The Joy Of Those Who Are Blessed


Psalm 1:1-2 (New Living Translation)

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Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.


Psalm 1:1-2 (The Message)

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How well God must like you— you don’t walk in the ruts of those blind-as-bats, you don’t stand with the good-for-nothings, you don’t take your seat among the know-it-alls. Instead you thrill to God’s Word, you chew on Scripture day and night. You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.

Psalm 1:1-2

King James Version

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Blessed is the man who has studied his word and lives in the word and works of the lord for they shall find honor in godly walk

The Righteous and the Wicked: Psalm 1:1-2

Jonathan Brooks   –   April 22, 2021

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2  

Over the next three weeks, we have the privilege of memorizing Psalm 1. This Psalm sets the tone for the rest of the book by distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked. The three sections (of 2 verses each) answer an important question about the lives of the righteous in contrast to the lives of the wicked. What differentiates the righteous from the wicked? What will the fruit of their lives be? What outcome will their lives result in? 

Verses 1 and 2 answer the first question: What differentiates the righteous from the wicked? That seems like a simple question. In fact, if we were to poll a group of average people walking down a city street, I can guess answers they would give. Most would say that a righteous person seeks to do good things, while a wicked person does bad things. That answer, of course, is not wrong, but it is incomplete. That answer on it’s own cannot define what is good and what is bad. In other words, who gets to decide what is considered good and what is considered bad?

This is where the wisdom of God in Psalm 1 is on full display. The Psalmist is not addressing the actions of the individual at this point. Instead, the Psalmist begins with what the righteous person will allow to influence his life. From where will he glean the knowledge of what is good and what is bad? To put it another way, the concern of verses 1 and 2 is not our actions, but what is shaping our minds.

Therefore, verse 1 is not a prohibition against spending time with wicked people. It’s a warning against planting your life among them in such a way that they begin to infiltrate your mind with their worldview; with their moral compass. We must not walk in the counsel of the wicked. In other words, we must guard against allowing a godless worldview to shape our hearts and minds. We don’t stand in the way of sinners. This means that we don’t plant ourselves in the ways of the world in such a way that we mimic their practices. Nor, do we sit in the seat of scoffers. The righteous person does not occupy the position of those who scoff. It’s easy to sit with and join in with those who scoff and deride others and complain about all that’s not going our way. We must minister to scoffers, but we don’t sit down and make ourselves at home with them so that we join in their derision. 

Instead of allowing the wicked to shape our hearts and minds, the Psalmist reminds us that we must allow the Word of God to transform us. We must delight in the Law of the Lord and meditate on his word day and night. This is a humbling command. In our fallen nature, we must continually fill ourselves with and be sustained by God’s Word or we will fall prey to the wicked wisdom of man. We can’t go one week, one day, not even one part of a day, without needing to meditate on God’s Word. We need it in the morning and then we need it again in the evening. This isn’t a guilt trip about what time of day we should read our Bibles. Instead, it’s a call to make Bible intake a regular part of our day. It’s a call to work hard at hiding God’s Word in our hearts by memorizing Scripture. You can’t meditate on God’s Word day and night if it’s not in your head and heart. In order to fight against temptation and resist the influence of the wicked, we need to continually meditate on the truth of God’s Word. 

I love how this Psalm flips our expectations. The difference between the righteous and the wicked doesn’t start with our actions, it starts with what we allow to shape our lives. The reason the Bible has transforming power is not mainly because it makes us better people, but because it points us to an all sufficient Savior. As we meditate on God’s Word, we will see more and more of the evil of our own hearts and we will see more and more the overwhelming grace that has been poured out on us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we see Jesus revealed to us in the Word, we will be transformed into the likeness of his character. 

Psalm 1 – The Blessed Man Feeds Himself the Word of God

May 15

*This is the first post in a new, ongoing series of blogs from the book of Psalms. We hope that these bless you.

By Bunni Pounds

“Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Verses 1 and 2)

There is only one important difference between saints and sinners, and that is the blood of Jesus. There is nothing else that separates us. We are Godly for one reason only, because we have been born from above and have taken on the nature of Christ by believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus through faith.

Are these verses then instructing us not to associate with sinners? Not really. Jesus hung out with the sinners of His day – the tax collectors and even the “questionable” women, but he did it to redeem them, not to gain their supposed “wisdom”. There is a difference.

These verses are instructing us to not draw wisdom from the “counsel of the ungodly” or hang out with the “scornful” – those who mock God. So many times, we try to gain wisdom from universities, scholars, and leaders in our country that don’t know God. They don’t have any understanding of what is right or wrong, or what is truth. Listening to them can give us knowledge, but they don’t hold ultimate wisdom. We have to pray that we are not led down the wrong path as “knowledge puffs up” (I Corinthians 8:2). That is why who we are listening to and walking within our lives is so important. We need godly wisdom.

True wisdom is only found in one place as it says in verse 2, the “law of the LORD”. The blessed man finds his delight in the “law of the LORD”.

What does that mean?

The law of the Lord is the instructions, teachings, and words of God that are superior to the words of man. That is where the “blessed man” finds his hope, and what we need to cleave to. The blessed man (or woman) knows that above all his earthly wisdom and thoughts, he can run to the words of God and find truth and life.

He (or she) knows above everything that his bread and his food for life are found in one place – the Word of God.

So, what does he do?

The blessed man meditates on the “law” and the teachings of God “day and night”. He cannot get enough. He puts the words of God always before him and chews on them over and over and over again. He doesn’t stop regardless of how difficult the words are [to hear and obey].

Meditation, in the Biblical and Christian sense, is not clearing your mind of everything like in eastern mediation; it is about actually filling the mind with the right things. A good picture of this is like a cow chewing his cud. We eat the food – the Word of God – and then we spit it out and then chew it again.

Did you know that cows have seven stomachs?

Like cows, after about the seventh time we might actually begin to understand what the Word of God is saying. It will start giving nourishment for our souls. In our human nature, we can, at times be hard of hearing and understanding. We have to keep chewing and chewing until it breaks through our hard noggins and we have an understanding of what God is saying to us. That is true Christian meditation – a constant feeding on the Word of God until our minds become renewed and become more like Jesus.

“He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.” (Verse 3)

The blessed man who is constantly meditating on the Word of God is BLESSED. He is like a tree that grows fruit and is nourished by the waters of God. He doesn’t get weak or sickly; the blessed man is producing life and has vibrancy. This verse says that “whatever he does shall prosper.”

Why is he prospering? Why is he blessed?

Because he has found THE source of life – the Word of God, the teachings of the law, and the teachings of Jesus. He has found stability and freedom and therefore will produce fruit that is eternal because he is focused on eternal things.

I wish that prosperity in our souls and in our families just happened by osmosis. I wish a fairy godmother could just wave a wand and we would prosper.  I wish that prosperity where our businesses or jobs just flourished was the result of just a snap of our fingers, but it doesn’t. It takes hard work and being connected to a Source. It takes running to God and staying tied to the Source of Life especially on these days when the enemy is fighting tooth and nail to keep us from the presence of God. If we are planted by the refreshing rivers of the presence of God, we know what we will reap eventually. We will reap prosperity in our souls, our families, our finances, and our lives. We will find the ultimate HOPE and PROSPERITY which is JESUS.

That is God’s desire for us that we would be fully fed and watered, so that we will produce fruit. Isn’t that your desire as well?

Proverbs 5:15 says “Drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well.”

It is time for the Body of Christ to grow up and learn how to water and feed themselves. That is why the Psalms are such a crucial starting place, because they are easy to digest. We cannot continue to depend on others to feed us – we must learn to feed ourselves the Word of God.

We don’t want to be like the ungodly that are described in the next verses of Psalm 1.

“The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”  (Verses 4 and 5)

The “chaff” is the dry bracts enclosing mature grains of wheat which are removed during threshing. As a man threshes out the wheat, hitting it repeatedly and lifting it in the air on the threshing floor, the dry bracts are taken away by the wind. The mature grains of wheat remains for the man to pick up. It is beautiful.

The mature grains of wheat are heavier. They have depth and substance in them and that is similar to what God desires from us. He wants us to have the substance of His life in us. That is Godly maturity.

Luke 3:16-17 says, “John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

We must be born again with his life, filled with His Holy Spirit, and then discipled into His daily food and water – the Word of God. This is the path to maturity, substance, and true prosperity.

“For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Verse 6)

I love the promise in verse 6 that the “LORD knows the way of the righteous.”  The Lord is aware of where we are going. He is intimately involved in our lives and he has numbered even the hairs on our heads. (Matthew 10:30) It is so comforting to know that God cares about you and me and that if we call on the Name of the Lord that we will be saved (Acts 2:21). We can rest in those truths.

I don’t read the Message Bible for study, but at times it is fun to refer to their modern-language translation. This particular translation is hilarious, but it makes the point.

Psalm 1 from the Message Bible

 “How well God must like you— you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

You’re not at all like the wicked,
who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.”

Political Corner: For those of us in politics or serving as elected officials, we need to be careful where we get our information, who we are listening to while keeping the eternal perspective of where ultimate wisdom comes from. We can seek a multitude of counselors in many fields of academia and specialties, but we need to pray for discernment and continue to ask God for His thoughts. Many times, when we are not expecting it – God will drop a thought, a piece of wisdom, or a person in front of us – that can lead us down the path we need to go. If we feed ourselves His Word regularly and not abandon it – He is faithful to bring it back to our remembrance when we need it.

Psalm 1 – The Way of the Righteous and the Way of the Ungodly

Verse six presents a key to understanding Psalm 1: “For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” In this psalm, the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly are contrasted.

A. The way of the righteous.

1. (1) What the righteous man does not do.

Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

a. Blessed is the man: The Hebrew word esher is here translated blessed, which has the idea of happiness or contentment. Esher is a form of the Hebrew word ashar, which in its root means “to be straight” or “to be right.” Blessed is the man speaks of the happiness, the blessedness, the contentment in the life of the man or woman who is right or “straight” with God. The righteous man will be a blessed man, a happy man.

i. “Blessed means supremely happy or fulfilled. In fact, in Hebrew the word is actually a plural, which denotes either a multiplicity of blessings or an intensification of them.” (Boice)

ii. “It is not ‘Blessed is the king, blessed is the scholar, blessed is the rich,’ but, ‘Blessed is the man.’ This blessedness is as attainable by the poor, the forgotten and the obscure, as by those whose names figure in history, and are trumpeted by fame.” (Spurgeon)

b. Walks not…nor stands…nor sits: The blessed man does not do certain things. There is a way he will not walk, a path he will not stand in, and a seat he will not sit in.

i. We can say these speak of thinking, behaving, and belonging. The righteous man and the ungodly man are different in how they think, how they behave, and to whom they belong.

ii. Others have also seen in this a progression of sin. “The great lesson to be learned from the whole is, sin is progressive; one evil propensity or act leads to another. He who acts by bad counsel may soon do evil deeds; and he who abandons himself to evil doings may end his life in total apostasy from God.” (Clarke)

c. Walks not in the counsel of the ungodly: The ungodly have counsel, and the righteous man will not walk in it. With all the advice that comes to us, from so many different sources, the righteous man knows how to stay away from the counsel of the ungodly.

i. First, it means the righteous man knows how to discern the counsel of the ungodly. Many fail at this point. They do not even consider if counsel is godly or ungodly. They hear advice, or theories about their problems, and they find themselves agreeing or disagreeing without considering, “Is this godly or ungodly counsel?”

ii. The righteous man is also discerning enough to know the counsel of the ungodly can come from one’s own self. Our own conscience, our own mind, our own heart, can give us ungodly counsel.

iii. The righteous man knows where to find completely godly counsel: Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors (Psalm 119:24). God’s word is always the best counselor, and godly counselors will always bring the truth of God’s word to help someone who wants counseling.

d. Nor stands in the path of sinners: Sinners have a path where they stand, and the righteous man knows he does not belong on that path. Path speaks of a way, a road, a direction – and the righteous man is not traveling in the same direction as sinners.

i. The righteous man is not afraid to take a less-traveled road, because he knows it leads to blessing, happiness, and eternal life. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it (Matthew 7:13).

ii. The righteous can have the confidence of Psalm 16:11: You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. God has a path, and it is a good road to take.

e. Nor sits in the seat of the scornful: The scornful love to sit and criticize the people of God and the things of God. The righteous man will not sit in that seat!

i. When others are putting down Christians, it is easy to sit with them and criticize them. It is easy because there are many things to criticize about Christians. But it is wrong, because we are then sitting in the seat of the scornful.

ii. Instead, we should be proud to follow Jesus Christ. “Be out-and-out for him; unfurl your colours, never hide them, but nail them to the mast, and say to all who ridicule the saints, ‘If you have any ill words for the followers of Christ, pour them out upon me…but know this – ye shall hear it whether you like it or not – ‘I love Christ.’” (Spurgeon)

2. (2) What the righteous man does.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

a. His delight is in the law of the LORD: Throughout Psalms, the phrase law of the LORD is used to describe God’s entire word, not only the “law” portion of the first five books of the Bible. The righteous man is delighted with the word of God!

i. What makes you happy? What gets you excited? This is a good way to see what is important to you. If personal pleasure is the only thing that makes you happy, then you are a selfish, self-centered person. If being with your family or friends delights you, that can be better, but it still falls short. The righteous man finds his delight…in the law of the LORD.

ii. Martin Luther said that he could not live in paradise without the word of God, but he could live well enough in hell with it.

iii. “Man must have some delight, some supreme pleasure. His heart was never meant to be a vacuum. If not filled with the best things, it will be filled with the unworthy and disappointing.” (Spurgeon)

iv. If a person delights in something, you don’t have to beg him to do it or to like it. He will do it all by himself. You can measure your delight for the word of God by how much you hunger for it.

b. In His law he meditates day and night: The righteous man ponders the word of God. He does not just hear it and forget it; he thinks about it. Christians should meditate on God’s word!

i. In eastern meditation, the goal is to empty the mind. This is dangerous, because an empty mind may present an open invitation to deception or a demonic spirit. But in Christian meditation, the goal is to fill your mind with the word of God. This can be done by carefully thinking about each word and phrase, applying it to one’s self, and praying it back to the Lord.

ii. “Meditation chews the cud, and gets the sweetness and nutritive virtue of the Word into the heart and life: this is the way the godly bring forth much fruit.” (Ashwood, cited by Spurgeon)

iii. Many lack because they only read and do not meditate. “It is not only reading that does us good; but the soul inwardly feeding on it, and digesting it. A preacher once told me that he had read the Bible through twenty times on his knees and had never found the doctrine of election there. Very likely not. It is a most uncomfortable position in which to read. If he had sat in an easy chair he would have been better able to understand it.” (Spurgeon)

iv. The righteous man only has God’s word on his mind two times a day: day and night. That about covers it all!

3. (3) How the righteous man is blessed.

He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

a. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water: A tree by a river has a continual source of water. It will never wither away, because it is always getting what it needs. If we are constantly needy, it may be worth examining if we are planted by the rivers of water or not.

i. This would also be a tree that is strong and stable, sinking down deep roots. The life of the righteous man is marked by strength and stability.

b. That brings forth its fruit in its season: The righteous man bears fruit, such as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit comes naturally from this tree, because it is planted by the rivers of water. It is abiding in a life-source. As Jesus spoke of bearing fruit in John 15:5, as we abide in Him. Fruit also has a season. Some get discouraged when they begin to walk as righteous men, and fruit is not immediately evident. They need to wait until they bring forth fruit in its season.

i. “There are no barren trees in God’s orchard, and yet they may have their fits of barrenness, as an apple tree sometimes hath; but they will reflourish with advantage.” (Trapp)

c. Whose leaf also shall not wither: Brown, dead, withered leaves are signs of death and dryness. The righteous man does not have these signs of death and dryness; his “leaves” are green and alive.

d. And whatever he does shall prosper: It isn’t that the righteous man has a “Midas Touch,” and everything he does makes him rich and comfortable. But in the life of the righteous man, God brings forth something good and wonderful out of everything. Even tough circumstances bring forth something that shall prosper.

B. The way of the ungodly.

1. (4) The dangerous place of the ungodly.

The ungodly are not so,

But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

a. The ungodly are not so: Everything true about the righteous man – stable as a tree, continual life and nourishment, fruitful, alive, and prosperous – is not so regarding the ungodly.

i. It may often seem like the ungodly have these things, and sometimes it seems they have them more than the righteous. But it is not so! Any of these things are fleeting in the life of the ungodly; it can be said that they don’t really have them at all.

b. Are like the chaff which the wind drives away: Chaff is the light “shell” around a kernel of grain, which must be stripped away before the kernel of grain can be ground into flour. Chaff was light enough that it could be separated from the grain by throwing a scoopful into the wind and letting the wind drive away the chaff. This is how unstable, how lacking in substance, the ungodly are.

i. Spurgeon on chaff: “Intrinsically worthless, dead, unserviceable, without substance, and easily carried away.” There is a huge difference between a tree and chaff.

2. (5) The dangerous future of the ungodly.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

a. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment: Because the ungodly have no “weight,” they will be found lacking on the day of judgment. As it was said of King Belshazzar in the book of Daniel, You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting (Daniel 5:27).

b. Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous: This is true in the future, because sinners will not share the same glorious future of the righteous. It is also true in the present, because sinners sense they do not belong in the congregation of the righteous if they insist on remaining sinners.

3. (6) Summary: The way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly.

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

a. The LORD knows the way of the righteous: The righteous can have peace because a loving God in heaven knows their way, and will protect and preserve them.

i. “Or, as the Hebrew has it yet more fully, ‘The Lord is knowing the way of the righteous.’ He is constantly looking on their way, and though it may be often in mist and darkness, yet the Lord knoweth it.” (Spurgeon)

b. The way of the ungodly shall perish: The way of the ungodly leads to destruction. They are on a broad path that may seem comfortable now and the path gives them lots of company, but in the end they shall perish.

c. At least four times in the Book of Acts, Christianity is called the Way. Certainly, it is the way of the righteous, not the way of the ungodly. Which way are you on?

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik –

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Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

So often sin and ungodly lifestyles are portrayed as glamorous. The way of blessing, however, is the way of God. His will is for our good, his commands spring from his mercy and protection, and his way is the path of life. We are blessed when we walk with God and do his will.

My Prayer…

Forgive me, Father, for believing the lies of the world and being deceived and enticed by the temptations of Satan. I know that sin brings heartaches, complications, and problems. I also know that choosing the right things, standing up for truth, and living faithfully for you is sometimes very difficult. Please help my heart believe and my mind see that walking in your will brings me life. In Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen.

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

What does Psalm 1:2 mean? [ See verse text ]

This verse continues to describe the blessed man. Whereas verse 1 takes a negative tone (Psalm 1:1), this strikes a positive tone. Verse 1 describes what the blessed man does not do, verse 2 describes what he does. As in verse 1, the context here applies to all people, not only males or men.

The blessed person delights in the law of the Lord. The Hebrew word translated “delight” is related to a word that can mean “to bend.” The blessed person “bends” towards God. His or her inclination is to meditate on God’s Word. Instead of letting the words of the ungodly influence one’s thinking, a blessed person wants God’s words to influence his or her life. Reading and obeying the Scripture is extremely important to the blessed person. Such a person doesn’t merely give God’s Word a cursory reading or an occasional reading—he or she digs into it, whether it is daytime or nighttime.

Worthwhile meditation does not require a person to empty his or her mind. Scripture does not support the idea of self-emptying in meditation—godly meditation means filling the mind with Scripture. To meditate on Scripture involves pondering what the Bible teaches about God’s character. It involves thinking deeply about what His Word teaches about ourselves and others. As we meditate, we cherish the promises and precepts we find in the Bible, we heed its commands, we confront our sins and confess them, and we conform our thoughts to God’s thoughts.

The blessed person is not influenced by the words of the ungodly, but is deeply influenced by God’s words.

Context Summary

Psalm 1:1–3 teaches that those who properly respect God’s Word will enjoy spiritual prosperity and spiritual success. This first half of Psalm 1 stands in stark contrast to the second half. These words echo what God promised Joshua, if he would meditate upon God’s Word and obey it (Joshua 1:6–9). Psalm 119 also teaches the importance of devoting oneself to God’s Word and the blessings that accompany that obedience.

Chapter Summary

This psalm begins by describing the man who is blessed. He doesn’t keep company with a bad crowd. Furthermore, the Word of God governs his thought life. Both day and night he thinks about what God has disclosed in His Word. He thoroughly enjoys spending time in reading and pondering God’s Word. His devotion to Scripture produces fruit in his life. In a spiritual sense, he is like a tree whose roots are nourished by a stream. He enjoys vitality and success. His life of blessing and productivity stands in stark contrast to the lives of the wicked. What their lives produce is as worthless as the chaff that the wind blows away. When God separates His people from the wicked, the wicked will fall in the judgment. The Lord is fully aware of the lifestyle of His righteous people as well as the lifestyle of the wicked, so His judgment will be just. The Lord will sentence the wicked to eternal perdition

What Does Psalm 1:1 Mean? ►

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Psalm 1:1(KJV)

Verse Thoughts

The book of Psalms opens with a wonderful truth – that the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish. Godly living which results in blessings from above, contentment within, and hope for the future, stands in stark contrast to the practice of ungodliness and compromise – which produces the fruit of sorrow and destruction and ends in a man’s ruin and death.

The first verse of this opening Psalm gives a precise statement between the two choices every man is given in life. He can choose God’s way and take the path of righteousness and peace-with-God, OR he can follow the downward road of the wicked, the sinners, the scoffers, and those that rebel against the Lord. He can choose life or death: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”

The man who is identified here is someone who is living in the world but is not enticed by the things of the world. Such a man is not influenced by the mindset of worldly men who live in defiant rebellion against God and hold His anointed Son in contempt. The man in this verse is a godly man – a redeemed man who walks in spirit and truth and does not habitually wander into unwholesome places or involve himself in the worldly exploits of evildoers. Such a man seeks His counsel from the Lord, pays attention to God’s written Word, and keeps his eyes firmly fixed on JESUS.

Such a person is wise in his routines and circumspect in his conversation. Such a one walks in the light of God’s truth, hearkens to the godly counsel of the indwelling Holy Spirit, submits to the voice of his Lord, and sits at the feet of Jesus, day by day. Such a man delights in the law of the Lord and takes time to study the Word of truth. His delight is in the law of the Lord, he meditates on the things of God day and night, and rejoices in God his Saviour. Such a person holds lightly the things of this worldly system and dies to his fleshly desires while trusting in the Father of all mercies.

In one short verse, we see how rapidly a godly man or woman can slide into ungodly ways. Instead of continuing to walk in spirit and truth, they begin to follow the advice of the evil men and slowly become ensnared in the world, the flesh, and the devil. Once a believer takes their eyes off Jesus and allows their ears to be tickled by human wisdom, their spiritual fervour is dampened and they are tempted to loiter in the way of the ungodly until they are willing to stand firm in the company of evil men instead of standing firm on the truth of God’s Word. The longer a believer remains in the company of ungodly men and women, the more rapidly his conscience begins to be seared and the attitude of scoffing sinners taints the truth of the gospel until the Holy Spirit is quenched and grieved.

What a warning to all God’s children on how to live the Christian life and how to avoid falling from grace by being adversely influenced by this fallen world system. We must not walk in the counsel of the wicked or we may find ourselves standing in the path of sinners and even sitting in the seat of scoffers! In a few short verses, we are shown how quickly a believer can leave their first love, lose their heavenly reward, destroy their Christian testimony, and place themselves out of fellowship with their Father in heaven.

May we be careful not to step outside of His will for our lives. May we learn to delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on His Word day and night. May we drink deeply of the living water of life so that we will become like a healthy tree that is firmly planted by streams of water and produces the fruit of righteousness. It is God who plants such a man in the place of His choosing and it is by the waters of God’s unfailing supply that such a man is planted, for it is God that sustains and keeps and God that nourishes and trains. The Lord is the one Who refreshes and renews, guards and guides, helps and heals.

A multiplicity of temporal blessings in the world and eternal blessings in the ages to come are already ours, by faith in Christ, and while our eternal security is assured and God graciously causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous… there are blessings today and rewards to come for the man who chooses not to walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

O the joyous happiness of the man who truly walks in God’s ways and does not compromise with the fallen, world system. May we nail our spiritual colours to the mast of our little boats, walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling wherewith we were called, and may we not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to all who believe. Blessed, indeed, is the man that walks in the path of righteousness and does not consider in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.

My Prayer

Loving Father, it is my desire that I too walk in Your ways and keep from foolish compromise with the world system. Keep my heart set on the Lord Jesus so that my thoughts are not influenced by the mindset of this current age. May I be like the man planted by Your many rivers of grace and love, joy and peace. May Your mercy and compassion flow through me to those around me, in the place where you have planted me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.



How Important Is Your Self Worth?

We often question or self worth how important is our self worth actually?

Depth of what? The cross, Christ love for you? That is worth far more than we deserve. When negative thoughts being to surface crush them under foot with the truth you know ✝️

It’s very important why cause Jesus saw our self worth on that cross when he gave is own sinless life for it would you be seeing yourself hung upon that cross could you see yourself dying for a friend or even a stranger answer would most likely be no bit your self worth is seen by Christ that he gave his very life for our self worth that same self worth we found ourselves questioning You are worth far more than you believe. You’re greater than you can imagine

The Bible even goes in it’s own explanation about self worth

What Does 1 Peter 3:4 Mean? ►

but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

1 Peter 3:4(NASB)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Verse Thoughts

Although Peter deals with the general conduct of Christian men and women in their church fellowships and wider communities, he also gives specific advice to different groups of believers, and in this passage addresses the conduct and character of wives and the relationship they should foster with their husbands.

First, he advises them to be submissive, chaste, and respectful towards their men, because godly behaviour and a gracious attitude will more quickly win love, respect, and praise, than paying meticulous attention to having beautifully braided hair, adorning oneself in golden jewellery, or dressing-up in expensive clothes.

Peter not only addresses the need for outer modesty and to avoid ostentatious behaviours or the excessive pinning-on of trinkets, he taught the importance of developing an inner beauty, which is a lasting and a godly characteristic and is of rare value in God’s eyes. He encourages these women to beautify, “the hidden person of the heart,” and explains that inner beauty is expressed, “with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit – which is very precious in the sight of God.”

This verse lists the things that made a wife most attractive and appealing to her husband, and Peter calls it, “the hidden person of the heart.” The beauty and virtue that comes from within and honours the Lord, flows from the heart of a gentle and tranquil spirit and far surpasses any allurement that might be triggered through some outer adornment of the body.

All women should seek to develop this inner beauty of the soul which only comes as the fruit of the Spirit begins to bud, blossom, and grow. A gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in God’s sight, will not only win the heart of their husband but is a quality that is lasting and will not fade away.

Peter is not advocating that women should be careless in their grooming and not take care of their outer appearance. He is not advocating that wives should be shoddy and unkempt, but that they value the things that develop a godly character which is not only attractive to their spouse but is also well-pleasing to God.

No amount of make-up or outer preening can develop the precious fruit of the Spirit which is so treasured by the Lord. No wardrobe of expensive clothes will compensate for a jealous, spiteful, or bitter nature. No perfume can mask an unforgiving heart and no amount of jewellery can embellish mean-hearted women or prevent them from murmuring or being discontented.

The spiritual fruit of gentleness, goodness, kindness, and grace, comes from a tender heart that honours the Lord. The imperishable qualities that are so precious in the eyes of God are the ones that every husband desires to see in his wife and every woman should nurture. They are born out of a submissive and respectful spirit which is at peace with God and owns the peace of God in her heart – because she trusts in Him.

May the desire of every Christian wife be to develop the wife be to develop the inner beauty of her heart in her marriage – knowing that this is honouring to the Lord. May each one of us who are born from above similarly seek to foster the same internal qualities of heart and mind – the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious in the sight of God.




How should a Christian view self-esteem?


Many define self-esteem as “feelings of worth based on their skills, accomplishments, status, financial resources, or appearance.” This kind of self-esteem can lead a person to feel independent and prideful and to indulge in self-worship, which dulls our desire for God. James 4:6 tells us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” If we only trust in our earthly resources, we will inevitably be left with a sense of worth based on pride. Jesus told us, “You also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (Luke 17:10).

This does not mean that Christians should have low self-esteem. It only means that our sense of being a good person should not depend on what we do, but rather on who we are in Christ. We need to humble ourselves before Him, and He will honor us. Psalm 16:2 reminds us, “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’” Christians attain self-worth and esteem by having a right relationship with God. We can know we are valuable because of the high price God paid for us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

In one sense, low self-esteem is the opposite of pride. In another sense, low-self-esteem is a form of pride. Some people have low self-esteem because they want people to feel sorry for them, to pay attention to them, to comfort them. Low self-esteem can be a declaration of “look at me” just as much as pride. It simply takes a different route to get to the same destination, that is, self-absorption, self-obsession, and selfishness. Instead, we are to be selfless, to die to self, and to deflect any attention given to us to the great God who created and sustains us.

The Bible tells us that God gave us worth when He purchased us to be His own people (Ephesians 1:14). Because of this, only He is worthy of honor and praise. When we have healthy self-esteem, we will value ourselves enough to not become involved in sin that enslaves us. Instead, we should conduct ourselves with humility, thinking of others as better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Romans 12:3 warns, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”


The Biblical View of Self-Esteem by Jay Adams

More insights from your Bible study – Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!


What does the Bible say about self-image?

What does the Bible say about self-love, loving self?

What is the pride of life?

What does the Bible say about shyness/being shy?

What does the Bible say about narcissism?


What does the Bible say about self-love, loving self?


Love as described in the Bible is quite different from the love as espoused by the world. Biblical love is selfless and unconditional, whereas the world’s love is characterized by selfishness. In the following passages, we see that love does not exist apart from God and that true love can only be experienced by one who has experienced God’s own love firsthand:

Romans 13:9–10, “The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

John 13:34–35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

1 John 4:16–19, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”

The statement “love your neighbor as yourself” is not a command to love yourself. It is natural and normal to love yourself—it is our default position. There is no lack of self-love in our world. The command to “love your neighbor as yourself” is essentially telling us to treat other people as well as we treat ourselves. Scripture never commands us to love ourselves; it assumes we already do. In fact, people in their unregenerate condition love themselves too much—that is our problem.

In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, there was only one who showed himself to be a true neighbor to the man in need: the Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37). There were two others, a priest and a Levite, who refused to help the man in need. Their failure to show love to the injured man was not the result of loving themselves too little; it was the result of loving themselves too much and therefore putting their interests first. The Samaritan showed true love—he gave of his time, resources, and money with no regard for himself. His focus was outward, not inward. Jesus presented this story as an illustration of what it means to love one’s neighbor as one’s self (verse 27).

We are to take our eyes off ourselves and care for others. Christian maturity demands it. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3–4). According to this passage, loving others requires humility, a valuing of others, and a conscious effort to put others’ interests first. Anything less than this is selfish and vain—and falls short of the standard of Christ.

None of this should be taken to mean that we should see ourselves as “worthless.” The Bible teaches that we are created in the image of God, and that fact alone gives us great worth (see Luke 12:7). The balanced, biblical view is that we are God’s unique creation, loved by God in spite of our sin, and redeemed by Christ. In His love, we can love others.

We love others based on God’s abiding love for us in Christ. In response to this love, we share it with all whom we come in contact with—our “neighbors.” Someone who is worried that he doesn’t love himself enough has the wrong focus. His concern, biblically, should be his love for God and his love for his neighbor. “Self” is something we want out of the way so that we can love outwardly as we ought.


The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D.A. Carson

More insights from your Bible study – Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!


What does the Bible say about shyness/being shy?

How should a Christian view self-esteem?

What does the Bible say about self-worth?

What does the Bible say about self-image?

What does the Bible say about self-help methods?


What does the Bible say about self-image?


Image is always dependent upon perspective. Poor vision or a cloudy mirror can greatly affect how we perceive ourselves (1 Corinthians 13:12). Without an objective standard by which to measure ourselves, our self-image will be blurred (1 Corinthians 4:3–4). The Bible provides guidance regarding the appropriate view of our self-image.

All people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27). Because of this, each person is of great worth and value.

All people are greatly loved by God. Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love also gives us worth and value.

The Bible also tells us that every person is sinful. Romans 3:23 teaches that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are sinful by nature (Psalm 51:5) and in practice (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Ephesians 2:1 says that, before salvation, we are “dead in . . . transgressions and sins”; verse 3 says that “we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

Because of our sin, we are in need of a Savior to forgive our sins and restore our relationship with God. Fortunately, God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, so whoever believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16). Our salvation is not the result of our goodness but of God’s grace: “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4–5).

Those who have believed in Jesus become new creations. Second Corinthians 5:17 teaches, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Verse 21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Though we were once destined for wrath, in Christ we are made new. Our primary identity is no longer that of a sinner, but that of a forgiven and justified child of God (see John 1:12).

As believers, we still sin, yet we are offered continued forgiveness, and we continue to grow in the Lord, by grace (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:29). We continue to struggle with various temptations and desires but are now free from bondage to sin and death (Romans 6:1–14; Galatians 5:1).

John 1:12 tells us that we become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:3–14 details some of the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. Our identity is to be found in Him (Colossians 3:3). Our self-image should be founded on who God says we are. Yes, we were sinners, and we still battle against our sinful flesh, but, if we are in Christ, we are beloved children. We are secure—completely known, completely forgiven, and wholly loved by God, the very Creator of our souls. We are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1), and we need not condemn ourselves (1 John 3:19–24). By faith, we can be conquerors (Romans 8:31–37), and nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38–39).

Our self-image should not be inflated by human pride (Philippians 2:3–4) nor devastated by the reality of sin. Right self-image is having humility in the sight of God (1 Peter 5:6–11; James 4:4–10). Right self-image is understanding our great need for God and His great love for us. It is rejoicing in His truth and living aware of our value to Him and our identity in Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:6–7; Romans 8:14–17). “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). One day, we will be with God in heaven, fully restored and with clear vision of who He is and who we are in Him.


Messages to Myself: Overcoming a Distorted Self-Image by Helen McIntosh

More insights from your Bible study – Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!


What does the Bible say about being self-conscious?

What does the Bible say about self-love, loving self?

What is the pride of life?

What does the Bible say about shyness/being shy?

What does the Bible say about narcissism?

Lamp Unto My Path


Psalm 119:105 (New Living Translation)

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Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

Your teaching is what guides my journey upon my walk lights my path to help me understand what I’ve learned you guide me with your statutes giving me the truth in true knowledge

What Does Psalm 119:105 Mean? ►

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105(NLT)

Verse Thoughts

We journey through a fallen world with many dangerous pitfalls, slippery places, and dark foes seeking to destroy our close fellowship with our Lord, but in Psalm 119, we are given a beautiful promise and an eternal truth… that God’s Word is a gleaming lamp to our feet that will guide us through the darkness of this fallen world and it is a shining light to brighten the pathway we take.

Not only are there external difficulties and dangers to face in life’s journey, but also there are internal failings and weaknesses that lurk deep within our soul which can cause us to walk away from our ‘First Love’… but God’s Word provides a sure foundation upon which to stand in a darkened world that is falling apart.

Scripture is our secure guidebook to return us into a right relationship with the Lord when we abandon the road of righteousness or stray from the path of peace.

The Word of God is an inextinguishable lamp to guide us along the right path, and it is a radiant light that banishes the shadows of uncertainty, by illuminating the next step in this sin-soaked world.

Opening-up of the pages of Scripture will brighten the path we take, re-energise our hope in Christ, and provide understanding to the one who walks humbly before the Lord.

God’s Word is the light of truth that is written for our learning to lead us away from each shadowy danger that crosses our path and to strengthen our faith in our Saviour as He gently leads us. It lifts the darkness before us… and straightens every crooked path.

His Word not only brightens our pathway, guards us on our journey through life, and warns us of each lurking danger, but it is a treasure-trove of precious gemstones to be hidden deep within our heart – for it contains words of wisdom to guide our thinking, precious promises to encourage our hearts, godly instruction on how to live as the Lord desires us to live, and it is the perfect pattern for Christian living as well as the qualified adjudicator of our daily conduct.

The Bible is the sure Word of the living God, Who has told us the end from the beginning, and all God’s children do well to take heed to its precious pages as unto a light that shines in a dark place.

We do well to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Word of God, and to guard it within


Tell the Lord Thank You

Christian Daily Devotionals by Minister Debra Aiken

Psalm 119:105 Looking For Direction In Life?

May 15, 2017

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Looking for direction in life? Confused about the next step? Concerned about which path to take and which one not to take? If you answered “yes” God has a Word for you on this morning.


The “Word of God” is our compass in life. It is also our guide, our helper, our deliverer, our peace,  our joy, our redemption and our everlasting promise.

The Psalmist of this text declares that the “Word of God” is a lamp to his feet and alight to his path.

The light of God’s Word makes things clear and visible so that we will not trip and fall into the traps and snares of the enemy.

When God’s Word becomes a lamp unto out feet and a light unto our path, He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 

The Word of God is the Christian life support,  our sustaining power, our oxygen tank, our feeding tube, our guiding light and our eternal hope of glory.

 As Christians, we must daily search the Word of God, study it, believe it and obey it for indeed it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Without the light of God’s Word we will continue to stumble in the dark. We will never make it to our destination because we will not be able to see our way out of where we are. It is the light of God’s Word that illuminates our path.

How are you keeping your lamps burning? I can only hope and pray that is is by the leading of God’s Word alone.
To walk in the light we must enter the small gate and stay on the narrow path. Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Avoiding darkness involves the daily choices of choosing to walk in the light of God’s Word.

Walking in the light means disconnecting form the darkness of situations, people, places and things that hinders clear vision.  

It is the Word of God that has the power unto salvation.

It is the Word of God that has lead all of us who are saved, out of darkness into God’s marvelous light.

The Word of God is a guiding light! Are you being lead by it? Or, are you still walking in darkness?

Thank you Lord for your guiding light, for indeed it is a light unto my path.

Still looking for direction in life? Look no further!

God bless.


Psalm 119:105

The Light for a Darkened Path

In a dark and troubled world God speaks. He shares a word. He gives us the Bible.

Heath Lambert

Aug 30, 2016

I just moved with my family to Jacksonville to begin pastoral ministry for the very first time in Florida. Most of my ministry before now has been focused in Louisville, Kentucky where I pastored for 11 years, taught biblical counseling at Southern Seminary for ten years, and served as the executive director for a biblical counseling organization for the last four years (many of those terms of service were overlapping so I’m not as old as that list makes me sound!).

Whether I have served the Lord as a pastor, a professor, or an executive director the one consistent theme in my ministry has been helping troubled people. I learned my very first day in my very first ministry that people in our churches were more broken than I had previously understood, and my ministry since then has been focused on trying to help them and the larger church grow in wisdom to do ministry with them. Over the course of my ministry I have found that the very best resource in the universe for helping people who are hurting is the Bible. The Bible demonstrates its usefulness for ministering to broken people on every page, but let me show you the Bible’s richness by looking at just one passage, Psalm 119:105. The Psalmist declares in simple language, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Do you see the fallen reality of a sinful world visible just underneath those words? The Psalmist exists in a dark world devoid of light. The Psalmist walked a road where every step was made dangerous and potentially fatal by darkness. Much has changed in the millennia between the Psalmist’s day and our own, but that darkness remains the same. We live in a dark and sinister world full of afflictions. Our sins, the sins of others, and the difficulties of life in a sinful world cluster around our feet threatening to make us stumble at every turn. We harbor bitterness and anger; we are abused by those closest to us; we grieve the death of loved ones; we are diagnosed with cancer and Parkinson’s Disease; we are enslaved to everything from alcohol to candy bars; we get overwhelmed by sorrow, trapped by anxiety, and hounded by difficulties from our past. This dark world is bustling with hazards to make us stumble and fall.

How are we to see our way along a dark path so full of difficulties? The answer to this question is where the bright hope of Psalm 119:105 shines through and illuminates all the dark trouble we confront. In a dark and troubled world God speaks. He shares a word. He gives us the Bible. It is this written Word, the Holy Bible, that lights up the darkness helping us to make sense of all the trouble in this fallen world.

Psalm 119 is a precious promise in a bitter world. It gives us hope when we are tempted to despair. And it beckons us to a specific action. Psalm 119 is a challenge to believers to study the Scriptures in the midst of this troubling world to find answers to the problems that confront us. That is what we will do in the pages of this column. We will examine the Scriptures to discover what they say about all the various problems we face. This is a journey we will take together, so send in your questions and concerns. I look forward to this journey as we look to Scripture to illumine our path as we live in this troubled world.

This column originally appeared in the print edition of the Florida Baptist Witness.

What Does it Mean That God’s Word Is a Lamp Unto My Feet?

Aaron Brown

To be called a Christian is to believe in Jesus Christ and the supporting text that talks of life before, during, and after His time walking amongst people. That text is the Bible, God’s Holy Word. Within Scripture itself, aside from the various stories and characters we read about, there are several verses that give us insight into why God has blessed us with His Word to begin. One such verse is written in the Book of Psalms.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (119:105)

Verses such as this are rare areas where the Bible talks about itself. These verses highlight the importance of not only hearing God’s Word but living accordingly. In order to live life according to God’s will, we first have to know how He has called us to live. In order to know that, we cannot rely first on our own thinking, but instead, must hear what the Bible says. This verse from Psalms 119 embodies the wisdom we receive from reading the Bible. The verse also reveals an important truth – to live like a Christian is to live like Christ, who lived out God’s teachings perfectly.

How Is God’s Word a Lamp Unto My Feet?

The phrase “God’s word is a lamp unto my feet” is a metaphorical statement meant to emphasize the wisdom that comes from following God’s instruction. This particular chapter in the Book of Psalms is authored by an unknown person. Over the course of this passage, the author writes in an acrostic pattern, including twenty-two stanzas with eight lines each. Each stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

This chapter lacks a cohesive narrative as each stanza is written with varying topics and tones. One underlying theme that is present throughout is the idea of understanding God’s Word. The writer assures that people who follow God are blameless (119:3). The speaker wants to do better in following God, and that only occurs when living by the Lord’s precepts. The phrase “God’s word is a lamp unto my feet” appears far into the writing, as the 105 verse.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

This verse furthers the idea that reliance on God’s Word is the only way to successfully live as a Christian. Lamps are used in society to create light for movement and activity. The Hebrew word for lamp is niyr. This description of a lamp is more equivalent to the subtle light of a candle. The implication then is that there is limited visibility of the surrounding area, but just enough light to navigate.

With enough light to navigate through life, God gives us the direction that we need, not all at once, but as needed. In this way, God’s Word operates for the speaker as a form of direction. In the verses following 105, the writer continues on to ask God for teaching (Psalm 119:108). The speaker wants to learn from God. This illustrates God’s Word operating as a lamp in bringing wisdom into the mind of a believer. When they compare God’s Word to being a light on a path, that pathway is life. Within the details of Psalm 119, abiding by God’s word in every instance creates a more fulfilling life.

Walking in the light is very distinctive from walking in the ways of the wicked (Psalm 119:110). If God’s Word is a lamp, helping us to navigate the pathway of life, then we know God’s Word is intended to help us live prosperously. God does not fully reveal the future with the lamp He gives us. However, our prosperity in living by God’s word is not contingent upon how much of the path ahead we can see. That prosperity is not contingent on financial and occupational standards, but on a closeness with God. And He gives us just enough to be successful in life (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God is the speaker’s chief concern in Psalm 119 and according to Jesus is to be our chief concern too (Matthew 22:35-37). If we can focus on loving God, obeying His Word, then we will have better lives. This idea is not only present in Psalm 119 but also in other passages where God reveals similar commentary on His Word.

What Does God Say about His Word?

In addition to what we read in Psalm 119, there are other areas in the Bible where the Bible talks about itself and offers key insight into why reading God’s Word is vital for any Christian. These other passages from Scripture complement the message from Psalm 119. Upon reading, we can confirm that the Bible is intended to offer wisdom to believers, and help us live according to God’s commandments, not other ideas that we sometimes confuse with God.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The Bible when followed or when ignored, reveals certain truths and emotions that lay in our hearts. If God’s word is meant to edify our behavior, how we respond to His teachings will reveal characteristics about our beliefs, personality, and more. For example, the Bible says to forgive others just as we ask God for forgiveness (Matthew 6:15). If we find that exercising forgiveness is difficult, then God’s Word has revealed truth to us.

“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

Reading, interpreting, and living by God’s Word is as essential as our daily food and drink. Jesus himself indicates the significance of applying God’s word to our lives. Just as we instinctively know to eat and drink, and we make plans to do so, we should respond likewise to Scripture.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Certain translations indicate that Scripture is God “inspired” rather than breathed. Whatever the translation or word choice, the Bible makes full admission that God Himself did not physically write the Bible. Neither is Jesus known to have written anything. Nevertheless, the purpose of the Bible is consistent throughout each book. By reading, we learn how and why we should aim to be more Christ-like. In this way, God redeems us from our sinful nature.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Mark 13:31)

The tangible things and people in our lives, and the ideas that they exclusively represent pass away with time. However, since the beginning of time, God’s Word has been true and has endured throughout the generations.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

To live according to God’s Word is not as simplistic as rehearsing or reciting what Scripture says. Instead, to live by God’s Word means to design your life in a way that reflects His teachings. God wants us to live so in tune with Scripture that we think about what He teaches throughout the day.

Why Reading Your Bible Is Important

The aforementioned verses from the Bible highlight God’s desire to improve our lives. By following His commandments we will live a life that is more prosperous than what we would have outside of Him. Recognizing that God’s Word is intended to redeem us by making us better people is important for any Christian to do early on in their faith journey. If we call ourselves believers in Christianity, then we should understand what our religious text, the Bible, says about our faith. The more versed we are in the Bible, the more we can become like Jesus. The more like Jesus we are, the more God can call us to His purpose. Not only will we be redeemed, but we can help God redeem others.

How is God’s Word a lamp to my feet (Psalm 119:105)?


Psalm 119 is a long acrostic poem dedicated singularly to honoring and proclaiming the value of God’s Word. In verse 105, the psalmist declares to the Lord, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (ESV). Just as a lamp brightens a path for our feet to walk, God’s Word provides the illumination and guidance we need to walk in this world.

The word translated “lamp” in this passage is ner in the original Hebrew. It refers to a small clay lantern with a solitary wick. The psalmist describes the Word of God as a lamp carried on his journey to distinguish the way and keep him from stumbling off course and going astray. The light of God’s Word allows us to see the right direction. It is God’s guidance for our travels through life on earth.

Proverbs 6:23 offers a companion thought: “For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.” The guidance referred to by the biblical writers is not the advice of career counselors or pop magazines but rock-solid truth for navigating difficult moral choices in a dark and fallen world.

Ideas like moral relativism, situational ethics, and subjectivism make staying on the right path all the more challenging and perplexing. Worldly voices claim, “There are many paths to God,” “There’s no such thing as absolute truth,” and “Just do what feels right to you.” If we aren’t careful about the choices we make, if we listen to these voices rather than rely on God’s illuminating truth to guide us on the right roads, we will quickly encounter grief and ruin.

Only God’s Word provides the direction we need. Second Peter 1:19 describes it as a reliable lamp shining in a dark place: “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The apostle Paul told his young protégé, Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, NLT). If we study God’s Word frequently and diligently, if we give it our full attention, it will provide us with the direction, correction, and wisdom we need to succeed in life and do the Lord’s work.

Obeying God’s Word brings blessings and rewards: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:1–3, NLT; see also Exodus 15:26; Psalm 128:1; James 1:22–25). On his deathbed, King David told his son Solomon, “Keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Kings 2:3, ESV).

God’s Word has extraordinary power, says Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The Word of God is alive because He is a living God (Hebrews 3:12; 2 Corinthians 6:16). His words are full of energy, life, power, and productivity—they cause things to happen (Psalm 33:9). If we allow it to, if we don’t ignore it, God’s Word will take an active presence in our lives. We can trust the Word of God to accomplish whatever purpose God intends for it and to prosper wherever He sends it (Isaiah 55:11). For this reason, we ought to study it (2 Timothy 2:15), meditate on it (Psalm 119:97), hold firmly to it (Philippians 2:16), and hide it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11).

Christians can say to God, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” because the Word of God is the living energy that actively provides illumination, insight, direction, and guidance for our pilgrimage through a dark and sinful world.

Christ Suffered For Our Sins Paying The Ultimate Punishment


1 Peter 3:18 (New Living Translation)

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Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

Christ Gave all he had suffering for our sins once in a lifetime punishment he did no wrong but sacrificed for us as we were sinners sacrificed on the cross he took the ultimate punishment to save us all. Suffering in physical death but raised all to life giving him life in the spirit

What Does 1 Peter 3:18 Mean? ►

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

1 Peter 3:18(ESV)

Verse Thoughts

The Lord Jesus Christ is the righteous One -the sinless Man that suffered and died for the sins of the whole world. He suffered and died once for all the unrighteous race of humanity so that He might bring all who believe in Him into eternal fellowship with God.

As fully Man He was required to die as a man, body, soul and spirit – but as the sinless Son of Man Who willingly gave His life as a ransom for many, He paid the purchase price that God demanded, and received the full fury of God’s wrath, for those three astonishing hours. His blood paid the price for all sin and His sacrifice redeemed all Who would believe on Him. But His resurrection was the infallible proof to you and me His sacrifice was accepted by God.

For three dark hours the Lord Jesus was dead spiritually. For three black hours within time and eternity the Son was separated from the Father and disconnected from the Spirit. It is finished, was His triumphant cry and so He breathed out His life. He breathed out His spirit, which returned to God.

But for 3 days and nights His soul would descended into the place of the dead, in the bowels of the earth, and for 3 days and nights His body lay shrouded in a rich man’s tomb.

Christ was  put to death in the fleshly realm when He shed His blood on the cross for you and me, but He was quickened by the Holy Spirit and made alive in the spiritual realm – with body of flesh and bone. – so that we too might have newness of life in the spiritual realm – forever.

My Prayer

Thank You Lord Jesus for suffering and dying for me and for the indescribable agony that You bore on the cross when You were separated from the Father for the first time in eternity, for three dark hours. Thank You Father that Christ’s sacrifice for sin was accepted, so that by believing on Him I too might have life eternal. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.


1 Peter 3:18-22

21st August 2020


18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Peter’s first letter may be written from bitter experience, but it is never without the greatest assurance. Like many of us, Peter faced rejection, opposition and persecution. He suffered. However, the true grace of God gave him a totally new way to understand his present experience. It is suffering now, for turning away from evil and doing good as a Christian. But such suffering should never lead us to question the certainty of our glorious future.

In the midst of our fiery trials, whatever shape they may take, Peter anchors our assurance today in three ways.

Jesus suffered but then did rise victorious from the grave. Hold on to this! Angus Macleay puts it like this in his brilliant commentary, “Though his suffering led to death it was followed by his resurrection”. His death was followed by his resurrection. This is Peter’s main assurance to every Christian as they endure today. He begins and concludes our section with the ascension and victory of Jesus. In his death alone, we have the greatest relief that he died for us. In my place, condemned he stood. The righteous for the unrighteous. But in addition, he has risen from the grave and by so doing he has brought us a sure and certain hope. He now reigns on high and his rule is cosmic. He will forever remain unchallenged. Those spirits who formerly disobeyed the gospel now know it. Those rulers, authorities and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places now know it. Even the unruly hearts of men and women in this present time now know it as they receive or reject the gospel. As certain as the sun is to follow the night or as heat comes after a flame, so our suffering will give way to subsequent glories for Jesus Christ has risen from the grave.

God waited patiently and then brought Noah through the judgment. Again, the focus here is on future rescue. Noah and the destruction of the world by water form an important part of Peter’s theology, making an appearance both here and in his second letter too. He links the events of the past to the future and by so doing gives us an example of how to live now in the present. Noah was ridiculed, put to shame, marginalised and ignored. Yet he trusted God and obeyed him. He relied on God’s provision (the ark) and God brought him through the judgment (the deluge). Likewise, despite being slandered, isolated, rejected and opposed, the Christian who trusts God today and obeys the gospel, relying on God’s provision (Jesus) will be brought through the judgment (the fire). It is still suffering today, but glory later. Just as happened in the past, so it will be in the future.

Baptism lastly, is a sign that can then steady the Christian to anticipate the future.  Identifying as a Christian, specifically by undergoing the public rite of baptism would have been a bold and courageous step for anyone to make. It could easily have involved the rejection of your family, the loss of an inheritance, the confiscation of your property, the beginning of the end. Macleay again is so helpful, “Baptism is a sign that you have appealed to God for deliverance before his judgment comes and is effective if you have done this in good conscience trusting in the resurrected Jesus Christ.” Despite all that the world can take from us, despite the waverings and doubts that beset us, Peter counsels to look at our baptism that can steady us to anticipate our future salvation. 

Jesus endured for us and then was glorified. Noah obeyed when few others did and then was brought through the waters. Our baptism may be costly but then can bring us great confidence. As the old hymn writer puts it, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!  Oh what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of the Spirit, washed in his blood. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long.”


Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: Grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen.

What does 1 Peter 3:18 mean?

Peter has just stated that Christians are sometimes called to suffer, by the will of God, for doing good. Here, he again reminds his readers that’s exactly what Jesus Himself did for us. This is a concise summary of what exactly happened when Jesus died on the cross.

First, He suffered, which is quite an understatement in the context of Roman crucifixion. Next, His suffering was for sin—not His own, but ours. And, importantly, Christ suffered and died only once. Jesus was the sacrifice for sins but, unlike the annual animal sacrifice for sins in Old Testament, Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin. God required no more blood, no more death.

Then Peter reveals that Jesus’ sacrificial death was as a substitute—the righteous (Christ) for the unrighteous (us). Why did He do it? To bring us to God. Without Jesus’ death for our sins on the cross, we could not come to God. Because of it, all who trust in Christ are brought to His Father. What was the result? Physical death, but not permanent death.

Following His crucifixion, Jesus was “made alive in the spirit.” Bible scholars offer multiple explanations for what this phrase might mean, especially in light of the following verses. The most obvious explanation is that Jesus was resurrected from the dead by the Holy Spirit, something clearly taught in the rest of Scripture. Another explanation is that while Jesus was physically dead, His own personal spirit—Himself in Spirit form—somehow was made alive before His physical resurrection to accomplish what is described in the following verses.

Context Summary

1 Peter 3:8–22 addresses all believers, commanding Christians to be unified and to refuse to seek revenge when wronged. Peter quotes from both David and Isaiah to show that God’s people have always been called to reject evil and to do good. This is true even when we are suffering. In fact, it may be God’s will for His people to suffer, in part, to demonstrate His power. Our good example can convict others into repentance. Christ, too, suffered, died, was resurrected, and ascended to power and authority in heaven.

Chapter Context

Peter continues teaching about Christian submission to human authorities, now addressing Christian wives. Believing wives must be subject to their own husbands, even if the husband is not a follower of Christ. By doing so, they might win them to Christ through the example of their own changed lives and hearts. Christian husbands must honor their wives. All believers must live in unity together and refuse to seek revenge. In part, God means to use our hopeful response to suffering to provoke the world to see His power in us. Christ, too, suffered and then died, was resurrected, and ascended to heaven

Do NOT Love The Things Of The World


1 John 2:15-16 (New Living Translation)

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Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

Do not conform yourselves of those world as this world is of man do not love it as yours for it is of man and nog of God and his image loving the world you are not loving in a Godly manner in image and life of God your told by so many Man kind to follow your hearts desires however in the image of God you are told to follow in image of God’s image to honor him and by following in God’s image you perform a godly life

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.

1 John 2:15-16

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Related Topics: Love, Sin, Worldliness, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Love for things, especially temporary ones, can sure get us into trouble. Even worse, we can begin to think they will make us happy or fill the empty places in our hearts. But if we really sink our hopes and dreams in our Abba Father, we are attached to eternity and what we need most is always with us!

My Prayer…

Give me wisdom, Holy God, to invest in you and things that matter. I confess to you that my eyes and my heart are often distracted by the glitzy stuff that is temporary. By your Spirit, O Father, stir my heart to yearn for you. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

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


The Enemy Around


For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.

1 John 2:16 RSV

The specific areas mentioned in this verse are where we must fight this battle against sin. It is not enough to say, “Don’t love the world.” It must be brought down to specifics. It must be reduced to that with which we actually come in contact. So John adds, “all that is in the world,” and he defines this. He gives a list of these areas and says, “These do not come from the Father but are of the world.” To reject a philosophy, we must do so in certain specific actions.

There is first, he says, the lust of the flesh. In the Scriptures this word flesh is usually something more than simply the body. It is the sinful nature, the fallen condition of humanity, which is present in the body. What is this lust of the flesh? There are certain things that our body desires that are perfectly proper, God-given. God has made us, as humans, to have certain urges and hungers, and to satisfy these is not wrong. But the flesh, that sinful propensity within us, always seeks to add something, to go beyond the satisfying of God-given desires.

There is a second division John sets before us: the lust of the eyes. What is this? The eye symbolizes that which pleases the mind or inner life. The lust of the eyes, like that of the flesh, goes beyond simple needs. Our minds were made by God to search and inquire, to take the great facts that revelation or nature set before us and to explore them. But there are certain limits to these. There are limits within nature, and there are limits within revelation. But the flesh takes this basic permission of God and pushes it beyond God’s will to extremes we are forbidden to follow.

There is still a third division, which is the pride of life. This is the desire to awaken envy or adulation in other people. The first two divisions had to do with satisfying ourselves, not as God intended us to be satisfied, but beyond that. But they were directed toward us and only incidentally involved others. The pride of life, however, cannot exist except as it relates to others. It seeks to create a sense of envy, rivalry, and burning jealousy in the hearts of others and gives us pleasure in doing this to them. It is the desire to outshine or to outrank someone else.

What does John say about this? John does not say, “Do not have anything to do with any of this.” But what he does say is this one phrase, “Do not love these things, do not set your hearts on them, do not think of them as important. Do not give yourselves to amassing things, do not love luxury and ease, and do not strive to outshine others.” Oh, the subtlety with which this whole philosophy makes its appeal to us! When the love of these things, the importance of them, occupies our major interest; when we find them using up most of our money; when we find them looming large in our thoughts so that we are constantly dreaming of that new something we hope to get, then we are in danger, terrible danger. This is what the apostle wants to make clear.

Father, open my eyes to my own self. Make me to hear the probing question from the Holy Spirit, “What is your heart truly set upon? What is your true love?”

Life Application

What are three areas in which we are engaged in battle against our lusts and pride? How does this evidence itself in how we spend our time and our money?

Daily Devotion © 2006, 2021 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.


The Enemy Around


What Does 1 John 2:15 Mean? ►

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:15(KJV)

Verse Thoughts

We live in a very beautiful world but a world that is under a curse and a world that is currently under the dominion of an evil, fallen angel. And over and again we are warned of the dangers that befall any one of us.. when we start to love this world and the things of this world.

One cannot love this world system and the things that are in the world and love the Lord our God at the same time. The whole reasoning and outlook of the world is diametrically opposite from the philosophy and mindset of our heavenly Father. And loving the world and the things of this world is incompatible with our love for the Father and His desire for His children.

The world and all that it offers can appear to be enticing and tempting and not really harmful!! – However its trifles are designed to tickle our senses and stimulate our fleshly desires into an unwholesome; selfish and addictive appetite, which craves for more of the same.

It is described by the Lord as the lust of the flesh – which kindles and stimulates our sensory appetites.. the lust of the eyes – where we crave and covet the things that we see.. and the pride of life – where self-interest and self-love is displayed in self-glorification; self-importance; self-indulgence; self-reliance; self-righteousness – and all too often self-deification.

John is writing to Christians.. and like Paul he is keenly aware that born again believers can be enticed away from a loving dependence upon the Father.. into a carnal reliance on the things of this world. Both these apostles know that Christians can be drawn away from a spiritual walk, where Christ reigns at the centre of our life.. to a fleshly existence, where king ‘Self’ is reinstated on the throne of our heart.

Although our position in Christ can never be lost for those that are born-again, nevertheless our communion with Christ can be interrupted, our fellowship with the Father can be broken and our spiritual channel of communication can be choked.. so that His love ceases to flow out from Him, through us to others – and we grieve the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

Let us not love the world nor the things of this world by living a fleshly and carnal life.. knowing that this will cause our fellowship with our heavenly Father to be seriously affected – and will have the devastating result that the love of the Father is no longer in us. Rather let us love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength and let us seek to walk in spirit and in truth day by day – to His praise and glory.



1 John 2:15-16 (The Message)

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Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

What does 1 John 2:15 mean?

Following his words to three distinct sets of believers, John instructs all three groups not to be overly attached to worldly (non-spiritual) things. Believers are to love God and one another, not the world or possessions. The term “world” is not a reference to the planet, or even to all material things. In this context, the term “world” is a reference to the fallen, man-centered system, or way of life. John gives a specific definition of this term in verse 16. Someone who loves the way this world operates, including its control by sin, is a person who cannot also focus on the Father’s will.

John emphasizes this theme by saying that those who love the world, in that sense, cannot really love God. These strong words highlight the contrast between love of the world and love of the Father. Jesus offered an example of this contrast when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Satan told Jesus He could rule all the kingdoms of the world—if He would bow down to him. Jesus replied, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve'” (Matthew 4:10).

Context Summary

First John 2:15–17 is a warning from John about un-Christian attitudes. Other portions of this chapter discuss how behavior provides evidence of fellowship with God. Here, John explains that thoughts and desires do the same thing. Since these are temptations, it is possible for a true Christian to stumble into them. However, habitually displaying these is a cause for concern. Loving “the world” is defined here as physical lusts, lusts in one’s thoughts, and arrogant pride.

Chapter Context

Chapter 2 explains the fellowship Christians have with God. Christ is our advocate, even when we sin. Christians are not to love things of the world, or to love the world. Instead, we are to live, love, and act like Christ. False teachers, and those who deny Jesus are called ”liars.” Those who demonstrate a Christ-like behavior are ”born of” God

What does 1 John 2:16 mean?

John here describes what he means by “the world,” identifying two “desires” and a form of pride.

First are desires—or lusts—of “the flesh,” referring to what the body desires. This generally means anything craved excessively or inappropriately, from food to sexual impurity. In this context, it’s not about normal or necessary physical desires. Second are desires of “the eyes,” again a general term. In this case, it not only refers to those things we literally see, but those we imagine or put our “mental” eyes on. Third is the “pride of life,” meaning sinful desires which bring attention to self. This also refers to our habit of bragging about ourselves. Jesus called boastful pride a sin (Mark 7:22), and endured similar temptations from the Devil (Matthew 4:1–11).

These desires and pride are not given to us by God—they are temptations from the godless world. This is why a person marked by love for the world (1 John 2:15) does not have the love of God in him. In verse 17, John will make the larger point that though these shallow desires pass away, the will of God—and those who do it—will live forever.

Context Summary

First John 2:15–17 is a warning from John about un-Christian attitudes. Other portions of this chapter discuss how behavior provides evidence of fellowship with God. Here, John explains that thoughts and desires do the same thing. Since these are temptations, it is possible for a true Christian to stumble into them. However, habitually displaying these is a cause for concern. Loving “the world” is defined here as physical lusts, lusts in one’s thoughts, and arrogant pride.

Chapter Context

Chapter 2 explains the fellowship Christians have with God. Christ is our advocate, even when we sin. Christians are not to love things of the world, or to love the world. Instead, we are to live, love, and act like Christ. False teachers, and those who deny Jesus are called ”liars.” Those who demonstrate a Christ-like behavior are ”born of” God



1 John 2:15-17 | Do Not Love the World


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15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

In his High Priestly Prayer, Jesus said, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” Jesus was going to the cross and leaving the world. He was the life made manifest, who was seen and heard and touched. He was the one to pay for the sins of the world—to accomplish the single most important event in history, far greater than anything the world had ever seen or would ever see again. And he did it.

But the evil one says what Jesus did wasn’t that impressive. He says the world and all that’s in it matters more. And as long as we’re in the world, we’re tempted to believe him. And he’d be right if Jesus stayed in the grave. But he didn’t. His resurrection changed everything.

Our passage today is important because we cannot love both the world and the Father simultaneously. Love for the world crowds out love for the Father, and love for the Father crowds out love for the world.

The main point of this passage is “Do not love the world; love the Father.” But that’s much easier to read than it is to live. We can see the world. We can’t see the Father. And given those two options, we tend to gravitate toward what we can see.

John recognizes the danger, so he commands us not to love the world. Then, he gives two reasons why: the world is opposed to the Father, and the world is passing away.

Let’s consider first the command in verse 15.

Verse 15: Do not love the world.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

This is not a suggestion. It’s a command. “Do not love the world.”

Through his Apostle John, the God of the universe is speaking. With his authority as ruler and creator, in his sovereignty, he has the right to command us.

But God’s commands never come apart from his grace. Whatever he commands, he grants the ability to obey. That’s why we believe gospel doctrine (what we believe about God) creates a gospel culture (how we live before God). He always creates what he wants to see.

John mentions “the world” six times in these three verses. What is the world? It’s the entire system of rebellion against God and his rule. Commentator F.F. Bruce says, “Worldliness…does not lie in things we do or in places we frequent; it lies in the human heart, in the set of human affections and attitudes.” This is so important. If you don’t get this, you won’t get the passage. John is not saying the world God made was bad. He’s saying the way we relate to what God made can be bad. To John, worldliness is thinking the world is all that ultimately matters—placing it above the Father. What makes the world bad is not the stuff in it—which came from God—but how we treat that stuff. We cannot love the world (view it as ultimate) and love the Father (view him as ultimate) at the same time. One comes first in our heart. John says it should be the Father.

My guess is we know we shouldn’t love the world. But its pull is strong, and we are tempted. The world never stops making offers, and our flesh never stops window shopping. John recognizes this. So, he gives us reasons not to love the world.

Let’s look at the first reason now, from verse 16

A) Verse 16: Do not love the world because the world is opposed to the Father.

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”

The mindset that says the world is ultimate originated from the world. When sin entered in, we replaced God for God’s creation. We distorted and twisted God’s good gifts into our ultimate hope.

To help us understand, John gives three categories of worldliness: “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life.”

Notice the word desire. This matters so much in understanding this passage. What we love is all about what we desire. The Greek word John uses is epithumia. It means “an intense desire for some particular thing.” It’s not simply a preference but a deep-desire for something—desiring it above everything else.

This word is used 38 times in the New Testament. It’s a word that can have both a positive or a negative connotation. But on three of the 38 uses are positive. That’s interesting to me. I wouldn’t expect John to use this kind of word here. Some translations use the word “lusts” instead of “desires”. That’s more like what I expect. I can’t think of a good connotation of lust. But the ESV uses desires. So, I looked up the three good uses of this word, and here’s what I found.

The first is from Luke 22:15. Jesus’s last supper before he goes to the cross. He says to his disciples, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” In other words, Jesus deeply desired to dine with them before his suffering. Why? Their presence reminded him of his mission and became to him the joy set before him to endure the cross.

The second instance is Philippians 1:23. Paul says to live is Christ and to die is gain. He’s hard pressed between the two. He says, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Paul’s deep desire is to be with the Lord. And that deep desire propels him to submit his circumstances to Jesus and obey him, whatever the cost.

The third instance is 1 Thessalonians 2:17. Paul says, “Since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face.” He’s been separated from the Thessalonians and longs to see them again. His deep desire is to be with God’s people.

Here’s why I focus on this. John isn’t using this word on accident. The fact that we are capable of such desires means something. What does it mean? The Puritan pastor, Jonathan Edwards, said “to create men with a capacity [for great happiness] which [God] never intended to fill..would have been to have created a large capacity when there was need but of a smaller…hence we learn that there is undoubtedly a future state after death, because we see they do not enjoy so great glory in this world.”

Do you understand what he’s saying? If we have the capacity for such strong desire, it must be because God himself created it. Why did he create it? To go unmet? Of course not. To be wasted on the passing things of the world? No way! He created it to fill it with himself. Why? Because he’s the most satisfying being in the universe. And by creating us with desire, he gave us the capacity to really experience him and find the deepest happiness of our lives.

So, to focus our desire on the world rather than on Father is to focus on what could never satisfy. We need to stop dumpster diving for the treasures of the world and mine the immeasurable riches of Christ. It’s in him that we’ll find our desires satisfied.

When John says “the desires of the flesh,” he’s talking about the wrong focus of that desire on things you can see, touch, and feel—things like food, drink, leisure, sex, rest, enjoyment, comfort—anything that appeals to how you feel in the body.

By desires of the eyes, he means beauty, attractiveness, glamour, what appeals to our sight—when you see something you just have to have. For some, it’s pornography, lusting after what we should never look at. For others, it’s the “Instagrammable” life, looking great on the outside even if you’re dying inside.

Then there is the pride of life—self-exaltation, thinking what you have and what you are is of your own doing, pride in possessions, financial means, property, livelihood.

Pride of life is the result of the other two, and becomes the means by which we keep the other two alive. It is the culmination of the sin of idolatry, when we love what we’ve accomplished or accumulated or attained more than anything else.

The more we focus our desires on the world, allowing the world’s mindset to take root and grow, the more we push God to the edges of our heart.

You might be thinking, “Ok, I get it. I shouldn’t desire the world. But how do I stop desiring? I can’t change what I want!” No, you can’t. But God can. He created your heart. You think he can’t change the desires of it?

If helping us diagnose our desires isn’t a good enough reason, John gives us another: if we love the world, we’re going to pass away with the world. Look at verse 17.

B) Verse 17: Do not love the world because the world is passing away.

“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

In the world, it’s those who reach the top who make a splash. By design, it’s exclusive and hard to reach. Not just anyone can make it. But no matter how high you climb, the world’s ladder is always wobbly. One bad investment, one big mistake, and it’s all over. And when you die, as the Preacher of Ecclesiastes said, all is left to another. Every worldly desire turns into a dead end.

But in the Kingdom of God, whoever does the will of God abides forever. You don’t have to reach the top of this world. You can be on the bottom. The world hates the lowly and humble, but God loves them. Whoever comes to God with a heart longing for his grace will find it. Every godly desire ends up in heaven.

Don’t misunderstand me. You can be wealthy and close to God and you can be poor and close to God. This is not about material wealth. It’s about how you relate to material wealth—what you’re building your identity on. If you build your life on the passing things of the world, you will pass along with it. You’ll waste your life. But if you build your life on the will of God, you and what you lived for will abide forever.

Jesus taught this in John, chapter 6. He fed the five thousand, and after he leaves, they come looking for him the next day. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

The crowds liked Jesus for their full bellies. But a full belly is only a pointer to the grace of God, it is not God. Their desire was for more than bread. It was for God. They just couldn’t see that yet. Here’s the point. When we make the world ultimate in our heart, we grow hungry and thirsty no matter how much we eat. When we make the Father ultimate in our heart, he gives us Jesus who said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

What is the will of God that abides? It’s treasuring Jesus and believing in him for eternal life—looking to him for everything: all satisfaction, all worth, all joy, all peace, all hope.

John isn’t asking you to evaluate over a period of time and make a plan for change. He’s calling for immediate response. Why are you looking to Jesus? To give you more bread or to give you himself? What do you believe matters most?

You can know by looking at what you do. For example, how do you spend your money, your time, your effort? How much of what you have do you attribute to Jesus vs yourself? How much energy do you spend on the things of God?

If you’re like I was this week, realizing you love the world far too much, what is the path forward? It helps to go back to verse 15. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The phrase, “the love of the Father,” occurs only here in the NT. It means love toward the Father generated by the Father’s love toward us. John is not calling us to create love for the Father on our own. We could never do that! Our love for God is generated from his love for us. “We love because he first loved us.” It is the Father’s love coming down to us through the person of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit that transforms us from world lovers into God lovers.

What did Jesus say in John 6? “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” He gives us what we need. Everything in the world has a price. But in the gospel, God says, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” All we have to do is come to him. Will we?

Here’s how we can. Go back to 1 John 1:7. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Our path forward is not bootstrapping it. It’s confessing it. When the pull of the world grows strong, cut the chains with regular and earnest confession.

If we confess our sin to Jesus, how will he respond? Will he beat us? Will he cast us out? No! He’ll cleanse us. When we bring our mess ups to the world, it shames us. When we bring our sins to Jesus, he saves us.

Are you starting to see how important this passage is?

Martin Luther said we need to live from the perspective of eternity. We need to live today in light of what we will experience ten billion years from now. In ten billion years, you’re not going to care one lick about what you looked like on Sunday, September 3rd, 2017. You’re not going to care that your house needed a coat of paint or that your car is run down or your bank account is empty or that you couldn’t take that vacation to Hawaii or that you’re unknown to most of the world. You’re not going to care that you purchased your dream house or that you finally got the promotion at work you spent all those hours accruing.

You’re not going to care about any of that stuff in ten billion years. Why do you care so much now? Because it’s what you can see and feel and touch. And our fixation on it grows our desire for it. And if you don’t have it, and others do, what will come of your life!

Well, if you belong to God, glory awaits. The world and all that’s in it possess away while the crown of glory shines brightly forever. Missing out on this world’s best will feel like suffering in the present. But the Bible says the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

What do you love most? The world or the Father?

Remember in Acts, when Luke tells us about the early church? “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” They devoted themselves. They were living for Christ in the midst of the world. And what happened? “Awe came upon every soul.” And “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Christians ask themselves, “What am I doing, what am I a part of, what am I involved in that will still matter ten billion years from now?” A leisurely pancake breakfast on Sunday morning after a world-filled week tastes good, but if it tastes better to you than worshiping God with his people, you need to ask yourself, “Do I love the world or the Father?”

That sounds radical, doesn’t it? Well, it is! The gospel is radical! The death of Christ on the cross is radical! The resurrection is radical! God’s salvation is radical. Who but God would love us?

The world teaches us to de-radicalize, to fall in line. But when a church let’s gospel doctrine create a gospel culture, Jesus sets the rules, not the world. Christ’s massive weight of grace leads us out of the land of slavery into the land of freedom. We become a different kind of community—one centered on Jesus and rooted in joy, where confession of sin is common, repentance is a way of life because we have nothing to hide anymore, and loving one another is the natural outflow of our deep desire for the Lord. The world doesn’t understand it because it’s not of this world. It’s of God. We will look a strange to them. Who cares? We have God! And you know what? Some will find that attractive, because God gave them a desire so big that only he could fill it.

Not loving the world means we won’t get our best life now. That’s ok. That was our plan, not God’s. Why? Because to give us our best now, while we’re battling sin, is to give us a living hell. And God loves us too much to do that. He wants more for us than we even want for ourselves. We would settle for everything we desire in this world right now but God won’t let us have it—and that’s grace.

We’re all looking for a miracle to make our life complete. And the miracle we’re looking for has come. “For God so loved the world he gave his only Son.” God did not leave us on our own, wandering our way through life, hoping we’ll find what we need. He entered in.  We fell in love with what we could see and touch. So he became see-able and touch-able. He looked at us and said, “I don’t care what they’ve made of themselves. I want them! But they’re blinded by the evil one and the world and their own flesh! They can’t come to me. So I’ll go to them!” The world and its temptations offered him everything and he turned it down. Why? He was on a mission to save. For too long, we wasted our God-given desire on the world, never finding what our heart longed for. So Jesus obeyed the Father on our behalf, and when he triumphed over the world, brought us to the One who could satisfy our heart.

He gave himself for you. What has the world given for you?

We will lose everything we have at the end of our life, but if we have Christ we will have everything we longed for for eternity. Our path out of worldliness is to travel further into the love of God. Jesus is not asking us to sacrifice joy. He’s commanding us to enter it. The Bible promises us that whatever it may cost us in this life, it’ll be a trade we won’t regret for all eternity. As we obey this command, we will face tribulation in this world. But take heart; Jesus has overcome the world!

Why Is There Marriage If Not In Heaven

1 Corinthians 7

Instruction on Marriage

Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.

God speaks to us speaking that we should fulfill each other in marriage and honor one another in sexual desires full filling sexual needs but have you ever thought about that in heaven in heaven none of that matters it’s irrelevant god made us in his image male and female

Ezekiel 16:8

And when I passed by again, I saw that you were old enough for love. So I wrapped my cloak around you to cover your nakedness and declared my marriage vows. I made a covenant with you, says the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.


Will there be marriage in heaven?


The Bible tells us, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30). This was Jesus’ answer in response to a question concerning a woman who had been married multiple times in her life —whom would she be married to in heaven (Matthew 22:23-28)? Evidently, there will be no such thing as marriage in heaven. This does not mean that a husband and wife will no longer know each other in heaven. This also does not mean that a husband and wife could not still have a close relationship in heaven. What it does seem to indicate, though, is that a husband and wife will no longer be married in heaven.

Most likely, there will be no marriage in heaven simply because there will be no need for it. When God established marriage, He did so to fill certain needs. First, He saw that Adam was in need of a companion. “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18). Eve was the solution to the problem of Adam’s loneliness, as well as his need for a “helper,” someone to come alongside him as his companion and go through life by his side. In heaven, however, there will be no loneliness, nor will there be any need for helpers. We will be surrounded by multitudes of believers and angels (Revelation 7:9), and all our needs will be met, including the need for companionship.

Second, God created marriage as a means of procreation and the filling of the earth with human beings. Heaven, however, will not be populated by procreation. Those who go to heaven will get there by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; they will not be created there by means of reproduction. Therefore, there is no purpose for marriage in heaven since there is no procreation or loneliness.


Heaven and the Afterlife: The Truth About Tomorrow and What It Means for Today by Erwin Lutzer

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Will we be able to see and know our friends and family members in Heaven?

Will there be sex in heaven?

Will there be such a thing as gender in Heaven?

Will we have physical bodies in Heaven?

How can I know for sure that I will go to Heaven when I die?

So the question is why does marriage matter or exist?

Why Does Marriage Exist if it Doesn’t in Heaven?

Glory Dy Contributing Writer

• 2021
10 Nov

Every couple who walks down the aisle wants to be together forever and that probably includes being together in eternity, too. But why do wedding vows say, “I take you for my lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life”?

Does this mean marriage with our other half ends on earth and does not exist in heaven? Before we answer this, let us try to understand what marriage really means.

God Made Humans for Close Relationships

First of all, let us remind ourselves of God’s nature and character in order for us to understand marriage fully. God has always existed in a perfect, loving relationship between the three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, since before creation.

It was not out of boredom or need for a hobby that He created the universe. It was an expression of His goodness and generosity. Consequently, as His image-bearers, humans are made for connecting, for loving, and for belonging.

God has endowed humanity with a relational nature, and the institution of marriage is the deepest expression of it. “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over it” are the blessings associated with the creation of mankind as male and female in Genesis 1:27–28.

Essentially, the first way marriage contributes to the service of God is by conceiving and then nurturing children in a godly way

It is a blessing to have children. Unfortunately, not every married couple is blessed with children. That is a sad fact. Having no children does not mean that a marriage is not a marriage, and God can still be deeply honored through it.

Procreation, however, should be regarded as a costly, sacrificial blessing (Ephesians 6:4), so that they may become fellow gardeners under God to care for his creation.

In all cultures, the universality of marriage has been demonstrated throughout history. As a matter of fact, we live in a fallen world that is different from God’s perfect design that has always existed, including in our time.

Although this is true, most societies recognize the central importance of lifelong marriage between one man and one woman. Our arts and entertainment reflect this to a large extent. Many stories, songs, poems, novels, plays, and films have been centered on love.

Their triumphs are celebrated, their tragedies are mourned, and most of the time they succeed. Shakespeare’s tragedies always end with death, while his comedies always end with marriage.

The central themes of our stories are love and death because they are central to our lives. Whether consciously or unconsciously, all of these stories describe God’s grand narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.

Therefore, the capacity for love between two people cannot simply be regarded as horizontal. Ultimately, it aims to establish a vertical relationship between an individual and God. Our Creator intended for us to have a loving relationship with him or her.

Marriage Symbolizes Christ’s Relationship with His People

Symbolic of Christ’s relationship with His Church, God created marriage as the most intimate of human unions. In marriage, the union between man and woman conceals a truth about God and the Church.

Marriage symbolizes the permanent union God ordained between His Son and the church. This divine plan is symbolized by marriage on earth. In the same way that God intended for Christ and the church to become one body (Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 12:13), He intended that husband and wife become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

It applies to all marriages, whether they are Christian or not, regardless of whether the parties recognize them as such. The marriage that God instituted at creation represents the final, eternal relationship that He will have with His redeemed people in the New Heaven and New Earth.

Yes, there is marriage in heaven — one grand, final consummation between the Lamb and His Bride, as described in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 19:6–9).

Yet, Christian traditions cite Matthew 22:30, in which Jesus says, “At the resurrection people will not marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” This is also true because what Revelation tries to emphasize is marriage in heaven is with Christ and not pertaining to worldly marriage.

There Is a Big Difference Between Heaven and the World

According to John’s vision, there is no temple in the eternal city since God and Christ the Lamb are its temple, being intimately present with their people. Likewise, the Father and the Son will serve as the city’s sources of illumination, eliminating the need for the sun, moon, or light itself.

Similar to how a lamp is useless under the light of the sun, so will God’s light be brighter than the light of the sun.

When Jesus died on the cross, He desired that the church be holy and without blemish. As a husband desires the best for his wife, Jesus wanted the best for us as well. This is the picture of marriage in heaven, we are literally married to Christ because we are His bride.

Worldly marriages are fleeting, and when we die, they are inevitably severed. Our perfect, everlasting union with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will take their place as something far more intimate and beautiful.

Therefore, why is it sometimes difficult for us to accept this truth? Could it be a fear of losing physical intimacy or intimacy with others?

Our only way to know what God has given us in this life is first-hand. In faith, we look forward to what He has promised, but we can’t begin to imagine what it will look like in reality.

The institution of marriage was first instituted by God in the order of creation. Marriage is the unchangeable foundation of human life. The purpose of marriage is to enable humans to serve God through faithful intimacy and children.

Christ and the church are likened to the marriage of God and his bride, his bride, the church. A husband should act as a self-sacrificing leader in marriage, and a wife should submit to her husband in a godly manner.

As a visual representation of the gospel, the institution of marriage points to our hope in Christ returning to claim his bride.

With the One Who Matters for Eternity

What God has in store for us on this side of heaven is only a glimpse. No one can imagine what it will be like to no longer be married or given in marriage, or how that could be any better than our current relationships.

But when we are in heaven, we will not be able to think of that anymore because when we are there, we have the assurance that we will have an eternal and intimate union with our Lord, which is far more valuable than our current state, like the sun’s light is to a lightbulb.

This is very comforting to know that we have joy forever and ever and no death can conquer that everlasting union with Christ. Now we can only hope and wait.

For further reading:

What Is the Biblical Definition of Marriage?

Is Singleness a Lesser State Than Marriage?

What Are the Biblical Reasons for Divorce?

What Does the Church Think of Those Who Have Never Been Married?

Does God Give the Promise of Marriage to Us?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Shtrunts

Glory Dy has been a content creator for more than 10 years. She lives in a quiet suburb with her family and four cats.

Editor’s Note: Experience life-changing spiritual growth with exclusive in-depth studies and prayer guides.

Join Crosswalk PLUS for even more faith inspiration.


Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.



vetonethemi via Pixabay

A question often comes up about their marriage in heaven. One day a group of men came to Jesus with a specific question about marriage. They wanted to know if a woman had been married seven times on earth, which man would be her husband in heaven.

The answer Jesus gave shocked the men in the group. Perhaps you will also be shocked by His answer that is recorded in Matthew 22:30, Mark 12:23-25, and Luke 20:34-36. So, how did Jesus answer?

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:34-36)


Intimate Relationships

People are designed to be in relationships, to love, to be loved and to belong. The first one to have an intimate relationship with is God because God created us to be in a loving relationship with Him. If we can’t love our Creator, then we can’t love the Created.

The highest form of a relationship on earth is the institution of marriage. Based on this, we should be in both vertical (with God) and horizontal relationships (with people).

Of all the scriptures dealing with marriage, this is probably one scripture married couples don’t want to know about. They want to think they will be married to their spouse in heaven. They wonder how can heaven be without marriage.

Married Couple

Married Couple

miltonhuallpa95 via Pixabay

Marriages on Earth

One of the main reasons for marriages on earth is to procreate the earth with children. Jesus said there will be no marriages in heaven because no one dies and there would be no need to increase the population by replenishing heaven as on earth.

Procreation is not the only reason there will be no marriages in heaven. There will be no reasons for sexual pleasure or being loved by only one special person in heaven.

“At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).

Marriage: The Most Intimate Union on Earth

Marriage is the most intimate of human unions on earth. Marriage was designed by God as a picture of the union between Christ and His Church. Marriage was instituted by God at creation with Adam, the first man and Eve, the first woman. However, marriage is merely a temporary image of God’s relationship with His redeemed people.

There will intimacy in heaven, but not as the marriage as you know it. According to the Book of Revelation, there will be only one marriage, and it will be between the Lamb of God and His Bride.

“Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:6-9)

Marriages End on Earth

Marriages end when one of the spouses dies. They will not be married to each other in heaven no matter how much they loved each other on earth. The plan God has for the formerly married and the never-married people is far more intimate and beautiful in heaven than it was on earth. It will be a perfect and everlasting union with God with absolutely no chance of a divorce, separation, or marital spats.

Married people might wonder why God would eliminate such pleasure in heaven. That’s because God will replace it with something better than anyone could ever imagine. You cannot grasp a greater pleasure than to be married to the person you love on earth. You might be surprised to know the pleasure you have on earth is only a glimpse of what it will be like in heaven with God.

God wants you to know that He is not taking anything away from you. Instead, He will replace it with something far more intimate and superior than an earthly marriage.null

No Marriage in Heaven

No Marriage in Heaven

Margaret Minnicks

Marriage Is Only for This Life

Marriage ends in this life. What we will experience in heaven will be so much better than anything we have ever known, even a good marriage. Therefore, we can expect something in heaven to more precious than an earthly marriage. We don’t know what it will be because it will be too much for our finite minds to phantom. One thing that is known for sure is that there will be no deficits in heaven. God will give us what is better than anything we have ever had on earth.

Heaven will be an improvement over this world in every area. The pleasures of this world are only foretastes to the superior pleasures in the age to come. That’s what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 13:10, “When the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” Paul continued, ” Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:9–12).

What Solomon Said

Solomon called this age “life under the sun.” He encouraged married men to “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:9). Perhaps if married couples knew this, they would be more loving to their spouses while they are under the sun because they won’t get the chance to love each other more than anyone else in heaven.

The best human pleasures we have in this world are only suited for “life under the sun.” That means there are human pleasures that are reserved only while we live and breathe on earth. There is no sun in heaven. Therefore, what happens under the sun while here on earth will not happen in heaven. Besides, the pleasures known by the natural body in this age are inferior to the pleasures of the spiritual body. That’s because the pleasures on this earth are only foretastes, preludes, and pointers and signs of what is to come. When the perfect comes, those things pass away.

Rejoice Because No Marriages Will Be in Heaven

There are reasons that marriages will end when people die and go to heaven. Remember, the marriage vow includes the words “till death do us part.”

  • Marriages will end because its procreating purpose is not needed in the resurrection (Luke 20:35–36).
  • Marriage ends because all its pleasures are temporary and preludes to something that is so much better than the human heart can imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9).
  • Marriage ends so that the married and the unmarried will be equal to have the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
  • While marriage is great on the earth, it will be no more because it isn’t strong enough to be part of God’s eternal plan.
  • Marriage is an earthly gift from God to be entered into only while on this earth. You cannot take your marriage into heaven even though there is a myth that says you can.
  • People won’t be married in heaven because it would signify a division that distinguishes married people from single people who never got married. Everyone will be equal in heaven with no first ladies, prom kings or queen, and beauty pageants. Everyone will be equal in the sight of God. God will have the same intimacy with everyone.
  • Marriages end with death and will not continue in heaven because heaven is an improvement over everything on this earth, including marriage which is just a foretaste of what God has in store for all of His redeemed.
  • Marriage will not be missed in heaven because the intimacy with God will be so enriched that there will not be room for anything else.

God wants people to rejoice because there will no longer be only a prelude or a foretaste. It will be “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Why is there no marriage in heaven?

Written by Subby Szterszky

Themes covered

Faith and CultureFaith and marriageFamily and relationships

What’s inside this article

  • Humans are designed for intimate relationship – primarily with God
  • Marriage is a picture of the union between Christ and His people
  • In heaven, the picture will be superseded by the reality

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:34-36)

Of all the Scriptures dealing with marriage, this is probably one of the least likely to appear on a wedding program. And no surprise there. After all, what young couple embarking on the most important relationship of their lives wants to hear that it won’t last into eternity?

In fact, for many believers who are serious about the Scriptures, this qualifies as one of those “difficult sayings” of Jesus. Isn’t marriage the most profound institution God created for humanity? Isn’t the bond between husband and wife meant to be the most intimate, treasured relationship in this life? How can heaven be heaven without it?

Humans are designed for intimate relationship – primarily with God

As with all things, the ultimate answer is grounded in the person and character of God. From before creation, God has always existed in perfect, loving relationship between the three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He didn’t create the universe because He was lonely or needed something to do. He did it as an outpouring of His good and giving nature.

Consequently, as His image bearers, humans are designed for relationship, to love and be loved – in a word, to belong. And the deepest expression of this relational nature that God has given humanity is found in the institution of marriage.

The universality of marriage has been borne out across all cultures throughout history. To be sure, we live in a fallen world and there have always been aberrations from God’s perfect design, not least in our own time. Nevertheless, the majority of societies have recognized the central value of marriage between one man and one woman for life.

This is reflected to an overwhelming degree in our arts and entertainment. How many stories and songs, poems and plays, novels and films have been written with love as their main theme? They celebrate its joys, mourn its heartaches, and more often than not, end with some version of happily ever after. There’s an old joke about Shakespeare that his tragedies all end with everyone dying, while his comedies all end with everyone getting married.

Love and death are at the core of our stories because they’re at the core of our reality. Knowingly or otherwise, these tales all reflect something of God’s overarching story, His grand narrative of creation, fall, redemption and restoration.

In light of this, the human capacity for love cannot be seen as simply horizontal, between one person and another. Its primary purpose is to be vertical, between each individual and God. In our most essential being, we were created for a loving relationship with our Creator.

Marriage is a picture of the union between Christ and His people

To that end, marriage, the most intimate of human unions, was designed by God as a picture of the bond between Christ and His Church. This is true of all marriage, Christian or otherwise, regardless of whether the participants recognize it as such. Instituted by God at creation, marriage offers a ubiquitous but temporary image of His final, eternal relationship with His redeemed people in the New Heaven and New Earth.

So then, there is indeed marriage in heaven – one great, ultimate consummation between the Lamb and His Bride, described at length in the book of Revelation:

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

In heaven, the picture will be superseded by the reality

According to the Apostle John’s vision of the eternal city, there is no temple in it because God and Christ the Lamb are its temple, being intimately present with their people. Likewise there is no need for sun or moon or lamplight because the Father and the Son will be the source of light for the city. Just as a lamp is unnecessary in the light of the sun, so the sun itself will be unnecessary in the light of God.

And so it will be with the marriages of this present world, fleeting as they are and inevitably severed when death do us part. They will be superseded by that which is far more intimate and beautiful – our perfect, everlasting union with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why then do we struggle at times with accepting this truth? Why do we fear the perceived loss of emotional and physical intimacy? It’s because we only have direct experience of the things God has given us in this life. We anticipate by faith what He has promised for the future, but we can’t begin to imagine the reality of it.

In his book, Miracles, C.S. Lewis addresses this difficulty with one of his typically insightful metaphors:

The letter and spirit of Scripture, and of all Christianity, forbid us to suppose that life in the New Creation will be a sexual life; and this reduces our imagination to the withering alternatives either of bodies which are hardly recognizable as human bodies at all or else of a perpetual fast. As regards the fast, I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer ‘No,’ he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it.

This side of heaven, we can indeed only catch glimpses of the things God has prepared for us. We cannot grasp what it will be like to no longer be married or given in marriage, or how that could possibly be better than the relationships we now enjoy.

But we have our Lord’s assurance of His eternal, intimate union with us, and that it will be as far superior to our current state as the light of the sun is to a lightbulb.

We have but to trust and wait and see.Subby Szterszky is the managing editor of Focus on Faith and Culture, an e-newsletter produced by Focus on the Family Canada.

© 2015 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

Did You Know It Tells Us In The Bible To Pay Taxes?


Romans 13:6 (New Living Translation)

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Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.


Romans 13:6 (The Message)

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That’s also why you pay taxes—so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders. * * *

Did you know God chose the government workers to respond in respect to God we shall pay our taxes so that government workers are respectfully paid and honored for the are God’s Chosen

Obeying the law means paying our taxes. We need to pay what we owe to those in charge of us, both money and respect.

Paul gives an example of a law to obey. We should pay taxes. Remember, rulers are servants of God, they are acting on God’s behalf devoting themselves as justices and law-makers and peacekeepers. With the perspective that God is above our government, we should obey the law. We should pay our taxes and show respect to officers of the law, judges, and elected officials.

The entire book of Romans is about living righteously by faith. If we are law-abiding, tax-paying, well-behaved citizens, we are living as God designed for us to live, obeying Him by obeying our governing authorities, and living in harmony with others. We are to render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Righteousness means harmony with others in our community. The Greek word translated righteousness in Romans, dikaiosune, is also properly translated “justice.” Justice occurs when everything in a community is lined up with laws that support freedom and harmony. The government’s job is to address those who are creating disharmony, such as robbers and murderers, and prevent their actions from allowing citizens to live together constructively.

Biblical Text

6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

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Giving Glory to God from Sarasota, Florida

Romans 13:6

Charlie Garrett Daily Writing, Epistles (written), Romans, Romans 13, Writings

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Sunday, 1 December 2013

For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Romans 13:6

In the previous verse, one avenue concerning the change of governments was looked at. There are many ways in which governments change – coup d’etat, elections, overthrow by attacking enemies, etc. are common ways that changes in political landscapes may occur. Another one is implosion through over-taxing of the people and abuse of the taxes which were levied on them.

This is where the United States is today. Although the implosion hasn’t happened yet, the meal is already over, the cake has been served, and her fall is inevitable unless drastic measures are taken; a self-inflicted wound due to greed for power and control. And it has come about in no small part through the taxing system which is in place.

Having said that, and despite that fact, Paul instructs us that it is our obligation to pay taxes. “For” explains the previous thought which is that we are to be subject to the ruling authorities. Because we are, and because they are the ones who levy taxes, we are to pay what they levy. And Paul gives the reason. “For they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.” Their job, even if it means financially ruining the lives of the citizens under them, is ultimately to meet God’s purposes.

It is God who sets up nations and it is He who gives them either good leaders or crummy leaders. This is seen again and again in Scripture as Israel and her surrounding neighbors are highlighted. When a nation is obedient to God, He gives them good leaders who properly shepherd the people. When they turn from him and mock Him and His word, He gives them crummy leaders. In a constitutional republic like the United States, this means that the wound truly is self-inflicted, and yet God knew before the choice was made what it would be.

In a nation such as the US, having an ungodly leader means that a vast portion of the electorate chose that ungodly person. God’s foreknowledge of this is used in the overall plan of nations as He has ordained. Therefore, when a political party comes into power which ignores the constitution, redistributes the earnings of those who work to those who are indolent, shuns God, and promotes perversion, there is still no excuse to not pay the taxes which have been levied – no matter how exorbitant. God’s plans are being worked out, even through such wicked people.

One important lesson of the Bible is that even though God doesn’t author evil, He can work with the evil we perpetrate to meet His good end. So when you get your tax bill and see that it is unfair from your perspective, pay it as you should. You are a citizen of the nation you belong to and the money, though seemingly wasted, is having its intended effect.

Life application: Pay your taxes.

Heavenly Father, You have instructed us in Your word to pay our taxes as responsible citizens of the nation in which we live. It really torques my jaw to pay taxes for the often wicked agenda which I see set in place around me, but I know that even the self-inflicted implosion of my nation is a part of Your plans and that my taxes are ultimately meeting Your purposes. And so I shall pay them as I have been instructed (gritting my teeth and calling out for the return of Jesus as I lick the stamp). Amen.

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Genesis 39:11-23 (False Accusations; Unjust Punishment) →

Romans 13:6-7

Mike Lewis

11 months ago

“For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

Romans 13:6-7

Darn. I guess taxation isn’t theft. Time to go home.

But wait! We must pay careful attention!

I lumped these two verses together because I was finding it difficult to talk about the one without reference to the other. So here we go.

In these two verses, we come to the idea of taxation, and our text tells us 2 important things about taxation.

1. Taxes are owed to the governing authorities just like revenue is owed to businesses.

2. There is a reason taxes are owed: the governing authorities serve the people who pay the taxes by bearing the sword.

Verse 6 clearly says “because of this you pay taxes”. Because of what? “Because the authorities are ministers of God attending to this very thing.” What very thing? “he is God’s servant for your good… an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Why do you pay taxes? Because the governing authority has earned it.

How did he earn it? By doing the work God gave him to do: bearing the sword against those who do you harm.

So. The $64,000 question.

Is taxation theft?


And yes.

There’s a trick of language going on here when we talk about taxation under the modern State. I firmly believe that what the State calls “taxes” (and what most people refer to when they use the word taxation), are not actually taxes at all!

These revenues are not earned by the performance of the role God has given to the magistrate.

Instead, they are demanded whether the service is performed or not, and they are used for other purposes God has not tasked the magistrate to do. Examples include: waging imperialistic wars, taxing from the rich to give to the poor, controlling the economy, creating and enforcing unjust laws, and violently opposing other avengers who might better serve society by actually bearing the sword the way God has tasked them to do. (We talked about the last one in verse 2).

Sure at least part of what the State does involves bearing the sword against the wrongdoer, but they do it almost accidentally. They don’t do it out of reverence for God, any sense of justice, or compassion for those who are wronged. They do it because it maintains order, which keeps them in power. And they do it with an arrogant heart and boastful eyes.

The extorted tribute payments that the State demands do not match the Biblical description of taxes. The duty we are given here is to pay taxes to those who have earned them by doing the work of the magistrate.

How can I do that under the State when the State monopolizes the sword and then uses it improperly? Who is there in society to whom I can actually fulfill this duty? I find no one who measures up.

Now it’s true that I am being a little bit idealistic in my demands here. But I think it’s important to start with the ideals and make sure we are clear on them as a baseline before we start talking about what we do with the reality that in a fallen world, nothing will ever be ideal.

I recognize, above most other concerns, that the State is the current form of governing authority that God has chosen to establish. This is completely his right, even if the governing authority is in the wrong. Because of this, I cannot completely say in absolute terms that the State’s taxes are theft. There’s at least a sense in which they are not.

Some of you right now.

Ok, let me try to be as clear as I can. Please stick with me.

Is taxation theft? As an absolute statement that would apply to any and all situations in which payments are made to the government, then the answer has to be no. There exists a definition of taxation that does not match the definition of theft.

However, very few taxation systems actually match this definition, and as I’ve already described, I believe firmly that the State, by definition, cannot measure up.

It is my view that not only does the Anarcho-Capitalist view of a free market for governing authorities harmonize with Romans 13, but that it alone of all the systems does so with no inherent, principled, definitional self-contradiction.

In a free market for governing authorities, there will be governing authorities who use their sword against wrongdoers. They will use their sword as precisely against wrongdoers as possible, not using it against good-doers, because they will need to satisfy their paying customers. Who will these paying customers be? The people who hire them to protect them from evildoers or to avenge them when they’ve been wronged. Their bottom line is at stake as well as their reputation – which affects their bottom line. There’s a natural incentive to keep them in check.

And the subscription and fee-for-service payments they receive can more rightly be called taxes than any State’s taxation system because they will have earned it by bearing the sword rightly.

I’m well aware that there are a host of practical objections to this sort of system, but I won’t try to counter any of them in detail here. I will simply make two points. The first is that while I understand why these objections are made, I don’t find any of them convincing. There are many good reasons to believe that they are nowhere near as serious as the objector insists. Take any objection you hear and simply google “Libertarian response to <objection>”. I encourage you to see what you find.

The second point is far more important which is this: those objections are all pragmatic, meaning the objector has conceded the point of principle to the Ancap view. By making these objections, the objector is tacitly admitting that the Ancap view, on principle, is better. Is it perfect? Of course not. We live in a fallen world. Show me the alternative that is better though.

Here’s one: Jesus as King!

Of course. And I can’t wait to live in that arrangement, but let’s be realistic about life now in our present age under the fall before Jesus returns. (Yes, I know. Jesus is King now. #DatAMil… but you know what I mean.)

So this is where I take back my Anarchist card. By the popular definition, I’m no anarchist. I believe strongly in the rule of law, property rights, and conservative values.

However, these things are best protected in society when there is not a single monopoly provider of law and order (the sword). Just like every other good and service in society is done better and more cost-effectively by the market than central planners, the police, the courts, the hangman, and everything else governing authorities do would be done better and more cost-effectively by the free market.

It’s this not having a single overlord like a king that puts me back within a form of anarchy. It’s just not the anarchy most people think of when they hear the term – which is why I try to avoid the term.

Back to the question of taxes. Is taxation under a State theft? Yes and No, but mostly Yes.

No. The State is the governing authority God has currently tasked with bearing the sword against wrongdoers. Support him by paying your taxes.

But Yes. The State’s taxes are theft.

It’s not even because the collection is backed up by force. Payment of your rent or mortgage is backed up by force, and that’s not theft.

It’s not because of the consent of the governed (although a better system would allow the citizens to choose which governing authority they support and select the one who does the better job). A pox on social contract theory.

It’s because the State does not earn all or even most of the money they take by doing the work God has tasked them to do. And even when they do the right thing, they do it with an arrogant heart and boastful eyes.

I’ve used that phrase twice now. It comes from Isaiah 10:12 in which God is pronouncing judgment on Assyria. God had appointed Assyria to conquer the Northern tribes of Israel. They did it, but they did it with an “arrogant heart” and “boastful eyes” (Isaiah 10:12). The following verses flesh this idea out. They did not do it to glorify God, they did it to enrich, exalt, and glorify themselves. They took credit for their success instead of returning thanks to God, and they took perverse pleasure in doing it.

When Assyria did this, their conquest was no longer merely the execution of just discipline God was sending on his people (the same way the Israelite conquest was just judgment on the wicked Caananite people). Instead, it became an evil conquest which God judged Assyria for.

I recognize that this is the case when it comes to any non-redeemed individual, group, or institution. Nothing anybody does under the sun, apart from the grace of God and without faith, rises to the standard God has for it. The world is full of people who seem to do the right thing, but they do it for the wrong reasons, with selfish motives, arrogant hearts and boastful eyes. This is true of any government, individual, charity, or private business. It would be true of governing authorities within the Ancap free market.

So on its own this does not make taxes theft. It’s really more the fact that the State misuses the sword is of much greater import. Nevertheless, their perverse motives and haughty spirits do not do them credit either.

My final analysis is this:

Taxation is not categorically theft. It does not have to be done in a way that amounts to theft, but…

When the State misuses the sword,

When the State taxes form one person to give to another,

When the State uses the sword against wrongdoers with an arrogant heart and boastful eyes (you know what I’m talking about)

Then they are no longer merely executing God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Instead, they are raging. They are plotting in vain. They are setting themselves against the Lord and his Anointed. They are storing up wrath…

And their taxes are theft……. even if we still have to pay them because they’re the only governing authority we’ve got right now. This is where God has sovereignly put us and called us to submit to.

Romans 13 – A Christian’s Obligation to Government

A. The Christian and government.

1. (1-2) Government’s legitimate authority and the Christian’s response.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

a. Subject to the governing authorities: The connection between Romans 12 and Romans 13 is clear. If the Christian is not to seek personal vengeance, it does not take away the government’s authority to punish wrongdoers.

b. Every soul: This certainly includes Christians. Paul simply says that we should be subject to the governing authorities. This was in contrast to groups of zealous Jews in that day who recognized no king but God and paid taxes to no one but God.

c. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God: We subject ourselves to governing authorities because they are appointed by God and serve a purpose in His plan.

i. No authority except from God: God appoints a nation’s leaders, but not always to bless the people. Sometimes it is to judge the people or to ripen the nation for judgment.

ii. We remember that Paul wrote this during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and no special friend to Christians – yet he still saw their legitimate authority.

iii. “Your Savior suffered under Pontius Pilate, one of the worst Roman governors Judea ever had; and Paul under Nero, the worst Roman Emperor. And neither our Lord nor His Apostle denied or reviled the ‘authority!’” (Newell)

d. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God: Since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them – unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man (as in Acts 4:19).

e. Those who resist will bring judgment on themselves: God uses governing authorities as a check upon man’s sinful desires and tendencies. Government can be an effective tool in resisting the effects of man’s fallenness.

2. (3-4) The job of government: to punish and deter evildoers.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

a. Do what is good, and you will have praise: Paul’s idea is that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, give no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers.

b. He is God’s minister: Paul describes government officials as God’s minister. They have a ministry in the plan and administration of God, just as much as church leaders do.

i. If the state’s rulers are God’s minister (servant), they should remember that they are only servants, and not gods themselves.

c. An avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil: It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check. When a government fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction.

d. He does not bear the sword in vain: The sword is a reference to capital punishment. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a sword (crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has no doubt that the state has the legitimate authority to execute criminals.

3. (5-7) The Christian’s responsibility towards government.

Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

a. Therefore you must be subject: We must be subject to government; not only because we fear punishment, but because we know it is right before God to do so.

i. For conscience sake: Christian obedience to the state is never blind – it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open.

b. You also pay taxes… Render therefore to all their due: We are also to pay the taxes due from us, because there is a sense in which we support God’s work when we do so.

i. By implication, Romans 13:6 also says that the taxes collected are to be used by government to get the job done of restraining evil and keeping an orderly society – not to enrich the government officials themselves.

c. Taxes… customs… fear… honor: We are to give to the state the money, honor, and proper reverence which are due to the state, all the while reserving our right to give to God that which is due to God alone (Matthew 22:21).

d. In light of this, is rebellion against government ever justified? If a citizen has a choice between two governments, it is right to choose and to promote the one that is most legitimate in God’s eyes – the one which will best fulfill God’s purpose for governments.

i. In a democracy we understand that there is a sense in which we are the government, and should not hesitate to help “govern” our democracy through our participation in the democratic process.

B. The Christian’s obligation to his neighbors.

1. (8-10) The obligation to love.

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

a. Owe no one anything except to love one another: On a personal level, the only “debt” we are to carry is the “debt” to love one another – this is a perpetual obligation we carry both before God and each other.

i. Some take this as a command to never borrow, but Jesus permitted borrowing in passages like Matthew 5:42. That isn’t the sense of what Paul is saying here, though the Scriptures do remind us of the danger and obligations of borrowing (Proverbs 22:7).

ii. “We may pay our taxes and be quiet. We may give respect and honor where they are due and have no further obligation. But we can never say, ‘I have done all the loving I need to do.’ Love then is a permanent obligation, a debt impossible to discharge.” (Morris)

b. You shall love your neighbor as yourself: Paul echoes Jesus’ words as recorded in Matthew 22:36-40. This is one of the two commands upon which hang all the Law and the Prophets.

i. Love your neighbor means to love the people you actually meet with and deal with every day. It is easy for us to love in the theoretical and the abstract, but God demands that we love real people.

ii. “No man can compass the ends of life by drawing a little line around himself upon the ground. No man can fulfill his calling as a Christian by seeking the welfare of his wife and family only, for these are only a sort of greater self.” (Spurgeon)

c. Love is the fulfillment of the law: It is easy to do all the right religious “things” but to neglect love. Our love is the true measure of our obedience to God.

2. (11-14) The urgency to love and walk right with God.

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

a. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: Because we know the danger of the times and we anticipate the soon return of Jesus, we should be all the more energetic and committed to a right walk with God instead of a sleep-walk with God.

i. How important it is to awake out of sleep! It is possible to do many Christian things and yet essentially be asleep towards God.

· Sometimes people talk in their sleep.

· Sometimes people hear things in their sleep.

· Sometimes people walk in their sleep.

· Sometimes people sing in their sleep.

· Sometimes people think in their sleep; we call it dreaming.

ii. Because one can do many religious things and still be asleep toward God, it is important for every Christian to make sure they are truly awake and active in their life before God.

b. Cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light: The illustration is from taking off and putting on clothes. When you get dressed every day, you dress appropriately to who you are and what you plan to do. Therefore, everyday, put on the Lord Jesus Christ!

i. We must cast off before we can put on. “The rags of sin must come off if we put on the robe of Christ. There must be a taking away of the love of sin, there must be a renouncing of the practices and habits of sin, or else a man cannot be a Christian. It will be an idle attempt to try and wear religion as a sort of celestial overall over the top of old sins.” (Spurgeon)

c. The works of darkness: These are characterized as revelry and drunkenness, licentiousness and lust, strife and envy. These are not appropriate for Christians who have come out of the night into God’s light.

i. The idea behind the word for licentiousness is “the desire for a forbidden bed.” It describes the person who sets no value on sexual purity and fidelity.

ii. Lust in this passage has the idea of people who are lost to shame. They no longer care what people think and flaunt their sin openly, even proudly.

d. The armor of light: This is related to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. When we put on Christ, we put on all the armor of God and are equipped to both defend and attack.

i. “Putting on Christ is a strong and vivid metaphor. It means more than put on the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, signifying rather Let Jesus Christ Himself be the armor that you wear.” (Morris)

e. Make no provision for the flesh: The flesh will be as active as we allow it to be. We have a work to do in walking properly, as in the day – it isn’t as if Jesus does it for us as we sit back; instead, He does it through us as we willingly and actively partner with Him.

i. God used this passage to show Augustine, the great theologian of the early church, that he really could live the Christian life as empowered by the Holy Spirit – he just had to do it. And so do we.

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

What does Romans 13:6 mean?

Paul has been teaching the Christian doctrine of being submissive to our human authorities, including and especially government authorities. Christians are called to do this because we believe that God is the one who has put every human authority in their position. They exist to serve His purposes, including the purpose of punishing people who do bad things (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Context of this and other passages makes it clear that Christians are obligated to disobey government when—and only when—compelled to disobey God (Acts 5:27–29). As a general rule, believers are commanded to cooperate with their government authorities.

Now Paul gets to a specific example submission to human government: paying taxes. Christians are taxpayers, Paul writes, because those taxes support the work God intends to do through the human authorities He has put in place. Even when those men or women stand against the truths of God, their fundamental role as order-keepers is still part of God’s will.

This was a controversial position even among the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ and Paul’s day. Critics tried to trip Jesus up by asking Him if it was lawful to pay taxes to the Roman ruler, Caesar. Jesus, pointing out that Caesar’s picture is on the money, stated flatly that the taxes should be paid (Matthew 22:15–22). In a similar manner, some in the modern day have suggested Christians should not pay taxes if the government is funding evil practices. Jesus and Paul disagree. Both paid taxes to the same government that ultimately killed them and persecuted other Christians, as well. Neither endorsed the option of not paying taxes as a matter of conscience.

Paul’s larger point is that we must trust God to provide for us as His children. In the case of this passage, that includes provision through the government authorities He puts in place. God is fully capable of using them for our good no matter who they are or what their intentions.

Context Summary

Romans 13:1–7 describes the responsibility for Christians to live in submission to the human authorities in government. The reason given is that every government leader has ultimately been established by God for His own purposes. Generally speaking, human government serves to rein in and punish those who do evil. Governments do this on God’s behalf. Christians must pay their taxes to support this work God is doing. In addition, those in Christ owe respect and honor to the authorities that God has put in place. Other Scriptures, such as Acts 5:27–29, distinguish between ”submission” and ”obedience.”

Chapter Summary

Romans 13 tackles three big areas that living-sacrifice Christians must address. First, since God puts every human authority in place to serve His purposes, Christians must submit to them; this idea comes with a particular context. Second, we must love our neighbors as ourselves. Third, we are called to live as people of the light and throw off works of darkness like drunkenness, sexual immorality, and jealousy. We are to take on the armor of light against the darkness and, in fact, take on Christ Himself instead of serving our own desires.

Knowing The Covenant

Knowing The Covenant


2 Corinthians 3:6 (New Living Translation)

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He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6 (The Message)

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We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this—that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter. His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!

As man kind living a Christian life everyone can be a minister by living a God fearing life and sharing the gospel that is following the path of righteousness and ever lasting life

For God allows preaching of the chosen who accept that path

2 Corinthians 3:6

New International Version

6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant(A)—not of the letter(B) but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.(C)

2 Corinthians 3 – The Glory of the New Covenant

A. Paul’s letter of recommendation.

1. (1-2) Does Paul need a letter of recommendation? He has one – the Corinthian Christians themselves.

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men.

a. Epistles of commendation: Such letters were common and necessary in the early church. A false prophet or apostle could travel from city to city and easily say, “Paul sent me, so you should support me.” To help guard against problems like this, letters of recommendation were often sent with Christians as they traveled.

i. Paul himself sent letters of commendation on many occasions (Romans 16:1-2, 1 Corinthians 16:3, 16:10-11, 2 Corinthians 8:16-24). Now Paul will describe his letter of recommendation.

b. You are our epistle: Paul has a letter of recommendation, but it isn’t written on paper. Paul says the letter is written in our hearts, and it is known and read by all men.

i. There was nothing wrong with a letter of commendation written on paper, but how much better to have a living letter of commendation! The Christians at Corinth, along with groups of Christians wherever Paul had worked, were Paul’s “living letter” to validate his ministry.

ii. The best analogy in today’s world might be a certificate of ordination. Many people think that a certificate of ordination means that you have the credentials of ministry. While there is an important purpose in a public ordination to ministry, a piece of paper in itself never is a proper credential. The true credentials of the ministry are changed lives, living epistles. We might almost say, keep your paper to yourself and show us the changed lives from your ministry.

iii. “Nothing so commends a minister as the proficiency of his people.” (Poole) “The fruitfulness of the people is the preacher’s testimonial.” (Trapp)

iv. Many think the main reason God granted the miraculous signs and wonders among the apostles in the Book of Acts to serve as a “letter of commendation” to their apostolic ministry. If this was the case, it makes sense that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit would cease when the apostles passed from the scene, because there would no longer be an apostolic ministry to authenticate. However, it is significant that Paul does not say, “miracles are our epistle of commendation.” Paul apparently did not believe his primary “letter of recommendation” was found in miraculous signs but found in miraculously changed lives.

2. (3) The writing of Paul’s letter of recommendation.

Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

a. An epistle of Christ: Paul’s letter of recommendation has an author, Jesus Christ. The Corinthian Christians were indeed Paul’s letter of recommendation, yet he realized that he did not write that letter – Jesus did. Paul is not trying to say, “I made you the Christians you are,” but he is saying, “God used me to make you the Christians you are.”

b. Ministered by us: Paul’s letter of recommendation was written with a “pen” and the “pen” was Paul himself. He “wrote into” the lives of the people he served.

c. Written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God: Paul’s letter of recommendation was written with “ink,” and the “ink” was the Holy Spirit.

d. On tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart: Paul’s letter of recommendation was written on “paper” or tablets, and the “paper” was the hearts of the Corinthian Christians.

i. The Old Testament prophets looked forward to the New Covenant, when the law of God would be written in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), and said God would grant hearts of flesh to replace hearts of stone (Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26).

3. (4-6) Sufficient ministers of a new covenant.

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

a. We have such trust through Christ toward God: Paul knows that what he has just written might sound proud in the ears of the Corinthian Christians. After all, it is no small thing to say, “You are my letter of recommendation” and “I am a pen in God’s hand.” Paul knows these are big ideas, but his place for thinking these big ideas is in Jesus, not in himself.

b. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves: Paul doesn’t consider himself sufficient for the great task of changing lives for Jesus. Only Jesus is sufficient for such a big job.

i. Some people refuse to be used by God because they think of themselves as “not ready,” but in a sense, we are never ready or worthy. If we were, the sufficiency would be in ourselves and not from God.

ii. “Brethren, if Paul is not sufficient of himself, what are you and I? Where are you… Do you indulge the dream of self-sufficiency? Be ashamed of your folly in the presence of a great man who knew what he said, and who spoke under the direction of the Spirit of God, and wrote deliberately, ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves.’” (Spurgeon)

iii. “Our sufficiency is of God; let us practically enjoy this truth. We are poor, leaking vessels, and the only way for us to keep full is to put our pitcher under the perpetual flow of boundless grace. Then, despite its leakage, the cup will always be full to the brim.” (Spurgeon)

c. Ministers of the new covenant: The idea of a new covenant was prophesied in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:31) and put into practice by Jesus (Luke 22:19-20).

i. The ancient Greek word for covenant (diatheke) had the ordinary meaning of a “last will and testament.” Paul’s use of the word reinforces the sovereignty of God, because it is not a negotiated settlement, but a divine decree.

ii. The word covenant describes “An ‘arrangement’ made by one party with plenary power, which the other party may accept or reject, but cannot alter… A covenant offered by God to man was no ‘compact’ between two parties coming together on equal terms.” (Moulton and Milligan)

iii. This new covenant presents the terms by which we can have a relationship with God, centered on Jesus and His work for us.

d. Not of the letter but of the Spirit: When Paul contrasts the letter and the Spirit, he isn’t favoring “experience” over “the word,” nor is he favoring allegorical interpretation over a literal understanding of the Bible. Rather Paul shows the superiority of the new covenant over the old covenant.

i. The letter is the law in its outward sense, written on tablets of stone. The letter of the law came by the old covenant. It was good in itself, but it gave us no power to serve God, and it did not change our heart; it simply told us what to do. Paul can say the letter kills because the law, exposing our guilt, “kills” us before God. The law thoroughly and completely establishes our guilt.

ii. Paul expresses this point well in Romans 7:5-6: For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

iii. The indwelling Spirit then becomes for us a law written on our hearts. He is in us to guide us and be our “law.” It isn’t that the Holy Spirit replaces the written law, but completes and fulfills the work of the written law in our hearts. The Spirit gives life, and with this spiritual life, we can live out the law of God.

iv. Therefore, we can’t throw away or neglect our Bibles (which some might say is the letter) because now we have the Spirit. Instead, the Spirit makes us alive to the letter, fulfilling and completing the work of the letter in us. We also shouldn’t think this is permission to live our Christian life on experiences or mystical interpretations of the Bible. Experiences and allegories in the Bible have their place, but each must be proved true and supported by studying the literal meaning of the Bible. The Spirit and the letter are not enemies, but friends. They don’t work against each other, and one is incomplete without the other.

B. A contrast between the old and new covenants.

1. (7-11) The surpassing glory of the new covenant.

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

a. The ministry of death: Was it wrong to call the old covenant the ministry of death? No, because that is what the law does to us: It slays us as guilty sinners before God so that we can be resurrected by the new covenant. It isn’t that the problem was with the law, but with us: The sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. (Romans 7:5)

i. Trapp on the ministry of death: “David was the voice of the law awarding death to sin, ‘He shall surely die.’ Nathan was the voice of the gospel awarding life to repentance for sin, ‘Thou shalt not die.’”

b. Was glorious: There was glory associated with the giving of the law and the old covenant. At that time, Mount Sinai was surrounded with smoke; there were earthquakes, thunder, lightning, a trumpet blast from heaven, and the voice of God Himself (Exodus 19:16-20:1). Most of all, the glory of the old covenant was shown in the face of Moses and the glory of his countenance.

i. “And although the gospel came not into the world as the law, with thunder, lightning, and earthquakes; yet that was ushered in by angels, foretelling the birth and office of John the Baptist, and of Christ; by the great sign of the virgin’s conceiving and bringing forth a Son; by a voice from heaven, proclaiming Christ the Father’s only begotten Son, in whom he was well pleased.” (Poole)

c. The face of Moses: Exodus 34:29-35 describes how Moses put a veil over his face after speaking to the people. As glorious as the radiant face of Moses was, it was a fading glory: which glory was passing away. The glory of the old covenant shining through the face of Moses was a fading glory, but the glory of the new covenant endures without fading.

d. How will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious: If the old covenant, which brought death had this glory, we should expect greater glory in the new covenant, which brings the ministry of the Spirit and life.

i. The old covenant was a ministry of condemnation, but the new covenant is the ministry of righteousness. The old covenant is passing away, but the new covenant remains. No wonder the new covenant is much more glorious!

ii. The old covenant had glory, but the glory of the new covenant far outshines it, just as the sun always outshines the brightest moon. Compared to the new covenant, the old covenant had no glory because of the glory that excels in the new covenant.

2. (12-16) The open and bold character of the new covenant.

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

a. Therefore, since we have such hope: Since our hope is in a more glorious covenant, we can have a more glorious hope. Because of this hope, Paul can use great boldness of speech. The old covenant restricted and separated men from God; the new covenant brings us to God and enables us to come boldly to Him.

b. Unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face: Even Moses did not have real boldness under the old covenant. A veil is not a “bold” thing to wear; it is a barrier and something to hide behind. Moses lacked boldness (compared to Paul) because the covenant that he ministered under was fading away and fading in glory.

c. So that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away: From reading the account in Exodus 34:29-35, one might first get the impression that Moses wore a veil after his meetings with God so that the people wouldn’t be afraid to come near him; the veil was to protect them from seeing the shining face of Moses. Here Paul explains the real purpose of the veil: not to hide the shining face of Moses, but to hide the diminishing glory of his face because the glory was fading. The passing glory of the old covenant contrasts with the enduring glory of the new covenant.

d. Could not look: Since the veil hid the face of Moses, the children of Israel couldn’t see any of the glory from his face. Therefore, the contrast isn’t only between passing glory and enduring glory, but also between concealed glory and revealed glory.

e. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted: Paul says that most of the Jews of his day could not see that the glory of Moses’ ministry faded in comparison to the ministry of Jesus. Because the veil remains unlifted, they can’t see that the glory of Moses’ ministry has faded and they should now look to Jesus. Since the same veil that hid Moses’ face now lies on their heart, they still think there is something superior or more glorious in the ministry of Moses.

f. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away: Paul could say of his fellow Jews that a veil lies on their heart, but he could also say that the veil can be taken away in Jesus. Paul knew this well because he was once veiled to the glory and superiority of Jesus.

i. Many Christians with a heart to preach to their Jewish friends wonder why it is rarely so simple as just showing them that Jesus is the Messiah. This is because a veil lies on their heart. Unless God does a work in them so they turn to the Lord and have the veil taken away, they will never see the fading glory of Moses’ covenant and the surpassing glory of Jesus and the new covenant.

ii. Of course, it could be said that the Jews are not the only ones with a veil… on their heart. Gentiles also have “veils” that separate them from seeing Jesus and His work for us clearly, and Jesus is more than able to take those veils away. This points to the essential need of prayer in evangelism. It has been rightly said that it is more important to talk to God about men than it is to talk to men about God, but we can do both of these important works.

3. (17) The liberty of the new covenant.

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

a. The Lord is the Spirit: From the context of Exodus 34:34, we see that when Paul says the Lord is the Spirit, he means that the Holy Spirit is God, just as Jesus and the Father are God.

b. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Paul’s thinking follows like this: When Moses went into God’s presence, he had the liberty to take off the veil; the presence of the Lord gave him this liberty. We have the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord. We live in the Spirit’s presence because He is given to us under the new covenant. So, just as Moses had the liberty to relate to God without the veil in the presence of the Lord, so we have liberty because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

i. We should also consider what Paul is not saying. He is not giving license to any Pentecostal or Charismatic excess because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We have great liberty in our relationship with God through what Jesus did and through what the Holy Spirit is doing, but we never have the liberty to disobey what the Spirit says in the word of God. That is a perversion of true liberty, not a Spirit-led liberty.

c. There is liberty: Paul really has in mind the liberty of access. He is building on what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:12: We use great boldness of speech. Boldness is a word that belongs with liberty. Because of the great work of the Holy Spirit in us through the new covenant, we have a bold, liberated relationship with God.

i. “A liberty from the yoke of the law, from sin, death, hell; but the liberty which seemeth here to be chiefly intended, is a liberty from that blindness and hardness which is upon men’s hearts, until they have received the Holy Spirit.” (Poole)

4. (18) The transforming glory of the new covenant.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

a. We all with unveiled face: Paul invites every Christian to a special, glorious intimacy with God. This is a relationship and transforming power that is not the property of just a few privileged Christians. It can belong to all, to everyone who has an unveiled face.

i. How do we get an unveiled face? When one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:16). If we will turn to the Lord, He will take away the veil and we can be one of the “we all.”

b. Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord: We can see the glory of the Lord, but we cannot see His glory perfectly. A mirror in the ancient world did not give nearly as good a reflection as our mirrors do today. Ancient mirrors were made of polished metal, and gave a clouded, fuzzy, somewhat distorted image. Paul says, “We can see the glory of the Lord, but we can’t see it perfectly yet.”

i. There may be another thought here also: “Now as mirrors, among the Jews, Greeks, and Romans, were made of highly polished metal, it would often happen, especially in strong light, that the face would be greatly illuminated by this strongly reflected light; and to this circumstance the apostle seems here to allude.” (Clarke)

c. Are being transformed: As we behold the glory of God, we will be transformed. God will change our lives and change us from the inside out. Though the old covenant had its glory, it could never transform lives through the law. God uses the new covenant to make us transformed people, not just nice people.

i. Everyone wants to know, “How can I change?” Or, everyone wants to know, “How can they change?” The best and most enduring change comes into our life when we are transformed by time spent with the Lord. There are other ways to change, such as guilt, willpower, or coercion, but none of these methods bring change that is as deep and lasts as long as the transformation that comes by the Spirit of God as we spend time in the presence of the Lord.

ii. Yet, it requires something: beholding. The word means more than a casual look; it means to make a careful study. We all have something to behold, something to study. We can be transformed by the glory of the Lord, but only if we will carefully study it.

d. Into the same image: As we look into “God’s mirror,” we are changed into the same image of the Lord. When we spend time beholding the glory of the God of love, grace, peace, and righteousness, we will see a transforming growth in love, grace, peace, and righteousness.

i. Of course, this is how you can know someone is really spending time with the Lord: They are being transformed into the same image. However, much depends on what we “see” when we look into “God’s mirror.” In this analogy, “God’s mirror” is not a mirror that shows us what we are as much as it shows us what we will become, and what we will become is based on our picture of who God is. If we have a false picture of God, we will see that false picture in God’s “mirror” and will be transformed into that same image – much to our harm, both for now and eternity.

ii. Not everyone sees the truth when they look into the mirror. Thirty-year-old David gets up every morning, and his morning routine only gets as far as the bedroom mirror, where he sees a horribly distorted face – a crooked, swollen nose covered with scars and a bulging eye. The pain from his deformities made him quit college and move in with his parents ten years ago. Since then, he rarely leaves his room, afraid to let anyone see him. His four cosmetic surgeries have done nothing to help his condition because the problems with David’s appearance are only in his mind. Experts call it body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD. It causes people to imagine themselves as deformed, ugly people when they really have a normal appearance. Psychiatrists call it a hidden epidemic, and one psychiatrist said, “Patients are virtually coming out of the woodwork. I’m meeting with one new patient each week.” Most BDD sufferers are convinced the problem is with their face. Those afflicted live with such an overwhelming sense of shame that they can barely function. One young teacher in Boston tried to continue her job but often ran out in the middle of class, afraid that her imagined hideous appearance showed through her thick makeup. A Denver businessman called his mother from the office 15 times a day for reassurance that he did not look grotesque and spent hours in the bathroom stall with a pocket mirror trying to figure out a way to improve his appearance. Some try to cope with harmful rituals, such as cutting themselves to “bleed” the damaged area. BDD sufferers are usually convinced that the problem is with their body, not their mind. They don’t want to see anyone but plastic surgeons and dermatologists for their problem.

iii. Thankfully, we don’t have to be in bondage to a false image of ourselves or of God. When we behold the picture of God as He is in truth, we will be transformed into His image. This is God’s great design in our salvation, for whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Calvin speaks to this great design of God: “That the image of God, which has been defaced by sin, may be repaired within us… the progress of this restoration is continuous through the whole of life, because it is little by little that God causes His glory to shine forth in us.”

e. Are being transformed: This work of transformation is a process. We are being transformed; the work isn’t complete yet, and no one should expect it to be complete in themselves or in others. No one comes away from one incredible time with the Lord perfectly transformed.

f. From glory to glory: The work of transformation is a continual progression. It works from glory to glory. It doesn’t have to work from backsliding to glory to backsliding to glory. God’s work in our lives can be a continual progression, from glory to glory.

g. By the Spirit of the Lord: With these last words, Paul emphasizes two things. First, this access to God and His transforming presence is ours by the new covenant, because it is through the new covenant we are given the Spirit of the Lord. Secondly, this work of transformation really is God’s work in us. It happens by the Spirit of the Lord, not by the will or effort of man. We don’t achieve or earn spiritual transformation by beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord. We simply put ourselves in a place where the Spirit of the Lord can transform us.

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

Categories: New Testament Paul’s Letters

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What is “the letter” in 2 Corinthians 3:6 and what does it kill?

Asked October 11 2015 • Clarify


1. Answers (3)

Ariel HaNaviy Messianic Jew and Torah Teacher with Messianic Congregation ‘The Harvest’


Paul’s “letter vs. Spirit” teaching in Corinthians requires context derived from his other writings to fully appreciate its rich meaning. A direct answer to the question is that “letter” refers to the Torah (Law) but ONLY as it is read, and obedience attempted, WITHOUT eyes opened by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). What it kills are those persons whose lives are revealed by the light of the Law (Rom 3:20, 7) to ultimately be characterized as unregenerate sinners (Rom 7:5). The reason it ”kills” the “old self” is because, as a “ministry of death” (2 Cor 3:7), this is one of its primary functions (cf. Rom 7:10). These meanings can be understood by reading a bit further down into the Corinthians passage (mouse over to read 2 Cor 3:14-18).

We can clearly see in verse 14 that “old covenant” is parallel to “Moses” in verse 15, for indeed, they are both “read” by members of Isra’el. This is the context for the “letter” mentioned in verse 6, and the “ministry of death carved in letters of stone” in verse 7. The letter minus the Spirit will “spiritually” kill, because without the regeneration of the Spirit on the inside, the Torah reader is without an advocate for sin (Rom 8:2) and therefore falls under the condemnation spelled out by the Law for unrepentant sinners (Rom 4:15).

Paul is not teaching that the “letter” is bad. The Law in and of itself is not a negative thing to an unbeliever. Notice carefully, that Paul clarifies the reason the “letter kills” is because the readers have “minds hardened” (2 Cor 3:14) with an “unlifted veil over their hearts” (2 Cor 3:15). In plain language, the reason the “letter kills” is because the person reading the letter is unsaved. Paul described himself “dying” while in his pre-saved condition in Rom 7:11, however, for Paul the “death of the old man” led to being “born again” by faith in Yeshua (Rom 8:2-4).

Indeed, for all genuine believers in Yeshua, we too have died to the “Law of sin and death,” so that we may serve the LORD in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6; 8:1). Moreover, even though the Law is supposed to lead the reader to the Messiah (Rom 10:4; Gal 3:24; 2 Tim 3:15), until the reader of the Law surrenders to Yeshua as LORD, the ministry of the Law will eventually continue to “arouse his sinful passions” (Rom 5:20; 7:5), leading to condemnation (Rom 3:19), continuing hardness of heart, and ultimately God’s wrath and spiritual and eternal judgment for him (Rom 2:5, 9, 12).

However, the good news is that Paul teaches emphatically that when this same sinner “turns to the LORD” (2 Cor 3:16), the heart veil is lifted. And because the LORD is indeed the Spirit, this results in freedom for the Law reader (2 Cor 3:17). This “Spirit” reference is the very same Spirit that Paul mentioned when he contrasted “letter” with “Spirit” in 2 Cor 3:6. The obvious conclusion to Paul’s teaching in this chapter is that the person freed by the Spirit “with unveiled face, [is] beholding the glory of the Lord, [and is] being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor 3:18). Consequently, this new believer is now able to read the letter without it killing them.


The “letter of the Law” is a person’s interaction with the Law, minus Spirit, done under the power of the flesh. Outside of the regenerative ministry of the Spirit of Messiah, God designed the “letter” of the Law to condemn and ultimately kill an unregenerate sinner. The “letter of the Law” is weakened by sinful flesh (Rom 8:3).

However, once a sinner turns to the LORD, the veil is lifted from their heart and eyes (2 Cor 3:16), and they no longer have to fear the condemning “letter” of the Law (Rom 8:1). That which used to be a “ministry of death” for them (2 Cor 3:7), now takes on a new perspective as “holy, righteous, and good” (Rom 7:12) resulting in true freedom and obedience (Rom 7:22; 8:4) by the power of the Spirit (2 Cor 3:17).

October 12 2015

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Singapore Moses Messenger of God, CEO in IT industry, Astronaut, Scientist


The difference between the two Testaments must be clearly understood. We have the shadow in the OT but the substance in the NT (Heb 10:1).

The New Covenant, unlike the Old, is not of the letter but of the Spirit (2 Cor 3:6 Rom 7:6). In the OT the Law was written in tablets of stone, but now God writes it in our hearts of flesh (Jer 31:31-33; Heb 8:8-10; 2 Cor 3:3). The ceremonial part of the Law takes a spiritual meaning in the New Testament. For example, the Sabbath speaks of the rest Christ gives to His people here and then in eternity (Mt 11:28; Heb 4:4-10).

Similarly God told Peter to eat even the “forbidden” food of the OT to explain to him a spiritual truth, that is, how God can save the non-Jews also (Acts 10:10-16, 44, 45). The Temple in the OT becomes the people of God and their bodies in the NT. The New Covenant is called a “better” Covenant (Heb 7:22; 8:6).

The core of the OT is all about what God “demands” whereas the core of the NT is all about what God “gives.” Praise the Lord we are not under Law but under Grace (Rom 6:14). Let us stand firm in the liberty, and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal 5:1).

In fact, those who attempt to be justified by Law have fallen from Grace (v4). Law and Grace cannot coexist. Ishmael and Isaac cannot dwell in the same house. An old cloth and a new piece should not be stitched together. The new wine cannot be kept in old bottles (Mt 9:16, 17).

By saying so we do not mean that the Old Testament is irrelevant to us today. Apart from the Law the OT contains prophecy, history and wisdom. “These were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:11). The OT must be read and diligently studied by every Christian, but the interpretation and application must be always in the light of the NT.

If you would have a balanced diet of both the Old Testament and the New Testament truth, follow the Bible Reading Calendar given on pages 13-16 of this book.

The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is the religion of Christ’s Church! (C.H. Spurgeon)

October 14 2015

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Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army


Paul refers to what “the letter” is when he characterizes Christians in the verse cited in the question (2 Corinthians 3:6) as being ministers of a new covenant. “The letter” is the old covenant of the written Law that God gave through Moses to the people of Israel.

The Law was a covenant of works that God made with the people of Israel after delivering them from Egypt. It is summarized in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The covenant (or agreement) associated with the Law was that, if a person complied perfectly with all the requirements of the Law, that person would then be able to live eternally in God’s presence.

The requirements of the Law were good and just. However, because of the sin nature that all humans inherit from birth, no one was capable of the perfect obedience that the Law demanded. Therefore, while the Law was intended as a means for people to achieve eternal life, it, in fact, became an instrument of eternal death for all those under it.

To deal with this, God instituted a new covenant with humanity by becoming human Himself in the person of Jesus, who (as both true God and true man) lived the life of perfect obedience to the Law of which no human had proven capable; allowed Himself to be unjustly killed to satisfy on behalf of all humanity the penalty for sin (death) that the Law demanded; and then rose again from the dead as proof that His sacrificial death had been an acceptable payment in God’s eyes for the sins of all those who would place their faith in that death and resurrection (rather than in their own imperfect obedience to the written Law) to find favor in God’s eyes, and to receive eternal life.

Thus, while “the letter” of the written Law kills by condemning those who fail to perfectly obey it, Jesus did away with that Law and its requirements by nailing it to His cross (as Paul noted in Colossians 2:14), and God instead now gives eternal life on the basis of faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, as testified to by the presence of God Himself (in the person of the Holy Spirit) within all those who have received that eternal life.

October 12 2015

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Related Questions

1. What does 2 Corinthians 6:3 teach us when it says, “Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed.”?

2. What does simplicity that is in Christ mean in 2 Corinthians 11:3?

3. What is the book of 2 Corinthians?

4. What is 2 Corinthians 12:2 about?

5. What was a “triumphal procession”? (2 Corinthians 2:14)

6. What does the ‘wind’ signify in Acts 2:2-3?

2 Corinthians 3:6 Meaning of For the Letter Kills, but the Spirit Gives Life

Mar 6, 2020 by Editor in Chief

2 Corinthians 3:6

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Explanation and Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:6

The grace of God has allowed ministers of the gospels to preach the gospels, which are the path to everlasting life.

This verse is a comparison of the gospels (or the law of Jesus Christ) and the law of Moses (in the Old Testament). It is frequently misinterpreted to be a comparison between the literal meaning of the Scriptures and the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures.

Bible Verse Breakdown – 2 Corinthians 3:6

#1: “He has made us competent… ”

It is by the grace of God that His apostles and others are able to serve God by spreading His Word. Paul is acknowledging that he is merely a vessel and is useless without God working through him to spread the new covenant.

#2: “…as ministers… ”

“Ministers” means servants, not preachers, who are actively doing the work of God. Paul is also indirectly referencing false prophets who teach the importance of Mosaic law. These false prophets are false because they are not acting by and through the grace of God.

#3: “…of a new covenant… ”

This refers to the gospels. The gospels record the life of Jesus Christ and his followers of that time. Some commentators say the “new covenant” was a reference to the New Testament, but others argue that is incorrect because many of the books of the New Testament had not yet been written, and it is unlikely that the “New Testament” as the collection of books as we know it today was contemplated at that time.

The “new covenant” is in contrast to the Old Testament, which is the first 39 books of the Bible and approximately corresponds to the Hebrew Bible. The Old Testament records the law of Moses, according to which the ancient Israelites were to live.

#4:”…not of the letter…”

Not of the Mosaic law. The Mosaic law is referred to as the “letter” because it tells people what they should and should not do. It is a series of writings that regulate moral and civil actions. Mosaic law is not a path to everlasting life.

Some commentators interpret “letter” to mean the literal interpretation of the Scriptures (as opposed to the spiritual meaning), but this is not the currently favored interpretation.

#5: “…but of the Spirit…”

But of the gospels. Some commentators have pointed out that others have erred in interpreting “Spirit” to mean the Holy Spirit, and that “Spirit” should not be capitalized here, as it refers instead to the gospels which penetrate into the hearts of Christians. Yet other commentators think “Spirit” refers to the spiritual meaning (as opposed to the literal meaning) of the Scriptures, but this is not the current mainstream view.

#6: “…for the letter kills…”

The Mosaic law breeds guilt and proscribes punishments for violating the law, including issuing death sentences to offenders. Another interpretation of this part of the verse is that those people who cling to Mosaic law and do not follow the law of Jesus will not receive everlasting life.

#7: “…but the Spirit gives life.”

The gospels are from God. They have the power of God in them. Believers and followers of the gospels receive God’s Word into their hearts. These Christians are saved and will have everlasting life with Jesus in Heaven.

What does 2 Corinthians 3:6 mean?

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

2 Corinthians 3:6

Who also hath made us able ministers

This is an answer to the question in ( 2 Corinthians 2:16 ) who is sufficient for these things? no man is of himself; we are indeed sufficient for them, but not of ourselves; our sufficiency is of God, he hath made us able, or sufficient ministers: such ministers as are not of men’s, but God’s making, are sufficient ones; and none are sufficient but whom God makes so; and those he makes able and sufficient, by giving them spiritual gifts, fitting them for the ministry: and these are ministers

of the New Testament,

or “covenant”; the covenant of grace, of which Christ is the Mediator and surety; called “new”, not because newly made, for it was made with Christ from everlasting; nor newly revealed, for it was made known to Adam after his fall, and to all the Old Testament patriarchs, and was exhibited under the legal dispensation, though but darkly, in types, shadows, sacrifices which therefore waxing old is vanished away; and the covenant of grace is now more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation, free from all the obscurity it before laboured under; and therefore is called “new”, as well as because it will always continue so, and never give way to another covenant: now the Gospel, and the ministry of it, is nothing else but an exhibition of the covenant of grace, its blessings and promises; and the work and business of those who are ministers of it is not to insist upon the covenant of works, the terms, conditions, obligations, promises, and threatenings of that covenant; but to open and explain the nature, promises, and blessings of the covenant of grace: for such who are fit and proper ministers, are ministers

not of the letter, but of the spirit;

which is to be understood, not of any difference between the books of the Old and the New Testament, for a faithful minister of the word may and will bring forth things new and old, out of the one as well as the other; nor of the literal and allegorical, or mystical sense of the Scriptures, as if the latter and not the former was only to be attended to; nor of the difference of communicating the Gospel by letters, and preaching it by word of mouth; since both methods may be used for the spread of it, as were by the apostles themselves; but of the difference there is between the law and the Gospel. The law is “the letter”, not merely because written in letters, for so likewise is the Gospel; but because it is a mere letter, hereby showing what is to be done or avoided, without any efficacy in it, or communicating any to enable persons to obey its commands, to give life to its observers, or either to sanctify or justify any who are under it, or of the works of it; it is a mere letter, as observed by an unregenerate man, who only regards the externals of it, being unacquainted with its spirituality. The Gospel is “the spirit”; see ( John 6:63 ) it contains spiritual things, and not things merely natural, moral, and civil, as does the law, but spiritual blessings and promises; it penetrates into the spirit and soul of man, and comes from, and is attended with the Spirit of God. The law is

the letter



by irritating and provoking to sin, the cause of death, which though not the design and natural tendency of the law, and therefore not to be blamed, yet so it is, through the corruption of human nature; and by convincing of sin when the sinner is killed, and it dead in his own apprehension; and by not only threatening with death, but by cursing, condemning, and punishing with it:


the Gospel is

the spirit,


giveth life;

it is a means in the hand of the Spirit of God, of quickening dead sinners, of healing the deadly wounds of sin, of showing the way of life by Christ, and of working faith in the soul, to look to him, and live upon him; it affords food for the support of the spiritual life, and revives souls under the most drooping circumstances. The apostle may allude to a distinction among the Jews, between the body and sou] of the law; the words, they say, are (hrwt apwg) , “the body of the law”; and the book of the law is the clothing; and besides these, there is (atyrwad atmvn) , “the soul of the law”; which wise men look into F23.

What does 2 Corinthians 3:6 mean?

Paul is writing about confidence in his own ministry. He has been clear, though, that this is not the same as confidence in himself. He and his co-workers are not claiming that anything of value comes from them. His authority as an apostle is not based on his skill and knowledge and aptitude. It is based only on God’s authority and power to act through him.

Paul now writes that God is the one who has made him and the other apostles and teachers sufficient—adequate or competent—to be ministers of the new covenant. When Paul uses the words “new covenant,” he is contrasting their message of salvation through faith in Christ by God’s grace with the Old Covenant message of salvation for Israel through following the law of Moses.

Paul adds that he and the others are not ministers of the letter, perhaps meaning the “letter of the law.” In his old life as a Pharisee, Paul was a minister of the letter of the law, teaching Israelites to obey God’s written words in the Old Covenant. Now, though, he has become a minister of the Holy Spirit. By this, he means that he teaches those who trust in Christ to live by the Spirit’s power.

Paul adds that “the letter” kills. In other words, those who attempt to follow the law discover that they are unable to follow the law. They discover in themselves the sinfulness that keeps them from obeying God and condemns them to death. He put it this way in Romans 7:9–10, “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.”

God’s Spirit, on the other hand, truly gives life to those who trust in Christ under God’s new covenant with all of humanity. God’s Spirit comes to live with all who believe in Jesus. His presence becomes the evidence that we belong to God. Romans 8:11 says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Context Summary

Second Corinthians 3:1–6 poetically describes the only letter of recommendation Paul needs for his legitimacy as an apostle: the Christians in Corinth. Paul and his friends delivered Christ to them. The Corinthians are a letter written by Christ not with ink but with the Holy Spirit, not on tablets of stone but on human hearts. God is the one who has empowered Paul for the ministry and who sent him and his friends into the world to do it.

Chapter Summary

Second Corinthians 3 begins with Paul’s insistence that Christ’s presence in the hearts of the Corinthians should be all the evidence they need that his ministry is true. He compares the limited glory revealed by the Old Covenant between God and Israel with the far greater glory revealed by Christ to all who come to Him by faith. That glory is revealed only when the veil of unbelief is removed through Christ by the Holy Spirit’s power. Those who see God’s glory in Christ begin to be changed to become like Him.

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

A new covenant — God willingly entered into a new agreement with us, his creatures, sealed it with the blood of his Son Jesus, and sent the Spirit to give us the power to live the life of this new covenant. God has made a covenant of love and grace with us. The Almighty has then turned around and made us worthy and competent to share that covenant with others. No wonder it is life giving: it brings life to us and through us!

My Prayer…

O holy and majestic God, thank you for your grace that has saved me from sin and has redeemed me from the law of sin and death. Thank you for sending the gift of your Son and the gift of your Spirit so that I can live with you in a covenant of life, grace, and love. While I confess my weaknesses, I also commit to you that I will live to honor your sacrifice, love and covenant, trusting that you will ultimately empower me to be what you are calling me to be. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

You The Chosen; The Royal


1 Peter 2:9 (New Living Translation)

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But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

What Does 1 Peter 2:9 Mean? ►

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9(ESV)

Verse Thoughts

What an astonishing revelation is contained within this simple yet profound verse of Scripture, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” As members of the Body of Christ, it reveals one of the precious privileges that are ours in Christ – we are a chosen race and a royal priesthood. We have been made a holy nation and a special people who have become God’s own precious possession.

As Christians, we have a special place in God’s unfolding plan of redemption. We are born into the family of God and have become a new creation through spiritual birth, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are an elect race and have been transferred out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. We have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – by faith.

We have been given the indwelling Holy Spirit as a down payment and guarantee that our inheritance in heaven is secure and sound. We are individual members of Christ’s Body and collectively are being used by Him to testify of the truth of the gospel of grace, as ministers of His new and better Covenant.


What does it mean that “you are a chosen generation” (1 Peter 2:9)?


In 1 Peter 2:9, the apostle Peter describes believers in Jesus Christ with these remarkable words: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (NKJV). Other translations render the expression chosen generation as “chosen people” (NIV) or “chosen race” (NASB).

Is the phrase you are a chosen generation speaking of predestination and election—God’s predetermination of who will be saved—or does it mean something else?

In this passage, Peter weaves in Old Testament Scripture to define some of the extraordinary spiritual riches that Christians possess in Jesus Christ. He draws specifically from Isaiah 43:20–21, where God speaks of “my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise” (ESV). Peter also borrows the exact words found in Exodus 19:6, in which God identifies His people as a “royal priesthood.” God’s chosen people are no longer restricted to the Hebrews of Israel only; His holy nation now embraces the church of Jesus Christ, which includes both Jews and Gentiles.

Peter is reminding the church precisely how valuable every member is to God. When Peter says, “You are a chosen generation,” he is emphasizing God’s loving initiative in salvation. God draws us to Himself and places us, “like living stones,” as part of His church (1 Peter 2:5).

Peter is also stressing God’s ownership of our lives, as He is the One who chooses the “chosen generation.” Throughout history, God has claimed for Himself a people to be His very own prized possession. Believers in Jesus Christ are the people God has chosen to possess. We may be ordinary people, but because God owns us, our lives take on immeasurably great value.

The doctrines of predestination and election are unmistakably biblical (Mark 13:20; Ephesians 1:4–5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8). God chooses people to be the objects of His unmerited favor and grace, not because of their worthiness or anything they do to deserve it. At the heart of God’s choosing a people is His love (Deuteronomy 7:7–8; 10:14–17; Hosea 11:1, 4; 14:4; Jeremiah 31:2–3). Nothing can adequately explain the love of God for sinners; it must be received by faith.

God dwells among His people (Exodus 25:8; John 14:16–17). His chosen generation is His inheritance, His prized possession, His treasure (Deuteronomy 32:9; Exodus 19:5). He shelters them, carries them in His arms, bears them on His shoulders, holds them in His hands, and seats them at His feet (Deuteronomy 33:3, 12, 27; Isaiah 49:16). He loves them with a jealous love and insists that they worship Him exclusively (Exodus 20:5). He has given them His name (Numbers 6:22–27). All of these wonderful riches have come to us not because we deserve them or have earned them, but because God chose us in His mercy and love to belong to Him.

The second half of Peter’s statement describes the believer’s response to being God’s chosen people: “As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NLT). The NIV says, “That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Declare means “to advertise, to proclaim.” The incredible blessings that Christians have inherited in Christ are not only to be received with gratitude but are to motivate believers to testify of the goodness of God and Christ. We are like panels of stained glass through which the sun pours, illuminating the darkness. Positioned just where God has placed us, we channel His marvelous light and spread the multifaceted glory of His goodness and love.


1 Peter: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by Karen Jobes

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What does 1 Peter 2:9 mean when it refers to believers as peculiar people?

How is Jesus a rock of offense (1 Peter 2:8)?

What does it mean that Jesus and believers are living stones in 1 Peter 2:4-5?

What is the spiritual house in 1 Peter 2:5?

What does it mean that we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)?

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Questions about 1 Peter

What does it mean that “you are a chosen generation” (1 Peter 2:9)?

God has selected you and me out of all the people groups of the world for a very special reason, and we have been anointed with the oil of gladness to serve as His representatives on earth. We have been selected, called, chosen, consecrated, and set apart for a very particular purpose – “that we may proclaim the excellences of Him, Who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

As we journey through this life of pain and sorrow, we are to proclaim to the world, in thought, word, action, attitude, and motive, the excellent glories of our heavenly Father Who redeemed us from the darkness of sin and death – into the glories of His life and light, in Christ.

Unlike Israel, we are not a chosen race of earthly people, but a spiritual body of believers, that has been called out of every nation and language and people and tribes – to be His holy, heavenly people with a celestial citizenship. And we were set apart by grace through faith in Christ our Saviour, before the foundation of the world.

We were also chosen to be a royal priesthood for our God, so that we may sing out the praises of His name to those who are lost in their trespasses and sins. We have been called to share forth the good news of the glorious gospel of grace to a lost and dying world – for God in His omniscience, knew who would accept His gracious offer of salvation, by faith.

As a royal priesthood, we are kings and priests unto God. We have been declared righteous in His sight and because of our union with Christ, all that we say and do should be in keeping with the heavenly privilege bestowed upon us. Our character and conduct should reflect the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, for by His grace and through faith in Him, we have been given access into the throne-room of God. We can stand in the very presence of the Almighty because we are eternally identified with Jesus Christ  – the Son of God, Who is God the Son.

Our worship, praise, and thanksgiving, will resound throughout the eternal ages to come because God had graciously called us out of the darkness of sin and death, and a life without Christ, into the glorious light of His holy presence and eternal light and love. Darkness is the domain of those who reject God’s offer of salvation. Those who refuse to trust in Christ have condemned themselves into the sphere of eternal separation from their Creator. But we who have trusted in His holy name have been forgiven of sin, made holy and blameless in His sight, and been given all we need for life and godliness – according to His riches in mercy and everlasting love.

How we praise His holy Name… for we who were once dead in our sins and shrouded in the thick blackness of sin, have been called out of darkness into His wonderful light so that we might proclaim to all with whom we come in contact, the excellences of our heavenly Father and the grace of Kinsman Redeemer – Who loved us so much that He was prepared to go to the Cross for our sake, so that our sins could be forgiven, and we could exhibit the glories of His grace, not only in this world but also in the ages to come.


What does 1 Peter 2:9 mean?

In contrast with those who reject Christ and are destined to “stumble,” Peter now describes the chosen people of God.

Peter uses language that had been used to describe God’s special relationship with Israel. As Israel was, we—believers, the church—are also a chosen race. Unlike Israel, though, we are not a race in the sense of our family, ethnicity, skin color, or country of origin. We are a spiritual race, in the sense that, in Christ, we share a single spiritual Father. In that same meaning, we are a “holy nation,” a specific group of people called out and set apart from all other nations.

Christians, together, are a royal priesthood. In Israel, under the Law, one tribe was given the task of serving as priests, performing the duties of mediators between God and the rest of the nation. Very few held the honor and responsibility of actually coming into God’s presence. But in and through Christ, the King, all believers are priests with direct access to our Father. We need no other mediator.

Finally, God has formed this nation, this race, this priesthood to take possession of us. We are His people in a very real way. It’s not just that we pledge our allegiance to Him; it’s that He has taken ownership of us. We belong to Him.

Why? For one, He has made us to declare His praises. That’s more than just a natural response to our Father’s mercy or something we should do to be polite. Declaring God’s greatness is one reason for our very existence. When we praise Him, we fulfill our purpose. He has called us out of the darkness of a meaningless life, and an eternity apart from Him, and into His wonderful, marvelous light. Because we belong to Him, we belong in His light.

Context Summary

1 Peter 2:1–12 describes the spiritual house God is building. Jesus is the perfect foundation stone God has chosen for the house. Those who trust in Him are also living stones used to build the house. In addition, we individually serve as both the priests and the spiritual sacrifices, our lives offered to the builder. Thus we must live good lives, as strangers in the world preparing to go home to be with our Father, engaged in battle against our desire to sin.

Chapter Context

Peter gets specific about what it means to live as God’s set-apart people. Christ is the foundation stone of the spiritual house God is building. We must engage in battle with our selfishness and desire to sin. This includes submitting to human authorities, no matter how evil or harsh. It means enduring suffering, as Christ did for our sake when He died on the cross. Our role is not to fight a physical war for justice here; we will be going home soon

All Authorities Come From God

VERSE OF THE DAY.Romans 13:1 (New Living Translation).Share Audio.Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.VERSE OF THE DAY.Romans 13:1 (The Message).Share Audio.Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear. Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live.Each one of us are citizens of the world as citizens of God those who are citizens of governments have been chosen by God and assigned as citizens of a government they have been chosen leaders chosen under leadership of God. All authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.Romans 13 1.The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.DEC 10, 2019.SHARE.“ Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God .” (Romans 13:1).Christians have long used Romans 13 as a way to promote their preferred brand of political idolatry. But being “subject to the governing authorities” isn’t a free pass to accept and condone anything the government — or the president — says or does. Often weaponized as a way to propagate partisan agendas while simultaneously shut down criticisms, this passage is commonly misunderstood by many Christians.Partisans use Romans 13 to baptize their politics as being “ordained by God.” But Christians who reference Romans 13 typically do so using an us vs. government relationship. But unlike the first century when Roman rulers were mainly determined by heredity, lineage, or brute force, today we are the government. There is no us vs. them because we play an active role in how our government works and is run.THE GOSPEL IS ULTIMATELY A MESSAGE OF FOLLOWING JESUS, NOT PASSIVELY COWING TO A GOVERNMENT.We the people vote, support, and help decide who our leaders will be. We can’t disassociate ourselves from being responsible for a government we directly influence, control, and put into power.Suggesting that God put the government in place and President Trump should be exempt from any sort of religious criticism is usually a partisan ploy to excuse the words, actions, legislation, and executive orders that are often callous and cruel.Christians who think President Trump is sovereignly chosen by God but shouldn’t be judged according to Christ’s standards of truth and holiness are succumbing to both moral relativism and cognitive dissonance. If you believe in the constitutional legality of having a separation between the church and state while also propping up a president as being a divinely appointed servant of God, you are embracing a theocracy. For Trump-supporting Christians, his perceived status as both a president and pseudo high priest who they believe is faithfully carrying out God’s plan provides immunity from any type of legal, spiritual, or moral accountability.If you use Romans 13 to support Trump, then you must also use Romans 13 to divinely sanction the support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, who were both elected as government officials. But usually, the people who are the most adamant that Trump is ordained by God are also the most adamant that his critics aren’t. If you believe God sovereignly ordains governments, you must accept this truth across whatever political spectrum comes into power — something virtually impossible to do.For example, when Obama was president, Trump’s supporters warned that the government was morally indefensible and evil. If you believe the government is a sovereignly divinely appointed institution, then why lambast past presidents who disagreed with you, or current politicians who get elected in place of your preferred party? Could it be that one’s interpretation of whether they should “submit to governing authorities” is largely dependent on their political opinions, and whether their preferred brand of government is currently in power?READ: Pray for the President?Of course it is, which is why Trump’s policies and actions are glorified as being “godly” while same sex marriage and abortion are demonized as being wicked, even though same sex marriage and abortion are completely legal and were legalized through the government.WHEN YOUR DESIRE TO “RESPECT GOVERNING AUTHORITIES” DIRECTLY OPPOSES GOD’S GREAT COMMAND TO “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” WHAT WILL YOU DO?Christians also fail to consider governments beyond their own when referencing Romans 13. There are countless institutions and leaders throughout the world, and besides the problem of trying to decipher which God-ordained authorities are favored by God and which ones aren’t — especially when governments oppose, battle, and contradict one another. Are we supposed to respect authorities who are dictators, war criminals, and brutal regimes as being divinely appointed by God? How can we fault citizens living in enemy states who wage war against the U. S.? Aren’t they just following a biblical command and submitting to their rulers and governing authorities, too?The gospel is ultimately a message of following Jesus, not passively cowing to a government. Peter boldly tells the apostles, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) and Jesus himself warns that “no one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). We often miss the simplest messages of the Bible even when they’re right in front of us. For example, when the Bible says to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s…” (Matthew 22), it is a basic statement that claims the things of Caesar and those of God are not the same thing. The moral of the story: don’t mistake the government and its leaders as always being aligned with God — they aren’t. Followers of Jesus should always pledge allegiance to God over any carnal power.Christians should recognize that Jesus and his earliest followers were arrested, persecuted, and killed by the government of their day — often defying Roman orders and being viewed as treasonous.Theologian Greg Boyd notes :.It was never God’s goal to have humans rule other people. Governments are God’s concession to human sin. They are now a practical necessity in the world, and God uses them to further his purposes (Rom. 13:1-6). But this doesn’t mean that God approves of them … The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is based on people trusting God as their sole ruler. Kingdom people are therefore to place no more trust or confidence in governments than Jesus did – which is none. If a government’s laws happen to be consistent with the rule of God, we obey them. If they’re not, we follow the example of Jesus and disobey them (cf. Ac. 5:39). But either way, it’s clear that our behavior isn’t dictated by what government says, but by what God says.Christians must choose which kingdom they will serve: a kingdom of this world or the Kingdom of God. Because eventually, you’ll be forced to choose which one has the highest priority in your life. When your desire to “respect governing authorities” directly opposes God’s great command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” what will you do? God has already told us which directive is more important, but Christians too often prefer listening to their partisan politicians over their Prince of Peace. God help us.Stephen Mattson.Stephen Mattson is the author of the forthcoming social justice devotional On Love and Mercy: A Social Justice Devotional. You can follow him on Twitter (@mikta) or on Facebook.What Does Romans 13:1 Mean? ►.Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but from God: the powers that are, are ordained by God.Romans 13:1(WBS).Verse Thoughts.We sometimes feel that we are surrounded by evil leaders who seem to have an anti-God agenda and we find it difficult to understand why. Sometimes we can be tempted to wonder if God has lost the plot, as we see evil men triumphing, while the children of God are in the midst of distress, and we wonder if Satan is winning. NEVER!! Whether it was the cities of Babylon, Rome, Greece, or the nation into which we ourselves have been born, God is in control, “for there is no power but of God and the powers that be, are ordained by God.”.Whatever the circumstances of your life or the decisions made in the global corridors of earthly rule, God is firmly and eternally in control, both of your life and over the governments of the world, and He has scheduled a time when He will put all principalities and powers under His feet. Despite the polices of politicians, the regulations of religious leaders, and the dictates of both national and international dignitaries under whom we are currently placed, we have an assurance from the authoritative Word of God, that He is in control and has authorised every authority to carry out His eternal plan and purpose – so that CHRIST is ALL, and CHRIST will be ALL and in ALL.The Lord God established a number of divine institutions at the beginning including marriage, the family, nationalism, and governmental authority, and down through history, we see that basest of men are often those the Lord sets in positions of authority. Let us never forget that it is the Lord Most High Who remains ruler over the realm of mankind… and He uses each one to forward His perfect purpose and plan.There are those that object, often justifiably, to Paul’s clear directive to be subject to the ruling authorities and higher powers, both in secular governments and the hierarchy of the church, but the apostle Peter clearly emphasises this teaching in his first epistle, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God.. that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-slaves of God. Honour all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honour the king.”.Paul’s instruction to, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers”, can often be resisted by those who recognise the problems and corruption that is often lurking in the corridors of power, but even in those difficult times, we must never forget that, “there is no power except that which comes from God and the powers that are, are ordained by God.” However difficult we find the circumstances of life, within our family unit, or our national boundaries, we must never forget that God uses the difficulties of life to hone and strengthen our faith, and to draw us into closer fellowship with and dependence on Him.Paul was not claiming that earthly governments must be obeyed because they are good or trustworthy. Rather, he was establishing the principle that we should all be subject to the higher powers, in spite of their faults and failings, because there is no authority except that which God Himself has permitted, and the powers that exist do so by God’s sovereign appointment.We must always remember that the power of every government, whether good or ill, is delegated authority from heaven, and the Lord will often use the effectual fervent prayers of His committed saints to accomplish His plans and purposes, through the good or evil choices of human rule. And no matter what righteous or ungodly decisions are made in the elected establishment or any unelected shadow administration, God remains in sovereign control, and will only permit men to achieve their objective, when it forwards His perfect plans and purposes in His redemptive programme.The Lord Jesus was the perfect example of a Man who subjected Himself to the established earthly authorities. The road He took in His earthly walk was a lonely way of isolation, rejection, and derision. He warned that those who are called by His name will receive the same treatment from religious worldlings… for in this fallen world-system we will suffer tribulation and trials. And though He instructed His children to give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, He never once deviated from His overriding life-principle, to give unto God the things that belong to God.We who are His children are also told to be of good cheer, for by His death and resurrection He has overcome the world, and although we will inevitably face difficulties and dangers in this fallen world, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us – Praise His Holy Name.We are not to cherry-pick passages of which we approve and refuse to obey those we find difficult or offensive! We are to remember that good will overcome evil, Satan and sin have been defeated, Christ has won the victory, and one day every wrong in this world will be put right. Our attitude and actions are to be compliant to the higher powers without compromising the truth – we are to be as gentle as doves but as wise as serpents. We are to give unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasars and to God the things that are HIS and when we trust Him in every situation of life we will find that His grace is sufficient and that His power is perfected in our weakness.Source: https://dailyverse. knowing-jesus. com/romans-13-1.What does Romans 13:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑].In Romans 12, Paul described what it means to be a living-sacrifice Christian. In short, it mostly has to do with setting ourselves aside to serve the Lord, each other, and even our enemies in love.Now Paul turns to the issue of how Christians who are saved by God’s grace should interact with our present governments. He describes the biblical doctrine of submission to human authorities, something Peter also teaches (1 Peter 2:13–17). Again, those in Christ are called to set themselves aside and to trust God to provide what is needed through those in authority, whether good or evil.Paul is clear that this applies to every person. He calls for us to be in submission to government authorities, though he does not say that we must obey them in all cases. Paul and the other apostles refused to obey commands from people in authority to stop preaching the gospel, for instance (Acts 5:27–29). They did, however, submit to those in authority in all matters that were not in contradiction to the will of God.Why should we submit? Paul is clear: Every authority in the world was established by God. This would include, of course, good leaders, evil leaders, and everyone in-between. Paul’s instruction here, then, is not about blind nationalism or absolute obedience to men. Rather, it is a recognition that human government—in general—is a legitimate authority, and that Christians cannot use their faith as an excuse for civil lawlessness. God puts all leaders in place for the specific reasons Paul will describe in the following verses.We should remember that Paul is writing this letter to Christians in Rome. The government of Rome ruled much of the known world at the time. It was led by the Emperor Nero from AD 54–68. Nero is famous for his cruel and unfair treatment of Christians, among other groups. We must not assume that Paul is writing these words lightly. He was aware of the implications of his teaching.Context Summary.Romans 13:1–7 describes the responsibility for Christians to live in submission to the human authorities in government. The reason given is that every government leader has ultimately been established by God for His own purposes. Generally speaking, human government serves to rein in and punish those who do evil. Governments do this on God’s behalf. Christians must pay their taxes to support this work God is doing. In addition, those in Christ owe respect and honor to the authorities that God has put in place. Other Scriptures, such as Acts 5:27–29, distinguish between ”submission” and ”obedience.”.Chapter Summary.Romans 13 tackles three big areas that living-sacrifice Christians must address. First, since God puts every human authority in place to serve His purposes, Christians must submit to them; this idea comes with a particular context. Second, we must love our neighbors as ourselves. Third, we are called to live as people of the light and throw off works of darkness like drunkenness, sexual immorality, and jealousy. We are to take on the armor of light against the darkness and, in fact, take on Christ Himself instead of serving our own desires.https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Romans_13

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