story of its fulfilment could not be manufactured out of the mere study of its terms, and that its fulfilment be undesigned and in full correspondence with it. Apply these to Isa. 53:3. Moral. How can we account for the difference between the character of Christ and that of His age? The age could produce a Nero, but not a Christ.
  2. The intellectual calibre of its chief representatives. Although not exclusively fitted for intellectual giants, but for the least intelligent also, yet in every age it has produced champions able to cope with the most gifted of its opponents.

III. The effects it has produced. 1. Individually. It has made the drunkard sober. 2. Domestically. It has given sanctity to the marriage tie and blessed little children. 3. Socially. It has stood between class and class as the good Samaritan. 4. Politically it has laid the foundation of liberty. (W. M. Taylor, D.D.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:

  1. The nature of this avowal. “Not ashamed.” 1. Of what is this spoken? Of the gospel’s—(1) Doctrines. (2) Precepts. (3) Threatenings. (4) Promises. (5) Privileges. 2. By whom? Paul—(1) The gifted. (2) The disinterested. (3) The self-sacrificing. 3. To whom? Rome—(1) The great. (2) The intellectual. (3) The cruel. 4. What is implied in it? (1) That he gloried in the gospel. (2) That he held everything else in comparative contempt.
  2. Its ground. 1. The Divine energy of the gospel. 2. The powerful combination against which it has to contend. 3. Its saving efficacy. 4. Its impartiality. Learn—1. The evil of religious cowardice. 2. The necessity of consistency in religion. 3. Your obligation to make it known. 4. Your duty to expect that your efforts will be successful. (R. Newton, D.D.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:

  1. What there is in the gospel to make carnal men ashamed of it. 1. It proceeds upon principles so contrary to the natural man, and so brings down human reasoning and the pride of intellect, that men are shocked at its positions and requirements. 2. It exposes a man’s great idol. 3. It demands absolute submission. 4. The world attributes regard to it to weakness of either the head or heart. 5. It levels men.
  2. Why Paul was not ashamed of it. Because he knew it to be—1. The power of God. 2. The power of God to the greatest end—salvation. (R. Cecil, M.A.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:—The solitary grandeur of the imperial city; Paul’s knowledge of Rome’s own and its borrowed glories, as a centre of power; his courage in meeting the contemptuous estimate which ancient society passed upon the truth of God.

  1. Some elements of power in the gospel. 1. Great in—(1) Motives. (2) Penalties. (3) Sacrifices. (4) Inspirations. 2. These forces Paul had seen exerted on individuals and on communities. They were—(1) Moral forces. (2) Universal. (3) Permanent.
  2. Having seen and felt these beneficent influences, Paul gloried in the same. We urge—1. Paul’s interpretation of the gospel is vital in its power. The doctrines of sin, atonement, the Holy Spirit and eternal retribution, cannot be eliminated and any power remain. A glass crowbar could as well tunnel the Alps. 2. That each of us trust the gospel as heartily as did Paul. Exemplify its power here, and enjoy its fruition in the perfect felicity of heaven. (R. S. Storrs, D.D.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:—There were reasons which made it needful for Paul to say this. The gospel was then a “contemptible thing.” Its Author had been despised and executed. Its character was at variance with the traditions of men, and, above all, of the Pharisees. Its followers were looked upon as the scum of the earth. But, amid all this, there was a man of the highest intellect and the noblest powers, who knew the gospel and knew the world, standing forth and declaring in the face of all that he was not ashamed of it. Consider it—

  1. Intellectually. As a scheme it is more magnificent than any mind of man could have conceived. No systems of philosophy possess its grandeur or power. The gospel is no puny, drivelling, or paltry imitation. Other systems have been propounded, but all are borrowed more or less from the gospel.
  2. Morally. It is the purest system of morality which the world has known. God’s spotless purity is made the model for human conduct. But the gospel is not only a system of morality, it is a means thereto. It teaches men how they may become holy. Its chief object is to purify and to destroy the evil which is in the world.

III. Historically. It affords an outline of history of which but for it we should know nothing. That which it is requisite for us to know—the life of Christ, and the particulars of the way of salvation—are fully developed.

  1. Its purpose. It is the “gospel”—good news, and it is the power of God unto salvation. Salvation is a great word. What can we wish for more than it includes? Its object is to transform human nature. It is to glorify the soul, to exalt the spirit, to give us thrones in the kingdom of heaven, to purge us from the dross of sin. Is this a thing whereof to be ashamed? (D. Thomas, D.D.)

Not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:—There are three gradations of artists. The lowest is one who is able to reproduce an exact representation of natural objects as they appear to ordinary eyes. A higher type is where one brings to objects a clearer eye than belongs to most men. There is a third and rare artist power, where the things represented are, as it were, but instruments to represent the effect produced upon the mind of the artist by the scene, or the event, or the thing. Now, upon this scale Paul was the greatest moral artist of the world. All the way through, it was the unconscious endeavour of the apostle to represent truths as they reflected themselves upon the sensitive surface of his glowing soul. Instead of showing what were all the wonderful elements that in his view constituted it, he reflects what the impression was of the whole gospel of Christ upon his sensitive soul. “I am not ashamed.” Well, why should he have been? Every one of us would say it now; but not one of us would have said it in his time, perhaps. In our time, yes. And it is a matter of much interest to imagine what would be Paul’s thought if he were permitted to discern the Christianity of the present age and all its triumphs, its monuments, its power, its wealth, its learning, its refinements. 1. If he had looked out into the world and at the external forms and organisations of the Church, what would he have had occasion to be ashamed of? 2. And if Paul had seen the pomp of their worship, and their worship in the pomp of architecture which had been inspired and created by them, he would not have occasion to express a feeling of shame. 3. Still less could he have been insensitive to the literature and the learning that have been inspired among devout scholars all over the world, and that have sprung from Christianity. 4. And still more would he have been in sympathy with the outpouring of the spirit of manhood, “the enthusiasm of humanity,” that has sprung from the temper of the gospel, and has gradually crept into the laws, and ameliorated the theory of morals, and softened and sweetened the whole intercourse of human life; and that, moreover, has made man helpful to man. 5. More beautiful still to Paul, who had the art of discerning much from little, would have been the exhibitions of the Christ spirit in its humbler workings among Christian men and in Christianity unorganised, or but slightly organised. 6. More yet, to him, would it have been to have seen what a class of men and women had arisen in every household, and become scattered up and down through every village and hamlet of the land. Domestic life, its purification and its exaltation, would have been a glorious sight to his eyes. As one that should go across a prairie and carry a bag filled with the rarest seeds and give them to the north wind that scattered them south, and to the south wind that scattered them north, every whither, might, years afterwards, when he goes over the same ground, rejoice to see, in the midst of many coarse weeds and much choking grass, here and there ledges and beds of flowers; so if Paul should come down to our day, and see the seeds he has sown which are every day springing up in the household, would not he be filled with more than gratitude and wonder—with transcendent transport? Of course he would not be ashamed. Nobody is ashamed of the gospel now except those of whom it is ashamed. (H. W. Beecher.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:—We are not ashamed of the gospel because it is—

  1. Divine power. 1. The history of Christianity among the nations of the earth has established its claim to power. Its progress has often been in the face of bitterest hostility, without the help of worldly patronage. It proved more than a match for the iron despotism of Rome, and it has never failed for eighteen centuries to make its enemies its footstool. 2. The secret of this amazing power is that God is behind it. Nothing but Divine influence could account for such uniform and unfailing triumphs. Other systems may show the power of man, but the gospel shows the power of God. It brought into the world a force unknown before.
  2. Saving power. The power seen in creation and providence is truly Divine, but not necessarily saving. Nor will the power that resides in the gospel result in salvation, unless it is accompanied by the influence of the Spirit. The gospel—1. Comes with a message of forgiveness to guilty man. Sin is the disease, and in God’s hands alone is the remedy. 2. It is a power for the renewal of man’s nature. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” This is a task beyond unaided human resources. Man can neither begin the work of grace in his heart nor carry it on after it is begun.

III. Universal power. “To every one that believeth.” The glory of the gospel consists not only in its Divine origin or saving efficacy, but also in its universal adaptation. It suits the needs of mankind everywhere. It reaches out a helping-hand to all, without respect to nation or social standing. (D. Merson, M.A.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:

  1. Justify the high claim here made for the gospel. Paul was not ashamed of—1. Its origin. The advocates of other systems had reason to be ashamed of their origin. 2. Its sentiments—(1) Of God. God is light, love, purity. (2) Of man. His degradation, guilt, helplessness. (3) Of salvation and of the influences of the Spirit to make that salvation known with power to every heart. (4) Of a future state. Which of these sentiments can cause shame? 3. Its practical tendency. It is a system of purest morals springing from the purest motives—gratitude and love. It shows us a temper without a flaw, and a life without a stain; and it says, “We ought to walk as He also walked.” 4. Its efficacy. The efficacy of the ancient systems was nothing. But the gospel is “the power of God to salvation.”
  2. Who are guilty of being ashamed of the gospel? One would suppose that none could ever be ashamed of it; but, alas! there is reason to fear that some are. 1. Such are those preachers and writers who know the truth, but conceal it by specious arguments. 2. In the social circle how many are ashamed of the gospel! 3. In private life there is not that attention to religion which there should be. Young Christians are too often ashamed because of the sneers of those around them. (B. Rayson.)

Not ashamed of the gospel:—The botanist is not ashamed of the insignificant plant which he prefers before the rose and the jasmine, because of its healing properties and powers. The gardener is not ashamed of the tiny, dusky little seed, because he knows that God has endued it with hidden virtues which He has denied to the diamond and ruby. Thus the apostle was not ashamed of the gospel, because it could accomplish what the law was powerless to do; and because from his own personal experience he knew that it was able to produce a mighty and spiritual change in a man’s whole character and life. (C. Nell, M.A.)

Not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:—1. Years ago the subject of the extension of the Church would have suggested questions of one kind only—viz., that it was desirable, and possibly discussions would have turned upon the best means of carrying it out. Now you only raise in certain minds the previous question, whether it is worth the effort. 2. St. Paul is led to use this expression by an association of ideas which is easy to trace. “In Rome also.” Before his imagination there rises the imperial form of the mistress of the world. And this vision for a moment produces a momentary recoil, so that, like a man whose course has been suddenly checked, he falls back to consider the resources at his disposal. There is a moment’s pause and then, “I am not ashamed,” he says. 3. He is not ashamed of the gospel. We are struck at first by the reserved and negative phrase. It seems to fall so far below the requirements of the occasion and the character of the man. Elsewhere the apostle uses very different language from this. He loves to call the gospel, just as the Jews call their law, his boast. The truth is the apostle is not using a rhetorical figure at all. His negative and measured phrase is imposed on him by the thoughts which rise before him. He is resisting the feeling which threatens to overawe him, and it is in protesting against this feeling, and in thus disavowing it, that he cries, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Why, you may ask, should he be ashamed of it? Note—

  1. The apparent insignificance of the gospel relatively to the great world of thought and action represented by and embodied in Rome. 1. The very name was a symbol of magnificence and power. Rome was the seat of empire, the centre of society, the home and the patroness of learning and thought, the great centre of the current religions. She was in ancient civilisation what Paris is to France; everything else was provincial. 2. And the gospel—how did it look when placed in juxtaposition with Rome? Was it not relatively to everything else, as far as the natural sense and judgment of man could pierce, poor and insignificant? (1) The estimate which a French academician might be supposed to form of Quakerism is probably not unlike the estimate which approved itself to the most cultivated minds in Rome respecting the religion of St. Paul. (2) And then if it meant to propagate itself, what was its organisation? How could a few unnoticed congregations challenge any sort of comparison with the mighty system of the imperial rule? (3) Where was its literature? How could it compete with the genius of poets and historians who had the ear of the world? (4) Where were its leading men when set side by side with the accomplished statesman who had created, and who still from time to time ruled the empire? Yes, Rome must overawe, by the magnificence of its collective splendours, the pretensions of any system, or of any teacher coming from an out-of-the-way comer of the empire, on a commission to illuminate and to change the world. 3. True enough Paul had his eye on higher things; but his was too sympathetic a nature not to be alive to what was meant by Rome. Yet the splendours of Rome do not overawe him. He is not enslaved by the apparent at the cost of the real; he knows that a civilisation which bears a proud front to the world, but which is rotten within, is destined to perish. Already, five years before, he has shown in one line in 2 Thess. that he forsees the end of all this splendour. In Christian eyes Alaric and his Goths were at the gates of Rome before their time. 4. St. Paul was well aware of the insignificance of the gospel when measured by all ordinary human standards. It was his own observation that not many mighty, not many noble, are “called.” But then, in his estimate of the relative value of the Divine and the human, this did not matter; for “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty.”
  2. The appearance of failure which had clung to the gospel. 1. Remember that he was writing from Corinth, and what was the Church there a short year before in the judgment of the apostle himself. Its discipline forgotten; its unity rent by schisms; fundamental articles of the faith were denied among its members; scandals permitted such as were not even named among the heathen. Of all this the apostle was sufficiently conscious; and yet with Corinth behind him, and Rome with its gigantic and unattempted problems before him, he still exclaims, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” 2. And the truth is that in this matter St. Paul distinguished between the ideal revealed from above as in his Master’s mind, and the real, embarrassed by the conditions imposed on it by fallen human nature. He “knew that the treasure of the faith was deposited in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the glory might be of God and not of us.” And, therefore, Paul for his part was not surprised. The failure lay not in the gift, but in the recipient. It was still possible to believe that a new power had entered into human nature which was not therefore incapable of raising and saving human nature, because it did not suspend man’s free will and overrule his instincts of resistance and mischief.

III. The substance of the message. 1. Paul was well aware that there were features in the Christian creed which were in the highest degree unwelcome. Less than this he cannot mean by “the offence of the Cross,” or “Christ crucified foolishness to the Greeks.” How was this teaching, familiar enough to our generation but strange beyond all measure to the men who heard it from its first preachers, to compass acceptance and victory? Was it the cogeny of the evidence? No doubt much of the earliest teaching of the apostles was devoted to enforce this. Certainly the resurrection of Christ was sufficiently well attested, and yet its witnesses were not believed. Mere demonstrative evidence, although at first hand, has no effect against a strong and hostile predisposition of the will. 2. And here it is that the apostle may give us his own reason for not being ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for not despairing of its capacity to win a cynical and scornful world. He says that it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. There is lodged in it a secret impetuosity which pours forth from it into the human soul, with the result of bearing down all opposition and landing it safely on the eternal shore. And by this gospel he means no mere fragment of it, such as Christian morality without Christian doctrine, or as the atonement without the grace and power of the sacraments. For all, all is really included in that free unmerited gift of righteousness which faith receives at the hands of Christ, and which robes the believer in the garments of salvation. St. Paul knew that this had been his own experience. Since that scene on the road to Damascus he had been another man, he had lived a new life. Old things had passed away, and all things had become new. And as with himself, so with others. The gospel had made many a man, whom he knew, utterly unlike his former self. The religion of Jesus Christ is here upon ground peculiarly its own. There are many claimants in our modern world for the throne which it has owned for eighteen hundred years. But whether the eye rests upon the masters who have done so much for mind, or upon the masters who have spent themselves in manipulating matter, what has been achieved by these great and distinguished men that could be described as the power of God unto salvation? No: the deeper aspects of human life, and much more the grave and real significance of death, are quite beyond them. 3. And yet, even here, a lingering feeling might well be experienced, I do not say of shame, but of hesitation. Those to whom the saving power of Christ’s gospel is intimately certain, cannot without difficulty bring themselves to talk about it. We do not any of us readily talk about that which really touches us. Men have no objection to talk politics, because politics address themselves to those common sympathies and judgments which we share with others. But no man will consent to discuss, if he can help it, his near relations or some family interest in public. This motive operates not infrequently in the case of religion. Religion twines itself round the heart like a family affection. The relations of each soul to the Lord of souls are quite unique; and therefore the very best of men are not unfrequently the least able to talk freely on the one subject respecting which they feel most deeply. Doubtless so human and sympathetic a nature as St. Paul’s would have felt this difficulty in its full force, and yet we know how completely he overcame it. If he did not yield to the instinct which would have sealed his lips and stilled his pen, this is so because he knew that the gospel of his Lord and Master was not really, like some family question or interest, a private matter for him. The friend of his soul was the rightful, the much-needed friend of every human being. And therefore no false reserve could permit St. Paul to treat the gospel as a private or personal interest. Conclusion: In their degree the feelings which may have been present to St. Paul’s mind will have been our own. Pagan Rome has perished, and yet that which it represented to the apostle’s eye is still in a modified form before us. And yet to those who can take a sober measure of men and things there are no reasons for being ashamed of Christ’s gospel. The world which confronts us is really not more splendid nor yet more solid than the empire which has long since gone its way. The religious weakness and disorganisation which alarms us in the Church is not greater than that which was familiar to St. Paul. Modern attacks upon the faith are not more formidable than those which he refuted. And the gospel is now what it was then, only to a much greater multitude of souls, the power of God unto salvation. 1. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Here is a fitting motto, not merely to Christ’s great apostle, but—(1) To the humblest and weakest of His ministers. No man who wears His livery can be ashamed of His gospel without incurring even the scorn of the world. (2) For every young man who is entering upon life. You know what is practically meant by being ashamed of the gospel. The creed is best confessed in the life of the believer. (3) For a nation which owes to Christ’s gospel so great a debt as England has owed it now for 1,400 years. They tell us, indeed, that the gospel is an admirable guide of life for the individual, but that it has no business to enter into the sphere of politics. But if the religious principle is worth anything, it applies to a million of human beings just as truly as to one. Yet many a man who is exemplary in all the private relations of life, is in his public conduct and political opinions too often ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Let us be honest. Let us either have the courage not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ in any one department of life and thought, or let as own that we have really adapted the ethics of the New Testament to suit a state of feeling and conduct which they were intended gradually to render impossible. (Canon Liddon.)

Who are ashamed of the gospel:

  1. The wise, because it calls men to believe and not to argue.
  2. The great, because it brings all into one body.

III. The rich, because it is to be had without money and without price.

  1. The gay, because they fear it will destroy all their mirth. (R. M. McCheyne.)

The gospel ashamed of some of its preachers:—Dr. Murray was made warden of Manchester by James I. There was little to do, and Murray had neither the ability nor the inclination to do much. He was expected to preach but seldom, and he did not intend to preach at all. Once, however, he did preach before the king, and his text was, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” “True” said James, “but the gospel may well be ashamed of thee.”

The shame of the gospel of Christ is its glory:—I. In its relation to the human intellect. Its mysterious character. II. In its relation to the moral constituting. Its humiliating character. III. In its relation to other kinds of religion. Its transcendent character. IV. In its relation to this life. Its unworldly character. (H. G. Weston, D.D.)

Reasons for glorying in the gospel:—There are three things in connection with this avowal which invest it with great significance: the distinguished character of the author—the great apostle; the universally execrated nature of the subject—the religion of the crucified malefactor; and the class of persons to whom it was addressed, the cultured, intrepid inhabitants of the imperial city. For such an avowal there must have been good reasons and here they are specified:—The gospel is—

  1. a system of Divine power. 1. There are three manifestations of Divine power. (1) Material, as seen in the production, support, and order of the universe. (2) Intellectual, as seen in the plan upon which the whole, the vast and the minute, is organised. (3) Moral, as seen in the influence of God’s thoughts and feelings upon the minds of His intelligent creatures. The last is the power of the gospel, God’s truth. 2. All truth is powerful. But there are three things that make gospel truth peculiarly powerful. (1) It is moral, appealing to the conscience and heart. (2) Remedial, graciously providing for our deeply-felt spiritual wants. (3) Embodied in the living example of God Himself. There then is one reason why Paul was not ashamed of it. Had it been a weak thing, he as a strong-minded man might have blushed to own it.
  2. A system of Divine power to save. What is salvation? Some persons speak of it as if it were a local change, a transporting of man from one world to another. “But the mind is its own place.” Salvation may be regarded as consisting in the restoration of a—1. Lost love. We were made to be governed in all things by a supreme affection for God, but nothing is more clear than that man is not so governed now. The gospel comes to restore it. 2. Lost harmony. The soul is all in tumult. This cannot be the normal state. 3. Lost usefulness. Our relations to each other and our social instincts and powers are such as to show that we were intended to be useful to each other. But we are injurious. The gospel makes us useful. This is another reason which made Paul glory in it. If it had been a power to destroy, his generous nature would have been ashamed of it. Any power can destroy. III. A system of Divine power to save all. 1. “The Jew first,” because—(1) He has the best opportunity of testing the foundation facts of the gospel. (2) When converted he would become the most effective agent in converting others. (3) It exhibits more strikingly the merciful genius of the gospel The Jew, the murderer of the prophets and of Christ, &c. 2. The gospel is, like the air and sun, for humanity. Had it been for a sect, or class, Paul might have been ashamed of it. IV. A system of Divine power to save all on the most simple condition. “To every one that believeth.” Man as man—1. Has this power to believe. It requires no peculiar talent or attainment. 2. Has a strong tendency to believe. He is credulous to a fault. Conclusion:—Who are ashamed of the gospel? 1. Any in heaven? No! They owe their blessedness to its discoveries, and chant the praises of its Author. 2. Any in hell? No! There are thousands there ashamed of themselves for having been ashamed of the gospel. 3. Who on earth? Not the best parents, &c., the greatest sages, poets, patriots and philanthropists. They are to be found in the lower strata of moral life. They are to be found amongst men who ought to be ashamed of themselves. (D. Thomas, D.D.)

Moral courage ready to encounter shame:—Let us not pass over the intrepidity of Paul, in the open and public avowal of his Christianity. We call it intrepidity, though he speaks not here of having to encounter violence, but only of having to encounter shame. For, in truth, it is often a higher effort and evidence of intrepidity to front disgrace, than it is to front danger. There is many a man who would march up to the cannon’s mouth for the honour of his country, yet would not face the laugh of his companions for the honour of his Saviour. We doubt not that there are individuals here who, if they were plied with all the devices of eastern cruelty to abjure the name of Christian, whose courage would bear them in triumph, and yet whose courage fails them every day in the softer scenes of their social and domestic history. The man who under the excitements of persecution was brave enough to be a dying witness to Jesus, crouches into all the timidity of silence under the omnipotency of fashion. There is as much of the truly heroic in not being ashamed of the profession of the gospel, as in not being afraid of it. Paul was neither: and yet when we think of what he once was in literature, and how aware he must have been of the loftiness of its contempt for the doctrine of a crucified Saviour; and that in Rome the whole power and bitterness of its derisions were awaiting him, and that the main weapon with which he had to confront it was such an argument as looked to be foolishness to the wisdom of this world—we doubt not that the disdain inflicted by philosophy was naturally as formidable to the mind of this apostle as the death inflicted by the arm of bloody violence. So that even now, and in an age when Christianity has no penalties and no proscriptions to keep her down, still, if all that deserves the name of Christianity be exploded from conversation—if a visible embarrassment run through a company when its piety or its doctrine is introduced among them—if, among beings rapidly moving towards immortality, any serious allusion to the concerns of immortality stamps an oddity on the character of him who brings it forward—if, through a tacit but firm compact which regulates the intercourse of this world, the gospel is as effectually banished from the ordinary converse of society as by the edicts of tyranny the profession of it was banished in the days of Claudius from Rome:—then he who would walk in his Christian integrity among the men of this lukewarm and degenerate age—he who, rising above that meagre and mitigated Christianity which is as remote as Paganism from the real Christianity of the New Testament, would, out of the abundance of his heart, speak of the things which pertain to the kingdom of God—he will find that there are trials still which, to some temperaments, are as fierce and as fiery as any in the days of martyrdom; and that, however in some select and peculiar walk he may find a few to sympathise with him, yet many are the families and many are the circles of companionship where the persecution of contempt calls for determination as strenuous, and for firmness as manly, as ever in the most intolerant ages of our Church did the persecution of direct and personal violence. (T. Chalmers, D.D.)

For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

The power of the gospel:

  1. The power of the gospel. 1. We can quite understand that to a man of such singular force of character as St. Paul, the “power” of the gospel would be its leading idea. To St. John, it might be its sweetness. And we can follow the current of St. Paul’s feelings when he said that he could not be “ashamed” of anything which was so very strong. 2. What we all want is to treat religion more as a thing of “power.” We think and speak of it, and act about it, too softly. It is a thing of beauty, poetry, enjoyment,—but would not it be far better if we held it more as a grand fact for vigorous thought, manly action, and practical effort? The piety of the day is too enervated. Hence its watery literature, its feeble hold on the minds of working men, its pettiness, unreality, and small results. There would be less “shame” if there were more “power.” 3. I need scarcely say that before the gospel can be this “power,” it must be gospel indeed—not a theory, a system of theology, an abstract truth, a diluted joy, something half fear and half hope, but “God’s spell.”
  2. Some facts in reference to this power. 1. The Christian religion is the only one which has ever had “power” to set in motion real missionary action. Why? The selfishness and sluggishness of human nature is exclusive, and it requires an immense lever to stir it, and nothing in the world has ever been found equal to do it, except the love of such a God as we have in Christ. That, and that only, can “thrust out labourers into the vineyard.” We have something to say worth making a mission for—we have a motive which can send us forth to say it. 2. See what the gospel of God does in all lands wherever it is planted—what softening of savagery, what civilisation it carries along with it. True, it may be hindered by the inconsistencies of Christians. But in itself the gospel always grows into an improvement in everything. 3. Look over this world at this moment. There are about two hundred millions of Christians upon the earth—once there were twelve. The increase without war—the great engine of Mahometanism—with very little to please and attract flesh and blood into it, rather with the greatest opposition to all which is natural to us, what “power” lies in that single historical fact! 4. Or let me tell you the experience of every Christian minister. It is when he preaches the full simple gospel that he gets all his success. If he preach morality, or an abstract divinity, or a gospel which is half gospel, he has no results whatever. But Christ carries everything. 5. Or listen to the witness of your own heart. (1) What have been the best hours of your life? The hours when Christ was most to you. (2) Who is the really composed man, but the man who is at peace in his own soul. That man does everything with confidence, and rest is power—“the power of God.”

III. Ways in which you may use this “power.” 1. Perhaps you are a weak character. You long for more strength of mind, and will, and purpose, and for capacity and power to persevere. Now nothing will give what you want but real personal religion—union with Christ, the gospel of Christ in you, and that gospel is “power.” 2. Or you may have a habit, and you want to conquer it. Bring Christ to bear upon that habit, have motive enough, make the effort for Christ’s sake, because He has loved you, do it to please Him, and show that you love Him. That principle will command all victory. 3. Or, perhaps, there is some one you very much wish to influence, but you cannot move him. Lead him to your object through the peace you bring into his own soul, and Christ will be stronger than the strong one. 4. Or, you are conscious of a want of moral courage in speaking of religious subjects; there is only one remedy, Christ must be more to you, and then you will be able to say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” &c. (J. Vaughan, M.A.)

The gospel’s power: it is great:

  1. In the revelation it embodies. It is the power of God, because it not only emanates from God, but God is in it. The Father has centred all His thoughts in the words of His gospel, and these words retain their power because they are the only satisfying portion of the human heart.
  2. In the deliverance it effects. It was with a mighty hand that Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage. No less wonderful is the power demonstrated in the deliverance of man from under the thraldom of sin.

III. In the transformation it produces.

  1. In the motives it inspires. Men are actuated by a desire to gain wealth, fame, learning; and what unflagging energy this inspires! The gospel inspires us with a hope of being kings and priests unto God. But love to God and our fellow-men is to be the great motive for our actions. This is to be the ruling power of our lives, and this will render us godlike. V. In the universality of its application. “To every one that believeth.” It is the gospel for mankind, and among all nations it has gained its trophies. Its power has not waned. Conclusion:—Its hindrances are in the individual soul. Sin makes the barrier. But the gospel brought home by the Spirit can overcome all. There is nothing in it of which we should be ashamed. (A. Huelston, Ph.D.)

The power of the gospel contrasted with other theories:—Suppose that two persons start upon a philanthropic mission. One shall be a preacher determined to preach the old-fashioned gospel; and the other shall be a nineteenth century lecturer, whose great article of faith is, “I believe in the nineteenth century,” Each of us addresses congregations, and at the end of one of my sermons I say, “Now then, if there are any of you who feel yourselves tied and bound with the chain of your sins, while you are longing to lead a better life, stay behind and I will endeavour to make the way as plain as I can.” Well, suppose also that the lecturer has delivered his oration, the place is crowded, and a great amount of enthusiasm is kindled by the wonderful oratory of the man. At the end, suppose again that he too says something of the same kind: “Now then, I have been speaking of the progress of civilisation, and the development of humanity, and what we may expect as years roll away and as man rises to a higher level. But I wish to be practical, and to endeavour to benefit any now present who feel they need some help. Should any of you to-night feel as if you are failing to benefit by this general advance that is being made, just remain behind and I will offer you a few words of advice.” Suppose that in both cases the invitation is accepted by some. I come down, and there approaches me a miserable-looking specimen of humanity. I have only to look in his face to see the marks of sin there. A few minutes’ conversation discloses the fact that there is scarcely a sin which that man has not committed; tears stand in his eyes as he says to me, “I wish you could tell me, sir, what I must do to be saved.” To such a one I should have no difficulty in making answer—“My dear brother, you are just the person I have to preach to. My Master came to seek and to save the lost. Tell me, are you altogether out of conceit, nay, out of heart, with yourself?” I can imagine the melancholy reply, “What hope have I left in myself? Unless a higher power than mine do something for me, there is nothing before me but despair.” If such be the response, I can hail that self-despair as the harbinger of true hope. I am able to lead the forlorn and hopeless wretch out of self and into Christ; show him the provision that has been made to meet the case of the helpless, and guide him step by step, till at length he claims Christ as his all-sufficient Saviour who is able to save to the uttermost. Well, in such a case, the man will become a changed person. The intervention of the Creator will have made him a new creature, and he who before delighted in sin, will suddenly find himself hating sin and loving purity and holiness. Now let us turn to the other scene. The lecture is just closing, and the lecturer gives such an invitation as I have suggested. One man comes up and addresses himself to the lecturer: “I am a very bad man, and have lived a very bad life, and I want to know if you can give me any advice that shall make me better.” “Well, my friend, reasoning on utilitarian grounds, I assume that you have found your evil course not much to your advantage.” “Advantage! Why, I have stripped my house of every comfort, and turned it into a wild beast’s den rather than a human home; I have lost my situations; and it is all through that cursed drink.” “Then your case is very clear, my friend. You can see without any lecture on utilitarianism that drunkenness is unprofitable to you.” “Well, I know that; but the point is how I am to overcome this craving.” “Well, first reflect seriously that you are injuring yourself.” “But I am convinced of that already.” “Well, then act in accordance with that conviction; sign the pledge.” “I have signed the pledge, over and over again, but I cannot keep it.” “Why not? Have you been really in earnest?” “Yes, sir; but I could never keep it for any length of time.” “Well, but you had better sign it again.” “I have signed it a dozen times, sir.” “Well, I don’t know what to advise; struggle more earnestly.” “But I have struggled my very utmost.” “Then can you keep out of the way of bad company?” “I may try, sir; but the bad company won’t keep out of my way.” What is the lecturer to say next? My own impression is that there is nothing left for the apostle of the new creed but to admit his failure, unless he has the assurance to say to him, “Very well, then, your only chance is to believe in the nineteenth century!” But where is there one who would dare to say this? No! the individual must perish, while the lecturer comforts himself with the hope that the species will improve. You ask me to lay aside the gospel, and take in place of it one which leaves me in such a position that I am morally helpless and incapable of grappling with the infirmities of human nature, or of holding out a helping hand to those around me who are sinking down to perdition. We are asked to accept the dictates of science, or the theories of philosophers, or what are supposed to be exhibitions of supernatural power, or some enthusiastic visionary who sets himself up as a religious reformer, and bids us accommodate our convictions to his dreams. But we go back to that question, “Where is the power?” As I look around on all the various substitutes for the gospel, I seek an answer, and I seek in vain. Where is the man who is ready to tell me how a bad man is to become good, how a weak man is to become strong? From all these I turn to the cross of Emmanuel. The power of God in redemption is felt, and from the cross I see men going forth, new creatures in Christ Jesus, possessed of new desires and new affections, and animated by a new power. (W. Hay Aitken, M.A.)

The gospel a power unto salvation:—(Text, and Matt. 6:13; Acts. 1:8). The first of these verses declares that power belongs to God, and, by implication, that we have power only as we borrow it from God; the second, how this power is, in the moral and spiritual realm, to be bestowed upon men; the third, through what instrumentality this power shall be bestowed—“the gospel.”

  1. The religion of the Bible is, then, characteristically a power-bestowing religion. It is this which distinguishes it from all other religions. 1. All the significance of the miracles of the Old Testament and the New Testament lies in this, that they are witnesses to a help that lies beyond humanity, but which is extended to humanity. The entire Old Testament is the history of a power not belonging to humanity, and yet working for the benefit of Israel. It is by the power of God that the Israelites are summoned from their bondage, that the waves of the Red Sea part for them, and that one after another victory crowns their campaigning in Palestine. The history is not the history of what the Jews did or Jewish great men did, but of what a power not themselves was doing for them. As this is the Old Testament history, so this is the Old Testament experience of the individual. It reappears in David, in Isaiah, in every prophet. 2. The old doctrine that power belongeth unto God, and that God bestows this power upon His children, reappears in the New Testament, but in a new form. It is now the spiritual helpfulness of God that comes to the front. We speak as though a man’s power had greatly increased our power during the past few centuries; but all the power of civilisation is a power that is not our own. We have increased a little our individual muscular power, but the increase is very little, while it is stored in nature, and we lay hold upon it and use it. And I will not go to an orthodox authority, but I will ask Herbert Spencer what this power is in that famous definition: “Amid the mysteries which become the more mysterious the more they are thought about, there will remain the absolute certainty that we are ever in the presence of an Infinite and Eternal Energy from whom all things proceed.” What is this but the old Hebrew Psalmist’s “Power belongeth unto God?” And what is the result of all modern science but this: a skill to lay hold on this power that is not our own, and to make it our own by obedience to its laws? 3. Now, the New Testament, as a spiritual appendix to the Old, confirmed by modern science, adds the declaration that there are powers not our own that make for human helpfulness and lift us up in the spiritual realm. The power that is of God is a power unto spiritual salvation. As there is a power to help man in the material and physical world, so there is a power to help him in the realm of virtue and truth. A hopeful man can inspire hope; a weak-willed man can be made stronger in will by leaning upon a man whose will is stronger than his own; there is power in a great heart to fill vacant hearts full of noble, Divine love. 4. And as the individual imparts to the individual, parents to their children, the teacher to his pupils, the pastor to his congregation, so generations impart to other generations. It is not all a fiction, this Roman Catholic idea of works of supererogation stored up, on which men may draw. The world has accumulated a great reservoir of virtue, and we draw on it every day. You are stronger men and women to-day for your Puritan ancestry, for your Anglo-Saxon blood.
  2. Salvation is not something you are to get in heaven by and by, on condition that you do believe, think, or experience something here on earth now. That man will be saved from future punishment through faith in Christ is true, but it is not the burden of the Bible declaration. The great good news of the Bible is this: men are saved from the burdens of their present life; from the darkness of their scepticism; from the bondage of their superstition; from inhumanity, weakness of will, and sin, here and now. This universe is stored with great spiritual powers. Do not fight your battle alone; lay hold on those powers and ask their help in the conflict. “There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” What is that? A narrow declaration? Not at all. I find a man trying to lift a great stone, which is too heavy for his strength; and I say to him, Get out your tackle and pulleys, and then you can lift it. Is that narrow? No man can take the fruits of civilisation unless he lays hold on powers other than his own; and no man can take the fruit of Divine culture unless he reaches out and lays hold of powers that are not his own, that make for righteousness.

III. Faith is not belief. It is not belief in a long or a short creed. Faith does in the spiritual realm that which reason does in the material realm. It is simply reaching out a heart of sympathy and laying hold on the heart of God, and receiving strength that God pours into the children whose souls are open to receive His help. What virtue is there in the mere declaration of an opinion? This is not faith. Faith in Christ is an appreciation of the quality that is in Christ, a sense of His worth, a desire to be like Him, a resolute purpose to follow after Him. (Lyman Abbott, D.D.)

The power of the gospel to save:—The gospel manifests the power of God.

  1. In the revelation it makes of what God has done for us in the work of His Son. 1. As transgressors the law held us in bondage, and bound us over to endure the wages of sin in everlasting death. But in the obedience which Christ has rendered to the law, and the satisfaction He has made to its demands, He has opened a new and certain way of life for the guilty. Satan also held us captive, but Christ has overcome him who had the power of death. 2. The influence of this work is displayed—(1) In heaven in the acceptance there of Christ’s sacrifice, in His prevailing intercession, and in the continual crowning of the subjects of His redemption. (2) On earth in the increasing testimony that is borne to the glorious redemption, in the providence which causes all things to work together for the good of the redeemed, and in the continual progress of the truth. (3) In hell, in the subjection which it compels Satan to acknowledge to the Lord Jesus.
  2. In the exhibition of the work which God accomplishes within us by His Spirit. Take a view of this as given—1. In the past history of the Church. Reflect on the progress of the gospel, and the multitudes who have been actually rescued. 2. In the experience of the individual. (1) Who awakens and converts the careless sinner? (2) Who justifies the penitent believer, and gives him peace and acceptance with God? (3) Who carries on in increasing holiness the work thus commenced? (4) Who upholds and preserves to final salvation those who are thus brought to God? (5) Who finally crowns the subjects of grace in glory?

III. In the proper ground for hope which it thus affords. 1. If you look upon yourselves you find yourselves utterly weak and unworthy; but there is offered to you in the gospel a sufficient and abiding hope. 2. Let the Christ have all the praise for this work of salvation. (S. H. Tyng, D.D.)

The gospel the power of God:—There are two reasons for which we may be ashamed of anything—1. If it be base in itself, or shameful in its aim. 2. Though good in itself, and honourable in its aim, if it be weak and powerless to achieve the good it aims at. For example: we are ashamed of a traitor who sells his country for gold; and of a general who, though loyally fighting for his country, ruins its cause through ignorance or incapacity. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel because—

  1. It was not base in itself, nor shameful in its aims. Its facts were true, its morals pure, its doctrine ennobling. Its aim is “salvation.” You have seen at a railway station carriages labelled “London,” “Edinburgh,” &c., signifying that the company engaged to carry the passengers to these places. So the gospel is labelled as intended to carry passengers “unto salvation.” Anything short of that would be to fail in its promise. But what is this “salvation”? The common idea is, that when a man dies he shall be saved from hell and have a place in heaven. But salvation implies more than this—deliverance from the corruption of sin as well as from its condemnation; from its power as well as from its punishment—in short, deliverance from sin itself.
  2. It was not feeble and unable to achieve its aim. Its power is as great as its purpose is good. This is what most of all we need? We know the doctrines of the gospel, the sins it forbids, the duties it requires, the hopes it teaches. But somehow we feel that these things do not influence us as they ought. What we need is power to convince us, to subdue us, to rule over us, to sustain us, power to resist the devil, to overcome the world. In some things the gospel has come to us in power. For example, we believe in the forgiveness of sins through Christ’s blood. And that belief has brought us peace from the fear of punishment. But oh! how we long that the words, “Go and sin no more,” would “come in power.” Behold, then, gospel promises do not speak more truly of pardon than they speak of power for present duty by Christ’s living grace.

III. Its offer is not limited to any one nation or class, but is free and sure “to every one that believeth.” “To as many as received Him, to them gave He power,” &c. Every one who believes on Jesus receives of the Holy Spirit. They receive this power, but they must use it. The power of God is laid up for them in Christ; but out of His fulness they must go on to draw grace for grace. (W. Grant.)

The gospel the power of God:—1. The apostle here gives his reason for the statement that he was willing to preach the gospel in Rome. In characterising the gospel as “the power of God,” he showed his usual tact. It was his object to present the gospel to his readers in such an aspect as would commend it to their peculiar disposition as admirers of power. At Athens, on the other hand, he was amongst a people who spent their time in telling or hearing some new thing. The apostle, therefore, observing an altar to “the unknown God,” presents himself as one who had the key to this mystery. The effect upon men of such an inquisitive turn of mind may be easily conceived. The Corinthians, again, made great pretensions to wisdom; to them, therefore, the apostle represents the gospel as the highest wisdom—the wisdom of God. Whilst, however, representing the gospel as “power,” to the Romans the apostle is careful to say that it was the “power of God,” not that military and political power so much desiderated by them. 2. In the text we have three terms, salvation, gospel, and power. The gospel effects the salvation, and the power is the reason why. (1) Salvation must be regarded in the light of the exposition of it given in this Epistle. Three words describe it—justification, sanctification, and glorification. The first is the soul’s deliverance from the condemnation and penalty of sin (chaps. 1–5); the second, its emancipation from its dominion as a ruling principle (chaps. 6; 7); and the third, the bestowment upon it of everlasting happiness and glory (chap. 8). (2) The gospel as a record embodies a scheme of truth based upon a series of transactions of transcendent glory, the incarnation of the Son of God. His life, death, resurrection, exaltation, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As a message of mercy, the truths it records are presented for acceptance as a means for effecting salvation. (3) The power of God. The gospel is—

  1. The product of Divine power. The transactions it records testify to the power of God in the same way that every author’s power is revealed by his works. Power has three qualities. Moral, which indicates the motive, and has regard to the end in view; intellectual, which contrives, and has regard to the means; physical, which executes, i.e., applies the means devised to the end contemplated. Thus, power manifests itself in force, contrivance, and purpose. The Divine operations ever display these qualities. These qualities, however, in the gospel show different degrees of combination from those which obtain in creation—e.g., all physical objects are distinguished by some one particular colour, although all the other hues of light are there. In the light falling upon objects which appear blue, all the hues of light are present, but by the operation of a certain law, the blue alone presents itself to the eye. So in creation physical power prevails, at least to our senses. The multiplicity of its worlds and their vast magnitude divert the mind from the equally glorious, but less obtrusive, manifestations of intellect and beneficence. Now the gospel is a marvellous manifestation of power in its several phases. As the product of God’s moral power it is defined as “the exceeding riches of His grace” (Eph. 2:5). As an exhibition of His intellectual power it is represented as “making known the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10; 1 Pet. 1:10). Its manifestations of physical power, instanced in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus, are described as the working of His mighty power (Eph. 1:19). But its moral power is its crown and glory. One characteristic will suffice to show this. Its pith and marrow is its provision for the forgiveness of sin, and this is the grandest exercise of moral power possible. “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity?” So far was the idea of forgiveness from the hearts of men that when they came to create gods they never imagined gods possessed of the power to pardon sin. Does not this prove that the religion which presents this fact to us must be, as regards its conception, absolutely Divine?
  2. An instrument of Divine power. “The power of God unto salvation.” The transactions it embodies were characterised by superlative condescension and self-sacrifice. As such they were replete with power in the two senses of legal merit and spiritual influence—the one forming the ground of men’s reconciliation with God, the other forming the instrumentality for weaning them from sin, for changing their disposition, subduing their passions, and kindling in their hearts the love of Christ. But this is not all. The gospel possesses instrumental fitness for securing justification and sanctification, but in order that these may become experimental realities men must, believingly, accept, as the ground and instrument of their salvation, the transactions it records. Hence powerful influences are necessary to overcome men’s indifference and stubbornness. The gospel is the power of God to this end. The transactions it embodies are presented as messages of love. This message is instinct with the moral and Divine power of the transactions which form its theme. No wonder the gospel is called the “word of salvation”—the word which both reveals salvation and opens the heart, by conviction, to its reception. (A. J. Parry.)

The gospel the power of God:—The gospel is the power of God—

  1. In its most paradoxical and yet highest form. 1. Of course, the message was power only as being the record of power; the real energy lay in the Incarnate Word. And Paul’s thought is, that high above all other manifestations of the Divine energy, rises that strange paradox, the omnipotence of God declared in weakness. Sinai is impotent, compared with the tremendous forces which stream from the little hillock, where stand three black crosses, and a dying Christ on the midmost. 2. There is the power of God; for material force is not power; nor majesty, which being deprived of its externals becomes a jest; nor the rule over men’s wills by iron constraint; nor is the rule of ideas the highest power; but the Divinest force in God is tenderness, and the true signature of omnipotence is love. (1) What a discovery of the depths of the Godhead that is! The world has heard of gods of physical force, lustful, whimsical, benevolent by fits and starts, vengeful when mood suits them; gods apathetic and indifferent, but it never dreamed until this Man came of a God whose power could drape itself in weakness, and was guided by love. (2) What a lesson as to where the true strength and greatness for man lies! We have had enough of the worship of genius; of the beating of drums and singing hosannas over the achievements of poet and philosopher, and artist and scholar. Let us remember that there is a stronger thing in the world than all these, and that is patient gentleness that bows, and bears, and suffers, and dies.
  2. In its mightiest operation. Rome gathered its forces for destruction. And Paul is thinking of the contrast between the devilish use of human strength which generally attends it, and the Divine use of Divine power which dedicates it all for salvation. Salvation is negatively the deliverance from everything that is evil; positively it is the endowment with every good. 1. Think of the strange audacity of Christianity in calmly proposing to itself such an end as this. People tell us that the gospel idea of men is dark and depressing. Why? but because the gospel can afford to look facts in the face, inasmuch as it knows itself able to overcome all that is evil, and to reverse and supplant it by perfect good. And there is nothing in the New Testament that is more of the nature of a demonstration of its Divine energy than the unruffled composure with which it declares, looking on the ruins that lie round about it, “I have come to set all that right, and I know that I can do it.” And it has done it. I do not know any other religion that would not be laughed out of court if it strode forward and said, “I have come here to abolish all evil, and to make every soul of man like God.” “Well, then; do it!” would be the simple answer; “and if with your philosopher’s stone you can turn the smallest grain of a baser metal into gold, we will admit the claim and believe that the transmutation of the rest is a question of time.” Well, Christianity has done it, and there are millions of people in this world to-day who will say, “One thing I know, there are a great many things I do not know, but one thing I do: whereas I was blind now I see. Look at my eyes if you doubt it.” 2. This transforming and saving power is clearly beyond man’s ability. It will take God to change a man’s relations to the Divine government, and to hold back the consequences which, if there were no God, by the law of cause and effect, would certainly follow every transgression and disobedience. And it needs no less than God to renew the spirit into a loftier life. And the world knows it, and instead of salvation it talks about reformation, restraint, culture, &c.; all very good in their way, but not going deep enough down into the facts of man’s condition, not being able to lift him high enough up towards the destined good, to be accepted as a substitute for the Divine idea of salvation. There tower the great white summits of the Himalayas; down at their feet stand palaces, temples, porches for philosophers. Measure the height of the one by the other, and you get an approximation to the difference between human efforts upon human society and the Divine design for every soul of man upon earth. 3. This restoring work of salvation is not only exclusively a Divine work, but is the most energetic exercise of the Divine power. Creation is great and Divine. The new creation, which is restoration to more than primeval blessedness and beauty, is greater, inasmuch as it is accomplished not by a word but by toil, sacrifice, and death, and inasmuch as the result is man more truly and gloriously the image of God than was he over whose appearance angels shouted for joy, and God said, “It is good.” It is great to “preserve the stars from wrong,” and to keep the most ancient heavens “fresh and strong,” but the conception of the Divine power that is gathered from those majestic regions where His finger works is low compared with that which flows from the redeeming work of Christ. God never has done, and never will do a mightier thing than when He sends His Son with power to save a world.

III. In its widest sweep. 1. Rome wielded an empire which approached to universality, so far as the world then knew. But Paul has a vision of an empire that overlaps it, as some great sea might a little pond, and sees the Dove of Christ outflying the Roman eagle, and the raven, sin. For to him his Christ is everybody’s Christ; and that which changed him from persecutor to apostle can never have a more obstinate block to hew into beauty. 2. The text may seem to narrow the universality which the apostle proclaims, but not really. For to believe is nothing more than to take the power which the gospel brings. Faith is the belt by which we fasten our else still and silent wheels to the great engine, and the power then begins to drive. You would not say that a universal medicine was less universal because it did not cure people that did not take it. 3. Nay! rather the intention and power of the gospel to save everybody can only be preserved by faith being the condition of its operation. For the condition is one that everybody can exercise, and just because men do not get saved by things that belong to classes it comes about that “not many wise, not many noble, not many mighty after the flesh” are saved. The wise man wants a religion that will give culture its proper high seat in the synagogue. The noble does not like to have his robes crumpled by a crowd of greasy jackets going in at the one common door. And so they turn away because they would like to have a little private postern of their own, where a ticket of a special colour would let them and their friends in. Conclusion: Are you exercising this faith, and therefore saved? You can separate yourselves from the power, notwithstanding the Divine purpose and adaptation of the gospel to everybody. And although God wants all of us to come to His heart, you can, if you will, stand apart. You do not need to do much. Putting your hands behind your back, or letting them hang languidly at your sides, is enough. Not to accept is to reject. You can waterproof your souls, as it were, and so lie there as dry as a bone, whilst all around you the dew of His blessing is refreshing others. Christ’s power received is life; Christ’s power not received is not negatived, but reversed, and becomes death. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

The gospel the power of God unto salvation:—By affirming this the apostle lays down the fundamental doctrine which he intends to establish against the legalistic pretentions of the Jews. Here are no less than five cardinal terms, key-words, which suggest a five-fold antithesis between Christianity and Judaism. The gospel is—

  1. “The power of God”—a hint as to the weakness of the law in reference to salvation. This contrast is brought out fully and clearly in chap. 8:2–4. God Himself is powerless to save any one righteously except through the gracious provisions of the gospel of His Son, whom He accordingly “set forth to be a propitiation,” &c. (chap. 3:25). II. “The power of God.” He who wins souls in the presentation of the gospel is wielding a power not human, but Divine; and the resulting justification before God is based, not on the righteousness of man, but “the righteousness of God.” Here we have another antithesis of the apostle’s great theme, which is fully presented in chap. 10:3 and Phil. 3:7–9. The Jews, “being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” It is only on the ground of merit that law can justify. If, then, a man could merit his acceptance with God, his justification would not be due to the gracious “power of God,” but would rest upon his own inherent goodness. III. The “power of God unto salvation.” This the law could not accomplish in that it was weak through the flesh. But as regards the very opposite result, condemnation and death, it has, indeed, tremendous power (chap. 7:9, 10; 2 Cor. 3:6, 7). Thus the only hope for man is to pass from under a legal system, which can only justify the sinless, to a dispensation of grace which is clothed with Divine power to “justify the ungodly.” IV. “The power of God unto salvation to every one who believes.” But the Jew, supposing that he had kept the law sufficiently to stand before God in the strength of his own righteousness, very naturally limited the favour of God to legalistic worshippers, and looked upon all others as inevitably doomed to death without mercy. Now the argument of the Epistle, in dispelling this double delusion, enables us to discern the broad contrast between the universality of grace and the exclusiveness of legalism (chap. 3:21–23). We are again and again reminded that this blessedness cometh not upon the circumcision only, but upon the uncircumcision also; that “the same God over all is rich unto all who call upon Him,” and that, consequently, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” V. “The power of God unto salvation to every one who believes.” The contrast between the gospel and the law is the significant antithesis of faith and works so extensively developed in this Epistle. The dictum of the law is, “Do this and thou shalt live.” The maxim of the gospel is, “The just shall live by faith.” Doing is the ground of legal justification. Believing is the condition of gracious justification. The radical opposition between these, together with the inapplicability of the former to man as a sinful being, undergoes thorough discussion, especially in chaps. 3 and 4. (Prof. I. B. Grubbs.)

To the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Our duty to Israel:—The gospel should be preached first to the Jews, because—

  1. Judgment will begin with them (chap. 2:6–10). Why is this? Because they have had more light than any other people. God chose them out of the world to be His witnesses. Every prophet, evangelist, and apostle was sent first to them. Christ said, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The Word of God is still addressed to them. Yet they have sinned against all this light and love. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” &c. Their cup of wrath is fuller than that of other men. Is not this a reason, then, why the gospel should first be preached to the Jew? They are ready to perish—to perish more dreadfully than other men. In an hospital the physician runs first to the worst case. When the sailors have left the shore to save the sinking crew they first help those that are readiest to perish. And shall we not do the same for Israel? The billows of God’s anger are ready to dash first over them—shall we not seek to bring them first to the Rock that is higher than they? Yes, and some of you are in a situation very similar to that of Israel—you who have the Word of God in your hands and yet are unbelieving and unsaved. Think how like your wrath will be to that of the unbelieving Jew.
  2. It is like God. It is the chief glory and joy of a soul to be like God. Too many rest in the joy of being forgiven. We should be like God in understanding, in will, in holiness, and also in His peculiar affections; and the whole Bible shows that God has a peculiar affection for Israel (Deut. 7:7; Lam. 4:2; Jer. 12:7). Shall we be ashamed to cherish the same affection as our heavenly Father?

III. There is peculiar access to the Jews.

  1. They will give life to the dead world. A reflective traveller, passing through the countries of this world, and observing the race of Israel in every land, might be led to guess, merely from the light of his natural reason, that that singular people are preserved for some great purpose in the world. There is a singular fitness in the Jew to be the missionary of the world. They have not that peculiar attachment to home and country which we have. They are also inured to every clime; they are to be found amid the snows of Russia and beneath the burning sun of Hindostan. They are also in some measure acquainted with all the languages of the world, and yet have one common language—the holy tongue—in which to communicate with one another. But what says the Word of God? (Read Zech. 8:13, 23; Micah 5:7) (R. M. McCheyne.)

To the Jew first:—The preaching of the gospel to the Jews first, served various important ends. It fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, as Isa. 2:3. It manifested the compassion of the Lord Jesus for those who shed His blood, to whom, after His resurrection, He commanded His gospel to be first proclaimed. It showed that it was to be preached to the chief of sinners, and proved the sovereign efficacy of His atonement in expiating the guilt even of His murderers. It was fit, too, that the gospel should be begun to be preached where the great transactions took place on which it was founded and established; and this furnished an example of the way in which it is the will of the Lord that His gospel should be propagated by His disciples, beginning in their own houses and their own country. (R. Haldane.)

The usefulness of converted Jews:—A Jewish convert says: “It is a well-known fact that men celebrated as theologians, as lawyers, as teachers of the young, as professors at the various universities of Europe, have been or are converts from Judaism. The late M. Fould, the great French finance minister, was a Jewish convert. The late Dr. Neander, the author of one of the most erudite works on the Church of Christ, and professor of theology at the University of Berlin, was a converted Jew. Dr. Crippadorn of Holland, physician to his Majesty the King of Holland, is a converted Jew. The late Dr. Dufosty, one of the greatest poets which Holland has ever produced, and the author of ‘Israel and the Gentiles,’ ‘A Harmony of the Gospels,’ and several other works, was a Jewish convert. Prof. Leone Levi, of King’s College, is a Jewish convert. The late Dr. Alexander, the first bishop of Jerusalem, was a converted Jew; while not less than a hundred and thirty clergymen of the Church of England are converted Jews.” He states further that, in London, there are between two and three thousand Jewish converts, whose conduct, whether as heads of families, as citizens, or as men, is an honour and credit to the churches with which they are connected.[12]

The gospel is God’s power for salvation (16)

Paul now gives a second reason for being eager to preach the gospel, and not ashamed of it: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (16).

Some commentators are so offended by the thought that Paul could feel ashamed of the gospel that they pronounce his statement a case of litotes, that is, an understatement made for rhetorical effect, especially the use of a negative in place of a positive (as when someone says, ‘I am not amused’, meaning ‘I am upset and angry’). So Moffatt renders the phrase, ‘I am proud of the gospel.’ But surely this attempt to tone down Paul’s statement, though grammatically permissible, is psychologically misguided. Jesus himself warned his disciples against being ashamed of him, which shows that he anticipated they might be,3 and Paul gave Timothy a similar admonition. I once heard James Stewart of Edinburgh, in a sermon on this text, make the perceptive comment that ‘there’s no sense in declaring that you’re not ashamed of something unless you’ve been tempted to feel ashamed of it’. And without doubt Paul knew this temptation. He told the Corinthians that he came to them ‘in weakness and fear, and with much trembling’.5 He knew that the message of the cross was ‘foolishness’ to some and ‘a stumbling-block’ to others, because it undermines self-righteousness and challenges self-indulgence. So whenever the gospel is faithfully preached, it arouses opposition, often contempt, and sometimes ridicule.

How then did Paul (and how shall we) overcome the temptation to be ashamed of the gospel? He tells us. It is by remembering that the very same message, which some people despise for its weakness, is in fact the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. How do we know this? In the long run, only because we have experienced its saving power in our own lives. Has God reconciled us to himself through Christ, forgiven our sins, made us his children, put his Spirit within us, begun to transform us, and introduced us into his new community? Then how can we possibly be ashamed of the gospel?

Moreover, the gospel is God’s saving power for everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Saving faith, which is the necessary response to the gospel, is the great leveller. For everyone who is saved is saved in exactly the same way, by faith. That goes for Jews and Gentiles equally. There is no distinction between them in respect of salvation.8 The priority of the Jews (‘first for the Jew’) is both theological, because God chose them and made his covenant with them, and therefore historical (‘We had to speak the word of God to you first’).

Reflecting on the apostle’s three personal affirmations in verses 14–16, we have seen that his eagerness to evangelize in Rome arose from his recognition that the gospel is an unpaid debt to the world and the saving power of God. The first gave him a sense of obligation (he had been put in trust with the good news), and the second a sense of conviction (if it had saved him, it could save others). Still today the gospel is both a debt to discharge and a power to experience. Only when we have grasped and felt these truths shall we be able to say with Paul, ‘I am not ashamed … I am under obligation … So I am eager to share the gospel with the world.’[13]

16 Having confessed his fervent desire to preach the gospel at Rome, Paul goes on to give the reason for his zeal to preach the gospel. He has no sense of reserve about his mission. “I am not ashamed” is rhetorical understatement (litotes) pointing to Paul’s confidence in the gospel. He does not in any way consider his task unworthy or one that will prove to be illusory. He is ready to challenge the philosophies and religions in Rome that vie for attention, because he knows, on the basis of his experience in the East, that God’s power is at work in the proclamation of the good news and that it is able to transform lives. The gospel is nothing less that “the power of God” (cf. 1:1), foretold in the prophets (v. 2), concerning the Son of God, Jesus Christ (v. 3). “Power” here refers to the intrinsic efficacy of the gospel. It offers something desperately needed by humanity and not to be found anywhere else—a “righteousness from God” (v. 17).

The linkage between power and salvation is striking. Judaism was prone to think of the law as power, but this is not affirmed in Scripture. As for salvation, the OT is clear in its teaching that, whether it is conceived of physically as deliverance (Ex 14:13) or spiritually (Ps 51:12), it comes from the Lord. This is maintained in the NT as well and is affirmed in Paul’s statement that the gospel is “the power of God” for salvation. So when the apostle permits himself to say that he himself saves some (1 Co 9:22), it is only in the sense that he is Christ’s representative who is able to proclaim the way of salvation to others.

“Salvation” (sōtēria, GK 5401) is a broad concept. It includes the forgiveness of sins but involves much more, because its basic meaning is “soundness” or “wholeness.” It promises the restoration of all that sin has marred or destroyed. It is the general term that unites in itself the particular aspects of truth suggested by “justification,” “reconciliation,” “sanctification,” and “redemption.” But its efficacy depends on a person’s willingness to receive the message. Salvation is available to “everyone who believes.” That is, salvation is by “faith.” (In Greek, “believe” [pisteuō, GK 4409] and “faith” [pistis, GK 4411] are from the same root.) This sweeping declaration concerning “everyone who believes” ties in with the previous statement (concerning Greeks and non-Greeks) and now includes both the Jew and the Gentile. The Jew receives “first” mention. This does not mean that every Jew must be evangelized before the gospel can be presented to Gentiles; it does mean that the gospel is in the first instance the fulfillment of the hope of Israel (cf. Ac 28:20) and must therefore be proclaimed first to the Jews. In this era of fulfillment, just as Jesus came first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mt 15:24; 10:6), so now the gospel concerning Jesus must first go to the Jews. Thus to them was given the first opportunity to receive him, both during his ministry (Jn 1:11) and in the Christian era (Ac 1:8; 3:26). Paul himself followed this pattern (13:45–46). The theological priority of Israel rests on the reality of God’s covenantal faithfulness. The Gentiles are latecomers (Eph 2:11–13) and, as Paul will declare later on, foreign branches grafted into the olive tree (Ro 11:17).[14]

The Theme of the Epistle

Romans 1:16–17

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

In the sixteenth and seventeenth verses of Romans 1, we come to sentences that are the most important in the letter and perhaps in all literature. They are the theme of this epistle and the essence of Christianity. They are the heart of biblical religion.

The reason this is so is that they tell how a man or woman may become right with God. We are not right with God in ourselves. This is what the doctrine of original sin is all about. We are in rebellion against God; and if we are in rebellion against God, we cannot be right with him. On the contrary, we are to be judged by him. What is more, we are polluted by our sin. We are as filthy in God’s sight as the most disease infected, loathsome individual could be in ours, and in that state we must be banished from his presence forever when we die.

What is to be done? On our side, nothing can be done. Yet in these sentences Paul tells us that God has done something. In fact, he has done precisely what needs to be done. He has provided a righteousness that is exactly what we need. It is a divine righteousness, a perfect righteousness. And it is received, not by doing righteous things (which we can never do in sufficient quantity anyway), but by simple faith. It is received merely by believing what God tells us.

No One Righteous

In the next chapter, continuing our study of this very important section of the letter to the Roman church, I will show why Paul was not ashamed of this gospel. Here, however, I want to concentrate on the chief idea in these two verses, namely, that in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed and that this righteousness is received (and has always been received) by faith. The place to begin is with the fact that in ourselves we do not possess this righteousness.

There can be little objection to the statement that we do not possess true righteousness, because this is the point with which Paul begins his formal argument. That is, immediately after having stated his thesis in verses 16 and 17, Paul launches into a section extending from 1:18 to 3:20, in which he shows that far from being righteous before God, men and women are actually very corrupt and are all therefore naturally objects of God’s just wrath and condemnation.

I make the point in this way. Notice that in verse 17 (our text here), Paul says that “a righteousness from God is revealed.” Then notice that in 3:21, he says virtually the same thing once again: “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known to which the Law and the Prophets testify.” The words “is made known” mean “is revealed,” and the reference to “the Law and the Prophets” corresponds to Paul’s citation of a specific statement of the prophet Habakkuk in the earlier verse: “just as it is written: ‘the righteous will live by faith.’ ” So the full exposition of what Paul introduces in 1:17 begins only at 3:21.

So what occupies the intervening verses? They are a statement of the need for this righteousness, introduced by a parallel but deliberate contrast with these two statements. At the start of this section, instead of speaking of any revelation of righteousness, Paul declares: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (v. 18, italics mine).

What Paul says in Romans 1:18 through 3:20 embraces all persons. But he develops his thoughts progressively, moving from a description of those who are openly hostile to God and wicked to those who consider themselves to be either moral, and therefore acceptable to God on the basis of their own good works, or else religious, and therefore acceptable on the basis of their religious practices.

One thing is true of everyone. Left to ourselves, we use either our heathen lifestyle, our claims to moral superiority, or our religion to resist the true God. Paul says that certain facts about God have been revealed to all people in nature. But instead of allowing that revelation to point us to God and then attempting to seek him out as a result of it, we actually suppress the revelation God has given in order to continue in our own wicked ways. This is the real grounds of God’s just wrath against us—not that we have failed to do something that we could not do or refused to believe something that we did not even know about, but that we have rejected the knowledge we have in order to pursue wickedness. When he gets to the end of this section Paul is therefore quite right in concluding, quoting from many Old Testament texts:

As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God.

All have turned away,

they have together become worthless;

there is no one who does good,

not even one.”

“Their throats are open graves;

their tongues practice deceit.”

“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

ruin and misery mark their ways,

and the way of peace they do not know.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:10–18

We may not like this description of ourselves (who would?), but it is God’s accurate assessment of our depraved lives and civilization.

A Righteousness from God

In all literature there is no portrait of the human race so realistic, grim, or hopeless as this summation of Paul’s. Yet it makes the wonder of the gospel all the more glorious, for it is against this background that “a righteousness from God” is made known.

We need to see several important things about it.

  1. This righteousness from God is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1:17 and 3:21, Paul says that righteousness “comes through faith in Jesus Christ.” But it is surely right to add, in view of what Paul said in the opening section of this letter (and says elsewhere), that this is the very righteousness of Christ, which God gives to us. Righteousness is revealed in the gospel—Paul says so—but the gospel concerns Jesus Christ (1:2–3). So it is Christ who has this righteousness, and it is from him that we both learn about it and receive it.

Jesus possesses righteousness in two senses, both important. First, Jesus is intrinsically righteous. That is, being God, he is utterly holy and without sin. That is why he could say during the days of his flesh, “I always do what pleases him [that is, God]” (John 8:29b) or, as he said to his enemies on another occasion, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” (John 8:46a). His words left them speechless.

Jesus is also righteous in that he achieved a perfect righteousness by his obedience to the law of God while on earth. When John the Baptist resisted Jesus’ call for baptism, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:14–15). By saying that it was proper for him to be baptized in order “to fulfill all righteousness,” Jesus showed that he intended to fulfill the demands of the law while he lived among us. And he did. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has written:

He rendered a perfect obedience to the law; he kept it in every jot and tittle. He failed in no respect. He fulfilled God’s law completely, perfectly, and absolutely. Not only that! He has dealt with the penalty meted out by the law upon all sin and upon all sins. He took your guilt and mine upon himself, and he bore its punishment. The penalty of the law was meted out upon him, and so he has honored the law completely, positively and negatively, actively and passively. There is nothing further the law can demand; he has satisfied it all.

When Paul says that righteousness from God is revealed in the gospel, he means that the gospel shows how we can acquire the righteousness we need. But this does not exclude the truth that the existence and nature of this righteousness are also revealed to us in Christ’s person. In Christ we can see that righteousness truly exists and can be offered to us by God.

  1. God offers this righteousness of Jesus Christ freely, apart from any need to work for it on our part. This is the heart of the Good News, of course. For unless God were willing to give this righteousness to us and actually does give it, the mere existence of a perfect righteousness would not be good news at all. On the contrary, it would be very bad news, for it would increase our sense of condemnation.

It was the discovery of this truth that transformed Martin Luther and through him launched the Reformation. Luther was aware that Jesus exhibited a perfect righteousness and that this was a standard of character rightly demanded from all human beings by God. But Luther did not have this righteousness. In fact, the more he tried to achieve this righteousness, the more elusive it became. It was Luther’s very piety that created the problem. He wanted to be righteous. He wanted to please God. But the more he worked at pleasing God, the more he knew that pleasing God involved more than merely doing certain things and refusing to do others. He knew that pleasing God involved even the very attitudes in which he did or did not do these things. Basically he needed to love God, and he knew he did not love God. He actually hated God for making the standard of righteousness so impossible.

As I pointed out in the introductory chapter of this book, Luther wrote, “I had no love for that holy and just God who punishes sinners. I was filled with secret anger against him.”

But then Luther discovered that he had misunderstood God’s intention in revealing the nature and existence of this righteousness. It was not revealed so that men and women like Luther might strive toward it and inevitably fail desperately, as Luther did. It was revealed as God’s free gift in Christ, so that those who came to know Christ might stop their fruitless striving and instead rest in him. They could rest in his atoning death on their behalf, since he took the punishment of their sins upon himself and paid for them fully so that their sins might never rise up to haunt them again. They could rest in righteousness, knowing that God had given it to them and that they could thereafter stand before God, not in their own self-righteousness, which is no righteousness at all, but in the very righteousness of Christ.

The term for the application of the righteousness of Christ to the sinner is “imputation.” It is like putting the infinite moral capital of the Lord Jesus Christ in our empty bank account. It is having the riches of heaven at our disposal. When Luther saw this, it was as if the doors of heaven had been opened and he was able to pass through “the true gate of Paradise.”

  1. Faith is the channel by which sinners receive Christ’s righteousness. Paul lived many centuries before the Reformation, but he seems to have anticipated the sixteenth-century battles over the role of faith in salvation by the way he emphasizes faith both in this initial statement of his thesis and in his fuller development of the role of faith in receiving the gospel in 3:21–31. In Romans 1:17, he speaks of “a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith,’ ” quoting Habakkuk 2:4 (italics mine). In 3:21–31 he refers to “faith” eight times.

What is faith? Initially Luther thought of faith as a work and therefore grimly regarded it as something else to be attained. But faith is not a work. It is believing God. It is opening a hand to receive the righteousness of Christ that God offers.

Faith consists of three elements. First, it consists of knowledge. It is no mere attitude of mind; it involves content. We must have faith in “something.” In the case of salvation that content (and the object of our knowledge) is the revelation of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

Second, faith consists of a heart response to the gospel. This is because faith is not assent to some principle that is true but nevertheless has little relationship to us. It involves the love of God for us in saving us through the death of Jesus Christ, his Son. Unless this touches our hearts and moves them, we do not really understand the gospel.

Finally, faith consists of commitment, commitment to Christ. At this point, Jesus becomes not merely a Savior in some abstract sense or even someone else’s Savior, but my Savior. Like Thomas, I now gladly confess him to be “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28, italics mine).

In an excellent little book entitled All of Grace, the great Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “Faith is not a blind thing; for faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing; for faith believes facts of which it is sure. It is not an unpractical, dreamy thing; for faith trusts, and stakes its destiny upon the truth of revelation.… Faith … is the eye which looks.… Faith is the hand which grasps … Faith is the mouth which feeds upon Christ.”

One person who read Romans 10:8 (“ ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart’ ”) exclaimed, “Give me a knife and a fork and a chance.” He had the idea. He was prepared to receive the gospel personally.

Another who had the idea was Count Zinzendorf. His great hymn about justification through the righteousness of Christ received by faith comes to us through the translation of John Wesley:

Jesus, thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

‘Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in thy great day,

For who aught to my charge shall lay?

Fully absolved through these I am,

From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

O let the dead now hear thy voice;

Now bid thy banished ones rejoice;

Their beauty this, their glorious dress,

Jesus, thy blood and righteousness.

It was by faith in the completed work of Christ and God’s gift of Christ’s righteousness to believing men and women that Zinzendorf expected to stand before God in the day of judgment and be accepted by him.

“Nothing in My Hands”

This was Paul’s expectation and experience, too. He tells of his experience of God’s grace in Philippians.

Paul had been an exceedingly moral man: “.… If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless” (Phil. 3:4–6). But Paul learned to count his attainments as nothing in order to have Christ “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (v. 9). This is a vivid, personal statement of what he also declares at the beginning of Romans.

In Philippians, Paul uses a helpful metaphor, saying that before he met Christ his thoughts about religion involved something like a lifelong balance sheet showing assets and liabilities. He had thought that being saved meant having more in the column of assets than in the column of liabilities. And since he had considerable assets, he felt that he was very well off indeed.

Some assets he had inherited. Among them were the facts that he had been born into a Jewish family and had been circumcised according to Jewish law on the eighth day of life. He was neither a proselyte who had been circumcised later in life, nor an Ishmaelite who was circumcised when he was thirteen years of age. He was a pure-blooded Jew, having been born of two Jewish parents (“a Hebrew of Hebrews”). As an Israelite he was a member of God’s covenant people. He was of the tribe of Benjamin. Moreover, Paul had assets he had earned for himself. He was a Pharisee, the strictest and most faithful of the Jewish religious orders. He was a zealous Pharisee, proved by his persecution of the church. And, as far as the law was concerned, Paul reckoned himself to be blameless, for he had kept the law in all its particulars so far as he had understood it.

These were great assets from a human point of view. But the day came when God revealed his own righteousness to Paul in the person of Jesus Christ. When Paul saw Jesus he understood for the first time what real righteousness was. Moreover, he saw that what he had been calling righteousness, his own righteousness, was not righteousness at all but only filthy rags. It was no asset. It was actually a liability, because it had been keeping him from Jesus, where alone true righteousness could be found.

Mentally Paul moved his long list of cherished assets to the column of liabilities—for that is what they really were—and under assets he wrote “Jesus Christ alone.”

Augustus M. Toplady had it right in the hymn “Rock of Ages”:

Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to thy cross I cling;

Naked, come to thee for dress;

Helpless, look to thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;

Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in thee.

When those who have been made alive by God turn from their own attempts at righteousness, which can only condemn them, and instead embrace the Lord Jesus Christ by saving faith, God declares their sins to have been punished in Christ and imputes his own perfect righteousness to their account.

Not Ashamed

Romans 1:16–17

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

At first glance it is an extraordinary thing that Paul should say that he is “not ashamed” of the gospel. For when we read that statement we ask, “But why should anybody be ashamed of the gospel? Why should the apostle even think that something so grand might be shameful?” Questions like that are not very deep or honest, since we have all been ashamed of the gospel at one time or another.

The reason is that the world is opposed to God’s gospel and ridicules it, and we are all far more attuned to the world than we imagine. The gospel was despised in Paul’s day. Robert Haldane has written accurately:

By the pagans it was branded as atheism, and by the Jews it was abhorred as subverting the law and tending to licentiousness, while both Jews and Gentiles united in denouncing the Christians as disturbers of the public peace, who, in their pride and presumption, separated themselves from the rest of mankind. Besides, a crucified Savior was to the one a stumbling-block, and to the other foolishness. This doctrine was everywhere spoken against, and the Christian fortitude of the apostle in acting on the avowal he here makes was as truly manifested in the calmness with which, for the name of the Lord Jesus, he confronted personal danger and even death itself. His courage was not more conspicuous when he was ready “not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem,” than when he was enabled to enter Athens or Rome without being moved by the prospect of all that scorn and derision which in these great cities awaited him.

Is the situation different in our day? It is true that today’s culture exhibits a certain veneer of religious tolerance, so that well-bred people are careful not to scorn Christians openly. But the world is still the world, and hostility to God is always present. If you have never been ashamed of the gospel, the probable reason, as D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones suggests, is not that you are “an exceptionally good Christian,” but rather that “your understanding of the Christian message has never been clear.”

Was Paul tempted to shame, as we are? Probably. We know that Timothy was, since Paul wrote him to tell him not to be (2 Tim. 1:8). However, in our text Paul writes that basically he was “not ashamed of the gospel,” and the reason is that “it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ ”

In this study, following the treatment of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I want to suggest eight reasons why we should not be ashamed of this gospel.

The Gospel Is “Good News”

The first reason why we should not be ashamed of the gospel is the meaning of the word gospel itself. It means “good news,” and no rational person should be ashamed of a desirable proclamation.

We can understand why one might hesitate to convey bad news, of course. We can imagine a policeman who must tell a father that his son has been arrested for breaking into a neighbor’s house and stealing her possessions. We can understand how he might be distressed at having to communicate this sad message. Or again, we can imagine how a doctor might be dismayed at having to tell a patient that tests have come out badly and that he or she does not have long to live, or how a person involved in some great moral lapse might be ashamed to confess it. But the gospel is not like this. It is the opposite. Instead of being bad news, it is good news about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. It is the best news imaginable.

The Way of Salvation

The second reason why we should not be ashamed of the gospel is that it is about “salvation.” And not just any salvation. It is about the saving of ourselves.

The background for this side of the Good News is that, left to ourselves, we are in desperate trouble. We are in trouble now because we are at odds with God, other people, and ourselves. We are also in trouble in regard to the future; for we are on a path of increasing frustration and despair, and at the end we must face God’s just wrath and condemnation. We are like swimmers drowning in a vast ocean of cold water or explorers sinking in a deep bog of quicksand. We are like astronauts lost in the black hostile void of outer space. We are like prisoners awaiting execution.

But there is good news! God has intervened to rescue us through the work of his divine Son, Jesus Christ. First, he has reconciled us to himself; Christ has died for us, bearing our sins in his own body on the cross. Second, he has reconciled us to others; we are now set free to love them as Jesus loved us. Third, he has reconciled us to ourselves; in Jesus Christ (and by the power of the Holy Spirit) we are now able to become what God has always meant for us to be.

We can say this in yet other ways. Salvation delivers us from the guilt, power, and pollution of sin. We are brought back into communication with God, from whom our sins had separated us. And we are given a marvelous destiny, which Paul elsewhere describes as “the hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2). In 1 Corinthians 1:30 Paul expresses these truths somewhat comprehensively when he writes that “Christ Jesus … has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, because it was about a real deliverance—from sin and its power—and about reconciliation to God.

God’s Way of Salvation

The third reason why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel is that it is God’s way of salvation and not man’s way. How could Paul be proud of something that has its roots in the abilities of sinful men and women or is bounded by mere human ideas? The world does not lack such ideas. There are countless schemes for salvation, countless self-help programs. But these are all foolish and inadequate. What is needed is a way of salvation that comes not from man, but from God! That is what we have in Christianity! Christianity is God’s reaching out to save perishing men and women, not sinners reaching out to seize God.

Paul speaks about this in two major ways, contrasting God’s way of salvation with our own attempts to keep the law, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, with our attempts to know God by mere human wisdom.

As to the law, he says, “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:3–4). This means that, although we could not please God by keeping the law’s demands, God enables us to please him, first, by condemning sin in us through the work of Jesus Christ and, then, by enabling us to live upright lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

As to wisdom, Paul writes, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21).

The Power of God

This leads to the fourth reason why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, the matter he chiefly emphasizes in our text: The gospel is powerful. That is, it is not only good news, not only a matter of salvation, not only a way of salvation from God; it is also powerful enough to accomplish God’s purpose, which is to save us from sin’s pollution.

It is important to understand what is involved here, for it is easy to misconstrue Paul’s teaching. When Paul says that “the gospel … is the power of God for salvation,” he is not saying that the gospel is about God’s power, as if it were merely pointing us to a power beyond our own. Nor is Paul saying that the gospel is the source of a power we can get and use to save ourselves. Paul’s statement is not that the gospel is about God’s power or even a channel through which that power operates, but rather that the gospel is itself that power. That is, the gospel is powerful; it is the means by which God accomplishes salvation in those who are being saved.

Since Paul puts it this way, we are right to agree with John Calvin when he emphasizes that the gospel mentioned here is not merely the work done by God in Jesus Christ or the revelation to us of that work, but the actual “preaching” of the gospel “by word of mouth.” He means that it is in the actual preaching of the gospel that the power of God is demonstrated in the saving of men and women.

In the previous section I quoted what the King James Version calls “the foolishness of preaching” (1 Cor. 1:21), and since that is Paul’s own phrase, we can see it as proof that Paul was himself aware of how foolish the proclamation of the Christian message is if considered only from a human point of view. Some years ago I had the task of talking about “The Foolishness of Preaching” as one message of seven in a weekend conference on reformed theology. My address came after a break for lunch in the middle of what was a very long Saturday, and I began by saying that if there was anything more foolish than the foolishness of preaching, it was preaching about the foolishness of preaching after lunch on a day during which the listeners had already heard a number of other very distinguished preachers. It was a way of capturing what every preacher feels at one time or another as he rises to proclaim a message that to the natural mind is utter folly and that is as incapable of doing good in the hearers as preaching a message of moral reformation to the corpses in a cemetery—unless God works.

But that is just the point! God does work through the preaching of this gospel—not preaching for its own sake, but the faithful proclamation of God’s work of salvation for sinful men and women in Jesus Christ.

Let me say this another way since it is so important. We read in the first chapter of Acts that when the Lord Jesus Christ dispatched his disciples to the world with his gospel, he told them: “… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (v. 8). Earlier they had been asking about the kingdom of God, no doubt thinking of an earthly, political kingdom, which they highly valued and hoped for. But Jesus’ reply pointed them to something far greater. His was a spiritual kingdom—not spiritual in the sense of being less than real, but a kingdom to be established in power by the very Spirit of God—and they were to be witnesses for him. Moreover, as they witnessed, the Holy Spirit, which was to come upon them, would bless their proclamation and lead many to faith.

And so it happened. Three thousand believed at Pentecost. Thousands more believed on other occasions.

So also today. The world does not understand this divine working, but it is nevertheless true that the most important thing happening in the world at any given time is the preaching of the gospel. For there the Spirit of God is at work. There men and women are delivered from the bondage of sin and set free spiritually. Lives are transformed—and it is all by God’s power. As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “The thing to grasp is that the apostle is saying that he is not ashamed of the gospel, because it is of God’s mighty working. It is God himself doing this thing—not simply telling us about it: doing it, and doing it in this way, through the gospel.”

A Gospel for Everyone

The fifth reason why Paul was not ashamed of this gospel is that it is a gospel for everyone—“everyone who believes.” It is “first for the Jew” and then also “for the Gentile.”

Paul’s phrase “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” has led readers to think that he was saying something like “to the Jew above the Gentile” or “to the Jew simply because he is a Jew and therefore of greater importance than other people.” But, of course, this is not what Paul intends. In this text Paul means exactly the same thing Jesus meant when he told the woman of Samaria that “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). Both were speaking chronologically. Both meant that in the systematic disclosure of the gospel the Jews had occupied a first and important place. This was because, as Paul says later in Romans, theirs was “the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Jesus Christ …” (Rom. 9:3–5). No one can fully understand the gospel if he or she neglects this historical preparation for it.

But this does not mean that Paul is setting the Jew above the Gentile in this text or, as some would desire by contrast, that he is setting the Gentile above the Jew. On the contrary, Paul’s point is that the gospel is for Gentile and Jew alike. It is for everybody.

Why? Because it is the power of God, and God is no respecter of persons. If the gospel were of human power only, it would be limited by human interests and abilities. It would be for some and not others. It would be for the strong but not for the weak, or the weak but not for the strong. It would be for the intelligent but not the foolish, or the foolish but not the wise. It would be for the noble or the well-bred or the sensitive or the poor or the rich or whatever, to the exclusion of those who do not fit the categories. But this is not the way it is. The gospel is for everyone. John wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, italics mine). At Pentecost Peter declared, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21; cf. Joel 2:32). Indeed, the Bible ends on this note: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take of the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17). (I have added italics to these passages to emphasize this important point.)

How can one be ashamed of a gospel which offers hope to the vilest, most desperate of men, as well as to the most respectable person? How can we be ashamed of anything so gloriously universal.

Salvation Revealed to Sinners

The sixth reason why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel is that God has revealed this way of salvation to us. The gospel would be wonderful even if God had not revealed it. But, of course, if he had not revealed it, we would not know of it and would be living with the same dreary outlook on life as the unsaved. But the gospel is revealed. Now we not only know about the Good News but are also enabled to proclaim God’s revelation.

And there is this, too: When Paul says that the gospel of God “is revealed,” he is saying that it is only by revelation that we can know it. It is not something we could ever have figured out for ourselves. How could we have invented such a thing? When human beings invent religion they either invent something that makes them self-righteous, imagining that they can save themselves by their own good works or wisdom—or they invent something that excuses their behavior so they can commit the evil they desire. In other words, they become either legalists or antinomians. The gospel produces neither. It does not produce legalists, because salvation is by the accomplishment of Christ, not the accomplishments of human beings.

Christians must always sing: “Nothing in my hand I bring, / Simply to thy cross I cling.” But at the same time, simply because they have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ and have his Spirit within them, Christians inevitably strive for and actually achieve a level of practical righteousness of which the world cannot even dream.

A Righteousness from God

The seventh reason why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel is the one we considered most fully in the previous chapter, namely, that it concerns a righteousness from God, which is what we need. In ourselves we are not the least bit righteous. On the contrary, we are corrupted by sin and are in rebellion against God. To be saved from wrath we need a righteousness that is of God’s own nature, a righteousness that comes from God and fully satisfies God’s demands. This is what we have! It is why Paul can begin his exposition of the Good News in chapter 3 by declaring, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify” (v. 21). (As previously mentioned, this verse is a repetition of the thesis presented first in Romans 1:17.)

By Faith from First to Last

The eighth and final reason why the apostle Paul was not ashamed of the gospel is that the means by which this glorious gift becomes ours is faith, which means that salvation is accessible to “everyone who believes.”

What does Paul mean when he writes, ek pisteōs eis pistin (literally, “from faith to faith”)? Does he mean, as the New International Version seems to imply, “by faith entirely” (that is, “by faith from first to last”)? Does he mean “from the faith of the Old Testament to the faith of the New Testament” or, which may be almost the same thing, “from the faith of the Jew to the faith of the Gentile”? Does he mean “from weak faith to stronger faith,” the view apparently of John Calvin? In my opinion, the quotation from Habakkuk throws light on how the words ek pistẽs are to be taken. They mean “by faith”; that is, they concern “a righteousness that is by faith.” If this is so, if this is how the first “faith” should be taken, then, the meaning of the phrase is that the righteousness that is by faith (the first “faith”) is revealed to the perceiving faith of the believer (the second “faith”). This means that the gospel is revealed to you and is for you—if you will have it.[15]

[1] Blum, E. A. (2017). Romans. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (pp. 1780–1781). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ro 1:16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (pp. 1612–1613). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ro 1:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2158). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ro 1:16). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ro 1:16). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1423). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] López, R. A. (2010). The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (pp. 626–627). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[10] 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. 441). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[11] Utley, R. J. (1998). The Gospel according to Paul: Romans (Vol. Volume 5, Ro 1:16). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[12] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Romans (Vol. 1, pp. 43–65). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[13] Stott, J. R. W. (2001). The message of Romans: God’s good news for the world (pp. 60–61). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[14] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 41–42). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[15] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: Justification by Faith (Vol. 1, pp. 103–118). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Red Alert Warning About Pfizer and Moderna Covid Inoculations | Stephen Lendman

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by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)


Pfizer and Moderna  mRNA inoculations aren’t what they’re promoted to be.


As medically defined by the CDC, vaccines are supposed to stimulate the “immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease.”


Immunization is a “process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination.”


The above is not what mRNA inoculations are designed to do. They’re something else entirely.


They’re gene modifying delivery systems that don’t produce immunity —what Moderna calls “gene therapy technology.”


Not designed to prevent seasonal flu-renamed covid illness, at most they may somewhat reduce symptoms short-term.


Promoting mRNA technology as vaccine protection from covid is part of a state-approved/media proliferated mass deception scam.


The above technology is unapproved by the FDA for human use because it’s experimental, inadequately tested, and high-risk — especially for the elderly with weakened immune systems.


The nanoparticle-based delivery system is unapproved.


mRNA inoculations contain hazardous polyethylene glycol (PEG) to deliver their DNA-altering technology to human cells.


The risk of adverse events increases greatly from follow-up inoculations, including to potentially life-threatening anaphylactic shock.


In 2017, Moderna abandoned mRNA technology and lipid nanoparticles because tests caused large numbers of adverse effects.


Yet the same gene therapy and nanoparticle delivery system are used by Moderna and Pfizer in their misnamed mRNA “vaccines” that aren’t what they’re called.


According to statnews.com, “mRNA is a tricky technology.”


“Several major pharmaceutical companies have tried and abandoned the idea, struggling to get mRNA into cells without triggering nasty side effects.”


“(N)anoparticles created a daunting challenge: Dose too little, and you don’t get enough enzyme to affect the disease.”


“(D)ose too much, and the drug is too toxic for patients.”


“Moderna could not make its therapy work, former employees and collaborators said.”


“The safe dose was too weak, and repeat injections of a dose strong enough to be effective had troubling effects on the liver in animal studies.”


Moderna earlier admitted that its lipid nanoparticles (LNP) risked “significant adverse events,” adding:


“No mRNA drug has been approved in this new potential category of medicines, and may never be approved as a result of efforts by others or us.”


“mRNA drug development has substantial clinical development and regulatory risks due to the novel and unprecedented nature of this new category of medicines.”


“(T)here can be no assurance that our LNPs will not have undesired effects.”


According to virologist Judy Mikovits, LNPs can enter the brain, risking pathologic neuro-inflammation that could cause multiple sclerosis, ALS, or other serious diseases.


Johns Hopkins explained that potentially serious adverse events may occur after receiving follow-up mRNA inoculations.


According to Children’s Health Defense, “doctors link Pfizer (and) Moderna ‘vaccines’ to (a) life-threatening blood disorder.”


Health Impact News reported the following:


“An entire school district in Ohio canceled classes on Monday this week after so many of the staff suffered side effects from one of the experimental COVID mRNA injections over the weekend.”


Fox News Cleveland reported that “(t)wo days after employees were given their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations, the Fairless Local School District canceled classes, attributing it to many developing side effects and becoming ill.”


Similar events to the above are happening in the US and European countries after Pfizer and Moderna inoculations.


The more people jabbed, the more adverse events that at times are fatal.


Going along with experimental mRNA inoculations is playing Russian roulette with human health.


There’s high risk of things turning out badly in the short or longer-term.


Deceased 39-year-old Dr. Keshav Raman Sharma is an mRNA statistic.


Inoculated on January 5, he was found dead at home five days later.


He’s not alone. Others suffered the same fate.


Protecting health and well-being requires avoidance of these experimental, inadequately tested high-risk, unapproved inoculations.


VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Source: https://stephenlendman.org/2021/02/red-alert-warning-about-pfizer-and-moderna-inoculations/

Legalism Takes Your Eyes off Jesus — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Legalism steals our attention from the perfect work of Christ and concentrates instead on our own works, which are as filthy rags. In this brief clip, Derek Thomas prompts us to fix our eyes on who Jesus is and what He has done for us.


When I was a very young pastor—I’ve said this many times before, but I don’t apologize for repeating it again today, because it’s the perfect lesson that Paul is actually teaching us here. I was a young preacher. I would visit these two sisters. There was a third, she had died. I never actually met Miss Kathleen, but I’d met Miss Madge and Miss Anna. And when I first knew them, they were in their 80s, and they both lived to over 100. And I would visit them. They lived fairly close to the church, and I would visit them about once every couple of weeks. And it was usually a fairly lengthy visit, a couple of hours or more, and they’d make a cup of tea, and there’d always be cookies. And I was 26, 27 years old. And one day, I’m feeling a little down and a little sorry for myself, and Miss Madge who only had one eye—she’d had cancer and her eye had been removed and she had a prosthetic—and she looked at me with her good eye, and she said, “Young man, see no one in the picture but Jesus.” And you know, when I first heard it, I thought, “Well, that’s a little sentimental!” And I thanked them, and I didn’t think anything more of it until I got into the car. And then it just kind of haunted me, and I doubt that a day has gone by since that I haven’t thought about what she said: “See no one in the picture but Jesus.” “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” And I think that’s what Paul is saying here. When you go down this road of legalism, you’re taking your eyes off Jesus. You’re taking your eyes off what He has accomplished, off what He has bought, off what He has won for you. So, see Jesus. Remind yourself of what He has accomplished. Remind yourself of His perfect obedience. Remind yourself of Him crucified upon a cross, dying, buried, risen, victorious, ascending to heaven, coming back again. Freedom is a beautiful thing because it’s a Jesus thing, and Jesus is altogether beautiful.

Legalism Takes Your Eyes off Jesus — Ligonier Ministries Blog

February 10 Afternoon Quotes of The Day

“A World in a Grain of Sand”
Psalm 8:3–9

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.


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

Desiring to Die and Be with Christ
2 Corinthians 5:1–10; Philippians 1:23

It is time that I return to Him who formed me out of nothing: I have lived long; my merciful Judge well foresaw my life for me; the time of my dissolution draws nigh; for I desire to die and to be with Christ.


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

A-NAR-THER GOSPEL — Famine In The Land

By Rick Becker    10 February 2021

The apostle Paul described people during these last days as being lovers of self (2 Timothy 3:2) Sadly, this description does not merely apply to the world, but to millions in the visible church who reject sound teaching and follow false teachers to suit their own passions. Paul warned the church in Corinth about the self appointed apostles that sought to seduce them, and issued a warning – “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if  ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:4) “Another gospel” comes in many forms, in this article I’ll identify three man-centered teachings, that are components of “another gospel” – a NARcissitic gospel. I’ll provide quotes from false teachers such as Bill Johnson and John Bevere to prove that they are teaching these false doctrines. And conclude with quotes that will unequivocally reveal their narcissistic fruits.


“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” – 2 Timothy 4:3.
The majority of those who follow the teachers I’m going to quote, or subscribe to these teachings have itching ears. It may be the desire to be wealthy. It may be the notion that they can perform miracles like Jesus. It may be the desire to achieve their dreams. Unfortunately it’s not just those seeking to appease their carnal passions who are deceived by false teachers, but also those seeking to alleviate some form of pain. It may be that they hope to change difficult circumstances, it may be the guarantee of physical healing. There’s an itch or a need, and they are following teachers and teachings that are scratching their ears or promising a cure for their crisis. Following these teachers or teachings will result in delusion, disappointment, and a lifelong burden due to the man-centered theology of these teachings.

The three teachings are – word of faith theologythe prosperity gospel, and dominion theology. These three false teachings are inextricably linked – that’s one of the reasons why it’s difficult to classify the “camp” a particular teacher belongs to. A movement that incorporates all three, is the fast growing New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) Hopefully, this article will be an eye-opener to those who believe that NAR churches such as Bethel, do not teach word of faith or prosperity doctrines. It seems as if these heretical movements are slowly merging, as wolves migrate between packs looking for opportunities to increase their influence and captitalize on the latest ear tickling teachings and revelations. These teachings dethrone Christ as king, and create pseudo kings and queens who imagine they can control their destinies through their authority, faith, decrees and declarations, and ultimately take dominion of the kingdoms of this world.


A basic definition of the word of faith teaching – faith in our faith, and the power of our words. Faith is allegedly a force, and we can use it to obtain health, wealth, and create the right circumstances. As “little gods,” we have the power to determine our circumstances and destinies. God’s an equal yet redundant partner, all we have to do is utilize the laws he’s put in place. If you do your bit, the outcome is positive. If you fail to generate enough faith or speak the right words, well then you won’t receive your healing or financial breakthrough etc. This teaching from the pit of hell has caused untold damage in the visible church.

As you’ll see from the quotes in this article, the common proof text for WOF teachers is Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” So before we look at the quotes from NAR/WOF teachers, a brief explanation of what that verse really means. The WOF interpretation of this verse is that our words are causative. In other words, what we say can create or change circumstances. This would mean that our words carry an inherent power – which would make us equal to God. But what the verse really means, is that our words have consequences. Verse 6 of the same chapter is a practical example: “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.” A fool’s lips do not have the power to control the hearers fists! Those who have been caught out telling a lie or spreading falsehoods, know that there are consequences. Words are important (Matthew 12:26-37) but are not some kind of a force that if activated by faith or repetition can heal the sick, increase finances, supernaturally change circumstances, make our dreams materialize, or change our destiny by speaking into matters.


The first three quotes are from Bill Johnson, chief “apostle” at Bethel church. This first quote is a great example of WOF heresy:
“..we glanced at Adam’s role in naming the animals. He was given the unique responsibility of co-laboring with God in designing the nature of the world he was going to live in. Is it possible we have been restored to that level of authority once again? Would the blood of Jesus do anything less? We have been given this amazing tool to fulfill our stewardship role; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Prov. 18:21 NASB). With our speech we design and alter our environment. Realities are created that didn’t exist a moment earlier through simple proclamations. With this tool we can build up or tear down, edify or discourage, give life or destroy it. The declared word has the capacity to resource earth with Heaven’s resources. As reformers we must first pay attention to what we say, realizing that we are actually building the world we have to live in. We have the ability to speak from God, revealing His world and His ways. As Bishop Joseph Garlington says, “nothing happens in the Kingdom until some thing is said.” ¹

Johnson believes it’s possible to realize the conditions of earth after Christ’s return. According to Johnson, restored cities, healed nations, God’s glory being manifest throughout the earth, and everyone knowing the Lord is possible – if we are hungry enough: “Is there anyone hungry enough for what He has shown us in the Scriptures that we will pull into our day something that is reserved for another?…If you can see the coming future promises, and He hasn’t blinded your eyes to His intent, then He is hoping to hook you into the role of calling “into being that which does not exist” (Rom. 4:17 NASB).” ²

A contributing factor to Johnson’s appeal is his mystical language, an example is the last sentence in the quote below. When something sounds “deep” or you find yourself think “I’ve never heard that expression or description before,” we should ask why God left that “deep,” expression or description out of scripture.
“Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. When Jesus spoke, His words were spirit (John 6:63). We are called to speak words that impact the reality around us. When we say what the Father is saying, we cause Heaven to affect those who hear. Our words become spirit in the same way as the words of Jesus did, and so they impact the world around us. There’s never been a more important time for us to hear from God that we might speak what He speaks and alter the nature of the world we live in. Please take notice that God manifests through words. Not only is there life and death in the power of our speech, but He Himself also rides upon our words when they originate in the Father’s heart.” ³

The next quote is from someone with close ties to Johnson. Cal Pierce served at Bethel as an elder and board member. Bethel’s description of Pierce’s current ministry:
“Having studied the revivals, Cal had read about John G. Lake’s ministry in Spokane. Cal visited Lake’s grave site once each month for over one year to pray. There was no doubt that God wanted to re-dig the generational wells of healing in Spokane. Cal called in intercessors and began training up healing teams. On July 22, 1999, the Spokane Healing Rooms of John G. Lake were re-opened in the same location they were 80 years ago. Cal teaches at conferences around the world about the provision Jesus provided in the atonement for our healing. All of the provision of the Cross must impact the body of Christ. God is raising up an end-time army that must get out of the tent if it is going to march to the battle and take the harvest. This army will not march to the battle on crutches; it will have signs and wonders following it.”

What are “generational wells of healing” and where does scripture instruct us to “re-dig” them? Pierce seems to be applying Bill Johnson’s version of idolatry which teaches that if you honor “generals” of the past, God will give you “access to their anointings.”

Cal Pierce: “God began to teach me through this angel about sound and the power of the spoken word. He said that because God spoke His creative will, man can also speak words that create. God’s Word produces faith and faith is the substance of something, the evidence of something not seen, but it is activated by sound.”⁴

Pierce supposedly received this “revelation” from an “angel” who appeared to him after a meeting. The angel then accompanied Pierce back to his hotel room, and informed Pierce that God had sent him to answer Pierce’s questions regarding the energy crisis. It goes without saying that the angel called himself “the energy angel.” You can’t make this stuff up, well actually, Pierce did. If Pierce did have an encounter with a supernatural being, it could only have been a demon regurgitating your standard word of faith heresy. 

Reminder – “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:8.

Pierce’s quote is from The Physics of HeavenA book based on the assumption that God shortchanged believers by leaving things out of the scriptures, things that need to be sourced in the occult or new age. The book is by Ellyn Davis and Judy Franklin, with various contributions from others such as Bill and Beni Johnson. Davis writes:
“In Jeremiah 15: 19, God says, “If you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman.” We may have to delve into areas we previously considered off-limits to extract the “precious” from the “worthless” and recover lost truths that belong to the people of God….I decided to examine New Age thought and practice for anything “precious” that might be “extracted” from the worthless. At that time, I could not find a single Christian leader who shared a similar interest in finding out if there were truths hidden in the New Age. Now we are beginning to hear more and more revelation that is in line with what New Agers have been saying all along and we are hearing more and more teaching about Christians “taking back truths” from the New Age that really belong to citizens of the Kingdom of God.” ⁵

Davis, like all false teachers plucks a verse out of context. God was admonishing Jeremiah for his unbelief, not instructing him to search for hidden truths in pagan religions or Babylonian deities. Like Johnson, Davis twists the meaning of Romans 4:17:

“God-Truth: By Faith, We Can Speak Things into Existence. Christians believe that through faith (which could be considered a form of “intent”) we can affect changes in the material world, and, as Romans 4: 17 says, “call the things that are not as if they are.” We also know that words and the intent behind them have such incredible power that the Bible tells us, “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” ⁶ Romans 4:17 does not mean that we can affect changes in the material world or speak things into being: “as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” – in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”
The context reveals it’s GOD who calls things into existence, not man, and that Abraham’s faith was not in the power of his own words, but in the promises of God.

A final example of WOF heresy from Davis: “In recent years, God has been opening the eyes of some of His people to the mysteries of sound, color and light, and of vibrations and energy. Prophets have long recognized that their words carry a force or power that is more than just the words, but is like an “energy” that empowers what they prophesy. Some Christian leaders have also found that they have a “resonance” themselves that helps people move deeper into God.” ⁷
How selfish of God to withhold such vital mysteries from his church. Note that Davis doesn’t base her argument on scripture, but subjective testimonies – “we are hearing..” and “leaders have also found..”

Brian Houston is the founder and CEO of Hillsong. You probably know of all the scandals that have plagued Hillsong, one of many being the fact that “Brian Houston and Hillsong protected their paedophile ‘Apostle’ Frank Houston from Australian AOG discipline.”

Houston: “Have you ever held within your power the ability to make a difference between life and death? The answer is yes. Proverbs 18:21 tells us clearly, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”..Faith needs to be spoken. It needs to be heard, because when it is heard, it has power..Never underestimate the power of your words to bring change—to see chains broken and miracles come to life.” ⁸

There is more. Under the heading Speak It into Being, Houston compares us to God by assuming our words contain the same causative power as God’s words:
“You see, the Lord created the world with His words. He said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). And there was light. Our words still hold creative power. They can breathe life into dead situations, create hope where there was none. You can speak life into your marriage, your spouse, your partner. You can speak destiny and purpose into your children’s little bodies, helping them create belief around the words you choose. You can speak life into your well-being and your finances.” 

John Bevere and his wife Lisa served under Benny Hinn at World Outreach Center (there’s a red flag). They have a ministry called Messenger International, which “exists to develop uncompromising followers of Christ who transform our world by growing their faith and building their life.” Both are prolific authors, involved in charities, and twist the word of God. Friends of the Johnsons (Bethel) the Houstons (Hillsong) and quite frankly friends with anyone in the NAR or WOF/prosperity movements, the prosperous Beveres have a huge following.

In 2002 Colorado was devastated by the Hayman Fire. The fire was approaching the Bevere’s office and house. Now I believe we should make our requests known to God, and ask for his intervention in this scenario. But I’m not suffering from a delusion that would cause me to believe that I have power over the elements. Bevere does:
“As His ambassadors, we’ve been made only a little lower than God Himself and are to bring life as it is in heaven to earth! No buildings in heaven are burning to ashes! So it’s not God’s will for this building, which He gave us, to go up in flames. Jesus clearly states, ‘The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness’ (John 10:10, NLT)….“This fire is not of God,” I continued. “Its destruction is not of God. This fire was started by the thief, by darkness. We are not going to flee from it and just let our township and building burn to ashes. We are going to stand up and command it to stop!…..You will not burn our building, you will not burn our town, and you will not burn any vegetation we are looking at. We command you to stop in your progress, and you will not pass Rampart Range Road. You must die! We speak to you, wind, in the name of Jesus—you must change direction. We command you to blow from east to west. We also call in a rainstorm to dump water on you. We declare this all in the name of Jesus Christ!” ¹⁰
The fire was not “started by the thief, by darkness” as Bevere claims, it was started by Terry Barton, a former U.S. Forest Service employee when she burned a letter from her estranged husband during a fire ban. Bevere quotes John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”  We are all familiar with this phrase, usually quoted when referring to Satan. However, when we examine the context, we see that Jesus is in fact referring to false teachers. (False teachers twist the second part of John 10:10 in which Jesus promises us an “abundant life,” by placing the emphasis on the material which is temporary, instead of the spiritual, which is eternal.)

Bevere is one of many deluded teachers such as Kenneth Copeland and Katt Kerr who think they have the ability to command the weather and quell fires. When the Carr fire hit Redding in 2018, Bethel pastor Theresa Dedmon placed her hope in her declarations – “At midnight, while the fires were raging, and could be seen from our outside deck in Redding, we joined with friends on our phone and declared that the winds would shift and the fire would move away from Redding.  Proverbs 18:21 states that, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. Our declarations make a difference!”Dedmon’s husband echoed the delusional declarations, and for a bit of extra clout added unverifiable results.
Kevin Dedmon: “Last week, as it was torching towards our house we began to declare just as Jesus modeled for us when he commanded the winds and waves to calm, and amazingly we saw the fire shift away from us and our city.”
In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept that Jesus “modeled” the supernatural for us, it originated in the mind of Bill Johnson. True to his WOF deception, Johnson makes no distinction between Jesus and believers when it comes to operating in the supernatural: “Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle.” ¹¹

In their pursuit of emulating the lifestyle of Christ, Bethel have failed to kill a single bug in their auditorium by the power of their words. Bill & co will need to walk on water, change water into wine, feed 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish, raise a four day old stinking corpse from the grave (produce the death certificate please) or raise themselves from the dead to prove their theology. We know that’s not going to happen because Satan’s repackaged lie that we can “be like God” always ends in a fall.

Let me throw a South African into the mix. At Boshoff is a South African word of faith/prosperity teacher. Boshoff is the the senior pastor of Christian Revival Church, commonly known as CRC. CRC have over 90 national and international churches.
Boshoff“By believing God’s Word we release the creative force called faith into our lives. Start by declaring, • ‘I can do all things through Christ’ • ‘I am the righteousness of God’ • ‘I am strong in the Lord and in the power of his might’ Whether it is negative or positive, we believe what we say; and what we say, we create or become. So if we are not saying something positive about our lives we are not creating something positive, and therefore we are not empowering ourselves to live the way God has called us to live.”
 Boshoff quotes a portion of Philippians 4:12-13: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
If Boshoff’s theology is true, Paul was deceiving the Philippians by teaching them to be content with certain hardships, instead of releasing faith and speaking positively.


Basic definition of the prosperity gospel – Jesus died not only for our sins, but that we can be rich. The belief is that financial prosperity is a promise given to all believers. Our job is to tithe faithfully (an incorrect application of Malachi 3) and stand on the promises of God (an incorrect application of Deuteronomy 28 & 2 Cor 8:9 to name but two) Prosperity teachers imagine that the gospel is a means for earthly gain. They twist the scriptures in order to fleece their followers and satisfy their greed. Their followers fall for their lies because of their own desire for earthly wealth. 

In Matthew 6 Jesus exhorts us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, and warns us that we cannot serve two masters – God and mammon. It’s in this context that Jesus said: “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matthew 6:23. Prosperity teachers have an “evil” eye. Consumed by darkness and blinded by greed they will twist texts to justify their shameful gain.
Prosperity heretics such as Gloria Copeland twist 2 Cor 8:9 to justify their love of money and heretical prosperity gospel: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
In this specific chapter, Paul is encouraging the grace of giving, he’s not teaching principles for prosperity. Paul uses the churches in Macedonia as an example of people who gave generously. Now one would think that if Copeland & co are correct, and this verse promises prosperity for every believer, that the Macedonian churches would have discovered the secret of prosperity and were wealthy. But the opposite is true, Paul commends the churches of Macedonia for giving generously despite “their extreme poverty.” – vs 2. Jesus became “poor” in the sense that he “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” – Philippians 2:7. Believers have become “rich” by the grace of God in the spiritual sense, not material. It’s not just the Macedonian church that experienced poverty. The church in Smyrna was poor in the material sense, yet rich in the spiritual sense: “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” – Revelation 2:9.

The prosperity gospel encompasses the physical aspect of our being. Hence the term “health and wealth gospel.” Once again, this is a teaching that has caused untold damage in the lives of many. According to this this teaching, if you are sick or poor, it’s because you lack faith or in some way have brought it upon yourself. 

A common health and wealth proof text is 3 John 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
In this case, the opening salutation of a personal letter to Gaius has been twisted to justify a false teaching. In contemporary terms, John’s salutation would be similar to: “Dear Gaius, I trust this letter finds you well and in good health.” 
John already knew that Gaius was doing spiritually well: “For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.” – 3 John 3. John’s desire is that Gaius is well in other areas of his life, including his health. It’s necessary to point this out because health and wealth preachers teach that if your spiritual life is “well,” your finances and health will prosper. In other words, if you have enough faith, plead the blood of Jesus, make the right declarations, and engage in spiritual warfare you should be healthy and wealthy.

Prosperity and physical healing are not guaranteed in the new covenant, the forgiveness of sins is – for those who repent. The word “healing” can refer to our “spiritual” condition, not just physical: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24. Should we pray for the sick – yes! Will God always heal the sick – no! God heals sickness according to his will, not ours. Paul would surely have gone into detail regarding the sickness of his companions, and offered us insight as to why they weren’t healed if it was guaranteed in the atonement:
“I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him..” – Philippians 2:25-27
“No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” – 1 Timothy 5:23.
“Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.” – 2 Timothy 4:20.
Our physical redemption will take place when we receive our resurrected bodies. Until then, some will suffer from sickness, our bodies will decay, and all will die. 

Jesus promised us that we would have to endure many trials, that we would have our share of suffering, but he did guarantee one form of blessing to every believer – spiritual: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 1:3. False teachers have to engage in theological gymnastics to prove the health and wealth gospel. God could easily have inspired the apostle to clearly articulate that we are “blessed with every spiritual, physical and financial blessing.”
The ear tickling health and wealth gospel does away with two of the main forms of suffering in this present world. Add dominion theology to the equation, and suffering virtually disappears for the believer. But there is no doubt that God ordains and uses suffering in the life of believers:
• “For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4
• “You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus” Galatians 4:13-14
• “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” Romans 5:3-4


The late Peter Wagner was instrumental in the New Apostolic Reformation movement. Excerpt from The Messed Up Church:
C. Peter Wagner “invented the term “New Apostolic Reformation” and then basically pronounced himself God’s appointed leader of it: “I needed a name … For a couple of years I experimented with ‘Post denominationalism’. The name I have settled on for the movement is the New Apostolic Reformation.” (Source: C. Peter Wagner, The New Apostolic Churches, Ventura CA; Regal, 1998, p. 18.) Wagner presided over the commissioning ceremony of fraudulent preacher, Todd Bentley, at the “Lakeland Revival” in 2008. This is the day that the New Apostolic Reformation was at its most glorious and self-congratulatory peak. This day turned out to be The Charismatic Day of Infamy, and all of its “Super Apostles” were proven to be incompetent, unqualified and full of hot air.” 

Peter Wagner: Just a glance at Deuteronomy 28, for example, will quickly convince you that God’s desire for His people is for them to prosper. The first half of Deuteronomy 28 lists the abundant blessings that God showers on those who obey Him, and the second half lists the curses that await those who disobey Him. Prosperity is the will of God, while poverty is the will of satan.” ¹²

Just a glance at Deuteronomy should convince any student of God’s word (that’s every believer) that the chapter refers to God’s covenant with Israel. “Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole commandment that I command you today.” – Deuteronomy 27:1.
Imagine how many scriptures would have to be changed in order to accommodate the prosperity gospel? Jesus would surely have rebuked the church in Smyrna for submitting to the will of Satan in their poverty.

Kris Vallotton is Bethel’s false prophet, and unashamedly exposes his love for mammon. The following three quotes by Vallotton are from this article.

Vallotton: ”First of all, if wealth and riches are inherently evil, what are they doing in heaven? Why would God describe heaven so lavishly if wealth were bad, or even bad for you…wealth cannot be intrinsically evil, or the Bible would not describe heaven as a place full of unimaginable riches. In fact, if heaven is God’s goal for us, then wealth must be a piece of our prize!

Wealth is not inherently evil, but the prosperity gospel is. You don’t need to be a real prophet to know that Vallotton’s word’s are based on his greedy imagination, and not scripture. When it’s convenient, prosperity teachers and false prophets like Vallotton turn to the old covenant to justify their prosperity doctrine. What Vallotton conveniently ignores is the fact that under the old covenant, as a false prophet he would have been stoned to death decades ago.

Vallotton: “Both Solomon’s riches and Abraham’s riches were directly attached to their relationships with God. Genesis 13:2 says, “Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold,” and 2 Chronicles 9:22 says, “So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. So maybe wealth is not a sign of your relationship with God, unless it is”
I’m reminded of the Corinthians behaviour during the Lord’s supper. Paul specifically rebuked the wealthier Corinthians for not sharing with the poor, and for shaming the poor. “For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?” – 1 Corinthians 11:21-22.
In one sense Vallotton is correct, if you’re a wealthy prosperity preacher your wealth is a sign of your relationship – with a god called mammon. 
Why does Vallotton only quote from the old covenant? – because there is not a single verse in the new testament where wealth is promised to believers, or guaranteed as part of the new covenant. One of many passages of scripture prosperity teachers avoid: “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-9.

Vallotton views scripture through a lens tainted by mammon to such an extent that when Jesus performed a sign, Vallotton sees dollar signs:
“Apparently, Jesus took God’s command to “rule over the fish of the sea” seriously (Genesis 1:26), because He became quite famous for impacting the fishing industry. The gospels record Jesus supernaturally chumming the fish into the disciple’s nets on at least two occasions” (Read Luke 5:4-7) These guys are not fishing recreationally; this is how they make their living. Fishing was a middle-class, feast-or-famine kind of occupation . . . that is, until Jesus showed up. He quickly transformed a meager living into a prosperous vocation.”The fishing industry was barely impacted by Christ’s miracle. Which text informs us that the disciples stepped into a prosperous vocation after Christ’s miracle? The lesson was not about prosperity or wealth, it was about Jesus being the son of God who performed miracles. It was about the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. Peter’s response to the miracle was not relief due to the fact that he would now be wealthy thanks to a revitalized fishing industry: “But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken.” – Luke 5:8-9.
This miracle caused the disciples to actually forsake the little they had gained in this world: “And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him” Luke 5:11. Jesus made the cost of discipleship clear:
“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33.

Vallotton and other prosperity teachers “follow” Christ for what he can give them, instead of giving themselves to Christ. (Watch Bethel Redding’s Liturgical Prayer to the God of Mammon) Their desire is for the material, the temporary, instead of the spiritual and eternal. After Jesus fed the five thousand, the people wanted to make him king. Jesus withdrew, and went to Capernaum. The crowds pursued him, and found him:
“Jesus answered them, “When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here? Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” – John 6:26-27.

The next quote by Bill Johnson is a mixture of the new age law of attraction, and the prosperity gospel:
“DIVINE HEALTH AND PROSPERITY – This principle of the Kingdom affects all we are and do. It seems to be the heart behind “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). Once again we note that what is ruling on the inside of us affects the outside. Health in my emotions, mind, and will affects my physical well-being. It is also important to note that a prosperous soul attracts the blessing of the Lord materially and financially. This is the nature of life. The reality of the heart helps to define the nature of the world around us.” ¹³

I think we would all agree that the apostle Paul was a “prosperous soul.” So lets see what he “attracted”: “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless,” – 1 Corinthians 4:11.

John Bevere seems to enjoy the high life, and thinks that followers of false teachers will prosper if they treat these teachers like kings. In this case, Bevere uses WOF false teacher Yonggi Cho as an example of someone who deserves honor:
“it never fails. If we will honor our spiritual leaders financially, we will prosper in our own lives. I look at Dr. David Cho, pastor of the world’s largest church in Seoul, South Korea. He started the church in a dump years ago, and at the time of this writing I’ve been told by two of his board members he now has over fifty thousand millionaires in his congregation. I’ve hosted him on a few occasions, played golf with him, and eaten in restaurants with him and his traveling companions. He usually comes with several businessmen and associates. These men make sure he is well cared for; they will buy him anything he needs, and I’ve taken particular note of how they will not sit down for a meal until he is first seated. They honor him greatly. Could the reason the church, which was started in a very poor section of the city, has so many wealthy members be the honor they show their pastor?” ¹⁴  Many believers in the early church were poor. If we apply Bevere’s logic, one reason for their poverty was that they did not “honor” their leaders by giving them enough money. The prosperity in Cho’s church did have consequences, consequences scripture warns us about – “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9.
I wonder if Bevere has ever read James 2:1-7:
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called.”

Shameful gain is usually a motive for false teachers. As if connecting people’s prosperity to the amount they give their leader’s weren’t bad enough, Bevere goes a step further by connecting the amount we give, to salvations and miracles:
“If you take the truths of this chapter and read the entire Bible, you’ll notice whenever the people of God richly gave, miracles, freedom, salvations, God’s presence, and prosperity would abound. We cannot buy the blessings of God; however, it is a spiritual principle God has weaved into His grace. Hear what Paul said of the Macedonian believers: “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability” (2 Cor. 8:1–3, niv). Paul attributed their generosity as a direct result of the grace of God. God’s grace gave them the capacity to go “beyond their ability.” Just as we can’t buy grace, we also can’t buy favor, but we certainly can position ourselves to receive it. By giving double financial honor to those who bring the Word of God to us, we position ourselves to be honored by God; included in that honor is grace and favor—it’s a spiritual law.” ¹⁵
Bevere’s smooth words position him to be honored by men and women.

Xenonamandar Jegahusiee Singh is another popular teacher. At this point you’re probably puzzled because you’ve never heard of him. That’s because for whatever reason (perhaps a better stage name) Xenonamandar changed his name to Joseph Prince. Here’s an ear tickling quote from Prince/Singh in response to those who correctly identify him a prosperity gospel preacher: “Oh, so you are one of those ‘prosperity gospel’ preachers!” My friend, there is no such thing as a “prosperity gospel”. There is only one gospel in the Bible and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, when you believe the gospel of Jesus, which is based entirely on His grace, it will result in health and prosperity. In fact, the gospel of Jesus Christ leads to blessings, success, healing, restoration, protection, financial breakthroughs, security, peace, wholeness and MUCH MORE!” ¹⁶

The following four quotes by At Boshoff are excerpts from his book Live a YES! Life. 

Boshoff: “There is nothing small about God when He talks to us. God knows our potential – He made us! And the most important thing is that He never promised us a small ‘just-getby’ life. No, God promised us a superior quality of life. In Deuteronomy 28 we find God’s list of promises to his people who obey Him.”
The apostle Paul’s “superior quality of life:
“Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one – I am talking like a madman – with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” – 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.

Boshoff: “Do you want a great financial future? Then you have to keep on sowing your seed in the house of God; you tithe – you sow your finances; you budget your expenses – line upon line, precept upon precept as you apply yourself diligently in the little things. As you are faithful in the little things, God will bless you and God will promote you.”

“Do you want a great financial future?” – is not a question Jesus ever posed to his followers. Wealth, like poverty is not inherently sinful, and God blesses some believers with wealth – in order for them to be generous. However, if we look at the passages of scripture in the New Testament concerning wealth and poverty, all the warnings are directed at the dangers of wealth.

Boshoff: “Every month God tells us to bring our tithe, but we look at our circumstances – rising interest rates, escalating food and fuel prices – and we think, ‘No Lord, I can’t give you everything, I need my tithe.’ God is very clear on this; if you keep your tithe you are cursed with a curse – you are destined to fail. But if you bring your tithe into the storehouse of God, even though it does not make sense, you are empowered to prosper in life.” 
God’s instruction was clear in Malachi, he was speaking directly to Israel and the priests, but this has become the go to chapter to manipulate the biblically illiterate and solicit money. The tithe under the old covenant was between 20 – 30 %, consisted primarily of produce and livestock, was used to support the Levitical priesthood, and was a form of taxation for Israelites living under the law. Those who teach tithing today conveniently neglect the other laws Israel had to keep. As believers, we are instructed to give cheerfully, generously, according to our means, and sacrificially – not a specific percentage.
Boshoff: “The spiritual person knows that giving money actually expands it in the spiritual dimension. to a spiritual person is a money multiplier, because they understand that giving God ten percent does not take money away from them. They understand that the law of God is opposite to the natural law. Tithing multiplies our income. That is God’s way, my dear friend. If we want a great career and a great job, we have to become givers.” The born again “spiritual person” should know that the gospel is not a means of gain in this world. I hope you can see that what Boshoff is teaching here is one of the most manipulative schemes to ever raise it’s ugly head in the visible church. On the surface, this principle works every time – for the “pastor” who manipulates his gullible followers into compulsory tithing. It’s a simple process:
• Pastor teaches tithing.
• Members tithe.
• Pastor gets wealthy off member’s tithes.
• Pastor can easily afford to tithe, and makes sure people know he tithes.
• Pastor can testify that tithing “works.”


A basic definition of dominion theology and kingdom now theology (a variant of dominion theology) – Adam forfeited his authority/dominion in the garden. The authority/dominion that Adam lost has been restored to the church. The church, governed by apostles and prophets will establish God’s kingdom on earth by taking dominion of the seven mountains of society (religion, family, business, government, education, the media, and arts and entertainment) The church achieves this by infiltrating and influencing these seven “mountains” or “spheres.” When this has been achieved, Christ will return to a church that has triumphed over the world by conquering it’s kingdoms.

There’s a really big problem that these dominionists ignore, and it’s the words of Jesus to Pilate: “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” – John 18:36. If Jesus had granted this dominion mandate, his apostles failed miserably in initiating the process. Instead of influencing culture and infiltrating earthly seats of power, they became the scourge of society: “We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.” – 1 Corinthians 4:13.
If this dominion mandate were true, and essential as claimed, why did God not describe the world he would be returning to as a Christian utopia? Instead, the scriptures warn of an increase in lawlessness and apostasy in the last days, a rebellion, not a worldwide revival that will disciple literal nations or bring heaven to earth. The methodologies that accompany this theology have had little impact on society. For decades, dominionists have been “walking in their authority,” binding Satan and principalities, claiming cities for Jesus, speaking life into nations and breaking curses. They have attempted to influence powerful people and politicians, and pretend that Christianity is a friend of the world. But things are simply going from bad to worse – in the world and the visible church just as scripture predicts. 


Ironically, NAR guru and dominion mandate apologist the late Peter Wagner, admitted the following: “We have been doing everything we know how to do to see our cities transformed. However, after 20 years we cannot point to a single city in America that has been reformed according to objective sociological measurements.” ¹⁷Wagners excuse – the great transfer of wealth from the unrighteous to the righteous must still take place. God must still be struggling to facilitate transfer because nothing has changed in the world, apart from increasing lawlessness and evil.

The next quote is from Dawna De Silva. De Silva is the founder and co-leader of Bethel Sozo, the inner healing and deliverance ministry of Bethel Church and oversees Bethel’s Transformation Center.
De Silva: “As we grow in spiritual authority, our mission to transmit God’s Kingdom to the earth increases in capacity. In Matthew, Jesus was given all authority and commissioned us to retake dominion over the planet (see Matt. 28:18; Luke10:19)” ¹⁸

How does Christ’s command “go and make disciples” translate into “retake dominion over the planet”?

De Silva’s apostle, Bill Johnson: “The Kingdom is likened unto leaven (see Matt. 13:33). As yeast has an effect on the dough it is “worked into,” so we will transform all the kingdoms of this world as we are worked into its systems. From there we must display His dominion and rule. As the people of God move into these realms of society to show forth the benefits and values of the Kingdom, His government expands.” ¹⁹

Bill Johnson may want to practice the dominion mandate in Redding before attempting to transform the world. “The 2018 crime rate in Redding, CA is 398 (City-Data.com crime index), which is 1.5 times higher than the U.S. average. It was higher than in 91.4% U.S. cities.”

A bespectacled Johnson’s incriminates himself, and many of his family members in this next quote: “There are no tumors in Heaven, and faith brings that reality into this one. Satan would like to inflict heaven with cancer. But he has no dominion there. He only has dominion here when and where man has come into agreement.” ²⁰
In Bethel’s world, the gospel is not the “power of God unto salvation.” – Romans 1:16. Instead, signs and solutions are necessary as an effective witness to those who are dead in their trespasses and sins.
Johnson: “The renewed mind understands that the King’s dominion must be realized in all levels of society for an effective witness to take place. Someone with a Kingdom mind-set looks to the overwhelming needs of the world and says, “God has a solution for this problem. And I have legal access to His realm of mystery. Therefore I will seek Him for the answer!” ²¹
The world is in need of a saviour, not solutions to its problems. Dominion theology seeks to impress the world, influence culture, and slowly take over this fallen world. Salvation is put on the back burner, and is dependent on a new breed who perform miracles at will, or come up with inventions that impress the ungodly.
Johnson is deceived – the simple mandate Jesus gave his church is to proclaim the gospel and make disciples.

Kris Vallotton parrots what he has been taught by other NAR leaders:
“The truth is that Christ defeated and disarmed the enemy once and for all on the cross (see Col. 2:15). God has condemned him as guilty and handed over the authority he had usurped from Adam to Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Our job as “little Christs” is as deputies who enforce that judgment in every situation we come across. God created a world where our vote counts and where our agreement with what He’s doing is necessary to release His power into the world.” ²²Vallotton needs a reminder that as a “little Christ” he failed in his mission to send the virus away. God does not need our agreement for anything in order to accomplish his plans and purposes on earth. Bethel are known for taking risks (attempting and accepting anything supernatural regardless of the source) for ignoring the God given faculty of the mind, and sadly, for acting like Zombies. Which makes the next quote by Vallotton quite ironic:

“We were not created to be average or mediocre. We have been summoned by God and empowered by His Spirit to step out of the crowd and be counted among the brave. We must refuse to hide among the riskless, mindless, zombielike flock. We must put on the mind of Christ and expose the world to the supernatural wisdom of the ages—wisdom that stuns the intelligent, silences the critics and transforms our cities and nations. Jesus said that we are to make disciples of all nations and teach them the ways of the Kingdom.” ²³

Vallotton’s not the only one who turns Peter’s catch into a success story. John Bevere’s dominion theology paints a rosy picture of life on earth:
“Jesus reigned in life. We are to do the same! Is the full impact of this truth overwhelming you yet? As a man, Jesus Christ took back what Adam had relinquished to Satan in the garden. This will eventually culminate with earth and all its inhabitants restored to perfection. However, prior to this occurrence, the kingdom is already in full force within the hearts and lives of God’s people. All we have to do is hear, believe, and operate in God’s grace, thus establishing His domain. Just as Jesus brought heaven’s imperial rule into all arenas of life, so we’re to do the same. Here are just a few examples: Simon struggled in his business of commercial fishing, yet one encounter with Jesus and a day of failure turned into the greatest catch of his career. The wedding in Cana was about to fail; Jesus not only saved it but elevated it… Once Zacchaeus faced Jesus, society became safer and more prosperous; the community was spared from theft and poverty because a newly dignified thief would no longer steal from clients. Yet it didn’t stop there—400 percent was restored to those defrauded, thus stimulating the economy…We could go on and on, even beyond what’s written in the gospels, for John says that the world of books couldn’t contain all the extraordinary works Jesus accomplished. He revealed God’s plan to bring heaven’s domain to this earth. He showed us how to reign in life.” ²⁴

Nonsense! Believers “reign in life” in the sense they have been delivered from the power and penalty of sin. Jesus didn’t die to ensure we prosper in this world or solve the worlds economic woes. When Adam is mentioned in the new testament, all the benefits these false WOF & dominion teachers mention are absent. Instead, the scriptures point to Christ’s authority and power, not ours.
Bevere is basically repeating Johnson’s teaching that Jesus came to model life for us. Note his emphasis on Christ’s humanity, while completely ignoring Christ’s divinity. If Jesus died as a mere man of the cross, his death would have been in vain. He would have died as a great man, a prophet, but not a saviour. Bevere quotes John 21:25: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
John also gives us the reason for Christ’s miracles: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” – John 20:30-31.
Vallotton and Bevere miss the purpose of what was written in scripture – that you may believe that Jesus is the messiah, that by believing you may have life in his name. Not – “that you may elevate events, impact industries, stimulate the economy, and transform the world.”

THE NARCISSISTIC FRUITS of the NAR & WOF & the Prosperity gospel.

Basic definition of a narcissist – someone who has an inflated sense of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement. The term originated from Greek mythology, where a young man named Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. The three teachings we’ve examined create followers who find their own fallen image attractive. They have been taught that they are awesome, worth dying for, and have a God that desperately needs to partner with them in order to accomplish his will on earth. These followers have looked into a pool of false teachings, instead of the mirror of God’s word. False teachers, like Satan, can quote and twist scripture. Narcissists in the visible church that are a product of bad theology, have been subjected to faulty interpretations of God’s word. In fact one definition of a faulty hermeneutic incorporates the term narcissism. It’s called Narcigesis. The correct way to interpret a text is to apply the principles of biblical interpretation (hermeneutics). The literal, grammatical and historical method of interpretation enables us to find out what the author meant, and therefore the real meaning of the text. This is called exegesis – a critical interpretation to discover the real meaning. Two faulty methods of interpretation that exist are:
Eisegesis – instead of drawing the real meaning out of a text we insert our own meaning into the text.
Narcigesis – we insert ourselves into the text – a man-centered application.
The poisoned roots of these other gospels can only produce unhealthy fruit.

Examples of the narcissistic fruits:

Excerpt from Church Watch Central: “Steven Furtick is internationally recognized as King of the Narcigetes for a good reason: he seems to only read himself into the biblical text. The problem with this hermeneutical approach is that Jesus says that the scriptures point to Him. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40.” Watch the clip of Furtick narcigete a text here.

A good example of how false teachers appeal to self love can be found in this article – Emergent Catalyst conference says it’s time to “awaken your wonder” Excerpt: “Catalyst, the premiere mega-conference for Emergent Church Leaders, is sending a curious message to potential attendees of its next Atlanta conference Oct. 7-9: We are hardwired for wonder. Just as the wonder of the world points to God, a sight unseen, so too should our acts of creation bridge the gap between what is and what could be. We transfer wonder when we awaken it in others. Leadership is about providing a lens through which others can see. A heart awakened to wonder invites others to follow in its path. It connects ultimate existence to daily experience, helping others see the solutions, rewards, treasures, they previously could not see.”
Surely any “wonder” should be attributed to, or directed towards God – not the “acts of creation” by self appointed and exalted false teachers.
One of the speakers was Christine Caine. Caine, who like many other false teachers, has been influenced by various poisonous streams and is a prime example of a roving wolf within the Evangelical Industrial ComplexMichelle Lesley notes that Caine has taught at “Hillsong, T.D. Jakes conferences, Joel Osteen conferences, Bethel conferences, at Perry Noble’s church, Robert Morris’ church and conferences, Rick Warren’s church, and Steven Furtick’s church and conferences (all to co-ed audiences) just to name a few. Paula White considers Christine a friend, as does Sheryl Brady. Additionally, Christine has close relationships with Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer..”

Her influencers include WOF heretic Joyce Meyer. Caine went so far as to lay her hands on a Joyce Meyer teaching bible and pray “for an impartation of that teaching anointing & revelation.” Caine is also involved in the apostate Hillsong “church.” Little wonder then that she has such an inflated opinion of self. Excerpt from this article by Church Watch CentralRecently, Christine Caine exhibited this mentality on Instagram, claiming, “WE ARE the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Biblically speaking, this kind of talk is attributed to the satanic litany of divine ‘grand delusions’ in Genesis 3 and Isaiah 14. Chris Rosebrough pointed out Brian Houston subconsciously paralleled this similar satanic litany in his sermon ‘You Are the One’”

Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen need no introduction. They run a cash cow in Houston called Lake wood “church.” In this clip from a Lakewood meeting, Victoria says: “I just want to encourage everyone of us to realize when we obey God we’re not doing it for God. I mean, that’s one way to look at it. Were doing it ourselves. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives him the greatest joy this morning. I want you to know this morning just do good for your own self. Do good cuz God wants you to be happy.. When you come to church when you worship him you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

The next quote from At Boshoff is an example of what the world revolves around in false churches – self.
At Boshoff: “God knows his will for our lives and we know it. God knows we can do it – but we should also believe that we can do it and then do it. If we do not believe that we can do it – build that new building, influence someone, grow our home cell, expand our business – we are not radiating positive energy. Instead we are radiating inferiority and no matter what people may say, nobody wants to hang around a loser.”

John Bevere makes it clear how he likes to be treated: “I arrive in my hotel room and am welcomed with a large basket of fruit, drinks, and snacks that I could feed on for a week. The church checked with our office for what types of foods I like to snack on. I’ve even arrived to find presents awaiting me in my hotel room, such as a candle, nice pen, shirt, or cologne. They put me in the nicest hotels in the area and make sure I have room service and other amenities that make living on the road more like home. Not only do they do this for me, but for my traveling assistants as well. When I step in the pulpits I’m greeted with the people standing and giving a loud applause.” ²⁵

This will surely exclude any poor congregations from even approaching Bevere to share his vital information with them – which would be a good thing anyway. I’m really not even sure what to say at this point, which humble servant of Christ would relish in a standing ovation and loud applause? More words from Bevere that could have been penned in the sulphurous chambers of hell: “Time and time again I’ve witnessed that those who are generous in financially honoring their spiritual leaders are those who are blessed materially, and have enough to do every good work that comes before them. But it goes further. What I’ve also observed is that they walk in an overflow of God’s presence. Why should this surprise us? – it’s God’s promise? Understanding this truth answered my question of why I couldn’t sense a strong presence of God in meetings where honor was withheld – where the pastor was struggling, or where I’m treated like a common traveler. The people were not generous. However once they became liberal and continued to do so, the presence of God was so much stronger in their churchwhenever the people of God richly gave, miracles, freedoms, salvations, God’s presence and prosperity would abound.” ²⁶

Bevere’s wife Lisa, wastes no time feeding the ego’s of her readers in the introduction to her book:
“To all my lioness sisters who feel something wild, fierce, and beautiful stirring within them. You are stunning. You were born for this moment. Don’t be afraid of your strength, questions, or insights. Awaken, rise up, and dare to realize all you were created to be. ” ²⁷

Gender inequality, the subordination and oppression of women are current issues in the world and the church. Teachers like Lisa Bevere have capitalized on these issues (some are valid, others are merely the spirit of this world and disobedience to God’s role for men and women in the church) and joined the Mysti-Chick and feminist bandwagon.

Bevere: “When I discovered and celebrated my feminine creation, I realized I was not an afterthought. As a daughter, wife, and mother, I was an answer. If I was an answer, then it was only logical that the sisters who surrounded my life were answers as well. We are not secondary citizens in the eyes of God. You, lovely one, have the potential to be a living, breathing solution to human problems. As I travel and declare this simple truth over the lives of women young and old, I can barely explain their response. Women not only hear what I say with trembling hearts; they speak it out loud and believe. “I am an answer.” In that moment there is a stretch, a revelation. Their eyes are reoriented and opened to see their feminine self the way God has always seen them … the one who completes.” ²⁸  

Bevere takes a figurative expression referring to Israel (and a type of the church) and twists it to suit her female-centered narrative: “I believe the body of Christ is on the verge of a total body makeover and an invincible uprising. But this idea is not mine alone. God says: On your feet, Daughter of Zion! Be threshed of chaff, be refined of dross. I’m remaking you into a people invincible. (Micah 4:13) Notice God didn’t say invisible. He said invincible! His daughters are to have a presence of might on this earth. How long has it been since you felt invincible? Perhaps it was long, long ago when you ran and played as a little girl. You are not meant to hide in the dark and hope for an escape. You are meant to be a bearer of light and hope. You are meant to be an unbeatable, unconquerable, and unshakable daughter of Zion. Even now I hear, “Rise up, daughter, find your feet again! God wants you—invincible.”²⁹  Bevere’s strategy to overcome narcissistic men seems to be the cultivation of narcissistic women.

But apparently we need to pay attention to what the Bevere’s write. In his book, ironically entitled The Bait of Satan: Living Free From the Deadly Trap of Offense, John Bevere is the one doing the baitingThe book begins with the sentence: “The book you hold is quite possibly the most important confrontation with truth you’ll encounter in your lifetime.” Surely this should apply exclusively to scripture?
Lisa Bevere claims to have had the following dialogue with God:
“I had just completed the final edits on my Nurture manuscript and began to thank God that the writing and editing process was over. For me, writing a book is like going through labor, so my prayer went something like, Thank you, God. It is finished! I exalted, I don’t want to write again anytime soon! Suddenly I sensed God speak to my spirit. I am sorry you feel that way … because I need you to write again. What? God needed me? He went on. I am releasing strategies from heaven. They will be found in my Word. You will not have all of these strategies by any means, but you will have a measure of them. You must write and record what I speak to you so that when my daughters gather, there will be a whole picture. If you do not bring your piece of the puzzle, the picture will not be complete.”  ³⁰

What would God do without Lisa Bevere? She’s careful to include the fact that the “strategies” are found in scripture (if so, why do they need to be released?) but inserts herself as a vital element for their release and completion. Bevere has contributed to a generation of young narcissists, you can watch an example in this video: The Narcissistic Women of Bethel: “It’s Gonna Get Worse!”

Kris Vallotton is one of the hundreds of Charismatic false prophets who failed to predict any of the catastrophic events that shook the world in 2020. Vallotton’s self inflated opinion shines through in a message he claims he received from God: “And the Lord said to me…if YOU will make a covenant with Bill, I will show the world what I can do with an APOSTLE and a PROPHET who make a covenant of love, not because they agree, because they love one another, and I will create a MOVEMENT that will CHANGE THE WORLD, if you will humble yourself.” – Kris Vallotton You Tube, 19 minute mark)
So the whole world is dependent on a humble Kris to make a covenant with Bill, in order for God to create a movement that will change the world!
What God has shown the world, is that Vallotton and his ilk are false prophets. More from this narcissistic false prophet:
“The truth is, as a child of God, you’re supposed to look and act like your Daddy! You are created in His image—a beautiful heir to His kingdom. You have access to everything your Dad has access to, and you’re glorious just as He is!”

Compare Vallotton’s self-aggrandizement to the apostle Paul’s words: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 11:30.
Vallotton continues by offering his deluded followers a narcissistic declaration“Your identity as a child of God is a non-negotiable. You’re powerful, glorious, and outright awesome. I want to reiterate the declaration from the video and encourage you to read this out loud today: “I am amazing. I am God’s greatest creation. He loves me to death. I rock. I was born to do greater works than Jesus. I was born for glory. Nations are attracted to me. I have the mind of Christ, therefore I think like God. He’s my inheritance and I’m His inheritance. He actually likes me and I like me too. And if people got to know me, they would like me. Creation knows who I am. The devil knows who I am, God knows who I am, the angels know who I am… and today, I know who I am!”

In his book Heavy Rain, Kris Vallotton shares a vision he had. He was thrust 100 years into the future, where he saw an elderly man surround by several generations of family members. The old man was telling stories, and suddenly became serious and teary eyed as he began to explain something of great importance: “He began to speak to those present about their noble roots and their royal heritage. He stared into the eyes of each one, as if he was looking for greatness in their souls. He spoke of the great price their forefathers had paid to obtain such favor, wealth and influence from God and man. But it was what he did next that stunned me. He pointed to a majestic stone fireplace that rose about thirty feet to a vaulted ceiling. I looked over toward the fireplace mantel, where a large, beautiful artist’s portrait of Kathy and me hung. I was breathless as he finished his exhortation: “All this began with your great-great-great-grandmother and great-great-great-grandfather!”I instantly came out of the vision, struggling to gather my thoughts. Next I heard a thundering voice speak to my spirit: Your children’s children’s children are depending on you leaving them a world in revival. You are no longer to live for a ministry. From this day forward, you are to live to leave a legacy!” ³¹  

Who has preeminence in this vision – Christ or Kris Vallotton?

Believers will have to pick up their cross daily, and follow in their masters footsteps. Vallotton, like his fellow false prophets in the NAR want to avoid the cross, and crown themselves in splendour and majesty. In the following quote, Vallotton completely misses the point of Paul’s words in 1 Cor 4:8.

Vallotton: “We are supposed to enter the death chamber of baptism with a cross and exit with a crown. The crown is, “The likeness of His resurrection! The apostle John said, “As He is, (speaking of Jesus) so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Notice he didn’t say, “As He was” but instead he said, “As He is.” Jesus is not the suffering servant carrying His cross anymore. He is the coming King. We are to be the revelation of His royalty on the earth. Paul emphasized this to the Corinthian church, “You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you” (1 Cor. 4:8). The full revelation of what it means to be saved still needs to penetrate our thinking until we understand that who we were is totally dead and who we are is the revelation of Christ on the earth.” ³²

Paul is not praising the Corinthians for being a revelation of royalty, but employing sarcasm in order to expose the vanity and self sufficiency of “prophets” like Vallotton. The context reveals that Paul experienced a baptism of suffering: “Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children” 1 Corinthians 4:8-14.

The contrast between true apostles such as Paul, and the false apostles that plagued Corinth is lost on Vallotton. The fact that he views Paul’s admonishment as a compliment is telling. Vallotton’s desire for honor permeates the same chapter of his book. Vallotton: “God has given the church a great call, and therefore it takes great people to accomplish it. If we fail to see our greatness, we will fall short of our call.” ³³

Vallotton’s self centered teachings will appeal to this generation – lovers of self. In 2016, BSSM asked research group  Eido “to conduct a wide scale research report. One of the questions they asked past students was:“What could BSSM have done better to prepare you for life after graduation?” One student’s answer is telling:
“I think I felt like I was told you’re an awesome amazing world changer leader  and then I got thrown into the real World like a fish out of water. Ministry life and real world life are very different. And I was very disillusioned. I knew I was amazing but that didn’t translate into society as a whole.”

The next quote from a teaching is from a man on par with Vallotton in terms of eisegeting a text. A man notorious for his leg lengthening trick. A man proud to call WOF and prosperity heretic Kenneth Copeland his spiritual mentor. A man who spends a great deal of time talking about himself –Todd White: “The only one that will limit you is you; God will not put the brakes on (dramatic pause) God wants you to manifest him! All creation is groaning for you to manifest who you’ve been created to be! All creation is waiting for the sons of man to be made manifest! All creation is waiting for you! The police are waiting for you! The shopping malls are waiting for you!”

Bill Johnson does not personally exhibit the shameless narcissism that exudes from Vallotton, but in a collective sense his esteem for the “new breed” borders on idolatry. Johnson’s desire to see the new breed manifest themselves on earth – and confirm his dominion theology at the same time, has driven him to stroke the egos of many in the NAR. Who can forget his prayer over predator and narcissist Todd Bentley: “You welcome the glory, as well as any anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. I long to learn from you in that, and I bless you, and I pray with the rest of these, that the measure of glory would increase, that Moses would no longer be considered the high water mark where the glory shone from his face, but instead the revelation of the goodness of God would change the face of the church, and that he would use your voice, he would use your grace, your anointing, to alter the face of the church before this world.”
The status of the 24 elders surrounding the throne (Rev 4:4), and the position of authority in heaven reserved for the apostles (Matt19:28) should surely be downgraded in the light of Johnson’s opinion of this new generation:
Bill Johnson “A new generation is now forming. I pray and believe that this generation will walk in an anointing that has never been known before, including by the disciples. With a superior revelation, this generation will not be bounded by the natural principles such as harvest seasons or “seasons of revival.” Jesus said, “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest” (John 4:35). In the Kingdom, every day should be harvest day, and people who seem impossible to win to the Lord should be won instantly, without any sowing or preparation or tending. With a low-grade anointing and revelation, we have to live by natural principles and restrictions to get spiritual results. But Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes,” meaning, “With the way you are seeing things right now, you cannot operate on the revelation I want to give you.” We have to set our sights much higher and take advantage of the anointing and revelation of those who have gone before us.” ³⁴

For 2000 years Jesus has managed to build his church with inferior saints who have had to cope without these special anointings and new revelations. Johnson shamelessly inserts his own meaning into the text. How does “Lift up your eyes” translate to “With the way you are seeing things right now, you cannot operate on the revelation I want to give you.?” The flatteries and blatant lies that spew from the mouths of Johnson & co find a home in the narcissistic hearts of people who “love to have it so.”


These three teaching are elements of “another gospel” found in the apostate church. They are man-centered, and appeal to itching ears or those desperate to find solutions for their pain or predicament. The quotes from the teachers have conclusively shown that they preach “another gospel,” display narcissistic fruits, and are men and women who need to be marked and avoided. “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” – Romans 16:17-18. 


1. Bill Johnson. Dreaming With God: Co-laboring With God for Cultural Transformation (pp. 157-158). Destiny Image. Kindle Edition.
2. Ibid.
3. Bill Johnson. Release the Power of Jesus: 1 (Kindle Locations 1687-1692). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
4. Ellyn Davis; Judy Franklin. The Physics of Heaven.
5. Ibid
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid
8. Brian Houston. There Is More (Kindle Locations 984-985). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
9. Ibid.
10. John Bevere. Extraordinary: The Life You’re Meant to Live (Kindle Locations 2857-2859). WaterBrook Press. Kindle Edition.
11. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles.
12.  Bill Johnson; Lance Wallnau; Chuck D. Pierce; Heidi Baker; C. Peter Wagner; James W. Goll; John Arnott; Cindy Jacobs; Lou Engle; Jim Garlow. The Reformer’s Pledge. Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition
13. Bill Johnson. Dreaming With God: Co-laboring With God for Cultural Transformation (pp. 162-163). Destiny Image. Kindle Edition.
14. John Bevere. Honor’s reward : how to attract God’s favor and blessing (Kindle Locations 2051-2056). Faith Words. Kindle Edition.
15. Ibid.
16. Joseph Prince. Destined to Reign The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living (Kindle Locations 384-386). Kindle Edition.
17. Bill Johnson; Lance Wallnau; Chuck D. Pierce; Heidi Baker; C. Peter Wagner; James W. Goll; John Arnott; Cindy Jacobs; Lou Engle; Jim Garlow. The Reformer’s Pledge. Inc.. Kindle Edition
18. Dawna DeSilva. Shifting atmospheres: discerning & displacing the spiritual forces around you. (Kindle Locations 905-906). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
19. Bill Johnson. A Life of Miracles: 365-Day Guide to Prayer and Miracles (Kindle Locations 7040-7043). Destiny Image. Kindle Edition.
20. Ibid.
21. Bill Johnson. Dreaming With God: Co-laboring With God for Cultural Transformation (p. 39). Destiny Image. Kindle Edition
22. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson. The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers 2006, Chapter 12.
23. Kris Vallotton. School of the Prophets: Advanced Training for Prophetic Ministry.
24. John Bevere. Extraordinary: The Life You’re Meant to Live (Kindle Locations 3696-3701).
25. John Bevere. Honor’s Reward: How to Attract God’s Favor and Blessing. 
26. Ibid.
27. Lisa Bevere. Lioness arising: wake up and change your world. (Kindle Locations 111-113). WaterBrook Press. Kindle Edition.
28. Ibid.
29. Ibid.
30. Ibid.
31. Kris Vallotton. Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power.
32. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson. The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers 2006, Chapter 9
33. Ibid.
34. Bill Johnson. Walking in the Supernatural. (Kindle Locations 153-161). Destiny Image Publishers. Kindle Edition.

A-NAR-THER GOSPEL — Famine In The Land

February 10 Afternoon Verse of the Day

6:2 The larger context of Is 49:8 was God’s restoration that would come at last to the covenant people, Israel. Paul’s citation shows that he believed this time had now arrived with the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Now and day of salvation refer in general to the times between Christ’s first and second coming. In particular, they refer to the moment a person hears the good news: there should be no delay in responding.[1]

6:2 The acceptable time, which started with Christ’s earthly ministry and led to His reconciling death, continues even today.[2]

6:2 now is the day of salvation. When God offers deliverance, it is wise to respond immediately, before the offer is withdrawn. “Now” in a broad sense refers to the gospel age, while in a specific sense it refers to the time when an individual hears God’s offer of salvation.[3]

6:2 day of salvation I helped you Paul quotes Isa 49:8 to appeal to the Corinthians and emphasize God’s readiness to receive them when they turn to Him. Just as God restored Israel from exile, He now reconciles people to Himself through Christ (see note on 2 Cor 1:3). The day of salvation refers to the present period of time (between Christ’s first and second comings) in which reconciliation with God is available to all people.[4]

6:2 By quoting Isa. 49:8 to summarize his own appeal to the Corinthians, Paul identifies his apostolic ministry with Isaiah’s prophetic role of calling Israel to repentance and perseverance in view of the coming day of redemption and judgment (salvation). Behold, now. Paul declares that this time of salvation has already arrived in Christ! Amazingly, God is already pouring out many of the blessings of the age to come.[5]

6:2 Paul emphasized his point by quoting Is 49:8. He was passionately concerned that the Corinthians adhere to the truth because it was God’s time to save and they were messengers for helping to spread that message. now is “the day of salvation.” Paul applied Isaiah’s words to the present situation. There is a time in God’s economy when He listens to sinners and responds to those who are repentant—and it was and is that time (cf. Pr 1:20–23; Is 55:6; Heb 3:7, 8; 4:7). However, there will also be an end to that time (cf. Ge 6:3; Pr 1:24–33; Jn 9:4), which is why Paul’s exhortation was so passionate.[6]

6:2 — For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

It never makes sense to put off a decision to accept God’s offer of salvation. How many have waited too long? And anyway, why would anyone want to delay the joy that comes through a vital relationship with God?[7]

6:2 Paul quoted Is. 49:8 to remind the Corinthians that God was ready to listen to them and to help them. Salvation (Gk. soterias) begins with justification, continues through sanctification, and ends with glorification. He would deliver them, if only they turned to Him in faith.[8]

6:2. Here Paul quotes from Isa 49:8 as a reminder that God is wanting to help them. For He says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” In Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, the word salvation refers to the condition believers will find themselves in when they stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 1:18; 3:15; 5:5). Future rewards are in view in the context of this salvation. By stating that behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation, Paul reveals a sense of urgency in preparing for that day now. When believers stand before the Lord, it will be too late to make sure they are ready. So believers at Corinth must not forfeit the benefits of this salvation by refusing to turn to God in repentance. Paul then explains how he himself operated in ministry as an example that they should follow.[9]

6:2 Paul now quotes from Isaiah 49:8. If we go back and study that chapter, we find that God is in controversy with His people because of their rejection of the Messiah. In verse 7 you see the Lord Jesus rejected by the nation, and we know that His rejection led to His death. But then in verse 8 we have the words of Jehovah, assuring the Lord Jesus that His prayer has been heard and that God would help and preserve Him.

In the day of salvation I have helped you. This refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The acceptable time and the day of salvation would be ushered in by Christ’s resurrection from among the dead.

In his preaching of the gospel, Paul seizes upon this marvelous truth and announces to his unsaved listeners, Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. In other words, the era of which Isaiah had prophesied as the day of salvation has already come, so Paul urges men to trust the Savior while it is still the day of salvation.[10]

6:2. Paul’s quotation from Isaiah 49:8 was a rebuttal to Judaizers who wanted to impose the Mosaic Law as a means of obtaining righteousness. In Isaiah God announced that salvation would be universally offered not only to stubborn Israel but also to the Gentiles (Isa. 49:6). The quotation underscored the fact that salvation is God’s initiative: in … My favor I heard you, and … I helped you. Jesus inaugurated this message of God’s grace in His ministry (Luke 4:18–21) and Paul communicated it. The day of salvation is the present Age of Grace. Paul urged the Corinthians not to spurn that grace by turning to Judaistic legalism (cf. 2 Cor. 3:12–16; Gal. 3:1–6). To do so would be “to receive God’s grace in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1).[11]

6:2. To support his appeal, Paul referred to Isaiah 49:8. This prophecy focused on the restoration of God’s people after the exile. God promised that he would respond to the cries of the exile, in the time of his favor and in the day of salvation. Paul focused attention on Isaiah’s emphasis that in God’s timing salvation from the judgment of exile would come.

As a result, Paul pressed the significance of this prophecy on the Corinthian situation. The days in which they lived, the days of the New Testament, were not to be ignored or taken for granted. Those days were, as our own days are, the time of [God’s] favor and the day of salvation. When Christ came to earth, he began to restore God’s people from exile. After Christ ascended into the heavenly places, we continue to see him fulfilling the hopes of restoration. Christ will complete his saving work when he returns in glory. In the meantime, everyone must recognize the urgency of the times in which we live.

We are in the day of great opportunity because the final saving work of God has come to earth. Yet, we are in a day of great danger because failing to receive this salvation through enduring faith will bring a severe judgment. The New Testament age is the climax of history. There will be no possibility of salvation beyond the New Testament. Paul wanted the Corinthians to prove faithful because of the critical moment in history that they occupied.[12]

6:2 “He says” Paul is quoting an OT passage relating to Israel, but the use of this PRESENT ACTIVE INDICATIVE (says), he shows that the promise is relevant to all times and all peoples. Paul uses this quote as a direct appeal from God to the Corinthian church. Scripture is current and relevant!

© “we also urge you” Paul used this same verb in 5:20.

© “ ‘at the acceptable time’ ” This is a quote from the Septuagint of Isa. 49:8 (one of the Servant poem/songs), which deals with God welcoming and equipping (1) the Messiah and (2) a Messianic community. There is often a tension in Isa. 40–53 between corporate, national Israel and the ideal Israelite King (Messiah).

© “ ‘the acceptable time … the acceptable time’ ” The first is a quote from the Septuagint of Isa. 49:8, using dektos, but Paul uses a more intensified form (eurosdektos, cf. Rom. 15:16) when he applies this prophecy to the Corinthian situation (cf. v. 2b). The Messiah has come and now the invitation to be fully accepted by God has come to them. They must seize the moment. They must be the eschatological Messianic community.

The day of one’s salvation is a wondrous, marvelous event, but it is often accompanied by persecution and difficulties (cf. 6:4–10).





















This is the Greek PARTICLE idou, which serves to call attention to a truth statement. Paul used it often in II Corinthians (cf. 5:17; 6:2, 9; 7:11; 12:14).

© “now is ‘the day of salvation’ ” The last sentence in v. 2 is Paul’s comment on the quote from Isaiah. This can refer to both an individual’s invitation to respond to the gospel, and the life of service to the Messianic kingdom.[13]

2. For he says,

“At a favorable moment I heard you

And in the day of salvation I helped you.”

Look, now is the acceptable time, look, now is the time of salvation.

  • Quotation. When God is making his appeal through his messengers, and they are God’s fellow workers, then it follows that God himself is speaking through the words of the Old Testament messianic prophecy of Isaiah 49:8. Paul quotes the Isaianic passage verbatim from the Septuagint and introduces it with the formula, “For he says.” Isaiah also has an introductory formula, “This is what the Lord says.” These formulas disclose that God speaks with divine authority both through the prophet Isaiah and through the apostle Paul as he addresses the people of Israel and Corinth.

The Old Testament prophecy may have come to Paul’s mind when he wrote the Greek infinitive dexasthai (to accept, receive; v. 1) and thought of the Greek adjective dektos (acceptable, favorable; v. 2) in Isaiah 49:8. The context of this prophecy is that of the humiliation and the exaltation of the Lord’s Servant, the Messiah (49:7). Through him, God restores the people of Israel politically by setting them free from captivity in exile and spiritually by sending them the Messiah.

The messianic era commenced with the coming of Jesus Christ who inaugurated the new era. The old things passed away, and through him all things became new (5:17). God reconciled the world to himself at the acceptable time and in the day of salvation. Nevertheless, as God sent his Servant to his own people, they did not receive him (John 1:11). Similarly, he sends Paul to the Corinthians with the message of reconciliation. As Jesus during his earthly ministry constantly prayed to God the Father, so Paul and his co-workers ask for help. And God’s affirmative reply is: “At a favorable moment I heard you and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

  • Affirmation. Paul applies the Old Testament prophecy to the Corinthians. He notes that its fulfillment has come by telling his readers: “Look, now is the acceptable time, look, now is the time of salvation.” He provides a one-sentence commentary on Isaiah’s prophecy and twice says, “Look!” His readers are able to understand that the Messiah was indeed humiliated by suffering, death, and burial. But after rising from the dead and ascending to heaven, he completed his mediatorial work and took his place of honor at God’s right hand. Therefore, the Corinthians should see that for them the time of reconciliation has arrived; the era of God’s good pleasure has come (compare Luke 4:19, 21; Isa. 61:2). And this era continues until the consummation of all things occurs.

Paul is not talking about chronological time, but about the new era in which God is favorably disposed to his people. He describes this era as “a specially welcome time” (MLB). The Greek word he uses, euprosdektos, is the compound form of the term dektos (acceptable). Although it is commonly translated as a synonym, it conveys nonetheless the meaning welcome. Its parallel is the phrase day of salvation, which correspondingly refers to the new era. The gift of salvation that God makes available to mankind is the restoration of peace with him. Now is the day of salvation, says Paul, and by implication, “Do not let it pass by.”

If New Testament believers receive the gift of salvation in this era, what happened to the Old Testament saints who lived in a time when God had not yet reconciled the world to himself? These people received adoption as sons and daughters, divine glory, the covenants, the law, and God’s promises (Rom. 9:4). By faith, these people longed for a heavenly home, and God was “not ashamed to be called their God” (Heb. 11:16). Together with believers from New Testament times and beyond, they are made perfect in Jesus Christ.

Practical Considerations in 6:2

The last few verses of chapter 5 and the first two of this chapter reveal urgency. Paul pleads with his readers to be reconciled to God and exhorts them to accept God’s message of salvation now. Paul uttered the same appeal to the Athenian philosophers when he said, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

The urgency of repentance is due to the time limit that God has set. For us, that limit begins at the time the good news of salvation is heard and ends when we die. We know the time when we first heard the gospel, but we do not know when we will leave this earthly scene. God has set the date of our departure, for “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27). The call to repentance goes forth within the limits God has set for us. Beyond death there is no salvation.

Paul’s brief commentary on the time of God’s favor alerts the readers to its immediacy. Pay attention, he says twice; now is the moment to accept God’s love in Christ Jesus. By implication, he warns that tomorrow may be too late.

Only one life, `twill soon be past;

Only what is done for Christ will last.[14]

Ver. 2. For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted … behold now is the accepted time … the day of salvation.

Now:—God never says “Behold,” without telling something worth listening to.

  1. Salvation the thing to be sought. 1. Greatly needed. 2. Graciously provided. 3. Gratuitously proffered.
  2. Now is the time to seek it. Double “Now.” 1. Commanded by revelation. 2. Commended by reason. Conscience, reason, gratitude, self-interest, say “Now.” Why delay? (1) Unnecessary. “All now ready.” (2) Unreasonable and wicked. Rebellion. 3. Unnatural. (1) Dangerous. May be last offer. (2) Destructive. Ruinous to conscience, character. (Hom. Monthly.)

The imperative “Now”:

  1. You can gain nothing by delay. 1. As to God’s terms. 2. As to your own circumstances. Your difficulties may change but will never cease. 3. As to pleasures of sin.
  2. You will lose much by delay. 1. Fervour and freshness of feeling. 2. Opportunity for usefulness. Delay daily narrows in this possibility. 3. Fulness of reward in heaven.

III. You may forfeit your salvation by delay. (Ibid.)

The day of salvation:

  1. There is a salvation so important that it gives its name to a whole period called a day, but signifying all the era through which that salvation is made accessible to us. It is called, by way of eminence and distinction, “the day of salvation.” 1. The salvation which marks this day is the salvation of the soul. Not the salvation of a captive, a criminal under a human law—not of a hopeless patient from a bodily disease—not of an empire—but the salvation of the immortal soul. Men do not believe that their souls are in this danger; they make a mock of sin. 2. Consider that this salvation is effected expressly and exclusively by the power and grace of God. To Him belongs the entire glory of it, and it is His grace that makes any period of our lives a day of salvation. He is therefore the author of eternal salvation. All the resources necessary for carrying it into effect were of God, and not of us. 3. But we ought more particularly to notice Him on whom devolved the work of salvation—who is described by the name of our Saviour, and to whom the honour of it will be for ever rendered. 4. It is necessary to observe that all the effects of this salvation are eternal, all the blessings it confers are for ever, the felicity to which it brings us is immortal. The effects of it will not only extend to, and penetrate through eternity, but they will give a character to that eternity.
  2. That this divine blessing has given a character and a name to a period of our time, here called the day of salvation. 1. It signifies the day or time when salvation is attainable by us—when it is revealed and published, or urgently set before us. In this sense it seems to be used by the prophet Isaiah (chap. 49:8; 52:7; 62:1), as quoted by the apostle Paul. 2. The gospel age may indeed be more emphatically designated the day of salvation, since the doctrine of salvation by a crucified surety and Saviour has been more fully illustrated and proclaimed, and since there has been no lack of those means which might encourage and help us all towards the attainment of the happy consummation. It is light that makes the day as distinguished from the night. The night of Judaism is past, it has been succeeded by a clear shining of the light of life, which makes ours indeed a day of salvation. 3. Times of special privilege when salvation is brought near to us. 4. We may especially denominate the Sabbath the day of salvation. It rises up most resplendent with this heavenly light.

III. Consider, if God has given us this day of salvation, and we now enjoy it, there is something for us all to do. We must execute the work of salvation in the day of salvation. 1. The day of salvation requires faith in the blessings then brought nigh. “This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him whom He hath sent.” 2. The day of salvation requires of you diligence, haste, serious application without delay to this work which you have to do.

  1. Observe, the day of salvation we all enjoy now must have an end. (The Evangelist.)

The day of salvation:—The Lord has had His days of vengeance. How terrible was the hour when He opened the sluices of the firmament that the rain might descend in torrents, and bade the fountains of the great deep rise to meet the descending floods.

  1. The grand reason for this day—“Now is the day of salvation.” Read the context in order to understand why there is a present day of salvation. This is the day of salvation because “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” There could have been no day of salvation if a Saviour had not appeared. 1. Notice that according to the context this is the day of salvation, because we may now be reconciled to God. “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2. The plain statement of the twenty-first verse explains it all: “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” Here is the grand doctrine of substitution. 3. To help us to understand mercy’s great expedient still better, the Holy Spirit tells us that the Divine design in Christ Jesus is to make us the “righteousness of God” in Christ.
  2. The glorious day itself—for the day of salvation is rich with blessing. 1. I would commend that day because of its fourfold excellence. Read again the verse in which our text stands. Although the words must be regarded as spoken, in the first place, to our Lord, the best expositors say that they are also addressed to His Church in Him. (1) So then, in this day of salvation our prayer will be heard, “I have heard thee in a time accepted.” (2) We are further told that this day help will be given. What does it say? “In the day of salvation have I succoured thee.” (3) And then it is added, “Behold, now is the accepted time,” so that the third blessing is that coming sinners will be accepted. If you will come to God He will not reject you, whoever you may be. (4) And then the fourth excellence is that it is a time of salvation. You need saving; be glad then that it is salvation’s own day. 2. Now, let me notice that this ought to be peculiarly pleasant news to those who are heavily laden with guilt. 3. The truth of our text should also be very encouraging to those who are fighting against inward sin. 4. While this is very encouraging to penitents and to those who are fighting with sin it should be equally cheering to tried believers. 5. And do you not think this truth should encourage all who are at work to win souls for Jesus?

III. Something about a dark cloud which may darken the close of this day of salvation. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The accepted time:—1. It is the wish of most men to obtain salvation; and therefore it is their resolution at some time or other to repent. Now they are engaged in some important business; they have met with some worldly disaster; they are in pursuit of some pleasure; they feel an indolence of temper which indisposes them for exertion; but they are determined not to let life pass away without securing salvation. Some favourable opportunity will occur. 2. Thus lulled into security many go on to disregard the secret remonstrances of conscience, and to despise the warnings and invitations of the Word of God, till at last they die as they had lived. 3. Now to be convinced of the folly, guilt, and danger of this conduct, consider—

  1. The nature of repentance and the commandment of God concerning it. 1. Repentance is turning from sin to holiness. With what propriety, then, can we put it off? Can it be reasonable to delay? 2. Consider the commandment of God concerning repentance. If we admit God’s authority to be supreme, and that He has enjoined the duty of repentance, we cannot discharge it too soon.
  2. The longer repentance is delayed, the more painful and difficult will it become. 1. Remember the power of habit. Thoughts and practices which we have long indulged acquire such a seat in the heart and character as to become a part of our system. And hence habit is spoken of as a second nature. Now if habit, simply considered, is powerful, its power must be increased in proportion to the length of time during which it prevails. The person, therefore, who resolves to repent hereafter, is not only careless of the obstacles which habit lays in the way of his repentance, but waits till these obstacles are augmented. What folly! thus to allow habit to acquire additional force. 2. But the extreme folly of delay appears farther, when we consider the nature of the habits. These are not those to which they are naturally averse. On the contrary, they are highly agreeable to them; cherished by the natural corruption of the heart, operate with a reciprocal influence, and give to that corruption a greater efficacy. The roots of natural depravity and those of evil habit are thus interwoven, and therefore to eradicate evil habits is like tearing the heart in pieces. 3. It is true that Divine grace can, and alone can, subdue all opposition; but it is also true that Divine grace has not promised to work miracles in your behalf—that God will not deal with you as mere passive machines in whom there is no will, no affections, no habits to be conquered by ordinary means.

III. Circumstances may occur to render repentance impracticable, and consequently to secure your ruin. 1. Every sin renders you guilty; but when warned of your guilt, and danger, you go on to aggravate the one and to despise the other, you provoke God to give you over to a reprobate mind, and to harden your heart. And will you risk this for all that the universe can give? 2. But supposing that God does not shut up His mercy, may you not be placed where there shall be nothing to secure your return to Him? 3. Again, the power of disease may lay you low on the bed of languishing and pain. That, indeed, you may flatter yourselves, will be a fit occasion for attending to your spiritual interests. Alas! you know little of the nature of repentance if you think that the time of bodily distress is the time for repentance. “Sufficient unto that day is the evil thereof.” 4. And is there not soundness of mind, which is still more necessary than health of body for attending to the concerns of the soul; but of which you may be deprived when you are least expecting it? 5. But though none of these things should take place, we know that we must die, and we know not when. We may be cut off in the midst of health, and youth, and gaiety. (A. Thomson, D.D.)

The tremendous importance of “now”:—This language implies a need and an opportunity of being saved on the part of those addressed. And, if we understand the Scriptures, to be saved is the supreme good for men. 1. One feature is suggested by the text—namely, a limited period of grace. But why should there be any limit to the period of probation? Why should the door of recovery from sin ever be closed? Plainly, because it would be useless to keep it open for ever; because choice has a tendency to become irrevocable, and character to become permanent. God’s methods are never arbitrary. The amazing longevity of the antediluvians appears to have resulted in equally amazing wickedness. 2. Another feature in the economy of grace is seen in God’s withholding from the sinner a knowledge of the duration of his earthly life. As a rule no man knows the hour of his own death. 3. Another feature in the economy of grace is the influence of an animal body upon a sinful soul. An animal body is weak, perishable, exacting, and in certain respects heterogeneous to the soul. It renders a little service and requires much. With a large part of mankind the business of life is to provide for the body. How, then, can he give much attention to the wants of his spirit? But this is less than half the truth. The influence of a frail and exacting body may be favourable to the recovery of man from the terrible fascination of selfishness. For a body whose preservation must be purchased by so much toil and care reminds them by its frailty of the one coming event which can be postponed, but not averted. Again, it must be considered that care for physical life or health is a duty, though not the highest; it is right in itself, though not religious. We may exercise it, therefore, with a clear conscience. Moreover, it is safe to assume that the moral natures of men who are engaged in doing what is felt to be right will not deteriorate so rapidly as they would have done if the same men had been either idle or doing what was seen to be in itself wrong. Susceptibility to high influences will not be so quickly destroyed. And, therefore, the day of grace can be made longer than would otherwise have been safe or useful. “But look once more,” you may perhaps reply, “to the other side of the picture. Does not the body drag the soul downwards? Is it not a source of strong temptations rather than a spur to honest toil?” They are not, however, so numerous as the calls to useful service which are presented by the body, nor are they so powerful as to silence these calls. “But is not the mind clogged in its search after the highest truth by the body which it inhabits? And is not the possibility of its return to God dependent on its clear apprehension of that highest truth? Must not this weak and exacting body, then, be a serious impediment at the very outset to religious life?” I freely admit that our present bodies are not perfect organs of the spirit. But let it not be forgotten that the search for truth which is rendered toilsome by a body whose senses are dull and whose energies are limited, leaves only a modicum of power to be worse than wasted in self-indulgence. Nor let it be forgotten that a little truth may have infinite value to the soul which receives it as a friend, or that effort to obtain truth because it is loved is a part of the blessed life itself. The great difficulty experienced by men in obtaining knowledge, because their bodies are now adapted to animal life more exactly than to spiritual life, is therefore a circumstance favourable to their prospect of recovery from sin and death. 4. Another feature of human probation on earth is the influence of domestic life upon sinful beings. This influence is very pervading and beneficent. The domestic affections, whether conjugal, parental, filial, or fraternal, must be contemplated with a reverence second only to that which we owe to Christian love. They are not indeed identical with love to God, nor do they imply or produce that love. They do not regenerate man, but they keep alive his power to enjoy fellowship, and to believe in the possibility of love. For of all natural avenues to unrenewed souls these affections are probably, next to conscience, the surest and the best. While they continue open, the way of salvation is rarely closed. They tend to prevent a final and utter hardening of the spirit against “sweetness and light.” Thus all the features of human life, in so far as they are ordered by our Heavenly Father, reveal His wisdom and goodness. In every instance they appear to have been chosen with a view to human salvation. (A. Hovey, D.D.)

The day of salvation:—Here you find—1. A note of attention—Behold! 2. An object to which the attention is called. 3. The period in which to act—now, not yesterday, that is past; not to-morrow, that is to come.

  1. The gospel period is here called a day. The gospel period is called a day, because—1. It discovers that which would have been otherwise concealed in darkness. In this day we discover the perfections of the Deity, the nature of sin, the worth of a Saviour, the only way by which sinners can be delivered from hell, and brought to heaven. The world has had many sorts of days, but never one like this before. 2. It is affected by some bright luminary. What makes a day—the stars, the moon? No; the sun. And what makes the spiritual day—ministers, the church? No; the Sun of righteousness. The man that is without Christ is in a state of darkness and death, and, if he dies, must perish. 3. It is time for people to work. “Go, my son, work in my vineyard.” 4. It is a limited time. “Oh, Jerusalem, if thou hadst known, at least in this thy day,” &c., &c. There is an end to days.
  2. The property of this day. God has had many sorts of days; He had a day to create, a day to preserve, a day to afflict, a day to redeem, a day to judge; but the day in my text is a day of salvation. It would not have been a surprising thing if it had been a day of destruction, of affliction; but it is a day of salvation. And this implies the existence of sin; there would have been no need for such a day if sin had not caused it. This day includes the gracious provision of the Father’s love—the Son’s merit, and the Spirit’s grace. Make much of this day. 1. It is a necessary salvation. It is not necessary for a man to be rich, to have health, to be surrounded with friends, but it is necessary to have this salvation, or he is lost for ever. 2. It is a spiritual salvation. Not such as the Jews had in the Red Sea—not such an one as Daniel in the lions’ den. This saves the soul from sin, and raises man to the enjoyment of God. 3. This salvation is a suitable one. It is just what we stand in need of. It required infinite wisdom to contrive it, infinite merit to procure it, and infinite grace applies it to the soul. 4. This salvation is a free one. Christ is free, and the grace of the Spirit is free. 5. This salvation is a great one. It is as great as the requirements of Divine justice; as great as the misery of man. It is adequate to all its objects. It was the great God contrived it, it had a great Saviour to accomplish it, a great Spirit applies it, and a great multitude will be saved by it. 6. It is a glorious salvation. God saves without a spot on His throne; without a speck on His character; here is God glorified in justifying the man. 7. This salvation is a perfect one; there is no deficiency in it. It does not save from some sin, but from all sin. There is nothing wanting for God, for man, for life, for death, and an eternal world. 8. This salvation is an everlasting salvation, grace, and glory. Conclusion: From our subject we see—1. The goodness of God in providing such a salvation. 2. The misery of man, that required or rendered it necessary. 3. The awful state of the man that despises or neglects this salvation. (Theo. Jones.)

The accepted time:—“Behold” is as a larum bell of attention, “now” is as a finger of indication or application to a season. 1. To awake our faith (Isa. 7:14). 2. To awake our hope (Apoc. 22:12). 3. To awake our love (1 John 3:1). 4. To awake our fear (Apoc. 1:7). 5. To wake our joy (Luke 2:10, 11). 6. To awake our thankfulness (Psalm 134:1). 7. To awake our compassion (Lam. 1:12). 8. To awake our diligence. “The accepted time.” The season is that in time which light is in the air, lustre in metals, the flower in plants, cream in milk, quintessence in herbs, the prime and best of it. Now there being a threefold season—1. Natural, which husbandmen observe in sowing, gardeners in planting and grassing, mariners in putting to sea. 2. Civil, which all humble suppliants observe in preferring petitions to princes and great personages. 3. Spiritual, which all that have a care of their salvation must observe in seeking the Lord while he may be found. (D. Featly, D.D.)[15]

2. To underline the gravity and urgency of his appeal, Paul introduces a verbatim quotation from Isaiah 49:8 (lxx): For he says, ‘In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ In their original context these words are addressed to the Servant of the Lord and refer to the time of Israel’s release from exile in Babylon. Paul makes his own application: I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation. If the time of the exiles’ return was a day of salvation, then the time when God acted in Christ to reconcile the world to himself is the day of salvation par excellence, and when the Corinthians heard the gospel, that was the day of salvation for them. If ‘today’ is the time of God’s favour, it is imperative that people respond to his grace ‘today’. Calvin (p. 84) comments, ‘We know that as long as the Gospel is preached to us, the door to the kingdom of God is open to us, and there is raised up before us a sign of God’s kindness to invite us to accept salvation, for when we are called to receive it, we may be sure that we have an opportunity of doing so.’

The idea of the day of salvation is not exhausted by what is already present, for Paul and other New Testament writers looked forward to the return of Christ as the day on which salvation would be consummated (cf. Rom. 13:11; 1 Thess. 5:8–9; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:5).[16]

2. For he saith, In an acceptable time. He quotes a prediction of Isaiah, exceedingly appropriate to the exhortation of which he speaks. It is without doubt of the kingdom of Christ that he there speaks, as is manifest from the context. The Father, then, appointing his Son a leader, for the purpose of gathering together a Church, addresses him in these words: “I have heard thee in an acceptable time.” (Isaiah 49:8.) We know, however, what a degree of correspondence there is between the Head and the members. For Christ was heard in our name, as the salvation of all of us is entrusted into his hand, and nothing else has he taken under his charge. Hence we are all admonished in the person of Christ—not to slight the opportunity that is afforded for obtaining salvation. While the rendering of the Greek interpreter is, εὐπρόσδεκτον, (acceptable,) the word made use of by the Prophet is, רצון, (ratson,) that is, benevolence, or free favour.

The quotation must be applied to the subject in hand in this way: “As God specifies a particular time for the exhibition of his grace, it follows that all times are not suitable for that. As a particular day of salvation is named, it follows that a free offer of salvation is not made every day.” Now this altogether depends on the providence of God, for the acceptable time is no other than what is called in Gal. 4:4, the fulness of the time. The order of arrangement also must be observed. First, he makes mention of a time of benevolence, and then afterwards of a day of salvation. By this it is intimated, that salvation flows to us from the mercy of God exclusively, as from a fountainhead, Hence we must not seek the cause in ourselves, as if we by means of our own works moved God to assign to us his favour, for whence comes the day of salvation? It is because it is the acceptable time, that is, the time which God has in his free favour appointed. In the mean time, we must keep in view what Paul designs to teach—that there is need of prompt expedition, that we may not allow the opportunity to pass unimproved, inasmuch as it displeases God, that the grace that he offers to us should be received by us with coolness and indifference.

Behold now is the time. The Prophet had spoken of the time, when Christ was to be manifested in the flesh for the redemption of men. Paul transfers the prophecy to the time when Christ is revealed by the continued preaching of the gospel, and it is with good reason that he does so, for as salvation was once sent to the whole world, when Christ appeared, so now it is sent to us every day, when we are made partakers of the gospel. Here we have a beautiful passage, and affording no ordinary consolation, because, while the gospel is preached to us, we know assuredly that the way is opened up for us into the kingdom of God, and that there is a signal of divine benevolence raised aloft, to invite us to receive salvation, for the opportunity of obtaining it must be judged of by the call. Unless, however, we embrace the opportunity, we must fear the threatening that Paul brings forward—that, in a short time, the door will be shut against all that have not entered in, while opportunity was afforded. For this retribution always follows contempt of the word.[17]

6:2 now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. Paul grounds the appeal of 6:1 by citing a portion of Isaiah 49:8, the second of the four Servant Songs of Isaiah: “In the day of salvation I helped you.” In the Isaianic context Yahweh is reminding his servant that he helped him in his time of need and promises his continual support. Paul sees this as analogous to God’s gracious dealings with the Corinthians and cites this text to remind the Corinthians of God’s mercy toward them and to motivate them not to spurn God’s grace. “The day of salvation” refers to the era between Christ’s resurrection and his return when the appeal for reconciliation (5:21)—the gospel—is being heralded by his ambassadors (5:20).[18]

6:2 / The reason (For, gar) that Paul urges the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain is underscored in verse 2 by a verbatim citation of Isaiah 49:9 lxx, which stresses the eschatological timing of this grace. The introductory formula to the citation (legei gar) can be translated either “For he [sc. God] says” (so niv) or “For it [sc. the Scripture] says” (so D.-A. Koch; cf. Rom. 9:17; 10:11; 1 Tim. 5:18). In the original context of Isaiah, however, Paul’s citation is introduced by “Thus says the Lord,” and so Paul most likely understands God as the unexpressed subject of 2 Corinthians 6:2a. The Lord himself, whom Paul represents and whose grace he has just mentioned, makes a pronouncement in the ot that has application in the present. Evidently, Paul understands the authoritative interpretation of Scripture as one way in which God makes his appeal though the apostle (cf. 5:20).

In its original context, Paul’s citation is part of the second Servant Song (49:1ff.), in which the Servant of the Lord is called to proclaim the restoration of Israel and the salvation of the world: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa. 49:6). This is the passage that is so determinative to Paul’s understanding of his own apostolic commission to the nations (cf. Gal. 1:15–16). As a text on the restoration of Israel, Isaiah 49:1ff. coheres with Paul’s emphasis in 2 Corinthians 5:16ff. on the new creation (Isa. 65:17–19; 66:22–23), which has been inaugurated through Christ, the Suffering Servant of the Lord (Isa. 53).

Paul goes on to draw the significance of the citation of Isaiah 49:8 for the Corinthians: “I tell you [lit., “Look!”], now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” The word “Look!” links 6:2 with the “Look!” in verse 17 (not rendered in the niv): The present time is the time of both the “new creation” and the “new things” that God promised in Isaiah. For Paul, the day of salvation and reconciliation that Isaiah prophesied has dawned. The fulness of time has come (Gal. 4:4). Therefore, the Corinthians must not forfeit the opportunity to take advantage of God’s mercy. The twofold “Look, now” in 6:2 reveals a sense of urgency in Paul’s authoritative, ambassadorial exhortation to the Corinthians.[19]

2 This verse is arguably the key verse of the apostolic excursus (2:14–7:4) and, indeed, of the entire letter. Quoting God’s words to Isaiah (Isa 49:8), and applying them to the Corinthians, Paul declares that, with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (5:14–15), the very day of God’s salvation has dawned. This is the eschatological grace of God (v. 1).

The opening words flow directly from v. 1, “as God’s fellow workers … For he [God] says.” There follows a citation of God’s words to Isaiah that he had heard and, in consequence, helped the prophet in the day of salvation. But to whom do the words, as quoted by Paul, apply? To himself or to the Corinthians? Given that the previous verse ended with “you” (Corinthians), the most likely answer is that Paul is addressing the Corinthians in this citation.85

Powerfully and explicitly Paul declares that the world and history have been overtaken by God, that God’s “time,” his “day of salvation,” has “now” arrived. Everything that Christ has done as the cosmic, soteriological, and eschatological centerpoint is now affirmed by the word that covers all the ground of vv. 14–21—salvation. Paul writes these words conscious that he and his readers belong on this side of the historic inauguration of both “new covenant” and “new creation” (3:3; 5:17). Through the gospel the grace of God has come to them; that is, in terms of the citation, God has “heard” and “helped” them. Let them not turn their backs on this “grace.”

The OT citation, LXX Isa 49:8a, is Yahweh’s word to his “servant,” Isaiah the prophet, for the captive people of Israel in Babylonian exile. It is in the form of “synonymous parallelism”:

At the right time I gave heed to you;

on the day of salvation I helped you.”

Paul glosses this oracle by repeating Isaiah’s statements, introducing both with the dramatic and joyful “Behold, now.”90 He intensifies the first (“the welcomed time”) and repeats exactly the second (“the day of salvation”). Paul’s twofold refrain “Behold, now” here picks up and emphasizes what he has written in the previous passage (“behold”—v. 17; “now”—v. 16 [twice]). In all probability Paul is seeking the attention of the Corinthians by his repeated, “Behold now …”

Paul’s appeal is not to be taken primarily in the sense of urgency, as if delay is dangerous. Rather, the twice-repeated “Behold, now” points to the final phase that salvation history has now entered, ushered in by God’s reconciliation of the world and his appointment of preachers of reconciliation (vv. 18–19). This is the “grace of God.” The eschatological reality of the now-arrived “day of salvation” is the bedrock for God’s twice-given “appeal” through Paul to them, (1) that they “be reconciled to God” (v. 20), and (2) that they do not “receive the grace of God in vain” (v. 1). As such, this soteriological-eschatological basis for Paul’s “appeal” is—we take it—directed to the present confusion and crisis within the Corinthian church. Let them bring their beliefs and behavior in line with God’s saving purposes, now revealed.

A major hermeneutical question is raised by the exegesis we have adopted for 5:18–6:2. In our view Paul is speaking about himself as an apostle. The ministry God gave to Paul, the word God entrusted to him, this Paul exercises as an ambassador or apostle (vv. 18–20). Paul is Christ’s representative, his surrogate, and it is through Paul as an apostle that God appeals to his hearers, “Be reconciled to God” (v. 20). He is God’s coworker (6:1), words Paul wrote being conscious that this is the dawn of the “day of salvation.” Moreover, Paul establishes this significant point, as a basis from which to launch his climactic appeals to the Corinthians (1) to be reconciled to God (5:20; 6:1), (2) to widen their hearts to Paul their “father” (6:11–13), and (3) to withdraw from all that is unclean in Corinth (6:14–7:1).

The question is: Do these words apply beyond the apostolic generation to persons who are not apostles? As to their initial and primary intent, as from the pen of Paul to this wayward church, we note that Paul was offering a defense for his ministry rather than giving a pattern for believers. This passage belongs to the excursus on apostolic ministry in which Paul is a source of revelation (see, e.g., 4:2, 6), through whom—as he will say later—God worked the signs of an apostle (12:12). He has been given the Lord’s authority (10:8; 13:10). The point Paul is making is that, as an apostle of Christ, he exercises religious authority over the Corinthians, an authority that cannot—by its nature—be shared with, for example, members of the church in Corinth. He expects to be heeded (2:9; 10:5; 13:11). Thus understood, these verses cannot be applied without qualification to others outside the apostolic circle beyond the apostolic age. Such persons do not bear the direct authority of Christ, as his ambassadors, in the way Paul did.

Paul’s authority as an apostle of Christ, however, cannot be separated from the faithful exercise of that ministry in proclaiming the gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ. It is one thing to claim that authority—as, indeed, Paul does (1:1; 10:8; 12:10). Such authority, however, is not legitimated merely by claiming it. Rather, it is authenticated in the ministry itself, as the central gospel affirmations about Christ’s death and resurrection may be discerned in the life of the minister. This, surely, is the major reason for Paul’s repeated references to his sufferings and the deliverances from those sufferings that punctuate this letter (1:8–10; 4:7–12; 6:3–10; 7:5–6; 12:7–9).

Moreover, Paul’s manner of ministry in other respects should be noted. He did not pursue this ministry in a triumphalist (2:14) or lordly manner (1:24). On the contrary, he is their slave for Jesus’ sake (4:5). His ministry is exercised in sincerity and with integrity (2:17; 7:2–4; 12:17–8), in repudiation of all that is morally inappropriate (4:2). Nor is he coldly and impersonally authoritarian. He appeals to them as a “father” to wayward and unresponsive children in deeply personal tones (6:11–13; 11:2; 12:13–17).

However, the apostolate is not the only ministry that has been “given.” In addition to apostles, the ascended Christ also “gave” prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers (Eph 4:11), whose ministry in the churches is not circumscribed within the apostolic circle or confined to apostolic times. Presumably the moral authority legitimating Paul’s ministry, noted above, is the same for all other ministries—“official” and “unofficial”—engaged in by believers to this day.

Paul words (5:18–6:2), therefore, have application beyond the apostle and beyond his time. The sun has not set in this the day of salvation. The world remains effectively alienated from God. God’s servants in this and every generation, like Paul the apostle, will continue to implore people, “Be reconciled to God.” Although our ministries, relative to his, may be secondary and derivative, insofar as we faithfully give expression to the apostolic admonition, as legitimated by faithfulness in the face of suffering, and with Christ-likeness of character and probity of life, we do speak with real authority.[20]

2 To emphasize the seriousness and urgency of his appeal and to highlight the privilege of the present and the danger of procrastination, Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 and then applies the passage to the age of grace.

In its original context the quotation belongs to a section of Isaiah 49 (vv. 7–9), where Yahweh directly addresses his Servant, who has been “despised and abhorred by the nation” (49:7), promising him vindication before kings and princes in due time and calling on him to carry out the work of restoration after the return from exile. Paul uses the quotation to establish that the gospel era (“now”) is “the day of salvation” when God’s favor is shown to humans. How unthinkable that such grace should be received in vain (v. 1)![21]


we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain—for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”—(6:1b–2)

Paul’s use of the verb parakaloumen (urge; “plead”; “beg”) in the present tense reflects his constant, passionate concern for the Corinthians (cf. 2:8; 10:1; 1 Cor. 16:15–16). God’s ambassadors are privileged pleaders, begging their hearers to respond to the truth.

Specifically, Paul was urging the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain; not to turn away from the gracious opportunity to hear the gospel of forgiveness he had so faithfully preached to them. He had poured his life into the Corinthians during his long stay in their city (Acts 18:11), pleading with them for the gospel and teaching the new converts how to grow in grace. But events in Corinth caused the apostle to fear that his intense labor had been for nothing. The church was riddled with sin, as Paul’s first inspired epistle to them reveals. False teachers, those wolves in sheep’s clothing both Jesus (Matt. 7:15) and Paul warned of (Acts 20:29), were luring many in the assembly away from the truth. This passionate concern for the Corinthians was behind what he wrote later:

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. (2 Cor. 11:3–4)

Paul could not stand idly by and allow his diligent efforts to be undone. He could not permit his spiritual children (1 Cor. 4:15) to be deceived by a false gospel or led astray from the true path of sanctification. His duty before God, like that of all faithful ministers, was to exhort people not to receive the grace of God in vain. The apostle had given them the grace of God, as embodied in the truth of the gospel of grace, for their eternal benefit.

Paul was concerned first that the Corinthians not receive God’s grace in regard to salvation in vain. As in any church, not everyone in the Corinthian assembly was redeemed. Some had intellectual knowledge of the gospel but did not have saving faith. That is why Paul challenged them, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5). Those in the congregation who were not regenerate were in grave danger of being deceived by the false teachers. To follow those preaching another Jesus, another Spirit, and another gospel would lead to a waste of their privilege and to spiritual ruin. Paul was similarly concerned about the Galatians:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Gal. 1:6–9)

The Corinthians were also in danger of receiving God’s grace in vain with regard to sanctification. The legalists sought to turn them away from living in the power of the Spirit to living in the strength of the flesh. Paul chided the Galatians, also under assault by legalism, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3). Sanctification, like justification, is a work of God. It does not come from legalistically conforming to an external set of rules but from a Spirit-generated, heartfelt love for and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some of the unsaved Corinthians were being led astray by a false gospel of salvation by works. Others were saved, but legalistic false teaching was stunting their spiritual growth. In either case, the grace of God to them that sent Paul with the gospel was in danger of being nullified.

The corrupting influence of the false teachers hindered evangelism. That made the Corinthians’ defection all the more galling to Paul, for it was (and still is) the time for the ministry of reconciliation. To stress the urgency of this time, Paul quoted from Isaiah 49:8, where God declared, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.”

There is a time in God’s grace when He may be sought by sinners. The Lord warned the pre-Flood world, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” (Gen. 6:3). Isaiah 55:6 commands, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.” Hosea warned that apostate Israel “will go with their flocks and herds to seek the Lord, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn from them” (Hos. 5:6).

Repeating behold and now to emphasize his point, Paul declared that now is “the acceptable time,” “the day of salvation” when God will listen to repentant sinners. Now, when the fields are ripe for the harvest (John 4:35), is not the time to waste gospel opportunity, or to be feeble, vacillating, or deceived by false teachers. It is the time to hold fast to the truth and faithfully proclaim it. “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day,” Jesus admonished. “Night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).

Knowing the urgency of the times Paul, true to the urgency of his calling, passionately pleaded with the Corinthians not to let God’s grace in their lives be in vain.[22]

[1] Easley, K. H. (2017). 2 Corinthians. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1845). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., 2 Co 6:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1679). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Co 6:2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2231). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (2 Co 6:2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (2 Co 6:2). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1502). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] 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. 789). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[10] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1842). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[11] 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, pp. 568–569). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[12] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 361–362). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[13] Utley, R. J. (2002). Paul’s Letters to a Troubled Church: I and II Corinthians (Vol. Volume 6, p. 246). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[14] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 210–211). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[15] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Second Corinthians (pp. 330–334). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[16] Kruse, C. G. (2015). 2 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary. (E. J. Schnabel, Ed.) (Second edition, Vol. 8, pp. 176–177). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[17] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 2, pp. 245–247). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[18] Hubbard, M. V. (2017). 2 Corinthians. (M. L. Strauss, Ed.) (p. 101). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[19] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 143–144). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[20] Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 318–321). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[21] 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. 483). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[22] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 223–225). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

10 Feb 2021 News Briefing

Biden Funds Program To Block Foreign Religious Leaders Who Oppose LGBT Agenda
Biden’s executive orders are going to have far-reaching consequences, and the progressives are back in the driver’s seat and in control of the internationalist swamp. The United States, under Democratic presidents, is not so much a “beacon of freedom and democracy” as it is a neo-colonial power, pushing the radical LGBT agenda and abortion on nations it considers less evolved. Obama was famously told to take his views and shove off by various African leaders, and now Biden, despite his advanced age, is primed to push even further.  This week, President Biden signed an executive order that will promote homosexuality and transgenderism as a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy.

Iran’s IRGC receives 340 new boats, some with drones
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed this week to receive 340 new vessels, mostly the small fast boats it uses in the Persian Gulf and which sometimes harass US ships. The vessels were displayed in Bandar Abbas in Iran. “The exact numbers and status as ‘new’ should be treated with healthy skepticism,” notes H.I. Sutton, an expert on naval issues who writes and maintains a website devoted to this topic.

Qatar to assist Lebanon’s economic recovery once gov’t is formed
Qatar is ready to help cash-strapped Lebanon with its economic recovery if its deeply divided political class agrees on a new government. The outgoing cabinet has served in a caretaker role since resigning in August last year following public fury over the Beirut port blast that killed more than 200 people and destroyed entire neighbourhoods.

Turkey makes move to resolve S-400 dispute with the US
Turkey’s proposal to not fully activate its controversial Russian S-400 missile system offers an olive branch to the new US administration to start negotiations over the issue that has severely strained bilateral ties, according to analysts. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said…that his country is open to a deal similar to one with Greece…

UN expert urges international community to support ICC’s Palestine-Israel ruling
An Independent UN expert praised on Tuesday the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) of justice ruling that it had jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Palestinian Territories, and urged the international community to support the process. Michael Lynk…called for “international cooperation” to ensure “the enforcement of international justice.”

Great Power Competition Adds To Challenges In Middle East
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie said in an address to the Middle East Institute that Russia and China are vying for power and influence through all aspects of national power in the region. This is on top of the risks posed by Iran and violent extremist groups. Peace and stability in the Middle East is important to the United States because the health of the global economy depends on the free flow of oil and other commerce from the region and within the region, he said.

US deploys B-1B bombers near Russia after Biden’s first phone call with Putin
Biden ordered the first-ever deployment of B-1B Lancers to Norway last week, putting the bombers within potential striking range of Moscow. The bomber deployment, announced on Feb. 2, comes a week after Biden had his first call as president, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Two US Carriers Hold Exercises In South China Sea As Beijing Blasts ‘Blow To Peace & Stability’
China is condemning what it’s deemed a blow to “regional peace and stability” after no less than two US aircraft carrier strike groups have initiated coordinated military exercises and maneuvers in the South China Sea on Tuesday.

If You Thought The 2020 Elections Were Chaotic, Just Wait
H.R.1 packs into one 791-page bill every bad idea about how to run elections and mandates that the states must adopt — the very things that made the election of 2020 such a mess. It includes all of the greatest hits of 2020: Mandatory mail ballots, ballots without postmarks, late ballots and voting in precincts where you don’t live. It includes so many bad ideas that no publication has satisfactory space to cover all of them. The Senate companion bill, S.1, might be even worse.

Anthony Fauci And New World Order Elites Proudly Throwing The Signs Of The Master Of The Second Veil Found In Freemasonry Occultic Practices
If you see D.C. from an aerial view, you may be shocked to find things like an iron cross (used by Hitler), the Star of David (used by the Rothschilds), an upside down (satanic) pentagram pointing to the White House, and even a pyramid with a huge owl sitting atop at the Capitol building.

Hezbollah looking to spark escalation for first time since 2006
Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group is looking to initiate a “limited offensive” against Israel for the first time since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, said an IDF intelligence report published Tuesday.

Senate votes that Trump impeachment trial is constitutional
The vote was 56-44, according to Fox News.

Turkey and Israel inch closer to reconciliation
News of rapprochement between Israel and Turkey is heating up after years of ebb and flow in their diplomatic ties. According to Turkish officials, the once-close allies are eager to kick-start their renewed relations soon.

N.Korea’s Kim lays out paths to take with S.Korea, external affairs
Kim Jong Un ordered the paths for his ruling Workers’ Party to take with South Korea and external affairs, state media KCNA said on Wednesday. Kim called last month for more advanced nuclear weapons and said the United States was “our biggest enemy,” presenting a stark challenge to US President Joe Biden just days before he took office.

‘Biden must learn from 42 years of failed US pressure on Iran’
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday “advised” US President Joe Biden to “learn the lesson from the failed attempts to pressure and threaten Iran” by past American administrations, calling such attempts “vain hopes of bringing Iran to its knees.”

Netanyahu rejects Biden’s Ambiguity: ‘The Golan was and will remain part of Israel’
After only three weeks, it is already clear that Israel, the most faithful ally of the US in this part of the world, cannot expect the same consideration for its security concerns as it received from President Trump, even in critical areas like the Golan Heights. In an interview with CNN on Monday night, newly-appointed Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed support for Israel but refused to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty over the crucial Golan Heights, a status that was recognized by the Trump’s administration in 2019.

‘Huge Victory For Churches’: Supreme Court Ends the ‘No Worship’ Ban
Last Saturday at approximately 1:00 a.m. ET, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry (HIM) by enjoining California’s total ban on indoor worship. This was the second time Liberty Counsel appealed to the High Court on behalf of these churches. The ruling also included South Bay United Pentecostal Church.

Dangerous New Pestilences Are Breaking Out All Over The Globe
Did you hear about the outbreak of the new “mystery disease” in Tanzania? What about the alarming new outbreak in Congo? New developments in South Africa are making headlines all over the globe as well. Despite all of our advanced technology, humanity remains extremely vulnerable to outbreaks of disease, and many believe that the COVID pandemic is just the beginning. Meanwhile, a new Ebola outbreak in Congo is creating a tremendous amount of concern…

At least 15 dead as the U.S. sees the deadliest week of avalanches in over a century
At least 15 people lost their lives due to avalanches in the U.S. from January 30 to February 6 this year– the worst and deadliest in the country since 1910, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). It included avalanches in Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah.

Significant ice accumulation from the mid-Mississippi Valley to Ohio and Tennessee valleys, U.S.
A winter storm gripping much of the United States with frigid temperatures this week is likely to bring significant ice accumulation from portions of the mid-Mississippi Valley to the Ohio and Tennessee valleys from late Tuesday night (LT), February 9 into Thursday, February 11, 2021.

ID2020 Launching The Good Health Pass Collaborative To Produce Digital Identifications For People To Prove They Have Received The COVID Vaccine
Hey, look over there! Why it’s the Microsoft-funded, Bill Gates created, ID2020 Alliance who’s here to save the day and give everyone on the earth their very own digital identification so you can prove you’re received the  COVID-19 vaccine. It’s OK , everyone, we’re going to make it!! Oh, wait…

How Many Americans Has the American Medical Establishment Killed? 
I should state at the outset that were it not for doctors, I would either be paralyzed or dead. I owe my mobility and probably my life to wonderful physicians.

Bill Maher Claims Christianity Is To Blame For Capitol Riot
During Friday’s episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher,” host Bill Maher blamed Christianity for the Capitol riots last month.

Anthony Fauci And New World Order Elites Proudly Throwing The Signs Of The Master Of The Second Veil Found In Freemasonry Occultic Practices
The New World Order very much needs to constantly remind us how deeply they are embedded in our society, and have been for centuries. America was founded on July 4th, 1776, but the Illuminati was founded 2 months earlier on May 1, 1776 by Adam Weishaupt. Over the last 3 centuries, the two have existed side by side, with the common link between them being Freemasonry. Most of the founding fathers were freemasons.

BET YOU HAVEN’T HEARD THIS! India and Israel along with several Arab nations have a plan to go against Biden’s policies in the Middle East and Indo-Pakistan region
Both India and Israel now have achieved closer ties with the Arabs, resulting in increased economic and security cooperation against common threats, especially Iran and Pakistan. These three powers have come together to serve as a barrier against the repercussions of Joe Biden’s disastrous policies. The message is clear: Stick with Trump’s policies or we will go our separate ways.

Biden Administration Quietly Drops Trump Proposal To Track Chinese Influence In US Schools
The Biden administration quietly withdrew a rule proposed by the Trump administration that would have required American schools and universities to disclose their partnerships with Confucius Institutes, which some U.S. officials allege are front groups for Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

Situation Update, Feb. 9th – The globalist controllers have already LOST the end game 
There’s a reason the globalists have accelerated their plans to carry out planet-wide genocide against the human race: They know their remaining time in power is very limited, thanks to grassroots technology and mass awakening that will soon make their centralized control systems obsolete.

Americans Have Never Been More Dissatisfied With How The Country Is Functioning Than They Are Right Now
…most Americans don’t really care that we are literally committing national suicide. They just know that they are in pain and they want some help as soon as possible…

Federal court permanently blocks New York’s restrictions on houses of worship
A federal judge permanently blocked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial restrictions on indoor worship gatherings that the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction against last November.

If You Thought The 2020 Elections Were Chaotic, Just Wait
H.R.1 includes all of the greatest hits of 2020: Mandatory mail ballots, ballots without postmarks, late ballots, voting in precincts where you do not live… The Senate companion bill, S.1, might be even worse…

Source: 10 Feb 2021 – Rapture Ready

Headlines – 2/10/2021

Netanyahu responds to Blinken: Golan will remain part of Israel forever

Fatah and Hamas agree on terms of 1st Palestinian election in 15 years

Man, 100, charged in Germany over 3,518 Nazi concentration camp murders

IDF: Hezbollah likely to initiate limited battles with Israel in 2021, not war

IDF foils Iranian scheme to spark conflict on Israel-Syria border

IDF sees permanent ban on weapons-grade uranium as essential for Iran nuke deal

‘If pushed, Iran may pursue nuclear weapons,’ intel minister warns West

Saudi FM: Iranian nuclear program threatens entire region

Taliban’s Actions Could Mean Leaving US Troops in Afghanistan, Central Command Chief Warns

Cyberattacks helping North Korea fund nuclear weapons and missiles, UN panel says

North Korean hackers stole $316M to improve nukes, ballistic missiles, UN experts say

Myanmar anti-coup protesters met with water cannon and rubber bullets

Three-finger salute: Hunger Games symbol adopted by Myanmar protesters

China poses serious strategic threat to Canada, says Canadian spy agency head

Two U.S. carrier groups conduct exercises in South China Sea

Biden Quietly Nixes Trump-era Rule Combating Chinese Communist-Funded ‘Propaganda’ Centers

Former Obama Ethics Chief Says Biden Should Address Conflict of Interest With Brother

Biden administration asks Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys to resign – but not Durham

John Durham to remain as special counsel in Russia probe, but step aside as U.S. Attorney in Connecticut

Senate Impeachment Trial Starts, as Democrats Argue It’s Constitutional

Senate Votes Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial Is Constitutional By A Vote Of 56 To 44

Six GOP senators vote that Trump impeachment trial is constitutional and can proceed

Dems in Trump trial use graphic video of Capitol attack; Trump lawyers’ video shows ‘lust’ for impeachment

Lead House Impeachment Manager Raskin Plays Deceptively Edited Video of Trump During Senate Trial

Trump’s impeachment lawyer says American voters are ‘smart enough to pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one, and they just did’

Trump Defense Lawyer Baffles Viewers With Confounding, Meandering Opening Argument: ‘Just… Ad-Libbing?’

One of Trump’s Impeachment Lawyers Sued Him Last Year Over Voter Fraud Claims

Schumer asks Republicans to keep open mind at Trump trial, says he fed mob ‘lies that motivate their behavior’

Commentary: The Democrats 75 Impeachment Lies

Condoning violence, questioning election legitimacy? Trumpers look to expose Dems’ own incitement

Flashback: By Dems’ Standards, Should Kamala Be Impeached for What She Said About Trump Dying?

Lindsey Graham Threatens to Call Democrats as Witnesses During Senate Impeachment Trial

Most Voters Don’t Expect Senate to Convict Trump, Won’t Watch Impeachment Trial

Democrats have a back-up plan in case the Senate doesn’t convict Trump on impeachment

Lisa Murkowski Backs Liz Cheney’s Call for GOP to Move On: ‘Donald Trump Is Gone’

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Criticizes Capitol Attackers Who ‘Ruined’ GOP’s Jan. 6 Objection Plans

National Guard Protection of Capitol to Cost $483 Million Through March: Pentagon

Man Charged in Capitol Riot Worked for FBI and Had Security Clearance, Attorney Says

Arizona Senate Fails to Hold Maricopa Board of Supervisors in Contempt Over Election Fraud Audit

Fox asks court to drop $2.7 billion Smartmatic defamation suit, citing press protections

Entrepreneur Launches New Internet Browser to Promote Free Speech

Rush Limbaugh is ailing. And so is the conservative talk-radio industry.

As phenomenon grows, business booms for cancel culture consultant

Texas Judge Blocks Biden’s Deportation Freeze for Two More Weeks

Buffalo, Minnesota: Shooting at health care clinic leaves 5 injured

UK calls for reset with EU and ‘refinement’ of Brexit deal

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Izu Islands, Japan region

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Banda Sea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kyushu, Japan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sangay volano in Ecuador erupts to 22,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Raung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Pacaya volcano in Guatemala erupts to 12,500ft

Race to find dozens still missing as survivors recall horror of India glacier disaster

Lye-poisoning attack in Florida shows cybersecurity gaps in water systems

Displaced Keystone Pipeline and oil field workers worry Biden administration will ‘ruin us’

Sen. Joe Manchin Pushes Biden to Rescind Keystone XL Pipeline Order

Same-sex couple takes baby citizenship fight to top EU court

United Way Worldwide’s CEO Brian Gallagher Stepping Down After Sexual Bias and Harassment Complaints Roil Charity

Lilly says CFO resigns after investigation into inappropriate relationship

WHO: Unlikely coronavirus leaked from China lab, most likely jumped from species

Pompeo: ‘Significant evidence’ coronavirus originated in Wuhan lab, despite WHO claims

White House will ‘look at the data ourselves’ after WHO dismisses COVID lab leak theory

Virus czar warns ultra-Orthodox: Crowding at funerals will beget more funerals

Buttigieg: Feds May Require Negative COVID-19 Test for Domestic Air Travel

‘A horrible idea’: Delta CEO blasts mandatory COVID testing for US flights as government pursues option

Biden Team Fears: No COVID Herd Immunity Until Thanksgiving

Life Will Return to Normal in Seven Years, Vaccine Database Shows

J&J CEO says people may need annual Covid vaccine shots for the next several years

At least 36 people may have developed a rare blood disorder after covid vaccination: report

Gyms, malls, hotels could be reopened to the vaccinated on February 23

Atlanta school system considers mandatory summer school for kids who fell behind due to coronavirus

Biden plan would only reopen half the schools ‘one day a week’ by end of April

Biden presses for ‘big’ stimulus in meeting with CEOs

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

Apostasy Watch Wednesday 2-10-21

Chris Gordon – Reaping the Woke Church We Have Sown

Gay Worship Artist Tops Lauren Daigle for Number One Christian Music Spot on iTunes

Video: Victim of Ravi Zacharias Publishes Emotional Statement

Pat Robertson Randomly Cures Woman’s Breast Cancer in Under 2 Seconds

Max Lucado Compares Holy Spirit to Woman, Calls Him “Mother Heart of God”

The Chosen’ 8-Episode Series Depicting the Life of Jesus Christ Debuts on TBN

Pennsylvania Bill Would Ban Abortions on Unborn Babies With Beating Hearts

Missouri Planned Parenthood Sues to Overturn Ban on Abortions of Babies With Beating Hearts

NYT Columnist: Sure, China’s Committing Genocide, But at Least They Don’t Have Conspiracy Theories

Source: Daily News and Commentary (apostasywatch.com)

Mid-Day Snapshot · Feb. 10, 2021


“We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.” —George Washington (1786)

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Dems Get Emotional While Trump’s Defense Stumbles

Thomas Gallatin

The show of the Senate’s second impeachment trial got underway yesterday and it was the stuff of Hollywood. It was marked by a video montage of the Capitol riot interspersed with cherry-picked segments of Donald Trump’s rally speech. It also featured sobbing House lawmaker Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who at the time of the riot was already emotionally reeling — the day prior he had buried his adult son who had committed suicide a week earlier. “If [Trump’s remarks were] not an impeachable offense,” Raskin declared, “then there is no such thing.”

If all it took to condemn and convict Donald Trump of the charge of “incitement of insurrection” was displaying the raw emotion of the accusers, then the Democrats have made their case.

The only question we were left with in our humble little shop was why the Democrats hadn’t also enlisted the “harrowing” testimony of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her “near death” experience as she hunkered down in her office bathroom while the Capitol building was being overrun. She was across the street from the riot and safe from any actual danger, but we digress.

Into this circus Trump’s legal team timidly waded. Clearly impacted by the emotional displays, they weakly sought to present their argument against the constitutionality of this clearly politically motivated impeachment charade. Ceding the obvious, Trump defense lawyer Bruce Castor stated, “You will not hear any member of the team representing former President Trump say anything but in the strongest possible way denounce the violence of the rioters and those that breached the Capitol.”

However, Castor then went on a rambling and seemingly ill-prepared argument, where at times he even appeared to concede to the Democrats’ dubious narrative on the election being free from fraud (it wasn’t). “The American people just spoke and they just changed administrations,” Castor asserted, adding that the American people were smart enough to “pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one, and they just did.”

Castor’s display was so bad that Trump’s former defense lawyer from the first impeachment, Alan Dershowitz, exclaimed, “I have no idea what he’s doing. I have no idea why he’s saying what he’s saying.” Dershowitz further noted, “He’s introducing himself: ‘I’m a nice guy. I like my senators. I know my senators. Senators are great people.’ Come on. The American people are entitled to an argument, a constitutional argument.”

Trump was reportedly “furious” and “beyond angry” over Castor’s abysmal display, and who could blame him? Castor certainly made no headway against the Democrats’ dubious and emotionally charged impeachment gambit. In fact, if anything he helped the Democrats, who picked up a few Republicans in the vote over the question of the impeachment’s constitutionality, which passed 56-44.

Castor lacked the necessary passion and conviction of the sound position of the argument against impeaching a former president. While it still remains highly unlikely that the Senate will vote to convict Trump, Castor’s display should leave no one feeling comfortable. Indeed, it might have sent a better message for Trump’s team to make his case by not even showing up. Why concede anything to the Democrats’ sham show trial? Too late now.

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The Left’s Insurrection Hypocrisy

Douglas Andrews

It’s telling, isn’t it, how Democrats supported a summer’s worth of deadly and costly rioting all across our nation’s inner cities and yet squealed like stuck pigs when a single short-lived eruption came too close for their Capitol Hill comfort.

In an all-too-predictable display of liberal privilege, they trotted out endless encouragement of and justification for the former, and nonstop denunciations of the latter; a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for the former, and a presidential impeachment for the latter.

“They’re not going to stop. They’re not going to stop,” said then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris. “This is a movement, I’m telling you. They’re not gonna stop. And everyone beware because they’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop before Election Day and they’re not going to stop after Election Day. And everyone should take note of that. They’re not gonna let up and they should not.”

And they should not.

How is such overt sanctioning of mob violence not a disqualifying act? After uttering those remarks, Harris shouldn’t have been able to run for dog catcher, much less vice president of the United States. But she’s a leftist, so she’s immune from accountability.

“To the media,” as Pat Buchanan writes, “the long hot summer of rioting, looting and arson that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis was driven by ‘racial justice’ protests against a ‘systemic racism’ that permeates society. … Joe Biden and his party have responded by setting as a goal the replacement of ‘equality of rights’ with ‘equity,’ an equality of results, where gaps in test scores, incarcerations, incomes and wealth between white and black are to be closed by government action.”

Ah, equity — that sweet-sounding word with the sourest of meanings. As we wrote last month, “Equality and equity aren’t the same things. Not even close. The root of the former word is one of the self-evident truths embedded in our Declaration of Independence. It refers to the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. The latter word, however, refers to systems and institutions that are ‘fair’ and ‘just.’”

Consider, for example, the hard-left and wholly disreputable money-grubbers at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which recently decided to give certain racists a pass based on the color of their skin. “In the name of equity,” writes Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag, “the SPLC announced that it’s shutting down its black nationalist hate groups category like the Nation of Islam. After ‘doing the internal work of anti-racism,’ the SPLC will no longer list black racist hate groups because ‘the hate is not equal.’”

When is “hate” not really hate? When it comes from the Left.

Or consider the Bellingham insurrection. What’s that? You haven’t heard about the Bellingham insurrection from two weeks ago — the one in which antifa tangled with police, stormed city hall, and forced the city’s mayor to be evacuated? Imagine that. “It is impossible to describe how evil these Antifa terrorists are,” writes Power Line’s John Hinderaker. “You really have to watch videos of them in action — this is just one of thousands — to get the picture. Which is why, I suppose, such videos are absent from the nightly news: Democrats want to protect their shock troops.”

Indeed, it’s almost as if Big Media only denounced certain kinds of political violence and insurrection. As for the January 6 riot at the Capitol, “That was an act of insurrection,” writes Buchanan of leftist opinion, “a treasonous attempt to overturn a democratic election and overthrow a democratic government. Of all the riots in 2020 and 2021, that was the unforgivable one. The proper response to that riot is not to heed its angry voices but to impeach the president on whose behalf they acted, to strip him of any right to serve again in public office, and to write new laws to deal with the horrific ‘domestic terrorism’ we witnessed at the Capitol.”

If it weren’t for double standards, the Left wouldn’t have any at all.

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It’s Time to End Photo ID for Voting … and Buying Guns?

Louis DeBroux

As noted previously, in the wake of the 2020 election, there is a solid plurality of the American people who believe that significant voter fraud occurred, and that Joe Biden’s victory is not legitimate.

Though they spent the last four years claiming President Donald Trump was not America’s legitimate president, and that he “colluded” with Russia to rig the 2016 election, and though they spent the last year or more wildly prophesying that Russia was poised to steal the election for Trump again, Democrats now claim the 2020 election was totally and completely free of fraud, and in fact was the best-run election ever.

As Republican-controlled state legislatures across the U.S. propose a series of bills to tighten up election laws, increase ballot security, and ensure only legal votes are cast, Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to oppose any and all efforts to increase ballot security. The very first bill introduced by House Democrats this year was HR 1, which would essentially do away with voter verification checks altogether.

In fact, Democrats incessantly declare that any efforts to increase ballot security and election integrity are driven by racism and are back-door schemes to suppress the votes of minorities.

Ironically, the people who believe this claim are not generally minorities, but uber-woke, affluent white liberals. Minorities are actually insulted by the assertion that somehow they’re less able to obtain the necessary voter ID or comply with other integrity measures.

But maybe progressive Democrats are right. Maybe, since voting is a (qualified) right that should be exercised by all, it is incumbent upon all who love America and believe in the free exercise of these rights to support making it as easy as possible for everyone to vote. Maybe we should do away with photo ID requirements for voters and take people at their word that they are who they say they are. Maybe people should be able to vote by mail with little effort to verify their identity. After all, people should not be denied the right to vote just because it’s inconvenient for them to come to the polls, right?

Gee, you know what else is a right? The right to keep and bear arms! Why, it’s right there in the Bill of Rights, the second right to be protected by the Constitution and the “palladium of liberties.”

Maybe leftist Democrats are on to something here! Let’s adopt the same standards for gun ownership that we do for voting! We should have the government mail out firearm purchase applications to every single American, and upon completion mail them the firearm of their choice. And since progressives fully support taxpayer funding of the “right” to abortion, surely they would not object to taxpayer subsidies for gun purchases … say, $1,000?

And there can be no more photo ID requirements to purchase a firearm, and certainly no more background checks. Any waiting period has got to go as well. If you can register to vote and then cast a vote on the same day, then you should be able to buy that AR-15 and be ventilating targets an hour later!

We should also consider lowering the age to purchase a firearm to 16, the same age that Democrats are pushing as the new legal voting age.

While we’re at it, let’s not forget the First Amendment’s right to free speech. If “every voice must be heard” when it comes to voting, then the same must apply to the right to speech.

In recent months, Big Tech and the social media monopoly (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have deplatformed, censored, shadow-banned, or outright banned anyone who dared question the legitimacy of the 2020 elections … except when Democrats cry foul over voter fraud or malfunctioning voting machines. That’s different. Those are legitimate grievances. But we digress.

If we take Democrats’ logic toward voting and apply it to the right to free speech, then everyone in America should have an equal right to those platforms, from the president of the United States all the way down to your neighborhood bartender — even former bartenders who are elected to Congress and then spend their time falsely accusing others of evil deeds and telling blatant lies.

The right to free speech should not be obstructed on these platforms, and everyone should have equal access to say whatever they feel like saying.

Of course, honest, decent, rational people understand that all rights come with responsibilities, and they must be balanced.

That means free speech does not allow someone to call for violence against others, but it does allow people to question the integrity of elections, whether that be Democrats from 2016 through 2020, or Republicans in 2020. And it means, rather than silencing dissent, allowing truth and error to battle it out in the public square.

It also means that we place minimal restrictions to exercising the right to keep and bear arms for law-abiding citizens, while protecting society by denying gun ownership to violent felons and the mentally ill (the actually mentally ill, not just those with “incorrect” political beliefs). And we don’t mail guns to buyers without confirming identities.

Unfortunately, as of now, leftist Democrats want no guardrails on the right to vote, but draconian restrictions on the right of free speech, and the right to keep and bear arms.

In doing so, they reveal that they don’t truly respect the Constitution, or the individual rights protected by it. They only respect power, and their desire to wield it through force or fraud.

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CBO Says $15 Minimum Wage Will Cost 1.4M Jobs

Thomas Gallatin

The Congressional Budget Office released its latest analysis of the Democrats’ loudly touted $15 minimum wage campaign and found what conservatives and the economically sound have long argued: It would cost American jobs … and a lot of them. The CBO concluded that a $15 per hour federal minimum wage — a raise of more than 100% from the current rate of $7.25 — would effectively kill off 1.4 million jobs, resulting in 1.4 million Americans receiving a minimum wage of $0 per hour.

Not only would the $15 minimum wage kill off nearly a million and a half jobs, it would also raise the cost of living for Americans across the board. If a grocery store employee suddenly costs double, the price of milk will go up to pay for it. Mandating this wage hike would also raise the cost of the federal government itself, because the CBO projects that it would add an additional $54 billion to the national deficit over the next decade through additional unemployment checks and other income redistribution.

The CBO’s report does note that $15 an hour would raise the income of some 17 million people currently making less than that, but it would prevent young, less experienced workers from gaining employment. “Young, less educated people would account for a disproportionate share of those reductions in employment,” the report states. Those young workers, such as those in the fast-food industry who are in most need of gaining work experience rather than higher wages, will be further prevented access to jobs due to the higher employment costs for employers. That in turn could reduce their wages over time because their resumés are thinner. Meanwhile, advances in automation will be adopted at an even faster rate.

But socialists like Senator Bernie Sanders still refuse to accept the economic reality of the damage caused by so drastically increasing the minimum wage. He called the CBO report “hard to understand,” while he continued to demand that Democrats press forward on $15 minimum wage even without any Republican support. “The only way to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour now is to pass it with 51 votes through budge reconciliation,” Sanders contended.

For the Democrats, this minimum wage play has everything to do with getting more people relying on government — and on them as a party. If some 18-year-old loses his job, he may not know it’s due to Democrat policy. But he will know that Democrats pushed to get him a higher wage and then an unemployment check.

This whole thing is nothing more than a feel-good policy that in the real world is a practical disaster. But when has the real world ever stopped leftists from projecting their ideological fantasies onto the rest of us?

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Catch (COVID) and Release?

Nate Jackson

Among the numerous executive orders President Joe Biden has issued in his first few days in office were three on immigration. Each of them was aimed at undoing President Donald Trump’s progress on law enforcement, which Team Biden claims was “cruel” and “immoral.”

The all-too-predictable results are already here: It’s “a building crisis.”

Those quoted words don’t come from some supposedly xenophobic right-winger but from a story in The Washington Post.

To be fair, there is a confluence of events regarding illegal border crossings. For one thing, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said, “CBP has seen a steady increase in border encounters since April 2020.” Then in January, Mexico began refusing to take back families with younger children. (The Mexican government knows who’s now in charge in the U.S.) While we’re not yet to 2019 levels, CBP facilities are exceeding their pandemic-reduced capacity, and the migrants have to go somewhere.

Trump’s policy was to not allow a flood of asylum seekers into the U.S. in the first place. Biden’s policy is to reinstate “catch and release,” letting them out of holding facilities with a date to return for a hearing. How many never return for those hearings? How many commit crimes in the interim and won’t be deported? How many migrant workers does it take to depress the wages of American workers?

And what about the coronavirus pandemic? Biden has been telling us for months how badly Trump handled it and how he’ll fix that and keep Americans safe.

Indeed, Trump handled it very differently. According to The Wall Street Journal, “U.S. immigration officials turned back more than 380,000 migrants, including thousands of families and unaccompanied children, between March and December. Trump administration officials said the returns were necessary to avoid possible outbreaks of Covid-19 inside cramped border facilities.”

In other words, migrants packed in tight quarters might yield COVID outbreaks, so turn them back and keep them out, protecting American citizens and law-abiding immigrants in the process. Biden’s answer is instead to let the illegals in.

Wouldn’t want to be “xenophobic,” after all.

Yet according to the aforementioned Post article, that newfound “compassion” is a big problem. The Post relates the story of one migrant and her children who crossed the border illegally and were deported last year only to come across again with Uncle Joe at the helm. Sure enough, this time, she and her children were released in McAllen, Texas. The Post reports, “The area has been one of those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 100,000 cases, raising concerns in cities and towns worried about a growing influx of people and outbreaks inside shelters.”

McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez adds, “Federal officers are not doing any COVID testing for immigrants coming across.”

Who cares about a pandemic when there are potential voters to appease? That may sound overly harsh and cynical, but we think it’s clearly the Biden administration’s calculation. Biden and his team may half-heartedly tell Central Americans not to cross the border, but they know exactly what message they’re really sending by rescinding all of Trump’s enforcement mechanisms.

In 2019, Jeh Johnson, Barack Obama’s former DHS secretary, warned that 1,000 daily illegal crossings “overwhelms the system,” whereas 4,000 is “crisis” level. We’re currently at 3,000 to 3,500 crossing per day and counting.

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An Unfortunate START

John J. Bastiat

The Biden administration is demonstrating typical Democrat prowess — that is, incompetence — in national security. A prime example is the rush to re-up the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for another five years without so much as a hint of statesmanship coloring the knee-jerk move.

Now, START isn’t entirely worthless. For instance, the treaty sets constraints on the numbers and types of nuclear warheads and missiles the U.S. and Russia can possess, limiting the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads and bombs at 1,550, and placing caps on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and nuclear bombers. The treaty also helps both sides better understand each other’s intentions and nuclear postures, through onsite inspections and information sharing related to nuclear forces. Further, each country has assessed the other to be in compliance with START’s terms since its inception in 2011. So the treaty isn’t without at least some merit on Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify” standard.

But the present problem doesn’t concern the merits of START, per se. Rather, the issue is how quickly and readily the Biden administration gave away the store, as far as potential negotiations were concerned. The move also lends a whole new context to the phrase “Russian collusion.” Notably, in a recent joint announcement Congressmen Michael McCaul and Mike Rogers called out the rash act, bluntly stating:

It’s frustrating the Biden Administration is wasting an opportunity to negotiate a stronger version of New START that includes non-strategic nuclear weapons, new weapon systems not covered by the original treaty, and a stronger verification regime. A clean five-year extension gives [Vladimir] Putin exactly what he asked for and causes the U.S. to lose critical leverage to bring Russia back to the negotiating table. … Regardless, the U.S. must maintain and modernize our nuclear deterrent and also must begin the process to address the People’s Republic of China growing nuclear stockpiles.

These two representatives might know a bit about the issue, as the respective lead Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs and House Armed Services committees. Their point: By rubber-stamping Russia’s approval of the term extension to START, the U.S. has squandered a key opportunity to negotiate for constraints on other weapons and, possibly, to pull China into START negotiations. The U.S. and Russia have roughly 6,000 warheads each, while China is estimated to have only a little over 300. But these numbers are misleading. Beijing is playing catch-up very seriously and poses an unchecked nuclear escalation threat, which means both Russia and the U.S. have a vested interest in addressing China’s nuclear aspirations.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton among others had called for short-term treaty extensions, which would have still kept the pressure on to address issues like tactical nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles. But with no pressure on either China or Russia to negotiate a nuclear armament deal, the likelihood of slowing or stopping the ChiComs’ nuclear ambitions or warhead production is nil.

In an attempt to counter the joint statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked that extending START makes the U.S., its allies and partners, and the world all safer. He added, “Unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us all.” While these points may both be true, apparently lost on Secretary Blinken is the more salient point that a better START could have made the world even safer. All it would have taken was a team of competent negotiators and the ability to show Russia and perhaps China why modifying START would have been in their better interests.

Bottom line: Russia and China: 1; America: Zero.

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What Does the GOP’s Future Look Like?

Douglas Andrews

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the first few weeks of Joe Biden’s administration, it’s that we’ll have plenty of things to complain about for the next four years. Virtually all of former President Donald Trump’s good policies are being undone by an orgy of executive orders and actions, and the GOP is fairly powerless to stop it — which is what you get when you lose two Georgia Senate seats to a couple of hard-left clowns.

But four years of criticism from the wilderness won’t get it done. We need to not only resist and ridicule the Democrats’ ruinous policies, we also need to propose our own. And we need leaders to do so in compelling ways. Like candidate Donald Trump did.

Maybe he’ll decide he wants to be a candidate once again. The Democrats don’t have nearly the two-thirds majority to convict him in this week’s impeachment trial, which means they can’t disqualify him from running again. Former ambassador to Germany and acting Director of National Intelligence Rick Grenell says Trump has told him more than once that he’s interested in running again. But he’ll be 78 in four years, and perhaps he’ll be running a TV network by then. So who knows? One thing we do know: Trump is more interested in taking the House back in 2022 than he is in launching a third party. He made that clear during his meeting last week with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

In any case, conservatives should start to consider what our bench looks like, and who our next standard-bearer might be if it isn’t Trump. A tough and solidly conservative senator like Ted Cruz or Tom Cotton, or perhaps a successful young governor like Florida’s Ron DeSantis or South Dakota’s Kristi Noem? Both governors seemed to thrive during the Trump presidency, both have proven to be resolute leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic, and both seem to have that certain something that appeals to voters.

DeSantis is a fighter, and, like Trump, he’s been more than willing to call out media bias and Big Tech censorship. He did both last week at a press conference when he was challenged about the Hunter Biden news blackout just prior to the presidential election. “You’re trying to tell me if there was hacked information that could damage me, you guys wouldn’t print it? Give me a break,” he said. “You can whiz on my leg, but don’t tell me it’s raining.”

Noem, too, can throw a punch, and she can clearly articulate the differences between Left and Right. Two days after the January 6 Capitol riot, she published her thoughts when others were still hunkering down. “Our country has changed,” she said. “We have failed to educate generations of our children about what makes America unique. … Meanwhile, the left’s indoctrination takes place every day with kids all across America from the time they walk into a school at age 5 to the time they graduate college at 22. … What is it that Republicans stand for? We stand for the rule of law, not selective prosecution based on what your political views are. We stand for the right to defend yourself, your family, and your property. For your right to worship, to actually practice and live your faith according to your conscience. We stand for your right to earn a living and to do business.”

Going forward, we should also consider whether the Republican Party will bear Donald Trump’s America-First signature. Will it be a party with a strong populist-nationalist framework, or something else? It’s hard — indeed, foolish — to argue that the policies of our 45th president weren’t both popular and successful. And it’s hard to imagine the party reverting back to the more establishment style that defined it in the pre-Trump era. Unless we want to continue to lose presidential elections.

In any case, Democrats will do everything they can to sow division within the Republican Party ranks, as they’re trying to do now with Impeachment 2.0. Republicans shouldn’t take the bait. For now, at least, they would do well to remember our 40th president’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow fellow Republican.”

Besides, we have plenty of Democrats just begging to be spoken ill about.

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Heffernan’s Nefarious ‘Nazi’ Neighbors

Mark Alexander

Los Angeles Times columnist Virginia Heffernan verified this week that chronic Trump Derangement Syndrome will long endure the departure of Donald Trump as long as the Democrat Party’s largest and most critical constituency — emotionally incontinent female voters — remains intact.

Heffernan, the archetypal wealthy white-privilege liberal, was in a quandary this week after some of her neighbors extended a gesture of kindness and cleared the deep snow from her driveway. It’s a case study of the epidemic of sick-think that is progressively besieging Leftmedia and social media influencers.

In her column “What can you do about the Trumpites next door?” Heffernan laments: “Oh, heck no. The Trumpites next door to our pandemic getaway, who seem as devoted to the ex-president as you can get without being Q fans, just plowed our driveway without being asked and did a great job. How am I going to resist demands for unity in the face of this act of aggressive niceness? Of course, on some level, I realize I owe them thanks — and, man, it really looks like the guy back-dragged the driveway like a pro — but how much thanks? These neighbors are staunch partisans of blue lives, and there aren’t a lot of anything other than white lives in neighborhood. This is also kind of weird. Back in the city, people don’t sweep other people’s walkways for nothing.”

Heffernan, a New York native with the best Ivy League education her family could buy, posted a photo of her exclusive and very expensive snowed-in “pandemic getaway” in some mountain retreat where “there aren’t a lot of anything other than white lives.”

Obviously, she’s being held hostage there because only the most mindless and reality-detached leftist hypocrite would pen this column without sensing a scintilla of irony.

Struggling to understand a genuine and spontaneous gesture of kindness, which most of us here in Tennessee would extend at a moment’s notice regardless of a neighbor’s political perspective, Heffernan continues: “Hezbollah, the Shiite Islamist political party in Lebanon, also gives things away for free. … They offer protection and hospitality and win loyalty that way. And they also demand devotion to their brutal, us-versus-them anti-Sunni cause. Some of us are family, the favors say; the rest are infidels.”

Resisting any shred of gratitude, she then extended the “Hezbollah” comparison to a “Nazi” comparison: “When someone helps you when you’re down, or snowed in, it’s almost impossible to regard them as a blight on the world. In fact, you’re more likely to be overwhelmed with gratitude and convinced of the person’s inherent goodness. You might end up like the upper-middle-class family I stayed with in France as a teenager. They did not attend a citywide celebration for the 100th birthday of Charles de Gaulle, the war hero who orchestrated the liberation of his country from Nazi Germany in 1944. They did have several portraits of Philippe Pétain, Nazi collaborator, on their wall.”

She explained, “When I screwed up the courage to ask how it was for them during the occupation, the lady of the house replied, ‘We were happy because the Nazis were very polis.’ I didn’t know the word, so I excused myself to consult a French-English dictionary. I was in tears when I found the entry: ‘polite.’”

Laughably, insisting Trump had a “near-murderous contempt for the majority of Americans,” from the vacuous void of her ideological vacuum Heffernan alluded to “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who spoke eloquently this week about her terrifying experience during the insurrection at the Capitol.” Apparently, Heffernan didn’t get word that the AOC drama has been completely debunked.

Heffernan concluded: “Loving your neighbor is evidently much easier when your neighborhood is full of people just like you. … I also can’t give my neighbors absolution; it’s not mine to give. Free driveway work, as nice as it is, is just not the same currency as justice and truth. To pretend it is would be to lie, and they probably aren’t looking for absolution anyway.”

Of Heffernan’s “moral dilemma,” Democrat legal scholar Jonathan Turley observed concludes: “While most of us would find a thank you as natural and immediate, Heffernan explores her struggle in decision how to respond. … Under the guise of working through these issues, the column seems more of a vehicle for suggesting Trump voters are little better than terrorists and murderers. It matter-of-factly treats such references as obvious or plausible comparisons. … While many members and newspapers have heralded the Biden election as a chance for healing… The fact is that people are addicted to rage. Many continue to use Trump as a license to hate, even portraying such hate as virtuous. It is so consuming that even kindness from a neighbor is treated as a moral dilemma.”

Commentator Megyn Kelly offered this advice: “Note to Virginia Heffernan’s neighbors: don’t plow again.” But I disagree. I would advise Heffernan’s neighbors: Plow early and often!

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Crisis Management Gone Rogue

Roger Helle

Recall the infamous maxim of Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s chief of staff: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

Last year, George Soros, the enemy of freedom and free-market capitalism, said in a similar vein, “Even before the pandemic hit, I realized that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary.”

Klaus Schwab, the globalist CEO of the World Economic Forum, also sees an opportunity for a New World Order. Schwab envisions a “better world” coming out of the COVID-19 crisis “if we act now.” He sees a Great Reset.

What’s so amazing is how these globalists are so open about their ambitions. While the world is in the midst of a worldwide pandemic with the death toll rising daily, they see opportunities to mold a new world — one in which they are in charge.

Maybe that’s why the teachers unions in some of the worst inner-city neighborhoods are leveraging the crisis to ask for things that have nothing to do with education. Some of their requests are to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, eliminate charter schools (who wants competition?), and other demands not remotely related to teaching kids.

As best as I have been able to find out, these teachers are getting paid while parents, trying to work and teach their children at home, are held hostage and are just trying to survive.

Maybe that’s why governors and mayors of Democrat states and cities are sticking with shutdown rules and mandates, with threats of arrest or fines if we sheep don’t follow their every rule. It’s tough, especially when we see time and again that these same leaders don’t follow their own rules. I guess it’s “the rules are for thee, but not for me!”

Are you seeing a bigger picture here? It sure seems these leftist petty tyrants are using a crisis to accomplish things they could not do before, forcing average Americans to worry what’s the next job-eliminating, hope-crushing mandate coming down the pike? And they’re not even trying to hide the fact they want us subservient to their control of our nation.

So, how to use this crisis of “insurrection”? Let’s try to remove two senators who had the audacity to challenge the Electoral College votes in swing states where there appeared to be voting irregularities. I know, Democrats did the same thing in past elections, but this is a crisis!

Let’s allow the tech giants to decide what we’re allowed to see on social media because we’re not smart enough to figure out the truth ourselves. We need them to serve as our “Ministry of Truth” (1984) to protect us from misinformation.

I know — why don’t we use this “insurrection” at the Capitol to conduct another phony Impeachment trial of the president … sorry, former president? Let’s make it a “snap” impeachment, whatever that is, with no evidence, no testimony, no defense for the former president, because leftists will not be denied their pound of flesh!

Something to think about?

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Jordan Candler

Top of the Fold


  • U.S. sees a steady and significant drop in coronavirus cases, but media drumbeat continues (NBC)
  • Cuomo asks court to overturn his own COVID restrictions on houses of worship (National Review)
  • CVS, Walgreens to begin delivering COVID-19 vaccines Friday (USA Today)
  • Americans are saving more during the pandemic (NBC)

Business & Economy

  • U.S. consumer prices up 0.3% in January, led by energy spike … caused by Biden’s bad executive orders (AP)
  • TikTok sale to Oracle, Walmart shelved as Biden reviews security (Fox Business)

Social Justice Caliphate

  • Woke NFL’s Super Bowl LV attracts 96.4M viewers, fewest since 2007 (Disrn)
  • Woke NBA’s Dallas Mavericks won’t play national anthem at home games (The Hill)
  • Woke syrup: The brand formerly known as Aunt Jemima to be called Pearl Milling Company (NBC)

On a Lighter Note

  • Europe’s oldest person survives COVID just before 117th birthday (BBC)
  • Three rescued from deserted island in Bahamas after surviving on coconuts for 33 days (NBC)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: Biden’s weak case for returning to the UN Human Rights Council (National Review)
  • Policy: Africans plead with Joe Biden to stop paying their countries to kill children (The Federalist)
  • Humor: Impeachment sequel to go straight to DVD (Babylon Bee)

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

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The ChiComs’ Carbon Dioxide Pledge — China’s pledge to be CO2-neutral by 2060 is as phony as its claim of not stealing countless billions of dollars of intellectual property every year.

Five Socialism Myths: Part 2 — Myth #3: Socialism brings good things if it’s democratic socialism.




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


Insight: “Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good for their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation.” —Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980)

Missing the forest for the trees: “Despite the healing sound of his voice, Springsteen is ultimately preaching reconciliation without reckoning — which after January’s Capitol siege is no longer an acceptable path toward progress. Plus, this is Bruce Springsteen. Isn’t he the guy who’s supposed to know everything about hard work? Suggesting that we should all swiftly and metaphorically travel to the nucleus of White, rural America to make up and move along feels insulting and wrong.” —The Washington Post’s Chris Richards regarding Springsteen’s hypocritical Super Bowl ad

Observations: “For a celebrity so identified with one party to go to the other side’s turf after his side has won the election and call for unity is not really an effective tactic. People see it for what it is: We won, now get together behind us.” —Dan McLaughlin

For the record: “Congress has already set aside a staggering $3.2 trillion dollars for COVID relief. And even that money hasn’t all been spent! Now … Biden wants another $1.9 trillion dollars, which would bring the grand total to an astounding $5.1 trillion dollars. To put that money in perspective, [Terry Jeffrey] says, 158.7 million people in the U.S. had jobs in December 2019 just before the pandemic hit the US. If Democrats pass the package Biden wants, ‘the COVID relief spending alone in less than one year — that $5.1 trillion — will equal $32,129 per worker. And the money that’s already been spent — the $3.2 trillion dollars — is worth more than $20,000 per worker.’ Americans have to ask themselves, he insisted, ‘Did they get $20,000 worth of benefits from the federal government last year from this bill? I don’t think so.’” —Tony Perkins

Non compos mentis: “[Chinese President Xi Jinping is] very bright, he’s very tough, he doesn’t have, and I don’t mean it as a criticism, just a reality, he doesn’t have a democratic … bone in his body [emphasis added].” —Joe Biden

Race bait: “Tom Brady was happy to talk politics until he wasn’t. The Make America Great Again hat in his locker, the flippant endorsement of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Only when those ties became inconvenient did Brady decide he wanted to ‘stick to sports,’ and that he preferred to be a beacon of positivity rather than delve into society’s thorny ills. How mighty white of him. Brady’s ability to enter and exit the debate at his choosing, to shield himself from accountability, is the height of white privilege.” —USA Today’s Nancy Armour

Upright: “Scripture says it is more blessed to give than to receive. That is meant to be personal. When government gives, it becomes a curse for the giver as well as the receiver and ultimately a curse on the nation.” —Cal Thomas

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



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

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Immunologist: Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Could Cause Long-Term Chronic Illness | Global Research by Children’s Health Defense

In new research published in Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, immunologist J. Bart Classen warns the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines could create “new potential mechanisms” of adverse events that may take years to come to light.

Back in 1999, leading U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official Dr. Peter Patriarca contended that modern advances in vaccine technology were rapidly “outpacing researchers’ ability to predict potential vaccine-related adverse events.” Patriarca mused that this could lead to “a situation of unforeseen and unpredictable vaccine outcomes.”

In a new research article published in Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, veteran immunologist J. Bart Classen expresses similar concerns and writes that “RNA-based COVID vaccines have the potential to cause more disease than the epidemic of COVID-19.”

For decades, Classen has published papers exploring how vaccination can give rise to chronic conditions such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes — not right away, but three or four years down the road.

In this latest paper, Classen warns that the RNA-based vaccine technology could create “new potential mechanisms” of vaccine adverse events that may take years to come to light.

Classen’s study establishes the potential for the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna to activate human proteins to take on “pathologic configurations” — configurations associated with chronic degenerative neurological diseases. Although his specific interest is in prion diseases (conditions associated with misfolded versions of normal proteins), Classen also outlines a handful of other mechanisms whereby RNA-based vaccines could give rise to “multiple other potential fatal adverse events.”

Ensuring that patients clearly understand risks — including known risks as well as potential unknown risks — is an important component of the informed consent process. This is all the more true when the intervention is experimental and lacks long-term safety data, as is the case with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19. The FDA authorized the two vaccines for widespread emergency use based on just two months of clinical trial data.

Unfortunately, it is not unusual for researchers’ communication of risks to be perfunctory. In October, researchers at New York University and Tulane reported that the information communicated to participants in the coronavirus clinical trials about a worrisome problem known as pathogenic priming was “sufficiently obscured” as to make “adequate patient comprehension” of risks “unlikely.”

It would be interesting to know what those researchers would say about Classen’s blunt conclusion that “Approving a vaccine, utilizing novel RNA technology without extensive testing is extremely dangerous.”

Those contemplating COVID injections may be ignoring potential risks at their own peril.


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from CHD

Source: Immunologist: Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Could Cause Long-Term Chronic Illness

MUST READ: Democrats Were ONLY Able to “Win” in 2020 By Breaking Chain of Custody Laws in EVERY SWING STATE | The Gateway Pundit

by Jim and Joe Hoft

Democrat election violations: (left to right) Secret ballot counting in Georgia, Secret ballot deliveries at 3:30 AM in Detroit, Blocking observers from viewing inside the TCF Center in Detroit

At midnight on election night, President Trump warned his supporters not to let Democrats “find any votes at 4 in the morning.”

President Trump was ahead in Pennsylvania by nearly 700,000 votes.
In Michigan Trump was ahead by over 300,000 votes.
In Wisconsin Trump was ahead by 120,000 votes.

Trump was also ahead in Georgia and Nevada.

And President Trump already trounced Joe Biden in Ohio, Florida, and Iowa — three states that ALWAYS go to the eventual presidential winner.

Then suddenly Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin announced they would not be announcing their winner that night. This was an unprecedented and coordinated move in US history.

Then many crimes occurred to swing the election to Biden, but perhaps the greatest crime was the lack of dual controls and chain of custody records that ensure a fair and free election.  At a high level, when ballots are transferred or changes are made in voting machines, these moves and changes should be done with two individuals present (dual control), one from each party, and the movements of ballots should be recorded.

So when states inserted drop boxes into the election, these changes first needed to be updated through the legislature, which they weren’t, and all movements from the time when the ballots were inserted into drop boxes needed to be recorded, which they weren’t.

Chain of Custody laws were violated across the United States to favor lawless Democrats.


In Georgia the law requires that the chain of custody and the movement of all ballots be recorded.

But Democrat operatives, the Department of Justice and FBI disregarded these laws in Georiga.

Late at night on election night after the election officer in charge, Ralph Jones, sent all of the election observers and media home for the night, he instructed Democrat operatives to drag hidden ballot suitcases out from under the tables to be counted.

There was no chain of custody.

NOW WITH AUDIO: Georgia Election Official Ralph Jones, Sr. Announced on Nov. 3rd Evening that Counting would Stop at 11 PM — Then Led Team to Count Stashed ‘Suitcase” Ballots

There was a total of somewhere near 460,000 ballots where there is no chain of custody records available in Georgia.  Despite this, the crooked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the election results with these ballots included:

Georgia’s Secretary of State Raffensperger Certified Georgia’s 2020 Election Results Knowing 460,000 Ballots Were Missing Legally Required Chain of Custody Documentation


In Wisconsin drop boxes were added to the election process but not through the legislature, through the executive branch.  In addition, another huge chain of custody issue occurred in Milwaukee where more than 100,000 ballots miraculously occurred.  Late at night, a flash drive was lost in Milwaukee at the same time the votes were added to joe Biden’s totals:

Developing: Milwaukee Elections Chief Lost Elections Flash Drive in Morning Hours of November 4th When Democrats Miraculously Found 120,000 Votes for Joe Biden


In Michigan, there were several chain of custody violations.

As The Gateway Pundit reported last week.  A city van delivered tens of thousands of ballots at 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning on election night.

Exclusive: The TCF Center Election Fraud – Newly Discovered Video Shows Late Night Deliveries of Tens of Thousands of Illegal Ballots 8 Hours After Deadline

There was no dual control as the Democrat counters in the TCF Center in Detroit covered the windows so no one could watch what they were counting with ballots:

EXCLUSIVE: Detroit Ballot Counters Were Counting “Xerox Copies” as Actual Military Votes (Video)


Here too there are no doubt issues with chain of custody documentation but they also prevent poll watchers from seeing what they were doing in Philadelphia.  Biden was down by nearly 700,000 votes on election night:

Associated Press Agrees with Democrats that GOP Observers Should Not Be Allowed Inside Convention Center to Watch Vote Counters

This went on for days until Democrats were able to steal the landslide election from President Trump.

Phillip Kline: Philly Prosecutor Threatens to Jail Trump If He Sends in Uncertified Poll Watchers — Officials Still Refuse to Allow GOP Watchers in Room (VIDEO)


Again, no doubt there are chain of custody issues, and poll watchers were prevented from watching the election counting as well:

Ric Grenell Announces Lawsuit at Rally in Las Vegas to Stop the Steal – “Illegal” Ballots Are Being Counted in Nevada (VIDEO)


Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and other Republican officials were denied entry into the Maricopa County Elections Center as ballots were counted.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar Denied Entry Into Maricopa County Elections Center as Ballots Are Counted

Democrats were able to cheat behind closed doors, in the dead of the night and in dozens of counting centers in the 2020 election. Democrat operatives blocked access to GOP observers, and violated chain of custody laws across the country.

The media ignored these violations. They supported the lawlessness.

If Republicans ever want to win a national election they must enforce the chain of custody laws.

Until this happens Republicans do not stand a chance against their immoral and cheating opposition.

Source: MUST READ: Democrats Were ONLY Able to “Win” in 2020 By Breaking Chain of Custody Laws in EVERY SWING STATE

Hiding Biden: How Democrats And Media Crafted The First Impeachment To Help Defeat Trump In 2020

Joe Biden also owes his victory to the groundwork laid by Democrats and their media allies one year before, during the first impeachment of Donald Trump.

Source: Hiding Biden: How Democrats And Media Crafted The First Impeachment To Help Defeat Trump In 2020

Sen. Ted Cruz rips second impeachment trial, predicts Trump will be acquitted

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Wednesday on “America’s Newsroom” that the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is a “mistake” and “doomed to failure.”

Source: Sen. Ted Cruz rips second impeachment trial, predicts Trump will be acquitted

Official denies John MacArthur makes more than $500K a year from Grace to You

California megachurch Pastor John MacArthur’s ministry denied he makes more than $500,000 annually from his Grace to You media ministry and defended the stewardship of his collective ministries’ finances on Tuesday after a recent report suggested his private lifestyle belies the modesty he preaches at the pulpit.

Source: Official denies John MacArthur makes more than $500K a year from Grace to You

Telegram Rockets To Number One Downloaded App In World | ZeroHedge News

The two-word Tweet from Elon Musk on Jan. 7 saying “Use Signal” has helped fuel millions in Signal and Telegram downloads. More importantly, Telegram, an instant messaging app with file transfer capabilities, has rocketed to the world’s top app download.

Musk, the world’s richest man, told his Twitter followers of more than 46 million to “Use Signal” last month amid concerns about an updated privacy policy for WhatApp.

On Jan. 12, days after Musk tweeted, Telegram said they “surpassed 500 million active users. 25 million new users joined in the last 72 hours: 38% came from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America, and 8% from MENA.”

Nearly one month later, Mobile analyst firm Sensor Tower reports Telegram was the most downloaded app in the world for January. Meanwhile, Signal placed third. 

In December, Sensor Tower ranked Telegram at number 9 on the list, with WhatsApp at number 3. WhatsApp has since slid to the number 5 spot.

Sensor Tower estimates Telegram downloads are up 3.8 times from January 2020, with a massive 63 million last month.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov credited Telegram’s success to “consistency” in a post on his Telegram channel.

“For the last 7.5 years, we’ve consistently defended the privacy of our users and regularly improved the quality and feature set of our apps,” he said, suggesting “focused effort [applied] over a long period of time” would bring success, whether it be in “sport, blogging, art, coding, business or studying.”

… and it wasn’t just WhatsApp users migrating to Telegram. Many conservatives have been booted off Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in an ideologically-driven purge by Silicon Valley, forcing many of them to find a new platform.

From Musk’s tweet to conservatives finding a new home after being purged from traditional social media channels, it appears Telegram last month greatly benefited from the great migration.

In case you’re wondering what makes Telegram so special – well – the company laid it out in a tweet:

“Some users like the unlimited cloud storage, some like the synced cross-platform apps, some like Telegram’s dedication to privacy and security.” 

Source: Telegram Rockets To Number One Downloaded App In World