The Westminster Confession of Faith: Justification. Part 2.

We will devote each Lord’s Day in 2021 at hiswordtoday.org to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2021. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter Eleven: Justification. Part 2.

3. Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to his Father’s justice in their behalf.a Yet inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them,b and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead,c and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace;d that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.e

a. Isa 53:4-610-12Dan 9:2426Rom 5:8-10191 Tim 2:5-6Heb 10:1014. • b. Rom 8:32. • c. Mat 3:172 Cor 5:21Eph 5:2. • d. Rom 3:24Eph 1:7. • e. Rom 3:26Eph 2:7.

4. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect,a and Christ did, in the fulness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification:b nevertheless, they are not justified until the Holy Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.c

a. Rom 8:30Gal 3:81 Pet 1:219-20. • b. Rom 4:25Gal 4:41 Tim 2:6. • c. Gal 2:16Col 1:21-22Titus 3:4-7.

I encourage you to read the portions of Scripture listed in this post.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

\Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: A Holy Temple. Part One.

19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:19–21 (ESV)

The subject of a temple is an interesting one. This is true, not only biblically but also historically. A temple is a shrine, a sanctuary, and a place of worship. In other words, it is a holy place.

In the ancient world, some of the earliest structures built by man were temples or shrines where he could worship his god in his ‘house’ (See K. M. Kenyon, Archaeology in the Holy Land4 pp. 24, 33, for the Mesolithic and Neolithic shrines at Jericho).

For example, the Tower of Babel was the first structure mentioned in the Bible implying the existence of a temple (Genesis 11:1-4). However, what may seem to have been a place where man might meet God, it symbolized the self-confidence of man attempting to climb up to heaven. For such pride, the temple Tower of Babel was doomed (Genesis 11:5-9).

In ancient Mesopotamia, each city had a temple dedicated to its patron deity. The god was looked upon as the owner of the land. If the land was not blessed by him it would be unproductive. This resulted in poor revenues for his temple. The local king, or ruler, acted as steward for the god. It is possible that Abraham, before God called him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, was a worshiper in, and at, these pagan temples (Genesis 11:27-12:3; Joshua 24:1-5).  

There was no purpose in the semi-nomadic Patriarchs, like Abraham, Lot, Isaac and Jacob to build one particular shrine for Yahweh. He revealed himself as and where He pleased. Such occasions were sometimes the scenes of a sacrificial offering (Genesis 8:20; 12:1-8; 13; 1-18; 28:18-22; Job 1:1-5).

After Israel became a nation, a central sanctuary shrine became a necessity. It would be a gathering-point for all the people, a symbol of their unity in the worship of the One, True God. This need was initially provided by the Tabernacle during the wilderness wanderings of 40 years during the trek through the wilderness (Exodus 25-30; 35-40; Leviticus 1-7; Numbers 7-9). The Tabernacle was also a recognized holy place during the period of the judges (e.g. Shechem, Jos. 8:30ff. 24:1ff. Shiloh, 1 Sam. 1:1-3).

The lack of a permanent Temple of Yahweh appeared necessary when David had consolidated his power and built a permanent palace for himself. The king said, ‘I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent’ (2 Sam. 7:1-2). However, God did not give David the responsibility, or privilege, to build the Temple because he was stained with the blood of his enemies. David did collect materials, gathered treasure and bought the site (1 Chronicles 22:1-8, 3; 2 Sam. 24:18–25). It was David’s son, Solomon, who began the actual construction in his 4th year as King of Israel, and the Temple was completed 7 years later (1 Kings 6:37–38).

How does this information about the Old Testament Jewish Temple apply to believers in Christ today? Each new believer in Christ is a new stone in Christ’s temple, the church. The Temple is now Christ’s body of believers. Christ’s building of his church will not be complete until every person who will believe in him does believer in Him (2 Pet. 3:9).

I Peter 2:4-5 says, 4As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

More to come. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: A Household and a House.

19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,” (Ephesians 2:19–20 (ESV)

One of the metaphors, or comparisons, the Lord makes regarding believers in Christ is that they are a household. In other words, they are His family. We belong to Him and He is our heavenly Father. Believers are His children (Matthew 6:7-15).

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “One of the most well-known statements of the Christian faith is the Lord’s Prayer, which begins with the words “Our Father which art in heaven.” This is part of the universal treasury of Christendom. When I hear Christians in a private gathering praying individually, almost every single person begins their prayer by addressing God as Father. There’s nothing more common among us than to address God as our Father.”

However, this biblical relationship is exclusively for those who are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. In the nineteenth century, there were some who said the basic essence of the whole Christian religion could be reduced to two points: the universal brotherhood of man and the universal fatherhood of God. Those who advocated this perspective were mistaken.

Throughout Ephesians 2, the Apostle Paul has extensively explained that those who are without Christ as their Savior and Lord are not only dead in their trespasses and sins but also are objects of God’s holy wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). Rather than God being the unbeliever’s Father, He is their judge.

Paul then shared another metaphor of the church. He continued to explain that the truth of believers in Christ being God’s household was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The church of Jesus Christ is not only likened to a household, but also to a house.

To begin with, a house is built (ἐποικοδομέω; epoikodomeo). God is the master builder ((1Cor. 3:10, 12, 14; 1 Peter 2:1-5).

Secondly, every building built has a foundation. The foundation of God’s spiritual building are the apostles and prophets. Respectively, these two offices are in reference to New Testament and Old Testament heralds of God. These men received the revelation of the mystery of the church in the present age (Revelation 21:9-14).  

Thirdly, every house which is built requires a cornerstone. Jesus Christ alone is that cornerstone. Jesus Christ is the central part of the foundation of the church (I Peter 2:6-8).

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “In ancient building practices “the chief cornerstone” was carefully placed. It was crucial because the entire building was lined up with it. The church’s foundation, that is, the apostles and prophets, needed to be correctly aligned with Christ. All other believers are built on that foundation, measuring their lives with Christ.”

Therefore, it is not necessary for the church today to require new revelation from God. The foundation of biblical truth has already been laid and established. What we, the church, need to do is to continue to study the apostles and prophets foundational truth concerning Jesus Christ. This is solely contained in the Scriptures.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: No Longer Strangers and Aliens.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” (Ephesians 2:19 (ESV)

Ephesians 2:19 begins with the phrase “so then,” which indicates a result clause. The result of Jews and Gentiles being one in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-18) is consequently the Gentiles are no longer strangers and aliens to God and His covenant community.

The word strangers (ξένος; xenos) refers to a spiritual foreigner (Matt 25:35, 38, 43, 44; 27:7; Ac 17:21; Heb. 11:13; 3 John 5).  The word aliens (πάροικος; paroikos) means a temporary resident ((Acts 7:6, 29; 1 Peter 2:11+). Scripture still refers to believers as exiles in this world (I Peter 1:1; Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 11:13-16), which means that the Christian’s real homeland is in heaven.

Instead of being a stranger or an alien to God, Gentile believers in Christ are presently and actively fellow citizens (συμπολίτης; sympolites) with the saints. Saints (ἅγιος; hagios) are individuals who solely belong to God. They are dedicated, and consecrated to obey God and His Word (Mark 6:20; 1Cor. 6:2; 2 Cor. 13:12; Philip. 4:22; Rev. 18:20; 22:21).

The Apostle Paul also calls Gentiles in Christ members of the household of God (οἰκεῖος; oikelos). This means Gentile believers are members of God’s family.

Remember this great gospel song from years ago.

Chorus
I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family, the family of God.                                                                    

You will notice we say “brother and sister” ’round here –
It’s because we’re a family and these folks are so near;
When one has a heartache we all share the tears,                                                                And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King –
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I’m not worthy to be here, but praise God I belong!

Thanks be to God I’m part of His family. I pray that you are too.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: True Israel.

17And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:17–18 (ESV)

The doctrine of Jews and Gentiles being one in the person and work of Jesus Christ, by God’s grace alone, through God given faith alone, is not found exclusively in the New Testament. It is also prophesied in the Old Testament.

The Prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 57:19, said, “Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them.”  The far refers to the Gentiles, while the near is a reference to the Jews. The LORD, Yahweh, will not only bring peace and tranquility to both people groups along with spiritual healing. Unlike false prophets who proclaim and predict peace, the LORD indeed brings peace to, and for, His people (Romans 5:1).

The Apostle Paul proclaims in today’s text that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Prophet Isaiah’s oracle from God. He preached peace to both Jew and Gentile through the apostles, evangelists, and pastor/teachers. It is only through Jesus Christ that both people groups have access, by the Holy Spirit, to God the Father.

Dr. R.C. Sproul writes, “Christ proclaimed His peacemaking achievement in the cross, though He did not travel to Asia in the flesh either before or after His resurrection. Instead, He traveled through heralds such as Paul, whose feet carried the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15; Isaiah 52:7).”

Jesus, in Matthew 28:19-20, said to His disciples, 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus also said to His disciples, in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Truly, God still uses His disciples to further the unity between Jews and Gentiles. We are His tools to bring about the fulfillment of true Israel through the communication of the Gospel.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Book of Ephesians: Reconciliation.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14–16 (ESV)

Jesus Christ has made both Jew and Gentile one in Christ. He has broken down the spiritual and physical wall of hostility between these two people groups. He also abolished the Old Testament ceremonial laws, and created in Himself one new individual in place of two separate ones.

Additionally, Jesus Christ has also reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God the Father. To reconcile (ἀποκαταλλάσσω; apokatallasso) means to make things right with one another. It also means to reunite and restore a previously broken relationship (Romans 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “As Jews and Gentiles are brought to God through Christ Jesus, they are brought together with each other. This was accomplished by the cross, where Jesus became a curse (Gal. 3:10–13), taking God’s wrath so that divine justice was satisfied and reconciliation with God became a reality. God initiates the change in the sinner’s status in that he brings him from a position of alienation to a state of forgiveness and right relationship with himself. This again is the essence of the gospel. God offers reconciliation—people from every ethnic group, without distinction. The intrinsic merit of Christ’s reconciling death is infinite and the offer is unlimited. However, actual atonement was made only for those who believe (cf. John 10:11, 15; 17:9Acts 13:48; 20:28Rom. 8:32–33Eph. 5:25).” 

Thank you Lord for your reconciling work on the cross, on the sinner’s behalf. Praise your holy name.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: One New Individual.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.” (Ephesians 2:14–15 (ESV)

As we noted in a previous blog, Jesus Christ is the believer’s peace and tranquility. He alone removed the estrangement and enmity between God the Father and those who are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, and in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

Through the work accomplished by Jesus Christ, He has made both Jew and Gentile one in Christ. The hostility between these two people groups, once they are converted by the Gospel, is eliminated.

How did Christ accomplish this task? By fulfilling, and ultimately replacing, the Old Testament ceremonial law. In doing so, the Apostle Paul indicates that Jesus Christ created in Himself alone a new individual. Once again, there remains no distinctions, such as economic, gender or nationality, for those who are in Christ (Galatians 3:23-29).

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Christ offered in His own body the final sacrifice to which the temple’s sacrifices merely pointed. The ceremonial law of the Old Testament that separated Jews and Gentiles are no longer appropriate for God’s people after their fulfillment in Christ.”

Nineteenth century theologian Charles Hodge writes, “Christ, by being made under the law (Galatians 4:4) and fulfilling all righteousness, has redeemed those who were under the law. He delivered them from the obligation of fulfilling its demands as the condition of their justification before God (Romans 6:14; 7:1-6; Galatians 5:18; Colossians 2:14). But secondly, as Christ abolished the law as a covenant of works by fulfilling its conditions, so He abolished the Mosaic Laws by fulfilling its types and shadows. He was the end of the law in both these aspects.”     

Thank you Lord for being our peace. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Justification.

We will devote each Lord’s Day in 2021 at hiswordtoday.org to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2021. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter Eleven: Justification. Part 1.

1. Those whom God effectually calleth he also freely justifieth;a not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous: not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them,b they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.c

a. Rom 3:248:30. • b. Jer 23:6Rom 3:2224-2527-284:5-85:17-191 Cor 1:30-312 Cor 5:1921Eph 1:7Titus 3:57. • c. Acts 10:4413:38-39Gal 2:16Eph 2:7-8Phil 3:9.

2. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification;a yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.b

a. John 1:12Rom 3:285:1. • b. Gal 5:6James 2:172226.

I encourage you to read the portions of Scripture listed in this post.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

\Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Jesus Christ is our Peace.

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14 (ESV)

The result the Apostle Paul gives for the work by Jesus Christ in bringing to salvation Gentiles who were distant from the truth and promises of God is peace. More than just bringing sinner’s peace, the apostle states that He Himself (Jesus Christ) is our peace.

The phrase “For he himself” is in an intensive and emphatic statement. It refers, in the context, to Jesus Christ alone. Paul wants his readers to know that he himself, Jesus Christ, is the believer’s peace. The small word is (εἰμί; eimi) refers to Jesus as presently, and actively being something. He is our peace.

Peace (εἰρήνη; eirene) means not only freedom from worry, but also tranquility, health and the end of hostilities. Jesus is the only one who removes the estrangement between sinners and God the Father (Romans 5:1-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). He alone is the source of reconciliation.

Jesus has not only broken the estrangement between God and man, but also between one’s fellow man. It is Jesus who has made both the Jew and the Gentile one in Christ. Through His person and work on earth, Jesus alone has broken down λύω; lyo), loosed and destroyed what Paul calls the dividing wall of hostility.

The phrase the dividing wall of hostility refers to barriers in the temple area in Jerusalem which separated and segregated the Jews from the Gentiles. This resulted in hostility (ἔχθρα; echthra) or enmity between the ethnic groups.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “A wall separated Gentiles and Jews, and signs were posted excluding Gentiles from the inner courts where sacrifices for sin were performed. Paul interprets as emblematic of the law’s function of keeping Israel separate from the surrounding pagan peoples.”

It is through Jesus Christ’s person and work alone that no barriers between people groups exist unto salvation (Galatians 3:23-29). We are all one in Christ.

This truth reminds me of a Maranatha Music chorus appropriately entitled He is our Peace.

He is our peace
Who has broken down every wall,
He is our peace, He is our peace.
He is our peace
Who has broken down every wall,
He is our peace, He is our peace.

Cast all your cares on Him,
For He cares for you,
He is our peace, He is our peace.

Thank you Jesus for being our peace. This is because You are the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Soli deo Gloria!       

The Book of Ephesians: The Far Off, Have Been Brought Near.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul provides a stirring and wonderful contrast to what Gentiles were without Christ (Ephesians 2:11-12), to what they presently are in Christ. Though Paul was specifically writing to, and about, the Gentiles in Ephesus, the application of these truths apply to all ethnic non-Jewish individuals for all time. Individuals like you and me.  

To contrast what we were without Christ, to what we are now in Christ, the apostle begins with these words: But now. In other words, Paul was indicating that meanwhile, or at the present time in contrast to your past, Gentiles have experienced a change of status before God.

The change of status before God is because Gentile believers then, and Gentile believers today, are presently and actively in Christ. They are in union with Christ, on the basis of God the Father’s grace alone, through God given faith alone, and in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

Due to this union in Christ alone, Gentiles who were once far off, or a great spiritual distance away from salvation, God the Father has brought near, or close to Himself. This has been done solely by the means of the substitutionary atonement sourced in Jesus Christ. It is solely through Christ’s shed blood that the unconverted can, and may, be justified.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Every person who trusts in Christ alone for salvation, Jew or Gentile, is brought into spiritual union and intimacy with God. This is the reconciliation of 2 Cor. 5:18–21. The atoning work accomplished by Christ’s death on the cross washes away the penalty of sin and ultimately even its presence.”

Thanks be to God that the atoning work by Christ’s death on the cross washes away not only the penalty of sin, and ultimately the presence of sin, but presently the power of sin. Praise be to God for His marvelous grace and mercy.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: The Heritage of the Unconverted Gentile.

11 “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:11–12 (ESV)

Paul also wrote for Gentiles (non-Jews) to “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Separated, alienated, strangers, having no hope and without God are strong descriptive words.

All non-Jews were separate from (lit., “without”) Christ not only personally (true also of many Jews) but also in that they had no national hope of the Messiah. The word separated (χωρίς; choris) means to have no relationship with as Savior or Lord.

We were also excluded from citizenship in Israel. The Gentiles did not belong to the theocratic state of Israel (cf. Rom. 9:4). The word “excluded” (ἀπαλλοτριόω; apallotrioo) means to be “alienated” or “estranged.” It is used only two other times (Eph. 4:18; Col. 1:21). Though some Gentiles were admitted into Judaism as proselytes, Gentiles as a whole were excluded.

The word strangers (ξένος; xenos) means a foreigner or an alien. The covenants of promise found in the Old Testament were not intended for Gentiles.  

We were also people without hope. This means that unbelievers did not have any confidence in God or His promises. This is because they were not aware of them. There was no hope of any kind for any type of salvation from God.

Finally, non-Jews were without God in the world. This is a fitting description of atheists. This means, in the original sense, of being without God but also in the sense of hostility to God from failure to worship him. Romans 1:18-32 gives a truthful description of those without Christ.  “In the world” (ἐν τῳ κοσμῳ [en tōi kosmōi]) goes with both phrases.

As one author writes, “It is a terrible picture that Paul gives, but a true one.” However, thank the Lord for the truth found in Ephesians 2:13: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  

Take the time today to give praise to God for bringing us to Himself by the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Remember.

 11 “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:11–12 (ESV)

And God remembered Noah and all the wild animals, and all the domesticated animals that were with him in the ark. And God caused a wind to blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.” (Genesis 8:1)

15 “And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Yahweh your God brought you out with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm; therefore, Yahweh your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath.” (Deuteronomy 5:15)

In my heart I have hidden your word, so that I may not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:15)

19”And he took bread, and* after* giving thanks, he broke it* and gave it* to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And in the same way the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)

Even a cursory glance at the Old and New Testament reveals that the word “remember” or “remembrance,” and its derivatives, are important to God, and should be important to believers in Christ. The Apostle places great emphasis on Gentile Christians remembering what they were without Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The Greek word for remember (μνημονεύω; mnemoneuo) means to recall and to keep thinking about. When Paul uses it in today’s text, it is in the form of a present, active imperative or command. Therefore, a command is to be obeyed. In this case, actively and consciously obeyed. Especially if the command is from the Lord. What is it that God, and the Apostle Paul, wants Gentile believers to remember?

First, remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—.” What does this mean?   

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Having completed his discussion of believers as God’s workmanship (vv. 1–10), Paul began this section with the strongest inferential particle (dio, therefore) to alert the Ephesians to the unenviable position of having no relationship with God. Paul commanded them to remember that formerly, before their conversions, they were Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by Jews. Jews, being circumcised physically (in the body) disparaged all non-Jews by calling them the “uncircumcised.” This physical difference between Jews and Gentiles affected every area of their lives. A great social and spiritual boundary existed between them.”

Thankfully, in Christ, all such distinctives such as race, color, gender, and economic status no longer are important if one is a believer in Christ. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  

Take time to rejoice and remember what you were without Christ, and what you are now in Christ. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Justification and Sanctification.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

“The whole may be thus summed up: Christ given to us by the kindness of God is apprehended and possessed by faith, by means of which we obtain in particular a twofold benefit; first, being reconciled by the righteousness of Christ, God becomes, instead of a judge, an indulgent Father; and, secondly, being sanctified by his Spirit, we aspire to integrity and purity of life.” John Calvin

The 16th century Protestant Reformer John Calvin is credited with saying that “while we must always distinguish between justification and sanctification, we must never separate them.” Again,let us understand what is meant by justification and sanctification.

Justification is a one-time act of God, by which God declares the repentant sinner righteous in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone, by sovereign grace alone, through the means of God given faith alone. Sanctification, on the other hand, is a continual process of growing in the holiness and the grace and knowledge of God (I Peter 1:16-18; 2 Peter 3:18). Through the process of sanctification, the believer, while never sinless this side of heaven, begins to sin less, and less and less.

Sanctification always follows justification. Justification is the foundation for biblical and true sanctification. There are those who believe that their attempts at holy living will accomplish their justification before God. That is a lie from the devil himself. Yet, how many are there who believe the lie?

Dr. John Piper writes, “The pursuit of holy living begins with the first mustard seed of faith. That’s the nature of saving faith. It finds satisfaction in Christ and so is weaned away from the satisfaction of sin.”

What of the individual who professes faith in Christ but does not consistently live a holy life? Is that individual truly a believer in union with Christ? The Scriptures emphatically say no (Galatians 5:16-23; I John 2:18-20; 3:4-10). The Apostle John repeatedly stated that if we love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15; I John 2:1-6; 29; 3:24; 5:1-5). While we will never do so perfectly, believers in Christ strive to do so consistently.    

Charles Hodge writes, “For if any man (individual) is in Christ he is a new creature. Union with Christ is a source of a new life, and a life unto holiness; and therefore it is said created unto good works. Holiness is the end of redemption, for Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). Those, therefore, who live in sin are not the subjects of this redemption.

Thank the Lord today for not only justifying you but also sanctifying you through the means of God’s Word, prayer, corporate worship and personal devotion to God. Have a blessed day in the Lord.   

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: God’s Workmanship.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

“The biblical necessity of holy living does not nullify grace. Rather, it is based squarely on the pardon of grace and demonstrates the power of grace.” Dr. John Piper

If good works do not in any way justify the sinner before the One, True Holy God of the Bible, then in what way, if any, do our good works facture into our relationship with the Lord?

The Bible teaches that we are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:1-8). It is also true that the Bible teaches that believers in Christ demonstrate the truth of their conversion by their good works. While the believer’s good works do not make them any more justified, they do demonstrate the reality of their justification and their growth in sanctification.

The Apostle Paul stated in today’s text that all believers are God’s workmanship. The word workmanship (ποίημα; poiema) means God’s creation and product. In other words, result of God’s grace in the converted sinner’s life is that they are presently and actively God’s new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Paul continues to say that as God’s workmanship, the Lord creates all believers in Christ Jesus for the purpose of good works. God prepared in advance these good works so that we would actively go about doing them. What we do for God, and who we are for God, He already providentially planned.

Dr. John Piper also explains that, “The work of God in justification does not make the work of God in sanctification optional. The Bible doesn’t say that forgiveness makes holiness optional; rather, forgiveness makes holiness possible. The God who justifies also sanctifies. The faith that justifies also satisfies –it satisfies the human heart in god and frees it from the deceptive satisfaction of sin. This is why justification and the process of sanctification always go together—they both come from the same faith.”

Thank the Lord today for you being His workmanship (Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13). Have a blessed day in the Lord.   

Soli deo Gloria!

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Of Effectual Calling. Part 2.

We will devote each Lord’s Day in 2021 at hiswordtoday.org to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2021. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter Ten: Of Effectual Calling. Part 2.

3. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit,a who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth.b So also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.c

a. Luke 18:15-16 and John 3:35 and Acts 2:38-39 and Rom 8:9 and 1 John 5:12 compared together. • b. John 3:8. • c. Acts 4:121 John 5:12.

4. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word,a and may have some common operations of the Spirit,b yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved:c much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess;d and to assert and maintain that they may is very pernicious, and to be detested.e

a. Mat 22:14. • b. Mat 7:2213:20-21Heb 6:4-5. • c. John 6:64-668:24. • d. John 4:2214:617:3Acts 4:12Eph 2:12. • e. 1 Cor 16:22Gal 1:6-82 John 1:9-11.

I encourage you to read the portions of Scripture listed in this post.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

\Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: No One May Boast.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)

“To say that justification is by faith means simply that it is by, or through, faith that we receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to our account. Thus, faith is the instrumental cause, or means, by which we lay hold of Christ.” R. C. Sproul  

The 16th Century Protestant Reformers grasped the importance of the grace of God to the Scriptures teaching on salvation. One of the slogans that came to define Reformation teaching was sola gratia, which is Latin for “by grace alone.” Sinners are saved by the grace of God alone.

“For by grace you have been saved.” The Apostle Paul states that it is through the instrumentality of God’s unmerited favor and kindness that sinners are saved (σῴζω; sozo) or delivered from the penalty of sin.

“Through faith.” God graciousness towards sinners occurs through faith and faith alone. This is trust in, commitment to, dependence upon and worship of Jesus Christ solely originates from God.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Correctly understood, the pronoun this refers the reader back to immediately preceding noun faith. Paul is stating that the believer’s faith is not solely of them, but rather it is the gift solely from God? The answer is found in Ephesians 2:9.

Why is it so important that Christians understand and remember that not only is God’s grace a sovereign gift, but the faith to believe in His grace is also a sovereign gift from God? It is because our justification from God is not by any works we could ever accomplish, or ever hope to accomplish. It is solely from God.

This truth is so we could never boast about, or take credit for, what God has done. The word boast (καυχάομαι; kauchaomai) means to brag about, rejoice in, glory in (cf. Rom. 2:17; 5:2; 1 Cor. 1:29; 13:3; 2 Cor. 5:12; 12:1; Gal. 6:13; Phil. 3:3; James 1:9; 4:16). The Scriptures say we may brag about, rejoice in, and glory in the Lord and what He has done and is doing, but never in ourselves and what we do, or have done.

To God be the glory
Great things He has done
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the life-gate that all may go in

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice
Come to the Father
Through Jesus the Son
Give Him the glory
Great things He has done

May we all give thanks today for God’s great and amazing grace and also for the gracious gift of saving faith.   

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: For by Grace…Through Faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)

“Sola Fide and Sola Gratia — have become deeply entrenched in Protestant history.  Sola Fide, or faith alone, denies that our works contribute to the ground of our justification, while Sol Gratia, or grace alone, denies that any merit or our own contributes to our justification.” R. C. Sproul  

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!” “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.” “Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin; how shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin?” Wonderful words from several hymns on God’s grace.

One author writes, “Christians love to sing of the saving grace of God—and rightly so. John tells us that out of Jesus’ “fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Many of the New Testament letters begin and end with the writers expressing their desire that the grace of Jesus would be with His people. The very last words of the Bible read: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Rev. 22:21).”

The 16th Century Protestant Reformers grasped the importance of the grace of God to the Scriptures teaching on salvation. One of the slogans that came to define Reformation teaching was sola gratia, which is Latin for “by grace alone.” Sinners are saved by the grace of God alone.

“For by grace you have been saved.” The Apostle Paul states that it is through the instrumentality of God’s unmerited favor and kindness that sinners are saved (σῴζω; sozo) or delivered from the penalty of sin. In other words, God has delivered unworthy sinners into divine salvation.

“Through faith.” God graciousness towards sinners occurs through faith and faith alone. This is trust in, commitment to, dependence upon and worship of Jesus Christ solely originates from God. Sinners do not create their own faith in the Lord. As we shall see in the text, faith is also a sovereign gift from God. This is because to rely on oneself for faith is no different from relying upon oneself for good works.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Correctly understood, the pronoun this refers the reader back to immediately preceding noun faith. Paul is stating that the believer’s faith is not solely of them, but rather it is the gift solely from God.  

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “This” refers to the entire previous statement of salvation, not only the grace but the faith. Although men are required to believe for salvation, even that faith is part of the gift of God, which saves and cannot be exercised by one’s own power. God’s grace is preeminent in every aspect of salvation (cf. Rom. 3:20Gal. 2:16)”

Dr. R.C. Sproul comments that, “The whole complex of salvation is by grace through faith as a gift from God. Others, however, take (the word) ‘this’ as referring specifically to ‘faith.’ In either case, since faith is included in the whole complex of salvation, faith itself must be understood as a gift of God and not as a human achievement, Sinners are dependent on God’s gracious gift for their believing response to Christ from the moment of conversion. Paul makes explicit here was is implicit elsewhere in the New Testament about the ultimate source of saving faith (Acts 13:48; Philippians 1:29).”

May we all give thanks today for God’s great and amazing grace and also for the gracious gift of saving faith.   

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: But God, Made Us Alive

4 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—“ (Ephesians 2:4-5)

The Apostle Paul has set forth the truth that solely on the basis of God’s rich mercy and great love with which He loved rebellious sinners like you and me, God initiated an action on the sinner’s behalf; even as sinners were was dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3).

What action has God done? He has made the spiritually dead sinner alive in Christ. The sinner has been spiritually resurrected and brought to new life in Christ. God imparted unto us new life. This necessitated a new birth by the Holy Spirit called regeneration (John 3:1-8; Titus 3:1-5). Regeneration always precedes conversion (John 3:3).

Colossians 2:13 says “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.”  

Why did God the Father do this? The Apostle Paul answers the question with the phrase “by grace you have been saved.” It is upon the unmerited favor of God that He delivers sinners from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin in their lives. As Charles Hodge commented, “God interfered for our recovery.”

Theologian Dr. Morton H. Smith writes, “The fact is that none of us is righteous and thus deserving of any good favor from God. The amazing thing is not that God hates sin and the rebellious sinner, but that He has been pleased to show mercy upon any sinners. By His sovereign grace, before the foundation of the world, God chose some unto everlasting life in Christ; provided in Christ the redemption necessary to cleanse them from their sins; then sent the Spirit to give them new hearts, thus enabling them to come to Christ by saving faith.”

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “God is fully aware of the unbelievers’ state. It was clearly described in Ephesians 2:1–3 and is repeated here: even when we were dead in transgressions (cf. v. 1). This act of God in making the unregenerate alive is an act of grace: it is by grace you have been saved. Paul elaborated on this last statement, which is actually parenthetical, in verse 8. The verb “have been saved” is in the perfect tense which expresses the present permanent state as a result of a past action. Because believers have been “made alive” spiritually with Christ, they have been and are saved.”

Thank you Lord for saving my soul. Thank you Lord for making me whole. Thank you Lord for giving to me, Thy great salvation, so rich and free.

May we all give thanks today for His great grace in saving us from our sins.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: The Riches of His Glorious Inheritance.

18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” (Ephesians 1:18-19 (ESV)

Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers in Christ would possess an increasing and lasting understanding of the Scriptures. This understanding, or enlightenment, unto biblical truth would extend to three particular areas of the believer’s life in Christ. What are those three areas?

First, “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” Second, “that you may know…, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”

Again, to know (οἶδα; oida) means to understand, comprehend and remember. It is a factual knowledge. What the believer is to also know are the riches of His glorious inheritance. God is the subject. It is His inheritance. We, as believers in Christ, are the Lord’s inheritance. Paul calls believers saints (ἅγιος; hagios). Believers in Christ are God’s holy and dedicated people. This is a soul stirring truth to grasp and comprehend.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “God will inherit those whom He has purchased at a great price according to the riches of His grace (v. 7). This is the second of six times in Ephesians in which Paul referred to “riches” (1:7, 18; 2:4, 7; 3:8, 16). In 1:14 Paul wrote that the Christians’ “inheritance” is their final redemption from the presence of sin. Here in verse 18 he wrote about God’s inheritance, the saints themselves! Because of the “glorious grace” (v. 6) of “the glorious Father” (v. 17), He will receive “His glorious inheritance” (v. 18).”

Take the time today to pray that God would open the eyes of your heart and provide you a deeper understanding of this biblical truth. Have a blessed day. Take time to thank God for calling you by His grace alone, through God given faith alone, unto eternal life in Christ alone

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: The Hope of His Calling.

18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” (Ephesians 1:18-19 (ESV)

Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers in Christ would possess an increasing and lasting understanding of the Scriptures. This understanding, or enlightenment, unto biblical truth would extend to three particular areas of the believer’s life in Christ. What are those three areas?

First, “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” The verb know (οἶδα; oida) means to have a knowledge, understanding and remembrance. This knowledge began at a particular point in time in the believer’s past and has continuing results unto eternity. This refers, in the context, to the effectual calling by God of the sinner unto salvation.

This results in hope (ἐλπίς; elpis) or a confident expectation that God will keep His promise of eternal life to those He has called. “Hope” in Scripture is the absolute certainty of a believer’s victory in God (cf. Rom. 8:23–24; Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:5; 1 Thess. 1:3; 1 Peter 3:15).

The word called (κλῆσις; klesis), as previously stated, refers to the effectual call of God unto salvation. This results in a new relationship. This call is by God and God alone. He alone is the author of the believer’s salvation (cf. Rom. 1:6; 8:30; Eph. 4:1, 4; 2 Tim. 1:9).

Take the time today to pray that God would open the eyes of your heart and provide you a deeper understanding of biblical truth. Take time to thank God for calling you by His grace alone, through God given faith alone, unto eternal life in Christ alone. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Prayer for Enlightenment.

18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul continued to pray that the Ephesian Christ followers would have the eyes of their hearts enlightened. What did he mean by this statement?

To begin with, the word eyes (ὀφθαλμός; ophthalmos) is used metaphorically to mean understanding and perception. The believers understanding and perception extends to the very core of their being: their heart. Heart (καρδία; kardia) is also used metaphorically to refer to the believer’s intellect, emotions and will.

Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers would have their complete understanding of salvation enlightened. The word enlightened (φωτίζω; photizo) means to reveal or to make plain. Paul desired that they would receive from God a permanent understanding of biblical truth.

Dr. Kenneth Weust writes, “The words, “being enlightened,” are a perfect participle in the Greek text, referring to a past complete act having present results. The translation reads, “The eyes of your heart having been enlightened with the present result that they are in a state of illumination.” That is, Paul is praying that a permanent work of the Holy Spirit be done in the human spirits of these saints, that their inner spiritual capacities for understanding the truth may be the recipients of a lasting benefit.”

What benefit is gained by understanding biblical truth? Dr. R.C. Sproul answers the question when he writes, “The crisis of modern humanity is found in the rupture between the study of human beings and the study of God. When our story is told in isolation or divorced from the story of God, then it (our life) become ‘a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ If we are considered without reference to God, we become a ‘useless passion’ as philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre declared.”

Paul expressed that this enlightenment unto biblical truth would extend to three particular areas of the believer’s life. The first two are mentioned in Ephesians 1:18. The third is found in 1:19. WE will begin to examine all three when next we meet.

Take the time today to pray that God would open the eyes of your heart and provide you a deeper understanding of biblical truth. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Spiritual Blessings in Christ: The Expensive Gift of Redemption.

7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.” (Ephesians 1:7–8 (ESV)

What is the most extravagant gift you have ever received from someone? Was it a trip? A car, truck or SUV? A house? Perhaps it was a piece of jewelry. The redemption we have in Jesus Christ is an extravagant gift which exceeds all others.

The word lavished (περισσεύω; perisseuo) to provide something in abundance or to give more than was expected. What the Apostle Paul has in view is the redemption found solely in Jesus Christ. The price Jesus paid on the cost for our redemption and justification is truly rich and costly. While salvation is often spoken of as free, it is in reality quietly costly.

This redemption was lavished upon us sinners who were rightly deserving of God’s righteous wrath (Romans 1:18-32; Ephesians 2:1-3). Instead of wrath, we received redemption. Instead of earning such a gift, it was graciously provided and given.

This act by Jesus Christ was done in all the wisdom and knowledge of God Almighty.  Wisdom (σοφία; Sophia) refers to God’s insight and knowledge. Insight (φρόνησις; phronesis) means capacity for understanding.

It is this wisdom and knowledge which God has given to each redeemed sinner. They are given for the redeemed to not only understanding and grasp the depth of God’s love in providing salvation from the penalty of their sins, but also to understand the depth of God’s love in delivering the sinner from the power and eventual presence of their sin.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “God’s grace is given to enable believers to understand His will. God gives them wisdom (sophia; cf. v. 17; 3:10; Col. 1:9, 28; 2:3, 23; 3:16; 4:5), objective insight into the true nature of God’s revelation, and understanding (phronēsei), the subjective apprehension of it. So believers are able to grasp something of the divine purpose of the ages and to see its relevance in the present time.”

May each of us pray today for God to continue to give us wisdom and insight for all He has done for us and the expensive gift of redemption He has given to us in Christ. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Spiritual Blessings in Christ: Redemption.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul’s focus shifts from God the Father and His work in the salvation of sinners (Ephesians 1:3-6) to the work of God the Son, Jesus Christ, and His work of the same. What blessings do believers have in Christ? To begin with, there is redemption through the substitutionary and vicarious atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross.

Paul begins Ephesians 1:7 with the words in him. Within the context, the personal pronoun Him refers the reader to the immediately preceding noun found in the latter portion of Ephesians 1:6. That noun phrase is the Beloved. In the context, Beloved is another name for Jesus Christ.

It is in Jesus Christ alone that the elect presently and actively possess redemption. Redemption (ἀπολύτρωσις; apolytrosis) means to be set free or delivered. It is another word for salvation, which also means deliverance. A price has been paid on the sinner’s behalf resulting in a release from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.

Redemption is accomplished solely through the blood atonement of Jesus Christ. Paul uses the word blood to refer to the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. It is this substitutionary sacrifice which not only satisfied the righteous wrath and justice of God the Father, but also provides the sinner’s only salvation (Romans 3:23-24; Ephesians 2:13; I Peter 1:17-19).

Romans 5:6-9 says, For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

It is because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross on the sinner’s behalf that God can forgive the sinner of the debt, guilt and enmity caused by their sin before God. Forgiveness (ἄφεσις; aphesis) means a pardon (Matthew 26:28; Acts 2:38; 10:43; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:22; 10:18) and liberty or release (Luke 4:16-19).

Trespasses (παράπτωμα; paraptoma) literally means to throw one’s self aside and upon an enemy. It is a conscious violation of that which is right, resulting in objective guilt before God. The basis for God’s forgiveness of our trespasses is once again the riches and abundance of His grace alone.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “The cost of Christ’s blood is the measure of the wealth of God’s unmerited favor to every believer. It was accomplished not “out of” but “according to” (kata) the wealth of His grace (cf. Phil. 4:19). Six times in Ephesians Paul referred to God’s riches (1:7, 18; 2:4, 7; 3:8, 16).”

Thank you Lord for the riches of your grace. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: To the Praise of His Glorious Grace

…to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 (ESV).

What should be our response to God the Father choosing to adopt us as His children through the person and work of Jesus Christ? The answer is found in one word: praise.

Praise (ἔπαινος; epainos) means commendation, acclamation, glory, laud and honor. It is praise given by someone to someone: not only for what they have done but also for who they are. God the Father is worthy of all our praise for choosing, before the creation of the world, to save us from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.

The subject of praise in Ephesians 1:6 has a particular act, and attribute, of God the Father in view. It is His grace. Grace (χάρις; charis) is God’s unmerited favor, kindness and good will towards sinners who are deserving of His wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3; cf. Romans 1:18-32). This grace is solely from God alone.

However, it is not just grace, but the Apostle Paul describes it as “glorious” grace. Glorious (δόξα’ doxa), from which we derive our English word doxology, means splendor, honor and greatness. God’s grace honorable and praiseworthy. The Apostle Paul will provide an extensive treatise on God’s grace in Ephesians 2:1-10.

Think about the numerous hymns and spiritual gospel songs, both old and new, testifying and praising God for His grace. Here is but a brief list.

Amazing Grace.

It’s All Because Of God’s Amazing Grace.

He Looked Beyond My Fault.

Grace, Greater than All Our Sin.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.

Your Grace is Enough.

This is Amazing Grace.

Forever Reign.  

Who am I?  

God’s grace is solely through the Beloved (ἀγαπάω; agapao), Jesus Christ. The blessings from God (Ephesians 1:3) come solely through the beloved Son of God (John 3:1-16; Romans 5:1-9; I John 4:7-12).

Have a blessed day basking in the blessing of God’s glorious grace.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Adopted.

3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:3–5 (ESV)

For what reason has God the Father predestined, or chosen, some sinners unto salvation (Ephesians 1:4)? The Apostle Paul provides the answer to this question in the middle portion of Ephesians 1:5. “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ.” God the Father chose certain sinners for adoption to himself as sons.

The word adoption (υἱοθεσία; huiothesia) means that God placed in a position and rights as one’s own child sinners like you and me. (cf. Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:1-5). This adoption was so that God would view sinners as His sons and daughters in Christ. He did this act not only to Himself alone, but for Himself alone. This Greek grammar in Ephesians 1:5 reveals that this adoption occurs solely through, or by, the person and work of Jesus Christ.  

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “We are adopted “sons” because we are united to the true Son, Jesus Christ. It is a vital union, for Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). It is also a representative union; Christ died and lives for us (Romans 6:5-11). To be clothed with Christ implies both that His righteousness is our covering and that we are a new creation in Christ (Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).”

God the Father chose to do this. Why? The answer is found in the latter portion of Ephesians 1:5; “…according to the purpose of his will.” God the Father was pleased to adopt sinners by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. It was His intended and purposeful pleasure. That is pretty amazing.

Since it pleased God to choose us unto salvation, may today we seek to please Him by choosing to live a holy and blameless life. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Book of Ephesians: Thoughts on Predestination.

3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:3–5 (ESV)

“No survey of the terms used to express it, however, can convey an adequate sense of the place occupied by the idea of predestination in the religious system of the Bible. It is not too much to say that it is fundamental to the whole religious consciousness of the Biblical writers, and is so involved in all their religious conceptions that to eradicate it would transform the entire scriptural representation. This is as true of the Old Testament as of the New Testament, as will become sufficiently manifest by attending briefly to the nature and implications of such formative elements in the Old Testament system as its doctrines of God, Providence, Faith, and the Kingdom of God.” B. B. Warfield.

“The godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh in their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God. And yet, the study of the subject has most dangerous effects on the “carnal professor.” Church of England’s Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion

“Few doctrines in the history of American religion have assembled such a pugilistic resume. And yet, there it stands, in the plainest and most unapologetic of terms, in Ephesians 1:5, “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” And again six verses later: “In him (Christ) we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” Those Ephesians texts, along with Romans 9, much of John 6, and Jesus’s high priestly prayer in John 17 toppled my commitment to freewill theology two decades ago. Acts 13:48 threw the knockout punch. Disputed and disdained though it may be, predestination and its sibling, election, are plainly taught in Scripture and every exegete must make peace with it.” Jeff Robinson, Founders Ministries

“God does not owe any of us His mercy and His gifts. If He is gracious to others, we may not conclude that we have a ‘right’ to His grace. Sovereign grace is not an entitlement.” Carl Bogue, Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church, Akron, Ohio.

Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Of Christ the Mediator. Part 1.

We will devote each Lord’s Day in 2021 at hiswordtoday.org to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2021. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter Eight: Of Christ the Mediator. Part 1.

1. It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man,a the Prophet,b Priest,c and King;d the Head and Saviour of his Church,e the Heir of all things,f and Judge of the world;g unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his seed,h and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.i

a. Isa 42:1John 3:162 Tim 2:51 Pet 1:19-20. • b. Acts 3:22. • c. Heb 5:5-6. • d. Psa 2:6Luke 1:33. • e. Eph 5:23. • f. Heb 1:2. • g. Acts 17:31. • h. Psa 22:30Isa 53:10John 17:6. • i. Isa 55:4-51 Cor 1:301 Tim 2:6.

2. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature,a with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin:b being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance.c So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.d Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.e

a. John 1:114Gal 4:4Phil 2:61 John 5:20. • b. Heb 2:1416-174:15. • c. Luke 1:273135Gal 4:4. • d. Luke 1:35Rom 9:5Col 2:91 Tim 3:161 Pet 3:18. • e. Rom 1:3-41 Tim 2:5.

3. The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure;a having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,b in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell;c to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth,d he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a mediator and surety.e Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father,f who put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.g

a. Psa 45:7John 3:34. • b. Col 2:3. • c. Col 1:19. • d. John 1:14Heb 7:26. • e. Acts 10:38Heb 7:2212:24. • f. Heb 5:4-5. • g. Mat 28:18John 5:2227Acts 2:36.

I encourage you to read the portions of Scripture listed in this post.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

\Soli deo Gloria!