“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
On Tuesday of this week, 20 governors sent a letter to the president and vice-president urging immediate action regarding the border crisis. This comes as no surprise as the Biden administration is busing and flying illegal immigrants to cities across the nation, while young children are being abandoned in severe heat. A shell game is going on with children being moved from place to place to give the appearance of empty child migrant facilities.
So what else is actually taking place at our borders? To present what the national media has been refusing to report, Crosstalk welcomed back Mark Krikorian. Mark is a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues serving as the executive director of Center for Immigration Studies. They’re an independent, non-partisan research organization examining and critiquing the impact of immigration on the United States. He has testified numerous times before Congress and has published articles in many outlets.
Several weeks ago, Vice-President Kamala Harris was put in charge of the border crisis by the president. Why hasn’t she visited the border yet? According to Mark, her office has said that she’s in charge of addressing root causes of migration in Central America, not the border itself. Mark understands that to mean the vice-president realizes this is a “hot potato” and she wasn’t about to be saddled with this issue. In other words, she’s a politician who smells political disaster. So while she may be willing to have a “Zoom” call with the president of Guatemala or something similar, she’s not having anything to do with the border mess that was created by the president.
Mark indicated that the April numbers just came out and there were almost 180,000 apprehensions at the border, a 21 year high. That was up a bit from March but not as much as March was up from February. What’s different between now and 21 years ago is that almost 40% of the people arrested are adults with children (family units) or just children on their own. If it’s a single man, the border patrol turns him around and sends him back to Mexico. If it’s a family or unaccompanied minor, it’s more difficult. You have to get things like their travel paperwork from their government and that’s aside from whether or not they make a bogus asylum claim in an attempt to stay.
Since so many coming across the border are family units and unaccompanied minors, Homeland Security doesn’t have enough space to hold them. In many cases, the adults are simply let go with a piece of paper. Mark believes none of them will ever leave and this administration has said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not make them leave.
So what we’re dealing with here is permanent increases in immigration outside of those laws that have been passed by Congress.
From taxpayer funding for illegals to the drug consequences, there’s much more to consider. Callers also shared their views on this edition of Crosstalk.
The state is increasingly usurping the role of the church:
The recent images of a Canadian pastor being dragged away by the police for daring to hold church services should forever remain burned into our memories. The pastor was born in Poland and lived under Soviet rule as a child, so he knows all about life under totalitarian regimes. As one article reports:
Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski, who kicked police out of his church after they tried to shut down a worship service during Holy Week, and his brother, Dawid Pawlowski, have been arrested for holding an “illegal” in-person gathering as per COVID-19 limits set by a new court order. Referring to the Pawlowskis of Street Church in Calgary, Alberta, Calgary Police Service said in a statement that its officers “lawfully enforced” the court order by arresting the two men after church.
A video posted on YouTube shows that Calgary Police Service sent at least five police vehicles to arrest the two from on the street. The brothers knelt on the road and refused to walk on their own during the arrest. A voice can be heard telling the officers, “Shame on you guys, this is not communist China. Don’t you have family and kids? Whatever happened to ‘Canada, God keep our land glorious and free?’” http://www.christianpost.com/news/canadian-pastor-arrested-for-holding-church-service.html
I have written before about this brave pastor. In an earlier piece I offered this quote of his: “I grew up in Poland under the boot of the Soviets, behind the Iron Curtain. What I see right now, I see everything escalating and moving to the new level. They’re acting just like the Communists were acting when I was growing up when the pastors and the priests were arrested, and some were murdered. Many were tortured. That’s why I say what I say, because I see a repetition of history.” billmuehlenberg.com/2021/04/08/signs-of-hope-scenes-from-the-resistance/
One of the major takeaways from the covid scare over the past year is this two-pronged reality: In the West we have had far too much statist overreach and far too much Christian capitulation. We see this occurring everywhere, and it does not look too good.
Plenty of churches are still in lockdown, or greatly reduced in what they can offer, while pubs and brothels and sporting events and hardware stores and so on are fully up and running. And most Christian leaders are not saying a thing about this.
One of the real sins of any age is when men and/or the state usurp the prerogatives of God, and seek to act as God. A key way of doing this is to determine what worship is, and where and when it can take place. The state may seek to prohibit all religious worship, or certain aspects of it.
During the past year under the guise of ‘keeping us safe’ the state has taken almost total control of most churches. Whenever that happens the people of God should be rising up and asserting the importance of fundamental human rights, including religious liberty rights.
Writing way back in 1986, Carl F. H. Henry said the following in his book, Christian Countermoves in a Decadent Culture:
According to the Bible, the state exists within God’s providential will and has limited authority. When totalitarian states presume to define human rights and duties at will, they illicitly claim divine prerogatives. The state’s biblically stated role is to maintain God-ordained justice, not to devise or manipulate it….
Religious freedom – that is, one’s right to worship and to obey God in good conscience – shelters and nurtures all other human rights, and in this sense undergirds them. Only if human beings have political and civil liberty to worship according to conscience can they worship and serve the living God meaningfully and resist the efforts of arbitrary powers who require subjects to do what God prohibits or to abstain from what God requires. In the absence of individual liberty to worship conscientiously, citizens fall prey to pretentious powers that arrogate to themselves the absolute authority and unqualified honor reserved only to God. The example of the Christian apostles, who when thwarted by civil authorities in fulfilling the Great Commission preferred physical imprisonment to spiritual disobedience (“We must obey God rather than men!” Acts 5:29), remains normative for Christians even today.
Yes quite so. Anyone familiar with one of the great religious freedom stories found in the Bible – the exodus – will see the obvious similarities. Moses told the state (Pharoah and the Egyptians) to let God’s people go so they could worship God. Pharoah refused, and a major power encounter took place.
After ten horrific plagues, and the climactic Red Sea incident, the pagan rulers learned the hard way that they should not mess with God, and with the right of God’s people to worship. It never ends well when the state seeks to keep the church under its thumb.
Yet so many Christians today would actually have sided with Pharaoh! We simply need to look at how many Christians, Christian leaders, and churches have fully and happily gone right along with all the draconian lockdown measures over the past year.
While a few have spoken out and sought to allow worship to take place (with sensible safety measures in place), most have simply caved in. They actually agree with the tough measures of the state, and seem to agree with it when it declares worship and church services to be ‘non-essential services’.
And worse yet, far too many Christians have actually denounced churches and leaders who have defied the state and remained open. Plenty of sheeple Christians for example would think the actions of pastors like Pawlowski are totally unacceptable, and they will attack them, instead of the authorities dragging them away.
They will drone on and on about Romans 13, as if that were the only biblical passage on our responsibilities to civil government. But the state, as Henry and others rightly point out, is never to be absolute. It is always a case of delegated authority, rightly administered. See my earlier piece on this for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/05/15/the-state-is-not-absolute/
And there are many more. The point is, as the West becomes increasingly secular – indeed, increasingly anti-Christian – the conflicts are going to escalate and the sifting of real deal Christians from the fake ones will ramp up significantly.
Some will stand for biblical truth and religious freedom while others will slavishly just go along with whatever the state says. I know where I will stand. And thankfully so do some others. Getting back to the case of the Canadian pastor, some Christian leaders have rallied to his support.
For example, consider this pastor who is shocked by the way things are heading. As one report puts it:
Pastor Henry Hildebrandt responded swiftly to the vicious arrest of Pastor Artur Pawlowski after he performed church services on Saturday. Pastor Art was forcibly removed from his car after mass and dragged down the highway. The arrest came in the wake of a viral video of Pastor Artur Pawlowski telling police officers to leave his church. As reported at RAIR Foundation USA, the Pastor escaped communist Poland and has been warning citizens about the encroaching return of the genocidal ideology in Canada.
“This is one of those days when you wonder ‘Am I going to wake up from this terrible dream or not’,” Pastor Henry said on a video posted on Facebook. “We see some gut-wrenching images coming in this afternoon from Calgary, Alberta of Pastor Art being arrested,” he continued.
As the state continues to wage war on the churches, Christians will need to decide where they stand. Will they remain faithful to the one true God, or will they become idolaters who worship at the altar of Big Brother statism? In the days ahead we will see this sheep and goat separation becoming more and more pronounced.
The Spirit Stamps God’s Image on Believers Romans 8:15–17; 2 Corinthians 1:21–22; 3:18; Ephesians 1:13–14
When God sets his seal on a man’s heart by his Spirit, there is some holy stamp, some image impressed, and left upon the heart by the Spirit, as by the seal upon the wax. And this holy stamp, or impressed image, exhibiting clear evidence to the conscience that the subject of it is the child of God, is the very thing which in Scripture is called the seal of the Spirit, and the witness or evidence of the Spirit. And this mark stamped by the Spirit on God’s children is his own image. That is the evidence by which they are known to be God’s children; they have the image of their Father stamped upon their hearts by the Spirit of adoption.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Believe What Agrees with the Bible Acts 17:11; Romans 15:4; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 2:9; 3:9
Whatsoever … the Church teaches you out of the canonical books of the Bible, believe that; but if they teach anything beside that (I mean, which is not agreeing with the same), believe neither that nor them: for then they are not the Church of Christ, but the synagogue of Satan and Antichrist.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
1:18 The hope of his calling refers to the assurance of eternal life guaranteed by the possession of the Holy Spirit. His glorious inheritance: Believers will inherit all of God’s blessings (vv. 3, 11, 14; Rm 8:32). The phrase could mean either God’s inheritance or ours, that is, either the inheritance God receives or the inheritance he bestows. The OT consistently taught that God’s people were his inheritance. Likewise, Paul’s words reflect such an understanding, pointing to what God will receive by being glorified in his saints.
1:18hope The Greek word used here, elpis, refers in this context to the fullness of salvation that believers will experience at Christ’s return (see Eph 1:14 and note). Paul highlights three blessings the believers can expect: hope for the future, God’s claim on them as His inheritance, and the great power of God Himself at work on their behalf.
among the saints Throughout the Bible, God sets apart people for Himself (Exod 5:1; Hos 1:10; Heb 8:10). Here, Paul again adopts language commonly used for Israel and applies it to Gentiles (see note on Eph 1:1, 4).
1:18 the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. A spiritually enlightened mind is the only means of truly understanding and appreciating the hope and inheritance in Christ and of living obediently for Him.
1:18 — … that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints .…
There is a big difference between having the blessings of God and enjoying them; we move from the former to the latter by learning what those blessings are and then laying hold of them by faith.
1:18 We have seen that the source of spiritual illumination is God; the channel is the Holy Spirit; and the supreme subject is the full knowledge of God. Now we come to the organs of enlightenment: the eyes of your hearts (NKJV margin6) being enlightened.
This figurative expression teaches us that proper understanding of divine realities is not dependent on our having keen intellects but rather tender hearts. It is a matter of the affections as well as of the mind. God’s revelations are given to those who love Him. This opens up wonderful possibilities for every believer, because though we may not all have high I.Q.’s, we can all have loving hearts.
Next Paul specifies the three particular areas of divine knowledge which he desires for the saints:
1. the hope of His calling
2. the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
3. the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe
The hope of His calling points forward to the future; it means that eventual destiny which He had in mind for us when He called us. It includes the fact that we shall be with Christ and like Him forever. We shall be manifested to the universe as sons of God and reign with Him as His spotless Bride. We hope for this, not in the sense that there is any doubt about it, but rather because it is that aspect of our salvation which is still future and to which we look forward.
The riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints is the second tremendous vastness for believers to explore. Notice the way in which Paul stacks words upon words in order to produce the effect of immensity and grandeur:
His inheritance in the saints
The glory of His inheritance in the saints
The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
There are two possible ways of understanding this, and both are so meaningful that we present both. According to the first, the saints are His inheritance, and He looks on them as a treasure of incomparable worth. In Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9, believers are described as “His own special people.” It is certainly an exhibition of unspeakable grace that vile, unworthy sinners, saved through Christ, could ever occupy such a place in the heart of God that He would speak of them as His inheritance.
The other view is that the inheritance means all that we will inherit. In brief, it means the whole universe put under the reign of Christ, and we, His Bride, reigning with Him over it. If we really appreciate the wealth of the glory of all He has in store for us, it will spoil us for the attractions and pleasures of this world.
1:18 “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened” This is a metaphor of the gospel bringing understanding to fallen humanity (cf. Acts 26:18; 2 Cor. 4:6). This has always been God’s will.
The term “calling” (kaleō) is used in several theological senses: (1) sinners are called by God through Christ to salvation; (2) sinners call on the name of the Lord to be saved; (3) believers are called on to live Christlike lives; and (4) believers are called to ministry tasks. The thrust of this text is #1.
18. (having) the eyes of your hearts illumined. In Scripture the heart is the fulcrum of feeling and faith as well as the mainspring of words and actions (Rom. 10:10; cf. Matt. 12:34; 15:19; 22:37; John 14:1). It is the core and center of man’s being, man’s inmost self. “Out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). “Man looks on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Now apart from the work of the Holy Spirit the eye of the heart is blind (Isa. 9:2; John 9:39–41; 1 Cor. 2:14–16). Men thus blinded need two things: the gospel and spiritual apperception. The latter is what is meant by eyes illumined or enlightened. See also on 5:8 for the meaning of light versus darkness. In order to bring about this illumination the Spirit causes men to be reborn. He removes their mists of ignorance, clouds of lust, selfish and jealous dispositions, etc., and imparts to them sorrow for sin and faith working through love. The spiritual eye is enlightened when the heart is purified. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). Paul continues: so that you may know what is the hope for which he called you. Paul knows that the best way to drive away old sinful tendencies is no longer to concentrate on them but rather on the blessings of salvation. The Ephesians had received the effectual call. The urgent invitation of the gospel (the external call) had been applied to their hearts by the Holy Spirit, producing the internal call. In the latter sense calling is referred to everywhere in the New Testament; cf. Rom. 11:29; 1 Cor. 1:26; 7:20; Eph. 4:1, 4 (in addition to the present 1:18); Phil. 3:14; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 3:1; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:10. Let those addressed then ponder how rich they are because of the hope for which God had called them (literally, “the hope of his calling”). This hope is firmly grounded in God’s infallible promises. It is the soul’s anchor, moored to the very throne of God; hence, to the very heart of Christ (Heb. 6:18–20). It is therefore a fervent yearning, confident expectation, and patient waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises, a full Christ-centered (cf. Col. 1:27) assurance that these promises will indeed be realized. It is a living and sanctifying force (1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 3:3). Paul continues: (so that you may know) what (is) the riches of the glory of his inheritance among the saints. “His” inheritance means the one given by him, just like “his” calling was the call issued and made effective by him. Paul is speaking about the glorious riches, the marvelous magnitude, of all the blessings of salvation, particularly those still to be bestowed in the great consummation of all things. See N.T.C. on Col. 1:12 (“the inheritance of the saints in the light”). These blessings are called an inheritance because they are the gift of God’s grace, and once received will never be taken away again (“I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers,” 1 Kings 21:4). See also above, on verse 14. The phrase “among the saints” (cf. Acts 20:32; 26:18) deserves special attention. When a believer’s hope is what it should be, he never looks forward to an inheritance just for himself. What will make the inheritance so glorious is exactly the fact that he will enjoy it together with “all who love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).
18. Such knowledge of God is described further, as often in both Old and New Testaments, as the enlightenment of men and women. The Old Testament gave hope for the future in terms of the coming of light into a world in darkness and as the opening of the eyes of the blind (e.g. Isa. 9:2; 35:5; 42:6; 49:6; 60:1–2, 19). When Christ came his presence was described as the dawning of a new day, the breaking in of the light of God (Matt. 4:16; Luke 1:79; John 1:9; 8:12; 2 Cor. 4:6). Apart from him, or in rejection of him, the eyes of people’s hearts are closed, and they are in the darkness of sin and ignorance and despair (5:8; cf. Matt. 13:15; Rom. 1:21); but those who receive him into their lives find their eyes … enlightened and made able to see (cf. Matt. 13:16–17; Acts 26:18; Heb. 6:4; 10:32). The verse speaks specifically of the eyes of your hearts and we need to remember that in biblical expression the heart is not simply the seat of the emotions, nor the seat of the intellect or ‘understanding’ (av), but as Masson puts it ‘the centre of the personality’, to which God speaks, ‘the inner man in his entirety’ (Barry). This is clear from the study of the use of the word in the Bible, but it is evident even here when we consider what the apostle now speaks of as the results of objects of this enlightenment of the heart.
The apostle prays that by the eyes of their heart being enlightened they may know three things. The first is what is the hope to which he has called you. The apostle can speak of ‘your call’ (4:4), but in the desire to emphasize again that what they have depends on God’s initiative, he speaks of it as ‘his calling’ (av). This calling can be spoken of as having taken place in the past—God has called men and women to himself (2 Tim. 1:9); or as continuing in the present (1 Thess. 2:12; 5:24) and so involving a life-long vocation of service and sanctification (4:1; Phil. 3:14; Heb. 3:1). But also, because it is the call of the eternal God, it brings to those without hope (2:12) the expectation of an eternal destiny. This hope, moreover, is not just ‘a vague and wistful longing for the triumph of goodness’, but it is something assured because of the present possession of the Spirit as ‘the guarantee’ (v. 14) and because of faithfulness of the God who has promised the future inheritance. The call of God, in other words, is effective not only in life now (cf. 1 Cor. 15:19) but it gives the sure promise of life with him as his people for ever, and this hope in its turn should vitally affect life for the Christian in the here and now (1 John 3:2–3).
Secondly, he prays that they may know what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. Some have taken this to mean what God possesses in his saints. They are ‘the Lord’s portion’ as verses 11 and 12 have shown. But the thought hardly fits the context here, nor is it in agreement with the more frequent use of the word inheritance in the New Testament (see v. 14; 5:5 and Col. 1:12). The preposition (en) here has the force of ‘among’ as is clear from the two close parallels to the expression of this verse in Acts 20:32 and 26:18. The fellowship of Christians is the sphere in which the inheritance of God is found, just as it is true also that it is in and through his church that the truth of God’s purpose becomes known and declared (3:9–11 and 18). As people are enlightened by the Spirit of God, who is himself ‘the guarantee’ of the inheritance (1:14), so increasingly they realize the riches of that inheritance (see on v. 7), and its glory, that is, its essential quality as life in God for ever. It is to be noted also that just as it was ‘his calling’ (av; not ‘yours’) of which the apostle spoke, so here it is his … inheritance, the inheritance from God the Father which Christians share with his Son Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17).
18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. The eyes of your heart is the rendering of the Vulgate, which is supported by some Greek manuscripts. The difference is immaterial, for the Hebrews frequently employ it to denote the rational powers of the soul, though more strictly, being the seat of the affections, it means the will or desire; but I have preferred the ordinary translation.
And what the riches. A comparison, suggested by its excellence, reminds us how unfit we are to receive this elevated knowledge; for the power of God is no small matter. This great power, he tells us, had been exerted, and in a very extraordinary manner, towards the Ephesians, who were thus laid under constant obligations to follow his calling. By thus extolling the grace of God toward themselves, he intended to check every tendency to despise or dislike the duties of the Christian life. But the splendid encomiums which he pronounces on faith convey to us also this instruction, that it is so admirable a work and gift of God, that no language can do justice to its excellence. Paul is not in the habit of throwing out hyperboles without discrimination; but when he comes to treat of a matter which lies so far beyond this world as faith does, he raises our minds to the admiration of heavenly power.
Ver. 18.—That having the eyes of your heart enlightened. “The eyes of your heart” is an unusual expression, but it denotes that to see things clearly there is needed, not merely lumen siccum, but lumen madidum (to borrow terms of Lord Bacon), not merely intellectual clearness, but moral susceptibility and warmth—a movement of the heart as well as the head (compare the opposite state, “blindness of the heart,” ch. 4:18). Ye may know what is the hope of his calling; the hope which he calls you to cherish. The glory which he invites you to look forward to, when Christ shall come again, how sure it is and how excellent! How infinitely it surpasses all earthly glory! How it at once ravishes and satisfies the heart! And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. If the saints form God’s heritage (see ver. 11), it may be asked—Where are the riches of God’s glory in them? But it is not necessary to take the ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις so literally. It may be rendered, “in reference to the saints.” The riches of the glory of his inheritance in reference to the saints is the riches of the glory of their privileges as the Lord’s heritage, or people; that is, their privileges are glorious. But this glory is not limp, limited—it is wonderfully rich, full, abundant. God gives liberally—gives as a King, gives glory to all Christ’s people. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4); “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them.” The difference between this glory and other glory is, human glory is often unjustly accorded, it passes away with wonderful quickness; but this glory is real and everlasting. “When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
1:18 / I pray should not be taken as a second request but as a continuation of the prayer that began in 1:17 (the Greek does not repeat the purpose clause): Enlightenment is the result of knowing God and his will more perfectly. Light and knowledge often are linked together in Scripture. Psalm 119:18, for example, is a form of a petition in which the author asks, “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things in your law.” In the nt, human beings are often depicted as living in darkness and needing the light of Christ or the light of the gospel to change their lives (cf. John 1:9; Acts 26:18; Eph. 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 John 1:7; 2:8ff.).
This illumination takes place—literally—in the eyes of your heart. In biblical language, the “heart” is a comprehensive term used for the entire inward self or personality of an individual, including intellect, will, and emotions (Matt. 5:8; Rom. 10:8–10). Being enlightened by the light of God’s truth affects one’s entire inward being.
One of the problems in the interpretation of this verse is the meaning of “enlightenment.” In the Greek, pephōtismenous is a perfect passive participle that denotes completed action, a present state that has resulted from past action. The tense of the verb here prohibits taking “enlightenment” in a progressive sense—that is, as becoming more and more enlightened. Such an observation leads to an obvious question: When has God acted upon the believer in such a way?
In the nt, the verb phōtizein (“to give light,” “to illuminate”) and the noun phōtismos (“enlightenment,” “illumination”) are used to express the results of spiritual encounter. Christ, for example, is the “true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (John 1:9). Second Corinthians 4:4 speaks of “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,” and 4:6 says that “God … made [past tense] his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” In 2 Timothy 1:10, the gospel is the means of bringing “life and immortality to light” (phōtisantos). Illumination, in other words, comes through the reception of the gospel.
On the basis of what has been said previously about the baptismal nature of Ephesians, is it possible that the author is thinking of baptism as the time when the believer was “enlightened”? It certainly is an appropriate term for baptism inasmuch as those who receive the light of God’s word are baptized and in their baptism are given the Holy Spirit and its gift of wisdom and understanding (1:17).
Hebrews and 1 Peter provide some interesting insights on this point. In 1 Peter, an epistle that many scholars associate with baptism, the writer speaks of believers as “a people belonging to God” whom God called “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (2:9; cf. Eph. 5:8 and the disc. of 5:8–14 as a baptismal liturgy). On two occasions, Hebrews uses “enlightenment” in the past tense: In 6:4 it occurs in the context of teaching about “baptism” (cf. 6:2) and leads the author to state, “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened [phōtisthentas], who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, … if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance.” In 10:32 he summons his readers to “remember those earlier days after you had received the light [phōtisthentas], when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.”
Although the nt speaks of enlightenment in ways unconnected with baptism, Hebrews 6:4 and 10:32, 1 Peter 2:9, and Ephesians 5:8–14 provide some textual evidence to indicate that a connection was made and that “enlightenment” in Ephesians 1:18 could refer to baptism. In the second and third centuries, enlightenment definitely became a technical term for this Christian rite.
The prayer for enlightenment leads to a number of specific requests: first, that the readers will know the hope to which God has called them. Hope, here, is not some subjective feeling or personal aspiration such as “I hope that” or “I hope for” (cf. 1:12). Rather, it is an objective element that belongs to the believer. Elsewhere in Scripture, it is a deposit in heaven (Col. 1:5), Christ in the Christian (Col. 1:27), something “offered to” the believer (Heb. 6:18), and the second Advent (Titus 2:13). In this context, the author prays that his readers will have wisdom, understanding, and enlightenment to know the full meaning of their call from God (cf. 4:4) and the assurance that their life in Christ and sealing with the Holy Spirit brings.
A second request is that they will know the riches of his glorious inheritance. One way to understand this phrase is to see it as a clarification of the hope to which God has called his people—that is, that hope consists of the inheritance that God has granted to the believer (cf. 1:14 and Col. 1:12, which must be in the writer’s mind). The Greek, however, indicates that this is God’s inheritance (tēs klēronomias autou) and not something that the saints receive, as in 1:14 and Colossians 1:12. As such, the apostle is thinking of the church as God’s people—God’s inheritance. The prayer would then be for a deeper understanding of what it means to be God’s possession. The focus is upon the “state” of the believers as God’s people rather than on the details of the blessings that that inheritance includes.
Human Reception (1:18a)
Praying for God to act is only half of the prayer needed for the spiritual nurture of God’s people. Leaders also must pray that human hearts would be receptive to God’s gifts. By praying this way, Paul recognizes the need of God’s sovereign intervention and petitions him to act in behalf of his people by opening the human heart to see divine truths. For the Ephesians, Paul graphically prays “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened” (Eph. 1:18a).
Once I had the privilege of hearing caring parents describe how they proceeded as a family when they learned that their young daughter was deaf. They said that at first they had no idea what to do or who could help. They felt the desperation of having a great need that they could not fix, without the slightest idea of how to go about helping their child. Then the Lord arranged for them to meet another family who had a similar child. That family directed them to various services provided by the state that were immensely helpful. The searching parents said the experience was like being asked to enter a room that you did not even know existed, and when you got inside the room you found out that there was an entire world unseen by most in society. In that world were very dedicated and expert people who were giving their lives to the care of such children. The world inside that room exists always, but you do not see it until you have such a need.
Paul knows that the spiritual needs of God’s people are profound. So he prays that the eyes of their heart may be opened so that they can see the world of provision that heaven has made available for their care. Paul uses the Old Testament language of “enlightenment” (cf. Pss. 13:3; 19:8) for the spiritual understanding that comes to the believer’s heart (2 Cor. 4:6) because the heart in Jewish thought was the seat of thoughts and emotions. Paul then specifically describes what the eyes of the Ephesians’ hearts will have the sight to “know” as they are opened to heaven’s provision: hope, inheritance, and power.
Paul prays that the Ephesians “may know the hope to which he [God] has called you.” We know what the hope is. As Paul has described the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the preceding passage, he has spelled out our hope: the world is the Lord’s and we are his forever. The universe is not random, and we are never abandoned. Our God is just and gracious, sovereign and saving. This was the Ephesians’ hope, and it is ours also.
You recognize the significance of that hope when you hear the voices of our world that do not have it. The pop lyrics of the spiritually seeking, but yet unseeing musical group Vertical Horizon speak of what it means to have run out of hope. Their song “Lines upon Your Face” laments, “Sometimes I wish that we all were immortal, and the game of life always had a happy end, but I know it’s not true.…” But it is true. The truth of the gospel is that we are immortal. Our time is eternal. And for those who put their faith in the eternal God who controls this world there is a happy ending—always, always!
There is an end of futility—the realization that the world is not senseless and that your sin is not endless in consequence or compulsion. There are a purpose to the world, pardon for sin, and power over it provided by God. God, who provides each of these, has called you as a Father calls a beloved child, out of darkness into his marvelous light. This is the hope that the apostle prays God’s people would see, and we should pray for the same.
Paul also prays that the Ephesians would know the riches of the spiritual inheritance God provides his children. Commentators debate whether “his glorious inheritance in the saints” is the inheritance that God provides to his people, or whether his people are being counted as his inheritance (Eph. 1:18c). I lean toward the latter; that is, understanding that God actually considers us his inheritance, his promised blessing to himself. It is glorious to think that as the Father is said to rejoice over us in other texts, here also he actually considers us to be the rich inheritance he provides himself. He wills us to himself since we are his treasured possession. There is strong exegetical support for this position in New Testament parallels speaking of an inheritance possessed by God (e.g., Eph. 1:11, 14; 5:5; Acts 7:5), and there are many examples of God’s inheritance constituting his own people in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms (e.g., Pss. 68:9–10; 74:2; 78:62, 71; 79:1; 94:5, 14; 106:5, 40).
Some commentators interpret Paul to be saying, instead, that God is providing heaven’s riches to us in our spiritual poverty. This would mean that all of the resources of heaven are our inheritance—his mercy, his providence, his provision, his promise, and eternal life—and are ours to claim because he is our Father. Further, this means that God provides us the treasures of heaven, whatever is needed, to fulfill his purposes in our lives. Thus, again, the riches of God are our sure inheritance, and as such we can leverage our estate against present trials and challenges, knowing that they are not greater than what God will provide for us. When we experience trials now, we need not despair. The Spirit gives us eyes to see beyond this world and into heaven itself to know of the provision that is surely ours. Therefore, when all this provision is taken into consideration, the message still remains that God treasures us—after all, if we are recipients of his inheritance, this means that we are God’s children.
F. F. Bruce speaks of the spiritual encouragement God grants by telling how much he treasures us:
That God should set such high value on a community of sinners, rescued from perdition and still bearing too many traces of their former state, might well seem incredible were it not made clear that he sees them in Christ, as from the beginning he chose them in Christ.… God’s estimate of the people of Christ, united to him by faith and partakers of his resurrection life, is inevitably consistent with his estimate of Christ. Paul prays here that his readers may appreciate the value which God places on them, his plan to accomplish his eternal purpose through them as the first fruits of the reconciled universe of the future, in order that their lives may be in keeping with this high calling and that they may accept in grateful humility the grace and glory thus lavished on them.
18 Paul goes on to pray that they may be given enlightened eyes—“the eyes of your heart” or, less literally, “spiritual eyesight.” He has used similar language in 2 Cor. 4:6, where the light-creating God is said to have shone in his people’s hearts so as to give “the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God (the glorious knowledge of God) in the face of Christ.” Here, as a corollary to the knowledge of God himself, prayer is made that they may understand his ways and his purpose, with special reference to his dealings with his people: the hope to which he has called them, the rich inheritance which he possesses in them, and the mighty power with which he energizes them.126
The hope to which he has called them is the hope of glory, confirmed to them here and now by the indwelling Christ (Col. 1:27) and the seal of the Spirit—“the first instalment which promises future payment in full.” The “hope of the glory of God” in which believers rejoice (Rom. 5:2) is the hope of sharing that glory—the hope of being manifested in glory with Christ at his appearing (Col. 3:4; cf. Rom. 8:17–30). This hope is expressed in different language later in the letter, where Christ at his parousia will “present to himself the church invested with glory, free from spot, wrinkle, or anything of the sort, but … holy and faultless” (Eph. 5:27).
“The glorious wealth of his inheritance in the saints” has been alluded to in v. 11, according to which believers have been “claimed by God as his portion” in Christ, and v. 14, where God will redeem his possession on the day of consummation. That God should set such high value on a community of sinners, rescued from perdition and still bearing too many traces of their former state, might well seem incredible were it not made clear that he sees them in Christ, as from the beginning he chose them in Christ. The supreme place in the love and purpose of God which Christ occupies is attested in Colossians and in this letter alike, as indeed in all the Pauline correspondence: God’s estimate of the people of Christ, united to him by faith and partakers of his resurrection life, is inevitably consistent with his estimate of Christ. Paul prays here that his readers may appreciate the value which God places on them, his plan to accomplish his eternal purpose through them as the first fruits of the reconciled universe of the future, in order that their lives may be in keeping with this high calling132 and that they may accept in grateful humility the grace and glory thus lavished on them.
18 Continuing the same theme, Paul changes the metaphor to capture another component of his prayers for his readers: he prays for the enlightenment of the “eyes of [their] heart.” This captures what Paul expects the Spirit of wisdom and revelation will achieve. Unbelievers live in ignorance with darkened understanding (4:18). How tragic if believers revert to living as unbelievers do (5:8)! “Heart” (kardia, GK 2840) refers to the seat of the physical, spiritual, or mental life (cf. BDAG, 508). It represents the hub of a person’s being, the foundation of understanding and will, the center of one’s personality (see other uses at 4:18; 6:5, 22). Paul prays that God would shine a light into the command center of their lives so they would have understanding. The use of the perfect tense of the participle “enlighten” shows that Paul prays not for a moment’s insight but that they live enlightened lives. The following clauses explain the threefold content of the enlightenment for which Paul prays. The clauses should be read as parallel to each other.
Paul first wants his readers to know what is “the hope to which he has called you.” Paul used the cognate “first to hope” in v. 12 as a synonym for salvation. Employing a similar sense in 4:4, Paul refers to the readers’ being “called to one hope when you were called.” Hope represents an important concept for Paul (Ro 5:2–5; 8:24–25; 15:4, 12–13; 2 Co 1:10; 3:12; Gal 5:5; Col 1:5, 23, 27). In biblical usage, “hope” (elpis, GK 1828) always conveys the sense of confident expectation of God’s presence and saving actions, even despite the adverse realities of the current situation. In our text Paul wants the readers to know that God called them to live in hope—the confident, not tentative, expectation of God’s presence, power, and victory. Their lives should reflect this hope. “Call” (kaleō, GK 2813) and its various cognates are rich Pauline terms that in virtually all uses connect in some way to salvation (see the important article by K. L. Schmidt, TDNT 3:487–536). Jesus made a distinction between the “called” and the “chosen”; only those who responded to God’s invitation (calling) receive salvation (Mt 22:14). But for Paul all the saved are “called,” an element in the chain that culminates in glorification (Ro 8:29–30). In the act of calling people, God names them as his own (Ro 9:24–26). And that new status enables a new manner of living—in hope. Though Paul does not specify the content of the hope, its use here depicts the tension in which believers live—between the already and the not yet. They live in confident hope that what they already have in Christ will be consummated on the day of fulfillment.
Second, Paul prays that they will know the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in or among the hagioi (“saints,” “holy ones”). This supplies some insight into the content of their hope: they are assured that they belong to God, paralleling the declaration in v. 11. In v. 14 Paul spoke of our inheritance. Believers possess an awesome inheritance in heaven, where already they now sit in Christ. Now Paul asserts the reverse: God has taken possession of them as his own glorious inheritance (as he redeems his possession; v. 14). God has placed a high value on his people, and they need to live with that assurance, despite their circumstances (Bruce, 270; O’Brien, 136).
Who are these “holy ones”? Paul may be speaking of believers—“saints” (v. 1 and frequently in Paul’s writings). An intriguing alternative reflects the uses of “holy ones” to describe angels (cf. Job 5:1; 15:15; Ps 89:5, 7; many Qumran and intertestamental texts; debatably 1 Th 3:13; 2 Th 1:7, 10; Eph 3:18). Taking this view, believers will be God’s inheritance among the angels, another way of speaking of heaven. Nothing definitively disqualifies this second option, though Paul’s and the other NT writers’ predominant uses of “holy ones” probably warrant that these be seen as believers. The NT has several references to believers’ inheritance among the “saints,” clearly referring to people (e.g., Ac 20:32; 26:18). And since the “holy ones” are God’s inheritance, most likely they are his people. The readers find assurance here that they participate in God’s company of saints.
understanding the greatness of god’s plan
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (1:18)
In most modern cultures, the heart is thought of as the seat of emotions and feelings. But most ancients—Hebrews, Greeks, and many others—considered the heart (Greek kardia) to be the center of knowledge, understanding, thinking, and wisdom. The New Testament also uses it in that way. The heart was considered to be the seat of the mind and will, and it could be taught what the brain could never know. Emotions and feelings were associated with the intestines, or bowels (Greek splanchnon; cf. Acts 1:18, where the term clearly refers to physical organs, with Col. 3:12; Philem. 7, 12, 20; and 1 John 3:17, where it refers to affections and feelings).
One cause of immaturity in the church at Corinth was reliance on feelings above knowledge. Many believers were more interested in doing what felt right than in doing what God declared to be right. Paul therefore told them, “Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart [kardia] is opened wide. You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections [splanchnon]. Now in a like exchange—I speak as to children—open wide to us also” (2 Cor. 6:11–13). The apostle said, in effect, “I can’t take God’s truth from my mind and give it to your minds, because your emotions get in the way.” Instead of their emotions being controlled by God’s truth, their emotions distorted their understanding of His truth.
Paul therefore prays for the minds of the Ephesians to be enlightened. Emotions have a significant place in the Christian life, but they are reliable only as they are guided and controlled by God’s truth—which we come to know and understand through our minds. That is why we are to “let the word of Christ richly dwell within [us]” (Col. 3:16). When the Holy Spirit works in the believer’s mind, He enriches it to understand divine truth that is deep and profound, and then relates that truth to life—including those aspects of life that involve our emotions.
While Jesus talked with the two disciples on the Emmaus road, their hearts (that is, their minds) burned within them; but it was not until “their eyes were opened [that] they recognized Him” (Luke 24:31–32). Before the Spirit enlightened them they had the information but not the understanding; what they knew was true, but they could not in the power of their own minds grasp the meaning and significance of it.
The first thing for which Paul prays is that believers be enlightened about the greatness of God’s plan. In the most comprehensive of terms, the apostle asks that they be given understanding of the hope of His calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. He prays for God to enlighten them about the magnificent truths of election, predestination, adoption, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom and insight, inheritance, and sealing and pledge of the Holy Spirit about which he has just been instructing them (vv. 3–14).
Those truths summarize God’s master plan for the redemption of mankind, His eternal plan to bring men back to Himself through His own Son, thereby making them His children. Now that they belonged to Christ by faith (v. 13), Paul’s supreme desire was for the Ephesian believers to fully realize what their new identity meant. “You were no afterthought of God,” he says. “God not only chose to save you, but He chose to save you eons before you existed, eons before you would have opportunity by His grace to choose Him. That is who you are!”
Until we comprehend who we truly are in Jesus Christ, it is impossible to live an obedient and fulfilling life. Only when we know who we really are can we live like who we are. Only when we come to understand how our lives are anchored in eternity can we have the right perspective and motivation for living in time. Only when we come to understand our heavenly citizenship can we live obedient and productive lives as godly citizens on earth.
It is God’s great plan that every believer one day “become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). That is the hope of His calling—the eternal destiny and glory of the believer fulfilled in the coming kingdom. The fullness of that hope will be experienced when we receive the supreme riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. It is truth too magnificent for words to describe, which is why even God’s own revelation requires the illumination of His Spirit in order for believers even to begin to understand the marvelous magnitude of the blessings of salvation that exist in the sphere of the saints.
Our being glorious children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ of all God possesses is the consummation and end of salvation promised from eternity past and held in hope until the future manifestation of Christ. There is nothing more to seek, nothing more to be given or received. We have it all now, and we will have it throughout eternity.
 Wallace, D. B. (2017). Perseverance of the Saints. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1872). 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 (Eph 1:18). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Wouldn’t it be great if it were easy to do God’s will?
But sometimes it seems as if a mountain stands between us and what we’ve been called to do. When Zerubbabel felt this way, the Lord sent His prophet Zechariah with a message of encouragement.
Zerubbabel was given the task of rebuilding the temple. When King Solomon built the first temple, the kingdom was at peace, the treasuries were overflowing, and the workforce was huge. But the situation was quite different when the Jews returned after 70 years of Babylonian captivity. They were few in number, their enemies kept attacking them, Jerusalem was in ruins, and resources were limited. Zechariah’s message to Zerubbabel (4:1-9) contains two principles that strengthened him and will also help us when we face insurmountable obstacles.
We are to face our God-given tasks in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in our own strength and energy (v. 6).
The Lord’s work can never be done with human strength. His indwelling Spirit must empower us with the wisdom and energy to accomplish His will in our lives.
When God calls us to a task, He assumes the responsibility for removing any hindrances (vv. 7-9).
What seems to us like Mt. Kilimanjaro is a mere anthill for the Lord. When we’re tempted to give up, it’s time to look up, see the obstacle through His eyes, and trust Him.
Is the Lord asking you to do something that seems impossible? Dwelling on your inadequacy leads to discouragement, but focusing on the Lord gives hope and the strength to persevere.
“But as for you, be strong and do not give up. . .” 2 Chronicles 15:7
Hopelessness. Its flag has been flying at full mast for some time, whipped to and fro by life’s merciless winds. Many believe that God has ceased to care, left the building, stepped off his throne. Has our Sovereign Lord self-isolated?
In the aftermath of World War II, Viktor Frankl, a trained physician, was tasked with seeing and speaking to concentration camp prisoners, being one himself, along with his wife and parents. His observations and conversations revealed an astute awareness of hope within the deepest reaches of his patients.
Against all odds, those with a future hope of experiencing freedom or seeing their children were capable of surviving the ghastly conditions of the Auschwitz prison and tasted liberty at the hands of rescuers when the war ceased.
It was hope that fueled their survival, empowering them to rise above despairing circumstances and embrace deliverance. No matter how faint the hope, its power superseded all that seemed grim.
So, in answer to my question? No. God’s not self-quarantining. He’s in the room holding you and lamenting your agonizing situation. He is more present than he’s ever been. He stokes hope in you amidst your hopelessness.
As believers in Christ, our hope may be diminished by the world’s state, but it’s never gone. For our source of all hope and power is found in the Father, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. When faith appears to fail, they never do. Keep your eyes on them, do not give up, and share the hope you know with those around you.
Heavenly Father, you are my greatest hope. It is because of you, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that resides within me, that I can face any daunting situation happening in the world or in my life. Thank you. Give me the courage to share my hope with others each day. It is in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Rejoice often in the eternal and abiding hope that finds its source in your relationship with God.
Devout Conversation Aids Spiritual Progress Proverbs 12:18; 15:2; 18:21; James 3:5–9
Bad habits and indifference to spiritual progress do much to remove the guard from the tongue. Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a great aid to spiritual progress, especially when persons of the same mind and spirit associate together in God.
THOMAS À KEMPIS
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
God Healed the Breach 2 Chronicles 24:19; Jeremiah 35:15; Matthew 5:21–26; 21:33–44; Luke 12:58–59; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18–21
Between us and God we had caused a breach by our sins—and God was the first to apply the remedy. He sends to us His ambassadors to call us, the offenders, back to peace. Let us blush, then, for our pride, and let it cause us shame to think we are unwilling to make amends to our neighbor, seeing that God Himself, whom we offended, has come forward in the person of His messengers to ask us to be reconciled to Him.
HUGH OF ST. VICTOR
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Today is Ascension Day as we remember and celebrate the triumphal ascension into heaven of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:1-12). He is seated at the Father’s right hand and He is continuing to minister to us as our intercessor, friend, and deliverer! The joy we have, in this time of earthly absence, arises from the knowledge of what wondrous things the LORD has done for us! Jesus, the Lamb of God, has made full atonement for our sins and is now seated as our High Priest Who has offered the sacrifice for sins, so that He might secure a righteous peace for His Church to enjoy through all eternity.
Ascension Day also served as a beginning of the final part of Jesus’ heavenly ministry of bringing all things to their fullest end. His Word goes out to the ends of the earth in these last days.
What is the consequence of His ascension? The declaration of Psalm 2:10 is clear: “O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of this earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Daniel’s response of thanksgiving to God in verses 20-23 echoes the Psalmist’s declaration of coming judgment against the kings by means of the stone described in the vision Nebuchadnezzar received.
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven, to His feet your tribute bring! Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who, like me, His praise should sing? Praise the everlasting King!
Suggestions for prayer
Praise our Ascended Saviour Who ever lives and makes intercession for us!
Pray for patience and readiness of heart as we await His Second Coming!
Rev. Norman Van Eeden Petersman is the pastor of the Vancouver Associated Presbyterian Church and he is the husband of Rosanna and father of Elliott. Prior to being ordained in the Associated Presbyterian Church, he was the pastor of Adoration United Reformed Church in Ontario. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
Bennett to Al-Jazeera: ‘We’ll hunt down every Hamas commander, every post, until we win’ “If Hamas thinks they can get away with this, they’re wrong. We’ll hunt down every commander, every post, until we win.” When asked about the 53 people who died in Gaza due to Israeli airstrikes, Bennett clarified: “Indeed Hamas killed them. Because when you hide your rockets behind women and children, you are effectively murdering your own people.”
Iranian man sets himself on fire while burning Israeli flag Last week an Iranian man set fire to an Israeli flag only to be caught in its flames moments later. Masih Alinejad, who describes herself as an Iranian journalist and activist, tweeted video of the flag-burning incident. She said, “Authorities in the Islamic Republic attempted to burn the Israeli flag, as they usually do. But this time, karma got them and they ended up burning themselves. Meanwhile unlike the regime, ordinary Iranians increasingly refuse to burn or walk on Israeli and American flags.”
Incredible video: Christian pastor dragged to jail for ‘inciting’ people to go to church Police in Calgary, Alberta, used newly given powers on Saturday to arrest two street preachers who did not require anyone to wear masks to attend their services. Artur and Dawid Pawlowski face charges of organizing an illegal in-person gathering, inciting or inviting others to attend an illegal gathering, as well as promoting and attending the gathering, according to CBC. For those asking me about for updates on Canadian pastor Artur Pawlowski who was on my show and dared to open up his church for worship, he’s just been put on his knees and handcuffed for it. An inch away. You’re an inch away from this coming to America. Plan accordingly. https://t.co/AW6cjhnEpk
Beth Moore Contradicts Scripture, Says We’re Born With a Drive to Seek God In a stunning display of theological ignorance, Beth Moore makes a strange comparison of man to search engines. Comparing Adam to the creation of the “very first search engine,” Moore asserts that people are “born with a drive to seek out the things that are of God.” What Beth Moore fails to acknowledge, though, is that we are not born with a drive to seek out the things of God. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. We are born in a state of rebellion against God, with a sin nature. Romans 3:11 says “no one understands; no one seeks for God.”
Hezbollah and its Masters in Tehran Bring Darkness to Lebanon Beirut used to be known as the Paris of the Middle East—the Arab world’s center of culture, art and learning, with bars and cafes a la mode. So there is irony as well as tragedy in the likelihood that Beirut will soon be plunged into darkness. Denizens of the city are already accustomed to daily three-hour power cuts. Beyond the capital, outages last longer. The reason: Lebanon lacks sufficient foreign exchange to pay for the fuel imports necessary for electricity generation.
Israel assassinates top Gaza terror masterminds On Tuesday, the IDF announced Tuesday that they had succeeded in killing three leaders in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad military wing and one in the Hamas military wing. A Hamas source said: “Hamas has suffered a severe blow in the assassination of senior members.”
Marco Rubio is Taking UFOs Seriously and He Thinks You Should Too “Dozens of men and women we have entrusted with the defense of our country are telling us about encounters with unidentified aircraft with capabilities we do not fully understand,” Rubio said in exclusive comments ahead of a 60 Minutes interview that will air this weekend. “We cannot allow the stigma of UFO’s to keep us from seriously investigating these encounters.”
Sleeping Giant: Campi Flegrei Supervolcano in Italy More Dangerous Than Yellowstone According to some experts, the proximity to urban areas is what has made the Campi Flegrei caldera more dangerous than Yellowstone’s (although the impact on the local ecosystem should still be a cause for concern). For now, researchers agree that there are signs of a buildup happening. But when this may culminate in any serious eruption is still not known.
Don’t bet against the Word of God There are a lot of people betting against the Word of God. I advise against it. What am I talking about? For starters, it’s been a couple years since the Bible was officially banned for sale to 1.4 billion people in China. Did you realize that? Maybe you never even heard the news about the day Amazon and other online retailers complied with demands by China to stop selling Bibles. It was in the New York Times – and they got it mostly right. I could not find it in the Washington Post, the paper owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Understandable. I mean, when was the last time you saw a newspaper report its owner’s involvement in a religious book-burning issue.
Leaked audit numbers show trump carried arizona by over a million votes-why is nobody doing anything? America needs to hear this. The audit in Maricopa County is the last chance for America to stop the Biden team of communists from completing their destruction of America while setting up the country to lose World War III. America is not paying attention to the audit and there is nothing more important right now. If Arizona were to be flipped for Trump, the dominoes would begin to topple and many other swing states would move in Trump’s direction. This is particularly true if jaiL time was attached to corrupt election officials.
Covid Vaccine Magnet Challenge Covid Vaccine Magnet Challenge has started circulating around the web. People who have taken the covid jab are reportedly seeing magnets stick to the Covid Vaccine injection site. Are tracking microchips being injected into people via the “Covid Vaccine?” WHY ARE MAGNETS STICKING to Covid Vaccine Injection sites on the skin? Magnets stick to metal and microchips are made of metal.
As more of the Covid narrative unravels, the CDC has announced that the shots are not approved for young children. Meanwhile the Association of American Surgeons and Physicians has issued an urgent letter to US universities urging them to abandon any “vaccine passport” scheme. Also today: when does former CDC Director Scott Gottlieb think indoor mask mandates should be ended? You might be surprised…
On Newswatch AM May 13th: Hamas launches more attacks on Israel, as fighting also breaks out in Israeli towns – and what led to the fighting with Hamas? New York Representative Elise Stefanik set to take the place of Liz Cheney among House … …
“Crime is soaring. Racial tensions are at an all-time high. Hate crimes of tribe against tribe spike. Racial demagogues predominate. Meritocracy vanishes. Tribal solidarity replaces it. And the ancient idea of America unwinds.”
(Victor Davis Hanson – American Greatness) Biden Mocks Ancient Wisdom – Human nature stays the same across time and space. That is why there used to be predictable political, economic, and social behavior that all countries understood.
The supply of money governs inflation. Print it without either greater productivity or more goods and services, and the currency cheapens. Yet America apparently rejects that primordial truism.
The United States has borrowed about $29 trillion in debt—about 130 percent of its annual gross domestic product. The government will run up a $2.3 trillion annual budget deficit in 2021—after a $3.1 trillion deficit the year before.
The Biden Administration still wants to borrow more—another $2 trillion in new social programs and “infrastructure.”
In the crazy last 100 days, the price of everything from lumber, food, and gas to cars and houses has soared. Yet many interest rates are still stuck at or below three percent.
Jobs are plentiful; workers are not. Is that a surprise when government cash handouts discourage the unemployed from taking a pay cut to go back to work? View article →
“What is the matter with the world?” Martyn Lloyd-Jones asked. “Why . . . war and all this unhappiness and turmoil and discord amongst men? . . . There is only one answer to these questions—sin. Nothing else; it is just sin.”
Addiction provides a picture of all sin patterns. At first, the happiness it causes seems to outweigh the misery. But eventually the periods of misery increase while the periods of happiness fade. This is called the law of diminishing returns. Life is promised; death is delivered. Every drug, alcohol, and pornography addict is living proof that the next high is less satisfying than the last.
If insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, sin not only leads to insanity—it is insanity. Regardless of your drug of choice—materialism, cocaine, pornography, power, anger, slander—the nature of any sin is saying, “This time will be different.” Yet it just keeps killing us—in the name of happiness.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones shares these helpful definitions of sin, and why we must avoid it, in his book Life in Christ in 1 John:
What is sin?
When we disobey God’s holy Law, his revealed will.
Sin is whatever is condemned in Scripture—‘Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not commit adultery…’ We have sins of ‘commission’ and sins of ‘omission’—in other words, it’s just as bad to do what you shouldn’t do as to not do what you ought to do.
Sin is violating your conscience—going against your conscience (Romans 14). If we are doubtful about a thing, we ought not do it (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Sin is being governed by our desires and not by truth.
Why must we not sin?
Sin is condemned and hated by God. It goes contrary to the very nature of God.
Sin is ugly and destructive by its very nature. It’s wrong in and of itself. Just look at what sin produces.
Sin is the terrible and foul thing that caused our Savior to die. The problem of sin is what brought the Son of God to earth to die. Why would we desire that which cause the Savior so much pain and grief???
Sin is dishonorable to the gospel and its claims. We claim to believe the gospel and have victory over sin but then don’t walk in patterns of victory. There’s no point in saying you want to walk with God and deliberately sin. In other words, we say we want to fellowship with God and then break that fellowship with deliberate sin. Sin is inconsistent with our profession to hate sin.
Sin leads to an evil conscience. We suffer guilt and condemnation for sin.
Sin robs you of joy. You should avoid sin at all costs because you know what it does to you.
Sin leads to doubts about your salvation.
Sin hinders prayer. It’s impossible to pray as we ought to when we are holding onto sin.
Sin leads to a sense of utter hopelessness.
First John 3:21 says, “If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” Without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit (see John 16:8), there’s no hope for any of us to turn to God—and without repentance and forgiveness, there’s no restoration to relationship with our joyful God.
Though those of us who have accepted Christ are forgiven of our past sins, including some we don’t remember, we are called upon to confess our sins as we become aware of them: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
It may seem confusing that we must continue to confess recent sins in order to experience new and fresh forgiveness. But while we have a settled once-and-for-all forgiveness in Christ, we also have a current ongoing relationship with Him that is hampered by unconfessed sin.
Charles Spurgeon said, “It does not spoil your happiness . . . to confess your sin. The unhappiness is in not making the confession.”
While true conversion begins with admitting we’re wrong, it doesn’t end there. It involves repentance. Repentance is more than reciting well-calculated words with a view toward minimizing our losses. Repentance, when it is genuine, is in fact not accompanied by calculation at all. It is utterly vulnerable, and demonstrates this by a radical change in behavior, a new humility, and a willingness to accept God’s discipline.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). Sin requires a radical solution—salvation in Christ, which transforms our nature and dramatically affects our capacity to embrace greater happiness in God. Our justification by faith in Christ satisfies the demands of God’s holiness by exchanging our sins for Christ’s righteousness (see Romans 3:21-26).
God grants believers new natures that free us from sin’s bondage. Now we can draw upon God’s power to overcome evil. Because our hearts are changed when we become new people in Christ, we want a better way. “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9).
Once believers are born again, we cannot continue to sin as a lifestyle because of our new natures (see 1 John 3:9). Sin is still present in our lives (see Romans 6:11-14; 1 John 1:8–2:2), but we have supernatural power to overcome it since we’ve died to sin (see Romans 6:6-9). God’s Holy Spirit indwells us and helps us obey Him (see 2 Timothy 1:14).
The result? With the Holy Spirit’s help, we’re free to reject sin and its misery, and embrace righteousness, with its true and lasting happiness.
He was one of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force. He was privileged to ultimately command these elite warriors in combat operations. Later, William Boykin commanded all the Army’s Green Berets as well as the Special Warfare Center and School. Lt. Gen. Boykin spent 36 years in the army, serving his last four years as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He is an ordained minister with a passion for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encouraging Christians to become warriors in God’s Kingdom.
William and his wife Ashley enjoy spending time with their five children and growing number of grandchildren.
We discuss the attack on masculinity today, Marxism in American culture and in the U.S. Military, religious persecution, Biden administration policies weakening the nation, the need for bold Christian pastors and the role of the church in these troubled times.
Masculinity in America has never been under attack the way it is today. We have reached the point where the term itself is considered toxic or offensive to many. American men are conflicted as to what their role is in society. The consistent message that has proliferated in our nation is that masculinity, by nature, is bad and is the root cause of many of the problems plaguing our society. Everything from racism to pedophilia has been blamed on “toxic masculinity.”
If men take up biblical mandates ordained by their Creator—no matter their color, nationality, station, upbringing, or education—a new vision can be cast and executed that will restore a civil and prosperous America for all.
Probably the biggest misconception that I encounter when defending the faith is the mistaken notion of what faith is. Today we are going to get to the bottom of what the Bible says faith is, once and for all. This post will be useful to Christians and atheists, alike.
Koukl cites three Biblical examples to support the idea that faith is not blind leap-of-faith wishing, but is based on evidence.
Moses went out into the wilderness and he had that first encounter with the burning bush, and God gave him the directive to go back to Egypt and let his people go. Moses said, Yeah, right. What’s going to happen when they say, why should we believe you, Moses?God said, See…