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Think on these things

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8–9. 

Eight words are used for the things that should fill the Christian’s thought-life. As they are ‘taken into account’ (as the Greek word translated think means), they will shape attitudes and direct words and actions.

They are the things that are true and honest, worthy and noble, just and right, pure and holy, lovely and beautiful, admirable and pleasant to hear about. Excellent was the best word that classical Greek ethics had for virtue.

Here we have the thought of what is worthy of praise and commendation. Putting this into practice, in other words, living by what they know and acknowledge, would result for the Philippians in the kind of life that Paul had sought to model (Philippians 3:17). Not only would the peace of God be found, but also his unfailing presence (2 Corinthians 13:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:16).

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit

Mark 10:51–52 (NIV): “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

The Bible teaches us that the Body of Christ is the company of the faithful. These words are taken generally in their spiritual sense, while the Bible asks us positively whether we know not that our bodies are the members of Christ. In the same way, when the Bible speaks of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or of Christ, we limit their presence to the spiritual part of our being; our soul, or our heart. Nevertheless, the Bible says expressly, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” (1 Cor. 6:15, 19, 20) When the Church understands that the body also has a part in the redemption which is by Christ, by which it ought to be brought back to its original destiny, to be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, to serve as His instrument, to be sanctified by His presence, she will also recognize all the place which divine healing has in the Bible and in the counsels of God.

The account of the creation tells us that man is composed of three parts. God first formed the body from the dust of the earth, after which He breathed into it “the breath of life.” He caused His own life, His Spirit, to enter into it. By this union of Spirit with matter, the man became a “living soul.”

The soul, which is essentially the man, finds its place between the body and the spirit; it is the link which binds them together. By the body the soul finds itself in relation to the external world, by the spirit with the world invisible and with God. By means of the soul, the Holy Spirit united by faith expressed by our spirit, can by His Sovereign will, subject the body to the action of the heavenly powers and thus imbue it with the indwelling power to atomically and immediately heal. But by faith we must desire and request this: Christ’s grace to heal. And here we must relearn and seek the Lord for a newfound faith abandoned by the churches for centuries. And by prayer and repentant confession allow the Spirit to sanctify us from all sin. Moreover it is of great importance to rely on the Scriptures to guide your doctrine with Spirit-led meditation, into all truth. Jesus Christ  is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Heb 13:8)

The soul, subject to the solicitations of the spirit and in unity in the body, is in a position to choose between the voice of God, speaking by the Spirit in faith, or the voice of the world speaking through the senses. This union of spirit and body forms a combination which is unique in the creation; it makes man to be the jewel of God’s work. Other creatures had existed already, some were like angels, all spirit, without any material body, and others, like the animals, were only flesh, possessing a body animated with a living soul, but devoid of spirit. Having a spirit and a body we are the temple of God, wherein he via the Spirit, abides with us.

Man was destined to show that the material body, governed by the spirit, was capable of being transformed by the power of the Spirit of God, and of being thus led to participate of heavenly glory. We know what sin and Satan have done with this possibility of gradual transformation. By means of the body, the spirit was tempted, seduced, and became a slave of sense. We know also what God has done to destroy the work of Satan and to accomplish the purpose of creation. “The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

God prepared a body for His Son (Heb. 10:5). “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). And now Jesus, raised up from the dead with a body as free from sin as His spirit and His soul, communicates to our body the virtue of His glorified body.

it is worthy to note that when the Holy Spirit testified to the believers at and after the Pentecost outpouring of the Spirit, the message the disciples wanted enablement for, and were given:

Acts 4:29–31 (NIV): Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

And Jesus taught that healing is to go along with the gospel proclaimation: Matt 10:7-8: As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

If we are tempted to think this was only while he remained on earth, here is proof it was to be a continuum as noted in Mark 16: 15-20:

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Further, healng is one of the gifts of the church as taught by Paul, applicable to a faith-based Spirit-led church, even today,  1 Cor 12:28: Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.

The Lord’s supper is “the communion of the body of Christ;” and our bodies are “the members of Christ” (1 Cor. 10:16; 6:15; 12:27). Faith puts us in possession of all that the death of Christ and His resurrection has procured for us, and it is not only in our spirit and our soul that the life of the risen Jesus manifests its presence here below, it is in the body also that it would act according to the measure of our faith. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” Many believers represent to themselves that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our body as we dwell in a house. Nothing of the kind! I can dwell in a house without its becoming part of my being. I may leave it without suffering; no vital union exists between my house and me.

It is not thus with the presence of our soul and spirit in our body. The life of a plant lives and animates every part of it; and our soul is not limited to dwell in such or such part of the body, the heart or the head for instance, but penetrates throughout, even to the end of the lowest members. The life of the soul pervades the whole body; the life throughout proves the presence of the soul. It is in like manner that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our body. He penetrates its entirety. He animates and possesses us infinitely more than we can imagine. In the same way in which the Holy Spirit brings to our soul and spirit the life of Jesus, His holiness, His joy, His strength, He comes also to impart to the sick body all the vigorous vitality of Christ as soon as the hand of faith is stretched out to receive it.

When the body is fully subject to Christ, crucified with Him, renouncing all self-will and independence, desiring nothing but to be the Lord’s temple, it is then that the Holy Spirit manifests the power of the risen Saviour in the body. Then only can we glorify God in our body, leaving Him full freedom to manifest therein His power, to show that He knows how to set His temple free from the domination of sickness, sin and Satan.

Andrew Murray, Divine Healing: A Series of Addresses (Nyack, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing Co., 1900), 50–55.

SELF EXAMINATION: How to expose complacent idolatry of the soul

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Cor 13:5-7)

The following is from David Clarkson (c. 1621-1686), a Puritan who assumed the pulpit of John Owen: 1

This material was written in the mid-1600s, so admittedly, the language is somewhat archaic English but well worth persevering in the reading as it is very effectual to personal soul searching. (2 Cor 13:5-7)

A long list of self-examinable insights is available here to assess our life to see how sincerely we love and follow him, as we prepare for eternity in His Spirit.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.—Ephesians 5:5 A covetous man—and the like may be understood of the rest—is an idolater…Not only the covetous but the unclean are idolaters. The apostle, who here makes covetousness to be idolatry, also counts voluptuous persons to be idolaters, where he speaks of some who make their belly their God (Phil 3:19).

“The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1John 2:16), i.e., pleasures, riches, and honours, are the carnal man’s trinity, the three great idols of worldly men, to which they prostrate their souls. Indeed, every reigning lust is an idol; and every person in whom it reigns is an idolater. And giving that to them which is due only to God, they as a result of this become guilty of idolatry…

That this may be more evident, that covetousness, uncleanness, and other lusts are idolatry, let us consider what it is and the several kinds of it. Idolatry is…to give that honour and worship to the creature due only to God (Rom 1:25)…Now when this worship is made common, communicated to other things, whatever they are, we hereby make them idols and commit idolatry. Now this worship due to God only is not only given by heathens to their false gods; and by papists to angels, saints, images, etc.; but also by carnal men to their lusts. For there is a twofold worship…due only to God, internal and external:

1. External, which consists in acts and gestures of the body. When a man bows to or prostrates himself before a thing, this is the worship of the body. And when these gestures of bowing, prostration are used, not out of a civil, but a religious respect, with an intention to testify divine honor, then it is worship due only to God.

2. Internal, which consists in the acts of the soul and actions answerable thereto. When the mind is most taken up with an object and the heart and affections most set upon it, this is soul worship; and this is due only to God. For He being the chief good and the last end of intelligent creatures, it is His due, proper to Him alone, to be most minded and most affected. It is the honor due only to the Lord to have the first, the highest place, both in our minds and hearts and endeavors. Now according to this distinction of worship there are two sorts of idolatry:

1. Open, outward idolatry, when men, out of a religious respect, bow to or prostrate themselves before anything besides God. This is the idolatry of the heathens and part of the idolatry of papists.

2. Secret and soul idolatry, when the mind and heart is set upon anything more than God; when anything is more valued, more intended; anything more trusted, more loved, or our endeavors more for any other thing than God. Then is that soul worship, which is due only to God… Hence, secret idolaters shall have no inheritance in the kingdom of God. Soul idolatry will exclude men out of heaven as well as open idolatry. He that serves his lusts is as incapable of heaven as he that serves or worships idols of wood or stone. Before we come to confirm and apply this truth, it will be requisite to make a more clear discovery of this secret idolatry…In order thereunto, observe, there are thirteen acts of soul worship…:

1. Esteem. That which we most highly value we make our god. For estimation is an act of soul worship…Worship is the mind’s esteem of a thing as most excellent. Now the Lord challenges the highest esteem, as an act of honor and worship due only to Himself. Therefore, to have a high esteem of other things, when we have low thoughts of God, is idolatry. To have a high opinion of ourselves, of our parts and accomplishments, of our relations and enjoyments, of riches and honors, or those that are rich and honorable, or anything of like nature, when we have low apprehensions of God, is to advance these things into the place of God, to make them idols and give them that honor and worship which is due only to the divine Majesty. What we most esteem, we make our god. If other things are of higher esteem, ye are idolaters (Job 21:14).

2. Mindfulness. That which we are most mindful of we make our god. To be most remembered, to be most minded, is an act of worship which is proper to God, and which He requires as due to Himself alone (Ecc 12:1). Other things may be minded; but if they be more minded than God, it is idolatry—the worship of God is given to the creature. When ye mind yourselves, mind your estates and interests, mind your profits or pleasures more than God, you set these up as idols in the place of God. When that time, which should be taken up with thoughts of God, is spent in thoughts of other things; when God is not in all your thoughts; or if He sometimes be there, yet if other things take place of Him in your thoughts; if when ye are called to think of God—as sometimes every day we should do with all seriousness—if ordinarily and willingly you make these thoughts of God give place to other things, it is idolatry. If either you do not think of God or think otherwise of Him than He is—think Him all mercy, not minding His justice; think Him all pity and compassion, not minding His purity and holiness; think of His faithfulness in performing promises, not at all minding His truth in execution of threatenings; think Him all love, not regarding His sovereignty—this is to set up an idol instead of God. Thinking otherwise of God than He has revealed Himself or minding other things as much or more than God is idolatry.

3. Intention. That which we most intend we make our god, for to be most intended is an act of worship due only to the true God. For He being the chief good must be the last end. Now the last end must be our chief aim, i.e., it must be intended and aimed at for itself; and all other things must be aimed at for its sake…in a subserviency to it. Now, when we make other things our chief aim or main design, we set them up in the stead of God and make them idols. When our chief design is to be rich, or great, or safe, or famous, or powerful; when our great aim is our own ease, or pleasure, or credit, or profit and advantage; when we aim at, or intend any [thing] more, or anything so much, as the glorifying and enjoying of God; this is soul idolatry…

4. Resolution. What we are most resolved for we worship as God. Resolvedness for God, above all things, is an act of worship which He challenges as due to Himself alone. To communicate it to other things is to give the worship of God unto them and so to make them gods. When we are fully resolved for other things, for our lusts, humours, outward advantages, and but faintly resolved for God, His ways, honour, service…; when [we] resolve presently for other things, but refer our resolves for God to the future—“Let me get enough of the world, of my pleasure, of my lusts, now; I will think of God hereafter, in old age, in sickness, on a deathbed”—these are idolatrous resolutions. God is thrust down, the creatures and your lusts advanced into the place of God, and that honor which is due only to Him you give unto them. This is unquestionable idolatry.

5. Love. That which we must love, we worship as our god; for love is an act of soul-worship…To love and to adore are sometimes both one…That which one loves, he worships. This is undoubtedly true, if we intend hereby that love which is superlative and transcendent; for to be loved above all things is an act of honour and worship, which the Lord challenges as His due in peculiar (Deut 6:5). In this the Lord Christ comprised all that worship which is required of man (Mat 22:37). Other things may be loved, but He will be loved above all other things. He is to be loved transcendently, absolutely, and for Himself. All other things are to be loved in Him and for Him. He looks upon us as not worshipping Him at all, not taking Him for a God, when we love other things more or as much as Himself (1Jo 2:15)…Love, whenever it is inordinate, it is an idolatrous affection.

6. Trust. That which we most trust we make our god; for confidence and dependence is an act of worship, which the Lord calls for as due only to Himself. And what act of worship is there which the Lord more requires than this soul-dependence upon Him alone? “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart” (Pro 3:5). He will have no place there left for confidence in anything else. Therefore, it is idolatry to trust in ourselves, to rely upon our own wisdom, judgments, parts, accomplishments. The Lord forbids it (Pro 3:5)… To trust in wealth or riches. Job disclaims this and reckons it amongst those idolatrous acts that were punishable by the Judge (Job 31:24-28). David joins this and the disclaiming of God together (Psa 52:7); and our apostle, who calls covetousness idolatry, dissuades from this confidence in riches as inconsistent with confidence in God (1Ti 6:17).

To trust in friends though many and mighty. He fixes a curse upon this as being a departing from, a renouncing of God, an advancing of that [which] we trust into the room of God (Psa 146:3)…“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9)…The idolatry of this confidence is expressed, in that the true God is laid aside. Trust in the creature is always idolatrous.

7. Fear. That which we most fear we worship as our god, for fear is an act of worship…He that does fear, does worship that which is feared, which is unquestionable when his fear is transcendent. The whole worship of God is frequently in Scripture expressed by this one word fear (Mat 4:10 with Deut 6:13); and the Lord challenges this worship, this fear, as due to Him alone (Isa 51:12-19). That is our god which is our fear and dread (Luk 12:4-5). If you fear others more than Him, you give that worship to them which is due only to God, and this is plain idolatry…

8. Hope. That which we make our hope we worship as god, for hope is an act of worship…and worship is due only to God. It is His prerogative to be the hope of His people (Jer 17:13; Rom 15:13). When we make other things our hope, we give them the honor due only to God. It is a forsaking of the Lord the fountain and advancing of broken cisterns into His place (Jer 2:13), hereby worshipping them as God…Thus do the papists openly, when they call the virgin mother, the wooden cross, and saints departed, their hope. And thus do others amongst us, who make their prayers, their sorrow for sin, their works of charity, or any acts of religion or righteousness, their hope, when men expect hereby to satisfy justice, to pacify God’s displeasure, to procure heaven. Nothing can effect this, but that which is infinite—the righteousness of God. And this we have only in and from Christ. He is therefore called our hope (1Ti 1:1), our “hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Those that make their own righteousness the foundation of their hope, they exalt it into the place of Christ and honor it as God…

9. Desire. That which we most desire, we worship as our god; for that which is chiefly desired is the chief good in his account who so desires it. And what he counts his chief good, that he makes his god. Desire is an act of worship…, and to be most desired is that worship, that honor, which is due only to God. To desire anything more or so much as the enjoyment of God is to idolize it, to prostrate the heart to it, and worship it as God only should be worshipped. He only should be that one thing desirable to us above all things, as to David (Psa 27:4)…

10. Delight. That which we most delight and rejoice in, that we worship as god; for transcendent delight is an act of worship due only to God. And this affection in its height and elevation is called glorying. That which is our delight above all things, we glory in it; and this is the prerogative which the Lord challenges (1Co 1:31; Jer 9:23-24). To rejoice more in our wisdom, strength, riches, than in the Lord, is to idolize them. To take more delight in relations, wife, or children, in outward comforts and accommodations, than in God, is to worship them, as we ought only to worship God. To take more pleasure in any way of sin, uncleanness, intemperance, earthly employments, than in the holy ways of God, than in those spiritual and heavenly services wherein we may enjoy God, is idolatry…

11. Zeal. That for which we are most zealous, we worship as god; for such a zeal is an act of worship due only to God. Therefore, it is idolatrous to be more zealous for our own things than for the things of God—to be eager in our own cause, and careless in the cause of God; to be more vehement for our own credit, interests, advantages, than for the truths, ways, honor of God; to be fervent in spirit, in following our own business, promoting our designs, but lukewarm and indifferent in the service of God; to count it intolerable for ourselves to be reproached, slandered, reviled, but manifest no indignation when God is dishonored, His name, Sabbaths, worship, profaned; His truths, ways, people, reviled—this is idolatrous…

12. Gratitude. That to which we are most grateful, that we worship as god; for gratitude is an act of worship…We worship that to which we are most thankful. We may be thankful to men, we may acknowledge the helpfulness of means and instruments; but if we rest here and rise not higher in our thanks and acknowledgments; if the Lord be not remembered as Him without whom all these are nothing; it is idolatry. For this the Lord menaces those idolaters (Hos 2:5, 8). Thus when we ascribe our plenty and riches to our care and industry; our success to our prudence and diligence; our deliverances to friends, means, and instruments, without looking higher, or not so much to God as unto these, we idolize them—sacrifice to them—as the prophet expresses it (Hab 1:16). To ascribe that which comes from God unto the creatures is to set them in the place of God and so to worship them…

13. When our care and industry is more for other things than for God. No man can serve two masters. We cannot serve God and mammon, God and our lusts too, because this service of ourselves, of the world, takes up that care, that industry, those endeavors, which the Lord must have of necessity, if we will serve Him as God. And when these are laid out upon the world and our lusts, we serve them as the Lord ought to be served, and so make them our gods. When you are more careful and industrious to please men or yourselves, than to please God; to provide for yourselves and posterity, than to be serviceable unto God; more careful what you shall eat, drink, or wherewith [you may] be clothed than how you may honor and enjoy God; to make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof, than how to fulfill the will of God; more industrious to promote your own interests, than the designs of God; to be rich, or great, or respected amongst men, than that God may be honored and advanced in the world; more careful how to get the things of the world, than how to employ them for God; rise early, go to bed late, eat the bread of carefulness, that your outward estate may prosper, while the cause, and ways, and interests of Christ have few or none of your endeavors, this is to idolize the world, yourselves, your lusts, your relations, while the God of heaven is neglected. And the worship and service due unto Him alone is hereby idolatrously given to other things… He that makes Christ his chief aim, if at length he finds Him Whom his soul loveth, this quiets his heart, whatever he want, whatever he lose besides. He counts this a full recompense for all his tears, prayers, inquiries, waitings, and endeavors. From “Soul Idolatry Excludes Men out of Heaven,” in The Works of David Clarkson, Vol. II, reprinted by The Banner of Truth Trust.

1 David Clarkson (c. 1621-1686): Puritan preacher and author. Colleague of John Owen and successor to Owen’s pulpit. Born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England.


The New Covenant Manifesto of God’s Love

When I first wrote this manifesto, I wanted to isolate an understanding of how we can understand God’s love, as He actively reaches out to heal mankind and save us from our collective depravity (global warming, divorce, extinction of species, inequities of justice, folly of illogical politics, starving children, poverty, etc.) 1

The Manifesto of God’s Love presents a biblical view of a case for God’s love to man — to you and to me — expressing the new covenant-based purpose of Jesus Christ in His teaching, demonstrated by how He lived in the flesh when He was here as a man on earth. Further, we will look at His authority as God to carry it out as the world continues to be offered a mind-changing view of love, even now while He is in Heaven. 

God’s Love was revealed to man through the life, scriptural teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus taught that the universe has two Relationship Principles.

The two principles of love, or laws, place the focus on all our relationships, as beginning with our connection with God as our priority. Secondly, after we are in a proper relationship with God, we are to abide by a law of reciprocal relationship to others. These laws are the foundational principles of true love:

  1. Love God with your entire mind, feeling, and energy; and
  2. Reciprocally Love others with the same regard that you would also expect from them.

Jesus stated these laws: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these”. (Mk 12:29-31; John 13:34) Jesus re-emphasized love for others as a new commandment “even as I have loved you”, which was demonstrated in the flesh for the disciples and mankind, during his life, and finally on the Cross. Jesus reiterated the same guidance of moral law founded on love which was previously given by Moses (Lv 19:18).

The laws of Moses also contained ceremonial laws that pointed forward to the death of Christ on the cross. The laws involved metaphorical teachings that in hindsight referenced His coming death on the cross to redeem man from sin. John the Baptist referred to Him as the “Lamb of God”. These laws would be done away with at the cross when the metaphoric shadow-type of the sacrificial lamb died on the cross.

The laws that remained as the two key principles, as noted above, are based on love and are the foundation of all moral good, justice, and mercy in the universe. Apostle Paul and Barnabas made it clear when speaking to the Jews that they could no longer be acquitted by their law-keeping which included the ceremonial laws and many man-made laws. The only freedom from the condemnation of sin is found in accepting the death of Jesus Christ as our substitute, dying in our stead.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” (Ac 13:38-39 NASB)

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a man. His main purpose was to make the true character of God the Father known to us: “He [Jesus] is a light to reveal God to the nations”. (Luke 2:32) Why did He do this? His aim was to reconcile mankind to God. Jesus changed our viewpoint of God, by helping us see God as the Father and Creator of the world and mankind while placing God within our conception of the family model where love is expressed; and expressing God’s intended mindset for man, to live life fully in the ways of true love. “This is how God showed his love among us: “He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)

Even before His death, His life and teaching were about something radically misunderstood. Luke defined it as good news. “Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.“ (Lk 8:1) The foundation of all of the teaching of Jesus was to help man open his eyes to love in a new way.

“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him”. (1 John 4:16) The scriptures indicate that “God is Love” and we are offered the opportunity to abide in that Love, and this is accomplished when “God abides in” a man or a woman’s allegiant heart and mind as God.

How does God abide within man?

When Jesus spoke of the Spirit he used the metaphor of living water: “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (John 7: 38-39 NLT) When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him and the Spirit would “flow from his heart” which is the seat of love in the mind. The love of God is expressed through us by His abiding love in us via His Spirit which Jesus said we would receive simply by believing in Him: “No one has ever seen God; but, if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12) God’s love and His two relational love-laws work on the source principle of Agape love. You can see this united love working in healthy loving marriages, and families when based on these principles.

What is “Agape” love? [A-gap-ee]

Sexual attraction or passionate desire which was gifted to mankind only to enjoy within marriage has been corrupted. The natural gift of God of erotic love, termed “Eros” (Greek), unfortunately, has become dysfunctional in our society, because the foundational principle of God’s Love via the indwelling Spirit has not been confirmed in many marital or non-marital relationships; and thus Agape, true love, is not in place to protect relationships ordained by God. Wherever one of the followings is missing: loving God with our entire mind and subsequently loving others such as in marital unity, within the circle of Agape love, confusion or a sense of failure may follow. This God-given natural drive requires continuous care so as to be kept within its intended purpose and safeguarded boundaries – being a special form of love enhancing and integral to the love of a couple in marriage (marriage is God’s showcase example for our close unity with Him). This potential of maximal love is true at all levels of community, from two friends talking — to parents and children inter-relating in a family — to the gatherings of believers in the Church.

“Agape” is a Greek term for love which means selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. The apostle Paul noted that it is wise for people to marry to fulfill their godly desire for male-female physical relationship within this functional love-foundation, by marrying a partner with equal conviction to live within the context of God’s gift of Agape love: “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: …if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion”. (1 Co 7:8-9, NIV)

To simplify the laws of God, Jesus taught how love works by explaining the two laws. Then as He taught thousands of people in various natural forums by the seaside and in the open fields; in conversations with his disciples; with the religious leaders; with individuals coming privately to him; with people broken and in despair, the first thing he carefully explained is that man does not perceive love correctly, because love is only understood by the heart opened up to God’s Agape love. Many listened, some rejected Him.

You can see the truth of His teaching all around you in society. This is why people often mistreat their closest family members, friends, and associates, yet do not realize that they are getting something drastically wrong. Many look back at failed marriages, failed relationships try-as-they-may, unkind slips of the tongue, unkind deeds, misunderstandings or failed intentions, and the overall disharmonious confusion that sets in, where love ought to be prominent, offering clarity, harmony, and joy in life.

When the Spirit of God opens our mind, we can see the glories of His source of true love, Agape love. This is why in John 3:7-8 Jesus said: “You must be born again… born of the Spirit”. For some, the idea of being born again is misunderstood as a TV preacher’s cliché. Put aside your religious views. Love has nothing to do with denominationalism and intra-doctrinal differences. Agape love as taught and demonstrated by Jesus is taught and maintained only via the divine energies and correct perceptions gifted via the Holy Spirit directing us from within our minds. In this sense, our minds must be cleared of our stodgy old concepts of Christianity. Jesus illustrated this: we must allow God to pour new wine into new wine-skins, new life, and new views into our newly opened minds.

You may also benefit from reading Christ is the end of the law for righteousness

1 I have updated this article on July 10, 2016

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The Duty and Benefits of Self-Examination

2 Corinthians 13:5:‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?’

The following article is by the Banner of Truth, which has one of the best summaries on the importance of self-examining the lives that we live under our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. It is worth the long read for anyone who wants to check their life to see how we are doing. This is a biblical prerogative that this study brings out clearly.

It is much easier, and it is certainly more pleasant to judge other people than ourselves. The so-called ‘super-apostles’ were demanding proof that Christ was speaking through Paul (v.3). They were examining him!

So with these words Paul turns to them and the congregation in Corinth and says, ‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.’ There are members of every congregation who are the self-appointed judges of sermon and preacher, but every true sermon stands in judgment upon us.

When you open J.C.Ryle’s book entitled Practical Religion (Banner of Truth, 1998), which is a companion volume to his better known book entitled Holiness, the first paper you will read there is on this very theme of self-examination. The paper is entitled ‘Self-Inquiry’, and the text which J.C.Ryle chose leading him to open up that theme is Paul’s words to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of God and see how they are doing’ (Acts 15:36).

‘Were their members continuing steadfast in the faith?
Were they growing in grace?
Were they going forward, or standing still?
Were they prospering, or falling away?’ (Practical Religion, p.l).

The ‘super-apostles’ wanted everyone to focus on the apostle Paul, and make judgements about him, privately expressing how sad it was about him, wagging their heads, because the apostle always felt he was right about everything, but Paul wanted to know about them, and all the professing Christians in Corinth. How were they all doing? Many had started so well. Were they going on as well as they had started? Let every one of them examine himself to see whether he was in the faith or not.

C.H. Spurgeon uses four pictures to explain self-examination to us:

Firstly, the schoolmaster : he has been teaching a boy for a year and now comes the final annual examinations. ‘How much has gone in? How much have you been studying? How much work have you done? Has there been progress?’ This is one reason for self-examination: Christ once invited us, ‘Learn of me for I am meek and lowly of heart.’ Have we been learning?

Secondly, the regimental sergeant-major: he has been instructing and drilling the recruit and now he is summoned to the parade ground for the inspection. The sergeant major does not look down from his office window. He marches up and down the ranks of men and scrutinises each one of them. Then he looks at them as they do their drill. So we examine and test ourselves intimately.

Thirdly, the lawyer: the witness is in the box and now you cross-examine him. ‘Were you there? Did it really happen just as you said it did?’ Question your heart back and fore.

Fourthly the traveller: of course there are the popular places where the crowds of tourists gather, and you must visit them. But the true traveller will go off the beaten track and he will explore the valleys and the hidden coves. So it is our private life, the inner life of the imagination and mind where so many of our troubles begin that we will also investigate.


Of course, many unavoidable aspects of the Christian life are difficult:

Constant personal prayer is difficult.
Repentance is difficult.
Mortifying remaining sin by the power of the Spirit is difficult.
Witnessing to people humbly and earnestly is difficult.
Being contented in whatever state we are in is difficult.Submitting to the decrees of God is difficult. Tithing is difficult.
Loving your neighbour as yourself, and loving your enemy, and forgiving seventy times seven – all such activities are difficult.

In other words, it is tough to be a true Christian. Self-examination is simply another difficulty.

It is difficult because it means examining your inner life. Who can know his own heart? Are these feelings natural or are they the work of the Holy Spirit? The heart is deep. Eternity is there. It is unsteady and deceitful because of remaining sin. Again, is it difficult because of our love of ease. There is that character in the book of Proverbs – the sluggard – and in each heart here a sluggard lives, and we fools are seeing to it that he stays alive. Now no sluggard likes to be rebuked for his slothfulness. Again, it is difficult because of all the winds that blow around us, especially in the professing church, and they have their own influence upon us. Let’s look at some of them:

Many professing Christians deplore self-examination, even in the clear light of Scripture. They have one message: ‘Look to Jesus!’ That single monotonous theme; it is like the call to the faithful going out relentlessly from the minaret day after day. But there will come a time when those who hear it will begin to ask themselves, ‘Am I indeed looking unto Jesus?’

There are men who deplore self-examination because they think that it must lead to introspection, and depression. They suggest that the inevitable consequence of doing what in our text the Holy Spirit himself tells Christians to do is that they will lose their assurance and become floundering doubters. Why should that be so? If we are beloved by God from before the foundation of the world, washed in the precious blood of Christ and indwelt by the Spirit of God may we not hope to find some evidences for this in our hearts and lives?

If we readily behold mountains of grace in others may we not hope to find molehills of grace in ourselves?

It was on July 22, 1838, George Muller was in his garden and reading the verse, ‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and for ever’ and he was applying those words to himself and his own circumstances.

What did that truth mean for him? Was he appropriating this Jesus to himself? Was he a real beneficiary of the immutable Lord Jesus? That is self-examination. Very soon he came to this conclusion, ‘Jesus in his love and power has hitherto supplied me with what I have needed for the orphans, and in the same unchangeable love and power he will provide me with what I may need for the future.’ Then a flood of joy came into his heart. He recorded all that in his journal for that day. Self-examination in the light of the Word of God brought him assurance.

Self-examination is discouraged by those whose faith is focused in the sacraments – in baptism, and in confirmation, and in Holy Communion. ‘If you have been baptized, and confirmed as being a Christian by the bishop placing his hands on your head, and if you are going regularly to communion then all is well,’ men are persuaded. I heard a woman calling in on a Christian radio phone-in and telling the experts that she was unsure whether she was a believer or not. ‘Have you been baptized?’ asked one of the ministers, and when she said she had been, then he assured her that she was safe. ‘You have been baptized into Christ,’ he told her. So for him this problem of whether you are a Christian or not was solved by a priest having administered the sacrament with the correct formula, not by examining herself in the light of the Bible to see whether she was in the faith of the Scriptures.

Application: But Philip baptised a man from Samaria called Simon who later offered the apostles money to purchase the ability to lay his hands on people and they would receive the Holy Spirit. Peter told him that he had no part nor share in this ministry, that his heart was not right with God and he needed to repent of his wickedness and pray to God. ‘Perhaps,’ Peter added, God ‘will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart’ (Acts 8:22). There was nothing automatic and permanent about the status in which baptism had placed Simon.

Again, there are many evangelicals whose slogan is ‘Don’t trouble untested assurance.’ They would not behave in that way concerning anything else, and certainly the world wouldn’t. When a boat is launched it goes through trials at sea for months before it takes its first passengers on board. If men have some uncertainty about their health they would visit their doctor for an examination. They would describe the symptoms and ask for a check-up. If men are going to buy a horse they will want to try it for a few days to be sure that it has the temperament and strength of which the salesman is boasting. If their car were making a strange noise they would take it to the garage mechanic. If they were going on a journey abroad they would check up on their travel documents, passport, visa and health insurance. They will examine their plants and then write letters to the gardening experts in the Saturday papers. They will take their pets to a vet after they have examined them. Men examine everything, but how strange that religious men will never examine their own faith in the light of the Bible.

These are the men who are so upset if a true believer expresses some momentary concern: ‘She heard this preacher and she experienced some uncertainties whether she was indeed born again. Horror!’ Why should that be so awful? Doubts have never damned anyone, but sinful presumption has damned many.

The Scripture often says, ‘Let no man deceive you . . . let no man deceive himself . . . be not deceived.’ Isn’t that in the Bible for a purpose? What would you think of a doctor who told every single patient who came to see him that everything was fine with their health? ‘You are covered by the National Health Service,’ this quack tells each of them. He would be the last doctor you would recommend anyone to visit. You want truth from your doctor not bland assurances. Through the course of a year one campaign after another is launched to warn people about different diseases. These campaigns instruct men and women how to examine their own bodies, to look out for and discover the first symptoms of a life-threatening disease. ‘Examine yourselves. Test yourselves. These are the things to look for . . .’ Even the world is speaking of the value of self-examination. Shall not those who come into the orbit of New Testament Christianity pay heed when we are told by the spokesmen of Jesus Christ to examine ourselves?

What occurs in the hearer’s mind when preaching self-examination. The only one who will lose any permanent peace is the spurious believer, and all of us want such a person to be awakened. Think how the Lord Jesus awakened a religious man called Nicodemus by telling him he had to be born again. Of course if preachers are setting the standard too high, or making unscriptural distinctions, or unnecessarily troubling the godly, may the Lord make them aware of it.

The apostle John said, ‘I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life’ (1 John 5:13). What things did he write to them to assure them of this knowledge? Did he talk about making a decision? Being baptised? Having his hands placed on their heads? That they knew a summary of Christian teaching like the Apostles’ Creed? None of those things. John gave them a series of tests by which they were to examine their lives. He said it was by keeping God’s commandments that we know that we are God’s people. He said that it was in loving the brethren we know that we have passed from death to life. He said that it was in overcoming temptation that we know that we have been born again. He spoke to their consciences about such marks of having a true saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Without such searching preaching there are going to be bigger congregations but there will also be giant compromise. The spirit of the world will have entered the church. The Lord Jesus warned his disciples about this early on in his ministry. He told them that if the salt loses its savour it is good for nothing.


The Word of God tells us very plainly to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. ‘Test yourselves!’ it urges us. Why are Hebrews chapters 4 and 6 found in the New Testament if it were not important for us to look at our lives? Why did the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount warn us not to have a religion like the Pharisees if it weren’t to make us ask ourselves, ‘Do I have pharisaic religion?’ When we’re invited to come to the Lord’s Supper, the apostle says, ‘A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup’ (1 Cor. 11:28). What sins does he have to confess? Is his hope still in the name of the Lord Jesus alone? Does he feel unworthy to come, but does he know that all his worth in the sight of God is found in who Christ is and what he has done? There was the weeping woman convinced that she could not come to the Supper because of her sins, and the presiding minister, John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan, set the plate with the bread under her nose and said to her, ‘Take it! It’s for sinners!’

Do we feel our sins but treasure the grace that is greater than all our sins in the Saviour? That is the goal of self-examination. The Word of God tells us to examine ourselves . . . and then to come to the Table.

If we have to confess Christ before men how can we do that unless we are sure we belong to him? If we are to rejoice for evermore how can we rejoice until we know that we have good reason to do so? Would the Scripture tell us to examine and test ourselves if it were not certain that the result of that exercise would be knowledge of our true state, and assurance of our salvation? Such confidence is attainable (whatever the Roman church might say) and that is why the Bible commends to us self-examination.

The Bible does not tell us to go to the homes of the elect and preach the gospel only to them, because before faith we have no way of knowing who the elect might be. So the Bible tells us to preach the gospel to all the world. The Bible does not tell us to examine Scripture and discover the date of the second coming because all the scholars in the world for two thousand years have searched Scripture with their toothcombs and still are nowhere nearer knowing when the world will end. That knowledge has not been revealed and it is unattainable.

The Bible does not say, ‘Ask God to show you what a sinner you are,’ because you could not bear that knowledge. God will show you as much of your sin as is good for you, to humble you but not to destroy you. Such things as comprehensive views of my sin are unattainable, and God would tantalise and mock us if he told us to do them. But he tells us to examine and test ourselves to see whether we are in the faith because in this way we can come to the conclusion, ‘Yes, we are believers.’

Jacob could say with a simple confidence that the Lord God had appeared to him at Luz and blessed him. David could say, ‘The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God and my strength.’ Paul could say, ‘I know whom I have believed,’ and ‘he loved me and gave himself for me.’ John could stand in solidarity with all the Christians reading his first letter and say on behalf of every one of them, ‘We know we have passed from death to life.’

If God has commanded us to do something then it must be for our good, not for our distress. There must be countless benefits that will come to us from doing whatever God says. If he tells us to take up our cross and deny ourselves and follow him, then that must be for our good. If he tells us to pluck out the right eye or cut off the right hand then that must be for our good. If he tells us to hate our mother and father and brother and sister and husband and wife and children then that must be for our good. If self-examination is going to lead to assurance that we are loved by God then one effect will be that our witnessing is going get stronger – how can we speak to others of our Saviour if we are uncertain whether we have him or not?

If God has commanded us to examine ourselves then that is one way he determines we shall be delivered from self-deception. The Lord tells us that on the day of judgment many will say to him, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name driven out demons and performed many miracles?’ But Jesus will tell them they were self-deceived. ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers.’ Is there not one single person in this congregation who is self-deceived? Then it must be the only congregation in the world to be so favoured. Will there not be one person in this congregation who will take that prediction of Jesus Christ seriously and say to himself, ‘Then maybe I am deceived. I had better check what I believe, and how I behave.’ I am saying that God has prescribed self-examination as a preservative against false hopes.

This is a very personal activity. I can remember two boys both getting onto a scales in a railway station and putting a big old penny in and weighing themselves together. I suppose they were going to divide the weight in half to find out what each of them weighed, but as they looked like a junior Laurel and Hardy the half weight was not accurate for either of them. We are not to blend with others and find others in the congregation who are worse than ourselves and gain any comfort from that. How is it between me and God? When he puts me in the balances does he find that I am wanting?

Surely it is impossible to avoid passing some judgement on ourselves. I pass judgement on every sermon I’ve preached and I know there’s not been a message I’ve given that I knew could not have been improved. We pass judgment on our work, on our labours, on our achievements as parents, on our tastes and skills. Imagine a person who felt they were perfect in everything! We know such people and it is impossible to tell them anything. They are the best drivers, conversationalists, painters, Baptists, and cooks in the town. Their taste in music, books, politics, sport is exemplary – so they believe. They never pass judgment on themselves.

Aren’t you afraid for such people? Isn’t the mature person seeking to grow in wisdom and grace and understanding? We stand in front of the mirror each day and we brush our hair and we put on certain clothes and we examine our appearance. How do we look? Isn’t it possible to do that without either vanity or depression? Of course. But shouldn’t we look deeper than that? Isn’t there an inner life – the life of God in the soul of man? Is it characterised by love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control? Are they totally absent from your inner life? No Christian will answer No. Isn’t that the life of true beauty? Don’t you wish your life were characterised by more of those graces? That healthy desire for more comes from true self-examination.


Our main focus is on the Lord Jesus Christ our great prophet, priest and king who is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him. But if that main focus begins to centre on our own frames and feelings then we are in danger. Robert Murray M’Cheyne urges us to take seven looks at Christ for every glance at our sin. There is a dynamic in Scripture that wherever we are warned of self-deception and urged to examine ourselves then words of the most tender grace and mercy to sinners are found right next to them. See here in our text. What is to be the result of examining and testing ourselves? It is, he says, to come to this fresh realisation: ‘Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test.’ What is the purpose of his writing these words, ‘that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority – the authority the Lord gave me for building you up’ (v.10). Then his concluding words for these same people whom he has told to examine themselves, ‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (v.14). His longing is that on every single one of them this glorious blessing of God may rest.

So it is in those fearful chapters in Hebrews where the apostle writes of all that may be attained while falling short of a saving relationships with God, he quickly takes his readers away and comforts them. He has given them a glimpse, and that is enough: ‘Even though we speak like this, dear friends’, he says, ‘we are confident of better things in your case – things that accompany salvation’ (Heb. 6:9).

When Christ cuts us he heals us. So we come to church to be searched by our Saviour. We are happy if the Great Physician has a scalpel in his hand because he will bind up our wounds and strengthen us by anything he does with us.

It is not enough to point out the danger of being extreme. There are ditches on both side of the path to heaven.

One ditch is presumption, and self-examination is God’s appointed means of delivering us from that.
But there is another ditch called despair, and God will not use his warnings about presumption as a means of driving us into despair. That is what the devil will do. We are to have an equal horror of both dangers. If we do then we are right in the centre of the path to glory.

Sometimes Christians are tired because of the stress of their jobs. They have been ill, or there are particular problems in their families. There is a natural heaviness at periods like that. Doubts and discouragement at such times are natural phenomena, not the witness of the Spirit. Think of David Brainerd’s occasional bouts of heaviness. Some of that was due to the illness he was suffering from – tuberculosis – that caused his death as a young man. He had a melancholic temperament in a way that another sufferer of tuberculosis, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, did not have.

There is practical guidance about such cases in the New Testament. John tells us we may ‘set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. (For) God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything’ (1 John 3:19, 20). Our hearts and feelings are not infallible guides. They may mislead us. The hymnist tells us that he dare not trust the sweetest frame. He wholly leans on Jesus’ name.

Again, Satan would like to present us with a list of our sins over many years, to drive us to despair and bitter regrets. He will recall things we had forgotten and remind us of the follies and offences of earlier days. He does this to paralyse us. He is like that party of men who dragged the adulterous woman to Jesus. They wanted her blood, but the Lord Jesus did not condemn her. Think of the wonder of that! Those sins that make you groan and sigh, the Lord Jesus knows about them, but he does not condemn you for them. You can scarcely believe it, but it is true. There is no condemnation for those particular sins because you have long repented of them and his blood covers them. I think of my sins as a minister and preacher. I can hardly believe that he will never bring them up to shame me for them.

Satan will. He will come when we are at our lowest, and he will seize on one bad fall. ‘What about that?’ Satan will say. But that is not the Lord’s doing. He loves us too much to do that. Would you go to your husband when he is sick, or under pressure because of his job, or bearing a load of troubles, and at that time remind him of his sins? Satan does that – not the Lord.

Christ loves us and mixes comforts with his insistence that we examine ourselves. For example, he speaks to the seven Churches of Asia and he makes them examine themselves as the body of Christ. There are things that are wrong in most of them, but he begins virtually every analysis with words of praise. The Lord Jesus commends each church. In other words, self-examination is not to the end of demoralising us, but strengthening areas of weakness. That is not Satan’s way of dealing with Christians. He will call ‘sin’ what is not sin to bring us low.

When Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress is walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death he has all these foul thoughts. They haven’t come from his own heart. They have been scattered there by Satan. Being tempted by lust and anger and self-pity and pride is not in itself sinful.

The Saviour was himself tempted in all points as we are. It is cherishing the thought, taking it aboard, dwelling on it and going with it, that is sinful. It is when we are hearing the Word of God that Christ particularly speaks and convicts us. He points out our sin, and at that moment we confess it, and we ask God to forgive us. He is telling us things to be dealt with, and he will encourage us to find his grace sufficient to keep coming to him and keep confessing those sins which so easily beset us.


We are constantly setting before you the glories of Christ’s finished work of redemption, and the great benefits of being in a state of grace. Now that must result in all of us asking such questions as these, ‘And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour’s blood? Died he for me? How may I be sure that I possess saving faith? How can I know whether I am a child of God or not?’ There is not one verse in the Bible that has the name ‘Geoff Thomas’ written in it but there are many verses that describe for me true believers, how they live, what they believe, what they think about God and themselves. Am I living like them? It seems to me there is no way of getting assurance if we neglect such a duty.

i] We live differently from the world. We do not live perfect lives, but we live new lives. The apostle Peter is describing the life of the convert and he says, ‘he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God’ (1 Pet. 4:2). Here is a Christian and his goal is to do the will of God. That is his ambition. He never achieves it perfectly, but he would! Peter goes on to speak of this man’s old cronies who are scornfully watching him with some incomprehension: ‘They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you’ (1 Pet. 4:4).

There is a challenge here. Is our own life different? Is it what Paul calls in Romans 6 ‘a newness of life’? Is it a life that seeks to do the will of God? Has there occurred any transformation in point of behaviour as a result of our Christian profession? Is our life, in the broadest sense, risen and elevated? Is there some purity and majesty? Yesterday I received the little quarterly paper called the Vision of Europe. It is published by the European Missionary Fellowship and the current edition contains the testimony of a lady called Rosa Viera from Paio Pires in Portugal. She has become a Christian and she concludes with these words, ‘God has completely changed my life – so many are the blessings he has poured out on us. My home today is nothing like it used to be. The long and the short of it is that today there is much love to one another at home. We daily put all our matters into the hands of God.’ There is newness of life in that Christian home.

Now I am asking you to examine yourselves not in point of feelings, not in point of gift, but in point of Christian conduct, in point of Christian love and Christian purity, which would tell men that your life has been touched by the power that made the world, that your life has been affected by the power which raised our Lord from the dead. Are our lives different from what our unregenerate lives were? Are our lives different from those who still constitute the mass, the unregenerate world? Do they think it strange that you do not live as they live, and maybe they heap any abuse on your head? Do they tease you, and is that teasing sometimes sharp? Does this argue that in you now there is working the Almightiness of the Lord God? As we face the temptations of this life, does the way that we emerge declare that we have faced and overcome them by the power of an Omnipotent Creator? As we undergo whatever his will may hold for us of suffering, do we have the courage and patience that would argue that the Lord has held us up with his own strength, and made over to us the resources of his own power?

Do we long for the will of God to be done in our lives, effectively, so that it is done not by our own strength but by the power of the living God? Do we seek to live by the Sermon on the Mount, and by the great sections of the New Testament letters, by Romans 12 and Ephesians 5 and 6? I am not asking for perfection. I am asking for newness of life, and a different life.

ii] We are given a zeal for doing good works. Isn’t this the effect of the grace of God entering our lives, that we become actually zealous in good works? The Christian is someone ‘created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (Eph. 2:10). God’s grace is his sanctifying power. It is not God showing men the way. It is not God beseeching men to do good works, or God pleading with us and pointing out to us what he wants us to do in the life of his Son. It is God himself putting forth his power to make it absolutely certain that some changes are going to be effected in our lives and conduct. Henceforth there is going to be a new pattern of kindnesses shown, journeys made, services rendered, feet washed and dried, prisons visited, the sick helped, and the hungry fed. In the true Christian there is not going to be one initial volcanic explosion of good works which is going to last about a month and then the Christian just lies dormant for decades. God has prepared in advance for our whole life to be spent in doing good works, and he provides the energy and resources to accomplish this, so that the Christian can say, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’

It has been profitable to read Brian Edwards’ account of his years of marriage to his wife Barbara (Horizons of Hope, Day One, 2000). She had chronic rheumatoid arthritis, and after thirty-five years of marriage she died on November 16, 1998. Increasingly he needed to do more and more for her, including preparing their meals and clearing up afterwards. She became totally dependent upon him and he was given grace to abound in good works towards her. That was his great privilege. But how zealous had she been for good works over many years in spite of her physical handicap. On the night she died Brian wrote in his diary, ‘Only I know just how wonderful a wife and mother Barbara was. Her patient endurance, deep love for the Lord and longing to serve him. Thank you Lord, for Barbara.’ We sometimes wonder how we would cope if we or our spouses developed a serious illness. God would enable us to be still zealous in good works.

iii] We are given a new attitude to sin. Let me approach this by way of the hymns we most love to sing. When we sing ‘Amazing grace’ we really mean it when we say that it saved a ‘wretch like me.’ That is not poetry for us. When we sing ‘Beneath the cross of Jesus’ we really mean it when we say that we confess two wonders, his glorious love and our own worthlessness. When we sing ‘Jesus, lover of my soul’ we really mean it when we sing, ‘Vile and full of sin I am.’ When we sing ‘Rock of ages’ we mean it when we sing, ‘Foul, I to Thy fountain fly, Wash me Saviour or I die.’ We have seen something of the splendour and majesty and glory of God. The cherubim hide their eyes in his presence and they sigh, ‘Holy! Holy! Holy!’ Eternal light, in whom is no darkness at all!

Our sin meant that God the Son must become incarnate. He must become the Lamb of God. ‘Was it for sins that I had done He groaned upon the tree?’ Yes. He bore my sins in his own body on the tree.

For what you have done His blood must atone; The Father hath punished for you His dear Son. The Lord in the day of His anger did lay Your sins on the Lamb and He bore them away. (Charles Wesley)

The dying of Jesus Christ makes our whole attitude to sin different.

Ye who think of sin but lightly Nor suppose the evil great Here may view its nature rightly Here its guilt may estimate.

Mark the Sacrifice appointed, See who bears the awful load; Tis the Word, the Lord’s anointed, Son of man and Son of God. (Thomas Kelly)

What is your estimate of your own sin? Do you seek to mortify remaining sin? Have you declared war on it? Do you take it seriously? When you sin do you plead the merit of the blood of Christ to wash the stain away?

iv] We are given a new attitude to Jesus Christ. We have the most exalted and most stupendous view of him. We have the grandest, and greatest, and maximal possible view of Christ. For us he is the Son of God. We did not always see him like this. We judged him to be a great man and a good man and wonderful prophet, but God has intervened and given us not religion, nor feelings, nor marvellous experiences, but a whole new insight into Jesus Christ. He has transformed our beliefs and ideas about Jesus of Nazareth. He has printed indelibly on our conscience a few elementary momentous convictions regarding Mary’s boy-child. God has persuaded us that Jesus is God’s own Son. I believe that there is nothing more foundational to a Christian than this. This is the great end of self-examination that we fall again before him and confess, ‘My Lord and my God! This is the first question that we ask people who say they are Christians: ‘What do you think of Jesus?’

When men came to John the Baptist they wanted John the Baptist to talk to them about John the Baptist. But John the Baptist would have none of it. John the Baptist said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ He was pointing away from himself. So is the Christian church. It is pointing primarily to the Lamb in the midst of the throne. A Christian makes the most stupendous claims on behalf of his Saviour. I believe in his pre-existence, that he has always been, that he was in the beginning, that he never came into being. I believe that he is the Maker of heaven and earth, that he designed every leaf, that he plotted the flight-path of every comet, that he upholds the whole universe by the word of his power, that every physical and chemical bond in the cosmos has been fashioned and maintained by the Lord of glory. I believe that our mathematics and physics, as applied to the universe, describe the thought patterns of the eternal Jesus Christ.

I believe that one day he will come again and that he will pull this whole universe apart, atom by atom, molecule by molecule, and that he will put it all together again as a new heaven and earth. I believe that one day you and I will stand before him face to face, and give an account, and from him receive our destinies. I believe that in him we meet ultimate and absolute and final reality. I believe that he is God; the only God there is; in him is the fulness of God; the whole form of God and the whole glory of God is found in Jesus Christ; he may be more, but he is not less. I believe in the greatness of Jesus, the unique grandeur of the Lord Jesus, the incomparable magnificence of Jesus of Nazareth.

Who is He in yonder stall, At whose feet the shepherds fall?

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story, ‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory. At his feet we humbly fall; Crown him crown him Lord of all. (Benjamin R. Hanby)

Self-examination is intended to lead us to him. Paul says, ‘Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?’ (v.5) The end of our examination is to bow before him, believing in our hearts and confessing with our lips that he is God. So you see how gracious and saving a means of grace is true self-examination.

Who should be baptized?

Who should be baptized? How should it be done? What does it mean?  Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are two ceremonies that Jesus commanded his church to perform. Before studying baptism, we must recognize that there has been historically, and is today, a strong difference of viewpoint among evangelical Christians regarding this subject.

… baptism is not a “major” doctrine that should be the basis of division among genuine Christians, but it is nonetheless a matter of importance for ordinary church life, and it is appropriate that we give it full consideration. 1

The position advocated herein is “Baptistic”—namely, that baptism is appropriately administered only to those who give a believable profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The practice of baptism in the New Testament was carried out in one way: the person being baptized was immersed or put completely under the water and then brought back up again. Baptism by immersion is therefore the “mode” of baptism or the way in which baptism was carried out in the New Testament.

The fact that John and Jesus went into the river and came up out of it strongly suggests immersion, since sprinkling or pouring of water could much more readily have been done standing beside the river, particularly because multitudes of people were coming for baptism. John’s gospel tells us, further, that John the Baptist “was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there” (John 3:23). It would not take “much water” to baptize people by sprinkling, but it would take much water to baptize by immersion.

When Philip had shared the gospel with the Ethiopian eunuch, “as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?” ’ (Acts 8:36). Apparently neither of them thought that sprinkling or pouring a handful of water from the container of drinking water that would have been carried in the chariot was enough to constitute baptism. Rather, they waited until there was a body of water near the road. Then “he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water the Spirit of the Lord caught up Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:38–39). As in the case of Jesus, this baptism occurred when Philip and the eunuch went down into a body of water, and after the baptism they came up out of that body of water. Once again baptism by immersion is the only satisfactory explanation of this narrative.

The apostle Paul uses the symbolism of union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection seems to require baptism by immersion. Paul says: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:3–4)

Similarly, Paul tells the Colossians, “You were buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Now this truth is clearly symbolized in baptism by immersion. When the candidate for baptism goes down into the water it is a picture of going down into the grave — symbolically dying to sin — and being buried. Coming up out of the water is then a picture of being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. Baptism thus very clearly pictures death to one’s old way of life and rising to a new kind of life in Christ. But baptism by sprinkling or pouring simply misses this symbolism.

Sometimes it is objected that the essential thing symbolized in baptism is not death and resurrection with Christ but purification and cleansing from sins. Certainly it is true that water is an evident symbol of washing and cleansing, and the waters of baptism do symbolize washing and purification from sins as well as death and resurrection with Christ. Titus 3:5 speaks of “the washing of regeneration” and, even though the word baptism is not used in this text, it is certainly true that there is a cleansing from sin that occurs at the time of conversion. Ananias told Saul, “Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).

To teach that washing away of sins is the only thing (or even the most essential thing) pictured in baptism does not faithfully represent New Testament teaching. Both washing and death and resurrection with Christ are symbolized in baptism, but Romans 6:1–11 and Colossians 2:11–12 place a clear emphasis on dying and rising with Christ. Even the washing is much more effectively symbolized by immersion than by sprinkling or pouring, and death and resurrection with Christ are symbolized only by immersion, not at all by sprinkling or pouring. In all the discussion over the mode of baptism and the disputes over its meaning, it is easy for Christians to lose sight of the significance and beauty of baptism and to disregard the tremendous blessing that accompanies this ceremony. The amazing truths of passing through the waters of judgment safely, of dying and rising with Christ, and of having our sins washed away, are truths of momentous and eternal proportion and ought to be an occasion for giving great glory and praise to God. If churches would teach these truths more clearly, baptisms would be the occasion of much more blessing in the church. 2

The view refered to as “believers’ baptism,”  holds that only those who have themselves believed in Christ — those who have given reasonable evidence of believing in Christ — should be baptized. This is because baptism, which is a symbol of beginning the Christian life should only be given to those who have in fact begun the Christian life.

After Peter’s sermon at Pentecost we read, “Those who received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41). The text specifies that baptism was administered to those who “received his word” and therefore trusted in Christ for salvation. Similarly, when Philip preached the gospel in Samaria, we read, “When they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women” (Acts 8:12). Likewise, when Peter preached to the Gentiles in Cornelius’ household, he allowed baptism for those who had heard the Word and received the Holy Spirit—that is, for those who had given persuasive evidence of an internal work of regeneration. While Peter was preaching, “the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word” and Peter and his companions “heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God” (Acts 10:44–46). Peter’s response was that baptism is appropriate for those who have received the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit: “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” Then Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:47–48).

The point of the above three passages is that baptism is appropriately given to those who have received the gospel and trusted in Christ for salvation. There are other texts that indicate this as well. In Acts 16:14–15 Lydia and her household, after “the Lord opened her heart” to believe — And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

And cosnsider that the family of the Philippian jailer was baptized after Peter preached “the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house” (Acts 16:32–34)

In 1 Corinthians 1:16  we see that Paul baptized the household of Stephanas — and this was a household baptism.

Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV): And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

1, 2 Grudem

The Righteous shall live by faith in Christ

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…for in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed — a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’.” (Romans 1:16-17; compare Genesis 15:6; Habakkuk 2:4)

In the first chapter of Romans, Paul is exalting the righteousness of God as our foremost focus on what is revealed through the atonement of Jesus Christ — what was taught to us as the primary message of the Gospel.

The letters of Paul on the Righteousness of God

Peter was called the apostle of hope, and John of love, whereas Paul was the apostle who defines the doctrine of God’s righteousness as it applies to our life of faith in Christ.

Paul experienced direct communications from the Lord. He was taught by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12) and even caught up into paradise to hear unspeakable words (2 Corinthians 12:4). He was led by the Spirit into the importance of the law and the prophets where Jesus revealed to him the truths verified in the Lord’s atoning death. Jesus gave this to Paul who was directly called to become his chief doctorate on earth — Paul, the principal intellectual architect of the Gospel and Christ’s church.

He teaches the doctrine of God’s righteousness from the objective truth opened up to him in the Old Testament, and from his experiential acquaintance with Christ as the end of the works of the Mosaic law for any false sense of justifying righteousness. The apostle makes use of all the terms employed by the other writers, such as redemption, propitiation, peace, and the like, descriptive of Christ’s sacrificial death, there is one peculiar to him, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, which very frequently occurs. Though announced in the prophets, and indirectly alluded to by Peter and John in their use of the designation “the Righteous One,” it is especially found in Paul, who uses this abstract expression to describe the atonement in relation to divine law. 1

“Righteousness by Faith in Christ” has been a doctrinal term with many different concepts within the various denominations of the church. It may be one of the most confusing and uncomprehended teachings due to its many variant ideas both academic and unacademic. However, Christ himself told us to “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness.” (see Matthew 6:33 NIV) It is imperative that we understand God’s kingdom wherein his children seek His righteousness above all else. It is the golden-key doctrine — that unlocks the blessed life.

Theories of Law and Grace Abound

The are some groups who believe that the Mosaic law including the Decalogue is done away with, which does not line up with scripture.

As a Puritan who believed in the continuation of the moral law found in the Decalogue — not to be confused with the ceremonial laws, given within the Mosaic period, Theodore Beza (1519-1605) affirmed that ignorance of the law-gospel distinction “is one of the principal sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity.” 

In agreement and with careful clarification of the distinctions of the administration of law and grace, the Puritan reformer and writer, Burgess, noted that “when one takes the law strictly [primarily and foremost] and identifies it with the covenant of grace, he or she confounds “the righteousness of works, and of faith together” — an axiom which referenced the contradistinction during the Reformation, held by the Protestant’s theology versus Roman Catholic dogma blending and confusing works of the law with God’s mercy and grace — he added as a Puritan writer  “as the Papists do”. 3  He was careful to express this distinction because the Papacy had instituted many works-related methods by which to be saved such as indulgences.

Aside from works as a method to obtain salvation or merit from God I would like to make a scriptural observation of truths noted by the prophets, both in the new and old testaments worth comparison. We find that men and women were often accounted righteous in tandem with a confession of sin and God’s reconciling forgiveness, and by expressing absolute belief in the prophetic word of God declared to them as when Abraham believed God’s claim that his progeny would include the nations. Thus it is evident that grace has been working through the old as well as the new covenant when God restores a person from a life of sin; and when a man walks in faith as a friend of God as did Abraham. (Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 4:3, James 2:23) Further study on this point: (Romans 3:25-26; 4:8; Galatians 3:11; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Hebrews 10:38)

A comparison of Paul’s letters to the Galatians, Romans, and Philippians where the righteousness of God is the central thought shows that there was a doctrinal conflict within the churches antithetical to living a righteous life by faith. These letters reveal his constant need to counteract Jewish legalism. The mindset of the Jewish Pharisee hinged on the works of the law, a refined keeping of the written code with its strict enforcement of legal ceremonies such as circumcision as erroneously thought to remain in continuum with the gospel of Christ. However, the purpose of the Mosaic law was to increase the Jews’ understanding that we are all sinners and to lead us to understand the need for Christ’s atonement. (Galatians 3:24) This understanding Paul brings out well in his letters.

In Romans, “the righteousness of God” is a descriptive name Paul uses to illustrate the atoning work of the Father, allowing and determining the death of his son, Jesus Christ on the cross — displaying Yahweh’s righteousness of the once-and-for-all final atonement to redeem humankind from sin. Because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all One in the Godhead, it should be understood that this was a joint effort to redeem man first prophesied in Genesis 3:15 and referred by Paul after the cross in Romans 16:20 — a plan which was put into effect before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)

For this reason, some churches hold to a continuance of all of the ten commandments as a rule of faith because Christ died to redeem transgressors of God’s divine law. Because we all have sinned (Romans 3:23-24) when we are moved by Christ’s atonement on the cross and His offer of grace, the Spirit of God lovingly convicts us of sin and leads us to repentance (John 16:8). We find repentance comes easily when we first understand the forgiveness of our Lord. (Romans 2:4).

In tandem with faith in Christ, led by the Spirit in love, it is of paramount interest to understand righteousness by faith is synchronous understanding of the moral law as now written on our hearts in response to Christ’s atoning work (Jeremiah 31:33). The divine law which is based on love was the standard bar of Christ’s atonement, so any faith in the receipt of grace upholds the primary genus articulated further by differentiating a divine moral decalogue and as such cannot be contrary to Christ’s remnant church! (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3; Revelation 12:17, 14:12)

Martin Luther noted that “whoever knows well this art of distinguishing between the Law and the Gospel, place him at the head and call him a doctor of Holy Scripture.” 4  The 10 commandments are not observed as a way of justification, but as based on the foundational principles of loving God first for what He accomplished in His Son on the cross on our behalf, and loving others as yourself, which is the way that the Spirit leads us to live agreeably in our lifestyle by faith and love (Romans 8:14).

The letter to the Galatians is an enforcement of the great truth that this righteousness of faith in Christ is the one plea valid before God; without complicated confusion by adding any form of works for our justification before God to add to this completed work of salvation. (Galatians 2:21, 3:21).

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we find the same antithetical theme even though other points required attention in this church (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 3:9). Paul contrasts the two economies: the law is called the ministry of condemnation, and the gospel, the ministry of righteousness. In the letter to the Philippians Paul accounts all things as a loss in exchange for this righteousness despite approaching martyrdom (Philippians 3:9). We find an allusion to the righteousness of God also in the pastoral letters. (Titus 3:5–7).

Dr G. Smeaton noted how Luther struggled with the phrase the righteousness of God: “All alike need the provision of the gospel, and must repair to it; FOR they have nothing to expect but a revelation of wrath on their account. The mode of expounding this phrase by allusion to the divine attribute was in reality overcome at the Reformation. Luther tells us that, having long had a desire to understand the Epistle to the Romans, he was always stopped by the expression “the righteousness of God,” which he understood as the divine attribute; but after long meditations, and spending days and nights in these thoughts, the nature of that righteousness which justifies us was discovered to him; upon which he felt himself born anew, and the whole Scriptures become quite a different thing. It is evident, indeed, that there can be no allusion to the divine attribute of justice, because this would furnish the idea of an incensed God, which is the purport of the law; whereas the provision is one of grace, displaying a reconciling and justifying God, which is the essence of the gospel.5

In Romans, we will see that the primary use of the term righteousness of faith or righteousness by faith will represent God’s righteousness in the act of his redemption of humanity: Christ was made to die for our sin so that the righteousness of God might cover us as we accept his gracious gift of His own Son Jesus Christ. As theologians note, Christ was a propitiating sacrifice in our stead, as he died on our behalf for our transgressions of the law. (I John 3:4)

First, it must be clear that the Christian is not made as a man or woman to attribute any of the righteousness of God to him or herself (2 Corinthians 5:21) by any good works demonstrated outwardly by our keeping of any prescribed law. Humanity has proved incapable of achieving any righteousness on our own. (Philippians 3:9).

If we think of God’s unmerited favour towards us, covering our sin as a father might lovingly embrace a long-lost son (Luke 15:18-20), we have a pretty good picture of His forgiveness, which motivates our love to follow Him as our Redeemer, and to demonstrate our life as a reflection of Christ’s righteousness via His Spirit within — letting our light shine as Jesus taught in the sermon on the mount. (Matthew 5:16)

Secondly, the divine justice against man’s sin was due to the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Because that law furnished the rule or standard by which God’s righteousness was tried and delivered resulting in the atoning death of Christ; we now seek to follow the Royal law of Christ, by loving God and our neighbour as yourself. Love is the fulfilment of the law (Romans 13:10)

This righteousness is called a gift (Romans 5:17) and said to be of God, moreover divinely provided in Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Since this is in contrast with the ongoing failure of works of the law, or of any good works of our making (Philippians 3:9), the fact is clear. We have no righteousness of our own. This atonement of Christ on the cross is the gracious provision of God, which is imputed, accounted to us only by faith in what he has done on our behalf. (Romans 4:3-6, 22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

1 Smeaton, G. (1870). The Doctrine of the atonement, as taught by the apostles. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Theodore Beza, “The Christian Faith (1558)”  in Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation: Volume 2: 1552-1556, comp. James T. Dennision Jr. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 173-74.   

Burgess, Vindiciae Legis, 230

Martin Luther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel:  Thirty-Nine Evening Lectures, ed F.W.Walther, trans. W.H.T. Dau (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia 1986

5 Smeaton, G. (1870). The Doctrine of the atonement, as taught by the apostles. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Faith in Christ by the Power of His Gospel

What is faith in Jesus Christ? And ought we to believe in Jesus Christ for the saving of our souls?

Faith in Christ is a necessary duty. There is no salvation except in Christ; and without faith in His name, we can obtain none of His precious blessings: “The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness” who added: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Rev 3:14; Mark 16:16) If these Words of Christ are true — and they are — who would not desire above all things to know the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God, since His death, resurrection and ascension; He in whom we are called on to believe? Do we need more motive or encouragement than looking exclusively to Him for the salvation of our soul?

In whom are we to believe?

How shall we believe in Him of whom we have not heard? We cannot trust in Christ for salvation unless assured on unimpeachable evidence that He is able and willing to save us. If He were able but not willing to save, His power would be the object of terror, and not of confidence. If not almighty, His willingness to save would be worthless, for only an omnipotent arm could deliver sinners from the ruins of their fallen condition. But blessed be God, from the writings of the prophets and apostles we have the most perfect assurance of the infinite grace and infinite power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Take the testimony of John, the beloved disciple, who wrote his gospel that we might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that believing, we might have life through His name. In its opening sentence he gives such an account of the person of Christ as must convince every unprejudiced reader that our Saviour is the Great God, equal in power and glory with the Father, and therefore “mighty to save.”

“In the beginning was the Word.” This “Word” was a distinct person from another person who is called God. These two persons do not differ in essence, for the Word who was in the beginning with God, is also God. The Word is in no respect inferior, for He is the Son of the Father, He was the Creator of all things, and “without him was not anything made that was made.” If Christ had not been a divine person, He could not have been entrusted with the salvation of our souls.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col 1:15-18)

Such is the account which the Scriptures give of Him in whom we are called to believe. They assure us that He is a person truly divine and yet incarnate, having assumed human nature that He might do everything needful for our salvation. Further, they assure us that every saving office belongs to Him by His Father’s appointment, and His own voluntary undertaking; that He is the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world; a light given to the Gentiles, that He might be God’s salvation to the ends of the earth; a King highly exalted, seated on a throne of mercy, that He may dispense in rich abundance spiritual blessings to perishing sinners. In the representations given of the Lord Jesus Christ we find everything fitted to impart perfect confidence in His ability and willingness to save. We behold in Him all divine excellencies, every saving office, an exhaustless fullness of grace and truth, an everlasting righteousness, and a complete salvation, purchased by His precious blood, placed before our view, offered and recommended to our acceptance by the blessed God, the Author of the glorious gospel. What shall we say to these things? Shall we not say with joy and gratitude, “We will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Yahweh is our strength and our song, and he also is become our salvation.”

When we believe in Christ, we give not that glory to another which is due only to God (Ps. 146:3-5). The confidence we place in the Redeemer is not alienated from God. Our justification is through faith in Christ, as Paul shows at great length in Romans; and yet in the same epistle he sometimes speaks of that faith by which we are justified as if it were placed in God the Father: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9; 4:24). To believe in Christ as an exalted Saviour is to believe in God, who raised Him from the dead.

We cannot come to Christ without coming to him by the Father via the Son’s Word. Alternatively, we cannot come to God but by Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Our realization of belief in Christ is actualized by a calling and wooing of the Spirit, by the eternal name of Jesus the Word, actualized by scriptural teaching, with conviction of righteousness by the calling divine power of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thes. 1:4-5; Rom.1:16-17; 15:13) To re-emphasize: it is the power of God, that brings the gospel to our awareness opening the minds of those he calls by the power of the Holy Spirit. By his power of illumination he opens our minds while covering our sinfulness, unmentioned, as already forgiven and washed away and atoned for though unmerited; moreover the beauty of His righteousness via His Son Jesus Christ flashes before us. Thereby we are smitten by His love – all by the power of His Spirit’s presence during our calling, bringing Jesus to the forefront of our minds. This unmerited mercy and love is referred to as Grace.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: …For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed… (Rom.1:16, 17)

The name of Christ is frequently represented as the – object of our faith. By His name is meant the full representation made of Him in Holy Scripture. We cannot believe scripture as the word of truth without believing in Christ. For what is the gospel, but the revelation of Christ as our Saviour; and what is the faith of the gospel, but faith in Him whom it so clearly displays to our view (Rom. 1:16, 17).

The nature of Saving Faith

What is that faith which is so necessary for our salvation, and so highly commended in the Bible? There have been many disputes about the true nature of faith; and yet one would think that the characteristics of this grace that we find in Christ must be fully described in a book which was designed by divine wisdom to be a light to our feet and a lamp to our path.

If the Scriptures do not clearly explain the way of salvation, how can they be a light to guide our feet in the way that leads to life everlasting? We are not to suppose that some men are saved in one way and some in another. “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) There is no other way in which we can receive salvation from Jesus but by faith; and there is only one kind of saving faith. How important, therefore, the question, “What is faith in Jesus Christ?” How dangerous to be mistaken on a point of such eternal consequence!

All men do not mean the same thing by the same words relative to faith in Christ.  Calvinists maintain that coming to Jesus is a distinct exercise of the soul being called by the Father — initiating a concomitant and parallel faith to believe — essentially the calling of a soul to Christ, is inseparably connected with faith — both directed by the Word of God as a divine providence. This is based on the truth that firstly we are called to come to Christ by the Father who then imparts believing faith: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory” John 17:24

It is, however, of great importance to have clear, precise, and distinct apprehensions of the true nature of faith, that the exercise of our hearts in believing may not be perplexed and encumbered by mistakes or doubts. Besides, if we err simply in words in regard to this grace, we may lead other men into errors of judgment or practice, by conveying to them our sentiments in language to which they may affix very different ideas from our own.

One thing is certain, our faith, if genuine, must be in exact accordance with the word of the truth of the gospel. Hence, in Scripture it is called obedience to the gospel, or the “obedience of faith.”

As our study has indicated faith in the Gospel of God, the Father calls us to His Son Jesus Christ, to receive an inheritance of eternal salvation, by the work of the Holy Spirit.

For further study on the trinity see Theology: The Trinity Doctrine Glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ


Our assurance of Salvation

Romans chapter 8 presents the gifts of God that combined, promise every Christian the certainty that his or her relationship with God is secure and settled. Paul shows how the Spirit confers on the professing believer a new life (Rom. 8:1–13), adoption into God’s family (Rom. 8:14–17) and the confident hope for glory (Rom. 8:18–30).

The Spirit of life.  Paul teaches a contrast between the situation ‘under the law’ in Rom. 7:7–25 and the state ‘under the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:2–4, 7), expanding on the new way of the Spirit in Rom. 7:6b. The Christian’s deliverance from condemnation—the penalty of death because of sin under which all people live—takes place by virtue of our union with Christ (Rom. 8:12–21) — The OT Mosaic law could never justify anyone. Deliverance  is accomplished by God expressing his love for us by sending his Son Jesus to die for our sins:

For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5: 6-8).

The Father sent the Son as a sin offering for us (Rom. 8:3) by which the Spirit liberates us from the power of sin and death (Rom. 8:1-2) and secures the complete fulfilment of the law on our behalf (Rom. 8:4).

Two laws to comprehend. The contrasting ‘laws’ in v 2: For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set you free from the law of sin and death presents two distinct operations of the Mosaic law: 1. which functions to imprison people when it is viewed narrowly as a demand for works, but 2. which operates to liberate people when they understand it correctly as a demand for ‘faithful obedience. Paul does not attribute the power to obey to the law. Rather the power to liberate from sin and death, is attributed solely to the law of the Spirit, the power and authority imparted to the believer in Christ, and exercised by the Spirit.

Correspondingly, then in the above relation to the condition of obedience to Christ, concomitant to belief in His resurrection power by the Spirit to obey and overcome the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2) will also denote not a new life of living by the dictates of the Mosaic law, which is meant to teach us that ‘the power (or judicial authority) of sin and death’ originates from our own sin which incites the wrath of God as per (Rom. 1:18; Eph. 2:2-3; 5:6). 2

The apostle Paul expresses what is true of everyone alive on this earth in need of the grace of God to mercifully free us from bondage to sin and death: But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me. (Rom. 7:23)

On to Sanctification and Eternal Life. Through Christ Jesus the Spirit of God sets us free from the situation of bondage to sin and death alluded to in Rom. 5:12–21 and Rom. 6:1–23 and described in Rom. 7:7–25. The Spirit must so act because the great power of the ‘old regime’, the Mosaic law, was quite incapable, because of human weakness, of breaking sin’s bondage as per Paul’s note: holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me. (Rom. 8:3a; cf. 7:14–25). What the law could not do, God did: he broke sin’s power—condemned sin—by sending his Son to identify with us and to give himself as a sin offering. The Mosaic law was instituted by God to act as a strategy to aim us towards a recognition of our incapability to obey by the power of our own will when operative without God’s Spirit.

But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith, which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Gal. 3:23-25, 2:16)

This sending of the Son enables the true fulfilment of the law by those who live according to the Spirit. Paul does not mean that Christians are enabled to obey the law (however true this might be) but that Christians are considered by God to have fully met the law’s demand because of Christ’s imputed obedience on our behalf. As believers in Christ’, we are free from condemnation because Jesus Christ has completely fulfilled the law on our behalf. He became what we are—weak, human and subject to sin’s power—that we might become what he is—righteous and holy.

The contrast between ‘flesh’ (Rom. 8:5) and Spirit in (Rom. 8:4b) — contrasts between these two ‘powers’ in (Rom. 8:5–8). Through these contrasts Paul explains why it is that the Spirit, and not the flesh, brings life. People ‘in the flesh’—that is, those who live in the ‘old regime’ where sin and death reign—have mind-sets dominated by ungodly impulses (Rom. 8:5).; they cannot submit to God’s law (Rom. 8:7) or please God (Rom. 8:8), but are under sentence of death (Rom. 8:6). On the other hand, Christians, ‘in the Spirit’, who have been transferred into the new regime where grace and righteousness reign and who have therefore been given a new mindset focused on the Spirit, enjoy life and peace (Rom. 8:6).

Rom. 8:9 makes clear that every person who belongs to Christ has been transferred into this new domain in which the Spirit rather than the flesh, rules. Then, in Rom. 8;10–11, Paul shows how the present possession of ‘spiritual’ life will lead to the enjoyment of ‘physical’ life through the resurrection of the body. And this will also be accomplished through the power of the Spirit, who now indwells us. Rom. 8:12–13 teaches: The Spirit’s work in assuring us of life does not mean that we can be passive about our obligation to manifest the life of the Spirit in our daily lives. Only as we submit to the Spirit’s control and direction, turning away from the ‘fleshly’ lifestyle, will we be able to live (Rom 8:13). Paul is clearly referring to spiritual, eternal, life and thus makes the enjoyment of that life in some real sense dependent on Christian obedience as we live in responsible sanctification led and empowered by the power of God. (Ep. 6:17; 1 Co. 10:13; 2 Pet. 2:9; Zc. 4:6) To achieve Christian obedience we must abide in the Spirit of Christ allowing him t lead. (Rom. 8:14,16; Is. 30:21, 35:8; Prov. 3:6; John 15:7-9, 10-11)

The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of our Adoption Here we are called by faithfulness to the Scriptures to hold in tension two clear truths: that the indwelling of the Spirit as the result of faith in Christ infallibly secures eternal life, and that a lifestyle patterned after God’s Spirit is necessary to inherit eternal life. The tension can be softened somewhat by remembering that the Spirit given to us at conversion is himself active to produce obedience. But it does not remove the tension, for we are still called upon to submit ourselves to this indwelling work of the Spirit of Christ– the Spirit of adoption. (Rom. 8:14–17)

As ‘life’ is the ruling idea in Rom. 8:1–13, so is sonship in Rom. 8:14–17. This brief paragraph, in addition to making its own contribution to the theme of the chapter by recounting the wonderful and comforting truth that Christians have been adopted into God’s own family, provides a transition between Rom. 8:1–13 and Rom. 8:18–30. Being a child of God explains both why God’s Spirit confers life on us (Rom. 8:13–14) and why it can be said that we are heirs with a glorious prospect for the future (Rom. 8:17–18). To be led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14) means not to be guided by the Spirit in decision-making, but to be under the dominating influence of the Spirit (Gal. 5:18).

The clause sums up the various descriptions of life in the Spirit in Rom 8:5–9. Paul can claim that those so led by the Spirit are sons of God and so are destined for life (Rom. 8:13). Sons of God is a biblical title for the people of God (see, e.g. Dt. 14:1; Is. 43:6; cf. Rom. 9:26). But we must also recognize in the title an allusion to the sonship of Jesus himself (see Rom. 8:3, 29); as Rom. 8:15 confirms, ‘Abba’ was Jesus’ own address to God (see Mk. 14:36), one that showed especial intimacy. This same address is now one that Christians spontaneously ‘cry out’ in their own approach to God. It is the Spirit, again, who implants in us that sense of intimacy (Rom. 8:16) and abolishes, thereby, all bondage (to ‘the law of sin and death’, (Rom. 8:2) and all reason to fear (Rom. 8:15a). The Spirit, thus, is the Spirit of sonship. Paul takes the word ‘sonship’ (which could also be translated ‘adoption’—hyiothesia) from the Greco-Roman world, where it denoted the legal institution whereby one could adopt a child and confer on that child all the rights and privileges that would accrue to a natural child. But the conception is rooted in the biblical picture of God as one who graciously chooses a people to be his very own (Rom. 8:23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5).

To abide in Christ is to have his Trinitarian Spirit dwell within, conferring unity with the Father as One, now as an adopted son united and thereby empowered and honoured in Christ’s radiant glory, as evidenced in John 17: 22-24: The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Our adoption into God’s family, however amazing and comforting, is not the end of the story. For to be children is also to be heirs: to be still waiting for the full bestowment of all the rights and privileges conferred on us as God’s children (Rom. 8:17); see especially Gal. 4:1–7, with an argument quite similar to that in (Rom. 8:1–17). As the Son of God had to suffer before entering into his glory (1 Pet. 1:11), so we sons of God by adoption must also suffer ‘with him’ before sharing in his glory (see also Phil. 1:29; 3:20; 2 Cor. 1:5). Because we are joined to Christ, the servant of the Lord ‘despised and rejected by men’ (Is. 53:3), we can expect the path to our glorious inheritance to be strewn with difficulties and dangers (Rom. 8:18–30).

Suffering in Christ Believers, facing the necessity of ‘suffering with Christ’ in this world can nevertheless be confident and secure, knowing that God has determined to bring us through to our inheritance (Rom. 18–22, 29–30), that he is providentially working on our behalf (Rom. 8:28) and that he has given us his Spirit as the guarantee of our final redemption (Rom. 8:23). Paul never minimizes the fact or severity of Christian suffering in this world. But it is still to be seen as insignificant in comparison with the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom 8:18).

Our Hopeful Expectation  In the OT, ‘glory’ denotes the ‘weight’ and majesty of God’s presence. Paul applies the term to the final state of the believer when we have been transformed into the image of God’s son (Rom 8:29). For Christ has already entered into this state of glory (Phil. 3:21; Col. 3:4), and the transformation of our bodies will bring to light in the last day our share in that glory. Rom 8:19–25, whose keywords are wait eagerly (Rom 8:19, 23, 25) and hope (Rom 8:20, 24–25), show that Christians, along with the entire creation, have to wait for God’s work to be completed. Paul follows OT precedent (Ps. 65:12–13; Is. 24:4; Je. 4:28; 12:4) in personifying the entire sub-human creation: it groans in frustration (Rom. 8:20, 22) and anticipates eagerly the day when our status as God’s children will be finalized and made public (Rom. 8:19, 21). What makes it clear that Paul does not include angels and human beings in his purview is the fact that the frustration now experienced by the creation did not come about by its own choice (Rom. 8:20). It came, rather, by the will of the one who subjected it (Rom. 8:20). God, who decreed a curse on the earth as a result of Adam’s sin (Gn. 3:17–18; cf. 1 Cor. 15:27). But the decree of subjection was always accompanied by hope that God would one day make his creation what he originally intended it to be, a place where ‘the wolf will live with the lamb’ (Is. 11:6).

We Christians share creation’s groaning and hope (Rom. 8:23), for we possess the Spirit as the first fruits, the downpayment and pledge of our final redemption, and this causes us all the more to long for the finishing of God’s work in us. What is often called the  ‘already—not—yet’ tension between what God has already done for the believer and what he has yet to do is very evident when we compare (Rom. 8:23, 14–17). For the ‘sonship’ we are there said to possess is here tied to the redemption of our bodies and made the object of hope and expectation. Such hope is the very essence of our salvation. We must, therefore, wait patiently for what God has promised (Rom. 8:24–25). In Rom. 8:26–30 Paul gives three reasons why we can wait with patience and confidence for the culmination of our hope.

First, the Spirit assists our ignorance about what to pray for (Rom. 8:26–27). In this life we are necessarily uncertain about what we ought to pray for. But the Spirit himself intercedes for us with God, praying on our behalf that prayer which is always in perfect accordance with God’s will (Rom. 8:27). Paul is not here describing the gift of speaking in tongues; it is not even clear that he denotes an audible process at all, since the Spirit’s groans may be metaphorical — see (Rom. 8: 22). Rather, he is probably describing an intercessory ministry of the Spirit in the heart of the believer that occurs without even our knowledge. A second basis for the believer’s confident expectation of the future is God’s constant working in all things for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28).

Nothing that can touch us lies outside the scope of our Father’s providential care: here, indeed, is cause for joy and a rock-solid foundation for hope. We must, however, define the good that God is working to produce for us in his terms and not in ours. God knows that our greatest good is to know him and to enjoy his presence forever. He may, then, in pursuit of this final ‘good’, allow difficulties such as poverty, grief and ill health to afflict us. Our joy will come not from knowing that we will never face such difficulties—for we certainly will (Rom. 8:17)—but that whatever the difficulty, our loving Father is at work to make us stronger Christians. Paul describes those for whom God so works from the human point of view ‘those who love him’ and — the divine ‘who have been called according to his purpose’ (Rom. 8:28). God’s ‘call’ is not simply his invitation to people to embrace the gospel, but his effectual summoning of people into a relationship with himself. See for example: Rom. 4:17; 9:12, 24. This calling takes place in accordance with God’s purpose, that purpose being ultimately to conform us to the likeness of his Son (Rom. 8:29).

God brings each of us to that goal through a series of acts on our behalf. First, he ‘foreknows’ us. Some scholars think that proginōskō (‘foreknow’) here means what it often does in Greek literature—‘know something ahead of time’. But Paul says that it is we Christians whom God knows, and this suggests the more personal idea of ‘knowing’ that is sometimes found in the OT: election into a personal relationship as per example: Gn. 18:19; Je. 1:5; Am. 3:2. God’s ‘foreknowing’, his selection of us to be saved from ‘before the creation of the world’ (Eph. 1:4; Acts 2:23; 1 Pet. 1:2, 20), leads to his ‘predestining us’, his appointing us to a specific destiny. This destiny is that we become like Christ, a final event that God accomplishes by ‘calling’ us (see Rom. 8:28b), ‘justifying’ us (see Rom. 3:21–4:25) and ‘glorifying’ us. Significantly, this last verb is, like the others in Rom. 8:30, in the past tense, suggesting that, though the attainment of glory may be future, God’s determination that we shall attain it is already accomplished. 3

1, 2, 3 Douglas J. Moo, Romans

God – He gave them up to a depraved mind

Furthermore, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, He gave them up to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done. Rom. 1:28

The chapter of Romans 1 emphasizes the depravity of those who do not give the Trinitarian God his honour due, by way of worshipping and obeying him. Roman 1:28: “God, he gave them up to a depraved mind”. Our adversarial, Satan-controlled collective ungodly humanity is vast and will increasingly be out to force compliance of mankind including Christians to conform to the rights of all individuals, including those accounted by the Lord as immoral. The doctrinally sound devotees to Christ will be marginalized by the masses as conspiratorial fools.

Some believe that a digital government currency is coming. This is potentially viable. The premise is that it will allow the government to know every exchange of money: income and expenses (including who you financially support); surveillance of every transaction worldwide to tax everyone on everything they earn, and own, including estate valuations; and stop or confiscate the flow of income of who the government determines are bad actors. If a future digital currency is in place, surveillance could then be used to control the populations of the earth when it is entirely in the grip of Satan and his minions as per the prophecies in Revelation — so I will not discount it — especially when you read the history of the author in the citation. 1

Further proof of these considerations can be found on the website of The United States Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on the topic of: “The Digitization of Money and Payments”. 2 This validates the inching towards a government digital currency.​With the democratic liberal countries wanting to move away from collaborating in business in China, Russia etc. this could indeed potentially occur down the road leading to a digital monetary war, which presents security issues.

Furthermore, the depravity of man involves the majority of the earth’s inhabitants yielding to this governing authority some refer to as One World Government.  Based on the conflict of the primary ideologies, any digital currency creation would separate democracy from communist regimes, which complicates such development and would necessitate individual digital government currencies. (I postulate that banks, as we know them would continue for some time). How this will tether out only God knows.

Scripture prophesies that a Satanic ideology led by demons will turn the majority against Christians who hold to moral values and obey God:

  • And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, …blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. …Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Rev. 13.5-10, 16)
  • Also, it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Rev. 13:16-17)

Several governments in the world aim to shut down Christian values, even their ideological view of any idea standing in the way of increasing immorality related to the rights of the individual. This is the sign leading up to Armageddon which the scriptures indicate is a spiritual war led by Satan and Satanic values. Just watch and listen to Transhumanism’s views about Christian ideals. Increasingly the majority of published media will blame every stupid conspiracy on Christians. 3

The same ideology of blaming Christians for the ruination of the earth is revealed in the introductory chapters of the best-selling  book, Braiding Sweetgrass:

  • “On one side of the world were people whose relationship with the living world was shaped by Skywoman, who created a garden for the well-being of all. On the other side was another woman with a garden and a tree. But for tasting its fruit, she was banished from the garden and the gates clanged shut behind her. That mother of men was made to wander in the wilderness and earn her bread by the sweat of her brow, not by filling her mouth with the sweet juicy fruits that bend the branches low. In order to eat, she was instructed to subdue the wilderness into which she was cast. Same species, same earth, different stories. Like Creation stories everywhere, cosmologies are a source of identity and orientation to the world. They tell us who we are. We are inevitably shaped by them no matter how distant they may be from our consciousness. One story leads to the generous embrace of the living world, the other to banishment. One woman is our ancestral gardener, a cocreator of the good green world that would be the home of her descendants. The other was an exile, just passing through an alien world on a rough road to her real home in heaven.” 4

In the above examples of Transhumanism and Braiding Sweetgrass, I discern the rising of the rights of any groups historically suppressed, now protected by governments, without shamefacedness, blaming the suppression of their rights on Christianity.

What are the causative attributes of a depraved mind, the reasons that God is giving them up?

Those in depravity replace worship of the Trinitarian God for idols replacing the Creator of the universe: Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! (Rom. 1:22, 25)

The debased mind is in bondage to the lusts of the flesh: For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Rom. 1:26-28)

The debased mind gives approval to sins historically viewed as abhorrent: They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Rom. 1:32)

People with a debased mind will not repent of their sins: The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev 19:20)

My good friend, Mark Johnson has some encouragement for fellow Christians:

In so many ways and so many places throughout the world we are surrounded by uncertainty and unrest. Humanity is in turmoil. Only God is a place of safety, a source of peace. This is a time to ponder deeply these passages.

“Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”— Mark 13:35-37, ESV;

“. . .avoid every kind of evil. May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24, GNT;

“The Lord gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm. So always trust the Lord because he is forever our mighty rock.” — Isaiah 26: 3-4, CEV

Courage. God alone is dependable in the days ahead. He’s got you!

1 A former advisor to the Pentagon, White House, Congress, Department of Defence, and the CIA, Jim Rickards. He wroteThe Death of Money

2 The United States Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on the topic of: “The Digitization of Money and Payments”. 
3  Transhumanism: The World’s Most Dangerous Idea
4 Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass (pp. 6-7). Milkweed Editions. Kindle Edition.