Hear God’s Voice And Listen When He Speaks

VERSE OF THE DAY

Proverbs 19:20-21 (New Living Translation)

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Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Listen to advice and accept discipline; then you, too, will become wise. People might make many plans, but what the Lord says is what will happen.

Listen and hear God speak accepting to his law and then you will grow wise in his knowledge even in discipline people may make plans but everything falls in to God’s plans for he knows the plans he has for you

Proverbs 19:21 Meaning of Many Are the Plans in a Man’s Heart

May 20, 2020 by Editor in Chief

Proverbs 19:21
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Explanation and Commentary of Proverbs 19:21

God is sovereign and rules the universe, which he created for his own good purposes and his own glory. He has made man in his image and delegated authority to him to rule the earth and subdue it in the name of the Lord (Gen 1:26-28). If the world had not fallen when the first man rebelled, then “the plans in a person’s heart,” and the purposes of the Lord would be in perfect alignment.

But the world is fallen, and even Christians have the treasure of the Holy Spirit and a regenerated heart housed in a “jars of clay” (2 Cor 4:7), the flesh. Because of this, even Christians must submit their plans to God and trust him for direction. James 4:13-14 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow…” James goes on to say that we should say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (15).

It is not wrong to plan, but to be open to God correcting your course is the way to go about it. While it is right to make plans as one who has been empowered for decision-making, we must remember that God is ultimately in charge and may change our course whenever he sees fit. In this way, we can live a wonderful life of working hard and doing the right things as we see what those things are, but then trusting him for all the outcomes.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 19:21

#1 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart,”
People make plans for various reasons and with all kinds of motives. Try as we might to hear the voice of God for the present and even the future, sometimes our egos, lusts, or pride can cause us to start a course for a destination God is not leading us to. As fallen humans in a world ruled by satan, we are motivated by evil much of the time. Pride, envy, greed, lust, and the pursuit of all sorts of idols makes the world go round in the dominion of darkness.

#2 “but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
How good it is that even though the most mature Christians can follow false plans, God will ultimately get his way. This should be a great source of comfort to anyone who ultimately wants to see God have his way in their life. Even when the heart bears a deceptive false motive, the Holy Spirit in the Christian will long to see the person obey God. If you have plans, good, but always hold them out to God with an open hand.

Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:20-21

Related Topics: Purpose, Plans, Lord, Heart, Listening, Wisdom, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

“Man proposes, heaven disposes.” Most of us rush to give advice and make grandiose plans. The Wiseman reminds us that wisdom comes from submitting to instruction for a significant period of time and then, only at the end of long listening does it come. If you are like me, you would do much better to let your plans ripen a bit more in the light of the Lord before you launch into them. I am comforted that James, the wisdom writer of the New Testament, reminds us that God will give that wisdom if we seek it and not doubt. But while we pray for wisdom, let’s pray also for patience to listen to the Lord’s truth in Scripture so we may recognize wisdom when it comes!

My Prayer…

Almighty God, teach me your ways and help me discern your paths for my life. I have so many plans and schemes, but I know if they are not from you, they will not stand. Lead me to your wisdom and I will not only seek to know it, but also seek to live it by the power supplied by your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

David Guzik

On August 7, 2017, 7:20 pm

Proverbs 19

Proverbs 19 – Fools and Family Life

Proverbs 19:1

Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

a. Better is the poor who walks in his integrity: Previous proverbs have been critical of the poor, but here Solomon recognized that not all poverty is caused by moral failure or weakness. There are definitely poor people who walk in their integrity.

i. “Often men put under their feet those whom God carries in his heart. Man honors the perverse for their riches and despises the poor because of their poverty.” (Bridges)

b. Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool: The Book of Proverbs is honest about the disadvantages of poverty. Yet it also recognizes that being poor is in no way the worst thing a person can be. It is far worse to be a fool who speaks twisted, perverse things.

i. “Once again a proverb correlates poverty with piety and wealth with impiety. The poor may be miserable for the moment, but the unethical rich are miserable for eternity. Thus the proverb teaches the pilgrim to walk by faith, not by sight.” (Waltke)

Proverbs 19:2

Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,
And he sins who hastens with his feet.

a. It is not good for a soul to be without knowledge: When a person (a soul) has no wisdom (is without knowledge), it is never good. It may be common, but it is not good.

b. And he who sins hastens with his feet: Solomon listed a second thing that was not good – the one who rushes toward sin (hastens with his feet). On this side of eternity, we will also struggle with sin, but we don’t have to run towards it. We should be those who battle against sin, not run towards it.

Proverbs 19:3

The foolishness of a man twists his way,
And his heart frets against the LORD.

a. The foolishness of a man twists his way: it is true that a fool is foolish because they are twisted, crooked. Yet it also true that the foolish man finds his way more and more twisted. Foolishness leads to more twistedness.

b. His heart frets against the LORD: God intended us to be at peace with Him, but because of rebellion (both inherited and chosen), we are in many ways against the LORD. The foolish man or woman has no peace in God; their heart frets against the LORD. They are angry and perhaps bitter against God for their twisted way.

i. “Fools will try to blame God when they ruin their lives…The fool is not willing to accept failure as his own. Of course, to blame God is also folly.” (Ross)

ii. “Such is the pride and blasphemy of a proud spirit. The criminal blames the judge for his righteous sentence.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 19:4

Wealth makes many friends,
But the poor is separated from his friend.

a. Wealth makes many friends: When a person is wealthy, it draws many people to them in friendship. Yet these friendships may not be sincere or meaningful.

i. “Although a crowd, each one forms the friendship out of what he can gain, not for what he can give. The proverb anticipates the Lord’s teaching to use of money to win friends and an eternal reward in the kingdom of God (Luke 18:1-9).” (Waltke)

b. The poor is separated from his friend: The wealthy man has advantages and draws many friends, but the poor man does not have these advantages. Their would-be friends find it easy to separate from them.

Proverbs 19:5

A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who speaks lies will not escape.

a. A false witness will not go unpunished: The first idea in this proverb is probably that of the law court, and in the court, it is essential that the false witness be punished. Justice depends upon it. This principle extends beyond the court of law into our daily life. God loves the truth and wants us to speak the truth.

b. He who speaks lies will not escape: Among men, sometimes the falsewitness and liars escape the discovery and penalty of their sin. With God, he who speaks lies will not escape. Jesus said our every word would be held to account (Matthew 12:36).

i. “This is a statement made in faith, for perjurers may escape human justice. Even the stern law of Deuteronomy 19:18-21 availed nothing for Naboth—or for Jesus.” (Kidner)

Proverbs 19:6

Many entreat the favor of the nobility,
And every man is a friend to one who gives gifts.

a. Many entreat the favor of the nobility: When someone is of high status and importance (of the nobility), many people want their favor. There are advantages in having the favor of influential people.

b. Every man is a friend to the one who gives gifts: Many people who offer friendship do so out of selfish motives. They want the benefit of the favor of the nobility and the gifts that others may offer.

Proverbs 19:7

All the brothers of the poor hate him;
How much more do his friends go far from him!
He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him.

a. All the brothers of the poor hate him: To be poor is often to be rejected by men, even by brothers and friends. What a contrast to Jesus, who Himself became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9) to draw near to us in our poverty and need.

b. He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him: By nature, people run from the poor person, even when he tries to persuade and pursue them with words. In contrast, God pursues the poor and needy.

Proverbs 19:8

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.

a. He who gets wisdom loves his own soul: The possession and pursuit of wisdom is so good and helpful to us that we can and should get wisdom simply out of self-interest. In so doing we love our own soul, our own life.

i. Loves his own soul:“Or loveth himself, because he procures great good to his soul, or to himself, as it follows; as sinners, on the contrary, are said to hate their souls, Proverbs 29:24, because they bring mischief upon them.” (Poole)

b. He who keeps understanding will find good: Wisdom isn’t just something to get; it is also something to keep. We find good when we keep understanding.

Proverbs 19:9

A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who speaks lies shall perish.

a. A false witness will not go unpunished: The words and sense of this proverb were previously presented in Proverbs 19:5. The repetition reminds us that this is an important principle. In the law court and in daily life, God wants us to be people of the truth and so He promised that a false witness will not go unpunished.

b. He who speaks lies shall perish: This speaks to the certainty of God’s justice towards those who lie. Revelation 21:8 warns that liars are among those who will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Proverbs 19:10

Luxury is not fitting for a fool,
Much less for a servant to rule over princes.

a. Luxury is not fitting for a fool: The sense is that there are some wisdom-rejecting fools who enjoy luxury, but it doesn’t seem right. It isn’t fitting for a fool to live in luxury.

b. Much less for a servant to rule over princes: Solomon spoke according to the wisdom of the natural man, which places great trust in nobility and family lineage. This is one of the proverbs that the gospel and the new covenant turn on its head, where those who would be great should be as servants and not as princes (Matthew 20:26 and 23:11).

i. “The slave, who is incompetent both by disposition and training, will be drunk from the feeling of power and his rulership will develop into unbearable despotism. The consequences for the community are only incompetence, mismanagement, abuse of power, corruption, injustice; in brief, social chaos (cf. Ecclesiastes 10:5-7).” (Waltke)

ii. “The slave has the same rational power as his sovereign. But lesser habits of mind make him unfit to rule. There are, however, exceptions to this, as in the case of Joseph.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 19:11

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger,
And his glory is to overlook a transgression.

a. The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger: It isn’t necessarily weakness or lack of courage that makes a man slow to anger. It may be wisdom, here described as discretion.

b. His glory is to overlook a transgression: A wise man or woman knows that they have been forgiven much, and this shapes how they deal with others. They don’t act as if they must hold everyone accountable for every transgression but know when to overlook a transgression.

i. “The virtue which is indicated here is more than a forgiving temper; it includes also the ability to shrug off insults and the absence of a brooding hypersensitivity.” (McKane, cited in Ross)

ii. “The manlier any man is, the milder and readier to pass by an offence. This shows that he hath much of God in him (if he do it from a right principle), who bears with our evil manners, and forgives our trespasses, beseeching us to be reconciled.” (Trapp)

Proverbs 19:12

The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
But his favor is like dew on the grass.

a. The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion: The roar of a lion is terrifying in itself, even without the understanding that destruction will swiftly follow. The same is true for the wrath of a king or any other influential person. It is much truer regarding the wrath of God or the wrath of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).

i. “Hebrew, Of a young lion, which, being in his prime, roars more terribly; sets up his roar with such a force that he amazeth the other creatures whom he hunteth, so that, though far swifter of foot than the lion, they have no power to fly from him.” (Trapp)

ii. “There is nothing more dreadful than the roaring of this tyrant of the forest. At the sound of it all other animals tremble, flee away, and hide themselves. The king who is above law, and rules without law, and whose will is his own law, is like the lion.” (Clarke)

b. His favor is like the dew on the grass: This means the king’s favor is refreshing and life-giving; it also means that it is fleeting, as the dew on the grass. The favor of God is certainly refreshing and life-giving, but it is not fleeting, as if God were an impossible-to-please tyrant.

i. “Dew, which in the climatic conditions of Palestine was essential to the survival of vegetation in the hot, dry summer, is a gift from God.” (Waltke)

ii. “This proverb would advise the king’s subjects to use tact and the king to cultivate kindness.” (Ross)

Proverbs 19:13

A foolish son is the ruin of his father,
And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.

a. A foolish son is the ruin of his father: It is grieving to any parent to have a foolish son or daughter. This may run from grief to ruin as the grief destroys the father’s health and life, or as the father ruins himself to rescue the foolish son.

b. The contentions of a wife are a continual dripping: This proverb of sympathy for a man’s problems as a father now looks at a man’s potential problem as a husband. A wife who often contends (fights, argues) with her husband is like a continual dripping in at least three ways.

· It is an always-present annoyance and trouble.

· It wastes and destroys, eroding good and valuable things.

· It points to some underlying, more basic problem.

i. “The man who has got such a wife is like a tenant who has got a cottage with a bad roof, through every part of which the rain either drops or pours. He can neither sit, stand, work, nor sleep, without being exposed to these droppings. God help the man who is in such a case, with house or wife!” (Clarke)

ii. “Like as a man that hath met with hard usage abroad thinks to mend himself at home, but is no sooner sat down there but the rain, dropping through the roof upon his head, drives him out of doors again. Such is the case of him that hath a contentious wife – a far greater cross than that of ungracious children, which yet are the father’s calamities and heart breaks.” (Trapp)

iii. “Delitzsch passes on an Arab proverb told him…‘Three things make a house intolerable: tak (the leaking through of rain), nak (a wife’s nagging) and bak (bugs).’” (Kidner)

Proverbs 19:14

Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the LORD.

a. Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers: There are good things a man may receive as an inheritance, including material things such as houses and riches. A man is blessed to have such things.

b. A prudent wife is from the LORD: A gift beyond the inheritance one may receive from fathers is this gift from God – a prudent wife. A wife of wisdom, self-control, and appropriate living is a greater gift than houses and riches. A wife who is not prudent may waste whatever wealth a man has. Every man with a prudent, wise wife should give thanks to the LORD.

i. From the LORD: “Nature makes a woman, election a wife; but to be prudent, wise, and virtuous is of the Lord. A good wife was one of the first real and royal gifts bestowed on Adam.” (Trapp)

ii. “Thus the proverb instructs the disciple to look to God (Proverbs 15:8, 29; 16:3; cf. Genesis 24:14) and find his favor through wisdom to obtain from him a competent wife (Proverbs 8:35; 18:22)…. As a result, when a man has a competent wife, he praises God, not himself.” (Waltke)

iii. “The verse does not answer questions about unhappy marriages or bad wives; rather, it simply affirms that when a marriage turns out well, one should credit God.” (Ross)

Proverbs 19:15

Laziness casts one into a deep sleep,
And an idle person will suffer hunger.

a. Laziness casts one into a deep sleep: There are many problems with laziness, and one of them is that it leads to more laziness, sending the lazy man into a deep sleep. There is no work to be done from a deep sleep.

i. “Laziness plunges him into a state of being so deep in sleep that he is totally unconscious of his situation. Unaware of his tragic situation and unable to arouse himself, the sluggard neglects his source of income and so hungers. His fate is similar to that of drunkards and the gluttons (Proverbs 23:21).” (Waltke)

b. An idle person will suffer hunger: There is a great price to be paid from laziness, one of those prices is the hunger one suffers as one’s needs are not met through hard work. The lazy man or woman puts themselves in a trap of sleep and hunger.

Proverbs 19:16

He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul,
But he who is careless of his ways will die.

a. He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul: Obedience to the word and commandment of God is of real, practical benefit. Obedience guards and keeps the life, the soul of the wise man or woman who lives according to God’s word.

b. He who is careless of his ways will die: To abandon wisdom and live careless in our ways is to invite death. God gave His commandment to give us life and to keep us from death.

Proverbs 19:17

He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD,
And He will pay back what he has given.

a. He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD: When we give to the poor (expressing our love and pity towards them), we aren’t wasting our money. It is like lending money to the LORD Himself.

i. “Their just and gracious Creator takes it upon himself to assume their indebtedness and so he will repay the lender in full.” (Waltke)

b. He will pay back what he has given: God will never be in debt to any man. He will never be in a position where He owes anything as a matter of debt. Therefore, to lend to the LORD is to ensure blessing in return. God will certainly pay back what we give in compassion to the poor. God promises that we will never be the loser for generous and compassionate giving.

i. “God will never be in your debt. He is exact and punctilious in His repayment. No man ever dared to do His bidding in respect to any case of need, and found himself the poorer…. Was not Ruth’s love to Naomi well compensated?” (Meyer)

ii. “O what a word is this! God makes himself debtor for every thing that is given to the poor! Who would not advance much upon such credit? God will pay it again. And in no case has he ever forfeited his word.” (Clarke)

iii. “This promise of reward does not necessarily signify that he will get his money back; the rewards in Proverbs involve life and prosperity in general.” (Ross)

Proverbs 19:18

Chasten your son while there is hope,
And do not set your heart on his destruction.

a. Chasten your son while there is hope: There is not an endless window of opportunity to chasten and wisely discipline our children. Age and circumstances limit the opportunity for effective training, so it must be done while there is hope. There may come the time when you wish you had done much more to chasten your son or daughter.

i. “It is far better that the child should cry under healthy correction than that parents should later cry under the bitter fruit to themselves and their children of neglected discipline.” (Bridges)

b. Do not set your heart on his destruction: To fail to chasten your son in the opportune season is to actually work for his destruction. Many parents bring much destruction to their children through neglect, not outright abuse.

i. “Psychologically healthy parents do not consciously desire to kill their children. But if they do not employ the God-given means of verbal reproof to prevent acts of folly and corporal punishment to prevent their repetition, they are in fact unwittingly party to the worst punishment, his death.” (Waltke)

Proverbs 19:19

A man of great wrath will suffer punishment;
For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.

a. A man of great wrath will suffer punishment: Out of control anger brings many problems and costs. Among the fruit of the spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:23), and wisdom does not lead a person to be of great wrath.

i. “He punishes himself. Wounded pride and resentment leave the wretched criminal brooding in his room. He suffers an intolerable burden of self-inflicted punishment.” (Bridges)

b. For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again: The person who can’t control their anger will run into trouble again and again. To rescue them once isn’t enough, because the problem is more in them than in the circumstances that they blame for their anger. It is better for them to face the consequences of their action and hope they learn something from it.

i. “An ungovernable temper will repeatedly land its owner in fresh trouble.” (Kidner)

Proverbs 19:20

Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days.

a. Listen to counsel and receive instruction: One of the first marks of wisdom is the readiness to receive more wisdom. A teachable person, one who will listen to counsel and receive instruction, has already made much progress on the path of wisdom.

b. That you may be wise in your latter days: The bad effects of the foolish rejection of wisdom may not be seen for many years. Yet in the latter days of a man or woman’s life, it will be clear whether or not they learned wisdom’s lessons and if they did listen to counsel. If you want to be wise later in life, start now.

Proverbs 19:21

There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.

a. There are many plans in a man’s heart: It is in the nature of men (and women) to plan and prepare for the future. Some of the plans may be wise and some may be foolish, but there are many plans in a man’s heart.

b. Nevertheless, the LORD’s counsel – that will stand: Man makes his plans, and he should. Yet every plan should be made with an appreciation of God’s overall wisdom, work, and will.

i. James would later explain this principle this way: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

ii. “This is a perfectly self evident assertion, but, as such, important as to warrant a pause in reading it. The one thing in the heart that may be depended upon is the counsel or guidance of Jehovah.” (Morgan)

Proverbs 19:22

What is desired in a man is kindness,
And a poor man is better than a liar.

a. What is desired in a man is kindness: It is not that kindness is the highest or only virtue for the people of God. Yet, in many ways, it is the one most desired by others, especially in a modern world.

b. A poor man is better than a liar: This proverb shows that kindness, though valuable, is not the only virtue. To be a man or woman of truth – to not be a liar – is also of great value. This proverb reminds us that though we should pursue and value kindness, we should not treat it as the only valued virtue among God’s people.

Proverbs 19:23

The fear of the LORD leads to life,
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
He will not be visited with evil.

a. The fear of the LORD leads to life: Since the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, it wonderfully leads to life. If we want life, we should begin with this honor, reverent awe and submission to God.

b. He who has it will abide in satisfaction: When we have, and walk in, the fear of the LORD, it leads to a life of satisfaction. The world, the flesh, and the devil want to convince us that a life founded on fear of the LORD leads to misery, but the opposite is true. It brings satisfaction and keeps us from a future of evil.

i. Will not be visited with evil: “When one lives a life of piety, the Lord provides a quality of life that cannot be disrupted by such evil.” (Ross)

Proverbs 19:24

A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl,
And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

a. A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl: Solomon pictured a lazy man sitting at his food, with his hand buried in his bowl of food.

i. “This humorous portrayal is certainly an exaggeration. It probably was meant more widely for anyone who starts a project but lacks the energy to complete it.” (Ross)

ii. In the bowl: “The same word in 2 Kings 21:13 leaves no doubt of its meaning. The scene is thus a meal, and the example comically extreme.” (Kidner)

b. And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again: In this humorous, exaggerated picture, the lazy man has so little energy and initiative that he won’t even bring his hand from the bowl to his mouth. This exaggerated picture establishes a principle made elsewhere in proverbs: the lazy man will go hungry.

i. Will not so much as bring it to his mouth again: “To wit, to feed himself; he expects that the meat should drop into his mouth.” (Poole)

ii. “Is it possible to find anywhere a more graphic or sarcastic description of absolute laziness?” (Morgan)

Proverbs 19:25

Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary;
Rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.

a. Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary: When a determined fool and opponent of wisdom (a scoffer) is punished, others will learn. The more innocent fool (the simple) may learn from this.

i. “Smite him never so much, there is no beating any wit into him. Pharaoh was not a button the better for all that he suffered; but Jethro, taking notice of God’s heavy hand upon Pharaoh, and likewise upon the Amalekites, was thereby converted, and became a proselyte, as Rabbi Solomon noteth upon this text.” (Trapp)

b. Rebuke one who has understanding: The rebuke of the scoffer seems to do the scoffer no good, though it may benefit the simple. Yet when someone who values wisdom (one who has understanding) is corrected, he learns. He grows in his ability to discern knowledge.

i. “Here are three varieties of mind: closed [scoffer]…empty (the simple—he must be startled into attention), and open [understanding] (…he accepts even a painful truth).” (Kidner)

Proverbs 19:26

He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother
Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.

a. He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother: The Bible commands honor your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12). This proverb considers the person who does the opposite of Exodus 20:12.

i. “When the father and his household lies in ruin, the mother (see Proverbs 1:8) is left in a tragic situation without the provision and protection and of her husband. By ruining his father, the imbecile (cf. Proverbs 17:2) leaves his mother as good as a defenseless widow.” (Waltke)

b. Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach: One cannot disobey God and the standards of human society without paying a price. One price to be paid from the mistreatment of parents is to bring shame and reproach upon one’s self.

Proverbs 19:27

Cease listening to instruction, my son,
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.

a. Cease listening to instruction, my son: Solomon continued to give wisdom to his children, and here warned of the danger of ceasing to listen to instruction, to wisdom.

b. And you will stray from the words of knowledge: This shows us that attention and effort must be given to remain on the path of wisdom. If one does cease listening to instruction, then they will stray from the words of knowledge. One must set themselves on the path of wisdom and, with God’s help, determine that they will stay upon in.

i. “The meaning here is that it is better not to learn than to learn to refuse to obey.” (Morgan)

ii. “Without constant attention to wisdom depraved human beings unconsciously stray from it. Even Solomon, ancient Israel’s paragon of wisdom, strayed when he ceased listening to his own proverbs.” (Waltke)

Proverbs 19:28

A disreputable witness scorns justice,
And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.

a. A disreputable witness scorns justice: The witness who is not committed to truth doesn’t care about the workings of justice. Great harm comes upon society and its legal system when there is not care and promotion of the truth and the disreputable witness is not punished.

i. “The perjurers in the lawsuit against Naboth are called beliyyaal (1 Kings. 21:10, 13), a story that illustrates the lying witnesses’ lethal power.” (Waltke)

b. The mouth of the wicked devours iniquity: The words of the wicked (coming from the mouth) love iniquity so much that they devour it, as a hungry man devours food. This is the kind of person who scorns justice and tears down society.

Proverbs 19:29

Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And beatings for the backs of fools.

a. Judgments are prepared for scoffers: Those who reject wisdom with hostility (scoffers) will not escape penalty. Judgments are prepared for them.

i. Are prepared for: “For these scorners (that promise themselves impunity) are judgments, not one, but many, not appointed only, but prepared long since, and now ready to be executed.” (Trapp)

b. Beatings for the backs of fools: Those who disregard wisdom, bound in their folly (fools) will also have their penalty. Correction will come to them in its appointed way, and sadly – the correction will do little good for them.

i. “Profane and wicked men expose themselves to the punishments denounced against such by just laws. Avoid, therefore, both their company and their end.” (Clarke)

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Proverbs

Enduring Word

What does Proverbs 19:20 mean?

By divine design, the natural human body has one mouth but two ears. That correlates to practical, physical needs as part of biology. Yet it also provides a living parable: poetically suggesting that listening is twice as important as speaking. Solomon notes how paying attention to good advice (Proverbs 1:7–8; 8:32–36) leads to a wiser future. The allusion here is to moral correction and discipline (Proverbs 19:18–19).

This proverb also notes that it’s important to “accept” learning from others. Simply hearing advice without acting on it is as useless as buying medicine and letting it sit unopened. Carefully considering correction and discipline and following through with actions prepares a person for the future. How one responds to adverse circumstances in later years of life shows whether they acquired wisdom during younger years. In his younger days, the apostle John leaned on Jesus’ chest. He was a member of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples (John 13:23; Luke 8:51; Mark 9:2). In John’s old age, God used him to write five New Testament books: the gospel of John, First, Second, and Third John, and Revelation, in which his wisdom shines. He met persecution wisely when he was an old man, showing he had carefully listened to and heeded Jesus’ teachings.

Context Summary

Proverbs 19:8–21 continues Solomon’s observations about wisdom and foolishness, a king’s wrath, household turmoil, and human plans as compared to divine sovereignty. A theme of these proverbs is the danger of ignoring godly wisdom, while placing too much reliance on one’s own ability. A wise person is prudent, diligent, and honest. At the same time, wisdom means realizing that not all plans work out.

Chapter Summary

Several themes are associated with these statements. Among them are the idea that personal integrity is worth much more than earthly wealth or success. Solomon discusses the unfortunate habit of favoring the rich and dismissing the poor, while commending those who care for the unfortunate. Many references are made to the consequences of foolish behavior, including the shame and punishment such things can bring.

What does Proverbs 19:21 mean?

Solomon (Proverbs 10:1) understood the importance of sensible planning. He worked out a design to build a temple for the Lord. He arranged the building of an impressive house for himself. And he laid out gardens and infrastructures (1 Kings 3:1). He recognized the wisdom of consulting with others to make the best decisions (Proverbs 11:14; 12:15; 20:18). He knew the value of diligence when making plans (Proverbs 14:15; 18:13, 15, 17). That starts with seeking God’s will and His direction (Proverbs 3:5–6).

However, Solomon was wise enough to know that human plans are never guaranteed to work out. He observes here that only God’s intents are destined to succeed. Likewise, the apostle James tells his readers not to be arrogant about their future designs. He doesn’t condemn planning, but instead notes that it should be done in God-honoring humility. He counsels, “You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that'” (James 4:15).

Proverbs 27:1 sounds a similar warning: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Psalm 37:3–5 provides pieces of a formula for successful planning: “Trust in the LORD,” “Do good,” “Delight yourself in the LORD,” and “Commit your way to the LORD.”

Context Summary

Proverbs 19:8–21 continues Solomon’s observations about wisdom and foolishness, a king’s wrath, household turmoil, and human plans as compared to divine sovereignty. A theme of these proverbs is the danger of ignoring godly wisdom, while placing too much reliance on one’s own ability. A wise person is prudent, diligent, and honest. At the same time, wisdom means realizing that not all plans work out.

Chapter Summary

I Several themes are associated with these statements. Among them are the idea that personal integrity is worth much more than earthly wealth or success. Solomon discusses the unfortunate habit of favoring the rich and dismissing the poor, while commending those who care for the unfortunate. Many references are made to the consequences of foolish behavior, including the shame and punishment such things can bring.

He Is Our Rock Everlasting

VERSE OF THE DAY

Isaiah 26:4 (New International Version)

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Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Forever shall you trust in the Lord,for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal everlasting the only one true God none other for he is the savior

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust.

Isaiah Chapter 26

Isaiah 26 – Judah’s Kingdom of God Song

A. The city of God and the city of Man.

1. (1-2) The strength of God’s city.

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city;
God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
That the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.

a. In that day: The context from Isaiah 24-25 points to the day of the Messiah’s ultimate triumph, the day when the Messiah reigns over Israel, and over all the world. In that day, there will be a lot of joyful singing, such as this song that will be sung in the land of Judah.

b. We have a strong city: Since cities came into being after the fall of man in Genesis 3, mankind has never known a truly godly city, the City of God on earth. In that day, all will know the strength and glory of the city of God.

i. In the fifth century, the city of Rome was conquered by less civilized tribes from the north in Europe. In the west, the mighty Roman Empire was no more, and many blamed the fall of Rome on Christianity, the new religion she had officially embraced in the last 100 years. In this time of confusion, the greatest Christian theologian of the day wrote a book titled The City of God. In it, he tried to explain how the fall of the western Roman Empire related to the kingdom of God, and he made the contrast between the city of man (ultimately represented by Rome and the mighty Roman Empire) and the City of God (the kingdom of God). Augustine pointed out that though the fall of Rome was tragic for the city of man, it really only advanced the coming of the City of God. Speaking in Augustine’s terms, Isaiah wrote about the City of God when he said, we have a strong city. The strong city is the Kingdom of God, the city of man is the world system.

ii. This is an important and often neglected idea. We often disapprove of the idea of the city, and romanticize the idea of man in isolation, in a rural or primitive setting. But in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on this earth, there will be cities – but redeemed cities, glorious communities organized under the strength and salvation and righteousness and truth of the LORD. God’s supreme ideal is not an escape from all community and a private communion with nature; the Kingdom of God will be realized in a strong city.

c. God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks: The city of God, from beginning to end, is all about salvation. Even the walls and the bulwarks of the city are saved.

d. Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter it: The city of God, with all its strength and salvation, is only for the righteous, and those who keep the truth. In the same principle, the New Jerusalem is a city filled with glory, which excludes the unrighteous (Revelation 21:22-27).

i. We should make a distinction between the Kingdom of the Messiah, the millennial reign of Jesus (described here in Isaiah 26), and the coming of the New Jerusalem (which comes when this earth passes away, Revelation 21:1-2). The cities are similar, because they are both from the LORD, but they come at different times in God’s plan of the ages.

2. (3-4) The LORD is our source of strength.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.

a. You will keep him in perfect peace: This is a wonderful promise: perfect peace. God promises that we can have perfect peace, and even be kept in a place of perfect peace.

i. In Hebrew, the term perfect peace is actually shalom shalom. This shows how in Hebrew, repetition communicates intensity. It isn’t just shalom; it is shalom shalom, perfect peace.

ii. “Understand, dear soul, that it is thy privilege to live inside the double doors of God’s loving care. He says to thee, ‘Peace, peace.’ If one assurance is not enough, He will follow it with a second and a third.” (Meyer)

iii. Some can have this perfect peace, but it is fleeting, and they are never kept there. Others can be kept in peace, but it is not a perfect peace, it is the peace of the wicked, the peace of spiritual sleep and ultimate destruction. But there is a perfect peace that the LORD will keep us in.

b. Whose mind is stayed on You: This is the place of perfect peace and the source of it. When we keep our minds stayed – settled upon, established upon – the LORD Himself, then we can be kept in this perfect peace.

i. To be kept in this perfect peace is a matter of our mind. This isn’t so much a matter of our spirit or of our soul or of our heart. It is a matter of our mind. We are to love the LORD our God with all of our mind (Matthew 22:37). We are transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). We can have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5). We are not to set our mind on earthly things (Philippians 3:19), but to set our mind on things above (Colossians 3:2). The Christian life is not an unthinking life of just doing, or experiencing, but it is also about thinking, and where we set our mind is essential in our walk before the LORD.

ii. To be kept in this perfect peace, our mind must be stayed. According to Strong’s Dictionary, the Hebrew word sawmak comes from the root “to prop,” and has the idea “to lean upon or take hold of…bear up, establish, uphold, lay, lean, lie hard, put, rest self, set self, stand fast, stay (self), sustain.” In other places the same word is translated sustained (Genesis 27:37, Psalm 3:5), or when the priest would put their hands on the head of a sacrificial animal (Exodus 29:10, 15, 19), or of the laying on of hands in other circumstances (Numbers 27:18), of being upheld (Psalm 71:6), to stand fast upon (Psalm 111:8), of being established (Psalm 112:8), of leaning upon (Isaiah 36:6, 48:2). It is fair to ask the disciples of Jesus Christ: What sustains your mind? What do you lay your mind upon? What upholds your mind? What does your mind stand fast upon? What is your mind established upon? What does your mind lean upon? To have this perfect peace, your mind cannot occasionally come to and lean upon the LORD; it has to be stayed on Him.

iii. To be kept in this perfect peace, our mind must be stayed on the LORD. If our mind is stayed on ourselves, or our problems, or the problem people in our lives, or on anything else, we can’t have this perfect peace. This is the heart that says with the Apostle Paul, that I may know Him (Philippians 3:10). In his spiritual attacks against us, Satan loves to get our minds set on anything except the LORD.

c. Because he trusts in You: This is another way of expressing the idea of keeping our minds stayed on Him. Almost always, you keep your mind stayed on whatever you are trusting. When we trust the LORD, we keep our mind stayed on Him.

i. Proverbs 3:5 expresses this same idea: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. The word for lean in Proverbs 3:5 comes from the same root as the word stayed in Isaiah 26:3. When we trust in the LORD, we do not lean on our own understanding. To lean on the LORD is to trust Him. To be sustained by the LORD is to trust Him. To be established by the LORD is to trust Him. To be upheld by the LORD is to trust Him.

ii. The battle for trust in our lives begins in our minds. If we trust the LORD, it will show in our actions, but it will begin in our mind.

d. Trust in the LORD forever: Because of the promise of Isaiah 26:3, we are encouraged to trust in the LORD forever – and therefore to receive the blessing of the promise, perfect peace.

e. For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength: If the LORD calls us to rely on Him completely with our mind, He appeals to our mind with a rational reason why we should trust the LORD – because He is everlasting strength. It isn’t that the LORD has everlasting strength, He is everlasting strength.

i. Clarke’s comment on Isaiah 12:2 applies here also: “The word Yah read here is probably a mistake; and arose originally from the custom of the Jewish scribes, who, when they found a line too short for the word, wrote as many letters as filled it, and then began the next line with the whole word.”

3. (5-6) The destiny of the city of man.

For He brings down those who dwell on high,
The lofty city;
He lays it low,
He lays it low to the ground,
He brings it down to the dust.
The foot shall tread it down—
The feet of the poor
And the steps of the needy.”

a. He brings down those who dwell on high, the lofty city: The city of man is lofty, and the exalted ones of the city dwell on high. But the LORD will bring them down nonetheless. The city of man, the world system, is nothing to the LORD; He lays it low.

b. He brings it down to the dust: The city of man, the world system, is all about power and prestige, built on the backs of the weak and the poor. But when God brings the city of man down to the dust, He will turn all that around, and the feet of the poor shall tread it down.

i. Jesus expressed the same principle in Matthew 5:5: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Jesus told us to oppose the power and prestige thinking of this world and to live with the thinking of His Kingdom right now (Matthew 20:25-28).

4. (7-9) The way of the upright.

The way of the just is uprightness;
O Most Upright,
You weigh the path of the just.
Yes, in the way of Your judgments,
O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You.
With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

a. The way of the just is uprightness: In the Kingdom of God, His righteous people walk in a way – the way of uprightness. Isaiah accurately gives the sense of order in this; the LORD makes His people just by a relationship of faith and trust in Him, then they walk in the way of…uprightness.

i. They walk in uprightness because they serve the LORD God, who is Most Upright Himself. As they trust the LORD, and are declared just by the LORD, they walk in His own way.

ii. You weigh the path of the just: The LORD looks at His righteous ones (the just) and He evaluates their path. The LORD cares about the walk of His just ones.

b. The desire of our soul is for Your name: In the Kingdom of God, His just people love Him and desire Him.

i. The desire is displayed in waiting: O LORD, we have waited for You. When you desire something, or someone, you will wait for them, and do it gladly because of your desire.

ii. The desire is displayed in seeking: With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early. When you desire something, or someone, you seek them all the time, both early and at night.

c. The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness: The way of the upright will be one day vindicated.

5. (10-11) The way of the wicked.

Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see.
But they will see and be ashamed
For their envy of people;
Yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.

a. Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness: The wicked are ungrateful for God’s goodness.

b. And will not behold the majesty of the LORD…. they will see and be ashamed…the fire of Your enemies shall devour them: The wicked end in disaster.

B. Promises made to a humble heart.

1. (12-18) The prayer of a humble heart.

LORD, You will establish peace for us,
For You have also done all our works in us.
O LORD our God, masters besides You
Have had dominion over us;
But by You only we make mention of Your name.
They are dead, they will not live;
They are deceased, they will not rise.
Therefore You have punished and destroyed them,
And made all their memory to perish.
You have increased the nation, O LORD,
You have increased the nation;
You are glorified;
You have expanded all the borders of the land.
LORD, in trouble they have visited You,
They poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.
As a woman with child
Is in pain and cries out in her pangs,
When she draws near the time of her delivery,
So have we been in Your sight, O LORD.
We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, brought forth wind;
We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth,
Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.

a. You have also done all our works in us: Even though the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle Paul more than 500 years after Isaiah’s time, one might feel that Isaiah must have read Ephesians 2:8-10: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Even our good works are works that He has done…in us.

b. Masters besides You have had dominion over us; but by You only we make mention of Your name: The humble heart repents of past idolatry, and rejoices in the present freedom in the LORD.

i. The humble heart sees the folly of their past idolatry: They are dead, they will not live. The humble heart sees the victory of the LORD over all idols: You have punished and destroyed them. “Obviously this verse does not suggest that the ‘other lords’ had real existence as deities but simply that they were believed to have and that their rule was sinfully acknowledged by the people in past times.” (Grogan)

ii. The Hebrew word for dominion is baal, which can mean master or husband. Of course, Baal was also the chief god of the native Canaanites, and a seductive idol for Israel. In this prayer, Judah essentially said, O LORD our God, masters besides you have mastered us.

c. We have been with child, we have been in pain; we have, as it were, brought forth wind: The humble heart knows the futility of working apart from the direction and blessing of God.

i. “We have had the torment of a woman in child-bearing, but not the comfort of a living child…for we have brought forth nothing but the wind; all our labours and hopes were vain and unsuccessful.” (Poole)

d. You have increased the nation: The humble heart knows the LORD is responsible for increase and blessing.

e. LORD, in trouble they have visited You: The humble heart relies on the LORD in times of distress and futility.

2. (19) The promise of resurrection.

Your dead shall live;
Together with my dead body they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead.

a. Your dead shall live: The Old Testament gave a shadowy understanding of the life to come, because the secrets of the life to come have now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). But here is one Old Testament example of a confident expectation of resurrection and glory for the LORD’s righteous ones.

3. (20-21) The promise of refuge in the time of great indignation.

Come, my people, enter your chambers,
And shut your doors behind you;
Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment,
Until the indignation is past.
For behold, the LORD comes out of His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
The earth will also disclose her blood
And will no more cover her slain.

a. Come, my people, enter your chambers: Isaiah, speaking for the LORD, prophesies a time when God’s people are invited to come and find refuge until the indignation is past.

i. The refuge is secure. God’s people are secure in chambers, with the doors shut behind them. They are hidden securely (Hide yourself).

b. The LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: The indignation God’s people are hidden from is from the LORD Himself. This is not persecution from the wicked, but judgment from the LORD. This is not a local judgment, but something the LORD brings upon the inhabitants of the earth in general.

i. The devastation of the indignation of the LORD is seen all over the earth: The earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.

c. Hide yourself, as it were: When is this time when God’s people are carried away, securely hidden, from a time of great indignation the LORD brings upon the earth? It could refer to the deliverance of the Jewish people from the fury of the Antichrist described in Revelation 12:6 and 12:13-16. But it is more likely that it speaks of the refuge, the safety, the security of God’s people when they are caught up together with the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and escape the horrific indignation of the Lord that He pours out upon the world in the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22, Revelation 9:15-21), which will immediately precede the second coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:29-30).

i. Seen this way, this is a powerful passage supporting the teaching of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, which says that Jesus Christ will remove His people from this earth before the time of Great Tribulation coming upon the earth immediately before His ultimate return.

(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Isaiah Old Testament

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Isaiah 26:3 Meaning of Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace

 by Editor in Chief

Isaiah 26:3
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.”

Explanation and Commentary on Isaiah 26:3

Here is a series of causes and effects, along with some unspoken ones that undergird the whole verse. Those who trust in the Lord will have a steadfast mind as a result. Those who have a steadfast mind will be kept by God in perfect peace.

Verse 4, which directly follows says, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” God is not only our Rock but he is our eternal Rock, which means that we are not only to trust him for this life but forever. It also stands that his perfect peace is eternal.

Humans seek the world’s peace as a great achievement. For the Christian, perfect peace is a byproduct of the simple command to “trust in” the Lord. This is what Adam and Eve failed to do (Gen 3:6), but what Jesus did to perfection (Lk 22:42). And because he did, we can.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Isaiah 26:3

#1 “You will keep…”
God keeps us. He created us. He blesses us, and he keeps us in the palm of his hand.

#2 “…in perfect peace…”
Perfect peace is the goal of humanity, though there are few who understand this, they are aiming for it in all their idolatry. Perfect peace starts with peace with God through Jesus Christ (Eph 2:14). We first have enmity with God because of our sin. Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Ro 5:8) and brought us peace with the Father.

#3 “those whose minds are steadfast,”
Steadfast minds are firm and do not waiver. When Moses killed the Egyptian for abusing his kinsman, it says that he first looked to the right and the left (Ex 2:12). But those who are steadfast look straight ahead like Christ, who resolutely “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51) and who said through the prophet Isaiah, “I have set my face like flint” (Isa 50:7). Steadfast action comes from a steadfast mind.

#4 “because they trust in you.”
The only way to achieve a steadfast mind that lasts into eternity is through total trust in God. Is God still on his throne, blessing and keeping his children? Then be steadfast. Has God sent his one and only Son to save you by his death on the cross? Then trust in him. He will never fail you. Trust in him by completely surrendering all to him. There is no other way. Then will come a steadfast mind, and perfect peace.

Hit the play button below to watch the full commentary on Isaiah 26.

Isaiah 26:4

Published by ADMIN at August 20, 2021

20 August, 2021

Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. –  Isaiah 26:4

Heavenly God, you are the everlasting Fountain of Life, the perennial Source of Strength, the eternal Spring of Mercy. We draw from you, and live. In your Triune Godhead, rests the love of a Father Who is Strength and Refuge for your earthly children, the sacrifice of a Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, the rock of faith and hope in salvation. And the Holy Spirit of God, indwelling in us, the source of guidance and counsel.

Lord, you are immutable and in you is righteousness for your faithful people, who are believers by and Christians by our abiding in Jesus, by our discipleship and by our belonging in solidarity to Christ and to you Father, as co-heirs to your Kingdom. By your unchanging promises to us, we are enabled, by your grace, to bear up under temptations and afflictions, to withstand spiritual foes, and to discharge our duty as evangelists of the mission we have to fulfill.

Christ, our Lord is the Rock on which the church and every believer of the church is built, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. He has been the rock and refuge of his people in ages past, and will be in ages to come. We trust in the Lord, for it is he Who came in this world, and won salvation and eternal freedom for all those that trust in him, through all generations. Lord, we safely repose in Jesus, in a trust that surpasses all human comprehension and make every prayer to you, in Jesus’ Name. Amen

What Does Isaiah 26:4 Mean? ►

“Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.

Isaiah 26:4(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Peace is what people have yearned for down through the ages, and in this passage of scripture, the nation of Israel has just been given a glorious promise from God of His perfect peace – if only their minds are stayed on Him.

A little earlier in his prophecies to Israel, Isaiah called to their remembrance that God is their refuge and strength in every trial they face, and their everlasting Rock in the storms of life. He also reminded them that God will judge their enemies and preserve His people in the land that He promised to their forefather – to Abraham and his seed forever.

Like Israel, we too are reminded that righteousness and peace embrace each other and that the fruit of righteousness is God’s perfect peace; peace with God and the peace of God. And it was at Calvary that righteousness and peace kissed each other in Christ – for without righteousness there can be no peace, and without peace there is no righteousness.

And so like Israel, we are called to trust in the Lord, our Righteousness, forever and ever, and the Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. We are called to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not to lean upon our own understanding, because the Lord our God is our everlasting Rock. He is our Fortress in times of trouble and He is our exceedingly great reward.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your never-failing goodness and Your promise of peace and righteousness in Christ Jesus my Lord. Keep me looking to You, depending upon You, and trusting in You every day of my life. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/isaiah-26-4

Do Not Brag About Tomorrow For It Is Unknown

VERSE OF THE DAY

Proverbs 27:1 (New Living Translation)

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Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.

Don’t be boasting about tomorrow for you don’t know the days which are numbered and you don’t know what is to come for only Christ knows

Proverbs 27

Proverbs 27 – Planning for the Future, Receiving Honor

Proverbs 27:1

Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

a. Do not boast about tomorrow: It is human nature to be overly confident in what future days hold. It is easy to boast about tomorrow, especially with our modern arrogance of continual progress.

b. For you do not know what a day may bring forth: We don’t know what tomorrow may hold, so we should have a humble attitude towards the future, as James 4:13-16 also speaks of.

i. “The verse is not ruling out wise planning for the future, only one’s overconfident sense of ability to control the future—and no one can presume on God’s future.” (Ross)

ii. “Little doth any man know what is in the womb of tomorrow, till God hath signified his will by the event. David in his prosperity said, that he should ‘never be moved’; but he soon after found a sore alteration: God confuted his confidence. [Psalms 30:6-7].” (Trapp)

iii. Spurgeon considered what a blessing it was that we do not know what a day may bring forth. “To know the good might lead us to presumption, to know the evil might tempt us to despair. Happy for us is it that our eyes cannot penetrate the thick veil which God hangs between us and to- morrow, that we cannot see beyond the spot where we now are, and that, in a certain sense, we are utterly ignorant as to the details of the future. We may, indeed, be thankful for our ignorance.”

Proverbs 27:2

Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.

a. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth: We should stay away from self-promotion in its many forms. Modern technology gives us many more methods and opportunities to praise ourselves, but we should avoid such self-praise.

b. A stranger, and not your own lips: Honor means much more when it comes from an outside source, even a stranger than being the product of self-praise and self-promotion.

i. “A German proverb says: ‘Eigen-Lob stinkt, Freundes Lob hinkt, Fremdes Lob klingt’—’self-praise stinks, friend’s praise limps, stranger’s praise rings.’” (Waltke)

Proverbs 27:3

A stone is heavy and sand is weighty,
But a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them.

a. A stone is heavy and sand is weighty: Solomon appealed to self-evident truths. It is in the nature of a stone to be heavy and in the nature of sand to be weighty.

b. But a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them: When a fool – someone who rejects God’s wisdom – expresses their anger and wrath, it is a weighty, dangerous thing. The wrath of any person may have great consequence; how much more a fool?

Proverbs 27:4

Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent,
But who is able to stand before jealousy?

a. Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent: In all its manifestations, anger is a dangerous and difficult to control expression – like a torrent.

i. “The metaphor depicts anger as a spiritual force that is destructive, irrational and violent.” (Waltke)

b. Who is able to stand before jealousy? Solomon pointed out that there is a power and destructive capability in jealousy that can even go beyond wrath and anger. It can make a bigger torrent of evil. It was envy that motivated the religious leaders to arrange the death of Jesus (Matthew 27:18).

i. Jealousy: “Is a raging emotion that defies reason at times and takes the form of destructive violence, like a consuming fire.” (Ross)

ii. Kidner notes that jealousy in the Scriptures is usually used in a positive sense; it is jealousy for – God’s proper jealousy for our love. Yet passages like this also acknowledge that there is a dark side of jealousy, jealousy of and not for.

iii. Poole explained why jealousy is worse than wrath and anger: “Envy is worse than both of them, partly, because it is more unjust and unreasonable, as not caused by any provocation, as wrath and anger are, but only proceeding from a malignity of mind, whereby a man is grieved for another man’s happiness…and partly, because it is more secret and undiscernible, and therefore the mischievous effects of it are hardly avoidable; whereas wrath and anger discover themselves, and so forewarn and forearm a man against the danger.”

Proverbs 27:5

Open rebuke is better
Than love carefully concealed.

a. Open rebuke is better: Many are hesitant to rebuke others, especially others in God’s family. But there is a time and place where rebuke is not only good it is better than the alternative.

i. “Rebuke—kindly, considerately, and prayerfully administered—cements friendship rather than weakens it.” (Bridges)

ii. “We do not really like rebuke. We are inherently inclined to resent it. The fact that we really deserve it, or need it, does not make it pleasant…moreover, our dislike of rebuke leads us to think that those who love us serve us well when they are silent in the presence of our shortcomings.” (Morgan)

iii. “Yet it is a rough medicine, and none can desire it. But the genuine open-hearted friend may be intended, who tells you your faults freely but conceals them from all others.” (Clarke)

b. Than love carefully concealed: Love does little good when it is concealed. The honest love of an open rebuke can be much better than the carefully concealed love.

i. “Love that is hidden is not perfect love in either sense. The highest love must and does express itself. It does so in praise of the loved one…. Love that hides itself, professes not to see, perhaps does not see, and so remains silent, is love on a very low level.” (Morgan)

Proverbs 27:6

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

a. Faithful are the wounds of a friend: A mark of a true friend is that they will be willing to wound us with loving correction. The correction may not feel good – as genuine wounds – but it will be an expression of the love and faithfulness of a friend.

i. “The ‘wounds’ are a metaphor for the painful and plain words that must be spoken in a true friendship in order to heal the beloved and/or to restore a broken relationship.” (Waltke)

b. The kisses of an enemy are deceitful: This cautions us that not all kisses are the greetings of friends. They may come from an enemy and be deceitful.

i. “Such as were the kisses of Joab, Judas, Absalom, and Ahithophel are not to be fancied, but deprecated and detested.” (Trapp)

ii. “Who would not choose this faithful wound, however painful at the moment of infliction, rather than the multiple kisses of an enemy? The kiss of the apostate was a bitter ingredient in the Savior’s cup of suffering.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 27:7

A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb,
But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

a. A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb: When our life is satisfied – either materially or physically – then we find it easy to hate and reject things that would otherwise be greatly desired, such as the honeycomb.

i. “Most agree that the proverb is capable of wider application than eating; it could apply to possessions, experiences, education, etc.” (Ross)

ii. Spiritually, this can be understood in a negative sense: “May not satiety be as great a curse as famine? Is it not fearfully written on many a professing Christian, he who is full loathes honey?” (Bridges)

ii. Spiritually, this can be understood in a positive sense: “The best way of combating worldliness is by satisfying the heart with something better. The full soul loatheth even the honeycomb. When the prodigal gets the fatted calf, he has no further hankering after the husks which the swine eat…. Fill your heart with God and His sacred truth, and the things of the world will lose their charm.” (Meyer)

b. To a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet: When a life is truly hungry, they will eat almost everything and consider it sweet. This is true in the physical world, seen in those deprived of food for long periods. It is also seen in the spiritual world, when those who are awakened as truly hungry souls are ravenous for spiritual food.

i. Charles Spurgeon used this proverb as a basis to speak of the sweetness of Jesus and His work for us: “Sweet is liberty to the captive, and when the Son makes you free, you are free indeed; sweet is pardon to the condemned, and proclaims full forgiveness and salvation; sweet is health to the sick, and Jesus is the great physician of souls; sweet is light to those who are in darkness and to eyes that are dim, and Jesus is both sun to our darkness and eyes to our blindness.”

Proverbs 27:8

Like a bird that wanders from its nest
Is a man who wanders from his place.

a. Like a bird that wanders from its nest: With just a few words, Solomon painted a heart-touching picture of a bird away from its place of safety and security – the nest where it belongs.

i. This proverb made Charles Spurgeon think about those who seem to wander from church to church. “Too many in our London churches are a sort of flying camp, always flying from one place to another – a set of gipsy-Christians, who have no settled abode, and no local habitation.”

b. Is a man who wanders from his place: We have a place appointed by God, and we can be as out of place as a bird without a nest if we wander from it. We need to take care that we perceive our place not as the one that culture or community may assign to us, but truly the place God has assigned us.

i. “Those who wander lack the security of their home and can no longer contribute to their community life.” (Ross)

ii. “An honest man’s heart is the place where his calling is: such a one, when he is abroad, is like a fish in the air, whereinto if it leap for recreation or necessity, yet it soon returns to its own element.” (Trapp)

Proverbs 27:9

Ointment and perfume delight the heart,
And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.

a. Ointment and perfume delight the heart: Solomon stated a self-evident truth. It is in the nature of an ointment or perfume to delight the heart through its pleasant smell.

b. The sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel: Strong, hearty counsel from a friend is sweet and can bring delight – just as it is natural for ointment and perfume to delight the heart. This proverb should make us ask, Is there someone in my life who can give hearty counsel? Can I give hearty counsel to someone else?

i. “The gladdening oil and incense is a simile for the agreeable and delightful counsel of a friend that originates in his very being. Both the outward fragrances and the wholesome counsel produce a sense of wellbeing.” (Waltke)

Proverbs 27:10

Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend,
Nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity;
Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.

a. Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend: We should hold the bonds of friendship as dear and obligating, even beyond generations. Friends should not be forsaken.

i. “A well and long tried friend is invaluable. Him that has been a friend to thy family never forget, and never neglect.” (Clarke)

ii. “Solomon exemplified his own rule by cultivating friendly links with Hiram, the friend of his father (1 Kings 5:1-10). The unprincipled contempt of this rule cost Solomon’s foolish son his kingdom (1 Kings 12:6-19).” (Bridges)

iii. “Now, inasmuch as the Lord Jesus is ‘thine own friend, and thy father’s friend,’ the injunction of the text comes to thee with peculiar force: ‘Forsake him not.’ Canst thou forsake him?” (Spurgeon)

b. Nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity: We should not assume that our birth brother is the best one to help in the day of calamity, especially if the brother is far away. Better is a lesser resource that is nearby than a better resource that is far away.

i. “The ‘brother’ in Proverbs 27:10 is a close relative, one to whom people naturally turn in difficult times. Normally the close family identity of the Israelites would dictate that one go to a relative for help, and this verse is surprising for appearing to go against custom here.” (Garrett)

Proverbs 27:11

My son, be wise, and make my heart glad,
That I may answer him who reproaches me.

a. My son, be wise, and make my heart glad: Solomon gave a simple encouragement to his son to be wise and therefore bring gladness to his father.

b. That I may answer him who reproaches me: A foolish son is a cause of insult and reproach to the parents. In some way, the son who rejects wisdom makes the parents look bad.

i. “In other words, his son will either publicly disgrace the father or enable him to stand proudly before even his enemies.” (Garrett)

Proverbs 27:12

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself;
The simple pass on and are punished.

a. A prudent man foresees evil: Wisdom will lead a man or woman to anticipate danger and to take action, such as to hide from the coming evil.

i. “This was delivered Proverbs 22:3, and is here repeated to enforce the foregoing exhortation, by representing the great advantage of wisdom.” (Poole)

b. The simple pass on and are punished: Those who are naïve and untrained in wisdom are blind to the potential danger around them. They will eventually bear the bad consequence of their blindness and be punished.

i. “The verse is a motivation for the naive to be trained; for life would be far less painful for them if they knew how to avoid life’s dangers.” (Ross)

ii. Pass on: “The simple rush blindfolded into hell. The ox has to be driven to destruction, but the sinner plunges into it in spite of every effort to restrain him.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 27:13

Take the garment of him who is surety for a stranger,
And hold it in pledge when he is surety for a seductress.

a. Take the garment of him who is surety for a stranger: If someone is a bad credit risk (foolish enough to be surety for a stranger), then we should hold a deposit as security against anything they owe to us (take the garment).

b. When he is surety for a seductress: The man is as immoral and foolish to be surety for a seductress, then we should especially regard them as a credit risk.

i. “Probably by her enticements and flatteries, she seduced some male to become indebted to her (see Proverbs 5 and Proverbs 7). The proverb instructs the disciple to have nothing to do with these fools.” (Waltke)

Proverbs 27:14

He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning,
It will be counted a curse to him.

a. He who blesses his friend with a loud voice: The sense here is of an over-the-top greeting and blessing, meant to flatter and manipulate. It is loud and it starts early in the morning. Something is amiss in such excessive praise.

i. Blesses his friend with a loud voice: “That extols a man above measure, – as the false prophets did Ahab, and the people Herod, – that praiseth him to his face; which, when a court parasite did to Sigismund the emperor, he gave him a sound box on the ear.” (Trapp)

ii. “His unnatural voice and timing betrays him as a hypocrite and no good will come of it.” (Waltke)

iii. “Remember the Italian proverb elsewhere quoted: ‘He who praises you more than he was wont to do, has either deceived you, or is about to do it.’ Extravagant public professions are little to be regarded.” (Clarke)

b. It will be counted a curse to him: Normally a friendly greeting is a blessing. Yet if that blessing is flattery or meant to manipulate it can be counted a curse.

i. “There is nothing more calculated to arouse suspicion than profuse protestations of friendship.” (Morgan)

ii. “When a man exceeds all bounds of truth and decency, affecting pompous words and hyperbolical expressions, we cannot but suspect some sinister motive. Real friendship needs no such assurance.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 27:15-16

A continual dripping on a very rainy day
And a contentious woman are alike;
Whoever restrains her restrains the wind,
And grasps oil with his right hand.

a. A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike: The scene is in a house with a bad roof, where a rainy day means continual dripping. That dripping shows there is a problem, it brings damage, and it greatly annoys. That is the same effect as a contentious woman in the house.

i. “The man takes shelter under the roof of his home expecting to find protection from the storm. Instead, he finds his leaky roof provides him no shelter from the torrential downpour. Likewise, he married with the expectation of finding good, but the wife from whom he expected protection from the rudeness of the world, harshly attacks him at home.” (Waltke)

b. Whoever restrains her restrains the wind: To correct or reform a contentious woman can be a fool’s errand. She can be as difficult to restrain as the wind or as hard to get a hold of as oil in the hand. Instead of trying to change a contentious woman, a wise and godly husband loves her as Jesus Christ loves His church (Ephesians 5:25-31) and leaves the changing up to God.

i. “The husband would be dealing with a woman who was as unpredictable and uncontrollable as a gust of wind or a hand grasping oil.” (Ross)

ii. John Trapp saw in this a warning to men in how they chose their future spouse: “Let this be marked by those that venture upon shrews, if rich, fair, well descended, in hope to tame them and make them better.”

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

a. As iron sharpens iron: A piece of iron can sharpen another piece of iron, but it happens through striking, friction, and with sparks. We think of the iron of a blacksmith’s hammer working on a sword to make it sharp.

b. So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend: A man can be used to sharpen (improve and develop) his friend, but it may happen through a bit of friction and sparks. We shouldn’t be afraid of such and expect that true sharpening can happen without the occasional use of friction.

i. “The analogy infers that the friend persists and does not shy away from critical, constructive criticism.” (Waltke)

ii. “Gladly let us take up the bond of brotherhood. If a brother seems to walk alone, sharpen his iron by godly communication. Walk together in mutual concern for each other’s infirmities, trials, and temptations.” (Bridges)

iii. Countenance: “…almost equals ‘personality’ here. Like ‘soul’, it can stand for the man himself.” (Kidner)

Proverbs 27:18

Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit;
So he who waits on his master will be honored.

a. Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit: The worker is worthy of his reward. If a man keeps a fig tree, it is appropriate for him to eat its fruit. It is cruel and unfair to keep the fruit of a man’s labor from him.

i. “He mentions the fig tree, because they abounded in Canaan, and were more valued and regarded than other trees.” (Poole)

ii. “The fig tree needed closer attention than other plants; so the point would include the diligent tending of it.” (Ross)

b. So he who waits on his master will be honored: The appropriate fruit from properly serving one’s master is to be honored. It isn’t right to keep honor from the one who has faithfully waited on his master. God promised to reward those who wait upon Him. Do your work diligently and leave promotion and reward up to God.

i. In a sermon on this proverb Charles Spurgeon mentioned many ways that our Master may choose to honor His servants:

· We are honored in our Master’s honor.

· We are honored with our Master’s approval.

· We are honored by being given more to do.

· We are honored in the eyes of our fellow servants.

· We are honored by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 27:19

As in water face reflects face,
So a man’s heart reveals the man.

a. As in water face reflects face: Smooth and clear water can give a wonderful reflection of a man or woman’s face.

i. “The Hebrew is very cryptic: literally, ‘As the water the face to the face, so the man’s heart to the man.’” (Kidner)

b. So a man’s heart reveals the man: The feelings and thoughts that come from our heart reveal us as the reflection in smooth water reveals the face. Who we are will eventually be evident to others as our words and actions reveal our heart.

Proverbs 27:20

Hell and Destruction are never full;
So the eyes of man are never satisfied.

a. Hell and Destruction are never full: The grave and the world beyond will receive humanity and never become full. They are used here as figures of something that can never be satisfied.

i. “The grave devours all the bodies which are put into it, and is always ready to receive and devour more and more without end.” (Poole)

b. So the eyes of man are never satisfied: Our longing to look upon things we desire will never be satisfied; it must be controlled and brought under God’s dominion. A man will never see enough alluring images of women or enough beautiful machines. The answer is having the need channeled and satisfied in God and what He provides.

i. The eyes of man: “That is, their lusts, their carnal concupiscence. To seek to satisfy it is an endless piece of business.” (Trapp)

ii. “The lust of the eye led Eve and Adam to transgress social boundaries in the first place. It is the bane of humanity, and this truism should drive the son to examine his own lusts.” (Waltke)

iii. “As the grave can never be filled up with bodies, nor perdition with souls; so the restless desire, the lust of power, riches, and splendour, is never satisfied. Out of this ever unsatisfied desire spring all the changing fashions, the varied amusements, and the endless modes of getting money, prevalent in every age, and in every country.” (Clarke)

Proverbs 27:21

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And a man is valued by what others say of him.

a. The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold: There is an appropriate place for silver and gold to be refined. It doesn’t happen just anywhere, but in the refining pot.

b. A man is valued by what others say of him: We often know a man’s value more by what others say of him than by what he thinks of himself. A man’s self-estimation can be unreliable.

i. “There are three interpretations of this proverb. First, that you may know what a man is by the way he bears praise. Second, that you may know what a man is by the things he praises. Third, that a man who treats praise as the fining pot treats silver and gold purges it of unworthy substance.” (Morgan)

ii. “Public praise formed a test for Saul and David (1 Samuel 18:7), David coming out the better for it.” (Ross)

iii. “He who is praised is not only much approved, but much proved. The courting of the praise of our fellow creatures has to do with the world within. Praise is a sharper trial of the strength of principle than is reproach.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 27:22

Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain,
Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.

a. Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle: Solomon used a striking and vivid image. Like crushed grain in a mortar and with a pestle, he pictured a fool being ground up.

b. Yet his foolishness will not depart from him: Despite the rough treatment mentioned in the previous line, foolishness does not depart from the fool. One of the sad marks of the fool is that he will not learn.

i. “Prisons were made into penitentiaries through the mistaken notion that confinement would bring repentance and effect a cure. Instead, many prisoners become hardened criminals. Divine grace that regenerates the fool is his only hope of being converted into a useful person.” (Waltke)

Proverbs 27:23-27

Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
And attend to your herds;
For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself,
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
The lambs will provide your clothing,
And the goats the price of a field;
You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food,
For the food of your household,
And the nourishment of your maidservants.

a. Be diligent to know the state of your flocks: Solomon wrote this with images from the world of agriculture (flocks…herds…. hay…grass…lambs…goats), but the principle applies in many other areas of life. We should work hard (be diligent) to know the state of whatever God has given us management over. If you don’t know the condition of something, you can’t effectively manage or lead it.

i. Flocks and herds “are here put for all riches and possessions, because anciently they were the chief part of a man’s riches.” (Poole)

ii. “This country scene is not designed to make farmers of everybody, but to show the proper interplay of man’s labour and God’s nurture, which a sophisticated society neglects at its peril.” (Kidner)

iii. Attend to your herds: “Hebrew, Set thy heart to them – that is, be very inquisitive and solicitous of their welfare. Leave not all to servants, though never so faithful; but supervise and oversee business, as Boaz did.” (Trapp)

b. For riches are not forever: We should give ourselves to diligent leadership and management because the future is uncertain. If we take good care of what God has given us now, it may provide for us in the future (the lambs will provide your clothing and so forth). If we don’t take care of what we have, it won’t be able to provide for us in an uncertain future.

i. “People should preserve what income they have because it does not long endure…the poem shows the proper interplay between human labor and divine provision.” (Ross)

ii. Goats the price of a field: “Wherewith thou mayest pay thy rent, and besides hire tillage, or it may be purchase land, and have money in thy purse to do thy needs with.” (Trapp)

iii. Enough goats’ milk: “The milk is qualified by goat’s, because goat’s milk was by far the animal nutrient of choice in the ancient Near East. It is richer in protein and easier to digest than cow’s milk.” (Waltke)

iv. “Proverbs 27:27 need not be taken to imply that goat’s milk will be the staple of everyone’s diet; after Proverbs 27:26b the intent is rather that one can sell surplus milk or barter it for other kinds of food…you will have more than enough to meet all of your family’s needs.” (Garrett)

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Proverbs

Growing with God

This page is meant to be a place where God’s Word is used to help us grow into the people that God intends us to be.

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Only God Knows Your Tomorrows -Proverbs 27:1

NOVEMBER 21, 2019 ~ TONIASLIMM

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Proverbs 27:1 (NIV)
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Proverbs 27:1 (MSG)
Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.
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“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” -AMPLIFIED

“Boasting is the outward form of the inner condition of pride.” ~John Piper

Proverbs 27 begins with a warning against the braggart, the person who is boastful, a show-off, and a know-it-all. The braggart is tends to be loud and outspoken, wanting all to hear about how amazing they are and what their great plans are. Solomon tells us:

“Don’t brag about what may happen tomorrow because you have no idea what it will bring.” -(VOICE)

Solomon cautions us against counting your proverbial chickens before they hatch. To make plans and boast about something that has not happened yet is foolish. Do not be overly confident in your plans for the future because you never know what may interrupt and change them.

“Don’t brag about your plans for tomorrow—wait and see what happens.” -(TLB)

God admonished and warned the people of Israel, through the prophet Jeremiah, in this way:

“God’s Message: “Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits. Don’t let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know me. I’m God, and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things. These are my trademarks.” God’s Decree.” -Jeremiah 9:23-24 (MSG)

Jesus told a parable, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, about the rich, young, fool. This story is a very good example of the bravado of the braggadocios fool. Let’s take a look at that story:

“Then He told them a parable, saying, “There was a rich man whose land was very fertile and productive. And he began thinking to himself, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place [large enough in which] to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my storehouses and build larger ones, and I will store all my grain and my goods there. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many good things stored up, [enough] for many years; rest and relax, eat, drink and be merry (celebrate continually).”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own all the things you have prepared?’” -Luke 12:16-20 (AMP)

James, Jesus’ brother, also warned about boasting in our tomorrows. He cautioned the believers in this way:

“And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that. As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.” -James 4:13-17 (MSG)

Solomon admonishes us in the book of Ecclesiastes with these words:

“On a good day, enjoy yourself; on a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.”
-Ecclesiastes 7:14 (MSG)

Bragging is wrong; especially bragging about something that has not come to pass yet. No man knows what tomorrow may hold. Take heed, do not boast in your tomorrows.

“Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come?”                             -Ecclesiastes 8:7 (NIV)

Instead, trust God with your tomorrows.

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” -Matthew 6:34 (TLB)

“Have no fear for what tomorrow may bring. The same loving God Who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. God will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” ~Francis de Sales.

Remember, Solomon has taught us to trust in the Lord exclusively:

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.” -Proverbs 3:5-12 (MSG)

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” ~Corrie ten Boom

My friend, do not brag about your tomorrows; which you have no control over. Instead, trust God with your tomorrows and give Him praise and thanks for all the good things that He has blessed you with.

“You are not mature if you have a high esteem of yourself. He who boasts in himself is but a babe in Christ, if indeed he be in Christ at all. Young Christians may think much of themselves. Growing Christians think themselves nothing. Mature Christians know that they are less than nothing. The more holy we are, the more we mourn our infirmities, and the humbler is our estimate of ourselves.” ~Charles Spurgeon

For The Day Of Christ’s Return

VERSE OF THE DAY

Philippians 1:9-10 (New Living Translation)

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I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

I pray that your love will be abundantly given more and that you will continue to prosper and grow in faith knowledge and understanding with respect you will be made pure and blameless until the return of Christ

Philippians Chapter 1

Philippians 1 – Paul’s Love and Concern for the Philippians

A. Paul’s greeting to the Philippian Christians and his prayer for them.

1. (1-2) Address and initial greeting.

Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

a. Paul and Timothy: The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to his close friends, the Christians in Philippi, from his Roman house arrest described at the end of Acts (Acts 28:30-31) as he waited for his court appearance before Caesar (around the year A.D. 61).

b. To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi: The church in Philippi was founded by Paul some eleven years before this letter on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-40). This was the first church established on the continent of Europe.

c. To all: Paul addressed the letter to three groups.

· To all the saints in Christ Jesus: This means all the Christians in Philippi. All Christians are saints, but only in Christ Jesus.

· To the bishops: In a general sense, this meant those with leadership responsibilities. The ancient Greek word meant overseers and was used to describe general leadership before it came to describe a specific office recognized by some Christian traditions.

· To the deacons: Those who had recognized positions of service.

d. Grace to you and peace: Paul gave his familiar greeting of grace and peace, recognizing that these come to us only from God our Father and through the Son.

2. (3-6) Paul gives thanks for the Philippian Christians.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

a. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you: When Paul remembered what all the Philippians did for him, he was extremely thankful. He was naturally grateful to the Philippians, but more so to God who had worked such kindness through the Philippians.

i. The Philippians were extremely giving towards Paul, both when he was with them (Acts 16:15, 16:32-34) and when he was apart from them (2 Corinthians 8:1-7, 9:1-4, and 11:9).

b. Making request for you all: Paul prayed for the Philippians and he did so with joy. This was one way Paul felt he could repay the Philippians for all they did for him.

i. One might simply say that when Paul prayed for the Philippians, he became happy. It is remarkable to see that Paul’s first reference to his own feelings or frame of mind in this letter is that of joy – though he wrote from prison and a possible soon execution.

ii. “It is a glorious revelation of how life in fellowship with Christ triumphs over all adverse circumstances. The triumph, moreover, is not that of stoical indifference. It is rather the recognition of the fact that all apparently adverse conditions are made allies of the soul and ministers of victory, under the dominion of the Lord.” (Morgan)

iii. “This is Paul’s great singing letter. It was at Philippi that he had sung in prison at midnight, in the company of Silas. Now he was again in prison, this time in Rome.” (Morgan)

c. For your fellowship in the gospel: This was one reason Paul was thankful for the Philippians. The idea is that the Philippians “partnered” with Paul in his spreading of the gospel through their friendship and financial support, and they did so from the first day until now. They didn’t wait to see if Paul was a “winner” before they supported him. They got behind Paul and his ministry early.

d. He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ: When Paul thought of the beginning of God’s work among the Philippians (from the first day), it was natural that he also thought of the day when that work would be complete. Paul also expressed his confidence in God’s ability to complete that work.

i. It was indeed a good work begun in the Philippians and in all believers. “The work of grace has its root in the divine goodness of the Father, it is planted by the self-denying goodness of the Son, and it is daily watered by the goodness of the Holy Sprit; it springs from good and leads to good, and so is altogether good.” (Spurgeon)

ii. Because this good work was begun, Paul was confident of its completion. God is a worker who completes His works. “Where is there an instance of God’s beginning any work and leaving it incomplete? Show me for once a world abandoned and thrown aside half formed; show me a universe cast off from the Great Potter’s wheel, with the design in outline, the clay half hardened, and the form unshapely from incompleteness.” (Spurgeon)

iii. This work in the believer will not be finally complete until the day of Jesus Christ, which in context has the idea of the second coming of Jesus and our resurrection with Him. “Holy Scripture does not regard a man as perfect when the soul is perfected, it regards his body as being a part of himself; and as the body will not rise again from the grave till the coming of the Lord Jesus, when we shall be revealed in the perfection of our manhood, even as he will be revealed, that day of the second coming is set as the day of the finished work which God hath begun.” (Spurgeon)

3. (7-8) Paul declares his affection for the Philippians.

Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

a. It is right for me to think this of you all: Paul’s thankfulness, joy, and desire to pray for the Philippians was right because they stood beside him in his trials for the gospel, and they received the same grace he did (you all are partakers with me of grace).

b. I have you in my heart: Paul was a man of towering intellect, but he was also a man of great heart, and the Philippian Christians were in his heart. He could even call God as his witness regarding his deep affection for them.

i. Adam Clarke paraphrased Paul’s idea here: “I call God to witness that I have the strongest affection for you, and that I love you with that same kind of tender concern with which Christ loved the world when he gave himself for it.”

4. (9-11) Paul’s prayer for the Philippians.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

a. This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more: The Philippians had a lot of love, and they showed it to Paul. Yet Paul didn’t hesitate to pray that their love would abound still more and more. It doesn’t matter how much love for others we have; we can still have more!

i. “That it may be like a river, perpetually fed with rain and fresh streams so that it continues to swell and increase until it fills all its banks, and floods the adjacent plains.” (Clarke)

b. That your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment: Yet, the love Paul wanted to abound in the Philippians was not “blind love.” It was love that had knowledge and all discernment; it was love that could approve the things that are excellent.

i. Paul knew the danger of an undiscerning love. He rebuked the Corinthian church that seemed to glory in their “love” and “openness” which lacked any sense of knowledge and discernment (1 Corinthians 5:1-7).

c. That you may be sincere and without offense: When we approve and receive the things that are excellent, we become sincere (speaking of inner righteousness) and without offense (speaking of outer righteousness that can be seen). Till the day of Christ means that these things become increasingly evident in our life until Jesus comes.

i. Being sincere is important, but alone it is not enough. Notorious sinners in the days of Jesus such as tax collectors were sincere, yet they still needed to repent. As well, being without offense before others is important, but alone it is not enough. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were without offense in the opinion of many. We want God to make us both sincere and without offense.

d. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness: The work of becoming sincere and without offense is really God’s work within us. It happens as we are filled with the fruits of righteousness.

i. Bearing fruit is always the result of abiding in Jesus (John 15:4-6). As we abide in Him, we receive the life and nutrients we need to naturally bear fruit to the glory and praise of God.

ii. “Every genuine follower of God has his glory in view by all that he does, says, or intends. He loves to glorify God, and he glorifies him by showing forth in his conversion the glorious working of the glorious power of the Lord.” (Clarke)

B. Paul explains his present circumstances.

1. (12-14) Paul’s imprisonment has not hindered the gospel in any way.

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

a. The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel: Paul here answered a concern of the Philippians. He wanted them to know that God’s blessing and power were still with him, even though he was in prison. He was not out of the will of God, and God’s work still continued.

i. When Paul was with the Philippians, there were amazing examples of the sovereign power of God, culminating in a divine jail-break and their vindication before civil magistrates (Acts 16:11-40). We are not surprised that the Philippians wondered where the power of God was in Paul’s present imprisonment.

ii. We also know that all this turned out for the furtherance of the gospel because during this time he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.

iii. God didn’t waste Paul’s time during the Roman imprisonment. God never wastes our time, though we may waste it by not sensing God’s purpose for our lives at the moment.

b. The furtherance of the gospel: Paul doesn’t mention if he was being advanced, because he didn’t care about that and he assumed that the Philippians didn’t care either. Their common passion was the furtherance of the gospel, and the gospel continued to advance.

c. It has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ: The circumstances around Paul’s imprisonment and his manner in the midst of it made it clear to all observers that he was not just another prisoner, but that he was an emissary of Jesus Christ. This witness led to the conversion of many, even some of the palace guard.

i. From this we see that Paul could minister effectively and bring glory to God in less than ideal circumstances. He didn’t need everything to be easy and set in order to be fruitful.

d. Having become confident by my chains: Paul’s imprisonment gave the Christians around him – who were not imprisoned – greater confidence and boldness.

· They saw that Paul had joy in the midst of such a trial.

· They saw that God would take care of Paul in such circumstances.

· They saw that God could still use Paul even when he was imprisoned.

2. (15-18) Paul considers the motives of others in their preaching.

Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

a. Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife: Paul knew that some preached because they wanted to “surpass” Paul in ministry and to promote their own name and place above Paul’s.

i. These people were glad Paul was imprisoned because they felt this gave them a competitive edge over him in what they considered to be the contest of preaching the gospel. They were motivated – at least in part – by a competitive spirit, which too often is common among preachers.

ii. Paul wasn’t so critical or cynical to believe that every other preacher had bad motives. He knew that some also preached from good will.

b. The former preach Christ from selfish ambition: Those preaching the gospel out of wrong motives are infected with selfish ambition, which makes them serve, but not sincerely.

i. Ambition isn’t necessarily bad; there is nothing wrong in wanting to be the best we can be for God. But selfish ambition is most concerned about a successful image, instead of striving for true success before God.

c. Supposing to add affliction to my chains: Those who preached Christ from the wrong motive supposed to add affliction to Paul’s chains. Their competitive hearts didn’t only want to win for themselves; they also wanted Paul to lose.

i. They wanted Paul to admit the humiliation of having to admit that others were more effective in ministry than he was. They didn’t understand that Paul honestly didn’t care about this, because he did not have a competitive spirit in ministry.

ii. A.W. Tozer wrote this powerful piece rebuking the attitude of competition that is common among those in the ministry: “Dear Lord, I refuse henceforth to compete with any of Thy servants. They have congregations larger than mine. So be it. I rejoice in their success. They have greater gifts. Very well. That is not in their power nor in mine. I am humbly grateful for their greater gifts and my smaller ones. I only pray that I may use to Thy glory such modest gifts as I possess. I will not compare myself with any, nor try to build up my self-esteem by noting where I may excel one or another in Thy holy work. I herewith make a blanket disavowal of all intrinsic worth. I am but an unprofitable servant. I gladly go to the foot of the cross and own myself the least of Thy people. If I err in my self- judgment and actually underestimate myself I do not want to know it. I purpose to pray for others and to rejoice in their prosperity as if it were my own. And indeed it is my own if it is Thine own, for what is Thine is mine, and while one plants and another waters it is Thou alone that giveth the increase.” (from The Price of Neglect, 104-105)

d. Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice: So, people preached the gospel more energetically, motivated by Paul’s imprisonment. Some were motivated in a good way and some were motivated in a bad way; yet nonetheless, they were motivated – and Paul could rejoice in that.

i. Remember that Paul’s concern here was not with the content of the gospel being preached, only with the motives of those who preached. Paul objected if he thought a false or distorted gospel was preached, even if from the best of motives (Galatians 1:6-9).

ii. Paul’s attitude went like this: “If you preach the true gospel, I don’t care what your motives are. If your motives are bad, God will deal with you – but at least the gospel is preached. But if you preach a false gospel, I don’t care how good your motives are. You are dangerous and must stop preaching your false gospel, and good motives don’t excuse your false message.”

iii. If Paul’s imprisonment could not hinder the gospel, neither could the wrong motives of some. God’s work was still getting done, and that was cause for rejoicing.

3. (19-20) Paul’s confidence in his present circumstances.

For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

a. I know that this will turn out for my deliverance: Paul knew that the Lord was in control of all events, even though his imprisonment and impending trial before Caesar Nero made the situation look pretty dark.

b. Through your prayer: Paul was so confident because he knew that the Philippians prayed for him. His deliverance in the present situation was connected to the prayer of the Philippians.

i. We can hypothetically say that if the Philippians didn’t pray for Paul, then God’s deliverance for Paul would be hindered. It certainly seems that Paul thought this way, and it shows what a serious matter prayer is.

c. Through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ: However, it was not the prayer of the Philippians in and of itself that would meet Paul’s need. It was the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ that came to Paul through the prayer of the Philippians. Paul’s needs were met by the Spirit of God, but this provision to Paul was brought about by the prayers of the Philippians.

d. My earnest expectation and hope: These are words of faith. Paul mightily trusted God here, and Paul first trusted God that in nothing I shall be ashamed. He believed that God would not cause him to be ashamed or that God would not turn against him in the matter.

i. Though he was in prison and awaiting trial before Caesar, Paul had the confidence that he was in the center of God’s will. He knew God was not punishing him through the adversity he experienced at the time.

e. Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death: Paul also had this trust, and admitted to the Philippians that he might not be released from this present imprisonment, but it might instead result in his martyrdom.

i. Paul lived his life not to preserve and promote himself, but to glorify Jesus Christ. If Jesus should one day decide that Paul could best glorify Him through laying down his life, then Paul would be well pleased by the opportunity.

ii. Even so, this must have hit hard on the Philippians who saw God do so many remarkable miracles of deliverance in Paul’s life among them in Philippi (Acts 16:11-40). It would have been easy for the Philippians to associate God’s glory only with being delivered from one’s problems, not in being delivered in the midst of one’s problems.

iii. It is easy for us to dictate to God how He can and cannot glorify Himself in our lives. Paul wisely left all that up to God.

4. (21-26) Paul’s lack of fear regarding death and how it affected his outlook on ministry.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

a. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain: Paul knew that death was not a defeat to the Christian. It is merely a graduation to glory, a net gain for the Christian.

i. Paul’s death at the time would be a gain in two senses.

· First, his death for the cause of Christ would glorify Jesus, and that was gain.

· Second, to be in the immediate presence of the Lord was gain for Paul.

ii. The idea that Paul could consider death a present gain argues against the idea of “soul sleep.” This false teaching says that the believing dead are held in some sort of suspended animation until the resurrection occurs. His understanding that his death might be considered gain also argues against the idea of “purgatory” which says that the believing dead must be purified through suffering before coming into the presence of God.

iii. This also obviously showed that Paul did not fear death. Though some men may fear dying, no Christian should fear death. “When men fear death it is not certain that they are wicked, but it is quite certain that if they have faith it is in a very weak and sickly condition.” (Spurgeon)

b. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor: Paul was confident that God intended him to be fruitful. There was no doubt in Paul’s mind that this was God’s plan for him. If Paul lived, it would be a fruitful life.

i. In sad contrast, many Christians have not yet come to the place where it is a certainty that they will bear fruit for the kingdom of God with their life.

c. For I am hard pressed between the two: Knowing that his death could be a gain – both for the gospel and for him personally – Paul was torn between being with the Lord or continuing to minister to the Philippians and others.

d. Having a desire to depart and be with Christ: It is strong to say, but one must say that Paul, in some way, wanted to die. In fact, desire describes a strong longing: “He said he had a desire to depart, and the desire was a strong one. The Greek word has much force in it. He panteth, he longeth to be gone.” (Spurgeon)

i. Other men have also wanted to die.

· Some men have wished to die, gripped by the gloom and darkness that leads to suicide.

· Some have been so tired of this world and the cruelty of others that they thought death was better.

· Some have wanted to die in the crisis of some kind of suffering.

ii. Paul’s desire to depart had nothing in common with these attitudes among men. Paul probably had many motivations to depart.

· Going to heaven meant he would finally be done with sin and temptation.

· Going to heaven meant that he would see those brothers and sisters who had gone to heaven before him.

· Most of all, going to heaven meant being with Christ in a closer and better way than ever before.

iii. Having a desire to depart: “It appears to be a metaphor taken from the commander of a vessel, in a foreign port, who feels a strong desire, to set sail, and get to his own country and family; but this desire is counterbalanced by a conviction that the general interests of the voyage may be best answered by his longer stay in the port where his vessel now rides; for he is not in dock, he is not aground, but rides at anchor in the port, and may any hour weigh and be gone.” (Clarke)

iv. Paul knew that if he did depart, the journey would not be long. “The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How often shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to the sea that knows no storm. Oh tell it, tell it everywhere; yon ship that has just departed is already at its haven. It did but spread its sail and it was there.” (Spurgeon)

e. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you: Paul understood that others still needed him; that his work was not yet done. So while allowing for the possibility of his martyrdom, he told the Philippians that he expects to be spared at this time (I know that I shall remain and continue with you).

i. Paul was confident and full of faith, yet seems short of absolute certainty. His lack of absolute certainty is a comfort to us. Even the great apostle did not have a prophet’s certainty about the future.

ii. As it happened, Paul survived this imprisonment, was set free, and was martyred later at Rome. He did come to visit the Philippians again.

f. That your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again: Paul’s friendship with the Philippians was so close that he knew that they would be rejoicing to see him again.

C. How the Philippians should act in Paul’s absence.

1. (27) Paul wanted the Philippians to work together for the cause of the gospel.

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

a. Only let your conduct: The ancient Greek word translated “conduct” means literally, “to live as a citizen.” Paul told the Philippians to be good, patriotic citizens of the kingdom of God. This is a theme he will draw on again in Philippians.

b. I may hear of your affairs: Paul wanted the Philippians to know they were accountable before him. He would check up on them.

c. That you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind: Paul wanted to know that the Philippian church stayed together as one body, without becoming fragmented and fractionalized.

d. Striving together for the faith of the gospel: Paul wanted their unity to be put to a productive purpose, so that an increasing trust and belief in the good news of Jesus Christ would be promoted among those who already believed and among those who had yet to believe.

2. (28) Paul wants the Philippians to be bold before their adversaries.

And not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

a. And not in any way terrified by your adversaries: In the ancient Greek language, terrified “is a vivid term, unique in the Greek Bible and denoting the uncontrollable stampede of startled horses.” (Martin) In the face of this kind of opposition, Paul wanted the Philippian Christians to have the same kind of boldness he had.

b. Which is to them a proof of perdition: When Christians are not in any way terrified by [their] adversaries, that in itself is proof of perdition – meaning destruction – to their adversaries.

i. Perdition (the ancient Greek word apolia) means destruction, wasting, or damnation. The word is also used in places like Philippians 3:19 and 2 Peter 2:1. Both Judas (John 17:12) and the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3) are called the son of perdition.

ii. When Christians stand strong against intimidation against the world, the flesh and the devil, it shows those spiritual enemies that their ultimate destruction is certain.

iii. When our spiritual enemies fail to make us afraid, they have failed completely because they really have no other weapon than fear and intimidation.

iv. When we fail to be not in any way terrified by our adversaries, we give “hope” and “confidence” to our spiritual enemies, even though it is a false hope and confidence because their destruction is still assured.

c. But to you of salvation: When Christians are not in any way terrified by [their] adversaries, it is also evidence of their own salvation. In the Lord, we can surprise ourselves with our boldness.

3. (29-30) Why the Philippians need not be terrified by their adversaries: the attacks and challenges they face are ordained by God.

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

a. For to you it has been granted: It was granted to the Philippians to believe in Him. In the same way this belief was granted to them, so also was the privilege to suffer for His sake.

i. The Philippians didn’t need to fear that their present trial (and Paul’s present trial) meant that God abandoned them. Their present difficulty was granted to them, not as a punishment, but as a tool in God’s hand.

b. But also to suffer for His sake: The ancient Greek word for suffer here is pasko. This word is used primarily in the sense of persecution. However, it is also used of physical sufferings not related to persecution (Acts 28:5, and Matthew 17:15), of suffering under temptation (Hebrews 2:18) and hardships in a general sense (1 Corinthians 12:26, and Galatians 3:4).

i. “Everyone cannot be trusted with suffering. All could not stand the fiery ordeal. They would speak rashly and complainingly. So the Master has to select with careful scrutiny the branches which can stand the knife.” (Meyer)

ii. “Look up and take each throb of pain, each hour of agony, as a gift. Dare to thank Him for it. Look inside the envelope of pain for the message it enfolds. It is a rough packing-case, but there is treasure in it.” (Meyer)

c. Having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me: The Philippians had the same kind of conflict Paul had among them in Philippi and the same kind that Paul faced in Rome. The conflict of the Philippians concerned the difficulty of walking right with the Lord and proclaiming the gospel when persecuted and under attack.

i. Conflict is the ancient Greek word agon, which described a place where athletic contests were held and later came to refer to the contest itself. We get our words agony and agonize from this ancient Greek word.

ii. If the Philippians had Paul’s kind of conflict, they could also have Paul’s kind of joy and fruit in the midst of it.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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What Does Philippians 1:9 Mean? ►

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,

Philippians 1:9(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Paul’s love for the body of Christ was a deep love that reflected the love he had for His Saviour and Lord. He grieved when they were slow of heart to learn, reprimanded them when they fell into sin, corrected them when they were lured into error, rejoiced with them as they grew in grace, and instructed them so they would become increasingly mature in the faith.

Paul’s great desire for the saints at Philippi was that they become rooted and grounded in the Word of truth, so that their love for God and their love for one another would continue to grow and multiply. His prayer for these brothers and sisters in Christ was that they would increase in knowledge and all discernment, as they became increasingly conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus. “And this I pray,” he wrote in the opening section of his epistle, “I pray that your love may abound still more and more, in real knowledge and in all discernment.”

The love of God is as unfathomable as it is eternal, and yet the Lord Jesus commanded us to love as He loved, and Paul prayed that love would overflow in our hearts. His difficult trials and the chains of tribulation that constrained him did not cause Paul to become bitter in his attitude towards God. Rather, he recognised that in all things, God, in His gracious-love and tender-mercy, was using them for good.

God’s love is everlasting and indestructible. His love is infinite and without measure, and however much love has been poured into our hearts from above, there is always more room for His over-abounding love. His love flows from His well-spring of life and is a never-ending source and supply of all that is needed for life and godliness.

But it was not simply an abundance of love for which Paul prayed, but that their love would abound more and more in real knowledge and discernment. He prayed that the love in their hearts would be endowed with godly wisdom, and a knowledge of the holy that is able to approve things that are excellent, so that they may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

And so Paul was enabled to pen godly insights and instructions as to the true meaning of abounding love. Paul knew that godly wisdom and spiritual understanding have their root in the love of God and his prayer is as much for us today as it was for the Christians at Philippi. Indeed, this should also be our continuous prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ – that our love increases and abounds, as we worship our heavenly King, grow in grace, and develop a more intimate knowledge of God.

O worship the King, all glorious above. O gratefully sing His wonderful love. Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, pavilioned in splendour, and girded with praise.

O measureless might, ineffable love, while angels delight to worship above. Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of prayer and for placing me in Your family as Your child. How blessed I am to be a member of the body of Christ, and I thank You for the example that Paul the apostle set, as he lifted up the body of Christ in prayer. I pray also for my brothers and sisters in Christ, that their love may increase and multiply and that they too grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In His name I pray, AMEN.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/philippians-1-9

What does Philippians 1:9 mean?

Paul mentions love again in this letter several times (Philippians 1:16; 2:1, 2; 4:1). The “love” credited to the Philippian church is not simply a feeling of affection. It is an active, lived-out love. Paul uses the Greek word agape, meaning a selfless, sacrificial concern for the benefit of others. Based on their reputation, the love of the Philippian church was already strong. Paul prays for it to grow even more.

However, Paul is not merely concerned with love. Even though it’s a critical characteristic, it’s not the only important aspect of the Christian life. He specifically prays for two other qualities: knowledge and discernment. True, biblical love requires knowledge. We grow in love when we learn more about God’s love for us, and about how to love others. In addition, love includes discernment. Discernment helps us love better by allowing us to focus on God’s kind of love. His love is unconditional, rather than human love, which typically focuses on ourselves.

Context Summary

Philippians 1:3–11 is Paul’s expression of thanks and gratitude for the believers of Philippi. Not only have they been generous in their support of Paul, they have been faithful even when he was imprisoned. Paul claims to thank God for these Christians in all of his prayers. At the same time, Paul has high hopes that the church of Philippi will continue to mature and strengthen their relationship with Christ.

Chapter Summary

In chapter 1, Paul thanks the Philippian believers for supporting his ministry. Even when Paul was jailed, or persecuted, they had been generous and loyal. Paul encourages these Christians by explaining that all of his suffering has been for a good cause. Even better, these attempts to persecute Paul have actually caused the gospel to spread. For this, Paul is grateful. He fully expects to be released, and to see the believers of Philippi again

Love Is Not Boastful Or Self Righteous

Have you ever seen one of those cars with the extra loud muffler and thought my lord your a reckless show off driver people want to be center of attention well God knew them all as well as he says in the word for it is written in the Bible that men will become self righteous in the end times

1. 1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud

2.
2 Timothy 3:2
For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.

In Corinthians it speaks of self center and self seeking

How do you read Corinthians 13 4 7?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

“Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude, It does not insist on its own way, It is not irritable or resentful, It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4–7

1 Corinthians 13:4–7 is one of the most famous passages, maybe in all the Bible, certainly in First Corinthians. This description of love, of Christ-like love, and it is famous for a reason. It’s beautiful. This portrait of love is majestic, and the more you meditate on it, the more you just kind of read it and soak it in, the more beautiful it becomes. I just want to pray for these things for us, just to lead us to pray for this kind of love.

Let’s pray that the depiction of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 will mark each of our lives.

A kind of love that comes from God that is so different from even some of the misconceptions we might have about love in this world. So let’s pray for love according to God’s word in our lives, in our relationships, in the church, in the way we love the lost, those who are not in Christ around us. God, we pray for your love to be evident in us, to be a reality in us.

We want to experience a life that is saturated with your love, with love that is patient. God, make us patient, we pray. Let all of us be patient today, let all of us to be kind. We pray for kind love in our lives. May the fragrance of kindness be evident to all around us today, we pray. We pray that you would keep us, guard us from envy or boasting. God, we pray for humility.

Humble Love

We pray for humble love that is not looking to advance ourselves, but that is looking for the good of others; that is not looking to exalt our own name, but is looking to exalt your name. God, we pray that you would keep us from all envy, make us content, and keep us from all boasting. Make us humble, we pray. We know that love is not arrogant or rude. God, may we not be arrogant. May we not be rude. God, please, please, please deliver us from all pride.

Save us from ourselves, God, we pray for an end to pride in us, and God, may we not be rude in any way. In the words we say and our demeanor, and our actions, even in our thoughts, our desires. God, if they were uncovered, may they not be seen as rude. God, we pray that we would not insist our own way. They would yield to others, they would live for your way.

God, we pray that you would keep us from being irritable or resentful.

God, please, please make us as we’ve already prayed, patient and forgiving, and gracious and merciful in this way. Help us not to rejoice at wrongdoing. God, help us to rejoice with the truth. God, when we see someone has failed in this way or that way, help us not to rejoice at that, or when we see sin in this way or that way, help us not to rejoice that. And God, please help us to rejoice with truth, that which is good and right and holy.

We pray, God, that you would help us to bear all things, to believe your word, to hope in your word; what you have said, to hold fast and hope to you and to endure as a result. God, what a picture of love. We pray that you would bottle all that up and make it a reality in our minds, in our hearts, and our lives. We pray for love like 1 Corinthians 13:4–7, and we know that we have asked all these things according to your word. In Jesus name, Amen.

What does 1 Corinthians 13:4 mean?

1 Corinthians 13:4–7 is much loved the world over. Even unbelievers are attracted to Paul’s eloquent description of love in these verses. These words are often quoted at weddings or in romantic settings and featured prominently in artwork and merchandise. It’s important to remember that Paul is not writing inspirational poetry. Nor is he penning something meant to be a simple starry-eyed mantra. He is driving home a pointed message to the divided, often selfish Christians in Corinth: This is how God expects believers to treat each other. Lack of Christ-like love was at the heart of every one of the problems described in 1 Corinthians so far.

The “love” Paul speaks of in these verses is from the Greek term agape. This is a selfless love, distinguished from sexual desire—eros—and from brotherly love—phileo. These verses include 14 descriptors of agape, all of them verbs. Godly love, from a godly perspective, is defined by what Christians do or do not do. It is not primarily about feelings; nor is it mostly the words which describe them. Love is action: the choice to do or not do in relationships with all other Christians.

Love is patient. Love actively waits for others without resentment. This would include being patient in the face of being hurt or mistreated.

Love is kind. Beyond mere politeness, kindness involves acting for the good of others even when it does not benefit ourselves.

Love does not envy. Envy was alive and active in the Corinthian church, perhaps including the envy of the spiritual gifts and financial success of others. Love sets self aside and celebrates the successes of Christian brothers and sisters.

Love does not boast. Boasting is the work of self-promotion in obvious and subtle ways. Love quits that job and goes to work praising God and other believers, instead.

Love is not arrogant or “puffed up.” Arrogance involves confidence in oneself above all others and the expectation that everyone else should feel the same way. Love removes the obstacle of self from the purpose of serving others well.

Context Summary

First Corinthians 13:1–13 is one of the most loved and well-known passages in the Bible, but Paul places it after his teaching on the spiritual gifts for a specific reason. Some of the gifts may seem impressive, but if attempted without self-sacrificing love for others, they become meaningless, even destructive. Paul uses 14 verbs to describe what love does and does not do. Love is the foundation for Paul’s teaching in the following chapter on prophecy, tongues, and even orderly worship. While this section is often quoted in romantic settings, such as a wedding, the concept in mind is that of agape: a self-sacrificing, godly love.

Chapter Summary

Paul responds to the Corinthians’ over-emphasis on certain spiritual gifts by showing them that all gifts are worthless if not practiced through godly love. Paul provides 14 descriptors of love, all action verbs, all choices made out of a commitment to set self aside and serve others. Choosing to love each other in this way would solve many of the problems Paul has confronted in this letter. The spiritual gifts provide a glimpse of what is knowable, but when the perfect comes, we will know all. Love is the greatest of all the virtues

2 Timothy 3 – Perilous Times and Precious Truth

Video for 2 Timothy 3:


2 Timothy 3:1-15 – Perilous Times

2 Timothy 3:16-4:22 – Final Testimony


“As he lies in his cell, a prisoner of the Lord, Paul is still preoccupied with the future of the gospel. His mind dwells now on the evil of the times, now on the diffidence of Timothy. Timothy is so weak, and the opposition so strong.” (John Stott)

A. Perilous times mean that discernment matters.

1. (1) Perilous times in the last days.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:

a. In the last days perilous times will come: The word translated perilous has the idea of troubles, difficulty, and stressful situations. This sort of atmosphere will mark the last days.

i. “The word was used in classical Greek both of dangerous wild animals and of the raging sea. Its only other New Testament occurrence is in the story of the two Gaderene demoniacs who were as savage and untamed as wild beasts and whom Matthew describes as ‘so fierce that no one could pass that way’ (Matthew 8:28).” (Stott)

ii. The characteristics Paul will describe speak not of bad times, but of bad people. “We should note what the hardness or danger of this time is in Paul’s view to be, not war, not famine or diseases, nor any of the other calamities or ills that befall the body, but the wicked and depraved ways of men.” (Calvin)

iii. “The description in this and in the following verses the Papists apply to the Protestants; the Protestants in turn apply it to the Papists; Schoettgen to the Jews; and others to heretics in general… but it is probable that the apostle had some particular age in view, in which there should appear some very essential corruption of Christianity.” (Clarke)

b. In the last days: This is a broad term in the New Testament, broad enough to where one could say that the last days began with the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17). The days of the Messiah mark the last days; yet the term is especially appropriate to the season immediately before the return of Jesus and the consummation of all things.

i. Though some think that any attention paid to the last days or Biblical prophecy is frivolous, we should be able to discern when the last days are; or at least when world conditions are like the Bible described they would be in the last days.

ii. “There are sanguine brethren who are looking forward to everything growing better and better and better, until, at last, this present age ripens into a millennium. They will not be able to sustain their hopes, for Scripture gives them no solid basis to rest upon… Apart from the second Advent of our Lord, the world is more likely to sink into a pandemonium than to rise into a millennium.” (Spurgeon)

iii. In Matthew 16:1-4, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day because they did not or would not understand the meaning of their times: Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times (Matthew 16:3). It is possible that Jesus would have the same rebuke for some Christians today who are unaware of the last days and the soon return of Jesus Christ.

2. (2-5) A description of the human condition in the last days.

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

a. Men will be lovers of themselves: This is certainly characteristic of our present age, when men and women are encouraged to love themselves. People are told to love themselves unconditionally and that such self-love is the foundation for a healthy human personality.

i. We don’t need to be encouraged to love ourselves; we naturally have such a love. Neither should we be taught to hate ourselves, but as Paul said in Romans 12:3: For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. We must see ourselves as we really are – both the bad of what we are in the flesh and the glory of what we are in Jesus Christ.

ii. This love of self is the foundation for all the depravity that follows in Paul’s description: “But readers should note that lovers of themselves, which comes first, can be regarded as the source from which all the others that follow spring.” (Calvin)

iii. “It is no accident that the first of these qualities will be a life that is centred in self. The adjective used is philautos, which means self-loving. Love of self is the basic sin, from with all others flow. The moment a man makes his own will the centre of life, divine and human relationships are destroyed, obedience to God and charity to men both become impossible. The essence of Christianity is not the enthronement but the obliteration of self.” (Barclay)

iv. “‘Lovers of self’ aptly heads the list since it is the essence of all sin and the root from which all the other characteristics spring. The word is literally ‘self-lovers’ and points to the fact that the center of gravity of the natural man is self rather than God.” (Hiebert)

b. Men will be… lovers of money: The love of money is nothing new, but today people have the ability to pursue our love of money like never before.

i. In recent years newspapers featured a story about a woman named Brenda Blackman, who enjoyed some measure of success teaching a course titled How to Marry Money. The course attempts to show men and women how to marry rich, and costs $39 per person. In the course Blackman offered helpful hints, such as how to search through your prospective mate’s checkbooks to study their deposits and then assess their income levels. She built her student’s confidence by leading them in a chant several times through the lecture: “I want to be rich! I deserve to be rich! I am rich! I was born to be rich!” In one class, Blackman was asked by a woman if it was all right to settle for a man whose income was about $100,000 a year. “No way,” she replied. What if he was perfect in every other way? “If he was in his peak earning years and he was maxed out at $100,000 – forget it,” Blackman advised. When someone asked her about the place of love in such relationships, Blackman said that finding a mate with that much money is the hard part; learning to love that person is easy by comparison. “How could you not love someone who is doing all these wonderful things for you?” she said. Blackman was single as she taught these courses.

c. Men will be… boasters, proud, blasphemers: Boasting, pride, and blasphemy are nothing new; but today, they seem far more prominent than ever.

i. Boasting, pride, and blasphemy each act as if I am the most important person. Each of them say, “You don’t matter and God does not matter. All that matters is me.”

ii. Today boasting, pride, and blasphemy are apparent everywhere, especially among the celebrities that our cultures idolizes. Many people today become wealthy by calculated boasting, pride, and blasphemy.

d. Men will be… disobedient to parents: Since the mid 1960s there has been a frightening breakdown in the authority once assumed by a child towards their parents.

i. Several years ago a judge in Orlando Florida ruled that an 11-year-old boy had the right to seek a “divorce” from his parents so that he could be adopted by a foster family. But though there are few legal divorces from parents by children, it is far more common that young people simply disregard their parents.

ii. In the 1990s, a 13-year-old Los Angeles area graffiti vandal was quoted in the Los Angeles Times: “It’s like a family to belong to a crew. They watch your back, you watch theirs. You kick it everyday with them… You get friendship, love, supplies, everything.” He also says: “I’ll tag anything… Now I don’t care. Well, sort of. I wouldn’t like no one to write on my stuff. I do it to get known, to get up, regardless if people feel that I’m causing damage to property. I’d say the damage I’ve done is quite a bit. During the day I carry a screwdriver or a knife for protection. But at night I carry a gun. I have three guns. I hide them. My mom took a .38 from me. I’m getting it back.” When asked about once when he got caught, he said: “My parents sort of talked to me about it. Of course they told me, ‘Don’t do it again.’ But I’m not gonna listen, and they don’t have to know about it.”

e. Men will be… unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving: Ever since Adam, humankind has been marked by these things to one degree or another. Here, Paul said these things will be especially prevalent in the last days.

i. Unloving (translated without natural affection in the KJV) literally means, “without family love.” Paul said that the end times would be marked by an attitude of growing disregard of normal family love and obligation.

f. Men will be… slanderers: Men have always told hurtful lies about other men; but today, in media and in politics, slander has been elevated to both big business and big money.

i. In politics, candidates routinely and knowingly distort their opponent’s positions, just to make their competition look bad – and they don’t feel bad at all about the lying if it helps them get elected. In media, editors and news directors serve as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to innocents who are wrongly suspected – and usually refuse to apologize when they are proven to be wrong.

g. Men will be… without self control: The story of no self-control can be written across almost everything today – sex, drugs, alcohol, food, work. Whatever we do, we often do it out of control.

i. In the 1990s the Los Angeles Times published an article about Michelle, who was a successful writer and editor. She feared the day her husband might discover her secret stash of credit cards, her secret post office box or the other tricks she used to hide how much money she spent shopping for herself. “I make as much money as my husband… If I want a $500 suit from Ann Taylor, I deserve it and don’t want to be hassled about it. So the easiest thing to do is lie,” she explained. Last year, when her husband forced her to destroy one of her credit cards, Michelle went out and got a new one without telling him. “I do live in fear. If he discovers this new VISA, he’ll kill me.” A school teacher explained more: “Men just don’t understand that shopping is our drug of choice,” she joked, even while admitting that some months her salary goes exclusively to paying the minimum balance on her credit cards. “Walking through the door of South Coast Plaza is like walking though the gates of heaven. God made car trunks for women to hide shopping bags in.” A young professional named Mary explained: “Shopping is my recreation. It’s my way of pampering myself. When you walk into [a mall] and you see all the stores, it’s like something takes over and you get caught up in it.”

h. Men will be… brutal: Cruelty and brutality are nothing new in the world; but Paul wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the last days would be marked by a particular brutality.

i. A newspaper article in the 1990s described how an Oxnard man was accused of murdering his roommate after the two disagreed over the brand of beer the man had brought home. The accused man brought home Natural Light, and the murdered man wanted him to bring home Michelob. As he poured the Natural Light down the kitchen sink, he was stabbed to death.

ii. We like to think of ourselves as more advanced than previous generations; but surely more people have been murdered in our century than ever before; these are violent, brutal times.

i. Men will be… despisers of good: There just seem to be too many examples of this in modern society to pick out examples. For one example, there was a time when most people thought letting people live was good and killing them was generally a bad thing. Today, we live in a culture when the simple good of life is now despised and attacked, through abortion, through the glorifying of violence and murder, and through euthanasia.

i. On March 6, 1996, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared the United States Constitution gives every American the right to kill someone else. Essentially, the court said that if you think someone might want to die – even if they have never said so – you can kill them and no law can stop you. You can kill someone if you are a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist, a family member, or a “significant other” to a person you think wants to die. From the Judge’s ruling: “When patients are no longer able to pursue liberty or happiness and do not wish to pursue life,” they can be killed. The Federal Judge directly tied his decision to the right to abortion on demand. The reasoning seems to be that if the state must allow us to kill humans in the womb, it must also allow them to kill them later.

j. Men will be… traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God: These characteristics are all about one thing: Self. Men are traitors because of self, they are headstrong because of self, they are haughty because of self, and they are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God because of self.

i. This attitude marks our current age. For example, think of national advertising slogans from the late 1990s:

· Nothing is taboo.

· Break all the rules.

· To know no boundaries.

· Relax: No rules here.

· Peel off inhibitions. Find your own road.

· We are all hedonists and want to do what feels good. That’s what makes us human.

· Living without boundaries.

· Just do it.

The message is the same: You make your own rules. You answer to no one. You are the one that matters. Your universe revolves around you.

ii. We don’t have to choose between pleasure and God. Serving God is the ultimate pleasure; Psalm 16:11 says, At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. But we do have to choose between the love of pleasure and the love of God. Living for God will give you many pleasures, but they only come as you love God first and refuse to love the pleasures themselves.

k. Having a form of godliness but denying its power: In our self-obsessed world, people feel very free to have a “salad bar” religion – they pick and choose what they want. They feel free to be very “spiritual,” but sense no obligation to be Biblical.

i. In the late 1990s it was reported that the Reverend John Canning delivered the eulogy after Leo and Hazel Gleese were slain, telling mourners that he had been so close to the couple that he could call them Mom and Dad. On Friday, six weeks later, Canning was led off to jail in handcuffs, charged with beating and strangling the 90-year-old couple. Police say the Gleeses were killed in their home January 2 after they discovered Canning had abused the power of attorney they gave him and was stealing their savings. “It’s the most despicable thing I’ve ever heard of,” said Phil Ramer, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent. “Of all people in the world you should be able to trust, it’s your pastor. They couldn’t do it in this case, and he wound up killing them.” The pastor was a suspect from the start because he waited a day to report he found the couple dead in their home. “When it takes somebody a day to report two dead bodies, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say who the suspect is,” Ramer said. The minister passed the time before reporting the deaths by spending a day at the beach and dining out with friends.

ii. A 63-year-old married woman wrote to Dear Abby to justify her adultery. She writes: “He’s also married. We meet once a week at a motel for three hours of heaven. My husband knows nothing about this, and neither does my lover’s wife. Sex with my husband is even better now, and it’s not as though I am denying my husband anything. I teach a class at church every week, but for some reason, I feel no guilt.”

iii. When we talk about the power of godliness, we often mean it in the sense of “power to give me what I want.” But this is exactly opposite of what Paul meant here. The power of godliness that men will despise in the last days is the power it should have to guide their lives; power in the sense of rightful authority – and many, many, today deny that God has the power to tell them what to do through His Word.

l. From such people turn away! The command to turn away from people described by the characteristics in this list is especially difficult in our present day.

i. People who do the things on this list are not only common today but they are often also our cultural heroes. The simple responsibility of Christians is to turn away not only these attitudes, but also from the people who do these things.

ii. Many think it is enough if they themselves are not like this, and give little heed to the company they keep. But if we spend time with people like this – either personally or by allowing us to entertain us – they will influence on us. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33: Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

iii. From such turn away also means that Paul knew those marked by the spirit of the last days were present in Timothy’s own day. However, we should expect that they would be even more numerous and have increased power in the last days shortly before the return of Jesus.

iv. “This exhortation clearly implies that Paul did not consider the state of moral depravity just pictured as wholly a matter of the future. He was keenly aware that the evils about which he was forewarning were already at work.” (Hiebert)

3. (6-7) The strategy of the corrupt in the last days.

For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

a. Those who creep into households: Paul knew that they dangers were in the world in his day and would be increasingly present in the last days before the return of Jesus. However, he seemed especially concerned that these would creep into households. It is one thing to have such evil present in the world; it is another thing to allow it into your home.

b. Make captives of gullible women: Those marked by the last days depravity Paul mentioned in the previous verses want to take others captive, and it can do this among the gullible, those who will believe or pay attention to most anything if it is packaged the right way.

i. One should know if they are indeed one of these captives that Paul mentioned, bound by the influence of this end times rejection of God and celebration of self. There is one effective way to know: walk away from any kind of worldly influence and see if there are chains that make your escape difficult. Take a week off from letting anything marked by the spirit of the last days into your household – and see if chains bind you back to those things.

ii. Paul singled out gullible women simply because in that day, women spent far more time at home than the men, and were far more exposed to any corruption that would infiltrate the household. “Also he speaks here of women rather than men, for they are more liable to be taken in by such impostors.” (Calvin)

c. Led away by various lusts: Obviously, the spirit of the last days finds its appeal to us by exciting various lusts within us. It appeals to the desire to be excited sexually, or romantically, or to have our desires for comfort or wealth or status satisfied.

d. Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth: The spirit of the last days has a certain intelligence about it; the high priests of the spirit of the last days know how to make things work and how to lead us away by various lusts. But for all their skill, for all of their marketing brilliance and knowledge, they never come to truth.

i. Indeed, the spirit of the last days has a problem with the idea of “true truth” altogether, because it believes that we each are the center of our own universe and we each create our own truth. According to the spirit of the last days there is no truth outside of ourselves, so we can learn and learn and learn, but we will never come to God’s eternal truth.

ii. “There are many professors of Christianity still who answer the above description. They hear, repeatedly hear, it may be, good sermons; but, as they seldom meditate on what they hear, they derive little profit from the ordinances of God. They have no more grace now than they had several years ago, though hearing all the while, and perhaps not wickedly departing from the Lord. They do not meditate, they do not think, they do not reduce what they hear to practice; therefore, even under the preaching of an apostle, they could not become wise to salvation.” (Clarke)

4. (8-9) An example of this sort of corrupt human condition: Jannes and Jambres, who resisted Moses.

Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

a. Jannes and Jambres: Though they were not named for us in the Exodus account, these two men are the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses before Pharaoh (Exodus 7:8-13, 7:19-23, 8:5-7, and 8:16-19).

b. Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses: These were able to work real miracles – not mere parlor tricks – but by the power of darkness and not the power of God. When Moses cast down his rod and it turned into a serpent, Jannes and Jambres could do the same. When he turned water into blood, they could do the same. When Moses brought forth a plague of frogs, Jannes and Jambres could do the same. Yet eventually they could not match God miracle-for-miracle, and their occult powers were shown to be inferior to God’s power.

i. The ability to do miracles by the power of darkness and the willingness to receive them as authentic will characterize the end times (Revelation 13:13-15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9).

ii. Some of us are amazed by any spiritual power that is real, without carefully thinking that real power may have a demonic source instead of a Godly source. And even if a psychic or new age power seems to feel right, we must not be seduced by it because demonic powers can come masquerading as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:15).

c. Resisted Moses: The resistance of truth by Jannes and Jambres was shown by their ability to cooperate with demonic powers to do miracles. In the last days, men will also resist the truth.

d. They will progress no further: Even as Jannes and Jambres were eventually put to shame (though for a while they matched Moses “miracle for miracle”) and were eventually compelled to give reluctant glory to God, so also will the evil men of the last days. Even as Jannes and Jambres’ power had limits, so does Satan’s power, even in the last days – God is still in control.

i. This is the message of great hope in the midst of this great darkness – the spirit of the last days has an answer to it in Jesus Christ. The spirit of the last days is not stronger than the power of Jesus. The glorious truth is that we don’t have to be bound by the spirit of our times; we don’t have to be slaves to self and have our universe revolve around something as puny as our selves. There is hope, triumphant hope, in Jesus.

ii. “What is remarkable about this analogy, however, is not just that the Asian false teachers are likened to the Egyptian magicians but that Paul is thereby likening himself to Moses!” (Stott)

B. Faithfulness to God in difficulty and opposition.

1. (10-12) Persecution and following Jesus.

But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra— what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

a. But you: Paul has just described the kind of people that will threaten the earth in the last days and which Timothy must contend with in his own day. But you showed that Paul drew a clear dividing line between Timothy and those ruled by the spirit of the last days.

b. You have carefully followed: This is what made Timothy from the spirit of his age. He had carefully followed Paul’s doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions.

i. Carefully followed means that Paul did not merely teach Timothy these things in an academic sense; Timothy learned these things by carefully following Paul’s example. The best kind of Christianity is not only taught, it is also caught by seeing it lived out in other people.

ii. It all began with Timothy catching Paul’s doctrine. The reason Paul lived the way he lived was because he believed certain things. What we believe will determine how we live.

iii. Timothy caught Paul’s manner of life: There was just a certain way that Paul lived, and Timothy was around him enough to learn it and follow it.

iv. Timothy caught Paul’s purpose: Paul’s life had a purpose. It was not without direction. He was going somewhere, and that purpose had been established by God. Timothy saw that in Paul, he caught it, and he wanted to live his life that way.

v. Timothy caught Paul’s faith, longsuffering, and love: you could see in Paul that he had a faith not everyone had, and Timothy wanted to catch it. Paul was longsuffering – that is, patient with the little irritations of people and life in a special way, and he had a love that made him stand out. Remember all of these flowed forth from the doctrine – the truth – Paul held on to and Timothy carefully followed.

c. Perseverance, persecutions, afflictions: Timothy also caught these from Paul. We might think that the person who lives their life with the right doctrine, with the right manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, and love would be loved and accepted by everyone – but they are not.

i. In fact, some level of persecution is certain for people who carefully follow this kind of life: Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

ii. In our own day, Christians are being persecuted all over the world – in China, in the Muslim world, even in Russia, where a strong anti-missionary law was just passed. And we can face persecution in a social way today.

iii. Christians are persecuted for the same reason Jesus was persecuted: And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)

d. Which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra: Paul reminded Timothy of the specific occasions of persecution which he endured.

· At Antioch, where Paul was kicked out of the city for preaching the gospel (Acts 13:50).

· At Iconium, where Paul was almost executed by stoning (Acts 14:5).

· At Lystra, where they actually did stone Paul and leave him for dead (Acts 14:19).

e. And out of them all the Lord delivered me: Paul remembered this as he sat in prison and waited for execution. He knew that God was completely able to deliver him again, or that He might not. Paul seemed at complete peace, leaving it in the Lord’s hands. Persecution was not going to stop Paul from following hard after Jesus Christ.

i. Persecution must not stop Christians today. We may not face much violent or even economic persecution in our culture; but there is a great deal of social persecution Christians must deal with. 1 Peter 4:4 describes the mind-set of many of those who socially persecute Christians: They think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. Does anyone think you are strange?

ii. If we are not willing to have others think us strange; if we are not willing to be rejected by some for the sake of Jesus Christ; if we are not willing to be an outcast before some people, then we can never be true followers of Jesus Christ.

2. (13-15) The course of evil men and the course of the godly.

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

a. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse: Evil men refers to the obvious, open enemies of Jesus; impostors refers to those who appear good and many think of as fine, but they are actually destructive forces among Jesus’ followers.

i. These two kinds of people (evil men and impostors) will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Paul gave us insight into how many people are effective deceivers among God’s people – they themselves are being deceived.

ii. Motives are important, but we can sometimes place too much importance on them. Much harm has been done by people who were sincerely deceived and who tried to do wrong things out of wonderful motives – and because others look at their wonderful hearts, they accept their dangerous deceptions. We can’t always go only by motives in others; we must measure them also by the truth.

b. But you must continue in the things which you have learned: This is the key point to this section, around which the rest of the section develops. The command itself is simple enough to understand. He told Timothy to abide – it’s the same ancient Greek verb as when John wrote, therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning (1 John 2:24).

i. It was as if Paul wrote this: “Timothy, you learned these things. Right now you firmly believe them. Now, you have to continue in the things which you have learned. The important thing is to abide in them, to continue in them, to never let them go.”

ii. But you: A.T. Robertson called this an “Emphatic contrast.” Timothy was to strongly set himself against the course that some other men took.

iii. Yet the words “But you” go back even further, marking a contrast to what came earlier in the letter.

· There are approved and disapproved workers – you must continue in the things which you have learned.

· There will be dangerous times and dangerous men in the last days – you must continue in the things which you have learned.

· There will be hardship and sometimes persecution as you follow the Lord – but you must continue in the things which you have learned.

c. You must continue in the things which you have learned: The plural suggests that the command is somewhat broader. The core is faithfulness to God’s word, but through the letter we see that this refers to a pattern of ministry.

i. This was all centered on God’s word, but “the things which you have learned” seems to be more than just Paul’s Bible studies; it was those, but also his pattern of ministry.

ii. This pattern of ministry doesn’t deal much with specifics, such as when to have Christian services, how long to have them, a schedule for what to do during service, and so on. The emphasis is on a pattern, a philosophy, and then Timothy was to implement that into his own situation.

d. You must continue in the things which you have learned: The rest of the passage – up until the fourth chapter – simply describes for us what this means, and why it was so important for Timothy to do this.

i. It is wonderful to see that God gives us reasons to continue – it isn’t just, “Well, that is what we do” or “We have always done it that way.” God is good enough to give us reasons.

e. And been assured of: This puts the idea in the past tense, as if this was something that Timothy was once assured of, but perhaps now he wasn’t so sure. Perhaps he wavered from time to time, so Paul called him back to this.

f. Knowing from whom you have learned them: Continue in the things you have learned, remembering who taught you those things. It was as if Paul wrote, “Remember, Timothy: you learned these things from me.” Paul was too humble to say his own name here, but it certainly seems that is what he meant.

i. There is some debate among manuscripts whether whom is singular or plural. I think the context pushes us towards the idea that it is singular; Paul here refers to his own influence on Timothy.

· Paul led him to Christ.

· Paul gave him ministry opportunity

· Paul taught him by both word and example.

· Paul laid hands on him in ordination.

· Paul guided and mentored him in the midst of ministry.

ii. So, Timothy was to remember who taught him these things, knowing from whom you have learned them. Paul’s idea included:

· Remember how I strongly and confidently I believe these things.

· Remember the love with which I believe these things.

· Remember the urgency with which I believe these things.

g. That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures: Continue in the things you have learned, that you have received as a heritage. This truth didn’t begin with Timothy or even with Paul, but it is part of a long heritage that was passed on to Timothy.

i. From childhood means that it came to him through the influence of his grandmother and mother – Lois and Eunice, respectively. From his young childhood, they taught him.

ii. Timothy learned this starting in childhood. “The story of Mistress Elizabeth Wheatenhall, daughter of Mr. Anthony Wheatenhall, of Tenterden in Kent, late deceased, is very memorable. She being brought up by her aunt, the Lady Wheatenhall, before she was nine years old (not much above eight), could say all the New Testament by heart; yea, being asked where any words thereof were, she could presently name book, chapter, and verse.” (Trapp)

iii. Holy Scriptures: This use here referred to the Old Testament, because that is what Timothy would have learned from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.

iv. From childhood you have known: Timothy had known the word of God from his earliest years; yet see how strong the exhortation is from Paul that he continue in them! Nothing is assumed; the furthest thing from Paul’s mind is an attitude that says, “Well of course we are all founded on the Bible and we can assume that and move on to other things.” For Paul this was never assumed – not even with his trusted protégé Timothy.

h. From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures: It’s as if Paul said this: “Timothy, continue in what you received from me. But never forget that it didn’t start with me; it’s a heritage that was passed on to you. You came into contact with all this long before you ever knew me. You came into contact with this heritage through the Holy Scriptures.”

i. We’re happy to belong to the same church as Moody and Spurgeon, and Luther and Zwingli; the same church as Wesley and Whitefield, and Polycarp and Ignatius. We are part of them and they are part of us, because we are connected by our trust in the same Jesus, revealed to us by the same Holy Scriptures.

i. Which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus: Continue in the things you have learned, because of their great value. There is no wisdom greater than this in the world. Your wisdom about 20 other subjects means nothing if you are not wise for salvation.

i. This is something each generation must acquire for itself and then hold on to – the appreciation for the wisdom of the Bible, and a deliberate forsaking of any human wisdom that opposes or replaces what the Bible teaches.

ii. We don’t think for a moment that mere Bible knowledge saves; there are those who know the words of the Bible well yet are not wise for salvation. Yet those words mixed with faith do make one wise for salvation.

3. (16-17) Timothy must continue with confidence in the Holy Scriptures.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

a. All Scripture: This indicates more than the Hebrew Scriptures. If Paul meant the exact same thing here as what Timothy learned as a child, he might have said “Those Scriptures” referring back to verse 15, or he might have just repeated the exact phrase, “Holy Scriptures.”

i. Paul changed his wording here because he recognized that what God uniquely brought forth from the apostles and prophets in his time was also Scripture; it was also the God-breathed word of God. This included what he and others knew was emerging as the written form of the foundation of the apostles and prophets mentioned in Ephesians 2:20.

ii. This would fulfill the promise Jesus made that the Holy Spirit would speak to the apostles and lead them into all truth.

iii. There is no doubt that Paul thought this way – knowing that God was bringing forth a New Testament through the apostles and prophets of the first century.

· Paul commanded the public congregational reading of his letters, as would be done with the Hebrew Scriptures (Colossians 4:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:27).

· Paul called his own message the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

· In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul combined a quotation from the Old Testament, and some words of Jesus recorded in Luke 10:7 and he called both of them “Scripture.”

iv. Paul wasn’t the only one who thought this way. 2 Peter 3:15b-16 indicates the same idea, especially when Peter included Paul’s writings under the heading, Scriptures.

v. All this reminds us that even in Apostolic times, they were well aware that God was bringing forth more Holy Scripture, just as Jesus promised, just as Paul described, just as Peter understood.

b. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God: Paul exhorted Timothy, “Continue in these things because the Bible comes from God and not man. It is a God-inspired book, breathed out from God Himself.”

i. This means something more than saying that God inspired the men who wrote it, though we believe that He did; God also inspired the very words they wrote. We notice it doesn’t say, “All Scripture writers are inspired by God,” even though that was true. Yet it doesn’t go far enough. The words they wrote were breathed by God.

ii. It isn’t that God breathed into the human authors. That is true, but not what Paul says here. He says that God breathed out of them His Holy Word.

iii. Some protest: “This statement doesn’t mean anything because it is self-referential. Anyone could write a book and say that it is inspired by God.” Of course it is self-referential. Of course the Bible says it is Holy Scripture. If it did not make that claim, critics would attack the lack of such a claim saying, “The Bible itself claims no inspiration.”

iv. Yet the difference is that the Bible’s claim to be Holy Scripture has been tested and proven through the centuries. Every generation gives rise to those who really believe they will put the last nails in the coffin that will bury the Bible – yet it never, never works. The Bible outlives and outworks and out-influences all of its critics. It is an anvil that has worn out many, many hammers.

v. And to the critic who claims, “Anyone could write a book and say that it is inspired by God” we simply say, please do. Write your book, give it every claim of inspiration, and let’s see how it compares to the Bible in any way you want to compare. We invite the smarter critics of the Bible to give us another Bible, something more inspired, something with more life-changing power. The great critic or professor or skeptic is surely smarter than a Galilean fisherman 2,000 years ago, having all the qualifications, all the culture, all the brainpower necessary. It should be easy for them to write something greater than the Bible.

vi. But of course this is impossible; there is no equal to the Bible and there never will be. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our Lord stands forever. What can compare to the Bible? What is the chaff to the wheat?

· There is no book like it in its continuity and consistency.

· There is no book like it in its honesty.

· There is no book like it in its circulation.

· There is no book like it in its survival.

· There is no book like it in its influence and life-changing power.

c. By inspiration of God: One may easily argue that the Bible is a unique book, but it does not prove that God inspired it. For greater evidence, one can look to the phenomenon of fulfilled prophecy.

i. Peter wrote about how we can know the Scriptures are really from God and he spoke about his own certainty because he saw Jesus miraculously transfigured before his own eyes and he heard a voice from heaven say, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Yet, Peter said that we even have something more certain than a voice from heaven in knowing the Bible is from God: We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place (2 Peter 1:19).

ii. God’s ability to precisely predict future events in the Bible is His own way of building proof for the Bible right into the text. It proves that it was authored by Someone who not only can see the future, but Who can also shape the future.

iii. For example, there are at least 332 distinct Old Testament predictions regarding the Messiah which Jesus fulfilled perfectly (such as His birth in Bethlehem, His emergence from Egypt, His healing of the sick, His death on the cross, and so forth). Collectively, the combination of this evidence together is absolutely overwhelming.

iv. Professor Peter Stoner has calculated that the probability of any one man fulfilling eight of these prophesies is one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (10 to the 17th power); that many silver dollars would cover the state of Texas two feet deep. Stoner says that if you consider 48 of the prophecies, the odds become one in 10 to the 157th power.

d. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God: Remember that one may believe in the inspiration of the Bible in principle, but deny it in practice.

· We do this by imposing our own meaning on the text instead of letting it speak for itself.

· We do this by putting more of our self in the message than what God says.

· We do this by being more interested in our opinions when we preach than in explaining and proclaiming what God has said.

· We do this by lazy study and sloppy exposition.

· Instead, we honor God and His word by, as much as possible, simply letting the text explain and teach itself; to speak for itself.

i. “False doctrine cannot prevail long where the sacred Scriptures are read and studied. Error prevails only where the book of God is withheld from the people. The religion that fears the Bible is not the religion of God.” (Clarke)

ii. In 2005 the London Times reported that a new “teaching document” issued by the Roman Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland warns that Catholics should not take the Bible literally — that it’s not infallible. “We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in the booklet, The Gift of Scripture. So what sorts of things aren’t accurate? Creation, for one. Genesis, they note, has two different, and sometimes conflicting, creation stories and cannot be considered “historical.” Rather, the bishops say, it simply contains “historical traces.”

e. All Scripture: This tells us how much of the Bible is inspired by God. The great Greek scholar Dean Alford understood this as meaning, “Every part of Scripture.”

i. Some try to twist this – they try to make it say, “All Scripture that is inspired by God is profitable” and so on. In doing this, they put themselves in the place of highest authority, because they then will tell us what is inspired and what isn’t.

ii. They claim that the grammar is elastic enough in this statement to give the translation, “All Scripture that is inspired by God is profitable.” But this is dishonest to the text, and ignores a critical word present both in the English translation and the ancient Greek: the word and.

iii. The position of and in the text makes it clear that Paul is asserting two truths about Scripture: that it is both God-breathed and profitable; not that only the God-breathed parts are profitable.

iv. So we believe it forever: it is all inspired, andall profitable. Since it comes from a perfect God, it is perfect and without error in the original autographs; and what we have before us are extraordinarily good copies of what was originally written.

v. The reliability of our copies of what was originally written is a matter which can be decided by science and research, and though some errors have been made in copying the Scriptures through the centuries, today we have a New Testament where not more than one-one thousandth of the text is in question – and not one significant doctrine is in question. The numbers for the Old Testament are even more impressive.

vi. There is something else we can say about the Bible: It is true. And though the Bible is not a science text-book, when it does speak on matters of science as science (not in figures of speech or poetic hyperbole), it is true.

f. And is profitable: Paul exhorted, “Timothy, continue in these things because the Bible is profitable, and profitable in many ways.”

i. Profitable for doctrine: telling us what is true about God, man, the world we live in, and the world to come.

ii. Profitable for reproof and correction: with the authority to rebuke us and correct us. We are all under the authority of God’s word, and when the Bible exposes our doctrine or our conduct as wrong, we are wrong.

iii. Profitable for instruction in righteousness: it tells us how to live in true righteousness. There is perhaps here a hint of grace, because Paul knew what true righteousness was instead of the legalistic false righteousness that he depended on before his conversion.

iv. This all means something else very simple: We can understand the Bible. If the Bible could not be understood, there would be nothing profitable about it.

v. It is profitable when we understand it literally. But when we take the Bible literally, we also understand that it means that we take it as true according to its literary context. When the Bible speaks as poetry, it will use figures of speech that may not be literally true. One example is when David said, All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears in Psalm 6:6. Obviously, he spoke in poetic metaphor and he did not actually float his bed with tears. But when the Bible speaks as history, it is historically true, when it speaks in prophecy, it is prophetically true.

g. That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work: Paul exhorted, “Timothy, continue in these things because the Bible makes you complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

i. Complete doesn’t mean that the whole Christian life is about reading the Bible, or that the only important thing in good ministry is good Bible teaching.

ii. Complete means the Bible leads me into everything I need. If I will be both a hearer and a doer of the word, I will be complete as a Christian, thoroughly equipped for every good work. This reminds us that we are not in the business of building sermon appreciation societies, but in equipping the saints for the work of ministry.

iii. So, I don’t ignore prayer, or worship, or evangelism, or good works to a needy world – because the Bible itself tells me to do such things. If I will be both a hearer and a doer of the word, I will be complete.

h. That the man of God may be complete: When we come to the Bible and let God speak to us, it changes us – it makes us complete and transforms us.

i. One way the Bible transforms us is through our understanding. Romans 12:2 says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. When we let the Bible guide our thinking, our minds are renewed and transformed, so we begin to actually think like God thinks.

ii. But there is another level by which the Bible transforms us: by a spiritual work, a spiritual blessing which God works in us as we come to the Bible and let Him speak to us. This is a spiritual work that goes beyond our intellectual understanding. With great spiritual power beyond our intellect:

· The Bible gives us eternal life (1 Peter 1:23).

· The Bible spiritually cleanses us (Ephesians 5:26).

· The Bible gives us power against demonic spirits (Ephesians 6:17).

· The Bible brings spiritual power to heal our bodies (Matthew 8:16).

· The Bible brings us spiritual strength (Psalm 119:28).

· The Bible has the power to spiritually build faith in us (Romans 10:17).

iii. Because of this spiritual level on which the Word of God operates, we don’t have to understand it all to have it be effectively working in our lives. Many people get discouraged because they feel they don’t get much when they read the Bible on their own and so they give up. We must work to understand the Bible the best we can, and read it thoughtfully and carefully, but it benefits us spiritually even when we don’t understand it all intellectually.

iv. A critic once wrote a letter to a magazine saying, “Over the years, I suppose I’ve gone to church more than 1,000 times, and I can’t remember the specific content of even one sermon over those many years. What good was it to go to church 1,000 times?” The next week, someone wrote back: “Over the past many years, I have eaten more than 1,000 meals prepared by my wife. I cannot remember the specific menu of any of those meals. But they nourished me along the way, and without them, I would be a much different man!” The Bible will do its spiritual work in us, if we will let it.

v. Paul began the chapter warning Timothy about dangerous times. Some Christians are swept away by these perilous times and some others go into hiding. Neither option is right for us. We are to stand strong and stay on the Word of God.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Categories: New Testament Paul’s Letters

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What does 2 Timothy 3:2 mean?

Paul begins an extensive list—some 19 traits in all—of attributes found in evil people. Both these behaviors, and those who persist in them, are to be avoided. Verse 2 includes the first eight attributes.

First, people will be selfish, rather than serving others.

Second, evil people will be obsessed with wealth. Material things are not evil in and of themselves, but the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

Third, these people will be “proud,” meaning they are preoccupied with people noticing them and their actions. This is related to concepts such as arrogance, but puts the expectation on others. A “proud” person not only thinks highly of themselves, they expect other people to demonstrate approval.

Fourth, such people will be “arrogant.” This is from the Greek word hyperēphanoi, literally meaning “putting one’s self above others.” This term seems to refer more to one’s state of mind, while the idea of “selfishness” involves a similar problem, but in deeds.

Fifth, these evil people will be “abusive.” The Greek word used here refers to speaking slander or evil of others: blasphēmoi.

Sixth, these wicked ones would break the commandment to honor one’s parents (Exodus 20:12). This is a common thread in the lives of those who despise authority. Children who do not respect their parents typically do not respect anyone. Those who do not honor their parents, in this context, have problems beyond simple family conflict.

Seventh, they will be “ungrateful” or unthankful. This closely relates to the ideas of selfishness and arrogance; those who are ungrateful typically feel entitled to certain things—rather than being thankful when they receive, they are angry when they do not.

Eighth, these depraved people will be “unholy,” not truly desiring to live according to God’s truth. God is described in the Bible as “holy,” which means “set apart” (Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 6:3). In contrast, these evil people are unholy, immersed in the fallen world. This echoes an illustration Paul used in 2 Timothy 2:20–21.

Context Summary

Second Timothy 3:1–9 is Paul’s extensive list of godless traits, which will characterize false teachers and unbelievers. In verses 2 through 5, Paul will list nineteen separate qualities which are to be condemned. Among these are selfishness, arrogance, slander, hedonism, and denial of the truth of God. According to Paul, despite the apparent success of these false teachers, they will eventually be seen for what they are, and punished. Timothy, like other believers, should steer clear of such people.

Chapter Summary

Paul introduces himself, then recaps Timothy’s path to becoming a minister. He reminds Timothy of how his family brought him up in the faith, and then how Timothy served faithfully with Paul in the past. Paul then focuses on two primary ideas. First, that Timothy’s background in the faith should give him the courage to stand fast against hard times. Second, that Timothy should use that courage to defend the truth of the gospel message. Paul will use these points and examples as the foundation for the rest of his letter

Do Good With God

VERSE OF THE DAY

John 3:20-21 (New Living Translation)

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All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

All who do evil despise the light and Go against God refusing to go near and close for they fear exposure of their sins. But those who do right in God come to the light so they can show that they are doing right in Gods eyes. God sees all sin’s weather we are good or evil he knows all regardless.

What Jesus Did! ‘Doing What God Wants’ — John 3:20-21

Sunday, February 20, 2022

[Concluding his talk with Nicodemus, Jesus said,] “All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

John 3:20-21 NLT

Key Thought

A life dedicated to God comes to his light. A person living this kind of life doesn’t fear judgment or rejection or truth. Any tendency and temptation toward sinfulness — whether it is falsehood, dishonesty, greed, sexual sin, or … — can be overcome through God’s grace when those seeking righteousness come to the light. So the question you and I face each day is very simple: Do I gladly come to the light to let God show me his grace in ways that allow me to see my sinfulness, shallowness, and selfishness and to be transformed? My desire to open my life to the light of God’s truth and holiness reveals my desire to do what is right. My reluctance reveals how the power of sin has come into my life and my heart.

Today’s Prayer

Almighty Father, God of holiness and grace, search me and try me and convict me of my sin. I want to be holy and blameless, not just by your gift of grace, but also through the sanctifying power of your Spirit at work to transform me to be more and more like Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

1 John 1:5-7

Colossians 1:13

1 Peter 2:8-10

What Does John 3:20 Mean? ►

“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

John 3:20(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Most wicked acts are carried out secretively and under cover of darkness, for even though evil men know that God exists, they do not honour Him as Lord, nor do they give thanks to Him for His daily provision. Instead, the thoughts of their hearts are only evil continuously and their lives become futile and worthless.

Such ungodly people suffocate their God-given conscience and sear their sense of right and wrong. They wilfully ignore the clear evidence of His almighty power, which is displayed in the heavens above, and they refuse to acknowledge the clear testimony on the earth below. The result is the rejection of God’s gracious offer of salvation by grace – through faith in Christ.

The pointless reasoning and silly speculations of these ungodly men and profane women, allow their foolish hearts to become corrupted by Satan and darkened by sin. Their lustful leaning and sinful habits, cause them to hate the Light of the glorious gospel of Christ.

John explains that everyone who engages in evil perversion and sinful wickedness, hates the Light. Evil-doers do not embrace the Light of Christ. They shrink-away from the Word of truth, for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

Darkness is not so much the opposite of light, but the absence of light. The exclusion of the Lord Jesus Christ from the lives of evil men, the absence of the truth, and a self-willed rejection of the glorious gospel of grace, corrupts the human mind and darkens the imagination, until the presence of God’s Light become painful and distasteful.

It was at the end of His interview with Nicodemus, that Jesus explained that all men are condemned – for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. The true Light of life – the Lord Jesus Himself Who is able to illuminate the heart and transform the soul, has already come into the world, but men love darkness more that the light because their deeds are evil.

Jesus is the true Light of the world Who was sent by the Father to bring light and life, health and wholeness to a darkened world. But His Word was discarded, His message was rejected, and His offer of salvation was spurned by fallen men who did not want the pure radiance of His glorious Light to expose their evil deeds of darkness: “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

During Christ’s present, High Priestly ministry in heaven, the Church have been entrusted to be lights in this dark world of sin: “Ye are the light of the world,” Jesus told us, and as His representatives on earth we are to shine for Him – we are to shine the light of the gospel of truth into a dark and hurting world.

As children of the light, let us not only walk in the light of His love, but be used as His channels of blessing and hope to others knowing that: “To all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/john-3-20

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/john-3-20

What does John 3:20 mean?

Light is an important symbol in the Bible. Jesus is described as “The Light” in several passages (John 1:9). This light reveals things, and some of what it uncovers we would rather keep a secret. Those who commit sin would prefer that sin stay hidden, and not be exposed. The Greek term here translated as “evil,” or “wicked,” is phaula, which also means “worthless,” “base,” or “no good.” A life without God may seem satisfying, for a while (Hebrews 11:25), but it’s ultimately hopeless, worthless, and ends in disaster (Mark 8:36). This is not just a Christian opinion—many atheists subscribe to this idea, as well. They look for ways to avoid living as though life has no meaning, but recognize that with no God there is no legitimate meaning to life. In order to live a life of purpose, rationally, a person has to believe in purpose.

Context Summary

John 3:16–21 begins with the most easily recognized portion of any holy book on Earth: John 3:16. This is a one-sentence summary of the entire gospel. Still, the verses which follow are just as critical for understanding the Christian message. Christ wasn’t sent to judge the world, but to bring salvation. This is an expression of God’s incredible love. However, those who do not believe in Jesus Christ are condemned in the eyes of God. Human preference for sin causes many to choose darkness over the Light.

Chapter Summary

John chapter 3 is one of the most important in the entire gospel. Many crucial ideas are explained in this passage, including the role of Jesus as Savior. After the loud, public commotion at the temple, John transitions to a quiet, nighttime discussion. These verses make it clear that Christ—and Christ alone—is the means of salvation for the entire world. This text also states that those who reject Jesus are rejecting God.

GOD’S MESSAGE IS SIMPLE

God Loves Us.

God Wants Us to Love Him.

God Wants Us to Love Each Other.

God Wants Us to Join Him in Heaven.

It is a Message brought to us by Jesus in the Gospels of the Bible.

It is an invitation to find joy and peace in our lives and to look forward with hope to the promise of spending eternity in the presence of God’s love in heaven.

It is a Message that leaves us with a choice.

Do we choose God and this path that Jesus has set before us, or do we choose another path that leads away from God?

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WHAT IS FAITH?

GOSPEL MESSAGE

RECENT MESSAGES

© 2015-2022 God’s True Message
Based on the NCV Bible

What Is Real Faith?

by David C. Pack

Why are most people trapped by fears and worries? Because they lack faith! But what is faith? Is it positive thinking? A feeling? One’s church affiliation? The belief that Jesus died for your sins? Confidence? Hope? Or is it something far more? Why do millions misunderstand this subject? Here is the Bible answer!

The Bible states that “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Heb. 11:6). This is an incredible statement—yet, it is in the Bible! Take it for exactly what it says. Just think! Anything a person does, in attempting to be Christian, means absolutely nothing, if he lacks faith. For without faith, he has no hope—no possibility of pleasing God. Any who are not pleasing God are Christians in vain. That is serious! Consider yourself. Do you have real faith? Is it sufficient for salvation? Can you know? You can! This booklet will explain how.A Lack of Real FaithThrough the years, people have often asked, “Mr. Pack, I lack faith. I do not feel the presence of God or His power in my life. How can I have more faith?”What about you? Do you lack faith to know that God is with you? To overcome sin and guilt? To be healed of disease? To believe all things in His Word? Do you lack faith that “all things [will] work together for good” if you love God (Rom. 8:28)? To believe God will work out injustices you have received? To believe God will provide for you? To believe that you can endure severe trials and persecution? Or that God will deliver you from them? Do you lack faith to see the soon-coming kingdom of God more clearly and that you can be in it?The Bible says that you need not lack faith in any of these areas! You CAN develop real faith. However, the Bible says that most people, in the age preceding Christ’s Return, will not have sufficient faith to confidently claim any of these or other promises from God’s Word!Faith Found When Christ Comes?This world is in trouble. Problems are escalating everywhere on a planet cut off from God. The Return of Christ—to restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6) and set up the Kingdom of God—is imminent.

When speaking of our time—the last generation before His Return—Christ asked, “When the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Think of the incredible implications of this question! Is it possible that true faith could be completely gone from earth at Christ’s Second Coming? Christ was able to look forward, into our time, and know that conditions would exist allowing this to be true—almost! (To learn more about HOW God’s Kingdom will come, read our booklet How God’s Kingdom Will Come – The Untold Story!)An article titled “Know Your Bible? Many Christians Don’t,” by reporter Wendy Griffith, discusses the issue of people’s ignorance of the Bible. Here is what she wrote:“It’s clear that many Americans—including Christians don’t know their Bible. Just look at the numbers from a recent study:More than 60 percent of Americans can’t name either half of the Ten Commandments or the four Gospels of the New Testament.Some 80 percent including ‘born again’ Christians believe that ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is a direct quote from the Bible.”What a shame! What a terrible indictment of the most blessed nation on earth. And it is the single greatest reason why so little genuine faith is to be found.But Christ said that He would build His Church and He promised that it would never be destroyed (Matt. 16:18). His Church—God’s true Church—is where people do have true faith according to the Bible definition. Therefore, the presence of God’s true people on earth will ensure that at least a few people will be found to have faith when Christ returns. (Read our free booklet Where Is God’s Church?)

Notice Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” We must establish another important point relating to the life of all true Christians. Real faith comes from the Spirit of God—it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. No one can have it—or even be a true Christian—without God’s Spirit.But what is faith? Surely God would not state that those lacking faith cannot possibly please Him—and then withhold the real definition of faith from all who seek to know it. Before examining what the Bible says about real faith, one must examine what people think it is.Various CounterfeitsThere are several common ideas about faith. If you doubt this, then merely ask a half-dozen people to explain it—to precisely define it for you. Be prepared for just as many different ideas—probably all of them wrong.I have known many people who believed that faith is an intangible “feeling” that cannot be defined. It is often thought to be personal, mysterious and unique to each person. This feeling usually has no definition, structure, or clear purpose and, inevitably, is whatever people want or need it to be. In other words, for almost every person, there is a different description and definition of faith. It is strange how many people view faith this way, yet the Bible has never said anything of the sort.Others believe that faith is some kind of “positive thinking.” It is as though as long as people take an optimistic view and remain upbeat about events and circumstances, they are demonstrating faith. The Bible nowhere describes faith with the words positive or optimistic—though these are certainly good qualities of mind.

Other views of faith are that it is hope or confidence. Neither is true! Hebrews 10:35does say that confidence is important. Notice: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward.” While this passage reveals that confidence is vital for Christians, confidence alone is not faith. Regarding faith being hope, I Corinthians 13:13 states, “And now abides faith, hope, charity [love], these three; but the greatest of these is charity [love].” If faith and hope are the same thing, why are they listed separately? Why does God refer to them as “these three”? When mentioned with love, shouldn’t He have said, “these two”? Obviously then, faith is different from hope.Still others believe that one’s faith is the equivalent of the church denomination or affiliation they attend. This description of faith is seriously flawed and unscriptural. Notice Ephesians 4:4-5: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism…” If faith is a church denomination, and there are well over 2,000 different churches in the United States alone, then there cannot be just “one faith.” Of course, this idea would also make the apostle Paul wrong. He should have written that there are “thousands of faiths.”Bear in mind that you have just seen in your Bible that there is only one kind of faith! We will soon explore whether the Bible precisely defines that one kind of faith or leaves it up to individuals to guess its meaning.The last and perhaps most common idea is that faith is any general belief that Jesus died for your sins. As with the idea that faith is a feeling, the extent of people’s “personal” belief in the sacrifice of Christ becomes the deciding factor in how each professing Christian chooses to define it. Certainly we will see that the true definition of faith does include this important belief. There is no doubt that if someone does not believe the most basic understanding that Christ died for his or her sins, this person does not have saving faith. Remember, without faith it is impossible to please God, and if someone doubts Christ died for his sins, he certainly is not pleasing God and will not be saved!Believing that Christ died for your sins is a direction—an avenue—of faith, but not what faith is!What Faith IsIt is now time for the most fundamental question in this booklet. Does the Bible give an exact definition of faith? Since it says there is one faith, does it, in fact, give one definition of that faith? Is there a place where the Bible says, “Faith is…” and a precise definition follows? If so, where is it, and whatdoes it say?Hebrews 11 has often been called the “faith” chapter. It describes many of God’s greatest servants and how their faith enabled them to perform great acts and miracles, or to endure severe trials. This long chapter is very inspiring, and all who want to have real faith should periodically read it. It contains the word faith two dozen times. Verse 2says, “For by it [faith] the elders [these Bible figures] obtained a good report.”How could they have obtained a “good report” unless they understood faith? Now for God’s definition in verse 1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Did you notice that faith involves “evidence” of things “not seen”? The marginal rendering of “substance” is “assurance.” Faith involves an ASSURANCE “of things hoped for.” But, if something is hoped for, that something has not yet been received. Therefore, where faith is involved, there is an ASSURANCE that it will be received!But how can evidence be related to something that is not seen? Do we not rather think of evidence as involving things that are seen?In a courtroom, evidence is what can be proven. It involves facts visible to a jury. In other words, evidence only involves things that can be seen or demonstrated. How then can faith involve evidence that is invisiblenot seen?Faith involves evidence in the following way. Real faith, in any promise made by God, is actually the evidence. It is the belief that is the evidence. If God promises to do something, it is impossible for Him to lie (Heb. 6:18). Your evidence that He will perform it is the very unwavering faith that you hold. Do you understand this? Remember, Hebrews 11:1 said, “faith isthe evidence.” If you have true Christian faith, you do not need to search for the evidence—you already possess it!The Doctrine of FaithWe have read the biblical definition of faith, but faith is also a doctrine. Notice: “The principles of the doctrine of Christ…of faith toward God…” (Heb. 6:1). Faith is always exercised toward God, but it is Christ who makes this possible.Faith is something Christ teaches—this is why the Bible calls it “the doctrine of Christ.” By now, you realize that faith is important for all Christians to understand. You need not be confused about it, though people around you may be. We must eliminate the misunderstanding and deception about faith.Perhaps when Christ returns, He will find real faith in you!For every doctrine of God, there are endless ideas that people conjure up about it. The Bible explains what God says and thinks about His doctrines. If a doctrine comes from and belongs to God, we ought to examine what HE says about it. You should never be concerned with the opinions of people. The balance of this booklet will explain the Bible’s true teaching about the doctrine of faith toward God. Prepare to be surprised!Not the Five SensesAlmost everyone believes that faith involves feelings. But physical feelings merely come from the human senses and have nothing whatsoever to do with what God promises—or faith!Human beings accept knowledge that they have received through the five senses—seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting. These senses all involve physicalinformation—physical knowledge. The mind receives and processes this information in order to draw conclusions about circumstances, things and events taking place around it. Faith is spiritual, not physical. It is a confident assurance, which comes from the Spirit of God in the mind of a converted human being.So many today lack the strength—the POWER—to believe that God will perform the promises contained in His Word. He seems far away, vague and ethereal to billions of human beings caught up in a materialistic world. The vast majority do not have time for God. There seems to be no room for prayer, Bible study, fasting and meditation. All these things draw us closer to God. Most give up trying to do them, and then wonder why they have no faith! This leaves them forced to rely solely on their five senses for guidance. Most people feel that anything derived from a source other than these is not to be trusted.No one would ever wish to lose his or her physical sight. Certainly no one would ever consider driving a car if he were blind. Now, consider the following verse: “FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). Practicing true faith means learning to disregard what you see. Literally, sight does not count in relation to what God has promised to do or when He will do it.This verse reveals that Christians do not walk by what they see!Think of this example in the following way. Just as you would never consider driving a car WITHOUT SIGHT, a Christian is not permitted to walk through life BY SIGHT! This is not a principle that people learn overnight. The very concept of this kind of spiritual understanding is foreign—COMPLETELY ALIEN—to human thinking. Unlearning the wrong idea of faith requires a lifetime of practice.Prayer, study, fasting and meditation are spiritual activities. God is Spirit and Christ explained, regarding Christians, “They that worship Him [the Father] must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Of course, people who do not KNOW the truth of all the other doctrines of God, though they may know the truth about faith, cannot possibly worship God “in truth.” They may strive to worship God “in spirit” but it is impossible to worship Him in truth if they are doing it in ignorance of many crucial Bible truths. However, for our purposes here, at least all who read this booklet will no longer be unaware of the truth about the doctrine of FAITH—and how it relates to worshipping God in spirit.Many wonder why they are never healed—or why their prayers are not answered. They wonder why they are not blessed or are not receiving deliverance from God when it is needed. They lack faith, which comes from the Spirit of God. If they had faith, they would have evidence—assurance—confidence—that they would be healed, blessed, delivered or receive answers to their prayers! They would KNOW that these things were coming, in advance of their arrival.Christ Had Real FaithWe have already seen that faith is a fruit of God’s Spirit. Obviously, Christ had tremendous faith. Filled with God’s Spirit, and possessing it from conception, Christ was the most converted Person who ever lived. It gave Him tremendous understanding of the importance of the power of God’s Spirit. This is why He said, “I can of Mine own Self do nothing” (John 5:30)! He knew that “the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works” (John 14:10).It was through the power of God’s Spirit in Him that Christ accomplished everything that He did. He understood completely that it was only the presence of the Spirit of God in Him that allowed Him to perform miracles. He perfectly exercised the fruit of faith present in Him because of the Holy Spirit. No doubt, God gave Him the additional gift of faith (I Cor. 12:1, 7-9) that He would need to endure all He was to face through His sacrifice as Savior of the world.Christ went on to say in John 14, “He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (vs. 12). All the apostles, evangelists and others (including even deacons) performed mighty miracles after Christ’s Resurrection and the start of the New Testament Church. The Bible records this. Furthermore, these greater works will be done at the time the kingdom of God is established on Earth. Through the power of real faith, ordinary people can do amazing things!But can you have the same kind of faith that Christ had—or that the apostles had? Do Christians today have a different kind of faith?The Faith OF ChristWhat kind of faith does God expect you to have? Most people think that they must “work up” faith through human effort. They see it as something from within that they can WILL themselves into possessing. This is terribly wrong and the Bible plainly says so. Do you realize that you can have the exact same faith that Christ possessed? You not only can—you MUST!Notice: “Knowing that a man is not justified…but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ” (Gal. 2:16). This is an extremely important verse. It differentiates two vital points. First, it states that “we believe[d] in Jesus Christ”—this is something we do. Second, it is the faith OF Christ—Christ’s actual faith in us—that justifies us (makes us righteous). Most people never get this understanding straight. Faith starts with human belief, but must quickly move to the real faith OF Christ, which enters a person at the moment of baptism and conversion with the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit.The Bible describes a certain temporaryhuman faith that many people have. In the New Testament, when Christ healed people, none of them were converted. Yet, He sometimes told them, “your faith has made you whole” (Matt. 9:22) or “according to your faith be it unto you” (vs. 29). These people lacked God’s Spirit but they did have a temporary human faith that allowed Christ to heal them.It is this growth FROM human faith TO the faith of Christ that Paul referred to when he said, “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith [human] to faith [of Christ in us]” (Rom. 1:17). If there was not human faith and the faith of Christ in us, how else could people go “from faith to faith”? If one is in a room, that person cannot go to a different room and still be in the same room. Do you see this point? It is the same with faith. Human faith is like a small room, which true Christians must leave to enter the great room of Christ’s faith working in them.Human faith wavers continually and goes up and down according to how one feels at any given moment in time. It is much like a rollercoaster. When events seem positive or look good, human faith is up. When things look bad and the outcome of a matter appears gloomy, human faith disappears in an instant. God’s faith is permanent and does not waver. He requires that all who come to Him in prayer, with requests, do “not waver.” He considers all who waver to be unstable in everything they do, and says that they will receive nothing from Him (Jms. 1:6-8).The Bible Contains PromisesEvery time you demonstrate faith in God, it involves a specific promise. A promise can involve healing, answers to prayer, receiving blessings (Jms. 1:4-8), deliverance in a trial, guidance in a difficult decision and, most importantly, receiving salvation. In every instance, faith involves claiming a specific promise made by God. We will see the importance of searching His Word to find those promises.Consider! Paul recorded, “Above all, taking the SHIELD of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16). Now notice: “Every word of God is pure: He is a SHIELD unto them that put their trust in Him. Add you not unto His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6).When put together, these two verses show that God, through faith, becomes a shield to all who trust in exactly what the Bible says. To doubt His Word, or to alter it in any way, is to call God a LIAR! That is serious! Understand. When God makes a promise, He keeps it. Human beings may break their promises, but God does not. If He tells you that He will do something for you, if you meet certain conditions, He will perform His promise. You have faith as an assurance that He will. So, browbeating yourself into faith is silly. It suggests that you doubt God will do His part after you have done yours. Faith is relaxed. It is calm. It is sure. Where most people might have great doubt, the person led by faith is confident that God is guiding the final outcome of matters.When you claim a promise, expect it to be carried out by God. Do not try to figure out when or how He will do it. I have learned two things about answered prayer. First, God always answers my prayers, if I seek His Will, but second, He almost never answers them in the way that I expect. This is why walking by faith cannot include sight. “Looking” for God to answer prayer a certain way or in a certain timeframe is a waste of energy. Besides, it is far more important that God answers our prayers and fulfills His promises, than HOW He does it! And He always knows the best time and way to do it anyway.Always Seek God’s WillNo promise of God can be claimed unless you have learned what the promise is. God promises some things and does not promise others. Therefore, the only way to know whether He has made a particular promise or not is to continually study His Word.In any matter, always ask yourself, “What does the Bible say?”Paul wrote, “Prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). Proving involves study. Study involves effort. Then, knowledge of God’s promises brings confidence to those who pray about them. God is eager to bless people, but He cannot do this if people are ignorant of what He is willing to do. Paul also wrote, “Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). Let’s face it. It is terribly “unwise” for people to live in ignorance of God’s promises. Why? Because they cut themselves off from so much that He is willing to do for them! Therefore, you do not have to wonder about God’s will. His Word tells you His will on every single important aspect of life. (Take a moment to read II Timothy 3:14-17.) But this is not the only condition regarding faith.Faith Has Other ConditionsAs we have seen, most people believe that the only kind of “faith” needed for salvation is to “just believe.” It is popular to recite, “if you shall confess with your mouth…and believe in your heart…you shall be saved” and “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:9, 13). But is this all there is to receiving salvation? Can it really be this easy? If so, then the Bible should be two verses long. The rest of it becomes unnecessary and can be thrown out!It is amazing how millions of people are content to accept outright twisting of the Bible in order to practice a “Christianity” of their own devising. Peter wrote, “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (II Pet. 1:20), and this is true of every other Bible doctrine (Isa. 28:9-10). All the scriptures pertaining to any matter must be taken together in order to have the complete picture. Seizing “pet verses,” and taking them out of context, leads to deception, confusion and outright ignorance.What about law, sin, grace, faith and works? How do these work together? Do they bring any requirements to those who practice true faith? Is faith alone sufficient for everything? Or do Christians have to obey God? Are there any works attached to salvation? Most people believe the answers to the last two questions are “no.” They want to believe that Christ “died for their sins,” and that they are saved by “faith alone” without doing anything about sin in their lives. Human nature does not want to obey God (Rom. 8:7). Yet Paul taught, “Not the HEARERS of the law are just before God, but the DOERS of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13).If the law is done away, then nobody can be guilty of sin. But Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned…” How is this possible if there is no law to be kept? Several things must be carefully considered. I John 3:4 states, “sin is the transgression of the law.” All professing Christians are certainly willing to acknowledge that Christ “died for their sins,” but they continue with the assumption that, because Christ died for past sins, they no longer need to worry about future ones. This is a ridiculous argument. Yet it has effectively swallowed hundreds of millions of professing Christians for nearly 2,000 years.Now consider Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” People love to quote this verse. It is also common for people to quote Romans 3:20: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight…” Few are willing to read the very next phrase in Romans, which says, “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” We could ask: What would be the purpose of having any law except for keeping it? Would its only purpose be to demonstrate that people may freely break it without worrying because Christ “died for their sins?”The purpose of the law has never been to forgive sin or bring justification. (No law could do this.) This is what the blood of Christ is for—and it is why mankind needs a Savior. The purpose of the law is to point out sin!Consider the prison systems in most countries of the world. Convicted criminals are sometimes pardoned or their sentences are commuted. Others are released from prison early through what’s called “shock probation.” Are these people pardoned and released with the idea that they can re-enter society and repeat the EXACT SAME CRIMESthat put them in prison? Of course not!The very idea is absurd. The police would simply re-arrest them and incarcerate them again—probably with a stronger sentence! How is it that Christians can believe that the judgment of the great God of the universe then somehow requires less justice with HisLaw than do physical, civil authorities with theirs? It insults God to suggest that He would give His Son for people’s spiritualcrimes (sins), only to see them continue in the very things that required Christ’s death.What pitiful human logic!To believe the deception that forgiveness, through Christ’s blood, permits people to freely break the law is hypocrisy. It not only insults God, and the intelligence of His Master Plan, it ignores the following extensive series of verses in James 2. These plain verses explain how law, sin, faith and works fit together.Consider this longer passage carefully: “What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?…Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone…I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils [demons] also believe, and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? See you how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?…You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (vs. 14, 17-22, 24).Like the demons, many people do believeGod exists. However, most of these same people do not tremble at the existence of God—which even demons do!Remember, we must never “add to God’s Word,” because “every word of it is pure.” God says what He means and means what He says. The above verses do not teach that works save us. They do teach that faith must be accompanied by works. This is what Paul meant when he asked, “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? GOD FORBID” (Rom. 6:15).What about grace, faith and works? How do they work together? Notice again: “Shall we continue in sin [transgressing the law], that grace may abound? GOD FORBID. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2). The answer to Paul’s rhetorical question is obvious. We cannot. Finally, notice how the Bible asks, “Do we then make void the law through faith?” It answers its own question. “GOD FORBID: yes, we ESTABLISH THE LAW” (Rom. 3:31). The ministers of this world may permit people to break God’s Law—usually because they want their congregation to pay them a salary—but GOD FORBIDS law-breaking!The devil will not obey God’s Law because he hates it. Neither will “his ministers” (II Cor. 11:13-15). They deliberately ignore these verses and many others. They deceive people who seem to willingly accept their shallow arguments—arguments that are ignorant of the PLAIN TRUTH of Scripture.Paul taught that God’s Law is holy, just, goodand spiritual (Rom. 7:12, 14). It endures forever (Psa. 111:7-8) and is perfect (Psa. 19:7). James calls the Ten Commandments “the royal law…of liberty” (Jms. 2:8-12). Christ said it will never be done away (Matt. 5:17-19). Deceiving impostors teach that Christians must focus on “just having love,” while ignoring plain scriptures like Romans 13:10, which says, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Also see I John 5:1-3.) No wonder the apostle John said that any who claim to “know Him [Christ], and keeps not the commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).Strong words! I have known many people who claimed to know Christ but did not keep the commandments. We now see how God views them.It takes faith in Christ for the Christian to be able to keep God’s Law. Recall that Christ said that He could of His own self do “nothing,” and that the Father did the works in Him. Christ kept the Law perfectly, and a Christian “follow[s] His steps” (I Pet. 2:21).Christ Taught Law-keepingWith God’s help, you will be able to keep the commandments. Do not ever allow anyone to tell you otherwise.Jesus never taught that people should just “believe on Him” to receive salvation. When a young rich man asked Him what he must do to have “eternal life”—receive salvation—Christ told him, “If you will enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.”Hearing this, the disciples were shocked. They did not understand how this was possible, and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Christ answered, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:17, 25-26). You cannot keep God’s Law, but CHRIST IN YOU CAN—if you have true, living faith!God gives His Spirit only to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). Obedience to God is preceded by repentance and baptism, with the Holy Spirit being given at this point, upon one’s repentance of having broken God’s Law (Acts 2:38).Christ said, “Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7-8). Did you realize that it is possible to worship Christ in vain—that it is possible to think about Him, talk about Him and even use His name often and still do all of this IN VAIN!Notice: “Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven [“of,” not “in,” heaven]; but He that DOES the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Remember, it is the DOERS of the law that will be justified.The “Fight of Faith”Paul told Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (I Tim. 6:12). Faith is more than a battle. It is a war that all Christians wage throughout their lives! And it is not an easy war, won by victory in a single battle. It involves many battles.The apostle Jude tells all Christians, “You should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The next verse warns of “certain men” who had “crept in unawares” into the early New Testament Church, diluting it with false teachings, which destroys the Church’s foundation—that of holding to the true doctrines of the Bible. The meaning of real faith also became corrupted in the minds of many at that time. Sadly, history shows that people have always been willing to let deceivers reduce Christianity to little more than “just believing.” Do not fall for this.We have discussed how Christians must keep God’s Law, while they are at the same time justified by the faith OF Christ. The Book of Revelation records, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God, and the FAITH ofJESUS” (14:12).There is a reason why this verse joins patience, commandment keeping and the faith of Christ. They are inseparable. Christians are able to keep the commandments, but only through the faith of Jesus. It takes patience to do this throughout a lifetime. Yet this is exactly what true Christians—saints—must continually do.“Living by Faith”There is an Old Testament verse that is so important that it is repeated twice in the New Testament. Habakkuk 2:4 says, “the just shall live by his faith.” This is a powerful statement about faith as a WAY OF LIFE! It is the faith of each person (notice the singular word “his”) that guides individuals through life. This verse is cited to show that God has always taught that His true servants must have real faith. Faith has never been merely a New Testament requirement for salvation. Some of the greatest examples of faith are found throughout the Old Testament. Actually, every one of the examples found in the “faith chapter” (Heb. 11) lived in Old Testament times. This did not keep them from being “witnesses” (12:1) to the awesome power of properly understood faith.Hebrews 10:38 (also Rom. 1:17) repeats Habakkuk almost verbatim: “Now the just shall live by faith.” Take note that the definition of faith follows immediately on the heels of this verse, in Hebrews 11:1. Again, God could not require people to live by faith and then not tell them what it is! Then, in the very same verse 38, God continues, “but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.”Where faith is lacking, God is not pleased!Faith is not merely something you only exercise during life’s moments of crisis. It is not just something to consider when “things aren’t going well.” In other words, faith is not just for the “bad times”—it is fulltime! Grasp this vital point. Faith is completely inseparable from the entire spiritual understanding through which you are to confront all the issues you face in the Christian “walk” (II Cor. 5:7).All people on earth will be sorely tested in the years that lie just ahead. Make no mistake! Without real faith no one will survive the terrible calamities prophesied to occur just prior to Christ’s soon-coming Return. Operating on human steam or ingenuity will not be sufficient to survive the great crisis coming at the close of this age! Complete faith in all of God’s promises will be required—and necessary.A Personal ExampleIt will not be easy to follow and practice God’s truths and believe His promises. Almost 45 years of doing this have taught me this lesson—deeply! God will test your faith—and the devil will tempt you to abandon it. Have no doubt of this. I have also learned that God will always deliver, no matter how dark circumstances seem.I grew up in a comfortable home. Then God called me at age 17 and the real trials began. By age 23, I was married and had an infant son of less than four months old. My wife had nearly died in childbirth and had lost her milk because of it. She could not nurse our son. During this brief period, I did not have a full-time job in the ministry. I had lost my salary. I was unemployed and we were struggling with significant debt from our college years. We were living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Even the heater in our car had ceased to function and it was late November. Space does not permit me to describe all of the trials we were facing at just that one time. Our faith was being sorely tested! I will never forget one particular moment my wife and I shared. We were, quite literally, down to our last dime. There was almost no gas in the car or food in the house. Our baby was crying and we had nothing to feed him. I had a single dime in my pocket. I pulled it out and held it up to the light over our kitchen table. My wife and I determined that we would trust God to provide for us.He did!That evening (I remember it was a Thursday night), my wife was able to teach two flute lessons and was paid a total of seven dollars. She immediately bought milk for the baby. I received a job the next morning (Friday), and my boss offered to advance me a paycheck the first day I arrived. God had answered our prayers and left us with a faith-building experience that we have never forgotten. We have recalled it often, when times were difficult. We still draw strength from God’s intervention when we needed it—and numerous other similar interventions in our life!Every day of our lives has not been “sunny.” I have had to face many obstacles in my almost 45 years in the ministry. This very Work is a work of faith. God never fails to provide for our needs. The hindrance of accusers, slanderers, liars and outright enemies has, at times, been an almost daily way of life for us. God has never failed us.In the end, He always defeats evil people who seek to overthrow His purpose. He has always protected and delivered my wife and me through “thick and thin.” I am confidently assured—I have FAITH—that He will continue to do this. You can also develop confident assurance—faith—that God will always deliver you.Typically, people think of faith as something they work up or express toward God so that He will do something for them. Actually, the real case is often exactly the opposite! Many times, faith is something that God gives to a person so that he will have the strength to do something for God—usually to fulfill His overall purpose. I have seen this occur in my life over and over again.If you ask God, He will do the same for you. Sometimes you must exercise the fruit of faith, and sometimes you may need to ask for the gift of faith, in order to face the most severe trials or most difficult decisions in your life.The Bible lists nine separate fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and nine different giftsof the Spirit (I Cor. 12:1, 7-10). Faith is the only quality of spiritual character that is mentioned in both lists. It is both a fruit and a gift of the Spirit. God often chooses to grant an extra amount of faith to certain people—as a gift—because in some way it is necessary in the fulfillment of His purpose.Remember, even the very Spirit of God is given to us (Acts 2:38). The opportunity to learn to exercise the fruit of faith also starts with a gift—the faith-containing Holy Spirit. God will give you the very same faith that was once in Jesus Christ.“Where is Your Faith?”The books of Matthew and Luke record an important parallel account regarding faith. Christ and His disciples were in a boat when a tremendous storm arose. The disciples became terribly frightened, while Christ was “asleep.” This account reflects the dramatic difference between the faith that Christ had and the FEAR that governs the thinking of most human beings. Notice that the accounts records that they “awoke Him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish” (Matt. 8:25). The disciples actually thought they were about to die. They lacked even basic human confidence that, with Christ in the boat, this could not happen.Christ’s response is instructive for all alive today. He asked two separate questions—with one found in each gospel account. Let’s connect them. In Matthew, Christ asked the disciples, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (vs. 26). Now let’s review Luke’s account. Here Christ was a little more blunt with His disciples when He asked them, “Where is your faith?” (8:25). Of course, the disciples were not converted at this point. Lacking the Holy Spirit, they were not able to develop real godly faith. Apparently, however, they did not even have any temporary human faith at the time. However, Christ’s towering questions remain for ALL PEOPLE—Why are you fearful?—and where is your faith?Just as these same disciples went on to learn and practice great faith in their own lives (their writings record that they also taught its meaning to many others), so must God’s true servants today answer these questions in their own lives. This booklet now asks you: WHY ARE YOU FEARFUL? And WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?We began with Hebrews 11:6 stating, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” God wants you to learn to rely on Him—to trust Him completely in EVERYTHING! You really do not have a choice if you want to please Him. Like any human father, God does not want you to fret, worry and agonize over your needs. In numerous places throughout His Word, He promises to provide for you in all circumstances. He will always take care of you. Do not doubt! Believe God! Trust Him! Wait on Him! Expect Him to keep all of His promises—and He will! Faith is your evidence!Relaxed FaithIn his booklet What is FAITH?, Herbert W. Armstrong explained the relaxed, even serene, attitude of fully trusting God to work out any matter, including salvation:“And let us remember, FAITH is the GIFT OF GOD.“So many think that everything else that comes from God is His gift, but the FAITHrequired to receive these things is something we ourselves must somehow work up, or strain and strive for. But we have to just relax and TRUST GOD, even for the FAITH by which we receive everything else! (Eph. 2:8.)“In Revelation 14:12 is a description of the true Church…Those in this Church have the FAITH OF JESUS. Notice, the FAITH OF JESUS! It is not just our faith in HIM, but His faith—the very faith with which He performed His miracles—placed in us and acting in us.“How can you get it? Draw closer to God. Get to know God. Surrender all the way to HIM, and do His will. And then PRAY. You get to know Him in PRAYER. We are too close to the material things. Through PRAYER, much more prayer, you can come closer to GOD and the spiritual things. And what a happy, joyousexperience it is, once you have really done it!”

Building Bridges to the Kingdom

Go Forth In Faith

Matthew 25:31-34

Scripture refers to “the kingdom of God” frequently, but many people are unclear as to its meaning. Let’s look at the past, present, and future reality of this concept.

The first thing we must realize is that the heavenly kingdom refers to everything under Christ’s control. At the moment of salvation, we are transferred from the reign of darkness to the bright authority of Jesus. And we are eternally secure in Him.

As today’s verses explain, Jesus’ kingdom and reign have been planned since the foundation of the world. From the beginning, God has been preparing mankind for what is to come. One way was by using prophets to foretell how He would redeem humanity and sovereignly rule over heaven and earth.

Once Jesus came and gave His life, He established the “present” kingdom. This isn’t a geographical locale; it’s a term describing the heart, where God’s Holy…

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Accept One Another

VERSE OF THE DAY

Romans 15:7 (New Living Translation)

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Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

Therefore accept one another as who you are each of you as Jesus Christ has accepted you as his so honor will be God’s Glory

How do you accept one another?

Here are five strategies for learning to accept others:

1. Don’t try to control the feelings of others. …

2. Allow others to be different. …

3. Give thoughtful advice. …

4. Don’t be quick to judge. …

5. Try not to compare.

Oct 21, 2016

https://www.conovercompany.com › …

Empathy – Accept Others For Who They Are – The Conover Company

Yet Jesus also said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another” (John 13:34).Sep 26, 2020

https://romesentinel.com › stories › j…

‘Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another’ | Daily …

What does it mean to accept one another in the Bible?

In our churches and our relationships, we’ve got to make sure that people experience acceptance. We show this by including them and accepting them as they are. Accepting includes making others feel they belong. Those who confess “I belong to Jesus” know that they have been accepted by Christ.Nov 18, 2017

https://todaydevotional.com › accept…

Accepting One Another – Today Daily Devotional

What does it mean to accept someone?

1 : able or willing to accept something or someone : inclined to regard something or someone with acceptance rather than with hostility or fear —often + of I had become more accepting of death as an inevitable and natural part of life …— Nigel Farndalem.

https://www.merriam-webster.com › …

Accepting Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster

A Passage To Ponder: Romans 15:7

This week I’m preaching in a meeting at Wellandport, Ontario, Canada. Last night a lady walked out of the building, shook my hand and wistfully commented, “I wish more people could have been here to have heard that sermon.”

The building was almost full. But I believe she was commenting more on the importance of the message preached than the messenger who delivered it. Or the number who attended.

Our theme this week has been “Building Better Relationships.” Last night we discussed our relationship in the church family and talked about “Accepting One Another.”

In a section where Paul discusses various relationships in the Christian’s life he exhorts, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Rom 15:7).

The word “accept” in this text means “to receive.” “To take as one’s companion; to take by the hand and lead.” “To grant access to one’s heart; to take into friendship.”

To accept our brother and sister in Christ is not just to begrudgingly put up with them. It is not just to belong to the same church, but having nothing to do with them. It is to welcome them; to extend to them the right hand of fellowship; to extend to them the same prerogatives and privileges you would to others in the same relationship.

While we should accept everyone that belongs to God’s Family, let’s consider some that we might tend to exclude.

(1) Accept the Weak in the Faith (Rom. 14:1).

We are all in a different place in our spiritual journey. For various reasons, some are weaker than others. Paul speaks of those who believed it was wrong to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. While it was neither right or wrong, they were entrusted to be accepting of brethren whose scruples would not permit it.

Today there are a host of issues that brethren may feel differently about. Those stronger in the faith should not disparage the weak. Or be insensitive to their feelings. Or do anything to wound their conscience. Accept them.

(2) Accept Others who are different from us. (Gal. 3:26-29)

We are all one in Christ. The church is composed of people from varying racial, ethnic and social groups. There is no place for racism in the Body of Christ. Or exclusion. Or elitism.

(3) Accept Restored Christians (Gal 6:1-2)

Those who have fallen away should be restored with the attitude of meekness. And restored in the same way in the immoral of Corinth was to be received when he repented (2 Cor 2:3-8). Kindness, compassion, and comfort. Accept them

(4) Accept New Christians.

Those who have recently obeyed the gospel are just beginning their journey of faith. They have a lot to learn. Changes to make. And growing spiritually that will take time. Rejoice in their obedience. Be charitable with their mistakes. And be patient with their growth.

(5) Accept Transfers.

We live in a very mobile society. People move from one part of the country to another. Or to another country. Customs vary. Accents are different. Traditions are diverse. The specifics and order of scriptural worship are not the same everywhere. Let’s learn to accept one another regardless of the differences. And remember that we are more alike than we are different.

The text reminds us that we accept one another because Christ has accepted us. We have been welcomed into a relationship with Him. Forgiven of our sins. And made an heir of salvation. Thus, we need to accept one another.

Accepting one another is the mark of a healthy spiritual family. We all share a common faith, are joined by a common love, and sustained by a common hope. This understanding greatly aids in fostering unity in the Body of Christ.

Sometimes accepting one another is difficult and demanding, but it can be accomplished when we follow the dictates of Scripture in Romans 14 and 15.

Avoid passing judgment on a weaker brother.
Commit yourself to live for Christ.
Control your attitudes and emotions with love.
Edify everyone you can.
Privately hold to your personal convictions.
Treasure people like Jesus did.

Dissension, discord, and disunity do not glorify God. Accept one another.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

What does Romans 15:7 mean?

Paul has prayed for the unity and harmony of the church in Rome. Now he instructs them one more time to welcome each other as Christ has welcomed them. This is not merely a nice-sounding phrase to tack on the wall. Paul is commanding believers to fully accept and include other Christians in community with themselves, including those who disagree strongly about what is and is not permitted (Romans 14:1–2; 14:20–21). He is commanding them to set their Christ-won freedoms aside, if necessary, to build up the church (Romans 14:13).

Why would they do this? In the end, it is all to add to God’s glory. Put negatively, a refusal to welcome Christians who disagree with my convictions will keep me from participating in bringing glory to God. It will keep me from achieving the very purpose of my life. Acting as if my own convictions are beyond doubt—as if I were infallible or beyond reproach—makes it difficult for me to appreciate God’s holiness and majesty, let alone my own role in the body of Christ.

Context Summary

Romans 15:1–7 concludes Paul’s teaching on how Christians with strong faith, those who understand their freedom from the law, should live with those of weaker faith. All Christians must please each other and not themselves. After all, Christ didn’t come to please Himself. With God’s help and encouragement, everyone in the church can live together in harmony and glorify God with one, unified voice, as they serve each other ahead of themselves. They must welcome each other as Christ has welcomed them.

Chapter Summary

Romans 15 begins with Paul’s encouragement to those strong in faith: to please other Christians before themselves so the church can be unified. Christ came to fulfill God’s promises to Israel and about the Gentiles. Paul is satisfied with the faith and practice of the Roman Christians. His work of taking the gospel to unreached regions of Gentiles in his part of the world is completed, and he longs to come see them. First, he must deliver financial aid to Jerusalem, a trip about which he asks them to pray along with him.

Journey The Grace Of The Lord Jesus Christ

VERSE OF THE DAY

2 Corinthians 13:14 (New Living Translation)

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

May the elegance, charm and good manners of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the teachings of the Holy Spirit remain and be with you always, one and all.

What does 2 Corinthians 13:13 mean?

Paul is closing out his long letter to the Corinthians in his usual style. With an affectionate tone, he is delivering a series of quick commands, reminders, and now greetings. He says simply, “All the saints greet you.” 

The New Testament applies the word “saints” to all Christians, not just the especially holy ones. Any person who has been saved by grace through faith is a “saint” according to the New Testament. The believers Paul has in mind here are those in the region of Macedonia, where he is staying at the time of this writing. This would include the churches in the towns of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.Context Summary
Second Corinthians 13:11–14 contains Paul’s closing farewell to the Corinthians. He urges them to rejoice, to strive for restoration, and to comfort and encourage each other in like-minded unity. He assures them that the God of love and peace will be with them, reminds them to greet each other with a holy kiss, and offers greetings from believers in other churches. Finally, Paul offers a prayer of specific blessing for them from each of the three members of the Trinity.Chapter Summary
The final chapter of Paul’s letter begins with a harsh warning. Nobody living in unrepentant sin when Paul arrives will be spared Paul’s discipline. All will learn that Christ speaks through Paul—because Christ will deal powerfully with their sinfulness despite Paul’s own weakness. Paul urges them to examine themselves and verify that Christ is in them and, by extension, that he is a true apostle. He prays for their restoration and hopes they will repent of all sin before he arrives so that he will not have to be severe in the use of his authority.

What Does 2 Corinthians 13:14 Mean? ►

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

As Paul draws his second, lengthy epistle to the Corinthian Christians to a close, he reiterates his earlier exhortations to seek after unity within the Body of Christ, to be of good comfort to one another, and to remain encouraged in the truth of the glorious gospel of God.

As Paul prepares to bid these beloved believers at Corinth farewell for the last time, he entreats them towards godly conduct… beseeching them to live together in brotherly peace and to maintain godly harmony.

Paul instructs them to remain united together with one mind… before committing them into the Lord’s safe-keeping with a beautiful benediction that has become beloved by generations of believers: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of God, the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

It was Aaron who sought God’s favour and protection over the people of Israel with the well-loved benediction “The LORD bless you, and keep you. The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you. The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” while it was Paul who bestowed an equally beloved blessing on the Church, by commending them into the safe-keeping of the triune Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Paul’s blessing to the Christian Church has become beloved by generations of godly saints. Indeed, it is often prayed as a parting benediction before brothers and sisters in Christ depart from a time of Christian fellowship and it is often prayed as a beautiful blessing over those for whom we care deeply: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with YOU.”

The hallmark of the Triune Godhead is seen within this gracious petition. It is the love of the Father-heart of God that sent His only begotten Son into the world to be the sacrifice for the sin of humanity – so that whosoever believes on HIM would not perish, but have everlasting life. It was the love that streamed from the Father-heart of God for a fallen race of sinners, that caused Him to give His only begotten Son of His love to be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and to die for our sin so that we might live and be clothed in His righteousness.

It is the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit Who has been sent by the Father to commune with us as our Comforter and Guide – our Shield and Defender. He guards us from the evil one and guides us into all truth. He prompts us in our worship and empowers us in our witness. He enables us to carry out the good works that God has prepared for us to do, and He graciously bestows on us spiritual gifts which are used for God’s glory. It is the Holy Spirit Who counsels and comforts us and is always there for us, no matter what difficulties or dangers we may have to face – and it is the Holy Spirit that points us to Christ, our God and Saviour.

And it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we have been saved… for He set aside His glorious majesty to become one of us and to take upon His sinless body the punishment that we deserve for the sin we have committed. It is by grace that sinners, deserving of death and hell, have become blood-bought children of God and received an eternal citizenship in heaven.

It is by grace that Christ, Who although He was rich, became poor on our account so that we, through His poverty, we might become richly blessed. It is by the marvellous grace of our great and loving Kinsman-Redeemer that our sins are forever forgiven. And it is by His grace that we have passed from death to life.

It is by the grace of Christ, the eternal Lamb of God, that we have been purged, cleansed, forgiven, redeemed, and reconciled with the Father. It is by grace – through our faith in Jesus that we have been given eternal life and an everlasting inheritance that is kept for us in heaven.

And may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you ALL – Hallelujah – what a Saviour.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/2-corinthians-13-14

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/2-corinthians-13-14

God’s Holy Fire: ‘Intimate Friendship’

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

2 Corinthians 13:14 MESSAGE

Key Thought

While most translations of this verse say “fellowship of the Holy Spirit,” I find the phrase “the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit” to be powerful and exciting. We are brought into close fellowship with God and each other through “the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit.” Think about the implications of this concept. Our fellowship with one another and our connections to each other are based on our being drawn together through our shared friendship of the Spirit. As we are drawn into the intimate friendship of the Spirit of God, we find ourselves drawn nearer and closer to each other.

Today’s Prayer

Almighty God, I want to be drawn near to you. I thank you for the extravagant grace of my being able even to say such a thing. You are holy and majestic, yet you want me to come close to you. Thank you for inviting me into such an intimate friendship through the Holy Spirit as I commit to being in a close relationship with other believers who yearn to be drawn near to you. In Jesus’ name, I thank you for this grace. Amen.

This morning we reach those dramatic two words, “The End.” We have come to the last of our studies in Second Corinthians and this concludes our series on the Corinthian Epistles. I am scheduled to speak next Sunday, but I am going to speak on another subject. I am going to address the subject, “Are We In The Last Days?” Many people are asking that question, so bring your survival kit with you and we will head for the hills right after the meeting is ended!

This has been a rich time of study together. We have seen that the conditions at Corinth were so like conditions in California today. In fact, if Peninsula Bible Church had all the troubles that Corinth had, I would have given up on it a long time ago. But Paul has not given up on Corinth. How patiently he has worked with this church. His letters, and the visits he made, and those of his associates, span a period of from one to three years. All that time he labored to try to correct the things that were wrong, to bring that church to an effective, impacting ministry there in that great commercial city.

But now as we come to the close of this Corinthian letter, Paul has said about all that he can say. Most of the church has repented and changed its attitude toward him, and he has rejoiced over that. But there is a handful of people there who are still following the false teachers who had come in, and there are still some who are living in licentiousness and open immorality. The apostle has already told them that there is nothing left except public exposure when he comes, and when he comes, he says, he is going to do this with them. Now, before he does come, he faces them with one final question which he hopes will change their attitude and make them clear up their difficulties. This question is found in Chapter 13, Verse 5.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5-6 RSV)

Is Jesus Christ in you? Paul exhorts every individual in the church to ask himself that question. This, of course, is because all wrong behavior leads at last to that question. Somewhere, somehow, when we are out-of-line with Christian standards we have to ask ourselves, “Am I a true Christian or am I a counterfeit? Have I been born again or am I only putting up a front?” Those of us who are Christians ought to ask ourselves that occasionally. It is a good idea to examine yourself, that is what the apostle says, especially if there is any kind of wrong behavior involved.

Some of you read a couple of weeks or so ago an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about Eldridge Cleaver, in which he made some statements and referred to some attitudes and behavior on his part that are inconsistent with the Christian profession. Now many people are asking: “Is Eldridge Cleaver really a Christian.” That immediately becomes moot when there is behavior that is not in line with the Christian position. Others ask it, and as the apostle makes clear here, it is a good thing to ask it of yourself. My prayer for Eldridge is that he is asking this question about himself right now: “Am I a Christian? Have I really been changed? Is Jesus Christ living in me?”

Now the very fact that the apostle could ask a question like that indicates that is what marks true Christianity. A Christian, of course, is not simply one who joins a Christian church. Many people feel that is the criterion, but it is not. There are millions of church members in this country today who are not Christians. Nor does adhering to a certain moral standard in your life, or the fact that you consistently read the Bible make you a Christian. The thing that really marks it is if Jesus Christ is living in you. A true Christian is someone in whom Christ dwells. And the person in whom Christ dwells will have certain inescapable evidence of that fact given to him or her. That is what Paul is suggesting we ask ourselves. Do we have the evidence that Jesus Christ lives in us? Has a fundamental change occurred at the very depths of our being? It is actually the question, of course, “Are you really born again?” That is a term that has fallen into wrong use these days. Many people who merely change their actions for a little while are said to be “born again.” People are using that term about everything today. But this is the question that Paul is asking, “Are you truly and permanently different because Jesus Christ has come to live within you?”

You may be asking, “How can I know that?” Well, the answer is found in several places in Scripture. For instance, Scripture speaks of an “inner” witness. In Romans Paul says, “God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God,” (Romans 8:16). That is one way you know. There is an inner testimony, a feeling, a sense within produced by the Spirit of God who dwells within that you are part of the great family of God. If we are really born again this will be a mark that we have occasionally borne to our hearts, the “witness of the Spirit that we are the children of God.” Scripture suggests that this will sometimes take the form of a sense of identity with God as a Father. Our spirits will occasionally want to cry out, “Abba, Father.” That is an intimate term for father. We no longer see God as our judge waiting to condemn us, we see him as a loving Father who is concerned for us, whose arms are around us and who loves us deeply.

I had the joy of pointing my barber to Christ a year or so ago. This past week, while I was having my hair cut, he was telling me about the changes that have occurred in his life because he has become a Christian. (One of the great changes is that he gives me free haircuts! That is an almost infallible mark that he has been born again, especially when haircuts are running $7.00 or $8.00 today!) He told me how confident he feels within, and that many of his friends have been noticing this. They have been telling him, “You are so confident. Where do you get that feeling?” (Some of them have actually been accusing him of conceit because of his sense of confidence.) He told me, “They don’t understand what I feel within, but I’m confident because,” (and this is the way he put it), “I have a deep sense that Daddy is with me all the time.” That is the witness of the Spirit. So one of the chief marks that we are Christians is that Christ is in us.

Scripture also speaks of a sense of “inner peace.” In Romans 5 the apostle says, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 5:1). The sense of conflict with God is ended; the war is over, we are conscious that the problem of our evil, our sin no longer troubles God. The work of Christ has satisfied his justice, therefore we have a sense of peace. We have a sense of destiny. We are going to go to heaven when we die. That is settled and sure not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done. Now that peace is a mark of the witness of the Spirit that Jesus Christ is in us.

Scripture speaks also of new desires that are born in the heart of a new Christian. First Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” One of the marks of born again believers is that they have a deep and sudden thirst for the Word of God, a hunger to be fed, to know the truth of God. This ought to continue all our lives.

The Bible is a fascinating book. It speaks with tremendous interest to the things that are essential to our knowledge. There should be a hunger to know it. This week I saw a video tape of a woman Bible teacher telling the story of her conversion. Though she had been a church member all her life, and had read the Bible from time to time, it really was not a very interesting book to her. But the moment she was born again she had a tremendous hunger to know the Word of God. She haunted church services everywhere, she went to every meeting she could because she could not get enough of Bible study. That is one of the marks that Christ is in you. Even as a much older Christian I find that there are times in my experience when I am under pressure, feeling bored, or whatever, that the only thing that will speak to me is to read one of the Psalms. How that ministers to my heart. Now the Spirit of God creates that hunger, and, if Christ is in you, this will be one of the marks of it. Because you understand that what Christ did, he did for you, a fundamental change has already occurred in your life. The Spirit of God has entered and released to you the life of Jesus so that it is literally true that Jesus Christ lives in you. That is what Paul says he wants these Corinthians to ask themselves, “Does Christ live in you? Have you been transferred from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God by faith in Jesus Christ?”

Now this inner change will also produce an outward change, which is not all subjective. We can answer the question, “Is Jesus Christ in you?” by observing our conduct, because the inner change will produce a different attitude toward our behavior. One of the striking things about new Christians is that they invariably begin to manifest a totally different attitude toward things they once thought OK. Some of them had been living in sexual immorality, perhaps, indulging in regular or frequent acts of fornication or involved with sexual perversion of some sort, and had accepted these things, as they are widely accepted today, as being OK. But when they were born again, they suddenly saw these things as injurious and hateful. They no longer wanted to have a part in them. They may have struggled in that, but their desire was now different. In some of the more open and blatant forms of evil, such as attitudes about lying or drunkenness or stealing, you find immediately that your attitude is changed. That is because Christ lives in you, and light can have no part with darkness. Christ cannot have part with Belial. Even your attitude toward your own selfishness changes. You see how selfish you have been. It looks ugly and distasteful in your eyes and you want to be free from it.

It is right here that problems arise in the Christian life. There are many people who truly have been born again who, in the initial years of their Christian experience, did change, but later on, as Christianity became more old hat to them, as it lost its newness and its freshness, they began to drift back into old patterns that are wrong. Under the pressure of their peers or their circumstances, they allowed themselves to get involved again in things that they once had forsaken as Christians. When that happens, it raises the question we have been asking, “Are you really a Christian? Were you born again? Has the change occurred?” Because it is also true that many people who think, for one reason or another, they have become Christians, who feel that because they went through a certain experience or had a certain feeling at a given time, who have never really surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus and seen him as rightful Lord of their lives, they too can get back into things they once left; they too can give way. There is no difference in their behavior from somebody who is genuine Christian but has slid back into this. So the question, “Are you really a Christian?” is raised at that point.

This is what Paul is doing. “Examine yourself,” he says. “Others who are watching you cannot answer that question. They do not know whether something you have been doing is only temporary or if it is real with you. They cannot tell, but you can.”

Here is the issue: The question you have to ask at that point is, “How do you feel about this behavior?” Are you glad to get back to it? Do you see it as something that represented a kind of religious kick you were on, but you are glad to get back where you can be “normal” and live like everybody else, or do you hate yourself for doing it? That will tell the story. How do you feel about it? Do you justify it? Do you want to go on with it, or do you inwardly hate yourself, and wish you were free from it? Are you sorry you went back to it and long to be freed again by the power of Jesus Christ? That is the question Paul is asking the Corinthians.

I hope every one of us will occasionally ask ourselves the same question. Are we holding to our faith? Our behavior tells the story. If we really believe what we are told to believe, we are going to be different. What you think about yourself tells the story of what you are going to do; that governs how you act. We all know that instinctively. Have you ever said to yourself or to somebody else, “Who do you think you are anyhow, doing this sort of thing?” That is a revelation that you instinctively know that it is what people think themselves to be that will govern and control their behavior. So this question here is the most important one you can ask yourself: “Are you really Christian? Who do you think you are? Have you been changed? Who are you — really?”

The answer to that question, Paul says, will also answer the question that these Corinthians were asking about him, for they were asking, “Is Paul really an apostle? Has he failed us as an apostle of Christ? Are these other men who came in and taught us different things right? Is Paul the phony apostle?” Now Paul says, “When you answer the question about yourself, you will have the answer to the one about me. If you find that you are real Christians then you will also know that I am a real apostle.” Listen to the way he puts it. Verse 6:

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed. But we pray God that you may not do wrong — not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. What we pray for is your improvement. (2 Corinthians 13:6-9 RSV)

Paul explains that he is not looking for an opportunity to come and demonstrate his authority as an apostle by judging them; he takes no delight in flexing his apostolic muscle. He would be quite happy if they would judge themselves and stop their evil behavior, leaving nothing for him to do when he comes but to rejoice with them. In fact, he says, “I would be quite willing to let you go on thinking that we are kind of weak as an apostle, that we do not really amount to very much, that we are only a paper tiger, as long as your behavior changes in line with who you really are.” What he wants is their moral improvement, not an opportunity to personally exhibit what a true apostle he is. Verse 10 he says something which is very important:

I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. (2 Corinthians 13:10 RSV)

That is a principle that is often forgotten today. The apostle makes clear that true authority in the church, even beginning with the apostles, is not intended to destroy people or tear them down; it is to build them up. In other words, apostolic power is not to boss people with. It is not given so that somebody can lord it over the brothers. Everywhere in the Word of God we are warned against that idea of leadership.

Yet as I travel around I find many churches where one man is ensconced as the pastor. His concept of that role is that he is in authority in the church. He alone can pronounce on doctrine; he alone has the right to determine who is going to exercise spiritual gifts in the congregation; he alone is the final, authoritative teacher. But Scripture warns against that. It warns against “lording” it over the brethren, bossing them and regulating the intimate details of their lives. Paul makes clear that that is not the kind of authority even he, as an apostle, has. It is not a totalitarian control over all the details of someone’s life.

Just this week I heard an account of a church where certain elders hold this idea of having command authority over others. These elders were concerned about a certain couple who lived in the same apartment building with them. They felt that the wife was not submissive to her husband, so they told her that in order to demonstrate a proper attitude of submission, she had to get written permission from them for a whole year to even leave the building. She said that once her mother got very sick but she could not leave the house until she had gotten written permission from these elders. They did not happen to be home so it created a very serious emergency.

Now that is the kind of authority that is everywhere condemned in the Word of God. Even the apostle said his authority is given to build people up, to encourage them, to support them, to restore them and renew them. If discipline is called for, it is a last resort. Note how reluctant he is to bring this about, how long he gives them to correct conditions. When he does move, he says, it will be in line with what the Lord has said in Matthew 18. He will move step-by-step, looking to God, not to the congregation, to bring pressure on the individual, and that the discipline will cease immediately upon repentance of the person involved. So we have a clear word here from Paul about what the church ought to be like. Especially it depends, he says, on the answer to that all-important question, “Does Jesus Christ live in you or not?” Paul’s last word is an appeal for mutual support among the brethren. Verse 11:

Finally, brethren. farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:11-14 RSV)

It is wonderful that this last word is a word of peace. The apostle sees beyond all the fragmentation in Corinth to the basic unity of the church. God created that unity. It is there even though there is divisiveness, quarreling, jealousy and division in the assembly. Christians belong to each other. They are part of the family of God and they ought to act that way, he says. Beyond the rebellion he sees the grace and the power of God which is able to heal these breaches and restore people even to the point where they are able to give a holy kiss to one another. That was the standard greeting of that day. (We have lost that today, although when I was in Poland I noticed that they still retain that. Today we have substituted a handshake, but I am happy to see hugs coming back in again. Hugs are a much warmer and more accurate expression of Christian love and acceptance, one with another.)

The apostle is urging this upon these Christians: “Change your ways. If Jesus Christ is in you, you can do it.” That is his point. You cannot go on living like everybody else if Jesus Christ lives in you. This is the fundamental reason why there must be a difference in Christians.

I was driving down the freeway the other day and a car cut in front of me, almost driving me off the road, then it cut in ahead of the car ahead of me. I noticed a bumper sticker on it that said, “The difference in me is Jesus.” Well, I was not much impressed, and neither is the world impressed when they look at us and see us behaving just like everyone else. We are not to behave that way in our personal lives because Christ is in us. We are not to behave in our corporate life that way because Christ is among us. We are to be friendly, loving, open, forgiving, not condemnatory, narrow and bitter. We are different because Christ is among us. Notice how the apostle closes. What a beautiful greeting this is. It is the clearest reference to the Trinity that there is in the New Testament:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship [or commonality] of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14 RSV)

What a gracious word from this great apostle as he closes this letter to the church at Corinth. History does not tell us what happened in the church there, whether it was able to recover and obey this word or not. But Paul has done his best. He has left with us a tremendous testimony as to what constitutes Christianity at work in a pagan world. We are called to live in Corinthian conditions today, here in California especially. I hope and pray that these letters to the Corinthian church will mean much to us, that we too will obey the word of the apostle and recognize that, when Jesus Christ is among us, we cannot be the same kind of people. This is the issue. May God grant that we will understand this more thoroughly in days to come.

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, that you are among us. You have sent us out into this world. As you yourself said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature and make disciples of the nations. Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the age.” We may not have reached the end of the age yet, Lord Jesus, but we thank you that you are among us and that you constitute us, therefore, the Body of Christ. Your presence makes that true. We pray that we may behave as men and women, boys and girls in whom Jesus Christ lives. For we pray in your name, Amen.

Who am I — Really?

JUNE 01, 1980

AUTHOR: RAY C. STEDMAN

Message transcript and recording © 1980 by Ray Stedman Ministries, owner of sole copyright by assignment from the author. For permission to use this content, please review RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permissions policy, all rights reserved.

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What does 2 Corinthians 13:14 mean?

Here concludes a long letter to the church at Corinth with Paul’s blessing. This is the only one of his benedictions to specifically reference all three members of the Trinity. He describes each member of the Godhead as the source of one aspect of his prayer of blessing for them.

First, Paul prays for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to be with them. The grace of God is possible only through faith in Christ and because of Christ’s substitution for us in His death for our sin on the cross. Paul identifies Christ as the Lord.

Next, he prays for the love of God for the Corinthians. God’s love for the world is what motivated Him to send Christ to earth to make His grace and forgiveness for sin possible (John 3:16).

Finally, Paul prays for the fellowship of the Spirit to be with them. Every person who comes to faith in Christ receives God’s Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21–22). The Spirit makes it possible for Christians to communicate with the Father and to be in relationship with Him while we wait to be with Him physically in the glory of eternity (Romans 8:23–27).

Paul prays for this for “you all,” meaning every Christian in Corinth who reads—or hears as others read—this letter. His prayer and hope is they will set aside divisions, repent of sin, and be united together as one family in Christ.

Context Summary

Second Corinthians 13:11–14 contains Paul’s closing farewell to the Corinthians. He urges them to rejoice, to strive for restoration, and to comfort and encourage each other in like-minded unity. He assures them that the God of love and peace will be with them, reminds them to greet each other with a holy kiss, and offers greetings from believers in other churches. Finally, Paul offers a prayer of specific blessing for them from each of the three members of the Trinity.

Chapter Summary

The final chapter of Paul’s letter begins with a harsh warning. Nobody living in unrepentant sin when Paul arrives will be spared Paul’s discipline. All will learn that Christ speaks through Paul—because Christ will deal powerfully with their sinfulness despite Paul’s own weakness. Paul urges them to examine themselves and verify that Christ is in them and, by extension, that he is a true apostle. He prays for their restoration and hopes they will repent of all sin before he arrives so that he will not have to be severe in the use of his authority

God Judges His Own

Romans 14:4

Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.

you cannot judge the servants of someone else there on madter decides if thet are doinf right or weong and the lords servants will be right cause the lord is able to make them right for the only judge is God himself he shall judge his own

Romans Chapter 4

Romans 4 – Abraham and David Demonstrate Righteousness Apart from Works

A. Abraham is declared righteous through faith.

1. (1-3) Abraham was not justified by works, but declared righteous through faith.

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

a. What then shall we say: In building on the thought begun in Romans 3:31 Paul asks the question, “Does the idea of justification through faith, apart from the works of the law, make what God did in the Old Testament irrelevant?”

b. What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found: In answering that question, Paul looks at Abraham, who was the most esteemed man among the Jewish people of his day – even greater than the “George Washington” of the American people.

c. For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about: If anyone could be justified by works, they would have something to boast about. Nevertheless such boasting is nothing before God (but not before God).

i. This boasting is nothing before God because even if works could justify a man, he would in some way still fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

ii. This boasting is nothing because before God, every pretense is stripped away and it is evident that no one can really be justified by works.

d. For what does the Scripture say? The Old Testament does not say Abraham was declared righteous because of his works. Instead, Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

i. Paul makes it clear: Abraham’s righteousness did not come from performing good works, but from belief in God. It was a righteousness obtained through faith.

ii. Generally, the Jewish teachers of Paul’s day believed that Abraham was justified by his works, by keeping the law. Ancient passages from the rabbis say: “We find that Abraham our father had performed the whole Law before it was given” and “Abraham was perfect in all his deeds with the Lord.” The rabbis argued that Abraham kept the law perfectly before it was given, keeping it by intuition or anticipation.

iii. The Apostle Paul does not say that Abraham was made righteous in all of his doings, but God accounted Abraham as righteous. Our justification is not God making us perfectly righteous, but counting us as perfectly righteous. After we are counted righteous, then God begins making us truly righteous, culminating at our resurrection.

iv. “Counted is logizomai. It was used in early secular documents; ‘put down to one’s account, let my revenues be placed on deposit at the storehouse; I now give orders generally with regard to all payments actually made or credited to the government.’ Thus, God put to Abraham’s account, placed on deposit for him, credited to him, righteousness… Abraham possessed righteousness in the same manner as a person would possess a sum of money placed in his account in a bank.” (Wuest)

v. Genesis 15:6 does not tell us how other men accounted Abraham. Instead, it tells us how God accounted him. “Moses [in Genesis] does not, indeed, tell us what men thought of him [Abraham], but how he was accounted before the tribunal of God.” (Calvin)

vi. Remember that righteousness is also more than the absence of evil and guilt. It is a positive good, meaning that God does not only declare us innocent, but righteous.

2. (4-5) A distinction made between grace and works.

Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

a. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace: The idea of grace stands opposite to the principle of works; grace has to do with receiving the freely given gift of God, works has to do with earning our merit before God.

i. Wuest on charis, the ancient Greek word translated grace: “Signified in classical authors a favor done out of the spontaneous generosity of the heart without any expectation or return. Of course, this favor was always done to one’s friend, never to an enemy… But when charis comes into the New Testament, it takes an infinite leap forward, for the favor God did at Calvary was for those who hated Him.”

b. Not counted as grace but as debt: A system of works seeks to put God in debt to us, making God owe us His favor because of our good behavior. In works-thinking, God owes us salvation or blessing because of our good works.

i. God isn’t praising laziness here. “The antithesis is not simply between the worker and the non-worker but between the worker and person who does not work but believes.” (Murray)

c. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness: Righteousness can never be accounted to the one who approaches God on the principle of works. Instead it is given to the one who believes on Him who justifies the ungodly.

d. Him who justifies the ungodly: This is who God justifies – the ungodly. We might expect God would only justify a godly man but because of what Jesus did on the cross, God can justify the ungodly.

i. It isn’t as if God is happy with our ungodly condition. We are not justified because of our ungodliness, but despite our ungodliness.

ii. Morris quoting Denney: “The paradoxical phrase, Him that justifieth the ungodly, does not suggest that justification is a fiction, whether legal or of any other sort, but that it is a miracle.”

e. Faith is accounted for righteousness: Just as Abraham, so our faith is accounted for righteousness. This was not some special arrangement for Abraham alone. We can enter into this relationship with God also.

i. By this we understand that there are not two ways of salvation – saved by works through law-keeping in the Old Testament and saved by grace through faith in the New Testament. Everyone who has ever been saved – Old or New Testament – is saved by grace through faith, through their relationship of a trusting love with God. Because of the New Covenant we have benefits of salvation that Old Testament saints did not have but we do not have a different manner of salvation.

3. (6-8) David and the blessedness of justification through faith.

Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”

a. Just as David also describes: King David of the Old Testament knew what it was like to be a guilty sinner. He knew the seriousness of sin and how good it is to be truly forgiven. He knew the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. If David were judged on works alone, the righteous God must condemn him; nevertheless he knew by experience that blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven.

i. “No sinner, and try he ever so hard, can possibly carry his own sins away and come back cleansed of guilt. No amount of money, no science, no inventive skill, no armies of millions, nor any other earthly power can carry away from the sinner one little sin and its guilt. Once it is committed, every sin and its guilt cling to the sinner as close as does his own shadow, cling to all eternity unless God carries them away.” (Lenski)

b. To whom God imputes righteousness apart from works… blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin: David agrees with Abraham regarding the idea of an imputed righteousness, a goodness that is given, not earned.

i. “Our adversaries the papists oppose the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us; they cavil at the very word… and yet the apostle useth the word ten times in this chapter.” (Poole)

c. Blessed is the man: In the Psalm quoted (Psalm 32:1-2), David speaks of the blessedness, not of the one who is justified through works, but of the one who is cleansed through imputation. This is centered on what God places upon us (the righteousness of Jesus), not on what we do for God.

4. (9-12) Abraham was counted righteous before he was circumcised; therefore he was not counted righteous because he was circumcised.

Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

a. Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? If we are counted righteous by God because of faith, not because of circumcision (or any other ritual), then the blessedness mentioned in Romans 4:7 can be given to the uncircumcised Gentiles by faith.

b. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Abraham was counted as righteous in Genesis 15:6. He did not receive the covenant of circumcision until Genesis 17, which was at least 14 years later. Therefore his righteousness wasn’t based on circumcision, but on faith.

c. The faith which he had while still uncircumcised: In fact, Abraham, the father of all those who believe, was declared righteous while he was still uncircumcised! Therefore, how could anyone then say (as some did in Paul’s day) that Gentiles must be circumcised before God would declare them righteous?

i. For the Jewish people of Paul’s day, the significance of circumcision was more than social. It was the entry point for a life lived under the Law of Moses: And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law (Galatians 5:3).

d. That he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised… who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised: The Jews of Paul’s day thought circumcision meant they were the true descendants of Abraham. Paul insists that to have Abraham as your father, you must walk in the steps of the faith that Abraham walked in.

i. “Our father Abraham” is an important phrase, one that the ancient Jews jealously guarded. They did not allow a circumcised Gentile convert to Judaism refer to Abraham as “our father” in the synagogue. A Gentile convert had to call Abraham “your father” and only natural born Jews could call Abraham “our father.” Paul throws out that distinction, and says that through faith, all can say, “our father Abraham.”

ii. It must have been a shock for the Jewish readers of this letter to see that Paul called Abraham the father of uncircumcised people! Faith, not circumcision, is the vital link to Abraham. It is far more important to have Abraham’s faith (and the righteousness imputed to him because of it) than it is to have Abraham’s circumcision.

iii. William Barclay explains that the Jewish teachers of Paul’s day had a saying: “What is written of Abraham is also written of his children,” meaning that promises given to Abraham extend to his descendants. Paul heartily agreed with this principle, and extended the principle of being justified by faith to all Abraham’s spiritual descendants, those who believe, who also walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham.

5. (13-15) God’s promise to Abraham was based on the principle of faith, not law or works.

For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

a. For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law: Since all God’s dealings with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob happened before the giving of the Mosaic Law, we can’t say they were based on the law. Instead, they are based on God’s declaration of Abraham’s righteousness through faith.

i. “Faith is the ground of God’s blessing. Abraham was a blessed man, indeed, but he became heir of the world on another principle entirely – simple faith.” (Newell)

b. For the promise… through the righteousness of faith: The law cannot bring us into the blessings of God’s promises. This is not because the law is bad, but because we are unable to keep it.

c. Because the law brings about wrath: Our inability to keep the law (our transgression) means that it becomes essentially a vehicle of God’s wrath towards us, especially if we regard it as the principle by which we are justified and relate to God.

d. Where there is no law there is no transgression: How can Paul say this? Because “Transgression is the right word for overstepping a line, and this for breaking a clearly defined commandment” (Morris). Where there is no line, there is no actual transgression.

i. There is sin that is not the “crossing the line” of the Law of Moses. The root of sin isn’t in breaking the law, but in breaking trust with God; with denying His loving, caring purpose in every command He gives. Before Adam sinned he broke trust with God – therefore God’s plan of redemption is centered on a relationship of trusting love – faith – instead of law-keeping. When we center our relationship with God on law-keeping instead of trusting love, we go against His whole plan.

B. Following Abraham’s example.

1. (16) Justification according to grace, through faith.

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

a. It is of faith that it might be according to grace: Faith is related to grace in the same way works is related to law. Grace and law are principles, and faith and works are the means by which we pursue those principles for our relationship with God.

i. To speak technically, we are not saved by faith. We are saved by God’s grace, and grace is appropriated by faith.

b. It is of faith: Salvation is of faith and nothing else. We can only receive salvation by the principle of grace through faith. Grace can’t be gained through works, whether they be past works, present works, or promised works. This is because by definition grace is given without regard to anything in the one who receives it.

i. “Grace and faith are congruous, and will draw together in the same chariot, but grace and merit are contrary the one to the other and pull opposite ways, and therefore God has not chosen to yoke them together.” (Spurgeon)

c. So that the promise might be sure to all the seed: The promise can only be sure if it is according to grace. If law is the basis of our salvation, then our salvation depends on our performance in keeping the law – and no one can keep the law good enough to be saved by it. A law-promise of salvation can never be sure.

i. If the promise “were of the law, it would be unsure and uncertain, because of man’s weakness, who is not able to perform it.” (Poole)

d. But also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all: If our relationship with God is according to grace (not circumcision or law-keeping), then that relationship is for those who are of the faith of Abraham, even if they are not of his lineage.

i. A Gentile could say, “I am not a Jew, I am not of the law; but I am of the faith of Abraham,” and he would be just as saved as a Jewish believer in Jesus would be.

e. The father of us all: The fulfillment of the promise in Genesis 17:4-5 is found not only in Abraham’s descendants through Isaac, but especially in his role as being the father of us all who believe – and those believers come from every nation under heaven.

2. (17-18) The life-giving power of the God Abraham believed in.

(As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed; God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”

a. So that he became the father of many nations: Even as it took a supernatural life-giving work to make Abraham the physical father of many nations, it also took a supernatural life-giving work to make him the spiritual father of many nations.

b. Who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as if they did: These works of God demonstrate His ability to count things that are not (such as our righteousness) as if they were (as in counting us righteous).

i. If God could call the dead womb of Sarah to life, he can call those who are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) to new life in Jesus.

ii. “I’m greatly comforted when God speaks about me as righteous, justified, glorified, holy, pure, and saintly. God can talk about such things before they exist, because He knows they will exist.” (Smith)

c. Contrary to hope, in hope believed: This life-giving power was accomplished in Abraham as he believed. The power was evident naturally and spiritually.

i. Abraham’s example also helps us to understand the nature of faith. The conception of Abraham’s son Isaac was a miracle, but it was not an immaculate conception. Abraham’s faith did not mean that he did nothing and just waited for God to create a child in Sarah’s womb. Abraham and Sarah had marital relations and trusted God for a miraculous result. This shows us that faith does not mean doing nothing, but doing everything with trust and reliance on God.

ii. “All true believers, like Abraham, obey. Obedience is faith in action. You are to walk in the steps of the faith of father Abraham. His faith did not sit still, it took steps; and you must take these steps also by obeying God because you believe him. That faith which has no works with it is a dead faith, and will justify no one.” (Spurgeon)

iii. “Sense corrects imagination, reason corrects sense, but faith corrects both. It will not be, saith sense; it cannot be, saith reason; it both can and will be, saith faith, for I have a promise for it.” (Trapp)

3. (19-22) The character of Abraham’s faith.

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

a. Not being weak in faith: Abraham’s faith was strong but it was also strengthened. He was strengthened in faith.

i. The idea seems to be that Abraham was strengthened in his faith; but Paul could also mean that Abraham was strengthened by his faith – certainly both were true.

ii. How we need to be strengthened in faith! “Dear brother, little faith will save thee if it be true faith, but there are many reasons why you should seek an increase of it.” (Spurgeon)

iii. Spurgeon knew that ministers and preachers especially needed to be strengthened in faith. He sometimes shared his own struggles in this area from the pulpit, but wanted to make it clear that his struggles in faith should never be indulged: “Whenever, dear hearers, you catch any of us who are teachers doubting and fearing, do not pity us, but scold us. We have no right to be in Doubting Castle. Pray do not visit us there. Follow us as far as we follow Christ, but if we get into the horrible Slough of Despond, come and pull us out by the hair of our heads if necessary, but do not fall into it yourselves.” (Spurgeon)

iv. “I do not think we shall have many conversions unless we expect God to bless the word, and feel certain that he will do so. We must not wonder and be astonished if we hear of a dozen or two conversions, but let the astonishment be that thousands are not converted when they hear such divine truth, and when we ask the Holy Spirit to attend it with divine energy. God will bless us in proportion to our faith. It is the rule of his kingdom – ‘According to your faith so be it unto you.’ O God, give thy ministers more faith! Let us believe thee firmly!” (Spurgeon)

b. He did not consider his own body, already dead: Abraham, in faith, did not look to circumstances (his own body and the deadness of Sarah’s womb) but he looked at the promise of God.

i. In Romans 4:19, there is textual uncertainty as to if we should read he considered his body as good as dead or if we should read he did not consider his own body. Either is possible, though the second seems to be a better choice.

c. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief: His faith did not waver; and it gave glory to God. Though it was a huge challenge, Abraham remained steadfast in faith.

i. “When there is no contest, it is true, no one, as I have said, denies that God can do all things; but as soon as anything comes in the way to impede the course of God’s promise, we cast down God’s power from its eminence.” (Calvin)

d. Being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform: Abraham’s faith came because he had been fully convinced of God’s ability to perform what He has promised.

i. Is your God too small? The God of Abraham was able to perform what He had promised, and Abraham was fully convinced of this.

ii. Some people don’t come to Jesus or don’t go further with Him because they are not fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. They think, “It is fine for them but it won’t work for me.” This thinking is a devilish attack on faith, and must be rejected.

e. Able to perform: This kind of faith sees the work of God done. It sees the work of God done in the immediate (Isaac was born in fulfillment of the promise) and in the eternal (accounted to him for righteousness).

4. (23-25) Abraham’s justification and our own.

Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

a. It was not written for his sake alone: It wasn’t only for Abraham’s benefit that God declared him righteous through faith; he is an example that we are invited to follow – it is also for us. Paul’s confidence is glorious: It shall be imputed to us who believe; this wasn’t just for Abraham, but for us also.

b. Who believe in Him who raised up Jesus: When we talk about faith and saving faith in Jesus, it is important to emphasize that we mean believing that His work on the cross (delivered up because of our offenses) and triumph over sin and death (raised because of our justification) is what saves us. There are many false-faiths that can never save, and only faith in what Jesus accomplished on the cross and through the empty tomb can save us.

· Faith in the historical events of the life of Jesus will not save.

· Faith in the beauty of Jesus’ life will not save.

· Faith in the accuracy or goodness of Jesus’ teaching will not save.

· Faith in the deity of Jesus and in His Lordship will not save.

· Only faith in what the real Jesus did for us on the cross will save.

c. Raised because of our justification: The resurrection has an essential place in our redemption because it demonstrates God the Father’s perfect satisfaction with the Son’s work on the cross. It proves that what Jesus did on the cross was in fact a perfect sacrifice made by One who remained perfect, even though bearing the sin of the world.

i. Delivered up because of our offenses: The ancient Greek word translated delivered (paradidomi) was used of casting people into prison or delivering them to justice. “Here it speaks of the judicial act of God the Father delivering God the Son to the justice that required the payment of the penalty for human sin.” (Wuest)

ii. “Jesus’ resurrection always includes his sacrificial death but it brings out the all-sufficiency of his death. If death had held him, he would have failed; since he was raised from death, his sacrifice sufficed, God set his seal upon it by raising him up.” (Lenski)

iii. “Christ did meritoriously work our justification and salvation by his death and passion, but the efficacy and perfection thereof with respect to us depend on his resurrection… This one verse is an abridgement of the whole gospel.” (Poole)

iv. In this chapter, Paul clearly demonstrated that in no way does the Old Testament contradict the gospel of salvation by grace through faith. Instead the gospel is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and Abraham – justified through faith – is our pattern.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Categories: New Testament Paul’s Letters

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What does Romans 4:14 mean? [ See verse text ]

Paul is discussing God’s promises to Abraham and his offspring, the Jewish people. These were given by God in Genesis 12:1–3. Those promises, Paul has written, amount to Israel being heirs of the world. Now Paul shows that this inheritance will not come by following the law. First and foremost, those promises were given centuries before the law existed. Paul writes that if the inheritance is to be given to those who follow the law, then faith does not matter. Worse, the promises of God don’t matter—because not all of Abraham’s descendants had the law!

In other words, Paul has already shown that nobody can keep the law. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:10; 3:23). So if God’s promises to Israel are only for those able to follow the law, those promises will not be given. When law is a requirement for salvation, faith serves no purpose.

Context Summary

Romans 4:13–25 continues to focus on the faith of Abraham. God made promises to Abraham and his descendants, promises which Abraham believed. Those promises can’t be received by keeping the law, but only by faith. God promised Abraham a son with Sarah, and Abraham continued to believe that promise would be kept even as it became less and less likely in human terms. We, too, can be counted as righteous by faith in Jesus’ death for our sins and God’s resurrection of Him for our justification.

Chapter Summary

Romans 4 is all about the faith of Abraham. God declared Abraham righteous because of his faith, not because of his works. A declaration of righteousness was God’s gift, not a payment. This righteousness is available to everyone, circumcised or not. God declared Abraham righteous many years before he was circumcised, making him the spiritual father of all who believe, whether circumcised or not, whether Jew or Gentile. God’s promises to Abraham and his offspring can’t be received by keeping the law, only by faith. Abraham’s faith in God’s promise of a son with Sarah did not waver even as he grew older. God will declare us righteous, as well, if by faith we believe in the God who delivered Jesus to die for our sins and raised Him back to life for our justification

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