CONTEXT: Chapters 3 and 4 of Galatians are all about Theology and the final chapters (5 and 6) the application of that in a person’s life. Matthew Henry describes this Chapter as an earnest exhortation to stand fast in the liberty of the gospel. (1-12) To take heed of indulging a sinful temper. (13-15)And to walk in the Spirit, and not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh: the works of both are described. (16-26)
Paul sets up our text for today by v.13-15 describing bitterness between brothers in Christ. He says simply that instead of surrendering to your natural lust of the flesh by lashing out at one another, Walk in the Spirit.
If we are truly that new creature (creation)2 Corinthians 5:17then turn not to the old ways but the new. Turn to the Holy Spirit to guide us in our times of weakness.
Luther said he feared his own heart, more than Pope or Cardinal. The heart is the fomenter of sin. It mints evil thoughts-and blows up the coals of fiery passions. It is the Trojan horse out of which comes a whole army of lusts! Shall we not fight the good fight, and discharge with the fire of zeal against this bosom traitor, the flesh! The primitive Christians chose rather to be destroyed by lions without-than by lusts within! – Thomas Watson
CONTEXT: Matthew Henry comments: All professions of faith are vain, if not producing love and justice to others. (1-13) The necessity of good works to prove the sincerity of faith, which otherwise will be of no more advantage than the faith of devils. (14-26)
Our text for today comes at the end of the first theme of James Chapter 2. We find the stage set if you will in v.1 show no favoritism, no prejudice, no snobbery] the chapter then goes on v.2-7 to describe situations that may arise when one might be tempted to discriminate. James then goes on in v.8-12 to note other areas where believers might fail.
Understanding our text requires two key points first it does not mean that those who do not show mercy are condemned to hell. Romans 8:1 and other similar verses settled that issue forever.
What it does mean is those FULLY committed to Christ will show mercy just like Christ. If you have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit it is pretty difficult to resist that call to be merciful. We (believers) are going to be surrounded by sin daily; our own, fellow Christians, and for certain non-believers. What kind of testimony would we have if we went around condemning everyone?
Let me be clear about this, we should be discerning (judgmental) as to the sin of others and ourselves. We need to be protective of our property and families while at the same time as Paul emphasized to the Church in Colossae C.3; 12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).
God commends merciful people but condemns the merciless.
Scripture shows that those whom God blessed most abundantly were abundantly merciful to others. Abraham, for example, helped rescue his nephew Lot even after Lot had wronged him. Joseph was merciful to his brothers after they sold him into slavery. Twice David spared Saul’s life after Saul tried to kill him.
But just as sure as God’s commendation is upon those who show mercy, His condemnation is upon those who are merciless. Psalm 109:14-16 says, “Let the iniquity of [the merciless person’s] fathers be remembered before the Lord, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out . . . because he did not remember to show [mercy].”
When judgment comes, the Lord will tell such people, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me” (Matt. 25:41-43). They will respond, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?” (v. 44). He will reply that when they withheld mercy from those who represented Him, they were withholding it from Him (v. 45).
Our society encourages us to grab everything we can for ourselves, but God wants us to reach out and give everything we can to others. If someone wrongs you, fails to repay a debt, or doesn’t return something he has borrowed from you, be merciful to him. That doesn’t mean you excuse sin, but you respond to people with a heart of compassion. That’s what Christ did for you—can you do any less for others?
Suggestions for Prayer
If there is someone who has wronged you, pray for that person, asking God to give you a heart of compassion for him or her. Make every effort to reconcile as soon as possible.
I recently saw a post from a good friend that went something like this; ‘Holy Spirt you are so dear to me, I can not live a day without you…’ The point of the post was to say the Holy Spirit was the focus of his faith but is that Biblically correct?
First, before I get accused of something I am not saying, although NOWHERE in the Bible is worshipping the Holy Spirit explicitly written it is most definitely implicitly proclaimed. The London Baptist Confession of 1689, Chapter 22 (among many great historical documents) makes this clear):
Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him alone;4 not to angels, saints, or any other creatures;5 and since the fall, not without a mediator,6 nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone.7
The Triune God is worthy of worship, but only as the Bible allows, it is through by Grace alone, through Faith alone in Christ alone that one comes to be redeemed by the Father. It was Christ that paid the penalty for all our sin at Calvary, it is in Christ’s name we pray, it was Christ who promised us a guide in the indwelling Holy Spirit. Christ is the head of the church (not the Holy Spirit) and we the saints His bride. We can not elevate the Holy Spirit above the Only Begotten Son nor should we neglect or relegate the third person of the Trinity to some second fiddle position.
1Marcus Johnson’s words form a fitting conclusion to this post:
We are united to Christ by the Holy Spirit. . . . To say that our union with Christ occurs by the power of the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit is himself the bond that united us to the living Christ. . . . The heart of the Spirit’s ministry is to join us to the incarnate, crucified, resurrected, ascended, and living Lord Jesus Christ. J. I. Packer writes that “the distinctive, constant, basic ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant is . . . to mediate Christ’s presence to believers.” Therefore, describing union with Christ as a “spiritual” union can mean only that it is a union with Christ that takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit—it is a Spiritual union.71
Matthew Henry breaks this Chapter down as follows: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. (1-13) It is revealed to Daniel. (14-23) He obtains admission to the king. (24-30) The dream and the interpretation. (31-45) Honours to Daniel and his friends. (46-49). Some modern bibles have headings that are even more detailed in their division. The AMplified Bible for example has eight (8) divisions our text for today is found in the one containing v.44-45, The Divine Kingdom.
Some days seem so overwhelming and we need a pick me up. I am not referring to the kind found in a bottle or a pill, of course, I and referring to the kind found in scripture.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to Pastor Mark Chanskipreach at our church, as he was visiting the area. In his sermon, he spoke of seeing pictures of glory in God’s word. I can think of no better picture than today’s text.
In the days of the final 10 kingdoms (toes in v.42), Christ will triumphantly set up His final kingdom. Not like the kingdoms before it, this one will not be based upon man’s failings and pride.
Indeed Christ’s earthly kingdom (Christianity) has been in motion since His birth and continues until this day. Yet His Final Kingdom, the one which happens with His second coming, will be no secret or quiet event, Christ’s return will be announced by the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God…
This Final Kingdom can never be destroyed, Christ’s earthly kingdom has already outlived all other earthly kingdoms and will prevail in eternity. Yet we know as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that Christ must rule over all things.
The final thing I find in this text is the kingdom shall not be left to another people, I find this to have a two-fold meaning. First, in context, it refers to the succession of empires that had plagued the known world. Babylonian to the Medes and Persians; to the Greeks; to the Romans and so forth. Secondly, it means that upon Christ’s return His Final Kingdom is reserved for those in Christ.
As Pastor Chanski said paint a picture in your mind, look at the glory of the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Kingdom. Suddenly the care and worries of this world do not seem so troublesome when we have promises like that.
We pray that all those in Christ will find comfort in your Holy Word. That we will read and study scripture painting pictures in our minds so as to realize the abundance of your Mercy and Grace. We also pray that those who know not Christ will succumb to the urging of the Holy Spirit and repent today that they may be partakers of the Final Kingdom too. AMEN
As I read this in my inbox this morning it struck me that there are two types of men described in the bible who “return to the Lord.” I will get to that more in a moment but first as always some context. Previously I have posted on Isaiah 55:8-9, in which you will find a good overview of the beginning of the chapter. Then I also posted on seeking God, Isaiah 55:6 with a detailed breakdown of that verse. So that leaves v.7:
Let the wicked forsake his way – Those guilty of sinning against God
and the unrighteous man his thoughts – wicked, idolatrous thoughts
and let him return unto the Lord – Hebrew word Shuwb, meaning to turn back, repent, restore, make afresh, renew…
and he will have mercy upon him – compassion and love on those who end their evil ways
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon; – God here is the Hebrew ‘elohiym, plural meaning the triune God
The Lord does abundantly pardon – this indicates God’s mercy, His desire to pardon nows no boundaries
I am not a Biblical Scholar (no fancy Ph.D.) so I read about a dozen commentaries this morning referencing V.7, and most agree that the wicked forsaking their ways means everyone. I disagree, and here is why.
Isaiah is writing to the nation of Israel, Jews, who knew the God of the bible.
To forsake something (sin) you need to understand your guilty of it unbelievers have no knowledge of their guilt
To repent, be restored, renewed, etc. you first had to be in covenant with someone
God’s covenant was with the Jews (and now all peoples)
God’s promise to abundantly pardon was only for those who repented and returned to the flock
Remember in the beginning I said two types of men described in the bible who “return to the Lord.” One we are all familiar with that of theProdigal Son, the wayward child who eventually comes to his senses and repents, and begs forgiveness of his father. The other is one you may not recognize, Jonah. This is the story of those called by God, who think they know better and God puts them in a place where they eventually surrender all.
What do these men and our text have in common, both knew God but thought their ways were better than God’s. It took severe hardship to turn them from their evil rebellious ways and get God’s unmerited merciful pardon and love.
Maybe you too, have been running from God’s call or something as simple as just sitting on the pew and letting the world go by. It is time to answer the Holy Spirits’ urging and repent of our own ways and get on board with God’s plan.
Lord God, your ways are made clear to us, yet we rebel and desire our own ways. We ignore the chosen path for one that seems right in our own eyes. We ignore all the helps you send our way as our hardened hearts desire self. Lord, we beg you to soften that heart, that we might repent of our rebellious ways, and renew a righteous Spirit in all areas of our lives. I ask that we seek your guidance and will daily, for we know that our ways are never better. All this we pray in Christ’s Name. AMEN
I woke up this morning and MHM of Prayer below was in my inbox. It led to this devotional, this one verse, in my opinion, is sufficient evidence to refute anyone who says we do not need the Old Testament. Here the Lord Himself says those Scriptures directly point the way to Him, and that is reason enough to study them.
In chapters 1-4 of John’s Gospel Jesus was sort of low key avoiding any public display or controversy. Here however He starts off v.1-17 with a bang (Miracle) by healing an invalid near the Bethesda pool, on the Sabbath.
If that was not enough to upset the apple cart (ruling class Jews), when they challenge Jesus under what authority He has to heal someone on the Sabbath His response is even more controversial. Instead of a simple answer, Jesus says all His authority has been given to Him by God the Father and He is equal with God the Father v.18-24.
Jesus then lays out four (4) reasons why HE has this authority, v.25-32 the coming resurrection, v.33-35, the testimony of John the Baptist, v.36, the testimony of His works, v.37-38, the testimony of the Father, and finally v.39-47, the testimony of Scripture.
Look at v.38, Jesus says to the local religious leaders, you have God’s word in front of you but not in you. He then goes on to our text for today, [h]You search and keep on searching and examining the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is those [very Scriptures] that testify about Me; (AMP).
It may sound funny but all I kept thinking or hearing in my head was that old country song Looking for love in all the wrong places. Just like the fool who can’t find his true love because he won’t look in the right place, these religious leaders search scripture looking for a King and Leader but not the Messiah before them.
In Jesus’ day, there was more “proof” of His deity than we have today in the sense that Jesus was physically there performing miracles and still He was denied and crucified. That is the problem, then and today as folks want individual proof, just because 2+2=4 does not mean I have to believe it, you have to prove it to me personally.
NO! God does not have to prove anything. He owes us nothing and we owe him everything. It’s abDevotional Thought for Today – 04/29/2021out Jesus, not us. We need to read the scripture from that point of view, we need to worship in church with that mindset, and not the want can I get out of it. Focus on Christ and the Holy Spirit will handle the rest.
Praying through John 5:39 Heavenly Father, thank You for the inspired scriptures, which point us to Christ. May we read them with understanding and be guided into all truth by Your Holy Spirit. Keep me from seeking to add to Your finished work of Calvary, through my own works of the flesh.. knowing that eternal life is only to be found by faith in Christ alone and that I am only accepted by You because I am ‘in Christ,’ and not because of anything that I could do. Praise His holy name and draw me closer to Jesus day by day – in Whose name I pray, AMEN.
For the writing of the Scriptures and the preserving of them pure and entire to this day.
We thank you that we have the Scriptures to search, and that in them we have eternal life, for it is they that bear witness about Christ; John 5:39(ESV) and that all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16(ESV)
That whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope; Romans 15:4(ESV) and that we have this sure prophetic word, as a lamp shining in a dark place. 2 Peter 1:19(ESV)
That the vision has not become to us like the words of a book that is sealed, Isaiah 29:11(ESV) but that we hear in our own tongue the mighty works of God. Acts 2:11(ESV)
We thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that the things which you have hidden from the wise and understanding and which many prophets and kings desired to see but did not, 1 Peter 1:10(ESV) are revealed to us little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. Luke 10:21(ESV)
Some context is (as always) need here to grasp the full meaning of this verse. First is the book itself being a pronouncement of God’s judgment over the whole earth. Of course in typical Biblical fashion Judah, Israel, and the surrounding nations are used as examples.
Here in Chapter three v.1-7, should be pretty obvious even to the non-biblical or casual reader, Woe (judgment is coming) to her who is… this is all about rebuking the nation of Israel (and any such nation today) for her ongoing sin. In v.8, we see God has decided to gather all the nations, so He can purposely pour out His wrath, even all my fierce anger… upon them.
But that is so cruel, and not like a “loving God?” I have heard that so many times, like it, is all upon God’s to do things and man has NO RESPONSIBILITY in this at all. Folks, God gave up far more than we ever could or would. He is the sovereign creator of the universe and as such His righteous judgment reigns.
This brings us to our text for today, having revealed the judgment the nations deserve God also reveals HOPE! Here is how:
Everyone will speak the same – I am not going to argue here whether this is all one language or not as some declare. What is apparent from the text and original Hebrew is that everyone will be speaking in the same manner, which is with a Godly reverence in Spirit and truth.
Everyone will call upon the Lord in one accord – All will be worshiping the Lord without the distractions of denominations differences, political, regional, or other boundaries.
Everyone will serve the Lord in one accord – The Puritan Catechism and others declare the Chief end of man to be Man’s chief end are to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31) and to enjoy Him forever (Ps. 73:25-26). In Revelation 22:3, we find that in eternity man will do much the same glorify God (Worship) and enjoy (serve) Him forever.
Zephaniah is for certain a prophetic book, but this verse can be applied to God’s people today. There is no reason we can not and should not all “Speak” the same language in Spirit and Truth. Put aside our petty denominational (I am not suggesting we fellowship with cults and obvious violators of God’s Word) differences and Call Upon the Lord, especially in prayer for the nation. Finally, we can and should all ensure Man’s chief end are to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
As always some context is required with our main text v.4. In the previous chapter, God has made a covenant promise with His people and the10 Commandments are delivered through Moses.
Chapter 6 can be broken down as follows:A persuasive to obedience. (1-3) An exhortation to obedience. (4,5) Obedience taught. (6-16) General precepts, Instructions to be given to their children. (17-25) – Matthew Henry
Our text obviously come from the second part an exhortation to obedience:
I do not usually quote from the NLT but in this case, I like its rendering over most others for a couple of reasons. First where it says …the Lord aloneit is making a definitive statement there can be no other God but Jehovah. Second, in verse 5, where most translations render You shall love, the NLT renders it
you must loveagain nothing passive or suggestive about it.
Not only the Jews by birth but all those who were grafted into the nation of Israel sounds like the New Testament Gospel message were to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and love Him unconditionally.
What a blessed verse is this, which folds within its short, but mighty contents, the foundation of all our faith. Our GOD, though existing in a manner totally distinct from all his creatures in a threefold character of Person, is but one and the same JEHOVAH. For, as the apostle beautifully represents it, There are Three that bear record in heaven; the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLY GHOST yet these three are but one. I would beg the Reader to remark with me, that though the verse be but short, yet no less than three times is the glorious name of JEHOVAH repeated in it. May we not suppose, that the very design of this was to convey the glorious truth of a threefold character of Persons in the divine unity? Happy the soul who hath an evidence in his own breast of the truth of this; in being enabled there to trace the tokens of the FATHER’s love, and the Redeemer’s grace, and the SPIRIT’s fellowship. I detain the Reader only to make a short observation more upon this precious Verse, and to ask him, whether the manner in which Moses calls upon Israel to attend to this leading truth, that our GOD is but one LORD, doth not carry with it a testimony, that as the people had been accustomed to receive tokens of a plurality of persons in the GODHEAD, they were not to lose sight, at the same time, of the unity of the divine essence. 1 John 5:7.
Heavenly Father, You alone are worthy of our praise and worship.. for You alone are the true and living God. What amazing grace You have shown to me, and the entire human race, that Your love for us is so great.. that You would send Your only begotten, Son to die for our sin. No matter what it takes, I pray that I may learn to love You with all my heart, and soul, and mind, and strength – and with every fiber of my being, knowing, that it is only as I die to self and live for Christ, that Your love may be manifested in me Praise Your holy name for You alone are worthy of our worship, in Jesus name we pray, AMEN.
Over the past few months our family has experienced the death of family members and dear friends. While we can and should mourn their deaths, we also need to look at these events from a Biblical and practical standpoint.
In some cases the individuals were sick and suffering, in other cases the sudden loss was from an accident or in one case a random act of violence. In all but one of these deaths I, was able to provide comforting words to the families because I was convinced the individual was a true believer. For some it was that they were no longer suffering and were as the Bible promises ‘absent from the body and present with the Lord.’ For others we can not begin to explain why things happen, why the guy ran a red light, but we can find comfort in knowing God is in complete control and His ways are always greater and wiser than ours.
The great preach Charles Spurgeon had much to say on the Subject of death having preached many a sermon on the matter. Here are 10 of my favorite quotes of his:
1. “To be prepared to die is to be prepared to live.”
2. “It is the very joy of this earthly life to think that it will come to an end.”
3. “The best moment of a Christian’s life is his last one, because it is the one that is nearest heaven.”
4. “The only people for whom I have felt any envy have been dying members of this very church.”
5. “If I do not think of death, yet death will think of me.”
6. “It is not a loss to die, it is a lasting, perpetual gain.”
7. “Let us learn to hold loosely our dearest friends. Let us love them, but let us always learn to love them as dying things.”
8. “It is a grand thing to see a man dying full of life.”
9. “He who learns to die daily while he lives will find it no difficulty to breathe out his soul for the last time.”
10. “All the glories of midday are eclipsed by the marvels of sunset.”
Pray for the Grace Needed to Die Well
We must pray for grace to deliver us from death* and to carry us well through our dying moments.
Lord, make us know our end and what is the measure of our days; let us know and consider how fleeting we are, that our days are as a few handbreadths and all mankind stands as a mere breath! Psalm 39:4-5(ESV) Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 1 Chronicles 29:15(ESV)
Overview of Romans 8: The freedom of believers from condemnation. (1-9) Their privileges as being the children of God. (10-17) Their hopeful prospects under tribulations. (18-25) Their assistance from the Spirit in prayer. (26,27) Their interest in the love of God. (28-31) Their final triumph, through Christ. (32-39) – Matthew Henry
Often called the “more than conquerors” chapter in obvious reference to v.37, it is our main text v.30, shown above along with v.28-29 that contains the greatest of Biblical doctrine concerning God-Ordained Salvation.
In v.28, God says;them who are the called according to his purpose.
The called of God and of Jesus Christ; not to any office, or by the external ministry of the word only, but by special grace; from darkness to light, from bondage to liberty, from the company of sinful men to fellowship with Christ, from a trust in their own righteousness to a dependence on his, to grace here, and glory hereafter; which is done according to the purpose of God: the persons called are fixed upon by God; none are called but whom God purposed to call; those who are called can assign no other reason of it than the will of God; and no other reason but that can be given why others are not called; the time when, the place where, the means whereby persons are called, are all settled and determined by the will, and according to the purpose of God. – John Gill
In v.29 God says;For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… In other words, God predetermined whom He will save to conform them to the image of Christ.
Our main text v.30 for today tells most of the story if you will, of how we get there. When it comes to Salvation most folks think it all about them, I gave my.., or I went forward and… The fact is this and many other bible verses make it clear that it is all about God and His amazing Grace and not at all about us. God Predestined, Called, Justified, and will eventually Glorify everyone of His Elect.
Below are some posts on the subject of Salvation and the actual order in which the Bible says we are saved.