Thursday, August 25, 2016

Creation to be Liberated

Creation to be Liberated

Romans 16:13

That outstanding worker (NEB “an outstanding follower”) is literally “the elect one.” This is a term which may be applied to all Christians (see 8:33), but in the present context, it is used to draw some special attention to Rufus as an outstanding person in the Lord’s service. Once again in the Lord’s service is literally “in the Lord” (see verse 16:2, and verse 16:9, as well as verse 16:12).

Paul’s expression “his mother and mine” is taken by the TEV to mean his mother, who has always treated me like a son (NEB “whom I call mother too”; Goodspeed “who has been a mother to me”). Rufus’ mother was not actually Paul’s mother and it is clear from the context what Paul means, and so the TEV, along with others, makes this information explicit.

In translating the clause who has always treated me like a son, it is important to avoid the implication that the mother of Rufus had been overbearing. One can render this last clause as “who has helped me just like my own mother would have helped me” or “who has helped me just as though I were her own son.”

Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. New York: United Bible Societies, 1973. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Adam and Eve’s Family outside the Garden

Adam and Eve’s Family outside the Garden

Whereas Chaps. 2–3 recount the Life of Adam and Eve inside the garden, Chap. 4 will relate a new episode in the ongoing story of the first couple’s experience—but now outside the garden. The abrupt announcement of Cain and Abel’s birth (vv. 1–2) is told so as to show the linkage between Chap. 3’s intimations of continued life and prosperity (3:15–16, 20) and the beginning realization of that hope despite human sin in the garden. Sadly, the optimism of the narrative turns to the sordid account of sin’s continuing encroachment by the murder of Abel at the hands of his elder brother (vv. 3–16). Remarkably, however, the grace of God toward Cain enables Adam’s firstborn to survive and later father an impressive lineage whose members are remembered for notable cultural achievements. Unfortunately, these achievements were overshadowed by their wicked accomplishments (vv. 17–24). The tôlĕdôt of the heavens and earth” (2:4–4:26) concludes on the high note of another evidence of God’s grace toward Adam and Eve. Seth, Adam’s third son, replaces the murdered Abel and heads a new lineage that is remembered as the benchmark for “when men began to call on the name of the LORD” (4:25–26).

Mathews, K. A. Genesis 1-11:26. Vol. 1A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary.

Priesthood of Melchizedek

Priesthood of Melchizedek

Hebrews 10:26–39 
  C.      Exhortation (vv. 26–39).
This is the fourth of the five exhortations (see outline). It warns against willful sin. Please remember that this exhortation is to believers, not unsaved people and that it is related to the previous three exhortations. Careless Christians start to drift through neglect; then they doubt the Word; then they grow dull toward the Word; and the next step is deliberately sinning and despising their spiritual heritage. Note the important facts about this particular sin. It is not one sin committed once; “sin willfully” in v. 26 should read “willingly go on sinning.” It is the same continuous tense of the verb as in 1 John 3:4–10“Whosoever continually and habitually sins is not born of God.” So, this passage is not dealing with an “unpardonable sin”; it is talking about an attitude toward the Word that God calls willful rebellion. There were no sacrifices in the OT for deliberate, presumptuous sins (see Ex. 21:14; Num. 15:30). Sins of ignorance (Lev. 4) and of sudden passion were covered; but willful sins merited only punishment.

Verse 29 reminds us that our salvation (and the shed blood that purchased it) are held in high regard by God. The Father values His Son; the Son shed His blood; the Spirit applies the merits of   p 706  the cross to the believer. For us to sin willfully is to sin against the Father and the Son and the Spirit. The writer quotes Deut. 32:35–36 to show that God, in the OT, saw to it that His people (not unbelievers) reaped what they sowed and were judged when they disobeyed willfully. The fact that they were His covenant people made their obligations that much greater (Amos 3:2). God judges His people; see Rom. 2:16; 1 Cor. 11:31–32; and 1 Peter 1:17. Of course, this is not eternal judgment, but rather His chastening in this life and the loss of reward in the next. Note vv. 34–35, where the writer emphasizes reward for faithfulness, not salvation. See also 1 Cor. 3:14–15, 5:5, 9:27, and 11:30.

In vv. 32–39 (as in 6:9–12), he gives a wonderful assurance to these believers that their lives had proven they were truly born again. They were among those who had put faith in Christ (Hab. 2:3–4) and therefore could not “draw back” as those did who were not truly saved (1 John 2:19). Their destiny is perfection, not perdition because they have Christ in their hearts and look for His return.

Wiersbe, Warren W. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992. Print.

Too Loose, Too Tight and the Overrated “Just Right”: A Guest Post from Author Hettie Brittz

Too Loose, Too Tight and the Overrated “Just Right”: A Guest Post from Author Hettie Brittz

Parenting isn’t easy. And mothers, especially, can be hard on themselves when it comes to balancing parenting styles that allow their children independence with healthy boundaries and supervision. In (un)Natural Mom: Why You Are the Perfect Mom for Your Kids, author Hettie Brittz writes on the myth of the “Natural Mom,” discussing how every mom is the right mom for her children, and how God has given each mom the skills she needs for her children’s needs. Enjoy this guest post from author Hettie Brittz, in which she tells us a story where she experienced this tension between “too loose” and “too tight” parenting.
Hettie Brittz is a wife, mother, and speaker from South Africa. Author of Growing Kids with CharacterGrowing Kids Through Healthy Authority, and Cultivating Compassionate Discipline,(un)Natural Mom is her first book to be released in the United States. Between homeschooling her three kids and joining her husband on his ministry outreaches, Brittz tours internationally, speaking to audiences around the globe, as well as appearing in weekly parenting spots on South African television. Get her ebook, (un)Natural Mom: Why You Are the Perfect Mom for Your Kids, on Vyrso today!

Bond Servant of Christ Jesus

Bond Servant of Christ Jesus

Romans 1:7 
7. beloved of God—(Compare De 33:12; Col 3:12).

Grace, &c.—(See on Jn 1:14).

and peace—the peace which Christ made through the blood of His cross (Col 1:20), and which reflects into the believing bosom “the peace of God which passeth all understanding” (Php 4:7).

from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ—“Nothing speaks more decisively for the divinity of Christ than these juxtapositions of Christ with the eternal God, which run through the whole language of Scripture, and the derivation of purely divine influences from Him also. The name of no man can be placed by the side of the Almighty. He only, in whom the Word of the Father who is Himself God became flesh, may be named beside Him; for men are commanded to honor Him even as they honor the Father (Jn 5:23)” [OLSHAUSEN]

Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Vol. 2. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Print.

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

Hebrews 1:2–4 The New Way Described
Jesus’ supremacy is based on two facts: (1) he was appointed heir of all things and (2) before that he was the vehicle of creation (Hebrews 1:2). Here the writer emphasized the incomparable greatness, power, and majesty of the Son. Jesus has a better nature than angels. Christ is characterized as the Creator himself. His word sustains creation, and he has the very character of God.

Hughes, Robert B., and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001. Print. The Tyndale Reference Library.

Aquinas on Unjust Laws

Aquinas on Unjust Laws

Reply Obj. 2. Human law has the nature of law in so far as it partakes of right reason; and it is clear that, in this respect, it is derived from the eternal law. But in so far as it deviates from reason, it is called an unjust law, and has nature, not of law but of violence. Nevertheless, even an unjust law, in so far as it retains some appearance of law, though being framed by one who is in power, is derived from the eternal law; since all power is from the Lord God, according to Rom. 13:1.
Reply Obj. 3. Human law is said to permit certain things, not as approving of them, but as being unable to direct them. And many things are directed by the Divine law, which human law is unable to direct because more things are subject to a higher than to a lower cause. Hence the very fact that human law does not meddle with matters it cannot direct, comes under the ordination of the eternal law. It would be different, were in human law to sanction what the eternal law condemns. Consequently, it does not follow that human law is not derived from the eternal law, but that it is not on a perfect equality with it.

Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica. Trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province. London: Burns Oates & Washbourne. Print.,,

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

August 25

  Nevertheless, at thy word
        Luke 5:5

Oh, what a blessed formula for us! This path of mine is dark, mysterious, perplexing; nevertheless, at Thy word I will go forward. This trial of mine is cutting, sore for flesh and blood to bear. It is hard to breathe through a broken heart, Thy will be done. But, nevertheless, at Thy word I will say, Even so, Father! This besetting habit, or infirmity, or sin of mine, is difficult to crucify. It has become part of myself—a second nature; to be severed from it would be like the cutting off of a right hand or the plucking out of a right eye; nevertheless, at Thy word I will lay aside every weight; this idol I will utterly abolish. This righteousness of mine it is hard to ignore; all these virtues, and amiabilities, and natural graces, it is hard to believe that they dare not in any way be mixed up in the matter of my salvation; and that I am to receive all from first to last as the gift of God, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Nevertheless, at Thy word I will count all but loss for the excellency of His knowledge.


Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.

My Utmost for His Highest

August 25th

The fruitfulness of friendship

I have called you friends. John 15:15.

We never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we abandon in every particular. Self-surrender is the most difficult thing—‘I will if …!’ ‘Oh well, I suppose I must devote my life to God.’ There is none of the joy of self-sacrifice in that.

As soon as we do abandon, the Holy Ghost gives us an intimation of the joy of Jesus. The final aim of self-sacrifice is laying down our lives for our Friend. When the Holy Ghost comes in, the great desire is to lay down the life for Jesus; the thought of sacrifice never touches us because sacrifice is the love passion of the Holy Ghost.

Our Lord is our example in the life of self-sacrifice—“I delight to do Thy will, O My God.” He went on with His sacrifice with exuberant joy. Have I ever yielded in absolute submission to Jesus Christ? If Jesus Christ is not the lodestar, there is no benefit in the sacrifice; but when the sacrifice is made with the eyes on Him, slowly and surely the moulding influence begins to tell.

Beware of letting natural affinities hinder your walk in love. One of the most cruel ways of killing natural love is by disdain built on natural affinities. The affinity of the saint is the Lord Jesus. Love for God is not sentimental; to love as God loves is the most practical thing for the saint.

“I have called you friends.” It is a friendship based on the new life created in us, which has no affinity with our old life, but only with the life of God. It is unutterably humble, unsullied pure, and absolutely devoted to God.

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.

Morning and Evening

Morning, August 25                                   Go To Evening Reading

         “His fruit was sweet to my taste.”
         —Song of Solomon 2:3

Faith, in the Scripture, is spoken of under the emblem of all the senses. It is a sight: “Look unto me and be ye saved.” It is hearing: “Hear, and your soul shall live.” Faith is smelling: “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia”; “thy name is as ointment poured forth.” Faith is spiritual touch. By this faith, the woman came behind and touched the hem of Christ’s garment, and by this, we handle the things of the good word of life. Faith is equally the spirit’s taste. “How sweet are thy words to my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my lips.” “Except a man eat my flesh,” saith Christ, “and drink my blood, there is no life in him.”

This “taste” is faith in one of its highest operations. One of the first performances of faith is hearing. We hear the voice of God, not with the outward ear alone, but with the inward ear; we hear it as God’s Word, and we believe it to be so; that is the “hearing” of faith. Then our mind looketh upon the truth as it is presented to us; that is to say, we understand it, we perceive its meaning; that is the “seeing” of faith. Next, we discover its preciousness; we begin to admire it, and find how fragrant it is; that is faith in its “smell.” Then we appropriate the mercies which are prepared for us in Christ; that is faith in its “touch.” Hence follow the enjoyments, peace, delight, communion; which are faith in its “taste.” Any one of these acts of faith is saving. To hear Christ’s voice as the sure voice of God in the soul will save us; but that which gives true enjoyment is the aspect of faith wherein Christ, by holy taste, is received unto us, and made, by inward and spiritual apprehension of his sweetness and preciousness, to be the food of our souls. It is then we sit “under his shadow with great delight,” and find his fruit sweet to our taste.

Go To Morning Reading                                    Evening, August 25

         “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.”
         —Acts 8:37

These words may answer your scruples, devout reader, concerning the ordinances. Perhaps you say, “I should be afraid to be baptized; it is such a solemn thing to avow myself to be dead with Christ and buried with him. I should not feel at liberty to come to the Master’s table; I should be afraid of eating and drinking damnation unto myself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” Ah! poor trembler, Jesus has given you liberty, be not afraid. If a stranger came to your house, he would stand at the door, or wait in the hall; he would not dream of intruding unbidden into your parlour—he is not at home: but your child makes himself very free about the house; and so is it with the child of God. A stranger may not intrude where a child may venture. When the Holy Ghost has given you to feel the spirit of adoption, you may come to Christian ordinances without fear. The same rule holds good of the Christian’s inward privileges. You think, poor seeker, that you are not allowed to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; if you are permitted to get inside Christ’s door, or sit at the bottom of his table, you will be well content. Ah! but you shall not have less privileges than the very greatest. God makes no difference in his love to his children. A child is a child to him; he will not make him a hired servant; but he shall feast upon the fatted calf, and shall have the music and the dancing as much as if he had never gone astray. When Jesus comes into the heart, he issues a general licence to be glad in the Lord. No chains are worn in the court of King Jesus. Our admission into full privileges may be gradual, but it is sure. Perhaps our reader is saying, “I wish I could enjoy the promises, and walk at liberty in my Lord’s commands.” “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” Loose the chains of thy neck, O captive daughter, for Jesus, makes thee free.

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.

Connect the Testaments

August 25: Riddle Me This
Isaiah 50:1–51:23; Luke 20:1–40; Job 11:12–20

Jesus’ enemies regularly attempted to make Him look foolish or to disprove His authority. The absurd questions they concocted to discredit Him are rather amusing. The Sadducees posed one of the most preposterous questions about the resurrection of the dead and its relevance to divorce (Luke 20:27–33): If a woman has been married seven times, whose wife will she be when the dead are resurrected?

This scene is especially humorous in light of rabbis’ habit of playing mind games to outsmart (or “outwise”) one another and the Sadducees’ belief that resurrection does not exist. Jesus’ opponents thought they had rigged the game: Any answer to their riddle would be incorrect. It was an attempt to trap Jesus into agreeing that the resurrection of the dead is a myth. Jesus, however, offered an answer that put them in their place (Luke 20:34–40). His response made the Sadducees look even more foolish in light of larger biblical theology about marriage and divorce.

More than 500 years before this conversation, Isaiah remarked, “Thus says Yahweh: ‘Where is this divorce document of your mother’s divorce, with which I dismissed her? or to whom of my creditors did I sell you? Look! you were sold because of your sin, and your mother was dismissed because of your transgressions’ ” (Isa 50:1). The Sadducees—along with the entire nation of Israel—had already been condemned for not honoring marriage in life.
So often we are concerned with logistics or details when our energy should be spent on discerning God’s will for our lives and whether we are in that will. Like the Sadducees, we tell ourselves witty lies to get around doing the will of God. We somehow believe that if we can reason our way forward, we can justify our inactions. But as Jesus taught the Sadducees, in any game of riddles or reason, faith will always win.

What are you wrongly justifying or “witting” yourself out of doing?


Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.