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Showing posts from March 21, 2016

Abraham Exemplifies Saving Faith

Abraham Exemplifies Saving Faith

James 2:20–24

Excerpt


What do we learn about saving faith from Abraham? Abraham’s obedience demonstrated that his faith was of a dynamic, active nature. It produced an obedience and a trust so great he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen. 22). This action pointed back to and demonstrated the validity of God’s earlier statement that Abraham’s faith was accepted in place of righteousness (15:6). Thus, by its very nature, Abraham’s faith produced righteous works so that works were an expression of his faith. In that sense, Abraham was justified by works: God’s claim that he was righteous and any claim Abraham might have made to having faith were indicated by Abraham’s acts.

Thus, the kind of faith that justifies a person before God is a faith that expresses itself in works. Any “faith” which is not accompanied by works is not a saving kind of faith.


Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

Baptism in the Great Commission

Baptism in the Great Commission

Matthew 28:19

Excerpt


Jesus’ Resurrection Command to Baptize Here we find the true basis of the church’s practice (Mt 28:19). As already stated, the disciples stopped employing it, so it is here that we see the institution reconstituted as an ordinance based on the death and resurrection of Christ. It was no longer a forward-looking phenomenon but had now become a realized activity centering on the gospel message, certified by the risen Christ who is exalted to universal lordship. It also is an essential aspect of the disciplining activity, as seen in the use of the participle “baptizing” after the main verb “make disciples.” Finally, we might note that the act signifies the entrance of the believer “into” union with (literally “into the name of”) the triune Godhead.


Elwell, Walter A., and Philip Wesley Comfort. Tyndale Bible dictionary 2001: 145. Print. Tyndale Reference Library.

The Spirits in Prison

The Spirits in Prison

Excerpt


The “spirits in prison” are the fallen angels of Gen. 6 who consorted with the daughters of men, “going after strange flesh” as Jude 6–7 explains it. The word “prison” in 3:19 refers to the place of judgment mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4, “chains of darkness.” It was this violation of God’s order that helped bring on the Flood, which explains why Peter mentions Noah. Note too that Peter’s theme is the subjection of angels to Christ (v. 22). These fallen angels were not subject to Him, and therefore, they were judged.

Between His death and resurrection, Christ visited these angels in prison and announced His victory over Satan. The word “preached” in 3:19 means “to announce” and not “to preach the Gospel.” Jesus announced their doom and His victory over all angels and authorities. It is likely that at this time Christ “led captivity captive” (Eph. 4:8), rescued godly souls dwelling in Hades (see Luke 16:19–31), and took them to heaven. There is not one hint here o…

The Kingdom of Light

The Kingdom of Light

Colossians 1:12

Excerpt


The kingdom of light is here a synonym for “the kingdom of God,” with emphasis on “the light,” that is, God’s own life, which shines on God’s people.


Bratcher, Robert G., and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on Paul’s Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Christian Qualities

Christian Qualities

Excerpt


. Christian growth (vv. 5-7) results in spiritual effectiveness and productivity. The word possessing, (hyparchōnta, lit. “possessing”) emphasizes that these spiritual qualities “belong to” Christians. However, Christians are to do more than merely possess these virtues. Effective and productive spirituality comes as these qualities are held in increasing measure. There is to be a growth in grace. A believer who does not progress in these seven areas is ineffective(argues, “idle” or “useless”) and unproductive (lit., “unfruitful”) in his knowledge (epignōsin, “full personal knowledge”; cf. vv. 2-3; 2:20) of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many Christians know the Lord in salvation but lack the “fruit” of the Spirit and are not advancing spiritually. They remain “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1), still in need of spiritual “milk” (Heb. 5:12-13). But as Peter urged, believers should “grow in the grace and knowledge (gnōsei) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Chr…

Full Assurance of Faith

Full Assurance of Faith

Excerpt


“Let us draw near” (προσερχώμεθα) is a liturgical phrase, denoting the approach of the people, after ceremonial atonement, to the earthly sanctuary (cf. ver. 1, τοὺς προσερχομένους). We may now draw near to the very heavenly mercy-seat, without any sense of a bar to our doing so on the ground of consciousness of sin. In Christ, we are to see accomplished all that is needed for atonement. But there are conditions also required in ourselves, expressed first by the “true heart”, and the “fullness of faith”, and then by the clauses that follow. These clauses, like προσερχώμεθα, have a liturgical basis—that of the blood sprinkling (e.g. of the people with the blood of the covenant under Mount Sinai, ch. 9:19, and of the priests on their consecration, Lev. 8:23) and of the ablutions before sacrificial service (Lev.8:6; 16:4, 24; Exod. 30:39). Hence, these two participial clauses are not to be separated from each other and seem best to be both taken in connectio…

Sinai Symbolism: The Background of the Theological Significance of OT Religion in Hebrews

Sinai Symbolism: The Background of the Theological Significance of OT Religion in Hebrews

Excerpt


‎Although the phrase ‘Mount Sinai’ does not appear in Hebrews 12:18–21 it is clear that the author describes the event of theophany at Sinai in Exodus 19:16–19 and the Deuteronomic description of theophany at Horeb. Although there is a little dispute about the identification of the location of Sinai and Horeb, it is generally viewed that both Sinai and Horeb are called the mountain of Yahweh referring to the same place. Some scholars distinguish between Exodus tradition and Sinai tradition, and the Sinai complex is understood as the result of several different traditions. However, the exact geographical location of the mountain and the historical origin of the Sinai tradition1 are of no interest here for the purpose of this study is to appreciate the theological symbolism of the Sinai event, and its contribution to understanding the religious significance of the OT figures and cultic instit…

Trusting God’s Covenant

Trusting God’s Covenant

Excerpt


This is the first use of the word “covenant” in the Bible. The word appears often in Scripture because the covenant concept is an important part of God’s great plan of redemption. (God would explain His covenant to Noah after he left the ark; 8:20–9:17.) A covenant is an agreement that involves obligations and benefits for the parties involved. In some of the covenants, God alone is the “covenant party” and makes unconditional promises to His people. But there were also covenants that required His people to fulfill certain conditions before God could bless them. More


Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Basic. Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor Pub., 1998. Print. “Be” Commentary Series.

Morning and Evening

Morning, March 28      Go To Evening Reading
“The love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” 
— Ephesians 3:19
The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fulness, its greatness, its faithfulness, passeth all human comprehension. Where shall language be found which shall describe his matchless, his unparalleled love towards the children of men? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow but skimmeth the water, and dives not into its depths, so all descriptive words but touch the surface, while depths immeasurable lie beneath. Well might the poet say,

“O love, thou fathomless abyss!”
for this love of Christ is indeed measureless and fathomless; none can attain unto it. Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand his previous glory in its height of majesty and his incarnation upon the earth in all its depths of shame. But who can tell us the majesty of Christ? When he was enthroned in the highest heavens he was very God of very God; by him were the heavens …

Connect the Testaments

March 21: Sins of Omission
Numbers 24–25;1 Corinthians 7:17–40; Psalm 21:1–13

There’s that moment when you’re asked to do something you know is wrong, but you feel like you should respond. It’s almost as fleeting as the decision to not stand up for what is right, even when no one asks for your opinion. Many wrongdoings occur in these moments—these chances for sins of omission. Being silent is as bad as committing the wrong action, which is why the American court system prosecutes all the people committing an armed robbery for murder when only one gunman pulls the trigger.

Balaam, the prophet from Moab, had such an opportunity. After he was asked by Yahweh to bless the people of Israel—in opposition to his own king’s request (Num 22:1–6)—he could have done nothing at all. Or he could have made Yahweh like the gods of Moab—subjecting them to his will instead of their own—but he instead follows the orders of Yahweh and blesses the people of Israel (Num 24:3–9).

The psalmist addresses what…

Morning and Evening

Morning, March 21      Go To Evening Reading
   “Ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone.” — John 16:32
Few had fellowship with the sorrows of Gethsemane. The majority of the disciples were not sufficiently advanced in grace to be admitted to behold the mysteries of “the agony.” Occupied with the Passover Feast at their own houses, they represent the many who live upon the letter, but are mere babes as to the spirit of the gospel. To twelve, nay, to eleven only was the privilege given to enter Gethsemane and see “this great sight.” Out of the eleven, eight were left at a distance; they had fellowship, but not of that intimate sort to which men greatly beloved are admitted. Only three highly favoured ones could approach the veil of our Lord’s mysterious sorrow: within that veil even these must not intrude; a stone cast distance must be left between. He must tread the wine-press alone, and of the people there must be none with him. Peter and the two sons of …

My Utmost for His Highest

March 21st

Interest or identification?



I have been crucified with Christ. Gal. 2:20.

The imperative need spiritually is to sign the death-warrant of the disposition of sin, to turn all emotional impressions and intellectual beliefs into a moral verdict against the disposition of sin, viz., my claim to my right to myself. Paul says—“I have been crucified with Christ”; he does not say, ‘I have determined to imitate Jesus Christ,’ or, ‘I will endeavour to follow Him,’ but, ‘I have been identified with Him in His death.’ When I come to such a moral decision and act upon it, then all that Christ wrought for me on the Cross is wrought in me. The free committal of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the chance to impart to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.


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

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

March 21

  He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake
Ps. 23:3
He always has a purpose in His leading. He knows where the bits of green pasture are, and He would lead His flock to these. The way may be rough, but it is the right way to the pasture. “Paths of righteousness” may not be straight paths; but they are paths that lead somewhere—to the right place. Many desert paths are elusive. They start out clear and plain, but soon they are lost in the sands. They go nowhere. But the paths of righteousness have a goal to which they unerringly lead.

J. R. Miller

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