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!

The Book of Ephesians: Spiritual Blessings in Christ: 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)

The phrase in love really belongs in Ephesians 1:5. This love (ἀγάπη; agape) is a self-sacrificial love of the will. It was expressed when Jesus Christ died on the cross in the sinner’s place (Romans 5:6-9; Galatians 1:1-5; I John 4:7-12).

It was with this self-sacrificial love of the will that God the Father predestined who are converted to Christ. The word predestined (προορίζω; proorizo) means to decide beforehand, to determine ahead of time, and to foreordain. It is a word also found in Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29-30, I Corinthians 2:1-7 and later on in Ephesians 1:11. Within the context, the word refers to God the Father’s sovereign choice to save for Himself certain sinners by His grace alone, through God given faith alone, through the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.  

When God chose to predestine certain sinners unto salvation, it was a plan of sovereign, saving grace. Predestination entitles all who now believe in Christ to trace their faith and conversion back to an eternal decision God the Father made before the world was even created (Ephesians 1:4).

The biblical doctrine of predestination causes much controversy and concern. While it is a difficult doctrine, it is one which demands our attention and not our ignorance. It must be handled with great care and grace, and as a biblical doctrine it must be studied and considered.

Dr. R .C. Sproul writes, “Left to himself, no fallen person would ever choose God. Fallen people still have a free will and are able to choose what they desire. But the problem is that we (fallen sinners) have no desire for God and will not choose Christ unless first regenerated. Faith is a gift that comes out of rebirth (John 3:1-8; Ephesians 2:1-10). Only those who are elect will ever respond to the gospel in faith.”     

Those who are elect, or predestined, do choose Christ, but only because they were first chosen by God. We do not choose to be chosen by God. Rather, God chose us and enables us to repent of sin and to choose Him by God given faith. This is known as conversion.

Dr. Sproul concludes, “A vexing problem with predestination is that God does not choose or elect to save everybody. He reserves the right to have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. Some of fallen humanity receive the grace and mercy of election. The rest God passes over, leaving them in their sin. The non-elect receive justice. The elect receive mercy. No one receives injustice. God is not obligated to be merciful to anyone or to all alike. It is His decision how merciful He chooses to be. Yet, He is never guilty of being unrighteous toward anyone (see Romans 9:10-16).”   

Take time today to thank God for choosing you unto salvation. To God be the glory for His marvelous and amazing grace.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: An Exegetical Pause.

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.” (Ephesians 1:3–4 (ESV)

If you have followed this blog for any length of time you know that when we do a Bible book study, we endeavor to examine the text word for word. This is especially true when considering a doctrinal epistle such as Ephesians.

Before we go any further into the text, it would be wise to define two distinctly opposite words. Those words are eisegesis and exegesis.

The prefix’ for both words come from the Greek language. The prefix eis is a preposition primarily meaning into. The prefix ek is also a preposition. It means out from or out of.

Exegesis, as it pertains to the understanding and interpretation of Scripture, is the discipline of discovering, or drawing out, the Holy Spirit’s intended meaning contained in the biblical text. This is opposite of eisegesis, in which the interpreter seeks to determine the text’s meaning based upon a preconceived personal bias or opinion.

There are four basic questions the exegetical student of Scripture must ask when studying a particular biblical text. These four questions should be ingrained upon the student’s mind.

First, what did the text mean to the original audience? Regarding the book of Ephesians, the original audience would be the believers in Christ in Ephesus. We discover the intended and original meaning by examining each word in each verse of a particular sentence, of a particular paragraph, of a particular chapter, of a particular section, of a particular book of the Bible. In this case, the particular book of the Bible is Ephesians.

Second, what are the differences between the biblical audience and believers in Christ today? Some differences may be slight, while others may be significant. To discover the answer to this question requires an understanding of the cultural and historical context of the biblical passage. An introduction to a biblical book, found in a good study Bible, will provide this information.

Third, what theological principle(s) are contained in the biblical text?  The student of Scripture does not have to read Ephesians very far to discover one of the most profound theological principles in chapter one: the sovereign election of sinners unto salvation by God before the creation of the world.

Fourth, how is the text to be applied in the Christian’s life today? While there is one primary meaning to a biblical text, there may be many applications.

With these four questions in mind, it would be wrong to say. “What does the biblical text mean to me?” Rather, it is more correct to say, “What does the biblical text mean and how may it be applied in my life today?”

Dr. John MacArthur comments, “In many cases, individual feelings and personal experience have replaced sound biblical interpretation. The question ‘What does the Bible mean to me?’ has become more important than ‘What does the Bible mean?’ That is a frighteningly reckless approach to Scripture.”

These four questions will serve us well as we continue our journey through the book of Ephesians. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Spiritual Blessings in Christ; Holy and Blameless. Part 2.

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.” (Ephesians 1:3–4 (ESV)

Some thoughts about God the Father’s elected purpose for believers in Christ to be holy and blameless before Him.

Charles Hodge (1797-1878), Presbyterian theologian and principal of Princeton Theological Seminary (1851-1878) writes, “If election is to holiness as the apostle teaches, it follows ,first, that individuals, and not communities or nations, are the objects of election. Secondly, that holiness in no form can be the ground of election. If men are chosen to be holy, they cannot be chosen because they are holy. Thirdly, it follows that holiness is the only evidence of election. For one who lives to sin to claim to be elected unto holiness, is a contradiction.”

Theologian and Pastor John Calvin (1509-1564), in a sermon from Ephesians 1:4 writes, “You see, then, that that to which he meant to bring the faithful was to make them know that just as God elected them of his own free grace, so he does not give them leave to yield themselves to all wickedness, but intends to keep and preserve them undefiled to himself. For God’s electing of us and, with that, his calling of us to holiness are things joined inseparably together, even as St. Paul says in another passage, that we are not called to uncleanness and filthiness, but to be dedicated to God in all piety and holiness( I Thess. 4:7).”

Today’s conclussion is also from John Calvin and it takes the form of a prayer. He writes, “Now let us fall down before the majesty of our good God with acknowledgement of our faults, praying him to make us feel them in such a way that we may continually profit in his fear, and be strengthened more and more in the same; and, in the meanwhile, so to bear with our weaknesses that we may always enjoy his grace even till he has set us in possession of all things at such time as he shall have put away our sins and blotted them out completely for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake. And so let us all say, Almighty God, heavenly Father.”

Soli deo Gloria!    

The Book of Ephesians: Spiritual Blessings in Christ; Holy and Blameless.

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.” (Ephesians 1:3–4 (ESV)

What was the purpose of God the Father’s electing and loving choice of saving some sinners? Today’s text says, “that we should be holy and blameless before him.” What does it mean to be holy and blameless? Furthermore, what was God’s motivation in such a sovereign and electing choice of sinners unto salvation?

To be holy (ἅγιος; hagios) means to be dedicated, pure and set apart from sin; not only in our position before the Lord, but also practically in our relationships with other people (I Peter 1:16-18). To be blameless (ἄμωμος; amomos) means to be without fault or defect.

Paul wrote that being holy and blameless is what God intended believers in Christ to be when He chose them unto salvation. This is to be a holiness and blameless which is a present, active and infinite state of being.

God’s intended purpose in electing sinners unto salvation was to bring them from spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1-10), to the forgiveness of sins in Christ (Ephesians 1:7), and finally to the eventual removal of all sin at glorification (Romans 8:28-29). Therefore, it is erroneous to say that the doctrine of election leads to immoral living by the Christian (cf. 2:10; 4:1-3, 17-24; 5:25-27).

What was God’s eternal motivation for choosing some unto salvation? He did so “in love.” This love (ἀγάπη; agape) is a self-sacrificial love of the will. It is expressed when Jesus Christ died on the cross in the sinner’s place (Romans 5:6-9; I John 4:7-12). Paul will elaborate on the love of God in Ephesians 1:5.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “This (to be holy and blameless) describes both a purpose and a result of God’s choosing those who are to be saved. Unrighteous persons are declared righteous, unworthy sinners are declared worthy of salvation, all because they are chosen “in him” (Christ). This refers to Christ’s imputed righteousness granted to us (2 Cor. 5:21Phil. 3:9), a perfect righteousness which places believers in a holy and blameless position before God (Eph. 5:27Col. 2:10), though daily living inevitably falls far short of his holy standard.”

Let us take the time today to see where we fall short, in our daily living, of the holiness and blamelessness we possess before God by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Let each of us resolve to be in practice what we are in position: holy and blameless (Philippians 2:12-13).

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Book of Ephesians: Spiritual Blessings in Christ; Chosen.

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.” (Ephesians 1:3–4 (ESV)

Every spiritual blessing believers have received comes from God the Father through the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beginning in Ephesians 1:4, and continuing through Ephesians 1:14, the Apostle Paul details some of those blessings. Specifically, what blessings has God given believers in Christ?

To begin with, God the Father has chosen sinners to be in Christ. Ephesians 1:4 refers back to the preceding verse with the pronouns He and Him. Respectively, the pronouns refer to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, when Paul writes “he chose us in him” the apostle is saying that God the Father chose us, sinners, to be in union with our Lord Jesus Christ.

What does it mean to be chosen by God? The word chosen (ἐκλέγομαι; eklegomai) means to select, to choose for oneself, or to prefer one over another choice. It is from this particular Greek word that we derive the English word elect or election. What the many see as an inalienable right as a nation’s citizen to choose their elected, government leaders becomes for the many an inalienable affront that God would dare to choose some for salvation and not others, or not all.

Why would pastors and Bible teachers teach such a controversial doctrine such as election, predestination and reprobation? It is because the Bible unapologetically teaches the doctrines of election, predestination and reprobation.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Paul rejoices that God chooses people for a relationship with Himself (Romans 8:28-29;9:6-26; 11:1-28; 16:1-13; Colossians 3:1-12; I Thessalonians 1:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13; Titus 1:1). Some suggest that ‘in him’ means God foresaw who would have faith in Christ and on that basis elected them. Not only does this suggestion add a thought that is not in the text, but elsewhere Paul teaches that the very state of being ‘in Christ’ is something to which one is elected (Colossians 1:26-31). Paul says explicitly that the sole ground of God’s predestinating love is His own good pleasure (Ephesians 1:5, 10; Deuteronomy 7:1-8 and not anything the elect have done or will do (Romans 9:11-16). ‘In Him’ means that God’s choice always has had in view the fallen people in union with their Redeemer (2 Timothy 1:9); Cf. I Peter 1:18-21; Revelation 13:1-8).”      

When did God the Father make the choice as to whom He would elect and save from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin? Today’s text says, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” In other words, before the world was even created, God knew who He would elect unto salvation. This also means that God knew that there would be a fall into sin by the man and the woman prior to creation and prior to the events of Genesis 3.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Through God’s sovereign will before the creation of the world and, therefore, obviously independent of human influence and apart from any human merit, those who are saved have become eternally united with Christ Jesus. Cf. 1 Pet. 1:20Rev. 13:8.

Take time today to thank God for choosing to save your soul by grace alone when He was under no obligation to do so.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Spiritual Blessings in Christ.

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,” (Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)

Ephesians 1:3-14 is one, continuous sentence in the Greek. It is a parallel passage to Romans 8:28-30. Praise is for God the Father who elects (vs. 4-6), God the Son who redeems (vs. 7-12), and God the Holy Spirit who seals (vs. 13-14).

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Paul reflects on the believers’ election from eternity, their forgiveness in the present, and their inheritance in the future. Note throughout the repetition of the phrases “in Christ” or “in Him” referring to the intimate union God has established between Christ and His people.”

Today, we continue our verse by verse, word for word, study of Ephesians by examining 1:3.

The word blessed (εὐλογητός; eulogetos) means to praise or to speak well of someone. The person receiving this praise is worthy of the commendation. We derive our English word eulogy from this Greek word.

Who is the church to praise, and who is worthy of such praise? None other than the God and Father. The word God (θεός; theos) refers to the transcendent and sovereign One, True God of heaven and earth. The word Father (πατήρ; pater) refers to God being our spiritual father in the faith and One who is intimately aware of us. Therefore, Paul emphasized that the Lord is both transcendent over the universe while also near to His children.

God is also the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 20:17). The nouns Lord Jesus Christ emphasize the biblical truth that the one and only source of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, is in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

It is the God and Father or our Lord Jesus Christ “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Believers in Christ praise and bless God because the particular blessings we receive from God the Father through Jesus Christ alone. Believers don’t receive some blessings but every spiritual blessing God can, and does, give.

The phrase heavenly places is important for our notice. Heavenly places (ἐπουράνιος; epouranios) means that which comes from God. In this context, it is every spiritual blessing believers’ have in Christ. The phrase occurs five times in Ephesians (1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). In other words, believers are citizens of heaven even while they live and dwell on earth.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “In his providential grace, God has already given believers total blessing (Rom. 8:28Col. 2:10James 1:172 Pet. 1:3). “Spiritual” does not refer to immaterial blessings as opposed to material ones, but rather to the work of God, who is the divine and spiritual source of all blessings. In the heavenly places (Lit., “in the heavenlies”) refers to the realm of God’s complete, heavenly domain, from which all his blessings come (cf. Eph. 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). God’s superabundant blessings belong only to believers who are his children, by faith in Christ, so that what he has is theirs—including his righteousness, resources, privilege, position, and power (cf. Rom. 8:16–17).”

Count you many blessings, name them one by one. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Of God’s Covenant with Man. 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 Seven: Of God’s Covenant with Man. Part 2.

4. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in the Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.a

a. Luke 22:201 Cor 11:25Heb 7:229:15-17.

5. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law and in the time of the gospel:a under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come,b which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah,c by whom they had full remission of sins and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament.d

a. 2 Cor 3:6-9. • b. Rom 4:11Col 2:11-121 Cor 5:7; Hebrews 8-10 throughout. • c. John 8:561 Cor 10:1-4Heb 11:13. • d. Gal 3:7-914.

6. Under the gospel, when Christ the substancea was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper;b which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy,c to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles;d and is called the New Testament.e There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.f

a. Col 2:17. • b. Mat 28:19-201 Cor 11:23-25. • c. Jer 31:33-34Heb 12:22-28. • d. Mat 28:19Eph 2:15-19. • e. Luke 22:20. • f. Psa 32:1 with Rom 4:3Acts 15:11Rom 3:21-23304:616-1723-24Gal 3:1416Heb 13:8.

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: Grace and Peace.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:2 (ESV)

As with all of the Apostle Paul’s New Testament letters, he always includes the same greeting contained in today’s text. Let’s examine the text in detail.

To begin with, there is the familiar phrase Grace to you. Grace (χάρις; charis) means unmerited favor towards someone by someone, who is under no obligation to be gracious to the recipients of grace.

Within this particular context, the grace giver is God (Ephesians 2:1-10). The particular recipients of grace to whom Paul refers are the Ephesians Christians. However, all believers in Christ are objects of God’s amazing grace.

What always follows grace is peace. Peace (εἰρήνη; eirene) is tranquility and freedom from worry. It is also the absence of conflict between two parties. In this context, the two parties who are at peace are God and those who are justified by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Romans 5:1-5).

Peace with God, along with the peace of God and from God, is the product of grace. Peace is the result of grace. Sinners cannot have peace with God unless they have received the grace from God.

The source of grace and peace is solely from God our Father and solely from the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul identifies both as members of the Godhead. He does so by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), the third member of the Godhead.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “From them (God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ) came the authority with which Paul spoke (v. 1) as well as the blessings of grace and peace to all believers. The conjunction “and” indicates equivalence; that is, the Lord Jesus Christ is equally divine with the Father.

Bible scholar and theologian Charles Hodge (1797-1878) writes, “Jesus Christ is our supreme and absolute Lord and proprietor. The word κύριος (kyrios) is indeed used in Scripture in the sense of master. But on the other hand, it is the translation of Adonai, supreme Lord, an incommunicable name of God, and the substitute of Jehovah, a name the Jews would not pronounce. It is in this sense that Christ is, the Lord, the Lord of Lords, The Lord God; Lord in the sense in which God alone can be Lord-having a dominion of which divine perfection is the only adequate or possible foundation.”

He is Lord, he is Lord. He is risen from dead, and He is Lord. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.  

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: To the Faithful Saints.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 1:1 (ESV)

Immediately following identification that he was the author of the letter to the Ephesians church, he then identified the recipients of the letter: “To the saints who are in Ephesus.”

The word saints (ἅγιος; hagios) means God’s people who are holy and dedicated to Him. It also means “called out ones.”  These were people who were consecrated to the Lord because He had set them apart from sin and declared them righteous by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

There is some dispute as to whether this epistle was a circular letter destined to many churches, or specifically intended for the church in Ephesus. The reason for the dispute is because some early manuscripts omit the phrase “who are in Ephesus.”  

Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “The words “in Ephesus” are omitted by some early manuscripts, but strong external and internal evidence support their inclusion. If this epistle were a circular letter, it seems that Ephesus, such a strategic city in Asia Minor, would have certainly received it first.”

The Ephesians were not only called saints, an indication of the position in Christ, but Paul also said they were faithful in Christ Jesus, a likely reference to their daily dedication to the Lord. The word faithful (πιστός; pistos) means trustworthy, dependable, committed and reliable. The reason they were saints, and faithful ones at that, was because they were in Christ Jesus. They were in union with Christ. All Christians, throughout church history, enjoy this status and responsibility.

Take time today to thank the Lord that not only do you possess the position of saints, but also the responsibility of being faithful.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Book of Ephesians: Paul, an Apostle.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (Ephesians 1:1a)

In beginning this expository examination of the Book of Ephesians, let us not overlook the first word the epistle: Paul. The Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) used the apostle to produce this inerrant portion of Scripture. Ephesians is one of thirteen New Testament books written by the Apostle Paul. Most likely, Ephesians was written while Paul experienced his first imprisonment by the Roman government (Acts 28:30-31).

How does Paul identify himself to the believers in Ephesus? He said that he was an apostle. An apostle (ἀπόστολος; apostolos) was a special messenger. He was God’s special representative who was commissioned and called to communicate the Lord’s message and revelation. An apostle did not originate the news he proclaimed. He was a herald of the king he served charged with preaching the King’s good news.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “An apostle was an authorized delegate commissioned and sent by the risen Lord Jesus with the authority to receive and declare His special revelation.”

Paul continued by saying that he was an apostle of Christ Jesus. This meant that Paul was exclusively a messenger for the Lord. He was an apostle for no one else. He was an apostle who solely belonged to Christ Jesus and whose apostleship originated solely in Christ Jesus. The title Christ means the only Anointed One and Jesus means the only Savior.

Paul was not only an apostle solely belonging to Christ Jesus, but also by the will of God the Father. The apostle solely served God the Father’s purpose, plan and intent.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Paul was made an apostle of Christ Jesus through God’s will or decision. It was not his own choosing or plan. Thus he had God’s authority behind him. As an apostle Paul was commissioned and sent by God with the gospel message.”

The Apostle Paul clearly stated what the Lord’s purpose was for him: to be an apostle. What about you? What is God’s purpose and plan for you? Whatever it may be, carry out God’s purpose with a passion for God to be glorified through you (I Corinthians 10:31).

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: An Introduction, Part Two.

“If Romans is, humanly speaking, the most impressive of Paul’s letters, then Ephesians is probably the most elegant. In its opening doxology blessings cascade down upon the reader. In its closing verses the smell of the battlefield lies heavily in the air and through the smoke of war we see Christians, fully clad in the armor of spiritual warfare, still standing. From beginning to end Ephesians sets before us the wonder of God’s grace, the privilege of belonging to the church, and the pattern of life-transformation the gospel produces.” Dr. Sinclair Ferguson

The structure of Ephesians is simple. The first three chapters are theological, emphasizing biblical doctrine, whereas the last three chapters are practical and focus on Christian conduct.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Perhaps, above all, this is a letter of encouragement and admonition, written to remind believers of their immeasurable blessings in Jesus Christ; and not only to be thankful for those blessings, but also to live in a manner worthy of them. Despite, and partly even because of, a Christian’s great blessings in Jesus Christ, he is sure to be tempted by Satan to self-satisfaction and complacency. It was for that reason that, in the last chapter, Paul reminds believers of the full and sufficient spiritual armor supplied to them through God’s word and by his Spirit (6:10–17) and of their need for vigilant and persistent prayer (6:18).”

A key theme in Ephesians is the mystery (meaning a previous unrevealed truth) of the church, which is “that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (3:6), a truth completely hidden from the OT saints (cf. 3:5, 9). All believers in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, are equal before the Lord as his children by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Both people groups are citizens of God’s eternal kingdom. Paul also speaks of the mystery of the church as the bride of Christ (5:32; cf. Rev. 21:9).

Another truth in Ephesians is that of the church as Christ’s present spiritual, earthly body, also a distinct and formerly unrevealed truth about God’s people. This metaphor depicts the church, not as an organization, but as a living organism composed of mutually related and interdependent parts. Christ is head of the body and the Holy Spirit is its lifeblood, as it were. The body functions through the faithful use of its members’ various spiritual gifts, sovereignly and uniquely bestowed by the Holy Spirit on each believer.

Other major themes include the riches and fullness of blessing to believers. Paul writes of “the riches of his [God’s] grace” (Eph. 1:7), “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (3:8), and “the riches of his glory” (3:16).

Paul also admonishes believers to “be filled with all the fullness of God” (3:19), to “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (4:13), and to “be filled with the Spirit” (5:18).

The church’s riches in Christ are based on His grace (1:2, 6–7; 2:7), His peace (1:2), His will (1:5), His pleasure and purpose (1:9), His glory (1:12, 14),His calling and inheritance (1:18), His power and strength (1:19; 6:10), his love (2:4), his workmanship (2:10), his Holy Spirit (3:16), his offering and sacrifice (5:2), and His armor (6:11, 13). The word “riches” is used five times in this letter; “grace” is used 12 times; “glory” six times; “fullness” or “filled” six times; and the key phrase “in Christ” (or “in him”) some 22 times.

I encourage you to begin reading Ephesians. Begin with Paul’s masterful extended paragraph concerning the work of the Trinity in the sinner’s salvation (Ephesians 1:3-14). Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Book of Ephesians: An Introduction.

“When Christ redeemed us from sin and death, He incorporated all believers into His body. It is therefore critical to understand the nature and calling of the church that we might be effective members of the one body that is called to bear witness to God’s grace in this world.” Dr. R. C. Sproul  

In beginning a study of the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, one of the first things we notice is that the Paul’s authorship is unquestionable. He is indicated as author in the opening salutation (1:1; 3:1). The letter was written from prison in Rome (Acts 28:16–31) sometime between A.D. 60–62 and is, therefore, often referred to as a Prison Epistle (along with PhilippiansColossians, and Philemon).

Ephesians may have been composed at the same time with Colossians and initially sent with that epistle and Philemon by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21–22Col. 4:7–8). Due to the similar nature of theme and content in both epistles, they are often referred to as the Twin Epistles.

The gospel was first brought to Ephesus by Priscilla and Aquila (see Acts 18:26) who were left there by Paul during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18–19). Ephesus was located at the mouth of the Cayster River, on the east side of the Aegean Sea. It was perhaps best known for its magnificent temple of Artemis, or Diana, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was also an important political, educational, and commercial center in southern Asia Minor during the first century.

The church was later firmly strengthened by Paul on his third missionary journey (Acts 19) and he pastored there for approximately three years. After Paul left, Timothy pastored the congregation for perhaps a year and a half, primarily to counter the false teaching of a few influential men (such as Hymenaeus and Alexander), who were probably elders in the congregation (1 Tim. 1:3, 20). Because of those men, the church at Ephesus was plagued by “myths and endless genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4) and by such ascetic and unscriptural ideas as the forbidding of marriage and abstaining from certain foods (1 Tim. 4:3).

Although those false teachers did not rightly understand Scripture, they boldly communicated their ungodly interpretations (1 Tim. 1:7), which produced in the church harmful “speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Tim. 1:4). Thirty years or so later, the Apostle John wrote a letter to this church indicating its people had left their first love of, and for, Christ (Rev. 2:1–7).

More to come. I encourage you to begin reading the Book of Ephesians. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Task at Hand: Live Peaceably.

14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:14–21 (ESV)

One way to handle conflict at work, along with following proper established protocol by the company or institution for which you work, is to follow the guidelines set forth in Romans 12:14-21. While these commands and encouragements are applicable for the home, personal relationships, church and when engaging the public, they also contain practical wisdom for the work place.

Today, we examine Romans 12:19-21. The text says, “19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Let’s examine the verses.

I’m sure you have heard the popular adage, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” This saying means to not be angry when another person has upset you, but instead do something that will upset that person even more than they upset you. In other words, the worldly culture advises a victim to retaliate and to seek revenge for wrongs done to them by someone else.

However, the Bible is always counter cultural. The Scriptures repeatedly advise, encourage and command believers in Christ to live lives in contrast with the world’s values (I John 2:15-17). This is clearly apparent in today’s text.

Rather than seek our own personal vengeance, we are to leave judgment for wrongs suffered into the sovereign authority of God (Proverbs 20:22). He will justly repay.

What, if anything, is the believer to do when suffering unjustly by a fellow co-worker, member of one’s family, or even from a member of one’s church family? God’s counsel is clear: “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

What does the phrase “heap burning coals on his head” mean in this context? Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “Heaping burning coals on his head, along with the first part of Romans 12:20, is a quotation from Proverbs 25:21–22. The coals on the head may refer to a ritual in Egypt in which a person showed his repentance by carrying a pan of burning charcoal on his head. Helping rather than cursing an enemy may cause him to be ashamed and penitent.”

What if the wrongdoer feels no shame or repentance for the wrong they have done to you? Again leave it in the Lord’s hands.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “The Christian must be free from the desire to ‘get even.’ Such release from the instinct of revenge is possible because the believer knows that God will right all wrongs in His own perfect judgment (Deuteronomy 32:35). Moreover, Scripture urges us to show grace to the wrongdoer because God is patient with him (Proverbs 25:21-22).”

Finally, Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Let’s unpack the verse.

The word overcome (νικάω; nikao) is found twice in this verse. In both instances, God gives the believer in Christ a command. In the first instance, the command is to not allow evil to prevail, or be victorious, in the believer’s life and living for Christ. On the contrary, the believer is to be victorious over evil by obeying God’s command to display godly, moral qualities. Both commands, the positive and the negative are equally important.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Of God’s Covenant with Man. 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 Seven: Of God’s Covenant with Man. Part 1.

1. The distance between God and the creature is so great that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.a

a. 1 Sam 2:25Job 9:32-3322:2-335:7-8Psa 100:2-3113:5-6Isa 40:13-17Luke 17:10Acts 17:24-25.

2. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works,a wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity,b upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.c

a. Gal 3:12. • b. Rom 5:12-2010:5. • c. Gen 2:17Gal 3:10.

3. Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second,a commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely offered unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him that they may be saved,b and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.c

a. Gen 3:15Isa 42:6Rom 3:20-218:3Gal 3:21. • b. Mark 16:15-16John 3:16Rom 10:69Gal 3:11. • c. Ezek 36:26-27John 6:44-45.

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

Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

\Soli deo Gloria!

The Task at Hand: Live Peaceably.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by 14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. In so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14–21 (ESV)

One way to handle conflict at work, along with following proper established protocol by the company or institution for which you work, is to follow the guidelines set forth in Romans 12:14-21. While these commands and encouragements are applicable for the home, personal relationships, church and when engaging the public, they also contain practical wisdom for the work place.

Today, we examine Romans 12:18. The text says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Let’s examine the verse.

Even when you and I have attempted to do all which Romans 12:15-17 commands, we may still encounter individuals who are sources of conflict in our lives. What do we do if, or when, that happens? Romans 12:18 provides us with the biblical answer.

Romans 12:18 begins with the following two words: “If possible.” These two words introduce us to a conditional statement by the word if. The word possible (δυνατός; dynatos) means ability and capability. It refers to the believer’s know-how, competency, aptitude and skill.

To do what? To “live peaceably with all.” This is to be our goal at home, church, school, in public and especially at work. The phrase live peaceably (εἰρηνεύω; eireneuo) is one word in the Greek language. It means to live and behave in a way which promotes peace and harmony (cf. Mark 9:50; 2 Corinthians 13:11; I Thessalonians 5:13).

This continuous and active behavior by believers is to be displayed towards all people: fellow believers and unbelievers. There are no exceptions.

However, there is one qualifier found in the verse. It is the statement, “so far as it depends on you.” Peaceable harmony, in whatever situation, is dependent upon the believer taking the lead and initiative. It is not the believer waiting for someone else to initiate the steps leading to harmony, but rather for the believer to take the first step.

What happens if when you make the attempt to be a peacemaker, you receive further rejection and continued conflict? Then you leave it in the Lord’s hands. You have done all you are responsible to do. It is then that it is best to walk away but to continue to lift the particular individual up in prayer.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Live at peace with everyone” (cf. “live in harmony with one another,” Rom. 12:16). But recognizing that limits exist, Paul included the words, “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you.” Harmony with others may not always be achievable, but believers should not be responsible for that lack of peace (cf. Matt. 5:9).”   

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Task at Hand: Do what is Honorable.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by 14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. In so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14–21 (ESV)

One way to handle conflict at work, along with following proper established protocol by the company or institution for which you work, is to follow the guidelines set forth in Romans 12:14-21. While these commands and encouragements are applicable for the home, personal relationships, church and when engaging the public, they also contain practical wisdom for the work place.

Today, we examine Romans 12:17. The text says, Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” Let’s examine the verse.

I’m tired! I’ve just completed a particularly long and exhausting week of work and I’m physically tired. I am not tired of doing the work I do, but I’m tired because of the work I do. There is a difference. I have experienced the former and am presently feeling the latter.

Sometimes, we may become tired of applying the Lord’s Word into our everyday lives and experiences. It is then that we must remember to not become weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9).

We must never become tired in doing what God requires, even when it becomes difficult. Case in point would be with regard to today’s text. Romans 12:17 says, “Repay no one evil for evil.” When believers in Christ receive evil treatment by other people, including co-workers, they are not to repay the individual with harsh and wrong behavior.

In contrast, the text continues to say, “…but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” The word honorable (καλός; kalos) means that which is praiseworthy, fitting and beautiful. It is behavior which provides the recipient with something of superior benefit.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “The OT law of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” was never intended to be applied by individuals in the OT or NT; but it was a standard for the collective society to use to enforce good conduct among people (1 Thess. 5:15Ex. 21:23–24; cf. Lev. 24:20Deut. 19:211 Pet. 3:8–9). Christians are to respect what is intrinsically proper and honest and have the right behavior when they are around others, especially unbelievers.”

Dear Lord, please give all of us the strength, when we are weary, to do that which is excellent in your sight. You are our strength and our Redeemer. Amen!

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Task at Hand: Harmonious Living and Working.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by 14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14–21 (ESV)

One way to handle conflict at work, along with following proper established protocol by the company or institution for which you work, is to follow the guidelines set forth in Romans 12:14-21. While these commands and encouragements are applicable for the home, personal relationships, church and when engaging the public, they also contain practical wisdom for the work place.

Today, we examine Romans 12:16. The text says, Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” Let’s unpack the verse.

The phrase live in harmony (φρονέω; phroneo) is one word in the Greek language. It means to have an attitude and aptitude of understanding based on biblical insight and wisdom (Ephesians 1:8). Believers are to have this harmonious perspective to life in every situation with all kinds of people.

To accomplish this, a believer must never be haughty (ὑψηλός; hypselos). Haughtiness is arrogance and the perspective that you are above, or more valuable than, everyone else.

One way to combat haughtiness is to “associate with the lowly.” This means to share what you have, or are, with those who are downhearted and in more humble circumstances than you.

Another way to have victory over haughtiness is to “never be wise in your own sight.” In other words, do not be conceited.

Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “Being in harmony with other Christians is basic to being able to empathize with them. This idea is then presented in negative and positive details: Do not be proud (lit., “not thinking highly” of yourself; cf. Rom. 11:20; 12:3) and be willing to associate with people of low position (cf. James 2:1–9). These orders are summarized in the command, Do not be conceited (lit., “Do not become wise concerning themselves”; cf. Prov. 3:7; Rom. 11:25), an attitude that makes empathy impossible.”

Have a blessed day as you strive to live in harmony with your co-workers. Soli deo Gloria!