“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
Atheistic Hearts Without Atheistic Heads Isaiah 29:13; Ezekiel 33:31; Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6
Men may have atheistical hearts without atheistical heads. Their reasons may defend the notion of a deity, while their hearts are empty of affection to the Deity.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
No Righteousness Apart from Religion Psalm 14:1–3; Romans 3:10
It is vain … to talk of righteousness apart from religion. Such righteousness has no more beauty than the trunk of a body deprived of its head. Nor is religion the principal part merely; it is the very soul by which the whole lives and breathes. Without the fear of God, men do not even observe justice and charity among themselves.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
3:5 The command to put to death (2:20; Mt 5:29–30; Rm 8:13) refers to the practical outworking of seeking and thinking about heavenly things. Paul offered a fivefold catalog of vices explaining what he meant by what belongs to your earthly nature. These vices are listed moving from specific outward behaviors to general inward inclinations and thoughts.
3:5 Some expressions of Gnosticism permitted the practice of license, based on the assumption that the deeds of the body could not corrupt the soul (cf. 2:8, note). Paul condemns such philosophy with the command to put to death that which is carnal within you, “your members which are on the earth.” With the words “put to death,” Paul does not suggest suicide (a supposed euthanasia to benefit and liberate the soul), but the mortification of the deeds of the flesh, a list of which follows immediately. The form of the verb in the Greek implies that Paul’s readers have not been putting to death the deeds of the flesh by faith but that they are to begin doing so (cf. 3:3, note). “Evil desire” is a translation of the same Greek word which is usually rendered “lust.”
3:5 Put to death. The first of a series of behavioral imperatives that continue through 4:6. Although Paul rejects legalistic asceticism, he calls upon believers to become in practice what they are in principle: dead to sin and alive to God (Rom. 6:1–14). There is a way of living incompatible with life in Christ, and Paul calls for a rigorous departure from that old life. In v. 5 he lists five vices; four have to do with sex, the fifth is covetousness; in v. 8 he lists five more vices, all having to do with anger and abusive speech.
3:5put to death what is earthly The list of sinful actions in this verse echoes the deeds of the flesh in Gal 5:19–21.
Spirit and Flesh in Paul’s Letters
Idolatry Paul associates idolatry with the consuming desire to possess more than others, regardless of actual need.
3:5Put to death. Because believers have died with Christ (2:20; 3:3), they can get rid of sinful practices (Rom. 6:11; 8:13). The language of putting to death indicates that Christians have to take severe measures to conquer sin. Watchfulness and prayerfulness against it will be the first steps (see Matt. 26:41), with self-discipline following (Matt. 5:29–30). Sexual immorality (Gk. porneia) refers to every kind of sexual activity outside of marriage. Five of the items that Paul lists have to do with sexual purity, stressing the importance of bringing this area of life under the control and lordship of Christ. which is idolatry. Greed, sexual sin, and other vices can intrude into one’s relationship with God, taking his place as a focus of devotion.
3:5 consider … as dead.See note on Ro 8:13; cf. Zec 4:6; Eph 5:18; 6:17; 1Jn 2:14. This refers to a conscious effort to slay the remaining sin in our flesh. immorality. This refers to any form of sexual sin (see note on Gal 5:19; cf. 1Th 4:3). impurity. This term goes beyond sexual acts of sin to encompass evil thoughts and intentions as well (see note on Gal 5:19; cf. Mt 5:28; Mk 7:21, 22; 1Th 4:7). passion, evil desire. Similar terms that refer to sexual lust. “Passion” is the physical side of that vice, and “evil desire” is the mental side (see notes on Ro 1:26; 1Th 4:3; cf. Jas 1:15). greed. Lit. this term means “to have more.” It is the insatiable desire to gain more, especially of things that are forbidden (cf. Ex 20:17; Dt 5:21; Jas 4:2). which amounts to idolatry. When people engage in either greed or the sexual sins Paul has cataloged, they follow their desires rather than God’s, in essence worshiping themselves—which is idolatry (Nu 25:1–3; Eph 5:3–5).
3:5. Therefore, Paul explains, put to death your members which are on the earth. Members refer to one’s physical body as he seeks to be gratified by his fleshly nature. Every believer is called to make a living sacrifice of his own desires, and these desires often revolve around physical pleasure. Paul lists several here: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which Paul explains is idolatry.
Fornication (porneia) is sex outside the marriage covenant. Today many men and women live together before getting married, a practice that serves only the flesh in its desire and goes against God’s command to keep the marriage bed holy (Heb 13:4). Uncleanness (akatharsia) or impurity conveys the idea of moral corruption and is the opposite of sanctification (1 Thess 4:7). Passion (pathos) simply means a strong desire, but here in this context it refers to the longing for sexual immorality. While the world desires for love and affection, it also behaves in sexual ways contrary to what is pure. These evil desires (epithymia) are evil not because they are sexual but because they ignore the sanctity of the marriage bed, applauding covetousness (pleonexia) or desire for a partner other than one’s spouse.
3:5 In verse 3, we were told that we died. Here we are told to put to death our members which are on the earth. In these two verses we have a very clear illustration of the difference between a believer’s standing and state. His standing is that he has died. His state should be that of reckoning himself dead to sin by putting to death his members which are on the earth. Our standing is what we are in Christ. Our state is what we are in ourselves. Our standing is the free gift of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our state represents our response to God’s grace.
Here we should also notice the difference between law and grace. God does not say, “If you live a life of freedom from sin, then I will give you a position of death with Christ.” That would be law. Our position would depend on our own efforts, and needless to say, no one would ever attain that position. Instead of that, God says: “I freely give to all who believe on the Lord Jesus a position of favor in My sight. Now go out and live a life that is consistent with such a high calling.” That is grace!
When the apostle says that we should put to death our members which are on the earth, he does not mean that we should literally destroy any of the members of our physical body! The expression is figurative, and is explained in the phrases that follows. The word members is used to signify the various forms of lust and hatred that are enumerated.
Fornication is generally used to describe unlawful sexual intercourse or immorality, especially between single people (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21). Sometimes it is broader, and is translated sexual immorality. Uncleanness refers to impurity of thought, word, or action. It speaks of moral filth rather than physical dirtiness here. Passion denotes strong and unbridled lust. Evil desire speaks of intense and often violent craving. Covetousness in general means greediness or the desire to have more, but here it may refer especially to an unholy desire to satisfy sexual appetite which is idolatry.
The list begins with acts and moves on to motives. The various forms of sexual sin are described, then they are traced to their lair, namely, the covetous heart of man. The word of God is clear in teaching that there is nothing inherently wrong in sex. God made man with the power for reproduction. But the sin comes when those things which God has so graciously bestowed upon His creatures are used for vile, illicit purposes. Sexual sin was the cardinal offense of the pagan world in Paul’s day, and doubtless it still holds first place. Where believers are not yielded to the Holy Spirit, sexual sins often come into their lives and prove their downfall.
5Put to death recalls their union with Christ in his death (2:20; 3:3; cf. 2:11–12): they have died with him, therefore they are to deal a death blow to evil habits and thoughts. Two lists, each of five sins (cf. also v 8), similar to those found among pagan moralists and in the anti-pagan arguments of the Jews, are followed by five graces in v 12. The five sins which belonged to their pagan past are associated with their earthy nature (lit. ‘the members which are upon earth’). Paul practically identifies these members with the sins committed by them as he describes first the outward expressions of sin (sexual immorality) and then the inward cravings of the heart (‘ruthless greed’). The danger of greed is especially emphasized as a ‘gross sin’ for it is equated with idolatry. Such a person, instead of focusing his or her whole life on the things above, where Christ rules as King, is seeking the things below, and therefore worships and serves the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25). Paul knew the special deadliness of this sin (Rom. 7:7–8; cf. Mt. 6:24). Perhaps it is so dangerous because it may assume so many respectable forms. After all, are not those things we do not have but earnestly desire simply ‘necessities’? We deceive ourselves into making idols of our own demands.
“consider the members of your earthly body as dead”
“put to death your members which are on the earth”
“put to death whatever in you is earthly”
“you must put to death the earthly desires at work in you”
“you must kill everything in you that is earthly”
This is an AORIST ACTIVE IMPERATIVE which denotes urgency (cf. 3:8, 12). It begins a section which emphasizes the need for believers to strip themselves of evil once and for all (vv. 5–11). Paul often used clothing as a metaphor for the spiritual life (cf. Rom. 6:6, 11; 8:13; Eph. 4:22, 24, 25, 31). Believers are to die to self, to sin and to worldliness. The next section emphasizes that Christians should put on Christlike virtues (vv. 10–17).
Paul often characterized the sins of the old life and old man in lists which in many ways were similar to the Greek moralists (like the Stoics) of his day (cf. Rom. 1:29–31; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:9; 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 4:31; 5:3–4; Col. 3:5–9).
The first term, “passion” (pathos), is used in two very different senses: (1) of suffering and (2) of sexual desire.
The second term, “evil desire” (epithumia), is also used in two very different senses, a strong desire for something (1) good or (2) evil. Context must determine which aspect of a word’s semantical field is meant by the author.
This list of sexual sins may be related to the false teachers. Gnostic false teachers were of two types: (1) those who lived ascetic lives of self-abasement and (2) others who viewed the body as irrelevant to spiritual life and indulged the body’s desires. Often sexual and financial exploitation characterize false teachers.
5. In close connection with the immediately preceding paragraph Paul continues, Put to death therefore your members that (are) upon the earth. Note the paradox, “You died” (verse 3) … “Put to death therefore your members …” (verse 5). A superficial judgment would be that the apostle is here contradicting himself. Some interpreters have, in fact, reached that very conclusion. It is as if on the one hand Paul is saying that the Colossians have already died, yet on the other hand is telling them that they must put themselves to death. How can both be true? The answer is that as long as believers are still living on earth their condition and their state do not wholly coincide. As to their state they are even now perfect, without any sin, wholly justified! Their old self is dead and buried (Col. 2:11–13). Now it is true that their condition is in harmony with this, but only in principle. In the words of the Heidelberg Catechism, “Even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience [that is, of obedience to God’s commandments]; yet so that with earnest purpose they begin to live, not only according to some but according to all the commandments of God” (Lord’s Day XLIV, Answer to Question 114). This progressive character of sanctification is also clearly taught by Paul (see below, on verse 10, and cf. 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 1:6; 3:12, 13) and is in harmony with the rest of Scripture (Ps. 84:7; Prov. 4:18; Mark 9:24; also implied in 1 John 1:8–10). While with respect to the new life which was imparted to them by the Holy Spirit believers are so closely united with Christ that they are said to be with him in heaven (Col. 3:3), yet the old life is still of the earth as well as on earth. But there is no reason for despair. The very presence of the new life, the life “in Christ,” enables believers progressively to put to death the members that are upon the earth.
When the question is asked what is meant by the members that must be put to death the answer is: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. But how can members be vices? Some expositors regard this to be impossible. They suggest various solutions. Yet it would seem to me that the difficulty is not nearly as great as some would make it appear to be. John Calvin may be on the right track when he states that these vices are called members “since they adhere so closely to us.” Another very similar way of solving the difficulty, a way which does not imply a rejection of Calvin’s view but is clearly in line with it, would be to regard the use of the word members (= vices) to be an instance of the figure of speech called metonymy (“change of name”), in which, for example, the name of the cause or source is substituted for the effect it produces, the consequences that flow forth from it, the fruit or product it yields. Thus in Num. 3:16 (in the original) the word mouth is in the Hebrew substituted for the word command that issued from the mouth; or just as in American slang the expression, “I’ll have none of your lip” means, “I will not tolerate any saucy remarks that issue from your lips.” So here also the command, “Put to death therefore your members that (are) upon the earth: immorality, impurity,” etc., means, “Put to death therefore the effects produced by, and associated so closely with, the members of your body, such effects, products or works, as immorality, impurity,” etc. I am therefore in agreement with Bruce (op. cit., p. 268) when he says, “In Rom. 7:23 Paul speaks of ‘the law of sin which is in my members’; here [in Col. 3:5] he goes farther and practically identifies the readers’ members with the sins of which they were formerly the instruments. But what he is really thinking of is the practices and attitudes to which his readers’ bodily activity and strength had been devoted in the old life.” Thus also Ridderbos (op. cit., p. 207) states, “The `members’ are here identified with the sins committed by these members, which in a similar connection in Rom. 8:13 are called ‘the deeds of the body.’ ”
Lists of vices are of frequent occurrence in ancient literature, both pagan (moralistic) and anti-pagan. The recently discovered Dead Sea Scrolls also have such lists. In the letters of Paul they occur in the following passages: Rom. 1:18–32; 1 Cor. 5:9–11; 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 5:3–6; 1 Thess. 4:3–7; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10; 2 Tim. 3:2–5; Titus 3:3. The difference between the Christian and the non-Christian treatment of these vices is that apart from Christ and the fullness of grace imparted by his Spirit there is no power in all the universe to overcome them. Christ, he alone, supplies that power.
As to arrangement, it is rather obvious that verse 5 lists five vices, and so does verse 8. However, whether there is any significance in this number five as here used is questionable, and if any special meaning attaches to it we must confess that we do not know what it is. It is true, nevertheless, that the first list enumerates vices that describe the sinner as he is in himself, while the second characterizes him in his relation to the neighbor. It is also possible to see in the first list a movement from the surface of life to its center, and in the second the reverse. This will become evident as the various items are studied one by one.
Of the five vices mentioned here in Col. 3:5 the first four are also listed in 1 Thess. 4:3–7, the last four also in Rom. 1:24–29. The first is immorality (“fornication”; see 1 Thess. 4:3; cf. Matt. 5:32; 15:19; 19:9; John 8:41, etc.). Though referring basically to unlawful sexual intercourse, it probably includes illicit, clandestine relationships of every description. The emphasis, however, is on evil in the sexual realm, particularly evil deeds.
These evil deeds spring from evil thoughts, that is, from uncleanness, which is mentioned next (Rom. 1:24; 1 Thess. 4:7; cf. Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21, etc.). It is not necessary, however, to limit uncleanness to that which is filthy in thoughts. The intents of the heart are undoubtedly also included (cf. Heb. 4:12).
That it is the evil disposition of the heart and will of man which is the source of his wicked thoughts and deeds is clear from the two vices that are mentioned next, namely, passion and evil desire. It is not easy to distinguish between these, though there may be some merit in Lightfoot’s suggestion that the former describes this vice more from its passive, the latter more from its active side. For passion see also Rom. 1:26; 1 Thess. 4:5 (“passion of lust”), etc.; for evil desire, Rom. 1:24; 1 Thess. 4:5, etc. The word evil is added because desire as such is not necessarily wrong. The word used in the original may also refer to legitimate desire, for example, Christ’s desire to eat the Passover with his disciples. But evil desire is the inordinate craving for sexual satisfaction, or for other things, such as idol-worship, material possessions, renown, etc. The emphasis, in the present context, is, however, on illicit sex relationships, but not to the exclusion of other wicked yearnings. Out of this evil craving arise all kinds of sins. It is therefore basic, and is so regarded by Paul himself in Rom. 7:7. In this connection it is also interesting to note that in the Decalogue the sin of coveting is mentioned last (Ex. 20:17), as being the source of all the others, and that Jesus, too, considers the lustful heart, that is, the heart filled with evil desire, to be the root whence springs the evil deed, for he says, “Every one who looks on a woman to lust for her has already in his heart committed adultery with her” (Matt. 5:28).
But though by mentioning passion and evil desire the apostle has, as it were, reached the very bottom of every sin, he adds one more vice, one in which all the others are summarized, namely, self-seeking or greed (cf. Rom. 1:29, etc.). Every sin is basically selfishness, the worship of self instead of the worship of God, the substitution of self for Christ, in one’s affections (cf. Col. 3:1–3). It is for this very reason that Paul adds, “which is idolatry” (cf. Eph. 5:5). The young man who gets a girl in trouble may call this “love.” He is mistaken. It is self-seeking, greed, at least to a considerable extent. This young man wants “to have more than his due.” He is overreaching, going beyond what is proper (see N.T.C. on I and II Thessalonians, pp. 100, 101). However, the apostle is not thinking particularly about a young man but rather about “the old man,” (see 3:9) that is, the carnal nature of any man, regardless of age, the nature of man as it is apart from saving grace.
5. If Christians have already died and risen again with Christ, whatever belongs to your earthly nature must be put to death. The word therefore shows, as so often in Paul, that the command is dependent on the previous statements. The new life, to be revealed fully on the last day (v. 4), is to let itself be seen in advance, in the present time, in Christian behaviour. ‘Your earthly nature’ is a potentially misleading phrase. Paul is not advocating a sort of Buddhist abstraction from ordinary human life, but rather the abandoning of a way of life that is ‘earthly’ as opposed to ‘heavenly’ in the sense indicated by verses 1–4, i.e. that belongs to the old age and not to the new. Literally the phrase could be translated ‘the members (or ‘limbs’) which are upon the earth’; Paul probably intends this as a vivid metaphor, as in Matthew 5:29–30; 18:8–9. Practices such as these are like a gangrenous limb to the eyes of a surgeon: they must be cut off before they infect the whole person.
The list moves from the specific to the general. The word here translated sexual immorality refers to any intercourse outside marriage: in the ancient world, as in the modern, intercourse with a prostitute would be a specific, and in pagan culture a frequent, instance of this. Impurity highlights the contamination of character effected by immoral behaviour. The word rendered lust could refer to any overmastering passion, but regularly, as here, indicates uncontrolled sexual urges. Evil desires (the word ‘evil’ is added because ‘desire’ by itself, which is what the Greek word means, could be used in a neutral sense) is the state which logically precedes lust. It is perhaps important to note, as is clearly implied by Hebrews 4:15, that experiencing sexual temptation is not itself sinful. Sin begins when the idea of illicit gratification, presented to the mind in temptation, is not at once put to death, but is instead fondled and cherished. Behind this stage, in turn, there is greed: another general term, here it refers to unchecked hunger for physical pleasure, which is the breeding-ground for more specific evil desires. Paul boldly unmasks this covetousness: it is idolatry. Literal idol-worship, of course, formed the setting for a good deal of the sort of behaviour here criticized, but that is only an illustration of the basic point. All such greed places at the centre of one’s attention and devotion that which is not God. In turning from the source of life, those who follow other paths are actually pursuing death (cf. Rom. 1:21ff., 32; 6:21), as the next verse indicates.
If these vices are not, eventually, to kill the one who practises them, they must themselves be ‘put to death’. The old word ‘mortify’, used here in av, has now acquired exactly the wrong sense, implying just such a regime of ascetic discipline as Paul has declared to be worse than useless (2:20–23). ‘Mortification’ like that avoids dealing directly with the sin itself. Paul’s recommended treatment is simpler and more drastic. To put something to death you must cut off its lines of supply: it is futile and self-deceiving to bemoan one’s inability to resist the last stage of a temptation when earlier stages have gone by unnoticed, or even eagerly welcomed. This does not mean setting up a new hedge around the law, such as branding all theatrical performances (or whatever) as inherently ‘sinful’. Rather, every Christian has the responsibility, before God, to investigate the lifelines of whatever sins are defeating him personally, and to cut them off without pity. Better that than have them eventually destroy him.
3:5 / The imperative tone that characterized 3:1–2 (“set,” “keep”) is picked up again in 3:5, but this time in a negative way: Put to death, therefore.… This list of prohibitions belongs to a category of vices that are scattered throughout the nt (cf. Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21, 22; Rom. 1:24, 26, 29–32; 13:13; 1 Cor. 5:10–13; 6:9–10; 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 4:31; 5:3–5; Col. 3:5, 8; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10; 6:4–5; 2 Tim. 3:2–5; Titus 3:3; 1 Pet. 2:1; 4:3, 4; Jude 8, 16; Rev. 9:20, 21; 21:8; 22:15). Later, in 3:12, Paul mentions a list of virtues that a Christian is to “put on.” This, too, belongs to a catalog—of virtue (Matt. 5:3–11; 2 Cor. 6:6, 7; Gal. 5:22, 23; Eph. 6:14–17; Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 3:2, 3; 6:11; Titus 1:7, 8; James 3:17; 2 Pet. 1:5–7).
Of all the lists of vices and virtues in the nt, the lists in Colossians, Ephesians, and 1 Peter are the most similar. Scholars who have researched these “catalogs” have concluded that the lists that appear in these three epistles belong to a traditional body of instructional material of the early church and would have been passed on to new Christians on the occasion of their baptism. But even though Colossians, Ephesians, and 1 Peter contain a significant amount of baptismal language and theology, they probably were not written solely for that occasion and should not be regarded as baptismal tracts.
The command (imperative) put to death is a clear reference to the “death” that these believers have already experienced in baptism. They now are called upon to appropriate that death by removing all earthly desires from their life. The Greek uses the term “earthly members” (ta melē ta epi tēs gēs) because it was believed that such vices were located in certain parts of the body. In Romans 6:13 Paul uses the same word when he says: “Do not offer the parts [ta melē] of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body [ta melē] to him as instruments of righteousness.”
The list in this verse includes five vices that are related to sexual sins. As such, they are manifestations of evil desires and are harmful to other people. Sexual immorality (porneia) includes all kinds of unlawful sexual behavior, including deviations (1 Cor. 5:1, 10; 6:9; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; 1 Thess. 4:3; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10) such as prostitution and fornication. Impurity (akatharsia) is almost synonymous with porneia and is used in the nt to describe immoral intent as well as the practice of sexual vices.
Lust (pathos), in this context, probably implies some kind of sexual passion, that is, passion or lust that leads to sexual sin. Its counterpart, evil desires (epithymian kakēn), is used for the desire of something that is forbidden but is pursued in order to satisfy one’s desires. Galatians 5:16, for example, says “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires [epithymia] of the sinful nature.”
The last vice to be mentioned is greed (pleonexia), or covetousness (rsv), literally, a desire to have more, to appropriate another’s possessions. Since the nt has many warnings against this sin (cf. Mark 7:22; Rom. 1:29; 1 Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:3), it is not clear whether its occurrence here is linked with sexual immorality or with all areas of life. Both ideas could be in the apostle’s mind. The parenthetical which is idolatry, paralleled in Ephesians 5:5, underscores the idea that greed, along with the other vices, is an illicit evil desire (1 Cor. 5:10, 11; 6:9; Gal. 5:20). Greed is idolatry because it leads one to focus attention and affection on things other than God. This can happen in sexual life as well as with material things. The solution to such idolatry has already been given: “Set your hearts … set your minds” on heavenly things! In other words, give Christ preeminence in your ethical life as well.
5 While the first of the four ethical paragraphs contains the catchword “put off” (v. 8), the paragraph is introduced by the equivalent injunction “put to death” or, as it might be rendered, “reckon as dead.” “Reckon as dead those ‘members’ of yours which partake of the nature of the old earthly life.” Paul is not talking here of the actual members of the human body, nor is he expressing himself in quite the sense intended by Jesus when he said that the offending hand or foot should be cut off or the offending eye plucked out, if entrance into life could not otherwise be gained. This seems plain from the apposition of the noun “members” with the following list of vices.50 Yet this apposition is so abrupt that attempts have been made to ease the difficulty of the construction by expedients which nevertheless are unconvincing. Thus Lightfoot puts a heavy stop after “treat your earthly members as dead” and regards the following nouns (“fornication, impurity, …”) as “prospective accusatives” governed by some such verb as “put off” in v. 8. On this showing, Paul intended to make the accusatives directly dependent on the verb “put off,” but before he reached the verb he introduced intervening clauses which led to a change in the structure of the sentence. To be sure, such breaches of construction (anacolutha) are by no means uncommon in Paul’s epistolary style; but in this place, if he had meant to make the accusatives directly dependent on the verb “put off,” he would almost certainly have put that verb in front of them. Even less convincing is Charles Masson’s expedient: he takes “members” as vocative and interprets the passage thus: “You members [of the body of Christ] are therefore to reckon as dead the things which are on the earth—fornication, impurity, etc.”53
What we have here is rather an extension of the ordinary sense of “members.” Since these people’s bodily members had been used as instruments of sin in their former life (cf. Rom. 6:19), they are viewed here as comprehending the various kinds of sin which were committed by their means. In Rom. 7:23 Paul speaks of “the law of sin which dwells in my members”; here he goes farther and practically identifies the members with the sins of which they had once been the instruments. But what he really has in mind is the practices and attitudes to which his readers’ bodily activity and strength had been devoted in the old life. Of these he mentions first of all fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, proceeding from the more overt to the less overt. These things had to be regarded as dead. Since believers have died with Christ, the domination of the old habits and instincts has been broken. But this severance of the old relation by reason of death can equally well be expressed the other way around: if, from one point of view, believers have died to these things, then, from another point of view, these things are dead so far as believers are concerned: they are no longer able to enforce their claims as they once did. So, in Rom. 6:11, Paul exhorts his readers to reckon themselves as dead to sin but alive to righteousness, while in Rom. 8:13 he says, “if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live” (the “deeds of the body” being such things as are listed here in Col. 3:5).
It has been said that, in his oscillation between the idea of the Christian’s having died with Christ and the idea of his still having to “put to death” the old bad habits, or to reckon himself as dead, Paul can be charged with inconsistency. “He is working with an abstract theological idea which does not fit in with the facts of life, and in his effort to assert it he is involved in constant trouble.” This criticism does less than justice to the reality of the believer’s union with Christ and reception of new life in him, which is much more than an “abstract theological idea.” The difficulty arises rather from the circumstance that believers, in fact and in conscious experience, exist on two planes so long as mortal life endures: spiritually they already belong to the age to come, while temporally they are involved in this present age; spiritually they are united to Christ at God’s right hand, while temporally they live on earth. The impartation of the new nature by Christ does not effect the immediate annihilation of the old hereditary nature; so long as they live in this world, the old nature persists like a dormant force which may spring into activity at any time. Hence the tension, which arises not from any inconsistency between Paul’s premises and his recognition of the facts of human life, but from well-known conditions of Christian existence.
The believer is dead to the world with Christ (Col. 2:20; 3:3), having put off the old nature in him (Col. 2:11; 3:9) and been liberated from sin (Rom. 6:6–7, 11, 18, 22); on the other hand, the believer is still in the world in a mortal body and exposed to sinful temptations. Hence this antinomy in the apostle’s thought; hence his transition back and forth between the indicative and the imperative: “Be what you are!”58
In moving from the outward manifestations of sin to the cravings of the heart—from improper acts to their inner springs—Paul proceeds in the manner of our Lord, who in the Sermon on the Mount traces murder back to the angry thought, and adultery to the lustful glance (Matt. 5:21–22, 27–29). Catalogues of vices were common form among pagan moralists and in the antipagan polemic of Jewish propagandists. Such lists appear repeatedly in Paul’s letters (cf. Rom. 1:29–31; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:9–10; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 5:3–4), receiving a special significance from the Christian context in which they are set.
Fornication, which appears first in the list of sins, receives the same preeminence among the “works of the flesh” enumerated in Gal. 5:19–21. It means primarily traffic with harlots; it is found also as a near-technical term for sexual relations within prohibited degrees and, more widely, of sexual irregularity in general. In its primary sense it was so common in Graeco-Roman antiquity that, except when carried to excess, it was not regarded as especially reprehensible. Some of Paul’s churches had difficulty in abandoning their former pagan tolerance of it; hence his specific warnings against it: “Shun fornication” (1 Cor. 6:18); “abstain from fornication” (1 Thess. 4:3).
Impurity has a wider range of meaning than fornication. It includes the misuse of sex, but is applicable to various forms of moral evil: Demosthenes, for example, uses it of one who, pretending to be a man’s friend, commits perjury to do him an injury.63
The word translated “passion” covers a variety of emotion and affection, but when it appears in this kind of context it denotes “dishonorable passions,” as it is put explicitly in Rom. 1:26. So also the word translated “desire” denotes strong desire whether good or bad, but here it is expressly qualified as “evil.” (Even if the adjective be omitted, as it is in some textual witnesses, the context would be sufficient to indicate that evil desire is meant, which indeed is the usual significance of the word in Paul’s writings.)
The climax of the present list is covetousness, which is equated with idolatry, as in Eph. 5:5. Covetousness is idolatry because it involves the setting of one’s affections on earthly things and not on things above, and therefore the putting of some other object of desire in the place which God should occupy in his people’s hearts. So, in Phil. 3:19–20, the contrast is pointed between those whose minds are “set on earthly things” and those whose citizenship is in heaven. The exceeding sinfulness of covetousness was revealed to Paul, according to Rom. 7:7–13, when he became aware of the commandment “Thou shalt not covet” (and even if that passage is not truly autobiographical, the validity of his argument is not affected). The sins which precede covetousness in the catalogue appear regularly in such lists, and certainly they were sins against which converts from paganism needed to be put on their guard; but covetousness is the more dangerous because it may assume so many respectable forms.
5 Paul explicitly begins his ethical instruction (the conjunction oun, “therefore,” marks the transition; cf. Ro 12:1; Eph 4:1) by enjoining the Colossians to “put to death” their earthly members (lit., “the parts which are on the earth”). On the one hand, believers have died with Christ (2:12, 20; 3:3); on the other hand, they must slay (former) patterns of behavior that are not in keeping with their new existence in Christ (Ro 6:13; 8:13; 2 Co 5:10). Unlike the “philosophy,” Paul does not advocate an asceticism that requires the mortification of one’s physical body (cf. 2:20–23); rather, he calls the congregation to a sober evaluation of their sinful tendencies and to a self-conscious termination of their past practices.
In this first vice list (cf. 3:8), the focus falls primarily on sexual sins. Given Paul’s Jewish ethical orientation and the congregation’s Gentile composition, this string of sexual vices to be avoided comes as no surprise. It was not uncommon for Jews to perceive “pagans” as having lax sexual mores and to scorn them for the same (cf. O’Brien, 181; Dunn, 213–14). Even though some Jewish depictions of Gentile sexual perversion and participation in immoral practices are clearly overdrawn (for a discussion of representative primary texts, see John M. G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan [323 BCE–117 CE] [Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996], 146, 175–76, 187, 220, 339, 388), it is no stretch to say that “there existed in the Greco-Roman world of Paul’s day a very tolerant attitude toward sexual conduct, particularly sexual activity outside marriage” (so Jeffrey A. D. Weima, “ ‘How You Must Walk to Please God’: Holiness and Discipleship in 1 Thessalonians,” in Patterns of Discipleship in the New Testament, ed. Richard N. Longenecker [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996], 104). In the course of his epistles, Paul frequently exhorts his assemblies to sexual chastity (cf. 1 Co 5:1–13; 6:12–20; 1 Th 4:3–8). In the apostle’s ethical framework, sexual activity was to be confined to monogamous, heterosexual, marital relationships (Ro 1:24, 26–27; 1 Co 7:2–5); correlatively, he viewed all extramarital sexual involvement as sinful.
The first vices that Paul calls the Colossians to jettison are “sexual immorality” or “fornication” (porneia, GK 4518) and “impurity” (akatharsia, GK 174). While the former term can refer to both adultery and intercourse with prostitutes in particular, the latter connotes unspecified sexual sin. The words porneia and akatharsia appear together elsewhere in Paul (2 Co 12:21; Gal 5:19; 1 Th 4:3, 7). Following on in this particular context, “lust” or “passion” (pathos, GK 4079) would also carry a negative sexual connotation (1 Th 4:5). “Lust” and the penultimate item in this list, “evil desires” (epithymian kakēn, GK 2123, 2805), seem to refer to unbridled, misdirected sexual urges. Paul urges the church to abandon sexually immoral actions and calls them to purge their minds of sexually immoral thoughts.
The final vice in this catalog that Paul implores the Colossians to slay is “greed” or “covetousness” (pleonexian, GK 4432). A person who is gripped by greed and characterized by covetousness desires to get more and, in effect, turns gain into a god. Paul depicts greed here as tantamount to “idolatry” (cf. Ro 1:29; Eph 5:5). Even if Paul does not explicitly state so here, he may well have considered misdirected sensuality to be a form of covetousness in that it often reduces a person to a possession to be used and then discarded. Furthermore, like many of his fellow Jews, Paul would have regarded sexual immorality as a type of idolatry (Ro 1:22–27; see Dunn, 215–16, for textual parallels). Paul calls on the Colossians to cultivate gratitude (3:15–17) and to eradicate greed.
 Köstenberger, A. J. (2017). Colossians. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1897). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 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., Col 3:5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 O’Brien, P. T. (1994). Colossians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1272). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
There is a difference between one and another hour of life in their authority and subsequent effect. Our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual. Yet there is a depth in those brief moments which constrains us to ascribe more reality to them than to all other experiences.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Greed Deprives a Person of Mercy Isaiah 5:8; Jeremiah 12:14; Ezekiel 22:12
Cruelty towards the body has its origin in cupidity, which not only prevents a man from helping his neighbor, but causes him to seize the goods of others.… Oh, miserable vice of cruelty, which will deprive the man who practices it of all mercy, unless he turn to kindness and benevolence towards his neighbor!
CATHERINE OF SIENA
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
ATLANTA, GA—In a surprise announcement today, the CDC revised its guidelines on social distancing. Vaccinated people can now ignore social distancing if needed in order to punch an unvaccinated person in the face.
“We highly encourage punching as many unvaccinated people in the face as possible,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier. “We think this will be an effective tool for encouraging many more people to stop resisting the vaccination– since our science indicates very few people enjoy being punched in the face.”
The CDC confirms these new guidelines are “effective immediately,” and will be in place until every unvaccinated person has been sufficiently punched.
“If people are still resistant after the first dose of punching, we recommend a second dose– and in some rare cases– a third dose, right in the nose,” said Messonnier.
The CDC walked back their statement just a few hours later, suggesting that people still try to keep their distance from unvaccinated people by instead bonking them in the head with a long stick.
Canadian Police try to shut down Church on Easter for Covid Violations, Pastor Boots them out Covid restrictions in Canada are being enforced with an iron fist and there’s no sanctuary to escape from them, apparently not even churches. This can be evidenced by a recent viral video showing Canadian health inspectors under police escort entering a Polish Church. Noting that they don’t have a warrant, the pastor proceeds to instruct them to leave. “Get out of the property you Nazis! Gestapo is not allowed here!” he could be heard yelling. “Nazis are not welcome here!” Pawlowski yelled as the security forces retreated.
Tank ‘Shields’ to Protect Against Enemy Missiles Are Now a Reality APS, as they are called, have been developed, tested, refined, and built into vehicles for many years now to introduce new levels of survivability in armored warfare, something likely to increasingly be characterized by more and more advanced, long-range, and highly precise enemy anti-armor weapons being possessed by enemy forces.
Drought concerns heighten in region After a dry summer last year and very little snowfall in the Upper Midwest, nearly 75% of the Western U.S. is in drought conditions and climatologists say the outlook isn’t good for growers. (video)
Pentagon linguist found guilty of leaking US intel – relating also to Israel – to Hizballah contact Mariam Taha Thompson, 63, a Pentagon linguist with top security clearance, pleaded guilty on Friday, March 26, to passing to a Hizballah associate classified US intelligence information sought by Iran on the US drone attack that killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 3, 2020. “Thompson jeopardized the lives of members of the US military as well as other individuals supporting the United States in a combat zone, when she passed classified information to a person whom she knew was connected to Lebanese Hizballah, a foreign terrorist organization which intended to use the information to hurt this country,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
Google monitoring millions of users without consent in new ad test Google’s test trial of its Federated Learning of Cohorts without consent “is a concrete breach of user trust in service of a technology that should not exist.” Under the program, Google Chrome browsers “will begin sorting their users into groups based on behavior, then sharing group labels with third-party trackers and advertisers around the web.”
The threats American Jewry refuses to face But even the joy of Passover couldn’t dispel the twin storm clouds rising around the largest Jewish diaspora. The first threat is growing Jew-hatred. American Jewish groups are good at fighting white supremacism. Unfortunately, the most dangerous external threat to Jewish life in America doesn’t come from neo-Nazis. It comes from their home base. Contrary to what Jewish organizations have long claimed, it turns out that the more educated Americans are, the more anti-Semitic they are.
Biden removes Trump’s Sanctions on ICC Court, Enabling Prosecution of Israel I will curse those who curse you Genesis 12:3 Joe Biden removed sanctions on Friday that former President Donald Trump placed on two top officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reports France 24. The sanctions were among the previous administration’s more aggressive moves targeting international institutions and officials. Pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC blasted the move warning that it could have damaging affects on Israel who is the target of an investigation by the Hague for war crimes.
Jordan: A family dispute or a foreign-backed plot? Was Jordan’s former Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein placed under house arrest on trumped-up charges because of a personal dispute…or was he indeed plotting to stage a coup with the backing of foreign parties? Many Jordanians were still grappling for answers on Sunday in the aftermath of reports that Jordanian security forces foiled an attempt by Hamzah and some of his associates to topple the regime of King Abdullah.
Canadian pastor shuts down police’s attempt to disrupt worship service over Easter Seven police officers entered a Good Friday church service in Calgary, Alberta with the intent of shutting it down. Pastor Artur Pawlowski would not have it…”Out! Immediately go out!” He says. “And don’t come back. I don’t want to talk to you. Not another word. Out of this property.” “Gestapo is not allowed here!” He yells at the officers.
Piney Point: Emergency crews try to plug Florida toxic wastewater leak Emergency crews in Florida have been working to prevent a “catastrophic” flood after a leak was found in a large reservoir of toxic wastewater. More than 300 homes near Tampa Bay have been evacuated, and a highway near the Piney Point reservoir has been closed. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Saturday.
Christians in Indian village beaten, forced to reconvert to tribal religions Christian families in a village in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh fled after villagers belonging to a tribal religion ostracized and threatened to kill them if they did not convert back to their ancestral religion, but the 10 Christians who could not flee were beaten and forced to “reconvert,” according to a report.
The last known Jew in Afghanistan is leaving The man who has been known as the last Jew in Afghanistan for well over a decade is leaving for Israel, fearing that the U.S. military’s promise to leave the country will leave a vacuum to be filled with radical groups such as the Taliban.
MLB Boycotted Georgia a Day After Expanding China Deal Major League Baseball had extended and expanded its contract with a Chinese telecommunications giant shortly before boycotting the state of Georgia over the league’s disagreement with the election reforms recently enacted by the Peach State’s democratically elected governor and legislature.
Lawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden’s job Lawmakers on Capitol Hill say Congress has little role to play in fixing the border crisis, arguing the responsibility falls largely on President Biden and federal agencies. While most members say they’ll provide more resources if the president asks, they also point out that there’s not much they can do on the legislative front.
Ukraine is back in the news again – and not in a good way. Escalating rhetoric could lead to more conflict within Ukraine. Who is driving this impending conflict and why? Or is this all about isolating Russia? CrossTalking with Dmitry Babich and Mark Almond.
On Newswatch AM April 5th: the fallout from Major League Baseball’s decision to pull this year’s All-Star Game out of Georgia over the state’s new voting rights law; Republicans oppose President Biden’s new infrastructure bill, calling …
Political parties have always tried to divide us since that is their very nature. You vote for one and not the other. The real culprit in all of the NEWS organizations includes social media. The NEWS organizations used to be the arbiter of truth and that is why the constitution carved out protection for them.
Cancel culture warriors have found their latest target – the state of Georgia. Major League Baseball is pulling its All-Star Game from the state, and President Biden played a role in spreading the misinformation that led to the move.
FNC’s “The Next Revolution” host Steve Hilton discusses the philosophy behind what he calls the religion of “Wokeism,” arguing it is the result of “a planned and carefully executed campaign to destroy our society that began a century ago” and did not simply “spring fully formed from AOC’s Twitter account or the death of George Floyd.”
STEVE HILTON: On this Easter Sunday, there is a new religion stalking our land that is becoming one of the most powerful ones. In the last year, it seems to have taken over nearly every part of our ruling class: corporate America, corporate media, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, and the Democratic Party, which now controls the federal government. This new religion is Wokeism. It has core beliefs like “the world is out to get you,” “victimhood is sainthood,” “if you are not a straight, white male you are oppressed.” It has sacred texts like “White Fragility” by Robin DeAngelo and “How To Be An Anti-Racist” by Ibram Kendi. Wokeism has its own version of 10 commandments: “Thou shalt not think for yourself,” “thou shalt not hold an opposing view,” “thou shall definitely hold false witness against a neighbor if thy neighbor is not woke.” The punishment for nonbelievers: Canceled, cast out to the wilderness, financial and social ruin. And, of course, it has its own vocabulary. Speaking your truth, lived experience, microaggressions, being an ally. We should think about it as a religion because that is how its adherents think about it. It is not really about a set of policy ideas, you can’t reason with them, it is not like conservatism and liberalism. It is deeper than that. Wokeism is the biggest threat this country faces because as we’re about to show you, it is the product of a hundred-year-long effort to tear down the values, ideals, and freedoms this country was built on. It is the real enemy within. It has to be confronted and defeated. But to do that we must know our enemy, where did all this come from? Did it just spring fully formed from AOC’s Twitter account or the death of George Floyd? No. Really, no. What we’re seeing today is not a fleeting cultural moment, this is the realization of a planned and carefully executed campaign to destroy our society that began a century ago. It started here, in Germany, 1923 at the Institute for Social Research, part of Frankfurt University’s Goethe Institute. A group of Marxist philosophers gathered to debate a central question. Why did the working-class revolutions, predicted by Marx and Engels as the inevitable consequence of the capitalist system… not sweep the world. A Hungarian philosopher, Georg Lukacs was one of the key figures trying to understand why it did not rise up everywhere. Their main conclusion: It was not all about economists, as Marx had argued. In reality, the proletariat were held back by other forces that destroyed their class consciousness. These other forces, not just capitalism, were standing in the way of the worldwide communist revolution. And what were they? The philosophers of the Frankfurt School concluded that it came down to three, in particular: family, religion, and culture. In their view, family, faith, and culture were their building blocks of bourgeois society used by the elite to keep the masses oppressed, so they invented a new theory that explained all this and how to dismantle it — Critical theory. For around a decade, the Frankfurt School pursued these radical ideas in Germany, many eventually made their way across the Atlantic to New York, where they made residence at Columbia University’s sociology department. The leading figure, this man, Herbert Marcuse, whose work was massively influential in American academia from the 1960s onward, changing the whole approach of academia — instead of studying the world, they exist to change it. The entire purpose of higher education must shift from education to activism. Also influential was Marcuse’s book, “The One-Dimensional Man,” laying out a blueprint for the social revolution, and for the first time, added a racial component. The idea was there an alignment of racial minorities, the liberal intelligentsia, and violent outside agitators would take power. Marcuse also pushed something he called “Repressive Tolerance,” the idea that violence by the radical left must be tolerated, but such tolerance should never be extended to the right. You can see how that played out just in the last year. One of his students was Angela Davis, one of most radical activists of the 1960s and 70s involved with the Black Panther Party in California. Critical theory became critical race theory and grew and spread throughout the 1970s-90s to become the dominant on-campus ideology we see today. One of its leading champions Derrick Bell, at Harvard Law School, who was later involved in controversy over his influence in Barack Obama. Then came a move to unite all various oppressed groups to one overarching theory of social justice — the person who did that was Kimberly Crenshaw, who invented the term “intersectionality,” how different parts of your identity, could compound your oppression. What is this point of telling you all this? When we see Biden, on his first day, pushing for boys to compete in girl’s sports, restoring racist training for federal employees, and canceling education about American history, and we see deranged call to defund and abolish the same law enforcement agencies that protect us every day, and our leaders, preoccupied with woke virtue signaling, while a humanitarian crisis spirals out of control. We need to know, that these are the fruits trees planted hundreds of years ago. One reason they have been successful, is their mastery of language, they hide their vicious intolerant ideas behind words like diversity, equity and inclusion. Of course, in their true meanings, they are good things. Diversity is part of nature and we should love it for that reason alone. It is important to make sure that everyone is included in the amazing American opportunities that America offers. It is obvious that hasn’t always been true in the past. But, these positive truths have been hijacked by hateful dogma in service of a radically destructive mission to replace family, faith, and culture, with a new ideology. So, when your local government, your health provider, you corporate H.R. department, starts mouthing the woke-cabulary, forcing workers to denounce themselves and each other. When your grandchildren return from university talking and behaving like red guards from Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution. When your children come home from school and tell you, that they now know they’re actually racist. When you see this this evil fanatical religious terror, creeping into every aspect of your life, destroying careers, friendships, and relationships, realize what it is, it not going away like a fad. Wokeism has been marching forward for a hundred years, marching through our institutions, through the power centers. Marching through our culture and society. It has all the hallmarks of the worst authoritarian regimes in history, but it is more insidious and dangerous — it is the enemy within. And right now it is winning, we need to wake up and overturn wokeism with our own revolution, fight it wherever you see it.
Showing mercy to the weak and infirm is the duty of every Christian. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus gave us a direct instruction that stands as a mandate not only for the church but for each individual believer.READ MORE
Waiting for the Promises of God Romans 6:23; 8:25; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10
How blessed and wonderful are the gifts of God, beloved! Life in immortality, splendor in righteousness, truth with boldness, faith with confidence, self control in holiness; and all these things fall within our comprehension. Therefore what, then, are the things being prepared for those who wait? The Creator and Father of the ages, the all-holy one himself, knows their magnitude and beauty. Therefore let us strive to be found among the number of those who wait, so that we may have a share in the gifts which were promised.
CLEMENT OF ROME
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
“Crowding into the Kingdom of Heaven” Ephesians 5:1–2; 1 John 4:12–19
If you can convince a man that you love him you have won his heart. If we really make people believe that God loves them, how we should find them crowding into the kingdom of heaven! The trouble is that men think God hates them; and so they are all the time running away from Him.
DWIGHT L. MOODY
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
16:2 The phrase nothing good besides you is literally “my good (is) not above/beyond you” and is difficult in Hebrew. It is most likely related to a similar expression in 73:25 that carries the idea of finding nothing desirable on earth apart from the Lord.
16:2apart from you The psalmist finds contentment and sufficiency in Yahweh. The psalmist of Psalm 73 makes a similar statement in response to the prosperity of the wicked (73:25).
16:2 I have no good besides You. I.e., “My well-being is entirely dependent upon You.”
16:2. David announced his exclusive trust in the Lord. His statement of faith was, You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing (cf. 34:10; 84:11).
16:2. David is the author of this psalm but he is writing the prayer of the Messiah (see previous comments). Hence the Messiah gives several reasons He delights in the Lord in this life. First, He delights in the Lord’s goodness (I have no good besides You), indicating that God alone is the source of anything truly good (or “beneficial,” as the term may also be translated) for Him, and hence for anyone. Verse 2.—“O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord.” I wish I could have heard what you said to yourself when these words were first mentioned. I believe I could guess the language of some of you. When you heard me repeat these words, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord,” you thought, “I have never said anything to the Lord, unless when I cried out, Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” Has not something like this passed in your minds? I will try again. When I first mentioned the text, “Let me consider,” you secretly said, “I believe that I did once say to the Lord, Thou art my Lord; but it was so long ago, that I had almost forgotten it; but I suppose that it must have been at such a time when I was in trouble. I had met with disappointments in the world; and then, perhaps, I cried, Thou art my portion, O Lord. Or, perhaps, when I was under serious impressions, in the hurry of my spirits, I might look up to God and say, Thou art my Lord. But, whatever I could or did formerly say, I am certain that I cannot say it at present.” Have none of you thought in this manner? I will hazard one conjecture more; and I doubt not but in this case I shall guess rightly. When I repeated these words, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord;” “So have I,” thought one; “So have I,” thought another; I have said it often, but I said it with peculiar solemnity and pleasure, when, in an act of humble devotion, I lately threw my ransomed, rescued, grateful soul at his feet, and cried, “O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant; thou hast loosed my bonds.” The very recollection of it is pleasant; and I shall now have an opportunity of renewing my vows, and hope to recover something of the divine serenity and joy which I at that time experienced.”—Samuel Lavington’s Sermons, 1810.
Verse 2.—“Thou art my Lord.” He acknowledgeth the Lord Jehovah; but he seeth him not as it were then afar off, but drawing near unto him, he sweetly embraceth him; which thing is proper unto faith, and to that particular applying which we say to be in faith.—Robert Rollock, 1600.
Verse 2.—“My goodness extendeth not to thee.” I think the words should be understood of what the Messiah was doing for men. My goodness, טוֹבָתִי tobhathi, “my bounty” is not to thee. What I am doing can add nothing to thy divinity; thou art not providing this astonishing sacrifice because thou canst derive any excellence from it; but this bounty extends to the saints—to all the spirits of just men made perfect, whose bodies are still in the earth; and to the excellent, אַדִּירֵי addirey, “the noble or super-eminent ones,” those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. The saints and illustrious ones not only taste of my goodness, but enjoy my salvation. Perhaps angels themselves may be intended; they are not uninterested in the incarnation, passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord. They desire to look into these things; and the victories of the cross in the conversion of sinners cause joy among the angels of God.—Adam Clarke.
Verse 2.—“My goodness extendeth not to thee;” “My well-doing extendeth not to thee.” Oh, what shall I render unto thee, my God, for all thy benefits towards me? what shall I repay? Alas! I can do thee no good, for mine imperfect goodness cannot pleasure thee who art most perfect and goodness itself; my well-doing can do thee no good, my wickedness can do thee no harm. I receive all good from thee, but no good can I return to thee; wherefore I acknowledge thee to be most rich, and myself to be most beggarly; so far off is it that thou standest in any need of me. Wherefore I will join myself to thy people, that whatsoever I have they may profit by it; and whatsoever they have I may profit by it, seeing the things that I have received must be put out to loan, to gain some comfort to others. Whatsoever others have, they have not for their own private use, but that by them, as by pipes and conduits, they liberally should be conveyed unto me also. Wherefore in this strain we are taught, that if we be the children of God, we must join ourselves in a holy league to his people, and by mutual participation of the gifts of God, we must testify each to other, that we be of the number and communion of saints; and this is an undoubted badge and cognizance of him that loveth God, if he also loveth them that are begotten of God. Wherefore, if we so profess ourselves to be of God and to worship him, then we must join ourselves to the church of God which with us doth worship God. And this must we do of necessity, for it is a branch of our belief that there is a communion of saints in the church; and if we believe that there is a God, we must also believe that there is a remnant of people, unto whom God revealeth himself, and communicateth his mercies, in whom we must have all our delight, to whom we must communicate according to the measure of grace unto every one of us.—Richard Greenham.
Verse 2.—“My goodness extendeth not to thee.” Oh, how great is God’s goodness to you! He calls upon others for the same things, and conscience stands as Pharaoh’s taskmasters, requiring the tale of bricks but not allowing straw; it impels and presseth, but gives no enlargement of heart, and buffets and wounds them for neglect: as the hard creditor that, taking the poor debtor by the throat, saith, “Pay me that thou owest me,” but yields him no power to do it; thus God might deal with you also, for he oweth not assistance to us; but we owe obedience to him. Remember, we had power, and it is just to demand what we cannot do, because the weakness that is in us is of ourselves: we have impoverished ourselves. Therefore, when in much mercy he puts forth his hand into the work with thee, be very thankful. If the work be not done, he is no loser; if done, and well done, he is no gainer. Job 22:2; 35:6–8. But the gain is all to thee; all the good that comes by it is to thyself.—Joseph Symonds, 1639.
Verse 2 (last clause).—It is a greater glory to us that we are allowed to serve God, than it is to him that we offer him that service. He is not rendered happy by us; but we are made happy by him. He can do without such earthly servants; but we cannot do without such a heavenly Master.—William Secker.
Verse 2 (last clause).—There is nothing added to God: he is so perfect, that no sin can hurt him; and so righteous, that no righteousness can benefit him. O Lord, my righteousness extendeth not to thee! thou hast no need of my righteousness. Acts 17:24, 25. God hath no need of anything.—Richard Stock, 1641.
Verse 2.—As Christ is the head of man, so is God the head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3); and as man is subject unto Christ, so is Christ subject to God; not in regard of the divine nature, wherein there is an equality, and consequently no dominion of jurisdiction; nor only in his human nature, but in the economy of a Redeemer, considered as one designed, and consenting to be incarnate, and take our flesh; so that after this agreement God had a sovereign right to dispose of him according to the articles consented to. In regard of his undertaking and the advantage he was to bring to the elect of God upon earth, he calls God by the solemn title of “his Lord.” “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; but to the saints that are in the earth.” It seems to be the speech of Christ in heaven, mentioning the saints on earth as at a distance from him. I can add nothing to the glory of thy majesty, but the whole fruit of my meditation and suffering will redound to the saints on earth.—Stephen Charnock.
Ver. 2. O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord.—Dedication to God:—
The Most High is a God of truth and faithfulness. The text alludes to David’s dedication of himself to God, and implies that he had done so deliberately and sincerely.
1. Apply the words for admonition. Remember that it were better not to vow than, after having vowed, not to pay. A dedication is one of the best preservatives against temptation and sin.
2. Apply for instruction. They teach us what David thought of God. They teach that his dedication was deliberate and sincere.
3. Apply for comfort and encouragement. If you have thus dedicated yourself, then to you the promises and consolations of the Gospel belong. Reflections by way of improvement—
(1) Abide in Christ.
(2) Do much for Him to whom you owe so much.
(3) Be assured that God will do much for you. (John Ramsay, M.A.)
The advantages of a Christian reviewing his dedication to God:—
I wish I could have heard what you said to yourselves when I read these words. I could guess the language of some of you. You thought, “I never said anything to the Lord, except it was—Depart from me.” Others of you, perhaps, said, “I believe that I did once say so to the Lord, but it was so long ago that I had forgotten it. It must have been when I was in trouble. But I cannot say it now.” Others said, “Yes, I have said that, and often, and I am glad to say it again.” Good men are excellent company for themselves, for they can converse with their souls. David is doing so here. He is telling of his dedication to God, and reviewing what he then said. Now this is a good thing to do.
I. It is useful in the hour of temptation. It will not prevent, necessarily, the assaults of sin, nor our being overcome by them. The eleven disciples forsook Christ, though they had solemnly engaged not to do so. But it is a help against such temptations to be often reviewing our vows to God. It arms us against sin.
II. As a bond of diligence and consistency in duty. Many also would stand back from wilful sins and grosser vices, yet grow remiss in their duty and become less circumspect. Now against this it is well to preserve a remembrance of our covenant engagements.
III. To afford great relief in distress. The believer may be subject to great spiritual distress. The light of God’s countenance may be withheld, and grace be very feeble. Then such communion with our own souls and with the Lord, as is indicated here, does help us much. Tell Him how we desire to stand to our engagements, and to be His for ever. So our hearts will brighten even in the midst of flowing tears.
IV. As a support and encouragement in the immediate prospect of death. Nothing, then, but what is real and substantial will serve. Death is rapidly approaching. “So let it,” cries the devoted servant of God; “the sooner it comes the better. The God whom I have served is able to deliver me; and He will deliver me from thy sting, O death, and from all the power of the grave. Many years ago I said to the Lord, Thou art my Lord, and He honoured me with a place among His servants; and now I feel Thee, blessed Savour, to be the strength of my heart; and I depend upon Thee as my portion for ever. Into Thine hand I commit my spirit; for Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Well, then, do you not think that happy is the people whose God is the Lord? But I want more than your approval. I want to knew if you have said to the Lord, “Thou art my Lord.” Let me ask—
1. Have you ever felt the misery of being without God?
2. Have you ever given time for serious thought on this question? How solemn is your condition who live all your days in a hurry of business or thoughtless dissipation! But you who have taken the Lord to be your God, I would say to you: Cleave to God with purpose of heart. This is the bond of the servants of the Lord. “I, such an one, whose name is hereunto subscribed, do hereby renounce all other masters which have had dominion over me, and bind myself to the Lord, to serve Him in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life: So help me God.” And do much for Him. Also expect much from Him; you shall not be disappointed. And finally, you shall receive a crown of life. None ever served God for nought. (S. Lavington.)
A sacramental meditation:—
I. Before partaking. It was David’s wont, when in distress and ready to doubt whether he had really dedicated himself to God, to remind himself of the solemn transactions which had passed between him and God.
1. Let us consider the meaning and import of these words. He acknowledges God’s property in him, and claim upon him. And that he desires to be the Lord’s; that he prefers God to all else. He had chosen and acknowledged God as his God. And now, in distress, he repeats all this.
2. Let us remember what professions we have made. It is reasonable that we should; for we are in danger of forgetting. The world wears out the memory of them; and our afflictions tempt us to doubt that Jehovah is our Lord. Therefore it is good to renew our covenant. And it will help us to be more sensible of our duty, and will animate us under every suffering. And as we thus renew our vows we shall see such excellence in them as will engage us to fulfil them with diligence.
3. And there is no more fit time for this than at the Lord’s table. We commemorate the everlasting covenant. We profess our faith in Christ’s sacrifice. By His blood, which the wine represents, we are brought nigh to God and admitted into endearing relation to Him. Therefore let us, &c.
II. After partaking. Let us take review of what we have done, and each adopt the language of David, “O my soul,” &c. This means, “I entirely approve, and give thanks for being inclined to say this.” And acknowledge past unworthy behaviour. Failure in love to Him, and in faithfulness. But “I desire that I may not again neglect my duty, that I may not yield to temptation, nor follow the world too eagerly, nor say to it what I had said to the Lord.” Are we in affliction? That is a time to repeat the acknowledgment. “Thou hast said to the Lord, Thou art my Lord: in Thee I have all things. Thou canst and wilt support and comfort me; make up my earthly losses, and teach me to glory in tribulation.” Finally, do we feel the sentence of death in ourselves? There is no time more proper to repeat the acknowledgment, “Thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord; my God, whom I have sincerely loved and served; to whom I have often committed my soul through Christ; and I would do it again with gratitude, hope and joy, when flesh and heart are failing.” Let us thus, in every circumstance of life and death, remember our covenant transactions. If you have sincerely said, and are saying to the Lord, “Thou art my Lord,” let this be your comfort, that “He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (J. Orton.)
2. The second line is very cryptic, as the variety of translations indicates. But rsv and rv have the merit of simplicity and fidelity to the text, understood as (lit.) ‘my good (or welfare) is not beyond (or additional to) thee’,42 a thought which is expressed more clearly in 73:25.
16:2I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.” Sometimes, as here and many other places, the generic term “lord, master” (’adonay = Lord, lowercase in English translations) occurs in place of the tetragrammaton (YHWH = Lord, small caps in English translations). Here it is parallel to the shortened generic ’el (“God,” 16:1; rather than ’elohim). Both designate the all-powerful God of the Old Testament.
apart from you I have no good thing. The Hebrew preposition behind “apart from” is “over” or “upon” (‘al). While the NIV emends the text to read “apart from you … no” (bal bil‘adeyka), A. A. Anderson suggests “my welfare surely (rests) upon you (alone).” “Good” occurs in contrast to the sorrows of verse 4 and is equivalent to “my portion and my cup” (16:5) and “delightful inheritance” (16:6). A similar sentiment occurs in Psalm 73:25: “Whom have I in heaven but you?” The whole of the psalmist’s “good” includes the experience of walking in the path of life until David is satiated with the joys of being in God’s presence.
2 The psalmist approaches God as “my Lord” (Adonai) and as “my good” (NIV, “I have no good thing”). The designation “my Lord” reveals the psalmist’s submission to him as “Master” and “Ruler” (see 8:1), in contrast to those who run after other gods (v. 4). Hence his confidence is in God’s care for him. He further describes his relationship to his God as the source of all of his benefits (cf. 23:6; 73:25). The sovereign God is “my good,” i.e., the reason for his existence and joy (cf. v. 11). Weiser, 173, contends, “The relation to God dominates the whole of human life because God lays claim to the whole man.” The spirit of joy and confidence in God’s sovereign care is also stated in 73:25: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” (cf. v. 26).
 Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 829). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 16:2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
April 5 Deuteronomy 28:1-68 Luke 11:14-36 Psalm 77:1-20 Proverbs 12:18
Deuteronomy 28:15 – If the incentives from verses 1-14 aren’t enough to motivate you, then pay attention!
Deuteronomy 28:36 – Fulfilled in Daniel 5:4
Deuteronomy 28:52 – Fulfilled in Jeremiah 39:8
Deuteronomy 28:53-55 – Prophesied in Jeremiah 19:9, Lamentations 2:20, 4:10, Ezekiel 5:10, and fulfilled in 2 Kings 6:28-29
This is a poignant chapter for the King to copy when he makes his copy of the law (Deuteronomy 17:18). No wonder Josiah tore his robes and recognized the anger of the Lord (2 Kings 22:11-13). No wonder the people wept in Nehemiah 8:9 when they read it.
Luke 11:31 – The Queen of Sheba traveled 1,400 miles to see Solomon, yet the people were there with Jesus and did not believe.
Luke 11:32 – Jonah was a pretty poor excuse for a prophet. Yet it didn’t take great preaching to get Ninevah to repent.
Psalm 77:10-11 – We see more synonymous parallelism. Oftentimes the key thought is in the center of the Psalm – in these verses we see “Remember” three times.
Proverbs 12:18 – This is the 5th of 19 times the tongue is mentioned in Proverbs.
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13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 16:13-17 (NASB)
The career our God has graciously given me that provides for me and my family is a Database Administrator, but I have worked in nearly every area of Computer Technology since 1973. However, my passion outside of serving my Lord and Savior is photography….
Some have said I should be a professional photographer. I think I am a bit too old to start a new career. In any case, there have been some photos I have taken over the years that have struck a chord with some people in ways that has surprised me. I knew the shot was good. I knew it when I took it. I knew it was when I developed it on my computer as well, however, there is an artistic aspect to some of these shots that cause some people to react to them in ways that really surprise me at times. This “abstraction” is open to interpretation. Some react one way, others another way, while some people don’t even like that shot while others love it. Art is like that. It can mean whatever you want it to mean depending upon the level of abstraction. Is our Lord Jesus Christ like that? I mean, is who He is open to discussion? Are all those ‘abstract’ versions of Jesus in our time valid? Those who insist they are make a grave error. Their error is that they ignore that the Bible, the Word of God, Sacred Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is God. View article →